STUDY 11—The Kingdom of God

Any who have not carefully examined this subject, with concordance and Bible in hand, will be surprised, on doing so, to find its prominence in the Scriptures.

Our Lord Jesus in His talks with His followers strengthened and encouraged their expectations of a coming kingdom, saying to them, "I appoint unto you a kingdom as my Father hath appointed unto Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging [ruling] the twelve tribes of Israel." (Lu 22:29, 30). And, again, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Lu 12:32). And when, instead of being crowned and enthroned, their recognized king was crucified, His disciples were sorely disappointed. As two of them expressed it to the supposed stranger on their way to Emmaus after His resurrection, they had "trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel"—delivering them from the Roman yoke, and making of Israel the Kingdom of God in power and glory. But they were sadly disappointed by the changes of the few days previous. Then Jesus opened their understanding by showing them from the Scriptures that His sacrifice was needful first of all before the kingdom could be established.—Lk 14:21, 25-27.

God could have given to Jesus the dominion of earth without redeeming man; for "The Most High rules over the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He pleases." (Da 4:32). But God had a grander design than could have been accomplished by such a plan. Such a kingdom could have brought blessings which, however good, could have been of only a temporary character, since all of mankind were under condemnation to death. To make the blessings of His kingdom everlasting and complete, the race had first to be ransomed from death and legally released from the condemnation which passed upon all in Adam.

That in explaining the prophecies Jesus revived the disciples' hope of a coming kingdom is evident from the fact that afterward, as He was leaving them, they inquired, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" His answer, though not explicit, did not contradict their hopes. He said, "It is not for you to know the times and seasons which the Father hath put in His own power."—Ac 1:6,7.

True, the disciples at first, in common with the entire Jewish nation, had an imperfect conception of the Kingdom of God in supposing it to be exclusively an earthly kingdom, even as many to-day err in an opposite direction in supposing it to be exclusively a heavenly kingdom. And many of the parables and dark sayings of our Lord Jesus were intended in due time to correct these misconceptions. But He always held forth the idea of a kingdom, a government, to be established in the earth and to rule among men.

And He not only inspired in them a hope for a share in the kingdom, but He also taught them to pray for its establishment—"Your kingdom come; Your will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven."

To the worldly-wise among the Jews, our Lord seemed an impostor and fanatic; and they considered His disciples mere dupes. His wisdom and tact, and His miracles, they could not well gainsay, nor reasonably account for; yet, from their standpoint of unbelief, His claim that He was the heir of the world, and would establish the promised kingdom which should rule the world, and that His followers, all of them from the humbler walks of life, would be joint-rulers with Him in that kingdom, seemed too absurd for consideration. Rome, with its disciplined warriors, its able generals and immense wealth, was the master of the world, and was daily growing more powerful. Who, then, was this Nazarene? and who were these fishermen, without money or influence, and with but a meager following among the common people?

Who were these that they should talk about establishing the kingdom long promised to be the grandest and mightiest earth had ever known?

The Pharisees, hoping to expose the supposed weakness of our Lord's claims, and thereby to undeceive His followers, demanded of Him—When will this kingdom which you preach begin to make its appearance? when will your soldiers arrive? when will this Kingdom of God appear? (Lu 17:20-30).

Our Lord's answer would have given them a new thought had they not been prejudiced against Him and blinded by their own supposed wisdom. He answered that His kingdom would never appear in the manner in which they expected it. The kingdom, which He preached, and in which He invited His followers to joint-heirship, was an invisible kingdom, and they must not expect to see it. "He answered them and said, The Kingdom of God comes not with observation [outward manifestation]; neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for the Kingdom of God is [to be] in your midst." In a word, He showed that when His kingdom should come, it would be everywhere present and everywhere powerful, yet nowhere visible. So He gave them an idea of the spiritual kingdom which He preached; but they were unprepared and received it not. There was a measure of truth in the Jewish expectation concerning the promised kingdom, which will in due time be realized, as will be shown; but our Lord's reference here is to that spiritual phase of the kingdom, which will be invisible. And as this phase of the kingdom will be first set up, its presence will be unseen, and for a time unrecognized. The privilege of heirship in this spiritual phase of the Kingdom of God was the only offer then being made, and has been the one hope of our high calling during the entire Gospel age, which then began. Hence Jesus referred to it exclusively. (Lu 16:16). This will be more clearly seen as we proceed.

