Perhaps the most controversial of all of the Shepherd’s Rod teachings is the subject of the pre-millennial kingdom. The message emphatically declares that the kingdom of God’s glory or the Davidic Kingdom, will be established literally in the promised land before the second return of Christ our Lord. The idea can certainly be viewed as a radical departure from the norm, but it is as solid as the Bible itself, and if you give it an unbiased and fair hearing, you will see that for yourself.
It needs to be said, however, that this teaching is not the same as those of other churches who teach that the millennium will be here on earth. Or like those who claim that the saints will not go to heaven at all. In short, there are huge fundamental differences. There is a wide gulf fixed between the Rod’ teaching on the subject and that of other churches. Before we look at the biblical evidence, however, it may be good to summarize the Rod’s position on this very controversial subject.
- The kingdom of God’s glory will be established before the final close of probation, but will culminate or reach its climax at the final close of probation and the return of Jesus to the earth visibly, at which time all the righteous dead will be resurrected and unite in the air with the living righteous, then continue on through the millennium in heaven and afterward the new earth.
- It will be established in the promised land, or what is termed Canaan, Palestine, or the Holy Land.
- The 144,000 and the Great Multitude (Revelation 7:9)–those called out of Babylon during the loud cry, will be there along with those of the special resurrection of Daniel 12:2, 3, and the whole house of Israel resurrection in Ezekiel 37: 1 -14.
- The kingdom will have perfect peace and security with an Eden-like state.
- The whole world, or the majority of it, will not be converted as some churches teach.
- Those in this pre-millennial phase of the kingdom will not be immortal. Immortality will be conferred at the second coming of Christ not before.
The Denomination’s Position
The church’s stand is almost exclusively based upon a number of statements drawn from the Spirit of Prophecy, which on the surface appear contradictory to the Rod’s position.
“Not until the personal advent of Christ can His people receive the kingdom. . . .”
“So the throne of glory represents the kingdom of glory. . . This kingdom is yet future. It is not to be set up until the second advent of Christ.”
“Not now “upon the throne of His glory;” the kingdom of glory has not yet been ushered in. Not until His work as a mediator shall be ended will God “give unto Him the throne of His father David,” a kingdom of which “there shall be no end. . . .”
“I also saw that Old Jerusalem never would be built up; and that Satan was doing his utmost to lead the minds of the children of the Lord into these things now. . .”
The Rod’s Evidence For A Pre-Millennial Kingdom
As stated previously, the church’s position is primarily based upon statements such as the ones above. The Rod on the other hand, draws its conclusions from both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. It does not neglect one while ignoring or explaining away the others.
We are certain that you are waiting for a response to these statements. A clear-cut reply is forthcoming. Our first step right now, however, is to study the subject from the Bible. Or as Victor Houteff himself put it:
We, “must keep in mind that we are not given license to harmonize the Bible with any other writings, but are charged to measure all others by It.
“First of all, in order to do justice to the Scriptures, to Sister White’s writings, and to the Rod, the position of each on the subject must be viewed in the light of the Scriptures, which incontrovertibly teach that the Promised Land will be re-inhabited by the Lord’s own converted people.”
As with the other sections, time or space will not permit a detailed study of every aspect of the topic. Our object here is to present sufficient evidence to the candid mind, showing that the Rod has the “weight of evidence” and incontrovertible truth.
The Stone of Daniel Two
Again, time will not allow for a detailed study of the image of Daniel chapter two either. Most are generally aware of the subject, and although there are some differences between the traditional teaching and the Rod’s, we can still acquire a snap-shot view of the topic. We’ll do our best to relay what we can in the limited space and time we have available.
The head of gold we know represented Babylon, the arms and chest Medio-Persia, the belly and thighs Greece, the legs Rome, and the ten toes our present world. Ellen White verifies this: “Our position in the image of Nebuchadnezzar is represented by the toes . . .” Speaking of the toes, Daniel said:
And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings [the ten toes-our present world] 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.” Daniel 2:43, 44.
There are several things we need to note about this text. First of all we notice that the kingdom is established “in the days of these kings,” not before their days (the time of Rome–the legs), not after their days (during the millennium or the new earth), but in or during the time of the ten toes (our present world). It did not say, at the end of their days, which could be interpreted to mean the second coming. Please note this carefully. The Bible says, “in” or while these kings are ruling—in power. When Christ comes, these kings are not ruling. By then, probation would have closed, the lost would have suffered the seven last plagues and therefore already fallen! In fact, by the time the plagues begin to fall, Jesus will already be“King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:11 -16). Thus when Christ comes, it will be at the end of their days not in their days! So God’s kingdom will begin during our present world—not in heaven or the new earth!
