THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE KINGDOM,
AND HOW IT WILL MANIFEST ITSELF
Walking by Faith--Who Constitute the Kingdom--Setting Up the Spiritual Kingdom--Setting up "Princes in All the Earth"--The Desire of All Nations--The Intimate Communication Between the Kingdom and its Ministers or "Princes"--Jacob's Ladder--Moses' Veil--Great Changes Inaugurated--Will there be Danger from so Much Power in the Hands of the New Potentate?--The Rod-of-Iron Rule, How Long?--The World's Conversion--A Nation Born in a Day--"All that are in the Graves"--The Increase of His Kingdom--The Vicegerency Surrendered--God's Will Done on Earth.
"And the desire of all nations shall come." "In the last days it shall come to pass that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains."
"At that time they shall call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart." Hag. 2:7; Micah 4:1,2; Jer. 3:17
HAVING in our studies of the divine plan reached the close of the trouble of the great "Day of Vengeance" and seen how the divine indignation will burn against sin and selfishness, we have now the more agreeable task of examining, in the light of the Bible, how the Kingdom of God is to be established, by which all the families of the earth are to be blessed, and a new and permanent and far better order of things set up, instead of the admittedly faulty one of the present and past. [D616]
If the dread events of the near future are already casting their shadows before them and causing fear and trepidation in the world, those who look from "the secret place of the Most High," see a silver lining to the clouds of trouble which may well cause them to look up and lift up their heads and rejoice that their deliverance draweth nigh, and also relief for all bought with the precious blood, when "the Sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his beams." Mal. 4:2
Many of the matters treated foregoing are so openly manifest that even the natural man may be considerably impressed thereby. But now we approach a part which requires a clearer sight, more careful study of the Lord's Word and a firmer grasp of faith; for it deals with things not yet visible except to the eye of faith. However, God's people are expected to walk by faith and not by sight, and to trust that what God has promised he is abundantly able to perform. Rom. 4:18-21
Of these things none could know by any learning or wisdom of his own; but all who have the unction from the Holy One have faith in the power of God to say: "There hath not failed one word of all his good promise" (1 Kings 8:56); and these can with patience wait, and trust implicitly for future good things.
In our previous studies of the subject* we learned that the "Times of the Gentiles," which occupy the interim of time between the removal of the typical Kingdom from Israel and the full establishment of the true Messianic Kingdom upon the ruins of the present kingdoms, will end in October A.D. 1914. We have seen that the period of our Lord's presence from 1874 to 1914 is a "harvest" time, the [D617] earlier part of it for gathering his elect bride, and the latter part a time of trouble, for the overthrow of present institutions, in preparation for the new Kingdom. Let us now examine, in the light of the prophetic lamp (Psa. 119:105; 2 Pet. 1:19), some of the details connected with the setting up of this Kingdom of the Highest, which is to be the fifth universal empire of earth, and to have no end; and to bring blessings to all its subjects, while all other kingdoms have in great measure brought disappointment and oppression to the "groaning creation." No wonder that in type it is declared to be ushered in with a Jubilee trumpet (Lev. 25:9); and no wonder the Prophet Haggai (2:7)assures us that eventually it shall be recognized as the "Desire of all nations."
*Vol. I, Chaps. 13 and 14; Vol. II, Chap. 4.
As having a practical bearing upon the manner of the establishment of "the Kingdom of God," the "Kingdom of Heaven," let us keep in memory what we have already learned from the Scriptures* respecting this Kingdom's royalty and those who shall constitute it.
*Vol. I, pp. 288-300.
(1) It is the Kingdom of God in the sense that the Heavenly Father is the Great King and has arranged the plan of salvation of which the Millennial Kingdom will be a part. It is his Kingdom also in the sense that it will be established and perpetuated by his power. (1 Cor. 15:24-26) It is his Kingdom further, in that it will represent him as the great chief ruler, and his laws and his love and mercy through the Mediator whom he has appointed.
(2) It is also the Kingdom of Christ--the Kingdom of God's dear Son, in that Christ as the Mediator of the New Covenant will be the active ruler of this Millennial Kingdom, as the Father's representative, for the purpose of subduing evil, destroying sin, and bringing into full, hearty obedience to the Father and his laws all of the redeemed [D618] race willing to be fully restored to the divine likeness and favor and everlasting life.
The Kingdom class proper will consist only of our Lord and his "elect" of this Gospel age, to whom he said: "Fear not, little flock, it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." Of these, also, the Lord said to the Prophet Daniel, "The Kingdom and dominion, even the majesty of the Kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and all rulers shall serve and obey him." Dan. 7:27
But these, be it remembered, will all be "changed" in their resurrection (the first resurrection--Rev. 20:4,6; 1 Cor. 15:42-46,50-54; John 3:5,8) and thereafter will no longer be human beings, but "partakers of the divine nature," and as invisible to mankind as are God and the heavenly angels. There will consequently be necessity for some means of communication between this glorious Church and those whom it will be judging* and lifting up out of the degradation of sin and death. Such communication between spirit beings and humanity in the past has been accomplished by the spirit beings appearing in bodies of flesh, and thus communing with certain important persons respecting divine arrangements. Thus angels appeared to Abraham and Sarah and Lot and Gideon and Daniel and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and others. Such communication was made by our Lord to the apostles after his resurrection as a spirit being--because it was necessary to communicate to them certain instructions, and "the holy [D619] Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7:39
*See 1 Cor. 6:2; and Vol. I, Chap. 8.
