THE KINGDOM OF GOD:
Will it be seen by mortals?
"And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, [or margin] outward show; neither shall they say, Lo here, or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within [or, margin] among you, (Luke 17: 20).
Every where in the Bible, the Church, or people of God, represent the kingdom of God: "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation," (Exo. 19: 6). And this promise to the typical Israel and kingdom; is to be fulfilled to the true children of the kingdom;— "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth," (Rev. 5: 10).
A complete kingdom is an organized power. The gospel church is not complete, and yet Christ makes it represent the kingdom, in all his parables. But it only represents it; and not until it shall be glorified, will it really be a kingdom in the fell sense.
Land may be an element of an earthly kingdom: but nothing that is of the earth, earthy; will ever be an element of the "heavenly kingdom." Its locality will be a spiritual or heavenly City. And, although the saints who compose the kingdom, will be among them, still the world will not be able to point to any locality, or say Lo here, or lo there is the kingdom of God.
The kingdom of heaven [or church], is now likened to a net in which are fish, both good and bad. Also to tares and wheat; wise and foolish virgins; &c. And in the harvest, he will gather out of his kingdom all things that offend; and them which do iniquity; and cast them into a furnace of fire. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun. That is the church will then be glorified; and the kingdom organized, or set up. (Compare Matt. 13: 28-43; and Dan. 2: 44. And as the nations are now subject to the spiritual powers and rulers of the darkness of this world; so in the world (age) to come, all peoples and nations under the whole heavens, shall serve this kingdom of priests. But except a man be born again; that is becomes a spiritual being, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
The Bible teaches that the fallen angels, like the angels of light, are spiritual beings, and they are invisible, except under the God-given restriction of darkness; under which circumstances, now, since
the "day of the Lord" began, they seem to have been permitted to materialize themselves. The Bible also teaches that the risen saint is to be a spiritual being. Just what a spiritual body is, doth not yet appear; only that they are capable of wonderful changes.
Because the saints are to reign over the nations, many seem unable to distinguish between the kingdoms of earth, and the kingdom of God, which is to break in pieces and consume them. The kingdom of God is a heavenly kingdom (2 Tim, 4: 18); not because of its locality; but because of its nature. Heavenly, is spiritual. "As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [that is, be raised spiritual bodies]. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 15: 47-50). Hence, the term "heavenly kingdom," is descriptive of its character, and not its locality.
The kingdom of Satan is called a "spiritual power [kingdom] in heavenly places" (Ephe. 6: 12, mrgin).
How some men can persistently overlook all these statements in relation to the spiritual nature of the kingdom of God, and maintain that it is nothing more nor less than an earthly kingdom, puzzles me. If they are correct, why must one "be born again, born of the Spirit," in order to see it? If it is a literal fleshly kingdom, "set up in the days of these kings," and is to "break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms" (Dan. 2: 44), why cannot the heathen kingdoms see it while it is ruling them with a rod of iron, and breaking them in pieces? [This question is for such as oppose the Age to come. And the following, for such as accept it]. If the kingdom of God is confined to Palestine, as some believe, will not those nations in the flesh who go up to Jerusalem from year to year, to keep the feast of tabernacles (Zech.14:10), see the kingdom of God, without being born from above? But all this confusion, and making the Scriptures contradictory is quite as reasonable as is the kindred idea of the glorified saints, who are to become "equal unto the angels," and "like unto Christ's glorious body," planting vineyards, and building houses. But you may say, they appear as common men. So have angels when they have manifested themselves to mortals, hut to suppose they will come down to the drudgery of a fleshly life is now here taught. When they shall enter the "heavenly kingdom," and are "as the angels of God," they will be with the Lord, and see him, as he is. But the saints do not inherit the land, only in the broad sense in which they inherit all things.
Prince Albert is heir to the crown of England; he does not inherit the land; the common people inherit that. He inherits the kingdom. "The righteous shall inherit the land," but the God-seed, the Ecclesia, are of the Royal family, and "take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom under the whole heaven." But that does not preclude the idea that they are of a higher order than "the peoples, and nations, and languages" who serve and obey. They shall be kings and priests, both rulers and instructors; and mankind, not the land, is their work-shop. They have a right to enter through the gates into the heavenly [spiritual] Jerusalem, whose maker and builder is God. Hence they build no houses: their mansions are prepared for them. And there is the home of the redeemed; "but without, are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie;" a plain description of the natural heart, not of demons. And Christ and his glorified saints are to rule, instruct, and subjugate these nations who are saved from the Adamic death; walk in the light of the city; and bring their glory into it, as from time to time, they shall be translated into the heavenly kingdom. (See Rev. 21: 24; Rom. 8: 21).
Moses was a type of the God-seed; Christ, and they that are Christ's. Hence he was both king [law-giver] and priest; and had access to God and man, as Christ and his saints are to have when He, the mediator and his "body," is "perfected. When Moses came from the presence of God, his face shone so that without a vail, the children of Israel could not behold it. But when he went in before the Lord the vail was laid aside until ho came out. (Ex. 34: 34). This vail means the flesh (Heb. 10: 20).
When Moses would come out to the people to exercise his office as lawgiver, judge, or priest; he wore a vail because they could not endure the glory. When the "kings and priests of God" shall go out of the city "which has no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof," they will need to wear a vail; "For if that which was done away was glorious, much more that which remains is glorious. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speach" (2 Cor. 3; 12).
In the manifestation of the sons of God to "the creature," who is without the city, they will need to be under a vail of flesh, to obscure their glory; even as Christ and angels have manifested themselves to men. Saul could not endure to behold the unveiled Nazarene; and Daniel and John were overwhelmed, and became as dead men, when permitted to see one without the vail
of flesh; "And there remained no strength in me; for my comliness was turned in me into corruption" (Dan. 10: 8).
Some may say, this is too much like spiritualism; we will have nothing to do with it. Do you believe there are fallen angels, us taught in Jude and Peter? that they are the "spiritual rulers of the darkness of this world"? If so, is it strange they should retain some of their former characteristics and power? Surely the difference between these lying spirits, bound under chains of darkness, and angels of light, is clear and well defined. Do you believe "the angels of God are ministering spirits; sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation"? Perhaps you do not believe we shall be "as the angels of God;" "raised a spiritual body?" "born of the spirit;" or that, "that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit." Perhaps you expect to know Christ as he was once known, after the flesh; and think that flesh can inherit the kingdom of God, if blood cannot. "That which is born of flesh, is flesh;" and there is not one atom of Scriptural support to favor such a view, except an inference drawn from the appearing of Jesus under a vail of flesh after his resurrection. Moses, in the type, appeared under a vail, not once, or twice, but always when he passed from the presence of the Lord, out to the people. "According to thy faith be it unto thee," "There is a spiritual body;" and we expect to be thus "clothed upon;" and have a right to enter through the gates into the city.
What makes these things look the more glorious, is that they are about to be realized. For, though the saints have been long sleeping in Jesus; the resurrection morn is beginning to dawn; and the shadows to flee away. "And the pathway of the just, which is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day;" is, evidently, in this present truth, receiving its last halo from the great fountain. These truths have shown in the pathway of "the virgins," just at the time where they were due. Witness the midnight cry, the jubilee message, the harvest message, and now the light is shining on the things "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; neither hath entered the heart of man; but God hath revealed them unto us, by his Spirit; and not in words, but by the Holy Ghost; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." And this, together with all the other evidences, fully convince us that the great change is at hand, and the millennium about to dawn.
"For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we our-
selves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body," Hence this glorious manifestation is not due until the saints, "Sown a natural body, are raised a spiritual body."