This collection of articles covers the topic of Restoration, which means "restoring the authority and apostolic leadership to the global Church". It has other and deeper implications too, as can be seen by the articles on warring in the heavenlies (to pull down the satanic strongholds that restrict the church) and "The Glory" (which is a skewed belief that the full power and visible glory of God will ultimately descend upon the restored Church.)
The two main Dominion movements are Christian Reconstructionism and Kingdom Now Theology. Though these two movements differ greatly in their general theological orientation (the first is strongly Reformed and Neo-Calvinistic, the second is Charismatic), they share a postmillennial vision in which the Kingdom of God will be established on Earth through political, spiritual and in some extreme cases military means.
Dominion Theology and Restoration today has progressed far beyond the reach of these early articles of mine; however it is always good to refer to the roots of the movement, and to understand its core objectives.
Topics covered in this section are: Gatekeepers and Spiritual Warfare, Restorationism, Shepherding, Kingdom Theology and its proponents, historical roots such as Gnosticism, Sonship and the Latter Rain, the coming glorification of the ascended saints, and the part that the Toronto revival and such things as Celtic Mysticism have to play.
(By Tricia Tillin)
This booklet was written in the mid 1980's to combat the growing interest in the doctrines of "Shepherding" in the UK. Many charismatic churches were at that time going over to shepherding, discipling or "covering" doctrines as they were then known. These were brought over to the UK from the States in the late 1960's and early 1970's by the leadership team known as the Fort Lauderdale Five, though Bob Mumford was the speaker who most affected the UK leadership, and he was idolised by the charismatic christians of the day.
Under the new system of "covering" each member of a fellowship had to answer to his/her own personal shepherd, and in some cases every minute detail of the spiritual and personal life of a church member was routinely monitored. No contribution to church life or worship was accepted unless it had been passed by the elders, and no teaching of the leadership was to be questioned - for they were the anointed "government of God" and stood in the place of Jesus! In this situation, it was easy to introduce heretical new doctrines, for the sheep were honour bound to eat everything they were fed.
Thus, "restoration" dogma arrived and quickly became the cornerstone teaching of almost every charismatic fellowship in the land. When this booklet was first written, "restoration" was in its infancy, and the exposé was therefore limited in scope. However, it remains a useful reference work and tool for those who have never heard of "restoration" or for those who are puzzled about the origins of what their church actually teaches.
Part One of the booklet examined the doctrines of "replacement theology" and post-millennialism - both foundational to restoration teaching. Another name for restoration teaching is "Kingdom-Now" because it teaches that the Old Testament Kingdom of God, the universal reign of peace and righteousness, is a present-day reality, rather than a future literal event. It has also been called "Kingdom-Dominion" because restoration doctrine teaches that the Church has the task of extending its present-day religious dominion until it becomes the Government of God upon the earth, instructing and ruling every earthly instituion.
Part Two will examine the implications of restoration teachings, especially with regard to the New Age Movement. It will ask how closely linked these teachings on world dominion are to the creed of the New Age Movement, which is seeking to re-educate the whole world into a One World policy of government and worship, supposedly to bring peace, plenty, and restoration to creation.
Part Three will expose the roots of the restoration doctrines, and to show how heretical views of the Kingdom, the Latter Rain Movement, and various metaphysical cults have influenced their development.
Though it is primarily a teaching coming from Shepherding (Discipling) fellowships, it has affected the lifestyle and beliefs of many denominational Christians too. So it is time to examine the restoration teachings in the light of scripture.
First of all, what
is the restoration doctrine, and what does it entail?
The basic teaching is:
(a) The 'Israel' of the Bible
is the Church, not the Jews.
(b) The Kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament came into being when Jesus died; there will be no future literal Kingdom for the Jews
(c) God's Kingdom is represented by the Church on earth; consequently, all dominion over creation and mankind is being exercised here and now by the Body of Christ.
(d) The Church therefore has the task of extending the Kingdom until all creation bows the knee to Him. Only then can Jesus return to earth.
The restoration doctrine is a 'package deal'; if we accept the above teaching we are led to certain inevitable conclusions, such as:
The prophecies of the Old Testament must be understood historically or spiritually,
not literally for the nation of Israel.
(b) Likewise, the book of Revelation has to be understood as having been fulfilled historically, for the most part. The Devil has been bound, and we are now living in the reign of peace, with Jesus as King.
