Rutherford also gave a discourse:
Discourse by Brother Rutherford.
Subject: "THE KINGDOM"
IT IS MY privilege and exceeding great pleasure, dear friends, to have a few words to say to you now concerning the Kingdom, and as a basis for the presentation of what I shall say I will read the words of the Prophet Daniel, chapter 7 and verse 14, "And there was given to Him (the Christ) dominion (rulership) 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." (Daniel 7:14)
The dearest theme to our hearts is that of the Kingdom. It has been the dearest theme to the hearts of all who loved righteousness and truth, and hoped for the better conditions, during the past four thousand years From the time God directed Abraham to leave his own country and go to a distant land to this day, those who have had a hope in their hearts for the betterment of mankind have received with gladness any news concerning the Kingdom It has been the theme of the holy prophets since the world began. The greatest of prophets began his ministry by an announcement concerning the Kingdom.
The Kingdom spoken of by him (John the Baptist) had reference, not to the dominion, but to the Kingdom class, the royalty, those who should compose the ruling power. The Lord Jesus Himself began His ministry by speaking of the same thing. His parables abound with statements concerning the Kingdom. He taught His followers to pray, and thousands have ever since prayed, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will he done on earth as it is done in Heaven." Since He left the earth, down through the age, the Christians having hope in the return of the great King have prayed thus, waiting and looking for the coming thereof.
Why is this so? Because to the Christian it means the full consummation of the hope of the Church. It means to them the reward for their faithful fight while on earth, with the privilege of bringing blessing to all of the families of the earth. It means the great climax of the history of the world.
When shall this Kingdom he established? You have heard from this platform how Father Adam was given a dominion and forfeited it, and how God has called a class to constitute the royalty of Heaven, a reigning class, to restore the dominion. You have heard from the last speaker the qualities necessary to enter into that Kingdom class. The Kingdom comes at the close of the age when that Kingdom is to be established in full power and glory. There is nothing as dear to our hearts as this, I am sure. My purpose will be to try to present some evidences this afternoon as to when this Kingdom shall be established.
We realize the fact that there are many people through-out the world who name the name of Christ, who say we should know nothing about it. In support of this theory they cite the declaration of the lord Jesus in which He said that not even the angels in Heaven knew. They say, "How do you poor, mortal creatures expect to know?"
We want to call attention to the fact that when Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives, with about 500 disciples gathered about Him, before He ascended into Heaven they said to Him, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the Kingdom of Israel?" He replied, "It is not for you to know the times and seasons which the Father hath put in His own power." He did not say no one should ever know. He told them to go up to Jerusalem and abide until they should receive power after the Holy Spirit would come upon them. Ten days later the apostles understood being begotten of the Holy Spirit.
This was the first time anyone on earth had understood the mysteries of the Kingdom. Saint Paul seems to have had a clearer vision than any of the apostles. He wrote, "It is not needful for me to write unto you concerning the times and seasons," the thought being, you are all children of the light and when that time comes you will understand the evidences.
It is our purpose at this time to present twelve reasons why we believe the Kingdom is near at hand. We have heard in recent months of some who have made a consecration to the Lord and for a time have been striving to walk in the narrow way, who say they are fearful that the Kingdom will not be established at the time they supposed when they made a consecration. Have we heard of that? My purpose in presenting these twelve reasons is that our faith might be strengthened, and that we might be spurred on, to press with greater energy toward that Kingdom.
We realize that it is only by the eye of faith that we beheld the Bridegroom, as we have just sung. If you have been begotten of the Holy Spirit, having your mind illuminated, if you are bending all of your energies to participate in that Kingdom, you are assured you shall not be. in darkness. "He hath not failed in one of His good promises." Circumstantial evidence is one of the strong ways of proving a fact at issue. I shall not try to present the chronology of the Bible, but what is spoken of in a legal sense as circumstantial evidence. Many people do not understand why we expect something to transpire next year. If it does not transpire next year we will be all right anyhow, if we have walked consistently in the narrow way. If it does transpire, you who have not taken this course of following in the footsteps of Jesus will be in a sad predicament.
