Standing In The Gap
John 2:13-17 (13) And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, (14) And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: (15) And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; (16) And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. (17) And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. The Lord Jesus Christ was “...made under the law...” (GAL 4:4) which He had, as God, years before written. Here He shows Himself to be subject to that law by attending one of the great feasts which the Law commanded for Israel. He had not come to destroy the Law but to fulfil it (MAT 5:17), and this He did by observing its ordinances flawlessly while fulfilling all of its prophecies, types and shadows relative to Messiah. He is the “...end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth...” (ROM 10:4). We note that the Holy Spirit here says, “And the Jews' passover was AT HAND...” (v.13). Now, if we are to believe and apply the reasoning process of Dr. C.I. Scofield in his footnotes of the Scofield Reference Bible, we might conclude that the passover here described may not have occurred for millennia. To support his theory of a messianic kingdom that was not meant to be understood as a present reality at the first coming of Christ, Dr. Scofield, in commenting on Jesus' announcement in MAT 4:17 (“...the kingdom of heaven is at hand”) said, “'At hand' is never a positive affirmation that the person or thing said to be 'at hand' will immediately appear, but only that no known or predicted event must intervene” (Scofield Reference Bible, p. 998). He then goes on to assert that there was a mystery church age that was secretly meant to occur before the kingdom's coming. Over against Dr. Scofield, we have the testimony of the Holy Spirit, Who has a slightly different take on the phrase, “at hand.” Later, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was about to be arrested. Observe carefully the wording as rendered in the gospel of Mark: Mark 14:42-43 Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand. (43) And IMMEDIATELY, WHILE HE YET SPAKE, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Dr. Scofield is wrong. “At hand” profoundly can positively affirm that someone (or something) will immediately appear---it here speaks of a very present reality. Jesus did not wait a couple of thousand years to go up to Jerusalem to the passover; it was “at hand,” a current event and He went up promptly to it. By the same measure, we rightly conclude that the kingdom of heaven/God which was being announced by Jesus Christ was meant to be understood as a present reality. This is how people could be pressing into it from the days of John the Baptist (LUK 16:16). It would be very hard to press into something that was not there. Because Jesus cast out devils by the finger/Spirit of God, He could emphatically declare, “...NO DOUBT the kingdom of God is come upon you” (LUK 11:20 c/w MAT 12:28). The kingdom's then present reality and spiritual character were explained when Jesus was demanded of its coming by the Pharisees, “...The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God IS within you” (LUK 17:20-21). At the Last Supper, Jesus appointed His apostles this kingdom, saying, “That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (LUK 22:29-30). “My table” is obviously “the Lord's table” where the bread and the cup of the New Testament are partaken of (1CO 10:16-21), thus showing that the New Testament church is the kingdom of God. That blessed supper of our Lord by which churches of Jesus Christ commemorate His sufferings and death is also therefore an ongoing testimony to the successful arrival of the kingdom of God that had been promised of old that should “...never be destroyed....and it shall stand for ever” (DAN 2:44). Since the first century A.D., believers have been able to say with rejoicing, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (HEB 12:28). The gates of hell should never prevail against His church, His kingdom (MAT 16:18-19). The Lord's Table actually ties back into our text for today in that it reflects back upon “Christ our passover” (1CO 5:7), Whose blood God sees and so spares us from death as He did for the sake of the passover lamb's blood in Israel of old. “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (JOH 1:29), “...a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1PE 1:18-19). Dr. Scofield's idea of dividing the word of truth seems to have been one where he took plain statements which God put together grammatically to set forth His doctrine and divided them up by inserting gaps of time without warrant in order to set forth Dr. Scofield's doctrine. In fact, Dr. Scofield did this a number of times. His footnotes insert an unjustified huge gap of time between GEN 1:1 and GEN 1:2 wherein he imagines a destructive catastrophe that explains fossils and accommodates the evolutionary theory of long geologic ages (The Gap Theory). His footnotes insert a gap of time in the fourth section of Nebuchadnezzar's dreamy colossus (DAN 2:40-45) so as to separate the coming of the kingdom of God from the days of the Roman Empire. His footnotes insert a gap of time between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel's prophecy (DAN 9:24-27) to accommodate his position that Messiah the Prince has not yet come, kingdom-wise. His footnotes also imply a gap of time between the resurrection of the just and the resurrection of the wicked in JOH 5:28-29 in which he inserts a future millennial kingdom of God on earth (but “...there shall be A resurrection of THE dead, BOTH of the just and unjust, ACT 24:15). Whereas it is true that God has sought for a man to “...stand in the gap...” (EZE 22:30), He wasn't seeking a man to manufacture gaps. Dr. Scofield's hermeneutic is “wrongly dividing the word of truth,” rupturing plain statements for the sake of a bad theory. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (MAR 10:9).