James A. Harding, "The Kingdom of Christ Vs. The Kingdom of Satan,"
The Way 5.26 (October 15, 1903), pp. 929-31.

The Kingdom of Christ Vs. The Kingdom of Satan.

      In an article, which appeared in the issue of October 1, my old-time friend and brother, N. P. Lawrence, speaks as follows:

      "We, as Christians, should not fail to support the government, whose protection we enjoy. Our Lord has left us an example of tax-paying, and the apostle [930] has enjoined submission to rulers. It should be our ambition to place good men at the head of the nation. Prayers and intercessions are to be made for men in authority, ‘that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty' (1 Tim. 2:1, 2)."

      "If the political liberty of this land is to continue it will be due to the prayers and efforts of good people. We must endeavor to answer our own prayers for rulers by the election of men who have should fidelity to their country and the good institutions we have, financially and morally, supported. To place in offices of trust men who owe allegiance supremely to the Pope is to strike a blow at the heart of our liberty and drive popular education from the land. Christians and education are the watch words. Sow seeds that will produce these, and we shall reap a harvest of all that is desirable to a sanctified heart."

      By this extract from the article of Bro. Lawrence several thoughts are suggested to me that seem to me to be of no little importance. "Our citizenship is in heaven," says the Holy Spirit. Christians are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, and their king is the Lord Jesus Christ: and, as their king tersely puts it, "No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other." Christ came into this world to establish a kingdom which is antagonistic to all human authority, to all the governments of the earth. Its mission is to break down and destroy them all. Foretelling the establishment of this kingdom, Daniel said: "In the days of those kings (the Roman kings) the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever" (Daniel 2:44). This is the kingdom of which Christians are citizens, and their citizenship is said to be in heaven because their king has his throne in "the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem." Therefore Jerusalem, which is above, is said to the "mother" of us all, the capital city.

      When God made this earth he gave it into the hands of man while he was yet in his pristine purity. Man turned it over to Satan. God swept Satan's servants from the face of the earth, and again gave it to righteous men, who before a great while turned it over to Satan again; who now is, and for a long time has been, "the prince of this world." (See John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11.) Christ came to this earth, and as the son of man took command of the discouraged and dispersed sons of righteousness, that he might deliver the earth from Satan, and destroy his hosts. The war is raging now, the war of righteousness against wickedness, of Christ against Satan, of the kingdom of heaven, under the leadership of Jesus, against the kingdoms of this world, under the leadership of Satan. When Christ has fully prepared all things for the collecting of his people out of the kingdoms of the earth, he will come again "with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God." Then all the dead in Christ shalt arise from their graves, immortals; then "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump," the living Christians shall be changed, shall become immortals; and then all the righteous shall be caught up into the clouds by the angels to meet the Lord, to be with him forever more. When the saints are caught up to meet him, Christ comes on with them to the earth. Then all the kings of the earth gather their armies together, with the beast and the false prophet, to make war against Christ and his army. The beast and the false prophet are captured and cast into the lake of fire, the first to be consigned to that awful place; then by the sword which proceeds out of his mouth Christ slays all the rest, all the wicked that are on the earth, and all the birds are filled with their flesh. Satan is then caught, chained and cast into the abyss, which is shut and sealed. In this place he is confined for one thousand years. During this time, this thousand years, Christ and his saints reign; but the rest of the dead live not again till the thousand years have expired. This, the resurrection of the righteous, is the first resurrection; over these who come up at this resurrection "the second death hath power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years."

      Paul says: "There remaineth therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God" (Hebrews 4:9). The beginning of Christ's reign was announced on earth on the first Pentecost after his resurrection and it will end with the judgment day, at the close of the which the wicked shall be cast into the lake of fire, "the Gehenna of fire." "Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be abolished is death. . . . And when all things have been subjected unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subjected to him that did subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:24-28).