But we do not expect that the communication between the spiritual rulers and their earthly subjects will be after this manner during the Millennium; for we find that God has made provision that a certain class of humanity, already tried (during the period before the Gospel age) and found worthy of perfection and everlasting life, shall throughout the Millennial age serve as the intermediaries between the spiritual Kingdom, the saints, and their subjects, mankind.
(4) These intermediaries, while not the Kingdom in the proper sense of the word, will be so fully the representatives of it amongst men that they will be recognized as the Kingdom by men: they will represent the Kingdom before men and be the only visible representatives of it. Hence we have termed these "the earthly phase of the Kingdom," visible among men. Luke 13:28
These, "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets" and ancient worthies referred to by our Lord and by the apostles (Matt. 8:11; Heb. 11:4-40), having passed their trial, will be awakened from death perfect--fully restored to human perfection; and will not require a "resurrection by judgment" a thousand years long, as will the residue of mankind. And this perfection will enable them to communicate with the spiritual Kings and Priests direct, without need that the spirit beings assume fleshly bodies for the purpose of communicating the laws, etc., for the world. Just as Adam, while perfect, before his transgression, could commune direct with the heavenly powers, so will these worthies commune, when restored to the same state of perfection.
Intimate Communication Between the Kingdom
and Its Representatives
That the earthly phase of the Kingdom will be on terms of intimate communion, fellowship and cooperation with the Kingdom proper, the spiritual rulers, is evident. They will be related to each other as father and children, and as cooperative departments of the same heavenly government: the heavenly being the legislative or law-giving department, and the earthly the executive or law-enforcing department. As it is written: "Out of Zion [the spiritual Kingdom] shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord [the divine messages, through the "princes"] from Jerusalem." Isa. 2:3
Setting Up the Kingdom
"The Kingdom of God is preached, and every man [accepting the testimony as a message from God] presseth into it." (Luke 16:16) For over eighteen centuries this message, this offer of the Kingdom, has been doing its intended work of selecting the "elect" "overcomers" from the world. During all this age these have waited the Father's time for their setting up or exaltation to power, as his Kings and priests, to rule and to teach the redeemed people of the earth, and thus bring to them the opportunity of everlasting life through faith and obedience. Yet during all this time this Kingdom class has suffered violence at the hands of the Ishmael and Esau class, and at the hands of Satan, the prince of this world, and his blinded servants. As our Lord expressed it--"The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." (Matt. 11:12) Our Lord, the head of the Kingdom, suffered to the extent of death; and all of his followers have suffered something of earthly loss as a consequence of being translated out of the power of darkness into the Kingdom of God's dear Son. Col. 1:13 [D621]
This submission for over eighteen centuries to the violence of dominant evil has not been because of lack of power on the part of our risen, ascended and glorified Lord to protect his people; for after his resurrection he declared--"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." (Matt. 28:18) The exercise of the power is delayed for a purpose. In the Father's plan there was a "due time" for the great sacrifice for sins to be given, and another due time for the Kingdom to be set up in power and great glory to rule and bless the world: and these were far enough apart to permit the calling and preparing of the "elect" Church to be joint-heirs of the Kingdom with Christ. The evil influences and opposition of sinners have been permitted for the purifying, testing and polishing of those "called" to be members of the Kingdom class. As with the Head, so with the body, it is God's design that each member shall as a new creature be "made perfect through suffering." Heb. 5:8,9
But now we are in the end of this Gospel age, and the Kingdom is being established or set up. Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present, since October 1874, A.D., according to the testimony of the prophets, to those who have ears to hear it: and the formal inauguration of his kingly office dates from April 1878, A.D.: and the first work of the Kingdom, as shown by our Lord, in his parables and prophecy (the gathering of "his elect"), is now in progress. "The dead in Christ shall rise first," explained the Lord through the Apostle: and the resurrection of the Church shall be in a moment.* Consequently the Kingdom, as represented in our Lord, and the sleeping saints already fitted and prepared and found worthy to be members of "his body," the "bride," was set up in 1878; and all that remains to be done for its completion is the "gathering together [D622] unto the Lord" of those of the "elect" who are alive and remain --whose trial is not yet complete.
*Vol. III, Chap. 6.
However, instead of the Kingdom waiting for the living members to finish their course, the Kingdom work began at once; and the living ones on this side the veil, are privileged to know "the mysteries of the Kingdom" and to engage in Kingdom work before their "change"; and as they die (will not fall "asleep," but) will be "changed" in the moment of death, resurrected as part of the blessed and holy first resurrection: as it is written--"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, they shall rest from their labors, while their works will continue." Rev. 14:13
All this is in harmony with the Scriptural declaration that the Kingdom of God must first be set up before its influence and work will result in the complete destruction of "the powers that be" of "this present evil world"--political, financial, ecclesiastical--about the close of the "Times of the Gentiles," October A.D. 1914. Let us note some scriptures to this effect.
