VOLUME ONE - THE
DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES
THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD
First Dominion — Its Forfeiture — Its Redemption and Restoration — The
Typical Kingdom of God — The Usurper — Two Phases of the Present Dominion — The Powers that be, Ordained of
God — Nebuchadnezzar’s View
of Them — Daniel’s View and Interpretation — The Kingdoms of this World viewed from another Standpoint
— The Proper
Relationship of the
Church to Present Governments — The Divine Right of Kings Briefly Examined
— Claims of Christendom False — A Better
Hope in the Fifth Universal Empire.
THE first chapter of the Divine Revelation, God declares his purpose
concerning his earthly creation and its government: “And God said, Let
us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion
over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the
cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that
creepeth upon the earth. So
God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him: male
and female created he them. And
God blessed them. And God
said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it;
and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air,
and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
Thus the dominion of earth was placed in the hands of
the human race as represented in the first man Adam, who was perfect, and
therefore fully qualified to be the lord, ruler or king of earth.
This commission to multiply, and fill, and subdue, and have
dominion over the earth was not to Adam alone, but to all mankind: “Let them
have dominion,” [page 246] etc. Had
the human race remained perfect and sinless, this dominion would never
have passed out of its hands.
It will be noticed that in this commission no man is given dominion
or authority over fellowmen, but the whole race is given dominion over the
earth, to cultivate and to make use of its products for the common good.
Not only its vegetable and mineral wealth is thus placed at man’s
command, but also all its varieties of animal life are at his disposal and
for his service. Had the race
remained perfect and carried out this original design of the Creator, as
it grew in numbers it would have been necessary for men to consult
together, and to systematize their efforts, and to devise ways and means
for the just and wise distribution of the common blessings.
And as, in the course of time, it would have been impossible,
because of their vast numbers, to meet and consult together, it would have
been necessary for various classes of men to elect certain of their number
to represent them, to voice their common sentiments, and to act for them.
And if all men were perfect, mentally, physically and morally; if
every man loved God and his regulations supremely, and his neighbor as
himself, there would have been no friction in such an arrangement.
Thus seen, the original design of the Creator for earth’s
government was a Republic in form, a government in which each individual
would share; in which every man would be a sovereign, amply qualified in
every particular to exercise the duties of his office for both his own and
the general good.
This dominion of earth conferred upon man had but one contingency
upon which its everlasting continuance depended; and that was that this
divinely-conferred rulership be always exercised in harmony with the
Supreme Ruler of the universe, whose one law, briefly stated, is Love. “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and
with all thy soul, and with all [page 247] thy mind;...and thou shalt love thy neighbor as
thyself.” Rom. 13:10; Matt. 22:37-40
Concerning this great favor conferred upon man, David, praising
God, says: “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou
crownedst him with glory and honor; thou madest him to have dominion over
the works of thy hands.” (Psa. 8:5,6)
This dominion given to mankind in the person of Adam was the first
establishment of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Man thus exercised dominion as God’s representative.
But man’s disobedience to the Supreme Ruler forfeited not only
his life, but also all his rights and privileges as God’s representative
ruler of earth. He was
thenceforth a rebel, dethroned and condemned to death. Then speedily the
kingdom of God on earth ceased, and has not since been established, except
for a short time, in a typical manner, in Israel.
Although in Eden man lost his right to life and dominion, neither
was taken from him suddenly; and while the condemned life lasts man is
permitted to exercise the dominion of earth according to his own ideas and
ability, until God’s due time for him whose right it is to take the
dominion which he purchased.
Our Lord’s death redeemed or purchased not only man, but also all
his original inheritance, including the dominion of earth.
Having purchased it, the title is now in him: he is now the
rightful heir, and in due time, and shortly, he will take possession of
his purchase. (Eph. 1:14) But
as he bought man not for the sake of holding him as his slave, but that he
might restore him to his former estate, so with the dominion of earth: he
purchased it and all of man’s original blessings for the purpose of
restoring them when man is again made capable of exercising them in
harmony with the will of God. Hence the reign of Messiah on earth will not be everlasting.
It will continue only until, by his strong iron rule, he will have
put down all rebellion and insubordination, and restored the fallen race
to the original [page 248] perfection, when they will be fully capable of
rightly exercising the dominion of earth as originally designed.
When thus restored, it will again be the Kingdom of God on earth,
under man, God’s appointed representative.
During the Jewish age God organized the people of Israel as his
kingdom, under Moses and the Judges—a sort of Republic—but it was
typical only. And the more
despotic rule afterward established, especially under David and Solomon,
was in some respects typical of the kingdom promised, when Messiah should
reign. Unlike the surrounding nations, Israel had Jehovah for their
King, and their rulers nominally served under him, as we learn from Psa.
78:70,71. This is quite definitely stated in 2 Chron. 13:8 and 1 Chron.
29:23, where Israel is called “the Kingdom of the Lord,” and where it
is said that Solomon “sat on the THRONE OF THE LORD, instead of David
his father,” who sat upon or exercised the rule of the same throne for
the forty years previous, following Saul, the first king.
