G. V. Wigram.
Delivered in Georgetown, Demarara, March, 1873.
Publishers: George Cooper, George Morrish.
God makes everything of the Lord Jesus Christ, and nothing of the creature. In the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross, He was everything. I have got to be practically consistent with the place in which I am set; to walk down here as Jesus Christ walked; the future glory of the Lord before us and our glory with Him. For thirty-three and a half years He was the Man of Sorrows; nearly two thousand years He has been the Man of Patience at God's right hand. Soon He will come forth as the king, "anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows." He comes first to change His own. The Lord Jesus in his Father's house, ourselves with Him there! To think of being surrounded with a company innumerable to man! Of what immense importance is my walk down here; it should be in thorough consistency with the two great points — forgiveness of sins and righteousness: the heavenly glory and the whole history of the period of suffering.
I thought it might be well this evening to give an outline from different Scriptures. There is God's corn of wheat in death, through whom all blessings come. What can I say from Scripture for certain, concerning the plan of God? Of course all Scripture is certain. First, in 2 Peter 3:7, "the heavens and the earth reserved unto fire," in the 13th verse we get His promise of "a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness." People imagine "the great white throne" will be the general judgment. That would make it the principal act of Christ! Salvation and redemption are the main points. When does the making of that new heaven and earth take place? In Revelation 21:1-7, he goes on to show the final state. Behold the tabernacle of God with men and He will dwell with them! When the Lord Jesus spoke of a Tabernacle, it was on the earth (John 14). In the verses from the 1st and 7th, it is as God, He dwells among them. When the work of redemption and restoration is completed, He takes up His title as God, all in all. In John 17 Jesus speaks of glory, but it is "I in them and thou in me." The tabernacle is where God and the Lamb dwell. What is the state of things immediately preceding this? Is there any Scripture giving a direct answer? In 1 Cor. 15:24, 26, "then the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father," we get the last Adam a life-giving spirit. In Romans 11 we read He will be known as the God of cutting off, Paul looked forward to it — there has not been the continuing in God's goodness. We see that Israel as a whole shall know the Lord! Stephen's history and testimony tell us of the bright state of things at the beginning. Also Acts 11, John 1, and Cor. 10, we find the things that have happened to Israel presented as types and warnings to us. The Jews kept so carefully the books that speak of the Messiah, although they did not as a nation receive Him, only He took one of a family or two of a city. Why have nominal and even real Christians taken for granted that mercy will for ever abide with the Gentiles? because the Lord turned away from the Jews. Now there is neither Jew nor Gentile. Babylon comes in in the course of the history of Christianity. See also the seven churches in Asia. If Christ were the king of Israel, He could not be reigning in the present state of things! The Church and the Jewish order could not go on together. I find the Lord is about to bring in the Sabbath. He gathered all who have been with Him, to be with Him in glory. There is also mercy for Israel, when the day of mercy comes; forgiveness of all sin. The reign of Christ is spoken of as following: Resurrection; Every knee shall bow to Him; all shall know the power of that Jesus crucified; Satan will have been put down before; Death, as an enemy, he will be destroyed. People forget that Christ's kingdom is a Mediatorial kingdom.
There will be then no need of a mediator. All foes will be put down; that connects this with Rev. 20. Death and Hades cast into the lake of fire. The devil that deceived had already been cast into the lake of fire; then the great white throne set up. Do things go on in the state we are in up to that time? Some assume that they do; that is to be ignorant of the word of God. At the time of Pentecost we see Him sitting at the right hand of God, a Prince and a Saviour. Is that to continue for ever? Did He not say "ye shall see me no more till ye shall say Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord?" Himself gathers Israel. Our own apostle Paul has been setting forth there is no one truly righteous but the Righteous One. The Lord, when He leaves His present place at the right hand of God, puts forth His power to raise His present suffering saints.
