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the kingdom of God come with power.” And then, that this saying might be fulfilled, it is said, “ After six days Jesus taketh with him, Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves : and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment become shining, exceeding white as snow: so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias, with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus," and Luke informs us, “spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem" (Mark 9. and Luke 9).
Here these three apostles saw a miniature exhibition of what the kingdom of God will be, as Jesus said, when it comes in power; for Jesus was there in shining garments surrounded by the cloud of glory, as he will appear when he comes in glory with all his holy angels, and in that cloud also there appeared Elijah, who was translated, as a representative of the living saints who are to be translated as he was, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; and also Moses appeared there in glory, as a representative of those who had died, and who will be raised immortal when the living are changed, for as we have already shown, there is the same proof that Moses was raised from the dead, as there is that Christ was raised, though not on so large a scale, but here Moses who died and was buried, appeared alive again. Therefore these three men saw a miniature picture of the kingdom of God as it will be in the day when it will come in power. Concerning this manifestation, Peter, one of the three, afterwards testified saying, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount” (II Pet. 1: 16-18).
Again the parable of the wheat and tares is another positive proof that the church of God, as it obtains from the days of Christ and the apostles down to the end of the world, is composed of good and bad, and is called the kingdom of God, for the parable begins by saying, “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way (Matt. 13: 24-25). Now the wheat and tares were allowed to grow together till the harvest, and in the interpretation he says, “ As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world,” not, observe, in either the beginning nor end of the world to come ; but he says (verse 41), “The son of man shall send forth his angels and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them hich do iniquity." Now how could the angels gather the wicked out of the kingdom of God, if they were not in it?
The same thing is taught in the parable of the net, as Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind; which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world; the angels shall come forth, and sever the
wicked from among the just " (Matt. 13:47-49). Here again the kingdom of God is shown to be composed of two kinds in the present state, the good and the bad, and the angels will separate them when the net is drawn ashore. And the end of the world referred to above is the end of the Mosaic or Hebrew world. That world had its first end at the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, the son of Vespasian, but the good and bad were not raised from the dead and divided then. That world is to have a second manifestation,
, and a second final end, called her last end, or latter end, as it is written of her, “She remembereth not her last end " (Lam. 1:9). This we will show under an appropriate head.
Now when Christ shall judge the quick and dead at his appearing and kingdom, when he shall send forth his angels and gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity, and sever the wicked from among the just, then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. This is the second manifestation of the kingdom of God; then the righteous from the creation of the world down to the coming of Christ and the resurrection from the dead, who have been raised in incorruption, or translated from mortality to immortality, will constitute the kingdom of God with power, all of whom will be immortal and as the angels of God in heaven. This immortalized glorified body of saints, who will be as the stars of the sky for multitude, with Christ Jesus the Lord, as their Lord and Chief, will rule the world in righteousness for a thousand years, for said Paul, “Unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, of which we speak” (Heb. 2:5). The world to come, therefore, is to be in subjection to Christ and his brethren. And it is to this second manifestation of the kingdom of God after the resurrection that Jesus referred when he said, “ Among those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he that is least in the kingdom of God, is greater than he” (Luke 7:28). That is, the least in the kingdom of God, when it comes in power, will be immortal, whereas John the Baptist, although one of the greatest of the prophets, was a mortal
Therefore any one who is not acquainted with the mysteries of the kingdom of God cannot interpret many of the parables which are intended to illustrate the things of the kingdom of God as they obtain now, and the things of the kingdom of God as they will obtain when the kingdom of God comes in power. Take for example the parable of the mustard seed (Matt. 13:3132), as it is said, “ Another parable put he forth unto them saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." Now this parable illustrates the kingdom of God as it is first manifested in weakness, and afterwards in power, as follows: Christ himself is the mustard seed, he is the least and smallest child of all the children of God in a spiritual sense. Moses was the meekest man in all the earth, and Christ was meeker than he, and Christ is himself the beginning of the kingdom of God, and so he is called "the beginning of the creation of God," and "the first-born of every creature," and “the first-born among many brethren,” and “the first-fruits of them that slept."
