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by Dr. John Thomas
The subjects of the kingdom and empire are a totally different class from the heirs, or possessors, of the dominion.
From this brief view, then, of the nature and constitution of a kingdom, its elements may be stated as consisting of: A territory; Subjects; A king; A constitution; Laws, civil and ecclesiastical; Aristocracy; Attributes, or prerogatives, rights, privileges, etc. Now, "the kingdom of God and of his Christ" will consist of all these things; and will be as material an institution -- as real and terrestrial a monarchy as that of Great Britain, Belgium, or Spain.
It is not now an existent reality; for, though it once existed under a constitution, which hath waxed old and vanished away, its elements are dissolved from their previous combination, and remain dispersed.
Their restitution is, however, a matter of promise, attested by two immutable things -- the promise and the oath of the living God.
His kingdom and empire on earth are a great truth, but not an existing fact; they are visible only to the eye of faith, and are required by their founder to be received in the "full assurance of hope," with rejoicing and confidence to the end.
In studying the things of the kingdom of God, the foundation laid in the beginning must not be forgotten; for at that epoch its preparation was commenced.
The system of the world is an adaptation to man in his fallen state; and out of the things thus arranged it is that Christ's imperial dominion is being evolved.
By the law of procreation has been provided a population which, by the confusion of tongues, has been distributed into nations, whose habitations have been fixed by the controlling power of the Elohim.
Thus nations have been formed which are destined to flourish in the blessedness of the Future Age.
Their history records the fiery ordeal through which their generations have passed.
For the most part, men see nothing in it but a strife for territory, and glory, for the advantage of their rulers; but the scriptures reveal the workings of an invisible machinery, whose activity is perceived by the believer, in the incidents which occasion the conflicts among them.
He discerns the leaven, hid in the three measures of meal, at work leavening the minds of men, and developing the "enmity" between the seeds.
And though the strife is terrible, he feels no dismay, but rejoices with firm and unwavering confidence in the certainty of the triumph of the truth and its adherents; because God has assured him in His word that the King He has provided shall crush the sin-power, and make the nations lick the dust like a serpent.
Now this implies their subjugation; and it is to this crisis that all things are at present tending.
And what then?
Obviously, the transfer of the conquered to the sceptre of Jehovah's King, who overcomes them; as it is written, "The Gentiles shall wait for his law"; and "He shall reign over them".
The nations, then, are the subjects of the theocratic empire.
By the truth and judgments of God brought to bear upon them, exciting and controlling their activity, they are being moulded like clay in the hands of the potter, for the dominion of the saints in the Future Age.
The hope of these things, whose seeds were sown in the constitution of the world at the beginning, was the hope of the gospel then in its most general enunciation.
The subjects and territory of the empire, and the rulers thereof, were plainly marked out.
The earth, and the conquered seed of the serpent, obedient to the victorious seed of the woman, was the gospel of the kingdom in its most simple form.
No particular portion of the globe, however, was indicated as the territory of a kingdom.
The Spirit began with universals; but as the world became older, the particulars of the promise were un- folded to the eye of faith.