The Apostle spoke of the age closing at a time when greater light would be coming upon the world. Greater light, therefore, is the first reason. The Prophet Daniel, who was given a vision of the Kingdom, asked when it should be established. He was told to close up the. book and seal it until the time of the end, and then knowledge would increase and the wise would understand. The wise would understand, but the foolish would not understand. Do we see any evidences of a fulfillment of this prophecy? We must be blind indeed not to see. The world sees these things but knows not of the promises. We who know that God's Word contains these promises, seeing them fulfilled in facts and circumstances, set these down as evidences that the Kingdom is about to be established.
The Lord Jesus Himself, and He is a competent witness, to be sure, stated to us that this age should close with a harvest time, and in that harvest time there would be a separation of the wheat from the tares. He furthermore said that at that time He would be present, that He would gird Himself and come forth, and causing His followers to sit down He would prepare for them to eat. He said He would have a servant and through him He would bring food to the household, that they might feed thereupon. The world knows nothing about these promises, but His holy people recognize that the Kingdom is at hand by the fact that these things- are being fulfilled.
Then there is a third reason. The Apostle Paul says that the Lord Jesus shall appear with a shout.
Those who have endeavored to interpret the Scriptures before the time for them to he understood, have said this means that the Lord Jesus will appear in a cloud and announce to the world the establishment of His Kingdom, and everyone would see Him at once, but we ask, if the people of Springfield could see it how could those in China see at the same time? We must distinguish between symbolic and literal language. This word shout has a twofold meaning, the one being that of encouraging and the other to frighten.
The Scriptures do not say that the Lord Jesus shall appear for the establishment of His Kingdom by shouting Himself, but at time of His appearing there would be a shout. Have we heard the shout?
The world is hearing the shout but have not recognized it. Those whose hearts have been wholly consecrated to the Lord, and who have been following the teachings of the great taster for the past forty years, have heard the encouraging shout day by day. This shout is encouraging one class because of the presence of the Lord. With the greater light opening the minds of the people to their greater rights and liberties, they are rising to strive for equal rights of men, and encouraging each other. I call attention to the fact that about 1874 the first labor organization was started with a small membership. From that time the shout has gone up until today in every civilized country all sorts of labor organizations are very strong. Their shout is "Help each other."
I call attention to the fact that this shout has had an opposite effect upon another class. It has frightened the tyrants on their thrones, the financial and political monarchs, all of whom are fearful that they may be removed from their positions of present advantage, and be brought down to the common level. Thus we see the fulfillment of the Apostle's prophetic statement.
I call attention to another point. The Apostle Peter says, "In the last days (meaning the last days of this age) there shall come scoffers, walking after their own lusts, or desires." They would ask where is there any evidence of His presence, for since the fathers have fallen asleep all things continue as from the beginning. "For this (he adds) they are willingly ignorant of." Ignorant of the fact that the Kingdom is about to be established, the greatest event in the world's history. Do you hear any scoffing? The world is full of it. Only those who know of these statements in the Scriptures could know what it means. Clearly, then, the scoffing would come, not from the world in general. The Apostle addressed this to those who claimed, at least, to be Christians, or wished to be known as such. These would scoff because of their ignorance. When would this scoffing come? At the presence of our Lord when He would come to establish His Kingdom. How could this come until someone announced His presence? It could not come.
Thirty-five years ago, or more, a valiant soldier of the cross set out to study God's Word, and as he studied that Word in the light of the Holy Spirit, the truth of the matter began to become clear to him, and he proclaimed the fact that the Lord Jesus was present, and that the time had come for the establishment of the Kingdom. A short time there-after he began the publication of a journal across the top of which is written "Herald of Christ's Presence." This has been going to your homes about twice each month, gladdening your hearts. The ignorant, however, scoff, saying, "Who knows anything about that?" "A man must be crazy to think that. Where are there any evidences of His presence? Are not things going on as before?" I say this, not to complain of them but to encourage your hearts that the time is at hand to establish the Kingdom.
I want now to examine a statement of the Lord Jesus Himself in the matter. You remember a few days before He was crucified He went out and stood on the Mount of Olives with His disciples.