This, the smallest of seeds, was sown as follows, as he himself said, “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12: 22-24). Therefore when Christ died, and was buried and raised again from the dead, that was the first appearance of the growth of the mustard seed tree; after that every person who believed the gospel and was baptized into him for the remission of sins, became a branch and a part of that tree, even as he said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches” (John 15:1-5). And when all the branches of that tree have been developed, and when at his second coming they shall have put on immortality as he has done already, then the tree will be fully grown so that the birds of the air will come and lodge in its branches. That is, Christ and his joint heirs are to reign in the earth over all nations, when all kings shall fall down before him, and all nations shall serve him, and as it is written of him, “In him shall all nations be blessed." They shall find a rest and lodgment in this tree.
The same doctrine is taught in the Revelation. For the new Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven is the body of Christ, the Kingdom of God made perfect, and dwells with men as a ruling power in the earth, "and the nations of them which are saved (that is, those that have escaped of the nations), shall walk in the light of it (this city), and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it.” These are the fowls of the air which come and lodge in the branches of this tree.
Again Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened." Now three measures of meal would be a quantity sufficient for a baking for a large family. The leaven in this instance represents the truth in its effects upon those who receive it into good and honest hearts, and as leaven when mixed with meal, and worked up into dough, causes it to rise, so the truth has an elevating influence upon a person, as Paul says to the Ephesians, “ God hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” This was the first leavening influence of the truth upon them, and when they are raised up from the dead at the last day, then they will be fit for the master's use, the same as dough when it is fully leavened and baked, would be fitted for the use of the household. Therefore unless a person is properly instructed in the kingdom of God, he can in no wise make a proper application of the parables of the Lord Jesus, which are intended to illustrate certain features and principles of that kingdom.
Again another peculiar feature of the kingdom of God appears from the answer of Jesus to the Pharisees, for when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, 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 ” (or as the margin has it," among you "). 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” (Luke 17:20-21). The kingdom of God when it comes with power, will not come like any of the kingdoms of men, they come by and with observation, you note their rise and progress as they grow and increase in power and greatness, but not so the kingdom of God, that comes instantaneously, as quick as the lightning which shineth from one part under heaven unto the other part under heaven; just as suddenly as the dead are raised, and the living saints changed, which is in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, just so quick will the kingdom of God appear among men.
When Christ comes, the saints come with him to execute the judgments written, even as Enoch, the seventh from Adam, testified, saying, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 14-15). And in that day Jesus testified that it should be as it was in the days of Noah, “They did eat, hey drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed ” (Luke 17:26-30).
THE MYSTERY OF THE MANNER OF THE REIGN OF
CHRIST AND HIS BRETHREN
Not visibly and personally on throne - Christ's inheritance as son and
heir of Abraham - Promise in Eden of Christ's supremacy Christ to possess gates of his enemies — Coming of the Father with Christ to inaugurate his reign – Christ's work, past and future - Jesus both Lord and Christ An angel former bearer of name Lord "— Did God the Father descend on Mount Sinai ? - How the angel communicated with Moses Manner of reign of Christ on David's throne - Mortal kings under Christ — Manner of kingdom of God.
What we have to say on these points has special reference to those people who in these times have come to see and believe that Christ is to reign on David's throne, and that the saints are to reign in the earth, but who, while they have done well to repudiate the universally received errors of the immortality of human souls, and the false hope of going to heaven at death to reign with Christ above the skies, in the form of a disembodied spirit, have nevertheless on the other hand degraded the reign of Christ on David's throne, and the reign of the saints over the nations, to almost a dead level with the reign of ordinary kings and judges of the earth in the flesh, even saying that Christ will reign literally, visibly, and personally, on the thrones now occupied by the kings of the earth, and that the saints will also personally occupy the mayors' chairs in cities, and towns, and the judges' benches in courts of justice, insomuch, that all kings, rulers, magistrates, and judges in the Aesh will be set aside, and abolished, and only immortal men occupy their places. This chimera, this dream, will no more be realized than the dreams of the blind and foolish sects of Christendom falsely so called who expect to reign with Christ above the skies while they are dead and mouldering away to ashes in their graves.
Such views, therefore, of the reign of Christ, and of the kingdom of God in the ages to come, are too carnal, and they prove to those who are properly instructed in the kingdom of God that the persons holding them are still ignorant of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Whereas on the contrary, we will show a better and a scriptural way; namely, that Christ will reign on David's throne through and by mortal kings, through righteous kings of David's line according to the flesh, and the saints will also reign over nations in a much higher sense than actually occupying their earthly thrones, and judgment seats; whereas these earthly thrones and judgment seats during the reign of Christ and the saints, for a thousand years will be occupied by mortal men, as they are now, and have been in ages past, but they will be under the close surveillance and direction of Christ and his saints, whom