Someone once asked me, "Are you saying that Jesus will not return again to rule in the flesh for a thousand years?"
I responded by explaining that I was saying nothing about a physical rule on earth -- I did not say Christ will not rule on the earth for one thousand years and I did not say He will rule on the Earth one thousand years. I just pointed out that He is ruling right now over all the world.
People, do we agree He is ruling right now over all the earth? Are the scriptures saying this or are they not?
We always get a "But...."
"But" is not the issue. Do these scriptures say He is ruling right now?
Any ramifications of that statement are solely up to you and your thoughts. But we must see first things first.
As I indicated, the scriptures above show that He is ruling right now. Do we agree?
What happens when such issues are raised is that before people accept them, they first check to see if they do not contradict their traditions they hold dear to. People are scared to change their present beliefs. Many never do, despite how erring the traditions might be.
I have found that many of my thoughts and beliefs were turned around when I let the Bible teach me what it is saying, while remaining wide open for any correction I might require.
I cannot make the Bible say what I want it to say, so that it corresponds to my traditions. The Bible must shape my beliefs, not vice versa.
Many people might be tempted to think that if this idea of Christ ruling right now will jeopardize their present beliefs, then they will not accept these scriptures as teaching Christ is ruling right now. No matter how plainly the scriptures say this!
If they have to ignore these scriptures the rest of their lives, they will do it, rather than change their beliefs.
Now, if the scriptures appeared to say one thing but such an appearance contradicted other scriptures, then one's interpretation is wrong.
So my question is, do these scriptures I cited say that Christ is ruling right now over all the earth, and does that idea contradict anything written elsewhere in the Bible?
What ends up happening is that we do not know what to think about these scriptures, but that doesn't matter to us, because its more important to us to hold onto our present traditions rather than change, no matter what the cost. That is a dangerous pathway to walk.
So we have to first determine if these verses do indeed teach that Christ is ruling over all the world now. Put all beliefs on hold for the moment. Do they teach Christ is ruling now? Yes or no?
If we find they plainly teach that He is indeed ruling now over all the world, and not going to rule, then let the chips fall where they may, and all ramifications be affected by this truth, whether we held them as traditions or not.
The doctrine of Christ's physical return to earth to rule may, or may not, be affected by this. Regardless, if the scriptures plainly teach that Christ is ruling now, we have to accept that understanding.
Let's not cast away scriptures as opposed to casting away traditions. Scriptures are never wrong. Traditions are often wrong.
And perhaps our tradition may agree perfectly with this thought of these scriptures. Perhaps we just looked at your tradition in too limited a fashion. Perhaps not.
At any rate, I want scriptural truth more than anything else.
And it may be that our interpretation of other verses is also wrong.
If, for example, we interpret certain passages as saying Christ is not ruling now, but will rule in the future, but such a passage may be open for an alternate interpretation....
...and if the verses I quoted definitely do teach that Christ will not rule later, but is ruling right now....
....then, I had better change my thoughts on the first passage, and see if the two passages can be reconciled, because scripture does not contradict scripture. And I had better be careful about this, because I cannot force the Bible to say anything. But if one passage seems to contradict another passage, then my interpretation is wrong. Not the two passages.
Where are the bold truth-followers, willing to drop traditions if scriptures demand?