The Kingdom in Mystery.  - Pages 3 - 10






Exceptional Passages.  - Pages 11 - 28






The Kingdom Personal.   - Pages 29 - 42






The Kingdom Future.  - Page 43 - 60





Jewish Aspect of the Kingdom.  - Page 61 - 75






Its Heavenly Aspect.  - Page 76 - 91






Kingdom of Justice and Reward.  - Page 92 - 99






Seek the Kingdom.  – Page 100 - 122






Baptism and the Kingdom.  - Page 123 - 133






The Passover, Lord’s Supper, and Kingdom.  - Page 134 - 154



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THERE are few subjects which penetrate so deeply into the doctrine and practice of the New Testament as that of “The Kingdom of Heaven,” or “THE KINGDOM OF GOD.”  It seems to me, that there are also few subjects on which clear and true views would be more beneficial to the church.


What then was the Lord’s testimony concerning it in the Old Testament?


In Isaiah 2 it was foretold, that the temple should in that day be lifted up on a height conspicuous from afar, and that the nations should journey thereto.  Jerusalem should be the place where God’s word would be taught, and whence it would go forth.  The Lord should rule the nations; and as the result of His righteous rebukes, peace should be established everywhere.  The weapons of war should be forged into the tools of peace, as no longer needed for the destruction of men, or the defence of life and property.  Israel should walk in the light of God’s countenance.  Was this fulfilled by the Gospel?


Only so far, that the doctrines of Christ were sent forth from Jerusalem.  But the other points have not been fulfilled; there is scarce a semblance of their fulfilment.


[Page 2]  Take, as a second passage, Isaiah 11.  This prophetical chapter testifies of the rise of Jesus as the descendant of David, and of the resting of the [Holy] Spirit of God upon Him.  This was accomplished at the Saviour’s baptism.  He spake not after the sight of His eyes, nor after the hearing of His ears: but full of the [Holy] Spirit of God, He detected the wiles of the Pharisees, and read the hearts both of His followers and of His foes.


But there is no fulfilment as yet of verses 4 to 16.  There it is promised, that justice shall be the principle of His reign; and by Him shall be slain the Wicked One, the Man of Sin: 4, 5.  By Him shall the wild animals be tamed, and poisonous serpents deprived of their venom 6, 9.  Jesus shall be set as the centre of the nations; “and His rest shall be glory:” 10.  This rest, as Paul teaches (Heb. 4: 10) has yet to come.  In that day Israel shall be delivered from their exile, and restored to the land of promise.  The ten tribes and the two shall no longer form two hostile nations: 10, 14.  God will put forth His hand in visible might upon the N. W. arm of the Red Sea, and dry it up.  He shall divide the Euphrates into seven streams, that it may be forded with ease by returning Israel, as once of old the Jordan was passed by a like miracle: 15, 16.


Has the Gospel fulfilled these things?  Not at all!  But they will hereafter be fulfilled; although they are not yet, because of Israel’s unbelief.  God foretold the evil day of the blindness of the Jew, in the vision granted to Isaiah in the temple: Isa. 6.  To this passage both Jesus and the apostles frequently refer.


A SECRET OR “MYSTERY of God was to intervene, before the promises were fulfilled to Israel.  Before Messiah was revealed on earth, God designed that Messiah should be concealed on high, testified of to the Gentiles, and believed in by the elect from both Jews and Gentiles, who constitute the church or body of Christ.


Hence there are two states of the kingdom: (1) THE KINGDOM IN MYSTERY; and (2) THE KINGDOM IN [Page 3] MANIFESTATION.  Let us then first consider The Kingdom in Mystery.


Jesus, heralded by John the Baptist, appears on the earth as the Lord’s Anointed one.  But the more He manifests Himself in doctrine and miracle, the more do the unbelief and rejection of Israel and its leaders display themselves.  Twice do the Pharisees blaspheme the Holy Spirit, by whom Jesus was anointed: Matt. 9: 34; 12: 24.  Jesus testifies on the second occasion, that this is the unpardonable sin.  He thereupon casts off the ties of the flesh: he owns no more even the bonds of His family. The ties He allows are those of the [Holy] Spirit alone.  Mary is no more now than any other of those obedient to the Word of God.  Jesus at once takes up a new position; beginning to speak on the sea, yet near the shore.  He leaves also His old form of direct teaching; putting a veil on His face, as it were, by using parables.  For the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was the proof of Israel's fore­told blindness: Isa vi. They heard Messiah, yet un­derstood Him not: they saw His person, and yet recognized Him not.  Hence Jesus speaks in parables, which they heard indeed, but their spiritual meaning they did not apprehend.


Israel was then divided into two portions: (1) the elect out of it; (2) and the body of the nation, blinded: Isa. 8: 12-18.  The fathers earnestly desired to see and hear Messiah come in the flesh; but the nation refused Him when He appeared in wisdom and in miracle.  Blessed nevertheless were they, whose eyes and hearts were opened so to believe and obey.  This was the occasion of fulfilling one of Messiah’s perfections, that He should be like Joseph, a revealer of secrets. (Matt. 13: 34-35).  Where was it so predicted?  In Psalm 78: 2.  That Psalm describes Israel in early days as rejected for their unbelief; and as provoking God, in spite of His many mercies to them in Egypt and the desert.  For their sins in Canaan the Lord delivered them over to their foes, till, for His own glory’s sake, He arose and destroyed [Page 4] those who oppressed them.  Then ensued a change in His plan.  He gave up Shiloh, as the place of His abode, and chose Judah and Jerusalem, giving to His people David to be their king.  Promoted from the lowest of stations, he guides the flock of God at length with integrity and skill.


Now this history was also further typical of God’s purposes in the future.  Israel was a second time to be cast off for their unbelief, trespasses and blasphemy, in spite of greater goodness on God’s part.  There is to be a future giving of them up to their enemies, in the latter day of Great Tribulation; and a second and final deliverance of them.  Then Judah is to be brought into prominence, with the exaltation of the temple and the glory of the land under the better covenant yet to be made.  The Psalm ends with the choice of David, his integrity and skill.  Through him peace is brought to God’s long-rebellious, long-chastened nation.  Thus at length the kingdom shall be given into the hand of the true Son of David, more skilful of hand and more upright of heart.  And that is the cessation alike of Israel’s sins, and of their punishments.


Let us now consider the seven parables which Jesus uttered on this occasion: Matt. 13.  They seem divided into groups of 1 + 3 + 3=7.  First stands the Sower, in some respects apart from the rest.  Then come three connected together:- the Tares, the Mustard Seed, and the Leaven.  Lastly we have the three delivered to the disciples alone in the house: the Hid Treasure, the Pearl, and the Drag-net.


These parables contain “mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, v, 2; or taken generally they describe “the mystery of the Kingdom of God:” (Mark 4: 11,) as the opposite to its manifestation.


1. The SOWER tells of the present time, of “the Word of the Kingdom:” (v, 19) not of its sceptre dashing foes in pieces.  Jesus is represented in it as the Man of Peace, sowing the Word of God, uttering [Page 5] the goodness of the Kingdom.  This parable then discloses the hindrances to the reception of the testimony of God concerning the millennium, arising from the world, the flesh, and the devil.


Among those who listen to the tidings of the Kingdom of Glory to come, the Saviour discerned four classes.


(l.) The men of the wayside; these do not even understand the doctrine presented, and Satan removes the truth from their hearts.  There can be no fruits of the Kingdom, where the Kingdom itself is not understood.


(2) The men of the rocky ground.  These for awhile believe: their souls kindle with the bright pictures of glory which shall burst forth in that day.  But when they find that persecution is to be endured on the way to it, their enthusiasm is gone; the flesh is overcome by a frowning world without.


(3) The thorny ground represents those who are deceived by the lusts of the soul from within.  Cares, riches, and pursuits of this present age overbear the pursuit and desire of the age of glory to come.  Wrestling for the prize demands an undivided heart.


(4) There remains, therefore, only the good ground.  Such receive it in their understanding, and pursue the glory set before them with steadfastness and patience [perseverance].  Even among these, however, there are great varieties of faithfulness; some bearing more than three times as much as others.  For as star differeth from star in glory, so also is the resurrection of the dead.


As long, then, as this parable shall be descriptive of our times, or the Kingdom in mystery, so long the world cannot be converted by the Gospel.  Not one half even hear the tidings, and out of that one half, only one class in four answers to the design of God in giving that testimony


2. Pass we next to the parable of the Mustard Seed: for I reserve the consideration of the Wheat and Tares to the last.  In the Mustard Seed, Jesus foretells, that out of His lowly, unworldly doctrine so opposed to the greatness of the flesh, there would spring up a great worldly system, the rulers of which would aspire to be the equals of the kings of the earth in their power, pomp, pride, and war.  As the consequence of this evil growth, Satan and his angels - those enemies of the Sower - would enter, and take possession of it.  How this has been fulfilled, most signally at Rome, in the Pope and his Cardinals, all know.  But, in inferior degree, the same principles are at work, wherever religion becomes nationalized.  Then, the ministers of the Gospel become transformed, more or less, into the great of the earth, and become joint rulers of the world.


3. In the Leaven, we behold the inward state of that which now calls itself Christ’s Kingdom, or “Christendom!”  The Mustard Seed disclosed its outward aspect; this tells us that the pure doctrines of Christ would be debased and corrupted by the leaven of the flesh and of the world.  By the woman we are to understand Rome - the great city that was ruling the kings of the earth, when the latest prophecy was given.  Through Rome’s agency and influence, false doctrine, idolatries, and all manner of corruptions, have been introduced into the professing nations of Christendom.  How the leaven is spreading in our day, needs none to point out.  And Jesus foretells, that this process will advance, till at length all so-called Christian nations in Europe, Asia, and Africa will accept false Christianity in preference to the true.  Here is a secret of God, which multitudes will not believe.


4. The parable of the Treasure Hid in the field discovers to us Jesus as the Son of Man, winning for Himself the right to the Millennial Kingdom.  This is the treasure which He finds in the World.  But He surrenders this right, and conceals for a time the glory which has inspired His heart, because a greater scheme has presented itself to Him - the redemption of the world by His death.


5. The Pearl exhibits to us the Jew as a the seeker [Page 7] after righteousness through law; but the Gospel reveals to him the perfect righteousness of Messiah; whereupon he abandons his own righteousness to obtain that of Christ.  For a perfect key to this parable the reader has but to consult Phil. 3.


6. Next follows the parable of the Dragnet.  It describes in emblem the judgment of the Gentiles, or living nations of the globe, by the word of God given to Abraham concerning himself and his posterity, Gen. 12: 3.  At length the time is come, that Christ judges the nations; and they are blessed or cursed according as they have blessed or cursed the natural seed of Abraham.  This parable, then, is parallel with that of the Sheep and Goats.  As the word of the Lord went forth from the Promised Land, so there at length the judgment of the Gentiles by the word of Christ, and by the agency of angels, takes effect.  The evil are taken from among the righteous, the righteous obtain a portion in the earth: the evil are cast into Gehenna of fire.  This judgment takes place at the end of this present evil age.


7. Let us consider, lastly, the parable of the Wheat and Tares.  This parable presents both aspects of the kingdom: first, the kingdom in mystery, then as manifested in judgment by Christ and His angels.


Jesus is here, also, the Sower; “the field is the world.”  The Lord predicts the marring of His work, by Satan’s raising up counterfeit Christians.  The evil work of the Deceiver is not to be repaired in this present age.  How then can a glorious and pure Church at length appear on earth, - as so many anticipate?


The confusion arising out of the presence and agencies of true and false Christians side by side is to continue till Jesus appears to judge.  No efforts of true disciples to exterminate mere professors are sanctioned by Christ.  Both are to grow together in the world, till the angels sever the two parties for their eternal destinations.  Judgment does not belong to the present season of mystery and mercy.  But at the Saviour’s [second] advent the visible and forcible interference of angels will close the [Page 8] present scene of God’s patience.  The harvest is the period of judgment, which finishes the kingdom in mystery.  Then occurs the placing of the wheat and tares in their fitting portion, during the kingdom in manifestation.


This parable, then, is peculiarly valuable, as presenting at one view both aspects of the kingdom - (1) its MYSTERY, and (2) its MANIFESTATION.


(1) During the first period, mercy reigns, and the tares and the wheat are allowed by God to run to seed; for it is the season of grace.  Disciples’ efforts to introduce judgment into the period of grace are forbidden.


(2) But, at length, the end of the age comes, and the Saviour sends out of the heaven his angels, instructing them to clear the earth both of the wicked and of their instruments of wickedness.  Then the earth becomes the manifest kingdom of the Son of Man.  The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all stumbling-blocks (Greek) and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire.”  Here is the earthly department of the millennial kingdom.  But our Lord adds, “Then shall the righteous shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”  Here is the sphere of those risen [out] from the dead, or the heavenly department of the millennial kingdom.  The same two departments are recognised by the Holy Ghost in 1 Cor. 15.  There are also celestial bodies (heavenly), and bodies terrestrial (earthly); but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.  There is one glory of the sun, and another of the moon, and another of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory.  So also is the resurrection from the dead.” 1 Cor. 15: 40-42.


The Drag-net, I observe, gives only the earthly department of the kingdom in manifestation.


How then were the disciples to regard these new discoveries of the Saviour about the kingdom of God?  Did they, or did they not, set aside what they had learned and what the scribes still taught? assuming, as [Page 9] both parties did, the literality of the prophecies of the Old Testament.


The Saviour’s reply to this is given in ver. 52.  After he had learned from the apostles that they understood these parables, he adds, “Therefore every scribe instructed in* the kingdom of heaven is like to a householder who bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.”


[* The true reading …]


In those countries there are fruits which are good for food, both when fresh, and in their dried state.  So the householder could draw forth out of his closet both grapes just gathered, and also the raisins of last year; he could set side by side upon the table at one meal, both figs fresh plucked, and dried figs out of his stores.


Now, in God’s sight and estimation, the law is the old thing, the Gospel the new, Heb. 8: 13; 9: 15; Matt. 9: 17.  The teacher then who shall truly understand the kingdom of God will have two classes of prophecy concerning it.  There will be the Old Testament view of the kingdom of glory, and also the New Testament view.  Jesus teaches us, then, that neither of these classes of prophecy makes void, or clashes with, the other: the dry figs and the fresh are alike good and healthful.  Neither is to banish the other from the table of the children of the kingdom.  The Jew was right in interpreting literally the prophets of old, concerning a day to come; the Christian is right in interpreting the Saviour’s parables now spoken, as referring mainly to the present dispensation of mystery.


Each class is quite distinct from the other: they are really two classes of fruit, though they spring from the same tree.  The new fruit has a taste different from the old.


Hence we may notice the mistake of the anti-millenarian.  He would prove, if he could, that there is but one class of prophecy, not two.  To him, Old Testament prophecy speaks of the Church and its glory, as well as the New Testament.  He does not discern between the [Page 10] earthly promises made to the Jew, and the heavenly ones made to the Church.  He perceives not the distinction between the kingdom in mystery and the parables which describe it on the one hand; and the kingdom in manifestation with the Old Testament teachings about it, on the other.


The Israelite prophets will be fulfilled when the glory comes to the earth.  These parables tell of the deferring of the kingdom of glory, because of the unbelief of the nation to whom those promises belong.  Now this unbelief of Israel introduces a new body, the Church of Christ; and the Saviour’s parables discover what would fill up the time of God’s patience before the kingdom comes in its glory.


Let us then carefully distinguish between the old things of the kingdom, and the new!  Let us seek the promises of the heavenly kingdom, not the pleasures and rewards of the present evil age!



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BY “the kingdom of heaven,” or “the kingdom of God,”* is meant generally, and when no notes of exception are attached, the millennial kingdom, or the kingdom in manifestation.  But Christians usually seize upon the exceptional passages, which treat of the kingdom in mystery, and make them the key to interpret the others, to the production of great confusion on the subject.  The interpreting concerning the kingdom of grace what God has spoken of the kingdom of glory, introduces great darkness into the clear teachings of our Saviour.  I will, therefore, with the Lord’s blessing, consider the passages which have been, and which are, so many stumbling-blocks in the way of a true understanding of the subject.


[* There is a slight distinction between these two phrases.  The “kingdom of heaven,” means generally the millennial kingdom. “The kingdom of God,” includes that, but in its principles stretches onward to that which succeeds the millennium, and lasts forever.]


There are, then, about a hundred and fifty passages which speak of the kingdom of God.  Out of these there are five, besides those of Matt. 13, which are ordinarily made use of to establish the rule by which the others are to be interpreted.  They are 1 Cor. 4: 20; Col. 1: 13; Rom. 14: 17; John 18: 36; and Luke 17: 20.  We will consider each in turn.


1. “The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power1 Cor. 4: 20.


This passage may refer to either aspect of the kingdom; but it applies most forcibly and fully to the millennial kingdom.  When Paul preached, miracle attended the word; and the power put forth in connection [Page 12] with the, word of the kingdom was a testimony given by God to the might of the kingdom hereafter to be manifested in the throne by Jesus as the Son of Man.  We advance to the second passage.



2. “Giving thanks to the Father who made* us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, who delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us

into the kingdom of his dear Son:” Col. 1: 12, 13.



[* Omit the “hath,” as the verbs are in the Aorist.]


This passage describes the position given to every member of Christ as soon as he believes.  Now is the time of the kingdom of Satan; and to it each child of the Wicked One belongs.  Matt. 4: 8, 9, 12: 24-30; Rev. 12: 3, 9; Eph. 6: 11-16.


But by the regeneration of the Holy Ghost each believer is transferred from Satan’s kingdom to Christ’s kingdom in mystery. But, whether he shall enter the kingdom in manifestation is another question, which is made to depend on his conduct during the present period of grace.  That it is possible for him to be excluded the future [millennial] kingdom appears from the same epistle.  God’s design is to present you holy, and unblameable, and unreprovable in His sight, “If ye continue in the faith grounded and, settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard,” 1: 22, 23.  See also 2: 8, 18-23.


Let us take the third passage.



3. “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Rom. 14: 17.



This passage may refer to each aspect of the kingdom.


1.  If we refer it to the kingdom in mystery, it signifies that service to Christ now has nothing to do with the ancient distinction about solid and liquid food.  Those ordinances of the flesh were but “imposed till the time of reformation,” which is now come, Heb. 9: 10.  [Page 13] What then are the great essentials of the kingdom now?


(1) “Righteousness,” or the observance of what is due to God in Christ, to the Church, and to the world.


(2) “Peace,” for a contentious spirit is not the Spirit of Christ.  As our God has given us peace within, so are we to seek to promote peace without, both in the Church and the world.


(3) “Joy in the Holy Ghost,” is the third temper which should be especially characteristic of the Christian.  Our joy is not that of nature, not derived from the flesh or the world; but it arises from sin forgiven, present privileges, and the hopes of the kingdom, taught by the indwelling Spirit of God.


2. But we may also interpret the words of the kingdom in manifestation.  And this I consider the preferable view.  Then the meaning will be this: ‘The kingdom of glory will indeed contain and use meats and drinks, as the present kingdoms of the world do.  These things form part of the promise to Israel: “In this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined,” Isa. 25: 6.  I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine for which thou hast laboured; but they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness,” Isa. 62: 8, 9; Amos 9: 14.  The twelve shall “eat and drink,” says Jesus, “at my table in my kingdom,” Luke 22: 30.  But these things will not be the prevailing characteristics of the kingdom in manifestation.  Its great superiority to all previous kingdoms will consist in the spiritual tempers wrought in the possessors of the kingdom of God.


1. Other kingdoms have been and are full of iniquity, both toward God and man.  They have been full of injustice in commerce, and in law, within their own internal circuit; unjust also in their relations to other nations.  But God’s [millennial] kingdom to come shall be a kingdom [Page 14] of righteousness administered by the righteous, and cutting off the transgressor.


2. Other kingdoms have been full of the spirit of war, and number up their discoveries of destroying weapons, and their victories, as their glory.  But under the dominion of the Prince of Peace, [a lasting]peace” shall be established over all the world. Isa. 2.


3. Previous empires have been full of vanity and vexation of spirit, of sorrow and of judgments upon sin.  Their joys have been derived from the flesh, and therefore unsatisfying.  But the kingdom in manifestation shall be full of “joy” in the promises of God, and of a sense of His favour, taught by the Holy Ghost.


This interpretation proceeds upon the same principle which must be applied to Matt. 9: 13: “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.”  Those words did not signify, that after that oracle was given sacrifices were to cease.  They intended only, that when the ritual clashed with the moral, God preferred the moral element to the exactness of ceremony.  And the Holy Ghost, in our passage from Romans, instructs us that if the [millennial] kingdom of glory is to boast of these principles as its great characteristic superiorities, so are these things to be our choice now; for the Church is the witness to the world of the kingdom to come.


We will now consider the fourth passage:-



4. “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world,

then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews;

but now is my kingdom not from hence:” John 18: 36.



On this, most opponents of the millennial reign rest; but it gives no shelter to such opposition.  Nor does it refer to the present kingdom in mystery.


Jesus was rejected by the Jews; they had led Him to Pilate.  Pilate inquired, if Jesus were the king of the Jews?  This related to a literal reign on earth - an empire, in the same sense as that of Tiberius Caesar.  The Saviour answers by the inquiry, whether He had given the governor any occasion, by political misconduct [Page 15] on His part, to ask the question?  Had He been guilty of any seditious practices against the empire of Rome?  Or was the question merely one put into His mouth by enemies?  Pilate’s reply implies that he had no belief in Jewish expectations, and entertained no suspicion of any mal-practices against Rome on the Saviour’s part.  The accusers of His own nation had suggested the inquiry; and Pilate would now like to know what Jesus had to say in answer.


Our Lord makes reply, that His kingdom is not to spring out of the earth, nor to be set up by the force of human arms.  If it had been so, He would have commissioned His apostles to fight on His behalf, thus escaping the arrest of the Jews.  The Redeemer’s kingdom of heaven is set up by “the armies of heaven,” not by the hosts of earth: Rev. 19.  The Saviour owns that He was a King, and the King of the Jews; and for this confession He was sentenced to death by Pilate.


The ordinary misinterpretation of this passage arises out of the ambiguity of the little word “of;” “MY kingdom is not of this world.”  That is, it is supposed to mean, ‘It is a spiritual kingdom, a rule over the spirits of believers, the King being all the while invisible, and at a distance; not a personal, visible rule over men, whether foes or friends.’


But the passage really speaks of the source of the Saviour’s kingdom, as a glance at the Greek will show.*  My kingdom is not out of this world: if my kingdom had been out of this world, then would my servants fight,” as all kingdoms owning an earthly source demand of their subjects.  The closing words assure us of this sense: “But now is my kingdom not from hence.”  For its source is heavenly.


When Jesus’ kingdom is manifested it is a kingdom of the world, in the sense usually given here.  For it is written: “The seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven saying, The kingdoms of this [Page 16] world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ: Rev. 11: 15. ‑


The fifth passage is:‑



5.  The kingdom of God cometh not with observation; neither shall they say, Lo here! or Lo there! for behold the kingdom of God is within you:” Luke 17: 20, 21.



This is the strongest passage adduced by those who regard the kingdom of God as the Gospel.  They connect the last clause with the first, by supposing that the word translated “observation” signifies “with outward show.”  But the word never has such meaning: it imports the waiting or watching for anything.  Thus, “They watched the gates day and night:” Acts 9: 24.  They watched him, whether he would heal:” Luke 6: 7.


What, then, is the meaning of the passage?- “The kingdom of God cometh not with waiting for it, neither shall they say, ‘Lo here!’ or ‘Lo there!’ for behold the kingdom of God is within you.”


1.  Does not this teach that the attempt to behold the kingdom of God as a something visible, external, and future, is vain?  Does it not teach, that the kingdom of God is present, inward, and invisible, so completely as to prove those to be in error who direct us to expect it as one day visibly to appear in our world?’


Our answer hereto begins by observing, that the words form part of a discourse of Jesus, which extends from Luke 17: 20, to 18: 8.  It is parted into two great divisions: one addressed to the Saviour’s unbelieving foes, the other to His faithful servants.


Now the objection is taken from that part which is addressed to our Lord’s enemies:‑


And when he was demanded of [by] the Pharisees, ‘When the kingdom of God is coming?’ (Greek) he answered them and said: ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with waiting, nor shall they say, Lo here! or Lo there! for behold the kingdom of God is within you.’”


What then is the sense of the expression, “within [Page 17] you?”  There are two meanings usually given.  The kingdom is -


(1) “Among you.” – ‘Jesus, the King of the kingdom, was then present, and His subjects were in their midst.’  But this is not the New Testament sense of the Greek words.


(2) In Matthew 23: 26, we have a like expression:- “Blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” Here the word signifies the interior as opposed to the exterior.*  Jesus then affirms that the kingdom, as at present existing, is internal and invisible - it belongs, to a man’s inward parts.  That is the view of the kingdom which Jesus exhibits to His bitter enemies, who probably put the inquiry by way of taunt.  His reply, then, is one of studied obscurity.  He tells them - [His enemies] - it was vain [for them] to be expecting the kingdom as something future, outward, and visible, because they had not the inward preparation for it.  In the same way He addressed Nicodemus, [when he was] the unconverted Pharisee- “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God:” John 3: 3.  Here is the same sentiment.  It is vain for [unregenerate and disobedient] unbelievers to be inquiring about a future kingdom of glory, when they lack the present [and basic] preparation, of whose necessity the Kingdom of Grace teaches.  Suppose that during the time of the Indian mutiny her Majesty had proposed to visit Calcutta, and that the story had gone largely abroad.  Some rebel sepoys in jail are very curious to inquire of the governor when the Queen is coming.  He answers, “When she may come is of no consequence to you, for you will be hung ere she arrives.”  Just so the [unregenerate and] unconverted vainly inquire about a kingdom in which they will have no part, because they lack the spiritual inward qualifications necessary for it.


[* It answers to [the Greek word ] in the Septuagint.]


This is the first division of the Saviour’s reply.  But when Jesus turns to His friends, He speaks of the kingdom as future, visible, and [upon this earth which is] to be expected.






But he said unto the disciples, The days will come when ye will desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it; and they shall say to you, See here, or, See there; go not after them, nor follow them; for as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven, so shall also the Son of man be in his day.  But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of [by] this generation.”


This passage, and the whole of the discourse, is to be interpreted by the fuller disclosures of the Lord’s prophecy on Olivet.  He here foretells a period of persecution to His disciples.  They would be looking anxiously for the Lord’s personal and visible return, to put a stop to the tribulation suffered: even as Daniel had foretold,- “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High [of the heavenlies,] and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom:” Dan. 7: 21, 22.  Here is the same view of the [millennial] kingdom, as future and visible; but they would long wait for it in vain.  They would long for “the Son of man” to come in the clouds of heaven, to take the kingdom promised Him; but they would long wait in vain.


During that period of suffering there would arise false Christs; and their adherents would promise the disciples that they would discover to them the Son of man, for whose advent and kingdom they were watching.  One would tell them that the Christ was in this spot, another, in that; thus, the opposite to that word which was uttered to the foes of Christ, would befall His friends.  The Pharisee should not hear, “Lo here, or Lo there,” but the Lord’s friends would.  They, however, who had the preparation for the kingdom in their own souls, were not to credit these promises.  So Jesus, in the prophecy on Olivet, after describing the time of great tribulation, adds, “Then, if any shall [Page 19] say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not; for there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  Behold, I have told you before.  Therefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in th e desert! go not forth; Behold, he is in the secret chambers! believe it not; for as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming [presence] of the Son of Man be.”


