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From Here to Forever

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    “The Time Is Fulfilled”

    Christ had sent them forth with the message: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:15. That message was based on the prophecy of Daniel 9. The “sixty-nine weeks” were to extend to “the Messiah the Prince,” and the disciples looked forward to the establishment of Messiah's kingdom at Jerusalem to rule over the whole earth.HF 215.2

    They preached the message committed to them, though they misapprehended its meaning. While their announcement was founded on Daniel 9:25, they did not see in the next verse that Messiah was to be “cut off.” Their hearts had been set upon the glory of an earthly empire; this blinded their understanding. At the very time when they expected to see their Lord ascend the throne of David, they beheld Him seized, scourged, derided, and condemned on the cross. What despair and anguish wrung the heart of those disciples!HF 215.3

    Christ had come at the exact time foretold. Scripture had been fulfilled in every detail. The Word and the Spirit of God attested the divine commission of His Son. And yet the disciples’ minds were shrouded in doubt. If Jesus had been the true Messiah, would they have been plunged into grief and disappointment? This was the question that tortured their souls during the hopeless hours of that Sabbath between His death and resurrection.HF 215.4

    Yet they were not forsaken. “When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. ... He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.” “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness.” “I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” Micah 7:8, 9; Psalm 112:4; Isaiah 42:16.HF 216.1

    The announcement made by the disciples was correct, “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand.” At the expiration of “the time”—the sixty-nine weeks of Daniel 9 which were to extend to the Messiah, “the Anointed One”—Christ had received the anointing of the Spirit after His baptism by John. The “kingdom of God” was not, as they had been taught to believe, an earthly empire. Nor was it that future, immortal kingdom in which “all dominions shall serve and obey him.” Daniel 7:27.HF 216.2

    The expression “kingdom of God” designates both the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory. The apostle says: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace.” Hebrews 4:16. The existence of a throne implies the existence of a kingdom. Christ uses the expression “the kingdom of heaven” to designate the work of grace upon the hearts of men. So the throne of glory represents the kingdom of glory. Matthew 25:31, 32. This kingdom is yet future. It is not to be set up until the second advent of Christ.HF 216.3

    When the Saviour yielded up His life and cried out, “It is finished,” the promise of salvation made to the sinful pair in Eden was ratified. The kingdom of grace, which had before existed by the promise of God, was then established.HF 216.4

    Thus the death of Christ—the event which the disciples looked upon as the destruction of their hope—was that which made it forever sure. While it brought a cruel disappointment, it was the proof that their belief had been correct. The event that had filled them with despair opened the door of hope to all God's faithful ones in all ages.HF 216.5

    Intermingled with the pure gold of the disciples’ lave for Jesus was the base alloy of selfish ambitions. Their vision was filled with the throne, the crown, and the glory. Their pride of heart, their thirst for worldly glory, had led them to pass unheeded the Saviour's words showing the true nature of His kingdom, and pointing forward to His death. These errors resulted in the trial which was permitted for their correction. To the disciples was to be entrusted the glorious gospel of their risen Lord. To prepare them for this work, the experience which seemed so bitter had been permitted.HF 217.1

    After His resurrection Jesus appeared to His disciples on the way to Emmaus, and, “expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” It was His purpose to fasten their faith upon the “sure word of prophecy” (Luke 24:27; 2 Peter 1:19), not merely by His personal testimony, but by the prophecies of the Old Testament. And as the very first step in imparting this knowledge, Jesus directed the disciples to “Moses and all the prophets” of the Old Testament Scriptures.HF 217.2

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