In describing the events under the Seventh Trumpet, this order is observed: (1) the power is taken by the Lord as King of Earth, and his reign begun; (2) as a consequence the great judgment-trouble comes upon the world. We are told, prophetically, that the reign begins before the time of trouble, and before the resurrection of the saints and prophets; but that it will continue long after these (for a thousand years), until it shall have "judged" all mankind, rewarding those who reverence the Lord, and destroying those whose influence is corrupting. Note these points in the following quotation:
"We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art [D623] and wast and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. [Represented in Christ-- "All things are of the Father," and "all things are by the Son," his honored representative.] And [as a consequence of the reign begun] the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to them that reverence thy name, small and great; and shouldst destroy them which corrupt the earth." Rev. 11:17,18
We read similarly that the Kingdom reign will begin before "Babylon" falls; and that Babylon will fall as a result of Kingdom judgments--discerned later by some in her who are represented as getting light and liberty through Christ after her fall. They say:
"True and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great harlot which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand." Rev. 18; 19:2-7
The Prophet Daniel was divinely inspired to rehearse and explain to King Nebuchadnezzar his vision of Gentile power, represented by a great image. The vision showed a stone smiting the image on the feet, and as a result the utter wreck of Gentile power, and that stone then expanding until it filled the whole earth. The explanation given shows that God's Kingdom will be set up and fully empowered, and that the wreck of earthly governments will be the direct result of the energy of that Kingdom. Daniel's inspired testimony is as follows:
"In the days of these kings [the last of Gentile power-- represented in the toes of the image] the God of heaven shall set up a Kingdom [present representatively throughout the Gospel age, but not recognized by the world as a kingdom]; it [unlike the changing Gentile kingdoms represented in the image] shall never be destroyed: and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people [as the power of the image shifted from one people to another], but it shall [D624] break in pieces and consume all these Kingdoms, and it shall stand forever." Dan. 2:44,45
Our Lord assured his faithful, that at the time of the establishment of his Kingdom and the overthrow of Gentile power, the overcoming Church would be with him, and have a share in that work. His own words are:
"He that overcometh and keepeth my words unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father." (Rev. 2:26,27) Compare Psa. 149:8,9.
We may not be able to judge accurately as to what features of the great work are now being carried on by the Lord and his glorified saints beyond the veil; but we may be sure that they are active participants in the work assigned the members of the same Kingdom class, whose course and service are not yet ended on this side the veil--the harvest work (1) of gathering the living "elect"; (2) of saying unto Zion "Thy God reigneth"--the Kingdom is being set up; and (3) declaring the Day of Vengeance of our God.
Setting Up the Earthly Government
Not until the full end of Gentile Times (October, A.D. 1914) should we expect the earthly phase of God's Kingdom; for in giving a lease of dominion to the Gentiles until that date God made no mistake and his plans alter not. The earthly phase of the Kingdom of God when set up will be Israelitish; for such is God's engagement or covenant with Abraham and his natural seed. Even the chief favor, the spiritual Kingdom, was offered first to fleshly Israel, and would have been given to them if they had been ready at heart to receive it on the conditions attached to it--to suffer with Christ and afterward to be glorified with him. (Rom. 8:17) Israel indeed desired and sought the best God had to [D625] give; but "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for: but the election [the "little flock" selected from both Jews and Gentiles] hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded --not forever, but until the election of the spiritual seed, the Kingdom proper, is completed. Rom. 9:31-33; 11:7,23,25-32
While Israelites in various stages of unbelief will be gathered back to Palestine under divine favor, according to promise, yet none shall be in any degree reckoned as a part, or even as supporters of, or associated with the earthly phase of the Kingdom, except as they shall first recognize Christ Jesus as the Son of God, the only Redeemer and Deliverer for Israel and the world.
The beginning of the earthly phase of the Kingdom in the end of A.D. 1914 will, we understand, consist wholly of the resurrected holy ones of olden time--from John the Baptizer back to Abel--"Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the holy prophets." (Compare Matt. 11:11; Luke 13:28; Heb. 11:39,40.) While these ancient worthies will have neither part nor lot in the spiritual Kingdom, because not "called" thereto, that high or "heavenly calling" not being possible until after the ransom had been paid by our Lord Jesus, yet they will occupy a position of preferment above the world, having attested their faith and love during the reign of evil, in a manner approved of God. Thus they were prepared and proved worthy to be the earthly ministers and representatives of the spiritual Kingdom. In harmony with this it is written in the Psalms, as addressed to the Christ--"Instead of [being longer considered] thy fathers [they] shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes [chief ones, captains] in all the earth." Psa. 45:16
These ancient worthies will be unlike the remainder of mankind, not alone in the fact that their trial is past while [D626] the trial of the world in general will just be beginning; but they will be unlike them also in the fact that they will have attained the reward of their faithfulness--they will be perfect men, having completely restored to them all that was lost in Adam of mental and moral likeness to God, and perfection of physical powers. Thus they will not only be the "princes" or chiefs of earth (the earthly representatives of the Heavenly Kingdom--Christ and his Church), but they, individually, will be representatives of what all the willingly obedient may attain to under the New Covenant.
When Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the ancient worthies have been resurrected, and shall appear amongst the regathered Israelites, about the close of the time of Jacob's final trouble with Gog and Magog, their superior mental powers will speedily distinguish them from others. Moreover, their perfect minds will quickly grasp present-day knowledge and inventions; and they will be peculiar in many ways, as was the man Christ Jesus, of whom the people said--How knoweth this man literary matters, having never learned? (John 7:15) And as Jesus taught the people positively, definitely, clearly, and not doubtfully and in a confused way, as did the scribes, so it will be with the perfected ancient worthies, when they appear amongst men. Besides, these worthies, "princes," will have direct communion with the spiritual Kingdom (Christ and the Church) as our Lord had with the angels, and as Adam enjoyed similar personal communion before he came under divine sentence as a transgressor. These "princes" of the new earth (the new order of society) will be fully qualified for the honorable position assigned to them.