In other words, any one who, in those days of trouble, should attempt to point out to [any remaining - (See, Luke 21: 34-36; Rev. 3: 10) - Christian and] Jewish disciples the Christ as somewhere in secret on the earth, was to be refused as a liar; for when the great Lord of the kingdom comes, it will be with a sudden and instant appearing of glory in the sky.  Does any require us to point out to him the lightning?  Nay, by its excessive and instant splendour, filling at once the whole vault of heaven, it attracts and fills every eye.  But Jesus observes that two great events* had yet to precede this His return in glory. 1. “He must suffer many things.”  This was fulfilled in our Lord’s betrayal, crucifixion, death.  2. “And be rejected by this generation.”  The Jews rejected our Lord then; the Gentiles have yet to reject Him.  Then sin will be at its height, and Jesus will come, as the Son of man, to smite His enemies, and to set up His kingdom.


[* We could also add a third event: 3. Apostasy amongst many of the regenerate, (Acts 20: 25-30; Jude 11; 2 John 7-10; 2 Tim. 4: 1-4; 1 Tim. 4: 1; 6; 10, etc.]


As Jesus must suffer and be rejected before He takes His kingdom, so must it be with the disciple also, if he is to reign with Christ.*


[* See, Rom. 8: 17b; 2 Tim. 3: 12; 1 Pet. 4: 13.]


We come now to the Third Section of this prophecy ‑THE DAYS OF NOAH AND LOT.






1. “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.  hey were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark: and the flood came, and destroyed them all.


[Page 20] 2. “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot.  They were eating, were drinking, were buying, were selling, were planting, were building; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom,

it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed all; even thus shall it be

in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”



Both these paragraphs speak of Jesus’ return in person.  But they have reference to two different classes of God’s people.  The days of Noah refer to the escape of [some of] the Church, the destruction of the generation in general.  The days of Lot picture the, wrath coming, on the Jews generally, and on Jerusalem in particular, with the escape of the remnant of God’s favoured ones of Israel.  Hence, in the fuller prophecy of Matt. 24, the escape of Lot is not directly spoken of.  Jesus had there treated specially of the escape from Jerusalem in that literal portion of the prophecy which precedes verse 32.  In the parabolic part of Matt. 24 He treats of Noah’s day; for then He begins to address Himself to the Church.


The days of Noah here are given first, because the rapture of the watchful of the Church occurs before the escape of the Jewish disciples into the desert: Rev. 12.


The Saviour describes the men of the time when He descends as quite unbelieving in regard to His return, and the predicted strokes of judgment.  They are living as though all would go on smoothly to the end, as though the earth were all their hope. Such were the days of Noah of old, even after the message of wrath at hand had been delivered.


But God had then His elect; and when the time of wrath had arrived, He withdrew Noah and his family into the ark of refuge. That was a solemn call to all, that the predicted vengeance was at hand.  God’s servant was taken out of the midst, because destruction for all others was at the doors.  That was the sign that the day of God’s patience was ended, and the hour of judgment come.  But the world regarded it not.  It discerned not God’s meaning; and the flood came, and swept the [unbelieving and] godless away.


[Page 21] Even thus God has told us [His ‘disciples’,] of a day of grace, and of a more terrible season of wrath to come.  But just in proportion as the wrath draws near, will the unbelief of men increase.  Then God will remove His waiting [and ‘able to escape’ (Luke 21: 36, N.I.V.)] ones suddenly into the ark of His presence on high.  His Enochs shall not be left to the flood.  The world of that day will no more understand or believe this signal, than it did the one in Noah’s day.


As in that day the long repressed vengeance burst forth and cut off the offenders with destroying sweep, so will it be in the day of the Saviour’s secret presence.


But there is another people who will then be owned of God, after the church is removed from its present place of testimony.  Jesus therefore describes them and their earthly escape by the type of the Days of Lot.


The same unbelief of judgment to come characterised the guilty cities of the Plain.  The course of human life went on with fullest vigour: there were no visible signs of destruction at the doors.


At length the cup of sin was full, and God withdrew His servant Lot from the scene of destruction.  That was the signal of vengeance arrived, and the supernatural judgment of fire and brimstone rained by the Lord from on high, overtook the careless sinners of the plain.


Now Jerusalem is spiritually called Sodom, (Rev. 11: 8) and over it hang the fearful threats of Jehovah’s indignation.  But when the given signal of the Two Witnesses has been given, the disciples of Christ will flee out of Jerusalem with headlong speed.  Then the fury of God will blaze forth with flaming fire; and Jesus long hidden will reveal Himself to His enemies, the kings of the earth and their armies, as the Son of Man, God’s appointed King of earth and heaven.  The days of Noah give us a glimpse of the Saviour’s secret presence; the days of Lot, of the “moment when the Son of Man is revealed in flaming fire taking vengeance.” “Then shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory:” Matt. 24: 30.  In ‘the Days of Lot’ a city [Page 22] is specially in question, and the sign of wrath is escape from that.  In ‘the days of Noah’ the escape is from the world to heaven.






In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away; and he that is in the field let him likewise not return back.  Remember Lot’s wife.”


Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”


These words take up the latter of the two examples; the Jewish disciples’ escape out of Jerusalem.  They correspond exactly with our Lord’s words in Matthew 24: 15-19.  He declares that the good news of His millennial kingdom shall first be sent to all nations, and then the terrible end of this evil age shall come.  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth let him understand,) then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains; let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house; neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.  But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days.”


But what will become of those who, through pregnancy or like causes, are unable so swiftly to flee?  They will be overtaken by the enemy, who will threaten them with death if they own Jesus as the Lord.  But let them in such case stand firm!  Life lost for Christ will be restored during the blissful thousand years.  Life won by forbidden compliance would be lost.


These directions manifestly do not [now] belong to the church of Christ.  They belong to another day than ours.  Ours is “this. day” - the time of mercy.  These injunctions belong to [a time after the rapture of the watchful – to] another people IN THAT DAY[Page 23] of judgment.  We are not called to flee away at our utmost speed.  We shall “be caught up,” whether living or dead, to the Lord into air: 1 Thess. 4: 17.*


[* Mr Govett believed that all regenerate believers must rise from the dead in order to be judged; and afterwards, if not found worthy to reign with Christ during the millennium, will return to the place of the dead in Hades.  See G. H. Lang’sFirstfruits and Harvest’. – Ed.]






I tell you this night* there shall be two in one bed; one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.  Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken and the other left.”*


[*Verse 36 is considered by critics not to be genuine, but supplied from the parallel place in Matthew.


This paragraph takes up the case of the disciples of the church.  It is to occur in our dispensation of mercy; giving its limit, and the sign of its completion.  It is to occur, not “in that day” but “IN THIS NIGHT,” which precedes that day.


It will be a sign of miracle; the sudden disappearance by supernatural agency of one of two found together under the same circumstances.  The two are asleep - husband and wife it may be - the house is locked, the chamber-door barred; but an invisible hand steals away one to the Saviour’s presence of glory; the other being left to slumber on till the morning, and to wake in dismay to find his companion gone, while the bolt is still un-drawn and the door shut fast!  How can that be, save by Almighty power?  Jesus is come as the thief, to steal away noiselessly to heaven His jewels.


But may not this ‘taking’ be a taking for judgment? the ‘leaving’ being the remaining of the earthly elect on the earth, there to receive their portion in the millennial day?’


No! the word used concerning the taking is very peculiar.  It is used where Jesus selected His companions for Special honour.  Thus the Lord took Peter, James, and John into the room where the daughter of [Page 24] Jair [Jairus]was raised from the dead.  It is used on the memorable occasion when our Redeemer took the same favoured three to behold the picture of His future millennial kingdom upon the top of the Mount of Transfiguration; and in the selection of the same disciples to behold His agony in the Garden: Mark 5: 40; Matt. 17: 1; 26: 37.  It is the word which Jesus employs when He promises His people that He “will come again and receive them to Himself:” John 14: 3.


It stands, too, in fitting juxtaposition with the days of Noah; for in those times we read of Enoch, who “walked with God, and he was not; for God took him.”  As the apostle observes, “By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God translated him; for before his translation he had the testimony that he pleased God.  But without faith it is impossible to please God, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he becometh (Greek) the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him:” Heb. 11.  This, then, being a lesson to us as men of the heavenly calling, discovers to us the duty of walking with and pleasing God by faith.  For the God with whom we have to do is the rewarder of a diligent walk, and has made known His purpose to take to Himself without death His watching saints; while the unwatchful are left to pass through the fiery trial of the day of great tribulation.  Of this the Saviour’s history, in the third of the Companionships I have named, is a witness.  For Jesus, when the hour of Satan and of his humiliation was at hand, bade the disciples to watch and pray, that they might escape the temptation.  He came then to the three in the garden, but found them asleep.  He rebukes them, and goes away to pray anew.  He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes had been made heavy. (Greek.)  And HE LEFT THEM:” Matt. 25: 38-44.  When He comes again the third time, there is no time for either sleep or prayer - the enemy is upon them - the hurricane had begun!


[Page 25]Watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord is coming.”  To the watchful it is promised, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee out of the hour of the temptation which is coming upon all the habitable earth to try the dwellers upon the earth:” Rev. 3: 10.  In the words of Jesus in this passage of Luke, is hinted the fulfilment of the promise to Philadelphia.


The case of two women grinding together confirms the view given.  In the East, women employ a hand-mill for grinding the wheat necessary for daily use.  When they use it, they are seated on the ground opposite each other.  The one then could not withdraw herself in an instant from the full view of the other.  She must first rise, before she could run.  But in the Lord’s words it is supposed, that she mysteriously disappears in a moment.  The taking then is by no human hand: it is the Lord’s gathering to Himself those that are ready for His appearing.






And they answered and said unto Him, ‘Where, Lord?’  And He said unto them, ‘Wheresoever the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together.’”


This is a studiedly mysterious reply.  But it relates to both classes of disciples.


1. Whence will the flight take place?  From Jerusalem, when the sign of wickedness come to its height is given.  As the departure of the soul leaves the body a corpse, so the vanishing of faith from Jerusalem will render the nation a corpse before God.  Jerusalem is the corpse: from it the men of faith will flee when the Lord’s signal is given.  For they will know that those are the days of vengeance, the days of great trihulation, which will especially centre at that guilty city.


2. Where will the taking be?  Whither will the rapt be taken?  The answer is, that the ministers of [Page 26] divine vengeance will assemble in the sky over the guilty city, and descend on it just as vultures or eagles assemble over a fallen animal.  Christ, as the King of kings, Will gather on high for vengeance the armies of the sky, when the time of men’s chief sin is come.


The difficulty of the passage arises from the reply being not direct, but figurative.  It fixes upon the moral aspect of the matter, not on the physical.  The answer is, in substance, this:‑ ‘Wherever the wicked are assembled when judgment takes effect, thence will the Lord make an escape both for His earthly and for His heavenly elect; and He will collect His ascended ones to come down in wrath upon the guilty, faithless generation.’  We know from other sources, that the main congregation of the impious of the last days will be at, and around Jerusalem.






This part of the Saviour’s discourse has been, through want of judgment, severed from the rest.  It, however, fills up a gap which else we could not repair; furnishing an answer to the question, ‘What will become of the disciples left on earth?’


Moreover, He spake a parable to them, that they ought always to pray, and not to faint, saying, ‘There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, nor regarded man.  And (but) there was a widow in that city, and she used* to come to him, saying, ‘Avenge me of my adversary.’  And he would not for a while.  But afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I fear not God, nor regard man, yet because this widow troubleth me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’


[* Force of the imperfect.]


And the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge saith.  And shall not God avenge His own elect which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them?  I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.  Nevertheless when the $on of Man cometh, shall He find faith upon the earth?’”


These words present us with a view of those awful [Page 27] days, when the righteous have been taken away from the evil.  What, then, can those left to cope with Satan and his False Christ do?  They are forbidden to take the sword: Rev. 13: 10.  Jesus compares them to a widow devoid of friends, able to use only the power of importunity.  The ruler of earth will be “the judge of injustice.”  He fears not God, he regards not man.  Now one of this character was at length wrought upon to grant a widow’s petition for vengeance, by her repeated pursuance of her plea.  To escape trouble to himself he at length granted her request.


Now the disciples will really have to deal with the Judge who is not unjust, but who loves righteousness and hates iniquity. They will sue One who loves them, as being his own elect.  They will find His door open to their petitions, not only during a few hours of the day, but day and night.  If, then, importunity prevailed with the judge of injustice, how much more with the Just Judge?


1 ‘But how can the Church plead for vengeance on its foes?  Does not Jesus forbid all such tempers, requiring that His disciples should pray for their foes, not against them?’


He does.  But the disciples of that day will have lost their church-standing.  The removal of the Lord’s waiting disciples to Himself come down from heaven, together with the ascent of the Holy Ghost, put an end to the characteristics of the Church. Moreover, the days of mercy are past, and vengeance is come.  The Antichrist is revealed now that the Hinderers are removed; and of his salvation, and of that of his adherents, there is no hope.  Damnation is certain to those who have refused the true Christ, and prefer the false: 2 Thess. 2.: Rev. 13., 14.  Disciples may pray, then, for vengeance on their oppressors.  But in spite of the power of prayer, and the Saviour’s promise of vengeance and deliverance, the faith of God’s people will be all but quenched, when the hand of the Most High is put forth for rescue of His saints and destruction of the impious.


[Page 28] Thus this last division takes up and confirms the view given of the eagles and carcase.  It is the Lord’s terrors of wrath upon wickedness come to the full, which clear the earth, in order to the blessedness of the [millennial] kingdom of the Son of Man.


How unlike our Lord’s picture of these intermediate days of woe to the ideas of most who expect universal faith, an exalted church, and a saved world!


Having now considered the texts usually adduced in proof of the kingdom of God signifying the present dispensation, I proceed to notice the texts which clearly prove that THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS THE FUTURE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM OF CHRIST.



*       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER 3 [Pages 29-42]





Because the [millennial] kingdom in manifestation has been so long delayed, Christians in general have come to regard the kingdom in mystery as the only one.  They rest their views upon the exceptional texts above considered, and try and force more than a hundred to mean merely this present scene.  Hence false principles of interpretation are adopted, and produce consequences full of mischief.


It is strange to suppose that the kingdom of God is come, when the true king is far away, when the world refuses Him and His laws, and breaks them unpunished; when a rival is on the throne, and the king’s adherents are oppressed, persecuted, slain.


Take an illustration from English history.  In the sixteenth century Cromwell sat on the throne of England; and Charles, the son of the previous king, sought in vain to re-enter the land; while his partisans were in peril of life.  Would that be accounted part of the reign of Charles the Second?  In law-books it might, where lawyers wish to make all events smooth.  It was the reign of Charles II de, jure, it may be said.  But it was a poor reign, when a rival sat in fact on the throne.  Most reckon the reign of Charles II to begin only when Cromwell was dead, when Charles was owned by all England, and in possession of palace and throne, army and fleet.


So in the days of David.  Saul was rejected by Jehovah, David anointed king over Israel.  But Saul was still in possession of the kingdom; David was in daily peril of his life, refused by the nation in general, without settled abode, or regular supply of his necessities.


Now, does scripture regard those eight or nine years of David’s trouble, as years of his reign?  No! his reign is not reckoned as begun till Saul is slain, and he is anointed at Hebron over the two tribes.  Nor is he [page 30] regarded by God as reigning over all Israel, till seven years after his anointing in Hebron, after his rival Ishbosheth is cut off.


It is even thus with our Lord.  He was anointed king at His baptism.  But, as yet, He is only king of right; He is not hitherto king in fact.  Satan is now ruler; and that rival must be put down and imprisoned ere Jesus’ [millennial] reign is come, John 12: 31; 14: 30; 16: 11; Rev. 20.


The character of the kingdom depends on the presence of the king.  Now it is the proclamation of the kingdom, with a view to gather those who, believing and obeying the word of the kingdom, shall be rulers in it when the power of the kingdom is come, Matt. 4: 23; 10: 35; 11: 12; 12: 19 - 52; 16: 19.  Great is the difference between hearing the word of the kingdom which comes in grace, and feeling the sceptre of the kingdom when it breaks foes in the day of judgment.



The promises made to the Lord Jesus about His kingdom are not yet fulfilled.



Let us look at the scripture descriptions of what a king should be.  We will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us, and fight our battles.” 1 Sam. 8: 19, 20.  This gives the main features of the kingly office; the internal administration for his subjects, and his personal presence for war as well as for peace.  But exceptions may be taken to this passage, as only the word of Israel, while following their own heart. Let us look then at the inspired description of the New Testament.


Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.  Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power?  Do that which is good and thou shalt have praise of the same, for he is the minister of God to thee for good.  But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain; for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil:” Rom. 13: 3, 4.


Now these words are not yet true of Christ.  It is as yet the hour of the kingdom of the wild beasts of [page 31] Daniel; Dan. 7. The last ruler of the fourth of these kingdoms slays the saints, unhindered, till the Son of Man comes in person, and takes away his power.  Then is the kingdom given to the saints, and manifestly administered by the Son of Man.  (1) Jesus is not now using the sword, a terror to evil doers: (2) Nor is He giving praise and reward to the doers of good.


Daniel does not regard the kingdom as come, while the wild beasts are reigning, and the Son of Man is away.  But after their power is taken away, after the image is smashed in pieces by the stone descending from heaven, then has the God of heaven set up his kingdom: Dan. 2: 44.


The saints are not to reign till the day of trial and suffering is over, and they are pronounced conquerors, receiving their rewards from Christ in person.


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.


This conduct would be wholly unchristian now, for it is the day of grace.  The reign of the saints is to be with Christ.  They lived and reigned with the Christ a thousand years.  They shall be priests of God and of the Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years:” Rev. 20: 4-6.


Jesus is as yet the priest in the sanctuary amid the lamps: Rev. 1. – 3.  He has not the kingdom actually conferred, till the throne of Rev. 4 is set: and that throne is not brought into the Holiest till the lamps are removed, because the churches are no longer recognised before God.  Jesus Himself is waiting: “From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool:” Heb. 10: 13.  So then we too are to be “waiting for the kingdom of God:” Luke 23: 51.


Even after the throne of judgment is set in the 4th of Revelation, and after even the fifth seal is broken, when the cry of vengeance against the men of earth goes [page 32] up, it is silenced with the word – ‘Wait awhile! earth has still to become worse, and more murderous, ere God’s vengeance is poured out:’ Rev. 6: 9-11.


But when the king is come, the righteous are to flourish, and the oppressor to be broken in pieces: enemies are to be destroyed, and all kings to obey the Redeemer: Psalm 72: 3, 4, 11.  Righteousness is to be the girdle of the king’s loins.


Not such is the principle of our day of grace; not of this character is Christ’s agency now.


Let me now state the proposition to be proved by evidence of scripture.







Take some testimonies from the Old Testament.



He (Jesus) shall smite the earth with the rod (blast) of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the Wicked” (One.) Isa. 11: 4.


Paul, expounding this says, “Then shall the Wicked One be revealed, whom the Lord (Jesus) shall consume with the spirit (breath) of his mouth, and shall strike powerless with the manifestation of his presence.” (Greek) 2 Thes. 2: 8.


At present the Saviour is away; none but his friends behold Him; and they by faith alone.  But when this verse is fulfilled Jesus will be manifestly present in person, and in judgment will destroy His great rival the False Christ.


2.  From Dan. 2: 34, 35, we learn that the kingdom is to be set up not by agency of mercy upon earth, but, by a stroke of justice from the heaven.  The kingdom’s acting is not internal, tranquil, gradual, invisible; but the visible descent of Christ from on high, in an instant breaking in pieces before him all previous kingdoms, after which the stone that smote the image becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth.  The kingdom of the God of heaven shall not be transmitted to any other, “but it shall break in pieces, and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” 44.


[Page 33]I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed agains them, till the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom:” 7: 21, 22.


As truly as the Lawless One is a person who reigns personally on earth, so truly is the Righteous One a person who shall also reign on earth.  The transference of the kingdom occurs “suddenly at an instant.”  Up to that hour the saints are oppressed. Then the Son of Man strikes powerless, dethrones, and consumes His foe, and gives over his power to the saints, up to that time oppressed and slain.


3.  Zechariah describing the last siege of Jerusalem says, the city shall be taken by all nations assembled against it.


Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.  And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof, toward the east and toward the west:” 4.


And the Lord shall be king over all the earth:” 9.


Every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles:” 16.



Turn we now to evidence from the New Testament.



It is granted, that the Jews and the apostles of our Lord were expecting a personal reign of Messiah on earth.  But then it may be replied, ‘Yes, but the Jews’ expectations are not to be depended upon.’  We answer, it is true, that in some points Israelite anticipations about the kingdom were mistaken; but it is also true, that the New Testament exhibits for us those points in which they were mistaken, and appends the correction of them.


1. They were wrong in regard of the time of its coming; for they expected it as soon as Jesus had entered Jerusalem.  The Lord, therefore, at the last Passover spoke the parable of the Pounds, on purpose to correct this error: Luke 19: 11-27.  He showed that

the nobleman had to travel to a far country in order to [page 34] receive a kingdom, and to return the same long journey ere he began to reign.  That he would by his absence allow a considerable period to elapse in order to discover the characters, both of his friends and of his foes, rewarding each according to his works, on his return.  The Jews had overlooked the testimony of the 110th Psalm, which witnesses that Messiah had to sit in heaven at God’s right hand, before His enemies were destroyed, and his sceptre is sent out of Jerusalem: Matt 22: 44.


2. Israel was mistaken also in supposing, that the kingdom of God would be entered on the ground of natural birth of Abraham’s race.  Both John the Baptist and our Lord smote and scattered this error.  None are to be accounted of Abraham’s seed, but the men of Abraham’s faith.  No trees to be allowed as God’s, but the bearers of good fruit: Matt. 3: 9-12.  Many shall come from east and west and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.  But the children of the kingdom (Jews by birth) shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth:” Matt. 8: 11, 12.


3. They thought that entry was to be obtained on the ground of Moses’ law.  Jesus teaches, that the men of law cannot enter: quite a different character is required, quite a different rule is given: Matt. 5. – 7.  For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith:” Rom. 4: 13.


4. They were looking for a time of peace at once.  Jesus dashes their expectation to the ground.  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth, I came not to send peace but a sword:” Matt. 10: 34.


5. They probably expected, that it was to be by the swords of Israel, that the kingdom of Messiah was to be set up.  Jesus assures us, that not men, but angels are to clear the world in order to the making it His kingdom: Matt. 13: 27-30; 39, 40.


6.  They expected Messiah to reign, simply as a man in a mortal body of flesh and blood.  Jesus teaches Peter, that He must first die, before He show himself [page 35] the Rock of His church and the Son of Man in resurrection: Matt. 16: 16-23.


7.  They overlooked the testimonies of Israel’s unbelief and rejection of Messiah.  These surely could not come to pass after Messiah’s reign.  The promises of God prevent that: Isa. 59: 20, 21; 62: 5-12.  They must, therefore, be fulfilled previously to the reign of the Christ. And so Jesus testified in His parable of the Wedding Garment.  The bidden ones refuse the king’s invitation; and so the feast must wait till the number of the guests is complete: Matt. 22: 1-14.


8.  They beheld only the earthly department of the kingdom, and supposed that the risen would marry and be given in marriage, as now.  Jesus therefore corrects this error, and sets the heavenly department of the kingdom on its everlasting basis: Luke 20: 27-38.


But while these errors about the kingdom are corrected by our Lord, I do not find that their ideas as to the nature of the future kingdom as a visible and personal one, were rebuked.  On several occasions the expectations of the apostles, as to the kind of kingdom which is to come, were strongly confirmed.


1.  After Jesus had been rejected by Israel he gave to three of the disciples a view of His kingdom, such as it shall be, on the mount of transfiguration.  He promised that He would, after His disciples had suffered for His sake, return, and in person render rewards to the confessors to His name.  In order to cheer them, and strengthen their courage to endure, He gives to Peter, James, and John, a view of the time of the resurrection of the just, and of the glory of the millennial day.  Accordingly, when transfigured He was personally present on earth; so were Elijah and Moses - the chief of the law, and the foremost of the prophets.  Peter would have set Moses and Elijah as co-ordinate with Jesus but this was rebuked by the Father’s voice from on high, “This is my beloved Son; hear him.”  In his presence Moses and Elijah are nothing; The Lord Jesus is to be the one centre of the kingdom.  The master and the servants, the sowers and reapers, men of the law and men [page 36] of the gospel, those in the flesh and those risen, are to be possessors together of the kingdom of glory: John 4: 36.


2. But there was another scene strongly confirmatory of their expectations.  Jesus, after many miracles, came up to the feast at Jerusalem, entering the city of the Great King, as foretold by the prophet, on an ass.


The multitudes shout His titles of ‘King of Israel,’ and ‘Son of David.’  Their joy overflows; they strew His path with garments and branches of trees.  But Israel was not ready for their king, though He offered Himself as predicted.  Nor were the disciples themselves.  When the noise of the Saviour’s cavalcade stirred the attention of the city, and the enquiry went forth, ‘Who is this?’ the disciples instead of replying, ‘This is the Son of David, the king of Jerusalem,’ made answer “This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee:” Matt. 21: 2.  Moreover, Jesus finds secret foes on His way to the temple, and entrenched within it.  The dark days of Israel’s unbelief must first come.  Jesus is not to be seen henceforth till they repent.  The temple, even when rebuilt, is to be destitute of the presence of God.  Not till the tribes repent, is Messiah to be seen: Matt. 23.  Not till they own their sin are the times of refreshing, the period of the restoration of all things to come: Acts 3: 20.


What said Zechariah about the kingdom?  He foretold the entry into Jerusalem of Messiah, meek and lowly.  But he foretold too, - what was not then accomplished, - the cutting off of instruments and weapons of war, and peace among the nations, Messiah’s dominion being from sea to sea, and from Euphrates to the end of the earth: Zech. 9.


In these two scenes we behold the two departments of the kingdom; the heavenly portion, a secret glory on the mountain top apart by night, light streaming from the bodies and dress of the glorified; and they but few.


But the earthly sphere of the kingdom is of quite another kind.  It takes place by day in the midst of joyous multitudes of Israel in the flesh; its material centres are Jerusalem and the temple; its time [page 37] the Passover; the Saviour the visible human centre, exercising power over all things.


3. When the rich young man turned away sorrowfully from the Saviour’s call, Peter enquired, “What should they the apostles enjoy, seeing they had obeyed the Saviour’s demand, and had forsaken all?”  And Jesus unto them, “Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit upon the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel:” Matt. 19: 27, 28.  Was not this a strong confirmation of their views?  The twelve tribes were to be restored.  Jesus was to be king of kings; they subordinate kings, each ruling a tribe.  As long as the gospel lasts Jesus is hid in heaven, and does not appear as the Son of Man.  As long as the gospel lasts, apostles are not to rise from the dead, nor is Israel to repent.  Not till Jesus descends from the heaven into the air are the sleeping saints and the waking to be assembled to Him: 1 Thess. 4.


4. Two of the apostles make use of their mother to be speak for each of them an especial throne - one at the right hand of Messiah, the other on His left: Matt. 20: 20.  Jesus assures them that they were not aware of what they were asking for.  If they would have especial glory in the future [millennial] kingdom, they must endure especial suffering now.  If we would reign with Christ hereafter, we must suffer with Him now: 2 Tim. 2: 12.  That was a principle for which they were quite unprepared.  Jesus owns then the reality of the point petitioned for: but the principles of its assignment were unlike their expectations.  And when the indignation of the ten apostles broke out against the two, Jesus does not say that their hopes were unreal, but bids them if they wished glory in His future kingdom to seek it in service and suffering.


