Thy Kingdom Come

TOWARD the close of the Jewish Age there was trouble in the land. (Amos 3:2; Ps. 147:19,20) The degradation of the religious system at that time had come to such a condition that our Lord, a few years later, called their leaders hypocrites. There was murder; there was war; there was intrigue and deceit; there was striving for power and position and advantage, and little caring for the poor. Into this world our Lord Jesus was born at the first advent. He grew to manhood, and after coming to John at Jordan, he later taught his disciples to pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

Centuries later, after the apostles had fallen asleep, the great falling away from the truth foretold by the Apostle Paul became a reality. Gradually errors had crept in to supplant the truth, so that by the Middle Ages the great anti-Christ system, or counterfeit kingdom of Christ, had secured itself upon the civil governments, ruling and controlling them. Their leaders had at their side the assistance of the civil forces and their armies, and the saints of the most High were worn out. (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:7) Under these conditions some of our faithful brethren prayed with understanding and conviction, with hope, and with faith, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” And today, at the end of this age, in the harvest of the Gospel Age, in the midst of the unsatisfactory conditions in the earth, the “saints of the most High” are still praying with the same conviction, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

This prayer has been repeated countless millions of times by millions of people, and yet for the most part the prayer has been uttered without real understanding and appreciation. Perhaps at times we have seen that light of understanding and comprehension come over the face of an individual when he begins to hear about the divine plan of the ages for the first time in his life. He has come to realize that he has really been praying for something to come from heaven and be established on earth, when previously he had thought he must go to heaven to obtain those blessings. How long will this prayer be offered? When will it be answered? How long, O Lord?

The Prophet Habakkuk many long years ago gave us the answer to our question: “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”—Hab. 2:2,3

The Apostle Paul, in Hebrews 10:37, confirms this. And so this prayer continues to be offered. Surely at the beginning of the Millennial Age it will still be appropriate. The Scriptures tell us that our Lord “must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (I Cor. 15:25-28) And so not until the time comes when our Lord, at the end of the Millennial Age, shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father—as verse 24 tells us, “when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power”—not until the world of mankind passes its final test and is returned to the family of God (Rev. 20:7,8) will that prayer really be fully answered.

On the back of this magazine those gems of truth entitled “To us the Scriptures Clearly Teach” tell us that at the end of Christ’s millennial kingdom all the willfully wicked will be destroyed, and all the righteous and willing and obedient will enter into life everlasting. And so faithful Christians continue to pray, “Thy kingdom come.”

But when will the blessings we so much desire for the world begin? When the better sacrifices of this age are completed. Let us consider for a few moments two doctrines—the sin offering and its application, that is, the accepting of the merit of our Lord’s perfect sacrifice for sin, first for the church and then for the world—and the covenants. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 9, the apostle gave an explanation of the Tabernacle service, particularly of the Atonement Day, and of the antitype of it, which is taking place during this Gospel Age. We are so thankful for this and that he uses the illustration and the symbols of the Tabernacle.

In Hebrews 6, beginning with verse 18, we read: “That by two immutable things [the promise to Abraham and the oath by which he confirmed it], in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the Forerunner is for us [the church] entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” Did he enter for the world? No, for “us” he entered. Yes, back there on the Atonement Day the first entrance into the Most Holy with the blood of the bullock was for Aaron and his house. In the antitype our Lord appeared in the presence of God “for us,” as we find in Hebrews 9:24.

After his death and resurrection and after his appearances to the disciples, our Lord appeared in the presence of God for us, but not yet for the world. Just as Jesus was the “Forerunner” that entered in, there are to be afterrunners to enter in, the body members of the Christ, whom God foreknew in him (Christ) before the foundation of the world. (Eph. 1:4) Yes, God planned to have a divine family—Christ and his brethren, his body members, who were to be prepared as was their Head for membership in the divine family. (Col. 1:12,18) Those that would finally be accounted worthy to be of that bride (Rev. 19:7) would also be accounted worthy by God as having shared in the sin offering with Christ their Head, because they were motivated by the same spirit and followed faithfully in the steps of God’s dear Son.

In this picture of the antitypical Atonement Day, which is the Gospel Age, we find that the first entrance by the high priest into the Most Holy of the Tabernacle with the blood was for Aaron and his house. And in this age, also, we do not distinguish between the little flock and the great company. We do not judge. It is not our privilege nor our responsibility, for the Heavenly Father and our Lord are very capable of doing that. So we see that in Aaron and the two remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, (after Nadab and Abihu had died) are represented all the features of this age. Aaron, the high priest, represented our Lord, Eleazar represented the little flock (his name means “helped of God,” and we can be sure the little flock will consider themselves as particularly helped of God). Ithamar (his name meaning “land of palms”), who was also a priest and who served, is properly associated with the great company and their palms of victory in Revelation 7:9. We have all of the features of the antitypical Day of Atonement shown in the priesthood. And so, that offering was for all those that would come unto God in Christ and be “accepted in the beloved,” justified, and spirit-begotten in this age.

