The World's Redemption


Chapter 12 - Objections Met and Difficulties Removed

The writer has learned from experience that it is not only necessary to set forth the truth in a clear and conclusive manner in these days when a false theology has bewildered the minds of the people; but it is also necessary to anticipate and remove what difficulties arise in the readers' minds concerning a few texts which, superficially viewed and sophistically presented by theologians, appear to be at variance with what has been set forth herein. He has had ample opportunity during thirty-two years of his life of observing the methods employed in endeavoring to sustain the popular theories, and has had considerable experience in defending the truth of the Bible against the different tactics of representative men of the various sects of Christendom, both in private conversation and public discussions. He feels that the first part of this book will be more useful to the inquirers after truth and to those who are equipping themselves to effectually defend it, if a chapter is devoted to the careful consideration of the few texts which are used, or rather misused, against the truth it contains and the many proofs given in their support.

The representative men of different sects must necessarily employ methods somewhat differing according as they differ in their theories. Hence a Campbellite, who believes in a Pentecostal kingdom must resort to different tactics from those employed by a Baptist, who believes the kingdom was established before Pentecost--some Baptists claiming it was set up when Christ triumphed over death and others at an earlier date, not being willing to be definite as to the date. In meeting these opponents of the Truth it is necessary that one "study to show himself a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth;" for an awkward use of the sword of the Spirit is quite likely to leave the interested listeners confused and deluded by the sophistry of perverters of the word of God. We are commanded to "Prove all things and hold fast that which is good," and to "Try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world." It is our duty to "earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints;" and this cannot be done unless we carefully prepare ourselves as good soldiers of Christ. Let us not be driven from our duty in this matter by the taunts of some that we are controversialists and always ready to discuss for the sake of discussion. This is one of the tactics used to enable the enemy to escape the test of truth. We must make up our minds to obey the foregoing injunctions, not for discussion's sake, but for truth's sake, and for the sake of deluded fellow men, and we must not shirk nor be cowardly, but press the battle, giving no quarters, and fully convinced that truth can never surrender to, retreat from, nor compromise with error.

THE PROMISE TO ABRAHAM NOT FULFILLED

NEH. 9: 7, 8

In chapter iv, page 36 we have shown that the promise to Abraham that he and his seed should have the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession was not fulfilled. In attempting to meet this and sustain the popular theory that it was fulfilled and that Abraham is in heaven, Neh. 9: 7, 8 is quoted with great emphasis on the words, "and hast performed thy words." Now how is this to be met? In the first place we must never give place for a moment to a theory or an argument that will make the Word of God appear to contradict itself. Let us ask our opponents a few questions and give the answers which they give--and let it be remembered we give substantially the answers representative men have given in this case. Let us ask, then, Do you believe that the covenant spoken of in verse 8 is the same covenant, relating to the same time and the same extent as that wherein God said to Abraham, "For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed forever" (Gen. 13: 15)? Ans. Yes. Then you make the Bible contradict itself; for if you apply Nehemiah's words to the covenant of Gen. 13: 15 you make the Bible say that God had given to Abraham and to his seed all the land promised forever: and yet the Bible says, "He gave him (Abraham) none inheritance in it (the land of Canaan), no, not so much as to set his foot on, yet he promised that he would," etc. (Acts 7: 5). Do you believe the words which say He gave him not so much as to set his foot on? Yes. Then how could inspiration speak of the same promise in two different places and say in one, God had fulfilled it and in the other say He had not? Acts 7: 5 not only declares that God did not give him so much as to set his foot on, but it also says, "Yet he promised that he would give it." Therefore that which was not given was identically the thing that was promised; and that which was promised was the very thing that was not given. Think of this! Does Nehemiah say that God fulfilled the promise to Abraham and his seed? You are bound to answer no. To fulfill the promise of Gen. 13 :15 would not the land promised have had to be given to Abraham and his seed? You are compelled to answer yes. Then since Nehemiah does not say that God fulfilled the covenant he speaks of to Abraham and his seed, and since Gen. 13: 15 speaks of a promise to be fulfilled to Abraham and his seed, it follows that Nehemiah's words do not apply to the fulfillment of the promise of Gen. 13 :15. Now all that is necessary to escape and expose the sophistry of the opponent is to read Neh. 9: 7, 8, as it is, without adding to or taking from, and then it will be seen that he does not contradict Acts 7: 5. It reads as follows: "Thou art the Lord the God, who didst choose Abraham, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham; and foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous."

