THE BASF - ITS IMPORTANCE AND TEACHING
XXVIII:- “That the mission of the kingdom will be to subdue all enemies, and finally death itself, by opening up the way of life to the nations, which they will enter by faith, during the thousand years, and (in reality) at their close”. (1 Cor.15:25,26; Rev. 21:4; 20:12-15; Isa. 25:6-8).
This statement concerning the coming Kingdom is of great and particular importance, as it outlines a feature that is not commonly taught. Often in our public talks, we emphasise how that the coming kingdom shall be based on the ruins of the kingdoms of men (cp Dan. 2:44), and how that during the kingdom, great blessings shall be bestowed upon a subdued earth living under the commandments of Christ. But in this clause of the BASF, we have the actual mission, or end purpose of the coming Millennium. It is not simply to end the present order of things, or even simply to bring blessings upon the earth. Rather, it has a higher purpose, “to subdue all enemies”, with the final enemy being death itself (1 Cor. 15:25-26). Standing between two epochs—a time when men of flesh have dominion, and a time when only men of the Spirit shall exist upon the earth – the Kingdom is a time of transition. It is the means to an end, and that end shall only be finally reached after 1,000 years of divine rule, when the last enemy shall be no more. The words of Bro Robert Roberts are pertinent, speaking of this in Christendom Astray:
“The kingdom of God is itself but an instrumentality—another step in the march of God’s beneficent scheme—another stage in the accomplishment of His purpose to “gather together in one all things in Christ” (Eph. 1:10). It only lasts for a thousand years (Rev. 20:6). What is to be accomplished during this period? Paul says, “He [Jesus] must reign till he hath put ALL ENEMIES under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:25-26). Hence, the Millennial mission of Christ is to subdue “all enemies,” which he will accomplish within the period of a thousand years” (Christendom Astray page 158)
“It will thus be seen that the kingdom of a thousand years is but a transitional period between the purely animal and purely spiritual ages. It will blend the elements of both. It will exhibit the perfection of the eternal ages in the Lord Jesus and the saints who will be immortal and incorruptible, and the imperfection of the human age in the mortal population who will constitute the subjects of their rule. Both will co-exist for a thousand years, and will constitute a state of things as superior to the present dispensation as it will be inferior to the glory ages beyond. The Kingdom of God will lead us by a bridge of a thousand years from the age of sin and death defection to the age of restoration to the bosom of the Deity, in righteousness and life eternal” (Christendom Astray, page 169-170).
When Messiah first comes, it is evident from the holy writ that many peoples shall not welcome him. Psalm 110 contains the words of Yahweh to Messiah:
“rule thou in the midst of thine enemies” (Psa. 110:2)
Once Messiah has established the seat of his dominion in Zion, it will not be the case that all nations shall subject themselves to him and his laws. There is first this period of ruling in the midst of his enemies, and those enemies will be those who reject the constraints imposed upon the flesh by a righteous law-giver. Psalm 2 describes this:
“the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rules take counsel together, against Yahweh, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break the bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us …” (Psa. 2:1-3).
Again, the Apocalypse describes in symbolic terms the war declared upon the Lamb, by the “ten horns” of the European political animal:
“These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb …” (Rev. 17:12-13).
These testimonies plainly state that when Messiah comes, the nations at large will not immediately fall into subjection to him. There will be a time of war, during which Christ will reign in the midst of his enemies—but with his dominion growing to ultimately fill all the earth (Dan. 2:35). The fact that Christ will be victorious in this warfare is spoken of in what follows for both of these citations above:
“… he that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure … I will declare the decree: Yahweh hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee … thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psa. 2:4,7,9)
“ … the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Rev. 17:14; see also Psa. 47:3).
Bringing the Kingdom Age upon the earth will not be a peaceful affair at all. The natural man being unable to receive the things of the spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:14), will by nature, be unable to accept the imposition of Divine Rule, and so there will be a need for severe judgments to be meted out against the rebels:
“by fire and by his sword will Yahweh plead with all flesh: and the slain of Yahweh shall be many … they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me …” (Isa. 66:16,24).
What an awful and graphic picture this is! Hardly in keeping with the humanistic spirit of our age, which permits every man to do that which is right in his own eyes so far as religious belief goes. In the days to come, Yahweh alone shall be exalted, with every vestige of idolatry being removed:
“Yahweh alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish … in that day, a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats …” (Isa. 2:17-21)
With the nations having been rebuked (Isa. 2:4), a house of prayer for all nations shall be elevated in the mountains (Isa. 2:2; 56:7), and Zion shall be established as the Global centre of worship, education, and administration. In that day, mortal men and women will live their lives in obedience to the commandments of Christ – which is, of course, how we must live today (Rom. 13:13). During that time, the Way of Life will be set before them, providing them with the choice of whether or not to enter it, and so be judged worthy of everlasting life at the end of the Millennium.
THE NEED FOR FAITH
It is written concerning our God: “without faith it is impossible to please him …” (Heb. 11:6). We see no reason why this principle should be any different during the Kingdom Age. Men cannot naturally follow and obey all of the principles of Yahweh’s righteousness, and so faith, not works of obedience, is the foundation upon which men may stand, and appear holy before God. Just as righteousness was imputed to Abraham through the faith that he manifested, even so it is with us – and so it will be during the Kingdom.
This aspect of things seems to be difficult for some to grasp. With Yahweh’s Laws being sent out via an immortal administrative command, it is perhaps difficult to see how the mortal inhabitants can do anything else but obey the commands. But the difficulty is removed when we consider the example of the Kingdom of God in the past, and the pernicious nature of the human constitution. Being miraculously delivered from Egyptian bondage, Israel saw first-hand the power of Yahweh in dividing the sea, in the pillar of fire, and the daily provision of Manna to meet their need for sustenance. Yet, how soon after did they turn aside—ten times did they rebel against Yahweh in the wilderness (Num. 14:22), despite seeing all the signs and wonders performed in their presence. They saw with their physical eyes, but their natural sight was blinded, that they could not perceive, or receive the things done in their presence.
Even so it will be in the future. Many signs and wonders shall be shown, testifying to the divine nature of the new world ruler, yet many will not believe, and shall dare to fight against the omnipotent power wielded by the Lamb. It would appear that though the miraculous blessings are readily apparent, some will not believe that Christ and his fellow-heirs are in fact, immortal. Indeed, this will be the case at the end of the Millennium, for then it is testified that once the constraints are removed, men shall seek to rebel once more, compassing the camp of the saints (Rev. 20:7-9) – which there would be no point in doing, if they understood that those whom they warred against were immortal. So it will be that then, as now, and as times gone before, faith will be the only means of acceptance before the Almighty, securing a great reward for those who have it, and whose primary goal in life is to inherit the Kingdom, and attain to the Righteousness of God.