(c) Therefore, pre-millennial teachings about the Great Tribulation, Apostasy, the Antichrist and so on are wrong - those scriptures speak historically or symbolically of opposition against the Church.
(d) Similarly, teachings about the Rapture and Millennium are wrong, according to restoration doctrine.
(e) Prophecies of an attack by Israel's enemies are to be understood as the opposition of the world to Christians.
(f) Since the Old Testament prophecies relating to the restoration of Israel - her material blessings, worldwide influence and rulership, etc - now apply to the Church, we are to look for a 'golden age' of universal Christian victory before the return of Christ. This will be accomplished by aggressive evangelism, involvement in politics, education, medicine, agriculture, the Arts and so on, bringing the earth into line with Kingdom principles. Lately, spiritual power such as experienced in the so-called Toronto Blessing and false "revivals" such as Pensacola are being hailed as another means to 'bring in the kingdom on earth'.
(g) Under this scheme, the Lord Jesus will not come to institute the Kingdom and to deliver the Jews, nor will He come to reign in Jerusalem. In fact he cannot come at all until the Church has restored the earth to His rule, and when He does it is only to 'consummate' the Kingdom.
(h) Leading up to the coming of Jesus, there will be increasing revival and then the Second Coming, whereupon the renewal by fire of the earth, last judgement, 'rapture' and resurrection will all take place at the same time, followed immediately by the new Heaven and Earth.
IS THE CHURCH THE ISRAEL OF PROPHECY?
1. If the Church
really has replaced the national and territorial Israel, it
means that God's promises to the Jews have not been honoured.
But although God foresaw the sins of the Jews, yet He bound
Himself with unbreakable vows to preserve the land and nation
of Israel forever (Is 49:14-16/Jer 31:35-37/Jer 33:19-22);
The land of Canaan was to be a perpetual inheritance (Gen 13:14-17/Ps 105:7-11);
the Jews would never cease from being a distinct nation (Ps 94:14/Is 65:8-9/Ezek 11:16/Jer 31:36);
nor would God utterly forsake His beloved people (Jer 30:11/Is 44:21/ Micah 7:18-20/Amos 9:8-9/1 Sam 12:22).
2. Despite the formation of the Church of believers, national Judaism IS being regathered to its own land, and the land has blossomed just as the scriptures fortold. Preparations are under way to re-build the Temple, to re-train the Levitical priesthood and to re-institute the sacrifices. There IS a revival of Messianic hope amongst faithful Jews today. All the prophecies of the Old Testament regarding Israel and the Jews are faithfully running their course, so we have no reason to believe that these prophecies have no relevance to today, as restoration doctrine claims.
3. Despite the formation of the Church, satanic enmity is still concentrated on Israel (nationally and religiously) as being the number one world threat to the Devil's plans. Hitler - for example - hated the Jews more than the Christians. Satan, it seems, knows the truth even if Christians choose to reject it.
4. Scripture distinguishes between believers in Christ and the elect Remnant of Israel, who are presently blinded to the truth, but who will ultimately be saved (Rom 11:25,26/Is 6:10-13/Is 29:9-24). These are "enemies" concerning the gospel, but concerning the election (that is, God's choice of citizen of the coming Kingdom) they are "beloved for the sake of the fathers". (Rom 11:28).
5. The time of blindness and 'desolation' decreed as a judgement on unbelieving Israel is categorically stated to be temporary, not permanent (Rom 11:25/Luke 21:24/Luke 13:35f).
6. Jesus, when questioned about the setting up of the national Kingdom of Israel, comfirmed that it WOULD take place, but not immediately; he illustrated this with the parable of the nobleman who "goes away to a far country" while his servants are left behind to "do business" until he returns. (Acts 1:6,7/Luke 19:11-13) Jesus clearly expected to set up the Kingdom at His Second Coming and not at Pentecost as the Restoration churches teach.
7. The Church is not able to fulfil certain specific prophecies relating to the restoration of Israel, such as:
(a) The renewal of the feasts - Zech 14:16/Zech 8:19
(b) The offering of sacrifices - Jer 33:14-18/Is 60:7/Is 56:7
(c) The purchase of lands in Palestine - Jer 32:37-44
(d) The restoration of a Levitical Priesthood - Is 66:20/Ezek 44:11
(e) The slaughter of Israel's enemies - Is 11:14
(f) The reception of wealth and service from Gentiles - Is 60/Is 49:22-23
WILL THE JEWS BE RESTORED?