Now how does the matter stand? Is it not clear that Nehemiah says that the fulfillment he is speaking of was one that pertained only to Abraham's seed and not to Abraham, while Gen. 13: 15 promised the land to both Abraham and his seed? Nehemiah is therefore referring to the typical and temporary possession of a part of the land involved in the everlasting covenant; and the apostle Paul distinctly says that this temporary possession under the Mosaic law "cannot disannul that it should make the promise of none effect." "For," he adds, "if it be of the law, then it is no more of promise, but God gave it to Abraham by promise" (Gal. 3: 18). The possession under the law, of which Nehemiah speaks, was an added, temporary and typical thing like the law itself-- "till the seed (Christ) should come to whom the promise was made;" but under the everlasting covenant to which the Mosaic was added, Abraham and the "seed to whom the promise was made" had not been given so much as to set foot upon, yet it was promised and the promise remained unfulfilled, and will so remain till the words of Micah 7: 20, uttered about ten hundred years after Abraham's time, are fulfilled: "Thou wilt perform (not thou hast performed) thy truth to Jacob and thy mercy to Abraham which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old." If the sophists say that the meaning was heaven as a spiritual Canaan, then the answer is still that "He gave him none inheritance in it (heaven), no not so much as to set his foot on." The truth will allow of no evasion or quibbling. It is protected on every side and when "rightly divided" will put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND

MATT. 3: 2

In attempting to prove that the kingdom of God is a "kingdom of grace in the heart," and that the church is the kingdom, the words "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3: 2; 4: 17) are often quoted. In Chapter III, page 24, we have shown that the kingdom of God, which, of course is the "kingdom of heaven," is a more glorious, substantial and extensive thing than can in any sense be termed a "kingdom of grace in the heart." "In the days of these kings," says Daniel, referring to the kings of the earth that should exist after the division of the Roman empire, "shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever"--Dan. 2: 44. This is the kingdom of God, or of heaven to be set up by the God of heaven upon the downfall of all the kingdoms of men, when, as represented by the stone which destroys these kingdoms it is to fill the whole earth (verse 35). Speaking of this same kingdom of God and these kingdoms of men, John, who in vision was enabled to look down to the time of the seventh trumpet, beheld that "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 11: 15).

This is neither a "kingdom of grace in the heart" nor the church, but a grand constitution of things far more powerful, glorious and extensive, and fraught with sweeter blessings than the "heart hath conceived," than the church has ever experienced or the world ever witnessed.

But there was a sense in which the kingdom of heaven was at hand in the days of John's ministry, for the words quoted so declare. In order to get at the meaning of the words we have only to ask, What was the mission of John? What or whom did he come to herald? In Isa. 40: 3 the prophet says, "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." And Matt. 3: 3 says of John's coming, "For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord and make his paths straight."

From this we learn that John came to herald and to prepare the way of the Lord, Christ; and we may therefore conclude that it was Christ who was "at hand," as declared in John's preaching. But if it was Christ, why does it say "the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Is there a sense in which Christ can be spoken of synonymously with kingdom? The word in the Greek for "kingdom" is Basileia, a word which the lexicons say stands for royalty or a royal personage, as well as for kingdom. Pickering's Greek lexicon has the following: "Basileia, a kingdom, realm, domination, royal authority, hereditary monarchy." The same word in the feminine form, he says, means a queen, princess, lady of royal blood. For Basileias he gives kingly, royal, regal. Now in view of the fact that it was the royal person, Christ, whom John came to prepare the way for, it is certain that he used the word Basileia for Him, meaning that the King, Prince of royal blood, in whom was the "hereditary monarchy," was at hand. So in accordance with this meaning of the word which John used (Basileia), the Emphatic Diaglott correctly renders the passage as follows: "Reform! because the ROYAL MAJESTY of the HEAVENS has approached." Christ, the king of the kingdom of God had approached, or was "at hand;" but the time for the establishing of his kingdom was not at hand. When the disciples "thought," some time after Christ had appeared, "that the kingdom of God would immediately appear, he added and spake a parable unto them" (Luke 19: 11)--the parable of the nobleman, in which he taught that his kingdom would not appear till his return from heaven. When this kingdom is established, the least in it will be greater than John the Baptist was in his humility and suffering. Not that the least in the church now is greater than John the Baptist; for John was surely a greater man than many in the church. The kingdom to which the Saviour refers, therefore, is the glorious kingdom to come, in which the lowest position will be higher and the least honor will exceed anything attributable to John in this life, honorable and great though his office was--that of being a messenger to prepare the way of the Royal Majesty of the Heavens.