James White, Ellen White’s husband, makes an interesting comment about this passage. He wrote:
“The kingdom, in its stone condition, is contemporary for a while with the perishable kingdoms of this world.”
For the benefit of those who may not be familiar with the Rod’s position on the subject, here is another important point. As Adventists, we were all taught that the stone represents Christ at His second coming. But this could not be so. To prove this in full would take some time. (Please order the CD and DVD study for details). However, we can study it in brief.
The stone came from “the mountain.”(Daniel 2:45). A mountain in the Scriptures represent nations, kingdoms, churches—people. (See Daniel 9:16, 20, Zechariah 8:3, and Isaiah 2:2,3). The mountain here cannot be literal because the stone and the image are symbolic, so the mountain from which the stone came must also be symbolic. It could not be heaven or God’s throne because the events portrayed are earthly. Then, if the stone is Christ’s second return as normally taught, then ask yourself, would Christ leave His Father (the mountain) and establish a greater throne (the “great mountain”of verse 35)? Remember that after being cut out of the mountain, the stone itself grew and became a “great mountain” (verse 35)—greater than the first mountain which was never mentioned again. Then note too, the stone grew and filled the “earth” not heaven! But at Christ second coming he will take the saints to glory and fill heaven not the earth!
In other words, Daniel is not telling us about Christ coming to take His saints home to heaven but of the establishment of His kingdom of glory on earth! Yes, it will continue into heaven and on to the new earth, but it begins “in the days of these kings—during our present world—in the latter days. Thus the growing of the stone is the growth of His kingdom, which is made up of his people on earth. It reveals that people will join the kingdom which can only take place during probationary time.
Struggling? We struggled with it too, when we first learned it. This next point may help clear more of the cobwebs.
You remember that the kingdom and the stone are the same because they both do the same thing. That is, they both destroy the image. (Daniel 2:34 -35, 44). The point is this: The stone became a kingdom before it smote the image, not afterwards. Yes, that’s right! Let us go back to Daniel 2:44 and analyze it more carefully.
And in the days of these kings [the ten toes–our present world] 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 [the kingdom] shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it [the kingdom] shall stand forever.
Please notice that the stone was a kingdom before it smote the other kingdoms. So it was (or will be) a kingdom before it broke the other kingdoms! It did not smite the image then become a kingdom. It smote the image as a kingdom, then grew into a great mountain on earth not heaven. And all of this was to happen “in the days of these kings”—during our present world, not in heaven or the new earth which is after the days of these kings! Definitely, Daniel 2:44 could not be the second coming. Thus, God’s kingdom of glory must begin in the latter days.
In the Latter Days and In the Promised Land
There are numerous biblical references to the kingdom of glory being established in Canaan in the latter days. We will just give enough to make the point. Take for example, Jeremiah 30:3, 24:
“For lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers and they shall possess it. . . .The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.”
“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. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. But, the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of Israel out of the north country, and from all the countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land. . . .The anger of the Lord shall not return, until He have executed, and till He have performed the thoughts of His heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.” Jeremiah 23:5 -8, 20
These passages, as with many others, clearly state that in the latter days God’s people will return to the promised land—the land God “gave to their fathers.” Now the servant of the Lord told us to, take the Bible as it reads except where figures or symbols are employed.
There are two main objections raised against the Rod’s interpretation of these passages. The first is that this prophecy was fulfilled in Jeremiah’s day. This thought is raised because Jeremiah predicted that after the seventy years of Babylonian captivity, the people of God would return to Canaan. (Jeremiah 25:12). But this could not be so. Notice that Jeremiah 30:24 and 23:20, says, the “latter days,” which is our time. Furthermore, notice that the prophecy mentions both houses—Israel (ten tribes) and Judah (two tribes) are to be gathered. In Jeremiah’s day, only Judah returned. The ten tribes or house of Israel had been scattered over a hundred years prior to the Jeremiah’s prophecy. So the prophecy has never up to this day been fulfilled, and, it must be fulfilled or God does not mean what he says. This brings us to the next objection.
Adventist theologians typically teach that these and the hundreds of other prophecies like it, will not be fulfilled as described because they were conditional on Israel’s obedience. In other words, the prophecies will not take place precisely as described, but will happen in a non-specific, general way at the second coming and in the new earth.