5. Shall we turn to the angel’s promise to Mary concerning Jesus?  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall [page 38] reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end:” Luke 1: 32, 33.  Where was David’s throne?  In heaven? DAVID HAS NEVER [yet] ENTERED HEAVEN: HOW CAN HIS THRONE BE THERE?  For David is not ascended into the heavens:” Acts 2: 34.  Where did David reign?  And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.  Then sat Solomon on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was established greatly:” 1 Kings 2: 11, 12, 24.


David reigned in person: so must Christ.  While Jesus is away His foes reign; they are not yet set as the footstool for His feet.  And Israel does not yet own Jesus as Messiah.  The kingdom cannot come till then.



Shall we appeal to some of our Lord’s prophecies?



6. Take then Luke 13: 23-29.


One inquired of our Lord, if the saved would be few?


Jesus does not reply directly, but bids him strive to enter into the kingdom.  For many would be excluded, as soon as the king had risen up, and closed the door.  Those on the outside would then appeal to the king to admit them; but he would refuse.  They would plead, that they had been personally acquainted with him, and had been actually seated with Him once at table. But He would reject them as workers of iniquity.  There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.  And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.” Hence it is plain that Jesus must be present in person in order to give sentence.  It is the desire of the petitioners to be where Messiah and His friends are, which calls forth the earnest pleas of those outside.  Here too is resurrection; Jews and Gentiles, men of the law, and men of the Gospel, are there in person.  It can be no scene taking place under the Gospel dispensation.  [Page 39] As long as that lasts, there is no shutting of the door, and no sentence against the workers of iniquity is executed.


7. Does not the parable of the Pounds clearly prove the personality of the kingdom?  The men of Israel were expecting a personal kingdom: and this parable was uttered to rectify their ideas about it.  Does it then teach anything about a kingdom exercised while the king was away in the far country?  By no means!  It tells of the king’s personal presence then as the nobleman; and of His future return in person.  Upon that His kingly action begins, first judging and rewarding His servants; then destroying His foes.


Those mine enemies which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them BEFORE ME:” Luke 19: 11-27.


Here is the King present, is there not?


8. What shall we say to the parable of the Sheep and the Goats?


It opens with a testimony of the coming of the Son of Man in His glory, together with His angels, and His session on the throne which streams with splendour.  Then He judges the nations living upon the earth, and distinguishes them as blessed or cursed, according as they have acted towards His “least brethren,”* the men of Israel.  After the sentence of “the King,” the cursed depart into the everlasting punishment of eternal fire; and the accepted enter into the kingdom which then begins.  This is a personal award (is it not?) which the king utters.  And the friends of Messiah and His foes are alike personally present.  Tis no picture of the Gospel.  It is eternal bliss, or eternal damnation come.  Must not that be awarded by Jesus in person?  This parable too gives us no resurrection, no burning up of the world.  The [millennial] kingdom is not then given up; but then begins.  Both the saved and the lost behold the king, and address Him as present.  When saw we thee an [page 40] hungered and fed thee?” It is, then, the personal kingdom of Christ, the result of His coming in person.


[*So it should be rendered‑see Greek.]


9. The same result appears from the consideration of the celebrated passage, Rev. 20: 4-6.


This is closely connected with chapter 19, which describes the Saviour’s advent in person from the sky, along with the armies of the heaven.  It is not the Gospel for Jesus comes not in grace, but in judgment.  He judges and makes war in righteousness verse 11.  His dress is dipped in blood; He smites the nations with a sharp sword, and breaks them as potter’s vessels.  Before Him the hosts of His enemies are slain, and their leaders cast into eternal punishment.  Then Satan, as the chief instigator of the plots against God and man, is seized and confined.  This cannot be done at present, or by men.  As long as the church lasts ’tis the evil day of battle, against Satan and his forces at large.  But in the opening of the millennial day he is imprisoned.


The apostle then describes the glory of the first resurrection.  It is assigned to persons of three classes.


1. And I saw thrones, and (men) sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.


2.And (I saw) the souls of them that had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God.


3.And whoever worshipped not the Wild Beast, nor his image, nor received his mark upon their forehead or on their hand; both lived and reigned with the Christ a thousand years.”


But the rest of the dead lived not (again) till the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of the Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.


The saints who come with Christ seem to be the first of these three companies.  And they come out of the heaven personally with Christ, and reign in person with Him.  As surely as many have suffered death in person, so shall they be restored to life in their bodies, in requital of their faith and courage.  He that lost his life for my sake shall find it.”  It is a select resurrection - they come forth from the tomb [and Hades] leaving most still incarcerated there.


10. Saints may not reign as long as the church lasts.  They are forbidden so to do.  It would be self-exaltation out of due time, to be visited with abasement when the kingdom of Christ comes.  Paul rebukes the Corinthians for attempting such a thing.  It was ignorance; it was wholly unfit, that they should be reigning over the world while apostles, Christ’s more excellent servants, were daily suffering, daily despised, and in danger of death from the same evil world: 1 Cor. 4: 8-16.  While Christ is waiting till the Father gives Him the kingdom, we are to wait till “judgment is given” to us.  As yet the word is “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”


It is in resurrection that Christ is to reign and we with Him.  It is after the Saviour’s judgment has been passed upon us as faithful or otherwise; and not before.  There is no manifested kingdom till after the saints are arisen.  There is no manifestation of resurrection, till after Christ in person has descended from the heavens to call His people up to Himself, whether they be among the sleepers or the wakeful.


Thus our state in the kingdom demands the Saviour in person.  For none but He will raise us from the dead.  And His judgment of each preparatory to His assigning the place of each during the kingdom, demands our Lord in person.


For this wait, believer!  Tis as yet the day of conflict, of clouds, night, wounds.  But the day of victory is at hand.  Figure to yourself a corporal of the army of the Crimea recommended to the Queen for the distinction of the Victoria Cross.  On the appointed day he is ushered into the Queen’s court:- around her throne stand her nobles, her ladies of honour.  His name is pronounced, and he steps forward, and kneels at her feet, while her Majesty encircles his neck with [page 42] the sparkling jewel.  What an hour is that to him!  It is the noon of his life.  And ever will he and his family, and his friends remember it.  On every fitting occasion that cross will glitter on his bosom, a proof of valour in his country’s cause.


The campaign in which he won the prize was long, and dreary.  Weary night-watches, wintry cold and snow, hunger, loss of friends, night-alarms in the trenches, sickness, wounds.  But all are forgot in the blaze of that day of his reward.


What then shall be the glory of him who is “counted worthy” to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God!  Yea, to be associated in kingly power with Jesus Himself, and, that for a thousand years!  Seek then, Christian, to approve yourself to Christ!  He, the King of kings shall adjudge and bestow the prize.  No partiality, or jealousy, or forgetfulness shall mar the full result of the reward to service and suffering in His behalf.



*       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER 4 [Pages 43-60]





Scripture is like a dissected map of England, neatly packed in a box.  It is for us to put together its scat­tered notices, till we discover as much as possible of the grand unity of the truth, as given us by God.  It is thus with the doctrine of the kingdom.  It is an exercise for our spirits before God, to lay side by side as taught by the Spirit of God, the distant hints and notices given us in the New Testament and in the Old.


I propose treating in this chapter three distinct points.








Our first point then is:-






When Scripture speaks of the Kingdom, it ordinarily means the kingdom in manifestation; and we have already noticed the exceptional texts which tell of the Kingdom in Mystery.



1.  Daniel’s seventh chapter gives us the clear proof of the kingdom’s futurity.



He describes four empires, which still deteriorate in quality.  The fourth is worse than all, and as the crisis affects it in especial, more details are given concerning it than concerning the others.


Its last king, ‘the Little Horn’ blasphemes God, and persecutes to death his saints, unhindered, until the Son of Man in person appears; destroying this God-defying, self‑deifying one.  This, the most intense wickedness that has ever appeared among men, calls [page 44] down visible vengeance, and destruction by Christ’s own arm.


Then the Saviour hands over to His saints the right and title to temporal power.  The Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, [of the heavenlies] and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom: 22.  But at present, and as long as the Gospel continues, the saints are forbidden to judge, and not allowed to reign. They rest on mercy; they are not permitted to touch the sword of justice.  They cannot do so now without becoming unlike their heavenly Father, and the Son of God.  The empire of the world is given now to Gentiles, even at times to “the basest of men.” But the Church of Christ is neither Jew nor Gentile; and those who will obey Christ must walk in the mercy taught by the Sermon on the Mount.


Christ’s coming is the signal for the saints’ reigning but Jesus cannot come in Gospel days.  Hence the manifest kingdom of God is yet future.


The kingdoms of the Gentiles are to be ended, as the vision of the Great Image assures us, by a sudden, vehement stroke of the descending Stone, which is Christ.  Not secret long-continued agency from within, but a momentary blow from without and from above, destroys the present arrangements of the Gentile empires.  After the stroke (not before it) the kingdom of Christ over the nations and Israel is visibly established.



2. Let us take as our second witness Matthew 6: 10.  Thy kingdom come!



Jesus, in the opening of the Sermon on the Mount, sets before us the kingdom as the time of blessedness.  Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  All the Beatitudes rest upon this period, as the time when their promised blessings are to be accomplished, in part, or in whole.  That is the time, when those who have been persecuted* for righteousness’ sake, whether those of the Law, or [page 45] before it, shall receive their reward; specially the prophets; who, as the bearers of God’s messages endured so much from the ungodly.


[* Perfect participle. See Greek.]


In the close of the fifth chapter Jesus owns the difficulty of His commands; but adds‑ ‘If you do only what the worldly can do, why should you have reward?’ verse 46.  In the opening of the sixth chapter our Lord directs us, not to desire and seek the applause of men now, but reward from our Father who is in heaven; a reward to be given in the “kingdom of our Father:” 13: 43.  And then our Teacher directs us to pray for the coming of this kingdom; a kingdom which is to embrace at once the earth and the heaven.


Here we may observe, that few as the words are, divine wisdom has so put them together, that while they perfectly fall in with the true views of the kingdom, they are felt to incommode, and stand in the way of those which are erroneous.  Our anti-millennarian brethren pray ‘for the extension of the Redeemer’s kingdom,’ or ‘for the advancement of it.’  Why?  Because, according to their ideas, the kingdom is something present; and they refuse to look for it in the future, as any thing different from what it is now.  In their view ’tis come; all it needs is enlargement.  But Jesus speaks of it as yet future.  Thy kingdom come!”  He speaks of it too as the coming, not of His own kingdom, but of His Father’s.  For though the kingdom of the Son of Man takes place at the same time, yet the kingdom of the Father refers to the heavenly aspect of it; the part possessed by those risen [out] from the dead: 13: 43.



3. Let us take as our next witness THE SUPPER OF THE LORD.



And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matt. 26: 26-29.


[Page 46] In these words the Saviour sets apart the bread and wine to be used by His disciples in memory of His death.  The wine is to be to them significant of “blood;” so long as this dispensation lasts.  Tis the blood of the new covenant, shed for those who find they cannot be saved by the old.  And this rite is to be celebrated by believers of the Church of Christtill He come.” Then the Lord’s Supper ceases: for it was only in commemoration of one absent.  But when He returns it loses that significancy, as the next words show.  I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it with you new in my Father's kingdom.”  Hence therefore Jesus takes the Nazarite vow: and becomes’ ‘Jesus the Nazarite.’  But His vow is not for ever: it is to cease in the great [one-thousand-year] day of the deliverance of His twofold people; the rescue of Israel from the Gentiles, and of the saints of the church from [Hades and] the tomb.  From this it is evident, that the kingdom of the Father is future.  It can only come when Jesus comes; and at the resurrection of the apostles, and of the righteous generally [out] from among the dead.  As long as Jesus’ vow of Nazariteship holds good, the manifested kingdom cannot come.  Wine is not to be drunk in heaven; but there is a feast to be spread on Mount Zion, when Israel shall be restored by God to His land, and they are to see the restored Son of Man, owning Him as their God for whom they have waited: Isa. 24, 25.   The kingdom of God in its manifestation cannot arrive, while the church celebrates the Lord’s Supper, and is His witness of the prolongation of the day of grace.  Nor can the new covenant be made with the House of Israel and with the house of Judah, till Israel repents of their refusal of that blood of the covenant once offered them. But when Israel repents Jesus is to return, and the times of refreshing and the restoration of all things are to arrive: Acts 3.  That is the day of the manifested kingdom of God.


We have thus in part forestalled the second point.






We may regard it from three points of view, in reference to –









1.  In reference to Israel, the kingdom cannot come before they repent.



And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.  And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.  So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand:” Luke 21: 28-31.


When Israel - now the dead fig-tree of winter - shall begin again to show signs of life, then will the kingdom of God be known to be near; just as it is known that the summer of nature is near, when the literal fig-tree and the other trees begin to sprout.


But wrath and destruction - the terrible thunderstorm of the great day of God - must first cut off sinners out of the earth.


And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be over-charged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.  For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth:” Luke 21: 34, 35.


Then will come the deliverance of Israel.


And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.  And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.  And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come:” Luke 22: 13-18.


The Saviour, celebrating His last [P]passover with the twelve, as a Jew among Jews, tells them of the eagerness with which He had looked forward to that rite, [page 48] for it was one of crisis; a milestone on the way to the kingdom.  It was the last He would celebrate, till the [P]passover should be swallowed up in the manifested kingdom of God.  For what was the [P]passover? It was an ordinance celebrating God’s deliverance of Israel from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.  Then God, in the pillar of cloud and fire, manifested Himself as their king, and by His order a royal tent was pitched in their midst; whence He delivered His oracles, guided His host, and protected His servants.  But this deliverance, great as it was, sealed by the destruction of their foes in the Red Sea, and the opening of the heavens to give them food, with the waters of the rock granted for their thirst, was but partial and temporary.  Often did they offend against Him in the wilderness, and were cut off: often did they sin in the land, and Jehovah gave them up again to the hand of those that hated them.


Israel in our Lord’s day was thus enslaved to the Roman arms, and greatly oppressed.  Jesus then lets us know, that the [P]passover has not only a backward look to a past deliverance, but a look onward to a future and a complete redemption of Israel from all his foes.  For in all previous deliverances of Israel, the Evil One has been left at liberty; and his servants being still found in the midst of the tribes, iniquity has broken out anew.  But in the day to come, the rebels shall be purged out, and Satan their leader committed to the bottomless pit.  In that day, Israel shall no more go astray from their God; for by the tenor of the new covenant to be made with them, God undertakes to fulfil its condition.  I will,” and “they shall.” Not, as before, “Thou shalt,” and “thou shalt not.”


Then Jesus shall celebrate the [P]passover anew, and it will have arrived at its height of significance; for then the kingdom of God shall have come.  As then the Lord since that day has never kept the [P]passover, it is certain, that the kingdom of God has never yet come.


The same truth appears from our Lord's words when giving the [P]passover-cup.  Take this, and divide it among yourselves, for I say unto you, I will no more [page 49] drink of the fruit of the vine, till the kingdom of God shall come.”  Here again is the same taking of the Nazarite vow, and the same conclusion is assigned to the period of the vow.  Hence, as Jesus never since that day has drank of the fruit of the vine, it is certain that the kingdom of God, that is, its manifestation, has never come.  When it does come, it must appear with the Saviour’s personal presence, and the apostles associated with Him; which can only be in [and after their] resurrection, and on [this] earth.  They do not make or drink wine in heaven.



2. Let us look at the matter with reference to the church.



The disciples [i.e., the followers of Christ] are now called, or invited by God, to enter His future kingdom and its glory: 1 Thess. 2: 12.  They are to seek that first: Matt. 6: 33.


But the [coming millennial] kingdom is only to be enjoyed after our present trial is ended, and after Jesus is come to award to each his due recompense.  This we see clearly in the parable of the Pounds.  All the while that the nobleman is away, the servants, with the pounds committed to them, are under trial; they are to do business till their Lord arrives.  They are not to reign till He reigns; they are not to reign till He has adjudged them worthy of disgrace or reward; nor till He has settled their degrees of honour, as lords of ten cities, or of five.


So again, when the Saviour says -


Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works:” Matt. 7: 21, 22 -


He shows us, that the kingdom is to come, not in “this day,” but in another – “in that day.”  Nor can any [disciple] enter into that future [millennial] kingdom, save as permitted by Jesus Himself.   For it is evident, that in those words the Lord Jesus takes the place of a judge, deciding [before the ‘First Resurrection’], without appeal, on the case, of each, as warranted to enter into, or as excluded from, the kingdom in manifestation.


[Page 50] This is confirmed for us still further by 1 Cor. 6: 7-11.


Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another.  Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?  Nay, ye do wrong and defraud, and that your brethren.  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (Greek.)


From these words of rebuke addressed to those [regenerate believers] in communion at Corinth it appears, that there is an ordeal to be passed by each, ere that kingdom can be entered.  Enquiry will be made, and by one alone competent to it, concerning the deeds of each.  For the kingdom of God is the kingdom of saints and the un-saintly are to have no reward in the millennial kingdom of the Christ.


So Paul, speaking of the persecutions endured by the Thessalonian Christians, says, It is “a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which ye even suffer:” 2 Thess. 1: 5.  Their witness to another king, one Jesus, and to an empire that was to set aside the Roman, rendered them suspected by the Roman government, and drew persecution upon them.  But “God the righteous Judge” cannot allow this to go on for ever.  Suffering now, therefore, for testimony to the future kingdom of God is an indication that the sufferers will be counted worthy of a place in it when it comes.  If they enter it who believe in and work for it, much more they who also suffer for it.  And observe, the entry into it is not till after the “being counted worthy” of it; and that by our Lord in person.



Lastly, view the subject from the coming of Jesus.



1. The kingdom cannot come till the personal return of the Lord; as is shown by the Sheep and Goats.  “When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, [page 51] and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all the nations, (or “all the Gentiles.”)  As soon as He appears as judge He passes sentence on these living men, according to their conduct towards Israel.  But the kingdom does not end with this sentence of the Son of Man; it begins.  Then shall the king say to them on his right hand, ‘Come, ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  This, then, is not the giving up the kingdom by the Christ at the time of the end, in order that God may be all in all; it is the kingdom just assumed by the Son of Man at His appearing.


On another occasion, Jesus taught His disciples, that it was next to impossible that a rich man should have part in His millennial kingdom.  Great surprize was expressed; but He reiterated the sentiment.  Peter then desired to know, since their conduct – [i.e., their attitude toward worldly wealth and riches] - had been the opposite to that of the rich young man, what reward should be theirs?  Jesus replied- “Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel:” 19: 16-28.  The kingdom then is not come, till Jesus, as the Son of Man is visibly seated upon His throne; and the twelve tribes restored to their land, are ruled over by the twelve apostles; a thing which can only take place in [this earth and after their] resurrection.


Let us observe then, how, with this key we can unlock many difficulties, which are shut up against the ordinary interpretation.






1. Take the eleventh chapter of Matthew, verses 11-13.



Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist [page 52] notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.  And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.  For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.”


How now does the ordinary exposition deal with these words of our Lord?  If we assume that the kingdom of heaven means the Gospel [of the grace of God, and the free gift of eternal life,] or the Kingdom in Mystery, it is landed amidst plenty of difficulties, not to say impossibilities, of [a correct] interpretation.


On this theory, the least in the kingdom of heaven is the lowest disciple under the Gospel.*  How then is such a one greater than John?  Here many bewilder themselves, in the vain attempt to find a fair and true outlet.  It is not true, that the least believer of Gospel times is greater than John the Baptist; either in inspiration; for John was a prophet; or in preaching, for multitudes never preach at all!  Nor can it be said they are greater in success of ministry; for John wrought on the hearts of multitudes to their salvation.  Nor in clearness of views; for the ideas of many Christians, and of course those of the least of Christians, are muddy enough.  Nor is it superiority of privileges; for greatness is external and visible, and the privileges of Christians are internal and spiritual.


[* Some would strangely make it signify Jesus the King of kings, lord of the kingdom.]


All this perplexity arises from the attempt to acknowledge as the kingdom of God, only the Gospel [of grace], or the kingdom in mystery.  But every thing falls into its true place, and is full of real and forcible meaning, when we perceive, that the kingdom of heaven has here its usual sense of the millennial kingdom of glory.


John (says Jesus) was as great as any born of women,’ ‘but there is another and a higher birth, which the least of those who [rise out from Hades - the place of the dead to] partake of the kingdom in glory must experience.  There is a birth from the tomb, ordinarily necessary in order [for the dead in Christ] to enter the [millennial] kingdom of [page 53] glory.  And the least of those who enter the kingdom in resurrection [bodies] will be visibly and manifestly greater than John; greater personally, in knowledge, and power; greater in rule and influence over others; for they will be equal unto the angels, and be the children of God, because they are children of the blessed resurrection.*


[* See Luke 20: 34, 35.]


The Saviour then observes, that a new dispensation came in with John’s proclamation; the preaching of the kingdom of glory began, and God invited all Israel to enter it.  But not all were wrought upon to seek this kingdom in proportion to its intrinsic worth.  Only a few comparatively were earnest in its pursuit; but they were men of energy, bursting through all impediments in order to enter in.  Such was Paul: Phil. 3.  The figure employed is that of a city full of riches, which are to be attained only by the soldiers outside it storming the walls.  Seek ye first the kingdom of God.”



2. Take, as a second example, the difficult passage, Matthew 16: 13-28.



In this our Lord, after long patience, and sending out His disciples to warn and arouse the nation of Israel, inquires of the twelve what are the opinions entertained concerning Himself.  He finds that He is regarded as a man simply; though equal to some of the chief of the prophets.  But this belief suffices not to make any a disciple.  Peter then is appealed to by the Saviour, to know what are the views which are held by himself and the rest?  Peter thereupon confesses the Saviour as “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Our Lord owns this as a God-given faith, and proceeds to draw out the consequence of the latter title given Him by Peter.  On Jesus, proved in resurrection to be the Son of God, was the Church destined to be built.  And as the gates of Hadees should not prevail against Jesus Himself to detain Him in custody, so neither should they against His people.  He, the Rock, proved invincible by His victory over death, would deliver His people: for He has the keys of Hadees and Death.  Then the Saviour promises first to the [page 54] witnessing apostle a privilege which He afterwards grants to the rest of the twelve and even to each church of two or three assembled in His name: John 20; Matt. 18.  Unto thee will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shalt be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  Thus the two verses are closely connected.  Verse 18 speaks of the first resurrection, or the rising of those [out from Hades] who believe in Jesus as the Risen One.  But after the resurrection or act of rising comes the kingdom of heaven, or the millennial kingdom.  Of this kingdom Jesus gives to Peter the keys.  For offences which the Saviour and His Spirit would point out, Peter could shut out [disobedient and lying members] of the church, and therefore would shut [them] out of the millennial kingdom of glory.  Whatever Peter thus did as apostle on earth should be ratified by Christ in heaven.  Thus any one put out of communion by the apostle on the grounds marked out by Christ, should have no part in the thousand years, if he died under such censure.  But if he repented, and were restored again to his place, such forgiveness below should be followed by forgiveness on high.  In this way Paul for incest turned the key against one of the offending Corinthians; and putting him out of Christ’s kingdom in mystery, at once put him into Satan’s kingdom, and Satan’s power.  If be had died there, he had been shut out of the millennial kingdom.  But this righteous visitation was followed by the disciple’s repentance, and Paul, “in the person of Christ,” with the consent of the church loosed his chain, and restored him to his place in the kingdom in mystery, with a hope renewed of entering the kingdom of glory.


Jesus is not then, as it is commonly said, speaking of Peter’s opening the door of faith to the Jews, to the Samaritans, and to the Gentiles.  For that was neither binding nor loosing; much less did he first begin by binding.  But in the case of the incestuous [brother], it was first binding, then loosing.  Moreover, Jesus had spoken in the previous verse of the building of the church. [Page 55] And after Paul has laid down the offences for which any are to be put out from church-fellowship, (1 Cor. 5) in the next chapter he adds, that the same offences will also exclude from “the kingdom of God:” 1 Cor. 6.


Jesus then proceeds to lay down His Jewish title of “the Christ;” for Israel knows Him not.  He is turning to another body, owned by Him while Israel lie in unbelief.  For Israel was about to slay the Son of Man; and if any would believe in and follow Jesus, he too must be prepared to suffer the loss of all things; yea, of life itself.  For this, so contrary to Jewish hopes, Peter is unprepared; and rebuking our Lord, is severely rebuked in turn.  Though the disciple might be justly called upon to give up life itself for the Lord, yet it could be no ultimate loss: for in the kingdom of the thousand years the martyr for Christ would find restored in glory his lost life.  Whereas, what should any be profited, who should in this evil day retain his life, if he lost it during that day of joy?  For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of the Father with His angels; and then shall He reward each according to his work.”  Again, the period of reward is stated to be that of our Lords return: the reward is to be individual, and according to works.  The time of such reward is the millennial kingdom, or that of the thousand years.  Accordingly, Jesus promises to some of the disciples then present a glimpse of the Son of Man's kingdom; which in some six days afterward, he exhibited to them on the Mount of Transfiguration.  This shows us, then, that we are not mistaken in regarding the kingdom of heaven as referring to the millennial glory.  The scene on the Mount was not a preaching of the Gospel to the dead in trespasses and sins; but an assembly of some of the great of old with Jesus, and their being seen in bodies of glory, while the voice of the Father from on high gave witness to His Son’s supreme place.



3. As our third passage of difficulty, let us take Matthew 20: 20-28.



[Page 56]  Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.  And he said unto her, What wilt thou?  She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.  But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask.  Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?  They say unto him, We are able.  And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.


And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.  But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister: And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”


The answer of our Lord to the petition of the mother of James and John for a right hand and a left hand seat in His kingdom is understood to signify - that there was in reality no such thing as they asked for.  Ye know not what ye are asking for.” ‘Was not this a rebuke of their carnal expectations of a visible kingdom on [this] earth?’


So we might have thought, had the words stood alone.  But they do not; and the context with other passages shows, that there are such posts as the ‘Sons of Thunder’ desired; and such a kingdom as they looked for.  What had the Saviour in a previous chapter said?  In the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, Ye also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel:” 19: 28.  Here is the very thing they expected promised.  The two apostles, therefore, were only asking the first places among the [greatest of the] promised thrones.  And Jesus confirms this saying of His even at the Last Supper: Luke 22: 28-30.


[Page 57]  But the context also bears witness, that the Saviour’s words are no rebuke of ‘carnal apprehensions of His kingdom.’  He declares, (verse 23,) that these posts for which they applied were already bespoken; and that in appointing His apostles and others to such elevations in His realm, He would only follow His Father’s good pleasure and arrangement.


What was the Saviour’s meaning then in those words – “Ye know not what ye ask?”  They are most clearly expounded for us by the words which follow.  Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?”  As though the Lord had said – ‘0 James and John, you are expecting, that as soon as I arrive at Jerusalem I shall take the kingdom; and that then you will step upon your thrones.  But know, that ere the crown glitters on my brow, the cross must intervene.  Ere I take my throne I must go up on high, and a dreary interval of patient suffering must be endured by my disciples.  This is part of the Father’s plan - that they who with me reign must first jointly suffer with me.  And the degrees of glory in my millennial reign will be meted out in proportion to sufferings endured for my sake.  In asking, therefore, for the principal thrones you are asking also for pre-eminence of suffering. This you do not see; and so you know not what you are asking for.  If you saw this, in your present mind, you would not dream of asking for such heights of glory.’  But they declare their readiness to endure, and the Saviour assures them they should.  But still the posts they coveted were not to be won, as among men, by urgency of petition, and by being first in the field.  The Father would assign them in accordance with His righteous principle; and Jesus would bestow agreeably with the Father’s decision.


