WILLIAM TUCKER BROAD.*
[*NOTE. This tract was published in 1906. When comparing its teachings with what we are accustomed to listening to from pulpits today, we can only admit (with disappointment, shame and in humility) of how the vast majority of ministers of Christianity have NOW LOST FOCUS, in their interpretations, understandings and teachings of unfulfilled Bible prophecy!]
SOME FUNDAMENTAL FACTS CONCERNING IT
“Thy Kingdom come.” - Matthew 6: 10.
It is almost a truism to say that few books are so understood as the Scriptures. The reason is the real study of it is rare. Most people read it in scraps, and the result is profound ignorance of its teachings.
Yet it claims to be, not the word of man, but the Word of God, made up of words forming a record wholly from God. “God spake through the prophets,” is its explanation of its own origin. The mouth, the hands, and the organs of speech used in the speaking and writing were man’s, but God was behind speaking through these organs, and hence the words came from God. So the Bible is not a literature of the Hebrews, though it may be, in part, in the Hebrew language. It stands in a class by itself, and can not be regarded as an ordinary book, for it is, and it contains, a
Revelation from God.
Its author is the Holy Spirit. It did not originate in any man’s imagination, “for no prophecy ever came by man’s will, but men spake from God (and not from themselves), being carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
This “God-breathed” record, wholly originating from God, contains in it a revelation of God’s plans and purposes for man and the earth. It is history written beforehand. This fact alone shows the foolishness of those who object to, and criticise, what they cannot understand. How can mortal man expect to understand the mind of the Infinite Creator? For God’s thoughts are not man’s thoughts, nor are His ways man’s ways.
The fact that it is a Revelation from God, at once lifts it out of the range of human criticism. It is altogether beyond man’s mind even fully to understand. It is to be accepted just as it stands, and to be humbly believed.
But study this Book of books diligently, and there is unfolded in it the stages by which God is working out slowly and surely His marvellous plans formed before this earth was created. And the author of the book promises to help the diligent, spiritual student. He who “hunts the Scriptures,” will find that “spiritual things are declared only to spiritual persons.”
The words quoted at the head of this article, were first used by the Lord, and given to His disciples as a petition to be evermore on their lips. Learnt in infancy, and uttered, perhaps, thousands of times, we need to ask what the words mean, whether we believe what we pray, and why the prayer remains so long unanswered.
The reference in the words is to a coming Kingdom which shall be God’s Kingdom, and not man’s. So they tell a part of God’s plan. At present it is only unfulfilled prophecy. But, at the proper time, the words will be translated into events, and the prophecy will become history. Then our little prayer, in its fulfilment, will transcend all our wildest imagination.
But before we can truly pray, we must understand what our words mean. Otherwise, we merely repeat “idle words” which have no meaning to us. We need not say we cannot understand them. The Bible is an easy book to understand, given the true spirit of a student. For it explains itself. It needs no commentary but itself. It needs no teacher but the Holy Spirit. But it does need to be well searched, and then the true explanation is found within its covers.
I. First of all, what is meant by the word Kingdom?
From the second chapter of Daniel, where we get a short and clear account of
the ultimate coming of this
We see in that chapter, from its use, that a kingdom is a country and a People ruled over by a king. There must be a territory; this territory must contain inhabitants, and these must be ruled over by a personal, present, and visible king.
If there is no king, there cannot be a kingdom.
To-day there is no spot in the world that can truthfully be
(a) But there is a mistaken idea that “the Church”
In our ignorance we often pray for the extension of God’s Kingdom, but it cannot be “extended” till it is first of all “set up.” Fancy extending a Draper’s business before it is started!
Stern facts all around us daily prove to us that God’s Kingdom is not set up yet. For when it is, there will be peace, and righteousness, and equity, in all the world. It will most certainly come, but only in the way revealed, namely, with mighty power and judgments.
No, the “
But there is no country where all the people are “children of God.”
There is not a truly “Christian country” upon the earth, and never has been. There are many Christians in
Now, it is the “
So it is plain the Church is not the Kingdom we pray for.
(b) Nor does kingdom mean rule only.
God rules in the lives of all His children. He has given them His Word to guide them, to tell them His will; and by its precepts they are to be ruled till the King comes for whose coming we pray.
