FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER FOUR & FORTY– Part XVIII
The Four Divine Kingdoms
Breaking News: Dateline: Washington. Updated 8: 10 AM EST Jan. 17, 2017.
CNN Polling Director, Jennifer Agiesta reports:
“Donald Trump will become president Friday [today] with an approval rating of just 40%, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll, the lowest of any recent president and 44 points below that of President Barack Obama, the 44th president. Following the tumultuous transition period, approval ratings for Trump’s handling of the transition are more than 20 points below those for any of his three most recent predecessors. . . . Despite these declines, many Americans remain confident that Trump will achieve several signature campaign promises . . .”
On Jan. 18, Wednesday, updated 9: 24 AM EST, the same news source reported that:
“Obama Approval Hits 60% as End of Term Approaches. Pres. Barack Obama will leave office Friday(today) with his highest approval rating since 2009, his presidency largely viewed as a success, and a majority saying they will miss him when he is gone. . . Compared with other outgoing presidents, Obama lands near the top of the list, outranked only by Bill Clinton’s 60% in Jan. 2001 and Ronal Reagan’s 64% in Jan. 1989. About 2/3 (65%) say Obama’s presidency was a success, including about half (49%) who say that was due to Obama’s personal strengths rather than circumstances outside his control . . . “
What should be our attitude toward civil authorities? – See Romans 13: 1-7, N.K.J.V. Paul admonishes the church: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.” vs 1-3. See vs 4-7.
“It is a mistake to lay ourselves open to misunderstanding. It is not wise to find fault continually with what is done by the rulers of government. It is not our work to attack individuals or institutions. We should exercise great care lest we be understood as putting ourselves in opposition to the civil authorities. It is true that our warfare is aggressive, but our weapons are to be those found in a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ . . .
“We should not work in a manner that will mark us out as seeming to advocate treason. We should weed out from our writings and utterances every expression, that, taken by itself, could be misrepresented as to make it appear antagonistic to law and order. Everything should be carefully considered, lest we place ourselves on record as encouraging disloyalty to our country and its laws. We are not required to defy authorities. There will come a time when, because of our advocacy of Bible truth, we shall be treated as traitors; but let not this time be hastened by unadvised movements that stir up animosity and strife . . . The less we make direct charges against authorities and powers, the greater work we shall be able to accomplish, both in America and in foreign countries.” – E. G. White, Counsels to Writers & Editors, pp. 68, 69.
The kingdom of Christ. – “The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand were crying abuses,–extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Savior attempted no civil reforms. He attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or the administration of those in power. He who was our example kept aloof of earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of men,, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient , the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart.
“Not by decisions of courts or councils or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit. [John 1: 12, 13 quoted]. Here is the only power that can work the uplifting of mankind. And the human agency for the accomplishment of this work is the teaching and practicing of the word of God. .
“Now, as in Christ’s day, the work of God’s kingdom lies not with those who are clamoring for recognition or support by earthly rulers and human laws, but with those who are declaring to the people in His name those spiritual truths that will work in the receivers the experience of Paul [[Gal. 2: 20 quoted]. Then they will labor as did Paul for the benefit of men. He said [2 Cor. 5: 20 quoted].”- Ibid, Desire of Ages, pp. 509, 510.
Only in the light of Bible prophecy should we pay attention to any and all “breaking news of the day,” especially now that the term, “fake news” became more prominent in the media vocabulary. But we know that disinformation, misinformation, deception, prevarication, and subterfuge is the stock and trade of Satan, “the father of lies and murderer from the beginning” and his agencies on earth, both religious and secular.
Thank God for giving us the Bible to be our counselor and guide—not fallible, changeable men and institutions. The psalmist says: “Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” Ps. 73: 34.
“The Christian evidence that we need, is not found in the experience of men, but in our Bibles. The Word of God is the man of our counsel; for it bring us down from age to age, bearing its testimony to theunchangeableness of the truth. Not one of the ancient defenses of the word of God, appropriate for special times, has become worn out. No part of the Bible has died because of old age. All the past history of the people of God is to be studied by us today, that we may benefit by the experiences recorded.
“Men break their word, and prove themselves untrustworthy, but God changes not. His word will abide the same forever. . . .
“We all need a guide through the many strait places of life, as much as the sailor needs a pilot over the sandy bar or up the rocky river . . . . The sailor who has in his possession chart and compass [predecessors of the highly sophisticated global navigation systems ushered in by the digital age] and you neglect to use them, is responsible for placing the lives of those on board his vessel in peril. The vessel may be lost by his neglect. [the incoming new administration should seriously consider this responsibility and accountability to God!]. We have a Guidebook, the Word of God, and we are inexcusable if we miss the way to heaven, for plain directions have been given us. The Bible presents a perfect standard of character; it is an infallible guide under all circumstances, even to the end of the journey of life.” – Ibid, My Life Today, p. 25.