The request of the two created great indignation among the remaining ten of the disciples.  But the Saviour takes occasion thence to teach us all a lesson of deepest moment.  The twelve were to be enthroned, as He had promised; but their ambition was to take an [page 58] opposite form to that exhibited by the ambitious and the great of the world.  The great of the world issue commands, and are waited upon by those beneath them.  The ambitious strive to thrust others aside, as standing in their way; and covet titles of beneficence without doing the work of kindness.  But among the disciples of Jesus so it is not to be.  If any were ambitious, they were to learn, that glory and lofty posts in the kingdom to come, may be attained only through humility and lowly service to others.  Whosoever wishes to be great among you let him be your servant.”  In this Jesus was to be their example.  He had taken the place of service to others instead of authority over them.  He was about to offer up His life, in order to ransom others.  Wherefore the Father will exalt Him above every name in the age to come. They, then, who wish to be great in the coming kingdom may attain to it, if they will seek for glory by the two channels which the Saviour here indicates, 1. SUFFERING: and 2. SFRVICE.



4. Some find a difficulty in those words so oft repeated -

The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matt. 3: 2; 4: 17; 10: 7.



Does it not follow from this, that we must understand that the Gospel or the church is the promised kingdom? since that is what followed soon after, while the manifested kingdom of which you speak has not come for ages.  Is it not clear, then, that fact has proved what is the meaning of ‘the kingdom of heaven?’ ”


To this I reply – ‘No!’  The expression, more exactly translated, is – ‘The kingdom of heaven hath drawn near.’  Had Israel but repented and believed, they would at once have entered the kingdom.  It drew near them for their acceptance; but it was presented conditionally only.  On their refusal it was withdrawn from them.  Since the wicked husbandmen would not render to the proprietor of the fruit of his vineyard, and would instead of that slay his son, “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the [page 59] fruits thereof.”  The superior or heavenly portion of the kingdom is utterly lost to the nation of Israel.*


[* That is, ‘lost to the nation of Israel’ in natural bodies of ‘flesh and blood’, but not lost to Jews resurrected and glorified in immortal bodies of ‘flesh and bones’.  To suggest that resurrected Old Testament saints, will not have equal privileges with resurrected New Testament saints is out of character with what the Scriptures teach.]


Even when the tribes are forgiven, even when the kingdom of heaven draws near again and they accept it, they receive a place only in the lower or earthly department. And of the unbelievers of the Saviour's time, and of others since Jesus said, 11 The children of the kingdom (the Jews to whom millennial promises were first made) shall be cast into outer darkness ; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth: " Matt. viii, 12.


The difficulty of this passage may then be illustrated by previous examples taken from their nation.


God brought the tribes close to the land of promise, and said to them – ‘The land is before you; enter in.’  But they drew back in fear and unbelief.  The giants; how could they overcome them?  The cities fenced up to heaven!  How could they storm tkem!  Twas destruction to attempt it!’  And so the Lord dealt with them according to their unbelief, and the possession of the land was put off forty years.  Might Israel, because they were still moving up and down the burning sands so long, say – ‘It is clear that this is the only land which the Lord ever designed for us.  Did He not say – ‘The land is before you?’ This is the only land before us; there is to be no other.’


The kingdom then did draw near; but, through the unbelief and rebellion of Israel, its manifestation has been put off 1800 years [now, according to our calendar, over 2,000 years].  It will, however, come at length.  So, when Moses arose to deliver Israel the first time, their deliverance drew near.  But when they thrust him away, it drew back again.  For another forty years their departure out of the land of oppression was deferred.


I may add, that in Luke 10:  9, 11, the expression is better given, “The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.”


5.            Take as a fifth example, Acts 14: 22.  Paul and Barnabas visited several of the cities of Asia, “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we

must, through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”


Now here is a sense of the ‘kingdom of God’ which [page 60] puzzles many.  Is it necessary to [eternal] salvation to go through much persecution?  Of Course not: else how could any be saved upon a death-bed?  Faith alone is necessary to [initial] salvation. In this case then by “the kingdom of God” something beyond a barely being [eternally] saved is meant.  It cannot signify, that it is needful to go through much tribulation in order to enter the church of Christ.  For these were already disciples, embodied in churches.  It signifies therefore here, as in other places which we have seen - the millennial kingdom of Christ.  If we with Him suffer, we with Him shall reign!’ We are to wait till the Saviour comes; not seeking the world’s glory, riches, or pleasures.  We are to wait; for we cannot cast Satan and his angels out of the heaven or the earth; and as long as he is left here, there will be trouble for the saints of God.


Much turns on our acceptance of this testimony.  This [millennial] glory is not for those who disbelieve it.  For what says the Saviour?  Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein:” Mark 10: 15; Luke 18: 17.  And how many [regenerate believers] refuse the testimony?  Reason against it as unphilosophical, ridicule it as foolish, despise those who assert it?


But the kingdom of God shall come at length in its brightness.  It shall come with the Saviour, with His voice of might, His trump of power.  Did Sheba say of Solomon’s glory, when after long travel it broke upon her astonished gaze, “Behold the half was not told. me?”  So shall it be then.  Astronomers’ interest in the sun, moon, and stars is far greater than that of ordinary persons; for they gaze at them oftener; they see them closer, better, more vividly, more distinctly than others.  To most eyes the sun is but a small body.  To the astronomer it is so vast, that our globe is almost nought in comparison.  Let us be astronomers of faith! engaged, not with the present kingdoms of a world under judgment, and speedily passing away; but with God’s coming [millennial] kingdom of glory, of reward, and resurrection! 



*       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER 5. [Pages 61-75]





The promises of a day of glory to appear on the earth were originally made to Israel.  The Psalms and Prophets abound with allusions to that day, or with descriptions of it.  Hence Israelites in general are called “the children of the kingdom.”


The New Testament acknowledges in their place the Old Testament promises made to the twelve tribes.  Let us then consider the kingdom in its connexions with‑









I. In our consideration of the first point, let us take some passages concerning ISRAEL’S PLACE IN THE KINGDOM - from the Old Testament.


1. “Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto his name, for it is pleasant.  For the Lord hath chosen Jacob to himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.”  Bless the Lord, 0 house of Israel; bless the Lord, 0 house of Aaron!  Bless the Lord, 0 house of Levi; ye that fear the Lord, bless the Lord.  Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem:” Psa. 135: 3, 4, 7 10-21.


2. “The Lord doth build up Jerusalem; he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.”  “Praise the Lord, 0 Jerusalem; praise thy God, 0 Zion.  For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.  He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat:” Psa. 147: 2, 12-14.


Neither of these passages can have their fulfilment during the days of the Gospel, while Jerusalem is trodden [page 62] down, while her children are outcasts, while God refuses to dwell in her temple; and Israel, as unbelieving, has no peace.


3. Again “They shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols.  But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded, world without end.”  In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” Isa. 45: 16, 17, 25.  I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry; and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.” 46: 13.


4. Jeremiah, after prophesying the destruction of Babylon, the great antagonist of Jerusalem, says, I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon Mount Ephraim and Gilead.  In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve:” Jer. 1, 19, 20.


5. Still more remarkable are the prophet’s words in the chapter which treats of the new covenant with Israel.


At the same time, saith the Lord, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.  Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.  The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.  Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, 0 virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.  Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.  For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God.  For thus saith the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, 0 Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child [page 63] and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.  They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.  Hear the word of the Lord, 0 ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.  For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.  Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.  Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.  And I will satiate the soul of' the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord:” Jer. 31: 1-14.


But let us turn now to New Testament witnesses.


1.  To Jesus before his birth the throne of David His father was promised by the angel; as the result of which He was to rule over the house of Jacob for ever: Luke 1: 32, 33.  Moreover, Zacharias beholds in the birth of John the same glory. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people; and hath raised up for us an horn of salvation in the house of his servant David. That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us: to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he sware to our father Abraham. [Gen. 22: 16-18] that he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life:”  68-75. This promises the temporal deliverance of Israel from the Gentiles, and their conversion to God; neither of which has yet occurred.  But both will be fulfilled together.


2. At Jesus’ birth the Magi came to Jerusalem, enquiring for Him who was born King of the Jews, for they were sure that the fact had taken place, because of [page 64] the supernatural star which had appeared: Matt. 2.  But might not this belief have been only a fancy or superstition of these Gentiles?  Nay, it is countersigned by the Jews, and riveted by a text of scripture.  The Messiah, who is also the King of Israel, must (said the scribes,) be born in Bethlehem, for it is written, “I And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah, for out of thee shall come a Governor, who shall rule my people Israel:” Matt. 2: 6.  Hitherto that Governor has been refused by Israel; but the word of the Lord must yet be fulfilled.


3. Very remarkable are the words of Jesus to Nathaniel.  Nathaniel, struck with the Lord’s supernatural knowledge, had saluted him with the words, “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel.”  Here, then, are two titles of very different value, but both meeting in one person.  And Jesus owns them, and expounds for us their force.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man:” John 1: 49-51.  That is, ‘I am He, in whom the dream of Jacob, concerning the ladder that united earth and heaven’ will be fulfilled.  And thou, Nathaniel, in the names thou hast chosen, hast indicated the foot of the ladder which touches the earth, in the title, “King of Israel;” and the top of the ladder which touches the heaven in the title, “Son of God.”  In that time the angels of heaven will be my messengers to and fro; and subject to “the Son of Man.  For unto angels hath he not put in subjection the age to come of which we are speaking, But one in a certain place testified, saying, ‘What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the Son of Man that thou visitest him? Thou hast set him over the works of thy hands, thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet:’” Heb. 2: 5-8.


And John testifies, that Jesus’ death was not only for the scattered children of God, but with an especial view to Israel as a nation: John 11: 51, 52.  Indeed, he places His death for Israel foremost.  So again, when [page 65] Jesus entered Jerusalem on the ass, as foretold, he presented Himself as the King of Israel, although the daughter of Zion recognised Him not.  Yet even then there were tokens of the better day to come, the day of the first resurrection.  For it was the resurrection of Lazarus, which had taken place so close to Jerusalem, that attracted together the vast crowd;* and the cry from amidst the branches of palm-trees (which gave a sort of character to that Passover, as if it were the feast of Tabernacles) went up, Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord:” John 12: 13.


* The resurrection of the righteous is to precede, as we see here, the glory of Israel.


Jesus’ owning of Himself before the Emperor’s lieutenant as the King of the Jews, was “the good confession” of which Paul speaks; and for it, Jesus was condemned by Pilate to die.  The title above His Cross, that specified for what crime He suffered, was, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”  The Pharisees saw that Pilate was thus mocking the nation and its hopes, and requested a slight alteration in the terms of the title; but Pilate refused.  On his part, ’twas too good a joke to be spoiled; on God’s, ’twas too great a truth to be set aside.  Israel crucified her king, after denying Him, and assuming to herself the emperor of the Gentiles - the Wild Beast of the fourth empire - as her king.  Awful will be the day when this is fulfilled to her.


During the present dispensation - the Mystery of God - Israel is blind; but partially only, and but for a season.  After that, all Israel shall be saved, when God’s covenant to take away their sin is ratified: Rom. 11: 25, 26.  And that is to be, when there comes out of Zion the deliverer, and turns away transgression from Jacob.  When the Church ceases to be owned, the mission of Jewish disciples announcing the millennial kingdom of Messiah - after an interruption of 1800 [2000] years - will go forth again: as Jesus says, “When they persecute you in this city, flee unto another, [page 66] for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have perfected (Greek) the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come:” Matt. 10: 23.  And this word points us back to the chapter of Isaiah whence John Baptist drew his credentials: Is. 40: 3-5.  Close following upon the passage to which John appealed, we have the following words, The voice said, Cry! And he said, What shall I cry?  All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.  The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it.  Surely the people is grass.  The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”  What is this, but the resumption of the interrupted message of God?  The prophet looks back upon the 1800 years that have elapsed between John Baptist’s proclamation, and that of the latter day; and with a wailing cry bemoans the generations that have since then passed away, like successive crops of grass, grown up, flowering, and cut down.  But the purpose of the Lord must stand, and His word cannot fail of being accomplished.  Hence God sends forth anew His message; and this is it, “0 Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain. 0 Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid, say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!  Behold. the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold his reward is with him, and his work before him:” 6-10.


Of this implied remnant from among the twelve tribes the book of Revelation is a witness, where it describes the 12,000 firstfruits of each tribe of the nation: Rev. 7.  At length the new covenant is made with the repentant tribes: Heb. 8: 8-10.  And thenceforward nothing but blessing can flow in to them; for God now fulfils the terms of it.  Then Jesus, after having been a light to lighten the Gentiles,* becomes the glory of His people Israel: Luke 1: 25-32.  Then the kingdom is restored [page 67] to Israel, as the prophet promised, “To thee it shall come even the first dominion: THE KINGDOM SHALL COME TO THE DAUGHTER OF JERUSALEM: Micah 4: 8.  Though delayed so long, since the apostles enquired about it of our Lord, at length the season which the Father had put in His own power is come.  The witnessing to Jesus as away in heaven is past.  He has returned, and has been seen with bodily eyes, even as when he went into heaven: Acts 1.  And the twelve apostles respectively are to be rulers of the twelve tribes, as the Saviour promised them: Matt. 19: 28; Luke 22: 30.  For the twelve tribes are no longer to be severed into two nations with two hostile kings; but they are to become again one nation upon the mountains of Israel: Ezek. 37: 21-25.


* Or perhaps better, “to reveal the nations.” - Compare v. 35.



II. Let us now see how the kingdom of Messiah will affect JERUSALEM.


1. Psalm 122.


I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.  Our feet shall stand within thy gates, 0 Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.  For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.  Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.  For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.  Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.”


See also Psalm 128.


Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways.  For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.  Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive-plants round about thy table.  Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.  The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.  Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel.”


2. Take, as a third witness, Isaiah 62: 1-7.


For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for [page 68] Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.  And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.  Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.  Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.  For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.  I have set watchmen upon thy walls, 0 Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence.  And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”


3. As a fourth, take Jeremiah 3: 16-18.


And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that [the ark] be done [made] any more.  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 imagination of their evil heart.  In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.”


4. As the last from the Old Testament, take Zechariah 8: 3-8.


Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.  Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.  And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.  Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the Lord of hosts. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west [page 69] country; and I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem : and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.”


Let us now regard the New Testament evidence.


1. At the close of His earthly career our Lord sends for the ass and its foal, as He enters Jerusalem for the last time.  All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold thy king cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, a colt the foal of an ass:” Matt. 21.  Accordingly, God gave an opportunity to the disciples to render this testimony.  But the disciples themselves, as we have observed, falter, and reply only – “This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth, of Galilee.”  Thus the opportunity was lost, and the Saviour finds the temple garrisoned against Him by His foes.  He is delivered up, and when presented to Jerusalem in His hour of weakness as her king, is refused.  We have no king but Caesar.”


The kingdom, therefore, cannot as yet come to Jerusalem.  God still in grace bids the Gospel first issue thence: Luke 24: 47. But the Gospel testimony, as Jesus foretold, though borne by the mouth of the wondrously converted Paul, would be refused. “Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem, for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me:” Acts 22: Accordingly, the mob of Jerusalem shout for Paul’s death, as they did for his Master’s; and hardly is his life preserved. Henceforward, during all the Gospel day, Jerusalem is the slave-mother, in bondage with her children: Gal. 1: 25.  She will be tried once more by having messengers of God, scribes, and prophets sent; but she will still maintain her character as the murderess-city, that stones the prophets: Matt. 23: 37; Luke 13: 33.  Hence the day of wrath for the shedding of innocent blood will surely overtake her, and make her the centre of woes.  For there shall be great distress in the land, (earth,) and wrath upon this people. (Israel.)  And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations; [page 70] and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.” Solemn, also, was the Saviour’s word – “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and your children.”  For days of such woe were to come, that mothers should felicitate the barren: and men should begin to say to the mountains – “Fall on us,” and “cover us.”


But this dark scene will change.  For at Jerusalem Jesus won one of His victories over Satan, when He refused to cast Himself down from the pinnacle, by way of proving His Divine Lordship.  At Jerusalem the Saviour first displayed the trophies of His victory in resurrection over him that had the power of death.  For there many bodies of saints which were asleep arose, “and went into the holy city, and appeared to many:” Matt. 27: 53.  In spite then of its awful crime in putting Jesus to death, it is still “the holy city:” and Jesus owns it, as the city of the GREAT KING:” Matt. 5: 35.  Thus, then, one day the promises of the Old Testament prophets shall be fulfilled in it, and it shall be the holy city, indeed and in truth: Joel. 3; Zech. 14.



III. Let us now turn to some testimonies concerning THE TEMPLE in the day of the kingdom.


1. Take first the well known passage of Isaiah 2: 1-4.


The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s 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 ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more!”


In that day the mountain on which the temple will [page 71] be set will be loftier than any round about; for earthquakes of unprecedented severity will alter the whole configuration of the country.  And afterward it will be the point toward which men of all nations will flow in a stream.  Thence as a centre will the knowledge of the true God flow, and that will be the time of a settled peace, such as the world has never yet seen.


2. Take as a second witness Isaiah 66: 23, 24.


And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.  And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”


3. For a third testimony, receive Ezek. 42: 1-7.


Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: and, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.  And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.  And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.  So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house.  And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.  And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor, by the carcases of their kings in their high places.”


This discovers to us that entrance of the Son of God in His glory into the new temple at Jerusalem, which is its real and abiding dedication.  The dedication by Moses and by Solomon were only types of this.  After this, the holy place is no more to be defiled, as it has been in days of old; nor shall armies of the Gentiles [page 72] burn it.  Satan’s last attack upon the city and temple is foiled by fire from heaven, before he can shoot an arrow against it: Rev. 20.


4. As a last testimony from the Old Testament let us cite Malachi 3: 1-5.


Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.  And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.”


The first coming of the Lord Jesus did not fulfil this word.  He came, not as the terrible refiner to cast into the furnace; He purged not the sons of Levi.  He came, not for judgment; but in mercy.  But at His second coming this shall be fulfilled; and then the sacrifices of the temple shall be restored, and shall be acceptable to Jehovah as in the days of Solomon.


To some this is inconceivable: ‘How,’ say they, ‘can any sacrifice be offered again, after the one sacrifice of Christ?  Was it not offered once for all?’  Yes, truly; and yet sacrifices in the temple at Jerusalem went on for forty years after Jesus was slain. Nay, and Paul with other believers caused sacrifices to be offered in the temple, for themselves: Acts 21: 23-26.  The real state of the case is this - The sacrifices of bulls and goats cleansed the flesh;’ but could not cleanse the conscience, in which the sense of sin abode all through the dispensation of the law: Heb. 9: 13.  But the blood of Christ, while it cleanses the conscience, does [page 73] not cleanse the flesh.  Hence, while we draw nigh to God now in heaven we do so, not in flesh, but in spirit; and our spirit is cleansed.  But when God shall come down to earth to dwell in Jerusalem and its temple, there will be needed by men still in bodies of flesh and blood, who draw nigh to Him in flesh, the cleansing of the flesh as well as the cleansing of the conscience.  Hence the sacrifices of bulls and goats will always have their necessity during the millennial reign.  The one sacrifice of Christ and the many sacrifices of animals have each a sphere of efficacy, and neither ejects the other.  Read the last five chapters of Ezekiel for a proof of this.


Turn we now to the New Testament evidence upon the subject.


Jesus always, from His earliest years, honoured the temple as His Father’s house.  When found by His mother, it was in the temple.  And when she made complaint of the long and fruitless search she had made for Him previously, He replied- “How is that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be at my Father’s?” Luke 2: 49.  So it should be translated.  There was no need of long search and inquiry; they might have supposed that a son was to be met with at his Father’s house.  Thus He gently rebukes His mother’s words – “Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.”  It was from not seeing the Saviour’s meaning in the word ‘father,’ that they understood Him not.


At a later period, at the commencement of His ministry, Jesus cleansed the temple; while yet He hinted of a better temple, even His own body: John 2.  A second time He cleansed it, after His final going up to Jerusalem.  “Make not my Father’s house an house of merchandize.”  It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of robbers.’”  This house Jesus glorified by His teaching and miracles: there too was given a hint of the future glory, in the children’s hosannas. But Israel refused the Lord of the temple, and the house [page 74] was left by Him.  It was to be desolate, therefore, till they should repent, and He should return to it: Matt. 23: 38.*


* Hence in verse 21 of that chapter it should be by “him that dwelt therein!”  And so the best MSS. read.


During the present dispensation, according to the principles announced to the woman of Samaria, Jerusalem and the flesh are nothing.  The only ‘house of God’ now owned is a spiritual house of believers.  God acknowledges as His house no collection of brick or stone now.  Whose house are we.”  Ye also, as living stones are being built up a spiritual house:” Heb. 3: 6; 1 Pet. 2: 5.


But when Christ returns, the Church is removed from its place of witness, and the spiritual house is finished.  Then Israel repents, and Jesus returns to the earthly house, as its God and its glory: Matt. 23; Ezek. 43.  And then will be fulfilled the words – “My house shall be called the house of prayer for all nations:” Mark 11: 17.  Such is the order of the Greek, such the true sense.


Our present position, Christians, is illustrated for us by the history of the kingdom in Israel.  Disobedient Saul had forfeited his sceptre, and was personally rejected by God.  Another, better than he, was chosen and anointed.  And yet Saul retained, to the eyes of nature, all the realities of the kingdom.  He repents not, yet Israel does not forsake him.  He still holds the power of the purse, and of promotion, as we see in his appeal to his courtiers.  Hear now, ye Benjamites!  Will the son of Jesse give you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands and captains of hundreds!”  And David - where is he?  Persecuted, driven out from his home, his life in peril, in constant alarms.  He and his soldiers are despised by the Nabals of Judah.  Men whom I know not whence they be.”  Long he has to tarry, ere the throne is mounted: and ’tis darkest just before the sun-rise.  Ziklag is burned, his wives are carried off, he is rejected [page 75] by the Gentiles, (the Philistines) as he had been before by the Jews.


Then came the sudden change.  The guilty king and his sons fall in battle.  The kingdom comes to the son of Jesse.


Tis so now.  He who desires fields and vineyards, and the captaincies of the world should not follow the Son of David, but Saul.  David mourned and fasted, while Saul and his men feasted.  But the crisis came; and God fulfilled to David His promises.  So shall it be in the day to come.  This evil age shall pass away; the true Heir of All shall come.  He will remember His servants and captains who have fought for Him, and been despised together with Him during the evil day.


Persevere in well-doing, Christian!  The Kingdom of God is at hand!


*       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER 6. [Pages76-91]





For want of perceiving that the Kingdom of God has a heavenly department, some Christians despise the subject, as ‘earthly and Jewish.’


Let me then present some proofs of the‑








Consider then the proofs of the




The Old Testament speaks chiefly of the earthly compartment of the kingdom; and presents to us sometimes the blessings destined for Israel, sometimes those for the Gentiles.


Take some examples concerning Israel and the Gentiles.


1. Jeremiah 23: 5-8.


Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shal execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness.  Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.”


2. Psalm 47: 2, 3, 6-9.


For the Lord most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.  He shall subdue the people under us, and [page 77] the nations under our feet.  Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of a the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.  God reigneth over the heathen; God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.  The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.”


In this passage both Israel and the Gentiles are united.  God is visibly king of the earth.  While the Gospel lasts, Satan is king of the world; and the Gentiles, and Israel, are blinded.


3. Micah 4: 1-8.


But 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, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.  And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.  But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts bath spoken it.  For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.  In that day saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; and I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.  And thou, 0 tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.”


Of the heavenly aspect of the future kingdom we have an intimation in Eph. .1: 9, 10: “Having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself, that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him.”


[Page 78] Thus a place is found both for the Gentiles and for Israel among the things on earth which are to be subjected to the rule of Christ.  For us a place is found among the heavenlies.  Israel has Jehovah for their king, the king of all the earth.  He is the Lord of Armies, whose throne is at Jerusalem.  But the servants of Christ now are called with the “heavenly calling” away from earth and its treasures, to the heaven.  We are invited to be fellow-kings with Christ, and to be priests to God and the Lamb.  To us it is proposed to be partakers of the first resurrection, possessed of resurrection-bodies shining with a glory like His own, and permitted to enter the gates of the New Jerusalem, that city of the heaven.


2. In Abraham both parts of the heritage meet.


By faith, Abraham when he was called to go out into the place which he was about to receive for inheritance, obeyed, and he went out, not knowing whither he went:” Heb. 11: 8.  Here is the earthly aspect of the kingdom.


But he, together with Isaac and Jacob, confessed themselves “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”  They regarded earth, therefore, as not their abiding place.  For “now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he prepared for them a city” - the Jerusalem of heaven.


Accordingly this was typified of old in Abraham’s having two wives of different standings, and a son by each: Gal. 4.  One of these mothers was a slave; and she answers to the Jerusalem of earth, her son taking the same rank with his mother.  But the other was Sarah, the free-woman, which answers to the city of God above.  The slave abides not forever in the house: the son does: John 8: 35.  The son of the slave-mother inherits not the same inheritance as the son of the free-woman: Gal. 4.  But believers are the sons of the free-woman, and their city is Jerusalem above, the eternal city.  The ladder of Jacob touches and unites both the earth and the heaven; and each has its central and representative city.


[Page 79] The partakers of each department also of the kingdom have a body suited to it.  After having testified of Jesus’ kingdom, and of the order of resurrection, Paul treats of the kind of bodies to be possessed by the risen.  There are heavenly bodies, there are also earthly; but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind; that of the earthly is of another.  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory.  So also is the resurrection of the dead:” 1 Cor. 15: 40-42.


That is, then, while the kingdom will unite in itself both men of the earth and [glorified and immortal] men of the heaven, yet the perfection of the risen body will be very different from the perfection of the animal body of flesh and blood.  Even among the bodies of those risen from the dead there will be a threefold distinction of brightness; just as among the glories of the bodies which shine in the heaven the star’s brightness differs from the moon’s, and that again from the sun’s.  Now as there are these three kinds of brightness, so there are also three different dispensations, out of which God will gather partakers of the millennial kingdom.  Those of the patriarchal times will have the glory as of the star; those of the law’s days, the glory as of the moon; those of gospel days, the solar radiance.


Types of both these departments of the kingdom were given in our Lord’s day.  The heavenly department of the kingdom was offered first to Israel; but the nation, as a nation, refused.  Jesus, therefore, severed the disciples from the nation; and then, after promising to the apostles a view of His kingdom [on the Mount of Transfiguration] before they died, He took some of them apart on a mountain top by night, and disclosed to their eyes the glory of the heavenly kingdom, in the light like the sun that streamed from his face and garments.   But there were also men clad in bodies of flesh present in that scene, to complete the type of the kingdom and its glory.   Peter writing on this subject to the church of Christ presents it as the proof of the reality of the future personal advent, power, and kingdom of the Lord Jesus: 2 Peter 1.  Twas the [page 80] glory of the earth’s Rejected One, to be partaken by those only who are so rejected.


But, at the close of the Saviour’s sojourn on earth, He gave to Israel a type of the earthly department of the kingdom when He entered in triumph into Jerusalem as its king.  That was by day, and openly multitudes taking part in it, and Gentiles being found among the interested spectators: John 12.