In the Second Chapter of First Timothy it is commanded to the Church of God, “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all men; for kings and all that are in high place, that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all goodness and gravity, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.”
So Christians are to pray for kings and all rulers. These are all appointed by man to carry out
the laws made by man himself in a Parliament elected for that purpose by the
people. It is man who now rules in the
earth. But God’s Kingdom will have God’s
rule and not man’s, and hence present rulers prove that rule, as we know it
now, does not constitute a
God permits human rulers for the present, but even now “there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God.” Hence in Romans 13 every Christian is commanded to be in subjection to them, and to pay whatever taxes are demanded, for conscience’s sake, as well as to avoid punishment. Resistance of any kind to human rulers is absolutely forbidden, whether passive or active, matters not. The Christian is ordered by God to pay taxes, and to render obedience to rulers, who are “His ministers.”
In spiritual matters, God rules His children. In earthly things they must obey their earthly rulers. God overrules certainly. He upsets men’s plans often, and makes even wicked men work out His purposes unknowingly. But as long as there are human rulers, so long will God’s Kingdom not be set up.
When God’s Kingdom comes, all earthly kingdoms will be put down. When God’s King sits upon His glorious throne there will be no earthly kings, for “the Lord shall be King over all the earth” (Zech. 14: 9).
So we see that a church is not a kingdom, nor does rule alone constitute one.
(c) Nor is influence a kingdom.
We know that God’s Word has great influence even now when God’s Kingdom is not set up, when few know God’s revelation. But in the coming Kingdom, “the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.”
We influence one another, even when we do not rule. Kings are not the only ones who have influence. God’s people are told “to let their light shine.” They are not told to rule: they are not told to set up a kingdom. That is God’s work only.
To-day education and printing have spread far and wide some vague knowledge of God’s Kingdom, and the lives and teaching of God’s people have spread influence abroad. But God’s Kingdom has not come yet. When it comes it will be with power, and not with influence merely. All will be compelled to submit to it, or to die, and we cannot say that of influence.
Hence we are compelled to say that kingdom does not mean church, nor rule, nor influence.
There is no country now, which can be called God’s kingdom.
There are no laws now existing, which can be called God’s laws.
There is no country now, where God’s will is done on the earth as it is done in heaven.
Now God’s King is absent from earth, and till He comes back again the Kingdom will not even begin.
To-day earthly kings rule. To-day there are many earthly kingdoms, and many kings, good, bad, and indifferent. Satan is “the god of this age”; the one whom the majority obey. The time, however, is coming when Satan’s rule and influence will cease, and “a King shall reign in righteousness whose right it is to reign.”
Every time we pray “Thy Kingdom come,” we ask that the revelation and the prophecy of the coming King and Kingdom may be translated into history and actual fact.
* * *
We have already considered what the coming Kingdom is not, and having looked at it from a negative standpoint, let us now consider it positively.
(d) A very little consideration will make it clear that a kingdom is not only a territory ruled over by a king,
but he must have ranks and conditions of subjects to rule over. A man may give himself out to be
rule over, makes him the laughing stock of the civilized world.
Every kingdom has in it three classes. There must be
(1). The king and royal family;
(2). An aristocracy or nobility;
(3). Subjects to be ruled over by those set to rule. …
In the Scriptures we get glimpses revealed to us of the ranks of heaven, whereby we know of similar divisions in the heavenly hosts. We read of some called “sons of God” who sang for joy at the creation. Frequent mention is made of “gods” - as being a numerous part of the angelic host. Those who rebelled with Satan, who is called “a son of God,” are thereafter denominated “false gods”; while a third class of rebellious spiritual beings are the demons of whom we know little. But only let us notice how these three classes of foes, hostile to God, act, and we get much light upon Scripture.
The demons great temptation is to the various Gentile nations
to practice demon worship. Hence the
prevalence of devil worship, witchcraft and spiritism
among the Gentile nations in all ages since Noah’s time. Their special object
seems to be to prevent the Nations, as such, from believing and obeying God,
and being thereby made fit for occupancy of the place formerly occupied by such
rebels in the
The “false gods” made their special attack upon
But Satan’s craft is chiefly shown in his attacks upon and
temptation of the
These three dispossessed classes seem specially determined to
prevent, if possible, that God’s purposes of election of believing individuals
among “Jews, Gentiles,
The Lord at His first coming proclaimed the King and Kingdom promised and prophesied. But He was rejected and crucified. Then He was by mighty power raised from the dead, and He ascended to His Father’s throne to wait till His return to earth to set up the Kingdom.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom is in abeyance, God’s secret as to the Church of God is being worked out, and when that Church is completed of elect from Jew and Gentile, then it will be caught up to be for ever with the Lord.
So in this age of the
Later, when the
Such, in outline, is the Kingdom as revealed in God’s word, and for which we pray when we say “Thy Kingdom come.”
II. We cannot insist too strongly on the fact that this Kingdom is God’s Kingdom. Of course man in his utter conceit of himself and his fancied powers imagines he must work hard to get things ready, and that the Lord cannot return till things are all prepared. A secretary of an English missionary society predicts that at the present rate of work and conversions the Lord’s return cannot well take place for a million and a half years! Recent statistics prove to us that, for every convert made to Christianity, no less than twenty-one are born into heathenism. At that rate the whole of the world will never be won by man’s agency and modern missionary societies. Heathenism is growing, by the natural birth-rate alone, twenty-one times faster than Christianity is.
The Lord’s return then is absolutely necessary to crush and stop the overwhelming growth of heathenism. Man has already, after over a century of modern missions, proved his failure to do the work he has arrogantly set of himself to do. We have heard again and again - [from Christians who believe there will be a millennium; for the greater part of Christendom is now Anti-millennial; and are now rejecting that truth by denying their Lord of His inheritance here (Psa. 2: 8; 110: 1-3)!!] - that the millennium is coming as the result of what “the churches” are doing, but advancing years seem to prove the goal is farther off than ever. There is no hope for the Kingdom apart from God’s interference.
The kingdoms are now of the earth,
earthly; and during this age God’s Kingdom is “to come,” and is called “the
When here, His
enemies on one occasion enquired of Him when the
And what a vast change there will be when it has come. The book of Revelation is a picture in words of the events leading up to the establishment of the Kingdom. Chapters 19 and 20 picture to us the King and the hosts of heaven leaving for the earth in millions to establish the Kingdom among men.
It will be a blessed time for the earth then. God alone can work the changes predicted. Man thinks his efforts at cobbling and tinkering will accomplish it. But the world wants turning upside down first, and a vast cataclysm is absolutely necessary before such changes can take place. It needs the mighty power of God to accomplish it.
The curse will be taken off creation. Wickedness will be put an end to. Bad government will cease. A King will reign in righteousness. There will be no Parliaments to waste time
and to make legislation for classes (whether for Capital or Labour; Rich or
Poor): for all laws will come forth from
The Kingdom is to be God’s, and God alone can establish it.
III. Curiosity tempts us to ask, “When is this Kingdom coming?” That it is future, is all we know. No dates are given. God’s reckonings are not by dates but by duration. Satan’s craft is seen in getting men to fix dates; so that when the expected event does not transpire the subject may become one of ridicule. And so the glorious hope has been made a subject of mockery.
Events are predicted that shall lead up to the Lord’s return. They are being fulfilled before our very eyes in these days, and yet mockers ask “Where is the promise of His coming?” Hundreds of passages in Scripture repeat the promise, but blind eyes fail to see one of them.
To the spiritually enlightened, however, all the signs of the times point to the fact that the Lord’s return is near. No dates are given, but there are signs in abundance. There are scores of prophecies, and their fulfilment is now making history before our very eyes.
The Lord is coming, and that soon, to reign for a thousand years over earth’s teeming millions! That is good news indeed in days of political turmoil and death-sowing revolutions.
The Lord will come first, and the millennial kingdom be set up after. How we forget! How we neglect to ponder upon the greatest event of the ages, though three hundred and eighteen references to it are made in the New Testament alone!
God’s [millennial] Kingdom [of “the thousand years” (Rev. 20: 3, 5, 7)] is coming. Our prayer is near fulfilment. Are we ready? Are we telling of grace while the day of grace lasts? For when once the King rises up, the door of mercy will be shut.
