The Kingdom of Christ



Lecture 5, from Sentiments Concerning the Coming Kingdom of
Christ, written by Joshua Spalding, 1796.

"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever."— Daniel. ii. 44.

IT belongs to our Savior Jesus Christ, as the Lord the Redeemer—as the Son of David, and heir of the throne of Israel—to reign over the whole earth; by merit, by heirship, and by ancient promise, it is his right alone; and the day is coming, when he shall take to himself his great power, and shall put all things in subjection under his feet.

This appears in the promises made to Abraham, which were often repeated, that all the land he had journeyed over, from the Euphrates to Egypt, and all his eye could ken eastward, and westward, and northward, and southward, should be given to him, and to his seed, forever; which seed should possess the gate of his enemies.

The promises to Jacob plainly point out this kingdom; which promises Balsam seemed to have particularly in mind in his remarkable prophecies of the kingdom of Christ, often repeating the very words of Jacob, and the words of the Lord to him—Israel's "God is with him, and the shout of a King is among them. His seed shall be in many waters, and his King shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. He shall eat up the nations his enemies, and pierce them through with his arrows. He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall destroy all the children of Sheth. Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city."

We have the same in the promises to Judah—"Thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise; thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies— Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion: who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." "And the Lord said, Judah shall go up; behold, I have delivered the land into his hand."

These promises were repeated to David in the fullest and plainest manner—four times in one paragraph—"I will set up thy seed after thee, and I will establish his kingdom—And I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever—And thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee—Thy throne shall be established forever."

The Psalms are full of prophecies of this kingdom: we will quote one passage only— "The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. Also, I will make him my first born, higher than the kings of the earth. His seed also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven."

Of this kingdom all the prophets have written, especially Daniel; who was much engaged to understand the purposes of God concerning the kingdom of Israel. Daniel "saw in the night visions; and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom." This One like the Son of Man, who comes near, and receives a kingdom from the Ancient of Days, is doubtless Christ Jesus, called the Son of Man—the Son of David. Unto him is given the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven; and all dominions shall serve and obey him. And the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Daniel interprets to be this same glorious kingdom, which shall be raised upon the ruins of all the kingdoms of this world, and which shall stand forever.

These prophecies in the Old Testament raised an expectation in the minds of God's people, of which we find many passages in the New. They were, indeed, at a loss as to the times and seasons of those events; and were greatly perplexed by not distinguishing the two events, of Christ's coming to suffer, and his coming in his kingdom: for though there be certain characters, whereby what belongs to the first coming of Christ, and what to the second, may be distinguished; yet, they are often so blended in the prophecies, that it should not be thought strange, that the people of God, before the death and resurrection of Christ, had not properly distinguished the time of his coming to suffer from the time of his coming to reign. But though they were at a loss for times and seasons, and were perplexed for want of distinctions; yet, the fact of the reign of Christ upon the earth they fully believed, and ever spake of it with the greatest assurance.

This belief is expressed in the request of the wife of Zebedee; who, like a fond mother, begged of our Savior that her two sons might sit, one on his right hand, and the other on his left, when he came into his kingdom. Also, in that question of the disciples, "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee—What shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration,* (*This sentence, read thus—Ye which have followed me in the regeneration—is obscure and doubtful: for in the regeneration—the change from sin to holiness—Christ has not gone before us. And to interpret this regeneration, as some do, to mean water baptism, is equally absurd. The millenarians read it (which is according to the Greek) with a stop after followed me) when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

When Christ was going up to Jerusalem the last time, his followers were in high expectation, "because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear."

The expectation of the kingdom of Christ was universal among all who believed the prophets. This was Herod's fear, when he sought to slay the infant Savior. The Pharisees demanded of Christ, "when the kingdom of God should come." And after Christ was risen from the dead, we find the expectation of the kingdom indulged by his disciples, and very near their hearts; for when they were come together, at the place he had appointed to meet them, "they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"

This leaves the sense, according to their sentiments, plain and easy—that, in the grand regeneration, the restitution of all things, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, they also, which have followed him, shall sit upon thrones, &c., according to Daniel vii. and Rev. xx. 4. Mr. Henry, upon this place, after observing that some refer this, in the regeneration, to the time when Christ shall sit upon the throne of his glory, adds—"Christ's second coming will be a regeneration, when there shall be new heavens and a new earth, and the restitution of
all things."

