THE WORD "KINGDOM" AS USED IN THE BIBLE. THE EMBRYO KINGDOM. THE REIGNING KINGDOM. ITS CREATION. ITS INVISIBILITY. ITS EARTHLY REPRESENTATIVES. ITS TWO PHASES. ITS EARTHLY PHASE VISIBLE. ITS PURPOSES. ITS SUBJECTS. RESULTS OF ITS REIGN.
THE establishment of God's Kingdom throughout the earth is, as we have already seen from Chapter I, one of the main purposes of our Lord's Return. In this chapter we will give more details connected with it. We find that our subject, The Kingdom of God, is one of unusual prominence in the Scriptures, and that both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, the expressions, "Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of Heaven," occurring nearly 150 times in the New Testament alone. Its prominence in the Scriptures is a proof of its importance in God's Plan. Yea, so important is its place in the Divine program, that every part of that program is related to it with marked degrees of closeness. These considerations suggest the propriety of a thorough study of it from the various angles in which it is Scripturally presented. In the outstart of this study we might remark that the word kingdom as used in the Bible conveys some meanings additional to those that the word conveys in modern English. As our language is now spoken, the word kingdom is used to mean a territory, state or people under the reign of a king or queen. In addition to these senses of the word, in the Bible a kingdom also means a royal ruler or the authority by which he reigns. That the word kingdom in the Bible means the authority by which a king or queen rules is manifest from many passages (1 Cor. 15:24; Luke 22:29; John 18:36; Dan. 4:31; 7:14, 18, 27).
That this word also Biblically means a ruler or rulers is manifest from a number of passages. Ex. 19:5, 6
is to the point. Here God promised to make natural Israel a kingdom of priests (priestly kings) if they would prove to be faithful to Him by keeping His covenant, not only the Mosaic Law, especially its basis—the Ten Commandments, but also the other features of that covenant that God gave to Israel, beginning in Egypt with the Passover and ending with the ministry of Moses. All of these things belonged to the covenant, ending with the book of Deuteronomy. If they would keep these, God says, "Ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people [i.e., they would be very highly valued by God as belonging to Him exclusively, in a sense in which no other people on the earth belong to Him]: for all the earth is mine [everything on earth and in heaven belong to Jehovah]: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation [they would not only be a priesthood to God, but they would be a nation wholly consecrated to Him, dedicated to Him, who would receive from Him this great favor and blessing. It is because they as a nation proved unfaithful to Him that the privilege of becoming these priestly kings was taken away from them nationally, and was given to the faithful of Spiritual Israel (Matt. 21:43)]."
1 Pet. 2:9 is also to the point, referring to the kingdom class as royal rulers: "But ye are a chosen generation [the elect character of the Christ, Head and Body, is here indicated], a royal priesthood [a set of priests that will make a kingdom], an holy nation [a nation devoted to God, a set of individuals who will be entirely dedicated to God and thus holy], a peculiar people [owned by God alone]; that ye should show forth the praises of him [God has called the Christ class to show forth the praises of God, i.e., His wisdom, power, justice and love, all of which attributes reflect credit upon Him, also His secondary and tertiary graces under the control of His perfect wisdom, justice, love and power] who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." The Lord's people
The Kingdom of God.
were at one time in error, but they have been called out of error into the marvelous light of the Gospel, and wondrous indeed does the Gospel of our Heavenly Father appear to us.
This meaning of kingdom is even clearer from Rev. 1:6 ("hath made us kings"); 5:10 ("hath made us unto our God kings"). In the Authorized Version the Greek word basileia, which always means kingdom, has been rendered "kings" in both of these passages; but in the Revised Version, etc., it has with propriety been literally rendered "kingdom." The translators of the A. V., not recognizing that the word basileia has the sense of kingly rulers, yet knowing that not a territory, people or realm ruled over by a king or queen was here meant, gave what is plainly the sense of the passage in good English, when they rendered the word basileia by the word kings, and by so doing they involuntarily gave the proof that in the Bible the word kingdom means, among other things, a royal ruler or royal rulers.
Seemingly everywhere the expressions, "the Kingdom of God," "the Kingdom of Heaven," mean the Royal Rulers who will represent Jehovah, in exercising His authority as His Vicegerents. Even in such passages as Rom. 14:17 and 1 Cor. 15:50 this definition holds good. The former passage assures us that the main privileges of the prospective kings for the Millennium would not consist in this, that they would have liberty as to food and drink, but instead as to righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; and that therefore they would readily forego the former set of privileges in the interests of the latter. So, too, in 1 Cor. 15:50 the Apostle assures us that not as human, but as Divine beings the Church inherits the privilege of becoming kings in the next Age. A careful study of the expressions, "Kingdom of Heaven," "Kingdom of God," will convince us that they mean the rulers whom God will have as His Vicegerents, exercising His authority among men in the next Age. In other words, Jesus and
His faithful Little Flock are meant by the expressions, "the Kingdom of God," "the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matt. 5:3, 10; Mark 10:14).
These expressions are Biblically used of Jesus and the Church from a twofold standpoint. In some passages they refer to them during their earthly lifetime undergoing suffering and opposition from the devil, the world and the flesh. This sense of these terms is fairly synonymous with the term, The Church Militant. In other passages these expressions refer to them in their Heavenly existence, during their glorious reign over the earth. In this sense these terms are fairly synonymous with the term, The Church Triumphant. In its condition in the earthly lifetime of its members the Church is often called the embryonic, or suffering Kingdom; and in its Heavenly condition during the Millennium it is called the born, or glorified Kingdom. Evidently both uses of the word kingdom are Biblical.
THE EMBRYO KINGDOM
When our Lord Jesus commissioned the Apostles to preach, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 10:7), He evidently did not mean that they were to announce that He and the Church were about to reign over the earth; for over 19 centuries have passed since the charge was given, and the Kingdom is not yet fully established in the earth in the sense of their reigning over the earth. Surely His thought was that the disciples should preach that the embryo Kingdom, the Church, which was about to undergo preparation to become rulers in the next Age, was about to step upon the stage of human history, and there perform in this life the earlier acts of her part in the drama of the Ages.
Thus He instructed them to preach that a change of dispensation had come, that instead of preaching Moses and the prophets any longer, they were to preach the Kingdom of God, the embryonic Church. And it was at hand; it was begun by Jesus in His ministry; it was continued by the Apostles at Pentecost; it was
The Kingdom of God.
advanced further at the home of Cornelius as it went forth to the Gentiles; and throughout the Jewish Harvest it was advanced still more. It was now open to anyone, whether Jew or Gentile; and all through the Gospel Age the star-members (e.g., Waldo, Marsiglio, Huss, Luther, Zwingli, Cranmer, Wesley, etc.), their helpers, and those who looked upon them as such, have preached, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand," and have thus given those who desired to enter this embryo kingdom an opportunity to do so, and, on entering, to have God's special favor and to rejoice in it.
Similarly, when Jesus assures us that from the time of John the Baptist the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and that the violent forcibly seize it (Matt. 11:12), He would not have us understand Him as referring to the Kingdom class while reigning in the earth; for then they are clothed with almighty power, and none will be able to resist them, much less cause them to suffer, and, least of all, violently seize them! Rather, as the experience of the Kingdom class from the beginning proves (Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:12), Jesus here refers to the embryo Kingdom, the Faithful in their earthly lifetime, the Church Militant, as suffering while they through obedience to the Word and Spirit of God amid trials and tribulations are being fitted to reign with Jesus as the glorified Kingdom in the next Age.
