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    The doctrine of the kingdom of Christ calls for special attention in this connection; though some may, at a first glance, think that it is not directly related to the subject of the Atonement. Here we may repeat a statement made, that there are no isolated, independent truths in the great plan of salvation. It takes all the truths and doctrines of the Bible to make one complete system; and the Atonement is the great central work, by virtue of which all other parts of the work of salvation and redemption are carried out. But the special reason why the subject of the kingdom should here receive attention is this: There is another class of texts in the Scriptures which speak of Christ on his throne which are misapplied by many religious teachers, who refer them also to his kingly priesthood. They seem to take it for granted that every Scripture declaration concerning his kingly authority must refer to him while sitting a priest on his Father’s throne in Heaven. But the Scriptures themselves very clearly distinguish between these two classes of texts, and to amalgamate them is only to make confusion and to obscure the light of some precious Bible truths.AERS 247.1

    In Acts 1:6 it is recorded that the disciples inquired of Christ: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” On this we first notice, that the term “Israel” primarily was indicative of character, and not of birth. Jacob was called Israel, and Esau was not, though they were children of the same parents—twin brothers. Afterward the term was applied to all the descendants of Jacob, though it never lost its primary signification. It was by this fact that Paul proved that the promises of God are strictly and literally fulfilled, though the unbelieving nation were rejected which claimed the sole right to that title. They are not all Israel which are of Israel, nor are all heirs of the blessings of Abraham who descended from Abraham. The promise of kingly glory preceded the existence of the nation (See Genesis 17:5-7), and the rejection of any part of the nation, or even of the whole as a nation, did not and could not destroy the promises. When Jesus, because of their rejection of the message from Heaven, foretold the rejection of the Jews, he did it in the following language: “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” Matthew 21:43. That was to say, that the kingdom should be taken from nominal Israel, and given to the true Israel, the faithful overcomers. See also Galatians 3:29.AERS 247.2

    And with this agree the words of the Lord to David, as recorded in Psalm 89. “I have made a covenant with my chosen; I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations.” Verses 3, 4. And again: “His seed also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven.... Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established forever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in Heaven.” Verses 29-37. It is not merely a theory that depends upon the true interpretation of these promises. We shall endeavor to show that the truths which they contain are eminently practical, and that a misapplication of them leads to serious perversions of the gospel and of the relations of Christianity to the kingdoms of this present world.AERS 248.1

    We turn now to the question found in Acts 1:6. The opinion largely prevails among commentators of the present day that the disciples were indulging a very erroneous idea respecting the kingdom, which was the cause of their asking such a question. Dr. Barnes says: “They did not ask whether he would do it at all, or whether they had correct views of the kingdom; but, taking that for granted, they asked him whether that was the time in which he would do it.” And from this he draws the conclusion that nothing is so hard to remove as “prejudice in favor of an erroneous opinion.” It might be suggested that prejudice against the truth is as blind and unreasoning as prejudice in favor of error. But Dr. Barnes thought that, from the teachings of the Saviour in regard to his kingdom, they should have better known its nature than to ask such a question. And his comment doubtless expresses the views of a majority of commentators of the present day.AERS 249.1

    We say, “of the present day,” because the popular view of the present day was not always the popular view held in the Christian Church. But for that we care nothing; our inquiry is, “What saith the Scripture?”AERS 250.1

    The question of the disciples was solely in regard to the time of setting up the kingdom. The answer of the Saviour was in reference to the subject of the question, the time, and it was not at all calculated to correct a wrong impression in regard to the nature of the kingdom, if they were resting in an error on that subject. “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” This answer was certainly well calculated to confirm them in the view which they held. Not the hint of the correction of an error, but, to the contrary, they were told that the time of which they inquired was not to be revealed to them. The Revised Version says, “which the Father hath set within his own authority.” Margin—“appointed by.” A careful examination of the whole subject must convince any one that this is parallel with Matthew 24:36. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of Heaven, but my Father only.” The declaration that the time of which they inquired is set or placed within the authority of the Father, known to no others, is quite the reverse of an intimation that the question referred to something which would never take place.AERS 250.2

