Last Updated on :Thursday, November 20, 2014














THE BIBLE is the Book of the Kingdom of God, and teaches us that it has already once existed for 1024 years under Moses, Joshua, the judges, and Kings. With the exception of the two years of Ishbosheth's reign, it was a united kingdom for 92 years of this millennium under Saul, David, Solomon, and the first four years of Rehoboam. From the fourth of Rehoboarn it was governed by two dynasties. Ten of its tribes were ruled by kings whom they set up over themselves without regard to the authority of Jehovah to whom the kingdom belonged (Hosea 8:4). Thus they raised the standard of rebellion, and rejected the sovereignty of the House of David, which God had chosen to be the royal house of his kingdom as long as the sun and moon should endure throughout all generations.

This usurped royalty of Ephraim, or of the Ten Tribes, continued 256 years; but Judah yet ruled with God, and was faithful with the Most Holy (Hosea 9:12), whose dynasty of the family of David they still continued to acknowledge. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, king of Judah, the Ten Tribes were "removed out of God's sight" (2 Kings 17:18), that is, they were driven out of His land or kingdom, and the Tribe of Judah only remained.

In a few years, however, Judah became unmanageable. "The chief of the priests and the people transgressed very much after the abomination of the heathen; and polluted the temple of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, continually and carefully sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: and they mocked the messengers of God, and despised the words and misused his prophets until the wrath of Jehovah arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees" (2 Chron. 36:14-17). This event happened 134 years after the removal of Ephraim out of his sight, or 390 years from the rebellion against the house of David; so that during 474 years of this millennium of the kingdom of God, David and his lineal descendants reigned over the House of Judah.

The kingdom of God thus brought to a temporary conclusion has never existed since under the sovereignty of a king or kings of the house of David. Its existence ceased even as a Commonwealth during the captivity in Babylon which lasted seventy years. At the end of this period the kingdom reappeared in Judea; but it was no longer governed by Jewish monarchs exalted to the throne either by God or the people. Jehovah (Yahweh) permitted his kingdom to be subject to the lordship of the Gentiles, until the end of 430 years from the burning of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar. For 122 years after the interposition of the Roman senate, God's kingdom was ruled by Jewish princes of the tribe of Levi, that is, until the Gentile of Idumea, named Herod, became king in Jerusalem, in the 37th year of whose reign Jesus, the Son of God and of David and the rightful heir of the throne of Jehovah's (Yahweh's) kingdom, was born King of the Jews.

From the commencement of Herod's reign till the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, a period of 111 years, the kingdom of God was possessed by the Gentiles; in other words, Israel did not possess the kingdom. From the knowledge of this fact, the reader will be well able to appreciate the force of the question put by the apostles to Jesus after his resurrection, and as a result of their conversation for forty days upon the subject of the kingdom, saying, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). They knew that he was "The Restorer"; (Isa. 58:12) and believing that "all power was given unto him in heaven and upon earth", (Matt. 28:18) they thought the time had certainly come for the Restoration of all things to Israel spoken of by all the prophets from the days of Moses (Dent. 30:1-10). This supposition prompted the question.

But they were too fast. Messiah the prince having come, the kingdom could not be "restored again to Israel" so long as the Mosaic Covenant continued in force. This must be "changed", the kingdom must be suppressed and desolated, and Jerusalem, the city of the Great King of Israel, be trodden under foot of the Gentiles until their times be fulfilled. They had forgotten these things, and that the kingdom of God was not immediately to appear under the sovereignty of the Son of Man; but that he was first to take a journey into a far country, where he was to be detained until "the times of the restitution", called also "the Regeneration", should arrive (Luke 19:11-12; Acts 3 :21; Matt. 19:28). In the year 74 after the birth of Jesus the kingdom was broken up, and the Mosaic covenant trampled, under foot -- not finally abolished, but temporarily suppressed, that it may be "changed" in certain essential and highly important particulars.

God has had no organized kingdom upon earth since its overthrow by the Roman power. The kingdom in the sense of its territory is where it always was; and its children, or subjects, "His people Israel", are to be found in every land, still in hope that the time will come when the kingdom will be restored again to them; and "God will subdue the people under them, and the nations under their feet"; for they do not forget the testimony that "the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem", and that "the nation and kingdom that will not serve Zion shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted" (Psa. 47:3; Micah 4:7-8; Isa. 60:12). The Heir of the kingdom is at the right hand of the Divine Majesty; and his joint-heirs, the most of them, mouldering and sleeping in the dust, with a few surviving stragglers still existing in the Protestant section of the globe, enduring reproach and tribulation in the hope of its speedy and triumphant restitution.

These are the dissolved and scattered fragments of the kingdom of God. Their reunion is a matter of promise, and consequently of hope. The Gentiles must be expelled [from] the territory; the twelve tribes must be replanted upon the land; the sleeping heirs of the government must be awaked, and the living believers in this kingdom changed: and to effect all this, God's Heir, the Restorer of the Kingdom, must come and subdue all things to himself. When these things shall come to pass, God will have "accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people" (Dan. 12:7), that is, their power shall be no more scattered, but shall be restored to them: and He will come whose right the kingdom is, and God will give it him (Ezek. 21:27).

Having thus presented the reader with a few ideas concerning the kingdom that he may have something tangible and definite before his mind when we refer to it, we shall proceed now to make a few remarks to the inquiry, What is a covenant?

The kingdom as it was, and the kingdom as it is to be, although the same kingdom, is exhibited in the scriptures under Two Covenants, or constitutions. But before adverting more particularly to these it may be necessary to say a word or two in answer to the inquiry, "What is a Covenant?"

