Vol. 25 New Series October, 1964 No. 5
"As long as the King is absent there can be no Kingdom." A statement like this made by an able Bible Expositor is so sweeping as to deflect the unwary reader from the issue and to hinder him in his research into the understanding of Scripture prophetic statements. In the ordinary everyday meaning of the word Kingdom it could be partially true, but even now, when her Majesty is in Australia, as absent as she could be for some weeks, these Isles in which, we live have not ceased to be a kingdom, nor did they when in the middle ages the Kings absented themselves for long periods on Crusades. According to our Lord's parables this analogy is reasonable.
But, when dealing with the Scriptures it is not the definition of the English translation that matters, but the usage of the original word in those Scriptures that is of supreme importance. In English, the word Kingdom is, usually taken to mean England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the land of which they are composed, the houses and factories, the people who inhabit these countries and everything connected with their lives, including Parliament, the civil and military services, local governments, churches, schools, etc. The Greek word is different.
Whereas the English word is concrete or material, the Greek word BASILEIA is abstract and means rule or government, be it that of King, President, Caesar or any other form of Governor. The word is so used in English when we talk of the Animal Kingdom, or the realm (same word) of art or ecclesiastical affairs. BASILEIA means rule or government or dominion, but not the country or people being ruled. It must be acknowledged, however, that one cannot do something without an object on which to operate. One cannot love or like unless one has someone or something to be loved or liked; no more can any rule be exercised with out subjects and these subjects have to live somewhere. Therefore, these people and places have come to be part of the word Kingdom, which now has a concrete meaning. With this in mind the opening statement may well be examined to see whether it is true. A generation or two back a very familiar political expression was in use when they spoke of 'absentee landlords' of large estates, who owned them and ruled them through agents and factors, who ran them on their behalf, collecting the rents, and revenues, paying them into the owners' banks. Similar illustrations are used by our Lord of absent householders, of faithful and unfaithful servants, who were governing his property whilst he was absent. As, on earth, with mundane things, the owners' presence is not essential, even so in heavenly government. As the one is administered by agents even so is the other and the ruler's agent works through subordinate servants exercising control.
The expression of most frequent use in the New Testament in connection with kingdom is "The Kingdom of God." It means the dominion, rule or government that God exercises over all. It is universal and eternal, and although there are those who do not acknowledge His dominion, He has written "As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me . . ." "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things," "Christ, Who is over all, God blessed for ever." At present, in this day of abounding grace one may submit to God's will or resist, but the time will come when He will brook no rebellion, and all will yield to His rule.
In this administration, God the Holy Spirit is in complete control, though He does hot exercise it in retribution, nevertheless, in whatsoever chaos the world may appear to be in, politically, socially, morally or any other sphere, it is not beyond His direction. In fact, God turns man's puny efforts and designs to His own use in the carrying out of His purposes.
God, the Father, Christ, the Son and the Holy Spirit are One and He has always ruled from the heavens over the earth. But He has ruled in different manners. He has ruled through conscience: He has ruled through law: He has ruled by Love: and He will rule again through those mediums until the victory of Love is supreme and God will be all in all.
In Matthew's gospel "The Kingdom of the Heavens" is preached. It will be noticed that the A.V. 'The Kingdom of Heaven' is not used because the Greek word OURANON is plural and it is so purposely. The inanimate place, if one may so term it, heaven cannot exert rule or government, but beings in it are able to do so, and these beings, whoever they are, will be acting as God's agents when the government of the heavens comes into being. It has nothing to do with a king. Christ Jesus, the executive manifestation of the Deity will send forth His heavenly servants, be they men in resurrection; angels, or other celestial authority to see that "His will is done on earth, as it is in heaven."
Call Him King if one likes, during this particular administration or not, yet it will be He who will reign then, and not on earth. He will be seated in the heavens, for "the heaven must receive Him, until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets." This is identified with His "so coming in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven," and the coming of Matt. 25:31 and other Scriptures such as Zech. 14:4, etc. Failure to observe this earlier rule of Christ Jesus from heaven has led to the oversight of the whole import of Matthew's gospel and this fulfilment of God's control of Israel and the Nations, after the removal of the church, as the prelude to all the events prophetically recorded taking place immediately before His coming—The apostacy (the falling away of 2. Thess. 2:2, 3 (where "the day of Christ" should read "the day of the Lord"), the revealing of the man of sin, and the desecration of the temple (c.f. Matt. 24:15).
