"THERE SHALL BE SHOWERS OF BLESSING"
"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My
holy Mountain [Kingdom]."--Isaiah 11:9.
ACCUSTOMED as all mankind have been to misrule and misgovernment, it was necessary that assurance should be given to Israel that the Kingdom of Messiah which God would one day set up in the earth would not only have good motives and intentions, but would also possess superior power of knowledge and judgment. And this is what the Prophet Isaiah pointed out. The new King will not need to rely upon the common channels of information in the giving of His blessings and in the administering of His reproofs and chastisements, but will have a superhuman endowment of power by which He will know the very thoughts and intents of the heart. He will not need to judge after the hearing of the ear or by the sight of the eye, as must all earthly rulers, however well intentioned.--Isaiah 11:3,4.
It was proper also that Israel and all others should know that the Kingdom of God to be established would be absolutely just and impartial; for their experiences have demonstrated that even the wisest and best of their rulers, lawmakers, judges, etc., have been largely governed by selfishness. The world's great ones have amassed wealth at the expense of their subjects, and have made their special friends wealthy and have granted them special privileges, often-times at the expense of the poor, the helpless, the despised. Hence the Lord through the Prophet assures us that earth's new King will administer equity toward all; that the meek, the backward, the modest and unassuming, those who are indisposed to press their claims and to assert their rights, will have His particular assistance; and that the poor, who have few to sympathize with them or to encourage or help them, will find in the new King a Friend.
MILLENNIUM NOT THROUGH EVOLUTION
Those who expect the Millennial Kingdom to come as a result of present efforts, under the order of society now prevailing, and who believe that the world is gradually approaching the Millennium by an evolutionary process, should carefully consider this Word of the Lord through the Prophet, as shown in our text and context. The Prophet declares that when Messiah shall take the reins of government, His first step will be to judge the poor, and to reprove the rich in equity, in the interests of the meek of the earth. How could this be possible, if equity had already prevailed by a gradual process, so that there were no poor and no rich, and so that all had become meek?
Other Scriptures in harmony with this testimony of the Prophet Isaiah, show that the very work which our Lord is to do at the beginning of His Reign will be to correct the wrongs then prevailing. Our Lord Himself implies that the earth will be far from being in a blessed condition at His Second Advent, when He asks the question, "When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find The Faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8.) The Revelator also gives no uncertain testimony on this subject. He says: "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in Heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever....And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward to Thy servants the Prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear Thy name, small and great, and shouldest destroy them that corrupt the earth."--Revelation 11:15-18.
BIBLE HARMONIOUS AND CONSISTENT
Many Scriptures are of like import. The position of the Bible is throughout harmonious and consistent. It describes the present time, while sin is prevailing, as "the present evil world," in which "the prince of this world" rules, and in which the Lord's true people, the Body of Christ, the heirs of the Kingdom, "suffer violence," and declares that this violence is working out for those who are rightly exercised by it a character which will be approved by the Lord. The Scriptures point out that to [R5574 : page 339] God's faithful saints who suffer now will be granted this glorious new Kingdom in joint-heirship with Messiah. They shall be given the dominion "under the whole heavens," as declared by the angel to Daniel the Prophet. (Daniel 7:27.) This dominion Jehovah will wrest by force from the "prince of this world," Satan, and will give it to His Son, whose Bride will share her Bridegroom's Kingdom. This transfer will be accomplished in a great Time of Trouble, which is to end this present world, the present social order.
In our context the Prophet goes on to say, "He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked." It is very evident, then, that at the time of the establishment of the Kingdom there will not only be poor needing assistance and succor, but there will be the wicked also. The rod of Messiah's mouth signifies the judgments which He has already expressed, and which have very largely gone unheeded by Christendom. We remember His declaration: [R5574 : page 340] "He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath One that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last Day" (John 12:48) --the Day of Judgment, now present, since 1874. Christendom in general has admitted the righteousness of the Lord's Word, but those who attempt to live in harmony with that Word are remarkably few. Consequently, when the time shall come that "judgment shall be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet," and when this judgment shall begin at the nominal House of God, the nominal systems will fall--condemned by that Word.
