My long time friend Larry Siegle has written a really fine article on the question of whether the Kingdom of God was postponed when the Jews rejected Jesus. This is an important issue since the Postponement doctrine is fundamental to the Dispensational school of thought. I am happy to share Larry’s excellent thoughts with my visitors!
Was the Arrival and Establishment of the Kingdom of God and the Second Coming of Christ “Postponed”?
What does the Bible teach about the ‘time element’ of the arrival and establishment of the Kingdom of God, and of the ‘second coming’ (Parousia) of Christ? There is no question that the preaching of John the Baptizer, Jesus, and His apostles was that of the ‘nearness of expectation’ of when these things were to take place.
The apostle Paul, in his second letter to Timothy, connected four events that were to occur at the same time:
“Then I solemnly witness before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, He being about to judge the living and dead at His appearance and His kingdom” (II Tim. 4:1 LITV, Darby, LSV, Weymouth, YLT).
According to this verse, there are four events were foretold to occur:
1. Christ was about to (μέλλοντος) judge (day of judgment).
2. The living and the dead (resurrection).
3. At His appearance (the second coming).
4. In His kingdom (Kingdom of God).
Within the context of this passage, the apostle Paul states the fact, time, manner, and purpose of what was foretold to take place–within the immediate future, without any sense of delay or postponement in view.
THE CONCEPT OF POSTPONEMENT INTRODUCED
John F. Walvoord (1910-2004), former President of Dallas Theological Seminary whose extensive writings, preaching, and teaching shaped the theological landscape of an entire generation. Over the course of his lifetime, Walvoord earned the reputation as “one of the most influential dispensationalists of the 20th century”  As it pertains to the foretold arrival and establishment of the Kingdom of God, Walvoord writes:
Jesus had been offering the kingdom in the form of offering himself as the Messiah and King of Israel. This offer had been rejected, as God had anticipated, and ultimately this rejection would lead to the cross of Christ, which was part of God’s plan for the redemption of the world. On the divine side, this was no change of plan, but on the human side it was a change of direction regarding fulfillment of the kingdom promise. 
This premillennial conception of Kingdom “postponement” is also championed by Dr. Thomas Ice, Director of the Pre-Trib Research Center in his 1999 written debate with Dr. Kenneth Gentry, where he states:
…the scriptures teach that Israel could have obtained her much sought-after messianic kingdom by recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. We all know the sad reality, the Jews rejected Jesus. As a result, the kingdom is no longer near but postponed, awaiting Jewish belief, which will occur at the end of the Tribulation 
Is this concept actually what the Bible teaches? Did Israel’s rejection of Jesus as Messiah somehow justify the notion that the day of Judgment, the resurrection of the dead, the second coming of Christ, and the establishment of the Kingdom of God, would be “postponed” to an indefinite time in the future?
While scholars and theologians agree that John the Baptizer, Jesus, and His apostles had the ‘expectation of nearness’ in their preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God, that the rejection of Jesus as Messiah by Israel led to an indefinite time of “postponement” in the realization of God’s purpose. Foy E. Wallace Jr, in his book, God’s Prophetic Word, makes this comment about the concept of Kingdom “postponement” and its unfortunate implications:
That Jesus came into the world to establish a kingdom has never been called in question. Millennialists admit this to be a fact: that the mission of the Messiah, the purpose of he first coming of Christ, was to establish a kingdom. The Jews believed the Messiah would establish a material kingdom. Millennialists believe the same thing now. Because the Jews rejected the Christ, millennialists teach that Jesus was not able to establish that kingdom, so they assert that he “postponed” the kingdom… “automatically deferred” the kingdom. Their idea is that after Jesus Christ could not by reason of the rejection of the Jews establish his kingdom, according to the Old Testament prophecy…
Most scholars agree that the message of the Kingdom of God is contained throughout the totality of Scripture. Herman Ridderbos declared the importance of this saying: “The whole of the preaching of Jesus Christ and his apostles is concerned with the kingdom of God.” John Bright states that “the concept of the Kingdom of God involves, in a real sense, the total message of the Bible.” If this is the case, is it reasonable to conclude that Israel’s rejection of Jesus as Messiah brought about a wholesale diversion of what had been foretold throughout the Scriptures?
THE “NATURE” OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
What is the nature of the arrival and establishment of God’s Kingdom? Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36), and thus the “postponement” of the Kingdom of God is not a Biblical concept. Does the Bible suggest an earthly Kingdom of God that is “yet future” to our time?
