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society. Had there not been such a revolt and rebellion as sacred
history records, there would have been no such kingdom of heaven
as that over which Jesus the Messiah now presides. Now as both this
King and kingdom, and all that appertains to them, were occasioned
by such a preternatural state of things, we must view them in all
their attributes and details, with reference to those circumstances
which called them into being.


We must understand the type, or we can not understand the anti-
type. We must understand that which is natural before we can under-
stand that which is spiritual. What, then, are the essential elements
of a kingdom as existing among men? They are five — viz.: King, Con-
stitution, Subjects, Laws and Territory. Such are the essential parts
of every political kingdom, perfect in its kind, now existing on earth.

In forming a state, the essential elements are people and country.
The people make a constitution, and this makes a President or a King,
citizens or subjects, and everything else belonging to a state. It is,
then, the relation into which the people resolve themselves, which
makes it a republic, an aristocracy, a monarchy. Do they choose a
monarchy? They first make a constitution, and this places one upon
the throne — makes them subjects, and he gives them laws. Although
the constitution is first, in the order of nature, of all the elements of a
kingdom, for it makes one man a king and the rest subjects; yet we
can not imagine a constitution in reference to a kingdom, without


king and subjects. In speaking of them in detail, we can not then
speak of any one of them as existing without the others — we must
regard them as correlates, and aa coming into existence contempora-
neously. There is no husband nor wife before marriage, neither can
there be a husband without a wife; yet one of the parties must
be made before the other. Marriage makes a husband out of the
groom, and a wife out of the bride. So the constitution makes the
king or the governor, the citizens or subjects, out of the people, as
the case may be: for there never can be a king or subject without
a constitution, or, what is the same thing, an agreement, verbal or
written, for certain privileges stipulated and conditioned. In every
well regulated political kingdom, in the order of nature, the elements
stand thus — 1. Constitution; 2. King; 3. Subjects; 4. Laws; 5. Terri-

In the kingdom which God set up by Moses, the elements stood in
this order. The constitution was first proposed under which God con-
descended to be their King, and they were to be regarded as his people
or subjects; he then gave them laws and established them in the terri-
tory before promised.

But in the kingdom of nature, or in the original kingdom of God,
the elements are only four, and the order in which they stand, are —
1. King; 2. Subjects; 3. Laws; 4. Territory. As Father and Creator of
that kingdom, God himself was absolute Sovereign, whose will is the
supreme law of the whole realm of nature.

Having ascertained the essential elements of a kingdom, and
marked the order in which they stand, before we particularly attend
to these elements in order, we shall ask why this kingdom is called the
Kingdom of Heaven F


Heaven, and the Kingdom of Heaven are not one and the same thing.
God is not the Kingdom of God. But as the kingdom of God is some-
thing pertaining to God, so the kingdom of heaven is something per-
taining to heaven, and consequently to God. Whether always thj
phrases "the kingdom of God" and "the kingdom of heaven" exactly
represent the same thing, certain it is that both phrases are often
applied to the same institution.*

This is true of them whether translated reign or kingd<m; and it
is very evident that frequently the original word basileia ought in pref-
erence to be rendered reign, inasmuch as this term better suits ail

•If the following passapos arc carefully cxaiiiiiuNl and comparod. it will appear that
both these phrases often represent the same tiling: Malt. iii. 17; Mark i. 14; Luki' iv,
43;— Matt. xiii. V>; Mark iv. 11; Luke viii. 10;— Matt. xi. 11; I.uke vii. lis. To these
three distinet evidenees many more miKht l)e added. What Matthew calls " the King,
dumof Jleaiin," Mark and Luke call "the Kingdom of <r<.d."


those passages where coming or approaching is spoken of: for while
reigns or administrations approach and recede, kingdoms have attri-
butes and boundaries which are stationary. Reign and Kingdom of
God, though sometimes applicable to the same subject, never contem-
plate it in the same light. They are, indeed, as intimately connected
as the reign of King William and the Kingdom of Great Britain. The
former represents the administration of the kingdom, and the latter
the state over which this administration extends.

