Simply put, TJ Smith’s book, Kingdom Come: Messiah’s Methodical Manifesto Hidden in His Parables, was a thrilling read, full of important truths brought forth in a simple and a humorous way. As a pastor who is always looking for books to give to church newcomers, I was excited to finish this book and to recommend it as a resource. Please read further as I share some details that were impressed upon me as I read through the book.
I rather enjoyed the bold and pointed way that TJ shared Biblical truths. He started out highlighting the main issue in the Church regarding the way many Christians have come to understand the Bible. He says, “Life application in our culture has become equivalent to the Allegorical Method of the 2nd-4th century, where the true meaning of Scripture is traded for some cheapened, perceived deeper, hidden meaning”. He further notes, “Instead of studying to fully understand the depths of God’s redemptive plan, Christians feast on feel-good messages that dull the Spirit and lullaby their souls to sleep, rendering them ineffectual for the Kingdom”. TJ Smith takes this point a bit further than simply charging Christians with the need to study, rather he also highlights the responsibility of the Church in fostering and cultivating healthy study environments and access to information. TJ therein remarks, “If someone wants to learn about Church history, the early Church, or even Jewish customs and traditions, they must go to a campus to pay for the information, invest in a small library and devote years to study, or trust in the Sunday School teacher. That is a real tragedy and shortcoming of the Church that needs to be corrected for future Believers to have a proper understanding of God’s salvific history”.
As the pastor of a local church that seeks to be on the “front lines” of walking worthy in the solution to the issues TJ expressed, I find his book to be a great resource to hand out as an introduction to the way we are supposed to understand and interpret the Bible. At The Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch) we encourage saints to develop what we call “A Thinking Faith”. Rather than being content with the “life application” that TJ lamented and I mentioned above, we continually talk through proper Bible interpretation and necessary historical context. This is what I believe TJ had in mind when he wrote, “…it was the Savior’s intent to instruct the listeners with the necessary ‘method’ of deciphering His parables and that with this ‘correct method’ the results would be exponential”.
As a church that knows and understands Full Preterism and the “present truth” of God’s kingdom, I absolutely loved the way TJ Smith challenged Futurism and the delayed fulfillment and fullness of the Kingdom. He writes, “Gee, what a toss up! I can’t decide. Hmm…believe in a half-baked kingdom, ‘already but not yet’ from a man who failed to do as he said, aka a false prophet? Or…believe in a perfectly executed plan of redemption and salvation with a perfect Kingdom in fully power?…what to do…what…to…do.” He further adds, “Nothing about the parables of the Kingdom are about our future (except our inclusion in the Kingdom)”. I would add the necessary component of understanding not only the historical context and understanding of the Harvest (judgement in AD 70), but also the implications of that fulfillment. I refer to this as the “Harvest Narrative”. In his book, TJ uses the Gospel of Mark to go through the parables, however, in talking through the harvest/judgement, I find the Gospel of Matthew to be my favorite in talking through what should be understood as “Jewish concepts” (since the focal point of said judgement applied to that generation living in Jerusalem). In Matthew 13:31-32, we read the fulfillment of the Kingdom being likened to the growth of a mustard seed, however not only does the tree go and produce it crops, it also extends blessings to the “birds of the air” (those outside the covenant people). A similar point is made in the “Vineyard Parable” mentioned in Matthew 21:33 – 46, wherein the vineyard owner comes (speaking in reference to the judgement that happened in AD 70) and in his judgement, he gives the vineyard/ Kingdom to another people (showing the force of God consummating the New Covenant at His coming – a people that will produce the fruit).
TJ gets quite theological without being confusing. As I already said, he makes mention of Full Preterism, saying, “Don’t tolerate that old argument that to God “immediately” might be 2,000 years. That’s a lame and ignorant crutch utilized by ill-informed teachers unskilled in interpretation”. He also gives a great exposition of “covenant language” often missed and confused, as used in 2 Corinthians chapters 3-5. And in speaking about the defeat of Satan, he remarks, “If your pastor or favorite TV preacher tells you Jesus still hasn’t defeated the devil, run away or turn the channel! That is unorthodox and heretical! Find a church that believes the Scriptures!”. Yeah, I can’t wait to get a bulk order of these books and give them out to people who are just beginning the journey of understanding the Scriptures.
In conclusion to this review, I must give one last praise of the book, Kingdom Come. Not only did the book spur me to study a bit, as well as provided some laughs at the points TJ makes, he even offered the challenge of living in a way consistent with understanding the Kingdom as a present reality. TJ challenges the reader with the question, “What is it that you do that eases the pain and suffering of those around you?” He highlights this as the ‘one central truth’, and he notes, “You just shine your light on your hill and if we all do that, we will light the world for Christ”.
I really appreciated this book TJ. Thanks for your work.
To God be the glory!
– Pastor Michael Miano
*** Purchase your copy of Kingdome Come at the following link, https://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-Come-Messiahs-Methodical-Manifesto/dp/1979505314/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519246399&sr=8-1&keywords=kingdom+come+messiahs