When the people of Israel transgressed against the Lord, he
chastised them repeatedly, until finally he took away their kingdom
entirely. In the days of
Zedekiah, the last who reigned of the line of David, the scepter of royal
power was removed. There the
typical kingdom of God was overthrown.
God’s decision relative to the matter is expressed in the words,
“Thou profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity
shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God: Remove the diadem, and take
off the crown: this shall not be the same....I will overturn, overturn,
overturn it; and it shall be NO MORE, until he come, whose right it is; and I will give it him.”
(Ezek. 21:25-27) In
fulfilment of this prophecy the king of Babylon came against Israel,
took the people captive and removed their king. Though afterward restored to national existence by Cyrus the
Persian, they [page 249] were subjects and tribute payers to the successive
empires of Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, down to the final destruction of
their nationality, A.D. 70, since which time they have been scattered
among all nations.
The kingdom of Israel is the only one, since the fall, which God
ever recognized as in any way representing his government, laws, etc. There had been many nations before theirs, but no other could
rightfully claim God as its founder, or that its rulers were God’s
representatives. When the
diadem was taken from Zedekiah and the kingdom of Israel was overturned,
it was decreed that it should remain overturned until Christ, the rightful
heir of the world, should come to claim it.
Thus, inferentially, all other kingdoms in power until the
re-establishment of God’s kingdom are branded “kingdoms of this
world,” under the “prince of this world”; and hence any claims put
forth by any of them to being kingdoms of God are spurious.
Nor was this Kingdom of God “SET UP” at the first advent of
Christ. (Luke 19:12) Then and since then God has been selecting from the
world those who shall be accounted worthy to reign with Christ as
joint-heirs of that throne. Not
until his second advent will Christ take the kingdom, the power and the
glory, and reign Lord of all.
All other kingdoms than that of Israel are Scripturally called
heathen or Gentile kingdoms—“the kingdoms of this world,” under the
“prince of this world”—Satan. The
removal of God’s kingdom in the days of Zedekiah left the world without
any government of which God could approve, or whose laws or affairs he
specially supervised. The
Gentile governments God recognized indirectly, in that he publicly
declares his decree (Luke 21:24) that during the interregnum the control
of Jerusalem and the world should be exercised by Gentile governments.
This interregnum, or intervening period of time between [page 250] the removal of God’s scepter and government and the
restoration of the same in greater power and glory in Christ, is
Scripturally termed “The Times of the Gentiles.”
And these “times” or years, during which the “kingdoms of
this world” are permitted to rule, are fixed and limited, and the time
for the re-establishment of God’s Kingdom under Messiah is equally fixed
and marked in Scripture.
Evil as these Gentile governments have been, they were permitted or
“ordained of God” for a wise purpose. (Rom. 13:1) Their imperfection
and misrule form a part of the general lesson on the exceeding sinfulness
of sin, and prove the inability of fallen man to govern himself, even to
his own satisfaction. God
permits them, in the main, to carry out their own purposes as they may be
able, overruling them only when they would interfere with his plans.
He designs that eventually all shall work for good, and that
finally even the “wrath of man shall praise him.”
The remainder, that would work no good, serve no purpose or teach
no lesson, he restrains. Psa. 76:10
Man’s inability to establish a perfect government is attributable
to his own weaknesses in his fallen, depraved condition.
These weaknesses, which of themselves would thwart human efforts to
produce a perfect government, have also been taken advantage of by Satan,
who first tempted man to disloyalty to the Supreme Ruler. Satan has continually taken advantage of man’s weaknesses,
made good to appear evil, and evil to appear good; and he has
misrepresented God’s character and plans and blinded men to the truth. Thus working in the hearts of the children of disobedience
(Eph. 2:2), he has led them captive at his will and made himself what our Lord and the apostles call
him—the prince or ruler of this world. (John 14:30; 12:31) He is not the
prince of this world by right, but by usurpation; through fraud and
deception and control of fallen [page 251] men. It
is because he is a usurper that he will be summarily deposed.
Had he a real title as prince of this world, he would not thus be
Thus it will be seen that the dominion of earth, as at present
exercised, has both an invisible and a visible phase.
The former is the spiritual, the latter the human phase—the
visible earthly kingdoms measurably under the control of a spiritual
prince, Satan. It was because
Satan possessed such control that he could offer to make our Lord the
supreme visible sovereign of the earth under his direction. (Matt. 4:9)
When the Times of the Gentiles expire, both phases of
the present dominion will terminate: Satan will be bound and the kingdoms
of this world will be overthrown.
The fallen, blinded, groaning creation has for centuries plodded
along its weary way, defeated at every step, even its best endeavors
proving fruitless, yet ever hoping that the golden age dreamed of by its
philosophers was at hand. It
knows not that a still greater deliverance than that for which it hopes
and groans is to come through the despised Nazarene and his followers, who as the Sons of God
will shortly be manifested in kingdom power for its deliverance. Rom.
