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    8: THE TIME FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE KINGDOM

    “WHEN the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 25:31-34. 1Our limited space will only allow our calling attention to a few scriptures on this topic. For a fuller exposition we refer our readers to such works as “Thoughts on Daniel,” “Exposition of Matthew 24,” and “Refutation of the Age to Come,” which may be obtained from the office of the Review and Herald, Battle Creek, Mich., or Pacific Press, Oakland, Cal.SAIN 50.1

    PETER, speaking of the beginning of the new-earth state, says: “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 22 Peter 3:10, 13. This text shows that the time when the earth becomes an abode for the righteous, or as some render the text, “Wherein the righteous shall dwell,” is after the fires of the day of the Lord have purged the works of the devil out of it. This must locate the inheritance after the destruction of the wicked; for the prophet says: “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” 3Isaiah 13:9. of the kingdom on earth must be after the second coming of Christ, and after the destruction of those “that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”SAIN 50.2

    The kingdom of God follows those kingdoms represented by the four beasts of Daniel 7. Of these we read: “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.” 4Daniel 7:17, 18. The powers represented by the symbols of the four beasts are not complete until the little horn of the fourth beast has accomplished its work. The kingdom is not given into the hands of the saints until the work of the little horn is completed. By reading Daniel 2, in the vision of the great image, where are introduced symbols of the same kingdoms, we see that the time when the God of heaven sets up a kingdom is when the image has been dashed in pieces, and become as the chaff of the summer’s threshing-floor. By comparing the work of the little horn of Daniel 7, with Paul’s description of the man of sin, the man of sin is to be “destroyed” by the “brightness of Christ’s coming.” 52 Thessalonians 2:8. This event seems to be the same as the dashing of the image in pieces, and the committing of the beast to the burning flame. It is apparent from these scriptures that the kingdom will not be established prior to Christ’s second advent.SAIN 51.1

    This is also confirmed by the testimony of Daniel respecting the little horn: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” 6Daniel 7:21, 22. This scripture shows that the time when the saints possess the kingdom is after the judgment is given to the saints.SAIN 51.2

    The testimony of the prophet Daniel, in the above connection, is clear proof that the earth is finally to become the kingdom of God. “And 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.” 7Daniel 7:27. A kingdom under the whole heaven could be nothing less than the whole earth. So his former statement, “But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom,” 8Daniel 7:18.SAIN 52.1

    Our Saviour’s testimony, recorded in Matthew, seems to show the time of giving the kingdom to the saints as well as to point out its locality. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” 9Matthew 25:31-34. What kingdom was prepared from the foundation of the world?—According to this text it is the one the saints are to inherit. The kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world was the earth itself, before sin had entered it, or the curse had been pronounced upon it. When God created the earth and beautified the face of it, and pronounced it “very good,” he gave man dominion over it. 10Genesis 1:26. This first dominion is to come to Christ. 11Micah 4:8.SAIN 52.2

    The time, then, when the “dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High,” is when the Son of man is seated upon the throne of his glory, and all nations are gathered before him, and he makes a final separation, consigning one party to the flames, and receiving the other to possess the kingdom. The wicked cannot be thus consigned to the flames until they are raised from the dead, and by the testimony of Revelation 20, their resurrection is located one thousand years after Christ’s second coming. In harmony with this we would conclude that the time when the saints possess the earth as a kingdom must be at least a thousand years after the second coming of Christ, otherwise it could not be after the resurrection and destruction of the wicked.SAIN 52.3

    Peter’s testimony shows clearly that it is after the destruction of the ungodly and the making of the earth new that the saints receive it for an inheritance: “We ... look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 122 Peter 3:13. The earth is to become an abode for the righteous after it is purified by fire; and yet, after that purification, it will be the earth that is now, in the same sense that this earth is the one that existed before the flood. This earth is made of the same material that existed before the flood, and yet it is said that “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” And so of this earth: when it has been melted and undergone a change by the action of fire, it will become a new earth, in which the righteous will dwell.SAIN 53.1

    If this earth is not to become the final abode of the saints until it is made new, it may be well to inquire at this point, when the earth is to be made new, so that we may know when that possession is to be realized. Peter says: “The day of the Lord will come ... in the which” this earth is to be melted 132 Peter 3:10. and a new earth is to be brought in. This text does not fix the definite point when this change will take place, further than that it is said to be in the day of the Lord.SAIN 53.2