When the parables of our Lord are carefully examined, it will be found that they clearly teach that the coming or setting up of the Kingdom of God in power is future; and, as a matter of course, not until the King comes. So the parable of the young nobleman going into a far country to receive a kingdom and to return, etc. (Lu 19:11-15), clearly locates the establishment of the Kingdom at the return of Christ. And the message sent by the Lord to the Church long years afterward was, "Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life." (Re 2:10). From this it is evident that the kings who will reign with Him will not be crowned nor reign as kings in this life.

The Church at present, therefore, is not the Kingdom of God set up in power and glory, but in its incipient, embryo condition. And so, indeed all the expressions of the New Testament with reference to it teach. The kingdom of heaven now suffers violence at the hands of the world; the King was maltreated and crucified; and whosoever will follow in His footsteps shall suffer persecution and violence in some form. This, it will be observed, is true only of the real Church, and not of the nominal one. But the promise is held out that if now we (the Church, the embryo kingdom) suffer with Christ, we also, in due time, when He takes to Himself His great power and reigns, shall be glorified and shall reign with Him.

With the early Church, the promises of kingdom honor and joint-heirship with the Master were strong incentives to faithfulness under present trials and persecutions, which they had been forewarned to expect; and in all the words of comfort and encouragement in the Apocalypse, given to the seven churches, none shine out more clearly and forcibly than those which declare, "To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne;" and, "To him that overcomes will I give power over the nations.

These are promises which could not reasonably be misconstrued to apply to a present work of grace in the heart, nor yet to a reign over the nations in the present life; since they who would overcome must do so by death in the service, and gain the kingdom honors.—Re 20:6.

Two Phases of the Kingdom of God While it is true, as stated by our Lord, that the Kingdom of God comes not—does not make its first appearance—with outward show, in due time it is to be made manifest to all by outward, visible and unmistakable signs. When fully set up, the Kingdom of God will be of two parts, a spiritual or heavenly phase and an earthly or human phase. The spiritual will always be invisible to men, as those composing it will be of the divine, spiritual nature, which no man hath seen nor can see (1Ti 6:16; Joh 1:18); yet its presence and power will be mightily manifested, chiefly through its human representatives, who will constitute the earthly phase of the Kingdom of God.

Those who will constitute the spiritual phase of the kingdom are the overcoming saints of the Gospel age—the Christ, head and body—glorified. Their resurrection and exaltation to power precedes that of all others, because through this class all others are to be blessed. (Heb 11:39, 40). Theirs is the first resurrection. (Re 20:5). The great work before this glorious anointed company—the Christ—necessitates their exaltation to the divine nature; no other than divine power could accomplish it. Theirs is a work pertaining not only to this world, but to all things in heaven and in earth—among spiritual as well as among human beings.—Mt 28:18; Col 1:20; Eph 1:10; Php 2:10, 1Co 6:3.

The work of the earthly phase of the Kingdom of God will be confined to this world and to humanity.

And those (the Ancient Worthies) so highly honored as to have a share in it will be the most exalted and honored of God among men. As the spiritual nature is necessary to the accomplishment of the work of Christ, so perfect human nature is appropriate for the future accomplishment of the work to be done among men. These will minister among and be seen of men, while the glory of their perfection will be a constant example and an incentive to other men to strive to attain the same perfection. And that these Ancient Worthies will be in the human phase of the kingdom and seen of mankind is fully attested by Jesus' words to the unbelieving Jews who were rejecting Him. He said, "You shall see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God." It should be noticed also, that the Master does not mention that He or the apostles will be visible with Abraham. As a matter of fact, men will see and mingle with the earthly phase of the kingdom, but not with the spiritual; and some will, no doubt, be sorely vexed to find that they rejected so great an honor.