    Verse 3 says that, after his resurrection, Jesus was seen of the disciples “forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” Some appear to think that the time and opportunities were rather limited for their gaining instruction on this important subject. But, remembering that “the kingdom” was the burden of all the teaching and preaching of both Jesus and his disciples during all his ministry, insomuch that he called his gospel “this gospel of the kingdom,” Matthew 24:14, we would rather take the chance which the disciples had of learning the truth on the subject, than to take a “three years’ course” in any theological school now in existence.AERS 250.3

    We have another instance of the Saviour giving instruction on this subject where the question of time was first in their minds. “He added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.” Luke 19:11. In this parable he spoke of himself as a nobleman who went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. That this represents his going to his Father in Heaven to receive a kingdom, and returning to this earth, is evident, for, he said: “But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom,” then he rewarded his servants and destroyed his enemies. But this will apply to no other locality but this earth. And it exactly corresponds to his statement of what takes place at his coming, at “the end of the world.” Matthew 13:41, 43. “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity...Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” It must be borne in mind that “the field is the world;” that the workers of iniquity are represented by the tares, which grow with the wheat until the harvest. That the harvest is reaped at the coming of the Son of man is shown in Revelation 14:14-20, and other scriptures.AERS 251.1

    The kingdom and dominion over this world is given to Christ, the “nobleman,” not at or near the beginning of this dispensation, as many believe, but near its close. This is proved by Revelation 11:14, 15. Under the third woe trumpet, which is the last of the seven trumpets, and which introduces the Judgment (verse 18), a voice proclaims: “The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.” Under this trumpet the dispensation comes to its close.AERS 252.1

    Also the prophecy of Daniel is decisive on this point. In chapter two, in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, the king or kingdom of Babylon answered to the head of gold of the image. This kingdom was succeeded by that of the Medes and Persians, see Daniel 5:30, 31, which answered to the breast and arms of the image. And the Persian was succeeded by the Grecian, Daniel 8:3-8, 20, which was represented by the body of brass of the image. Another kingdom, the fourth, was strong as iron—represented by the legs of iron,—stronger than all that preceded it; and it was divided into ten parts, or kingdoms, in the image represented by the feet and toes. This was the Roman kingdom, which was successor to the Grecian, and which bore an iron rule over all the world. It was divided into ten kingdoms. These are the several parts of the image which was seen by Nebuchadnezzar; and such was the interpretation of the dream, as given by Daniel.AERS 252.2

    But another object was seen in the dream, and it also represented a kingdom. It was “a stone cut out of the mountain without hands.” The original is reflexive in form, conveying the idea of self-moving. This stone smote the image “upon his feet, that were of iron and clay.” That is to say, that it smote the image at some time after the Roman kingdom was divided, for the stone could not smite the feet and toes of the image before they existed. Or, in the fulfillment, the kingdom represented by the stone could not smite the kingdoms represented by the feet and toes of the image until they had arisen—until the Roman Empire was divided into ten parts or kingdoms.AERS 253.1

    In the dream, the effect of the smiting of the image by the stone, is thus described: “Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” In the interpretation it is thus stated: “In the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” Daniel 2:35, 44. This describes, not the conversion of earthly powers, but the entire destruction of all earthly powers, their places being filled by the kingdom of God, by which they are broken in pieces. See the same foretold in Jeremiah 25:15-33. In this chapter it is said that “all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the whole earth,” shall drink of the wine-cup of God’s fury, “and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among” them. No such destruction as that described in Jeremiah 25 has ever taken place; but it will, for the word of the Lord declares it. Then will the interpretation of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar be fulfilled.AERS 253.2