Thus we see that when God's time for the inauguration of his Kingdom among men shall arrive, his agents will all be amply ready for the service; and their master-strokes of wise policy, their moderation and dignified self-control, and [D627] their personal exemplification of every grace and virtue will attract men and quickly enlist them--chastened under the great tribulation--in active cooperation. Even before the disclosure of their identity, doubtless the people of Israel will have remarked their pre-eminence over other men.
Furthermore, let us remember that the very design of the great time of trouble, now nearing a culmination, is to break the stony hearts of the whole world, to bow down into the dust the proud, and break up the fallow ground with deep furrows of pain, trouble, sorrow, thus to make the world ready for the great blessings of the Millennial Kingdom. And it will serve its intended purpose: as the Prophet declares, "When thy judgments [Lord] are [abroad] in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." (Isa. 26:9) By that time all will have learned that selfish schemes and all schemes that can be devised and carried out by fallen men are defective, and lead only to various degrees of trouble and confusion. And all will by that time be longing for, but despairing of, a reign of righteousness --little realizing how near at hand it is.
Israel's long cherished hopes of the Kingdom will meantime be reviving amongst those who, from respect for the promises, shall have gathered to Palestine. When to these the ancient worthies shall declare their resurrection, and the form of righteous government to be established, the plan will undoubtedly be promptly recognized as of the Lord, and when they shall learn that the real Kingdom over them is the spiritual, and that Jesus the crucified is the King, and mentally, with the eye of faith, shall "look upon him whom they pierced"--then, "They shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem." And God "will pour upon the house of David and upon the [D628] inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplication." Zech. 12:10,11
The news of the discomfiture of the hosts of Gog and Magog, and of the wonderful deliverance of Israel from their enemies, will be speedily followed by the news of the appearance of their renowned "fathers," resurrected, and the establishment of a government with these at its head, and of the general conversion of Israel to the long rejected Messiah. And no doubt much of this will pass for a fraud amongst Gentiles: the Jews will be laughed at for being gullible, and the ancient worthies will be classed as shrewd impostors.
But the blessing attending the reorganization of government under the new auspices in Palestine, will work such wonderful and rapid changes in Israel's welfare as will astonish the then anarchistic and discouraged world, and lead many to think and to say--whether impostors or not, the work of these men who claim to be the resurrected prophets is the very one the world needs! Would to God they would take control of the whole world, and bring order and peace out of our universal disorder. And then they will send to have these wonderful "princes" extend everywhere their government, their yoke of righteousness, seen to be so beneficial to Israel. This is stated by the Prophet in the following words:
"It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain [Kingdom] of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains [as a Kingdom overtopping or overruling all kingdoms], and shall be exalted above the hills [the highest peaks]; and all nations shall flow 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 Kingdom-- the glorified Christ, head and body] shall go forth the law, [D629] and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [the seat of the earthly representative government in the hands of the "princes"]. And [previously--in the great time of trouble] he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people. And [as a result of the Lord's rebukes and subsequently his law and Word] they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." Isa. 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4
The Intimacy Between the Kingdom and Its
As we should expect, the communication between the two phases or parts of the Kingdom will be easy and direct; and thereby the supervision and instruction of mankind will be complete--the "princes" being the channels of divine communication. This seems to be the intimation of our Lord's words to Nathanael: "Hereafter ye shall see heaven opened, and the angels of God [the messengers of God, the "princes" of the new dispensation] ascending to and descending from the Son of Man." (John 1:51) Was not Jacob's dream of the ladder between heaven and earth, and the passing to and fro of messengers, a prophecy as well as a dream, foreshowing the coming close communication between the Heavenly Kingdom and the world, in which work, as one of the communicating messengers, Jacob himself was to have a share in the blessing of the world? We believe that it was so intended. Gen. 28:10-12
That Moses, the mediator of the Law Covenant, was a type of Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant, is clearly taught in the Scriptures and generally recognized by Bible students; but all have not recognized that Moses was a type of the entire Christ--head and body--and that in this sense the entire Gospel age has been the period of Christ's raising up. This, however, is the only application of the type which [D630] will fit in a number of cases: for instance, in Acts 3:22,23.
At the institution of the Law Covenant, at Mount Sinai, Moses seems to have been a type of the complete Christ (head and body) at the introduction of the Millennial age, when the New Covenant will be introduced to the world-- after "the sound of the great [seventh] trumpet," and the black darkness and "great earthquake," etc., of the Day of Vengeance shall have appalled mankind and made them ready to hear the voice of the Great Teacher, and glad to accept his New Covenant. This is distinctly pointed out by the Apostle (Heb. 12:18-22) who seems to mark every step of the parallelism. Israel had been approaching and had finally reached Mount Sinai, that might be touched, and from which such fearful sights and sounds emanated that all feared and quaked: but we are approaching Mount Zion and its wondrous glories and blessings far superior to those at Sinai; but accompanying these greater blessings will be the more terrible trumpet, blackness and earthquake shaking--the final shaking of all that can be shaken (all that is sinful and contrary to the divine will), that only that which is true and enduring may remain. The solution of the whole matter is in the words: "Wherefore we [who anticipate thus] receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably." Heb. 12:28
Continuing the examination of this illustration, we note that after this Moses went up into the Mount (Kingdom) and was glorified in type; that is, the skin of his face did shine so that Israel could not look at him. This would seem to typify the completion of the Church (Christ, head and body) in glory. And the veil which Moses afterward wore before the people, but laid off when with the Lord in the Mount would seem to typify the earthly phase of his Kingdom, the "princes in all the earth" through whom the [D631] Christ will speak to the people and be represented, the glory being hidden. This seems to be a striking illustration of the intimate relationship which will exist between the earthly "princes" and the heavenly Kings and Priests. Moses' going up into the mount to commune with God while the mountain was clothed in clouds flashing with lightning, and the earth quaked as the thunder rolled, represented the fact that the Body of Christ will be completed, the last members "changed" and received into the Kingdom at the time when the present order of things is being changed, in the midst of a great time of trouble such as earth has never yet experienced.
