of the Subject
--The Character of the Kingdom
--The Kingdom During the Gospel Age
--False Views Corrected by Paul
--Results of False Ideas of the Kingdom
--Two Phases of the Kingdom of God
--The Spiritual Phase and its Work
--The Earthly Phase and its Work
--Their Harmonious Operation
--The Glory of the Earthly Phase
--The Glory of the Heavenly Phase
--The Covenant Root from which These
Earthly Phase of the Kingdom,
--The Lost Tribes
--The Heavenly Jerusalem
--Israel a Typical People
--Israel's Loss and Recovery
--The Elect Classes
--The Heirs of the Kingdom
--The Iron Rule
--An Illustration of the Object of the
--The Kingdom Delivered to the Father
--God's Original Design Fully
Any who have not carefully examined this subject, with concordance and Bible in hand, will
be surprised, on doing so, to find its prominence in the Scriptures. The Old Testament
abounds with promises and prophecies in which the Kingdom of God and its King, Messiah,
figure as the very center.
was the hope of every Israelite (Luke 3:15) that as a people God would exalt their nation
under Messiah; and when the Lord came to them, it was as their King, to establish the long
promised Kingdom of God upon the earth.
John the Baptist,
John, the forerunner and herald of our Lord Jesus, opened his mission with the
announcement, "Repent ye; for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Matthew
3:2 The Lord commenced his ministry with the same announcement exactly (Matthew
4:17); and the apostles were sent forth to preach the same message. Matthew 10:7; Luke 9:2
Not only was the kingdom
the topic with which the Lord began his public ministry, but it was really the main topic
of all his preaching (Luke 8:1; 4:43; 19:11), other subjects being mentioned merely in
connection with or in explanation of this one subject.
The majority of his parables were
either illustrations of the kingdom from various standpoints, and in different features,
or else served to point out entire consecration to God as essential to a share in the
kingdom, and to correct the Jewish misapprehension that they were sure of the kingdom
because natural children of Abraham, and hence natural heirs to the promises.
didnt Jesus set up his kingdom at his first advent?
of his kingdom
Our Lord Jesus in his talks with his followers strengthened and encouraged their
expectations of a coming kingdom, saying to them,
"I appoint unto you a kingdom as my Father hath
appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on
thrones, judging [ruling] the twelve tribes of Israel." Luke 22:29,30
And, again, "Fear not, little flock; it is your
Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
And when, instead of being
crowned and enthroned, their recognized king was crucified, his disciples were sorely
disappointed. As two of them expressed it to the supposed stranger on their way to Emmaus
after his resurrection, they had "trusted that it had been he which should have
redeemed Israel"-- delivering them from the Roman yoke, and making of Israel the
Kingdom of God in power and glory.
But they were sadly disappointed
by the changes of the few days previous. Then Jesus opened their understanding by showing
them from the Scriptures that his sacrifice was needful first of all before the
kingdom could be established. Luke 24:21,25-27
mans redemption precedes
God could have given to Jesus the dominion of earth without redeeming man; for "The
Most High ruleth over the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he pleaseth." Daniel
4:32 But God had a grander design than could have been accomplished by such a plan.
Such a kingdom could have brought
blessings which, however good, could have been of only a temporary character, since all of
mankind were under condemnation to death. To make the blessings of his kingdom everlasting
and complete, the race had first to be ransomed from death and thus legally released from
the condemnation which passed upon all in Adam.
That in explaining the prophecies Jesus revived the disciples' hope of a coming kingdom is
evident from the fact that afterward, as he was leaving them, they inquired,
"Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the
kingdom to Israel?"
His answer, though not explicit,
did not contradict their hopes. He said,
"It is not for you to know the times and
seasons which the Father hath put in his own power."
to be earthly?
True, the disciples at first, in common with the entire Jewish nation, had an imperfect
conception of the Kingdom of God in supposing it to be exclusively an earthly kingdom,
even as many today err in an opposite direction in supposing it to be exclusively a
of the parables and dark sayings of our Lord Jesus were intended in due time to correct
these misconceptions. But he always held forth the idea of a kingdom, a government, to be
established in the earth and to rule among men. And he not only inspired in them a
hope for a share in the kingdom, but he also taught them to pray for its establishment --
"Thy kingdom come; thy will be done ON
EARTH as it is in heaven."
God's kingdom seemed absurd
to the worldly-wise.
Jesus taught that his kingdom was not of this world and would not be established until
after his suffering and death.
But zealot Jews rebelled against Rome, endeavoring to set up their kingdom prematurely.
To the worldly-wise among the Jews, our Lord seemed an impostor and fanatic; and they
considered his disciples mere dupes. His wisdom and tact, and his miracles, they could not
well gainsay, nor reasonably account for; yet, from their standpoint of unbelief, his
claim that he was the heir of the world, and would establish the promised kingdom which
should rule the world, and that his followers, all of them from the humbler walks of life,
would be joint-rulers with him in that kingdom, seemed too absurd for consideration.
Rome, with its disciplined warriors, its
able generals and immense wealth, was the master of the world, and was daily growing more
powerful. Who, then, was this Nazarene? and who were these fishermen, without money or
influence, and with but a meager following among the common people? Who were these that
they should talk about establishing the kingdom long promised to be the grandest and
mightiest earth had ever known?
The last outpost
of Jewish rebellion in 73 A.D., is the famous location where 960 Jewish zealots chose to
take their own lives rather than submit to a life of Roman slavery.
of God cometh not with observation"--Yet it would be everywhere present
is being set up first
and will be
for a time
The Pharisees, hoping to expose the supposed weakness of our
Lord's claims, and thereby to undeceive his followers, demanded of him--When will this
kingdom which you preach begin to make its appearance?--when will your soldiers
arrive?--when will this Kingdom of God appear? Luke 17:20-30
Our Lord's answer would have given them a
new thought had they not been prejudiced against him and blinded by their own supposed
wisdom. He answered that his kingdom would never appear in the manner in which they
The kingdom which he preached,
and in which he invited his followers to joint-heirship, was an invisible kingdom, and
they must not expect to see it.
"He answered them, and said, The Kingdom of God
cometh not with observation [outward manifestation]; neither shall they say,
Lo here! or, lo there! for the Kingdom of God is [to be] in your midst."*
In a word, he showed that when
his kingdom should come, it would be everywhere present and everywhere powerful, yet
|*The Diaglott and Rotherham's translation
render this "among you," which is synonymous with "in your
It certainly would agree with no
theory to insist that the kingdom which Jesus claimed to be about to establish would be
within the hearts of the Pharisees, whom he styled hypocrites and whited sepulchres.
But this kingdom, when established, will be "in
the midst of" or "among" all classes, ruling and judging all.
Thus he gave them an idea of the spiritual kingdom which he
preached; but they were unprepared and received it not. There was a measure of truth in
the Jewish expectation concerning the promised kingdom, which will in due time be
realized, as will be shown; but our Lord's reference here is to that spiritual phase of
the kingdom, which will be invisible. And as this phase of the kingdom will be first
set up, its presence will be unseen, and for a time unrecognized.