But before the Kingdom comes, there will be the Rapture of the
Clement (96 A.D., Bishop of Rome, mentioned
in Phil. 4: 3 – “Let
us every hour expect the
Polycarp (108 A. D.), Bishop of Smyrna, the pupil of John the apostle who leaned upon Jesus’ breast – “He will rise us from the dead … we shall … reign with Him.”
Ignatius (108 A. D.) Bishop of Antioch, whom the historian Eusebius says was the Apostle Peter’s successor – “Consider the times and expect Him.”
Papias (116 A. D.), Bishop of Hierapolis, whom Irenaeus said saw and heard John – “There will be one thousand years … when the reign of Christ personally will be established on earth.”
Justin Martyr (150 A. D.) – “I and all others who are orthodox Christians, on all points, know there will be … a thousand years in Jerusalem … as Isaiah and Ezekiel declare.”
Irenaeus (175 A. D.), Bishop of Lyons, companion of Polycarp, John’s pupil, commenting of Jesus’ promise to drink again of the fruit of the vine in His Father’s Kingdom argues – “That this … can only be fulfilled upon our Lord’s personal return on earth.”
Tertullian (200 A. D.), - “We do indeed confess that a Kingdom is promised on earth.”
Nepos (262 A. D.), Bishop of Egypt, proclaimed the second coming and millennial kingdom. His writings reveal that Dionysius, opposing the second coming, declared that John never wrote Revelation and that the book could not be understood. Opponents of second coming truth have continued this argument until today and still so argue.
Historical writers bear witness of the early church’s belief in Jesus’ return to and reign upon the earth.
Lactantius (300 A. D.) - “The righteous dead … and reign with them on earth … for a thousand years.”
Eusebius admits that the most of the ecclesiastics of his day believed in Christ’s coming before the millennium.
Giesseler, “Church History,” vol. 1, p. 166 – “Millenarianism became the general belief of the time.”
Dr. Bonar in “Prophetic Land-Marks” writes – “Millenarianism prevailed universally during the first three centuries.”
Luther, commenting on John 10: 19 – “Let us not think that the coming of Christ is far off.”
Calvin, in the third book of his “Institutes,” chapter 25 – “Scripture uniformally enjoins us to look with expectation for the advent of Christ.”
John Knox of Scotland, Latimer, the English reformer, John Bunyan, Samuel Rutherford, John Milton, all expressed belief in the pre-millennial second coming of Christ.
“That the Lord will come in Person to this our earth: that His risen elect will reign with Him and judge: that during that blessed reign the power of evil will be bound, and the glorious prophecies of peace and truth on earth find their accomplishment – this is my firm persuasion, and not mine alone, but that of multitudes of Christ’s waiting people, as it was that of His primitive apostolic Church, before controversy blinded the eyes of the Fathers to the light of prophecy.” - Dr. GRIFFITH THOMAS.
But beyond it all [the great tribulation] an infinitely golden vision. A re-born humanity will introduce a re-born world. A great British statesman of the nineteenth century, John Bright, expressed it thus:- “It may be but a vision, but I will cherish it. I see one vast federation stretching from the frozen north in unbroken line to the glowing south. I see one people and one language, and one law and one faith, and over all that white continent the home of freedom and a refuge for the oppressed of every race and every clime.” In the exquisite words of the hymn:-
“For lo, the time is hastening on
By prophet-bards foretold,
When with the ever circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Her ancient splendours fling,
And the whole earth send back a song
Which now the angels sing.”
“The kingdom of this world” - the Greek is singular - “have become the kingdom” - the Empire, a vast federated world under one Monarch - “of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11: 15). “The Lord shall be king over all the earth; and in that day there shall be one Lord and his name one” (Zech. 14: 9).
Wesley himself lived every day, every hour, as though it were his last. He said:- “Perhaps He will appear as the dayspring from on high, before morning light. Oh, do not set us a time! Expect Him every hour. Now He is nigh, even at the doors.” He wrote thus to Dr. Conyers Middleton in 1749. “The doctrine, as you very well know, which Justin deduced from the prophets and the Apostles, in which he was undoubtedly followed by the Fathers of the second and third centuries, is this: ‘The souls of them who have been martyred for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God and who have not worshipped the beast, neither received his mark, shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead shall not live again until the thousand years are finished.’ Now to say that they believed this is neither more or less than to say that they believed the Bible.”
