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TALI. RIGHTS RESERVED.] BIBLE STUDI # CONDUCTED BY PASTOR RUSSELL. MESSIAH'S KINGDOM TO BE I INVISIBLE I The Lesson: Luke xvii. 20-37. I The Text.—"The Kingdom of God is in I your midst."—Ver&e 21. I The Pharisees heard of the claim that Jesus was the long-promised King, who would set up hi.s Messianic kingdom; and they derided him. They considered Jesus a deceiver. and his followers dupes. Our lesson tells how they attempted to expose what they supposed was a deception, thus to turn away the delusion of Jesus' followers. Therefore they asked him in public, when will God's kingdom come? Jpfi-as answered thnt God's kingdom would not come with observation; that when it would be established, people would not see whether it was here or there; for the Kingdom of God would be the power of God exerted everywhere in their midst. Our translation is faulty, though evidently not intentionally so, when it reads, "For, be- hold, the kingdom of God is within you. The translators, had they noticed carefully, would have guarded, against saying that the Kingdom of Gcd was within those Pharisees whom Jesus had designated hypocrites, whited sepulchres, etc. A closer examina- tion shows that the text wotikl better be translated, "The kingdom of God is in your midst." A kingdom is always represented by its king. Jesus. a.- the King, was present in their midst, but they did not recognise him. Similarly, throughout the Gospel Age. the Church of Christ, his "Body," has been un- discerned by the world. "The world knoweth. us not, even as it knew him not." Christ and the Church in the flesh have been only the kingdom class, prepared for investiture of authority in God's due time, which we Ihelieve is near. During the Millennium, the kingdom authority and powor of God will be exer- cised amongst men yet they will see it merely with the eyes of their understanding. Every one will understand that he who suf- fered has entered iuto his glory, and that the Church, his bride, is with him in glory, and that the Millennial blessing proceeds from them. "DAYS OF THE SOX OF MAN." I Turning to his disciples, Jesus said: "The days will come when ye shall desire to see one of. the days of the Son of Man, and ye shall not see it." This was astound- ing news to the faithful. Yet they were accustomed to hearing from the Master things which they could not understand. They took all these things figuratively, and wondered how Jesus could be the great King. and yet they not see him and his days. jesus continued, saying: "They shall say unto you, See here or, See tb ere! Go not :'fter hem. nor follow them for as the lightning, that ligliteneth out of one part under heaven and shineth unto another part under heaven, ,o shall also the Son of Man he in his day." This statement is better understood when v. e translate the Greek word brit/hf Û¡ining, instead of Iu'jhtnhuj, for our Lord evidently referred to the sun. which rises in the east and sets in the west. The Day of Christ is a thousand-year day. the Millennium, and our Lord's statement was one of the dark sayings of which Jesus said. "I have many things to tell you. but ve cannot bear them now," and promised that in due time the Holy Spirit would grant them enlighten- ment. This portion is now becoming clear to those of spiritual discernment. Then, that they inight gradually learn that these things, belonged to a distant time, Jesus explained that first he mu-st Miffcr many things and be rejected of that nation. Coming back to the signs of his presence, he declared: "A; it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the day-; of the Son of Man." Then mankind\ ate, drank, married, built, honght, sowed, planted, as usual. These things arc not sisn. of -wickedness, but are mentioned to show us that there would be no outward sign to indicate to the world the time of Christ's Second Presence, when he would begin to set up his kingdom. Hera we have something definite, concrete 1. THE DELUGE AND SODOM'S I DESTRUCTION. Why introduce these two pictures-The Deluge and the destruction of Sodom—in conjunction, while talking of the establish- ment of Messiah's kingdom," which is to bless the world? The answer is that the ,iiiswer is that tl)e Bible everyw here foretells that Messiah's kingdom is to be established upon the wreck of our present institutions. It is this wreck that Jesus illustrated by the Deluge and the destruction of Sodom. His own presence preceding this "time of trou ble is to be unknown to the world until the trouble is precipitated. Emphasising the suddenness of the cala- mity, Jesus reminded us that on the same day that Lot went out of Sodom fire and brimstone rained down from heaven, and declared that thus it will be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. The Greek text shows a difference between the ],at-oit.,ia. or Presence, of Christ, before the Time of Trouble, and the later Epiphania, or revealing. The description of the re- vealing of Christ is given in the words, "He sdiall be revealed in flaming fire" (2 Thess. i. 7-8). Indeed, that time of troublr is fre- quently described symbolically as a burning of the world—so much so that all the creeds of Christendom express the thought that the earth is to be burned. They overlook the fact that the heavens are to be burned also. In the symbolical usage of the Bible, the earth represents the social order of human affairs; the sea. the restless, discontented masses; the heavens, the ecclesiastical powers. St. Peter tells us that these will pass away with a great confusion, and that instead will come the new heavens and the new earth (2 Pet. iii. KM;}). The new heavens will be the new ecclesiastical society —the Church in glory, joint-heirs with Christ in his kingdom. The new ea.tth will be the new social order which Messiah's be the iiew-.? ill establish. kingdom will establish. SAINTS ON THE HOUSETOP. I Again recurring to his Second Coming, the Lord see-ms to assure us that all his faithful ones will die before the great trouble, the symbolic fire will consume pre- sent institutions. In figurative language he says that in that Day (of his Parulls;a, pre- sence, before his K/>i j>ha» in, or revealing) those on the housetop should not go down to take their goods out. We believe that the house represents the House of God, and those on the housetop represent the most saintly of God 's people. At that time such will realise the necessity for flight; and they are warned not to seek to save any of the stuff social privileges, hononr of men, some- times titles of small offices, such as deacon, vestryman, elder, minister, etc. Everything must be forsaken, else the test of that time will not be successfully passed. The field represents the world. Any of the Lord's people who have gone out into the world-who have left the church nomi- nal—are not to go back; but learning the true situation, they are to flee to the Lord from the field. In the flight from Sodom, Lot and his family were warned to make haste, and not even to look back. So the Lord's people now are not to look back at the things to be dissolved. Give them no thought. "Flee out of Babylon." "Deliver every man his own soul." "Lot's wife, disobeying, failed to escape. The Lord applies this illustra- tion to his people and urges that their flight be with a full renunciation of things pre- sent. Whoever shall seek to save his life must lose it. Whosoever will lose his life will thereby preserve it—gaining the ever- lasting life.









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