SAINTS RULING THE WORLD
By D. M. PANTON, B.A.
The ravaging desolation created by Antichrist, when laid alongside what we are witnessing - both startlingly alike - is convincing proof that we are in its immediate neighbourhood. The Beast had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residite with his feet (Dan. 7: 7): it devours whole provinces and countries; it breaks in pieces all national organizations and subject races, and turns them into vassal States; and it stamps out all power but its own. Count Ciano, Mussolinis Foreign Minister and son-in-law, exactly expresses it in a radio broadcast:- The losers in this current war will be subjected to expropriation. They will be exploited in every possible manner. They will be reduced to the state of Chinese coolies compelled to toil for others. There is not a shred of internationalism which can save to-morrows vanquished from this fate. The victors will attempt to take possession of the whole world and there is no fine promise which can make them do otherwise. The fourth beast shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
THE WILD BEAST
To-day leading statesmen describe the world as a jungle and the aggressive nations as wild beasts, exactly as did the Prophets, by divine inspiration, thousands of years ago. In the prophecy describing the succcssive empires of the world, no gentle, peaceful animal is chosen to stand for the nations:* their diplomacy is like a crouching lion; their attack like the swift rush of a panther; their propaganda like the guile of a leopard; and behind all is the Snake spitting poison - Satan, the dragon, or winged serpent. But even animal savagery can offer no type for the last Wild Beast diverse from all the kingdoms, terrible, and strong exceedingly. But his destiny is fixed. What is the Carpenters Son doing today? a Judge asked a Christian prisoner in the days of Julian the Apostate. Quick as a flash came the answer:‑ He is making a coffin for your Emperor. Daniel sees the end:- I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and he was given to be burned with fire: so we read in the Revelation The beast was taken, and cast alive into the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone (Rev. 19: 20). In the words of Horace Walpole: Tyrants are a proof of an here‑after. Millions of men cannot be formed for the sport of a cruel despot.
[* With an exception of the ram and the he-goat (Dan. 8: 3, 5,); perhaps indicating exceptional nations such as history has shown, purely animal indeed, but unsavage, unbloodthirsty.]
Now there bursts on us the world-revolution that utterly out-balanccs all the worst that can conceivably happen to-day. I beheld till thrones were set, and one that was ancient of days did sit: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him - one hundred millions: the judgment was set, and the books were opcned. God at last makes his reckoning with the iniquitous kingdoms of the world, and launches his legions for universal conquest. And it is not one Throne set, but many: as in the Apocalypse, - I saw TREONES, and judgment was given unto them (Rev. 20: 4). Irresistable force will move behind flawless righteousness. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom - the whole earth:- all thines that cause stumbling - drinking-dens, brothels, gambling pools, theatres and them that do ininquily, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire (Matt. 13: 4l).
THE SON OF MAN
The contrast to the Wild Beast now appears. Behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man - no savage beast, but One who is exquislitely human; and with no type from among animals, except the Lamb and there was given him dominion and glory and a kingdom. Only once (Acts 7: 56) is the title Son of man given to our Lord by human lips: eighty times Jesus applies it to Himself: it is, in His favourite expression, the utterly Human King, to whom the Kingdom is here given, not inherited: ask of me, and I,will give thee the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession (Ps. 2: 8). It is as an overcoming saint that our Lord ascends the Throne, as He Himself explicitly states concerning both Himself and those who, [will] reign with Him:‑ He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne (Rev. 3: 21). Then shall the righteous not [regenerate] believers merely, but [regenerate] believers who have proved their possession of active as well as imputed righteousness shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matt. 13: 43).
Now we arrive at the glorious event, central of all for us, and which may happen within the next few years. The kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High. So in the Apocalypse:‑Judgment was given unto them (Rev. 20: 4); or, in our Lord;s words to the Apostles,- Ye shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging, (Matt. 19: 8.) Why are they thus enthroned? Because they have overcome. By the power given to them they have overcome evil, and only good remains; and good is the final, the everlasting, the all-absorbing power of the universe (D. Wright, M.A.). This dispensation tests our capacity, our fitness for rule: the next discriminates the result: because thou wast found faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities (Luke 19: 17). The thrones, the governments, the courts, the banks, the stock exchanges of the world are one day to be in holy hands; goodness is one day going to be power; the whole earth will be administered by saintly souls: [this] earths Golden Age will have arrived at last.*
[* Neither shall they learn war any more (Is. 2: 4). The awful destructiveness of war is seen in the almost simultaneous vote (Times, July 10th, 1940) of the British and the American Congress of £1,000,000,000 and £1,200,000,000, respectively, on war, and war preparation, alone. It staggers imagination to grasp what blessings these sums could have brought in peace. But this will be, done in the [Millennial] Kingdom.]