1. The promises given to Israel were specifically national and territorial as well as spiritural. These cannot be interpreted spiritually without straining interpretation beyond its proper limits. The Jews were to return to "the land that I gave to their fathers." (Jer 30:2-3), and its borders were specified: from Egypt to the Euphrates. (Gen 15:18-21/Num 34:1-12/Ezek 47:13-20).
2. This regathering and return is to be a 'second' one, distinct from the restoration after the exile in Babylon, and from a far wider area - from the "four corners of the earth". (Is 11:11-12)
3. This return is to be accompanied by supernatural events which have not happened in history, such as the dividing of the Euphrates and the destruction of the tongue of the Red Sea. (Is 11:15/51:10-11) .
4. This restoration is not just for Judah, but for ALL the tribes of Israel. The 'ten lost tribes' will be returned to Palestine in the latter day restoration. (Jer 3:18/50;4/Ezek 37:16-22).
return is to culminate in a spiritual recovery for the Jews. (Is
44: 3-4/Jer 3:16-17) The dry bones of Israel will be
raised (Ezek 37) both physically (verse 6)
and spiritually (verse 9).
Note that this prophecy is for the whole house of Israel. (verse 11) Note also that the outpouring of the Spirit on Israel coincides with their restoration to their own land (verse 14, compare Ezek 11:17-20/Jer 32:37f)
This repentance is described by Zechariah (12:10-13:1) in terms which are unmistakeably Jewish.
6. The restoration of Israel
is to result in peace for Israel .(Is 66:12) AND for the
world (Hos 2:18/Is 2:4), stability (Is 54:14-15),
safety (Ezek 34:28), expansion (Is 49:19-21), rulership (Is
14:1-2), eternal victory (Is 41:11-16), material wealth
and great national blessing (Is 30:19-26/60:4-16).
In particular, God promised that the children of Israel would NEVER AGAIN be uprooted from their land. (Jer 31:38-40/Is 32:15 18/35:1-10) This cannot be said of any previous return from exile.
ROMANS CHAPTER ELEVEN
The Apostle Paul spoke of a coming spiritual and national restoration for the Jews, despite the existence of the Gentile Church. He shows that natural Israel:
(a) has not been cast off by God (v.1)
(b) is at present hardened to the gospel, blind to the truth. (v.7-10)
(c) has not utterly fallen (v.11)
(d) is destined for reconciliation in the future (v.15)
(e) is still holy to the Lord (v.16)
(f) is going to be re-instated (v.23)
(g) has been appointed to restoration at a specific time (v.25)
(h) is going to be delivered and forgiven at the Second Coming (v.26)
(i) is beloved for the sake of the fathers (v.28)
(j) is going to be shown mercy by God (v.31,32)
Since "the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable" (v.29) there is no way that God could revoke His promises to the Jews, and even in their rebellion, they are "beloved". Just as we were once disobedient and rebellious to God, yet the Lord saved us out of our sin, so the Jews will be saved in their time. (v.30) In fact, it is their very disobedience which God is using as an instrument to restore them - the tribulation which their rebellion brings will cause them to seek the Lord for deliverance. (v.31) Paul, writing under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, says that "all Israel will be saved". (verse 26) This seems conclusive.
THE SEED THEORY
Restorationalists often back up their claim to be 'Israel' with the Apostle Paul's teaching on the 'seed of Abraham'.
Paul wrote that God's promises were meant for Abraham and his seed, and that since Jesus Christ was the true Seed, "If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal 3:29)
Yes, salvation is not just for Jews, Paul says, but for all who receive Christ by faith! But Restoration teachers go on to say more:
...that God always intended His promises to apply to the Church,
not literal Jews, so every prophecy mentioning 'Israel'
in the Old Testament applies now to the Church! Furthermore,
they say, since the Jews rejected Jesus as Messiah, they
have forfeited the blessings of Abraham. The promised
Kingdom and all that it means in terms of earthly dominion,
belongs to the Church!
Is this the proper understanding of Paul's teaching, though? At the time of the early church many believers were Jews, and Paul wanted them to see that pure physical ancestry was not the basis of their salvation, but union with the 'seed of Abraham' who is Christ. But was Paul saying that the literal descendants of Abraham had therefore been excluded from blessing? No. For elsewhere he plainly says that God has not cast His people away (Rom 11:2) and he includes himself among them as "an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham". It is clear that his use of the word seed is not confined to the Church.
