By Nathan Jones
Are there Christmas promises yet to be fulfilled?
Dr. David Reagan, Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries, and I recently got together on the television show "Christ in Prophecy" (watch it!) to discuss how some of the Bible prophecies related to the birth of Jesus Christ have yet to be fulfilled. To find out just what those future but "forgotten" promises of Christmas are — read on!
Dr. Reagan: Let's consider one of the prophecies that was given to Mary by the angel Gabriel when he informed her that she had been chosen by God to be the mother of the Messiah. It is recorded in Luke 1, beginning with verse 31. Nathan, why don't you read that to us.
Nathan Jones: Okay. "Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father, David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom there will be no end."
Dr. Reagan: This magnificent statement contains 7 promises. Four of them relate to the first advent of the Lord, and they have thus been fulfilled. Let's consider those four. The fulfilled prophecies are:
- Mary will conceive and give birth to a son.
- His name will be called Jesus.
- He will be called great.
- He will be called the Son of God.
Dennis Pollock: But, Dave, what most people don't realize is that Gabriel's statement to Mary contained three other prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled. Those three unfulfilled prophecies are these:
- He will be given the throne of David.
- He will reign over the house of Jacob.
- There will be no end to His Kingdom.
Dr. Reagan: I call these three promises the "forgotten promises of Christmas" because they are not taught by most churches in Christendom today. That's because most churches take the position that Jesus will never return to this earth again. That is called the Amillennial viewpoint.
Dennis Pollock: The Amillennial view is based on the supposition that the Bible does not mean what it says. To substantiate the viewpoint, its proponents are forced to spiritualize Scripture. Thus, in their interpretation of these three unfulfilled promises, they convert the throne of David into the throne of God and the house of Jacob becomes the Church. They then conclude that the promises have been fulfilled in the current reign of Jesus from His Father's throne over the Church.
Dr. Reagan: There is no doubt that Jesus is currently reigning from His Father's throne over His kingdom the Church, but to identify that reign with the one promised to Mary takes a great leap of imagination. The throne of David is not the throne of God. The throne of God is in Heaven. The throne of David is in Jerusalem. Jesus himself clearly differentiates between the throne of God and His own throne in Revelation 3:21. In that verse Jesus says that He will one day allow believers to sit with Him on His throne just as His Father has allowed Him to share His throne. Jesus is not on the throne of David today. He is sitting at the right hand of His father on His Father's throne. He will occupy the throne of David when He returns to earth to reign from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem.
Nathan Jones: Nor is the Church the house of Jacob. This is an Old Testament term for the Children of Israel. The Church is never referred to in the Scriptures as "the house of Jacob."
The Bible teaches that a remnant of the Jews will one day accept Jesus as their Messiah. This will occur at the end of seven years of terrible suffering called the Tribulation, or "the time of Jacob's trouble." Now, when Jesus returns at the end of that time of suffering, the Jewish remnant will be gathered to the land of Israel and will be made the foremost nation in the world. Jesus will then rule over the house of Jacob.
Dennis Pollock: Another important point to keep in mind is that the current Church Kingdom is not an everlasting kingdom. The Church Age Kingdom will end with the Rapture of the Church. The Church Kingdom will be followed by the Millennial Kingdom when Jesus will reign over all the earth from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. That kingdom here on this earth will last one thousand years. The final, eternal kingdom of Christ will be established on a new, perfected earth.
Nathan Jones: Why can't people just accept the promises made to Mary to mean what they say? The first four meant exactly what they said. Why must the last three be spiritualized? The only reason for spiritualizing them is to force them to conform to some preconceived doctrine.
Dr. Reagan: Well, I believe God knows how to communicate. If God had intended to promise Mary that her Son would reign from Heaven over the Church forever, He would have said so. Instead, He reaffirmed to her the promise He had made many times throughout the Old Testament through the prophets — that his Son would reign from David's throne in Jerusalem over Israel and that He would be given a kingdom that would last forever.
Dennis Pollock: If the promises God made to the Jews didn't mean what they said, then how can we be sure that His promises to the Church mean what they say? I believe God says what He means and He means what He says.
Dr. Reagan: I would agree whole heartedly, Dennis.
During this Christmas season I am going to praise God for sending His Son to die for my sins, but I am also going to praise Him for the fact that He has promised that He will soon send His Son again to fulfill the "forgotten promises" which Gabriel made to Mary. The Church may have forgotten those promises, but I thank God that He never forgets a promise.