Only the faithful few, the Lord's jewels, shall "be accounted worthy to escape those things coming upon the world," when, as elsewhere described, "He [The Lord] shall speak to them [the world] in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure"--when He shall render vengeance to His enemies, and recompense to those who have known the Master's will, yet have done it not. "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." "Wait ye upon Me, saith Jehovah, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them Mine indignation, even all My fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language [message] that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent." (Zephaniah 3:8,9.) "Righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins." (Isaiah 11:5.) The girdle represents diligence, service; and the proclamation here is that Messiah will be a faithful, diligent Servant of God, accomplishing all the work entrusted to His care.
GREAT CHANGES IN ANIMAL CREATION
The reference in this 11th chapter of Isaiahto the change of disposition in the animal kingdom, so that the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid, the calf and the lion, will dwell in harmony, is in full accord with the general Scriptural outlines of "the Times of Restitution of all things." Not only is mankind to be restored, to be brought back to his primeval condition of human perfection and harmony with his Maker, but the lower animals will also share in the blessing and the restoration of order to be accomplished by the Reign of Christ, now, we believe, very near at hand.
In the Genesis account there is no intimation that the animals over which Adam had control were wild, vicious, at enmity with man. On the contrary, the implication is that they were in complete subjection to their perfect master. We may reasonably suppose that while the race, under the disintegrating influence of man's death sentence, gradually lost more and more of the likeness of their Maker in which the first man was created, they at the same time lost the power of control over the lower animals.
The nature of the power possessed by the perfect Adam may still be imperfectly traced in the superior ability of certain of the fallen race to control the brute creation. Thus we see that some men can exercise mental force and control, not only over wild horses, but also over the ferocious beasts of the jungle. Adam was declared by the Lord to be the king of earth, and as such he was recognized by the lower orders of creation. After mankind had lost his original mental power to control the lower animals, a warfare sprang up between them, in which man has been compelled to pit force against force, as he has lost his hold upon the animal creation.
The restoration of mankind to that exalted position which was lost by sin implies naturally, therefore, a restoration of the brute creation to primeval conditions, such as is suggested in the prophecy which we are considering. The same thought is conveyed in the statement that "a little child shall lead," or control, the wild beasts, when these are brought into their proper relationship with mankind. In chapter 65:25of Isaiah's prophecy, it is stated of the Millennial conditions that "the wolf and the lamb shall feed together." The reference may be to men who were formerly of wolflike and of lamblike dispositions, or character; or it may refer to animals, or to both. The expression in either case signifies a blessed Reign of Peace. The Prophet continues, "And the lion shall eat straw like the bullock, and the dust shall be the serpent's meat." If this refers to literal lions, it would imply that they will lose their carnivorous dispositions, and that they will undergo some change which will make them herbivorous, as animals were originally created. (Genesis 1:30.) It would seem to imply that animals will not then prey upon one another.
DAWN OF HOPE FOR THE WORLD
The expression, "Dust shall be the serpent's meat," is similar to the statement in Psalm 72:9, regarding Messiah's coming dominion: "His enemies shall lick the dust," signifying the destruction of the serpent, or rather, of the great Adversary, Satan, whom the serpent symbolizes. "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy Mountain [Kingdom], saith the Lord."
The birth of the true Zion, the Church of Christ, will be the cause of rejoicing among all who truly love righteousness; for, though it will at first dash in pieces all their long-cherished hopes, it will be the dawn of a real hope for all the world. It will humble their pride and despoil them of all their cherished possessions and of what they have come to consider their rights. It will break down their boasted institutions, civil, social and religious, and completely wreck the present social order. Yet it will be the necessary prelude to the establishment of the grand New Order, which will come to be "the desire of all nations," as soon as they shall see its vast superiority to the old order.
