Kingdom of God
- Acts 15:14-17
- "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of
them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is
written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David,
which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That
the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is
called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things."
- The Church of Christ reasons that since James quotes the words of Amos 9:11,12 to show
that salvation has rightly been preached to the Gentiles, the tabernacle of David must
have been established at Pentecost or shortly thereafter with the preaching of the Gospel
to the Gentiles. It is then concluded that David's tabernacle must be the spiritual reign
of Christ in the believer's heart which will find its ultimate fulfillment in heaven.
- When Acts 15:14-17 is cited with the interpretation outlined in the problem, the onus of
proof must rest with those who assert. The following questions, therefore, require Scriptural
- If David's tabernacle were established in heaven, why was David asleep and in his
sepulchre on the Day of Pentecost? (Acts 2:29,34).
- When was the tabernacle of David first built?
- When did it fall?
- Where are the ruins?
- Who will build it again?
- Where will it be built?
- Proof that David's tabernacle was not restored at Pentecost is indicated from the
context of Amos 9. Note the following:
- " . . . the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that
soweth seed . . . " (Amos 9:13). The preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles did not
affect the fertility of the Palestinian soil. In fact, to the contrary, the land was about
to be subjected to centuries of desolation as foretold in Lev. 26:33,34,35,43.1
- "And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up
out of their land . . ." (Amos 9:15). In A.D. 70 the Jews were uprooted, expelled and
the land made desolate. This passage can only be fulfilled when Christ returns to the
Mount of Olives. (Zech. 14:4). This is proven by the fact that Zechariah states that a
future invasion of Jerusalem will occur in which half of the population will go into
captivity. (Zech. 14:1-5).
- James paraphrased the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures.2 He demonstrated to the council that it
was perfectly acceptable to preach to the Gentiles since prophetically God had declared
that Gentiles would be encompassed within the divine plan of salvation. In support of this
James selected Amos 9. The restoration of the tabernacle of David, he pointed out,
required that the residue of men "upon whom my name is called" be encompassed.
If the Gentile, therefore, was to be encompassed in the restoration of David's tabernacle,
who then could question the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles? It is apparent,
however, that the actual restoration of David's tabernacle awaits the restoration of the
kingdom when the Messiah returns.
- "The suppression of Bar Cochba's insurrection, A.D. 135 marks the final desolation
of Judaea, and the dispersion of its inhabitants. The whole of Judaea was made like a
desert; about 985 towns and villages lay in ashes, 50 fortresses were razed to the ground;
the name of Jerusalem itself was changed into 'Aelia Capitolina' . . . from entering which
(or even viewing from a distance) every Jew was strictly forbidden on pain of death."
H.W. Hathaway, The Bible Today and You, (London: "The Dawn" Book Supply,
1962), p. 72. Hadrian, after his suppression of Bar Cochba's revolt, attempted to
obliterate the city of Jerusalem. The ruins which Titus had left were razed to the ground
and the plow passed over the foundations of the temple as a symbol of perpetual
desolation. (Cf. Micah 3:12). William Smith (ed.), A Dictionary of the Bible,
(London: John Murray, 1863), p. 1015; also Henry Milman, The History of the Jews,
(London: Dent, 1939), p. 132. Return
- The LXX reads as follows: "In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that
is fallen, and will rebuild the ruins of it, and will set up the parts thereof, that have
been broken down, and will build it up as in the ancient days; that the remnant of men,
and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, may earnestly seek me, saith the lord
who does all these things." The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament with an
English translation and with various readings and critical notes, (New York: Samuel
Bagster and Sons, Ltd.). Return