    It is true that Daniel 2 does not definitely give the chronology of the setting up of the kingdom of God; but it does definitely place it after the full development of the image, including the divisions of the Roman power. This brings it down several centuries this side of the days of the apostles. But in Daniel 7:9-14 it is located, as in Revelation 11:14-18, in the time of the Judgment. In Daniel 7 is recorded a vision of the prophet, which was explained by an angel. Under the symbols of beasts and horns it presents the same kingdoms and the same events which are given in chapter 2 in the great image. In chapter 7, the Roman Empire and its divisions are represented by a dreadful and terrible beast with great iron teeth, which had ten horns. This chapter contains, however, two important points which are not found in chapter 2. (1) The rise and work of “another little horn,” after the rise of the ten, which was quite different from the others, and at length became stronger than all the others. (2) The sitting of the Judgment, which takes place before the kingdoms of the world are given to the Son of man.AERS 254.1

    The work of the “little horn” was one of persecution. “And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” This wearing out the saints of the Most High—the most terrible persecution which the church of God ever suffered—was under the Roman power, but principally under its ecclesiastical form. The angel continued: “But the Judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” These words contain a confirmation of the view we have advanced, that the Judgment sits before the end; before the coming of the Son of man; and before the dominion is taken from this persecuting power. And how noteworthy it is that within the last score of years the civil power has been entirely taken away from the church of Rome. “United Italy” has literally dethroned the head of the church, who now pays taxes to the Government as any other citizen! And the next event in the angel’s interpretation of the vision is this: “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” Daniel 7:25-27. This closes the interpretation. The last event in every line of prophecy is the giving of the kingdom and dominion to Christ and to his people. And, as has been shown, and will be further noticed, this gift is speedily followed by the overthrow and entire destruction of all the kingdoms and dominions of the world.AERS 255.1

    It may not be objected that these prophecies refer to the introduction of the gospel and to the establishing of the church of Christ, in the present age. The scope of the prophecies forbids it. The events given in the vision of Daniel 7 cover the entire gospel dispensation, and even reach beyond it. If this be denied, we might as well deny the Judgment and future rewards at once. And—which ought to be decisive with all—the New Testament presents the possession of the kingdom as a matter of promise and of hope to the saints. Thus James says: “Hearken, my beloved brethren. Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” James 2:5. In the same manner Peter speaks “to them that have obtained like precious faith with us,“ and informs them what they must do in perfecting their characters, “for so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:1-11. And Paul also shows to his brethren the mystery of the possession of the kingdom. He says “that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” 1 Corinthians 15:50. In the scriptures already quoted it is said the kingdom is to be everlasting—to stand forever. “Flesh and blood” is an expression indicating a mortal, perishable, corruptible condition. A mortal, corruptible man could not inherit an everlasting, incorruptible kingdom; for he would die and leave it to successors. But that would destroy the scripture which says “it shall not be left to other people.” In this present mortal state the saints are heirs of the kingdom; when they inherit it their heirship will cease.AERS 256.1

    The Lord himself said his people will inherit the kingdom when the Son of man comes in his glory, sitting upon the throne of his glory. Matthew 25:31-34. But when the Son of man comes, the voice of the archangel and the trump of God will be heard, and the saints will be raised from the dead. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. And Paul further says that when that last trump shall sound, “this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality.” Then death will be swallowed up in victory. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54. Then will the saints be prepared to inherit an incorruptible kingdom, as they will never die and leave their inheritance to others. Thus beautifully do the Scriptures harmonize on this subject.AERS 257.1

    Now we are prepared understandingly to examine the error of those who apply the prophecies we have here noticed to the reign of Christ as a priest on his Father’s throne.AERS 258.1

    The position which Christ now occupies on the throne of his Father, as a priest-king, he will sometime resign. Read 1 Corinthians 15:23-28. His priesthood will not last forever. Instead of forever pleading his blood in behalf of sinful men, he will leave that throne and come to earth again, “taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10. Instead of forever enjoying the privileges of the day of salvation, and living under the mercy of the Lamb, the wicked will, in that coming day, pray to be hid “from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; [saying] for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:15-17.AERS 258.2

    And now in regard to the faith of the disciples, as indicated by their question on Acts 1:6, we confidently affirm that their belief was in perfect harmony with the letter and spirit of the scriptures we have quoted. And we have yet more, and if possible still more conclusive, evidence to produce.AERS 258.3