As Jerusalem was the seat of empire under the typical Kingdom of God, it will again occupy the same position, and be "the city of the Great King." (Ps 48:2; Mt 5:35). A city is a symbol of a kingdom or dominion, and so God's Kingdom is symbolized by the New Jerusalem, the new dominion coming from heaven to earth. At first it will consist of only the spiritual class, the Bride of Christ, which, as seen by John, will gradually come down to earth; that is, it will gradually come into power as the present empires break in pieces, during the Day of the Lord. In due time, however, the earthly phase of this city of government will be established, parts or members of which will be the Ancient Worthies. There will not be two cities (governments), but one city, one heavenly government, the one for which Abraham looked, "a city which hath foundations"—a government established in righteousness, being founded upon the sure rock foundation of the righteousness of Christ the Redeemer, the value of man's ransom which He gave, and the firmness of divine justice, which can no more condemn the redeemed than it could previously excuse the guilty.—Ro 8:31-34; 1Co 3:11.

Glorious City of Peace! whose walls signify salvation, protection and blessing to all who enter it, whose foundations laid in justice can never be moved, and whose builder and designer if God! It is in the light which will shine from this glorious city (kingdom) of God that the nations (people) will walk on the highway of holiness, up to perfection and to full harmony with God.—Re 21:24.

The Iron Rule Many erroneously suppose that when Christ's Millennial Kingdom is inaugurated every one will be pleased with its ruling. But not so. Its regulations will be far more exacting than those of any previous government, and the liberties of the people will be restricted to a degree that will be galling indeed to many now clamoring for an increase of liberty. Liberty to deceive, to misrepresent, to overreach and to defraud others, will be entirely cut off. Liberty to abuse themselves or others in food or in drink, or in any way to corrupt good manners, will be totally denied to all. Liberty or license to do wrong of any sort will not be granted to any. The only liberty that will be granted to any will be the true and glorious liberty of the sons of God—liberty to do good to themselves and others in any and in every way; but nothing will be allowed to injure or destroy in all that Holy Kingdom. (Isa 11:9; Ro 8:21). That rule will consequently be felt by many to be a severe one, breaking up all their former habits and customs, as well as breaking up present institutions founded upon these false habits and false ideas of liberty. Because of its firmness and vigor, it is symbolically called an iron rule—"He shall rule them with a rod of iron." (Compare Re 2:26, 27; Ps 2:8-12 and Ps 49:14). So will be fulfilled the statement, "Judgment will I lay to the line and righteousness to the plummet. And the hail [righteous judgment] shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters [truth] shall overflow the hiding place," and every hidden thing shall be revealed.—Isa 28:17; Mt 10:26.

Many will feel rebellious against that perfect and equitable rule because accustomed in the past, under the rule of the present prince, to lord it over their fellow mortals, and to live wholly at the expense of others without rendering compensating service. And many and severe will be the stripes which a present life of self-indulgence and gratification will naturally demand and receive under that reign, before such will learn the lessons of that kingdom—equity, justice, righteousness. (Ps 89:32; Lu 12:47, 48). The lesson on this subject comes first to the living generation, and is near at hand.—James 5.

But, blessed thought! when the Prince of Life has put in force the laws of righteousness and equity with an iron rule, the masses of mankind will learn that "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." They will learn that God's plan and laws are best in the end for all concerned, and ultimately they will learn to love righteousness and hate iniquity. (Ps 45:7; Heb 1:9). All who under that reign have not learned to love the right will be counted unworthy of lasting life and will be cut off from among the people.—Ac 3:23; Re 20:9; Ps 11:5-7.

STUDY 12—The Day of Jehovah

The "Day of Jehovah" is the name of that period of time in which God's Kingdom, under Christ, is to be gradually "set up" in the earth, while the kingdoms of this world are passing away and Satan's power and influence over men are being bound. It is everywhere described as a dark day of intense trouble and distress and perplexity upon mankind. And what wonder that a revolution of such proportions, and necessitating such great changes, should cause trouble. Small revolutions have caused trouble in every age; and this, so much greater than any previous revolution, is to be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation—no, nor ever shall be.—Da 12:1; Mt 24:21, 22.