It was a fact that John the Baptist, who proclaimed that the kingdom was coming, suffered violence, being beheaded by Herod for the sake of Herodias and Salome. That kingdom of heaven suffered violence in the person of our Lord Jesus; for certainly He was fearfully persecuted by the Scribes and Pharisees, while He was in the flesh; and the Sanhedrin added to that persecution, when it condemned Him, the Innocent One, to death, under the alleged charge that He was a blasphemer. They brought Him to Pilate and had Pilate enforce, as it were, their sentence against Him. He was, first, terribly scourged,
then crowned with thorns and mocked; on Him was laid the heavy cross, under whose weight He fainted; He was nailed to that cross and suffered violence; and the most terrible imprecations and curses and threats and blasphemies and evil accusations were hurled into His teeth; He, the Innocent One, bore it all in the spirit of meekness, in the spirit of love, in the spirit of loyalty to God; and though the violent took Him by force and shamefully mistreated Him, He nevertheless maintained His loyalty to the end.
The same treatment was given to His followers: the Apostles, in the Harvest of the Jewish Age, suffered similarly, it beginning at Pentecost, and continuing in the working toward Cornelius and his family and throughout the whole Harvest of the Jewish Age. Violence was offered to these holy men and they endured it, being forcibly and violently and vilely treated and cruelly misjudged and misrepresented and in every possible way given injustice. The same is true of the brethren all through the Age: primarily the star-members received such treatment; secondarily, their special helpers were so treated; and thirdly, those who accepted their message and looked upon them as their leaders and their teachers, as these were obedient, were also violently treated and fiendishly persecuted by the devil through the civil powers, the great Antichrist (the Papacy), the small Antichrist (the federated system of Protestant Sectarianism), the world and the flesh. Thus all through the Age God's people have been violently mistreated.
Matt. 16:18 is another passage which is to the point: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [petros], and upon this rock [petra] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Peter had just made the rock confession, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," and on account of that Jesus gave him the name Peter, which means a stone; Petra means a rock and Petros means a stone. Upon this petra, this rock confession that
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Peter had made, Jesus pledged that He would build His Church. Throughout the Age it has been persecuted and been made to suffer; but Jesus assures them, that "the gates of hades (hell—the death-state) shall not prevail against it." Though they would go into the death-state, into hades, they would be brought out of it in due time in the first resurrection, joined to their Lord, made one with Him, and would reign with Him in glory, honor and immortality.
So, too, when Jesus assured St. Peter that He would give to him exclusively the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 16:19), He did not mean that St. Peter in the glorified condition would receive the office of admitting people to, or rejecting them from Heaven; for such a power the Lord reserves to Himself. We are rather to understand the Lord to refer to the two-fold privilege that He gave to St. Peter exclusively—(1) the power by the preaching of the Word at Pentecost to open an entrance for Jews into the privilege of becoming parts of the embryo Kingdom of Heaven (Acts 2:14); (2) the power by the preaching of the Word in Cornelius' home to open an entrance for Gentiles into the privilege of becoming parts of the embryo Kingdom of Heaven (Acts 11:13, 14; 15:7).
When the Apostle spoke of God's translating the saints out of darkness into the Kingdom of God's dear Son (Col. 1:13), surely none would think that he meant that during their earthly lifetime they would be the Kingdom of Glory; for the connection, as well as the verse itself, shows that the passage refers to the suffering condition of their earthly pilgrimage, hence St. Paul here refers to the embryo Kingdom. All through the Gospel Age God has been delivering the Christ class, through His Son, from the power of darkness, from the Antichrist system, from the Satan system, from the little Antichrist system in sectarian Protestantism and from the civil powers, the symbolic dragon. All through the Age He has thus been delivering
them and making them to be His kingdom, over whom He has reigned, by His Son; and He gave them the condition on which they were to rule and reign: that of suffering with Christ, from the same causes, in the same form and in the same spirit, under the same purpose, in the same manner, suffering as our Lord Jesus suffered, in order that they might glorify the God of heaven and earth. Being thus faithful unto the end, they are privileged to reign in glory.
The Bible is very explicit on the point that the earthly career of the faithful members of the Kingdom of God would not be one of reigning, but one of labor, toil, suffering, trial and persecution, culminating in death; the experiences of the faithful also attest to this; and only as any of these proved faithful amid these experiences unto death could they inherit Kingship as their portion, and actually reign in the earth in the future. Let us briefly study some Scriptures on this point. We have already referred to Acts 14:22, which teaches that the Church class would through much tribulation during their earthly pilgrimage enter the Kingdom of God. So, too, 2 Tim. 3:12 points out that not only some, but all of the faithful would suffer persecution. Very explicit on this point is St. Paul's statement in 2 Tim. 2:10-12: "I endure all things for the elect's sakes. … It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him we shall also live with him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with him." To die with Him means to lay down life as He did, as a sacrifice on behalf of God's plan, in the same form, for the same causes, from the same spirit; it results in attaining the same glorious end. To suffer with Him means to endure similar physical exhaustion, mental sorrow and physical violence for similar reasons. Thus, according to the Scriptures, only those who would faithfully suffer unto death with our Lord would have the privilege of reigning with Him. Hence none could reign with Him in their earthly lifetime.
The Kingdom of God.
Again, the promise of the crown of life, the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ, is expressly stated in Rev. 2:10 as being conditional on one's faithfulness unto death as a member of the Body of Christ. It reads: "Fear none of these things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." The Lord Jesus is here in the book of Revelation addressing the second phase, the Smyrna phase, of the Church. He tells the brethren that the Roman empire, which He here calls the devil, would cast some of them into prison—would greatly restrain them in their work and persecute them most fiendishly and most outrageously; for the Smyrna Church and the Philadelphia Church were the two most persecuted churches along the lines of violence of any of the seven churches of the Gospel Age. Their tribulation of ten symbolic days was especially the ten years' persecution they endured under Diocletian, one of the ablest of Roman emperors, but one of the most steadfast enemies of the Gospel Church; and he did afflict them those ten years; but the Lord exhorted them to be faithful unto death in spite of those terrible persecutions, to continue loyal to the Truth, loyal to their consecration, loyal to the Truth arrangements, loyal to the Truth's spirit, loyal to the Truth people, loyal to the Truth work, loyal from every standpoint, and He would give such a crown of life. A crown of life is immortality, the Divine nature, which is both incorruptible and immortal; this is the reward Jesus promised to His Church, to be theirs beyond the veil, but given only if they proved "faithful unto death."
Some of the Corinthian brethren, losing sight of this fact, acted as though the time of reigning had already come; therefore with irony the Apostle reproves them, saying (1 Cor. 4:8): "Ye have reigned as kings without us." This irony was used to bring them the more quickly to their senses, in harmony with what
he had taught as to the Church suffering throughout this life before it could reign in harmony with the Divine Plan. Then, realizing how desirable the reigning time was in contrast with the suffering of the earthly life for the Church, he cried out, "I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you!" Accordingly, in this verse the Apostle shows that the time for the Kingdom of God to reign in the earth is not during the Gospel Age—it will be during the Millennium, when the sufferings of the earthly lifetime are swallowed up in the glories then attained (Rom. 8:17-19; Rev. 20:4, 6). These Scriptures, as well as numerous others, prove that the embryo Kingdom—the Church in its earthly lifetime—would not reign, but would prove her fitness to reign by and by through her being faithful to the Lord's cause amid and in spite of disadvantageous circumstances, which, willingly endured by her, would cause her to suffer even unto death.
This fact, that the Kingdom class during the Gospel Age would be in a suffering and humiliated condition, undergoing untoward experiences to train her in fitness to reign with the Lord in the next Age, is an all-important one, and must ever be kept in mind by all of the Elect classes, to help them to keep from falling from their steadfastness. It is because early in this Age many forgot this that they in the great Apostasy fell from the primitive truths and practices of the Church and developed the great Antichrist, which claimed that the earthly life is the time for the Church to convert the world and to reign over the earth. And through this fundamental error the gates were thrown wide open for a thousand false doctrines and wrong practices to enter the Church, resulting in that perversion of truth and righteousness which we now see in great papacy (2 Thes. 2:3-12). The true hope of the Kingdom to come into power at our Lord's Return always kept the Church pure in faith and practice, as the loss of that hope and the adoption of the false
The Kingdom of God.
hope of converting the world and reigning over the race before our Lord's Return occasioned the loss of that purity of faith and practice, and the introduction of almost every evil word and work that became current during the Dark Ages. Let us look well to this point and guard it at all hazards against every attempt, overt or covert, to undermine it!