    The day of the Lord commences with events just preceding Christ’s second coming, and concludes after the wicked have been destroyed forever out of the earth. This latter event we have already seen, by Revelation 20, is the “little season” after the one thousand years. Then this text in Peter, while it does not fix the definite time of this change, does locate it in the day of the Lord.SAIN 53.3

    But the question is still before us: At what time in the day of the Lord is the new-earth state to be brought in? Some have said it will be at the very beginning of that day; that at Christ’s second coming the saints will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and that they will enter the new Jerusalem while the wicked are being destroyed and the earth melted, and that it is there that the testimony of the prophet applies: “Come, my people, enter into thy chambers and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself as it were for a little moment until the indignation be overpassed.” 14Isaiah 26:20. While this language sets forth the care of God for his people at all times, and shows that even when plagues are falling all around them, they may rest under the shadow of his wings (Psalm 21:1-12), it seems also to be a call for God’s people to hide themselves under his protection while this earth is undergoing its purging by fire. From the testimony that immediately follows, we conclude that it cannot thus apply till after the thousand years. It says: “Behold the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” 15Isaiah 26:21.SAIN 54.1

    A very serious objection to the position that the new-earth state is brought in at the beginning of the thousand years is this: It appears from Peter’s testimony that, when this purification of the earth does take place, that “the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Is it consistent to suppose that after this earth has been cleansed one thousand years, and during that time been the place “wherein dwelleth righteousness,” all the wicked that ever lived upon it, are to be resurrected in one vast body out of the purified earth, and go up upon its beautiful plains, with Satan at their head, and fire and brimstone come down from heaven upon those beautiful fields of the new earth to consume the wicked?SAIN 54.2

    We are not disputing the statement of Scripture that the wicked will be raised at the end of the thousand years; that they will come around the New Jerusalem and be destroyed. But we understand, from Peter’s testimony, that their destruction is connected with the purification of the earth. Then is the time when they shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God, 16Luke 13:28. and they themselves thrust out. The kingdom is first established in the city of the New Jerusalem, and finally, when the earth is purified, the “dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom” will be “under the whole heaven.” If the earth is made new, and the wicked are upon it, when they see the kingdom, they would virtually be in the kingdom, and how then would they see themselves “thrust out”? Again, if the whole earth is made new, and becomes the kingdom from which they behold themselves thrust out, where is the standing point from which they behold, as they see themselves thrust out of the kingdom? It is all plain when we claim that the kingdom is first established in the City, that the City comes down upon this earth, and the wicked come up on the breadth of this earth, and that, after they are cut off, and the earth cleansed, the dominion is extended under the whole heavens.SAIN 55.1

    Some persons have claimed that Christ’s kingdom is not established at all, until he has taken possession of the whole earth, destroyed the wicked, and established a peaceful reign over the entire earth. This is not necessarily so. When he takes the kingdom, the heathen are given into his hands that he may “break them with a rod of iron,” and “dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” This he will do at that time when the Lord has said of Christ, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” 17Psalm 2:8, 9. When John had a view of the kingdoms of this world “becoming the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ,” 18Revelation 11:15. he said, “The nations were angry, and thy wrath is come.” This asking for and receiving the kingdom is undoubtedly the event described by the prophet Daniel: “I saw in the night visions, 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 him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom,” etc. 20Luke 19:15. Some suppose this to refer to Christ’s second coming. This cannot be, for when he comes the second time he comes away from the Father; but this testimony speaks of a time when he is “brought near before him,” to receive a kingdom. We read in the parable of the nobleman going into a far country to receive the kingdom, “when he was returned, having received the kingdom,“SAIN 55.2

    We think we shall be able to show that he reigns with the saints in heaven, in the New Jerusalem, the capital of his kingdom, for one thousand years. At the end of that period, as recorded by the prophet Zechariah, Christ’s feet will stand on the mount of Olives, and the mount of Olives will cleave half toward one sea, and half toward the other, and there will be formed a mighty plain. Upon that plain we understand, the city, the New Jerusalem, comes down. The wicked are then resurrected (Revelation 20), Satan goes out to deceive them, they gather around the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them.SAIN 56.1

    That fire which burns up the wicked, burns up the works of the devil in the earth. By that fire the mountains are melted, and run down like wax, and the deep caverns of the earth are filled. The curse is forever swept away from the earth, and when the fires of that day have subsided, the earth will arise and come forth in its restored state, beautiful and glorious, and will become the everlasting abode of the saints of God-the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, which Peter says we look for, according to God’s promise.SAIN 57.1

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