Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 4, 1950

The Coming Of The Kingdom

Cled Wallace, Lufkin, Texas

The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of the kingdom of God, which both John, the immerser, and Jesus announced was "at hand" and "come nigh unto you," in the days when Rome ruled. Jesus said: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand." (Mark 1:15.) Isaiah's eloquent contribution to the hope of Israel is expressed in these words: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even forever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this." (Isa. 9:6, 7.) Isaiah and Daniel were talking about the same kingdom, whose king would sit "upon the throne of David." It is the same kingdom that Christians are now in, because they are Christians, and are loosed from their sins through the blood of Christ. In truth, no man can be a Christian and not be in it.

The whole ministry of Jesus on earth, his miracles and his teaching, arousing great hope in the hearts of the people, and reaching its culmination in his resurrection, ascension, and coronation, was a development of the theme of the kingdom of God. It is absurd to contend that he changed his theme or his plan when he promised to build his church. "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church: and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 16:16-19.) The church and the kingdom are here united in inseparable identity.

The church is simply and clearly that great assembly of the redeemed over which Christ rules as king. These redeemed of the Lord are "an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation." (I Pet. 2:9.) The Lord made them "a kingdom." (Rev. 1:5.) What kingdom? Whose kingdom? Was it unknown to the prophets? Were they talking about something else? The answers are obvious.

In this connection, Jesus charged his disciples not to tell any man that he was the Christ, and predicted the abuse and death he was soon to suffer in Jerusalem. He also affirmed that he would be raised from the dead, and definitely implied that the kingdom would not be established before then. He further said: "Verily I say unto you, There are some of them that stand here, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the Son of man coining in his kingdom." (Matt. 16:28.) Jesus could not be a priest on his throne, and exercise the power foretold by the prophets, until he conquered death and entered into his glory. That sanctuary of glory is not on earth.

When Jesus arose from the dead, and gave infallible proofs of the fact to his apostles, it renewed their hope that the kingdom of God would immediately appear. They knew it had not come, but they had not forgotten that he had said that it was "at hand." So the question they asked him was a natural one. "They therefore, when they were come together, asked him, saying, Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" This was just prior to his ascension to heaven. He assured them that "ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:6-8.) Some time before this, but after his resurrection, he had told them that "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Ye are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send forth the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:46-49.) Language of this sort, together with the claim that "all authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth," and his charge to them to go into all the world with the gospel, could not do otherwise than kindle within them burning fires of interest regarding the main theme of Jesus' teaching—the kingdom of God. They, themselves, had been active in spreading the news of its approach.

The Lord's ascension, a few days of waiting in Jerusalem, and then came Pentecost—and the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the apostles in the Holy Spirit, with its miraculous accompaniments, brought together an astounded multitude. "And they were all amazed, and were perplexed, saying one to another, What meaneth this?" (Acts 2:12.) When Simon Peter stood up and "lifted up his voice," it is certain that he had the undivided attention of all, and his explanation of the meaning of all "this," reveals Jesus, as Christ, sitting on the throne the prophets said he would occupy.

Peter's speech on Pentecost is applied prophecy. The prophets converge here. Of the coming of the Holy Spirit he said: "This is that which hath been spoken through the prophet Joel," and he quoted Joel, so precisely and to the point, it could not be otherwise than convincing. The facts of the life of Jesus on earth, his claims, his miracles, and his teaching were widely known. The "men of Israel" had rejected, crucified and slain, him whom God so distinctly approved. God raised him from the dead. Peter's introduction of a prophecy from David concerning the significance of this fact is decisive in its establishment of the place that Christ now occupies as king. "For David saith concerning him,

"I beheld the Lord always before my face,

For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:

Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced:

Because thou wilt not leave my soul unto Hades,

Neither wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption."

(Acts 2:25-27)

David was not speaking of himself. He was foretelling the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, before corruption set in his body, and that for a specific and divine purpose. Peter's explanation of David's prophecy is clear and final. "Brethren, I may say unto you freely of the Patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne: he foreseeing this spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he left unto Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption." (Acts 2:29-31.)

David's prediction of the resurrection of Jesus, was based on the promise and oath of God, that he would raise up his son, and seat him "upon his throne." The resurrection of Jesus, then, had as one of its specific purposes, the seating of Jesus, who was David's son, on David's throne. Since Peter introduced the prophecy of David, he must make two things clear. His audience expected definite answers to at least two questions. First, did God raise Jesus from the dead? Second, did he seat him on the throne of David, as he swore to David that he would? That God raised him, Peter declared: "This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses." (Verse 32.) That settled the fact of the resurrection. Is he on the throne? God raised him up to put him on the throne. Did he put him there? "Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear." (Verse 34)

"Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted." Why the "therefore?" God made an oath to David that he would raise up one to sit on his throne. Peter declared that he had been raised from the dead and gave convincing testimony to the fact. "Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted," God put him on the throne, just like he swore to David that he would.

Peter was thorough in his exposition and application of David's prophecy. "For David ascended not into the heavens: but he saith himself,

"The Lord said unto my Lord,

Sit thou on my right hand,

Till I make thine enemies the

footstool of thy feet."

Verses 34-35)

In order to be seated on the throne, on God's "right hand", Jesus had to "ascend into the heavens." The idea that he must come down out of heaven to sit on the throne, is a complete reversal of the divine order, and an anti-climax that cannot be tolerated. When Jesus made purification for sins, he "sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Heb. 1:4.) "For he must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be abolished is death." (I Cor. 15:25, 26.) Peter expressed the complete fulfillment of David's prophecy, when he said: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified." (Acts 2:36) The kingdom has come.