II. Look we now at some passages which treat of




It is to arrive by the descent of Jesus Himself from on high into air.  He will then send and gather to Himself His people, whether asleep in the tomb, or still alive on the earth.  For this we wait [until the time of Resurrection]. 1 Thess. 1: 10; 4.  Body, soul, and spirit reunited will be presented before Christ.  But after it comes the great and terrible “day of the Lord” upon those left on the earth.  The rapture of these favoured ones of Christ is not seen, and the world disbelieves the true interpretation of the mysterious disappearance of so many Enochs from among the living.  Hence they fall yet deeper into the spiritual sleep of unbelief, and the terrors of Jesus’ manifestation in wrath find them wholly unprepared: 1 Thess., 5.


When our Lord comes for His people ‘tis in secret; but when He comes to avenge them, the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels: 2 Thess. 1.  So, after the assembly of Christ’s [translated or rapt] saints to Him, the apostacy of multitudes from the Christian faith occurs, and out of that unbelief and its blasphemy springs the ‘Man of Sin’.  He cannot now appear, for the day is not yet suited to him.  But, then, God will send this Great Deceiver, to test the nations; and Satan will be permitted to persuade men by the full force of his supernatural powers to receive his king, and to worship.  Men, having refused God’s truth and His Son, the true Christ, are handed over to Satan’s lie, and to the false [page 81] Christ.  This Awful Usurper of God’s name and worship continues to blaspheme the Lord and to prosper among men, till Jesus suddenly flashes forth with His armies from the sky, in which He has been hitherto concealed.  At that instant all power to resist leaves the Antichrist, and his kingdom is overturned by “the manifestation of the presence” of Jesus.


Then the remnant of Israel and of the Gentiles who have refused the mark and the worship of the False Christ, enter the kingdom.  The kingdom which had long before come to the heaven, at length affects the earth: Rev. 12: 10 ; 20: 1-6.


The first man brought in death; the second Adam, resurrection.  We who believe bear first the image of Adam of the earth; we shall bear the image of the second Adam, the Lord from heaven.


Abraham is to have a double seed - that like the sand, the earthly seed; and that like the stars, the heavenly.


At the last trump, the change which puts off the corruptible and the mortal, for the immortal and the incorruptible, is to take place.  Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”  The Saviour’s words in explanation of the Wheat and Tares, show us the other department of the kingdom: for He says, “The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all stumbling-blocks, and those which do iniquity, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth:” Matt. 13: 41-43.  The kingdom is also denominated, where the church is addressed, “the kingdom of the Christ and God” - the Greek signifying, that both substantives describe one person.  It is also the kingdom of the Son.  Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom:” Heb. 1: 8.


Many crowns are His, in the day when desert is rewarded.  Prophecy testified “the sufferings of the Christ, then the glories that should follow.”


[Page 82] Jesus reigns, till all enemies are subjected to Him, and to His Father: 1 Cor. 15: 24.  After Satan is imprisoned, earth obeys, and enemies are cut off.  To us is presented the joyful hope of being priests to God and His Christ, yea, fellow-kings with Him.





God has appointed us [who are ‘accounted worthy’ (Luke 20: 35)] our portion in the heavenlies, not in the earth: Eph. 1: 3.  As he has raised thither Jesus our Lord, so has He seated us there in Him: Eph. 1: 20.


In heaven are the angels who fell not, who are learning the mind of God from His conduct toward the Church: Eph. 3: 10. There, also are the fallen angels our foes, “wicked spirits in heavenly places,” against whom we are called to wrestle: Eph. 6: 11, 12.  These are like the Canaanites who were in possession of the good land, which was prepared for Israel.  They must be cast out, ere Israel could enjoy the land.  Even thus must Satan and his hosts be cast forth, ere we can enter: Rev. 12.


Those blessings which Israel possessed visibly on earth, are provided for us on high, only of a quality far superior.  Israel had God for them on earth.  He came down to the bush of the desert, and thence called them by Moses.  To us the call comes from the heaven, through Jesus, a greater than Moses.  This constitutes ours “the heavenly calling.”  Of Israel as a nation, God said, – “Israel is my son, my firstborn.” But now God is “our Father in heaven.”  The mediator Moses went up into the mount, and Israel was directed to wait his return thence.  But they fell into unbelief about it, and idolatry came in like a flood.  Jesus our Mediator is gone up on high, into heaven itself, and thence are we to look for him.  A few only will be found so waiting at last; and idolatry [page 84] more deadly, and damnable than any previous example will flourish just before His advent.


Israel had a worldly tabernacle erected upon the earth, and a high priest upon the earth suited thereto.


But our temple is in heaven itself, a tabernacle which the Lord has fixed and not man.  And there Jesus ministers for us.


Israel’s city was in God’s land of the earth, and they were called out of Egypt to it.  Our city is above, and will at length be fixed upon the new earth.  The enrolment of Israel was on earth; our names are written in heaven.  Israel’s mansions and treasures were in the land God had spied for them; our mansions are on high, our substance and heritage there.


If this be true doctrine, we must believe it, and act according to it.  As our portion is in heaven, we must not seek our pleasures, substance, or honour below.


We are to covet a part in the coming kingdom, and to be found obedient, as the way to it.  For while simple faith brings eternal life; good works and obedience to our Lord’s special commands are required, in order to obtain a part in the kingdom to come.  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven;” Matt. 7: 21.  Hence we have to resist spiritual evil; to advance in good.  Life toward God is a fight with Satan; a race to a goal: 2 Tim. 4: 7, 8.  Hence we are to expect tribulation: it is the appointed way into the millennial kingdom: 2 Tim. 2:  11, 12 ; Acts. 14: 22.  By our conduct now, will our places then be adjusted: for thus it is written: 2 Tim. 2: 16-21.  But shun the profane vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.  And their word will eat as doth a cancer, of whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who concerning the truth erred, saying, that the resurrection has already taken place; and they are overthrowing the faith of some.  Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth firm, having this seal, ‘The Lord knoweth them that are His, [page 84] and let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.’  ‘But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth, and some to honour, and some to dishonour.  If therefore any purge himself from these (things) he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and made meet for the Master, prepared for every good work.” (Greek.)


On this I look as a passage of much importance, whose force is not generally seen.


Paul directs Timothy to divide the word of God rightly.  As the priests might not cut the victim save as directed; as there is in every sacrificial animal a system of bones and joints, which must be respected by him who cuts it up, so is there a system in God’s dispensations.  He who should cut up an animal on a priori mathematical principles, into triangles and squares, would soon find what mangling and waste would be the result.  He so offends, who carves God’s word according to the theory which he brings to Scripture.


There were those of Paul’s day who hacked the Scripture, and the teaching of the apostles into accordance with their imaginations.  These called themselves ‘Gnostics’ – ‘Men of Science,’ ‘Men of Intelligence,’ able to discern between the true and the false: 1 Tim. 6: 20, 21.  This, as the Holy Ghost foretells, would advance, till even the appearance of Christianity was gone.  They divided the truth wrongly: severing what was united, uniting what God had divided.  Thus error, as the apostle foretold it would, spread widely.


He gives a special example then before him - the denial of “the first resurrection,” or “the resurrection of the just.”


Hymenaeus and Philetus said, that the “resurrection was past already.”  By “the resurrection” in Scripture, the resurrection of bliss is always meant: Matt. 22: 28, 31; Luke 14: 14; 20: 33-36, etc.  What are we to understand, then, was their doctrine?  There are on this point two chief ideas.  (l.) That they taught that the resurrection promised was not physical, but spiritual; regeneration, in short.  (2) That the resurrection was that literal coming forth of saints from the tomb, which took place at Jerusalem at the time of our Lord’s resurrection.  The graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the Holy City, and appeared unto many:” Matt. 27: 52, 53.


(l.) It is not the first of these; though that idea might have gained ground afterwards, when unbelief had grown, as foretold.  For Paul does not say, that these errorists were wrong as to the nature of the resurrection, but only as to its time.  They affirmed, that to be “past already,” which other Christians were expecting as yet future.


They thus removed the hope of the saints, the spur to zeal and diligence; and shook their faith generally.  But in those days there were inspired apostles, to whom appeal could be made – ‘Hymenaeus says there is no first resurrection to be expected by the saints: is he right?’  Paul, then, bore witness against this as an error.  The whole of the epistle has the first resurrection as its under-current.  It teaches more strongly than any other epistle, than even that of Hebrews, the mighty effects hereafter resulting to all,* and specially to believers, from their actions.  Deserted by his friends both at Miletus and Rome, Paul yet looks forward to his great reward in “THAT DAY.”  This day is the day of trial; ‘that day,’ of reward: 1: 12, 18; 4: 8.  The Just Judge should give him the crown, as the result of his successful wrestling, his constant pressing on to the goal.


[* That is, ‘all’ as understood in a limited sense; not all the redeemed but only those ‘considered worthy’.]


He continued to testify of Christ’s appearing and kingdom, though it had brought him under the emperor’s suspicions, and would rob him of life: 4: 7, 8.  Yet the Lord would preserve him safe to “His heavenly kingdom:” 18.  And he testifies to believers in general how faithful, is the saying, that if we suffer [page 86] with Christ, with Him we shall reign.  He adds, that our unbelief or denial of this truth will not shake it, for it rests upon the Saviour’s word: 2: 11-13.  Here, then, again and again Paul asserts the doctrine which these errorists denied.


Their denials did not shake “the foundation of God.”  The doctrine questioned had been clearly affirmed previously by the Most High, and by Paul His servant.  It was a reality, founded on God’s purpose to glorify His Son, and His saints together with His Son.


This foundation has a double inscription.




That is, God’s election is a secret thing.  We judge who are His, and who not, by their words and conduct.  But we may be, we sometimes are deceived.  This was said by way of comfort and strengthening of the faith to those who had been shaken by finding men high in repute among Christians, men such as Hymenaeus, Alexander, and Philetus, falling back to the world, and blaspheming the faith they once professed.  This stumbling-block, then, Paul removes thus: ‘Not all are God’s, [elect into the kingdom] who are thought so.’  God alone is the infallible Judge in this.  Every other plant but that of His setting shall at last be rooted up.


The second inscription is this:-




*So read the critical editions.


One of these principles is concealed with God; and one visible to man.  One is of grace and gift; the other a matter of responsibility, or God’s demand from those so graciously chosen.  The kingdom is that of the saints.  So Daniel taught; so Jesus re-affirmed: Dan. 7: 18, 22; Matt. 7: 21-23; Heb. 12: 14.  Election without answering holiness will give no entrance into that resurrection; for it is the resurrection, not of the elect [unto eternal life] as such, [page 87] but “the resurrection of the righteous.” (just.)


Here, then, is a second truth.  Some who are God’s people may so offend, so fall into iniquity, as to be excluded from that glory and kingdom.  What of them?  Where will they take their place who axe implicated in false doctrines and ways of iniquity?


The apostle answers by analogy.  God has a place at last for all His saved ones.  Great is His universe: vast the new heavens and earth.  If any, then, of His elect misconduct themselves in the day of trial, and in spite of warning, there will be appointed them a suitable position in the coming day, and in the coming eternity.  A palace requires vessels of all kinds; some of the costliest character, of gold, or gems, fit for purposes of honour, to grace the king’s table, or chambers of state.  But other vessels there are of dishonourable uses, and yet necessary.  The believer’s way is open to seek and attain the highest place; the way is open also to the lowest.  It is a matter of present responsibility, and of future award.


I feel sure that this is the true meaning; and not that which could make the “great house” to be visible  Christianity, or Christendom.  For the apostle is not speaking of any assignment of places now, but of that which is to be made in the day to come.  It cannot yet be known with certainty who are the vessels unto honour; who, unto dishonour.  The hope is set before the holy, that they may one day be vessels unto honour.  If a man purge himself from these (things) he shall be a vessel unto honour.”  One denies not, of course, that even already there is some foreshadowing of the great recompense.  To the faithful, even now more is given.  Moreover, the church in Paul’s day was in no sense of evil, the “great house.”  It became so only ages after, when mixed with the state.


There is underlying this passage, I believe, a constant reference to the rebellion of Kolah, Dathan, and Abiram.  Korah and his friends set themselves up against Aaron, asserting that Moses and Aaron had [page 88] exalted themselves above the rest of the congregation without warrant; for all the people were as holy, and as fit to draw near God as they.  It would appear, that like this was the attitude of the errorists rebuked here: 1 Tim. 2: 7; 6: 3-5; 2 Tim. 1: 11.  It is indeed evident, from the necessity of the case, that something of this kind must have arisen.  For, as soon as Paul had declared himself opposed to this false teaching, if the offender did not at once submit, he must have opposed himself to the apostolic authority of Paul.  Who is this Paul? that he should set up his opinions above every body in the church?  Can’t others read the Scriptures, and see what they mean, as well as he?’  This, then, was in principle the attitude of Korah.  The Lord is among the congregation, we are His as well as you.’  Moses replies to Korah, that the Lord knew who were His, and whom He had authorized to draw near as priests.*


* The only priests now are believers. So‑called ‘priests’, made by men are guilty of this very sin of Korah; while they accuse others.  None but believers are priests; all believers are so.


But there was a second party in the rebellion, who set themselves peculiarly against the authority of Moses, denying the hope set before them.  Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?”  That is, they take up the words of the promise with which Moses led them out of the house of bondage, and apply it to the land they had left.  The good land was really Egypt! which they had been deceived into leaving!


They proceed further to accuse Moses of spreading knowingly a delusion before the eyes of Israel.  Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: Wilt thou put out the eyes of these men?  We will not come up.”  Did Moses imagine, that they could look upon the burning sands [page 89] around them, and believe that they were the land flowing with milk and honey, according to his promise?  The story about a favoured land of promise was all a delusion; and they would be gulled by him no longer!’  The reason why they were detained among the scorching rocks of the desert was God’s judgment on their own unbelief, But they taunt Moses with it, as though he were the author of their sufferings and of their disappointed hope.


Thereupon Moses bids all who would escape, flee from the tents of wickedness: for swift judgment was about to overtake these offenders.  Accordingly, many arise and flee, and the rebels are swallowed up.  Those who stood with Moses beside God’s tabernacle, were secure.  The foundation of the Lord stood secure.”


Then came a fire out from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty princes who were offering incense.  Eleazar is then directed to take up the censers in which these rebellious ones were offering to the Lord, and to cast out the incense and the coals.  The censers we’re, hallowed, because offered to the Lord, and they should be made use of when beaten into plates, to cover the altar with.  This fact we see taken up by the apostle’s words about the places in the great house.  God would give the vessels of these sinning Levites a place in His tabernacle; but a place of dishonour, a use of warning.  They were to teach the danger of acting as did Korah and his friends.  Jehovah teaches and will teach hereafter, by facts, which are His handwriting. The next day the congregation sins, and the plague bursts forth.  Then Moses bids Aaron take his censer, and make atonement for them.  The accepted priest does so: he stands between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.  Here again is illustrated for us the promise that the purified and accepted one shall be a vessel to honour.  The Levites’ censers draw down the burning: Aaron’s stays the plague.


God’s firmness then is conspicuous.  (1) Great as the numbers of the congregation and the heads of the [page 90] conspiracy were, He smites.  (2) He stands by Aaron whom He has chosen, defends him, honours him.


Lastly, in the sequel, He gives to Aaron a token of the resurrection, the first resurrection of bliss.  God would still the murmurs of the rebels against Aaron.  He does so by requiring, that a rod should be furnished by each of the tribes, and the name of each written on the rod.  They were laid up before God in the tabernacle.  On the morrow Aaron’s rod had budded, and yielded both buds and almonds.  This was Jehovah’s testimony to Aaron as His priest.  It was a hint of the better priesthood, and of the better country - even the heavenly, to be obtained in resurrection.  The dead rod cut long ago from its parent tree, now was glorified with new life.


Thus has the Spirit met the case before us.  Some of these leaders of error may have been unconverted men.*  But, if any of them were converted, then God would assign them a low and dishonourable place in His future earth and city.  So also Rev. 22: 18, 19.


[* Not according to 1 Cor. 10: 1-11. ]


Our faith in this testimony of Christ’s return, and of His [millennial] kingdom in resurrection with Him, is to nerve us for trials by the way.  Specially if we have already in former years suffered for the faith.  Cast not away, therefore, your confidence which hath great reward.  For ye have need of patience, that after ye, have done the will of God, ye may receive the promise.  ‘For yet a very little while, and the coming One will arrive, and will not tarry.  Now the just by faith shall five; but if he draw back, my soul hath no pleasure in him.’  But we are not of those who draw back unto destruction, but (men) of faith to the saving of the soul:” Heb. 10: 32-39. (Greek.)


Thus, all is suspended on the Saviour’s coming: for then is the [millennial] kingdom, then the reward of the confidence of faith, which has dared all things to obtain the glory.  The just by faith shall attain life.’  But he may draw back.  The addition, ‘If any man,’ is very unwarranted.  It deprives the passage of its chief force.  One great aim of the epistle is to prove the possible loss of the [millennial] kingdom by the converted.  Those in whom God has no pleasure cannot be of those “accounted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from among the dead.”


Here, then, we see our calling, and its hope.  We are justified by faith; we are looking for a life to come; a life in resurrection-bodies, to be brought to us by Jesus descending from the heaven.  Therefore earth is not our portion; nor is it to be sought by us. The hope which you, 0 Christian, should cherish, the world [and the vast majority of the regenerate] does not accept.  And your conduct as called forth by this hope exposes you to dislike, ridicule, loss.  But your hope is to be to you an anchor of the soul, to steady you against this current of unbelief, these beating waves of ungodliness.  Keep the [millennial] glory in view; and the reigning with Christ hereafter, under condition of our suffering with Him now.  Therefore persevere in faith and hope of the Saviour’s return.  What sustained Columbus, the great discoverer of a new world?  Many were the rebuffs he met, before any attention was given to his pleas.  Nor when at length his little craft was floated, were his trials over.  The more he neared his object, the greater amount of resistance he encountered from the unbelief of those on board.  He was almost turned back in disgrace upon the very threshold of success.  But his confidence in the certainty of his arguments failed not, and great was his reward. What was his ground of hope compared with ours?  What his joy and reward, when at length his courage, zeal, and perseverance were rewarded, compared with our recompense?


Our belief of the kingdom to come rests upon the promise of a God that raises the dead, and will glorify His Son therein.  Let us, then, seek to serve a better sovereign than Columbus served with equal zeal! and ours shall be glory everlasting - a crown not to fade away!



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CHAPTER 7.[Pages 92-99]





Paul, by the Spirit, assures us that the history of Israel in the desert is typical of the church: 1 Cor. 10.; Heb. 3: 4.


Now in that history, the miracles of giving water to the host, and of bestowing quails, occur twice.  But great instruction accrues to us from a due consideration of the differences in God’s acting on those two occasions.  Let us note them.


1. When Israel, at their first departure out of Egypt, arrive at Sin, they murmur against Moses and Aaron; for there is nothing to eat.  Very evil are their words.  But God promises them bread from heaven daily, and a filling them with flesh.  Accordingly the quails come, and cover the camp; and the manna is found in the morning.  God shows them the glory that dwells in the cloud that conducts them; but He says only, that He has heard their murmurings, and would supply their need: Exodus 16.


2. They come to Rephidim, and there is no water.  Again the people break out into evil words.  They demand water of Moses; “Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt to kill us, and our children, and our cattle with thirst?”  Moses’ life is in danger, and he appeals to Jehovah.  The Lord bids him go on before the people, together with some of the elders, and his rod of power in his hand.  Upon a certain rock in Horeb the Lord would take His stand, and out of it water should spring to meet the people’s need.  Moses obeyed; struck the rock, and water was given.  They strove with Moses, they tempted the Lord; and so the place is called, ‘Strife’ and ‘Temptation’ - Meribah and Massah: Exodus 17.


They then arrive at Sinai, and the Most High [page 93] proposes to them that they should hence-forward be dealt with as they deserved.  If they were obedient, they should be chief of the nations; priests and kings.  They assent to the proposal, and on this basis a covenant is made between them and Jehovah.


3. They leave Sinai, and the people murmur.  Now the fire of the Lord burns and consumes the people that are in the outskirts of the camp.  It needs the mediator’s prayer now to quench the fire.  The place is named ‘BURNING.’  We saw the grace of God under the first murmurings; it is justice now.


4. The people, dissatisfied, desire flesh, and God promises it for a full month.  He brings the quails in hosts, and the people kill and eat.  But He smites them with a very great plague.  The place is named Kibroth Hataavah – ‘the Graves of Lust:’ Num. 11.


5. At Kadesh, water anew fails the people.  They chide with Moses and Aaron once again, as though they were the authors of the trouble.  Their leaders appeal to the Lord, and the glory of Jehovah appears to them.  Moses was to gather the assembly, and speak to the rock with the rod in his hand.  But now Moses himself fails.  He says to the people, “Hear now, ye rebels, must we bring you water out of the cliff?”* He smites the cliff, instead of speaking to it.  Water is indeed given, and that abundantly; but Moses and Aaron themselves are now shut out from the land: Num. 20.


[* ‘Cliff.’ A different word is now used, betokening a different object.]


Here then is an illustration of things yet to be.  This is the day of grace, “the accepted time.”  And God is bearing with all His people’s infirmities and provocations, on the ground of Jesus’ priesthood and sacrifice.  He is calling them to obedience and to good works, as those made alive in Christ, as sons who are to display the character of their Father.


But He assures us also, that, whether we like it or not, a day of another kind, a day of justice, in order to [page 94] measure out to each his desert, is at hand.  Take some passages in proof.


The Pharisees, refuted by our Lord on the Sabbath question, seek to slay Him.  But He says nought, He does nought against them.  Tis the day of God’s patience: 2 Peter, 3: 9, 15; Rom. 9: 22.  Accordingly, Jesus fulfils the word of the prophet.  Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased.  A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth justice into victory:” Matt. 12: 18-20.  Here we have a view of both the days: (1) Of God’s long suffiering, while He waits to see if man will repent; and then (2) of another day, when justice takes its turn, and overwhelms in destruction the ungodly.


Paul, presenting God as the righteous judge, about to deal with each according to his works, says to one offending during the time of grace


Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Rom. 2: 4-10 ; 16.


God is now in character just, though manifesting mercy; but the day to come is the day of the revelation of his just judgment. And then He will render to both believer and unbeliever according to their works.


This is witnessed alike by the Old Testament and by the New.


I. From the Old Testament take this testimony.


Give the king thy judgments, 0 God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.  He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.  The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills by righteousness.  He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor:” Psa. 72: 1-4.


But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove 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.  And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins:” Isa. 11: 4, 5.


[Page 95]Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: Behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap: And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.  And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts:” Mal. 3: 1-5.


The last book of scripture, while it calls the saints of the churches to be patient while God is long-suffering, yet testifies that the day is coming, when Jesus and His faithful ones shall have power over the nations.  Then He, who now will not break the bruised reed, shall sway the sceptre of iron, breaking the sinner, as potter’s, ware is broken by steel: Rev. 2: 26, 27. Accordingly, when heaven opens, He comes forth as King of kings to judge, and to war.  And the result is the destruction at Armageddon of all earth’s armies Rev. 19.


The PRINCIPLE on which justice, in the coming day will be ministered, is “TO EACH ACCORDING TO HIS WORKS.”


1. Such were some of our Lord’s words preparatory to the exhibition, to certain favoured disciples, of the glory of His millennial kingdom on the mount of transfiguration.


For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works:” Matt. 16: 27.


2.  Such is the [Holy] Spirit’s statement by Paul to the Church at Corinth.  [Page 96]For we must all appear [be manifested] before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he bath done, whether it be good or bad:” 2 Cor. 5: 10.


3. To the church at Thyatira Jesus says-


And I will kill her children with death: and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works:” Rev. 2: 23.


4. Lastly, His closing word is; Rev. 22: 12, Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me to give to each according as his work shall be."


The Lord Jesus, then, will award to the deeds of each believer according to their quality, as good or evil; as more or less excellent.  While the cup of cold water shall not miss its reward, the reception of a righteous man as such will receive a greater recompense; and the reception of a prophet as such, a still higher one.  The owning of Jesus now, or the neglecting so to do, will be followed by answerable results: Matt. 10: 32-42.  But many in our day are putting aside the Gospels as ‘Jewish.’  We must show, then, that the Epistles teach the same truth.  (1) Each must receive from Christ, the judge, according to what he did by means of his body; whether the works, and the answerable recompence, be good or evil: 2 Cor. 5: 10.  (2) The abundant sower shall reap a full harvest, the sparing sower, a thin one: 9: 6; Gal. 5: 7-10.  (3) The doer of wrong shall receive for the wrong: for God accepts not faces: Col. 3: 25.


The passages just cited, prove also that each will receive for his works in proportion to their quantity, as few or many.  Each shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour:” 1 Cor. 3: 8.  To the diligent worker the entrance into the eternal kingdom shall be abundantly ministered: 2 Peter 1.  Without good works none shall enter the kingdom: Matt. 7: 21.  To the penitent robber, Jesus promises [page 97] present entrance on Paradise, but no entrance into His future kingdom; though that was what he requested: Luke 23: 42, 43.  Abraham was at first justified without works by faith: Gen 15: 6; Rom. 4.  But at the close he was Justified by the works of faith; and the oath of God in his favour could never be withdrawn.  Because thou hast done this thing blessing I will bless thee  In thy seed [which is Christ] shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice:” Gen. 22: 15-18.  So is it to be also with Abraham’s sons of faith.  If not justified by the works of faith in that day, it will be in vain for them to allege the possession of faith: James 2: 12-26.


The principle of the law of Moses was justice: the principle of perfection now is mercy, after the example of the mercy of our Father in heaven: Matt. 5: 38-48; James 2: 12; 2 Tim. 1: 16-18.


Now is the time to suffer for Christ and His truth: Rev. 2: 10; Acts 14: 22; Matt. 20: 20; Rev. 3: 8, 10; Matt. 19: 27-29.  The highest surrender that can be called for, is that of life: Matt. 16: 25, 26; John 12: 25.  But this shall be especially requited in that day of the first and blest resurrection; insomuch that Paul, as the perfect man, desired to give up life for Christ, if by such means he might attain the first resurrection: Phil. 3: 10, 11; Rev. 2: 4-6.


From this principle will result different degrees in glory; according to the different positions, abilities, opportunities, zeal, diligence, holiness, and length of life of each: 1 Cor. 3: 8; Luke 15: 1-43; 2 Cor. 9: 6; Luke 19: 16-19; Eph. 6: 5-9; Col. 3: 22-25.


See then, Christians! God is noticing the work of each; and “He becomes the Recompenser of those who diligently seek Him:” Heb. 11: 6.  The labourers on His domain shall be one day assembled, when the harvest-home is complete; and both sowers and reapers shall rejoice together: John 4: 36.


1. The principle, for which we contend, is shown in Enoch.  He stood on God’s side, a witness against the [page 98] world, a witness of the coming woe.  He pleased God, walking with Him as the man of faith.  Therefore He was not left to pass through the flood of judgment: he was taken to heaven ere it came.  To us it is commanded so to walk and to watch; and a promise is left, that if so, we shall escape the terrors of the coming “day of the Lord,” and be set before “the Son of Man,” the king of the kingdom in that day: Luke 21: 36; Rev. 3: 10.


2. Moses is offered to us as a second example.  He was urged by faith to look for reward from God, surrendering the pleasures of the worldly.  The Lord commends him for it.  He was set before Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Moses had respect unto the recompense of reward;” as we also are called to do Heb. 11: 24-26.