Two good reasons may be offered why Matthew, the oldest Chris-
tian writer, generally prefers Kingdom or Reign of Heaven, to the
phrase Kingdom or Reign of God: I say generally, for he occasionally
uses both designations.* He wrote to Jews in Judea who expected
a Messiah, a King, and a kingdom of God on earth, a mere improve-
ment of the Jewish system; and, therefore, to raise their conceptions,
he delights to call it the Reign or Kingdom of Heaven, in contrast
with that earthly kingdom of God, of which they were so long in pos-

He also found a good reason in the idiom of the Jewish prophets for
using the word Heaven (both in the singular and plural form) for God.
Daniel told the Assyrian monarch that his kingdom would be sure to
him when he should have learned that "the Heavens do rule;" yet, in
the preceding verse, he says, "Till thou knowest that the Most High
rules in the kingdom of men" — thus using Heavens and the Most High
as synonymous. The Psalmist says, "The wicked set their mouths
against the Heavens." The Prodigal confesses that he had "sinned
against Heaven," and Jesus himself asked whether the baptism of
John was "from Heaven or from men." Thus he was authorized from
the Jewish use of the word to regard it as equivalent to God. If, then,
Matthew had meant no more by the phrase "Kingdom of Heaven"
than the "Kingdom of God," he was justified by the Jewish use of
the word heaven, to apply it in that sense. Some may object to all
these remarks upon Matthew's manner, that it was Jesus Christ and
the preachers he commissioned who called it the Kingdom of Heaven,
and not Matthew Levi. To such we reply, that the other sacred wri-
ters uniformly, in reciting all the same parables and incidents, use
the phrase "Kingdom of God," and never the phrase "the Kingdom
of Heaven."

From his use of the phrase "Kingdom of God," we must, I think,
regard him as having special reference to the reason first assigned.
He does not say the Kingdom of Heaven shall be taken from the Jews,
but, "The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a
nation bringing forth the fruits of it;" for although it might with

•See cliapters vi. 33; xii. 28; xix. 2-t; xxi. 31, 48.


propriety, in his acceptation, be said, that the Jews already had the
iiingdom of God, it could not be said that they had the kingdom of
Heaven as proclaimed by Matthew.*

When compared with the earthly kingdom of God among the Jews,
it is certainly the kingdom of Heaven: for Jesus alleges that his
kingdom is not of this world; and Daniel affirmed that in the days of
the last worldly empire the God of Heaven would set up a kingdom
unlike all others then on earth; in which, as Paul teaches, men are
"blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ:"!
for he has raised the Jews and Gentiles, and "has set us down to-
gether in the heavenly places by Christ Jesus."t

There is, in the superior and heavenly privileges and honors be-
stowed upon the citizens of this kingdom, the best reason why it
should have first been presented to this world under this title, rather
than any other; and, for the same reasons which influenced Matthew
to usher it into notice in Judea, under this designation, we ought now
to prefer it; because many of our contemporaries, like the ancient
Jews, see as much of heaven and glory in the veiled grace of the
Mosaic institution, as in the unveiled grace of the Christian kingdom.
The pertinency of this title will appear still more evident as we de-
velop the constitutional privileges of his kingdom.

But most evidently the kingdom of Heaven is "the kingdom of
Christ and of God." \\ It is the kingdom of God because he sot it
up,§ gave the constitution and King, and all the materials out of
which it is erected.** It is the kingdom of Christ, because God the
Father gave it to him as his Son, and as the heir of all things; and
therefore, "all that is the Father's is mine," says Jesus, "and I am
his."tt "God created all things by Jesus Christ and von him."

Having, then, noticed the reasons for the characteristic titles ot this
kingdom, and having already ascertained what are the elements ab-
solutely essential to a kingdom, distinguished from those merely cir-
cumstantial or accidental, we shall now proceed to consider, in the
order suggested, the Constitution, King, Subjects, Laws, and Terri-
tory of the Kingdom of Heaven.


God himself, after the gracious counsels of his own will, proposed
and tendered the constitution of this kingdom to his own Son. This
"glory he had with the Father before the world was." He that was
"in the beginning with God" — "the iiisdom and poicer of God" — was
"set up [constituted] from everlasting, or ever the earth was." "Then
was I with God, as one brought up with him; I was daily his delight.