It is called the "Day of Jehovah" because, though Christ, with royal title and power, will be present as Jehovah's representative, taking charge of all the affairs during this day of trouble, it is more as the General of Jehovah, subduing all things, than as the Prince of Peace, blessing all. Meantime, as false and imperfect views and systems fall, the standard of the new King will rise, and eventually He shall be recognized and owned by all as King of kings. So it is presented by the prophets as Jehovah's work to set up Christ's dominion: "I will give you the Gentiles for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession." (Ps 2:8). "In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom." (Da 2:44). The Ancient of days did sit, and there was brought before Him one like unto a son of man, and there was given him a dominion, that all kingdoms should serve and obey him. (Dan. 79, 13, 14, 22, 27). Added to these is Paul's statement that, when Christ shall accomplish the object of His reign, "then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him [the Father] that PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIM."—1Co 15:28.

This period is called the "Day of Vengeance of our God," and a "Day of Wrath." (Isa 61:2; 63:1-4; Ps 60:5.) And yet the mind that grasps only the idea of anger, or supposes divine malice, seriously errs. God has established certain laws, in harmony with which He operates, and those who from any cause come into conflict with these reap the penalty or wrath of their own course. God's counsel to mankind has been continually rejected, except by the few; and, as we have shown, He permitted them to have their own way and to drop Him and His counsels from their hearts. (Ro 1:28).

The Present Situation We here mark more particularly the present aspect of affairs in the world, as we now see them shaping themselves for the rapidly approaching conflict—a conflict which, when its terrible climax is reached, must necessarily be a short one, else the race would be exterminated. The two rival parties to this battle are already visible. Wealth, arrogance and pride are on one side, and widely-prevailing poverty, ignorance, bigotry and a keen sense of injustice are on the other. Both, impelled by selfish motives, are now organizing their forces all over the civilized world. With our eyes anointed with truth, wherever we look we can see that the sea and the waves are already roaring and lashing and foaming out against the mountains, as represented in the threats and attempts of anarchists and discontents whose numbers are constantly increasing. We can see, too, that the friction between the various factions or elements of society a rapidly getting to the point described by the prophets, when the earth (society) will be on fire, and the elements will melt and disintegrate with the mutually generated heat.

All this trouble will but prepare the world to realize that though men may plan and arrange ever so well and wisely, all their plans will prove futile as long as ignorance and selfishness are in the majority and have the control. It will convince all that the only feasible way of correcting the difficulty is by the setting up of a strong and righteous government, which will subdue all classes, and enforce principles of righteousness, until gradually the stony-heartedness of men will, under favorable influences, give place to the original image of God. And this is just what God has promised to accomplish for all, by and through the Millennial Reign of Christ, which Jehovah introduces by the chastisements and lessons of this day of trouble.—Eze 11:19; 36:25, 36; Jer 31:29-34; Zep 3:9; Ps 46:8-10.

Duty and Privilege of the Saints An important question arises regarding the duty of the saints during this trouble, and their proper attitude toward the two opposing classes now coming into prominence. That some of the saints will still be in the flesh during at least a part of this burning time seems possible. Their position in it, however, will differ from that of others, not so much in that they will be miraculously preserved (though it is distinctly promised that their bread and water shall be sure), but in the fact that, being instructed from God's Word, they will not feel the same anxiety and hopeless dread that will overspread the world. They will recognize the trouble as the preparation, according to God's plan, for blessing the whole world, and they will be cheered and comforted through it all. This is forcibly stated in Ps 41; Isa 33:2-14, 15-24.

So comforted and blessed by the divine assurance, the first duty of the saints is to let the world see that in the middle of all the prevailing trouble and discontent, and even while they share the trouble and suffer under it, they are hopeful, cheerful and always rejoicing in view of the glorious outcome foretold in God's Word.