THE REIGNING KINGDOM
However, while on the one hand we must emphasize the fact that the embryo Kingdom, the Church in the flesh, would not reign during her earthly career, but would undergo training to fit her to reign, and only from the standpoint of her prospective reign could she be called The Kingdom of Heaven during her earthly career, let us on the other hand firmly hold to the thought that the Kingdom class will some day reign in the earth, and that for this reason only they are called The Kingdom while in the flesh. The Scriptures also are very explicit on this point. We will now show the Scripturalness of this aspect of the Kingdom. If the Kingdom had been set up in royal power at Pentecost, as some of our dear Heavenly Father's children mistakenly affirm, and often, too, with great self-confidence, it would no longer be appropriate to pray, "Thy Kingdom come" (Matt 6:10).
Amid such circumstances we should cease to pray for the Kingdom to come, and instead thank God that the Kingdom has already come, and that as a result His will is being done in earth as in Heaven—a thing that all know is not now being done. Hence this passage, "Thy Kingdom come," refers to Christ and the Church entering into their reign at His Second Advent. Luke 21:31 uses the expression, "the Kingdom of God," in the same sense; for Jesus there tells us that when we see the signs of the times connected with His Second Advent enacting before our eyes, we should recognize that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand—that He and His faithful ones shortly will enter into their office as Kings in the earth. Certainly this passage
could not refer to the embryo Kingdom, for that has been here ever since Pentecost. When the Lord assured the Apostles (Luke 22:29, 30) that they would share with Him in His Heavenly privileges—eating and drinking at His table in His Kingdom—and would occupy thrones, ruling over Israel, He thereby certainly did not mean an activity that the Apostles would exercise in this life, while parts of the embryo Kingdom; for instead of ruling over Israel in this life they were by Jews and Gentiles greatly persecuted, even unto death. Nor have they yet ruled over Israel. Hence this passage refers to the Millennial Kingdom (Matt. 19:28). Manifestly 2 Tim. 4:1 is in line with the same thought; for the world's thousand-year Judgment Day and the Millennium are one and the same period. (Please see pages 190 and 191 for details.) Accordingly, this passage refers to the Kingdom in glory reigning over the earth, and not to the embryo Kingdom—the Church in the flesh.
Not only the Lord Jesus and St. Paul, but also Sts. James, Peter and John give us this same thought. St. James assures us (Jas. 2:5) that the Church class, who love and trust God supremely, are heirs of the Kingdom; hence in this passage the Kingdom, a prospective inheritance, is mentioned as being future, and therefore could not be the embryo Kingdom, but must be the reigning Kingdom.
In 2 Pet. 1:5-11 the Apostle assures the saints that if they would add to their faith virtue (fortitude); and to fortitude, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, patience; and to patience, piety; and to piety, brotherly love; and to brotherly love, charity—if these things would be in them, i.e., if they would exercise them, and additionally, if these graces would abound, overflow, in them, and thus control all of their other qualities—social, artistic and selfish—, there would be a fivefold result: (1) it would take away the impossibility of fruitfulness, "they make you neither barren"; (2) it would confer actual fruitfulness,
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"nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ"; (3) it would enable them to make their calling and election sure, "wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence [to these things in order] to make your calling and election sure"; (4) it would keep them from falling, "if ye do these things, ye shall never fall"; and (5) it would give them an abundant entrance into the Kingdom, "for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Thus the Apostle refers here to the entrance into the Kingdom after Christ's Second Advent, and not into the embryo Kingdom, in which the saints during the Gospel Age have been given the opportunity to make their calling and election sure to the Kingdom in glory.
Again, in Rev. 2:26, 27; 3:21; 5:10 we hear Jesus through the Apostle John speak of the Kingdom in the sense of its reigning in this earth after all the Faithful have left the world; for all of these passages show that those who would reign with the Lord would first have to prove overcomers—a thing not completed in any case until death (Rev. 2:10). Hence these passages refer to the reigning time as following the deliverance of the last member of the Church. Indisputably clear is Rev. 20:4, 6 as proving that this reign is yet future; for it shows that it is the privilege of those only who share in the First Resurrection—a thing that follows our Lord's Second Advent (1 Cor. 15:23-26, 42-44, 51-54; 1 Thes. 4:16, 17).
The Old Testament has much to say on this point and abundantly proves that the Kingdom of God comes after our Lord's Return. Hence these passages cannot refer to the embryo Kingdom. They must refer to the Kingdom in power and glory reigning in the earth. On this point we suggest that our readers look up the following references: Dan. 7:13, 14, 18, 22, 26, 27; 2:44; Ps. 22:27-29; 72:1-20; Is. 2:2-4; Mic. 4:1-4; Is. 11:1-11; 25:6-9; 35:1-10; 60:2-22; 61:4-11; 62:1-12; 65:17-25; Jer. 23:5, 6; 33:14-16;
Ezek. 37:23-25; Joel 2:28, 32; Ob. 21; Zeph. 3:8, 9; Hag. 2:6-9; Zech. 8:20-23; Mal. 4:1-3.
From the Scriptures discussed above we see that the Bible treats of the Kingdom class from two standpoints: (1) the embryo Kingdom—the Church in the flesh, being fitted to reign in the next Age; and (2) the born Kingdom—the Church in great power and glory reigning in the earth after Christ's Return.
We have a number of times used the expression, the embryo Kingdom of God, to designate the Church while in the flesh. It would also be in order to mention the fact that the expression, "Kingdom of God," is sometimes used of the typical Kingdom of God (Fleshly Israel), because Fleshly Israel was typical of the Church, the real Kingdom of God (Matt. 8:12; 1 Chro. 17:14; 28:5; 2 Chro. 13:8). So, too, this expression is used of nominal Spiritual Israel as God's nominal Kingdom (Matt. 13:31-33).
THE CREATION OF THE KINGDOM
It will help us better to understand our subject, if we consider the creation of the Kingdom of God. As the Scriptures set forth the matter, the Kingdom was to be begun by the begettal of the Spirit in its individual members (John 1:12, 13; 3:3; 1 Cor. 4:15; Phile. 10; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:3, 23; 1 John 5:1). This begettal made them embryo New Creatures (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10; 4:24; Col. 3:10). Later each one of them was to be quickened as an embryo (Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13). Still later they were to begin to grow in grace and knowledge in their embryo condition (2 Pet. 3:18; Eph. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:2). Thereafter a strengthening of these embryos in every good word and work was to set in (Eph. 3:16; 6:10-17; Col. 1:11; 2 Tim. 2:1). After strengthening in grace and knowledge progressed to some degree these New Creatures were to develop more as embryos by balancing the various parts of a Christlike character with one another (2 Thes. 2:17; 3:3;
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1 Thes. 3:12, 13; Jas. 5:8; 2 Pet. 1:12). Their full development as embryos was to be completed by perfecting their characters, which truly conforms them unto Christ's image (Rom. 8:29; Luke 6:40; Eph. 4:12; Heb. 13:20, 21; 1 Pet. 5:10). This was to make them as embryos ready for the Spirit birth, which they were to experience by participating in the First Resurrection, and by which they were to obtain the Divine nature, through obtaining immortality (John 3:5-8; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5; 1 Cor. 15:20, 23; Jas. 1:18; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:50, 52-54). Thus the Scriptures mention the seven steps which were to take place in the creation of the Kingdom class. All who proved faithful as such underwent these seven processes, which, beginning with the begettal of the Spirit and ending in the birth of the Spirit, constitute the creative acts whereby God brings to completion the creation of a new order of beings, and that on the Divine plane of existence. This New Creation consists of Jesus and all His Body members.