•Matt. xxi. «. +Epli. i.3. tKph. ii. «. I! Kpli. v. .■;. ^Dnii. ii. 41.
** Jor. xxxi. 31-31. t+Jolin xvii. 18.


rejoicing always before him — rejoicing in the habitable parts of his
earth; and my delights were with the sons of men."* Therefore
he who was to be '•ruler in Israel" was with God in counsel "in the
beginning of all his ways;" for "his goings forth were from old, even
from the days of eternity."t

It was TO DO THE wii^L, or fulfill the items in this constitution, that
"the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." "I came to do the
will of him that seiit me," and to finish "the work given me to do."
"I have the power to lay down my life, and I have power to resume it;
this commandment I received from my Father." The Father "com-
missioned and sent him forth into the world." He "came down from
heaven." "Thou hast given me power over all flesh, that I might give
eternal life to all that thou hast given me."

These, and many other passages which the reader will easily re-
member, unequivocally evince that an understanding and agreement
existed ere time began between God and the Word of God — or, as
now revealed, between the Father and the Son, respecting this king-
dom. In consequence of which, "the Word was made flesh and dwelt
among us" — in consequence of which, "he divested himself" of his
antecedent glory — "took upon him the form of a bond-servant" — "was
made in the likeness of sinful flesh" — "took part with us in flesh
and blood." In consequence of which agreement, and the promised
glory, for "the joy set before him in the promise," of "seeing his seed,
the travail of his soul, and being satisfied," "he endured the cross,
despising the shame," and "was made perfect through sufferings to
lead many sons to glory."

To the stipulations concerning eternal life, propounded in the con-
stitution of the kingdom of heaven, frequent allusions are made in the
Apostles' writings. Thus the believers were "elected in him before
the foundation of the world," and "eternal life was promised before
the times of the ages," "according to the benevolent purpose which
he purposed in himself for the administration of the fulness of the
appointed times, to gather together all under Christ — all in the heavens
and all on the earth, under him." He formerly marked us out for
an adoption through Jesus Christ to himself, according to his purpose,
who effectually works all things according to the counsel of his will.l

From all these sayings and allusions, we must trace the constitu-
tion of this kingdom into the days of eternity — before time began.
We must date it from everlasting, and resolve it into the absolute
gracious will of the eternal God. In reference to all the prospective
developments of time, "known to God from the beginning," it pro-
posed to make the Word flesh, and then to make the incarnate Word,

* Prov. viii. 23-31. + Mic. v. 21. T Epli. 1. 3-12.


called Emanuel, or Jesus Christ, the King, to give him all who should
be reconciled to God by him for subjects, to put under him all the
angelic hosts, and constitute him monarch of heaven and earth, laic-
giver to the universe; and thus make him heir and Lord of all things.

As a constitution brings all the elements of a kingdom into a new
relation to one another, so it is the measure and guarantee of all the
privileges, immunities, and obligations accruing to all the parties' in
that relation. It prescribes, arranges, and secures all the privileges,
duties, obligations, honors, and emoluments of the King and the sub-
jects. Neither of them can claim more than it stipulates and guaran-
tees, and neither of them can rightfully be deprived of any of them.

From the premises now before us, and the light given to us in
these Scriptures and those in the margin, we learn —

1. That God is the author of the constitution of the kingdom of
heaven; that he propounded it to the Word that was made flesh, be-
fore the world was, in prospect of all the developments of creation.

2. That the Word accepted it, because the will of God was always
his delight; therefore he said, "I come to do thy will, God!" Hence
"Ood has so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believes on him may not perish, but obtain eternal liffe."