    The angel who announced that Jesus should be born, used the following language: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob [Israel] forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:32, 33. These are the words of a messenger direct from Heaven, and may not lightly be passed over. And with all these scriptures before them, and having so long enjoyed the personal instruction of the Prince himself, “of the things pertaining to the kingdom,” we think it is altogether unwarranted to assume that the disciples were laboring under “prejudice in favor of an erroneous opinion.”AERS 258.4

    This text last quoted settles the question that the throne and kingdom which he now occupies is not that to which reference is made in the prophecies which have been examined. For, as shown by 1 Corinthians 15:23-28, and other texts, there will be an end to this reign; his priestly reign will cease. And the throne which he now occupies is not “the throne of his father David.” That throne he will occupy in the future; and his reign upon that will have “no end.” And so far from the disciples having their errors corrected by the inspiration which they received on the day of Pentecost, as intimated by Dr. Barnes, Peter confirmed their belief, in his sermon on that day. Speaking of David he said: “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne.” And one of the most decisive evidences that Jesus is not yet sitting on the throne of David, the throne which is his by right of his birth, is found in his own words in Revelation 3:21: “To him that overcometh 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.” His Father, upon whose throne he is now sitting, is not his father David. That throne upon which he is now, is not and never was the throne of his father David. This proof is absolutely incontrovertible. But, as surely as the “Scriptures cannot be broken,” he will yet sit upon the throne of his father David; upon that throne will he rule over the house of Jacob forever; of that kingdom and reign there will be no end. And only in this manner can the oath of the Lord to David be fulfilled.AERS 259.1

    The Scriptures inform us that the position which the Son of God now occupies is one of expectancy. The apostle says he is set down on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. Hebrews 10:13. This expectation is based on the promise made in Psalm 110:1: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” His enemies were not put under his feet at the beginning of the period of his sitting at the right hand of his Father. Had that been the case Paul’s statement in Hebrews 10:13 would not have been correct. But they will be put under his feet when the time comes for him to leave that throne, to resign his priestly office, and to come to destroy his enemies. Psalm 2:7-10 informs us what disposition he will make of them when they are given to him.AERS 260.1

    “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. And 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, already quoted, shows that it will be at his second coming that he will take vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel. And this again is in harmony with Revelation 11:15-18, where it is shown that under the seventh trumpet, which closes this dispensation, the kingdoms of this world are given to Christ. And in connection with this gift it is said: “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 unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy [corrupt] the earth.” It seems needles to repeat that the reward of the saints will be given when Jesus comes again. Matthew 16:27; Luke 14:14; Revelation 22:12.AERS 261.1

    It has been fully noticed that the Judgment of the saints must be completed before Christ leaves the throne of his priesthood. But not so of the Judgment of the wicked. In the Judgment which takes place during his priesthood, it will be determined whose names shall have no place in the book of life; but their cases must come up for review that the measure of their punishment may be determined. To properly locate this work has been one object of the present argument, in distinguishing between the two thrones. There is still a work of judgment after Christ resigns his priestly office on the throne of his Father; after his enemies are given to him, and he has dashed in pieces the nations and kingdoms of the world.AERS 261.2

    An order of events is laid down in Daniel 7:21, 22, from which we gain important instruction on this subject. Speaking of that persecuting power, already noticed, which wore out the saints of the Most High, the prophet said: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” In regard to the time when the saints shall possess the kingdom, we further quote as follows: “In the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Matthew 19:28. These are the words of the Lord himself to his twelve disciples. And by the words of Paul we readily locate the time of this judgment, if, indeed, any further proof can be asked. He said “the saints shall judge the world” (1 Corinthians 6:2), but he said also: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come.” 1 Corinthians 4:5. Revelation 20:1-6 introduces the coming of Christ, the binding of Satan, the resurrection of the blessed and holy—the first resurrection, which is at Christ’s coming—and thrones of judgment given to the overcomers.AERS 262.1

