The Insatiable Thirst for Power

Luke 22:29-30 and Matthew 19:28

And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:29-30)

So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration,[1] when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28)

[1] Note that Luke’s version of this thought substitutes the word “kingdom” for “regeneration.”


Postmillennialists are divided as to whether these passages apply to the eternal state or to the kingdom of Christ in the present. Brown allows either view.[1] The passages may be taken either way without compromising the eschatological sys- tem.[2] But they cannot refer to the premillennial conception of a Judaized, earthly, political kingdom. Such a view is based on a simplistic hermeneutic, is contextually erroneous, and involves serious redemptive retrogression.

Focusing on the Luke 22:29-30 passage, I believe that a stronger case may be made for its direct relevance to the earthly aspect of the kingdom in time and on earth, though allowing its eternal implications by extension (just as our present salvation and service have eternal implications). I have shown in detail that the kingdom of Christ was established during His earthly ministry (see Chapters 11 and 12). Here the Lord specifically says: “And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me” (Luke 22:29). The Greek for “bestow” is diatithemai, which is the present indicative and which indicates a present bestowal. This fits perfectly with all other references to the presence of the kingdom studied heretofore (e.g., Luke 11:20; 17:20-21; Rom. 14:17; Col. 1:13). He is not speaking of the future eternal and heavenly aspects of the kingdom. Here Christ the King indicates that he is presently bestowing formal authority on His apostles; they are His ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20) who reign with Him (Rom. 5:17, 21).

The kingdom He is here bestowing upon them is not an earthly, political kingdom, for He expressly forbids such carnal kingly trappings: “And He said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called “benefactors.” But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves'” (Luke 22:26). His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom of humble spiritual service rather than regal political glory.

As a consequence of His bestowal of the kingdom, the Lord holds out the promise to them “that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:30). The reference to the eating and drinking at His table must speak of the Lord’s Supper, which He had just instituted a few moments before (Luke 22:13-20). Though He is about to die (Luke 22:21-23), they should not despair, for He will be with them spiritually. This will be particularly evident as they gather for “communion” (1 Cor. 10:16; Rev. 3:20) with Him at “the Lord’s Table” (1 Cor. 10:21).

Since the kingdom is a present, spiritual reality, we may not take the sitting on thrones in a literal sense, for the apostles never really sat on thrones. This sitting on thrones has spiritual implications, of the order of the Pharisees sitting in “Moses’ seat” (Matt. 23:2) – which certainly was not a literal chair. Although here the express reference is to the Apostles themselves, elsewhere there is a sense in which all Christians sit on thrones. He “raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6; d. Rev. 20:4-6).

Luke 22 links the Lord’s Supper with Christ’s judicial rule in history. It is a means of exercising spiritual and covenantal judgment among men (cf. 1 Cor. 11:22-34).[3] The Lord’s Supper draws a covenantal distinction between men, between the saved and the lost. It appears that the express application to His apostles is especially in His mind. The particular concern is that their authority from Him was to be demonstrated in the destruction of Jerusalem. By their preaching the apostles would be “passing sentence on the twelve tribes of Israel, who would reject their ministry as they had done his”[4] (1 Thess. 2:15-16; cf. Matt. 23:32-37; Acts 2: 19-20, 37-40). North observes: “Their sitting in judgment over Israel was fulfilled representatively, yet no less definitively, for Old Covenant Israel is no more.”[5]

[1] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausett, and David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments, 2 vols. (Hartford: S. S. Scranton, n.d.), 2:119 (see discussion at Luke 18:30).

[2] J. Dwight Pentecost’s radical shift of late regarding the Parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven does not seem to Pentecost to have compromised his eschatological system, even though he is in disagreement with his former views and other leading dispensationalists. Compare Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958), pp. 147-148 (early printing; nowhere in the more recent printing, which has changed, is there any note that the work has been edited from its 1958 version) with Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come, pp. 222-223. Contrast the later Pentecost with Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, pp. 374-375.

[3] See discussion in Gary North, Millennialism and Social Theory (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990), pp. 2151f.

[4] Thomas Scott, The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments According to the Authorised Version: with Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations, and Copious Marginal References (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1868), 3:265.

[5] North, Millennialism and Social Theory, p. 217. See: John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, 4 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrikson, [1658] 1989), 2:265-266.

He Shall Have Dominion, by Kenneth L. Gentry
pages 482, 484-486

I have often stressed that the Kingdom of God is about ethics, not power.

Here, Gentry points out a somewhat different, but still solidly Biblical, angle of light on the Kingdom of God: it is about service, not privilege.

We begin by focusing on how seamlessly the Western world’s ruling class has translated the COVID-19 event into yet another of its weapons in the fight it has been waging this century against voters’ growing disaffection. Support for the lockdowns has become as integral to the American Establishment Left, i.e., to the Democratic Party, as belief in abortion, global warming, open borders, and censorship of whatever they choose to call “hate speech.” To understand this, one must realize that the ruling class’s campaign regarding public health, global warming, race, the rights of women, homosexuals, micro-aggressions, the Palestinians, etc. etc. have far less to do with any of these matters than with seizing ever more power for itself.

The COVID Coup, and How to Unlock Ourselves by Angelo Codevilla

True words, here.

The Kingdom of God is not about power and privilege over others, but ethics and service under others.

That’s how you change the world.

Not by hiding in a prayer closet, or assuming the victory of Satan in time and on earth (“Isn’t that pure treason for a Christian?”), or hoping the Rapture will take you away from the work you must do, to make your talent count in history by expanding Christ’s Kingdom to fill the world.

Why be a worthless servant, when you can do better?

(Hat tip: North’s Codevilla’s Manifesto on COVID-19 and the Ruling Class)

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