"So death becomesHis final remedy; and after life
Tried in sharp tribulation, and refined
By faith and faithful works, to second life
Waked in the renovation of the just,
Resigns him up with heaven and earth renewed."

This expectation of the kingdom of God Jesus ever cherished and confirmed. He called the meek blessed, for they shall inherit the earth; according to the ancient promises to his people. In his sermon on the mount, the kingdom of heaven is advanced as a leading doctrine; and to establish the faith of his people therein appears the design of most of his parables.

Salome was one whom Jesus loved; she faithfully ministered to him, to his death, following him from Galilee; and was one of those women that bought the spices and ointments to embalm him, and that went early to the sepulchre, the resurrection morning. Had this good woman erred in her faith of the kingdom, would not Jesus have set her right? But when she spake to him for her children, he did not deny the supposition, or general ground of her request, that he was to have a kingdom; but taught her, and them, submission to the divine will; and, also, that the conditions, both to him and to them, of the honors and glories of that kingdom, were a cup and baptism, which neither he nor they had yet drunk, nor been baptized with. ,Yea, in that other place, where the disciples unitedly asked "We have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?" with assurance of his Father's good-will, which should carry him through his sufferings, and bring him, and them with him, into his glory; he spake as already having an interest and authority there; and promised to them all the very thing which the mother of James and John requested—When the Son of Man shall sit upon the throne of his, glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, he did not answer them, as he did the Sadducees, respecting the resurrection—Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures: he reproved them, not for advancing a wrong doctrine, but for their curiosity to know when the kingdom of God should come, whilst they rejected his gospel; which was the very spirit of that kingdom. And also, when his disciples asked him, after his resurrection, if then he would restore the kingdom to Israel; his answer; whilst it put them of as to times and seasons, which the Father for wise ends had not then revealed, and also checked their haste and impatience, was still so far from contradicting their expectation, that It tended greatly to confirm it.

This kingdom is future.

The promises made to Abraham, Israel, and David, have never been fulfilled: of all the nations of the world, the Hebrews have had the least possession of the earth, and the least quiet settlement as a nation and kingdom.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were strangers and pilgrims in the land. Their posterity were strangers and bondmen, four hundred years, in Egypt. Forty-five years they consumed in the wilderness and wars of Joshua.

In the time of the judges, a few years excepted, they were either harassed by wars—distressed by famines—the servants of servants— servants to the Canaanites; or, dispersed without a head or judge, every one doing what was right in his own eyes.

Then they desired a king, and Saul was given to them in anger, and taken away in wrath.

And when David came to the kingdom, it was still unsettled and harassed; first by a seven or eight years' civil war—then followed the bloody wars with the Jebusites, Philistines, Amalekites, Moabites, Ammonites, and the Syrians—then the rebellions of Absalom and Sheba—afterwards, the three years' famine on account of the massacre of the Gibeonites; and then the dreadful pestilence for numbering the people.

In the reign of Solomon, Israel had, perhaps, their best days; but they had been much better had their prince been less ambitious. The fact is, Solomon's government was oppressive, and his people were almost slaves—he made their yoke grievous. We must suppose that the kingdom promised to Israel is something better than Solomon's in all its glory.

After Solomon, the kingdom was rent asunder; which opened the most painful scenes—Ephraim envying Judah, and Judah vexing Ephraim; and the Assyrians envying and vexing both.

With short intervals of prosperity, the whole history of Israel and Judah is wars, famines, pestilences, assassinations, and massacres; until the Assyrians utterly destroyed the kingdom of Israel; and soon after, under Sennacherib, invaded Judah in the days of Hezekiah, and brought them to the greatest straits.

The following reigns of Manasseh and Ammon were remarkable for nothing but wickedness and abominations, which filled Judah; and , innocent blood, which filled Jerusalem from end to end; and a captivity into Assyria. Josiah's succeeding in the throne gave a little rest, which soon ended in the battle of Megiddo; from which time they hasted to that ruin brought upon them by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

After their captivity in Babylon, whilst the Medes and Persians reigned, they were poor and despised, and continually harassed by a Samaritan faction. Under the Grecians, they were subdued, their daily sacrifice made to cease, whilst they fled into the mountains and caves of the earth. And when they rose and collected under the Maccabees, they held their lives at the point of the sword; and after them followed the most bloody factions among themselves, until they were brought under the Roman yoke; which lay upon them, heavier and heavier, till their last dispersion.