Then he turns to Israel. He is "Jehovah Shammah," and reigns for a time there. The distinction between the Old and New Testament Scriptures is not sufficiently considered by christians. God gives no account of His matters; because He is God, He acts as God. There had always been to His mind the last Adam as well as the first: the great truth of God manifest in the flesh. When Peter was putting before the Jews their great sin, that with wicked hands they had crucified Him, he spoke of God's counsels and foreknowledge. "Ye men of Israel, hear these words," etc. The actions from God were perfect. God had deep counsels — "He made him to be sin who had no sin." Turn to Ephesians, not to the ground of Malachi. God had chosen a people. He had a most magnificent history of this Man, His own beloved Son; this was that Jesus who went about doing good. The Church is the antitype of Eve in the Garden of Eden. Christ — He loved the Church, He gave Himself for her. From the raw bone taken out of Adam, the Lord God formed a most beautiful object; the woman was an exceedingly lovely companion for him. People ask, how can Christ want a company? He wants them for Himself; God wants them for His Son. God had compassion in His bosom, but none understood it. If God had not chosen a company, the great work of redemption would have been smothered. The work of creation was beautiful: beautiful trees, fruits, rivers, etc. Seven days a creature may have stood in his perfect beauty, and then the creation marred and spoiled! Compare the highest man or creature with God, the distance is infinite. Before this earth was occupied by man there may have been existence on it. A little insect in the water, how very inferior to me! It is only the distance from a creature to creature, a little tiny insect that had a beginning; but what is that compared with the distance between God and man! God never can act contrary to His own character. What is the centre of this heavenly system in the wide universe of God? It is guess as to it on the part of man. All to be the property of the Son of God — the last Man — the second Adam — the life-giving Spirit. That He should become a man, the highest wonder! A denial of the right of Israel was the cross: the highest wonder of God read in the great work of redemption! It is not the garden of Eden spoiled only, but the fall of Adam. Satan watched occasion to take advantage of the weakness of the woman. Then the Lord God took up the controversy between man and Satan. After this all flesh corrupted its way on the earth. Then came the deluge, and Noah, the man of rest, a type of Christ, becomes the deliverer and head.
Afterwards people turn to idolatry, and Abraham is called out. One sees in Abraham's seed the Lord Jesus Christ to be a Redeemer for earth and for heaven. What about the law given to His people in Mount Sinai? The ordinance good, but not suitable for me as a sinner. Draw nigh to God, as a sinner, could not have been said, had not Christ gone as a man into heaven. He sends light about heaven when the Holy Ghost was sent down. When the Lord has gathered all those who are set apart by the blood of Christ, He will come forth and take them into His Father's house. "By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified," or set apart by the blood, is a truth not sufficiently considered by christians. After the church is with Him He will then deal with Israel; the nations will come into judgment to make way for the blessing of His people Israel. John's work is brought to a close. We have the testimony by Daniel. Daniel means "judgment of God" — the name is significant. God said that Israel should be the head of' all the nations, but if disobedient the tail; and what has come to pass is His own work. Babylon had power over them, then the Medes and others, all keeping Israel down. The book ends with Daniel standing in his lot at the end of the days. Christ will have a kingdom set up, not entirely a spiritual one, but where people can be put to death for sin.
My thought was to give an outline of what God will do with this Man Christ Jesus. But God had tried man, Jew and Gentile, in various ways, till they met together in their sins at the cross. The ten tribes, no one knew where to find them. Two tribes of Judah and Benjamin cut up into small bits. Four Tetrarchies abounding with lepers, demons, and diseases of various kinds. They have been led on and are now blinded by Satan. God has been manifested in the flesh, for the purpose of destroying the works of the devil. People say, How can God want to have any with Him? The Paradise of God is where redemption tells its tale. Does He not want poor sinners, can any one say? Look at Saul, the one who was rejecting the testimony of Stephen, and putting saints to death. He can say, this is the one I plucked as a brand from the burning. He has toiled, laboured, and suffered, for He knew His Father's mind. His name is Jesus. There is that which is beautiful in Christ's life and character. A beautiful Bridegroom! The bride one in spirit, not in the flesh. There is the love of God; His purpose that goes back to before the foundation of the world. Not a word in the garden of Eden about the last Adam. Failure has come in, everything has failed but God and his purposes. The Lord deals in patience and gives warning. He told Israel what would be, and it came to pass. He has told christians what will be. Can I say that people of God are delivered from selfishness and live like christians at Pentecost? Can I say that christians are now like unto men that wait for their Lord? Certainly not. There will then be judgment on the failure. Take up Daniel, the earthly side of it, it is failure and judgment; those kingdoms are to be followed by a kingdom supplanting them, which is to stand for ever.
