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    10: DESCRIPTION OF THE KINGDOM

    “EYE hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, 10.SAIN 69.1

    WHILE here in this mortal state, our view of future glories is “through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.” 11 Corinthians 13:12. As a person looking through a darkened glass at the broad sun may get a correct outline of its disc, and yet not be able to take in its transcendent glory, so we, by giving heed to what God has revealed by his Spirit, may get a view of that glorious kingdom, and yet have but little actual comprehension of that glory that will be better felt than told. Human language is hardly adequate to the task of describing the glory of the kingdom of heaven. As we meditate on what the Lord has said of it, we may well say, in the language of Samuel Stennett:—SAIN 69.2

    “O, the transporting, rapturous scene That rises to my sight!-Sweet fields arrayed in living green, And rivers of delight.”SAIN 69.3

    Peter, when reasoning of earth, past, present, and future, said, “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth.” 22 Peter 3:13. From this promise, recorded by the prophet Isaiah, 3Isaiah 65. and earth are to be melted, and the works which are therein (the dross-sin) to be burned up. The psalmist probably referred to the same when he said, “Yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed.” 4Psalm 102:26.SAIN 69.4

    In his discourse on the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke of Christ’s second coming as, “the times of restitution of all things.” 5Acts 3:21. John, while in vision, on the isle of Patmos, heard a voice from Him that sat upon the throne, which said, “Behold I make all things new.” 6Revelation 21:5. David undoubtedly refers to the same when he speaks of the renewing of “the face of the earth.” 7Psalm 104:30.SAIN 70.1

    In this testimony from Isaiah which Peter quoted, we read: “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind.” 8Isaiah 65:17. So much more glorious will that state be that none will ever look back with longing for anything that has preceded it. The Lord says of it: “I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and the voice of weeping shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” 9Verse 19. This agrees precisely with John’s view of the same new-earth state, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” 10Revelation 21:4. When this is accomplished, there will be no shade of sadness left on the hearts of God’s people. “What God doeth, he doeth it forever.” When he wipes away tears, he does it by removing every cause of grief. Our Saviour tells us how this will be done: “And there shall be no more death, ... neither shall there be any more pain.”SAIN 70.2

    “His own soft hand shall wipe the tears From every weeping eye, And pains, and groans, and griefs, and fears, And death itself shall die.” 11Ibid.SAIN 70.3

    “And they shall build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat.” 12Isaiah 65:21, 22. “But,” says one, “can it be possible that the saints will build houses, and plant vines in the new earth?” The Lord says so. The first work assigned to man after his creation was to dress and keep the garden; 13Genesis 2:15. why should it not be a portion of his pleasure, in Eden restored? If any attempt is made to seek a fulfillment of the above text in the present state, it is a failure. Men spend their whole lives fitting up buildings, gardens, vineyards, and fields, to their liking; just as they pronounce it all as they would like, the infirmities of age overtake them, they die, and leave to others the pleasure of their labors; or perchance, through the misdealing of others, they are wronged out of their inheritance. Not so in the new-earth state, “for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” 14Isaiah 65:22.SAIN 70.4

    The days of the people of the earth are to be “as the days of a tree.” As the days of what tree? Some of the trees of this earth are short-lived, not half the common age of man. It would be no assurance to compare the life of God’s people in the redeemed state to the age of such a tree. The tree indicated in the above text, is the tree of life. 15The Septuagint of this text is, “As the days of the tree of life.” That being the tree to which their lives are compared, it is but another form of the promise of endless life. God drove Adam from the garden lest he should put forth his hand and eat of the tree of life, and live forever. 16Genesis 3:22-24. Here they come again to Eden restored and the tree of life, and there will be a fulfillment of the promise, “With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.” 17Psalm 91:16. would satisfy. This is just what the Lord has promised to all the faithful.SAIN 71.1

