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in his kingdom,' as Scripture phrases it, with power and great glory. In fact, the view in question utterly ignores or confounds two distinct eras in the kingdom of Christ : the era that now is, the era of spiritual influence and of the election of grace, in which the Lord is taking out a people for his name, and the era when He will take unto Him his great power and reign, and when the Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.
And, if we consider it, nothing short of this, of a visible and personal manifestation of Christ, as a King reigning on earth, would meet the requirements of the case, or be an adequate realization of the predictions and promises concerning his kingdom. Is it not meet and suitable that where the Son of Man personally carried the Cross, there He should wear the Crown; that where He was known as the Man of Sorrows, there also He should be manifested as the Lord of Glory? Shall not the scene of his personal humiliation be also the scene of his personal exaltation? Where as a Priest He rendered that obedience unto death by which He entitled Himself to the kingdom, shall He not there sit a Priest upon his throne'? There, where his heel was bruised, shall He not crush the serpent's head? It can scarcely be regarded as a consummated triumph, unless the Lord Jesus shall visibly and personally reign, where visibly and personally He suffered and bled and died to win the kingdom. Couple, now, with the presumption arising out of these considerations, the many plain and positive statements of Holy Writ that the Lord our Right
eousness shall as a King reign and prosper and execute judgment and justice in the earth, and the proof becomes, I think, irresistible, that following upon the present era of spiritual rule and providential government, there will be a visible and personal manifestation of Christ as a King, reigning on the earth in power and with great glory.
And, indeed, nothing short of this could satisfy the longings of his saints, or adequately meet the promises and expectations held out to them. No doubt it was expedient that their Lord should go away in order that the Comforter might come, because the dispensation of the Spirit was to precede and prepare for a greater and grander development of the kingdom. But the presence of Christ by his Spirit does not supersede, and was not intended to supersede, the desire for his visible and personal presence. 'I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am ye may be also,' was his own promise before his ascension. Immediately after his ascension, the prospect of his return was held out
to the Church as its great sustaining and consoling Tit. ü. 12, 13. hope. Hence Christian believers are described as
those who, under a present discipline of grace, are looking for that blessed hope, even the appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, as waiting for Him from heaven, as loving his appearing, as responding to the announcement, 'Behold, I come quickly,' • Even so, come, Lord Jesus.' Excellent and precious as are their present privileges and endowments, they know that they infinitely fall short of the surpassing blessedness of that era when, at the manifestation of Christ their life, they
John xiv. 3.
1 Thess. 4. 10.
2 Tim. iv. 8.
Rev. xxii. 2).
col. iii. 4.
also shall be manifested with Him in glory. Now, CHAP. VII. indeed, they are the sons of God, and though it doth 1 John ii. 2. not yet appear what they shall be in all exactness, yet this much they certainly know, that when Christ shall appear they shall be made like unto Him, for they shall see Him as He is. Therefore, though indeed they come behind in no gift,' yet are their 1 Cor. i. 7. faces turned heavenward, looking for the manifestation in his kingdom of the Lord Jesus, because Rev. v. 10. they, being made kings and priests unto God, shall, on his coming to reign, reign with Him upon the earth.
And this brings us to another distinguishing feature of that era of the kingdom of Christ which we are now contemplating, that on the coming of Christ to judge the world, that is, to reign over it, the saved ones, the elect saints of the previous era, shall be associated with Him in the dominion." This forms the subject of repeated and emphatic statement and promise. "To him that overcometh,' saith our Lord,
will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as Rev. iii. 21. I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.' “Do ye not know,' says St. Paul to the Corinthians, reproving them for resorting to heathen tribunals in settlement of their disputes, instead of referring the matter to the arbitration of believers, 'Do ye not know that the saints shall 1 Cor. vi. 2. judge the world ? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?' But how ought they to have known this ? By the utterances of prophecy and by the promise of their Lord. So it was written in the book of the Dan. vii. 14, 27. Prophet Daniel, that the kingdom and dominion and
Matt. xix. 28.
Rom. viii, 17.
Jas. ii. 5.
the greatness of the kingdom, before spoken of as given to the Son of Man, shall be given to the people
of the saints of the Most High. So, too, had Christ Luke zxii. 29, 30. Himself distinctly promised, “I appoint unto you a
kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me.' In this dominion, it is further intimated, the apostles shall enjoy a pre-eminence. “Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.' But while to these a pre-eminence be assigned, to all the saints will be given some share in the kingdom, for as children of the kingdom they are ' heirs of the kingdom which
God hath promised to them that love Him, yea, 2 Tim, ii. 11, 12. (joint heirs with Christ';'for it is a faithful saying,'
says St. Paul, 'that if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him ; if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.' When, then, Christ as 'a King shall reign in righteousness,' the saints as 'princes shall rule in judgment.' Thus shall be brought to pass the divine beatitude, ‘Blessed are the meek : for they shall inherit the earth. Thus shall be realized the Apocalyptic song in praise of the Lamb, • Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof; for Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood, out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation, and hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.'
But, then, what means the reigning of the saints, what shall be the nature of their rule, how shall it be exercised, and for what purpose? In answer to
Isa, caci. 1.
Matt, v. 5.
this I would say: Think what Christ's kingdom is, CHAP. VII. consider what is its nature and object, and we shall have little difficulty in understanding what is meant, when it is said that his saints shall reign with Him. Did the Son of God become incarnate and die to redeem mankind; because of his obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, was He highly exalted and given the name above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father; has a kingdom been conferred upon Him for this end, and does it consist in this, the rescuing of fallen man from the thrall of sin and Satan, and bringing him back to God; is He now reigning in a way of spiritual influence, operating by his Spirit on the conscience and reason of men, to take out from them a people for his name; and are these chosen ones now to interest themselves in the salvation of their fellow-men, and earnestly to strive to win souls to Christ; is He in another era, succeeding this, to come in power and great glory, and visibly and personally to reign on the earth ; is the purpose of that reign, and will it eventuate in this, the subduing of all things to his rightful authority, and the gathering up together all all things in Him ?—then, when it is said that the saved ones of this era are, as kings and priests unto God, to sit with Christ upon his throne and to reign with Him on the earth, we see that it must mean that they are to share with Him in the great work of the world's recovery ; that they are to be gracious instruments in his hands for the accomplishment of his redemptive purpose; that for this end He will