There is no question that the central focus of the “gospel of Christ” (Rom. 1:16), was the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:3; 9:35; 24:14; Mark 1:14, 15). According to the preaching of John the Baptizer, Jesus, and His apostles, the Kingdom was “at hand” (Matt. 3:3; 4:17; 10:7; Mark 1:15). It was “this gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 24:14) that was to be preached throughout the οἰκουμένῃ or Roman Empire (the known “world” of the time) and “then the end will come” (See also Luke 2:1). According to Christ, in His Olivet Discourse, “this generation” (Matt. 23:36; 24:34) “will by no means pass away till all these things take place”–including the foretold arrival and establishment of God’s Kingdom. Christ had foretold the time was coming when the kingdom would be taken away from Israel “according to the flesh”:
“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it” (Matt. 21:43).
Old Covenant Israel had rejected Christ as Messiah and the Kingdom of God was to be given “to a nation bearing the fruits of it” with no future promise of a national restoration on the horizon. Just prior to His crucifixion, Jesus had told Pilate, “…My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now My kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36). After Jesus completed His redemptive work as the “lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), He was resurrected from the dead and ascended from the “world” below, returning to the “world” above–to the Father (John 8:23) to establish His Kingdom in the “heavenly places” (Eph. 1:20; Heb. 8:1). To confirm this, the apostle Peter, on the Day of Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ states:
“Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, TILL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES YOUR FOOTSTOOL.” ‘ “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:30-36).
There was no postponement of the establishment of the Kingdom of God and Peter confirms that Christ had begun ‘ruling in the midst of His enemies’ (Psa. 110:2). This was the pre-end-of-the-age” reign of Christ established for the defeat of His “enemies” (I Cor. 15:25, 26), the “last enemy” of which was “the death” (Rom. 5:12) as determined by Adam and under which humanity had lived under “condemnation” and “bondage” since the Garden of Eden (Rom. 5:12-21).
This “condemnation” was inclusive of both “the many” (Israel) (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45), and of the “all” (Gentiles) (I Tim. 2:6), for whom Christ had given Himself as a “ransom” sacrifice. The earthly redemptive work of Christ, through the cross, had brought about freedom for humanity to be resurrected out of the “natural” Adam and the “body of the death” (Rom. 7:24) and by faith given the opportunity within the “spiritual” to receive and accept the benefits of the gospel having the “power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).
Those who had placed their faith (Heb. 11:6) in the risen Christ had been “delivered…from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13, 14). How would this have been possible if the Kingdom of God had somehow been postponed into the indefinite future? Believers had left behind the “power of darkness” and were being placed into the “kingdom of the Son of His love” at the time when the apostle Paul wrote His letter to the church in Colosse!
THERE WOULD BE NO EARTHLY THRONE OF THE KINGDOM
The Old Testament had foretold there would be no restoration of a physical, earthy Kingdom or throne of David ruling from the city of Jerusalem. Nobody was authorized to ever again sit upon the throne of David, ruling in the earthly city of Jerusalem. Jeremiah writes:
“But to the land to which they desire to return, there they shall not return. “Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol—A vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, And cast into a land which they do not know? O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the LORD: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.’” (Jer. 22:27-30).
Although some might question the extent that this curse upon Coniah or Jeconiah as it applied to the physical seedline of and the throne of David, however, as can be clearly seen, the birth of Jesus occurred within that foretold “seed” that was inclusive of Jeconiah upon whom the “curse” was given by God (Matt. 1:11). Christ was not authorized to “sit upon the throne of David” ruling from the city of Jerusalem. Therefore, His Kingdom and His reign could not have been “of this world” (John 18:36), the “world” beneath, but rather was to take place following His resurrection, ascension, and exaltation in the heavens, the “world” above (Phil. 2:9-11). The Kingdom of God was preached as the “kingdom of the heavens” (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 5:3, 10, 19, 20; 7:21; 8:11; 10:7; 11:11, 12; 13:11, 24, 31, 33, 44, 45, 47, 52; 16:19; 18:1, 3, 4, 23; 19:12, 14, 23; 20:1; 22:2; 23:13; 25:1, 14), thus demonstrating the spiritual nature of God’s Kingdom. Isaiah writes: “Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool…” (Isa. 66:1), and quoted by Stephen in the New Testament (Acts 7:49). The writer of Hebrews, speaking of the exaltation of Jesus, writes: “But to which of the angels has He ever said: “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, TILL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES YOUR FOOTSTOOL”? (Heb. 1:13; 2:8; 10:13). The evidence is clear that Christ was resurrection to sit at the right hand of God on the throne of David in heaven–not on the earth!