    In the testimony of Isaiah 65:23, 24, the prophet shows God’s willingness to answer and do for his people, and that in time the labor of their hands shall prosper and not be brought forth for trouble. In the next verse, he speaks of the animal creation in that state: “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock, and dust shall be the serpent’s meat.” 18Isaiah 65:25. This can only apply in a state where the ferocious dispositions of the wolf and lion have been changed. “But,” you ask, “can the above apply in the kingdom of God? Are the saints to eat there?”—Yes. Christ ate after his resurrection. If Christ ate, why may not the saints when they are redeemed? They are to be like Christ. 191 John 3:2.SAIN 72.1

    Angels appeared to Lot, and ate of the food he prepared. 20Genesis 19:3. The psalmist says of the Israelites, “Man did eat angel’s food.” 21Psalm 78:25. The resurrected saints are to be as the angels. 23Luke 22:29, 30. But our Lord has plainly declared that the saints will eat in the kingdom. That, with believers in the word, should settle the question: “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Again, “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching; verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.” You may say, “I did not think there were to be beasts in the kingdom of God.” If the kingdom of God is to be a restitution to the primeval state, there will be beasts there. In Eden, the Lord gave man, “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.” The Lord by the mouth of the prophet Micah, testifies concerning Christ, “And Thou, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come; even the first dominion.” 26Micah 4:8. If the first dominion is given to the saints, then they will have dominion over beasts as well as over the earth. That the dominion to be given to Christ is the dominion of the earth, is confirmed by the testimony of the Lord: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” 27Psalm 72:8. The testimony in this place shows that there will be beasts in the renewed state. After speaking of beasts, etc., he says: “Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled; thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the earth.” 28Psalm 104:29, 30.SAIN 72.2

    Here, again, we have a description of a state when the evil dispositions of the beasts are taken away, when the mode of their living is changed; “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain.” This, as we have seen, is after Christ shall come and subdue all his foes, and evil in all its forms shall exist no more.SAIN 73.1

    “Then bears and wolves, no longer wild,SAIN 74.1

    Obey the leading of a child;
    The lions with the oxen eat,
    And dust shall be the serpent’s meat.”
    SAIN 74.2

    Some persons, to evade the force of these scriptures, have said that these beasts,—the wolf, the lion, the kid, and the lamb,—are used to represent men with different dispositions, whose hearts are softened and subdued by the ameliorating influence of the gospel. The text, they say, is fulfilled when a man with a wolfish or lion-like disposition is converted, and brought into the fold of Christ, and with the lambs (Christians) feeds on the heavenly manna. We object to this application: First, when a man with a wolfish, or lion-like disposition is converted, he is no longer a wolf or a lion, but a lamb; and also, as a sequence, those who make the above application of the text will simply have two lambs feeding together, instead of a lion and a lamb. To carry out their applications, it would be necessary to claim that men with unchanged hearts and lives are brought into the Church, and feed with the saints on heavenly food. Secondly, it is positively stated in this prophecy (Isaiah 65:7-25,) that such a state of things will exist in the new earth. Allowing these testimonies a literal application, a glorious scene is portrayed to our minds, when the curse is removed, and the fear of man (Genesis 9:2) is so far taken away that the beasts are again in perfect subjection to him, as in the beginning (Genesis 1:26), even to that extent that the little child shall lead the fierce lion, “the king of the forest.” Then, indeed, will come the time when, “violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The sun shall be no more the light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy Glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.” 29Isaiah 60:18-21.SAIN 74.3

    We read further respecting the final inheritance in Isaiah 35:1-7: “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” On the great deserts, where now is naught but a barren waste, or dreary, fruitless plain of burning sand, with neither foliage nor plant to relieve the view, how changed will be the scene. The desert shall “rejoice even with joy and singing.” As it shall be clothed with its mantle of ever-living green, and carpeted with abundant blossoms, the merry songsters will chirp from bough to bough, and from the leafy bowers pour forth their matins of praise to the Most High.SAIN 75.1