The privilege of heirship in this
spiritual phase of the Kingdom of God was the only offer then being made, and has been the
one hope of our calling during the entire Gospel age, which then began. Hence Jesus
referred to it exclusively. Luke 16:16 This will be more clearly seen as we proceed.
"There was a man of the
Pharisees, named Nicodemus,
of the Jews:
came to Jesus
by night, and
said unto him,
Rabbi, we know that
thou art from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God
be with him."
It was probably because of this adverse public sentiment, especially among the Pharisees,
that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, being anxious to solve the mystery, yet apparently
ashamed to acknowledge publicly that such claims had any weight upon his mind.
The conversation between the Lord and
Nicodemus (John 3), though but partially recorded, gives a somewhat
further insight into the character of the Kingdom of God. Evidently the main points of the
conversation are mentioned that from these we may readily gather the drift of the whole,
which we may reasonably paraphrase as follows:
the Lord and Nicodemus
"Rabbi, we know that thou art a
teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be
with him." Yet some of your statements seem very inconsistent to me, and I come
to ask an explanation.
For instance, you and your disciples go
about proclaiming, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand"; but you have
neither an army, nor wealth, nor influence, and to all appearance this claim is untrue;
and in this you seem to be deceiving the people.
The Pharisees generally regard you as an
impostor, but I am sure there must be some truth in your teachings, "for no man
can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."
The object of my visit is to inquire
of what sort, when and whence is this kingdom you proclaim? and when and how is it to be
of the spirit
Your request to have a full understanding
concerning the kingdom of heaven cannot now be answered to your satisfaction; not that I
do not know about it fully, but that in your present condition you could not understand or
appreciate it, if I would fully explain. "Except a man be begotten* from
above, he cannot see [Greek, eidon,+ know, or be acquainted with] the
kingdom of God."
|*The Greek word gennao and
its derivatives, sometimes translated begotten and sometimes born, really contains
both ideas, and should be translated by either one of these two English words, according
to the sense of the passage in which it occurs.
The two ideas, begetting and birth,
are always in the word, so that if the one is stated, the other is always implied, as
birth is the natural consequence of begetting, and begetting the natural antecedent to
When the active agent with
which gennao is associated is a male, it should be translated begotten; when a female,
Thus in 1 John 2:29; 3:9;
4:7; 5:1,18, gennao should be begotten, because God (masculine) is the active agent.
Sometimes, however, the
translation is dependent on the nature of the act, whether masculine or feminine.
Thus used in conjunction
with ek, signifying from or out of, it should be translated born.
So in John 3:5,6, gennao
should be translated born, as indicated by the word ek--"out of water,"
"out of flesh,"
"out of spirit."
Greek word is translated consider in Acts 15:6.
"The apostles and elders came together for to consider [know or
understand] this matter."
The same word is rendered behold in Romans 11:22.
"Behold [consider, understand] therefore, the goodness and severity of
Also in 1 John 3:1--
"Behold [consider, know, understand] what manner of love the Father hath
bestowed upon us."
How can a man
when he is old?
is not the
Even my disciples have as yet very
indistinct ideas of the character of the kingdom they are proclaiming. I cannot tell them,
for the same reason that I cannot tell you; and they could not understand, for the same
But, Nicodemus, one peculiarity of God's
dealings is that he requires obedience to the light already possessed before more light is
given; and in the selection of those who shall be accounted worthy to share the kingdom, a
manifestation of faith is required. They must be such as are willing to follow God's
leading, step by step, often seeing only the one advance step clearly. They walk by faith
and not by sight.
But I do not understand you. What do you
mean? "How can a man be begotten when he is old? can he enter a second time into
his mother's womb, and be born?"
Or do you mean that the repentance
preached by "John the Immerser," and signified by baptism in water, is somehow a
I notice that your disciples preach and
baptize similarly. Is this the new birth necessary to those who would see or enter your
Our nation is a consecrated nation, a
covenant people. They were all baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud when they
left Egypt. God accepted them in Moses, the mediator of their covenant, at Sinai; but they
have forgotten their covenant, some are openly living as publicans and sinners, and many
others are self-righteous hypocrites.
Hence John's preaching and that of my
disciples is repentance--a return to God and to a recognition of the covenant made;
and the baptism of John signifies this repentance and reformation of heart and life, and not
the new birth.
But unless you have more than this you
will never see the Kingdom. Except in addition to the reformation symbolized by John's
baptism you receive a begetting and birth of the spirit, you cannot see my Kingdom.
Repentance will bring you back to a
justified condition; in that condition you will be able readily to recognize me as
Messiah, the antitype of Moses; and thus consecrating to me you will be begotten of
the Father to a new life and the divine nature, which, if it develop and become quickened,
will insure your being born a new creature, a spirit being, in the first
resurrection; and as such you shall not only see but share the Kingdom.
The change to be wrought by this new birth
of the Spirit is truly great, Nicodemus; for that which is born of the flesh is flesh, but
that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Wonder not, then, at my first statement, that
you must be begotten from above ere you can understand, know and appreciate the
things of which you inquire. "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born
The difference between your present
condition, born of the flesh, and the condition of those born of the Spirit, who shall
enter into or constitute the kingdom I am preaching, is very great.
Let me give you an illustration by which
you will gain some idea of the beings who, when born of the Spirit, will constitute this
"The wind bloweth where it
listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and
whither it goeth--so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
As the wind blows here and there, you
cannot see it, though it exerts an influence all about you. You know not whence it comes
nor where it goes.
This is as good an illustration as I can
give you of those born of the Spirit in the resurrection, those who will "enter
into" or constitute the Kingdom which I am now preaching.
They will all be as
invisible as the wind, and men, not born of the Spirit, will neither know whence they came
nor whither they go.
How can this be?--invisible beings!
"Art thou a master in Israel, and
knowest not these things?"--that spirit beings can be present, yet invisible?
Have you, who attempt to teach others, never read about Elisha and his servant, or about
Balaam's ass? and the many instances in the Scriptures which illustrate this principle,
that spirit beings can be present among men, yet invisible?
Elisha and his Servant
Furthermore, you are of the Pharisees, who
professedly believe in angels as spirit beings. But this illustrates what I told you at
first: Except a man be begotten from above, he cannot see [know, become acquainted with,
or understand as reasonable] the Kingdom of God and the various things connected with it.
|"The wind bloweth
where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh,
and whither it goeth:
so is every one that is born of the Spirit." John 3:8
|*The words "which is
in heaven" (verse 13) are not found in the most ancient and reliable MSS.
If you would enter into and become a
joint-heir with me of that kingdom which I am announcing, you must follow the light, step
by step. As you do so, more light will come, and this as rapidly as you will be prepared
I have been preaching these things now due
which you can understand, and performing miracles, and you acknowledge me to be a teacher
come from God, but you have not acted out your faith and openly become my disciple and
follower. You must not expect to see more, until you live up to all you do see; then God
will give you more light and evidence for the next step.
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
we speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen, and ye [Pharisees]
receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall
ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?"
It would be useless for me to attempt to
tell you of heavenly things, for you would not be convinced and my preaching would seem
the more foolish to you.
If what I have taught, which has been of
an earthly character, or illustrated by earthly things, which you could and do understand,
has not brought conviction enough to your mind to lead you openly to become my disciple
and follower, it would be no more convincing to you if I were to tell you of heavenly
things, of which you know nothing; for no man has ever ascended into heaven, hence none
could corroborate my testimony.