In order that his children should not be in darkness relative to
his permission of present evil governments and concerning his ultimate
design to bring in a better government when these kingdoms, under his
overruling providence, shall have served the purpose for which they were
permitted, God has given us, through his prophets, several grand panoramic
views of the “kingdoms of this world,” each time showing, for our
encouragement, their overthrow by the establishment of his own righteous
and everlasting kingdom under the Messiah, the Prince of Peace.
That man’s present effort to exercise dominion is not in
successful defiance of Jehovah’s will and power, but by his [page 252] permission, is shown by God’s message to
Nebuchadnezzar, wherein God gives permission
to rule, until the time for the setting up of Christ’s kingdom, to the
four great empires, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. (Dan. 2:37-43)
This shows where this lease of the dominion will end.
As we now glance at these prophetic views, let us remember that
they begin with Babylon at the time of the overthrow of the kingdom of
Israel, the typical kingdom of the Lord.
Vision of Earth’s Governments
Among those things “written aforetime for our edification,”
that we, who are commanded to be subject to the powers that be, might
through patience and comfort of the Scriptures have hope (Rom. 15:4;
13:1), is the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and its divine interpretation
through the Prophet. Dan. 2:31-45
Daniel explained the dream, saying: “Thou, O king, sawest, and
behold a great image. This
great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the
form thereof was terrible. This
image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his
belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and
part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands,
which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake
them to pieces.
“Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver and the gold
broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer
threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found
for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and
filled the whole earth.
“This is the dream, and we will tell the interpretation thereof
before the king. Thou, O
king, art a king of kings: [page 253] for the
God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and
glory. [There the Gentile
kingdoms, or powers that be, were ordained of God.]
And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field
and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made
thee ruler over them all. Thou
art this head of gold.
“And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee
[silver], and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over
all the earth. And the fourth
kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and
subdueth all things; and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break
in pieces and bruise. And
whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potter’s clay and part of
iron, the kingdom shall be mixed; but there shall be in it of the strength
of the iron: forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with the miry clay.
And as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay, so
the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle.”
The student of history can readily trace, among the many smaller
empires of earth which have arisen, the four above described by Daniel.
These are termed UNIVERSAL EMPIRES—Babylon, first, the head of
gold (verse 38); Medo-Persia, conqueror of Babylon, second, the breast of
silver; Greece, conqueror of Medo-Persia, third, the belly of brass; and
Rome, fourth, the strong kingdom, the iron legs and clay-mixed feet.
Three of these empires had passed away, and the fourth, the Roman,
held universal sway, at the time of our Lord’s birth, as we read,
“There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all
the world should be taxed.” Luke 2:1
The iron empire, Rome, was by far the strongest, and endured longer
than its predecessors. In
fact, the Roman Empire still continues, as represented in the nations of
Europe. This division is represented in the ten toes of the image.
The [page 254] clay element blended with the iron in the feet
represents the mixture of church and state.
This mixture is in the Scriptures termed “Babylon”—confusion.
As we shall presently see, stone
is the symbol of the true Kingdom of God, and Babylon substituted an
imitation of stone—clay—which it has united with the fragmentary remains of
the [iron] Roman Empire. And
this mixed system—church and state—the Church nominal wedded to the
kingdoms of this world, which the Lord calls Babylon, confusion, presumes
to call itself Christendom—Christ’s Kingdom.
Daniel explains: “Whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay,
they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men [church and world
blend—Babylon], but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron
is not mixed with clay.” They
cannot thoroughly amalgamate. “And
in the days of these kings [the kingdoms represented by the toes, the
so-called “Christian kingdoms” or “Christendom”] shall the God of
heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom
shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and
consume all these kingdoms; and it shall stand forever.” Dan. 2:43,44
Daniel does not here state the time for the end of these Gentile
governments: that we find elsewhere; but every foretold circumstance
indicates that today the end is nigh, even at the doors.
The Papal system has long claimed that it is the kingdom which the
God of heaven here promised to set up, and that, in fulfilment of this
prophecy, it did break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms.
The truth, however, is that the nominal Church merely united with
earthly empires as the clay with the iron, and that Papacy never was the
true Kingdom of God, but merely a counterfeit of it. One of the best evidences that Papacy did not destroy and
consume these earthly kingdoms is that they still exist. And now that the miry clay has become dry and [page 255] “brittle,” it is losing its adhesive power, and
the iron and clay show signs of dissolution, and will quickly crumble when
smitten by the “stone,” the true Kingdom.
Continuing his interpretation, Daniel states: “Forasmuch as thou
sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that
it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver and the gold,
the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass
hereafter; and the dream is certain and the interpretation thereof
sure.” Verse 45
The stone cut out of the mountain without hands, which smites and
scatters the Gentile powers, represents the true Church, the Kingdom of
God. During the Gospel age
this “stone” kingdom is being formed, “cut out,” carved and shaped
for its future position and greatness—not by human hands, but by the
power or spirit of the truth, the invisible power of Jehovah.