But here again, this cannot be. Why would God waste hundreds of passages and hours telling us that they will happen, only for us to discover later on that they will not? Didn’t God know that Israel and Judah were going to fail Him and reject His Son? You see, that is precisely why He scattered them, but now He will bring them back again, not as unbelievers but as Seventh-day Adventists Christians and the millions of others who will embrace His Word. (We will explore this point further later on).
The truth is that there are no conditions in these passages! There are no “if’s”, “but’s” or “maybe’s—none! A conditional text must contain a condition–“I will do if you will do.” Read it brethren, there are no conditions–none!
Now God did give ancient Israel conditional promises. In Deuteronomy 28, for example, God told Israel that “it shall come to pass, “IF” thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord” He would bless them, but “IF” they did not, He would curse them. These were conditional promises to them! So it is true that these promises were conditional to ancient Israel and Judah If they had obeyed they would have received the promises in Jeremiah and all the other promises. But in Jeremiah and all other similar prophecies referring to the latter days, He is speaking specifically to us in these end times and there are no conditions mentioned. In other words, God will have a people who will be there. Please note this carefully. In fact, God is saying that He will gather His people from all countries because He was the One who scattered them. He did it because of their wickedness and their rejection of His Son. But now He’s saying that He will bring them back. So there are no conditions in these passages. These prophecies have nothing to do with ancient Israel and Judah and their behavior. The only condition that exists is to us individually. That is, we as individuals may not be in this kingdom, but there will certainly be one; somebody is going to be there because God said it would be so.
For additional references see Jeremiah 31: 6 -14; Hosea 3:4,5, Ezekiel 34, 36:17 -35. They all declare in one way or another, that God will bring His people back to the Promised Land in the last days.
These Promises are Specifically for Seventh-day Adventists in the Last Days
“Of Special value to God’s church on earth today—the keepers of His vineyard. . . the story of Israel’s call, of their successes and failures, of their restoration to divine favor, of their rejection of the Master of the vineyard, and of the carrying out of the plan of the ages by a goodly remnant to whom are to be fulfilled all the covenant promises . . .
“In the last days of this earth’s history, God’s covenant with His commandment-keeping people is to be renewed. . .
“That which God purposed to do for the world through Israel, the chosen nation, He will finally accomplish through His church on earth today. . . .Never has the Lord been without true representatives on this earth who have made His interests their own. These witnesses for God are numbered among the spiritual Israel, and to them will be fulfilled all the covenant promises made by Jehovah to His ancient people. Today the church of God is free to carry forward to completion the divine plan for the salvation of the lost race.”
These God-breathed commentaries, show that what God intended to accomplish through ancient Israel will be completed with Seventh-day Adventists today. What were the covenant promises made by God to His ancient people?
“He hath remembered His covenant for ever, the word which commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: saying, unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance. Psalms 105:8 -11.
Isaiah chapter eleven has a clear reference to the pre-millennial kingdom. Before studying it, we ask the reader to take their Bibles and read Isaiah 11:6- 12. There you will find a description of what we would assume is the new earth. This popular passage describes the peaceful conditions that will prevail in God’s kingdom. Predatory animals such as the lion, bear, and leopard, will dwell with their prey rather than eating them, and little children are playing with venomous snakes.
Although this text appears to be describing the new earth, it is in fact describing the conditions of the pre-millennial phase of the kingdom. At first thought you may be shocked, but please keep an open mind and remember that Inspiration told us that we have, “many, many lessons to unlearn.”
There are three main reasons why Isaiah 11 could not be a prophecy of the new earth. The first is that verse 11 describes gentiles, and there will be no gentiles either literally or spiritually in heaven or the new earth. No one in heaven or the new earth will be termed or called a gentile. All non-Jews (physically) will be adopted into one of the tribes. (See Romans 11:15 - 24). Notice, too that there are no gentile gates in the Holy City because they will all have the names of the twelve tribes. (Revelation 21:12).
The second is that there will be no such gathering of gentiles and peoples from all over the world as described in verses 10 -12. The Bible mentions: Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar and the islands of sea. To repeat, there will be no such gathering of people from these or any other country in heaven or the new earth.
The third reason is, Isaiah mentions a “little child” (verse 6), a “sucking child” or infant (verse 8), and a “weaned child” (verse 8). This shows three levels of children. But in the new earth there will, and cannot be children. To make this point a clear as possible, we need to quote from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.
“And Jesus answering said unto them, the children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage. Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of the resurrection.” Luke 20:34 -36.