3.  Lest we should hesitate at following the examples, even of these great ones of old, the Saviour Himself is presented as the third and crowning instance.  For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God:” Heb. 11: 2.  Some indeed fancy, that the idea of reward is unworthy, and ‘mercenary.’ Jesus did not think so: He would urge sons of God to seek reward, for it is to come from a Father’s hand.  Thy Father which seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly:” Matt. 5: 4, 6.


Keep then, 0 believer, from every evil work!  For the day of the discovery of all things hidden is at hand; yea, the day of requital for each: 1 Cor. 3: 16; Gal. 5., 6.; Col. 3: 25.


Beware of losing reward by falling back from first zeal and works: 2 John, 7, 8; Rev. 3: 11.  We must persevere even to the end, if we would have the soul of God take pleasure in us: Heb. 10: 32-39.


Now is the time of working in the vineyard of the Lord: hereafter are to come the rest, and the wages.  Now is the time of battle; by and bye the victory will arrive, and the crowns for the valiant.


Great were Paul’s losses for our Lord; complete his [page 99] rejection by the world; heavy was the work of the apostleship; sore the trials and sufferings he underwent from both the world and the church.  His day closes with the dark dungeon, and the edge of the sword.  But great shall be his reward!  The crown of righteousness” shall be awarded to this mighty wrestler, by the Great Master of the games.  The suffering shall look light both to him and to us, when poised against the weight of glory attached.


Let us tread then in Paul’s steps of service, suffering, and loss!  The race and its crown are open to us also.  Happiest shall they be in the hour of the Lord’s appearing, who for Him have done, suffered, surrendered most!  May I add, that it is said that Sadduceeism began of old, by the denial of reward?



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CHAPTER 8. [Pages 100-122]





It were a great thing to have seen Babylon in the hour of its greatness, the centre of the empire of the Chaldees.  Its astonishing walls, its magnificent palaces, its temples, towering terrace above terrace, its bridge, and its hanging gardens, were the world’s wonder.  Not a few would give years of life to have the scene, such as it then showed itself, conjured up again for them.  What would they not give, were it possible to see it in its glory, and to walk upon its walls, though but for a day?


But to us is granted the better hope of beholding and dwelling in the city of God, and of ruling as kings in the coming empire of God.


Our subject in this chapter is the duty and privilege of SEEKING THE KINGDOM OF GOD.


I. What kingdom is it we are to seek?


The kingdom of grace! Nay, we axe in it already, as disciples: Col. 1: 13.  As yet it is the kingdom in mystery only: it is concealed; for the king on whose power depends its manifestation, is away.


We are to seek the future kingdom, the kingdom in manifestation, the kingdom of glory. For that, Daniel, the witness of its futurity, is waiting: Dan. 11: 13.  Daniel was made witness of the kingdom of Israel overthrown.  He, one of the royal family of Judah, is made a eunuch in the palace of the Gentile king, to whom God committed the overturning of the kingdom previously given to Israel.  To him it was granted to know, and to set forth to us the course of Gentile empire, and its final overthrow by God’s manifested power put forth against it: Dan. 2., 7.


The call by John Baptist and by Jesus in God’s appointed time referred to these prophecies.  The kingdom of heaven hath drawn near!”  All expected thereupon the fulfilment of Dan. 2: 44!  Now is the [page 101] God of heaven about to break in pieces all other kingdoms, setting up His own alone.’  Moreover, signs of power supernatural burst forth in the ministry of Jesus.  All eyes and ears were attent on the realization of the promises of the prophets.  But for these blessings Israel was not ready.  As they rejected the king of that kingdom the kingdom itself withdrew.  Jesus speaks at length to the disciples about Israel’s unbelief.  Peter owns the Saviour as possessed of higher powers and a loftier nature than the people expected.  And then our Lord lays aside His title of Messiah, and speaks of His death, of His going away, and coming in His kingdom. If any will come after me, let him deny himself.”  For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his father, with his angels; and then shall he reward each according to his work.”  But there were some there who should see the Son of Man as He will appear when He comes in His kingdom: Matt. 16: 24-28.  Now the scene on the Mount of Transfiguration, which immediately followed, presented not grace, but glory.  There were the law and the prophets, as it were, in the persons of Moses and Elijah, beholding Jesus in His glory, and occupying a place confessedly inferior.  The Father from on high, in mighty voice attests the reality and futurity of the kingdom of the Son yet to appear.  For He countersigns all His deeds and words: “Listen to Him!”  Jesus then is the Son of Man to whom Daniel beheld the Ancient of Days commit the empire of the world: Dan. 7: 13, 14.  One day, assuredly, therefore, that kingdom must come.  It is to be then, though but a glimpse of its glory was given, and though they who beheld it were but men in the flesh.  This is the kingdom of which Jesus says-


SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD and his righteousness,

and all these things shall be added to you:” Matt. 6: 33.


It is at present only the kingdom in mystery, for it is the time of God’s grace.  And hence Satan is at large, and deceives the whole earth, and troubles and persecutes the saints.  The world and the flesh are [page 102] against them, and the life of the holy is one of warfare.  But then flesh and blood will be put off; the world will be subdued, and kept under by justice, and the devil be cast into the pit.


But what mean the words- “Seek his righteousness?”


1. They do not mean imputed righteousness.  That was needed to present acceptance; and the hearers possessed imputed righteousness already, as disciples of Jesus.  Nor was the Saviour exhibiting Himself, in the Sermon on the Mount, as the righteousness of the believer.  But He was teaching those who would listen, the principles which were to guide their conduct, if they would enter the millennial kingdom.  So in other passages of Matthew it has the same active sense.


Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.”


Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  Obedience also is directly stated as the condition of entering it.  Who shall have part in it?  He that doeth the will of my Father who is in. heaven:” 7: 21.


So Peter speaks of those who fear God, and “work righteousness:” Acts 10: 35.  So Paul. Through faith the worthies of old “wrought righteousness:” Heb. 11: 33.  Also 2 Cor. 9: 9, 10; Phil. 2:  6.


New principles of far greater height and depth than the old ones of the Law are in the Sermon on the Mount disclosed by Jesus. They were God’s words put into his mouth.  While they were “sayings of mine,” as he says; they were still “the will of his Father in heaven.”


Thus obedience to Jesus’ novel principles and precepts is the means and the way; and the kingdom of glory is the bright end set before us.  The precepts are so lofty and so difficult beyond those of the Law, because the way is now opened to a higher and more glorious department of the kingdom than was known to Israel of old.  These new precepts, this new spirit are God’s education of the “saints of the heavenlies.”  The Law made nought perfect; but the Son of God [page 103] does.  He calls disciples now to nothing short of the perfection of God our Father in heaven.


The kingdom Jesus directs us to seek.  It is not, then, ours at once on faith.  But some think, that other things are to have their first attention.  Nay – “Seek first the kingdom of God.”


Are you anxious, 0 disciple, for meat and clothing?  Nay, but “Rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you:” Luke 12: 31.  There remaineth, therefore, a rest for the people of God.”


This lesson is the great practical one which our Lord would teach disciples by the Sermon on the Mount.

Blessed the poor in spirit; for theirs is the (future) kingdom of heaven.”  And so it is said when that kingdom comes – “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection, on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”  It is the kingdom of the Christ as well as the kingdom of God.  It is no kingdom to be possessed now; for it comes to the martyrs after their death, and when they are risen.  That is the day of consolation for suffering and service in Christ’s cause: Luke 6:  20, 24.


To observe the precepts of the Saviour is impossible to flesh and blood; difficult even to those renewed by God.  But tread this path: it is the way to the reward of God in His kingdom! Matt. 5: 43-48.  Do good works for the eye, not of men, but of your Father in heaven!  Foolish are they who seek and find their recompense now: Matt. 6: 1-18.  Seek glory from your Father, 0 ye sons of God!  This did the Redeemer - the hope of this sustained Him amidst His endurance for our sakes.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  Far from jealously guarding His dignity as the Son of God, He stooped to take the place of the subject and of the offender, dying even on the cross of the slave and the felon.  WHEREFORE God also hath highly exalted Him, [page 104] and given Him a name that is above every name:” Phil. 2: 5-10; Heb. 12: 2.  But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.  Thou lovedst righteousness and hatedst iniquity; THEREFORE 0 God, thy God anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows:” Heb. 1: 8, 9.


Note again the Saviour’s words in Matthew 11.  He there gives praise to John the Baptist before the multitudes of Israel.  John was one of firm character, possessed of the gift of prophecy, nay, Himself and His work were foretold by other prophets. “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist; notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  On this rock all interpretations of the kingdom of heaven that I have seen wreck themselves.


Some suppose Jesus to mean, that every believer in this Gospel dispensation is greater than John, because greater privileges are his.  But that is not the meaning of the words; nor can it be sustained in fact.  What is the meaning of “greater?”  It does not refer to inward and invisible privileges before God.  Jesus is speaking, not to disciples, but to the multitudes, ver. 7.  Now greatness to them, and specially greatness in a kingdom means, height of honour and estimation before men, and extent of influence and power over others.  The ruler over ten cities is greater than the ruler over five: Matt. 5: 35; 20: 25; John 4: 12; 8: 53; 13: 16.  The earthquake is great which wrecks one city; but that which wrecks fifty is a greater earthquake still.  The kingdom in mystery is not the time for greatness.  Greatness now is evil, as we see in our Lord’s parable of the Mustard Seed; and in Paul’s rebuke of Corinthian believers, who sought to rule in this day: 1 Cor. 4.


Jesus is really comparing greatness in this day of man with greatness. in the day of God; greatness in the kingdoms of men with greatness in God’s future [page 105] millennial kingdom.  John might be high in estimation among them, and great in his influence over the mass of Israel.  But the least of those who shall rise at the first resurrection, and be accounted worthy to enter that kingdom shall be greater in standing, honour, and power, than John was then.


Does it mean, then, that John would himself be excluded from the millennial kingdom?’  By no means!  Jesus is comparing John’s greatness with that of the great who have preceded him.  But the Lord says nought about John’s ejection in that day. Nay, rather, as a martyr for Christ he must enter the kingdom; as Revelation 20: 4-6 shows.


Our Lord, then, in these words is heightening the ideas of Israel touching the glory of the millennial kingdom.  You think very highly of John.  How great his words and deeds!  How vast their power over the sons of men!  Tis true: but the greatest of this dispensation will not equal in greatness the least of those who enter my kingdom of glory.’


Thereupon our Lord proceeds to hint His approval of an earnest seeking to enter that kinadom.  Now from the days of John the Baptist the kingdom of heaven is suffering violence, and violent ones are carrying it off by force.” (Greek.)  This presents to us the strong desire felt by multitudes of that day to obtain part in the proffered glory.  They were like soldiers who have taken a city by storm, and are each seizing and carrying away whatever jewels, or gold, or other valuables come first to hand.  This was well.  But amidst all this stir and healthful excitement arising from faith in God’s word, there was a class - the learned religionists of Israel - who looked coldly on in unbelief.  What thought the Saviour of them?  And all the people that heard Him, and the publicans glorified God, being baptized with the baptism of John; but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves being not baptized by Him:” Luke 7: 29, 30.  Those who received John’s baptism glorified God, both by their obedience to the rite as [page 106] the door to the kingdom, and by their earnest pursuit of the kingdom which God’s word set before them.  But the learned of Israel, resting, it would seem, in their privileges of birth, as sons of Abraham after the flesh, despised what seemed to them a foolish and useless excitement; and refused John’s baptism, which was really the open door into the path toward the kingdom of the thousand years.  Herein we see the close connexion of baptism and the kingdom; and the folly of those who refuse the rite given to mark our desire for the kingdom; and the visible cleansing commanded on God’s part in order to display obedience.


That this is the true view, we may see from Paul’s words.  He was one of the violent ones, whose soul was stirred within him to attain this kingdom.  Hence he compares himself with the wrestlers and racers in the Grecian games of old.  They were patient, self-denying, zealous to win the race, and the prize.  He was like them.  He would encourage his brethren to do the like.  Know ye not that they which run in a race run, all but one (only) receiveth the prize.  So run, that ye may obtain!  Now every one that wrestleth is temperate in all things: they, indeed, that they may obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly: so box I, not as one scourging the air; but I keep under my body, and lead it captive; lest after having acted as the herald to others, I myself should become rejected:” 1 Cor. 9: 24-27. (Greek.)  Rejected from what?  From salvation, and eternal life?  Nay, but from the millennial kingdom, and its joys!  That was the prize at which he aimed; that the glory which he feared to lose.  But at last he is certain of the reward.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord the Righteous Judge shall give me in that day; but not only to me, but unto them also that have loved His appearing:” 2 Tim. 4: 7, 8.


Confirmatory of this is the passage of Malachi to [page 107] which Jesus refers in proof of John’s greatness.  After the prophet has spoken of the messenger who is to precede the Lord, he adds, that Jehovah Himself will suddenly come to His temple.  But who would be able to stand before His eyes of fire, His hands of power, in that day of justice?  He, would come as the worker in metals to cast away the dross, and to glorify the silver.  He would restore to their place and priest-hood the sons of Levi.  And Judah and Jerusalem should again be established; should again present with acceptance their burnt-offerings and gifts, as in the days of old.  But it would be also a time of judgment upon evil-doers.  The land so devoured and consumed by God’s latter-day plagues, should be more than restored to its beauty and fertility, while “all the nations should call the Israelite blessed.”  Then would God remember the faith of disciples who met together to talk over His word; He would place such among His jewels, when He came to select and to set them, each in his place.  Then should the difference be seen between the servants of God and His enemies.  For the day was coming, that as a furnace should burn up the wicked and the proud, cleansing earth of them and their works.  But on the fearers of God’s name the Sun of Righteousness should shine, and they should prosper: Mal. 3., 4.  Now this refers, not to the church and its day of grace, but to the millennial kingdom, and the great and terrible day of the Lord, specially in its bearing on Israel.  That is the time of manifestation.


Great is it, to be doing and suffering, and to be judged by men in this evil day, even as John Baptist was.  But greater far to be reigning with Christ in the good day, beyond death in resurrection.  Great was it, to be allowed to call sinners to repentance, and the kingdom.  But greater far to put down evil for ever, and to encourage good, and see it prosper all over the earth.  Great is it, to sow in God’s field; but greater far shall it be to gather in the sheaves!  Great, to work in the vineyard of God - but far greater when [page 108] the labourers shall drink new wine together in the kingdom of their Father.  Great was it to be Christ’s forerunner; but greater far to be fellow-kings with Him!  Great, to prepare the way for His advent; but greater far to join in His march of victory!  Great, was John’s birth of the barren woman; but ever glorious will be his birth from Hadees the mighty, clad with the glories of immortality!


Let us confirm this by a view of Paul’s attitude in Phil. 2:  8-16.  The apostle rejects the righteousness he wrought himself while under law, and accepts with gratitude the righteousness wrought by Christ, presented by the Father, to be the clothing of each believer.  He calls it – “the righteousness which is from God upon faith:” (Greek) ver. 9.  But though he accepted this as a gift, at the outset of his Christian career, there was yet something set before, him as a prize.  He desired to know the power of Jesus’ resurrection, and to suffer with Christ now, even to the endurance of martyrdom – “if by any means I may attain unto the (select) resurrection from among the dead.(Greek.)  To obtain a part in the resurrection of the dead after the thousand years demands no faith at all.  The wicked will receive that.  It could, therefore, be no object of his desire. But to obtain a place in the first and blest resurrection, this he might well covet.  And tribulation is God’s appointed way thereto.  Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must resist through many tribulations (plur.) enter the kingdom of God:” Acts 14: 22.


What kingdom was that?  The Gospel?  Nay, the disciples were in that already.  The Church?  They were there also.  It can only mean then, the future millennial kingdom of glory; which answers to the select resurrection from the dead in Philippians.


Paul continues – “Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect; but I follow after if that I may apprehend (lay hold of) that for which also I was apprehended (laid hold of) by Christ.  Brethren, [page 109] I count not myself to have apprehended,” - though all others did believe it of him - “but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching after those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high (or heavenly) calling of God in Christ Jesus.”


Jesus had invited Paul, as He does us, “to His kingdom and glory:” 1 Thess. 2: 12.  He was arrested by Christ on the way to Damascus, not only in order to the obtaining the gift of eternal life, but to win a place in the millennial kingdom of Messiah. This design of the Lord Jesus Paul sought to forward by every means in his power.  Hence he tarries not, but is baptized; as the point of visibly leaving the old behind, and beginning the race toward the new.  Herein he stands as the marked contrast to the scribes and Pharisees his former coadjutors; for they refused this counsel of God, to their own present and future loss. Having begun the course he would not desist till the goal was won.  He was sure of God’s gift - eternal life.  But he did not feel sure of the prize, the entrance in resurrection into the kingdom of Christ.  To this God invited him as a partaker of the heavenly calling; and to this call his whole soul responded.  All beside this was nought.


But lest we should think, that this prize is destined only for the magnates of the church, such as apostles and prophets; the Holy Spirit adds- “Let us, therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.  Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”


In this passage, then, the Christian is not instructed to sit still, because all is done for him.  Nay, but, 0 believer, distinguish between gift and prize.  Being justified, you start upon a race for the crown of God.  Gird yourself, and run!  The crown will repay all effort!  Be likeminded with Paul.  Yea, with Christ Himself!’


[Page 110]  For Paul has in this same epistle discovered the Saviour in His humiliation, the Saviour as exalted because of His wondrous career, already, and hereafter to be elevated above all in His coming kingdom.


Walk in humility and obedience!  Lowly stoop, and you shall highly rise!


What was the Saviour’s teaching while on earth?  Luke 14: 7-11.


And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them.  When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou he bidden of him; and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, ‘Give this man place;’ and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.  But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, ‘Friend, go up higher:’ then shalt thou have worship (glory) in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.  For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”


In these words Jesus is by means of a figure instructing His disciples in the way to attain glory in the kingdom to come.  His teaching is just contrary to that of nature, and of sense: Matt. 22: 5-7.  The guests in Jesus’ day were each seeking to have the highest and first places.  Each seized on the highest he could. But this was the way, not to honour, but to shame before the guests, if any one of a superior rank or estimation in the opinion of the master of the feast, happened to enter.  This, then, indicates to us our course of action.  While other Christians may be pressing for the loftiest places in the church now, let us not do so.  Let us take the lowest room.  God has servants far more valuable than we; greater in knowledge, love, service, devoutness, devotedness, prayer, liberality, and other graces.  The places we take and hold now are not those which are to abide.  The guests of God may range themselves at the table as they please; but it is the Master who is about to enter, who will really assign us our suited seat. If, then, we have taken up a position too high we shall be degraded [page 111] before the assembled guests. But if we have placed ourselves in a seat below our due, the Master will direct us to go up higher; and so shall we win glory before the whole assembly in the kingdom of God.


Moreover, Jesus draws from the feast-scene before Him another lesson: ver. 12-14.


Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt he blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”


Jesus beheld before Him a table such as natural beneficence could spread.  But He would testify to us of one which His disciples should exhibit, in contrast to the ways of the world.  Nature invites friends, relatives, the rich, and the great, if possible.  But the man of grace instructed by the Redeemer should invite those whom nature would despise.  These cannot, like the other classes, make Him any return.  He must wait till the kingdom come; but blessed is such a position, for God shall reward!  Thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee; but thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just,” or in the kingdom of the thousand years.  How is it, that this teaching of the Lord Jesus, illuminated by the blest picture at the close, has been so overlooked by Christians?  Have we too many good works?


With one other exhortation, that derived from Heb. 3., 4.  I will conclude this chapter.


Paul brings the history of God’s ancient people to bear upon His later one.  He affirms the close relations of resemblance between Christians and Israel.


Jesus is to be regarded by us as our Leader, no less than our High Priest.  He answers to Moses, no less than to Aaron.  Now God was pleased, at the set time fixed, to come down out of heaven to earth; and [page 112] out of the bush in Sinai to call to Moses.  He sent him to Israel with an assurance that Jehovah was come down to deliver Israel out of Egypt, and to bring them to the good land of promise which He had sworn to their fathers.  Moses is equipped with powers of miracle in order to substantiate his message, and spreads it before the elders of Israel.  And the people believed: bowed the head, and worshipped Jehovah: Ex. 4: 31.  Upon this God begins to call Pharaoh to give up his people.  He refuses, laying more burthens upon Israel, till they are so discouraged, that the Lord sees it necessary again to promise their deliverance: 6: 6-8.  At length, by the paschal lamb they are delivered; and safely pass through the Red Sea.  When their Egyptian foes are swallowed up then the people “believed the Lord and His servant Moses:” Ex. 14: 31.  Great was their joy!  Moses composes his song of victory, and Miriam leads the dance.  At Sinai they agree to be the people of Jehovah, obedient to His word.  But from that day forward they continually provoked the Most High.  The great sin of the Calf had been their destruction, had not Moses interceded.  But it was not pardoned; it is to be visited in a day of wrath yet to come.


At length they come to the borders of the land of promise, and Jehovah bids them go up, and possess it.  But they propose to send spies, who shall bring them intelligence; and twelve spies are sent, bringing back the report – “We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.”  It was a marvellous bunch of grapes, borne between two upon a staff; also they brought pomegranates, and figs: Num. 13.  But there were difficulties in the way.  The people of the land were numerous and warlike; the cities walled and fortified; and there were the giants, in whose sight they were as pigmies.  This had a strongly discouraging effect upon the tribes; but Caleb, one of the spies, exhorts them to go up at once, and inherit it.  His fellows, however, the remaining ten, maintained [page 113] their inability to invade it with any good hope.  Moses exhorts them – ‘Do not dread the nations, their God would give them the victory, as He had done in Egypt.  Was not He to be trusted, who in so wondrous a way had fed them in the desert?’ Deut. 1: 29-31.  But the discouragement of unbelief prevailed; they murmured, as if God had only led them to the land in order to give them up to their foes.  They wished God had cut them off in the desert, or that they had died, while slaves in Egypt.  They will no longer be under the leadings of such a God.  They would make a captain and go back to Egypt: Num. 14.  Joshua and Caleb then bear witness against their unbelief.  The land was an excellent one: if their God were with them, He would surely lead them in, and give it them.  If the Lord were on their side, what were the inhabitants of the land?  They would not be able to defend themselves: fear them not!


But this exhortation ran so counter to the people’s feelings, that these God’s two witnesses would have been stoned, had not God’s glory appeared on the tabernacle.  Great is His indignation, and He proposes to cut off the whole nation; but to make of Moses’ family a greater people than the twelve tribes.  Moses intercedes for them, and begs that they may be pardoned.  The Lord does pardon, at the voice of the Mediator; but by oath He excludes them from the land: Num. 14: 20-24.  Only Caleb and Joshua should enter.  As for them, their carcases should fall in the wilderness, because they had provoked Him so oft, in spite of His many miracles on their behalf.  Now ensues a revulsion of feeling on their part.  They mourn greatly.  Rather than be condemned to forty years’ sojourn in the wilderness, they will go up and fight.  Moses warns them that they went up without the Lord: the ark was not with them.  But they will go up in the presumptuousness of unbelief; and are speedily driven back, perishing, as God had said, in the wilderness.  Now this is the history, and these its salient points, which the apostle in Hebrews 3., 4., [page 114] brings into notice as present instruction for the Church of Christ.


Jesus is now our leader,* as Moses was leader of Israel.  He calls to us now from the heaven, as Jehovah of old called to Moses from the earth.  Moses called God’s earthly people to enter upon a land of earth: Jesus is calling God’s present people to a better, an heavenly land.  Though Jesus be like Moses in his faithfulness, yet in respect of the dignity of His person, He is greater far; being really the Creator of all things.  Moses was but the servant in the house, Jesus the Son over it.


* It should be “who is faithful,” Heb. 3: 2.  Jesus became in resurrection and ascension the leader of the heavenly calling, and this his office abides still.  Thus the Vulgate, Alford, Craik, etc.


But what is the house of God now, if it be not the ancient one?  Whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”


The hope which Moses as Israel’s leader set before them was the entry on, and enjoyment of, the land of promise.  To this he was to conduct them, and they were to obey him.  Before us Jesus also sets a hope, that of His return in power and glory, to put down all kingdoms, and to set up the kingdom of God.  Then His obedient ones, whether living or dead, shall meet Him with changed bodies of glory, to reign over earth: 1 Thess. 1: 10; 2: 12; Tit. 2: 13; Rom. 5: 2; Rev. 2: 26, 27; Heb. 10: 23; Matt. 22: 1-9, etc.


The first love and hope of the Saviour’s Jewish churches were very fervent and strong.  Paul recalls to them the memory of their early feelings: Heb. 6: 10; 10: 32.


But the Lord came not so early as they hoped.  Their faith and love grew dim, as the days lengthened, and the wickedness of their countrymen exhibited itself in persecution of Christians even unto death.  Once they were like triumphant Moses and Miriam, [page 115] full of bold profession of their hope of Jesus’ return and kingdom.  But their love lowered continually, till now in place of witnessing it to others, it was dying out in their own bosoms.  But this was evil.  It was a hope to be held fast all through “the evil day,” till the Lord came, and fulfilled in resurrection glory His pledges to them.


On these circumstances the 95th Psalm in its hopes and its warnings bore in full force.  God is trying His people now, as of old He tried Israel.  They are led by His hand out from the world to be pilgrims and strangers on earth, looking for a rest which He is to give them on high.  He expects from men of faith the obedience of faith.  But there is great danger, specially as the latter evil days drawn on.  As Jesus has not for so long space come back, the hope of His return and millennial glory is dying out, and is explained away.  This is the overthrow of the faith, and with it must come disobedience on the part of Christians: 2 Tim. 2: 17-19.


Against this what is to be done?  ‘Exhort one another, as Caleb, and Joshua did in their day.  Great, Christian, is your danger of losing this hope, and of departing in heart from your leader, Jesus the living God.  As soon as the hope of entry into the land was quenched in the heart of Israel, they revolted from God, as if He were a treacherous guide, leading them to destruction.  They propose to appoint another leader than Moses, and to return to Egypt.  Even thus, where the hope of the Saviour’s premillennial advent and the first resurrection is set aside, there is a heart departing from the hope of God, and, as a necessary consequence, there is a return to the hopes of nature, which respect this world alone.


There is a hardening consequently against God’s calls, both of promise and of threatening.  Go up,’ said God.  But they would not: they would not credit His ability to introduce them.  They refuse the testimony of the faithful witnesses, Caleb and Joshua. They murmur among themselves; they encourage each [page 116] other in evil, till they weep together in unbelief.  Then they speak against God; and rise, bent even on murdering His faithful spies.  Far from receiving the warning of the trusty spies, they burst out into fierceness of wrath.  A fatal sign!  Israel’s desire to send spies was secret unbelief: the report of the ten evil ones increased, and brought to a visible head, that unbelief.  God was provoked by their distrust, and swears their exclusion.  He is further provoked presently afterwards by their presumption; after His oath had gone forth, that they should not enter.


Just like this is the state of things now.  Many are utterly unbelieving about any future kingdom of miracle and of resurrection, to be set up by Jesus at His return.  And of those who retain that belief many are provoking God, and hardening their hearts against the testimony of His true-hearted ones.  They refuse to believe God’s threatenings against His people’s partial unbelief, and disobedience.  They get rid of any threat levelled by God against hardness of heart and disobedience, by the cry – ‘That's Jewish!  It does not refer to us.  We are the members of Christ, the bride of Christ; we are above commands, and beyond responsibility!’