This work needs to be completed. In Romans 8:1 we read, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” And the 4th verse properly continues that thought, “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” In Romans 5, verses 1 and 2, the same thought is shown, the standing by faith and also standing in the hope of the glory of God—the spirit-begotten condition. In I John 1, verse 7, we are told that the blood of Christ cleanses us, the church class, from all sins. In I John 5:19 we are told that “the world lies in the wicked one.” (Diaglott) In John 17 our Lord’s great prayer of faith uttered prior to his crucifixion sets forth for us the Heavenly Father’s purposes. We feel certain this was recorded that we might have an understanding of those grand purposes. Notice how our Lord indicates that he understood how the Heavenly Father would be pleased first to accept, or recognize, the merit of his sacrifice. In the 9th verse of John 17 we read: “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them.” Here it shows the oneness of heart and spirit and purpose of God, the Father, and his dear Son. Isn’t it wonderful that our Lord appreciated that the Heavenly Father had given him, from Adam’s condemned race, these who were going to be justified in him and spirit-begotten and who would be footstep followers, walking faithfully and obediently in his steps!

He continues his prayer: “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” The great work of this age has been making the bride ready—the finding and the calling out, the selecting and the testing, and the polishing of those who are to be joint-heirs with Christ and heirs of God.—Rom. 8:17

Now we leave that for the moment to consider the New Covenant and the fact that it will be the instrument under which the mediation between God and man will be done. The mediating of that covenant will be during the time when the world will be blessed and helped and assisted up the highway of holiness to life everlasting, to return to the family of God as perfect human sons. The blood necessary for sealing, or making firm and valid, or making legal, the covenant, is the same blood that was shed for the forgiveness of sins. How do we know that? Because in Matthew 26:28 Jesus says so: “This is my blood of the New Testament [covenant], which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” This is not difficult to understand. The church, which is presently justified by Christ’s blood—or, in a figure, is under his white robe of righteousness—needs that covering. The blood, or merit, of Christ is being used for the body members until they complete their walk. It is not available for others, that is, the world of mankind. Condemnation will remain upon them until the merit of Christ is accepted by God on behalf of Adam. Until then, men will continue to die. The covenant cannot be inaugurated, or the work of mediating that covenant started, while adamic condemnation still rests upon the race. The remission of sins through the acceptance by the Father of the merit of Christ’s sacrifice for sin on behalf of Adam and his race must first take place before mankind can have an opportunity for life under the New Covenant that will be operative during the thousand years of Christ’s kingdom. How wonderful are God’s ways!

In Hebrews, the 13th chapter and the 20th verse, we have a beautiful text of scripture. “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” What we understand the apostle to be saying here is that Jesus is that great Shepherd of the sheep, because when he was raised from the dead he had the value, or merit, of his unforfeited, sinless, perfect human life. He says, in John 10:17,18, that no man takes his life from him. “I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” How? Take it again in a negotiable form that could be used for others. Thus it was in the type. The high priest, representing the spirit-begotten new creature condition of our Lord, entered in through the veil with the blood of the unblemished animal, which represented his sacrificed perfect humanity. We find, therefore, that Jesus is that great Shepherd of the sheep because he has the blood which will provide for the remission of sins and which will also seal and make firm, or validate, the New Covenant, or the “everlasting covenant,” as it is given in Hebrews 13:20.

In Hebrews, the 7th chapter, after calling attention to the superiority of the priesthood in glory (the Melchisedec priesthood, to which our Lord was raised after his resurrection), the apostle tells us in the 21st verse that there was an oath given to seal the promise. In the 6th chapter he had reminded us of the oath to Abraham confirming the promise (the oathbound covenant) that in Abraham’s seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed. (Gen 22:18) But in the 7th chapter of Hebrews he tells us that God swears that Jesus would be a Priest after the order of Melchisedec, to confirm that through our glorified Lord Jesus (and the church will be privileged to be with him as a part of that great High Priest) would come those promised blessings—the promised “seed of blessing.” In Hebrews 7:21 we read: “For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by Him that said unto Him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” By so much was Jesus made a surety, or guaranty, of a better covenant, the New Covenant, under which all the families of the earth will be blessed.