They said to the Master, "Tell us, what shall be the evidences of your presence and of the end of the age?" The Lord Jesus did not say to them it is going to be in 1914 or 1915. He proceeded to lay down a certain number of signs and reasons by which those living at that time, and who would have their lamps trimmed and burning, their minds enlightened by the Holy Spirit, would be able to see and understand. These we wish to examine as the fifth reason.
I call your attention to the thirty-first verse of the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew: "At that time (the close of the age) shall He send forth His messengers (His agencies) and they shall gather His elect (the wheat class) from one end of Heaven (the ecclesiastical systems) to the other." Has that been clone? Yes, it is being done. We frequently hear of a minister of some denomination who says that the greatest objection they have to these people is that "they get out of our church the hest people we have." We are not getting them out, in that sense. We are not trying to do contrary to the Lord's will. He has said that at this time one of the evidences would be the breaking down of creed fences. It is His desire that all who are His shall be gathered out by the Truth, and the tare class, who are Christians in name only, shall be bound in bundles and thus gathered together. There is much evidence that this is going on. O ye of little faith, do you doubt that the Kingdom is to be set up in a short time?
As the sixth reason I call your attention to the words of the Lord Jesus in the same chapter, verse 14: "And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come " The Gospel of the Kingdom could not be preached, in the fullest sense, until the King was present to set up that Kingdom. We have not heard anyone preach the glad tidings that the Kingdom of the Lord was to be set up until during the past forty years. In that time the message has gone forth. One after another has taken up the message and it has gone on and on until today the great Kingdom message is known in every country of earth. It is being published in 33 different languages.
You will remember, in reading the history of the human race in the Scriptures, that the sons of Shem settled on the eastern border of India. There their offspring year after year and generation after generation, held to the simple truths which had come from God, and when the Catholics later sent their missionaries into that land to teach them the Catholic religion they fled back into the mountains of Travancore. They have there used the Syriac version of the New Testament, from which they learned of the things spoken by the Lord Jesus.
I call your attention to the further fact that when Brother Russell and the committee who went with him around the world were about to leave I said something to him about this verse I have just noted. He said, "I think this verse had a partial fulfillment at the time the Bible had been printed in all languages, in 1851, but I am quite sure there is a more complete fulfillment now, in the message of present truth which is now going around the world." When this committee reached Travancore, the descendants of these people who had fled from those who had sought to convert them, rejoiced to hear the message of the Kingdom. One of their natives, who had come to this country to receive an education, after graduating, and receiving the truth, went back to tell it to his people. 'hen he heard Brother Russell was coming he arranged for a meeting. About eight thousand people assembled at the meeting place. When Brother Russell stood up to speak there were several different interpreters to convey the message to that vast assembly. As he spoke the message concerning the blessings associated with the Kingdom soon to he established, they responded with joy. When the sun had gone down in the. west, and the shadows of night had fallen, and they could have no meeting without lights, many laid down and slept upon the bare ground until morning so they might hear more. Has the Gospel gone to these? Yes, and we rejoice that it has. It seemed to reach a climax at this point.
Another Scripture, our seventh point. The Lord Jesus compared the Jewish nation to a fig tree and said, "Now learn a parable of the fig tree. When his branch is tender and putteth forth leaves you know that summer is nigh. So, likewise, when ye shall see these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Every student of God's Word knows what Jesus meant. The fig tree there represented the Jewish people. When the time would come that the Jews would return to their own country, when their vigor would begin to return to them as a nation, then we might lift up our heads and rejoice, because the Kingdom is at the door. Have we seen a fulfillment? Even the world sees a fulfillment, but they do not understand the precious truth of God's Word about the matter. The secular press advise that the Jews are returning to Palestine in vast numbers, establishing homes, farms, factories, buying land, establishing banks, etc., and growing stronger every day in that land of Promise. More than three years ago I saw there with my own eyes many evidences that they are going back. Even then there were 50,000 in Jerusalem alone. They then had seven banks through which money was being furnished by rich Jews that the poor of their nation might buy land. Today there are about twenty Jews in Palestine who are millionaires.