When complete, when entirely cut out, it will smite and destroy the
kingdoms of this world. Not
the people, but the governments, are symbolized by the image, and these
are to be destroyed that the people may be delivered. Our Lord Jesus came
not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. John 3:17
The stone, during its preparation, while being cut out, might be
called an embryo mountain, in view of its future destiny; so, too, the
Church could be, and sometimes is, called the Kingdom of God.
In fact, however, the stone does not become the mountain until it
has smitten the image; and so the Church, in the full sense, will become
the Kingdom to fill the whole earth when “the day of the Lord,” the
“day of wrath upon the nations” or “time of trouble,” will be
over, and when it will be established and all other dominions have become
subservient to it.
Call to mind now the promise made by our Lord to the overcomers of
the Christian Church: “To him that overcometh [page 256] will I grant to sit with me in my throne”—“and
he that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give
power over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the
vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers, even as I received of my Father.”
(Rev. 3:21; 2:26,27; Psa. 2:8-12) When
the iron rod has accomplished the work of destruction, then will the hand
that smote be turned to heal, and the
people will return to the Lord, and he shall heal them (Isa.
19:22; Jer. 3:22,23; Hos. 6:1; 14:4; Isa. 2:3), giving them beauty for
ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the
spirit of heaviness.
Vision of Earthly Governments
In Nebuchadnezzar’s vision we see the empires of earth, as viewed
from the world’s standpoint, to be an exhibition of human glory,
grandeur, and power; though in it we also see an intimation of their decay
and final destruction, as expressed in the deterioration from gold to iron
The stone class, the true Church, during its selection or taking
out of the mountain, has been esteemed by the world as of no value.
It has been despised and rejected of men. They see no beauty in it
that they should desire it. The world loves, admires, praises and defends the rulers and
governments represented in this great image, though it has been
continually disappointed, deceived, wounded and oppressed by them.
The world extols, in prose and verse, the great and successful
agents of this image, its Alexanders, Caesars, Bonapartes and others,
whose greatness showed itself in the slaughter of their fellowmen, and
who, in their lust for power, made millions of widows and orphans.
And such is still the spirit which exists in the “ten toes” of
the image, as we see it exhibited today in their marshaled hosts of more
than twelve millions of men armed with every [page 257] fiendish device of modern ingenuity, to slaughter one
another at the command of “the powers that be.”
The proud are now called happy; yea, they that work wickedness are
set up in power. (Mal. 3:15) Can
we not see, then, that the destruction of this great image by the smiting
of the stone, and the establishment of God’s kingdom, mean the
liberating of the oppressed and the blessing of all?
Though for a time the change will cause disaster and trouble, it
will finally yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
But now, calling to mind the difference of standpoint, let us look
at the same four universal empires of earth from the standpoint of God and
those in harmony with him, as portrayed in vision to the beloved prophet
Daniel. As to us these
kingdoms appear inglorious and beastly, so to him these four universal empires were shown as four great
and ravenous wild beasts. And
to his view the coming Kingdom of God (the stone) was proportionally
grander than as seen by Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel says: “I saw in my vision by night, and behold the four
winds of heaven strove upon the great sea.
And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from
another. The first was like a lion and had eagle’s wings;...and
behold another beast, a second, like a bear;...and lo another, like a
leopard....After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth
beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great
iron teeth. It devoured and
brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it; and it was
diverse from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.”
The details relative to the first three beasts (Babylon the lion,
Medo-Persia the bear, and Greece the leopard), with their heads, feet,
wings, etc., all of which are symbolic, we pass by, as of less importance
in our present examination than the details of the fourth beast, Rome. [page 258]
Of the fourth beast, Rome, Daniel says: “After this I saw in the
night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and
strong exceedingly;...and it had ten horns.
I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them
another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots;
and, behold, in this horn were eyes, like the eyes of man, and a mouth
speaking great things.” Dan. 7:7,8
Here the Roman Empire is shown; and the divisions of its power are
shown in the ten horns, a horn being a symbol of power.
The little horn which arose among these, and which appropriated the
power of three of them to itself, and ruled among the others, represents
the small beginning and gradual rise to power of the Church of Rome, the
Papal power or horn. As it
rose in influence, three of the divisions, horns or powers of the Roman
Empire (the Heruli, the Eastern Exarchate and the Ostrogoths) were plucked
out of the way to make room for its establishment as a civil power or
horn. This last specially notable horn, Papacy, is remarkable for
its eyes, representing intelligence, and for its mouth—its utterances,
its claims, etc.
To this fourth beast, representing Rome, Daniel gives no
descriptive name. While the
others are described as lion-like, bear-like and leopard-like, the fourth
was so ferocious and hideous that none of the beasts of earth could be
compared with it. John the Revelator, seeing in vision the same symbolic beast
(government), was also at a loss for a name by which to describe it, and
finally gives it several. Among
others, he called it “the Devil.” (Rev. 12:9)
He certainly chose an appropriate name; for Rome, when viewed in
the light of its bloody persecutions, certainly has been the most devilish
of all earthly governments. Even
in its change from Rome Pagan to Rome Papal it illustrated one of
Satan’s chief characteristics; for he also transforms himself to appear [page 259] as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), as Rome
transformed itself from heathenism and claimed to be Christian—the
Kingdom of Christ.*
After giving some details regarding this last or Roman beast, and
especially of its peculiar or Papal horn, the Prophet states that judgment
against this horn would be rendered, and it would begin to lose its
dominion, which would be consumed
by gradual process until the beast
should be destroyed.
