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By the parable, Luke xix. 12, He intimates that at his ascension He should only go to receive the kingdom, thus directing the faith of his disciples to the time of his Return, when he shall have "obtained the kingdom He went to receive.” He accordingly taught them to pray,
Thy kingdom come,” as of an event still future. It is not merely that the spiritual kingdom already established may be extended, and all nations be brought into it, but the erection of one which had not yet existed.
Thy kingdom come” clearly implies its not having been hitherto erected, as to pray for the coming of what was already come would involve an inconsistency. And that this kingdom they are taught to desire is to be in this world, is evident from the succeeding clause of the sentence, “ Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The answer to this our prayer, so often repeated without due consideration of its full import, has not yet been received, nor will be till the Millennium.
In the assembly at Jerusalem, when there had been much disputing about the necessity of circumcising believing Gentiles, Peter and Paul and Barnabas attested the power of the grace of God among them as well as among the Jews; and the apostle James proved that this Gentile dispensation was predicted by the prophets, as to precede the restoration of the kingdom to Israel : “And after they had held their peace, James answered, , saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me; Simon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, AFTER THIS I will Return, and build again the tabernacle of
Day." He adds, “But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation,” or “pation" of the Jews. Luke xvii. 20— 25. This is the coming he afterwards announced, and the signs of which he foretold, (Mat. xxiv.) the very same language being here employed, as also in much of the remainder of the chapter. Consis. tency has therefore induced some commentators to place this also at the destruction of Jerusalem, although the Saviour here declares, that the day of which he is speaking, is one which the disciples should desire to see. They had, however, no desire to see the holy city, (with which their most sacred feelings were associated,) laid in ashes, but they did earnestly “ desire to see” the Son of Man come in his glory to • restore again the Kingdom to Israel."
David which is fallen down, and I will build again the rains thereof, and I will set it up; that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord who doeth all these things.” Acts xv. 13—17. Before the restoration of Israel, and the re-occupation of David's throne which has so long been vacant, God has first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name; after which He will return. As our Lord himself said to the Jews, “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd.” John X. 16. And after He shall have taken out of the Gentiles a people for His name, He will return, and build again the tabernacle of David,” which was then fallen down, and which must continue so till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. The delightful promise the apostle quotes (although not literally,) from the prophet Amos, by whom it is announced to be fulfilled -- in that day,” the form of expression so often used by the Old Testament prophets in reference to the Millennium ; “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.... and I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens and eat the fruitof them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no MORE be pulled up out of their land, which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God." Amos ix. 11-15. Here, then, we find that the tabernacle of David is to be raised at the period of Israel's final restoration ; and the apostle James informs us that this will take place at our Lord's “Return;" thus, not only connecting the reerection of the throne of David with the coming of Christ, but intimating the connection of both with the existence of the Kingdom during the Millennium, when “ the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Ja-, cob for ever.” Luke i. 32, 33.
The establishment of the Millennial kingdom, and the coming of the Son of Man at that period, are also declared in the prophecies of Daniel. The seventh chapter contains, as we have seen in speaking of the destruction of Antichrist, a prediction of four great empires which should exist from the beginning of the captivity till the Millennium. From three of these, viz. the Ba. bylonish, the Persian, and the Grecian, the extensive dominion has long since passed away; and as it was predicted of the fourth or Roman empire, that “ the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise,” so was it divided into ten kingdoms, forming the present European dynasties, in which state it has continued many centuries. The rise of Antichrist was predicted, as a little horn growing up among these horns or king, doms; on account of whose blasphemies, thrones of judgment for his destruction are represented as being at length set by the Ancient of Days. At this time, the prophet says, “I saw, in the night visions, and behold one like the Son of Mun came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion and glory, and A KINGDOM, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Dan. vii. 7-14. This Kingdom, then, is to be received only at the destruction of Antichrist and the other horns or kingdoms which arose out of the Roman empire. It is not merely the extension, at that time, of the spiritual kingdom at present in existence. But when the Son of Man shall come in the clouds of heaven, the kingdom spoken of is only then to be given to Him." It is then the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.” ver. 18. And as the four preceding monarchies have had their dominion upon the earth, so it is added, in the 27th verse, “And the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, UNDER the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most: High, whose kingdom is an everlasting
kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him." Can there be a doubt that this Coming with the clouds of heaven, so magnificently described, is the same with that predicted by our Lord Himself, (Luke xxi. 27,) when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled ? As if indeed to enable us to identify the Saviour's allusion to this prediction, the promise of His return is recorded in language strikingly similar. And as the prophet saw Him receive a dominion, and glory, and a Kingdom ;". so the Saviour, directing our attention to the signs of His coming, says, “When ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the KINGDOM OF God is nigh at hand.” Luke xxi. 31. The time, also, at which the Saviour is
, seen, in the vision of the prophet, coming to receive His Kingdom, being just at the destruction of Antichrist, corresponds with the prediction of Paul, that this power is to be destroyed by the brightness, or glorious appearance, of Christ's coming. In the above passage from Luke, our Lord Himself connects, farther, the establishment of His kingdom with His return, and Paul also in one of his epistles does the same: Urging upon Timothy the duty of preaching the word, the apostle charges him before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His APPEARING and His KINGDOM," (2 Tim. iv. 1,)--thus making the establishment of His kingdom coincident with His appearing
The establishment of the Kingdom is again predicted by Daniel, (ii. 31--43,) in his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. The same four monarchies are represented as the various parts of one great image, the Roman empire forming the legs and feet, and its subdivision into the present European kingdoms being here witnessed in the ten toes. The character of this kingdom in its divided state is noticed : “And as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay, so the kingdoms shall be partly strong, and partly broken ; and whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men, [by royal intermarriages,] but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mingled with clay."
The erection of the Kingdom of Christ is then foretold:
And, in the days of these kings, 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 for ever.” Dan. ii. 42, 44. Here, again, it is to be observed, that the prediction is not of the enlargement of a kingdom already established, but the erection, or setting up, of one not before in exist. ence. “In the days of these kings" it shall be " set up" by the God of heaven; but the spiritual Kingdom of Christ was established before these King's or Kingdoms were brought into existence. As in the vision of the four beasts, the prophet saw one like the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, so here he says, “ Thou sawest, till that a stone was cut out without hands, [a Scriptural expression for what is supernatural or divine, Col. ii. 11,] which smote the image upon his feet, that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces; then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer thrashing-floors, and the wind carried them away that no place was found for them, and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” ver. 34, 35. The power has now descended through all the parts of the image to the ten toes, in which divided state the Roman empire still continues to exist. But the whole shall be broken to pieces when the Stone shall smite the image—when Christ shall come in the clouds of heaven for the establishment of that Kingdom which “shall not be left to other people.”
When the seventh apocalyptic angel sounded, “there were,” says the apostle, “ great voices in heaven, say. ing, 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. xi. 15. The redeemed anticipate with delight the approach of this glorious era, and the downfall of Babylon is announced by the heavenly shout of triumph: “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters,