January 30, 1896
AT the present time a strong and persistent effort is being made in our country by numerous and powerful “reform” organizations, to secure from the various departments of government a recognition of Jesus Christ as king and ruler of nations. The following words voiced by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in National Convention in 1887, furnish good evidence upon this point:—
The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, local, State, national, and world-wide, has one vital, organic thought, one all-absorbing purpose, one undying enthusiasm; and that is that Christ shall be this world’s king;—yea, verily, this world’s king in its realm of cause and effect,—king of its courts, its camps, its commerce,—king of its colleges and cloisters,—king of its customs and constitutions…. The kingdom of Christ must enter the realm of law through the gateway of politics.
It need only be added that such powerful organizations as the Society of Christian Endeavor, the Epworth League, King’s Daughters, etc., are working as earnestly as the W.C.T.U. to bring the kingdom of Christ into the “realm of law through the gateway of politics,” or by the gateway of the ballot-box.
This being true, what can be more important than that those invested with civil authority should understand the method by which God himself designs to establish the kingdom of Christ in visible form upon this earth; lest without such a knowledge they be led into working at cross-purposes with the plans of Providence.
It is true, the National Reform Association and other religious organizations have undertaken to enlighten them upon this point; but one chief danger of the situation is that they will accept the dictum of these organizations without verifying their statements by an appeal to the highest source of information. Already our legislators have shown an alarming willingness to be guided by the traditional maxim that “the voice of the people is the voice of God,” and to seek no higher authority for enacting religious legislation.
But the Scriptures—not the people—voice the will of God. And that divine Word is not without its instruction to kings and rulers as well as to the common people, concerning the fulfillment of the divine purpose embodied in the kingdom of Christ. There is a valuable lesson of this kind in the second Psalm. That is a psalm of the kingship of Christ. As such it is worth the careful study of every person. It is our purpose to consider briefly its statements.
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
What are the “bands” and “cords” of the Lord and his Anointed? The question is answered in the eleventh chapter of Hosea. The Lord says: “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt… I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.” Verses 1-4.
As God drew his ancient people unto himself, so he would draw all men. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 505 And, referring to his sacrifice, Jesus said: “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” 506 Also he said: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” 507 All who do not resist this drawing will be drawn to God and be saved in his kingdom. Christ is the Anointed of God for this purpose. But not all men will be drawn to the Lord and his Anointed. There are many who say, “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
God draws no one who is unwilling to be drawn. His bands are not riveted upon any; his cords may be cast off by whomever chooses to do so. There is no compulsion in the gospel of Christ. The Saviour came not to force men to walk in any path, but to draw them into the way of righteousness by the cords of his love. In no other way can fallen men be brought again into harmony with God.
In this second Psalm, the kings and rulers of the earth are presented taking counsel together “against the Lord and against his Anointed.” Their intentions evidently go further than a mere rejection of the gospel by themselves as individuals. As kings and rulers, their sentiments naturally find expression in legislation. And as only the representatives of the Lord and his Anointed are visibly present on the earth, their purpose of throwing off the bands and cords of God must be directed against these representatives. Their aim is to put down those that are holding out to all men the cords of God’s love, as the best and only means of attaining to righteousness and salvation.
But what is the result of their counsel and their plans? We are told, “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” No effort against the purposes of God can prosper, even though it be backed by all the power and wisdom of the world. The Church of Christ will give her message, the gospel will do its work, regardless of man’s opposition. The project of earthly powers, devised by their wisdom, to stay the purposes of the Most High, is but folly, and a fit matter of derision to him; only it is a very serious matter for them. For “then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.”
We are told concerning the kingdom of Christ in the prophecy of Isaiah: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.” 508
The zeal of men is not the means of the establishment of Christ’s kingdom. The second Psalm presents the same thought: “Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said  unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” 509 “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and them that dwell therein;” and he will give it and the kingdoms thereof to his Anointed. This wonderful transaction is presented in the prophecy of Daniel. The prophet says: “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: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” 510
Many have been the attempts made by zealous but misguided men to put the kingdoms of this world, or a part of them, into the possession of Christ. All that human legislation and the force of arms could do, has been done to realize this long-cherished dream. But all such efforts were against that kingdom instead of for it. They were contrary to the divine purpose and plan of drawing men to God by the cords of love. They sought to force mankind into a condition of acceptance with God, and thus to usher in the happy era of Christ’s kingdom of righteousness and peace. And in doing this they ruthlessly put out of the way, so far as was in their power, all such as opposed their purpose with the preaching of the true gospel of self-denial and love to all men.
The Anointed of the Lord receives the kingdoms of this earth not to perpetuate them, but to destroy them. His kingdom cannot be visibly set up on the earth while these remain. They are ruled by those who will not yield allegiance to him. They are of the world, and his kingdom is not of this world. John 18:36. And at the final day, when Christ shall come in the clouds of heaven as King of kings and Lord of lords, they will be, as foreseen by the apostle John, arrayed against him, to resist him as an invader of their realms. Revelation 19:11-19. And then will be fulfilled the latter part of the Lord’s decree,—“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Thus will the kingdoms of this earth be transferred to the dominion of Christ, and thus will he do with them in the day when that transfer shall be accomplished.
“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.” Serve him not in hypocrisy, nor mock him with empty forms and profession. Give him not the kiss of insincerity, as did Judas, but the kiss of love. Cast not off the cords of love whereby he would draw you to himself. Trust not in your own power and “imagine a vain thing,” nor lead any to trust in the arm of flesh. The day is near when God alone shall be exalted among the heathen and in all the earth; and “blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”