When did this start. The first evidence of return of God's favor to the Jewish people. was in the summer of 1878. I mention this because this prophetic statement corroborates the time prophecies as shown in the chronology. God's favor had gone to the Jews for 1,845 years, and when the Lord Jesus declared the withdrawal of favor from them, He pointed out that they should no more see Him for a certain time, intimating they would ultimately recognize Him at His return. The Scriptures show a parallel between the Jewish and Gospel ages. At least three prophecies show the same.
In 1878, according to chronology, was the time for favor to return to the Jews. In A. D. 33 favor began be withdrawn from them, but it was 37 years before favor was fully cut off. In calculating the parallel that same 37 years must be added to 1878, and where will that bring us to? You can calculate that. We see this Scripture being fulfilled. The world sees it, but they understand it not. Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your cars for they hear.
But, mark you, Jesus said, "O ye of little faith." If there are any such here let them hear what He said in this connection. "Verily I say unto you that this generation shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled." Generation usually refers to the length of human life. According to the latest authorities the average human life is between 36 and 37 years. Therefore Jesus said, when you see these things coming to pass know that it is at the doors; the generation of those standing here shall not pass away until these things have been fulfilled. So the generation now upon earth is the generation that was on earth in 1878, and many of them must abide until God's favor is fully returned to the Jews, and the Kingdom set up.
Again Jesus said, and this is the eighth point, "But as the days of Noah were, so shall it be in the days of the son of man." He then proceeds to say that in that day they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and wholly oblivious of the great deluge to cone upon them, notwithstanding Noah had been preaching it. So today, while the feet members of the body of Christ see that the great time of trouble is at hand and the Kingdom will soon be established, the world lives on oblivious to what is to take place. The world knows there is a disturbed condition of affairs, but knows not the reason, nor what it portends, but the Christian knows it means the near establishment of Messiah's Kingdom.
But we call attention to another condition in the days of Noah. The fallen angels had debauched the human race in mind and body, by influencing their thoughts and by actual contact with them. We know this is a fact. We may expect similar conditions to obtain today, and anyone alive to the situation knows that the world today is more largely influenced by a wrong spirit -- I might say a lewd spirit -- than ever before. My heart goes out in sympathy. The very dress worn by many of the females in our day manifests the influence of evil suggestion by these fallen angels. Some of the cities have an ordinance against some of the females appearing on the streets in some of the costumes used today. The Lord Jesus pointed to the fact that great tribulation would come upon the Church. as well as upon the world, and it is coming now. Some of the noblest characters, after fighting a grand fight for years, have been for months more troubled with evil suggestions that ever before. I have been told by a brother since coming to this convention, "I have had the hardest time in my life recently to keep out evil suggestions." The demons are seeking to overthrow the Church at this time; as the Apostle points out in the sixth of Ephesians, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against evil spirits in high places. This is another evidence.
But consider the ninth in the list. The Lord Jesus said that when the time would come for the establishment of the Kingdom the sun would be darkened, the moon would not give her light, the stars would fall from Heaven, and the powers of the heavens be shaken. This is symbolic language.
The Scriptures show that the sun is a symbol of the Gospel, and the moon a symbol of the Mosaic law. We know the moon gives no light upon the earth except as the sun shines upon it, and is thus reflected upon the earth. We well know, as Christian people, that we did not understand much about the Mosaic law until this glorious Gospel of Christ began to shine upon it. Who has rejoiced so much at any time until Tabernacle Shadows explained to us so beautifully the significance of the law types.
T he Lord Jesus said that to some who would name the name of Christ, at that time the sun would become darkened. Is that true? I say to you without fear of contradiction, that 90 per cent of all colleges in the world today deny absolutely the merit of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. These are year after year turning out scores of young men with the title of D. D., to preach the Gospel, who say they have no faith in the fall of Adam and the shedding of Jesus' blood for the purpose of redeeming man. To them the sun is darkened. The Mosaic law is to them a blank. They speak of the sacrifices under the law, where the blood was shed to foreshadow the better sacrifices, as bloody, barbaric sacrifices. The moon has been turned to blood to them and darkened, but to the Christian's heart these bring joy because He sees that by the sacrifice of these animals God was making great pictures which cast their shadows before them, telling of the coming time when the great sin offering should be made for mankind.