The Holy Spirit foresaw this; and has in this passage furnished the antidote thereto.  By the whole tenor of the appeal, its conditionality appears.  Whose house are we, IF we hold fast the confidence.”  We became associates* of the Christ IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.”  Here Paul (or the inspired believer, who wrote this epistle) places himself on the same level with those he warns.  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.  Exhort one another ... lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”  Let not, then, a view of your privileges harden you, oh believers!  Eternal life, through grace, you cannot lose: [page 117] but your being associates of Christ in the millennial kingdom of His glory depends on your not giving up this hope, and not provoking the Lord.


* A reference back to 1: 8, 9.  We are Jesus’ “fellows” of Psalm 45, under condition of persevering in right hopes and profession to the end.


This is the force of the appeal in Heb. 3: 15-19.  You will say – ‘Ah! that does not apply to us.  Israel of old was a people of the flesh.’  Yea, but it does!  Who were they, of whose provocations God so heavily complains?  Egyptians?  Moabites?  Men of Babylon? Nay, but His own redeemed people: those led out of Egypt by faith in the Lamb’s blood.*  Who were they that troubled Him?  Israel, whose sins at length drew down the just punishment!  Against whom did Jehovah’s oath go forth, not to be recalled?  Against the disobedient ones** of the house of Jacob.  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”


* Verse 16 should be read as a question, as critics generally are agreed, and as the two following verses show.


** So it should be translated.  The word is a different one from that for ‘unbelief.’


Yes! it was the partial unbelief of believers!  Twice does Moses record their faith, at his first propounding to them their hope; and when the sea had overwhelmed their foes.  By faith they kept the passover.  By faith they passed through the Red Sea, where the men of unbelief were swallowed up: Heb. 11: 28, 29.  The same epistle bears witness, both of the foundation of faith, and of the superstructure of unbelief and disobedience.


Sentiments sustained by so clear and legible results of fact, are not to be set aside without hardening the heart, and provoking God.  “Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should think he has come too late for it.”*  Here the inspired writer or apostle takes the same level with the rest of the saints.  Some deem ‘fear’ a [page 118] temper quite unsuited to the child of God.  They have outrun the New Testament then, Luke 12: 4, 5; Col. 3: 22; 1 Pet. 2: 17; Acts 5: 5, 11; 9: 31; 2 Cor. 7: 1, etc.  The fear which we are to retain is the fear of losing God’s rest.  Now this rest might be lost through the reception of a special error.  God’s rest!  But is not that something over, and done with ages ago?’ The objection is natural enough; therefore the Holy Spirit sets Himself to discover to us the sense of the expression, ‘the rest of God,’ and to prove the futurity of it.


* See Greek. This is the translation of several eminent critics.  It is clearly the proposition which the apostle sets himself to refute, as is proved by what follows.


The same promise is borne to us that was offered to those of old; “but the word of the report* did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”  The reference here is to the report given of the land, first by God to Moses, and then by the twelve spies to Israel.  The land was good: it flowed with milk and honey; but their fears swallowed up their faith.  Let it not be so with us!  Let us not say – ‘The way to it is so difficult: it demands such watchfulness, such a high rate of grace, we for our parts give up all hope of it!’  That is the very spirit of Israel’s unbelief of old.  The door was open, but the majority through unbelief, despising the pleasant land, looking at the obstacles and not at the God who could surmount them, gave up heart, disobeyed, and so entered not in.


* See Greek.


But we believers are entering into that rest - as He said – ‘So I sware in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest.’”  Since unbelievers are excluded from that rest, believers are on their way to it.  Faith sets us at the starting-post, to run the race for the kingdom; of which it is said – “And his rest shall be glory:” Isa. 11.


But how can we enter! into God’s rest?  For it was finished ages on ages ago.  The Most High, after His six days’ work, rested on the seventh.  How then can we have part in what has passed away?’


It is true, that the Holy Spirit speaks thus of a past [page 119] rest.  But, in His saying also-, ‘If they shall enter into my rest’ - He speaks of a time of repose, yet future.  Now since the Lord’s promise cannot wholly fail, and some must enjoy with God that future day of consolation; while those first invited were rejected because of disobedience, it follows that there is a future rest to be enjoyed by the men of the obedience of faith.  It is the Lord’s to define for how long the period of trial, which precedes the day of rest, shall be prolonged.  It is for Him to say how long the ‘To-day’ of his call to obedience shall last, and when the day of rest shall begin.  But by His calling the men of David’s day to seek to enter that rest, and to beware of provoking Him by disobedience, He made it plain, that no previous word concerning ‘rest’ had fulfilled His intention.  Or else some of the Hebrews could have interposed a fatal objection to the argument.  The ‘rest’ which God promised, was that which was enjoyed by those who entered the land with Joshua.  After years of war, the victories of Joshua brought peace.  And the land had rest from war:” Josh. 14: 15.  But no!  God in this Psalm of David is defining the day of labour which is to precede the day of rest.  And He speaks of that day of labour as still going on; and of ourselves, therefore, as met by the invitation, and open to the warnings, of the psalm.  If the day of labour and of God’s testing His people be yet incomplete, of course the day of rest which is to requite their labour and their obedience, has never yet come.  It is, therefore, still ‘to-day;’ the day when messengers are going out to find guests for the marriage-feast of the king’s son.  This day is the day of labour; “that day” is the day of rest.  This day is man’s day of evil: but Paul looked to the Righteous Judge to award him the prize “IN THAT DAY.” We are still in the wilderness.  While then God gave to Joshua and his forces a type of that rest, it was not more than the, shadow of what Jehovah designed.  When once the day of rest is come, the day of warning and trial will have ceased, to appear no [page 120] more.  But such was not the case after Joshua’s day.  God holds David’s time and this to be one unbroken “To-day” of the same moral quality; and the same obedience which He looked for from Israel as the way to His rest, He expects from us of the Church of Christ.


There remaineth, therefore, a sabbath-rest for the people of God.”


This assures us, then, that while the original sabbath rest of Jehovah has long been past, and His rest of soul in creation has long been broken, yet that not in vain was that sabbath spoken of as God’s rest.  For a thousand years with the Lord are one day. And as God wrought in creation six days, resting the seventh, so, when the fall came in, the Lord began to work anew in redemption, in order to bring in a better, more secure, and lasting rest, which is to take effect in the last seven thousand years of our world.  That is the true sabbath-rest, to which our God is calling us.  None, so far as we know, were associates with the Most High in His first sabbath-joy.  But He will have multitudes untold, who will enjoy rest with Him in His millennial rest.


Who are to partake of it?  The people of God.” Who are they?  We should be apt to limit it to the Church.  But the Holy Ghost owns the servants of Jehovah in the New Testament, no less than the sons of God now.  Together they make up “the house of God.”  In that Moses had a place as a servant, as well as Christ as a Son.  The worthies of the old covenant were men of faith; but they are awaiting the fulfilment of the promises given.  And “God has provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect 11: 39.  See also Matt. 2: 6; Heb. 8: 10; 1 Pet. 2: 10; Heb. 10: 21; 11: 25; 1 Tim. 3: 15; 1 Pet. 4: 17; 2: 10.


Verse 10 then takes up the word “sabbath-rest.”  In a certain sense rest is enjoyed at present.  Jesus our leader, (in this unlike Moses,) so perfectly finished His work, that His Father can rest in redemption work [page 121] accomplished, more truly - and fully than when, after the six days’ work He felt satisfaction in creation accomplished.  Moses in a certain sense entered into rest after leading Israel to the edge of the land.  But Jesus has entered in a far higher sense into ‘the rest of God;’ and the Father rests fully in the Son’s work accomplished.  Moreover, the man of faith must enter into this present rest of God, and cease from His own works for justification, as truly as Jehovah on the sabbath of old ceased from His works of creation.  When justified by faith, we take the creature’s true place; wearied with vain attempts to weave ourselves a robe, we rejoice in the one woven by Christ.  He only who does so repose on God’s past work and present rest, can be rightly seeking for the future millennial rest. The hope of heirship over the world is not for men righteous by law, but for those righteous by faith: Rom. 4.


Let us labour, then, to enter into that rest, lest any fall by the same example of disobedience.”


All believers enjoy, or may enjoy, present rest from their own works for justification, through the finished work of Christ.  But all ought to be seeking by the obedience of faith for the future rest, which the apostle has set before our eyes.  It is worthy our highest, our most sustained efforts.  A thousand years of glory and bliss with Christ!  A thousand years to be blessed and holy, the priests of God and the Christ, reigning jointly with the Son!  For this Paul sought with his best vehemence, with his most assiduous endeavours.  Be not cast down by difficulties!  But be not presumptuously confident!  Where Paul could not speak confidently till toward the close of his career, how should you?  Loud is the call to circumspection.  Beholding in the misconduct of Israel the Church of Christ’s provocations presented as in a glass, let us fear to prove our unbelief by our. disobedience, as did they.  The flesh is in us still; the parent of all misdeeds, unless overcome by the [Holy] Spirit of God.  It is still the day of battle with our wily and strong foe, Satan; and only if we be clad in God’s armour, and [page 122] strong in God’s strength, shall we come off the field victorious.


Yes! let us so seek as to win!  For God’s word is no ‘dead letter.’  He Himself who is Life gives it power and keenness of edge against the soul of man.  It detects, in the Holy Spirit’s hand, our spiritual state and motives, no less than our acts.  May both motives and acts be acceptable before the Lord!



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CHAPTER 9 [Pages 123-134]





The Lord has been pleased to testify to us both concerning eternal life and the millennial kingdom. Baptism is in close connexion with both; but it is my intention now especially to treat of its connexion with ‘the kingdom of God’ (or ‘of heaven.’)  God, who had spoken oft in the Old Testament, prophets of Israel’s day of glory, and of the kingdom of the Son of David, was pleased at length to send John Baptist to proclaim, that the promised kingdom had drawn nigh, when Jesus was about to be presented to Israel.  He called on all to repent; for all were sinners.  He preached “the baptism of repentance for (in order to) the forgiveness of sins.” Mark 1: 4.  Those who received his doctrine, accepted his rite, and were Immersed in the river Jordan.  Thus he carried out God’s call by Isaiah.  Wash you, make, you clean: put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well:” Isa. 1: 16, 17.  For the kingdom of God is a kingdom of saints, as Daniel foretold, 7.  All, then, who enter that kingdom must have their past sins forgiven, and live a new life.  For the day of wrath must visit earth before the kingdom comes, to sweep away from off it all living sinners; as John also assumes; specially in his description of Messiah as the woodman with axe ready to smite the evil trees; and as the husbandman, with winnowing fan and fire, prepared to sever the wheat and the chaff.  Baptism seen in connexion with John’s preaching, represented the receivers of it as set beyond that deluge of wrath, awaiting in safety the coming glory.  They were, as Israel of old,. standing on the farther shore of the Red Sea, while the enemies of God are swallowed up in the deep.


Great were the effects of this proclamation throughout [page 124] the land.  A new dispensation of promise had opened; and they were eager to realize its glories - like soldiers ready to burst with sword, axe, and crowbar, through impediments, in order to plunder a palace of wealth which has suddenly offered itself to them: Matt. 11: 11-13; Luke 16: 16.  Multitudes were aroused to desire a part in the promises of the prophets: they gladly accepted the prescribed washing, which told of their entrance into the preferred kingdom.  But there were two classes who refused this message of God.  The Pharisees disliked its doctrine of universal sinfulness: and rejected the bathing which was its token.  The Sadducees disliked its prophetic part; and they also stood aloof from the rite which spoke acceptance of the testimony.


But Jesus, though sinless, accepted His Father’s message as an Israelite; and submitted to the baptism commanded, as a part of his obedience.  Heaven opened, the Father announced him as his Son; the [Holy] Spirit descended to anoint him as king.  David was anointed by Samuel with oil: the Son of David, with the [Holy] Spirit from on high, Jesus overcomes, in a battle without sling or stone, the great Goliath, who proved too much for Adam, for Israel, and for mankind.  Then he goes forth in the power of the kingdom, to do good works and great works, as witnesses of the future millennial glory.  The movement which John began, next extends itself to all Syria: Matt. 4: 24.  While all are thus alive with expectation, Jesus proclaims in the Sermon on the Mount to all the receivers of John’s message, and of his own, the rule of life for all those who would enter the kingdom.  For it was not enough that baptism had spoken their death to law, and their cleansing from past sis, there was required a new legislation, in order to show how they who desired a part in Messiah’s glory were to live till it came.  The law was the rule of life to those seeking for justification by their works; and for [age-lasting] … life, as the result of their justification.  The Sermon on the Mount is the loftier rule for those already justified by faith in Messiah’s promised [page 125] righteousness; but who are seeking after the glory of the millennial kingdom, as the reward of the obedience of faith.


Israel at length refuses both the heavenly glory of the millennial kingdom, and even its earthly glory: for they reject and slay Messiah the king.  Jerusalem, his metropolis, takes the lead in this crowning sin.  But after Jesus is slain and risen, does the proclamation of this future kingdom of glory cease?  Is it ended by the descent of the Holy Ghost?  Many seem to think so: the only kingdom they recognize is the one of mystery, in which the Church at present is set.  But this is their mistake.  Let us look at the scripture evidence which refutes it.


Jesus, at the last Supper, discovers to the disciples the limit of the time during which faith is to be patient.  They were to celebrate His death in the drinking of wine; which should represent His blood, up to the time of His return.  For then He would Himself drink of wine as the literal produce of the vine, together with them new in the kingdom of the Father: Matt. 26: 29; Mark 14: 25.  Taking leave of them, He bids them make disciples out of all nations, immersing them into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  Why?  Because the doctrine of the future kingdom of glory was still to be heralded by apostles; and baptism was still the sign of God’s cleansing of sinners, and of man’s acceptance of the tidings.  The parable of the Wedding Garment shows, that the same message in the main is to be borne by the servants after bidden Israel has rejected it, as before: Matt. 22.  The wedding feast of the king’s son shall still be celebrated, though the first-called refused.  And if the bath of cleansing were needed, even for Israel the people of God; much more for sinners of the Gentiles.  Jesus after His resurrection: Acts 1: 3, also teaches the twelve more fully about the kingdom.


The Saviour ascends: the Holy Ghost comes down from above.  Does the Spirit drop all mention of the [page 126] kingdom?  By no means!  Peter takes occasion from the baptism of the Spirit, visible in the tongues of fire, audible in the sound of new languages, to assure Israelites, that this was the blessing foretold by Joel in his second chapter.  Let us look, then, at what precedes and follows the text of Joel cited by Peter.*  Jehovah promises, if Israel will but repent, all the fruitfulness of the earth as the token of his good pleasure.  They shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied: they shall know, that their God is dwelling among them, and they shall never be ashamed: Joel 2: 21-27.  Then follows the promise of the baptism of the Spirit to be granted to Israel, specially in millennial days.  For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call:” verse 32.  This the apostle does not quote: it is broken off for awhile, because Israel refused to repent at God’s call.  Then follows the scene of God’s judgment on the living nations, specially the Greeks for their offences against Israel his people.  After this the prophet describes the Great Confederacy of all nations, and the terrors which accompany their being smitten when the Lord descends with His saints and angels.  After it, the kingdom and its blessings in full tale are granted to Israel; for the Lord dwells among them Joel 3.


* Joel 1 and 2, chiefly describe the day of wrath which precedes the kingdom, in order to cut off God’s living foes.


Peter quotes also the 110th Psalm, which likewise speaks of Christ’s millennial kingdom, as a look at it will prove.  But the point in this first sermon which bears most upon our subject is this: David “therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God sware with an oath to him that of the fruit of his loins* ... one should sit on His throne, He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, (Hadees) nor did His flesh see corruption.”  [Page 127] Jesus, then, is the Messiah, elevated to God’s right hand as the priest, and about to come forth to Jerusalem as its king.  His anointing with the [Holy] Spirit at baptism, the Transfiguration, the Resurrection, and the Ascension, discover Him to us as the king of the future kingdom of God.  Who so glorified already as He?  If Peter’s hearers believed these tidings, they were to escape from the evil generation destined to be cut off: they were visibly to leave it by God’s appointed rite of baptism. But Peter preached again to Israel in the temple, on the occasion of the healing of a man lamed from his birth.  To the multitudes drawn together by so unusual a sight, he proclaims their sins against Jesus, and their refusal of the prophet whom Moses had foretold.


* The omitted words are generally rejected by the critics, as not genuine. The omission of them disturbs not the sense.


To persevere in this course would be destruction, as the Lord threatened, when he made the promise.  What then was to be done?  They were to repent and turn to God, in order that the vast pile of their national and personal sins might be swept away. Only then could the long-promised season of refreshing come.  Only then would Jesus descend from the heaven to which God had elevated Him, and introduce the restoration of those blessings, of which tokens had been given in the earlier history of Adam, and of Israel under Joshua, under the judges, and under David and Solomon.  See Hosea 13: 14; 14.; Isa. 59.; 60.  While the apostles are yet speaking, they are seized, and hurried off to prison.  In spite of all testimony Israel’s heart grows harder, till their sin is consummated by the stoning of Stephen.


After the church at Jerusalem is broken up by persecution, does the testimony to the future kingdom cease?  Nay, it is continued, on God’s part by signs and wonders; and man’s acceptance of the message is still testified by the reception of baptism.  Philip goes down to Samaria, and preaches Jesus the Christ to them.  He draws them away by superior force of miracle from Simon the sorcerer.  When they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of [page 128] God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women:” Acts 7: 12.  The apostles are not satisfied therewith, but send them Peter and John to communicate to them the baptism of the Spirit, by the laying on of hands.


Peter is sent to the Gentiles.  By the vision of the sheet he is instructed concerning God’s election from among them, and the heavenly abode hereafter to be theirs.  While he preaches to Cornelius and his friends, the baptism of the Spirit is granted to the Gentiles, and he commands them to be immersed Acts 10.


But another apostle is raised up, especial witness of the Day of Mystery, of the heavenly calling, and of the church, the heavenly body of the Risen Head.  When he is going forth, like Balaam, to curse the Lord’s chosen led through the waters, and about to enter the promised rest, the Lord arrests him, not to destroy but to save.  His heart is touched; is turned.  He is commanded at once to be baptized; and he complies.  Twice is his baptism named to us: Acts 9., 22.  To Agrippa he professes that he still retained the hopes given to his nation; hopes realized by the resurrection of Messiah: 26.


Does Paul proclaim this kingdom!  He does habitually.  Himself suffering much persecution for his apostleship, he exhorts disciples to bear up with courage and patience, because “we must through many afflictions enter the kingdom of God:” 14: 22.  This, then, cannot refer to any kingdom they had already entered.  It refers not to entering the church, or the kingdom in mystery.  They were already in these.  This, then, speaks of the future millennial kingdom of glory.  Paul’s argument about the futurity of ‘the rest which remaineth’ applies here.


He visits Ephesus. (19.)  The Epistle to this church especially brings into view the time of mystery and the glories of the Body of Christ.  But what says the history?  Paul finds there some disciples of John the Baptist; on them he enforces the recognition of [page 129] Jesus, as the Messiah for whom John was to prepare the way.  They receive his testimony, and are baptized, both with the baptism of water and with the supernatural gifts.  But he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God:” 8.  In his Epistle to the Ephesians he sanctions baptism; and once he speaks of the future kingdom of God: Eph. 4: 5; 5: 5.


But the history of this remarkable church ceases not here.  Paul, aware that he would not be permitted to visit Ephesus again, while he is at Miletus sends for the elders of the church, and gives them a farewell address.  He recapitulates his work and doctrine among them.  He had taught them “the Gospel of the grace of God:” 20: 24. He had also gone about heralding among them, “the kingdom of God,” which is the exhibition of his justice.  These two great heads of doctrine include “the whole counsel of God:” 25, 27.


In the providence of God he is borne to Rome.  Arrived there, he assembles at his lodgings the Jews of Rome, “to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.”  The kingdom of God, then, of which Jesus is to be the future king, is the one of which Paul testified: for of that alone the prophets and Moses testify.  As they depart, he points them to Isaiah 6, a passage which foretells the blinding of Israel; during which time the Church, or ‘the secret of God’ has been introduced.  This blindness of Israel is not total, and it is to last for a time only.  The 7th of Isaiah, together with the 8 and 9, describe the future kingdom in connexion with Israel; the throne to be occupied by Messiah, being the throne of David.


The Jews mainly persisting in unbelief, Paul turns to the Gentiles.  He “dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came unto him, [page 130] preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ:” 28: 31.


It is certain, then, that, as the Acts begins with the kingdom of God as spoken of by our Lord Jesus Christ, so it ends with the teaching concerning that kingdom by Paul at Rome.  He propounds it alike to Jew and to Gentile.  It is closely connected with the Gospel of God’s grace concerning His Son.  The ascent of Jesus, the descent of the Holy Ghost, the removal of Jerusalem from its primary centralism, and the setting up of Gentile churches by Paul, make no difference in its proclamation; no difference in the enforcing of baptism in water as the sign of the belief of that doctrine.  The Epistle to the Romans though it very briefly touches on the kingdom, yet sells forth baptism prominently, as exhibiting, not only the newness of life in which the believer redeemed and justified by faith is to walk, but also the hope which his calling sets before him.  For if we became fellow-plants” [With Christ in His death and burial, as exhibited in baptism,] “why we - shall be also of the [first] resurrection!” Baptism, then, is no more ‘Jewish’ than the kingdom of God is.  It is also described as a washing fitting the believer for the kingdom of God, and received at the outset of his course: 1 Cor. 6: 8-11.


The Scriptures which speak so much of baptism tell us also what sad results the refusal to comply with this word of God will produce, in connexion with the kingdom of God.  After brightening the expectations of the multitudes concerning the glory of the future kingdom the sacred writer adds – “And all the people that heard, and the publicans justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.  But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves,* being not baptized of Him:” Luke 7: 28-30. Baptism was the expression of faith in John’s [page 131] message.  Those who refused baptism refused his mission.  Thus they shut themselves out from the blessing which he announced - the millennial kingdom of God.


* The true translation is – “the counsel of God with regard to themselves.”  But as it was a counsel of mercy and they refused it, the sense is that given by our translators.


Another reproof of this neglect of John’s invitation is found in our Lord’s words to the chief priests: Matt. 21:  25-32.  The inquiry was, whether John’s baptism came from heaven, or was of his own devising?  They affirmed falsely, that they could not tell.  Our Lord then spoke the parable of the two sons.  The first being commanded by the father to go and work in his vineyard, bluntly refuses.  The second, on receiving the same command, promises to go, but does not.  The Saviour then expounds the parable to them.  Verily I say unto you, the publicans and the harlots are going into the kingdom of God before you.”  That is, they are moving on into it, while you are not moving thither.  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him.  But ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” (Greek.)  The baptism of the publicans by John was the proof of their faith.  The refusers of the rite are adjudged to be refusers of the doctrine which it sets forth visibly.  The proud and learned chose not to follow the good example set by the ignorant and vicious.  Hence they should have no part in the kingdom which John proclaimed.  For God sends the invitation to His kingdom, without refusing any because of previous sin.


And will it not be the same in the day to come, with those who refuse the doctrine of the kingdom, and baptism as its representative rite?  To me it seems clear.  If violent ones alone press into the kingdom, they who sit still enter not.


The same just reproach is cast upon the scribes and Pharisees by our Lord.  Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye go not in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering, to go in:” Matt. 23: 13.  [Page 132] They not only themselves refused John’s baptism, but as far as their influence extended, they persuaded others not to accept it.  Is there not something very like this in our day?


And does not our Lord teach, that the refusal of baptism would exclude from the kingdom?  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born out of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God:” John 3: 5.  Such also is Paul’s testimony.  For IF we became fellow-plants [with Christ] in the likeness of his death, why, we shall also be of the [first] resurrection:”*  Rom. 6: 5. (See Greek.)  This likeness on our part to the death of Christ has been shown to be our burial with Him as dead, in the immersion which God has commanded: ver. 3, 4.  But on our burial as dead follows our emersion as alive.  This, then, is to us a pledge given of God, that those so following Christ in newness of life shall partake also of that first and blest resurrection into the millennial kingdom to which we are now being invited.  The insertions in italics made by our translators confound the sense.  Our partaking now of the likeness of Christ’s death is a token of our partaking in the reality of “the resurrection.”  By the resurrection” is meant the resurrection of the righteous - which is equivalent to entering the kingdom: Matt. 22: 28-30: Luke 20: 33-36.  As the Church of Christ is to invite whoever will to enter the kingdom, so it is to baptize all that accept the invitation.  The message about the kingdom (for substance) is still the same, as in the days of John the Baptist or our Lord; and therefore the mode of expression of our acceptance of the message continues the same.


* See Greek.


But will a believer’s wilful refusal of baptism, though seen to be commanded, entail on him simply the negative result of exclusion from the kingdom?  What then says our Lord? “But that servant which knew his Lord’s will and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes:” Luke 12: 47.


May the reader not be of this unhappy number, but one of the obedient and willing ones to whom the Lord when He cometh shall award praise, and the entry into His millennial joy!



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CHAPTER 10 [Pages 134-154]





Luke 22: 14-30


This passage is an example of the twofoldness of divine truth.  It offers to our notice, Israel, and the Church; with the union of both in the future kingdom of God.  We might illustrate the passage by comparing it to a suspension-bridge.  Then Israel is the abutment on the right bank; the millennium the abutment on the left bank; and the Church of Christ is that which fills the gap between the two.


1. We have first the PASSOVER: ver. 13-18.


And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.  And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.  And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.”


Jesus was in one view a minister of the Jews, to confirm, (not to do away with,) the promises made in the Old Testament: Rom. 15: 8.  He was no enemy to Moses, though He came to introduce something higher and better.  Both the Law and the Gospel were parts of his Father’s plan.  He had looked forward with great interest to this passover, for it was the last He would celebrate before the kingdom of glory* should [page 135] come.  The temple had just been rejected; now the rite of the passover is broken off.  Tis the last passover that is to be recognized of God, until the Saviour’s return.  How evil is the next passover that is named, as kept by the Jews!  Peter is seized with the intention of putting him to death.  They observe, indeed, with great exactness the literality of the feast of unleavened bread.  But within they are full of the leaven of malice and wickedness against God and His saints: Acts 12: 1-5.


* How constantly the kingdom, in the eyes of the disciples, meant the kingdom of glory, take the following proof.  Grant that these, my two sons, may sit, the one on the right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom:” Matt. 20: 21.  What says the other gospel?  “Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory:” Mark 10: 37.


This passover, which the Saviour celebrated, was the last milestone on His road in relation to Israel.  The road breaks off here, because of Israel’s unbelief.  It is no longer the time of Israel’s faith, as in Moses’ day: Ex. 4: 3.  They slay both John and Jesus; and their deliverance from the Romans cannot come.  Yea, they and their temple are, because of slaying the Lord’s servants, to be given up to destruction.  The true Passover-lamb had come: but Israel was now Egypt.  They will not put the blood upon their doors in obedience, that they might be delivered.  In hatred to the Son of God, they call down vengeance on themselves, through His blood.


But the plan of God, though long delayed by unbelief, shall be accomplished at length.  Jesus is like Moses.  Moses at his first presentation to Israel as their deliverer, is refused.  Hence grinding oppression fastens on Israel’s neck.


But at his second coming, Moses delivers; for the people believe.  So shall it be at Jesus’ second advent.  This is implied in the Lord’s words upon this occasion.  For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof (of the passover) till it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”


In these words it is clearly intimated, that after a certain time, Jesus will again celebrate the passover; and then the real deliverance of Israel, of which the original passover was a token, should come, and ever after abide, in that blest period of power, called “the kingdom of God.”  This is clearly the meaning of “till.”  It means, that up to a certain point of time one state of things will [page 136] subsist; after it another, which is here described.  Sit at my right hand, till I make thy foes thy footstool:” Matt. 22: 44.  Jesus’ session at God’s right hand ceases when His enemies are made his footstool.  Occupy till I come”: Luke 19: 13.  The servant’s trading ceases, when his master is come.  They knew not (recognized not) till the flood came :Matt. 24: 39.  Then they did: they saw that Noah was right, when it was too late.