Bishop Coke, who had charge of all the missionary work of the first Methodism, wrote:- “The period of time which yet remains we know is short, who can tell? We ought to be in constant expectation of it. At the coming of Christ to deliver and avenge His people, the faith of His coming will be in a great measure lost. The doctrine of the Millennium was greatly believed in the first three and purest ages; the doctrine lay depressed for ages, but sprang up again at the Reformation.”
“… I have found many eminent divines, who have blest the church and the world with their piety and wisdom, eagerly looking for the Saviour’s advent as the only thing that is to lift the church out of its present depression and gloom. And beyond and above all, I have found the Word of God everywhere pointing to the same great and glorious event as the only hope of the pious, and as the great link which alone can connect us with or bring us into the joys and jubilations of the millennial era. Theorize and speculate as you please, when the Lord cometh He will find the world as now, full of vice, unbelief, sensuality and guilt. We may prefer our vague dreams, and set them up against God’s positive revelations; but His truth abideth.” - J. A. SEISS, D.D.
To quote from a former Bishop of Bristol:- “The doctrine of the millennium was generally believed in the three first and purest ages; and this belief, as the learned Dodwell has justly observed, was one principle cause of the fortitude of the primitive Christians: they even coveted martyrdom, in hopes of being partakers of the privileges and glories of the martyrs in the first resurrection.”
“Whoever neglects the Second Coming has only a mutilated Gospel, for the Bible teaches us not only the death and sufferings of Christ, but also His return to reign in honour and glory. His Second Coming is mentioned and referred to over three hundred times, yet I was in the church fifteen or sixteen years before I ever heard a sermon on it.” - D. L. MOODY.
Chasles, a Roman Catholic
archaeologist. ... The Professor exhorts his audience to bring their Bibles, so
as to verify his statements; and at the close he gives a summary of his
lecture, with all the Scripture texts.
Some of these are before me as I write, and one sheet contains over 40
references to Scripture. He speaks of
the return of the Jews to
Mr. F. Bailey, the secretary of the Guild of Prayer for the Return of our Lord, writes:“Those who do possess this hope of divine intervention are the only happy people in the world today, because they see beyond its immediate turmoil the glory of the Kingdom we may expect Christ so soon to set it up. For, assuming that victory has been achieved, how is a bankrupt, famine-stricken diseased European continent to be reconstructed unless some manifested divine power is available?”
Dr. Bonar says:- “Millenarianism prevailed universally during the first three centuries. This is now an assured fact and presupposes that Chiliasm was an article of the Apostolic creed.” So Mosheim:- “The prevailing opinion that Christ was to come and reign a thousand years among men before the final dissolution of the world, had met no opposition till the time of Origen.” It is significant that it was the Church of Rome that wiped it out. In 373 A.D. the Council of Rome under Pope Damasus “formally denounced Chiliasm” (Millennialism).
OPPOSITION TO “THE WORD OF THE KINGDOM”
“They find to their horror that the doctrine is not fashionable. This is the time to suffer loss for Christ, but they are not prepared to pay the price, and they are amongst those who fall away. So once there is difficulty over the truth they have accepted, they let it go just as quickly as they received it. They are like sponges which absorb any liquid without the slightest difficulty, but immediately you start squeezing the sponge it lets out the liquid even more quickly. Believers can be without depth of spiritual knowledge or experience. They cannot stand the heat of persecution and trial. In that case their spiritual life will soon wither. These Christians are like weather-cocks, they agree with the doctrine that is fashionable at the time and which is accepted by those in whose company they find themselves. If their associates accept the Word of the Kingdom, then so do they. If the others do not accept it, then nor do they. They have never taken heed to the exhortation of the Apostle Paul that we ‘be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, many grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ’ (Eph. 4: 14, 15). It is always difficulty and hardship that cause the people to go back. When Jesus said He was the bread of life which came down from heaven, ‘many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it?’ (John 6: 60). ‘From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him’ (John 6: 66). How very sad this must have been to the first Sower of the seed - Christ. He gave this parable just before these people went back! What a warning they had, yet it was despised.” - GORDON CHILVERS (From, “The Seed and the Soil.”)
“Take heed to thyself, and to thy teaching. Continue in these things; for in doing this thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee:” (1 Timothy 4: 16, R.V.).