As the first tables of the Law that were broken represented the failure of the Law Covenant by reason of the "weakness of the flesh," so the second tables represent the New Covenant, of which Christ is the Mediator, and which will not fail. This New Covenant will become operative toward the world after the "Body of Christ" is complete. Meantime the electing of the members of the Great Prophet like unto Moses continues. (Acts 3:23) Now note the fact that it was when the second tables of the Law (representing the New Covenant) were delivered, that Moses was changed so that thereafter he wore a veil before the people, because his face shone.
The inauguration of the Kingdom will be accompanied with such awe-inspiring scenes as will cause the whole world to tremble with fear, and to gladly recognize the Anointed of the Lord as King of the whole earth. As Israel entreated that the Lord would not speak to them any more--by the terrible sights and sounds witnessed at Sinai-- so here, all peoples will desire to have the Lord Jehovah cease speaking to them in his wrath, and vexing them in his hot and just displeasure, and will be glad to hear instead the great Mediator, to recognize him as the King whom [D632] Jehovah sets over them--Immanuel; the great antitype of Moses--the veiled (hidden) Prophet, Priest and King. Compare Heb. 12:19and Psa. 2:5,6.
Israel shall be willing, anxious for the new Kingdom; as it is written, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." (Psa. 110:3) It will be just what Israel has waited for (blinded to the higher spiritual call of the Gospel age): only it will be much grander and more enduring than any thing they ever conceived of. Then a vast number of sadly misinformed partial-believers in Christ will say, "Have we not prophesied [preached] in thy name, and in thy name done many wonderful works?" (Matt. 7:21,22) These will not be recognized as the bride of Christ, but will be left to have part in the wailing and gnashing of teeth of the great time of trouble, and will doubtless become God's people instead of sectarians, and will be "willing in the day of his power." And indeed, very shortly, as our text declares, God's Kingdom will be recognized as "the desire of all peoples."
Moral and Social Reforms
The Law of the Lord which will then go forth from Mount Zion, the Kingdom, and be promulgated to all the people from Jerusalem, the world's New Capital, as the Word of the Lord by his "princes," will at once take hold of what are already recognized as "crying evils." Moral reforms will be instituted along all lines; financial, social and religious questions will all be recast in harmony with both Justice and Love. Judgment will be laid to the line, and righteousness to the plummet (Isa. 28:17); all of earth's affairs will be squared and plumbed with righteousness--and will be brought into strict conformity thereto.
How much this will signify as regards the suppression of [D633] all lines of business which tempt humanity by alluring and seducing through the weaknesses of their fallen natures and the unbalance of mental and moral qualities! The distillery, the brewery, the saloon, the brothel, the poolroom, all time-killing and character-depraving businesses will be stopped; and their servants will be given something to do that will be beneficial to themselves and others.
Similarly, the building of war-vessels, the manufacture of munitions of war and defense will cease, and armies will be disbanded. The new Kingdom will have no need of these, but will have abundant power to execute summary justice in the punishment of evildoers, when they have determined to act, but before they have done injury to others --for none shall injure or destroy in all the holy Kingdom (Isa. 11:9) except as the competent and righteous Judges shall cause the Second death to come upon the incorrigible. Isa. 32:1-8; 65:20-25; Psa. 149:9; 1 Cor. 6:2
The banking and brokerage business, and other like employments, very useful under present conditions, will no longer have a place; for under the new conditions the human race will be required to treat each other as members of one family, and private capital and money to loan and to be needed will be things of the past. Landlords and renting agencies will find new employments also, because the new King will not recognize as valid patents and deeds now on record. He will declare that when at Calvary he purchased Adam and his race, he purchased also Adam's dominion, the earth (Eph. 1:14): and he will apportion it, not to the selfish, avaricious and grasping merely, but its fattest places will be given to "the meek," according to his promise in the sermon on the mount. Matt. 5:5
"The spirit of the Lord shall be upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and of might, the spirit of knowledge and of reverence for Jehovah. And he shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of Jehovah: and he shall not judge according to the sight of his eyes, neither reprove according to the hearing of his ears: but with absolute correctness shall he judge the poor and remonstrate with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, faithfulness the girdle of his reins." Isa. 11:1-5
To some it might appear that this divine program will make the earth a Paradise for the poor, but a place of anguish to those now accustomed to luxury and to having an advantage over the majority, either because of good fortune or superior talents and opportunities, or by dishonest practices. But such should remember the words of the Judge, uttered eighteen centuries ago: "Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have your consolation. Woe unto you that are full [satisfied]! for ye shall hunger [be dissatisfied]." (Luke 6:24,25) At first these will be disposed to lament the loss of their advantages, and as now the godly rich find it difficult to enter into the condition of heart and life which will be rewarded with a share in Christ's Kingdom, so then, those previously accustomed to riches will find difficulties not experienced by those previously disciplined in the school of adversity.