Where will Jesus celebrate the Passover?  On [this] earth of course.  With Israel, of course.  Tis a rite given to them.  When is it to be fulfilled?  When the kingdom of God is come.  Has Christ eaten of the Passover-lamb on earth since that day?  No! Then the kingdom of God has never yet come.  In the sense of Luke, neither the Gospel nor the Church is the kingdom.


The Spirit by Luke speaks of the kingdom in manifestation.


How will the passover be fulfilled at Christ’s coming in the kingdom of God?  We may gather the fulness of the work from its commencement under Moses.  The plagues which God sent on Egypt sufficed not to deliver His people from Pharaoh’s grasp, till the Passover Lamb was slain.  Then, when the people of God are sheltered by redeeming blood, Egyptians are slain, and His people march out enriched, exalted; God their leader through the wilderness.  Out of this feast springs, as a remoter consequence, their entry on the land, and the kingdom of David.


But that deliverance, and the kingdom which sprang from it, were incomplete.  Why? Because Satan was still at large.  Israel was still only flesh born of flesh.  They had need to be tested by law, to prove to them and us, that since the fall, all men are of one quality, and cannot stand when tested by law, and dealt with after their deserts.  Not all the foes of Israel were then cut off, either in Egypt, or at the Red Sea.  The lambs of nature could not bring the true and full deliverance needful for the kingdom of God.


[Page 137] But in the day of fulfilment all these imperfections will be removed.  The true Lamb, the Lamb of God, is already slain: the basis of a full rescue is laid.  Jesus is the true conqueror; the only one who is slain before He brings in His kingdom. His kingdom will ne’er be overthrown, because it is laid in resurrection.  But hitherto the patience of the Most High is waiting. It is not yet, in His reckoning, the world’s midnight, when the angel of His wrath is to go forth to smite.  It is not yet the hour when the sea of His judgments shall whelm His foes.  His watching people will be set beyond the reach of judgment, before that hour strikes.


2. The next step is Jesus’ taking of THE NAZARITE VOW.


The twelve were to drink of the cup He sent round; but He would not partake of this “produce.of the vine*till the kingdom of God shall have come.”


*Tis not the ordinary word for “fruit.”  Mistake, even on so small a point, is sometimes mischievous.


Jesus must fulfil all the law.  Now Nazariteship is one of its observances, a matter of choice with the Israelite, both as to the time of making the vow, and as to its duration. During His former life, the Saviour was not a Nazarite.  He drank wine ordinarily, as did His countrymen.  In this He was a contrast to His forerunner John the Baptist: John 7: 33.  But now the great and suited occasion for taking the Nazarite vow had come.  Wine was suited to the Passover-feast, as being the sign of earthly joy.  But Israel’s unbelief, and the dark day which was to envelop earth because of it, was no fit occasion for joy to one who viewed all with fully illumined eyes.  The hour of Jesus’ betrayal and death were now at the door; and wine was unfitted for so dread a period.  Jesus’ abstinence from wine therefore began then, on the night of His betrayal.  It signifies His abstinence from earthly joy for a long indefinite season.  He was about to ascend the mount, to be with His Father on high, for a duration longer than Moses.


A great work, the work of the world’s and Israel’s [page 138] redemption was laid upon Him.  Till that is accomplished, His heart has not fully achieved its freedom and its joy.  He has to introduce the kingdom of God; a greater empire far than Caesar’s, one which is to fill the heaven and the earth.  He is bent on fulfilling His Father’s purposes; bent on delivering Israel from the Gentiles, and the earth from Satan and his hosts.  That His heart is set upon this is shown by the “till” of His vow.  I will not drink of the produce of the vine, till the kingdom of God shall have come.”  This defines for us therefore the object which engages His heart; that to which He gives pledge* to devote Himself.  So it was with Jephthah: Judges 11:  30, 31.  And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt, without fail, deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.”


The words in italics show the object which occupied the heart of Israel’s judge, when he made the vow.  Jesus’ vow is better far.  He offers up Himself as a burnt offering before the great crisis of conflict, is sure of the deliverance which that burnt-offering will effect, and that He Himself shall be King of kings in the kingdom to come.


The truth before us is illustrated in another way, by the wicked vow of the conspirators against Paul.


When it was day certain of the Jews banded themselves together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying, that they would neither eat nor drink, till they had killed Paul.”  Here the words which come after the “till” discover to us the object on which their heart was set.  So, then, the introduction of the kingdom of God, is that on which our Lord is bent; that which He will seek to forward in all ways.  He will not rest till it is done.


Has Jesus since that day drank wine? No!  He was tempted to do so when about to be crucified : for “they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh, but he received it not:” Mark 15: 23.  Hence the kingdom of God has never yet come.  Jesus the Nazarite,’ is now one of the Saviour’s names before God and men.


He is seven times so denominated in the Acts: four times during the ministry of Peter at Jerusalem: three times during that of Paul.  Or rather more exactly, on one of these occasions the disciples are embraced in the name Nazarites.  This point is lost by a mis-translation.*  It has been rendered ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’  Now it is true that the Jews used the title as owning only that the Saviour was a man from Nazareth.  But there was a deeper meaning about it on God’s part.  He would commend the Saviour to us as the true Nazarite.  As Samson, the Nazarite, was to “begin to deliver Israel from its Gentile foes, so the completion of the work shall be wrought by the true Nazarite, Jesus.  The vow of Nazariteship was understood to be only a temporary one.  We have seen the appropriateness of its commencement; when is to be the moment of its completion?  At a like suited moment - when the joy of Israel, of the earth, of the risen, and of Jesus Himself shall have come.  When is that? When the kingdom of Christ’s glory appears.


* See Greek.


What says Isaiah?


And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.  And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.  Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients [elders] gloriously:” Isa. 24: 21-23.


Here is predicted the casting down of Satan and his hosts from heavenly places, and the after-smiting of the kings of earth, whom he gathers together on earth to fight against Christ: Rev. 16., 19.  Thereupon, he and his allies are cast into prison, and he is only [page 140] released after the close of the earthly kingdom.  Then Jesus and His twelve elders, the apostles, reign at Jerusalem in glory.  The twenty-fifth of Isaiah is the song of joy suited to so great an occasion.  After it is described, the great Passover-feast, which celebrated at Jerusalem, when Jesus Himself is present.


And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat thirgs, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.  And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.  He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.  And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation:” ver. 6-9.


Here the use of wine as a part of the feast is a prominent object.  Moreover, the feast is noticed again by our Lord, in His description of that millennial day: (Luke 22: 28-30) a point which will presently be considered.


The return of Jesus in power brings in the kingdom of glory; and that is the time of His joy.


After along time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.  And so he that received five talents came and brought other five talents saying Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold I have gained beside them five talents more.  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord:” Matt. 25: 19-21.


That will be the fittest moment for ending the Nazarite vow.  It is the time of joy on earth, brought in to both the Church and to Israel by the Great Deliverer.  Then Christ shall drink wine: the great object before him will then be completed.  Earthly joy will be fixed on a secure and holy basis.  The coming, of the kingdom to Israel is a part of Jehovah’s plan.


3. But now comes into view THE LORD’S SUPPER.


And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave it unto them, saying, this is my body which is given for you this do in remembrance of me:” ver. 19.


The death of the Son of God is so great an event, that it cannot but produce immediate results.


Israel is cast off as unbelieving, and enemies of the Gospel.  But a new people enters by faith in this sacrifice of redemption. They confess Jesus as the true passover, bringing in atonement, safety, reconciliation with God.  They are the typical Israelites, celebrating, within the house sprinkled with blood, the true passover.  They feed on the Lamb of God, to gain strength for their passage, as strangers and pilgrims, to the land of rest.  These are they who leave Egypt, and pass, in baptism, the Red Sea.  The new rite manifests the new body of God’s creation.  But how easily, how gracefully, the new rite is fitted on to the old!  The passover was Israel’s shadow: the Lords’ Supper tells of Christ the substance, come.  Its new fundamental doctrine, which shows Israel to be in unbelief, is – ‘Messiah is come!  It is Jesus, Son of God, the slain and risen.’  Law is past, grace is come. Jesus’ body is given for us, broken “for us.”  For our sins it has atoned.  It is given “to” us, for it is to be our spiritual strength.  By faith we feed upon the Son of God our sacrifice.


The Lord’s Supper is based upon Jesus’ absence on high.


Do this to bring me to remembrance.’  It is to cease as soon as Jesus is come.  “Ye do show forth the Lord’s death till He come:” 1 Cor, 11: 26.  Thus the true meaning of the Supper is the very opposite to that adopted by Rome.  It is not, ‘Sacrifice this bread, 0 priests, to make me actually present in your midst, and to set me as the object of your worship directly be re your eyes.’

But, ‘While I am absent, break this bread to remind you of my work once for all finished.’  The rite is to cease with Jesus’ coming, not then to find its chief meaning.  Moreover, the Lord says, “Behold I have told you [page 142] before.  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, ‘Behold, He is in the desert,’ go not forth; ‘Behold, he is in the secret chambers, BELIEVE IT NOT.  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even to the west, so shall also the coming (presence) of the Son of Man be:” Matt. 24:  25-27.  The teachers therefore of ‘the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistare not to be believed by any who will credit Christ’s words.  They affirm that in the inner chamber of their ‘churches,’ the Lord, body, soul, and deity, is to be seen.  They utter a falsehood!  BELIEVE IT NOT.”  For when Jesus does come, He will be seen, not on earth, but in the heaven; not pointed out by man’s elevation and the tinkling bell; but with the lightning blaze, filling at once the east and west.  He will come, not in mercy, but in wrath, with His host of vengeance, when earth is the dead carcase on which judgment must descend.


After the bread Jesus gave to His disciples the cup.


Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” ver. 20.


This is a second cup, quite different from that presented to His fellow-Israelites, as a part of the passover.  Of that, Jesus spoke as literal “the produce of the vine.”  It belongs to the people of the letter.


But this cup is given to the people of the spirit.  It is a sign of something greater than itself.  It represents to faith the blood of Christ.  Jesus does not say, ‘Drink this, it is my blood.’  But He says, “This cup is THE NEW TESTAMENT in my blood, which is (being) shed for you.”  Against these words Rome’s doctrine of transubstantiation cannot stand.  If they will have the words, “This is my body” - taken literally, press them with these words, “THIS CUP IS THE NEW TESTAMENT.”  So forcible is this, so destructive to their views, that they have been obliged to mistranslate it, and give it – “This is the chalice, the New Testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you.”  But they have forgotten to mistranslate it in the parallel place [page 143] (1 Cor. 11: 25) and there they render it properly – “This chalice is the New Testament in my blood.”


In these words of our Lord, then, the “cup” is put by a common figure for the liquid within the cup.  So only could it be drank. Nor was Jesus’ blood then literally “being shed,” nor was the blood literally “the new testament,” though it represented it.


This wine represents the blood of Jesus about to be shed in order to introduce the new and better covenant.  The Old Covenant (or ‘testament’) of Moses could not abide, as being made with the flesh tested under law.  Out of such a trial of man the sinner, only the curse of a righteous judge could take its rise.  Law defined sin, law increased transgression.  Without law there would be no trespass.  But Moses’ law was given to bring out to the surface and to the eye of man the sinner, the rebellion of nature that before lurked within him.


There must, therefore, be a better covenant, if the kingdom of God is to enter and be established on a firm footing.  Without the blood of the new covenant brought in grace, neither the sins under the old covenant could be forgiven; nor those committed in our day.


Not that the new covenant has yet been ratified.  It was to have been made with Israel.  But Israel refused to accept it.  It cannot be made save with “the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,” and with them only when they believe: Heb. 8.  Now as long as the Gospel lasts, they are its enemies: Rom. 11.  It can only be made, then, after the Church is removed from its place of testimony.


To understand the matter clearly, let us refer to the scene of making the Old Covenant at Sinai.  Moses wrote out the conditions of the covenant, built an altar, and set up twelve pillars at the foot of the Mount.  The young men, his servants, slew oxen for burnt offerings and peace offerings.  He read the conditions of the covenant to the people of Israel; on hearing them they accepted the terms.  All that the [page 144] Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.”  Moses then took half the blood mixed with water and sprinkled it on the people; half the blood he put on the altar.  The covenant was ratified.  Speedily the covenant was broken.  In forty days the calf was made; and the people, but for the Mediator’s intercession, would have been destroyed.  Flesh tried under law must earn the curse.


The Lord was now bringing forth the better covenant; for Jesus was the true Mediator, on whose blood shed in grace the covenant could stand for ever.  But Israel refused.  They stood by the old covenant; they maintained law and their own deserts. The covenant could not come; for its terms, its Mediator, its testament were rejected.


Yet there is somewhat of the Church to be seen in this transaction of Sinai; for there are those who do accept the Testator and the testament in His blood.  After the blood has been sprinkled on the people, God invites to feast before Him on the top of the mount seventy of the rulers and two of the priests of Israel.  They go up above the darkness and terrors of the mount, and there behold the God of Israel.  He receives them at a feast; “they saw God, and did eat and drink.”


Out of the believers in the New Mediator and the blood of His testament, twelve elders are invited, and they feast with the Son of God.  They behold Him, for it is the time of grace.


But Moses is instructed, that he is to ascend still higher, and to be alone with God.  After waiting seven days Moses is called up to be with God: Ex. 24: 16.  Thus Jesus after His resurrection waits forty days upon earth; and then ascends, passing through all inferior heavens, to tarry with His Father.  Moses, ere he leaves the seventy-two, bids them to stay where they were till he, returned.  If the aid of the elders were required, the parties needing it were to ascend to their elevation; they were not to descend to the foot of the mount, ver. 14.  Aaron and the others break [page 145] this command, with sad consequences both to themselves and to Israel.  Jesus in like manner has bid His disciples to await His return, occupying the lofty sphere of faith, far above Israel and the world.  But Christians in general have forgotten His injunction.  They want like Israel of old, gods whom they can see.  Jesus has been so long away, they cannot tell what is become of Him.  And hence idolatry has overspread nominal Christianity, and will pave the way for the entrance of Antichrist, and the worship of his image.  But those who keep the Lord’s Supper are to have their faith strong in Jesus’ return, with their heart desiring it; so will they be kept from idolatry; whether it be that of the Romish mass, or idolatry outside it.


They are to be like Joshua, who alone was found at the close of the forty days looking for Moses’ return, and ready for him.  It is to this that Paul refers, when he says of Jesus the Mediator, “Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time unto salvation:” Heb. 9: 28.


After Jesus has presented to the Church its  great rite of joint remembrance of His atoning death, we receive two warnings; one against betraying one another, the other against following the course of earthly ambition in the Church of Christ: Luke 22: 21-27.


It should be observed, that the point from which the most connected and interesting view of the subject can be taken, is to be obtained by comparing this scene with the history of David in the sorest crisis of his kingly life.  He is informed of Absalom’s conspiracy, and gives orders to flee at once from Jerusalem.  His servants cross the brook Kidron, and ascend the Mount of Olives; he moves on with his head covered and his feet bare, weeping as he goes up.  He is farther informed of Ahitophel’s treachery, and prays against its success.  He sends back the ark of God to the city, ignorant what shall be the issue of this calamity.


In much of this our Lord resembles David His father.  It became Him who was to be the man of sorrows, to learn the depth of woe there is in betrayal [page 146] by our friends whom we trusted.  Accordingly, Judas’ sin is the way in which the poignancy of treachery is brought to bear against the Lord.


But David is overwhelmed with a sense of his transgressions.  The Saviour has none of his own to confess.  David is ignorant of the plot preparing for him, till suddenly the discovery is brought to him. Jesus is aware, throughout, of the plans of His betrayer and of his foes. While David is ignorant of the results of the calamity then befalling, the Saviour is fully apprized of the issue, and manifests unshaken faith in the establishment of the kingdom of God.  David’s sin overturned for awhile his power, and broke the allegiance of Israel; putting his life in peril, and driving him in disgrace from his capital city.  But Jesus’ trial befalls Him before His kingdom is come.  His kingdom, as the kingdom of righteousness once come, cannot be shaken by any sin on His part.


The Saviour, then, reveals His knowledge of the treachery in the midst of the favoured twelve.  Why is this recorded?  To warn the Church of Christ of the danger there is, lest one Christian for worldly reasons and advantages should betray another.  Jesus cannot again be so betrayed personally, but in His members He may: - Matt. 24: 10; 2 Tim. 3: 4.


This sin of Judas was foreseen and foretold.  But the prophecy of such guilt would not diminish its heinousness or its punishment.  Wisely the disciples question themselves thereupon.  Not, ‘Is it he?’Is it you?’ But, ‘Is it I?’


Another warning is given us on the subject of ambition in the Church of Christ: ver. 24-27.


And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.  And he said unto them, The kings of. the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.  But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.  For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth?  Is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.”


[Page 147] The apostles were now expecting, in spite of our Lord’s intimations, that He would then assume His kingdom over Israel, and the earth.  They were desirous, therefore, that their several claims should be adjusted, and their respective ranks arranged.


In this our Lord foresaw a type of the strifes for pre-eminence which would afterward arise in His Church.  He, therefore, lays down the rule of action for holy ambition.  It is quite lawful, nay excellent, to desire a high place in the Saviour’s coming kingdom.  But heavenly ambition is of a different spirit from that of earth; and its pathway leads in an opposite direction.


The kings of the Gentiles offer to us specimens of earthly ambition and rule.  They are fond of carrying out their own will, employing others as servants, exacting their dues, and they are often to a high degree selfish and burthensome to their subjects. Yet still they covet titles which would represent them as unselfish and pre-eminent in benevolence, disinterestedness, self-denial, and generosity.  But this is not to be the conduct of disciples of Christ.  They are to be useful to their brethren, in whatever path God may have qualified them.  They are rather to give than to exact; to do good, but not to seek its titles at present.  The reality of kindness is to be theirs; the rewards and fame of it they are to wait for from God in another day.


How flagrantly has this rule been broken?  There is one who out of a servant has become a priest, and chief-priest; he sits on a throne, affects the state of a king, wears a triple crown, asserts himself superior to all kings, and possessed of the right to dethrone them, is master of an army, engaging in wars and slaughter of those whom he owns to be Christians.  And with all this; he yet takes the lowly title of ‘Servant of the servants of God!’


But this rule of Christian, ambition the Saviour illustrates from His own conduct.  With Him the [page 148] Father was ever well pleased.  Him the Father has appointed Ruler over all His works: KING OF KINGS in His millennial kingdom.  How then did the Saviour conduct Himself throughout?  With the utmost condescension; at that last supper stooping to take the servant’s towel, and to wash His disciples’ feet.  The nearer, then, that any Christian can approach to this perfection of lowly service, the greater will he be under that King of kings, when the kingdom is come.


But having uttered this warning, the Saviour turns to praise what of good He can find in them: ver. 28-30.


Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.  And 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 the twelve tribes of Israel.”


He remembers that they have stood by His side in His many trials during His brief ministry.  Where others had turned aside and left Him, they still continued faithful.  He recognized this merit, and would reward it.  He bequeathed to them a kingdom.  He is to be King of kings; they subordinate monarchs, appointed by Him.  To them in His millennial kingdom is to be granted the high honour of a seat at the table of the Supreme Ruler of all; and the actual dignity and authority of a throne, with power to decide the affairs of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.  Here apostles would find their Jewish ideas met and authenticated.  They were right, then, in believing in Jesus as King of the Jews.  They were right in taking literally the prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, which foretell the re-establishment of the twelve tribes as one nation in the land given to their fathers, under the rule of one king.  They were right in expecting, that Jesus would visibly reign at Jerusalem, as the Son of David, the greater than Solomon.  They were right in believing, that though for the present, their [page 149] conduct was to be on a different principle and line of action to that of kings of this age, yet that a day was coming in which they were to be kings of earth and the Saviour was to be Ruler of all.


The view they would take of such words, which we also should adopt, would be that suggested by the history of David, and of Solomon his son.  For David had not only his hour of ejection and of reviling, but also his day of return in triumph to Jerusalem, after his treacherous son and his treacherous councillor had both been cut off by the hand of God.  David could promise at his return to Barzillai a requital for the kindness shown him whilst he was an exile beyond Jordan.  Come,’ says he, ‘and I will feed thee in Jerusalem.’  But the king’s benefactor felt too aged to accept his offer.  His taste was gone, his ear for music lost by deafness, his liking for pomp and bustle was past.  He coveted only peace.  Rest was the only blessing now to be craved by one so near the grave; and after death a place in the tomb beside his family.  But the Son of David can and will remove that obstacle which his father found too great for himself to touch.  Jesus shall give a new body, and life eternal.  To the risen it shall be no fatigue to lift the sceptre, and to move amidst the new joys and splendours of the kingdom, when the grave shall be unlocked for the saints, and Jesus shall assemble around Himself those accounted worthy.


How would Jews understand such expressions as “eat and drink at my table in my kingdom?”  How? but by a reference to like phrases in the history of Israel’s ancient kingdom recorded by the pen of inspiration?  David’s feelings of kindness are roused toward Mephibosheth as the son of his friend Jonathan.  What does he say to him?  Thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.”  He shall eat bread at my table as one of the king’s sons:” 2 Sam. 9: 7, 11.  What says he concerning the sons of Barzillai?  Toward the father he was unable to carry out his kind [page 150] intentions; but he remembers his sons when dying.  Show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table; for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother:” 1 Kings 2: 7.  What is described as one of the glories of the kingdom of Solomon?  His table: 1 Kings 4: 22-21.


And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and three-score measures of meal.  Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl.  For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, (Gaza) over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him.”


And what was it which helped to overpower with delighted astonishment the soul of the Queen of Slieba?


And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her.  And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom.  Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.  Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom:” 1 Kings 10: 4-8.


How could the apostles understand “eat and drink,” but in the sense in which they were then eating and drinking, both at the passover-feast, and at the Supper of the Lord after it?


But will there be eating and drinking after the resurrection?’  Yes, as truly as Christ ate and drank after His resurrection; as truly as the angels ate and drank with Abraham when they visited him.


How great the Saviour’s faith!  On His way to [page 151] the cross He dispenses thrones.  On His way to death, He realizes His kingdom in resurrection; He sees the apostles risen from the dead and seated with Him in His kingdom.  Though possessed of no house in Jerusalem, and seated as a stranger at the table of another, He realizes Jerusalem to be “the city of the Great King,” and himself as the great centre of its glory in the day to come.


We may observe, that David seems to have forgotten the heroism of Ittai the Gittite and his men, who cleaved to his side in the hour of his distress.  He was imposed on by Ziba to the prejudice of the princely Mephibosheth; but Jesus, in His dispensing of favours at His return, shall not be then misled.*  To Him all will be known; He will requite each according to his works.  We do not read of any great reward given to the mighty men of the faithful band that attended David’s footsteps and shared his privations, perils, temptations from the time of his ejection from the court of Saul till He was enthroned over all Israel.  Fame is indeed given to their great acts; but not rank and power.


How do anti-millennarians interpret this passage?  It speaks our doctrine fully: how can it square with theirs?


Some interpret the promises of apostles’ power now.  The twelve tribes of Israel mean the one Church of Christ.  The apostles’ ‘kingdom’ is the authority of their writings in the Church.  But not all the twelve apostles wrote; and some who wrote to guide the Church were not apostles.  Paul was not of the twelve; and yet he is more deferred to than all the rest.


What is ‘eating and drinking at Christ’s table in His kingdom?’ Shall we make it mean the Supper of the Lord?  That is not peculiar to the twelve: it is open to each son of God.  Beside, Jesus had enjoined the Lord’s Supper on the apostles while He was away, to bring him to remembrance.  This was to be their glory [page 152] and especial privilege after His return.  The passage, as we have seen, decides that the kingdom of God in the Saviour’s sense in this place, is a kingdom to come.


Some would try to make out, nevertheless, that Jesus was in His kingdom then.  Some would teach, that apostles judging the twelve tribes of Israel in the kingdom, is their sitting beside Jesus when at the last hour He pronounces judgment on all the dead.  But this is no special privilege to them: nor will the dead be judged as tribes and nations; but individually: “Every man according to his works.”  In short, it is not spoken of the final sentence of everlasting life or death on each, but of deciding the various civil causes of living sons of Israel during the thousand years.


Can any be blind enough to confound Jesus’ day of humiliation with His day of exaltation?  Does He not speak of that His life as His period of “temptations?  Because of their partaking in these they should be rewarded with a place in His kingdom.  The Christ was first to suffer, then to enter His glory.  Can any be blind enough to confound the precedent suffering with the succeding glory?  For the joy that was set before Him He despised the cross” of shame.  But the cross was not His joy, much less His exaltation.  Can we see no difference between the Stone’s rejection by the builders, and its being made head of the corner?


There are, then, two great and contrasted periods here supposed.


1. That while Jesus is away.  Disciples, during this period of Israel’s and the world’s unbelief, will, if they resemble their Master, be like Him rejected, and suffer.  They, if smitten, are not to avenge themselves, whether by law, or without it.  They are not to judge as the magistrate, not to rule as the king.  They are to remember Jesus in His principles, His commands, His death and resurrection, and the rites which commemorate these.  This is the necessary path to the glory of the kingdom. Through obedience and through much suffering, we are to enter the kingdom of glory: Acts 14: 22; Matt. 7: 21.


2. But another and a contrasted day comes in with the Saviour’s return.  Tis the day of fulfilment of the promises to Israel, the day of Jesus’ fulfilling the passover in the kingdom of God, the day of His ending His vow of Nazariteship.  Tis the day of His remembering us who have remembered Him.  Tis the day of requiting those who had been obedient to do His will, and patient to suffer it.  The kingdom in Luke is the kingdom in manifestation.  Then apostles are to take their thrones in resurrection.  It is to be when the Son of Man takes His throne of glory, and when earth and heaven are regenerated.  The kingdom of God must eject Satan.  It is not something now present; but something which the disciple is to pray for, and seek for as future.  Tis the day of the Saviour’s personal, visible presence of glory; and glorified ones are with Him, as on the mysterious night of the Transfiguration.  Tis the age to come, when the Saviour’s foes,- God’s patient waiting over, - are to be made His footstool.


What then is the voice of this to Christians?  Seek the kingdom of God!  Seek it first and foremost!  Win this, and all else lost is but a trifle.  Lose this, and all else won will not make amends!  Pursue after this as the prize of your calling.  Flee untruth and deceit: cleave to truth and uprightness.  Do good unto all, specially to those of the household of faith.  If Jesus thought so highly of this as to promise it to the apostles as His chief boon; surely you also should think of it as highly.  If He Himself was comforted upon His way of sorrow, by gleams from this glory, how much more should you be!  The more of the Spirit of God you have, the more will you covet a place and glory here.  You will thus have learned the reason why suffering is set by God in the path of duty.  While there is somewhat in the words we have considered that is special and peculiar to the twelve, there is also somewhat of general application.  It is indeed impossible to move beside the Lord in the flesh on earth now, as they did. But it is possible to suffer with Him and for Him; and so suffering we shall reign with Him: 2 Tim. 2: 12.  God grant us not to turn back in fear; but to proceed with an holy courage, dependent on our God!  The glory shall more than make amends for the wounds and the conflicts of the way.