Now that Christ is spoken of as synonymous with the kingdom of God is a matter not entirely dependent upon the meaning and use of the word Basileia. The same truth is revealed in another way. It is said in Acts 8: 5--"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them." What it was to preach Christ is seen from verse 12--"But when they believed Philip preaching the "things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women." To preach Christ, therefore, is to preach the kingdom of God; for he is the germ that is to grow and expand into a kingdom that shall fill the "uttermost parts of the earth;" he is the acorn which is to become the great and mighty oak whose branches shall spread protection and shelter over the now groaning but then blessed, happy creation.

THE KINGDOM NIGH

Luke 10: 11--"Be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."

The work of Christ and his apostles was not to set up the kingdom of God, but to preach it--the good news concerning it. In the very nature of things a great plan or purpose in which many are to participate must be made known, or preached or heralded, before the actual full establishment of that which is contemplated or proposed takes place. In the initiative step towards the carrying out of a great plan the name of whatever form the plan is to assume when complete is given to the initiative step. We may illustrate this by great business enterprises, it may be the building of a railroad or the formation of a great company, whose purpose is to establish and carry on in a systematic manner a certain line of business.

In building a great railroad, after the plan is conceived and arranged, the first thing necessary to the accomplishment of the purpose is to make it known--to preach it. In doing this the name the railroad is to have when complete is used in making known the enterprise. Suppose it is the Northern Pacific Railroad. It was planned and called by this name before anything was done towards preparing the literal bed, ties, rails, cars and locomotives, etc., and when agents are sent out to make the plan known, they call it the Northern Pacific Railroad, and they present the plan to those whom they desire to become participants in the enterprise. If they are asked, What do you represent? they answer "The Northern Pacific Railroad. We have come to make it known to you--or to "bring it nigh"--for your acceptance and embarkation in it, so that when our plan, to use a modern term, materializes, you may partake of the profits.

At the present time Zionism is preaching the establishment of an "Independent Jewish State" in Palestine. The advocates are presenting the plan, or bringing it "nigh" to all who will listen to their elucidation of the contemplated "Jewish State;" but there is no such "Jewish State" actually established yet, it is only brought "nigh" to the people in the sense of being preached.

Now, if we apply these illustrations to the verses quoted, we shall readily see that the kingdom of God has been planned and named by the God of heaven Himself--in this sense "prepared from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25: 34). When this great and good and sure plan is spoken of it is called by its name-- the Kingdom of God--though it has not actually been established, but is being preached, made known or heralded to those who are invited to join in this divine enterprise with a view of receiving a share in the blessings which shall come from its operations when it becomes an actual fact. In presenting this glorious plan it was brought "nigh" to the Jews first and afterwards to the Gentiles in the form of the Gospel, or good news, "concerning the kingdom of God." Hence we read of Jesus that "he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God; and the twelve were with him" (Luke 8: 1). "And he sent them (the twelve) to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick" (chap. 9: 2).

Those who would "study to be workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth," should always be on guard not to apply one scripture in a way to contradict other scriptures. To say of the verses we are considering that they mean that the kingdom of God had come nigh in the sense of being set up is to array them against the teachings of Jesus when he corrected the mistake of his disciples in supposing that "the kingdom of God would immediately appear" (Luke 19: 11). If the kingdom of God had "come nigh" in the sense of being set up or established--in the form of a church, or in a spiritual sense in the heart--then the disciples were right in believing in its immediate appearance, and then the question is, Why did Jesus declare them to be mistaken in this immediate appearing aspect of the question? He taught them that the kingdom of God which they thought would immediately appear would appear, but not immediately; not until he would go to heaven and return, "having received the kingdom" (Luke 19: 15). It follows therefore that the only sense in which the kingdom of God had "come nigh" was in that it had been presented to them for acceptance, in which acceptance they would receive Christ, who was the kingdom in its germ form, and would receive the gospel which had Christ for its alpha and omega, and which was the kingdom of God in gospel form, destined to ultimately pass from being a matter of gospel, or good news, into a reality that would bring to an afflicted world the blessings of a reign of "peace on earth, good will toward men and glory to God in the highest."

THE KINGDOM OF GOD SUFFERETH VIOLENCE

Matt. 11: 11, 12--"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. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."