    And it is further a matter of proof that the saints do not and cannot enter upon this work of judgment in the present life or the present state. In 1 Corinthians 6:1-4 the apostle reproves the brethren for going to law, and that before the unbelievers, as though they were not competent to settle their own temporal difficulties. “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?” Observe that the judgment of which he speaks, that of the world and of angels, is not in “this life.”AERS 263.1

    And there is reason for this; in this life we cannot discern motives and so understand the lives and hearts of the world as to be able to judge them correctly. Much less can we now judge angels. The fallen angels, who sinned, are reserved unto the Judgment of the great day. 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6. Even over them shall the saints sit in judgment. But no saint, however faithful and exalted, is qualified to judge them in this life. There is a time coming, however, when our partial knowledge shall pass away; when we shall know even as we are known. 1 Corinthians 13:8-12. Paul had the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of prophecy; but only so as “to know in part” and to “prophecy in part.” But a clearer light is to burst upon his vision when the Lord comes; when this mortal puts on immortality. “When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; then shall I know even as also I am known.” All these scriptures leave no room for doubt that the work of the judgment of the world, in which the saints shall take part, is after the priesthood of Christ is ended; after his second coming; after the saints are immortalized and glorified.AERS 263.2

    But the question may still be asked: If it shall already have been decided who are the lost ones; if their names are not in the book of life, wherefore a further judgment in their cases? To this question the Scriptures afford an easy solution.AERS 264.1

    In the rewards of the righteous there will be degrees of glory. “For star differeth from star in glory; so also is the resurrection of the dead.” 1 Corinthians 15:41, 42. One is made ruler over ten cities; another over five cities. Luke 19:17-19. “They that turn many to righteousness [shall shine] as the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:3. And so in the punishment of the wicked, there will be recognized degrees of demerit. Some shall be beaten with many stripes, and others with few stripes. Luke 12:45-48. For some it will be more tolerable in the day of Judgment than for others. Matthew 10:15; 11:22-24.AERS 264.2

    Dr. Bloomfield says of 1 Corinthians 6:2:—AERS 264.3

    “Upon the whole, there is, after all, no interpretation that involves less of difficulty than the common one, supported by some Latin Fathers, and, of modern divines, by Luther, Calvin, Erasmus, Beza, Casaubon, Crellius, Wolf, Jeremy Taylor, Doddridge, Pearce, Newcome, Scott, and others, by which it is supposed that the faithful servants of God, after being accepted in Christ, shall be in a certain sense, assessores judicii, by concurrence, with Christ, and being partakers of the judgment to be held by him over wicked men and apostate angels; who are, as we learn from 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6, reserved unto the judgment of the last day.”AERS 264.4

    And Dr. Barnes observes:—AERS 265.1

    “Grotius supposes that it means that they shall be first judged by Christ, and then act as assessores to him in the judgment, or join with him in condemning the wicked.”AERS 265.2

    Certainly this view has a most respectable array of authors in its favor; and well it may have, for we cannot see how any other view of the text can, with any show of reason, be taken. In speaking of the judgment of the righteous, it was remarked that when Christ comes his elect will be translated or raised to immortality in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. And this act of glorifying them will prove that they have already been judged and acquitted; accepted of the Judge of all. But as there are two resurrections, one of the just and one of the unjust, the fact that the unjust are not raised at that time is conclusive proof that they will have been already rejected, or judged unworthy of eternal life. But it is one thing to determine that a person is guilty, and quite another thing to determine the degree of his guilt and the measure of punishment which he should justly receive; whether he should be beaten with few or many stripes. The first is done before the throne of the Most High while Jesus, as Priest, is blotting out the sins of his people, as he passes by those who are unjust and unholy. The second is done by Christ and the saints, who, as Bloomfield says, act as assessores judicii.AERS 265.3