I, who descended from heaven, alone
understand heavenly things. "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came
down from heaven, even the Son of man."* A knowledge of the heavenly things can
be received only after the begetting of the Spirit; and the heavenly things themselves,
when born of the spirit, spirit beings.
about an earthly
Thus it required patience on the Lord's part, in declaring the nature of the kingdom to
those whose prejudices and education hindered their seeing anything except distorted views
of the earthly phase of it. Nevertheless the selection of a proper class to share
Messiah's kingdom proceeded, though but a few were selected from Israel, to whom
exclusively it was offered for seven years.
As God had foreseen, through their unreadiness for it, and their failure to grasp and
comply with the conditions presented, the privilege of sharing in Messiah's kingdom passed
from them as a people, only a remnant of whom received it, and came to the Gentiles to
take out of them also "a people for his name." And among these also only
a remnant, a "little flock," appreciate the privilege and are counted
worthy of joint-heirship in his kingdom and glory.
has not yet
reigned on earth.
Serious has been the error introduced into the nominal Christian Church, which
misinterprets this promised kingdom to mean merely the Church nominal in its present
condition, and its work merely a work of grace in the hearts of believers; and to such an
extreme has this error been carried that the present unholy alliance and reign of the
Church nominal with the world is believed by many to be the reign of the Kingdom of God on
True, there is
a sense in which the Church is now the Kingdom of God, and a work of grace is now going on
in the hearts of believers; but to consider this all, and to deny a veritable future
Kingdom of God yet to be established under the whole heavens, in which the will of God
will be done as it is in heaven, is to make void and meaningless the strongest and most
pointed promises recorded by our Lord and the apostles and prophets, for our encouragement
and help in overcoming the world.
Christ's earthly kingdom will reach the whole earth.
In the parables of our Lord, the Church is frequently called the kingdom; and the Apostle
speaks of it as the kingdom over which Christ now reigns, saying that God hath translated
us out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son. We who accept of
Christ now recognize his purchased right of dominion, and render him grateful and
voluntary obedience before he forcibly establishes it in the world.
We recognize the difference between the
laws of righteousness, which he will enforce, and the kingdom of darkness supported by the
usurper, at present the prince of this world. Faith in God's promises thus changes our
allegiance, and we reckon ourselves subjects of the new prince, and, by his favor,
joint-heirs with him in that kingdom yet to be set up in power and great glory.
But this fact by no means
disannuls the promises that ultimately Christ's kingdom shall be "from sea to sea,
and from the river to the ends of the earth" (Psalms 72:8); that all nations
shall serve and obey him; and that unto him every knee shall bow, of things both in heaven
and on earth. Daniel 7:27; Philippians 2:10 Rather, on the contrary, the selection now of
the "little flock" confirms those promises.
A certain nobleman went into a far country
and to return."
When the parables of our Lord are carefully examined, it will be found that they clearly
teach that the coming or setting up of the Kingdom of God in power is future; and, as a
matter of course, not until the King comes.
Thus the parable of the young nobleman going into a far country to receive a kingdom and
to return, etc. (Luke 19:11-15), clearly locates the establishment of the Kingdom at the
return of Christ. And the message sent by the Lord to the Church long years afterward was,
"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give
thee a crown of life." Revelation 2:10
From this it is evident that the
kings who will reign with him will not be crowned nor reign as kings in this life.
is not yet set up
in glory and power.
The Church at present, therefore, is not the Kingdom of God set up in power and glory, but
in its incipient, embryo condition. And so, indeed, all the expressions of the New
Testament with reference to it teach. The kingdom of heaven now suffers violence at the
hands of the world; the King was maltreated and crucified; and whosoever will follow in
his footsteps shall suffer persecution and violence in some form.
This, it will be observed, is true only of
the real Church, and not of the nominal one. But the promise is held out that if
now we (the Church, the embryo kingdom) suffer with Christ, we also, in due time, when he
takes to himself his great power and reigns, shall be glorified and shall reign with him.
Parable of the Publican and Sinner
I say unto you,
It is easier
for a camel
to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of
God." Matthew 19:24
James (2:5), in harmony with our Lord's teaching, tells us that God has chosen the poor
and despised according to this world's standards, not to reign now, but as "heirs
of the kingdom which he hath promised." The Lord says,
"How hardly shall they that have riches enter into
the Kingdom of God." Mark 10:23
It is evident that he does not
mean the nominal Church, which is now reigning with the world; for the rich are pressed
into it. Peter exhorts the heirs of the kingdom to patience, perseverance, virtue and
"Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and
election sure; for if ye do these things ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be
ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus
Christ." 2 Peter 1:10,11
Needles Eye Gate --
Humans could pass through easily; but large animals, such as camels, had to be unloaded
and kneel to get through.
Jaffa Gate -- Located at the west side of Jerusalem,
the Jaffa Gate has a "needles eye," a small opening used as a security
entrance at night when the large gate was safely shut.
Paul's statement in Romans 14:17 is supposed by some to refer to a figurative
kingdom; but when examined in the light of the context, it is evident that the passage
means simply this: We, brethren, translated now into the kingdom of God's dear Son, have
certain liberties as to our food, etc., which we had not as Jews under the law (verse 14);
yet let us rather not use this liberty if it cause brethren who do not yet realize it to
stumble and violate their consciences.
Let us not, by our liberty as to our food, ruin our brother for whom Christ died; but let
us remember that the privileges of the kingdom, both now and in the future, consist of
much greater blessings than liberty as to food; namely, in our liberty as to right-doing,
our peace toward God through Christ, and our joy in participating in the holy Spirit of
God. These liberties of the kingdom (now and ever) are so great that the minor liberty as
to food may well be sacrificed, for the present, for our brother's good.
Christians must be
to sit with Jesus
in His Father's throne and reign
over the nations
Overcoming requires death in the Lord's service.
Thus, no matter from what scripture standpoint we look, the idea that the kingdom promises
are mythical deceptions, or that our present conditions fulfil these promises, is
early Church, the promises of kingdom honor and joint-heirship with the Master were strong
incentives to faithfulness under present trials and persecutions, which they had been
forewarned to expect; and in all the words of comfort and encouragement in the Apocalypse,
given to the seven churches, none shine out more clearly and forcibly than those which
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with
me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his
throne"; and, "To him that overcometh will I give power over the
These are promises which could
not reasonably be misconstrued to apply to a present work of grace in the heart, nor yet
to a reign over the nations in the present life; since they who would overcome must do so
by death in the service, and thus gain the kingdom honors. Revelation 20:6
ye are full, now ye are rich,
ye have reigned
and I would to God ye did reign,
that we also might reign with you."
I Corinthians 4:8
Paul preached that
would be followed
by future reigning.
But human nature seeks to avoid suffering and is ever ready to grasp honor and power;
hence we find that even in the apostles' day some in the Church were disposed to
appropriate the promises of future honor and power to the present life, and were beginning
to act as though they thought the time had already come for the world to honor and even to
obey the Church.