Also, when Peter addresses the "Men of Israel" who gathered in Solomon's Portico, notice that he is speaking not only to Jews, but unbelieving Jews. He accuses them of rejecting their Messiah and calls on them to repent so that Jesus might be sent back to them a second time. There is no hint here that God has rejected literal 'Israel'.
It is to unbelieving Jews that Peter applies this word: "YOU are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, And in your SEED all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Acts 3:25)
Stephen, too, uses the term 'seed/race/family' to refer to the Jewish people who had rejected God's messengers through the ages. It was to these rebellious people, Stephen says, that God sent deliverance. (Acts 7)
So 'the seed' means more than just believers. It does refer to the Messiah as the one perfect Seed of Abraham, and to those who are in Him by faith. But it also means Abraham's literal offspring to whom God's promise was made (Gen 13:14-17) and to his descendants while they exist.Since God cannot lie, and since his promises to Abraham have not yet come to pass, we must still expect a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies for the literal 'seed' - despite the existence of the Church.
This question is crucial. It may seem academic to some, of no real importance to believers, but in fact the entire future course of the Church is decided by this one question.
IF the prophesied Kingdom of God is present now as the Church, as Restoration teaches, then we are to expect world domination and peace before the return of Christ. This means that Christians are to take positions of power in all nations and progressively overthrow ungodly rulers until the universal rule of God is established.
But if the universal Kingdom of peace belongs to national Israel, and is in the future, then the promises of dominion belong to the Jews and the Church's role in the world is a different one. She is to preach the gospel, enduring persecution if necessary, and influence society only by the changing of men's hearts. She will never be more than a minority in the world, despised and rejected as was her Master. This has been the view of Church leaders for centuries, yet this view is now being challenged by the 'restoration' type of teaching.
1. Does the Bible pinpoint the time of the establishing of the Kingdom? Yes, in several passages. We know what is to happen before we can expect to see the visible Kingdom of God: Daniel chaper 7 places it:
(a) after the destruction of the
(b) after the persecution by the 'little horn' (v.21)
(c) after the rise of a ten-kingdom empire (v.24)
(d) after a specific three and a half-year tribulation (v.25)
(e) after the destruction of the ungodly empire (v.26)
(f) at the Judgement of God (v.9,10)
Comparing this with the book of Revelation, we see a startling confirmation of the sequence of events:
(a) the rise of the Beast (Chap 13)
(b) his specific three and a half year authority (13:5)
(c) his persecution of the saints (13:7)
(d) his destruction (19:20/20:3)
(e) the Judgement of God (20:4)
Comparing these accounts, it seems plain that the Kingdom is established at or shortly after the Second Coming (Rev 19:11f).
2. Is the Church the visible manifestation of the earthly Kingdom promised to Israel? No, for several reasons:
(a) The Kingdom of Israel is to be in Jerusalem - the Church
(b) it is 'set up' by Jesus at His Coming - we are 'built up' on Him
(c) it is 'received' by inheritance - the Church cannot be inherited
(d) it is 'entered' by obedience - we are members joined to a Body
(e) it is to have one earthly Ruler - We have a Heavenly Saviour
(f) it has world-wide dominion - The Church is 'hated by all nations'
(g) it has a literal Temple and Priesthood - we have none
(h) it brings universal peace and blessing - these are not in evidence
(i) it rules the nations by law - our gospel is of grace
3 Have the signs foretold in scripture relating to the Kingdom come to pass? No, they have not. These include:
(a) The re-gathering of all the tribes of Israel (Ezek 37:21,22)
(b) The complete restoration of the land (Ezek 36:30-35)
(c) The purging of Israel's sin (Is 4:4/Mal 3:3)
(d) The spiritual revival of the Jews (Zech 12:10-14)
(e) Signs in the sun, moon and sky (Amos 8:9/Joel 2:28-32)
(f) The judgement of the nations, and their obedience (Zech 14:16f)
(g) Universal peace and dominion (Zech 9:9,10)
4. Did Jesus speak of the Kingdom as a present reality in the Church? No. The Jews refused their Messiah, and the promised Kingdom was rejected. So Jesus, their King, returned to Heaven to await the appointed time of restoration, when his enemies would be put under His feet. In the meantime, the Kingdom experience of believers is:
(a) in Christ, as spiritual ruler in the heavenly places
(b) not now of this world (Jn 18:36)
(c) demonstrated by authority over the spiritual powers (Matt 12:28)
(d) under an invisible rulership of the indwelling Holy Spirit
(e) having an eternal hope in the heavenlies
(f) voluntary, and by faith
(g) personal and individual
(h) spiritual and inward
(i) looking to the rapture and resurrection as its consummation
All of these things stand in contrast to the earthly Kingdom of Israel. The Church's rule can only extend as far as the rule of her Head - and that at present is a spiritual rule in the heavenlies. (Eph 1:20,21)
Are we in the Millennium?