      From all this it is evident that the last thousand years of Christ's reign will be a period of perfect rest from sin. During this period, Satan will be in the abyss, chained, closed up and sealed over; the beast and the false prophet will be in the hell of fire; all the rest of the wicked will be dead; and the saints will have received their spiritual bodies, having been delivered "out of the body of this death." These facts point clearly to this period of a thousand years as the Sabbath rest that remains for the people of God. It is for all the people of God. The Sabbath of the old covenant, a physical rest, was a type of this spiritual rest. A characteristic distinction between the covenants is that physical, material things under the old are typical of spiritual under the new. The rich, splendid garments of the high preset were typical of the righteousness of Christ; and the clean, white linen garments of the common priests; in which they ministered in the holy place, were typical of the cleanness, the whiteness that is imputed to those who enter Christ, that forever clothes those who abide in him. Just so the bodily rest that the devout Jew and all his family and live stock enjoyed was typical of the Sabbath rest which awaits the people of God, this glorious thousand years with [931] which time ends, during which all the saints of all the ages will reign with Christ in perfect freedom from the guilt and all the evil effects of sin, in perfect freedom from the temptations of sin. That this millennial reign will be on the earth is clearly indicated by the facts that at the beginning of it Christ and his saints are on the earth and so they are at the end of it. Compare Revelation 19:11-21 with Revelation 20:1-10. Read also 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 and 35-38; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Matthew 24:29-31.)

      Every government on this earth is in the hands of wicked men. The government of Christ is at war with every one of them; but the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, not of the flesh, though they are "mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds." If every responsible human being were a Christian, and such a Christian as every one of them ought to be, there would be no government in the earth but that of Christ; no law but that of the New Testament; no courts but the churches of God. This is the ideal state toward which every Christian should look, and for which he should work and pray.

      Brother Lawrence says: "It should be our ambition to place good men at the head of the nation." I believe it should be our ambition to so live and teach as induce every one we can to forsake the governments of this world and to devote himself wholly to the kingdom of Christ. We should have nothing to do with appointing or electing officers for the governments of Satan. We ought not to have any kind of partnership with him. Jesus call him "the prince of this world" (John 12:31; 14:30 and 16:11); Paul calls him "the God of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4); he also speaks of Christians as having formerly walked "according to the course of the world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2); but he affirms that God has made us alive together with Christ and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus (verses 5 and 6); he says our struggling is against "the world rulers of this darkness" (Ephesians 6:12). John says: "Ye are of God, my little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they as of the world; and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he who is not of God heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error" (1 John 4:4-6). Again he says, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the evil one" (1 John 5:19). We ought to have no part nor lot with those who lie in the wicked one. Let them run their own governments till Christ shall destroy them all. Let us devote all our energies, powers and possessions to the kingdom of Christ which during that last thousand years will fill the whole earth. Then shall the earth be "full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9); then shall the will of God be done, "as in heaven, so on earth" (Matthew 6:10); "then shall the meek [the gentle] inherit the earth." (See Matthew 5:5.)

      Yes, we are to pay taxes. Any foreigner can do that. We are to submit to the civil authorities in as far as a foreigner, as subject of another power, can do it. We are to overcome by gentleness, by meekness, by teaching the doctrine of Christ and by living according to it. But let us have no part nor lot in Satan's governments, the governments of this world. He once proposed to give them all to Christ, if he would fall down and worship him; and he gives to none now only on these terms; they must worship him. They do it by buying votes, by using whiskey in elections, by going where Christians ought not to go, by doing what Christians ought not to do, by being what Christians ought not to be for the sake of office. I have no idea that any Christian was sever elected to office and served out his term, in the United States, without at some time sacrificing some Christian principle. You must worship Satan, or you will have no part nor lot in his governments.

      Yes, we should pray for rulers, of course; we should pray for all men, good and bad; but I think it is a mistake to say that we should endeavor to answer our own prayers.' That idea is altogether wrong. God is the hearer and the answerer of prayer. Out business is to please him, to live towards him so that our hearts shall not condemn us. "For to the man that pleaseth him God giveth wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that pleaseth God" (Ecclesiastes 2:26). "If our heart condemn us not, we have boldness toward God; and whatsoever we ask we receive of him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight" (1 John 3:21, 22). I am sure it is not pleasing to him for his servants to be holding office in Satan's governments, or to be trying to run them. The thing for us to do is to strive to leaven the subjects of Satan, all who are out of Christ, with the doctrine of Christ. Let us attend strictly to our business of serving Christ, and God will overrule all evil deeds, as well as all good ones, for our good. Nothing in heaven, earth, or hell works evil to the man who pleases God. (See Romans 8:28.)

Electronic text provided by Dr. John Mark Hicks, Harding University Graduate School of Religion.

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