The Kingdom of God (No. 3)
In the last article upon this subject we studied a prophecy made by Daniel in the second chapter and verse 44 of his book. We showed that it was fulfilled in the city of Jerusalem, upon the first Pentecost, after the resurrection of Christ, as recorded in the second chapter of Acts. It was then that the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles authorizing and enabling them to make known to men the terms of salvation and citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. It was upon that day that Almighty God, through His coronated Son, "set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed "--His church, against which "the gates of hades shall not prevail" (Matt. 16:18).
We now wish our readers to consider a prophecy found in Isaiah 2:24 which reads as follows: It shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of Jehovah's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and ail nations shall flow unto it. And many peoples shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem."
It will be noted that emphasis has been placed upon four portions of the foregoing quotation. They are:
1. "In the latter days."
2. "Jehovah's house shall be established."
3. "All nations shall flow unto it."
4. Then "shall go forth the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem."
These points will serve to guide us in our quest for the fulfillment of this prophecy. When we locate their fulfillment we have established the fulfillment of the entire passage. The task is not difficult. We immediately turn to the second chapter of Acts and consider the events of Pentecost.
As we study the record in Acts 2, we learn that following the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, the people charged them with drunkenness. Peter, rising to explain, said: "These are not drunken, as ye suppose, . . . . but this is that which hath been spoken through the prophet Joel: and it shall be in the last days saith God, I will pour forth of my spirit upon all flesh" (Acts 2:16, 17).
Let us notice: Joel declared that his prophecy was to be fulfilled "in the last days." Peter said that it was fulfilled upon the day of Pentecost. Therefore the events of Pentecost took place in the last days-the time which Isaiah said "the mountain of Jehovah's house" would be established.
What is Jehovah's house? Are there other Bible terms by which it may be identified? Let us see. The Apostle Paul in his first letter to Timothy wrote: "These things write I unto thee. . . . . that thou mayest know how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God" (I Tim. 3:15). Surely language could not be plainer than this.
But the term "church" is also used by Jesus synonymously with the term "kingdom," as shown in Matthew 16:18, 19. This being true, then the terms "house of God" and "kingdom of God" are also equal to each other. The following syllogism will set this fact forth in a most simple manner:
Major premise: The church is equal to the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 16:18, 19)
Minor premise: The church is equal to the house of God. (1 Tim. 3:15)
Conclusion: Therefore, the house of God is equal to the kingdom of Heaven.
It furthermore logically follows, that since the house of God and the kingdom of God are equivalent of each other, and the kingdom of God was established upon the day of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem, that therefore Jehovah's house was established, as predicted by Isaiah, at that place and at that time.
This is our next point for consideration. Just when did God open his house to all nations? Let us first state that this did not take place during the ministry of John the Baptist, Jesus, the twelve, nor the seventy. This is abundantly clear from the Gospel records. Jesus said concerning his ministry, "I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt, 15:24.) He charge(t the twelve, saying: "Go not into any way of the Gentiles, . . . but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 10:5). Thus Isaiah's prophecy could not be fulfilled during these ministries.
But, when we come to the great commission, which Jesus gave after his resurrection, the language is entirely different. Jesus now commands: "Go ye, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). Or, as recorded by Mark: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark. 16:15, 16). The same commission recorded by Luke reads: "Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all the nations" (Lk. 24:47).
As we look once more to Acts the 2nd chapter, we read: "Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. . . . . and sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes". Read Acts 2:5-11. It was to these that Peter proclaimed Christ, urging them to believe in him, repent and be baptized. (V. 38). It was from this group that "about three thousand souls" "received his word" and "were baptized." See Acts 2:41.
From this great beginning the Apostles set out upon the mission which carried the gospel to "the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). From then until now, all nations have been flowing into the house of God -- the church -- the kingdom.
We now come to the final point in this study. When did God's law or word issue from Zion or Jerusalem? Once more we note that neither John's preaching, nor the personal ministry of Jesus began in Jerusalem. John the Baptist began his ministry "in the wilderness of Judea" (Matt. 3:12). Jesus set out upon his ministry in Galilee (John 2:11). Therefore these do not fulfill the requirements of Isaiah's prophecy.
But let Lis come abruptly to the answer. Let us again read Luke's account of the charge Jesus delivered to his Apostles, after he arose from the dead: "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Ye are witnesses of these things. . . but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high" (Lk. 24:46-49).
Let us now make a few notations. (1) The preaching of the Apostles was to begin in Jerusalem; (2) They were not to begin until they had received power; (3) They were promised the power when the Holy Spirit came (Acts 1:8) ; and (4) The Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in Jerusalem, on the (lay of Pentecost. (Acts 2:14).
Thus we have established the events of Acts 2, as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 2:2.4.
Friend, be not deceived, the kingdom of God is here! It is the house of God, and the church of the Lord. King Jesus is reigning now, in all his glory. Multitudes are now living in humble subjection to him. Of course, there are none in his kingdom who have not chosen to be there. Its doors were opened and the terms of admission were made known in Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago. These terms may be learned in Acts 2:36-38. They remain unchanged. They present a challenge to all who will read and ponder them. What are you going to do about them?
Truth Magazine I:4, 14-15, 20