Part of the 'restoration' teaching is that the events of the book of Revelation are past - they are historical - and that the reign of Christ as King is now. Some believe that this present reign is the 'millennium' and some believe that a further period of rulership will follow the Coming.
But the beliefs of restoration are, by their very nature, post-millennial. This is a departure from the eschatological teaching of most revivalist churches, who take the book of Revelation literally and chronologically. In recent years the pre-tribulation/pre-millennial view has flourished, and not without reason - as history draws to its close, the events of Revelation can be seen to be taking place.
The Different Prophetic Views.
1. A-MILLENNIALISTS believe:
(a) there will be no specific time of universal peace
(b) that good and evil will increase slowly to the Second Coming.
(c) that when Christ comes, all men will be raised and judged.
2. POST-MILLENNIALISTS believe:
(a) that the Church will reign triumphant on earth before Christ's
(b) that the Church is the instrument God uses to effect the coming of Christ in universal power and glory.
(c) that the apostasy, tribulation, Antichrist and so on are historical events which take place from John's time onwards.
(d) that the resurrection, final judgement and renewal of the earth will happen at Christ's Coming.
3. DISPENSATIONALISTS believe:
(a) that world history is divided into distinct ages or dispensations.
(b) that the operations in one dispensation do not apply to another.
(c) that the Kingdom, offered to the Jews by Jesus and rejected, was withdrawn.
(d) that the Church is a dispensation separate to the Jewish Kingdom, which came into being because of the disobedience of the Jews
(e) that the Church must therefore be removed before the Kingdom can again be offered to the Jews.
(f) that Christ will come to take His Church before He comes visibly to the Jews to establish the Kingdom.
(g) that after the Second Coming, the saints will be resurrected and will reign with Christ for a thousand years during which satan will be bound and the entire earth will be blessed.
(h) that after the thousand years are ended satan will be loosed for a final battle, defeated, then the General Resurrection, Day of Judgement and New Heavens and Earth will follow.
To the above we should add modern-day 'Pre-Tribulationalists' who do not accept the strict view of dispensationalism (which teaches that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for the present Church age, for instance) but who follow the same general line of belief. Many now believe that the Rapture will take place before the Wrath of God, rather than before the seven year period spoken of in Daniel.
5. PRE-MILLENNIALISTS believe:
(a) that towards the end of history, suffering of believers
will increase, and apostasy will arise, coming to a climax
in the reign of Antichrist.
(b) that Christ will appear to destroy Antichrist and to deliver believers.
(c) that Christ will then resurrect the saints and establish the Kingdom in Jerusalem for a thousand years.
(d) that following this period, the wicked will be raised and judged and the new creation will appear.All these prophetic views have their champions and their different interpretations of scripture, but the post-millennial view is the hardest to support from the Bible. This is because the book of Revelation is so plainly chronological in chapters 19/20 where the Second Coming is placed BEFORE the Kingdom reign.
There are other problems with post-millennialism:
1. It places the resurrection of the dead AFTER the millennium.
HOWEVER, the righteous dead are shown in Rev 20:6 to be raised
to reign with Christ a thousand years (ie. BEFORE the millennium).
2. The millennium is a time of universal righteousness, BUT the separation of the 'tares and the wheat' does not take place until Christ comes according to Matt 13:40-43, and apostasy and wickedness continue right up to the Coming of Christ. So, we cannot be in the millennium at present.
3. The millennium is a time of peace, BUT the events leading up to the Second Coming according to scripture are apostasy, tribulation, persecution, famine and war. Therefore the millennium cannot precede the Coming.
4. Satan is bound as a result of the Second Coming (Rev 19) not before.
Antichrist is destroyed by Christ at His Coming (2 Thess 2:8) not by the Church.
The restoration is a result of the Lord's Coming. (Is 59:19-21) not Church activity.
These events rule out a post-millennial
Return of Christ.
Continue to PART TWO
(c) Tricia Tillin 2001
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