An apostacy demands something exemplary from which to stand away. If such an ideal has not come into existence, from what can there be apostacy? One could say in the Apostle Paul's days that there was an apostacy of individuals and various churches from the great truths that He proclaimed in his gospel of the uncircumcision, from which all Asia had turned away, Demas and others had departed; but from what has the church today apostatised? True individuals may be apostates from truths once learned, but that can never be pointed to as a sign of the coming of the man of sin or the day of the Lord. No, Phil. 1:6 informs us that our 'zero hour' is the beginning of the day of Jesus Christ, when He which hath begun a good work in us will complete it. This 'day' may only be our view point of that period. "The day of redemption of the purchased possession" unto which "we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:14, 13). How these are to take place are matters for Scripture searching, and it is a matter on which students are divided considerably; but there can be no equivocation concerning the fact that the church which is the body of Christ will leave this scene here before God starts His next administration on earth, which primarily concerns the restoration of Israel—all twelve tribes and Levi to fulfil Jeremiah 16:14, 15, as the prelude to his making with them the Covenant of Peace, in the land, which will provide that exemplary worship of Jehovah to which we have already referred. Then the gospel of the circumcision will be proclaimed as the people begin to appreciate the real typical meaning of the Levitical sacrifices. Many of Israel will spread out from their country throughout the world, that they may take the teaching of the True God to the Nations. So will the believers in Jesus follow forming assemblies and show how Jesus has fulfilled all the prophecies relating to the coming Redeemer of Israel and through Israel perfect the redemption of the Nations. These assemblies will be composed of Israelites, who remain under Covenant relationship with God, and will be "zealous for the law," which will be quite right and proper. However, as rejection of the gospel of the circumcision by the leaders of and the bulk of the people persists, the various warnings and teachings as given in the Epistle to the Hebrews enlightens us as to their progressive attitude to the gospel. This is very ably shown by Dr. W. H. Griffith Thomas in his "LET US GO ON," Morgan and Scott, where The Son is presented to these Hebrews as Heir, Creator, Revealer, Sustainer, Redeemer and Ruler, Whose Divine revelation is superior to that of the Prophets, who spoke to the fathers; Who in Himself is Supreme and far above Angels, to whom they gave some form of heed, as the law was administered by them.
"Therefore we ought to (must) give the more earnest heedto the things which we have heard, lest at any time weshould let them slip. For if the word spoken by angelswas steadfast, and every transgression and disobediencereceived a just recommence of reward; how shall weescape if we neglect so great salvation, which at thefirst began to be spoken by the Lord, and was con-firmed unto us by them that heard Him; God alsobearing them witness both with signs and wonders, andwith divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit,according to His own will?"This is the first of five warnings in the epistle. They are: 1. Neglect Hebrews 2:1-4 2. Unbelief 3:7—4:13 3. Apostacy 5:11—6:20 4. Wilful sin 10:26-39 5. Obstinate refusal and indifference 12:15-29
Now note what it says in Hebrews 1:1 and 2. "God. . . hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, "in these last days" (Greek, EP ESKATOU TON HEMERON), which is the equivalent of the Hebrew word ACHARITH, the latter or last days. This places the epistles alongside the prophecies relating to the period after Israel has been brought out from among the Nation and back into their land, not just about 2,000,000 immigrants, but every Jew of the dispersion, of Judah and of the ten tribes, 12 million or more of them. It is those people who will go through the Book of Revelation, from whom the 144,000 will be called and sealed 12,000 from every tribe. It is the ecclesia of the faithful remnant, the ecclesia of the firstborn, firstfruits of the harvest of the whole of Israel who will be called upon to go through the great tribulation, looking for the return of their Saviour God and who will witness their compatriots looking upon Him Whom they have pierced when He is manifested in power and glory on His return, with all His holy angels to the Mount of Olives and THERE they will recognise Him, Jehovah, who has saved them (Jesus) as their true King, the Son of David, who has come personally to rule over them and over the Nations as King of kings and Lord of lords.
The statement with which this study was commenced denies to Christ the possibility of His reigning from Heaven prior to this coming. He does reign, not as Jesus Messiah ben David, but as Adonai Jehovah (Ezek. 20:33).
With this compare Isaiah 33:22, where it is stated, "The Lord (Jehovah) is our King," and 44:6, "Thus saith the Lord (Jehovah) the King of Israel." During the "latter days" Jehovah, their King shall rule over them, but from heaven. As Jehovah, God, never appears to His people. As Jesus (Jehovah will save) He is Emmanuel (God with us), God manifest in the flesh. As such He will come to reign as King upon earth at the beginning of the Millennium. This will be AFTER the latter days have been fulfilled.
Listing of Articles/ Related Sites
Chart of the Latter Days
The Seventy Sevens of Daniel
The Seventy Sevens and Ourselves
Joel's Prophecy, Acts II, the Kingdom and the Day of the Lord
This Same Jesus
The End of the World
Peace and Security?
Article from Commander Steedman
Acts and I. Thessalonians
Armageddon and Gog
The Covenants of God
The King and the Kingdom
The Restoration of Israel to the Land
Jacob's Trouble and the Great Tribulation
The Beginning may be Nigh
The Near East
Armageddon: The Great Cataclysm
Exodus: The Type and the Anti-Type
The Levitical Priesthood
The Dead Sea
The Tabernacle of David
All Israel shall be Saved
Two Days Distinguished