The reigning King
The widely accepted theory that the present preaching of the Gospel with the advance of civilisation is to convert the world, and bring the nations of the earth to own the kingly rule of the Nazarene, and thus see His kingdom “stretch from shore to shore”—is a day-dream which has no existence in fact and never will have in accomplishment by such means. The Gospel when it is preached by Spirit-filled men, in the power of the Holy Ghost, will always prove itself to be God’s chosen instrument in taking a people out of the world for His Name (Acts 15:14)—a people who, from the hour of their conversion, are no longer “of the world” (John 17:16), but Christ’s witnesses in it (Acts 1:8)—a people for His own possession (Tit. 2:14, R.V.), guided by His Word and owning His Lordship in all departments of their lives, until the hour in which He shall call them one by one, or all together, to their heavenly borne.
But the world will go from bad to worse until, in full and open apostacy from God, and in full defiance of God, it will be brought to a sudden halt at the open appearing of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven, as judge of mankind and administrator of God’s long-delayed judgment. And this is to be the great crisis of human history, the close of God’s time of long-suffering toward men and the beginning of the hour of His judgment, in which God will, by the hand of the Man “whom He has ordained” to be Judge of living and dead (Acts 17:31), and to whom He has committed all judgment (John 5:27-30), administer His judgment in strict righteousness, with which no mercy will mingle, but every man receive according as his works have been, through years and privileges of earthly life.
It will be thus and then, that the Kingdom of Christ will begin. This phase of His kingdom was the theme of Old Testament prophecy and psalm, and is much dwelt on in such Scriptures as Isaiah 12:16; 32:1-20; 35:1-10; 40:1-14, Psalm 72:1-19, and the groups of Psalms 93-100 and 145-150, where “the Lord reigneth” is the key note; and “Praise ye the Lord” the grand refrain. The New Testament opens with the announcement and the birth of The King (Luke 1:32-33), and records the visit of Gentile kings from the distant East inquiring, and when they had found Him, worshipping the new born King (Mt. 2:1-11). But Israel was blind and obdurate, and although the heaven-sent Ruler fulfilled in His person and lowly form all that their prophets had uttered concerning Him, the people He came to bless and rule over, rejected Him and cast Him out as a malefactor. But God raised Him from the dead, and will, at His own time and in His own way, set His King on His holy hill of Zion (Ps. 2:6), and no power of man can hinder it.
The events that follow the Lord’s descent from heaven accompanied by His saints, as described in Revelation 19:11-21, will be first the gathering out of His kingdom all offenders and opponents of His rule (Mt. 13:41), the discriminating judgment of the living nations as described in Matthew 25:31-36, the subduing by the rod of His power all forms of rebellion, causing all for to quake before Him, and others, who are not truly converted, will yield a “feigned obedience” to Him. For while the kingdom is to be “set up” by an act of judgment (Dan. 2:44; 7:14), and the glorified Lord receives and takes unto Him His great power to reign (Rev. 11:11), there will still be rebels to deal with and “angry nations” (Rev. 11:18) to subjugate with the righteous sceptre of the reigning King. In the heavenly department of this kingdom the glorified saints will reign with Christ throughout the thousand years of millennial bliss (Rev. 20:4), and share His throne (Rev. 3:21) as in earthly days, they shared His shame and Cross (2 Tim. 2:12; Rom. 8:17-18)
In its earthly sphere, the reign of Christ will be over the house of Israel, again united with Judah sifted (Amos 9:9), cleansed, converted, and back in their land, one nation, under a new covenant (Heb. 8:8-10). The locality of the millennial kingdom is the Earth (Ps. 8:1-8), its centre or metropolis is Jerusalem (Isa. 52:2-10; Zech. 14:11-21), rebuilt (Jer. 31:38-40). It will then in reality be “the City of the Great King” (Mt. 5:36), for there the Lord will have His throne, and there He will “reign before His ancients gloriously” (Isa. 24:23). And in the very scenes in which the deepest sorrows of the Lord were known—Gethsemane and Calvary—the glory shall shine forth, and His reign shall be beneficent and glorious. A lineal descendant of David’s house—named “the Prince” (Ezek. 45:22), may occupy the actual throne of the Lord; the twelve tribes will be arranged in God’s own order, occupying territory of over 1000 square miles. All wars will cease (Mic. 4:3; Isa. 2:4), so there will be no need for armies or fleets to guard the coasts. The curse (Gen. 3:17-19) removed, earth will yield its increase (Amos 9:13). The animal creation will own the rule of their Great Creator and live at peace (Isa. 11:6). Idolatry will be abolished all over the world, and the “one Lord” will rule over all (Zech. 14:6). Then, but not till then, will the groan of creation cease (Rom. 8:21-23), and under the sceptre of earth’s rightful King God will receive His due, and redeemed man his full mead of blessing which never since Adam’s fall has been known on this earth.
Article series: Our Glorious LordThe Patience of Christ The Advent of Christ Glory