It is a word of very frequent occurrence in scripture, and the representative in our language of the Hebrew berith. In English, covenant signifies "a mutual agreement of two or more persons to do or forbear some act or thing". This, however, is not the sense of the word berith when used in relation to the things of the kingdom. Men's compliance or acceptance does not constitute the berith of the kingdom a covenant. It is a covenant whether they consent or not, and is enforced as the imperious enactment of an absolute king. It points out God's chosen, selected, and determined plan or purpose, entirely independent of anyone's consent, either asked or given, and is equivalent to a system of government fixed by the Prince, and imposed on the people without the slightest consultation between them. Accordingly, what is called the covenant in one place, is denominated the law in another. As, "He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; which covenant he made with Abraham, and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant". (Ps. 105:8-10) "These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel. Thus saith the Lord, Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant which I commanded your fathers." (Deut. 29:1; Jer. 11:3) It is evident from this that covenant and law are used as synonymous and convertible terms.

The statements of the New Testament conduct us to the same conclusion. It may be proper to remark here that a berith, or covenant, is expressed in Greek as diatheke. This is the word used in the Septuagint as the translation of berith.

The beriths, diathekes, or covenants of the kingdom of God are absolute decrees, which make, or constitute things what they were, and what they shall be. Hence "the Builder and Maker (or constitutor) of all things is God": (Heb. 11:10) "for whose pleasure they are and were created". (Rev. 4:11) But though these covenants are absolute, and the necessity to observe them imperative on all who are placed under them, they are replete with blessings to Israel and the nations, being founded upon "exceeding great and precious promises". (2 Pet. 1:4) Hence, they are styled "the covenants of promise" (Eph. 2:12). One of them is styled "the Covenant from Mount Sinai"; and the other, the Covenant from Jerusalem which is above and free (Gal. 4:24-27). The Sinai Covenant is synonymous with the Jerusalem Covenant which now is, that is, as it existed in Paul's day; while the other covenant is the Jerusalem Covenant which is to be; and because Jerusalem, which is now "desolate", will then be "free", and "above" Jerusalem in her greatest glory under the Sinai Covenant, she is styled ano, that is, above, higher, or more exalted; and is "the mother of all" (Gal.4:26) who believe the things of the kingdom of God, which will come, or be restored to her, when as "the city of the Great King" (Matt. 5:35) she shall have awaked from her present nonvinous inebriation, and have put on "her beautiful garments" (Isa. 51:21; 52:1).

Strictly speaking, the Sinai Covenant, although based on promises, is not one of "the covenants of promise" (Eph. 2:12) Paul refers to in Ephesians. These are the Covenant of promise to Abraham, and the Covenant of promise to David; both of which are elemental principles of the Covenant of the Free Jerusalem, which is to "go forth from Zion" in the latter days (Isa. 2:3). The Sinai covenant is styled "the first", the one to be hereafter proclaimed to Israel, "the second", although the latter is more ancient than the Sinai law in promise by 430 years, yet as a national berith constituting the kingdom of God in its civil and ecclesiastical appurtenances under Messiah the prince and the saints, it is second in the order of proclamation to the Twelve Tribes. The promises of the first covenant, which was added to the ancient covenant (Gal. 3:19), were the blessings of Mount Gerizim consequent upon their hearkening to the voice of Jehovah (Yahweh) their God, (Deut. 28:1-14). In these there was no promise of eternal glory and life; of an everlasting individual and national inheritance of the land; of universal dominion under Abraham's Seed; of everlasting righteousness from one atonement; and of no possible evil coming upon them as a nation. On the contrary, the promises were accompanied with terrible threatenings, which have resulted in all the curses of Jehovah (Yahweh) pronounced upon them for not observing to do all his commandments and statutes.

But the Second Covenant of the kingdom of Israel is established, or ordained for a law, upon better promises; and is therefore styled "a better covenant" (Heb.8:6). It abolishes the remembrance of national offences every year. Under the Sinai covenant these accumulated notwithstanding the yearly atonement, until the magnitude of its guilt crushed the nation, and caused its dispersion into all the kingdoms of the earth, as at this day. The better covenant, however, promises to Israel a great and everlasting amnesty for all past national transgression (Jer.31:31-34), not by virtue of the sacrifice of bulls and goats, which cannot take away sins, offered up by a sinful priest of the order of Aaron; but by a purification that shall be vouchsafed to the repentant tribes, issuing forth from "a fountain opened to the House of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness"; by the blood of which Jesus has entered into the presence of Jehovah (Yahweh) himself, a High Priest of the tribe of Judah, consecrated after the power of an endless life, who will then have appeared the second time, having returned from the Most Holy to proclaim to his nation that God has been merciful to their unrighteousness, and will henceforth remember their sins and iniquities no more (Zech. 13:I; Heb. 9:24; 7:16; 9:28; Ezek. 36:25-28).

This great national reconciliation being consummated, and the Twelve Tribes grafted into their own olive again, they will then enjoy the better promises of the second Covenant. A new heart, and a new spirit they will then possess. They will be God's reconciled people, and He will be their God. He will call for the corn and increase it, and lay no famine upon them; and they shall receive no more reproach among the nations. Their land that was desolate will then be as the garden of Eden. Jerusalem will be a rejoicing, and Israel a joy. Their lives shall endure as the days of a tree, and they shall wear out the works of their hands (Isa. 65:17-25). These are a few incidents of the national blessedness that awaits Israel, when the kingdom of God shall be restored to them, and established in the second millennium of its independence under the New and Better Covenant.


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