TWO CLASSES BORN OUT OF ZION
In describing the birth of the "Man-child," The Christ, whose Head was born more than eighteen hundred years ago, and the Body of whom is now soon to be born, the Prophet Isaiah exclaims (chapter 66:7,8), "Before she travailed she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a Man-child! Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children." The especially marvelous thing that the Prophet here records is that a "Man-child" is to be born out of Zion before Zion travails. This is a striking reference to the fact, elsewhere clearly taught, that the ripe "wheat" of the Gospel Church are to be separated from the unripe wheat and the "tares" at the end of this Age, that they are to be exalted and glorified before the burning, the consuming, trouble shall come.
This "Man-child," then, is the Little Flock, the Body of Christ, the true Zion. Out of nominal Zion will come this First-fruits class, before the nominal System will be overthrown; for she will die in her travail pains, and in dying, will bring forth her later children, the Great Company. In this great Day of the Lord, nominal Zion will bring forth the Man-child and these later children.
"Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord. Shall I cause to bring forth and [R5574 : page 341] shut the womb? saith thy God." Ah, no! As surely as the Head was brought forth, so surely shall the Body also be born. The birth shall certainly be completed. The great composite Christ shall come forth entire, not one member lacking--and before Zion's travail has begun. But "who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such a thing?" And so, after the Man-child is delivered, the Mother System will give birth, when her travail pains come on, to a great company of children! This Great Company is described in the Apocalypse as coming up out of "the great tribulation," and washing their robes, spotted and soiled, and making them white, "in the blood of the Lamb."
Following the birth of these two classes of the Lord's people, will come the birth of the Jewish nation. They shall be awakened from the sleep of Hades, in which as a nation they have been for over eighteen centuries. All this will take place in the early dawn of the Day of Christ. O what rejoicing there will be! Fleshly Zion and Spiritual Zion will rejoice together! Then soon the poor, chastened world will begin to join in the songs of praise to the God of all Grace. What wonderful times are just before us! Though clouds and darkness for a brief time obscure the bright beams of the blessed Millennial Dawning, soon the glorious "Sun of Righteousness" shall rise in splendor, and its beams will rapidly spread over all the earth, scattering the darkness of sin, dispelling the fogs of error and superstition, and bringing the world into the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.
RESTITUTION NOT CHANGE OF NATURE
The entire testimony of Scripture in regard to the blessings to come to the world in the New Age show that [R5575 : page 341] they are all to be earthly. The declaration that even the brute creation shall be changed in nature is a promise that in that blessed Day there will no more be a condition of antagonism and enmity between mankind and the lower orders of God's creatures, but all shall be peace and harmony. It would be wholly unnecessary to change the disposition of the animals, to bring them into subjection to man, if all the race were to be changed into spirit beings, and become like the angels. Many prophecies speak of mankind in the Times of Restitution as human beings, adapted to the earth and enjoying the blessings of the earth. They are to "sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid." (Micah 4:4.) "They shall build houses and inhabit them. ...They shall not build and another inhabit;...they shall long enjoy the work of their hands."--Isa. 65:21-25.
These promises for the world in general have no reference to the class being chosen out of the world during this Gospel Age. The promises to these are all spiritual. They are to be made like Christ, and "see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2.) They are called to the obtaining of His glory. As they "have borne the image of the earthy," so shall they "also bear the image of the Heavenly." (1 Corinthians 15:49.) They are promised a share in Christ's resurrection--the First Resurrection. They are to reign as kings and priests in a Kingdom which earthly beings cannot inherit. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." (1 Corinthians 15:50.) They have been called with a Heavenly Calling. They are not of the world, even as their Lord and Head is not of the world.--John 17:16.
WHY MANY FAIL TO UNDERSTAND THE WORD OF GOD
With many the difficulty in understanding these distinctions is a failure to rightly divide the Scriptures, as St. Paul counseled Timothy, saying, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." (2 Timothy 2:15.) This process would enable them to discern that the Kingdom of God per se consists only of our Lord Jesus and His "little flock" of overcomers, to whom He says, "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." (Luke 12:32.) These are to constitute the reigning class, as many Scriptures point out. At first the world of mankind will be subjects of this spiritual Kingdom, and afterwards become citizens, or members, if they come into harmony with its laws and regulations and into a condition of reconciliation with God, becoming the children of Christ, who will be the Age-lasting Father of the world during the Mediatorial Age. He will be the One who shall bring the entire race of Adam--both those who still have a measure of life and those who have gone down into the tomb--back from the condition of death into full perfection of life, if they then prove willing and obedient. Otherwise they shall be cut off in the Second Death--everlasting destruction.