It is now, almost four thousand years since Abraham; in all which time his posterity have not enjoyed, put all together, two hundred years' prosperity and quiet settlement, as a nation.

The promises of the kingdom of Israel, therefore, are yet to be fulfilled. Isaiah, running over the history of Israel, and comparing it with the promises of their inheriting the land, was constrained to cry, The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while.

When we say the promises of the kingdom of Israel are not fulfilled, w[e] do not mean to include a particular respect they might have to the ancient settlement of Israel in Canaan,* (*This settlement of Israel was the emblem or figure of what was promised to the fathers, rather than the fulfilment.) and to Christ at his first coming; but that they have not had their general accomplishment.

Moreover, it is prophesied, when this kingdom comes—Israel shall dwell in a place of their own, and move no more: neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more—wars shall cease unto the end of the earth: and of the increase of the kingdom, and peace, there shall be no end. This must be future.

Daniel's account of this glorious kingdom plainly shows it to be future. In his prophecy, there are four descriptions of the great events of Providence from that time to the end of all things. The first is, the great image; the second is, the four beasts that came up from the sea; the third is, the ram and he-goat with their horns; and the fourth is, the kings or the antichrists, in the vision by the river Hiddekel; which is continued through a variety of scenes to the end of the book.

These, especially the two first, agree exactly in the same things; and all close up with the kingdom of Christ.

The interpretation of the two first is this—The head of the image, which was of fine gold, and the first beast, which was like a lion, represent the Babylonian empire: the silver breast and arms of the image, and the second beast, like to a bear, represent the Medo- Persian empire, which was inferior to the Babylonian: the belly and thighs of the image, which were of brass, and the third beast, like a leopard, represent the Grecian empire, which, though very showy, was inferior still: the iron legs of the image, and the fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; which devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it, represent the Roman empire: the feet and toes of the image, which were part of iron and part of clay, and the ten horns which the fourth beast had, represent plainly the dominion, or dominions, now existing, which have risen up out of the Roman empire; which, divided, partly strong and partly broken, though always forming treaties, leagues, confederacies, and combinations, do not cleave one to another,* (*God hath said, they shall not cleave one to another; therefore, marvel not that all their attempts to mingle—to unite by treaties, &c., prove in the end sources of discord.) even as iron is not mixed with clay: and the little horn, which came up among the other horns, and had eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things, and which made war with the saints and prevailed against them, and wore them out, and thought to change times and laws, is evidently the papal dominion, or man of sin; for his description here, as well as the term assigned for his reign—a time and times, and the dividing of time—answers exactly to that given in the New Testament of the great and cruel apostate enemy of Christ and his saints.

When the time, times, and a half, or one thousand two hundred and sixty days, that is years, have expired, the stone cut out without hands will smite the image upon his feet, his present dominions; ¥ (¥The powers that be are ordained of God, not to stand forever; they are things which can be shaken, and will be removed (by him who hath promised, saying, yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven, and I will shake all nations,) and give place to those things which cannot be shaken—a kingdom which cannot be moved, and which therefore shall remain.) and the whole—the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver and the gold—shall be crumbled to pieces together, and become like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors: and the wind shall carry them away, that no place shall be found for them. The beast—the Antichrist—also shall be slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning fame. Then the stone that smote image shall become a great mountain, and fill the whole earth; which is explained to mean the kingdom of Christ; which shall break in pieces, and consume, all the kingdoms of this world, and which shall stand forever.

So that the time appointed in Daniel for the Son of Man to take the kingdom, is when the thrones are cast down and the beast is slain; by which it appears, that the glorious reign of Christ is yet to come; for the thrones are yet standing, and the beast is yet living.

The time appointed also for this glorious kingdom in the Revelation, is evidently future; for it is not until the seventh angel sounds the last trumpet—"And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great yokes in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever;" but the last trumpet has not yet sounded.

Moreover, we, upon whom the ends of the world are come, are expressly taught to look forward for this kingdom, and to pray, Thy kingdom come: yea, our Savior plainly teaches that his kingdom is not of this world, but of the world to come; of which we shall speak more particularly.

This everlasting kingdom—the kingdom of glory—which shall not pass away, will be administered, first, by Christ Jesus.

