For many years I have been blessed by God to have been exposed to the doctrinal teachings of great men, whom I esteem highly in the Lord. Dr. S. Lewis Johnson Jr (Sept 13, 1915 – Jan 28, 2004), a former professor of Dallas Seminary, holds a special place in my heart, for he was the first to bring my attention when I was in the military, by way of a tape ministry at Believer’s Chapel, to the doctrine of God’s special love, and electing grace.
Unfortunately, from my perspective, Dr. Johnson was a classical Dispensationalist. He embraced, and taught, some things that, I believe, are unworthy of the Church. For example, in the transcript of his message, “The Parable of the Soils, Four Sowings and One Ripening”, an exposition of Matthew 13:1-23, Dr. Johnson speaks about an “Interregnum Age”, a reference to the Church Age, which other Dispensational authors have referred to as a parenthetical part of the overarching plan of God. The major points Dr. Johnson set forth about the Church Age can be summarized.
First, there is an Age that comes between the First and Second Coming of Christ.
“In the first place, this age that is to follow the Lord Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, the age that intervenes between the first and second coming is an age that is characterized by the sowing of the seed. That’s our task as individuals, or as a church or as a group of churches; it is to sow the seed of the Word of God. That is why a church’s task should always be arranged around this general goal of the exposition of the Word of God, the sowing of the seed of the kingdom.
Second, in this Age there is going to be spiritual growth.
[Jesus] He states that this age is going to be an age of growth. In other words, we have the promise of fruitfulness. Do you realize that we have, in Believers Chapel on Sunday, more disciples than existed over large sections of the ancient world? There has been tremendous growth down through the centuries. This age was said to be an age of growth.
Third, in this Age there is going to be a final separation.
But then, also, this age was said to be an age with ultimate separation of the wheat from the tares.
Now the implication of that, stated here rather plainly, is that this age would be characterized by growth, but all of the growth would not necessarily be true growth. And so there comes an ultimate judgment at the end of this age, at the Second Advent, when the tares shall be taken out from among the wheat, in order that the wheat may enter into the kingdom.
Fourth, Christians are now living in an Interregnum.
So, what the Lord may tell us here is that we are living in a kind of interregnum. An interregnum is an interval between successive reigns in which there is no sovereign. And so, our Lord Jesus was here in his first coming as king, and he shall come at his second coming as his king to establish his second reign upon the earth, but we are living in the interregnum, an age of the sowing of the seed.
An age of growth, but the growth of the true by the side of the false, and an age at which there shall be an ultimate separation, at which there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth by those who are not good ground, while those that are good shall enter into the blessedness of the kingdom of God.
That’s the general story of the 13th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.”
While the first three points Dr. Johnson makes are valid, his final teaching raises two questions.
“Is it true that Christians are now living in a kind of interregnum?”
“Is it true that Christians, and thus the Church, have no king at this time”?
Consider the following truths that teach Christians, and thus the Church, and the world, does have a King, for Jesus is even now King.
First, Jesus is the Living King, with absolute power.
Following His resurrection, Jesus came and spoke unto his disciples saying, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:17).
While Rome, along with the scribes, and Pharisees, thought the power of Jesus had been eliminated, they were all wrong.
“Up from the grave He arose;
with a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
and He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!”
Second, Jesus the powerful King, is the ascended King. Our Lord rules and reigns from heaven.
On a hill outside of Jerusalem, Jesus ascended into glory while His disciples watched. “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).
Third, Jesus, the powerful King, the ascended King, has a name, confirmed in blood.
The sovereign living, and ascended king, was seen by John on the isle of Patmos to be “clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God” (Rev. 19:13.) On His robe, John saw He had a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev. 19:16).
Fourth, the reign of Christ is not relegated to some future Age, but is a present reality, for Jesus was born to reign, according to prophesy.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6, 7).
There is no suspension of the kingship of Christ, there is no interregnum, there is no setting aside of His royal reign. If anything, the power and authority of our glorious God and King shall only increase. There shall be no end to the royal reign of Christ, only a greater manifestation of it.
Those who long to see Jesus on His throne, fail to see Jesus who is on His throne. They miss what Peter said on the Day of Pentecost.
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day.
30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:22-36).
Fifth, the royal reign of King Jesus, and thus His kingdom, extends to all people, nations, and languages.
It was the prophet Daniel who “saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13, 14).
Do the nations of the earth serve the Lord? Indeed, they do, though it is not always clear to mortal man how. What is more certain is that in Him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28).
Sixth, whenever men try to wage war with the King, their efforts shall be in vain. In the end, evil shall never triumph over righteousness.
Evil men “will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful” (Rev. 17:14).
The King, and His followers, shall always prevail.
Because Jesus is alive, because Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, because Jesus has all power in heaven and in earth, because Jesus is in control of all people, nations, languages, and world events, the Church should never despair at any time, but be faithful to do the known will of the Lord.
“I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; 14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: 15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:13-15).
Let Christians not only be obedient to the known will of the King, and wage a good spiritual warfare to advance the kingdom of God, but let every believer see themselves as those who have been made “kings and priest unto God and His Father” (Rev. 1:6). Christians are “more than conquerors though Him that loved us” (Rom. 8:37).
“So, let the storms rage high
The dark clouds rise
They don’t worry me
For I’m sheltered, safe, within the arms of God
He walks with me
And no divert shall harm me
For I’m sheltered in the arms of God.”