It is here said that John was a great man, yet in the kingdom of heaven the least is greater. It can not be said that the least in the church is as great as John. Neither can it be, that the least one who has the so-called "kingdom of grace in the heart" is greater than he. The "kingdom of heaven," here, therefore, is not the church, nor the "kingdom in the heart." What then is the meaning of the words? When the kingdom of heaven in answer to the prayer, "Thy kingdom come," is established and the redeemed will inherit it, having been invited to that honor in the words, "Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world," the position of the very least there will be a high and glorious one. It is said, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Rev. 3: 21). This will be "When the Son of man shall come in his glory and all his holy angels with him," for it is added "then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory" (Matt. 25: 31). "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matt. 13: 43). For the least in this exalted state the honor and glory will be great. Notwithstanding John's greatness in this life, compared with that of the least in the kingdom of God it is small. The object of the words is to show the greatness and glory of those who shall be permitted to enter that glorious kingdom when its king shall say "Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you."

While we have partly dealt with this text before, since it is here connected with what is said in verse 12, we deemed it best to give a more elaborate treatment.

The next question is, In what sense did the kingdom of heaven suffer violence? It cannot be that in the establishment of the kingdom of heaven there will be power enough to "treat it with violence," nor that it can be taken by force; for at that time the violence will be on the part of the kingdom of heaven against the wicked kingdoms of men. The prophet Daniel says, "In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed, neither shall it be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever" (Dan. 2: 44). So we may safely conclude that when the kingdom of God "suffered violence and the violent took it by force" was not at the time of the establishment of the kingdom.

Now, if when agents are sent out to preach Zionism, or the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine, some one should ask, How is the Jewish State being received by the people? and if they should answer, "It is receiving violence and the violent are taking it by force," we should not conclude that the Jewish State had been actually established and had been taken by force; but the only conclusion we could come to would be that the preaching of the plan of establishing a Jewish State had caused the people to become violent and that they had mobbed the agents or preachers. Now, this was the fact in the preaching of the kingdom of God. John, himself, because he preached the kingdom of heaven, was beheaded; the Saviour, who "went through every city and village preaching the glad tidings of the kingdom of God," was "smitten" and finally crucified, and his disciples were "cast out of the synagogues," imprisoned, scourged and martyred. In its preached form, then, the words of our text find fulfillment; but when the time comes to establish the kingdom, there will be no power on earth able to use violence against it, for it--the kingdom of the "God of heaven," or the kingdom of heaven--will come with such force and violence as to "break them (all human powers) with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel" (Psa. 2: 9).

EVERY MAN PRESSETH INTO IT

Luke 16: 16--"The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached and every man presseth into it."

We are asked, How could they press into the kingdom if it was not there? This question has been put by Campbellite preachers to the writer in public debates; but they forgot for the moment that their theory is that the kingdom was not set up till the day of Pentecost. To expose the sophistry of the question with them, all we had to do was ask, Since you say the kingdom was set up on the day of Pentecost, how do you account for every man pressing into it from the days of John the Baptist? According to your own theory the kingdom was not there in its established form, and the force of your attempted blow at your opponent falls upon your own head. How could they press into the kingdom when it was not there?

Most of the "orthodox" representatives, when pressed to state the time when such a remarkable event as the establishment of God's kingdom took place--an event which must have been a marked epoch in history if it took place in the past--will answer that it was when Christ had triumphed over death and hades. So with all such the question is still pertinent, How could every man press into the kingdom from the days of John? None of them are willing to say that the kingdom was set up in the days of John's ministry, and therefore, since it was from that time every man was pressing into it, the difficulty, if there be a difficulty, which they raise against a future establishment of the kingdom is as great against one set up in the form of a church or otherwise after John's ministry and before or at Pentecost. There is, therefore, nothing in the passage to sustain the popular view of a heart-kingdom or a church-kingdom.

Now, the illustrations we have given relative to the kingdom "coming nigh" and "suffering violence" will help to explain this text. It does not say that "the law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is established and every man presseth into it; but it says, "Since that time the kingdom of God is preached." For men to "press into" Zionism when it is preached is for them to enter the society promoting the enterprise and become parts of the institution; but not till Zionism is established at Zion can they enter it in its established form and receive the real advantages, faith in which induced them to enter it in its preached form. So when men believed the gospel of the kingdom and were baptized they pressed into that institution as constituent parts in the hope that when it would become an established fact, fraught with the promised blessings, they may realize how "good it is to be there."