But the inevitable leveling of society which will be accomplished by the anarchy of the Day of Vengeance must be accepted; and by and by (slowly in some, more quickly in others) the advantages of the reign of Love will be recognized and generally appreciated. It will be found that under the divine arrangement all may, if they will, be blessed, be truly happy, and go "up" on the highway of holiness to [D635] grand human perfection (God's image), and to everlasting life. (Isa. 35:8) What already is generally conceded, will be found absolutely correct; namely, that with present conveniences, if the whole people were put to work systematically and wisely, not more than three hours labor for each individual would be necessary. And under the guidance of the heavenly Kingdom the hours of release from toil will not work either moral or physical injury, as they would surely do under present conditions, with evil and temptation on every hand, to take advantage of inherited weaknesses.
On the contrary, when Satan is bound (evil restrained), and outward temptations removed, the hours of release will be spent, under the guidance of the glorified Church, in studies which will become more and more attractive and interesting--studies of Nature and of Nature's God, and of his glorious attributes--his Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power. And thus, pleasurably, they may progress toward human perfection--the end of their race or trial; for, be it remembered, the new government will not only take cognizance of the great affairs and interests of its subjects, but also of its smallest affairs. It will be a "paternal government" in the fullest sense of that term.
It might well be with serious apprehension that men would contemplate the establishment of the most autocratic government the world has ever known, in which the lives, property and every interest of all mankind will rest absolutely in the hands of the King, without appeal, were it not that we have the most absolute and convincing proofs that every regulation and arrangement of the Kingdom is designed for the benefit of its subjects. The King of that Mediatorial Kingdom so loved those over whom he is to reign that he gave his own life as their ransom price, to secure for them the right of an individual trial for everlasting life; [D636] and the very object of his Millennial reign is to assist them in that trial. What more could be asked? As the Redeemer, he has justly the right to control absolutely that which he purchased with his own blood; and all appreciating such love as he has manifested would if the question were left to their vote--which, however, it will not be, gladly accord to him all power and authority and promptly yield to his righteous will.
But the "saints" who shall be joint-heirs in the Kingdom, and associate judges--Can they be safely trusted with absolute, autocratic power?
Ah yes! as Christ Jesus proved that he had the Heavenly Father's spirit, and is "the express image of the Father's person," so all who will be of that "little flock," his joint-heirs in the Kingdom, will have been proved to have "the spirit of Christ"--the holy spirit of Love. It is one of the terms of their "call," that they should become "copies of God's dear Son," and none others will be accepted as having made their calling and election sure. Indeed, it is in order that they may be able to sympathize with those who will then be under their care and instruction, that these are being selected from among the weak and imperfect, and being taught what it is to fight a good fight for right and truth against error and sin. Yes, the under priests, as well as the Chief Priest, of the Royal Priesthood can be trusted without a fear. God will entrust the power to these and this is the best of guarantee that it will be used justly, wisely, lovingly --for the blessing of the world.
The Rule of the Iron Rod
The nations will be ruled by force, irresistible force, until righteous order is established by a general submission; every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess divine power and glory, and outward obedience will be compulsory. As it [D637] is written, "He shall rule the nations with a rod of iron, and as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers." (Rev. 2:27) This smiting and breaking properly belongs to the Day of Vengeance, and though the power and rod will still remain throughout the Millennial age, their use will probably be unnecessary, as all open opposition will be thoroughly rebuked in the great time of trouble. As the Prophet presents the matter, God in this smiting-time will be saying to babbling, clamoring, self-assertive humanity-- "Be still! and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the peoples, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psa. 46:10) It will, however, be the work of the entire Millennial age to "lay justice to the line and righteousness to the plummet" in all the little and great affairs of each individual of the race, all of whom will thus be "taught of God" through his "elect" Servant of the Covenant, the great Prophet, Priest and King (head and body): Prophet in the sense of teacher, King in the sense of governor, Priest in the sense of mediator who, having redeemed, is the advocate of the people and the dispenser of divine favor. The offices are united: "Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec"--who was a priest upon his throne. Heb. 7:17; Zech. 6:13; Acts 3:22; Deut. 18:15
As the personification of wisdom the new King declares-- "Counsel is mine and sound wisdom: I am understanding, I have strength. By me kings reign and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles: even all the judges of the earth [the earthly phase of the Kingdom]. I love them that love me; and they that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honor are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment, that I may cause those that love me to inherit a lasting possession; and [D638] their treasures will I fill...Whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord, but he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul; all they that hate me love death." Prov. 8:14-21,35,36
Israel an Illustration
Apparently the world will be given time to see in Israel the operation of divine government, and its practical benefits, in contrast with the then prevalent anarchy, so that the majority of all nations will "desire" the Kingdom rule. This is forcibly pictured in the prophetic words, addressed to Israel at that time:
"Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings [earth's principal ones] to the brightness of thy rising. [This will apply to the spiritual Israel, the Sun of Righteousness, but also to its earthly representatives--fleshly Israel restored to favor.]
"Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from afar, and thy daughters to be nursed at thy side. (Compare Ezek. 16:61.) Then shalt thou see and be filled with light, and thy heart will be awed and enlarged; because the abundance of the sea [the anarchistic masses--see Rev. 21:1] shall be converted unto thee, as well as the best of the Gentiles shall come unto thee...And they shall show forth the praises of the Lord." Isa. 60:1-6,11-20
Truly, that will be a glorious day of opening blinded eyes and turning many to righteousness! It will be a day of conversions and revivals along the lines of the truth and not along lines of fear and misrepresentation. It will be the time mentioned by the Prophet when "a nation shall be born in a day." (Isa. 66:8) Israel will be that nation; (1) Spiritual Israel, the "holy nation"; (2) Fleshly Israel, its earthly representative. And from Israel the light shall shine out which [D639] will bring the chastened world to its knees; and usher in the promised pouring out of the Lord's spirit of holiness "upon all flesh after those days," as it has been poured out upon his true servants and handmaids during these days. Joel 2:28
This is the Salvation day whereof the Prophet David sang (Psa. 118:18-27):
"This is the day which the Lord hath made;
We will be glad and rejoice in it!