Apostle Paul writes, correcting this error, knowing that such ideas would have an
injurious effect upon the Church by cultivating pride and leading away from sacrifice. He
says to them, ironically, "Now ye are full, now ye are rich; ye have reigned as
kings without us." And then he adds, earnestly, "I would to God ye did
reign, that we [persecuted apostles] also might reign with you."
1 Corinthians 4:8
They were enjoying their
Christianity by trying to get out of it and with it as much honor as possible; and the
Apostle well knew that if they were faithful as followers of the Lord they would be
in no such condition. Hence he reminds them that if indeed the long-looked-for reign had
begun, he also would be reigning no less than they, and of the fact that he by
faithfulness was a sufferer for the truth's sake, which was a proof that their reign
was premature, and a snare rather than a glory. Then, with a touch of irony, he adds,
"We [apostles and faithful servants] are
fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are
honorable, but we are despised."
I do not write these things
merely to shame you: I have a better and a nobler object-- TO WARN YOU; for the
path of present honor leads not to the glory and honor to be revealed; but present
suffering and self-denial are the narrow path to glory, honor, immortality and
joint-heirship in the kingdom.
Wherefore, I beseech you, be ye followers
of me. Suffer and be reviled and persecuted now, that you may share with me the crown
of life, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me at that day; and not to
me only, but unto all those that love his appearing.
1 Corinthians 4:10-17; 2 Timothy 4:8
true church has not yet reigned over the earth.
The Pope crowning Charlemagne
But, after a great deal of persecution had been faithfully endured by the early Church,
theories began to spread to the effect that the mission of the Church was to conquer the
world, establish the kingdom of heaven on earth and reign over the nations before
the Lord's second advent.
This laid the foundation for worldly intrigue, pomp and pride, ostentatious show and
ceremony in the Church, which was designed to impress, captivate and overawe the world,
and which led step by step to the great claims of Papacy that as God's kingdom on earth it
had a right to command the respect and obedience to its laws and officers of every
kindred, nation, and people.
Under this false claim (and they
seemingly deceived themselves as well as others) Papacy for a time crowned and uncrowned
the kings of Europe, and still claims the authority which it is now unable to enforce.
The same idea through Papacy has come down to Protestantism, which also claims, though
more vaguely, that somehow the reign of the Church is in progress; and like the
Corinthians its adherents are "full" and "rich," and
reign "as kings," as graphically described by our Lord. Revelation
Thus it has come
to pass that the merely nominal members of the Church--those not really converted, not
really wheat, but tares, mere imitations of the wheat--far outnumber the true disciples of
Christ. And these are much opposed to every real sacrifice and self-denial, do not suffer
persecution for righteousness' [truth's] sake, and at most hold to only a form of
fastings, etc., instead.
They are really reigning with the world
and are not in the line of preparation for sharing in the real kingdom which is to be set
up by our Lord at his second presence.
without a king.
To any careful observer, there is a manifest incongruity between this view and the
teaching of Jesus and the apostles. They taught that there can be no kingdom until the
King comes. Revelation 20:6; 3:21;
2 Timothy 2:12 Consequently the kingdom of heaven must suffer violence until that
time, when it shall be set up in glory and power.
him that overcometh
will I grant
to sit with me
in my throne,
even as I also overcame,
and am set down with my Father
in his throne." Revelation 3:21
Two Phases of the Kingdom of God
While it is true, as stated by
our Lord, that the Kingdom of God cometh not--does not make its first
appearance--with outward show, in due time it is to be made manifest to all by outward,
visible and unmistakable signs. When fully set up, the Kingdom of God will be of two
parts, a spiritual or heavenly phase and an earthly or human phase.
The spiritual will always be
invisible to men, as those composing it will be of the divine, spiritual nature, which no
man hath seen nor can see (1 Timothy 6:16; John 1:18); yet its presence and power will be
mightily manifested, chiefly through its human representatives, who will constitute the
earthly phase of the Kingdom of God.
Those who will constitute the spiritual phase of the kingdom are the overcoming saints of
the Gospel age--the Christ, head and body--glorified. Their resurrection and exaltation to
power precedes that of all others, because through this class all others are to be
blessed. Hebrews 11:39,40 Theirs is the first resurrection. Revelation 20:5*
The great work before this glorious
anointed company--the Christ necessitates their exaltation to the divine nature: no
other than divine power could accomplish it. Theirs is a work pertaining not only to this
world, but to all things in heaven and in earth--among spiritual as well as
among human beings. Matthew 28:18; Colossians 1:20; Ephesians 1:10; Philippians 2:10; 1
A spurious passage of Scripture:
*In this verse the words
"But the rest of the
dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished"
are spurious. They are not
found in the oldest and most reliable Greek MSS, the Sinaitic, Vatican Nos. 1209 and 1160, nor the Syriac MS.
We must remember that many
passages found in the modern copies are additions which do not properly belong to the Bible.
Since commanded not to add
to the Word of God, it is our
duty to repudiate such additions as soon as their spurious
character is established.
The words indicated probably
crept into the text by accident, in the fifth century; for no MS of earlier date
(either Greek or Syriac) contains this clause. It was probably at first
merely a marginal comment made by a reader, expressive of his thought upon the text, and copied into the body
of the text by some subsequent transcriber who failed to distinguish between the text
and the comment.
However, the repudiation of
this clause is not essential to the "Plan" as herein set forth; for the rest of the
dead --the world at large--will not live again in the full sense, in the perfect sense that
Adam lived before he sinned and came under the sentence "dying thou shalt die."
Perfect life without weakness
or dying is the only sense in which God recognizes the word life. From his standpoint all the world
has already lost life, is dying, and might now be more properly described as dead than
as alive. 2 Corinthians 5:14; Matthew 8:22
resurrection (Greek, anastasis) signifies raising up. As related to man, it signifies
raising up man to that condition from which he fell, to full perfection of manhood--the thing lost
from which our race fell is the perfection to which they will gradually rise, during the Millennial
age of restitution or resurrection (raising up).
The Millennial age is not
only the age of trial, but also the age of blessing, and through resurrection or restitution to life all that
was lost is to be restored to all who, when they know and have opportunity, gladly obey.
The process of resurrection
will be a gradual one, requiring the entire age for its full accomplishment; though the mere awakening
to a measure of life and consciousness, as at present enjoyed, will of course be a momentary
work. Consequently it will not be until the thousand years are finished that the race will have fully
attained the complete measure of life lost in Adam.
And since anything short of
perfect life is a condition of partial death, it follows that, although the above words are no part of the
inspired record, it would be strictly true to say that the rest of the dead will not live again
(will not regain the fullness of life lost) until the thousand years of restitution and blessing are
"Marvel not at this:
for the hour
is coming, in the which all that are
in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth;
"They that have done
good, unto the resurrection
of life; and they that have done
evil unto the resurrection
of judgment (Greek "krisis")."
The kingdom work of Jesus
and the Church
are the "Ancient Worthies"?
Believing that Gods Kingdom would be established in
Jerusalem and all nations would come to the "house of the God of Jacob," Jewish
tombs thickly cover the slopes of Olivet, giving evidence to the Jewish faith in
Gods promises of a kingdom and the resurrection of the dead.
When Messiah comes,
he will enter Jerusalem through the Golden Gate; hence, the resurrection and judgment will
begin from here.