The means which God uses to produce this New Creation are His Spirit (1 Pet. 1:22; 1 Cor. 6:11), His Word (1 Pet. 1:22-24; 2:2; John 17:17) and His providences (Rom. 8:28, 35-39; Heb. 12:5-13). The Scriptures teach that each member of the Kingdom class would have his part in this creative process. It would be (1) to consecrate himself to God by becoming dead to self and the world and alive to God (Rom. 12:1; Col. 3:3), that he might receive the begettal; and (2) to continue after the begettal, in his various experiences, to remain dead to self and the world and alive to God (Rom. 12:2; 6:2-11; Col. 3:1, 2; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; 2:11; 4:1-3). By the grace of God this resulted, in the case of those who proved faithful as members of His Body, in the birth of the Spirit in the First Resurrection. The subject of bringing the New Creation into existence is Scripturally set forth under the figure of the generation of a human being; hence in harmony with this figure God
is set forth as the Father who would beget the New Creation as His children (Jas. 1:18). The Sarah Covenant is set forth in this figure as their mother, in whose womb (the promises) their begetting, quickening, growth, strengthening, balancing and perfecting as embryo New Creatures would take place (Rom. 9:7-9; Gal. 4:22-31); and finally, they are set forth in this figure as born from this Mother in the First Resurrection (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5; John 3:5-8).
Our translators have somewhat darkened the subject of the begettal and birth of the Spirit by sometimes translating the Greek word gennao, which means to beget, when a male is the active agent (Matt. 1:2-16), and to bear when a female is the active agent (Matt. 1:16; 2:1, 4), by the English word to bear, when it should be rendered by the English word to beget, when a male is the active agent, e.g., John 1:13; 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:23; 1 John 3:9. Sometimes they properly render this word gennao by the verb to bear when it refers to the resurrection (John 3:5-8). This same darkening of the subject through mistranslation is seen in the case of the Greek word prototokos. The two references to Jesus' resurrection (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5) being to the same event, manifestly this Greek word prototokos should have been rendered firstborn in Rev. 1:5, instead of first begotten, just as it is rendered firstborn in Col. 1:18. The American Revised Version, the Emphatic Diaglott and other authorities render it firstborn in both verses. The obscurity connected with these two Greek words will pass away, if we remember that the Divine nature was begun by the begettal of the Spirit, which occurred at the time God accepted the individual's consecration, and was completed, in the case of each one who has proved faithful as a member of the Body of Christ, by the birth of the Spirit in the First—the chief—Resurrection.
The birth of the Spirit made those who experienced it spirit beings. Jesus states this in John 3:6: "That
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which is born of the flesh is flesh [is a human being]; and that which is born of the Spirit is a spirit" [being] (Improved Version). St. Paul likewise assures us that human beings—flesh and blood—as such cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 15:50). Hence he teaches that the saints are changed from the human nature, which was inherited from Adam (Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:45-49—the point to be proved is covered by the first clause of each of these last five verses) to the Divine nature, which God and our Lord Jesus have, by receiving Divine, immortal bodies (1 Cor. 15:42-44, 45-49—the point to be proved is covered by the last clause of each of these last five verses—51-54; 2 Pet. 1:4; 2 Cor. 4:16—5:4; Phil. 3:20, 21; Col. 3:4; 1 John 3:2). Thus they are born of the Spirit in the First Resurrection, no longer with human bodies, but with spirit bodies, and that of the highest nature in existence—the Divine nature! Accordingly, when the Faithful reign in the earth they will be Divine beings, like our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. This great salvation to the Divine nature had not been made known until our Lord came and brought it to light (2 Tim. 1:9, 10; Heb. 2:3, 4; 1 Pet. 1:10-12; Luke 16:16). It was an entirely new and unheard of thing to Nicodemus, who failed to understand it (John 3:1-13). However, it is the glorious hope that during the Gospel Age God has offered "the called according to His purpose" (Rom 8:28; 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:9, 10; Col. 1:25-27; 2 Pet. 1:3, 4).
THE INVISIBILITY OF THE KINGDOM
The fact that the Kingdom class become spirit beings, and the additional fact that they become spirit beings of the highest of spirit natures (the Divine nature), prove that they will be invisible while reigning over the earth. We know that angels are spirits (Heb. 1:7), and that as such they are invisible; for our guardian angels are about us, but we cannot see
their bodies with our natural eyes (Heb. 1:14; Matt. 18:10; Ps. 34:7; 91:11, 12). The only way that they could manifest themselves to our physical eyes would be by their creating for themselves natural bodies and showing these to us, as they did to various ones during the time that God's Word was in process of revelation (Gen. 18:1-8; 19:1-3, 10, 12, 15, 16; Heb. 13:2; Josh. 5:13-15; Judg. 6:11-22; 13:3-21; Luke 1:11-20; 26-38; 2:9-15; Matt. 28:2-7; Acts 12:7-10, etc.). But in every case the bodies which were seen were not the spirit bodies of the angels, but those which they materialized. We may be sure that if the bodies of the lower orders of spirit beings, like those of the angels, are invisible to us, the bodies of the highest order of spirit beings (Divine beings) must be invisible. Hence no human being ever saw God's body (John 1:18; 5:37; 1 Tim. 1:17; Col. 1:15). Nor can any man see Christ's present body which is a Divine body (1 Tim. 6:16).
Jesus, by comparing them to the wind, told Nicodemus that those who would be born of the Spirit would be invisible, when He said that as the wind comes and goes invisibly to us, we knowing of its presence, not by our sight of it, but by other senses, and by its visible effects, so, He said, are all those born of the Spirit (John 3:8). So, too, He told the Pharisees that the Kingdom class would be invisible, when they would come to reign over the earth; for He said that the Kingdom would come "not with observation"—outward show, visibly, as the margin puts it. Nor would anyone be able to point out these Rulers to the sight of others, saying, "Lo, here!" or, "Lo, there!" the reason being that they would be invisible, "within you" (literally, in your midst; Luke 17:20, 21). Thus no human being will ever be able to see the Kingdom class, who, glorified as spirit beings, of the Divine nature, are thoroughly invisible, just as the angels of God are invisible.
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But someone may ask concerning this Kingdom, How can there be such things as invisible rulers? We answer: There is now an invisible kingdom ruling over this world—Satan and his angels (Matt. 12:24-28; Luke 4:5-7; John 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 6:11, 12). We know, not only from the Bible, but also from the works of the World-Empire that Satan and his angels are now the kingdom over this present evil world (Col. 1:13; Gal. 1:4). As subjects he has mankind in general, whom he controls politically through the political rulers, socially through the rulers in society, and financially through the trusts, corporations, mergers, etc. He despotically rules over them as a tyrant, as the executioner of God's sentence, not that God has appointed him to be the ruler, but he has taken this rulership by usurpation. He uses this rulership, which he has gotten by usurpation, invisibly. We can only see from the effects of his reign what he is doing; for we know that he ruthlessly destroys the political, the social, the financial rulers, the trusts, the corporations, the mergers and the like, when they no longer serve his purpose. But he does this, not by making himself seen visibly, but by acts that are seen among the children of men; and for that reason Satan's invisible empire, usurped over the children of men during the time of the curse and particularly in the second evil world—from the flood until Christ's Second Advent, in its invisibility illustrates what the Kingdom of God will be like when it rules over the earth. The Christ, Head and Body, will be present, but invisible in the Divine nature, as such having immortality and incorruptibility. They will not be seen by the children of men, either before the Millennium or during the Millennium or forever afterwards, even as Jesus says of Himself, in John 14:19: "Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more." So it is not an impossible or an improbable thing that God's Kingdom—Jesus and the Church—should be invisible while reigning over the earth.