This beast or Roman Empire in its horns or divisions still exists,
and will be slain by the rising of the masses of the people, and the
overthrow of governments, in the “Day of the Lord,” preparatory to the
recognition of the heavenly rulership.
This is clearly shown from other scriptures yet to be examined.
However, the consuming of the Papal horn comes first.
Its power and influence began to consume when Napoleon took the
Pope prisoner to France. Then, when neither the curses of the Popes nor their prayers
delivered them from Bonaparte’s power, it became evident to the nations
that the divine authority and power claimed by the Papacy were without
foundation. After that, the
temporal power of the Papacy waned rapidly until, in September, 1870, it
lost the last vestige of its temporal power at the hands of Victor
Nevertheless, during all that time in which it was being
“consumed,” it kept uttering its great swelling words of blasphemy,
its last great utterance being in 1870, when, but a few months before its
overthrow, it made the declaration of the infallibility
of the Popes. All this is
noted in the prophecy: “I beheld then [i.e.,
after the decree against this ‘horn,’ after its consumption
had begun] because of the voice of the GREAT WORDS which the horn spake.”
*The fact that Rome is called “the
Devil” by no means disproves a personal devil: rather the reverse.
It is because there are such beasts as lions, bears and leopards, with known characteristics, that
governments were likened to
them: and so, it is because there is a Devil, with known
characteristics, that the fourth empire is likened to him.
Thus we are brought down in history to our own day, and made to see
that the thing to be expected, so far as the empires of the earth are
concerned, is their utter destruction. The next thing in order is
described by the words, “I beheld even till the beast was slain and his
body destroyed and given to the burning flame.”
The slaying and burning are symbols, as well as the beast itself,
and signify the utter and hopeless destruction of present organized
government. In verse 12 the prophet notes a difference between the end of
this fourth beast and its predecessors.
They three successively (Babylon, Persia and Greece) had their dominion taken from them; they ceased to hold the ruling power
of earth; but their lives as nations did not cease immediately. Greece and
Persia still have some life, though it is long centuries since universal
dominion passed from their grasp. Not so, however, with the Roman Empire,
the fourth and last of these beasts.
It will lose dominion and life at once, and go into utter
destruction; and with it the others will pass away also. Daniel 2:35
No matter what may be the means or instrumentality used, the cause of this fall will be
the establishment of the Fifth Universal Empire of earth, the Kingdom of
God, under Christ, whose right it is to take the dominion.
The transfer of the kingdom from the fourth beast, which for its
appointed time was “ordained of God,” to the fifth kingdom, under the
Messiah, when its appointed season has come, is described by the Prophet
in these words: “And behold, one like the Son of man came with the
clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given unto him [the Christ—head and body
complete] dominion, and glory, [page 261] and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages
should serve him. His
dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his
kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
This the angel interpreted to mean that “the kingdom and
dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall
be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an
everlasting kingdom; and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” Dan.
Thus seen, the dominion of earth is to be placed in the hands of
Christ by Jehovah (“the Ancient of days”), who shall “put all things
under his feet.” (1 Cor. 15:27) Thus
enthroned over God’s kingdom, he must reign until he shall have put down
all authority and power in conflict with the will and law of Jehovah.
To the accomplishment of this great mission, the overthrow of these Gentile
governments is first necessary; for the “kingdoms of this world,” like
the “prince of this world,” will not surrender peaceably, but must be
bound and restrained by force. And
thus it is written, “To bind their kings with chains and their nobles
with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written; this
honor have all his saints.” Psa. 149:8,9
As we thus view present governments from the standpoint of our Lord
and of the Prophet Daniel, and realize their ferocious, destructive,
beastly and selfish character, our hearts long for the end of Gentile
governments and joyfully look forward to that blessed time when the
overcomers of the present age will be enthroned with their Head, to rule,
bless and restore the groaning creation.
Surely all of God’s children can heartily pray with their
Lord—“THY KINGDOM COME, thy will be done on earth as it is in
Each of these governments represented in the image and by the
beasts existed before it came into power as the universal empire.
So, too, with the true Kingdom of God: it has [page 262] long existed separate from the world, not attempting
rulership, but awaiting its time—the time appointed by the Ancient of
days. And, like the others,
it must receive its appointment and must come into authority or be “set
it can exercise its power in the smiting and slaying of the beast or
kingdom preceding it. Hence
the appropriateness of the statement, “In the days of these kings [while
they still have power] shall the God of heaven set up [establish in power
and authority] a kingdom.” And
after it is set up, “it shall break in pieces and consume all these
kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Dan. 2:44)
Hence, however we may look for it, we must expect God’s Kingdom
to be inaugurated before
the fall of the kingdoms of this world, and that its power and smiting
will bring their overthrow.