The Apostle has written that "Godliness with contentment is great gain;" and though this has always been true, it will have double force in this Day of the Lord, when discontent is the chief ailment among all worldly classes. To these the saints should be a notable exception. There never was a time when dissatisfaction was so wide-spread; and yet there never was a time when men enjoyed so many favors and blessings. Wherever we look, whether into the palaces of the rich, replete with conveniences and splendors of which Solomon in all his glory knew almost nothing, or whether we look into the comfortable home of the thrifty and temperate wage-worker, with its evidence of taste, comfort, art and luxury, we see that in every way the present exceeds in bountiful supply every other period since the creation, many-fold; and yet the people are unhappy and discontented. The fact is that the desires of a selfish, depraved heart know no bounds. Selfishness has so taken possession of all, that, as we look out, we see the whole world madly pushing and driving and clutching after wealth. A few only being successful, the remainder are envious and soured because they are not the fortunate ones, and all are discontented and miserable—more so than in any former time.

But the saint should take no part in that struggle. His consecration vow was that he would strive and grasp and run for a higher, a heavenly prize, and hence he is weaned from earthly ambitions, and labors not for earthly things, except to provide things decent and needful; for he is giving heed to the course and example of the Master and the apostles.

Therefore they have contentment with their godliness, not because they have no ambition, but because their ambition is turned heavenward and absorbed in the effort to lay up treasure in heaven and to be rich toward God; in view of which, and of their knowledge of God's plans revealed in His Word, they are content with whatever of an earthly sort God may provide. These can joyfully sing: "Content, whatever lot I see, Since 'tis God's hand that leadeth me."

If the example of the saints is one of contentment and joyful anticipation, and a cheerful submission to present trials in sure hope of the good time coming, such living examples alone are valuable lessons for the world. And in addition to the example, the counsel of the saints to those about them should be in harmony with their faith. It should be of the nature of ointment and healing balm. Advantage should be taken of circumstances to point the world to the good time coming, to preach to them the coming Kingdom of God, and to show the real cause of present troubles, and the only remedy.—Lu 3:14; Heb 13:5; Php 4:11.

STUDY 13—Concluding Thoughts

In the preceding chapters we have seen that both the light of nature and that of revelation clearly demonstrate the fact that an intelligent, wise, almighty and righteous God is the creator of all things, and that He is the supreme and right Lord of all; that all things animate and inanimate are subject to His control; and that the Bible is the revelation of His character and plans so far as He is pleased to disclose them to men. From it we have learned that though evil now predominates among some of His creatures, it exists for only a limited time and to a limited extent, and by His permission, for wise ends which He has in view. We have also learned that though darkness now covers the earth, and gross darkness the people, yet God's light will in due time dispel all the darkness, and the whole earth will be filled with His glory.

We have seen that His great plan is one that has required ages for its accomplishment this far, and that yet another age will be required to complete it; and that during all the dark ages of the past, when God seemed to have almost forgotten His creatures, His plan for their future blessing has been silently but grandly working out, though during all those ages the mysteries of His plan have been wisely hidden from men. We have also seen that the day or age which is now about to dawn upon the world is to be the day of the world's judgment or trial, and that all previous preparation has been for the purpose of giving mankind in general as favorable an opportunity as possible, when, as individuals, they will be placed on trial for eternal life. The long period of six thousand years has greatly multiplied the race, and their buffetings and sufferings under the dominion of evil have given them an experience which will be greatly to their advantage when they are brought to judgment. And though the race as a whole has been permitted to suffer for six thousand years, yet as individuals they have run their course in a few brief years.

We have seen that while the race was undergoing this necessary discipline, in due time God sent His Son to redeem them; and that while the mass of mankind did not recognize the Redeemer in His humiliation, and would not believe that the Lord's Anointed would come to their rescue, yet from among those whose hearts were toward God, and who believed His promises, God has been, during these ages past, selecting two companies to receive the honors of His kingdom—the honors of sharing in the execution of the divine plan. These two select companies, we have seen, are to constitute the two phases of the Kingdom of God.

And from the prophets we learn that this kingdom is soon to be established in the earth; that under its wise and just administration all the families of the earth will be blessed with a most favorable opportunity to prove themselves worthy of everlasting life; that as the result of their redemption by the precious blood of Christ, a grand highway of holiness will be cast up; that the ransomed of the Lord (all mankind—Heb 2:9) may walk in it; that it will be a public thoroughfare made comparatively easy for all who earnestly desire to become pure, holy; and that all the stumbling stones will be gathered out, and all the snares, allurements and pitfalls removed, and blessed will all those be who go up thereon to perfection and everlasting life.

