My Kingdom is Not of This World
Gilbert Beebe (1800 - 1881)
- "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence".
Thus spake the Son of God when mantled in the flesh. He stood arraigned at the bar of Pilate; and when, if there had been anything in the elements of this world which could contribute to the defense or benefit of His kingdom, they must have been called into action. All the interests of the kingdom which He claimed as His own, centered in Him, and the destiny of the kingdom, for weal or woe, was at that important moment hinged upon the result of what was at that time progressing.
None of the princes of this world knew Him; He had not made a revelation of what He was, even to those who sat empowered to deliver Him to death. He had not labored in His ministry to make Himself familiar to the crowned heads of the nations of the earth. He had proposed no treaties or terms of alliance with them; not had He called on them, or any of them, to propose terms for His acceptance; for the nature of His kingdom was so radically different from every kingdom under heaven, that it was not possible that an alliance could be entered into that could subserve the true interests of either party. His kingdom truly was destined to encounter the violence, enmity, wrath, strife, and persecution of kingdoms of men, both in her King and in the subjects of her government.
The powers which should oppose Him in person and in His people were not such as He was compelled to succumb to for what of power to resist, for He reminded Pilate that he would not have had any power, if it had not been given him; and on another occasion He declared that He was able to call on His Father, who would instantly honor His requisition for more than twelve legions of angels--a force sufficient to overwhelm all earthly powers engaged against Him; but how, in that case, could the Scriptures be fulfilled? Not an intimation was made of raising up an earthly force to resist the assaults of the enemies of His kingdom, even if a force had been requisite, He would have called from the heavenly world.
We may well conclude, that if in that most trying hour, when His holy soul was pressed within Him, He had nothing to ask of the rulers of this world, there never could a period arrive when the powers of earthly princes should be required to defend Him or His cause. To those who tempted Him with their questions concerning tribute money, He said, Render unto Caesar the things which belong to Caesar, and unto God the things which belong to God; thus clearly intimating that the governments were not only distinct from each other, but that the distinction should be perpetual; and that the requisitions of Caesar, or of the governments of the nations, had to do with men as citizens of the world, and that their obligation to earthly magistrates and rulers was not relaxed nor abolished by the administration of His laws. And again, that the things of God were not to be rendered to Caesar, but unto God.
Things of a civil nature, relating to the natural rights of men, were to be settled by God's own providential appointment, by human legislation; but the things aside from a respect for and obedience to earthly potentates, in natural matters, belonging to God, such as matters of faith, of conscience, of religion, were not things over which the kings of the earth had any supervision or power, and things in which His subjects were not at liberty under any circumstances, to submit to the dictation or legislation of any other than God Himself.
The kingdom of Jesus is not of this world. In its origin, elements, provisions, policy, protection, government, or destiny. Its origin is heaven-- it is a heavenly kingdom. The King is the Lord from heaven; He said, "I proceeded forth and came out from the Father;" and again, "What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before," etc. The subjects of his kingdom are of the same origin, for "Both he sanctifies, and they that are sanctified, are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren" and he said, "Thine they were and thou gavest them me." "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world." etc.
The laws for the regulation of this heavenly kingdom are not of earthly enactment. Christ the anointed of the Father, is the sole Legislator, and he, by His Spirit, writes his law upon, and sets it up in the hearts of his children. The elements, or component parts, viewed separately or collectively, are all of God, and every plant that the heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up.
The provision on which this kingdom is sustained, were given us in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world, and being prior to, could not be of the world. Grace, mercy, peace, righteousness, and truth, with all things else necessary for the commandment of the everlasting and unchanging decree of God, were treasured up in the Head of the church before the world began; and all the provisions of his spiritual house on which His poor are fed; were brought down from the abounding and overflowing fountain from which every good and perfect gift comes. And he will abundantly bless her provisions and fill her with bread.
The policy of this kingdom is from above. "For our conversation is in heaven," and it is therefore as becomes the children of God. All earthly religions have to depend on human policy, human wisdom, and humanly devised means; but not so with the kingdom which no man can see except he be born again.
The protection of that kingdom is of him who is a wall of fire round about it, and the glory in its midst. All anti-christian religious establishments desire the arm of human government--regal power, and human means for their protection; but not so with the kingdom of Jesus Christ; the eternal God is the refuge of His people, and underneath them are the everlasting arms.
All provisions on which the subjects of the kingdom of our Lord are fed, comforted, instructed, and secured, are spiritual, and therefore cannot emanate from any but a spiritual fountain. Although the world, the flesh and Satan have volunteered like the aliens about Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah, to furnish God's people with food, the order of the government forbids the traffic with them; and it is impossible that the children of the kingdom should be fed with any other food than that which God has graciously provided, and abundantly blessed.
Should the government of the kingdom of our Redeemer be to any extent divided with angels or men, whatever part or portion these should administer, must necessarily detract so much from the power and glory of Christ. "The government shall be upon his shoulder; and of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end." So stands the record of the Holy One. The subjects of his government are forbidden to call any man, master, or father, as their Master and spiritual Progenitor is in heaven, and nothing can be born of the flesh but flesh; so that without being born again, no man can see the kingdom of God. A legislature of unregenerate men who cannot see the kingdom, would be very poorly qualified to legislate for a kingdom which is to them absolutely invisible; and if there were none but regenerate men seated in legislation, they being by the new birth qualified to see the kingdom of God, would to a man, know by the same illuminating work of the Spirit, that they could do nothing to aid in the legislative or executive departments of the Messiah's kingdom.
The destiny of the kingdom of which we write, differs essentially from that of all other kingdoms. The best systems of human government are destined to crumble to the ground. In the providence of God, empires are founded, kingdoms and republics are raised up, they reach their climax, and then decline, and finally cease to be reckoned among the things that be; but the kingdom of Jesus is an everlasting kingdom, and a dominion that shall never end. It shall never be changed, superseded, or transferred to other hands. The mountains shall depart, the hills shall be moved, the earth and the sea shall pass away, and all the elements of this world shall be dissolved, but the kingdom of our God shall survive them all, and flourish in eternal bloom. How presumptuous then, for monarchs of the earth, whose transient glory is as a withering flower, or human legislatures which God shall obliterate, to prepare the way of the rising empire of his to reach forth the guilt-polluted fingers of their power, to point out the course in which God requires his children to move.
Seeing, then, that we look for such things--seeing that we have received a kingdom which is not of this world, which cannot be moved--let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and Godly fear; for our God is a consuming fire.
The Preceding writings are from the November 1, 1845 edition of the publication "Signs of the Times" founded and published for over 45 years by Elder Gilbert Beebe.