PREFACE TO "THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN" by L.S.Chafer
A CLEAR and thoroughly Biblical book on the kingdom in the
Scriptures has long been a desideratum. Perhaps no truth of the divine
revelation has suffered more at the hands of interpreters than that concerning
the kingdom. Following the Roman Catholic interpretation, Protestant theology
has very generally taught that all the kingdom promises, and even the great
Davidic Covenant itself, are to be fulfilled in and through the Church. The
confusion thus created has been still further darkened by the failure to
distinguish the different phases of kingdom truth indicated by the expressions
"kingdom of heaven," and "kingdom of God."
In the light of plain Scripture all of these confusions are inexcusable, for at no point is the Biblical revelation more clear and explicit. Founded upon the covenant of Jehovah with David, a covenant subsequently confirmed by Jehovah's oath, the great theme of predictive prophecy is that kingdom. Even the order of the setting up of the kingdom, relatively to the great Gentile world empires, is declared. The events attending the setting up of the kingdom of the heavens on the earth are described.
The New Testament carries forward the Old Testament foreview of the kingdom into greater detail, but without change. The very first mention of Christ in the first verse of the first chapter in the New Testament identifies Him with the Davidic Covenant, and the promise of Gabriel to His virgin mother is a new confirmation in express terms of that covenant.
The New Testament reveals the present age as a parenthesis in the prophetic program during which the Church is called out from among the Gentiles, a stranger and pilgrim body, belonging to the kingdom of God, but in no sense identical with the kingdom of heaven.
I welcome therefore this present book on these fundamental truths. Having had the privilege of seeing it in manuscript, I bespeak for it the candid attention of all who are concerned for the truth of God.
C. I. Scofield.
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