From Heaven With Love


Chapter 55—Not With Outward Show

This chapter is based on Luke 17:20-22.

More than three years had passed since John the Baptist gave the message, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2. Many of those who rejected John and at every step had opposed Jesus were insinuating that His mission had failed. HLv 339.1

Jesus answered, “The kingdom of God cometh not with outward show [‘signs to be observed,’ RSV]: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” The kingdom of God begins in the heart. Look not for earthly power to mark its coming. HLv 339.2

“The days will come,” Jesus said, turning to His disciples, “when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.” You do not realize how great is your present privilege in having among you Him who is the life and light of men. You will look back with longing on the opportunities you now enjoy to walk and talk with the Son of God. HLv 339.3

Not until after Christ's ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, did the disciples fully appreciate the Saviour's character and mission. They began to realize they had been in the very presence of the Lord of glory. See John 1:14. Their minds were opened to comprehend the prophecies and to understand the miracles He had wrought. They were as men awakened from a dream. The disciples never wearied of rehearsing Christ's words and works. His lessons now came as a fresh revelation. The Scriptures became to them a new book. HLv 339.4

As the disciples searched the prophecies that testified of Christ, they were brought into fellowship with the Deity, and learned of Him who had ascended to heaven to complete the work He had begun on earth. With amazement they reread the prophetic delineations of His character and work. How dimly had they comprehended the prophetic scriptures! Looking upon Him as He walked a man among men, they had not understood the mystery of His incarnation. They did not fully recognize divinity in humanity. But after they were illuminated by the Holy Spirit, how they longed to see Him again, and wished they might have Him explain the scriptures which they could not comprehend! What had Christ meant when He said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now”? John 16:12. They grieved that their faith had been so feeble, that they had so failed of comprehending the reality. HLv 340.1

The wonderful personage whom John had announced had been among them for more than thirty years, and they had not really known Him as the One sent from God. The disciples had allowed the prevailing unbelief to becloud their understanding. They often repeated His conversations and said, Why did we allow the opposition of the priests and rabbis to confuse our senses, so that we did not comprehend that a greater than Moses was among us, that One wiser than Solomon was instructing us? How dull were our ears! HLv 340.2

As they were brought before councils and thrust into prison, the followers of Christ rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” Acts 5:41. They recognized the glory of Christ, and chose to follow Him at the loss of all things. HLv 340.3

The kingdom of God comes not with outward show. The gospel, with its spirit of self-abnegation, can never be in harmony with the spirit of the world. But today multitudes desire to make our Lord the ruler of the kingdoms of this world, the ruler in its courts, legislative halls, palaces, and marketplaces. They expect Him to rule through legal enactments, enforced by human authority. Since Christ is not now here in person, they themselves will act in His stead. Such a kingdom is what the Jews desired in the days of Christ. But He said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:36. HLv 340.4

The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive. On every hand were crying abuses—extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Saviour attempted no civil reforms, attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority of those in power. He who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments; not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. The cure must regenerate the heart. HLv 341.1

Not by courts, councils, or legislative assemblies is the kingdom of Christ established, but by implanting Christ's nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit. Here is the only power that can uplift mankind. And the human agency for the accomplishment of this work is the teaching and practicing of the Word of God. HLv 341.2

Now, as in Christ's day, the work of God's kingdom lies not with those who clamor for recognition and support by earthly rulers and human laws, but with those who declare to the people in His name those spiritual truths that work in the receivers the experience of Paul: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Galatians 2:20. HLv 341.3