Then, again, the matter of pressing into the kingdom of God is one of probation. The "pressing" begins when we "put our hand to the plow," when we start on probation, which is when we believe the gospel and are baptized into Christ, and we must continue "reaching forth unto those things which are before" and to "press toward the mark of the prize, the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3: 13, 14). Having put our hands to the plow we must not look back, else we shall not be fit for the kingdom of God when the time comes for there to be ministered an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (II. Pet. 1: 11). We must not delude ourselves with the idea that we are in the kingdom before the Master has invited us to inherit it, which will be when "the Son of man shall come in his glory." Those who claim to have been in the kingdom as long as they have been in a church would be surprised to hear in that late day--the day of judgment--an invitation to enter the kingdom. They would be apt to say, "We have been there for a long time." And those who think the kingdom is in their hearts might be surprised to find that the kingdom of God is a thing to be entered into, not a thing to enter into men's hearts. The only sense in which it can be spoken of as in our hearts is that we believe and love the gospel of the kingdom of God because we know that its coming will flood the earth with heavenly blessings and chase away the darkness and gloom of this long and dreary night of sin and sorrow.

THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU

Luke 17: 20, 21--"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."

This is the text generally quoted to prove that the kingdom of God is a "kingdom of grace in the heart." Now let it be understood that in refusing this theory we are not denying nor speaking disparagingly of Christ dwelling in the true Christian by faith, governing his heart in centering his affections upon heavenly things and shaping his conduct according to the precepts of Christ. This is the clear teaching of the Scriptures and if in this sense the spirit of Christ, or his disposition, is not in us we are none of his (Rom. 8: 9). All this, however, is not the kingdom of God in us as an actual kingdom. What is in our minds and hearts is an affectionate belief in the "things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8: 12) which will be the means at last of insuring us the welcome of the words, "Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." This glorious kingdom, instead of being in us, is what we are to enter into when we have "passed through the much tribulation," through which "we must enter the kingdom" (Acts 14: 22).

Still, the inquirer will ask, What about the text in question, which says, "The kingdom of God is within you?" For the word "within" we have, in the margin of our Bibles, "among," and here again we must take heed to the context and the meaning of the words used. We may ask, What called forth the words from the Saviour? The Jews were looking for the coming of their Messiah; but did not see a fulfillment of their expectations in the "despised Nazarene." To them the coming of the Messiah was his coming in glory to establish his kingdom, overlooking the prophecies of his first appearing as a "lamb to be led to the slaughter." Looking anxiously for their Messiah to come to deliver them from the galling Roman yoke they were then groaning under, they were crying out, "Lo here! and lo there!" is our expected Messiah. Their belief of the kingdom of God when restored to them and fully established was that it would be in their own land, with David's throne restored. Of this kingdom, therefore, they would not be saying, "Lo here! or lo there! is the kingdom." The words could apply only to the personal coming of their Messiah, who might appear here or there in person, afterwards, as they hoped, to restore the kingdom to Israel. It is clear, therefore, that it was the personal appearing of Christ that was in question, and he told them that he whom they were looking for, and of whom they were saying "Lo here! or lo there!" was among them. Thus the facts of the case define the meaning of the word here translated kingdom (Baseleia) a word which we have before shown to sometimes mean royal personage, etc. See under heading of "The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand."

The Emphatic Diaglott renders the passage as follows: "Nor shall they say, Behold here! or behold there! for, behold, GOD'S ROYAL MAJESTY is among you," and in a footnote the author says:

"In this verse it has been found necessary to depart from the usual signification of hee basileia tou theou, the KINGDOM of GOD, and render as in the text. That this rendering is admissible and correct, see note on Matt. 3: 2. Basileia here refers to the person to whom the title and honor of king belonged, rather than to his territory or kingdom. Prof. Whiting, an able Hebrew, and Greek scholar, says, this clause in the 21st verse ought to be rendered "The King is among you." Dr. A. Clarke, in a note on the 21st verse, evidently understood it as relating to the Christ. He says, "Perhaps these Pharisees thought that the Messiah was kept secret, in some private place, known only to some of their rulers; and that by and by he should be proclaimed in a similar way to that in which Joash was by Jehoiada the priest. See the account, II. Chron. 23: 11."

Of his first coming Jesus could truthfully say, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation," or outward display. Or, "God's Royal Majesty cometh not with outward show;" for "a bruised reed shall he not break, and a smoking flax shall he not quench till he send forth judgment unto victory" (Matt. 12: 20). When he comes the second time to "send forth judgment unto victory" he will come with "observation" or visible display of glory and power; for it is said, "Every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him" (Rev. 1: 7). He will then come to establish the very kingdom which Israel hoped for when the prophetic words of Zacharias will be fulfilled, and the hope of Israel realized: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people * * * as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he sware to our father Abraham" (Luke 1: 68-73).

MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD

John 18: 36--"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence."