    As the judgment of the saints takes place before their resurrection, and they are raised to receive the reward determined in their respective cases, so with the wicked. In Revelation 20 we learn that they who have part in the first resurrection sit upon thrones of judgment for a thousand years. And in the same scripture we learn that “the rest of the dead”—in distinction from the blessed and holy—“lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” Thus the assessing judgment—to use the idea presented by many authors—will occupy the one thousand years of Revelation 20, and at the end of that period the wicked will be raised to receive their reward—the second death in the lake of fire.AERS 266.1

    When we consider the exceeding great multitude of the lost who have lived since the time of Cain, and that every case has to be examined, it does not appear strange that one thousand years are set apart to the work. The saints are represented as kings and priests unto God; but they are not actually kings until thrones are given them, which will not be done until after the second advent. In Revelation 5:8-10 the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders present vials of incense before the throne in Heaven, which are said to be “the prayers of the saints.” Whatever may be the chronology of this part of the chapter—whether the song is by anticipation or sung when the first part is fulfilled—it is true that there is a past and a future in the song. They were redeemed out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, which indicates the fullness of the gospel work as then accomplished, and they were made kings and priests unto God, and they “shall reign on the earth.” It seems evident that they were made kings and priests before they reign on the earth. And such we find is the order presented in other scriptures. The only priestly work of the saints is done while they are on thrones of judgment, which is altogether during or within the thousand years.AERS 266.2

    One important end which will be gained by this examination of the cases of all the wicked by the record of their lives, is the complete vindication of the Government and providence of God. To all of the human race, while they only “know in part,” many of the ways of God are dark and mysterious. In the words of the poet:—AERS 267.1

    “That vice should triumph, virtue vice obey,AERS 267.2

    This raised some doubts of Providence’s sway.”AERS 267.3

    And this is the case with the righteous, while the wicked have openly murmured and denied both the justice and goodness of God. It was said by the Saviour that even a cup of water given to a disciple in the name of a disciple shall not lose its reward. And who so fitting to plead such an act in behalf of a lost one as the person to whom the kindness was shown?AERS 267.4

    Paul says: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every one have praise of God.” 1 Corinthians 4:5. On the last sentence of this text Barnes remarks:—AERS 267.5

    “The word here rendered praise (epainos) denotes in this place reward, or that which is due to him; the just sentence which ought to be pronounced on his character. It does not mean, as our translation would imply, that every man will then receive the divine approbation—which will not be true; but that every man shall receive what is due to his character, whether good or evil. So Bloomfield and Bretschneider explain it.”AERS 268.1

    And this is doubtless the true interpretation of the passage. Greenfield says of the word: “By impl. reward, retribution, recompense. 1 Corinthians 4:5.” This bringing to light the hidden things of darkness, and making manifest the counsels of the hearts, means that they shall be revealed or made manifest to the saints by their examination of “those things which were written in the books.” Revelation 20:12. As there are to be degrees of punishment, it is evident from the scriptures noticed, that the determination of the measure of punishment is the work of the saints, where every mitigating circumstance will be presented and considered. This is the sense in which they will be priests in that judgment.AERS 268.2

    The objection raised against this view, that this does not conform to the idea of the work of priests according to the Levitical law, cannot lie against it, because we may not draw a parallel between the service of the priests under the law and that of the saints in the Judgment. We must decide by the definition of the word, and the facts of the New Testament. The word priest does not necessarily imply a mediator in the sense of one who offers sacrifices. Robinson and Greenfield define it, “One who performs the sacred rites.” These rites may pertain to offering sacrifices or to mediation, or they may not. If the saints have the work of determining the degree of guilt, and of fixing the amount of punishment, their office is properly that of a priest. And it must be evident to every one that our ideas of the work of priests, if gathered from that of the Jewish priests, must be greatly modified when we come to consider the office of the saints, as the priesthood of the saints is on thrones of judgment, which was not the case with the Jewish priests. We may not reason from one to the other, but must let each class stand in its own place, according to the work ascribed to it in the Scriptures.AERS 268.3