CHRIST THE KING WHO IS A PRIEST UPON HIS THRONE
In addition, the post-resurrection ministry of Christ is that of being a “great High Priest who has passed through the heavens” (Heb. 4:14). According to the Hebrews writer, the priesthood of Christ could not have been in the “world” below or the “natural” Why not?
“For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK” (Heb. 7:14-17).
The Old Testament prophet Zechariah had foretold the time would come when Christ would serve as both King and Priest at the same time:
“Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place, He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the LORD; Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zech. 6:12, 13).
Since both the “curse” of Jeconiah and the fact that Christ was not born of the tribe of Levi, He was not authorized to serve in the capacity of either priest or king in this earthly realm but rather would do so in the “world” above as the Heavenly “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 7:14; 19:16). There can be no question that all that was foretold would occur in the fulfillment of the “promises made to the fathers” (Rom. 15:8) was to take place according to the time, manner, and purpose that God had set forth in His Word and nothing that Israel did in their rejection of Jesus as Messiah could thwart the arrival and establishment of the Kingdom of God that was fully consummated in those events associated with the “end of the age” in 70 CE. The “everlasting kingdom” (II Pet. 1:11) was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“Of the increase of His government and peace, There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:6, 7).
Concerning this reign of Christ, the Bible says:
“He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom, there will be no end” (Luke 1:32, 33).
THE “NATURAL” IN RELATIONSHIP TO THE “SPIRITUAL”
Max R. King, in his book, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, sets about to explain why the concept of “postponement” is wholly unnecessary in view of what had been foretold would come to pass in connection with the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise. The Abrahamic Covenant had both a “natural” and a “spiritual” aspect to be fulfilled in Christ. King writes:
Fleshly Israel is set forth as a temporary (parenthetical) arrangement between Abraham and Christ, or between the promise and the fulfillment. By design of God Israel “according to the flesh” was not the ultimate meaning of the Abrahamic promise. It is our contention that the Abrahamic covenant was essentially ONE COVENANT, having an earthly aspect that served as a shadow of the heavenly or spiritual state that would be realized in Christ. In the words of the apostle Paul, that which was first was the natural or earthly, and afterward, that which is spiritual or heavenly (I Cor. 15:46) 
Perhaps taking a closer look at the progressive nature of ‘redemptive history is the key to ascertaining whether or not the ‘time element’ found throughout the Old and New Testaments was rendered meaningless by Israel’s rejection of Jesus as Messiah. Why not consider the possibility that what had come through the “natural” aspect of Israel “according to the flesh” was to be realized through the “spiritual” aspect of Israel “according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1, 4, 5; Gal. 4:23, 29; I Cor. 15:46)?
UNDERSTANDING THE PROGRESSION OF REDEMPTIVE HISTORY
From Genesis through Revelation, the message of Scripture pertains not to human history, but rather redemptive history–the very process through which lost relationship with God was to be restored. The central theme of Scripture from the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is that of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. The Biblical division of time is that of “this age” in anticipation of what was called, “the age to come” (Matt. 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Eph. 1:21). The gospel account of Luke further defines “this age” as the “present time” (Luke 18:30), when Jesus and His apostles were living during the first century. Jesus, was the Word “made flesh” (John 1:1, 14) had entered the world “in the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1:10) to accomplish the outworking of God’s redemptive purpose. Max King writes:
The time frame for the fullness of time cannot be restricted to Christ’s ministry or His death. It encompasses post-cross time, which extended to the parousia of Christ. Paul’s “fullness of time” (Eph. 1:10), in which all things are summed up in Christ, is embraced in the Mark 1:15 saying of Christ. The coming of the kingdom of God was the goal of the gospel’s futurist eschatology. Beyond His death, Christ pointed to the end of the world (Matt. 13:38-43; 24:1-51), at which time the righteous would shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of God. The coming of the kingdom of God and consummated fulfillment go hand in hand. Neither was accomplished instantaneously, but progressively until the end was reached…Luke identified it as the AD 70 consummation of the Jewish age (Luke 21:31). This event fulfilled the total outreach of the gospel’s futurism. The fullness of time period for the coming of the kingdom of God in power encompassed both the cross and the parousia of Christ (Mark 9:1; II Tim. 4:1; Matt. 16:27, 28; Rev. 22:12) 
From the time of Adam, “this age” of the “natural” moved forward through the recorded events of redemptive history until Christ experienced the “death of the cross” (Phil 2:8), and His victorious resurrection of the dead (Rom. 1:4) Israel, with the preaching of John the Baptizer had entered into her “last days” (Matt. 3:10-12; Acts 2:17; II Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; James 5:3; II Pet. 3:3)–the as the “fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1:10) related to the consummation of “this age” in the expectation of what was ‘about to’ take place (Matt. 16:27, 28; 24:3)
THE “FULLNESS OF TIME” REALIZED
Beginning with the Day of Pentecost and the preaching of the “gospel of Christ” (Rom. 1:16), came the dawning of the foretold “age to come.” Those first-century believers had already “tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come” (Heb. 6:5), and were then living in the expectation of the complete fulfillment of the “promises made to the fathers” of Israel (Rom. 15:8). The believers at that time were those “upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (I Cor. 10:11). James told his readers, “the coming of the Lord is at hand…the Judge is standing at the door” (James 5:7-9; Matt. 24:33). The “end of all things” was “at hand” (I Pet. 4:7), and Christ was “ready to judge the living and the dead” (I Pet. 1:5; Acts 10:42). Some of those living in the first century would “not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matt. 16:28), at which time, He would “reward each according to his works” (Matt. 16:27; Rev. 2:23; 20:12, 13).