3. That in consequence "all authority in heaven and earth" was
given to Jesus Christ, and all orders of intelligence subjected to him,
that he might be King over all, and have the power of giving eter-
nal life to his people.*

4. That the earth is now the Lord's, the present temporal territory
of his kingdom; that the heathen people are given to him for his in-
heritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession; that
all ends of the earth are his, and all dominions, kindreds, tribes,
tongues and people shall yet serve him on earth, and glorify him in
heaven. ;-

5. That all he redeems are his seed — his subjects: that he will
have their faith, confidence, esteem, admiration, and gratitude for-
ever: that he will be worshiped, honored, and revered by them in: a
world without end: that God, angels and saints will delight in him
for ever and ever.i He has, therefore, to raise the dead, jud.a;o the
world, and to present the redeemed pure, holy, happy and triumphant
before his Father, and then to give up the kingdom to God.

To comprehend, in any adequate degree, the constitution of this
kingdom, we must learn more than its history, or the way in which
it was introduced and propounded. We must regard all the elements
of the kingdom as constitutional elements — the King as a constitu-
tional King; the subjects, laws and territory, including the ultimate

•^Matt. xxviii. iil. ji. U; vii. 27. + I's. ii. ('.-8; Ixxii. 2-18; nanii'l. 1 Hov. v. J»-14;
Xiv. 1-5; xvi. :!, 4; »xi. it-27; Kph. i. 20, 21.


inheritance, as constitutional subjects, laws, territory, inheritance;
and, therefore, we shall speak of them in detail.


The Lord Jesus Christ is the constitutional monarch of the kingdom
of heaven. The privileges guaranteed to him in reference to the king-
dom are the following:

As King, he is to be the oracle of God — to have the disposal of the
Holy Spirit — to be Prophet and High Priest of the Temple of God —
to have the throne of his Father — to be. Governor of all nations on
earth, and head of all hierarchs and powers in heaven — the supreme
Lawgiver, the only Saviour, the resurrection and the life, the ultimate
and final Judge of all, and the Heir of all things.

These honors, privileges, and powers are secured to him by the
irrevocable grant of the God and Father of all; therefore, as said
Isaiah, "The Lord cometh with a strong hand, and his arm shall rule
for him. Behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him."
"I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion." "Ask of me,
and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utter-
most parts of the earth for thy possession." "I have made him a
leader and a commander to the people" — "a light to the Gentiles" —
"salvation to the ends of the earth" — "a Priest forever after the order
of Melchisedeck." "Sit thou at my right hand till I make thy foes
thy footstool." "The government shall be upon his shoulders." "All
things are delivered to me of my Father." "He is Lord of the dead
and living." "Angels, authorities, and powers are subjected to him."
"The Father gave the Spirit without measure to him." "He received
of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit." "The kingdom is the
Lord's, and he is the governor among the nations." "He shall have
dominion from sea to sea, and from the Eurhrates to the ends of
the earth." They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure
to all generations." "The Father has committed all judgment to
the Son."

But, not to weary the reader with quotations and proofs, we shall
give but another: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; my elect, in
whom my soul delights. I have put my Spirit upon him. He shall
bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not fail nor be dis-
couraged till he have set judgment in the earth; and the Isles shall
wait for his law. I, the Lord, have called thee in righteousness, and
will hold thy hand and keep thee, and give thee for a covenant [a con-
stitution] of the people for a light to the Gentiles — to open the blind
eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit
in darkness out of the prison-house."*

♦Isa. xlii. 1-7; xlix. 8.



They are all born again. Their privileges and honors are the fol-

1. Their constitutional king is the only begotten Son of God;
whose title and honors are — image of the invisible God — effulgence
01 the Father's glory — Emanuel — Upholder of the Universe — Prophet
of the Prophets — High Priest of the Temple of God — King of kings
— Lord of lords — the only Potentate — Commander and Covenant of
the people — Captain of Salvation — Counsellor, Lawgiver, Redeemer,
Deliverer, Mediator, Saviour, Advocate, Judge. He is Sun of Right-
eousness, Prince of Peace, Lamb of God, Lion of the tril)e of Judah,
the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star,
Light of the World, the Faithful and True Witness, Bishop of Souls,
Great Shepherd of the Sheep, Head of the Church. Lord of all. Heir
ot the Universe, the Resurrection and the Life, the Son of Man, the
Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Amen, etc.,
etc., etc. Such is the Christian's King, whose assistance in all these
characters, offices, and relations, as exhibited under all these figures,
is guaranteed to him in the Constitution. Indeed it is all expressed
in one promise — "/ icill be your God, and you shall be my people."