As assistants of Jesus and the Little Flock, the Lamb's Wife, in the spiritual, or invisible phase of the Kingdom, will be the Great Multitude, described in Rev. 7:9-17 and 19:1-9. This class consists of those who were called to be members of Christ's Bride, but who more or less came short of the prize of the high calling. They are nevertheless rewarded for their measurable faithfulness by being invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9). They are not of the world of mankind to be given life as children of the Second Adam and the Second Eve in the thousand-year Day of Judgment, the Restitution time, the Day of Regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory (Matt. 19:28), for they will be present at the Marriage Supper, prior to the begetting and birth of the world of mankind in their regeneration unto life. They are of the Gospel-Age salvation, justified by faith, the imperfections of their flesh being covered by Christ's robe of righteousness, which through carelessness they allowed to become soiled or spotted by contamination with the world, etc., and which they wash as a class during the great tribulation (Rev. 7:14). They are not given a place in the throne, but before it (v. 15), as antitypical Levites (who have no inheritance in the land—Deut. 18:1, 2) and Noblemen, hence not of the Restitution class, typified by the twelve tribes of Israel exclusive of the Levites. The Great Multitude as antitypical Levites are to "serve God day and night in His temple" (v. 15). They are included in Abraham's seed among "the stars of heaven" for multitude (Gen. 15:5; 22:17), as a part of the spiritual phase of the Kingdom, which will be invisible to mankind. For more details on this class, see Chapter 2.
THE KINGDOM'S EARTHLY REPRESENTATIVES
While the Kingdom class proper—Jesus and the Church—will during their reign be invisible to mankind, they will be visibly represented throughout the earth by certain human beings—the Ancient Worthies
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and the Youthful Worthies—even as Satan and his angels have during their reign been visibly represented by certain human beings, such as oppressive rulers, false religious teachers and predatory aristocrats, who through Satanic deception have more or less claimed to exercise their authority by Divine Right. Satan manipulated such persons through their selfish and sinful desires and through their errors and ignorance to do what he wished accomplished, by making it profitable for them to do so, and hindered them from doing what he did not want done by making it disastrous for them to do it. Hence he controlled them through selfishness, ignorance, error and wrong. Accordingly, they have been fitting representatives of his empire. But the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, before being made the visible representatives of the reigning Kingdom of Heaven in this earth (Gen. 13:14, 15; Acts 7:5; Heb. 11:39, 40), will have demonstrated, through their faithfulness while on trial in this life, their loyalty to truth and righteousness. Hence they will be suitable and dependable representatives of the invisible Rulers in the next Age. They will be the princes—not kings—that will rule in judgment—truth and righteousness (Is. 32:1). The Ancient Worthies will be princes—not kings—throughout the earth (Ps. 45:16), and therein will have as their associates the Youthful Worthies (Joel 2:28). They will experience a better resurrection than the world (Heb. 11:35)—better because they will be awakened perfect at the beginning of Christ's Reign. These Ancient and Youthful Worthies will be the subordinate rulers under Christ; while the world will then not only not rule at all, but will be subject to these Worthies, and will become perfect gradually during the Millennium and will attain perfection completely only at its end. The Ancient and Youthful Worthies will stand before the world as the latter's visible rulers, and as such will be recognized and obeyed by the world. All these things make their resurrection better than the world's.
THE KINGDOM'S TWO PHASES
From the fact that Jesus and His Faithful will be the invisible Kings in the Millennium, supported by the Great Company on a spirit plane of being as a subordinate and invisible nobility, and from the fact that the Ancient and Youthful Worthies will be visible representatives of the invisible Kingdom, we may speak of the Kingdom of God as having two phases—an invisible, heavenly phase, and a visible, earthly phase, Jesus and the faithful Church, supported by the invisible Great Company, constituting its invisible, heavenly phase, and the Ancient Worthies, supported by the Youthful Worthies, constituting its visible, or earthly phase. These two phases of the Kingdom are frequently referred to in the Scriptures as separate and distinct, as the following passages will show.
Sometimes the two phases of the Kingdom are represented in Zion and Jerusalem respectively, as in Is. 2:3: "And many people shall go and say [the many people of the nations of the earth, who, as nations in the Millennial Age, recognize that Christ and the Church are ruling over the earth, will make a general proclamation among one another, saying], Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord [God's kingdom is Christ and the Church], to the house of the God of Jacob [Christ, Head and Body, as the representatives of Fleshly Israel, who are here represented by Jacob]; and he will teach us of his ways [instruct us in His doctrines, precepts, promises, exhortations, prophecies, histories and types—everything required for teaching at that time], and [they will encourage one another with the thought] we will walk in his paths [whatever directions He gives, we will walk in these]: for out of Zion shall go forth the law [Zion is Christ and the Church, the executive department of the invisible, but almighty reigning power of the kingdom], and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [this will be the Ancient and the Youthful Worthies, as the kingdom's visible phase]."
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Is. 62:1, 2 also mentions both phases: "For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace; and for 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." Jehovah is here the speaker. By Zion He means Christ and the Church, in a sense also including the Great Company as their associates in the invisible phase of the kingdom. For their sake God will not hold His peace, i.e., will not remain inactive, and for Jerusalem's sake (here the visible phase of the kingdom, the Ancient and the Youthful Worthies, is meant) He will not rest, i.e., not cease from doing that which He has determined to do, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, i.e., until the righteousness that Christ and the Church shall work among the children of men shall be so bright and clear, that none will go astray in respect to it, but will see it as a matter that is thoroughly reasonable, thoroughly comprehensible, thoroughly understandable; and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth (this lamp is the Word of God. The things that were written in that Word, particularly the writings of the prophets of the Old Testament, including Moses—these, with the writings of the star-members to assist in their interpretation, will at that time be like a lamp burning).
"And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness [the nations, among whom will be the apostate Jews, those who have forsaken Moses and the prophets, and have rejected Christ and the Church in the Gospel Age,—these shall see the righteousness of Christ and the Church, with their mental eyes], and all kings [shall see] thy glory [those who are rewarded with everlasting life, being found worthy of it here on earth, will see the glory of Christ and the Church; and that glory they will see also as it will be reflected in the visible phase, the Ancient and Youthful Worthies]: and thou
shalt be called by a new name [Christ and the Church will be given a new office, a new position, a new power, a new set of official prerogatives], which the mouth of the Lord [i.e., the Bible, which is God's mouth, through which He speaks to the children of men; and the writings of the star-members will assist them in the interpretation of that good Book—the Bible, the mouth of the Lord] shall name [describe]."
Joel 2:32 is another passage to the point, proving the two phases of the kingdom: "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD [Jehovah, as He will be working at that time through Christ and the Church, as the invisible phase of the kingdom, the Great Company co-operating with them in that phase, though under and subordinate to them] shall be delivered: for in mount Zion [the spiritual phase of the kingdom] and in Jerusalem [the earthly phase of the kingdom—the Ancient and Youthful Worthies] shall be deliverance [in both of these classes, the heavenly and the earthly phases of the kingdom, there will be deliverance for the children of men: salvation from the Adamic curse, salvation from the added curse that the Mosaic Law brought upon the Jews, salvation from the curse that the Jews called down upon themselves when they said, "His blood be upon us and our children," salvation from Satan, salvation from everything that has marked Satan's empire and shown his ruling and his authority and his power among men], as the LORD hath said [for God has prophesied this in the Old Testament, through Moses, through the prophets—the four major prophets and the 12 minor prophets—and through prophetic books like Joshua, Ruth, 1st and 2nd Kings, and 1st and 2nd Chronicles, as well as through other pertinent Scriptures], and [even] in the remnant whom the LORD shall call [the remnant is, primarily, Christ and the Church, and secondarily, their earthly representatives—the Ancient and Youthful Worthies. By these God will work deliverance to all that obey; for
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they will have to obey in order to gain this deliverance; and those who refuse to obey will not gain it]."
Thus we see that in all of these three passages the two phases of the Kingdom are indicated by Zion and Jerusalem respectively. We will find that other texts indicate these two phases in other ways.