Governments from Another Standpoint
Supreme right and authority to rule the world are and ever will be
vested in the Creator, Jehovah, no matter whom he may permit or authorize
to have subordinate control. Under the imperfections and weaknesses
resulting from his disloyalty to the King of kings, Adam soon grew weak
and helpless. As a monarch he
began to lose the power by which, at first, he commanded and held the
obedience of the lower animals by the strength of his will.
He lost control of himself also, so that when he would do good his
weaknesses interfered and evil was present with him; and the good he even
would do he did not do, and the evil which he would not, he did.
Hence, while making no attempt to excuse our rebel race, we can
sympathize with its vain efforts to govern itself
and to arrange for its own well-being.
And something can be said of the success of the world in this
direction; for, while recognizing the real character of these beastly
governments, corrupt though they have been, they have been vastly superior [page 263] to none—much better than lawlessness and anarchy.
Though anarchy would probably have been quite acceptable to the “prince
of this world,” it was not so to his subjects, and his power is not
absolute: it is limited to the extent of his ability to operate through
mankind; and his policy must conform in great measure to the ideas,
passions, and prejudices of men. Man’s
idea was self-government independent of God; and when God permitted him to
try the experiment, Satan embraced the opportunity to extend his influence
and dominion. Thus it was by wishing to forget God (Rom. 1:28) that man
exposed himself to the influence of this wily and powerful though unseen
foe; and therefore he has ever since been obliged to work against
Satan’s machinations, as well as his own personal weaknesses.
This being the case, let us again glance at the kingdoms of this
world, viewing them now as the effort of fallen humanity to govern itself
independent of God. Though
individual corruption and selfishness have turned aside the course of
justice, so that full justice has seldom been meted out to any under the
kingdoms of this world, yet the ostensible object of all governments ever
organized among men has been to promote justice and the well-being of all
To what extent that object has been attained is another question;
but such has been the claim of all governments, and such the object of the
people governed in submitting to and supporting them.
And where the ends of justice have been greatly ignored, either the
masses have been blinded and deceived with reference to them, or wars,
commotions and revolutions have been the result.
The dark deeds of base tyrants, who gained positions of power in
the governments of the world, did not represent the laws and institutions
of those governments, but in usurping authority and turning it to base
ends they gave to [page 264] those governments their beastly character.
Every government has had a majority of wise, just and good
laws—laws for the protection of life and property, for the protection of
domestic and commercial interests, for the punishment of crime, etc.
They have also had courts of appeal in matters of dispute, where
justice is meted out to some extent, at least; and however imperfect those
in office may be, the advantage and necessity for such institutions is
apparent. Poor as these governments have been, without them the baser
element of society would, by force of numbers, have overcome the juster,
While, therefore, we recognize the beastly character of these
governments, as rendered so by the exaltation to power of a majority of
unrighteous rulers, through the intrigues and deceptions of Satan,
operating through man’s weaknesses and depraved tastes and ideas, yet we
recognize them as the best efforts of poor, fallen humanity at governing
itself. Century after century
God has allowed them to make the effort, and to see the results.
But after centuries of experiment, the results are as far from
satisfactory today as at any period of the world’s history.
In fact, the dissatisfaction is more general and widespread than
ever before; not because there is more oppression and injustice than ever,
but because, under God’s arrangement, men’s eyes are being opened by
the increase of knowledge.
The various governments which have been established from time to
time have exhibited the average ability of the people represented by them to govern
themselves. Even where
despotic governments have existed, the fact that they have been tolerated
by the masses proved that as a people they were not capable of
establishing and supporting a better government, though many individuals
were always, doubtless, far in advance of the average standing. [page 265]
As we compare the condition of the world today with its condition
at any former period, we find a marked difference in the sentiments of the
masses. The spirit of
independence is now abroad, and men are not so easily blindfolded,
deceived and led by rulers and politicians, and therefore they will not
submit to the yokes of former days. This change of public sentiment has
not been a gradual one from the very beginning of man’s effort to govern
himself, but clearly marked only as far back as the sixteenth century; and
its progress has been most rapid within the last fifty years.
This change, therefore, is not the result of the experience of past
ages, but is the natural result of the recent increase and general
diffusion of knowledge among the masses of mankind.
The preparation for this general diffusion of knowledge began with
the invention of printing, about 1440 A.D., and the consequent
multiplication of books and news periodicals.
The influence of this invention in the general public enlightenment
began to be felt about the sixteenth century; and the progressive steps
since that time all are acquainted with.
The general education of the masses has become popular, and
inventions and discoveries are becoming everyday occurrences.
This increase of knowledge among men, which is of God’s
appointment, and comes to pass in his own due time, is one of the mighty
influences which are now at work binding Satan—curtailing his influence
and circumscribing his power in this “Day of Preparation”
for the setting up of God’s kingdom in the earth.
The increase of knowledge in every direction awakens a feeling of
self-respect among men, and a realization of their natural and inalienable
rights, which they will not long permit to be ignored or despised; rather,
they will go to an opposite extreme.