“There are men today who express their belief that there will be marriages and births in the new earth; but those who believe the Scriptures cannot accept such doctrines. The doctrine that children will be born in the new earth is not a part of the “sure word of prophecy” . . . . Neither those who shall be raised from the dead, nor those who shall be translated without seeing death, will marry or be given in marriage. They will be as the angels of God, members of the royal family.”
From the above Inspired statements, we can see that there will be no marriages and hence no births from the return of Christ onward. So there cannot be little children in the new earth because by the time the Holy City comes down (Revelation 21) to earth after the millennium (1,000 years), everyone would have grown up to their full stature, and since there will be no births, how can we have a sucking child, a weaned child, and a little child as specified by Isaiah?
If you are thinking that children will remain as children in heaven throughout the millennium, consider that everyone will grow up to their full stature. (Malachi 4:2). Ellen White verifies this: “All blemishes and deformities are left in the grave. Restored to the tree of life in the long-lost Eden, the redeemed will “grow up” (Malachi 4:2) to the full stature of the race in its primeval glory.”
Thus there will be no children in the new earth. Yet, Isaiah clearly states that there will be little children! The only explanation for all these concerns, is that Isaiah eleven is not describing the new earth, but conditions before the close of probation and the second coming, in a time when you can have little children (verses 6,8), gentiles seeking the truth and God’s people (verse 10), and when a great multitude from all nations will be gathered (verses11, 12). That is the only thing that fits!
Couldn’t this be in heaven? you may ask. It is true that little children will be in heaven for the very early period of the millennium, but as said earlier, they will grow up. But, you certainly cannot have gentiles or people being gathered from the nations in heaven! So, heaven doesn’t fit either.
Now, if someone will say that this is conditional, then we ask them to show the condition! Where is the “if . . . but. . .” or “maybe.” Take for example, Isaiah 65: 17 -19, 25 which unquestionably speaks of the new earth. Notice that this prophecy does not speak of children, gentiles or a massive gathering from the nations. It does speak of the wolf dwelling with the lamb and so on. Notice, too, that this prophecy was spoken to ancient Israel similar to chapter eleven. Yet we don’t say that Isaiah 65 was conditional! Then why do we believe that Isaiah 11 is? So, to say it again, Isaiah 11 must be fulfilled before our Lord’s second coming. Therefore, the kingdom will be established before His return and continue on through the millennium and eternity.
Did Not Sister White See Children in the New Earth?
For those who are thinking of a statement in Early Writings, p. 19 or Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 69, where Sister White mentioned “little ones”—assumed to be children in the new earth—the reader will notice carefully that this has to be in heaven during the millennium, not the new earth. We know this because she also mentions a temple. “And I saw the little ones climb,” Ellen White wrote, “or, if they chose, use their little wings and fly . . . There were all kinds of tree around the temple to beautify the place . . .”
The Bible tells us that there will be no temple in the new earth (Revelation 21:22). So although the publishers of the vision subtitled it, “Visions of the New Earth,” and it may appear like it, not all of it is the new earth.
Will There Be Old Men in New Jerusalem?
“Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; there shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.” Zechariah 8:4,5
This text is generally understood to be the time of the New Jerusalem. But note that Zechariah mentioned old men and old women. Surely we do not believe that there will be people in the new earth who will have to use a cane! Then verse 5 mentioned little children, which as we have just seen, can not be in the new earth either. So Zechariah’s prophecy must take place in a time when you can have little children and old men and women using a staff! When is such a time? Before the second coming.
Is Zechariah eight conditional? If it is, where are the conditions? There are no “if’s.” In fact, He is emphatic. “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If it be marvelous [hard or difficult–see margin] in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvelous [hard or difficult] in mine eyes? Saith the Lord of hosts.” In other words, it may seem hard or difficult to us for this to happen, but should we expect it to difficult to God? Of course, God can do anything, including establishing the Davidic kingdom.
A New Division of the Land
The prophet [ in Ezekiel 48] presents a division of the land entirely different from that in Joshua’s time (Joshua 17): It is to be in strips from the east to the west; Dan is to have the first portion in the north, and Gad, the last portion in the south; between the borders of these two are to be the portions of the rest of the tribes; the city is to be in the midst of the land (Ezekiel 48).
The fact that such a division of the Promised Land has never been made, shows that it is yet future. Also the fact that the sanctuary is to be there, whereas it is not to be in the earth made new (Revelation 21:22), again proves that this unique set-up is pre-millennial.