In Ps. 107:32 we have one of these passages: "Let them exalt him [God] also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders." By the congregation of the people, the Little Flock is primarily meant, and secondly, their co-operating Great Company brethren. By the assembly of the elders, the Ancient and the Youthful Worthies are meant; these will be the earthly phase of the kingdom of God. These two phases of the kingdom of God: the heavenly—Christ and the Church, invisible and immortal, having immortality and incorruptibility as their share forever, the Great Company having incorruptibility, but not immortality, co-operating with them, and the earthly—the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, co-operating with the invisible phase of the kingdom: these will carry out God's plan for that time and will bring it about that praise and honor and glory and majesty and love and obedience shall be rendered unto the God of perfect wisdom, justice, love and power to all eternity. They will accomplish this in the faithful.
Is. 32:1 is another passage to the point: "Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment." The king here is the Christ, Jesus and the Church His Body. These, as the heavenly phase of the kingdom, will reign in righteousness. Everything that they will do will be in perfect harmony with righteousness, with the wisdom, power, justice and love of God, which they will gloriously represent in all of their acts and all of their deeds. The princes who shall rule in judgment, i.e., in harmony with the doctrinal teachings that the great king shall issue forth, are the Ancient and Youthful Worthies. They will exercise rulership as the visible representatives
of the invisible Christ and the Church, and their associates, the Great Company.
In Gen. 22:17, 18 we have another passage that gives us the two phases of the kingdom. Here we have God's Oath-bound Covenant presented to us: "By myself have I sworn … That in blessing I will bless thee [Abraham, as the father of the faithful in the Abrahamic Covenant, is thus made the representative of God, the giver of that Abrahamic Covenant, who is bound, not only by His promise, but by His oath], and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven [the stars of the heaven represent the invisible phase of the kingdom, the heavenly part of the kingdom, i.e., the Little Flock primarily, with Jesus as their Head, and secondarily, the Great Company, their associates], and as the sand which is upon the sea shore [this represents the earthly phase of the kingdom, for the sands of the sea shore are earthly]; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies [this seed—Jesus and the Church, will conquer all of their enemies: Satan, the world, and the flesh; they will conquer those who have set themselves up against them during the Gospel Age, as well as during the Jewish Age. They will possess the gate of their enemies, in the sense that they will conquer their enemies]; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." All of the families of the earth shall be blessed in due time by Christ and the Church; they will be blessed to the extent that they yield obedience to the kingdom. Some will yield faithful, loyal obedience; others will not so do, but at least all will get some blessing: the blessing of being awakened from Adamic death, the blessing of enlightenment, the blessing of opportunity of gaining everlasting life, the blessing of being put under conditions conducive to righteousness and then, with these blessed conditions surrounding them, the opportunity of demonstrating whether they will be loyal to God. Some will be loyal to the last degree, in spite of every temptation
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and effort to bring them to a fall, whether it be by Satan or those who rise up against them in the Little Season, at the end of the Millennial Age. Such faithful ones will go on to everlasting life, enjoying restitution blessings forever. Thus this passage describes, not only the two phases of the kingdom, but also the work of blessing all the families of the earth, which is done during the Millennium.
THE KINGDOM'S EARTHLY PHASE VISIBLE
Having already given some particular proofs showing that Jesus and the Church, with the Great Company as their assistants, the primary phase of the kingdom, will be heavenly and invisible, and also some general proofs indicating the two phases of the kingdom, we now turn to some particular proofs which indicate also that the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, the secondary phase of the kingdom, will not be heavenly and invisible, but earthly and hence visible.
We will begin with John 3:13: "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man." In this connection Jesus indicated to Nicodemus that no human being as such had ascended or could ascend into heaven, because that condition is only for spirit beings; human beings would have to be begotten and born of the Spirit before they could enter the heavenly, invisible phase of the kingdom (v. 5). The only ones so begotten, and therefore the only ones who could be born of the Spirit and enter into this phase of the kingdom as their eternal abiding place, would be the Christ—first the Head, and secondly His Body, His Bride, with their associates, the Great Company. This text indicates clearly that none of the Ancient Worthies had ascended into heaven; nor could they, for they had not been begotten of the Spirit, Jesus being the first one to receive the Spirit in this sense. Hence they, together with the Youthful Worthies, will be the earthly, visible phase of the kingdom.
We get the same thought from Acts 2:34: "For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith
himself, The LORD said unto my LORD, Sit thou on my right hand." Obviously David had not gone to heaven, for Peter reasoned that his tomb is with us unto this day, and that tomb still remains!—and that is a proof that David has not ascended into heaven, because he was not begotten of the Spirit and therefore he will come forth on earth, even as will the rest of the Ancient Worthies. As one of the Ancient Worthies, he will be faithful indeed. David has not ascended into heaven; he is not of the heavenly phase of the kingdom, but of its earthly, visible phase.
Heb. 2:3 also shows that the opportunity to be of the heavenly, invisible kingdom was closed until Jesus' First Advent, and therefore that none of the Ancient Worthies could be of it: "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him." The so-great salvation is the high calling. Those who neglect it are those who, after being called to it, fail to live according to it, fail to keep their consecration vows, to be dead to self and the world and alive to God, fail to exalt God in His perfect wisdom, justice, love and power among men. This great salvation was at the first begun to be spoken by Jesus at His First Advent. He was the first one that brought the knowledge of the high calling to the mind of anyone. This He did, primarily, to the twelve Apostles, and, secondarily, to those who followed Him—500 of whom continued to do so unto the end of His ministry, and who, during the resurrection period, were more or less convinced of His resurrection from the dead. This salvation has been confirmed, proven to be true, to God's people, the Little Flock, by them that heard Him, i.e., primarily, by the twelve Apostles; and throughout the whole Gospel Age this confirmation has been going on by the star-members and their special helpers and those who looked upon them as their teachers; these confirmed it by their word of mouth, by their testimony, by their
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life and by their teachings. They proved that this great salvation was a reality; and those who believed the message, obeyed it and proved faithful to the end, were rewarded with a place in the glorious invisible heavenly kingdom. Thus this text also proves that none of the Ancient Worthies could attain to this phase of the kingdom; it indicates rather that the Worthies will be of the earthly, visible phase of the kingdom.
Joel 2:28 is another pertinent passage: "And it shall come to pass afterward [after the things stated in the previous context, including the terrible devastation that the great Antichrist and the little Antichrist (Sectarian Protestantism) will have wrought; after the Gospel Age, to which the call to the heavenly, invisible kingdom is limited], that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh [literally, for all flesh. This is the promise of restitution that God will give for the children of men]; and your [the Christ's] sons [Fleshly Israel] and your daughters [the Gentiles, including those apostate Jews who fell away from the Mosaic Covenant, those apostate Jews who rejected the prophets of the Old Testament, those apostate Jews who rejected Christ and the Apostles, as they taught the message in the Harvest of the Jewish Age, those apostate Jews who, throughout the whole Gospel Age, have been suffering under the curse that their fathers called upon them, "His blood be upon us and our children"] shall prophesy [i.e., they will teach], your old men shall dream dreams [the Ancient Worthies will see the deeper things of the revelation of God], your young men [Youthful Worthies] shall see visions [the simpler things of God's Word]." Since both the Ancient and the Youthful Worthies thus will share in the outpouring of the Spirit for all flesh, after the Gospel Age, we see clearly that they will not then be of the invisible, heavenly kingdom, but of its earthly, visible phase.
We now take up some additional passages, which show even more directly that the Worthies, as the kingdom's secondary phase, will be earthly and visible.