“Never should the Bible be opened without prayer. The Holy Spirit alone can cause us to feel the importance of things easy to be understood, or prevent us from wresting truths difficult of comprehension. It is the office of heavenly angels to prepare the heart to so comprehend God’s word that we shall be charmed with its beauty, admonished by its warnings, or animated and strengthened by its promises. We should make the psalmist’s petition our own: ‘Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out Thy law.’ Ps. 119: 18, K.J.V. Temptations often appear irresistible because through neglect of prayer and the study of the Bible the tempted one cannot readily remember God’s promises and meet Satan with Scripture weapons. But angels are round about those [Ps. 34: 7] who are willing to be taught in divine things, and in the time of great necessity, they will bring to their remembrance the very truths which are needed. Thus, when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him. [Isa. 50: 19].” – Ibid, Vol. 4 Spirit of Prophecy (1884 ed) p. 418.
“The Bible is the textbook, and is to be searched diligently—not as we would read a book among many books. It must be to us that book that meets the wants of the soul. The book that will make the man who studies and obeys it wise unto salvation (2 Tim. 3: 15). As food cannot nourish the body unless it is eaten and digested, neither can the Word of the living God profit the soul unless it is received as the teacher in higher educational lines, as above all human productions, unless its principles be obeyed because it is the wisdom of God.”- Ibid, This Day with God, p. 127.
I often encountered passages referring to “the kingdom of God,” “the kingdom of heaven,” the “kingdom of grace, and the “kingdom of glory” but couldn’t tell the difference between one from the other. Or that it even mattered then, until lately. It was while reviewing one of my favorite books for the umpteenth time—The Great Controversy by Ellen G. Whites—that I was moved to take a closer look at certain passages, again. Here they are from Great Controversy, 19 11 ed., pp. 346-8:
“The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand.” What time? What kingdom?
“The announcement had been made by the disciples in the name of the Lord was in every particular correct, and the events to which it pointed were even then taking place. ‘The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand,’ had been their message. At the expiration of the time [prophecy]—the sixty-nine weeks of Daniel 9, which were to extend to the Messiah, ‘the Anointed One’—Christ had received the anointing of the Spirit, after His baptism by John in Jordan.
“And the ‘kingdom of God’ which they had declared to be at hand, was established by the death of Christ. The kingdom was not, as they had been taught to believe [by the religious leaders of Christ’s day, not Christ],an earthly empire. Nor was it that future, immortal kingdom which shall be set up when ‘the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;’ that everlasting kingdom, in which ‘all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’ Daniel 1: 27. K.J.V.
“As used in the Bible, the expression ‘kingdom of God’ is employed to designate both the kingdom of graceand the kingdom of glory. [Just remember the three Gs”- God, grace, glory].
The kingdom of grace . – “The kingdom of grace is brought to view by Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews. After pointing to Christ, the compassionate Intercessor [not Mary or any of the dead saints who have been canonized by past popes who are also dead now] ‘who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities,’ the apostle says, ‘Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace.’ Hebrews 4: 16. The throne of grace represents the kingdom of grace; for the existence of a throne implies the existence of a kingdom.
The kingdom of heaven. – “In many of His parables, Christ uses the expression, ‘the kingdom of heaven,’ to designate the work of divine grace upon the hearts of men.
The kingdom of glory. – “So the throne of glory represents the kingdom of glory; and this kingdom is referred to in the Savior’s words, ‘When the Son of man shall come in all His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon His throne of glory; and before shall be gathered all nations.’ Matt. 25: 31, 32. This kingdom is yet future. It is not to be set up until the second advent of Christ.
When was the kingdom of grace instituted? – “The kingdom of grace was instituted immediately after the fall of man [not at Calvary 4,000 years after the fall!] when a plan was devised for the redemption of the guilty race. It then existed in the purpose and by the promise of God; and through faith, men [starting with the fallen Adam and Eve] could become its subjects. Yet it was not actually established until the death of Christ. Even after entering upon His earthly mission, the Savior, wearied with the stubbornness and ingratitude of men, might have drawn back from the sacrifice of Calvary. In Gethsemane the cup of woe trembled in His hand. He might even then have wiped the blood-sweat from His brow, and have left the guilty race to perish in their iniquity. Had He done this, there could have been no redemption for fallen men.
“It is Finished.” What was finished? – “But when the Savior yielded up His life, and with His expiring breath cried out, ‘It is finished’ [John 19: 30], then the fulfillment of the plan of redemption was assured. Thepromise of salvation made to the sinful pair in Eden was ratified [by His shed blood]. The kingdom of grace, which had before existed by the promise of God, was then established.”
(Continued next week)