Those who cannot walk the line of justice will fall into the Valley of Death below.
Moslem tombs surround the Golden Gate, waiting for the Messiah.
cemetery lies in the Kidron Valley between the Jewish cemetery (on Mt. Olivet to the east)
and the Moslem cemetery (on Mt. Moriah to the west).
When Christ returns, he will judge the world in righteousness.
The work of the earthly phase of the
Kingdom of God will be confined to this world and to humanity. And those so highly honored
as to have a share in it will be the most exalted and honored of God among men. These are
the class referred to in Chapter VIII (page 145), whose judgment day was previous to the
Having been tried and found
faithful, in the awakening they will not be brought forth to judgment again, but will at
once receive the reward of their faithfulness--an instantaneous resurrection to perfection
as men. (Others than these and the spiritual class will be gradually raised
to perfection during that Millennial age.) Thus this class will be ready at once for the
great work before it as the human agents of the Christ in restoring and blessing the
remainder of mankind.
As the spiritual nature is
necessary to the accomplishment of the work of Christ, so perfect human nature is
appropriate for the future accomplishment of the work to be done among men. These will
minister among and be seen of men, while the glory of their perfection will be a constant
example and an incentive to other men to strive to attain the same perfection. And that
these ancient worthies will be in the human phase of the kingdom and seen of mankind is
fully attested by Jesus' words to the unbelieving Jews who were rejecting him. He said,
"Ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and
all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God."
It should be noticed also, that
the Master does not mention that he or the apostles will be visible with Abraham. As a
matter of fact, men will see and mingle with the earthly phase of the kingdom, but not
with the spiritual; and some will, no doubt, be sorely vexed to find that they rejected so
great an honor.
of the kingdom
We are not given explicit information as to the exact manner in which these two phases of
the heavenly kingdom will harmoniously operate; but we have an illustration of the manner
in which they may operate, in God's dealings with Israel through their
representatives, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, the prophets, etc.--though the coming
manifestations of divine power will far exceed those of that typical age; for the work of
the coming age comprises the awakening of all the dead and the restoration of the
obedient to perfection.
This work will necessitate the establishment of a perfect government among men, with
perfect men in positions of control, that they may rightly order the affairs of state. It
will necessitate the appointment of proper educational facilities of every character, as
well as philanthropic measures of various kinds.
And this noble work of thus
elevating the race by sure and steady steps (under the direction of the unseen spiritual
members of the same kingdom) is the high honor to which the ancient worthies are
appointed, and for which they will come forth prepared soon after the final wreck of the
kingdoms of this world and the binding of Satan, their prince. And as the divinely honored
representatives of the heavenly kingdom, they will soon receive the honor and cooperation
of all men.
mankind stands holy
at the end
of the 1,000 years, the kingdom
will be returned
To gain a place in the earthly phase of the kingdom of God will be to find the
gratification of every desire and ambition of the perfect human heart. It will be a
glorious and satisfying portion from the first entrance into it, and yet the glory will
accumulate as time advances and the blessed work progresses.
And when, at the end of a thousand years,
the great work of restitution is accomplished by the Christ (in great measure through the
agency of these noble human co-workers); when the whole human race (except the
incorrigible --Matthew 25:46; Revelation 20:9) stands approved, without spot, or wrinkle,
or any such thing, in the presence of Jehovah, these who were instrumental in the work
will shine among their fellowmen and before God and Christ and the angels, as "the
stars forever and ever." Daniel 12:3
Their work and labor of love will never
be forgotten by their grateful fellowmen. They will be held in everlasting remembrance.
But great as will be the accumulating glory of those perfect men who will constitute the
earthly phase of the kingdom, the glory of the heavenly will be the glory that excelleth.
While the former will shine as the stars forever, the latter will shine as the brightness
of the firmament--as the sun. Daniel 12:3
The honors of heaven as well as of earth shall be laid at the feet of the Christ. The
human mind can approximate, but cannot clearly conceive, the glory to be revealed in the
Christ through the countless ages of eternity. Romans 8:18; Ephesians 2:7-12
earthly seed and the heavenly seed of Abrahams promise
It is through these two phases of the kingdom that the promise to Abraham is to be
"In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of
the earth be blessed."
"Thy seed shall be as the sand of the sea, and
as the stars of heaven"
-- an earthly and a heavenly seed, both God's instruments
of blessing to the world. Both phases of the promises were clearly seen and intended by
God from the beginning, but only the earthly was seen by Abraham.
And though God selected from the
natural seed the chief of the spiritual class (the apostles and others), and proffered the
chief blessing, the spiritual, to all of that nation living in the due time for that
heavenly call, this was just so much beyond what Abraham ever saw in the covenant--favor
earthly (human) and heavenly (spiritual) resurrection
Paul (Romans 11:17) speaks of the Abrahamic covenant as a root out of which fleshly Israel
grew naturally, but into which the Gentile believers were grafted when the
natural branches were cut off because of unbelief. This proves the double fulfillment of
the promise in the development of the two seeds, earthly (human) and heavenly
(spiritual), which will constitute the two phases of the kingdom.
This root-covenant bears these two distinct
kinds of branches, each of which in the resurrection will bear its own distinct kind of
perfect fruitage--the human and spiritual classes in kingdom power.
In order of development it was
first the natural (earthly), afterward the heavenly rulers; but in order of grandeur of
position and time of installment, it will be first the spiritual, afterward the natural;
and so there are last which shall be first, and first which shall be last.
Matt. 19:30; Luke 16:16
sermon shows that Israel was yet to receive their earthly promise.
This gate is
while giving his
sermon of Acts 7.
The promise made to Abraham, to which Stephen refers
(Acts 7:5), and in which Israel trusted, was earthly: it related to the land. God
"promised that he would give it to him for a possession," said Stephen. And
God said to Abraham,
"Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place
where thou art, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land
which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever.
And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, so
that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed be numbered.
Arise, walk through the land, in the length of it and
in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee." Genesis 13:14-17
Stephen shows that this promise must
yet be fulfilled; for he declares that God gave Abraham "none inheritance in
it [in the land], no, not so much as to set his foot on."
On the east side of
Jerusalem is Stephens Gate, also called "The Lions Gate" because of
the carvings of lions in the stones above.
|The Churchs completion
Tombs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
| The Apostle, writing of this same class of
ancient worthies --Abraham among others--agrees with Stephen's statement that the promise
to Abraham has not yet been fulfilled; and he goes further and shows that those earthly
promises cannot and will not be fulfilled until the still higher heavenly promises
concerning the Christ (Head and body) are fulfilled.