Gen. 13:14, 15 reads: "And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever." The Lord here was pointing out to Abraham the land of Palestine, and He promised that He would give it to him as an inheritance. Abraham died without receiving that promise, but he will get it in due time, and that time will be the Millennial Age, for Abraham will be one of the Ancient Worthies, therefore sitting in the earthly phase of the kingdom, and he will at that time get that land that God promised him. He will have it northward, southward, eastward, and westward, i.e., the entire land, every part of it, will be given to him and the rest of the Ancient Worthies. These shall all have, with Abraham, a share in the possession of that land and they will thus inherit it, as God has promised. Associated with the Ancient Worthies at that time will be the Youthful Worthies, who then will be given a share in that land, because they, with the Ancient Worthies, will be the visible phase of the kingdom at that time.
Acts 7:5 is another passage to the point: "And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child." St. Stephen here is pointing out the fact that during Abraham's life this promise was not fulfilled; but he assures us that it will be fulfilled in due time, for God promised it to Abraham; and with him the rest of the Ancient Worthies will have that land, as the visible phase of the heavenly kingdom; and associated with them will be the Youthful Worthies, also as a part of the visible phase of the kingdom. This promise is sure; it is bound by an oath; and God is no liar, no perjurer.
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In due time He will raise Abraham from the dead and give him the promised inheritance of that land.
Ps. 45:16 is another passage which proves that the Worthies will be the earthly, visible phase of the heavenly kingdom: "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth." Our Lord Jesus is here being addressed by God, who says that instead of certain ones who were His ancestors remaining such, they would become His children. These are the Ancient Worthies: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and all of the prophets, and other pre-Gospel-Age faithful ones. These, instead of remaining the fathers of Jesus, will become the children of Jesus, for He will raise them from the dead; and they will also become the children of the Church, for, under Christ as their Head, the Church will assist in giving life to the Ancient Worthies. And they will make them princes in all the earth. They will set them up as the earthly phase of the kingdom, the whole earth in due time being subdued unto them. Associated with them as such princes will be the Youthful Worthies. They will rule in righteousness, with the Word of God, which they will teach to mankind.
In Matt. 11:11 we find another proof, this time indicating both phases of the kingdom: "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." John the Baptist, the last of the Ancient Worthies, was the one who was given the glorious office of being the herald of the Messiah, the introducer of the Messiah to Israel, the one who could say that he was a friend of the Bridegroom, who had won for the Bridegroom members of His Bride, of His Body. And though set forth here as one of the very greatest of the Ancient Worthies, he is nevertheless expressly called less than—inferior to—the least one in the heavenly kingdom Class, i.e., Jesus and the Church, and even less than their associates, the Great
Company, who will have incorruptibility, but not immortality. John the Baptist, together with the rest of the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, will be in the earthly, visible phase of the kingdom, and will get restitution during the thousand years; and only at the end, when the earthly phase of the kingdom—the Ancient and Youthful Worthies-will be given an opportunity of a change of nature, will they gain a heavenly inheritance, but they will not have immortality, though, like the Great Company, they will gain incorruptibility.
An additional proof, in which also the two phases of the kingdom are mentioned, is Jesus' famous statement in Luke 13:2-30: "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. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last." Jesus here was speaking to the Pharisees, who were constantly persecuting Him, talking against Him, and seeking to set Him aside; He tells them that they will be in great chagrin and disappointment when they see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets—the Old Testament prophets—and other Ancient Worthies in the Kingdom of God and themselves thrust out. Notice that Jesus here states that the Ancient Worthies will be seen—("ye shall see") will be visible, but avoids saying that the Little Flock, those coming from the East, West, North and South (Ps. 107:3; Acts 15:14), will be seen, will be visible, in the Kingdom. The reason for His changing the expression in this passage while speaking of the two phases of the Kingdom is because the Kingdom class proper, together with the Great Company, will be spirits, and as such will be invisible; while the Ancient and Youthful Worthies will be human beings, and as such will
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be visible. Thus there will be a well organized and fully equipped Kingdom to take control of human affairs as God's Kingdom among men. The Little Flock, though called last, will be first in kingdom power, office, honor and work, while the Ancient Worthies, who were the first to be called, will be the last, having a lesser power, office, work, honor and nature than the heavenly, invisible phase of the kingdom.
Finally, on the earthly, visible phase of the kingdom, we consider Heb. 11:39, 40: "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." St. Paul is here referring to the heroes of faith that he mentions earlier in this chapter, beginning with Abel and ending with John the Baptist. They all received a good report through faith, i.e., their faith was one in which they had mental appreciation and heart's reliance, their faith was the Truth, laid hold on by their mental appreciation and heart's reliance, and their faith was faithfulness to the Spirit, Word and providences of God. Though they thus obtained a good report, they did not receive the promise of immortality in the invisible, heavenly phase of the Kingdom of God. The reason is this: "God having provided some better thing for us [i.e., the Little Flock] that they apart from us should not be made perfect." God has provided the best of all for Christ, Head and Body, the better things, that the Ancient Worthies and Youthful Worthies apart from the ministry of Jesus and the Church should not be made perfect. Their perfection will come in the Millennium, as they prove faithful to the New Covenant promises, the New Covenant demands and laws. They will then be made perfect in the earthly, visible phase of the Kingdom.
THE PURPOSES OF THE KINGDOM
The purposes of this Kingdom, organized as above described, will be to destroy from among men every evil thing and influence, and to introduce among them
every good thing and influence, in order to restore the race to perfection. As our Lord Jesus was manifested to destroy the works of the devil as well as the devil himself (1 John 3:8; Heb. 2:14), this destruction of his works will be carried out during the Age that in God's Plan is set aside for that purpose; and the destruction of the devil will be carried out just after the end of that Age. Their destruction manifestly has not yet been realized; for evil is yet in the ascendancy, and is doubtless on the increase. But during Christ's Millennial reign He will destroy the works of the devil.
Rev. 20:1-3 shows this: "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season." This mighty angel that the Revelator saw was no less than our Lord Jesus Christ. He came in His Second Advent and had the key of the bottomless pit, the power to open it and the power to close it. The key is that which enables one to exercise the power of opening and closing. The bottomless pit is the condition of error. It is indeed bottomless, because it has no foundation. Our Lord Jesus Christ is going to spirit the devil and all the impenitent fallen angels so far away from the earth that they will be unable to see what is going on here; and, being in error, they will imagine all kinds of erroneous things, because they will be in the bottomless pit, which is indeed a good picture of error, which has no foundation, no bottom. They shall remain there, and a seal will be set upon them so that they cannot be loosed, so as to deceive the nations, until the thousand years shall be fulfilled—until the whole Millennial Age will be passed; and at its end, in its Little Season, Satan will be allowed to test all of those
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who, during the thousand years, will have had the opportunity of gaining everlasting life. Some of these he will easily deceive, and these will be among those who will die, as accursed sinners, as we read in Is. 65:20; those acting hypocritically, pretending to be in harmony with the rule of the New Covenant, pretending to obey it, will in heart be disobeying it, for they will not allow its laws of love, of justice, of power and of wisdom to be written in their hearts; hence they will be deceived by Satan at the end of the thousand years in the great sifting that will come at that time—they will stand stark naked as hypocrites, as liars, as deceivers, who use all of the Millennial opportunities selfishly and not for the good of others. These then will be destroyed in the second death with the devil and the impenitent fallen angels (Rev. 20:7-10).
Thus by then Jesus will have destroyed the devil and all his works. Accordingly, we look for the Millennial Age to witness the destruction of the sentence of death, as well as all the effects of that sentence: sin, error, superstition, sorrow, pain, sighing, crying, sickness, famine, pestilence, drought, extreme heat and cold, scarcity, war, revolution, anarchy, oppression, poverty, ignorance, dying and death.