    The prophet continues the description (verse 2): “It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon [the ancient forest of Lebanon is described as the most beautiful in appearance of any in the Eastern world] shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon.” The valley of Sharon was anciently adorned with the most beautiful flowers of every description. In view of such a state to come, the prophet says (verses 3, 4): “Strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not; behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.” It was with a view of such a state of things before him-the prospect of a restored earth, free from sin, that the psalmist exclaimed, “Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the Lord, O my soul. Praise ye the Lord.” 30Psalm 104:35. Paul, amid all his afflictions and sorrows could look forward to the prize and exclaim: “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 312 Corinthians 4:17, 18. Looking to the same blessed state, the prophet Isaiah says: “Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” 32Isaiah 32:16, 17.SAIN 75.2

    The prophet’s description continues (Isaiah 35:5, 6): “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” We may form some faint conception of the rejoicing of those who in that glorious state shall find themselves made free from all their bodily infirmities, if we look for a moment at the case of one who in apostolic times was freed from his lameness. In Acts 3, is recorded the case of a man who had been lame from his birth, and was laid daily at the gate of the temple, to ask alms. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked alms of them. He did not ask, or expect of them relief from his bodily infirmity, but a little pittance to enable him to protract his existence under the weight of his infirmity. When Peter said, “Look on us,” his expectations were aroused; “he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.” His hope in that direction must have fallen when Peter repeated the words, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee.” But how astounding must have been the next words and acts of Peter: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up; and immediately his feet and ankle-bones received strength.” What a thrill of joy must have filled his heart at this unexpected healing of his infirmities! He was not content with simply slowly trying his limbs. The record says he “entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.” What must be the joy of those in the resurrection morning, who all their lifetime have been subject to the infirmities of the flesh, when they shall not only find feet and ankle-bones made straight, but their whole being glowing with the vigor of eternal youth! “Then shall the lame man leap as an hart.” Agile as the deer, bounding through the forest, they will shout forth their praises to the Most High.SAIN 76.1

    Again we read of this glorious state: “For the Lord shall comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord.” 33Isaiah 51:3. In the garden of the Lord, planted eastward in Eden, there was every tree that was pleasant to the sight, and good for food. In the restitution, this will be the condition of the whole earth. Then, “instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree.” 34Isaiah 55:13. Thorns are a part of the curse that was put on the earth (see Genesis 3:18), but these are to be removed. In that glorious state, God’s people will “dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.” 35Ezekiel 34:25.SAIN 77.1

    One of the most interesting testimonies concerning the new-earth state is found in the book of the Revelation: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.... And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them,, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.” 36Revelation 21:1-4. Not only will sorrow, pain, and death cease to exist, but the opposite will exist,—life, joy, rejoicing, and eternal pleasures. What a contrast with the present state of affliction, weeping, and death!SAIN 77.2

    “In heaven above, where all is love, There’ll be no sorrow there.”SAIN 78.1

    No raging epidemic, sweeping its thousands into an untimely grave, and in a moment filling joyous hearts with keenest anguish; no miasma filling the air with its destructive elements; no funeral knell; no bier; no pall; no death dirge will there be sung. No graveyards greet our sight or sadden our hearts; the grave-digger’s spade will find no service there; no aching limb or weary head; but immortality and the tree of life will forever accomplish the work of freeing the saints from all liability to pain and suffering. Yes, the inhabitants of that land will never have occasion to say, “I am sick.” 37Isaiah 33:24.SAIN 78.2

    “Death will be banished, his scepter be gone.”SAIN 78.3

    John Wesley, in his sermon on the text, “Behold, I make all things new,” 38Wesley’s Sermon, No.69. said:—SAIN 78.4

    “We may more easily conceive the changes which will be wrought in the lower heavens, in the region of the air. It will be no more torn by hurricanes, or agitated by fierce storms or destructive tempests. Pernicious or terrifying meteors will have no place therein. We shall no more have occasion to say:—SAIN 78.5

    “‘There like a trumpet, loud and strong,SAIN 78.6

    Thy thunder shakes our coast;
    While the red lightnings wave along
    The banners of the host.’
    SAIN 78.7

    “No all will then be light, fair, and serene-a lovely picture of eternal day. And what will the general product of the earth be?—No thorns, briars, and thistles; nor any useless or fetid weed; not any poisonous, hurtful, or unpleasant plant; but every one that can be conducive, in any wise, either to our use or pleasure.”SAIN 79.1

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