"A Kingdom Which Cannot Be Moved"
Hebrews 12:21 will serve to introduce us to this study, "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." This kingdom is God's provision for man to escape the miseries of sin. In this study it is our purpose to consider the purpose in the mind of God, prophecy, and the promise of God and Christ concerning this kingdom.
This purpose and plan of God is spoken of by Paul in Ephesians 3:8-11, "Unto me, whom am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." The church was in God's purpose from the beginning of the world, but this church is the kingdom which cannot be shaken. We notice that Jesus told Peter "Upon this rock (See verse 16 for the meaning of the rock) I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall itot prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 16:18,19). Another thing which shows this to be true is that in Mark 9:1, Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, that there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power" and in Acts 1:8, Jesus told the apostles that the power would come when the Holy Spirit came upon them. The Spirit came upon them upon the day of Pentecost after Jesus had ascended to the Father. (Acts 2:1-4). Upon this same day, for the first time, men were added by the Lord to the church. This shows that.the kingdom is called the church, and the church was in the eternal purpose of God, but notice in Eph. 3:11 that the purpose was purposed in Christ Jesus, hence it is impossible to separate the plan of God concerning the kingdom, and the plan of God concerning its king, or head.
To the serpent, who had deceived Eve in the garden of Eden, God said, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Gen. 3:15). For the identity of this seed of the woman as Christ see Gal. 4:4.
To Abraham God promised, among other things, "in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:3), and more definitely in Gen. 22:18, "in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." For the identity of this seed as Jesus Christ see Gal. 3:16.
Let us notice one other promise of God as recorded by Jeremiah, "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth." (23:5). For the identity of this seed of David as king as Jesus the Christ see Acts 2:29-36.
The seed of Abraham and David did come, born of a woman, of Mary, as we see in Matthew 1. This one made promise, as we have noted, "I will build my church." (Matt. 16:18). The church or kingdom could not be built until its head or king, came and was exalted, having ascended to His throne.
Now let us consider a few of the prophecies relating to the kingdom. In Isaiah 2:2,3 we read, "And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the lord, to the house of the God cf 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 the Lord from Jerusalem." For the identity of "last days" as beginning on Pentecost after Jesus' resurrection see Acts 2:14-17. For identity of "the Lord's house" and "house of the God of Jacob" as "the church of the living God" see I Tim. 3:1.5. Note that the gospel went forth from Jerusalem, and thus was the house or church or kingdom developed from the seed, the word of God or gospel (Lk. 8:11) beginning with the Pentecost following Jesus' resurrection. See Lk. 24:47-49; Acts 1:4-8; Acts 2: 1-4.
Daniel makes definite reference to the kingdom which cannot be shaken in his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the great image with the head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron and feet of iron and clay, smitten on the feet by a stone cut without hands. The metals represented kingdoms beginning with Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian kingdom, followed by the Medo-Persian, the Grecian or Macedonian, and finally the Roman. In the days of the Roman kings represented by the legs of iron and feet of iron and clay, Daniel said, "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." (Dan. 2:31-44). That Jesus was born in the days of the Roman kings is evident from Luke the second chapter and throughout the New Testament. The Romans were still ruling when the Lord was exalted by the Father and made to sit on His right hand far above all principalities, power, might and dominion, and every name that is named and gave him to be head over all things to the church. (Eph. 1:20-23; Acts 2:36).
Zechariah prophesied, "Behold the man whose name is the Branch: (Cf. Jer. 23:5) And he shall grow up out of his place and he shall build the temple of the Lord; Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne: and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." (Zech. 6:12,13). For identity of the temple of God as the church notice that Paul wrote the church of God which was in Corinth saying, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God." (I Cor. 3:16). For identity of Jesus as the king and priest see Acts 2:30, Heb. 9:11; 7:17, 25-28. In connection with what has already been pointed out we have noticed that Christ could not build his kingdom (church, temple) until exalted. After his exaltation, He did build His church, the kingdom which shall never be destroyed, which cannot be moved, against which the gates of hell (hades) has not prevailed nor shall not prevail; and the building took place upon the Pentecost following the resurrection.
It has already been pointed out in this lesson that Jesus prophesied that some to whom he spoke should not taste of death until the kingdom came with power (Mk. 9:1), that that power was to come with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) and that the Spirit came upon the Pentecost following Christ's resurrection (Acts 2:1-4). Thus the kingdom of God, the church was established upon that day.
It one is a member of some organization established at another time, that organization cannot be the church of which we read in Scripture. Please read other lessons in this issue that you may understand thoroughly just what the kingdom or church is. If you are to be a part of the unshakable kingdom, then we cannot be shaken but remember two things: (1) Every plant (house or kingdom) not planted (or built) by God shall be rooted up (Matt. 15:13), and all those in these plants shall be rooted up with them. All denominations, human made and governed churches, are of this kind. (2) Those who do enter the kingdom must remain faithful until death (Rev. 2:10; Matt. 24:13) or be gathered out of the kingdom (Matt. 13:41), and thus suffer eternal punishment. God be thanked, for the kingdom which cannot be shaken, and opportunity to serve him therein.
Truth Magazine I:12, pp. 12-13, 26-27