We look for the Millennial Age to witness also the accomplishment of the second purpose of the Kingdom mentioned above, i.e., to introduce the opposites of the above features of the curse, the reversal of the sentence and its effects: righteousness, truth, piety, joy, pleasure, ease, smiles, laughter, abundance, health, Edenic climate, prosperity, national and international peace, order, liberty, riches, education, awakening from the dead, convalescence and restoration to perfect life. The Plan of God, the character, training and powers of the Kingdom classes, and the social order, the rewards and punishments of that Age, will combine to realize these desirable purposes. And we may be sure that God's promises and oaths and Christ's Ransom-Sacrifice and exaltation to bring about these blessed
results, will bear fruitage in the success of God's Plan (Gen. 22:16-18; Num. 14:21; Is. 45:22, 23; 53:11; John 12:32, 33; Rom. 5:18, 19; 1 Tim. 2:4-6). As the arrangements of Satan's Kingdom have been conducive to the operation of the curse, so the arrangements of God's Kingdom will be conducive to the operation of the blessing of restitution from the curse. Praise our God for such a hope and prospect!
THE SUBJECTS OF THE KINGDOM
The entire non-elect portion of the human family, whether living or dead at the time of the establishment of the Kingdom, will become its subjects (Rev. 15:3, 4; Ps. 98:1-4; 22:27-29; Is. 25:6-8; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; Rom. 14:9; Phil. 2:9-11). To this end the non-elect dead—those of the dead who were excluded from the opportunity of qualifying to be of the Kingdom class—will be brought back from the tomb in order to have an opportunity of obtaining the judgment-resurrection, a restanding to the condition of perfection from which Adam and all in his loins fell—assisted to rise by the judgment-process of Christ's Kingdom (Is. 26:9; John 5:29, Revised Version). According to the Scriptures, the Kingdom in its earthly phase will first be established in Palestine, among regathered and converted Israel, who will with joy hail their resurrected patriarchs and prophets, and who will be greatly blessed by the latter's rule (Zech. 12:7; Is. 1:25-27; 25:9). Then a little later the Gentile nations, broken, exhausted and undone by the woes of the Time of Trouble (Matt. 24:21, 22; Dan. 12:1), will learn of the blessings that Israel will be enjoying, and will desire these for themselves (Is. 2:3, 4; Zech. 8:20-22). In response to their humble petitions for help the Kingdom with its arrangements will be established from one nation unto another, until it will become a universal Empire (Dan. 2:44; 7:27). Fleshly Israel, as the secondary earthly seed of Abraham, under the lead of the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, as the primary
The Kingdom of God.
earthly seed of Abraham, will be privileged to co-operate with the Kingdom in converting the Gentile world (Gen. 22:17; 28:14; Is. 19:24; Ezek. 16:60, 61; Ps. 107:22).
Then, after the Kingdom will have advanced all of its then living subjects, as well as the earth itself, considerably on the way of restitution (Is. 35:1-9; 29:18-20), it will, probably in companies and at various intervals, bring back the non-elect dead from the tomb to this earth (Is. 35:10; Dan. 12:2, 3; Is. 29:24; 25:8). These will be welcomed and helped to reform, not only by the Kingdom in its two phases, but by those of mankind in general who will be learning righteousness; for these will also be given an opportunity to assist the awakened ones to come back to the image of God; and their faithfully availing themselves of this opportunity will reflexly favorably influence themselves (Matt. 25:35-40). Thus an ever increasing number of the dead will be brought back from the tomb, and, under the assistance of the Kingdom and its arrangements, will be started on the way to restitution, the later comers finding their predecessors, as well as the two phases of the Kingdom, on hand to help them in the upward climb to restitution.
Some one may ask, Will mankind, when awakened from the tomb, be given perfect bodies?
We would answer that the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, who have stood their trial of faith and obedience in this life, will receive perfect human bodies at the time of their awakening (Heb. 11:35); but those who come forth for the resurrection (restanding to perfection) that will be wrought through a judgment process (John 5:29, Revised Version) will not be awakened with perfect bodies. Their being brought forth from the tomb is for the purpose of giving them are opportunity to walk up the Highway of Holiness to perfection, physical, mental, moral and religious (Is. 35:8-10). To give them perfect bodies at once would interfere with their reformation, since it would
withdraw a strong incentive for reformation: the hope of physical healing for well-doing. Moreover, they would not recognize themselves in perfect bodies, and the large numbers who died in infancy would get no advantage from the experience with evil as a deterrent from wrong-doing, if these people were to be made perfect in their bodies as soon as they are awakened. Hence we look for them to return with imperfect bodies, which, as they gradually reform, will together with their minds and hearts, be gradually perfected.
RESULTS OF THE KINGDOM'S REIGN
One of the results of the Kingdom's reign will be the utter extirpation of all the effects of the curse as the unholy fruits of Satan's rule, authority and power. Among other passages, 1 Cor. 15:20-26 shows this. We quote it from the Improved Version: "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become a first fruit [Jesus] of them that slept. For since by man [Adam] came death, by [a] man also [Jesus] shall come the resurrection of the dead. For as all in Adam die [Jesus did not die in Adam, for He was not in Adam, and therefore our correction of the translation], even so all in Christ shall be made alive [e.g., the Little Flock is in Christ; they shall be made alive first and primarily]. But every man in his own order: Christ a firstfruit [the Church is here meant]; afterward they that are Christ's at [during] his presence [those who are shown to be our Lord's faithful followers during His presence, these shall also be made alive]. Then cometh the end [the end is [PT '56, p. 86] the Little Season, when He shall have ruled over all the earth and given every man the opportunity to gain eternal life, which His Ransom-sacrifice, a corresponding price, enables Him to give], when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father [for God will be the final judge over the earth and will exercise His judgment through Christ, the Head, primarily, and secondarily, the Church, His Body, as His Vicegerent]; when he shall have put down all rule and all
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authority and [all] power [every vestige of the governorship and of the pretended authority and the pretended might of Satan, all of this will be put down by the almighty hand of Christ, the Head, and the Church, the Body, using God's power as that almighty power in their hand]. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death [thus we see that not only persons are these enemies, but also things. The Adamic death in the sense of the dying process is this last great enemy; and, because of His faithfulness, Jesus became the One who will after the close of the Millennium finally destroy it]."
But not all will obtain eternal life. Those who will not even externally reform, but will continue to be rebellious to the Kingdom during the thousand years, will after 100 years of opportunity be cut off in the Second Death (Is. 65:20); while those who will reform externally, but without a heart reformation, will live throughout the thousand years and attain human perfection; but by the trial during the "little season" at the Millennium's close, their unholy heart's condition will become manifest, and they will perish in the Second Death—everlasting destruction (Rev. 20:7-9, 15; Mal. 4:3; Ps. 37:10, 35, 36, 38; Is. 1:28; Acts 3:23). Those who during the Millennium will practice truth and righteousness, from the love of these principles, will be lifted up to human perfection not only in their faculties, but also in their characters (Is. 66:10-14), and will thus be enabled to remain faithful amid the final trial during the Little Season after the Millennium; and these shall inherit the earth forever, as Paradise restored (Matt. 25:35-40; Is. 65:16-25). Such will be the grand results of the reign of Jesus and the Church in the earth (Rev. 21:3-5; 22:1-3). The sad tragedy of sin will forever have ceased to be enacted. The ages to come will witness the realization of the angels' song of Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will to men
(Luke 2:14); and from every part of the Universe the glorious Hallelujah chorus of Jehovah's numberless choirs, without one discordant note, shall forever and ever celebrate Jehovah and Christ, for their glorious Persons, holy Characters, wonderful Plan and great Works (Rev. 5:13)! Therefore let every lover of God and man, of truth and righteousness, pray, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done in earth, as in Heaven!" Amen and amen!
AS MOMENTS PASS, THE KINGDOM NEARS
The world is steeped in sin and sorrow,
It groans beneath its load of care;
Disease, disaster, death and mourning
Have stripped the earth and left it bare:
But stop your sighing, dry your tears—
As moments pass, the Kingdom nears!
Men for earth and saints for heaven—
God's decree will surely stand.
Shout for joy, give God the glory;
His deliverance is at hand!
Dispel your doubtings, cease your fears—
As moments pass, the Kingdom nears!