It is manifest that this judgment, or rulership, cannot begin until Christ, whom Jehovah hath appointed to be the Judge or Ruler of the World, has come again—not again in humiliation, but in power and great glory: not again to redeem the world, but to judge [rule] the world in righteousness. A trial can in no case proceed until the judge is on the bench and the court in session at the appointed time, though before that time there may be a great preparatory work. Then shall the King sit upon the throne of His glory, and before Him shall be gathered all nations, and He shall judge them during that age by their works, opening to them the books of the Scriptures and filling the earth with the knowledge of the Lord. And by their conduct under all that favor and assistance He shall decide who of them are worthy of life everlasting in the ages of glory and joy to follow.—Mt 25:31; Re 20:11-13.

So we have seen that the second advent of Messiah, to set up His kingdom in the earth, is an event in which all classes of men may have hope, an event which, when fully understood, will bring joy and gladness to all hearts. It is the day when the Lord's "little flock" of consecrated saints has the greatest cause for rejoicing. It is the glad day when the espoused virgin Church with joy becomes the Bride, the Lamb's wife; when she comes up out of the wilderness leaning upon the arm of her Beloved, and enters into His glorious inheritance. It is the day when the true Church, glorified with its Head, will be endued with divine authority and power, and will begin the great work of the world, the result of which will be the complete restoration of all things. And it will be a glad day for the world when the great adversary is bound, when the fetters that have held the race for six thousand years are broken, and when the knowledge of the Lord fills the whole earth as the waters cover the sea.

A knowledge of these things, and the evidences that they are nigh, even at the door, should have a powerful influence upon all, but especially upon the consecrated children of God, who are seeking the prize of the divine nature. We urge such, while they life up their heads and rejoice, knowing that their redemption draws nigh, to lay aside every weight and hindrance, and to run patiently the race in which they have started. Look away from self and its unavoidable weaknesses and imperfections, knowing that all such weaknesses are covered fully by the merits of the ransom given by Christ Jesus our Lord, and that your sacrifices and self-denials are acceptable to God through our Redeemer and Lord—and this only. Let us remember that the strength sufficient which God has promised us, and by use of which we can be "overcomers," is provided in His Word. It is a strength derived from a knowledge of His character and plans, and of the conditions upon which we may share in them. So Peter expresses it, saying, "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that BY THESE you might be partakers of the divine nature."—2Pe 1:2-4.

But to obtain this knowledge and this strength, which God proposes to supply to each runner for the heavenly prize, will surely test the sincerity of your consecration vows. You have consecrated all your time, all your talents, to the Lord; now the question is, How much of it are you giving? Are you still willing, according to your covenant of consecration, to give up all?—to give up your own plans and methods, and the theories of yourselves and others, to accept of God's plan and way and time of doing His great work? Are you willing to do this at the cost of earthly friendships and social ties? And are you willing to give up time from other things for the investigation of these glorious themes so heart-cheering to the truly consecrated, with the certain knowledge that it will cost you this self-denial? If all is not consecrated, or if you only half meant it when you gave all to the Lord, then you will begrudge the time and effort needful to search His Word as for hid treasure, to obtain the strength needful for all the trials of faith incident to the present (the dawn of the Millennium) above other times.

But think not that the giving will end with the giving of the needful time and energy to this study: it will not. The sincerity of your sacrifice of self will be tested in full, and will prove you either worthy or unworthy of membership in that "little flock," the overcoming Church, which will receive the honors of the kingdom. If you give diligence to the Word of God, and receive its truths into a good, honest, consecrated heart, it will beget in you such a love for God and His plan, and such a desire to tell the good tidings, to preach the gospel, that it will become the all-absorbing theme of life thereafter; and this will not only separate you from the world and from many nominal Christians, in spirit, but it will lead to separation from such entirely. They will think you peculiar and separate you from their company, and you will be despised and counted a fool for Christ's sake; because they know us not, even as they knew not the Lord.—2Co 4:8-10; Lu 6:22; 1Jo 3:1; 1Co 3:18.