This passage is quoted to prove that the kingdom of God is not on this earth, many when they quote it forgetting their theory that the church is the kingdom and that they have called the civilized world Christendom-dominion of Christ. If the church is the kingdom, since the church is on earth the kingdom must be on earth. If the kingdom of God is a kingdom of grace in the hearts of so-called Christians, then, since these are on earth, the kingdom in their hearts must be on earth.

But, it will be said, in answer to this, The meaning is that Christ's kingdom is not of this world--the present worldly institutions. Then, we answer, do not call this world Christendom: for if this world is Christendom, and if Christendom is the dominion of Christ, then this world is Christ's kingdom, and his words in the text are denied.

Finding a difficulty here to sustain a false theory, there is an attempt to prove that the meaning of the passage is that the kingdom is not on earth, but in heaven. This, of course, contradicts the hundreds of texts which show that Christ is to have "the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession" (Psa. 2: 8), and that the kingdom is to be "under the whole heaven" (Dan. 7: 27). When the champions of the popular theories take this turn to protect their claims they forget that they are praying, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."

The passage does not say the kingdom is not to be on earth; but that it is not of this world. World, from the Greek word kosmos, here does not mean earth, but order or constitution of things. At that time the world represented by Pilate (to whom the words of the passage were spoken) was the Roman government, consisting of civil and religious laws and institutions of men--false, corrupt and sinful in the sight of God. Christ's disciples were not of that world, but had been called out of it, and were no longer "walking according to that world (kosmos) according to the prince and power of its aerial (or ruling customs) the spirit (disposition) that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2: 2). Christ's kingdom is not a worldly kingdom, but a heavenly kingdom. Its great plan was conceived in heaven, and the revelation concerning it came from heaven. It is a heavenly or heaven-like kingdom to come, that God's will might be done on earth as it is in heaven. Had Christ's kingdom been of that world represented by Pilate it would have been one kingdom of that world contending against another, and in that case his servants would have fought that their king might not be delivered to the Jews. Hence he adds, "But now is my kingdom not from hence." As he had shown by the parable of the nobleman, he must go to heaven and receive the title and power at the hands of Him who said, "Sit thou at my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstool." Then his kingdom will come as the stone, to smite the kingdoms of this world, break them in pieces, grind them to powder and blow them away as the chaff of the summer's threshing floor. Then the stone kingdom will become a great mountain and fill the whole earth.

To accomplish this great work Christ will come as a man of war and then his servants will fight for divine rights; for they are to "execute vengeance upon the nations and punishment upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all the saints" (Psa. 149: 7-9). "The Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord and his name one" (Zec. 14: 9).

In heaven God rules the universe; but to His Son he has promised the earth and a kingdom upon the earth. When the set time arrives, "God shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you, whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3: 20, 21).

KINGDOM OF GOD NOT MEAT AND DRINK

Rom. 14: 17--"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

This text is often quoted against the literality of the kingdom, and in an effort to prove that the kingdom of God consists of the spiritual effect of conversion in the righteousness, peace and joy some think they experience when they "get religion." In this peace and joy of mind we must discriminate between the fanaticism of ignorance and the calm tranquility begotten by an intelligent belief of and faithful obedience to the gospel. Many shout with joy begotten by delusion, and generally the greater the ignorance and the stronger the impulse of the flesh, the louder the talk and glib about feeling this and feeling that. In this there is a "zeal of God, but not according to knowledge," while, where there is zeal arising from knowledge of the Truth it manifests a corresponding temperance and soberness. The shoutings and ravings of fanaticism, while they may spring from temporary good intentions, are not enduring, and are easily discerned by those who "try the spirits whether they are of God" (I. John 4: 1), and who subject what men say to the test of the "law and the testimony," knowing that if they "speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8: 20).

In the confidence which an intelligent belief of God's plan of salvation only can beget there is an experience of peace and joy; but it is not from present conditions apart from "the hope set before us." "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted" (Matt. 5: 4). "Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh" (Luke 6: 21). It is, therefore, not from present experiences that Christ's followers have peace and joy. It is from the consciousness that the hope which they have come to possess will be realized in the future. Shut out from view this glorious future and we should "be of all men the most miserable" (I. Cor. 15: 19). The mortal life of the Saviour was one of "sorrow and acquaintance with grief," and it was "for the joy that was set before him that he endured the cross and despised the shame" (Heb. 12: 2). This is our time of "much tribulation" through which we must "enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14: 22) and what peace and joy of mind we have arise from contemplation of the prospects ahead.