The stone which the builders refused
Is become the Head stone of the Corner!
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.*
Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord!
O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
The Lord hath chastened me sore:
But he hath not given me over unto death.
Open to me the gates of righteousness:
I will go into them and I will praise the Lord.
This is the gate that leadeth to Jehovah;
All the righteous shall enter thereby.
I will praise Thee: for thou hast heard me
And art become my salvation:
God is the Lord, which hath showed us light."
*Compare Matt. 23:39.
Thus we see that the educational reforms and instructions of the future will begin with the hearts of men: They will start with the lesson, "The reverence of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Prov. 9:10) One of the great difficulties of present-day education, which tends to pride, arrogance and discontent, is its lack of this elementary wisdom. Every work of grace under the regulations of the Kingdom will be properly begun and thoroughly accomplished.
No creature of the redeemed race will be too low for divine grace to reach, through the all-powerful and blessed agency of the Kingdom. No degradation of sin will be too deep for the hand of mercy to fathom, to rescue the blood-bought [D640] soul; no darkness of ignorance and superstition will be so dense in any heart but that the light of divine truth and love will penetrate its gloom and bring to it a knowledge of the joy and gladness of the new day, and an opportunity to share the same by obedience. No disease that can attack and pollute the physical system will be beyond the prompt control of the Great Physician. And no deformity, or monstrosity, or superfluity, or redundancy, or mental imbecility will be able to resist his healing touch.
All in the Graves Shall Come Forth
The grand work of restitution, thus begun on the living nations, will presently extend to all the sleeping families of the earth; for the hour is coming, yea, is not far distant, when all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man, and shall come forth: "when death and hades [the grave] shall give up the dead which are in them; and the sea shall give up its dead." (John 5:28,29; Rev. 20:13) Yea, even the hosts of Gog and the sinners in Israel which will have perished in the battle of the great day, shall in due time come forth; not again as a devastating army of outlaws, but as chastened and repentant individuals, covered with shame and confusion of face in the light of that day, but to whom mercy will thus be shown, and an opportunity given to rise again to honor and virtue.
The resurrection of the ancient worthies, together with frequent restorations of the sick to health in answer to the prayer of faith, will probably, when men have had time to think, and to recover from the ravages of the great time of trouble, suggest to them the possibility of the resurrection of others--their friends and kindred--from death and the grave, in fulfilment of the promise of Christ that all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man, and shall come forth. And it is not an unreasonable suggestion [D641] that it may be in answer to the prayer of faith for the restoration of departed friends that this great work may begin and progress. We see a reasonableness in such a method which seems to commend it above others we might think of. For instance, it would recall the dead gradually, and in the reverse order from that in which they went down, and would thus provide homes and hearty welcomes, and the necessary comforts of life for the risen ones at once on their return to life; and such would thus be acquainted with the languages, manners and customs of those about them; while, if the order were reversed, the awakened ones would be quite unprepared in these respects for the new conditions, and would be entire strangers and uncongenial to the generation in the midst of which their new lot would be cast. These objections, however, would not hold good with the prophets and other ancient worthies, who, having served their probation, will be raised perfect men, and who as perfect men will be the intellectual, moral and physical superiors of all other men.
That all prayers for the restoration of departed friends
would be promptly answered, is not probable; for the Lord
will have definite plans for their restitution with which
some such requests might not be in harmony. His order will
probably be, as clearly indicated in the resurrection of the
Church and of the ancient worthies, the order of fitness--
the fitness both of the subjects of resurrection and of the
friends and conditions in the midst of which their new life
shall begin. This would necessitate a measure of preparation
on the part of those who would make such requests--a
preparation of heart and life, and of conditions favorable to
their advancement upon the highway of holiness. Thus
such restorations would become rewards of faithfulness to
the living, and would also secure favorable conditions for
the awakened ones.
The Glorious Prospect
What a glorious prospect the new dispensation will present when fully inaugurated! The changes from one dispensation to another in the past have been marked and prominent, but this change will be the most eventful of all.
No wonder that the thought of such a spectacle--of a whole race returning to God with songs of praise and everlasting joy upon their heads--should seem almost too good to believe; but he who has promised is able also to perform all his good pleasure. Though sorrow and sighing seem almost inseparable from our being, yet sorrow and sighing shall flee away; though weeping in sackcloth and ashes has endured throughout the long night of the dominion of sin and death, yet joy awaits the Millennial morning, and all tears shall be wiped from off all faces, and beauty shall be given for ashes, and the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness.
The Increase of His Kingdom
The Kingdom of God will spread or increase, in its various parts or divisions as do earthly governments, until it shall become "a great mountain [Kingdom] and fill the whole earth." (Dan. 2:35) To illustrate this: the Kingdom of Great Britain is primarily the reigning Sovereign and his household only; in a secondary sense it includes Parliament and the various Ministers of the government: in a still wider sense it includes every Britisher and every soldier who has sworn allegience to that kingdom; and still more remotely it includes all the conquered subjects of the realm, in India and elsewhere, who are not in open defiance of the laws of that kingdom.