He says of them:
"These all died in faith, not [i.e.,
without] having received [the fulfillment of] the promise, God
having provided some better thing for us [the Christ], that they without
us should not be made perfect." Hebrews 11:13,39,40
Thus is shown again that the Redeemer
and Restorer is spiritual, having given up the human a sacrifice for all, and that from
this spiritual class when highly exalted all blessings must proceed, whoever may be
honored as its instruments or agents. Romans 12:1; Galatians 3:29
in the earthly kingdom
|"And it shall come to
pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORDs house shall be established in
the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow unto it.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the
LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob;
And he will teach us of his
and we will walk in his paths:
For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem..."
| The earthly phase of the kingdom is thus
seen to be Israelitish; and around this fact cluster those many prophecies which relate to
the prominence of that nation in God's plan for the future blessing of the world, when
their tabernacle, fallen in the dust, shall be restored, and Jerusalem shall be a praise
in the whole earth.
find statements by both prophets and apostles which clearly indicate that in the times of
restitution Israel as a nation will be the first among the nations to come into harmony
with the new order of things; that the earthly Jerusalem will be rebuilt upon her old
heaps; and that their polity will be restored as in the beginning under princes or judges.
Isaiah 1:26; Psalms 45:16; Jeremiah 30:18
And what could be more reasonably
expected than that Israel should first of all rejoice to recognize the prophets and
patriarchs? and that their acquaintance with and long discipline under the law should have
prepared them for tractability and obedience under the authority of the kingdom? And while
Israel will be the first of the nations to be recognized and blessed, it is written also
of Israel that "The Lord shall save the tents of Judah first."
Ezekiel 47:1-12 identifies this
gate as the one through which flows the river of waters of life.
The sole eastern gate of the Temple area
is kept permanently closed until Messiah comes.
When Jerusalem was rebuilt by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1538-41 A.D., he had the gate
sealed in the hope of postponing the "day of judgment" and the end of the world.
will be fulfilled
| We do not deem it of importance to enter
into a discussion as to where the "lost tribes" of Israel are to be
sought. It may or may not be true, as some claim, that those "lost tribes"
are traceable to certain civilized nations of the present day. But though some of the
suggested proofs are not unreasonable, yet, as a whole, it is largely inference and
But should it
yet be clearly demonstrated that some of the civilized nations are descendants of the lost
tribes, it would prove no advantage to them under the "heavenly"
"high calling," which, since their national rejection, knows no difference
between Jew and Greek, bond and free. Should such evidence ever become clear (which as yet
it is not), it would be in perfect harmony with the prophecies and promises relating to
that nation yet awaiting fulfillment in and under the earthly phase of the kingdom.
Natural attachment, as well as a
still surviving measure of trust in the long unfulfilled promises, and all their natural
prejudices, will be favorable to Israel's general and speedy acceptance of the new rulers;
while their habits of measurable obedience to the law will also be favorable to their
speedy harmony with the principles of the new government.
The Law will
go forth from Zion,
and the Word
of the Lord
| As Jerusalem was the seat of empire under
the typical Kingdom of God, it will again occupy the same position, and be "the
city of the Great King." Psalms 48:2; Matthew 5:35 A city is a symbol of a
kingdom or dominion, and so God's Kingdom is symbolized by the New Jerusalem, the new
dominion coming from heaven to earth.
At first it will consist of only the spiritual class, the Bride of Christ, which, as seen
by John, will gradually come down to earth; that is, it will gradually come into power as
the present empires break in pieces, during the Day of the Lord. In due time, however, the
earthly phase of this city or government will be established, parts or members of which
will be the ancient worthies.
There will not be two cities
(governments), but one city, one heavenly government, the one for which Abraham looked, "a
city which hath foundations"--a government established in righteousness,
being founded upon the sure rock foundation of the righteousness of Christ the Redeemer,
the value of man's ransom which he gave, and the firmness of divine justice, which can no
more condemn the redeemed than it could previously excuse the guilty. Romans 8:31-34; 1
the joy of the
is mount Zion,
on the sides of the north, the city of the great King."
| Glorious City of Peace! whose walls
signify salvation, protection and blessing to all who enter it, whose foundations laid in
justice can never be moved, and whose builder and designer is God! It is in the light
which will shine from this glorious city (kingdom) of God that the nations (people) will
walk on the highway of holiness, up to perfection and to full harmony with God. Rev.
|*The following words are omitted from this verse by the
most authentic ancient manuscripts, viz., "of them which are saved,"
also "and honor." The latter words are also lacking from
|"In that day
shall this song
be sung in the
land of Judah;
We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks."Open ye the gates, that the
righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.
"Thou wilt keep him
in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee."
| When mankind reaches perfection at the
close of the Millennial age, as already shown, they will be admitted into membership in
the Kingdom of God and given the entire control of earth as at first designed--each man a
sovereign, a king. This is clearly shown in the symbolic prophecy of John (Revelation
21:24-26); for in vision he not only saw the people walk in the light of it, but he saw
the kings enter it in glory; yet none could enter who would defile it.
None can become identified with that city
(kingdom) who has not first been thoroughly tested; none who would work, or love to work,
deceit and unrighteousness; only those whom the Lamb will write as worthy of life
everlasting, and to whom he will say,
"Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the
kingdom prepared for you."
"Walk ye about Zion and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.
Mark ye well her
bulwarks, consider her palaces: that ye may tell it to the generation following.
For this God is
our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death."
The present walls
(much of which are on the site of earlier walls) were built by Suleiman II about 1540 A.D.
The walls extend for
2-1/2 miles, with an average height of
Some of the stones from the
wall of the temple enclosure at Jerusalem still exist.
They measure 30 feet long, 8
feet wide and 3-1/2 feet high, weighing over 80 tons.
Josephus tells of 60-foot long
stones in the temple of Solomon.
of Zion Shall
Go Forth the Law
and the Word of the LORD
It should be remembered, then,
that though undoubtedly the literal city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and though probably
it will become the capital of the world, yet many prophecies which mention Jerusalem and
its future glories refer, under that as a symbol, to the Kingdom of God to be established
in great splendor.
the future glory of the earthly phase of the kingdom as represented in Jerusalem, the
prophets speak in glowing terms, saying:
"Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord
hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem."
"Behold, I create Jerusalem a
rejoicing, and her people a joy."
"Rejoice ye with
Jerusalem and be glad with her,...that ye may be delighted with the abundance of her
glory; for saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory
of the Gentiles like a flowing stream."
"At that time they shall
call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall be gathered unto it."
"And many people shall
go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord, to the house
of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for
out of Zion [the spiritual phase] shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from
Isaiah 52:9; 65:18; 66:10-12; Jeremiah 3:17; Isaiah 2:3
upon their land..."
When considering the many precious promises of future blessing
made to Israel, and expecting an accurate fulfillment of them to that people, it is proper
that we should remember that as a people they are typical, as well as actual. In one
aspect they are typical of the whole world of mankind; and their Law Covenant, of
obedience and life, was typical of the New Covenant to be established with the world
during the Millennial and future ages.
"Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will
bring again the captivity of Jacobs tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places;
and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the
manner thereof." Jeremiah 30:18
"And I will plant them upon their land,
and they shall not more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the
LORD thy God."
|The Law Covenant,
typical of the
| The blood of atonement under their typical
covenant, and the priesthood which applied it to that nation, typified the blood of the
New Covenant and the Royal Priesthood which will, during the Millennium, apply its
cleansings and blessings to the whole world. Thus their priesthood typified the Christ,
and that nation typified all for whom the real sacrifice was made, and to whom the real
blessings will come--"every man," "the whole world."
|Israel will be
among the nations.
| Then let us remember that though the
future blessings, like the past, will be to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile, it
will be in the matter of time only that the Jews will have the precedence to divine favor;
and this we have shown would be a natural consequence of their training under the Law,
which in due time will serve its purpose to bring them to Christ.