Just as the Forerunner had to enter into that beyond the veil, so also do the body members, the afterrunners, have to enter into that beyond the veil, which is its flesh. In the 10th chapter of Hebrews, the 19th verse, the Apostle Paul mentions, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness [liberty] to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.” In the 9th chapter of Hebrews, the 7th verse, the apostle explains the type of the Atonement Day. “But,” he says, “into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.” So when the apostle is exhorting the afterrunners to enter into the Holiest of all on the antitypical Atonement Day, he is showing that they are also a part of that great High Priest, who alone had the right to enter into that Holiest of all—“by the blood of Jesus,” which is our covering. There is only one blood needed. There was only one blood available. When all who are under the blood, that is, justified and spirit-begotten, have entered into that which is beyond the veil with their Lord and Head, then the blood will be available for the atonement of sin for Adam and his race, and for sealing, or making legal, the work of blessing all the people under the mediating of the New Covenant. That work will continue for a thousand years. When the kingdom is turned over to the Father, the work of mediating that covenant will have come to an end. The willing and obedient of mankind in the kingdom will realize that they have been reestablished in the relationship with God that was enjoyed by our first parents at the beginning.

When the time comes that all the church—the Christ, Head and body—have passed beyond the veil, the blood will be available for Adam and his race—not yet accepted by the Father for the world, but available. Then it will be appropriate for our Lord to fulfill the Heavenly Father’s instruction given to us in Psalm 2:8: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Remember, Jesus thanked the Heavenly Father for those whom he had given him at the beginning and prayed for those who, through their word, would believe on him down through the age. (John 17:20) He knew that the work of the Gospel Age was to be for the preparation of the bride, but he also knew that there was another fold. He knew that in due time the whole world of mankind would be turned over to him. The sequence given to us in the Holy Scriptures is that the Heavenly Father will not accept the merit of Christ’s sacrifice on behalf of Adam and his race until after the marriage of the Lamb has taken place. This is because the bride is to be with him when that offering is made and accepted of the Father. Secondly, mankind cannot be blessed until after Armageddon, because Armageddon will be consummated under the conditions of this world, or age, and not under the blessings of the New Covenant and its mediation.

Those who in the Millennial Age will be the first to receive the benefits of the completed work of sin atonement will be the ancient worthies, they “having obtained a good report through faith.” (Heb. 11:39) They will come forth perfect mentally, morally, and physically, and, for the first time in the history of humanity, there will be a righteous government and administrative forces from the top down, from the Heavenly Father, the Christ, the great company, the holy angels, and, in the earth, the ancient worthies—perfect, righteous, and able to carry forward the work that God has promised. For if Satan was the covering cherub in the Garden of Eden (Ezek. 28:13-15), it was not all righteous then. But under the New Covenant it will be, and that is important.

If there were any way in which the fallen human race could save itself, we would not have needed a Redeemer. Neither would we need a promised kingdom, with its power, its authority, its wisdom, its justice, its mercy, and its love, to accomplish these things. But we have learned—and all history bears it out—that the fallen human race cannot bring about the conditions that God has promised.

There is only one way, and that is God’s way. So we all, as footstep followers of the Master, pray with comprehension and with understanding and with earnestness and with great longing, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”

When the ancient worthies come forth, how the errors will fall as they turn a pure language to the people! (Zeph. 3:8,9) After the time of trouble (Armageddon), the great masses of mankind will for the first time really begin to hear the truth and be humbled by their experiences. It will be as the Father has said, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power.” (Ps. 110:3) And as the apostle wrote, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:13) And as Jesus said in John 3:16,17: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (See also Isaiah 45:22,23.)

Just as we go to the Father for our own shortcomings and for our needs, so also the world of mankind will call upon him that they might recognize their great need and their blessings. In Joel 2:28 we are told that God will begin to pour out his Spirit upon all flesh. And what a difference that will make! Just as the church could not develop until the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, giving them a knowledge of the truth, so will it be with the world. A pure language will be turned to them, and the Holy Spirit will begin to be poured out upon them, and progress in righteousness and every good work will begin to be noticeable in the earth. Christ will lift up a standard for the people, who will see the ancient worthies in their perfection and will appreciate their wisdom. All with a proper heart condition will quickly see the wisdom of following in their way. Righteousness will be rewarded and iniquity punished.—Isa. 33:1,17; Acts 3:22,23

In due time the power of the kingdom will lift the great majority of mankind up to become members of the family of God, as perfect human sons. They will see clearly the purpose of the Heavenly Father, made possible by the sacrifice of his beloved Son. Then all in earth will join all in heaven proclaiming praise to the Father and the Son. (Rev. 5:13) That is what we are praying for when we pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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