Do we see them? Yes. Then Jesus said the stars should fall from Heaven. Not literal stars, but those representing heavenly things, the great teachers who have lost sight of the fact that the blessings of this world depends entirely upon the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom; that the only way to get life is through the merit of His blood. These would fall from their position as instructors about heavenly, spiritual matters, and speak to the people upon common things, The city papers of Boston recently pointed out that forty churches had been abandoned because no one attended them. There is a famine in the world in this sense. The world notes the fact, but not the reason. The Christian sees both.
I know this from practical experience. It was my privilege to deliver a course of lectures in the colleges of several states a short time ago, and without one exception the professors took issue with me because I stated that evolution was against the Bible. To one of these I said, why is it you endorse the theory of evolution which denies the creation of Adam as a perfect man, his fall, and that the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ was necessary to recover the human race from the effects of that fall? He said, "We believe not that way, and evolution has come to stay." Not only in our colleges and universities, but in our public schools we see the same tendency. We state these things that our faith might be strengthened that the time has come for the establishment of the Kingdom. How glad we are that these who are thus in ignorance are not going to a place of torture, but when the Kingdom is established blessing shall come to them instead.
Another evidence, the tenth. This is concerning the Gentile times. I have heard recently, and you have, too, dear friends, of many in present truth who are consecrated to the Lord and have been walking in the narrow way, who say, "Yes, it is an easy matter to calculate the length of the Jewish and Gospel ages and the Gentile times and to see when the Gentile times end. Of course they end in 1914, but this is no evidence that the Kingdom is to be established then, and no evidence that the Church will be in glory." I take issue with them and by the grace of God hope to offer evidence to prove that the end of the Gentile times marks the establishment of the Kingdom, and the saints in it. The Prophet Ezekiel, in the 21st chapter, verses 25 to 27, speaking as God's mouthpiece and referring to Zedekiah, the last of Israel's kings, said. "And thou profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come when iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the Lord God, remove the diadem and take off the crown, this shall not be the same; exalt him that is low and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it and it shall be no more until He come whose right it is, and I will give it Him" (Ezekiel 21:25-27.) When did this take place? It is a matter of secular history, as well as chronology, that this overturning came in 606 B. C. Then the Gentile times began. The Prophet Daniel speaks of these times as seven times. A time being a year of 360 days, thus in symbolic time, a day for a year, this would be 2,520 years. Add 2,520 to B. C. 606 and what have 'you? 1914, of course, you say, the end of the Gentile times. But, Mark, the prophet says, "I will overturn, overturn until He shall come whose right it is and when He shall come He shall take it." This means the Christ, of course, and the very thing indicated in our text where there was given to Him dominion and glory and a Kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and His Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. Will the Kingdom be set up at the end of Gentile times and the saints be in glory? I want to read another Scripture upon that point. The Prophet Daniel had a vision of the four empires to arise following the overthrow of the Jewish nation, and coming down to the termination of these kingdoms he says, "In the days of these kings," not after these days but when they are still in existence, "shall the God of Heaven set tin a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people, but shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever." Has anyone had this Kingdom? No. When shall this come to pass? In the days of these kings, the last of them, I call your attention to the words of Jesus to the Church class in Revelation 2:26-27, "And he that overcometh and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers, even as I received of My Father." It is evident the body of Christ are to have a part in the overthrow of the disapproved Gentile kingdoms. The question is, are we to be of the Kingdom class? All will depend upon our loyalty, of which I shall say more later.
Mark the words of the Prophet Ezekiel, that God would overturn until He would come hose right it was, and He would give it Him. When Christ establishes His Kingdom the lease of Gentile dominion must be expired. The question was asked our dear Pastor last week, "Does the end of Gentile times mark the time when the Kingdom class will be in glory with the Lord?" His answer was as follows: "We are inclined to think that the end of Gentile times marks the time when the Lord's consecrated people of the Gospel age, the little flock, will be with Him in their glorious reward." This is seemingly borne out by the declaration of the prophet that the dominion would be turned over to the Gentiles until He would come whose right it is to rule, and then the Kingdom would go to Him. The great time of trouble will be the result of their failure to give up their dominion. Let us illustrate. In New York City it is customary to have leases on houses expire October 1. I am so fortunate, or unfortunate as you may put it, as to lease a house there to live in and my lease expires at that time. I could not he put out until my lease expires if I pay the rent.