The Scripture is clear that from the beginning God has made Israel the centre of government in the earth. These great kingdoms, in number four, were raised up — through the unfaithfulness of Israel — to be their oppressors till the time when God shall put them all down. On the one hand God showed to the great Assyrian Monarch there were to be four kingdoms destined to be smashed by the falling of a stone — by the second coming of the Messiah. In a different scene, when Joseph was called upon to interpret Pharaoh's dream, he said "And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established by God." He has given the subject in two different forms; one for Nebuchadnezzar — so suitable to his ideas of greatness, and the other to grieve and instruct the heart of His servant Daniel. It is well to consider how he — Daniel — got into that place of honour. He kept himself pure when they wished to fatten him for the king's court. When Nebuchadnezzar was excessively troubled that none of the magicians or astrologers could interpret his dreams, Daniel took it all easy and was undisturbed. He said "there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and He maketh known to thee what shall come to pass." He had asked mercies of the God of heaven and favour for his companions, and found favour with the prince of the eunuchs. Profitable as it is, I have not time to go into that part of the subject now. The colossal image stood firm with its magnificent gold head, its silver breast, and brazen belly and legs, feet of iron and toes of iron and clay; then the stone rolled upon it and smashed it to pieces, swelled out and took the place of the image as a kingdom in the earth. Why was Nebuchadnezzar the tail? Upon the last Gentile kingdom the stone (spoken of in the blessing upon Joseph, Genesis 49:24,) will fall and grind it to powder. This vision of power had a bad effect upon the king Nebuchadnezzar — he fell down to worship Daniel. Why am I justified in saying the effect was injurious? His mind laid much upon the mighty wondrous image he had seen. It so worked on his mind that he made a decree that all should worship the image of it, or be killed. He took the whole glory of the kingdom to himself regardless of the true God. All must bow down to worship the image he had set up. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refusing to do so, were cast into the furnace. Daniel — whose name signified "judgment of God" — as one approved of God, is out of the scene. As the king Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace he was horrified to see them in the flames unhurt, and one walking about (he said) like unto the Son of God. In the 4th Chapter we read of another dream he had on account of his pride, and is warned to humble himself, to break off his sins by righteousness. This he neglected to do, and lost his reason.
In Daniel 5 we have an account of the grandson; "Ben" signifies grandson as well as son, as can be made out from the plastic tiles that have been discovered. Belshazzar wished to have the vessels as drinking cups, regardless of the house of God. In the midst of all a hand-writing is seen on the wall, which no one can read. The queen, his mother, tells him of Daniel. He interprets the writing, but refuses the gifts and honours, not having respect for him as for his grandfather. He had not humbled himself as he had done.
"Mene, Meneh, Tekel, Upharsin;" the second "Meneh" spelt with an "h" in the Chaldee, and having a different meaning — the kingdom to be divided — which came to pass as the next chapter tells us.
Darius was one whom Daniel could respect; he recognized God. A plot was laid to entrap Daniel, but he goes on quietly, prays to his God and gives thanks as aforetime. He is cast into the den of lions, but is unhurt, trusting in his God. Darius could not sleep, is broken to pieces, is early in the morning at the mouth of the den; his heart throbbing within him, asks "Is the God whom thou servest continually able to deliver thee?" Darius, after this, makes a decree that all should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. He — Daniel — gets confirmed in his place of honour in the kingdom.
I would remark as to the order, Daniel 7 was before Daniel 5 as to the time. The statue representing imperial power was gratifying to the heart of the monarch, there was food for his pride, forgetting God's judgment. To Daniel the vision was a grief and vexation to his spirit; he loved God and was deeply interested in His people. Four unnatural beasts rise up from the sea, — a very unnatural thing to rise from the sea! The Babylonian kingdom represented by a lion with eagle's wings — the bear raising up itself on one side representing the Medo-Persian. Darius first and Cyrus afterwards. Then the Grecian kingdom, afterwards the Roman. The last word important, under it the Messiah suffered. Turn to Revelation 13 — there the imperial power is first, then the false prophet; the first losing, then regaining power. There is some test raised — a prohibition to men to trade. There was a test raised in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, another in the days of Darius through seven wicked compeers. The two grand points come out: the denial of God as a ruler and object of worship; both can be seen also in 2 Thessalonians 2.
