Dean Davis - The High King of Heaven:
Discovering the Master Key to the Great End Time Debate
The subtitle indeed is a bold claim, saying that in this book we will discover “the master key” to the End Time debate. I believe we indeed do discover the master key to the End Time debate.
This book is nothing like the others that I’ve read on Amillennialism (Kingdom Come, The Bible and the Future, The Case for Amillennialism), it dares to go and try to interpret the difficult texts in support of premillennialism. It is anti-premillennial as well as, but in lesser tone against Postmillennialism. This is all done in a tone of brotherly love. I enjoyed that aspect of the interaction.
This book lays out the classic view of Amillennialism which is Dean Davis believes (as others also do) is the classic eschatology of Church History and the Reformation.
The word amillennialism means no millennium. However, amillennarians do not deny the existence of a millennium, only that it begins after the Parousia and that it will last for a literal thousand years. Instead, they teach that the thousand years of Revelation 20 symbolize the present Era of Proclamation, during which time Christ reigns with (the departed spirits of) his saints in heaven. Amillennarians are, then, “present-millennarians.” Pages 23-24
Basically, Amillennialism teaches that the Millennium of Revelation 20 started from the cross and will end at the Second Coming of our Lord, spanning over 2 millennia up till now and is thus to be interpreted symbolically, rather than literally. The Millennium is the Gospel Era, or as Dean likes to call it, the Era of Proclamation.
This is a simple chart laying out the Amillennial vision of Salvation History.
The Kingdom of God
One of the very ups of this book was the extensive study of the Kingdom of God in the New and Old Testaments. My understanding of the Kingdom of God was really expanded.
A Definition of the Kingdom of God
Dean Davis defines the Kingdom of God as:
In essence, the Kingdom of God is the direct reign of God the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit, over his redeemed creatures; creatures who have been rescued from every spiritual and physical enemy, and restored to every spiritual and physical friend that God planned for them in the beginning. Also, the Kingdom is the blessed realm that this redemptive reign creates, and over which it forever rules. Page 65.
This he does not merely assume, but ably goes to prove it from the Bible, here is a summary of his five points:
- The Kingdom is the direct reign of God the Father (Mt 6:10)
- The Kingdom is a sphere of wholeness and blessing (Mt 9:35; 10:7-8; 12:28)
- The Kingdom is mediated by the Son of God (John 5:19, 30; 6:38; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10)
- The Kingdom is effected by the Spirit of God (Mt 12:28; Acts 1:4-8)
- The Kingdom is a realm beneath a reign (Mt 13:41-42; Rev 11:15)
Thereby is indeed the definition that he gives is justified and satisfactory.
The Two-Staged Kingdom
Amillennarians see the Kingdom of God coming in two stages, separated by the Parousia of our Lord:
- The Kingdom of the Son (already, the present Era of Proclamation)
- The Kingdom of the Father (not yet, the future World/Age to Come)
Now, the terminology used here is not meant to give the idea that the Son has no share in the second stage of the Kingdom or that the Father has no share in the first, but rather ...