KINGDOM EVIDENTLY NOT YET COME
The Prophet Daniel, in explaining Nebuchadnezzar's dream regarding the Great Image, shows that the Kingdom of God when first set up at the introduction of the Millennial Age will be but a small Stone, which has been "cut out without hands," but which will become a "great Mountain and fill the whole earth." (Daniel 2:31-45.) This Stone Kingdom is quarried out of the "earth" by the Lord. It is at first insignificant in size, and it seems to the world as powerless. But as soon as set up in power, this Kingdom will smite the "great image" of earthly rulership, and shall grind it to powder (in the coming Time of Trouble), and the wind shall carry it away. This Stone Kingdom is the holy Mountain referred to in Isaiah 11:9. A mountain is the Scriptural symbol of a kingdom. Hills seem to be symbolic of the smaller governments of earth.--See Isaiah 2:2; 40:4; 51:5; 59:18; Psalm 46:2,3; 97:5.
Nothing shall be permitted to do violence or to work injury throughout all God's holy Kingdom, after it shall have been established. Love will be the Law, and Divine Power will be the means which will enforce that Law. All who do not conform to it will be "cut off from among the people," as the Lord declared through the Apostle Peter. (Acts 3:23.) How evident it is that this Kingdom has not yet come, when we see that amongst mankind selfishness is the rule, individually and nationally, and that there are many influences of evil which hurt and destroy throughout the world today. So we continue to pray: "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven." And we believe that this petition so long offered by the Lord's saints is very soon to be answered.
After Messiah has crushed the power of evil, after
He has overthrown all the great systems of error and
vice, and has set the people free, He will accomplish
the blessing of humanity by the spread of the knowledge
of Jehovah's character. The Apostle Paul also assures
us that it is the will of God that all men shall come to a
knowledge of the Truth in order to be saved. He assures
us that there can be no salvation without knowledge.
None will ever be saved by ignorance. As yet
only a comparatively few of earth's millions have come
to such a knowledge of God as to be able to exercise
faith in Him and in the great Sacrifice which He has
provided for the whole world.
[R5575 : page 342]
COMPREHENSIVENESS OF PLAN OF SALVATION
But the fact that but few in the present life come to this saving knowledge shall in no wise thwart the great Divine Plan, nor make the death of Christ on behalf of the entire race of Adam of no avail. The Lord assures us in His Word that, in due time, the true Light shall lighten "every man that cometh into the world." (John 1:9.) This includes all the heathen and all those of imbecile mind, who could not in this life grasp the Truth, as well as all infants who have died before reaching the age where they could know of God and His Truth in Christ. It includes the dead, as well as the living. For "there is none other name given under Heaven among men whereby they must be saved," but the name of Jesus. God has thus made ample provision for all.
Nor are we to suppose that the knowledge which is to become world-wide during Messiah's Reign is merely a little sprinkling of knowledge, such as has come to a very limited portion of the world here and there in spots, up to the present time. The Lord's people have received the droppings of grace and Truth, but the provision for the next Age will be abundant and universal. The knowledge of the Lord shall be ocean deep--like the fulness of the sea. Showers of blessing shall come down upon the world in copious measure. The effect will be "like rain upon the mown grass." (Psalm 72:6.) When the grass has been freshly cut and its roots are thus the more accessible, how quickly it responds to the refreshing showers! And how rapidly does it spring up in renewed vigor! So it will be with mankind, after they have been shorn of all that has encumbered them and prevented the showers of grace from reaching their hearts. How quickly they will respond to the refreshing rains and showers of blessing so copiously bestowed upon them, and will spring up into life and beauty as they drink in the rich supplies of grace!