A ROD OF IRON
In this radical change, of dispensation we see a change of conduct equally radical. Judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and so in the Apocalypse :- And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them (Rev. 20: 4). Judgment is given to them because hitherto it has been forbidden: Judge not is repeated to us again and again. So royalty. Paul reproves wealthy Corinthian disciples:- Already ye are become rich, ye have reigned without us: yea, and I would that ye did reign, that we also might reign with you (1 Cor. 4: 8) - the [Millennial] Kingdom would [then] have come. To Pilate our Lord said:- My kingdom is not from (ek) this world: if my kingdom were out of this world, then would my servants fight; but now is my kingdom not from hence (John 18: 36). But the Moment the [Lords Millennial] Kingdom does come, and comes from no continent of earth - not even from Palestine - but out of the heavens, the sword is put into the hand of the saint, and he exercises full royal, judicial and military authority. Our Lord expresses it with extraordinary force:- He that overcometh, and he that keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to shivers (Rev. 2: 26). Love, presenting Gods mercy to the world, is to rule our action now: justice, presenting Gods holiness, is to rule it then.
The importance of mastering this truth is critical for the days immediately ahead. For the Apocalypse goes out of its way to warn us that even against Antichrist himself we must use no sword, for it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. No sooner have his blasphemies been named, and that all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, than the command falls. If any man hath an ear - a warning that a difficult truth is being stated: the phrase always implies that as a matter of fact few will accept what is being said let him hear. If any man is for captivity- that is, attempts to inflict captivity into captivity he goeeth: if any man shall kill with the sword, with the sword must he be killed. HERE - that is, supremely here IS THE PATIENCE AND THE FAITH OF THE SAINTS (Rev. 13: 9). Daniel also reveals that saints take the sword against Antichrist, unbacked of God. The horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them (Dan. 7: 21). The argument that Christians must draw the sword because they face gross wickedness - or must join the fighting forces of a State if and when it faces gross wickedness - was an argument simply overwhelming at the moment when our Lord said that His servants do not fight; for Calvary is the most wicked thing that will ever be done for all eternity, and Satan was actually in the Upper Room entering Judas, to effect it.* Yet when Peter draws the sword on the Satanic forces thus creating Calvary, our Lord not only bids him sheathe it, but actually heals the soldier whom the sword had wounded. So our principle, until the Kingdom comes and reverses it, Paul explicitly lays down:‑ Avenge not yourselves, beloved; for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord. But if thine enemy hunger, feed him (Rom. 12: 19). But in the coming [Kingdom] Age all this is extraordinarily reversed. The Overcomer shall rule them with a rod of iron, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO SHIVERS (Rev. 2: 26).
[* It is extraordinarily pertinent that as we write these lines a leading proplietical journal, after expressing the judgment that we are facing the spirit of the Beast, counsels Christians to attack Antichrist with physical weapons. If ever there was a just cause for nations to arm and to defend themselves, that cause is before us now; and therefore approves of a Christians conscription for military duly in defence of the nation against evil doers.]
So we face our enormous practical problem:- Are we overcoming? Is each of us (like a nation involved in war) concentrating on victory, at all costs? This promise to the overcomer is the promise of the ascended, victorious, crowned, and almighty Saviour to men whom He would have imitate and reproduce the life which He lived while upon the earth. Many fail where one succeeds. The higher we rise in any sphere of life the smaller do the classes become. The promise affords glorious encouragement in the blessed assurance that it is possible in this life-battle to overcome (T. McCullagh, D.D.). In the words of Dr. Horatius Bonar:- A throne not merely salvation, or life, but higher than these - glory, honour, dominion, and power. From being the lowest here they are made the highest hereafter. It is Christs throne. He has a seat on the Fathers throne as the reward of His victory, so we [may be judged worthy to] have a seat on His as the reward of ours. Many of the humblest and obscurest saints will shine out the brightest stars in the coming Kingdom.