Glance back along the centuries and see [page 266] how the nations have written the history of their
discontent in blood. And the
prophets declare that because of the increase of knowledge a still more
general and widespread dissatisfaction will finally express itself in a
world-wide revolution, in the overthrow of all law and order; that anarchy
and distress upon all classes will be the result; but that in the midst of
this confusion the God of heaven will SET UP his Kingdom, which will
satisfy the desires of all nations. Wearied
and disheartened with their own failures, and finding their last and
greatest efforts resulting in anarchy, men will gladly welcome and bow
before the heavenly authority, and recognize its strong and just
government. Thus man’s
extremity will become God’s opportunity, and “the desire of all
nations shall come”—the Kingdom of God, in power and great glory. Hag.
Knowing this to be the purpose of God, neither Jesus nor the
apostles interfered with earthly rulers in any way.
On the contrary, they taught the Church to submit to these powers,
even though they often suffered under their abuse of power.
They taught the Church to obey the laws, and to respect those in
authority because of their office, even if they were not personally worthy
of esteem; to pay their appointed taxes, and, except where they conflicted
with God’s laws (Acts 4:19; 5:29), to offer no resistance to any
established law. (Rom. 13:1-7; Matt. 22:21)
The Lord Jesus and the apostles and the early Church were all
law-abiding, though they were separate from, and took no share in, the
governments of this world.
Though the powers that be, the governments of this world, were
ordained or arranged for by God, that mankind might gain a needed
experience under them, yet the Church, the consecrated ones who aspire to
office in the coming Kingdom of God, should neither covet the honors and
the emoluments of office in the kingdoms of this world, [page 267] nor should they oppose these powers.
They are fellow citizens and heirs of the heavenly kingdom (Eph.
2:19), and as such should claim only such rights and privileges under the
kingdoms of this world as are accorded to aliens.
Their mission is not to help the world to improve its present
condition, nor to have anything to do with its affairs at present. To
attempt to do so would be but a waste of effort; for the world’s course
and its termination are both clearly defined in the Scriptures and are
fully under the control of him who in his own time will give us the kingdom.
The influence of the true Church is now and
always has been small—so small as to count practically nothing
politically; but however great it might appear, we should follow the
example and teaching of our Lord and the apostles.
Knowing that the purpose of God is to let the world fully test its
own ability to govern itself, the true Church should not, while in it, be of the world.
The saints may influence the world only by their separateness from
it, by letting their
light shine; and thus through their lives the spirit of truth
REPROVES the world. Thus—as peaceable, orderly obeyers and commenders of every
righteous law, reprovers of lawlessness and sin, and pointers forward to
the promised Kingdom of God and the blessings to be expected under it, and
not by the method commonly adopted of mingling in politics and scheming
with the world for power, and thus being drawn into wars and sins and the
general degradation—in glorious chastity should the prospective Bride of
the Prince of Peace be a power for good, as her Lord’s representative in
The Church of God should give its entire
attention and effort to preaching the Kingdom of God, and to the
advancement of the interests of that Kingdom according to the plan laid
down in the Scriptures. If
this is faithfully done, there will be no time nor disposition to dabble
in the [page 268] politics of present governments.
The Lord had no time for it; the apostles had no time for it; nor
have any of the saints who are following their example.
The early Church, shortly after the death of the apostles, fell a
prey to this very temptation. The
preaching of the coming Kingdom of God, which would displace all earthly
kingdoms, and of the crucified Christ as the heir of that Kingdom, was
unpopular, and brought with it persecution, scorn and contempt.
But some thought to improve on God’s plan, and, instead of
suffering, to get the Church into a position of favor with the world. By a combination with earthly powers they succeeded.
As a result Papacy was developed, and in time became the mistress
and queen of nations. Rev. 17:3-5; 18:7
By this policy everything was changed: instead of suffering, came
honor; instead of humility, came pride; instead of truth, came error; and
instead of being persecuted, she became the persecutor of all who
condemned her new and illegal honors.
Soon she began to invent new theories and sophistries to justify
her course, first deceiving herself, and then the nations, into the belief
that the promised millennial reign of Christ HAD COME, and that Christ the
King was represented by her popes, who reigned over the kings of the earth
as his vicegerents. Her claims were successful in deceiving the whole world.
“She made all nations drunk” with her
erroneous doctrines (Rev. 17:2), intimidating them by teaching that
eternal torment awaited all who resisted her claims.
Soon the kings of Europe were crowned or deposed by her edict, and
under her supposed authority.
Thus it comes that the kingdoms of Europe today claim to be
Christian kingdoms, and announce that sovereigns reign “by the grace of
God,” i.e., through appointment of either Papacy or some of the
Protestant sects. For though the Reformers abandoned many of Papacy’s claims
to ecclesiastical [page 269] jurisdiction, etc., they held to this honor which the
kings of earth had come to attach to Christianity.
And thus the Reformers fell into the same error, and exercised the
authority of monarchs in appointing and sanctioning governments and kings,
and denominating such “Christian kingdoms,” or kingdoms of Christ.
