The Review and Herald

839/1902

August 18, 1896

The Kingdom of Christ

EGW

“Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God?” said Christ, “or with what comparison shall we compare it?” Christ found the kingdoms of the world corrupt. After Satan was expelled from heaven, he erected his standard of rebellion on this earth, and sought by every means to win men to his standard. In order the more successfully to gain the allegiance of the world, he put on the garb of religion. By familiar intercourse, through his agents, with the inhabitants of the world, he worked to extend his power, that the contagion of evil might be wide-spread. His purpose was to establish a kingdom which would be governed by his own laws, and carried on with his own resources, independent of God; and so well did he succeed, that when Christ came to the world to establish a kingdom, he looked upon the governments of men, and said, “Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God?” Nothing in civil society afforded him a comparison. The world had cast aside that class of people most needing care and attention; even the most earnest religionists among the Jews, filled with pride and prejudice, neglected the poor and needy, and some among them frowned upon their existence. RH August 18, 1896, par. 1

In striking contrast to the wrong and oppression so universally practised were the mission and work of Christ. Earthly kingdoms are established and upheld by physical force, but this was not to be the foundation of the Messiah's kingdom. In the establishment of his government no carnal weapons were to be used, no coercion practised; no attempt would be made to force the consciences of men. These are the principles used by the prince of darkness for the government of his kingdom. His agents are actively at work, seeking in their human independence to enact laws which are in direct contrast to Christ's mercy and loving-kindness. RH August 18, 1896, par. 2

Prophecy has plainly stated the nature of Christ's kingdom. He planned a government which would use no force; his subjects would know no oppression. The symbols of earthly governments are wild beasts, but in the kingdom of Christ, men are called upon to behold, not a ferocious beast, but the Lamb of God. Not as a fierce tyrant did he come, but as the Son of man; not to conquer the nations by his iron power, but “to preach good tidings unto the meek;” “to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;” “to comfort all that mourn.” He came as the divine Restorer, bringing to oppressed and downtrodden humanity the rich and abundant grace of Heaven, that by the power of his righteousness, man, fallen and degraded though he was, might be a partaker of divinity. RH August 18, 1896, par. 3

In the eyes of the world, Christ was peculiar in some things. Ever a friend of those who most needed his protection, he comforted the needy, and befriended those shunned by the proud and exclusive Jews. The forsaken ones felt his protection, and the convicted, repentant soul was clothed with his salvation. And he required of his subjects that they give aid and protection to the oppressed. No soul that bears the image of God is to be placed at the footstool of human power. The greatest possible kindness and freedom are to be granted to the purchase of the blood of Christ. Over and over again in his teaching, Christ presented the value of true humility, showing how necessary it is that we exercise helpfulness, compassion, and love toward one another. RH August 18, 1896, par. 4

Professed Christians of today have the example of Christ before them, but do they follow it? Often, by the hardness of their hearts, they make it manifest that they do not belong to the kingdom of Christ. Too many educate themselves to censure and condemn, repulsing with harsh, stinging words, those who may seek their help. But cold-hearted worldliness excludes the love of Jesus from the heart. We can cooperate with Christ in the upbuilding of his kingdom only by being sanctified by his Spirit. We must use no force, take up no weapons to compel obedience; for to do this would be to exhibit the same spirit revealed by the enemies of Christ. RH August 18, 1896, par. 5

Christ can do nothing for the recovery of man until, convinced of his own weakness and stripped of all self-sufficiency and pride, he puts himself under the control of God. Then and then only can he be a true subject of God. No confidence can be placed in human greatness, human intellect, or human plans. We must place ourselves under the guidance of an infinite mind, acknowledging that without Jesus we can do nothing. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” “Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” RH August 18, 1896, par. 6

Christ taught that his church is a spiritual kingdom. He himself, “the Prince of peace,” is the head of his church. In his person humanity, inhabited by divinity, was represented to the world. The great end of his mission was to be a sin-offering for the world, that by the shedding of blood an atonement might be made for the whole race of men. With a heart ever touched with the feelings of our infirmities, an ear ever open to the cry of suffering humanity, a hand ever ready to save the discouraged and despairing, Jesus, our Saviour, “went about doing good.” His words inspired hope; his precepts awakened men to faith, and caused them to put their trust in him. RH August 18, 1896, par. 7

Before man can belong to the kingdom of Christ, his character must be purified from sin and sanctified by the grace of Christ. He must become a member of Christ's body, receiving nourishment from him as the branches of the vine derive their strength from the parent stalk. And all who are members of the kingdom of Christ will represent him in character and disposition. Who are thus working out their lives in the service of Christ? All such will sit with him on his throne. But all who exalt themselves, all who oppress their fellow men in any wise, do this to Jesus Christ; for every soul has been purchased at an infinite price, and through faith in Christ is capable of receiving immortality, to live through the eternal ages. RH August 18, 1896, par. 8

How long God will bear with the heartless indifference shown in the treatment of men toward their fellow men, we cannot determine. But “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” If men sow deeds of love and compassion, words of comfort, hope, and encouragement, they will reap that which they have sown. RH August 18, 1896, par. 9

Christ longs to manifest his grace, and stamp his character and image upon the whole world. He was offered the kingdoms of this world by the one who revolted in heaven, to buy his homage to the principles of evil; but he came to establish a kingdom of righteousness, and he would not be bought; he would not abandon his purpose. This earth is his purchased inheritance, and he would have men free and pure and holy. The world's Redeemer hungered and thirsted for sympathy and co-operation; and his earthly pilgrimage of toil and self sacrifice was cheered by the prospect that his longings would be satisfied, that his work would not be for naught. And though Satan works through human instrumentalities to hinder the purpose of Christ, there are triumphs yet to be accomplished through the blood shed for the world, that will bring glory to God and to the Lamb. His kingdom will extend, and embrace the whole world. The heathen will be given for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. Christ will not be satisfied till victory is complete. But “he shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.” RH August 18, 1896, par. 10