I received the following question:

Otis Q. Sellers wrote that the kingdom of God would last for approximately 700 years. However, his Word of Truth Ministry now after his death are teaching that the kingdom is closer to 500 years in length. What is your opinion?

Although I think that the five hundred years of Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks are the final five hundred years of the kingdom of God to come, I do not think they are necessarily all of it. I believe that the Acts period was the first stage of the kingdom, and so 33 years of it have passed already. When the kingdom starts again in the future, the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem will not be the very first event in it. Whether a short or long time will pass until that command is made is hard to say. Remember, Israel was in their land more than four hundred years before God commanded the building of the temple. The command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem does not have to be right away. That means that the kingdom will go on for an indefinite amount of time before the five hundred years begins.

The Word of Truth Ministry’s explanation of their disagreement with Mr. Sellers was large on strutting the fact that they are willing to disagree with their founder, and short on actual arguments for why they disagree with him. I agree that they should not slavishly follow Mr. Sellers, but I would have appreciated more of a logical argument and less parading of their disagreement. You can see both the original article that Mr. Sellers wrote, and the statement of Mr. Hettema attempting to refute it, in Seed and Bread #151 here: http://www.seedandbread.org/seedandbread/SB151SixSixtySixplusAddendum.pdf

The reason Mr. Hettema gives here for rejecting Mr. Sellers’ ideas regarding 666 is that “progressive Bible study has forced the realization upon us that 666 cannot mean years because that theory leaves us with 176 years of time in the kingdom prior to God calling and returning His people to the promised land.” I see no reason to come to any such conclusion. Israel cannot be in the promised land until Jerusalem is restored and rebuilt? Israel was in the land for the entire period of the Judges, and they were not occupying Jerusalem at all! This argument makes no sense, and they should not have published this addendum unless they could come forth with a more coherent argument than this. However, I do admit that Mr. Sellers’ argument regarding 666 is, as he says, a “fragmentary and unfinished idea,” and could well be wrong.

I am coming to the conclusion that it is not overly important that I know how long passes between when the kingdom starts again and when the five hundred years starts. It could be short, it could be long. Only God knows, as far as I can tell. There are certainly plenty of things that God could be doing prior to ordering the restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem, however. Notice that this does not even mean that Jerusalem does not exist until it is restored and rebuilt, only that it is not in its final, kingdom state. I see no reason why the five hundred years could not wait for a period of time after the kingdom starts.

I am rather inclined now to think that the five hundred years begin once all are raised from the dead, the wicked have been weeded out of the world, and the kingdom has been completely set up and is fully functioning. This will not happen right away, but will require a good deal of time to accomplish. 166 years would not be too long for the setting up period to last. I doubt we will get impatient, as every day will see the implementing of some new policy, and the appearance of some new, glorious thing on earth. What a time that will be to live!