    But it is not alone the righteous who need to have the mysteries of God’s providence opened to them. As we remarked, the wicked have lived and died complaining of the ways of God. The Judgment will be made the means of bringing them to confess their error, and to realize that they alone were responsible for their own ruin. The Lord will “convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Jude 15. Myriads have died, glorying in their wickedness—in the success of their selfish plans—unconvinced of the ungodliness of their actions. But they will all be convinced; they will all be brought to see the enormity of their crimes against the Most High God, and to confess the justness of his judgments. As is said by the prophet: “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return. That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength; even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.” Isaiah 45:23, 24.AERS 269.1

    The one thousand years of Revelation 20 are but the beginning of the reign of God’s dear Son after he resigns his position as a priest on his Father’s throne. The angel said that of his kingdom, on the throne of his father David, “there shall be no end.” Of the stone, which represented the kingdom of God, it is said in Daniel 2:35 that it “became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” In Daniel 7:27 it is said that “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.” All the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the whole earth, are to be destroyed. Jeremiah 25:26-33. The kingdoms of this world are given to Christ, and by him will be broken with a rod of iron and dashed in pieces as a potter’s vessel. Psalm 2. They are not to be transformed or merged into the kingdom of Christ, but he destroys them and his kingdom takes their place. It fills the whole earth.AERS 270.1

    And this makes plain Matthew 25:34. “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” When God made the world he said it was “very good.” There was every tree which was pleasant to the sight, and good for food. No thorns, no thistles marred the face of the fair creation. No evil was found therein. And to man was given “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth.” Genesis 1:26. This was “the first dominion, the kingdom [which] shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.” Micah 4:8. And this will be the fulfillment of the promise that “the meek shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5. The psalmist adds a condition which the beatitude of the Saviour only implies: “The meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Psalm 37:11.AERS 271.1

    And this is proof that the reign of the saints over the whole earth—under the whole heaven—is not in this present state. “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” John 16:33. The wheat and the tares will grow together until the harvest, which is the end of the world, or of this age. Matthew 13:36-42. The “little horn” will practice and prosper and prevail until judgment is given to the saints of the Most High. Daniel 7:21, 22. “That man of sin,” the wicked one, will exalt himself until he is destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8. These, and many other scriptures to the same intent which might be quoted, prove conclusively that in this world—in this present state—the wicked will enjoy their triumph; and the saints must still remain in expectation of theirs; they are but “heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him.” James 2:5. There can be no “abundance of peace” for the meek, while the tares grow with the wheat, which will be until the harvest, or the end of the world; while that man of sin opposes and exalts himself against God, which will be until Christ’s coming. Not in this world, but in the world to come, will the saints reign, and the will of God be done on earth as it is done in Heaven. Well has the poet said:—AERS 271.2

    “There is a land, a better land than this; There’s my home, there’s my home.”AERS 272.1

    There is not the shade of a contradiction between the two statements, that the saints shall have tribulation in this world, and, the meek shall inherit the earth. If the earth were always to be in its present state and condition, where the wicked prosper and the righteous are oppressed, then it would not be possible that the meek should inherit the earth and delight themselves in the abundance of peace. But the earth is not always to remain under the curse. The thorn and the thistle shall not always mar the face of the dominion which was given to man at first, and which man shall eventually inherit forever.AERS 272.2

    God’s original purpose will be accomplished; his counsel shall stand. The work of the Captain of our salvation was not ended when he died upon the cross; when his soul was made an offering for sin. Isaiah 53:10. His work will not yet be finished when he has cleansed the sanctuary by the sprinkling of his blood upon the mercy-seat. The Atonement has in view the fullness of the glory of redemption. It is necessary to understand what is included in the work of redemption, in order to understand what the blood of Christ has purchased for us; what his Atonement accomplishes for man; and what are the riches of the glory of his kingdom.AERS 273.1

    This glory is greatly obscured by reason of limited views of the design of the Atonement, and of the work of redemption. “The greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven,” which “shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High,” will not be realized until the work of redemption is fully completed, or until the “restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:21. And especially do they limit the Saviour’s work, and rob him of his glory who claim—and many do—that the work of redemption is already completed. It is necessary that we give this subject our careful attention.AERS 273.2

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