R1351-13 Bible Study: The King And The Kingdom

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LESSON I., JANUARY 3, ISA. 11:1-10


Golden Text:—”He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.”—Psa. 72:8

The inspiring themes of this lesson are the glorious Millennial Kingdom and the rightful King whom God hath appointed to reign in righteousness over all the earth. This is that kingdom to which our Lord referred when to his disciples he said, “I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:29,30); that kingdom for which he taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven;” that kingdom which he commissioned his disciples to preach, saying, “Let the dead bury their dead, but go thou and preach the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:1,2,60); and that to which some of the poor of this world, rich in faith, have been chosen heirs. (James 2:5.) It is that kingdom of which the Prophet Isaiah frequently discourses in glowing language, and which, indeed, has been the theme of all the holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:19-21), as well as of the Lord and the apostles.

But observe that every reference to it looks to its future establishment, and makes clearly manifest the fact that it is not yet set up in the earth; for the will of God is not yet done on earth as it is done in heaven, and the heirs of the kingdom are not yet reigning with Christ. The only way in which the kingdom of God yet exists is in its embryo condition, in its incipient stage of humiliation, in which it often

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“suffers violence,” and “the violent take it by force.” (Matt. 11:12.) But in due time these prospective heirs of the kingdom who now faithfully endure hardness as good soldiers, will be counted worthy to be exalted and to reign with Christ when his kingdom shall be established in power and great glory. (Matt. 24:30.) Hear the promise of our glorified Lord: “To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne.” (Rev. 3:21.) And again, “They shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years”—”on the earth.”—Rev. 20:6; 5:10.

It seems strange indeed, in view of the clear testimony of the Scriptures on the subject of the establishment of the kingdom of God in the earth, and of its glorious character and work, that Christians generally, both Catholic and Protestant, entertain the idea that that kingdom has already come, and that it has been established in the earth for many centuries. This error is not one which originated with Protestants, but rather, one which they have never outgrown. The claim was first made by the Papacy when she became popular with the world and was exalted to power, and the “Great

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Reformation” movement, while it touched many other doctrines, left this one unmolested; and the thoughtless indifference of Christians since those days has never discovered to them the absurdity of praying, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven,” while at the same time they claim that his kingdom did come long ago, though they freely admit that his will is not, and never has been, done on earth as it is done in heaven.

But let us observe what the Prophet here has to say of the glorious character and the extent of this dominion and of the power and glory of its appointed King, and then see if there is, or ever yet has been, such a king or such a kingdom in the earth. Hear him! (Isa. 11:1.) “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the reverence of Jehovah; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither give sentence after the hearing of his ears. [He will not need to call up the testimony of human witnesses in any case, since his own knowledge and understanding of each man’s case will be perfect.] But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and give sentence with equity for the meek of the earth. … And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”—Verses 1-5.

This glorious Branch out of the stock of Jesse we recognize as our blessed Lord Jesus, who, after his resurrection, said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18), and who at the time appointed will take unto him his great power and reign. (Rev. 11:17.) This is “the Messenger of the [new] covenant whom ye delight in. Behold he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Mal. 3:1; Jer. 31:31-34.) Oh, let our hearts truly rejoice in the blessed and multiplied assurances that he who so loved us as to give his life for our ransom is coming again to reign. “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; … for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with his truth.”—Psa. 96:11-13.

Now in observing the character of his reign, notice First, that it will be a terror to evil doers, and that because iniquity so abounds in the world, the first work of his reign will be the smiting of the earth with the rod of his mouth and the slaying of the wicked with the breath of his lips (verse 4); for somehow the truth, “the rod of his mouth and the breath of his lips,” is either directly or indirectly to bring about the smiting of the earth—the great “time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.”—Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21; Jas. 5:1-6; Mal. 3:2-5; 4:1.

Secondly, observe that while his reign is to be a terror to evil doers, exposing and uprooting every system and every principle of evil, both in society at large and in every individual, it will on the other hand be the consolation and joy of all the meek who love righteousness; for such shall no longer be oppressed, but shall be exalted and blessed.—Verse 4.

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Thirdly, notice that the blessings of Christ’s Millennial reign will extend, not only to the establishment of righteousness in the earth and peace and harmony among men, but to the lower creatures as well, so that they will be docile and obedient to mankind, as they were originally.—Verses 6-9; Psa. 8:6-8.

And fourthly, do not overlook the blessed assurances of verses 9,10—”The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”—full, broad, ample and deep. Ah, no conflicting creeds then; for all will be made plain and all the vain traditions of men will have perished. And in that day the Root of Jesse shall stand for an ensign of the people; to him shall the nations come to inquire, and his resting-place shall be glorious. (Verse 10.) Here, he who in verse one is called the Branch out of the root of Jesse—the Son of Jesse—is now called the Root (or father) of Jesse. And this seeming contradiction is not an accidental misstatement but a veritable truth; for though Christ was the Son of Jesse according to the flesh, he is now to be “the Everlasting Father” or life-giver to the whole human race; so that Jesse, in the “Times of Restitution of all things,” will be the son of Christ.—Isa. 9:6.

When Christ is thus exalted in the earth and men begin to realize his power and goodness, he will indeed be for an “ensign of the people,” and there will indeed be a great turning to him. Men will say, “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. … And all nations shall flow into it.” (Isa. 2:3,2.) And truly “his resting-place shall be glorious”—so different from the miserable resting-places now afforded by human creeds, so aptly described by the Prophet (Isa. 28:20), saying, “For the bed is shorter than that a man [a developed Christian] can stretch himself [or grow more] on it, and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.” [He knows so little of the divine plan that he is constantly subject to doubts and fears.] But the blessed resting-place which the new King will discover to all men, in making “the knowledge of the Lord fill the earth as the waters cover the sea,” will indeed be a glorious resting-place. God’s plan and each man’s place in that plan will be clearly manifest and blessedly satisfying.

In the blessed assurance of our Golden Text, that “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth,” and all the accompanying assurances of that precious psalm, let our hearts rejoice, remembering also that when he shall appear in his kingdom, then shall we also (if faithful unto death) appear with him in glory.—Col. 3:4.

Let us not fall into that miserable delusion, which should be so apparent to every student of the Scriptures, that the kingdoms of this world, misnamed Christendom (Christ’s kingdom) are in any sense the kingdom of Christ, or that they are in any sense accomplishing the work which the Scriptures under consideration point out as the work of that kingdom. Let the true saints of God, the embryo kingdom, the “heirs” of the kingdom soon to come in power and great glory, be content to be unrecognized of men and to suffer reproach and violence if need be, knowing that when it does come, it will far surpass the vain glory of these earthly kingdoms which must pass away. Such was Paul’s faith; for when about to die, and looking forward to the time appointed for the setting up of the kingdom of God, he said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but to all them also who love his appearing.” (2 Tim. 4:8.) While, then, we wait for his appearing, let us confidently and joyfully hope for the glory to be revealed in us and through us.


— January 1, 1892 —