Now, the true followers of Christ are commanded to "seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness" (Matt. 6: 33); to pray, "Thy kingdom come" (Matt. 6: 10): They are "heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him" (Jas. 2: 5); and if they continue faithful to the end "an entrance shall be ministered unto them abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (II. Pet. 1: 11). The great question is therefore one of "putting the hand to the plow" and not looking back, in order to a fitness for the promised kingdom. It is, therefore, not a question of meat and drink about which there were discussions in Rome, and which called forth the words in question. The affairs of the kingdom of God did not consist of these; but of "righteousness and peace and joy, in the Holy Spirit," in preparing now and realizing in the future the blessing of that which shall fill the earth with the glory of God, bring "on earth peace, good will toward men and glory to God in the highest."

HATH TRANSLATED US INTO THE KINGDOM

Col. 1: 13--"Who hath delivered us from the powers of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son."

Here is a verse which is supposed by some to prove beyond a doubt that the church is the kingdom, and the two words, "hath" and "into" are sometimes vehemently emphasized when this verse is quoted by the advocates of a church-kingdom, and the "kingdom of grace in the heart" is forgotten; for instead of it proving that the kingdom is "within"--in the heart--it shows that it is something to be entered into, and in this it is in perfect harmony with the general teaching of the Scriptures; the only texts which could in any way favor the grace-in-the-heart-kingdom being Luke 17:21, which we have explained under the heading "The kingdom of God is within you."

There being a willingness to agree, therefore, that the verse in question teaches that the kingdom of God and of His dear Son is one into which the "saints in light" are to enter, the only question to be dealt with is, When does this entrance take place?

The answer generally given is that it takes place when one enters the church, and it is to sustain this theory that the word "hath" is emphasized. Now it is always well to be careful not to build too much upon the tenses in the Scriptures. To the Author of this wonderful book all is present, for He seeth the end from the beginning, and he speaks of things that are not as though they were, because the things that are not and are parts of His purposes are not dependent upon emergencies; they are as sure of fulfillment as if they had actually come to pass. It would have been a mistake seven hundred years before Christ was born to have emphasized the word "is" in the passage, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" (Isa. 9: 6)--that is, for the purpose of proving it to have become a fact then; so with the prophetic words of Mary: "He hath scattered the proud," "hath put down the mighty from their seats and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel," etc. (Luke 1:51-54). We give this word of caution here because many are very apt to put too much stress upon the tense of a verb, when a careful observance of the context and the subject in hand would show that the future was meant when the present tense was used.

Coming, however, to the real meaning of the text in question, a little more than a superficial view will show that it in no way sustains the theory of a church kingdom, and surely we ought to expect the religious leaders of the people to go deeper than the surface of a certain translation of a text that seems to contradict the general tenor of the Scriptures. Christ is to "Judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom" (II. Tim. 4: 1), and it is "when the Son of man shall come" he shall say, "Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you," etc. (Matt. 25: 31). Now the fact that viewing the words, "hath translated us into the kingdom," as a present reality seems to contradict these and many other passages ought to evoke a close and careful investigation of the verse, even to the extent of a comparison of the different translations. When the question of translation is mentioned some are apt to ape indignation, and they cry out, "There you are, questioning the translation again!" And why not? Why was there a revision a few years ago? Why have our best scholars deemed it necessary to give us translations differing from our Authorized Version? Why do "orthodox" commentaries so frequently correct the translation of the Authorized Version? "But how can common people be expected to look critically into the question of the translation of texts?" Well, there are not many texts needing such careful, critical investigation, and if one is as much in earnest about the meaning of a clause in his title to eternal life in the kingdom of God as he would be about that of a title to a worldly estate he would not consider it too much trouble to go critically and deeply into the investigation of the apparently difficult texts of the Bible. "But what do common people know about Greek and Hebrew?" we are asked. They need not understand Greek and Hebrew to critically examine these matters. They have the meanings of words given by Hebrew and Greek lexicons in English dress. So they can, if they are in earnest, examine the meanings of a given Hebrew and Greek work, as they can an English by the use of an English dictionary. Then, again, they can compare one translation with another, and when they find that the words are by some scholars translated in such form as to be in harmony with the general tenor of Scripture, they can be sure that they have found the solution of the difficulty.

Of late years, Dr. Young, author of Young's Concordance, has come to be regarded as a very able Greek and Hebrew scholar. In his "Commentary of the Holy Bible, as literally and idiomatically translated out the original languages," he has the following on the passage in question:

"12. [GIVING THANKS.] lit. 'Ye leaping much for joy in the Father, who made us sufficient with a view to the portion of the lot of the hallowed ones in light.'