In Daniel 7 the scene is transferred to heaven. One like the Son of man is seen coming to receive a kingdom. The beast was slain, his body destroyed and given to the flames. When the Lord Jesus was upon earth He did not destroy men's lives, but healed; it was a time of peace, all who drew near to Him were welcome, without distinction. Paul and others were not like the monarchs, but like their Master, regarded as the offscouring of all things. The word is "If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him." The kingdom in Daniel is not one of grace and suffering, but characterized by almighty power. As in 1 Corinthians 15, God puts down all enemies under his feet. "I saw in the night vision the Ancient of Days, and a kingdom given unto him, that all nations should serve him." The Israelite in the present day and the Jew (I don't use it in the obnoxious sense, but as one of the tribe of Judah) cannot face this Scripture. A Son of Man in heaven! How came He there? Who is this Son of Man? If in heaven He must have been on earth before. "They shall not see me henceforth till they shall say, Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Christendom in its present state does not recognise His coming. The false prophet goes on with the people, and denies Christ to be the object of worship. What is it that has now bewitched the people that they do not see what is to happen? The worldly kingdom has become bestial until it comes up for judgment. When Daniel comes to explain it, it is exceedingly dreadful. I cannot read Revelation 13 without seeing what a stamping down of everything by this Beast; there is denying God as a Governor, "a mouth speaking great things" (Rev. 12), "whose look was more stout than his fellows" (Dan. 7), "He shall speak against the most High and wear out the saints of the most High," "An everlasting kingdom." How can that be? no difficulty, when there is "a new heaven and a new earth." There is so much in the New Testament to remind me of the people of Israel. There is to be a heavenly glory and an earthly glory. He will put all to rights for heaven, and then in the earth. The Jews on earth will go out to the Gentiles. Jesus gains much through His death in the morning of the resurrection of His people. If Jesus was Messiah, why did Israel reject him?
God was justified in seating Him at His right hand and reserving everything for His people. No loss to Israel. Whether God means to be in heaven and reign there over the earth, all His moral glory will be brought forth in brightest splendour. "The heaven shall hear the earth, and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil" (Hosea 2:22). Everything shall be brought forth in plenty and beauty. because God has brought back His redeemed Israel. If that vision given to Daniel be fulfilled, and all had to yield to the power and purposes of God, how can the sinner escape the judgment? How important, too, for the christian to know the things down here! Everything down here will surely come into judgment. Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, and Cyrus, and the rest will have passed away: the Son of Man, when He comes, will take the power; He will cast down the "accuser of the brethren," and deliver the oppressed. There will be on earth a company endued with another power. Now there is nothing remarkable to be seen in God's people. I can show that my heart is happy, that I have no fear of death, that I am satisfied with God, and have done with the world. Missionaries in that day will call them up to Jerusalem to see the glory of Messiah, and the light of the heavenly shining upon them. They will be invited to come and see for themselves the glory of Christ and His happy people.
Secondly, we may learn how the person who reads Scripture should keep himself from dabbling with politics. Scripture requires people to bow to the powers that be as ordained of God. My model as a ruler is One to come. If you were in a place in a time of anarchy, you would feel the necessity of a governing responsible power. Our place is to walk down here quietly recognising the powers that be as of God, and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. People will say, "Daniel, you can interpret your own prophecy." Nay: read the first and read the last chapters. "One of the royal seed of Israel taken captive." In the last chapter you will find what my hope was. He said, "I heard, but I understood not." But the Lord said unto him: "Go thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of days." "There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered." "From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and. the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." If there be any doubt on a subject is it not right to get the writer up and get evidence of what his mind is?