So with the Kingdom of God: primarily it is the Kingdom of the Father, which rules over all (Matt. 13:43; 26:29); but the Father has voluntarily proposed to place [D643] the dominion of earth for a thousand years under the full charge of a Viceroy, a Vicegerent--Christ and his bride exalted to the divine nature and majesty--to subjugate and destroy evil and to lift up all who will come to full harmony with the Father under the gracious conditions of the New Covenant. In a secondary sense it will include the earthly ministers or "princes" who will be its visible representatives among men. In a still wider sense it will include all those who, when they recognize its establishment, will render to it loyal submission and devotion--both Jews and Gentiles. In the widest sense it will gradually include all subjects who obey its laws, while all others will be destroyed. Acts 3:23; Rev. 11:18
This will be the status of the vice-royal Kingdom of God at the close of its appointed thousand years' reign--a conquered peace and enforced reign of righteousness will prevail, all wilful opponents having been destroyed under the rule of the iron rod (Rev. 2:27); as it is written by the Prophet Isaiah describing this period: "The sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed [cut off]"; though dying at that age he would be but a child; because by even outward obedience to the reasonable and just arrangements of the Kingdom, he might live at least to the end of the Millennium. Isa. 65:20; Acts 3:23
But such a peace--a conquered and enforced peace and obedience--although proper, in order to furnish an illustration proving the blessings and advantages of a righteous and equitable government, is far from God's ideal. God's ideal Kingdom is one in which each individual is free to do his own will, because each has a will that is in strict conformity to the divine standard--loving righteousness and hating iniquity. This standard must ultimately prevail throughout the universe; and it will be introduced as respects [D644] mankind at the close of the vice-royal Millennial Kingdom.
Accordingly we are shown (Rev. 20:7-10) that at the close of the Millennial age there will be a "harvest" time, for sifting and separating amongst the billions of human beings then living, each of whom will have enjoyed a full opportunity of attaining perfection. This will be similar to the present sifting of "Babylon," "Christendom," in this "harvest" time; and similar also to the sifting work in the "harvest" of the Jewish age. The harvest of the Millennial age will witness the complete separation of the "goats" from the Lord's "sheep," as represented in our Lord's parable. Matt. 25:31-46
But while the results of the Jewish and Gospel "harvests" each show only a little flock gathered, and the great masses unworthy, because up to the present time Satan deceives and blinds the masses of mankind, we may not unreasonably expect that the results of the Millennial age "harvest" will show reversed results--the masses being loyal "sheep" to be ushered into life-everlasting, and the comparative minority "goats" to be destroyed. However, not numbers, but quality, is the Lord's test. His guarantee is that sin and sinners and those who sympathize with evil shall not go beyond the Millennium, to endanger the happiness and peace and blessedness of the great eternity beyond--where "There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away." Rev. 21:4
Thus shall God's Kingdom come, and his will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Thus shall the Christ reign as the Father's vicegerent until he shall have put down all antagonistic authority and power, and caused every knee to bow and every tongue to confess the Wisdom, Justice, Love [D645] and Power of God the Father. And finally, having manifested, by the last crucial test at the close of the Millennium, all who have even a sympathy for sin, though outwardly obedient; and having destroyed these from among the people (Rev. 20:9), he shall surrender to the Father the vice-royal dominion. Thus the Apostle expresses the matter:
"He must reign until he shall have put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be subjugated is [Adamic] death. Then cometh the end [of his reign; it having accomplished its object] when he [Christ] shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when he [Christ] shall have put down all [opposing] rule and all authority and power...When all things shall be subjected unto him [the Father], then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him [the Father] which did subject all things under him [for the thousand years]." 1 Cor. 15:24-28
Will God's will cease to be done in earth as in heaven when Christ's Millennial Kingdom terminates? Oh no! Quite to the contrary, that condition will only then be attained, as the result of Christ's reign. By that time all men will not only be perfect, as Adam was when created (wilful sinners having been destroyed), but additionally they will have a knowledge of the goodness of righteousness and of the exceeding sinfulness and injuriousness of sin; and they will have successfully passed their trial and demonstrated that they have fully and definitely formed characters in fullest harmony with and likeness to the divine character.
The Kingdom of God will then be among men as it is now in heaven among the angels; the special features of Christ's Mediatorial Kingdom with its provisions of mercy, under the New Covenant, for the weaknesses of sinners, will be at an end; useless, because there will no longer be weak and imperfect beings to profit by it. [D646]
We can readily suppose, however, that even when all are perfect and in God's image, order will still be maintained; for as "order is heaven's first law," so it should also be earth's first law. And this will imply righteous principalities and powers. There, will be the first thoroughly successful Republic. Present attempts to recognize every man as a king, and the equal of every other man, and the chosen representative or President a servant of fellow kings, rather than a lord, have all proven failures in varying degrees; because men are not equals mentally, physically and morally, nor in financial and other respects; and because none are really fit to be sovereigns, but on account of weaknesses all now need to be under laws and restraints.
But when that which is perfect shall have been attained for mankind, by the Mediatorial Kingdom, they will be all kings as was Adam before he sinned. And to these kings, unitedly, will be delivered the post-Millennial Kingdom of God; and all shall reign harmoniously under the law of Love, and their President will serve and represent them. O Lord, we pray, Thy Kingdom Come! for thy present saints' sake and for the world's sake.