So we hear much today of that strange enigma, “The
Christian World”—an enigma indeed, when viewed in the light of
the true principles of the Gospel. Our
Lord said of his disciples, “They are not of the world, even as I am not
of the world.” And Paul exhorts us, saying, “Be not conformed to this
world.” John 17:16; Rom. 12:2
God never approved of calling these kingdoms by the name of Christ.
Deceived by the Church nominal, these nations are sailing under
false colors, claiming to be what they are not.
Their only title, aside from the vote of the people, is in God’s limited grant, spoken to Nebuchadnezzar—until he come whose
right the dominion is.
The claim that these imperfect kingdoms, with their imperfect laws
and often selfish and vicious rulers, are the “kingdoms of our Lord and
his Anointed” is a gross libel upon the true Kingdom of Christ, before
which they must shortly fall, and upon its “Prince of Peace” and
righteous rulers. Isa. 32:1
Another serious injury resulting from that error is that the
attention of the children of God has thereby been attracted away from the
promised heavenly kingdom; and they have been led to an improper
recognition of and intimacy with earthly kingdoms, and to almost fruitless
attempts to engraft upon these wild, worldly stocks the graces and morals
of Christianity, to the neglect of the gospel concerning the true Kingdom
and the hopes centering in it. Under this deception, some are at present
very solicitous that the name of God should be incorporated into the
Constitution [page 270] of the United States, that thereby this may become a
Christian nation. The
Reformed Presbyterians have for years refused to vote or hold office under
this government, because it is not Christ’s Kingdom. Thus they recognize the impropriety of Christians sharing in
any other. We have great
sympathy with this sentiment, but not with the conclusion, that if God’s
name were mentioned in the
Constitution, that fact would transform this government from a kingdom of
this world to a kingdom of Christ, and give them liberty to vote and to
hold office under it. O, how
foolish! How great the deception by which the “Mother of harlots” has
made all nations drunk (Rev. 17:2); for in a similar manner it is claimed
that the kingdoms of Europe were transferred from Satan to Christ, and
became “Christian nations.”
Let it be seen that the best and the worst of earth’s nations are
but “kingdoms of this world,” whose lease of power from God is now
about expired, that they may give place to their ordained successor, the
Kingdom of Messiah, the Fifth Universal Empire of earth (Dan. 2:44;
7:14,17,27)—this view will do much to establish truth and to overthrow
But as it is, the actions of Papacy in this regard, sanctioned by
the Protestant Reformers, go unquestioned among Christian people. And since they should uphold the Kingdom of Christ, they feel
themselves bound to champion the present falling kingdoms of so-called
Christendom, whose time is fast expiring; and thus their sympathies are
often forced to the side of oppression, rather than to the side of right
and freedom—to the side of the kingdoms of this world, and the prince of
this world, rather than to the side of the coming true Kingdom of Christ.
Rev. 17:14; 19:11-19
The world is fast coming to realize that the “kingdoms page 271] of this world” are not Christlike, and that their
claim to be of Christ’s appointment is not unquestionable.
Men are beginning to use their reasoning powers on this and similar
questions; and they will act out their convictions so much more violently,
as they come to realize that a deception has been practiced upon them in
the name of the God of Justice and the Prince of Peace.
In fact, the tendency with many is to conclude that Christianity
itself is an imposition without foundation, and that, leagued with civil
rulers, its aim is merely to hold in check the liberties of the masses.
O that men were wise, that they would apply their hearts to
understand the work and plan of the Lord!
Then would the present kingdoms melt down gradually—reform would
swiftly follow reform, and liberty follow liberty, and justice and truth
would prevail until righteousness would be established in the earth.
But they will not do this, nor can they in their present fallen
state; and so, armed with selfishness, each will strive for mastery, and
the kingdoms of this world will pass away with a great time of trouble,
such as was not since there was a nation.
Of those who will be vainly trying to hold to a dominion which has
passed away, when the dominion is given to him whose right it is, the Lord
speaks, urging that they are fighting against him—a conflict in which
they are sure to fail. He
“Why do the nations tumultuously assemble, and the people
meditate a vain thing? The
kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together
against the Lord, and against his Anointed, saying, Let us break their
bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have
them in derision. Then shall
he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure
[saying], I have anointed my king
upon my holy hill of Zion....Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings: be
instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve
the [page 272] Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss [make friends with] the Son [God’s Anointed] lest he be
angry, and ye perish in the way; for his wrath may soon be kindled.
Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.” Psa. 2:1-6,10-12
tell us of the night—
What its signs
of promise are.
o’er yon mountain’s height,
its beauteous ray
Aught of hope
or joy foretell?
it brings the day—
Promised day of
tell us of the night—
Higher yet that
blessedness and light,
Peace and truth
its course portends.
its beams alone
Gild the spot
that gave them birth?
are its own;
See, its glory
fills the earth.
tell us, does the morning
Zion’s glory dawn?
Have the signs
that mark its coming
Yet upon thy
arise! look round thee!
breaking in the skies!
Gird thy bridal
robes around thee!
Morning dawns! arise! arise!”