THE “TIME ELEMENT” OF FULFILLMENT REALIZED
It was the “fullness of time” when the progression of redemptive history and the transformation of the “natural” were being realized in the manifested “spiritual” realities of the New Covenant. Those believers living between the Cross and the predicted “end of the age” in 70 CE (Matt. 24:3; 28:20) were in the process of being transformed “from glory to glory” (II Cor. 3:18), and “out of faith” as determined by the Old Covenant, and “into faith” as determined by the New Covenant (Rom. 1:17).
The Old Covenant that pertained to Israel “according to the flesh” was “ready to vanish away” (Heb. 8:13). The time of the “ministration of the death” (II Cor. 3:7), and “condemnation” was “passing away” to the New Covenant “ministration of righteousness” (II Cor. 3:9). The “glorious” Old Covenant was in the process of passing away while the “more glorious” New Covenant was being established (II Cor. 3:11). The first-century believers had the “hope of righteousness” (Gal. 5:5) that was to be received in the soon arrival of “new heavens and a new earth where righteousness dwells” (II Pet. 3:13).
It was with the complete fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets that the old “heaven and earth pass away” (Matt. 5:17, 18). It was at the “great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them” (Rev. 20:11), at which time, “the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works” (Rev. 20:12, 13).
The Old Covenant “heaven and earth” fled from the very presence of God at the time of the resurrection and the judgment. All of the four events of II Timothy 4:1 actually took place in the time, manner, and purpose that God intended, before and without the necessity of “postponement” followed by the arrival of “new heavens and a new earth” (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; II Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-4) of the new creation (New Covenant) where “old things passed away, behold all things have become new” (II Cor. 5:17).
WHAT BELIEVERS HAVE NOW IN CHRIST
Those now living beyond the “end of the age” experience the reality of all that God promised would come to pass, redemption, reconciliation, and restoration in the “all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19). Believers today have “everlasting life” (John 3:16; 17:3), through acceptance of the “everlasting gospel” (Rev. 14:6), and entrance into the “everlasting covenant” (Heb. 13:20), with life in the “everlasting kingdom” (II Pet. 1:11). In this reality lies the “peace of God that passes all understanding” (Phil. 4:7), and “there remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (Heb. 4:9).
According to Proverbs, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life” (Prov. 13:12). It is this very “tree of life” restored in the heavenly New Jerusalem that brings health and “healing of the nations” (Ezek. 47:12; Rev. 22:2). God did not “postpone” any of the four events of II Timothy 4:1, but kept His Word and fulfilled all of His promises just as He had foretold. God “cannot lie” (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18), therefore, “let God be true” (Rom. 3:4) in the acceptance of the time, manner, and purpose of what has been accomplished!
END NOTES John F. Walvoord, Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Walvoord&oldid=1160653929)–July 8, 2023.  John F. Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991), p. 207.  Thomas Ice and Kenneth Gentry, The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? (Grand Rapids, Kregel, 1999), p. 115  Foy E. Wallace Jr, God’s Prophetic Word (Oklahoma City, Foy E. Wallace Publications, 1946, 1961) p. 160-161.  Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1962), p. xi  John Bright, The Kingdom of God (New York: Abingdon Press, 1953), pp. 7, 197, quoted in Herman A. Hoyt, “Dispensational Premillennialism” in The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views, ed. Robert G. Clouse (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1977), p. 64.  Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ (Warren, Ohio: Writing and Research Ministry, 1987), p. 134.  Ibid. p. 363.
Source: Don K. Preston