When it expires the landlord would have the right to eject me, but then only in a legal way. When the time comes for the establishment of the Lord's Kingdom the kings will be full of wrath, as the Scriptures describe it. Because of their failure to vacate they will be put out by force of arms, literally, in the great time of trouble. Therefore the time of trouble upon the church must precede.
The Gentile times were intended to fill up the space between the time the Kingdom was taken from the Jews, and the time when Messiah's Kingdom shall be established. It follows, of necessity, that when the Gentile times are ended the time will have come to establish Messiah's Kingdom.
A further point is that the trial of the Church till be ended before the Gentile times close. In this connection we will read from the 149th Psalm: "Praise the Lord, sing unto the Lord a new song."
Who can sing it? The Revelator says none except the Christ, the Kingdom class, the royal family of Heaven. "Sing His praise in the congregation of saints. For the Lord taketh pleasure in His people; He will beautify the meek with salvation." That is the time coming when the earth shall be blessed.
"Let the saints be joyful in glory, let then sing aloud upon their beds." I am aware of the fact that the suggestion has been made that it is possible a part of the saints may be in glory this side of the vail, in this sense. If the last members have finished their course, and have full assurance that the crown of righteousness is awaiting them, there might be a short time in which the remaining members on earth might have something to do with the establishment of the Kingdom. Clearly, then, the Scriptures show that the saints will be in glory when this takes place. Let the saints rejoice in glory, let them praise God. Let the praises of God be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hand. There the praises of God will be in the mouth of the saints. In the eleventh chapter of Isaiah the Christ is represented as slaying the people with the sword of His mouth, the truth. What is the purpose of the sword? "To execute vengeance upon the heathen and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgments written. Daniel declared that in the days of these kings God would set up a Kingdom which should stand for-ever. It is upon these that the judgments are to be executed. Who is going to do it? This honor have all His saints. Mark the last words, this honor have ALL His saints. If that is true the saints must be in glory.
But let us consider the eleventh proposition. The prophet declares, "Thy watchman shall lift up the voice; with the voice together they shall sing, for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion." There never was a time since Jesus ascended into Heaven when the Lord's people have seen eye to eye on the message of the Kingdom, the ransom, justification, consecration, sanctification and the resurrection, as at the present, which is an evidence of the fact that the Kingdom is about to be set up. He says in this connection, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace -- that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth." The prophet describes the Christ, likening unto a man, being Jesus the head of the church, the body. The feet are the last part of this body, as it takes a step downward to establish the Kingdom. He continues, "Depart ye (the Zion class), go out from thence, touch no unclean thing, go ye out from the midst of her, be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord." Is there not now a separating time, a cleansing of the vessels, a separation of the false from the true? This accords with the teaching of Jesus in the parable, that in the end of the age there would be a separation of the tares from the wheat, and the wheat would be gathered into the garner.
Now we come to our twelfth proposition, which deals with some peculiar trials that must come upon the Church. It is shown that the time of trouble must first come upon the Church in 1 Peter 4:17, the Apostle declaring that judgment must begin with the house of God. There will be a second time of trouble upon Babylon, and a third upon the kingdoms of the earth, which shall stand in fear as they be-hold the fall of Babylon in one day, and mourn for her. We know the trial is upon the Church first. Are we having some of them now? Our Lord Jesus said in this same twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, verse 10, "Then shall many be offended and shall betray one another" (Matthew 24:10.) Have you noticed a disposition to resent, to become envious and bitter, to be offended, more than when you first came into the truth? We see many thus. Why? Because as we learn more of the Lord we see more clearly each other's faults, and if we are not careful we will fail to keep our eyes on the Kingdom and look upon the earthly things. We expect more of our brethren than we should expect, forgetting that they have trials as well as we. We have known some who professed to have a love for the Lord and the message of the Kingdom who became offended, and because of offense withdrew and proceeded to betray their brethren into the hands of the Pharisees.