Here again, there are no conditions. So either God meant what He said, or He wasted a lot of time telling us about things that will never take place.
Explaining Sister Whites’ Statements
Now we can look at the statements quoted earlier that appear contradictory to the Rod’s position. But we ask the reader to refresh their memory with Section 3. Basically, what we are to keep in mind is that no prophet understands everything from its beginning to end, so when additional truth comes, although it does not contradict the former, the former messenger will not express certain truths in the explicit terms of the latter messenger. In this way they appear to contradict one another. Cases in point would be Moses and Paul, and John the Baptist and Christ. So although the former messenger and the latter one may express some points differently, they fundamentally harmonize.
Keep in mind, too, that one cannot overthrow the “weight of evidence” from the Scriptures.
Now The Great Controversy, p. 322: “Not until the personal advent of Christ can His people receive the kingdom.
There is no contradiction here. If one reads the context of this statement, the reader can see that Ellen White was speaking about the kingdom in its final phase, when Jesus returns and the saints will put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15: 51 -53). She wrote this in the same paragraph: “Man in his present state is mortal, corruptible; but the kingdom of God will be incorruptible . . .” Remember that the Rod’s message does not teach that we will be immortal before Christ comes. Immortality will begin at His coming. So while Sister White is speaking about the kingdom complete, the Rod is speaking about the kingdom in its initial, mortal stage. Why didn’t Ellen White word it the same way as the Rod? She could not and did not have the full light on the pre-millennial kingdom. But, this does not mean that the Rod contradicts her, it is just not stated as explicitly or with the same clarity. It could be compared to John the Baptist and Christ. John thought the kingdom would be established literally at the time of Christ’s first advent, but the Savior instead spoke of the spiritual kingdom.
Now, Ellen White did have glimpses of the pre-millennial kingdom. She wrote this in Thoughts on the Mount of Blessing:
“The kingdom of God’s grace is now being established, as day by day hearts that have been full of sin and rebellion yield to the sovereignty of His love. But the full establishment of the kingdom of His glory will not take place until the second coming of Christ to this world.”
Did you notice the point? The full establishment of His kingdom will take place at the second coming, but this implies that it will start partially before His coming! The kingdom will begin before—while the saints are still mortal–but climaxes at the second coming when the saints become immortal. So, again, there is no contradiction.
James White statement fits in perfectly with Sis. White’s: “The kingdom, in its stone condition, is contemporary for a while with the perishable kingdoms of this world.”
The Great Controversy, pp. 347, 416: This kingdom is yet future. It is not to be set up until the second advent of Christ . . .The kingdom of glory has not yet been ushered in . . .not until His work as a mediator shall be ended will God give unto Him the throne of His father David . . .
The answer to these two references are the same as that of The Great Controversy, p.322. Sister White is speaking of the kingdom in its complete or near complete phase. Again, remember that the kingdom reaches its fullness at the second coming when all the righteous dead unite with the righteous living. From the final close of probation, Christ becomes “King of kings and Lord of Lords,”(Revelation 19:16) when the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15). Notice that The Great Controversy p. 347 states that the kingdom is set up at the second advent, while on page 416, it states that not until His work as a mediator shall be ended will He receive the kingdom or “throne of His father David.” In other words, one states that it takes place at the second coming, while the other says at the close of probation when Christ’s mediatorial work has ended. This in itself proves that the kingdom is progressive as we have seen. That is, it crescendos. It grows and reaches its peak at the second return. Therefore, the Rod does not contradict the statements by Ellen White. Her statements do not, in other words, negate the biblical evidence that the kingdom will start earlier in its infancy.
Will Old Jerusalem Be Rebuilt
“I also saw that Old Jerusalem never would be built up. . .” This statement taken from Early Writings, p. 75. The reader must carefully consider what she meant. Did she mean that Jerusalem could never be physically rebuilt, or that God can never again establish a kingdom in Palestine? If that is the case, Sister White would be in gross violation of one of the primary tests of a true prophet: that what they predict must come to pass. If this was true it would have made her a false prophet. Why? Because Jerusalem is built up today! You see, when Mrs. White made this statement in 1850, Jerusalem was not yet rebuilt to the extent that we see it today—a thriving, bustling city. This process began in 1948 when the State of Israel was officially formed and recognized as a nation. Well over a hundred years after her statement, in 1967, Israel captured Jerusalem and made it what it is today. Clearly, we have misunderstood what she meant. To find out, we need to understand the context of this passage.
