SOCIALISM AND THE SECOND ADVENT
By D. M. Panton, B. A.
Nothing in ordinary evangelical teaching has so missed the mark, so failed to meet a great heart-hunger in the human race, as the failure to proclaim the redemption of the Earth. All that is right - [in groups such as the United Nations; the European Community; Greenpeace; Socialism, and the like.] - all efforts to put the world right [environmentally], politically and economically - is based on a sound and over-mastering instinct which is not met, and will never be met, and which God never meant to be met, by a vague, unreal, and remotely distant Heaven. The joyous truth after which all this body of thought has instinctively and blindly groped for thousands of years, is this, - not only that the earth is the Lord's and everything in it, but that, only in God's own time, "The kingdoms of THIS WORLD are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 11: 15).
the solution of the whole problem is found in one little cameo of our Lord. He
says:- "The Kingdom of Heaven" - God's
royal rule in the world; the world in politics, and economics, and morals
saturated with God - "is like treasure"
- treasure, says Solomon, is the peculiar prerequisite of kings - "hidden" - invisible, undetected, unbelieved -
"in a field," which, our Lord tells
us, is the world (Matt. 13: 38). God's
Now for a brief spell the Kingdom became openly visible. "When a man" - the man of this parable is the Sower of the first - "found" - discovered, unearthed: Jesus, arrived on the field, with omniscient eyes detects the buried wealth. Before this we read, - "The devil taketh Him unto an exceeding high mountain, and showeth Him ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD and the glory of them" (Matt. 4: 8): but - as it is today - the Treasure was that, but it was not there; that was the material of God's Kingdom, but it was the Kingdom of Satan, not the Kingdom of God. But the Lord unearthed it in His own Person. For in the immediately preceding chapter Jesus had said: "If I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then is the Kingdom of God COME UPON YOU" (Matt. 12: 28): in the person of the King - commanding men, nature, devils, all obeying - for three short years the Treasure was exposed; even as John, when he saw Jesus, cried, "The Kingdom of God is near." As Sir Harry Lauder, the comedian, said in Seattle :- "The world needs a King, but the King the world needs is Christ"; and the extraordinary obedience of everything and everybody revealed, for a brief moment, Whose are the gleaming Crown and the Kingdom built into the very foundations of the globe.
now an act of mystery follows - "to you,"
Jesus had just said, "it is given to know the mysteries
Now follows rapid action upon the part of the Discoverer: He goeth, selleth, buyeth; swift actions, from the moment He has again hidden the Kingdom, crowd the life of our Lord. "And In His joy" - no man who has had the vision can ever forget the rapture - "He goeth" - goeth back (Greek); denoting that He was away from home, and now returns home: for the field is man's natural home, but not our Lord's. "I came forth from the Father, and I am come into the world; again, I leave the world and go to the Father" (John 16: 28). It is most remarkable that the only time Jesus is ever said to have rejoiced, is when the Seventy returned in royal triumph - disease and devils routed, and Kingdom powers, even over death, in irresistible operation, for they are "the powers of the Age to come" (Heb. 6: 5) - when the Lord saw again the buried treasure. "In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth" - thus the Owner of the Field - "that Thou didst HIDE these things" - the buried treasure of God's royalty over earth - "from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes; yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in Thy sight" (Luke 10: 21). From the moment of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the Lord's face was set for Home; and from that moment the Divine Royalty, buried in the world, and only to be unearthed by the King on His return, and to which earth's great statesmen and great ecclesiastics are absolutely blind, is visible only to heavenly clairvoyance of little children.
So our Lord sees with perfect clearness how alone God's Kingdom can be revealed on earth. As the treasure belongs to the Field, and cannot be got without it - for the Kingdom of God is no remote Heaven, but the world-kingdoms made God's - he "selleth all that he hath" - His immediate claim to the Throne of David; His popularity; His reputation; His possessions; His comfort; His right to exemption from death through sinlessness - "and buyeth that field" - no remote star, or alien universe, but our globe itself. The Field was already our Lord's by creation; but it had to be reclaimed from sin; and so He buys it back; and thus makes it doubly His own by redemption. And Jesus never hesitated for a moment. So stupendous is its value; so enormous a compensation is it for present loss; so certain is the purchaser to be repaid for every sacrifice, - that the Lord beggars Himself in the exultation of that moment of rapture: no compulsion is necessary, - "in His joy HE SELLETH ALL." It is extraordinarily impressive that the blood of Jesus actually did buy a field. "And the chief priests took the pieces of silver"- which, they said, was the price of blood - and used "and bought with them the potter's FIELD" (Matt. 27: 6). So our Lord had said that His life would be the price of the Globe, "Yea, and the bread which I give is my flesh, for the life of the world" (John 6: 51). How complete the purchase was is startlingly proved by what is said of the corrupters of 'the Faith' in the last days: "Among you there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies" - sects of perdition - "denying even the Master that bought THEM" (2 Pet. 2: 1). All souls, down to the lowest and vilest, all lands, all races, every bit of the mighty world - Jesus has bought the globe: so the moment hastens when "The Lord SHALL BE KING OVER ALL THE EARTH" (Zech. 14: 5, 9).
So we see the solution of an acute and crushing problem. Under all the crust and surface of the world lies, deeply buried, utterly hidden, its very existence un-guessed and unsuspected, a treasure for which our Lord thought it worth while to give up His life. But He Who hid the Treasure can alone unearth it. While the heart-hunger for righteous world-politics and world-economics is an instinct of the race deeply embedded by God, pathetic, true, divine, all attempts to establish the Kingdom without the bodily presence of its King, to Christians the present sin-soaked world-structure, is a gigantic side-tracking doomed to disastrous failure. This is the moment for the proclamation of the treasure: it lies beneath every man's feet: it is offered to all who believe it, and seek it; it may be unearthed very soon, when it will be too late for many Christians to gain it. No footprints, no freshly turned soil, betrays the Treasure. The Great Owner is invisible. BUT HE IS COMING TO UNEARTH IT AGAIN.