It was only about a week ago that I saw with my own eyes that one who was an elder of a certain congregation had betrayed the Lord's dear servant into the hands of the Pharisees. Why do we mention this? It is another proof, as the Lord Jesus said, that the Kingdom is about to be set up. Let us take courage and say, by the grace of God, knowing these things are going to come to pass, I will keep my own heart pure. Purity of heart is necessary to enter into the Kingdom.
The Savior continues, "Because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold." The real meaning is injustice, and because injustice shall abound the love of many shall wax cold. As we walk the narrow way in the footsteps of Jesus we see. injustice more clearly than we used to. We the instrument. Let us distinguish between injustice as a likening unto a man, being Jesus the head and the church, principal and the instrument which puts it in operation, remembering we are all in the flesh. As we are told in 1 Peter 4:18, "Above all things have fervent love among yourselves, for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." The word fervent means overspreading, not hot. Then let us fill our hearts with this love of Christ, and as the Apostle suggests, henceforth know no man after the flesh, but after the spirit. Who is going to win this fight? He that endureth unto the end.
This is the time for endurance. It is the time, beloved brethren, when we must come in contact with the snares of the world, with the various wiles of the adversary working upon the weaknesses of our flesh and that of the brethren, and in the midst of all of this we must keep pure in heart.
I believe the evidence of the twelve points mentioned is sufficient to establish in the mind of every consecrated child of God, aside from chronology, that the Kingdom of the Lord is to be established in a very short time. We see how and when it is to be established, but how shall we enter in? In the twenty-fourth Psalm, which was written for the Church, David being a type of the Church, the prophet says, Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord, who shall stand in His holy place?" He answers the question, "He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." These are the things we should watch that we may he prepared to enter into the Kingdom. The Apostle says, "He that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself even as He is pure."
Some say, I fear the Kingdom is not going to be established and I do not know but I should keep things back and not make a fool of myself. If the. Kingdom is not established they will say, you are one of those crazy people. Note the Lord Jesus' words in Luke 12:32, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." Such should have read the next verse also.
"Sell that ye have and give alms, provide for yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens which faileth not, where no thief approacheth neither moth corrupteth." Are you going to keep back or not? But one says, I love the good things of this world. You recall that the Lord Jesus told the rich young man who came to Him that he loving anything better than the Lord is not fit for the Kingdom. The Lord will permit to enter into the Kingdom only such as have supreme devotion and love for Him. Let us humble ourselves (be submissive) under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt us in due time.
I will take occasion to refer to my experience before I had the truth. My desire was to see a better condition among the people of the earth, but saw it did not come. When the Lord brought to my attention the truth concerning Messiah's Kingdom, which would fully meet the needs of all the earth, I rejoiced, as you do also. Psalm 126 well expresses our experience. "When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion (then we saw as one opening their eyes the great truths of His plan) we were like them that dream." We said, "the Lord has done great things for the heathen." What filled our hearts with joy? Because the Lord has made provision for the salvation of the heathen. We learned, also, that those who have died in superstition and ignorance will have a blessing. We learned that those we loved in the flesh, but who were not Christians, will have a blessing. So the Kingdom means not only the exaltation of the Church to power and glory, but then shall the blessings promised more than 4,000 years ago flow out to the groaning creation of earth. When the Kingdom is established there shall be no more tears, no more death, sorrow or pain. Then the spirit and the bride shall say come, and whosoever will may come and take of the water of life freely.
Those who will partake will be the ransomed of the. Lord spoken of by Isaiah in the thirty-fifth chapter, who shall come to Zion (the Kingdom class) with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. How glad we are this is true.
To the truly consecrated who see these beautiful truths the Prophet Isaiah says in chapter 52, "Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion, put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem." We are to put on strength, the beautiful garments of character development, keeping our hearts pure that we may enter in. Soon mankind shall know that the King of glory, the King of righteousness, has come, to destroy the adversary, to remove the blindness of the people, to heal the sick, to open the blind eyes, unstop the deaf ears, and give peace and joy and life to all loving righteousness and pursuing it.