"13. [HATH.] lit. 'Who freed us out of the authority of darkness, and set with (them) with a view to the kingdom of the Son of his love.'"

Here the verse is shown to be in perfect harmony with the general teaching of Scripture that entrance into the kingdom is future. We are now "freed out of the authority of darkness with a view to the kingdom." It is to prepare us to be fit for the kingdom that we are brought into the light of the good news of the coming kingdom.

In the Greek the preposition rendered in verse 13 into is the same as in verse 16, next to last word, is rendered for. It is eis in both places. Now, if eis can be rendered for in verse 16 why not in verse 13? It would read quite sensibly, and indeed, put verse 13 in perfect accord with other passages.

The Emphatic Diaglott gives the best rendering of the passage we have ever seen. It agrees with Dr. Young's in showing that the kingdom is future and shows that "translation" means the change which brings an "alien from the commonwealth of Israel," into Christ, wherein he is an "heir of the kingdom" which God hath promised to them that love him (James 2: 5). Here it is:

12. Giving thanks at the same time to THAT FATHER WHO CALLED and QUALIFIED us for the PORTION of the saints' INHERITANCE in the LIGHT.

13. Who delivered us from the DOMINION OF DARKNESS, and changed us for the KINGDOM of the SON of His LOVE.

14. By whom we have REDEMPTION, the FORGIVENESS of SINS.

Those the apostle wrote to, then, had been qualified for the portion of the saints' inheritance in the light. They had been changed for, or "with a view to," or in order to, the kingdom of God's dear Son. Having thus put their hands to the plow, if they will not look back they will be fit for an "entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (II. Pet. 1:11), when he shall come to "Judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom" (II. Tim. 4: 1).

Among those the writer has met in public debate, the ministers of the Campbellite church have made the most of this passage, and yet there is a reason why they should be more careful than others in the use they make of the Greek preposition eis. In the many discussions between Baptists and Campbellites on "baptism for the remission of sins," the latter, following their leader, are very emphatic in saying "for, or in order to, the remission of sins" (Acts 2: 38). Here we have the same preposition, eis, and it is strange that our Campbellite friends (Christians as they prefer it, we mean no dishonor, only we do not think they are Christians in the sense they use the term), forget this in the verse under consideration. Let them take Mr. Campbell's translation of eis in Acts 2: 38, and apply it to Col. 1: 13, and read "translated us into (eis, in order to), the kingdom," and then all is clear.

COMPANION IN THE KINGDOM

Rev. 1: 9-"I, John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the Isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."

By this verse there is an attempt to sustain the theory of a church-kingdom. It is claimed that John meant that he was, when he wrote these words, in the kingdom as well as in tribulation, etc. This is a very short-sighted view of the text, and its misuse in bolstering up a theory goes to show how hard-pressed that theory must be for support. If to be in the kingdom is a fact when one is in "tribulation," it cannot be a great boon to be in the kingdom. The general teaching of Scripture is that to be in the kingdom is to have passed beyond the reach of tribulation. In the church tribulation is to be expected, but not in the kingdom. "We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14: 22). It does not require much tribulation to enter the churches whose members are the kingdom. It does require tribulation to enter into the kingdom of God--therefore these churches and the kingdom of God are not the same thing.

Since it is through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom, we might safely conclude that when we are in the kingdom the tribulation is a thing of the past. If one passes through Chicago to go to New York he would not be in the two cities at the same time.

In the form of words of the text in question it is obvious that John combined the language of fact and of hope, just as one might exclaim to a friend, "I am your friend in adversity and in prosperity," or to a comrade, "I am your comrade at home or on the battle field." It would be a very foolish thing to infer from these expressions that the friend must be in prosperity and adversity at the same time, or that the comrades would be at home the same time they would be on the battlefield. In the time of John he and his companions were passing through much tribulation, and it was by this that they hoped to enter the kingdom under the seventh trumpet; for it was not till then that John saw, by the Spirit, the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ (Rev. 11: 15). The tribulation through which they were passing was the means of discipline; entering the kingdom when Christ shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom is the goal. This is the joy that is set before us to enable us to endure the conflict to the end with a hope before us shining along the rough and rugged pathway brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. Our companionship gives a little sweetness mixed with the bitterness of this evil day; but now even this companionship can last but a short time when death defiantly severs the closest ties that bind us. At the end of the journey, however, death will have no power. It will then be a sweet companionship in the kingdom of God with all the ancient worthies, the apostles of the Lamb, the Lamb, himself.

"Friends then shall part from friends no more
Endless as time their joy shall be:
For pain is swallowed up in joy,
And death in victory."