In the 1850's, a large body of Christians held the view that they had to convert the Jewish people to Christianity because they believed that the Jews were to receive the promised blessings of the Old Testament and God would use them to finish the gospel to the rest of the gentiles—the world. To these Christians, in order to initiate the fulfillment of the Scriptures, it was imperative that they go and convert the Jews to Christ. In fact, this idea is still popular today. Now, if the reader would read the context of this statement, he would see that God’s servant was condemning the idea of Seventh-day Adventists who held this popular belief, that it was their “duty to go to Old Jerusalem, and think they have a work to do there before the Lord comes. . . I saw” says, Mrs. White, “that such a mission would accomplish no real good, that it would take a long while to make a very few of the Jews believe even in the first advent of Christ, much more to believe in His second advent”
Please note that the Rod’s message does not teach this idea at all. It is not endeavoring to convert the identifiable Jewish people to Christ in hopes that they will then go and finish the gospel. Instead it shows from the Scriptures that God Himself will establish this kingdom with His church today.
“The context of the Early Writings’ statement,” wrote Brother Houteff, “reveals that it refers to the Jewish Zionist Movement, and it shows that the Movement’s avowed purpose to re-establish a national Jewish Homeland, centered in Jerusalem proper, will never be realized; that never will Old Jerusalem be rebuilt in accordance with the Zionist interpretation, and never will the non-Christian Jews be the subjects of the Kingdom.” In another place he said: “Ironically, futile, therefore (in view of what we have seen in these pages), is the ever-strengthening aim to rebuild Jerusalem, as one movement is endeavoring to do in response to the prophecies of the kingdom, by taking there the non-Christian Jews; and as another movement is endeavoring to do in response to the same prophecies, by taking there the English-speaking world.”
Then speaking about the new division of the kingdom in Ezekiel 48, he made this important comment:
“Moreover, the twofold fact that the name of the city is “The Lord is There,” and that its location, according to the division of the land, necessarily must be different from that of old Jerusalem, shows that Jerusalem proper is not that city.”
Why Would God Want to Begin His Kingdom Here On Earth?
To many, they wonder why God would establish a physical kingdom here in this sinful world. What would be the point of having such a kingdom now? they ask. The answer to this question comes from God Himself. He wants the unconverted to see it for themselves. He wants to demonstrate His love, Justice, and power to save to the uttermost in His people; in mortal flesh, and in a sin-cursed world.
In Ezekiel 36: 17- 38, God tells how that He scattered ancient Israel for their wickedness. But after intermingling with the unconverted or “heathen,” they “profaned” His holy name. Then Ezekiel describes how the Lord will vindicate His name by bringing His people back to the land of their fathers (Canaan) and reestablish the kingdom of glory. In verses 21 -23, however, God tells us plainly why:
“But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. Therefore, say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God: I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for Mine Holy Name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither they went. And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.”
How will He glorify His name? “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.” (verse 24). Then verse 36 reemphasizes the reason again: “Then the heathen that are left [so this is not heaven or the new Earth] round about shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it [no conditions here].
The Kingdom of God, Is It Not Within Us?
“Neither shall they say, lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
“If the statement in question,” says Victor Houteff, “means that there is to be no Kingdom of God on earth, then by the same token of reasoning it must also mean that neither is there to be any kingdom in heaven. And if there is to be none on earth, and none in heaven, then our hope is in vain. . . .To stand upon the proposition in the question is to take the position that there is to be no literal kingdom either on earth or in heaven, but only a spiritual kingdom within the heart, which is to reduce the subject to an absurdity. . . . So before the Kingdom of God is established on this earth, it must indeed be spiritually established within us if we are ever to qualify for admission when it is physically established upon ‘earth, as it is in heaven.’. . . So the Kingdom of God ‘within’ is the regimen of the spiritual life; it is prerequisite to an inheritance in the eternal Kingdom of God.”
Is the Kingdom of This World?
Standing before Pilot, Jesus said, “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.” John 18:36.
Our Lord could not be saying that His kingdom will not be established here on earth. After all, He had one before with Israel. He was simply saying that His kingdom is not of the same spirit and character of the world. Note that He went on to say, “if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight” The Spirit of Prophecy explains:
“The germ in the seed grows by the unfolding of the life-principle which God has implanted. Its development depends upon no human power. So it is with the kingdom of Christ. It is a new creation. Its principles of development are the opposite of those that rule the kingdoms of this world. Earthly governments prevail by physical force; they maintain their dominion by war; but the founder of the new kingdom is the Prince of Peace.”
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