Though it brought only a remnant of them
at the first advent, it will bring them as a people at the second advent, and as a people
they will be a first-fruit among the nations. Ultimately every blessing promised to
Israel, except those pertaining to the elected classes, will have, not only its actual
fulfillment in that people, but also its antitypical fulfillment in all the families of
the earth. Under that government
"God will render to every man according to
his deeds--glory, honor, and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and
also to the Gentile; for there is no respect of persons with God." Romans 2:6,10,11
Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and
the rest were blinded."
| The Apostle Paul calls our attention
specially to the sureness of God's promises to Israel in the future, and shows what favors
they lost by unbelief, and what favors are still sure. He says that it was because of
pride, hardness of heart and unbelief that Israel as a people had not obtained
that for which they sought--the chief place in divine favor and service.
Paul's reference here is not to all the
generations of Israel, from Abraham down, but to those generations living at the time of
the first advent; and his words would apply to all their generations which have lived
during the Gospel age, the age wherein the chief favor has been offered--the high calling
to the divine nature and joint-heirship with Jesus.
This favor Israel as a people has
failed to recognize and lay hold of. And though God visited the Gentiles and called many
of them through the gospel, they, like fleshly Israel, will fail to obtain the heavenly
prize. Nevertheless, a class, a remnant, a little flock from among all the called ones,
heeds the call, and, by obedience and self-sacrifice, makes its calling and election sure.
Thus what Israel as a people
failed to obtain, and what the nominal Christian Church also fails to obtain, is given to
the elect or selected class, the faithful--"body of Christ"--elect
or chosen (according to the foreknowledge of God) through sanctification of the spirit and
belief of the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2
|"And they also,
if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in
thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to
nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches,
be grafted into their own olive tree?" Romans 11:23,24
| But though, through the rejection of
Messiah, Israel did lose all this special favor, yet Paul shows that this did not prove
them entirely cut off from favor; for they still had the same privilege of being grafted
into Christ and the spiritual favors which the rest of mankind enjoyed, if, during the
time that call was being made, they accepted in faith; for, argues Paul, God is as able to
graft them in again as to graft in wild branches, and as willing, if they continue not in
"Whereof the law was our
school master to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified to Christ."
argues that though Israel lost the chief blessing, "which he seeketh
for," the chief place in God's kingdom, yet it remains that great promises
are still due to be fulfilled toward that people; for, he reasons, God's gifts, callings,
covenants and promises are not to be turned aside unfulfilled.
Israel would reject the Messiah
and lose the chief blessing.
Israel was temporarily
cast off from
| God knew the end from the beginning; he knew
that Israel would reject Messiah; and his unequivocal promises to them in view of this
knowledge give us assurance that Israel is yet to be used of the Lord in service, as his
agency in blessing the world, though "Israel hath not obtained that which he
seeketh for"--the chief favor.
Paul then proceeds to show that God's covenant promises to Israel were of such a nature as
to leave it open and indefinite whether as a people they would be the heavenly or the
earthly seed--whether they would inherit and fulfil the higher or the lower service
mentioned in the promises.
God kept secret the higher spiritual
favor until due time, and the promises made to them mentioned the earthly favor only,
though He favored them by the first offer of the spiritual favors also, and so offered
them more than he had ever promised. In a word, the heavenly promises were hidden in the
These promises, says Paul, cannot
fail, and the offering of the hidden favor first, and Israel's blind rejection of it, in
no way invalidates or disannuls the other feature of the promise.
Hence he declares that though Israel as
a nation is cast off from favor during the time the Bride of Christ is being selected from
both Jews and Gentiles, yet the time will come when, the Deliverer (Christ, Head and body)
being complete, divine favor will return to fleshly Israel, and the glorious Deliverer
will turn away ungodliness from Jacob,* and so all Israel will be saved [recovered to
favor], as it is written by the prophet. The Apostle's words are:
|Israels blindness will be removed
by the Deliverer.
"Brethren, that you may not be conceited with
yourselves, I wish you not to be ignorant of this secret, that hardness in some measure
has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles may come in [until
the full number selected from the Gentiles has been completed]. And then all
Israel will be saved, as it has been written,
"'The Deliverer [Christ, Head and
body] shall come out of Zion and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.' And
'This is the covenant with them from me, when I shall take away their sins.'
"In relation to the GLAD TIDINGS, indeed,
they are enemies on your account; but in regard to the election they are [still]
beloved on account of the fathers, because the gracious gifts and calling of God are not
things to be repented of.
"Besides, as you [Gentiles]
were once disobedient to God, but have now obtained mercy by their disobedience; so also,
now, these have disobeyed so that they may obtain mercy through your mercy [at
the hands of the glorified Church].
"For God shut up together all, for
disobedience, that he might have mercy on all. [Compare Romans 5:17-19.]
O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God." Romans 11:25-33
|*Spiritual Israel is never called
"Who shall ascend
into the hill
of the LORD?"
|Significance of Jerusalem
Built Upon Two Mountain Tops
"Who shall ascend into the hill [literally
mountain, symbol of kingdom] of Jehovah? or who shall stand in
his holy place [temple]? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart."
The city of
Jerusalem was built upon a mountain top--a double top; for it was separated by the valley
Tyropoeon into two parts. Still it was one city, surrounded by one wall, with bridges
connecting the two divisions. On one of these mountain tops the Temple was built.
This might be
understood to symbolize the union of the kingly and the priestly qualities in the
glorified Church; or, the one Kingdom of God with its two phases--the spiritual temple,
not of earthly origin, but of a new, heavenly or spiritual nature (Hebrews 9:11), separate
from, yet united with, the earthly phase.
Holyland Hotel Model of Jerusalem
One of the most detailed models of ancient city, this was designed by a team of
historians, archaeologists and builders to make the model painstakingly accurate. Made
from Jerusalems famed orange-pink stone, it portrays the city as it would have been
in Herodian times.
Herod's Three Towers
The Most Holy,
in the sacred
of the Temple.
| David appears to refer to the two places.
It was an honor to be of the city at all, and a still greater honor to ascend into the
holy temple, into the sacred precincts of which only the priests were permitted to enter.
And David shows that purity of life and honesty of heart are necessary to any who would
attain either honor.
that would be of the Royal Priesthood are exhorted to purity, even as the high priest of
our profession is pure, if they would be accounted worthy of joint-heirship with him. And
he that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
This, as already shown, is a purity of intent,
reckoned to us as absolute or actual purity, Christ's imputed purity supplying our
unavoidable deficiency, and compensating for our unavoidable weaknesses, while we walk after
the spirit and not after the flesh.
|Entire consecration to God
will be essential
in the earthly kingdom.
| But let it not be forgotten that purity,
sincerity, and entire consecration to God are essential to all those who would enter the
Kingdom of God in either phase. It was thus with those ancient worthies who will inherit
the earthly phase of the kingdom under Christ. They loved righteousness and hated
iniquity, and were deeply grieved and penitent when overtaken by a fault, or stumbled by a
weakness or besetment.
too, it has been with the faithful of the Gospel age; and so it will be with all in the
Millennial age, when the spirit of God, the spirit of truth, is poured upon all flesh. The
overcomers of that age will also need to strive for purity of heart and life, if they
would have a right under God's arrangement to enter into the city--the kingdom prepared
for them from the foundation of the world--the original dominion restored.