Daniel saw, "and behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."

Isaiah prophesied of the Child that should be born, and the Son that should be given to Israel, that the government shall be upon his shoulder.

This kingdom is given to Christ, as a reward of his humiliation and suffering, and of his victories in subduing it unto God; as it is written— "To this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living." "The Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of Man." "He made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and, being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?"

And because the saints have suffered with Christ, and have also overcome, they shall reign with him in his kingdom. "For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with him." "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." "The seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. We give thee thanks, 0 Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned—and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great." "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus;—and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." "When the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me."

This reign of Christ will be a thousand years, and some suppose it may be thousands of thousand; be that as it may, it will, however, be a full display of his mediatorial glory.

These will be times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord—times of restitution of all things—of which all the holy prophets have spoken; when the kingdom shall be restored to Israel; and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to Christ and his saints: then, as we pray, the kingdom of God shall come; and his will shall be done in earth as it is in heaven. Here the mediatorial kingdom will be consummated—a visible and full display will be made of its glory; whilst every enemy lies crushed beneath its power. 0 how glorious! to behold one in human form stand forth in the midst of the redeemed upon the mount Zion of the world to come; the universal conqueror! with many crowns upon his head ! and all things put under his feet! his enemies all made his footstool! even death itself put under him by the resurrection of the just—the resurrection of life!

Secondly: The kingdom, from the hands of the Son of Man completely finished and glorious, will be given up to God; whatever Christ has received, he will restore—what is given to him, he will give back to God: the things concerning me have an end. In this kingdom Christ will thus reign as the Sort of David, as the Son of Man, and because he is the Son of Man: therefore, his kingdom is said to be a gift from the Father; for it is the eternal right of God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to-reign: therefore Christ calls it the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of his Father; and it is often said that he received it of his Father; and therefore, at the end of the thousand years, this kingdom is to be delivered up to God, even the Father; and "then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."

When all is restored, the heavens and the earth created anew; when king Jesus has had his triumph with all his saints, made an open show of his victory, and consummated his marriage with his fair redeemed bride, with all the guests of heaven in the banqueting chamber of his royal city, the new Jerusalem, and has celebrated the feast and supper of the Lamb, and embraced his bride in the bosom of everlasting love; when this glory which awaits the star of Jacob—the son of David—Jesus our Mediator—has fully shone out in the times of the restitution of all things; this perfectly glorious, finished, and completely established kingdom will be resigned up to the triune God. And with the reign of Messiah—with his giving up the crown and sceptre—the volume of the book closes: then God shall be all in all; which is the eternal, unalterable state.

The day of this glorious reign of Christ is that latter day, from the fall of Antichrist and the kingdoms of this world to the closing up of the whole mediatorial scene. Christ Jesus is now glorified, crowned and exalted far above every name: the kingdom is now given into his hands—all things are put under him by his being constituted and crowned king of heaven and earth: but yet all things are not subdued unto him. The Lord Jesus is crowned with glory and honor, exalted and seated upon the throne of the universe; and the language of prophecy is, "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet." " But now we see not yet all things put under him:" his enemies are not yet made his footstool; the kingdoms and dominions of this world now hold their power in opposition to him: but when he shall take to him his great power, and shall reign, all things will actually be put under him—his enemies will be made his footstool—the nations that would not bow to the messages of peace in his gospel; will be made to bow to his iron rod: for when he comes to reign in the latter day, the beast will be given to the burning flame; the thrones which supported him will be cast down, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven will be given into his hands; and he will reign with the saints, whilst his enemies, who would not have him reign over them, will be slain before his eyes.

This reign of Christ will be on earth. The stone cut out of the mountain, that will become a great mountain, (which is this kingdom,) will fill the whole earth; the kingdom under the whole heaven will be given to the saints, who will reign with Christ; and the reigning of the saints with Christ, mentioned Rev. xx. 4, is plainly on the earth. The new Jerusalem evidently begins with this glorious period, before the kingdom is given up to God; for the Lamb is said to reign in it, and the new Jerusalem is on earth; for the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor unto it. We are taught to pray, Thy kingdom come: thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth: and we believe in Christ, that all the earth shall be filled with his glory.

