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20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
THE KINGDOM NOT IN EXISTENCE
The Kingdom of God is certainly not now in existence. If it were, the kingdoms of this world would not be.
The "elements" of the Kingdom of God are one thing: the kingdom itself another. Granted that the elements exist. Granted that the land is an "element:" that Christ in heaven is an element; that the Jews are an element; that the saints are an element. It is not according to knowledge to call these elements the kingdom.
The kingdom is the synthesis, or putting together of its elements. A kingdom is that organisation of human affairs in which the authority of the king is enforced-not merely affirmed. There is no enforcement of the authority of God upon earth just now-not even among the saints.
There is no king in Israel, and every man does that which is right in his own eyes. To call such a state of things the kingdom, because the king and his purpose exists, and his invitations are out, is to do what God accused Job's friends of-"darkening counsel by words without knowledge."
The Bible form of sound words on the subject is, "The God of Heaven shall set up a kingdom": until it is set up, it is not in existence. To say it is in existence because its "germ" exists is like saying the oak tree exists because you have the acorn in your hand. The "elements" of a man exist when you have earth, air, and water: but who would call these the man till they are put together.
To talk of the Kingdom of God being now in existence is especially objectionable at a time when everybody around us is saying so in a wrong sense. It is like playing into the hand of the enemy. It is not justifiable in any manner.
The fact that the coming kingdom has present relations because it has been promulgated as a matter of purpose is no reason at all why we should appear to affirm that it has come. We must not appear to declare a lie, even if we mean the truth. We must keep the facts, as distinguished from the phrases of truth, clear from the fogs of misapprehension that prevail on every hand.
The Christadelphian, Oct 1896
26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him 7 other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
Is it a wonder that he spoke of them as "this wicked generation," whom he likened to a cured madman, who relapses and allies himself at the last with seven others, more mad than himself, and makes with them a pandemonium of his house, which had been put into an orderly state when he was cured. "Even so," says he, "shall it be also unto this wicked generation."
The history of the case shows the application. At the first the nation submitted to the preaching of John the Baptist, followed by that of Jesus, and became morally sane, but afterwards they returned to the leadership of the Scribes and Pharisees, and sank into a worse state than they were in before, and were given over to destruction at the hands of the Romans.
While Jesus was uttering these things, he was surrounded by a crowd who naturally listened with great eagerness to what passed between Jesus and their own clergy (for such the Scribes and Pharisees were). It requires no great exercise of fancy to imagine the dense silent packing of the people and their, eager outstretched heads straining to catch the words of the speakers. What a privilege to be there, though they did not know it.
It generally is the case that people "know not the day of their visitation."
Nazareth Revisited - Ch 25
52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
53 And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things:
'...the lesson yielded on the ways of providence is to be learnt in the contemplation of the perfectly natural manner, to all appearance, in which the death of Christ came about. His teaching stirred up the anger of the ruling class among the Jews (Matthew 23:13). They laid traps for Him that they might hand Him over to the Roman authorities (Luke 20: 20).
Ways of Providence Ch 23
54 Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.