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They selected that aspect of the Redeemer's work which shone out with the richest material splendour, and sinfully and unpardonably passed over that suffering, deep in which lay the foundations of the kingdom of glory. Nor did the Saviour or his servants disabuse their minds of the substance of this their hope. The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest : and the Lord shall give him the throne of his father David : and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
Nathanael called Him “Rabbi, Son of God, king of Israel.”
When He entered Jerusalem, the multitude cried, “Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, which cometh in the name of the Lord.”
He did not rebuke or repel these ascriptions. He used language still stronger, in the same direction, when He said, " When the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Again He said, “ When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall be sit on the throne of his glory.”
The Apocalypse is the history of the still future accomplishment of these royalties of the Son of man.
It has been argued, in the face of these passages,
that Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” This it is alleged explains away all that is mundane and terrestrial in His promises and prophecies.
He does not teach that His kingdom is not located on earth—for it is here in one aspect at least. Its subjects and ordinances are here. He says His kingdom is not from (ek) this world—it does not spring from it, nor derive its truths, its influences, its teaching from it. It is said John's baptism was not from this world, yet John baptized on earth. So Christ's kingdom is not from this world, yet will it be manifested on it. This is the interpretation of the most learned and devout critics. Stier
" This renunciation is by no means to be put in opposition to the true prophecies of the kingdom of the Son of man, whom already power is given, and whose kingdom finally will bring all other power to nought. It is very far from renouncing the world and all external earthly manifestation and confirmation of His kingly power. It does not, as superficial expositors dream, refer the kingdom of Christ to the invisible region of the heart. Had he not already said before Caiaphas, From this time forth ye shall see him coming in his power! The observation of Von Gerlach is good, that a purely internal dominion, which did not control and subordinate to itself the external, would be no true kingdom, and would have none of the reality of dominion.”
Tholuck writes “ He does not contradict the assertion that He has a kingdom; nay, He speaks of
His kingdom and His servants. We must not content ourselves with merely saying that the kingdom of Christ is not of this world ; we must add that although His kingdom is not of this world, yet it is nevertheless in this world. Yes, God be praised, we can say with joy, that although the Lord's kingdom is not of this world, still it is in this world ; and so long as the world exists it will never pass out of it.”
Archbishop Trench remarks that the Saviour's language means that His kingdom is “not the unfolding of any powers which already existed in the world—a kingdom not rising, as those other kingdoms, out of the earth ; but a new power brought into the world from above." Krummacher observes—"He only asserts that His kingdom was not of this world, and clearly indicates, by laying the emphasis on the word 'this,' that another alwv than the present would certainly see His delegates seated on thrones, and His word and gospel the magna charta of all nations."
So harmonious are all the words of the Son of God. So untenable are certain views of this often misinterpreted and misapplied passage.
It has also been lodged as a fatal objection to our expectation of a kingdom still future, that the Saviour states—"This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.” If this means a generation in the modern sense of the word, all the prophecies on the Mount were exhausted eighteen hundred years ago. But even in this restricted sense it is incapable of verification. Jerusalem was
destroyed above forty years after these words were uttered ; and if so, a generation measuring thirty
years had then actually passed away. The word yevea means a race, a continuous race. Matthew xxiii. 36, ETL TNV Yeveav Tavtnu is justly rendered “on this race, the Jews, this unbelieving people.”
Steir—"Not merely the then present last generation was meant, but including backwards the entire race, as one stock and lineage, the entire people who are judged in the last generation; so the term here has the same signification pointing forwards. Just because the children are like the fathers, yevea passes beyond the species in the idea of yevos, and this is the proper sense of this expression when it is used concerning Israel. What further reference does
γενεα include if not the wondrous continuance of Israel even to the end for which it is spared ?”
Dean Alford says: “The continued use of Trapepxomat, 'pass away,' in verses 34, 35, should have saved the commentators from the blunder of imagining that the then living generation was meant, seeing that the prophecy is by the next verse carried on to the end of all things, and that, as a matter of fact, the apostles and ancient Christians did continue to expect the Lord's coming after that generation had passed
grave and not uncommon objection to the manifestation of the Redeemer's kingdom and personal presence on earth is a notion that it degrades the Saviour to entertain this expectation, that matter is
essentially and inextricably impure, and that the total destruction of our earth, and the elevation of the redeemed to a far-off and purely ethereal heaven, is a hope more worthy of our acceptance, and at least more accordant with Holy Scripture. The true answer to this objection lies in the question, Is it the Scriptural view? If God has distinctly predicted the Redeemer's return and reign on earth, He who has made the arrangement will take care of the high interests connected with it. It is thus taken out of the region of our imaginations and fears. God will never cease to glorify His own name. He has not prophesied, and He will not create on earth a condition of things which will cloud or diminish the glory of Him for whom and by whom are all things.
The Saviour will not reign amid graves, and hospitals, and sick-beds, and prisons. He will make all things new; and death, and sickness, and sin, things of a past, that will never return. He will reign on a new earth, amid new creatures; the wilderness as Paradise beneath His feet, and the curse transmuted into the blessing.
It will redound to His glory in the highest that he has not annihilated, but purified, the earth; made it share in the resurrection and the purity and holiness of the regenerated dynasty, whose world it will be; and imparted to it in its last days a splendour and perfection such as it never had before the fall.
Earth will not be laid in the grave and be no more seen. We look for a new, not another, earth,