Are you willing to follow on to know the Lord through evil and through good report? Are you willing to forsake all, to follow as He may lead you by His Word? —to ignore the wishes of friends, as well as your own desires? It is hoped that many of the consecrated who read this booklet may by it be so quickened to fresh zeal and fervency of spirit, through a clearer apprehension of the divine plan, that they will be able to say, "By the grace of God, I will follow on to know and to serve the Lord, whatever may be the sacrifice involved." Like the noble Bereans (Ac 17:11) let such studiously set themselves to prove what has been presented in the foregoing pages. Prove it, not by the conflicting traditions and creeds of men, but by the only correct and divinely authorized standard—God's own Word. It is to facilitate such investigation that we have cited so many Scriptures.

It will be useless to attempt to harmonize the divine plan herein set forth with many of the ideas previously held and supposed to be Scriptural, yet not proved so. It will be observed that the divine plan is complete and harmonious with itself in every part, and that it is in perfect harmony with the character which the Scriptures ascribe to its great Author. It is a marvelous display of wisdom, justice, love and power. It carries with it its own evidence of superhuman design, being beyond the power of human comprehension.

Doubtless questions will arise on various points inquiring for solution according to the plan herein presented. Careful, thoughtful Bible study will settle many of these at once; and to all we can confidently say, No question which you can raise need go without a sufficient answer, fully in harmony with the views herein presented. This harmony not only with the Bible, but with the divine character and with sanctified common sense, must have arrested the attention of the conscientious reader already, and filled him with awe, as well as with hope and confidence. It is marvelous indeed, yet just what we should expect of the TRUTH, and of God's infinitely wise and beneficent plan.

And while the Bible is opening up from this standpoint, and disclosing wondrous things (Ps 69:18), the light of the present day upon the various creeds and traditions of men is affecting them in an opposite manner. They are being recognized even by their worshippers as imperfect and deformed, and hence they are being measurably ignored; and though still subscribed to, they are seldom elaborated; for very shame. And the shame attaching to these human creeds and traditions is spreading to the Bible, which is supposed to uphold these deformities of thought as of divine origin. Hence the freedom with which the various advanced thinkers, so-called, are beginning to deny various parts of the Bible not congenial to their views. How striking, then, the providence of God, which at this very time opens before His children this truly glorious and harmonious plan—a plan that rejects not one, but harmonizes every part and item of His Word. Truth, when due, becomes meat for the household of faith, that they may grow thereby. (Mt 24:45). Whoever comes in contact with truth, realizing its character, has thereby a responsibility with reference to it. It must be either received and acted upon, or rejected and despised. To ignore it does not release from responsibility. If we accept it ourselves, we have a responsibility TOWARD IT also, because it is for ALL the household of faith; and each one receiving it becomes its debtor, and, if a faithful steward, must dispense it to the other members of the family of God. Let your light shine! If it again becomes darkness, how great will be the darkness. Lift up the light! Lift up a standard for the people!


"God's ways are equal: storm or calm, Seasons of peril and of rest, The hurting dart, the healing balm, Are all apportioned as is best.

In judgments oft misunderstood, In ways mysterious and obscure, He brings from evil lasting good, And makes the final gladness sure.

While Justice takes its course with strength, Love bids our faith and hope increase: He'll give the chastened world at length His afterward of peace.

"When the dread forces of the gale His sterner purposes perform, And human skill can naught avail Against the fury of the storm, Let loving hearts trust in Him still, Through all the dark and devious way; For who would thwart His blessed will, Which leads through night to joyous day?

Be still beneath His tender care; For He will make the tempest cease, And bring from out the anguish here An afterward of peace.

"Look up, O Earth; no storm can last Beyond the limits God hath set.

When its appointed work is past, In joy you shall your grief forget.

Where sorrow's plowshare hath swept through, Your fairest flowers of life shall spring, For God shall grant you life anew, And all your wastes shall laugh and sing.

Hope you in Him; His plan for you Shall end in triumph and release.

Fear not, for you shall surely see His afterward of peace."

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