I do not think any one reading with an unbiassed mind, could help seeing that there must be tribulation, and deliverance; and Daniel standing in his lot at the end of days, could have a doubt as to its being future. In Daniel we read of the book being "sealed till the time of the end," but in the Revelation it is "seal not," many times repeated, and, "for the time is at hand." There is another singular connection of this subject, the coming of the kingdom, in Daniel 9, Ezekiel 9, Ezra 9, and Nehemiah 11, all scenes describing a desperate state of sorrow. They remind God of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Daniel explains the four kingdoms to be great in energy and power to the end of the days. When fully developed, another king will come out, when Israel will figure on the earth. It was too much for Nebuchadnezzar, his heart was filled up. The Assyrian monarchy, Persian, Grecian, and Roman, went on till judgment was brought forth in the end. Then a kingdom given to the Son of Man, which cannot be moved. In the first chapter of Daniel we find he was one of the royal seed, a captive in Babylon, afterwards brought into the Court of the king Nebuchadnezzar. When his heart was exercised before God, he was told to go away in peace, and to stand in his lot at the end of the days. This has not yet been fulfilled, Daniel has not stood in his lot. Others from the twelfth chapter are to rise, but have not risen; Daniel's people will be delivered; Israel shall, come forth. I propose this evening to look at the promised coming of the Lord Jesus Christ at the present time. In order to get the unity of the subject in our minds, I must begin with the call of Abram. I do not say what he was before, the Jews say he was an idolater, and his father, Terah, a maker of images. The Lord God took him up as he was; God called him right out of his country, kindred, and father's house, and said, "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee." I just remind you how simple it all is, a man heard a voice, a word spoken he had never heard before, and went forth. He obeyed; if there were a king there must be obedience. Remember, too, how people may get into connection without having a word spoken to them. Lot went forth with Abram. Abram was told to come, out, and leave his kindred. I do not find the same thing with Lot that I do with Abram. I find him settling down in one place, then in another, no principle of guidance given him. God had not sway over him; Abram and Sarai got the blessing. Side branches of the family were Eglon, (afterwards Idumea) Moab, Ishmael, and Ammon not regulated by the word of God. They come out in Daniel 11. When they (Abraham's family) went down into Egypt. God brought them out, but they did not recognize Him as their object of worship, and fell down before the golden calf. He gave them the law which was on the principle of "do and live," the new covenant that they are to be brought into is, "live and do." Do you not remember Hosea, where He said, "LoAmmi," not my people, and afterwards "Ammi," my people; "Lo-ruhamah" not having obtained mercy; and afterwards "Ruhamah," having obtained mercy. He plainly showed them if they were disobedient what would be the consequence. It was not that made God at that time cast them off. The exceeding patience of God was manifest towards them. There were but two tribes in the land when Christ was born into it. When it came to the close of His life, the question was, What shall I do with your King? We have no king, but Caesar, said the Jews. It was put up as over-ruled by God, and could not be altered as Pilate said, "what I have written, I have written." It was written according to the custom of the people of those days, in three different languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. It was the habit of the ancients to do it. Then closed shortly after the history of the Jews as a nation. They were taken captive by the Romans, and the market was so glutted with Jews as slaves, that people did not care to buy them. The principle of obedience is taken up by the prophet Isaiah. Christ Jesus took the place on earth of a teacher. See what is called the "Sermon on the Mount." First, His own disciples, then others became indoctrinated. Isaiah 8:11, Jehovah spake this with me, "say ye not a confederacy." When the Lord was on the earth, that was the doctrine. Among the Jews were many schools of doctrine. Sadducees, Herodians, Pharisees, etc. The company who had respect for Jehovah, was very small comparatively. Jehovah of Hosts became a stumbling block, and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel. Paul quoted those words to them. On the part of the Jews, it was, You want to persuade me that the One who was gibbeted outside was the king of the Jews. As it is written "Many among you shall stumble and fall, and be broken, as saith the Lord, And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder." The Jews did stumble and were broken as a nation. "Bind up the testimony, and seal the law among my disciples." Who were the disciples? The Jews could not believe that a few poor fishermen would be His disciples. He said to Peter, and to the rest of them, "Blessed are the eyes which saw the things they saw, and heard the things they had heard." In Matthew 13 I desire to trace out the kingdom, because it is more easy for mans minds to follow. In Matthew 11 we find Jesus speaking of those who had rejected His doctrine, and thanking God, that while He was hidden from those who were wise in their own eyes, He had revealed it unto babes. In Matthew 12, He speaks of the sin of the nation against the Holy Ghost. He ends that chapter, when they tell Him that His mother and brethren desire to speak with Him, by stretching forth His hands toward His disciples, saying, "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." Unless the persons of those united in natural ties took the place of hearing, and bearing fruit, Jesus would not hear them. He would only know those who would hear and do the words of God. He begins to give them seven parables, they all begin with His humiliation. They all take place in the interval of His going to heaven, and coming back the second time from heaven. I