2. It is guaranteed that "their sins and iniquities are to be remem-
bered no more." "There is no condemnation to them who are under
Christ." "Sin shall not have dominion, nor lord it over them.' The
Lord imputeth to them no sin. They are all pardoned, justified, and
saved from sin.

3. They are adopted into the family of God; made sons and daugh-
ters of the Lord Almighty; children of God, and heirs — joint heirs
with Christ. They have an advocate in the heavens, through whom
their persons and prayers are accepted.

4. They all know the Lord. "All thy children shall be taught of
God." The Holy Spirit of God writes the law of God upon their
hearts, and inscribes it upon their understanding: so Ihat they need
not teach every one his fellow citizen to know the Lord, "for they
all know him from the least to the greatest." They are all sancti-
fied through the truth — separated and consecrated to God.

5. They have the promise of a resurrection from the dead, and eter-
nal life; an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading — new
heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness alone shall dwell

Such are the constitutional rights and privileges of the citizens of
the kingdom of heaven. And these have obtained for them the fol-
lowing titles and honors: Kingdom of heaven; Israel of God: chosen
generation; body of Christ; children of God; habitation of God; fam-


ily of God; Jerusalem from above; Mount Zion; peculiar people; the
elect of God; holy nation; temple of the Holy Spirit; house of God;
city of the living God; pillar and ground of truth; living stones; seed
of Abraham; citizens of heaven; lights of the world; salt of Ihe earth;
heirs of God; joint heirs with Christ, etc., etc.

These privileges, honors, and emoluments belong to every citizen
of the kingdom of heaven. Indeed, they are all comprehended in
the summary which Paul (from Jeremiah) lays before the believing
Hebrews: "This is the constitution which I will make with the
house of Israel after those days: I will put my laws into their mind,
and inscribe them upon their hearts; and I will be to them a God,
and they shall be to me a people. And they shall not teach every
man his fellow citizen, and every man his brother, saying, Know the
Lord; for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest
of them; because I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and
their sins and iniquities I will remember no more."* To this sum-
mary the reader may add those scriptures in the margin as confirm-
atory to the above.!


The supreme law of the kingdom is love — love of the King and
love of each other. From this law all its religious homage and mo-
rality flow. Precepts and examples innumerable present this to the
mind of all the citizens. The kingdom of heaven is divided into
small societies, called churches, or congregations of the Lord. Each
of these communities in the reception of members, in the education
and discipline of them, or in excluding them when necessary, is to be
governed by the apostolic instructions: for to the Apostles the Saviour
committed the management of his kingdom. After they had made
citizens by preaching the gospel and baptizing, they were commanded
to teach them to observe whatsoever the Saviour had commanded

These laws and usages of the Apostles must be learned from what
the Apostles published to the w^orld, after the ascension and corona-
tion of the King, as they are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles and
Epistles: for we shall see in the sequel that the gospel was fully devel
oped, and the whole doctrine of the Reign of Christ began to be pro-
claimed in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after the ascension.

The old, or Jewish constitution was promulged first on Sinai on
the first Pentecost after the redemption of Israel from Egyptian
bondage; and from that day, and whac is written after it in Exodus
and Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, all the laws, manners and

*Heb. viii. 10-1.3. +Rom. vi. ."5. fi, U; viii. 1, 33-89; I. Cor. vi. 11; Eph. i. 7; ii. 6, 19,
21, 22; Col. i. 13, ii; I. Pet. ii. 5-7; II. Pot. i. 10, 11 ; I. Johu ii. 2.


customs authorized by the national constitution are to be found. They
are not to be sought after in Genesis, nor in the antecedent economy.
Neither are the statutes and laws of the Christian kingdom to be
sought for in the Jewish scriptures, nor antecedent to the day of Pen-
tecost; except so far as our Lord himself, during his lifetime, pro-
pounded the doctrine of his reign. But of this when we ascertain the
commencement of this kingdom.

There is one universal law of naturalization, or for making citizens,
out of all nations, enjoined upon those citizens of the kingdom who

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 30 of 70)