The iron rule
will grant no liberty
to do wrong.
The Iron Rule
Many erroneously suppose that
when Christ's Millennial Kingdom is inaugurated every one will be pleased with its ruling.
But not so. Its regulations will be far more exacting than those of any previous
government, and the liberties of the people will be restricted to a degree that will be
galling indeed to many now clamoring for an increase of liberty.
Liberty to deceive, to
misrepresent, to overreach and to defraud others, will be entirely cut off. Liberty to
abuse themselves or others in food or in drink, or in any way to corrupt good manners,
will be totally denied to all. Liberty or license to do wrong of any sort will not be
granted to any.
The only liberty that will be granted
to any will be the true and glorious liberty of the sons of God--liberty to do good to
themselves and others in any and in every way; but nothing will be allowed to injure or
destroy in all that Holy Kingdom. Isaiah 11:9; Romans 8:21
That rule will consequently be
felt by many to be a severe one, breaking up all their former habits and customs, as well
as breaking up present institutions founded upon these false habits and false ideas of
liberty. Because of its firmness and vigor, it is symbolically called an iron rule--
"He shall rule them with a rod of iron."
(Compare Revelation 2:26,27;
Psalms 2:8-12 and 49:14.) Thus will be fulfilled the statement,
"Judgment will I lay to the line and
righteousness to the plummet. And the hail [righteous judgment] shall
sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters [truth] shall overflow the
hiding place," and every hidden thing shall be revealed. Isaiah 28:17
|None will live
at the expense
| Many will feel rebellious against that
perfect and equitable rule because accustomed in the past, under the rule of the present
prince, to lord it over their fellow mortals, and to live wholly at the expense of others
without rendering compensating service.
And many and severe will be the stripes which a present life of self-indulgence and
gratification will naturally demand and receive under that reign, before
such will learn the lessons of that kingdom --equity, justice, righteousness. Psalms
89:32; Luke 12:47,48 The lesson on this subject comes first to the living generation, and
is near at hand. James 5
of righteousness and equity
will be firmly enforced.
| But, blessed thought! when the Prince of
Life has put in force the laws of righteousness and equity with an iron rule, the masses
of mankind will learn that
"Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is
a reproach to any people."
They will learn that God's plan and
laws are best in the end for all concerned, and ultimately they will learn to love
righteousness and hate iniquity. Psalms 45:7; Hebrews 1:9 All who under that reign have
not learned to love the right will be counted unworthy of lasting life and will be cut off
from among the people. Acts 3:23; Revelation 20:9; Psalms 11:5-7
will be king;
Christ will be his vicegerent.
"For he must reign,
till he hath put all enemies under his feet."
"And when all things
shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put
all things under him,
that God may be all in all."
I Corinthians 15:25,28
The Kingdom Everlasting
"Jehovah shall be King over all the earth in
that day." Zechariah 14:9
The kingdom which Jehovah will
establish in the hands of Christ during the Millennium will be Jehovah's kingdom, but it
will be under the direct control of Christ, as his vicegerent, in much the same manner as
the Southern States were dealt with after the Rebellion by the United States government.
The Southern States for a while
were not permitted to govern themselves by electing their own officers, lest they should
not conform to the Constitutional laws of the Union; but governors, with full power to
act, were placed in control for the purpose of reconstructing those state governments and
bringing them back into full harmony with the central government.
Thus the special reign of Christ
over the affairs of earth is for a limited time and for a particular purpose, and it will
terminate with the accomplishment of that purpose. Man, through rebellion, forfeited his
God-given rights--among others, self-government in harmony with Jehovah's laws. God,
through Christ, redeems all those rights, and secures the right for man not only to return
personally to his former estate, but also to return to his former office as king of earth.
But to bring man back, as God
designs, in the way best suited to impress the lesson of present experience--namely, by
requiring him to put forth effort toward his own recovery --will require a strong, a
perfect government. And this honor of completing man's recovery, the right to which he
died to secure, is conferred upon Christ; and "he must reign until
he hath put all enemies under his feet"--until none exist who do not
recognize, honor and obey him.
Then, having accomplished his
mission as regards the reconstruction or restitution of mankind, he will deliver up the
kingdom to God, even the Father, and mankind will deal directly, as at first, with
Jehovah--the mediation of the man Christ Jesus having accomplished fully and completely
the grand work of reconciliation.
1 Corinthians 15:25-28
|| The kingdom, when delivered up to the
Father, will still be the Kingdom of God, and the laws will always be the same. All
mankind, then perfectly restored, will be capable of rendering perfect obedience, in
letter as well as in spirit; while now, the spirit of obedience or endeavor to observe
God's law is all of which men are capable.
The full letter of that perfect law would condemn them at once to death. 2 Corinthians 3:6
Our acceptableness now is only through Christ's ransom.
|| Until actually perfect, "It
is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Hebrews 10:31
Now, and until actually perfect, none could stand before the law of exact justice: all
need the mercy provided freely under Christ's merit and sacrifice.
But when Christ delivers up the kingdom to
the Father, he will present them faultless before him, fit and able to
enjoy everlasting blessedness under Jehovah's perfect law. All fearfulness will then be
gone, and Jehovah and his restored creatures will be in perfect harmony, as at first.
|| When, in the end of the Millennial age,
Christ delivers up the dominion of earth to the Father, he does so by delivering it to
mankind as the Father's representatives, who were designed from the first to have this
honor. 1 Corinthians 15:24; Matthew 25:34 Thus the Kingdom of God lasts forever. And so we
read in our Lord's words:
"Then shall the King say to them on his right
hand [those who, during the Millennial reign, will have attained the position of
favor by harmony and obedience], Come, ye blessed of my Father [you whom
my Father designs thus to bless], inherit the kingdom prepared FOR YOU
from the foundation of the world."
will be capable
Gods perfect law.
| This kingdom and honor prepared for man
should not be confounded with that still higher kingdom and honor prepared for the Christ,
which were "ordained before the world unto our glory"
(1 Corinthians 2:7), and to which we were chosen in Christ before the
foundation of the world. And though the special intervention and reign of
the Christ over earth will close, as foreshown, we must not conclude that Christ's glory
and dominion and power will then cease.
Nay, Christ is associated forever with all the divine glory and power at the right hand of
Jehovah's favor; and his Bride and joint-heir will forever share his increasing glory.
What wondrous works in other worlds await the power of this highly exalted agent of
Jehovah, we will not here surmise, further than to suggest the infinitude and activity of
divine power, and the boundlessness of the universe.
|| Truly, then, in whatever phase of the
kingdom our interest centers, it is "the desire of all nations";
for under it all will be blessed. Hence, all may earnestly long for that time; and all may
"Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth
as it is in heaven."
It is for this that ignorantly
the whole creation has long been groaning and waiting --waiting for the manifestation of
the Sons of God, the kingdom which will crush out evil and bless and heal all nations.
Romans 8:19; 16:20
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