ask you to pay special attention to the fact, that the first is not about the kingdom, but about the word of the kingdom. The last six are the things formed by it, "the kingdom of heaven." Sometimes we read of the kingdom of God, sometimes of the kingdom of heaven. Are they the same? I believe the answer is very simple. The kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of God is not always the kingdom of heaven. If the Lord Jesus who is the King, is in heaven, it is the kingdom of Heaven: it is the kingdom of God, wherever the sway of God is. When it comes out at the end, it is part of it on earth, and part in heaven, as He will be in heaven reigning on earth. If God and Christ be in heaven at the time the thing is spoken of, then it is the kingdom of heaven. In a second way this parable differs, as it is that by which the kingdom is formed. God is going to set up a kingdom, and He prepares for it. A sower went forth to sow: He brought everything with Him. God said to Abraham, leave everything, and see if God is not able to bless you. More in what may be the earthly part, and more in the heavenly part also. A word may have other effects than bringing forth in blessing. I have come to sow, yea, blessed are they that get the seed. It brings out what a responsible thing it is to him that hears it, and shows out what poor things we are. Did God's beloved Son come into the world to teach us who God is, and will not Satan try to hinder it? The parable tells of the wonderful truth of God, of the One who left the throne eternal, to take the heart back to God, and make the heart happy with Him. Of some we read when the Lord was on earth, with joy received the word; how many for a time appeared to receive it, saying, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord," and went back and walked no more with Him? God's Son came into the world to give blessing. It will come out, that some seem to get a share, but the conscience has not been reached, and there is no fruit. In the third class of hearers the care of this world, as describing the poor, the thorns, the riches, choking, and both rich and poor influenced by the lusts of other things. The character of Satan, the flesh, and the world, all get detected by the word.
I believe this truth might be deeply considered by those that hear the word. When a man like Saul gets hold of the truth, what comes out is a life consistent with that which went in. When the word came to Abraham, it put him in the way of obedience, God always at hand to help him. When he was in Egypt God was there to help him, when he went to meet the kings He was with him, and through his whole course. He gave Him a testimony of his resurrection power, that He should have all the promises made good. How far has that been the case with our hearts? The Word is a detective thing proving the flesh. Some say "It is no use, my heart is not good." You mistake in saying it is no use, when it is the seed that falls that brings forth the good fruit — the word of God. Let me ask you what did it find in the idol-maker, Abraham, or in the persecuting Saul of Tarsus? The saved one is a vessel of His own workmanship that had to be made manifest. The first three parables give us the aspect of the kingdom down here — the earthly side of it; the last three God's aspect of it — the heavenly side of the kingdom. The tares which the enemy, Satan, came and sowed, had, at the first beginning, the appearance of wheat. Even in the early days Ananias and Sapphira were found in the church. How soon did the care of all the churches prove too much for Paul! Things will go on unto the end. At the revelation of Christ coming to judge Babylon the saints come with Him as the heavenly court of the King. People say, they cannot see the difference of the parables. There has been an outward polity, which has failed. And there is a people who wait for the Lord. There is a large mass just the opposite. All the good came through the Lord Jesus Christ. What were those, "whose God was their belly, whose glory was in their shame," in Philippians? The outside thing is as distinct as possible in the third parable. In the history of the Church as given in Revelation 2: in Pergamos where the evil as introduced, the time of Constantine, I believe, is represented. It is said, Constantine, the Emperor, put off his own baptism to the last, that he might then, before his death, wash away his many sins. He might have his golden footstool, and be decked with diamonds, and appear to be humble in things ecclesiastical. What did he see, as he looked around him? that the doctrine of the cross had become so popular, so that he dreamed, or professed to have had a dream of the cross in a bright light in the heavens, and to have adopted it as a banner, saying "By this I conquer!" Where did he learn the cross, which is the death of the flesh? did he mortify his flesh? He knew how to please the ecclesiastics; afterwards protestant kings and governors became, as they said, nursing fathers, and queens nursing mothers, to the Churches. In the parable of the mustard seed, the tree is not a symbol of Israel, but the vine. What is the good of a vine except to bear fruit? Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a tree which described his greatness: just like Constantine, using the figure of a tree or of Christianity, to advance and strengthen his kingdom.
In the parable of the leaven — leaven is never used to represent what is good, but what is evil. It ferments in the flour, becomes sour, and then alters its character. The character of the kingdom becomes altered as we see in the churches of Greece and Rome, and elsewhere. In Thyatira it became a nursery for Jezebel who ought never to have been Queen of Israel. Read in Revelation 2. I see the three there. I see Constantine coming in Pergamos and the evil going on until the last state of the church is so bad, that the Lord said of it, "I will spue thee out of my mouth." A measured quantity of meal spoiled by that which had been brought in. In the last three parables He privately taught the disciples. I understand selling all that He had and buying the pearl of great price was Christ's love to the church, and laying down His life for it.