As, on earth, he was openly dishonored, despised, and rejected; so, on earth, he will be openly honored, admired, and adored. On earth he was dressed in a mock robe, and crowned with a crown of thorns; and on earth he will be dressed in the robes of his Father's glory, and crowned with that majesty, before which devils tremble, saints bow, and angels veil their faces.

When the king of Israel shall reign on the earth he will be most conspicuous in his heavenly throne—every eye will behold him, as plainly as we behold the sun in the firmament. They who can see the kingdom of Christ, will see him as visibly as Stephen saw him standing on the right hand of God,

The Jews believed that when Christ should come in his kingdom, he would appear in a glorious Shekinah; and the Scriptures declare, that he will appear in the cloud or clouds of heaven, which are flaming fire, such as surrounded the mercy seat—his throne in Israel.

Thus he will descend upon the mount of Olives—O, with what grandeur! Sinai quaked greatly, when the Lord descended there: but, when he shall step down upon the top of holy Olivet, and his feet shall stand there, that mountain shall cleave in the midst thereof, and flee each way from his presence; yea, all the mountains round about will flee into the sea, and be no more found. Then will be heard a great voice out of heaven—the general shout of angels— saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and his servants shall serve him, and they shall see his face.

Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man, the glory of this kingdom: before it, the fashion of the natural world—the heavens and the earth—will be wonderfully changed, gloriously renovated! One prophet hath declared, that towards the north, where now are the mountains, the valley of Jerusalem shall reach unto Azal; and towards the south, all the land shall become as a plain, frost Geba to Rimmon. And, we think, another beheld the earth, by the hand of the great Potter, stricken to a plain; and not only the valleys filled, but the channels of the sea also covered—the islands united to the mains, and the ocean again shut up in his native womb: for John declares, that before this kingdom every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And he saw a new heaven, and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

“In robes of judgment, lo, he comes!
Shakes the wide earth, and cleaves the tombs:
Before him burns devouring fire,
The mountains melt, the seas retire."

Now, the whole creation shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. The earth shall no longer groan under the curse—the ground no longer bring forth thorns and thistles. From thenceforth, there shall be no more death, nor barren land. The wolf shall feed with the lamb, and the lion with the bullock; which denote an entire change of nature: no foe to man lurks in the serpent, and every poisonous plant shall die. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord. The stone cut out without hands became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the kingdom to come—the Lord's holy mountain: in this there shall be nothing to hurt, or destroy, saith the Lord.

And if nature shall give a sign of the reign of Christ, and, before his kingdom, "break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field clap their hands"—if, "instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle-tree;" how much more shall the children of Zion give an everlasting sign, and lift up their heads and rejoice. They shall put on their wedding garments—Jerusalem shall be a rejoicing, and her people a joy: she shall be prepared as a bride adorned for her husband—having the glory of God: and the days of her mourning shall be ended.

Once more; before this kingdom, the enemies of Christ shall be as stubble before the flame—the proud, yea, all that do wickedly, shall be burnt up, root and branch. When the Lord Jesus shall come in his kingdom, he will be revealed "in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel:" then, instead of the Lamb of God, he will show, to his enemies, the face of the lion of the tribe of Judah—instead of the golden sceptre, he will stretch out unto them the iron rod ; and, instead of the trump of jubilee, he will sound the trump of war—the seventh, the last trumpet—the signal of the battle of that great day of God Almighty: and then his enemies, which would not that he should reign over them, will be slain before him—the cloudy, fiery pillar of his presence, that will have so kind an aspect towards the redeemed, will have an awful face towards the host of the ungodly: an angry God will look unto them, through the pillar of cloud and fire, and trouble them, and fight against them; and they shall sink into perdition, as lead in the mighty waters.

The prophets testify, that Christ's coming to set up and possess his millennial kingdom, is his second coming—even his coming in the clouds of heaven. See Daniel vii. 13, 14: "I saw in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve him." That this is the millennial kingdom, is evident from its immediately following the destruction of Antichrist. And this truth, that the coming of Christ to take the kingdom will be his glorious appearing in the cloud, Jesus confirmed by his own mouth. See Luke xxi.: "And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And he spake to them a parable. Behold the fig-tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know for yourselves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom: of God is nigh at hand." 0 sinner, though perhaps thou hast oft desired the day of the Lord; didst thou realize it, the thunder of the Lord God Almighty, that will rend the heavens at the great day, would not shake you more than this sound—The millennium cometh.

Repent, therefore, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.