Did it ever strike you, those words in John 17: "Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him?" What given to Him? for what purpose? That He might give! Yes, He purchased the whole human family that He might bless. He has a right over the whole human race. To those who will therefore despise His Lordship there is judgment. He bought the field for the sake of the treasure: those who accept Him, and acknowledge His Lordship. It is sweet to know the Lord works in them, and they work out their own salvation. The Church is the pearl of great price. The merchantman went and sold all that he had and bought it. I could not apply that to anything but the work of the Lord Jesus. I have not to sell all and go and buy Him: I have to receive life before I can do anything right. There is also the heavenly side, the glory to come, for the Church, as Eve was lovely in the garden of Eden. The Church is now espoused to Him: He loved her and gave Himself for her, as we see in Ephesians 5. And the casting of the net into the sea, the end of the kingdom of heaven in God's mind; you can help bad as well as good — all that teaching the Lord gave when He was on earth. Then comes the separation between the righteous and the wicked. Then "the righteous shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father;" they who have followed Him in His humiliation, shall form His train in the heavenly part of the kingdom.
In turning to Daniel we find in Daniel 9 he humbled himself, and got more revealed to him than he expected, although a short vision. He saw not only respecting the 70 years, but the 70 weeks of years. The period is divided into three distinct parts: the first 7 weeks, and then 60, and 2 weeks: when they were expired, Messiah would be cut off and have nothing. In the first week or forty-nine years, the wall and temple were rebuilt in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. After the threescore and two weeks or four hundred and thirty-four years, the people of the Prince that shall come; the Roman power destroyed the city and the sanctuary as was foretold. In the person of Stephen there was stoning, as well as in His own person rejection, and that of John the Baptist. there was nothing for Him as Messiah. There were to be great desolations for the Jews, but are they to be for ever? If we went to visit Jerusalem, should we find any glory in it? The poor Jews have hardly sufficient to live upon. Then there is the last week, or seven years. In the midst of the week, Revelation 12, which is still future, will be accomplished. The Jews are still the people that will have the earth. When Israel is gathered back, will it be merely as the children of Abraham, or as a people that have a new heart and sin forgiven, and the law written on their hearts? The nation as a whole will be blessed, but not every one that is a Jew outwardly. As soon as they have an ear to hear, God will bring them back. When all the other great kingdoms are set aside, they will be the nation blessed and honoured on earth, as no other nation ever was. On high Christ Jesus will have His Court. "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father." John knew he belonged to the heavenly royal priesthood! He sang of it at Patmos as the elders sing of it in heaven. The very same thing will cause, will bring about the sure destruction of His enemies, those who would not have Him to reign over them. One might say to a Jew: You call yourself an Israelite? when God spake to Abraham he left all to follow and serve Him. Abraham was triumphant; poor Lot was dragged out of Sodom, because he really had no heart for God. What, dear friends, about your heart? have I got Christ as the wisdom of God in my heart? am I obeying the word of the kingdom? If so, I shall form part of this mercy, part of this heavenly court. But if I have not accepted the word about the seed of the woman bruising the head of the serpent, then it will be the terrible judgment along with Satan and his kingdom. The word of the kingdom was spoken first by Jesus, and then by His apostles.
"What a noble thought God making friends of man," said one; but drew back when he found it was through the blood of His Son: afterwards he saw his error, and became blessed and honoured as a preacher of the gospel. There is nothing in human nature, or natural religion to equal it, in which the kingdom of heaven is open, because the doctrine of atonement is connected with it. We have to judge what will crop up to hinder the growth of the word of the kingdom in our hearts: cares, riches, lusts, pleasures. But how precious is the word itself! I have reserved the heaven and the earth, God says, wherein righteousness shall dwell. I will destroy those who have defiled and corrupted the earth. Do you not know the history of the woman in the garden of Eden; and the seed of the woman who should crush him that did the mischief? Do you not know the truth that those who had not the wedding garment would be cast into outer darkness? In the second covenant it is not, do and live; but, believe on the Son of God, and live. Are you who do believe subject to the sway of the Son of God sent down from heaven?