THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OBEYED
The following correspondence appeared in the Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come for 1854, and is reproduced for the benefit of our readers:
Dear Sir:- by the perusal of your writings, I am happy in being able to testify, myself and wife have been enlightened in the gospel of the kingdom of God. As the result of this, trouble came upon us about baptism; not in regard to the mode, for concerning that we were satisfied; but as to whether the immersion we had been before subjected to in our ignorance of the gospel of the kingdom, would be accepted by the Father as the “One Baptism” of His appointment. We had been immersed on the usual profession by the Baptist church of this city, under the preaching of Edwards, “the converted sailor,” as he is styled. Our convictions, as far as they went, were honest. A few months afterwards, we became acquainted with the views of the Adventists, and finally we obtained your Elpis Israel – a book that has been the means of opening our understanding to the Scriptures, so that the Bible appears like a new book to us. For this cause we rejoice and give thanks to God, seeing that he has yet some honest and faithful witnesses, who are “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” Are not these of the “Olive Trees” furnishing oil for the lamps or candlesticks that they may see the darkness which surrounds?
The light we had thus obtained made our former darkness visible, and a conviction was produced that our immersion in our ignorance did not introduce us into Christ. Our feelings were therefore troubled until we were baptised into him, confessing faith in the Hope of Israel, or the Kingdom of God, and the things concerning the Name of Jesus as Lord and Christ. Because of this second immersion, and of the breaking of bread at my house by a few, who, like myself, are waiting for the consolation of Israel, I was excluded from a little church here also professing to be looking for the Kingdom of God. It now comports with their views of Christian propriety to laugh at me, and to bestow upon me the contemptuous and reproachful epithets usually conferred on those who reject the stereotyped opinions of the day. But I am not to be moved or troubled by nicknames and hard speeches. There is a glorious triumph near for those who prove faithful to the end.
Being poor in this world’s goods, I am unable to gratify my desire to do something extra for the support of the cause which ought to lie nearest to the heart. Accept of our thanks for the benefit we have received for your studies, pursued closely though many years of reproach and self-denial, and which your readers obtain for the inconsiderable amount of two dollars a year.
Yours in the Hope of Israel,
Benjamin G Chase
BUT ONE TRUE GOSPEL IN THE BIBLE
There is no conviction more reasonable or scriptural that the immersion of an individual ignorant of “the gospel of the kingdom” cannot unite him to the name of the Lord Jesus. Some reason as though there were two gospels – one the Gospel of the Kingdom; and the other, the Gospel of the Name of Jesus. The former, though true, they regard as a non-essential, vainly supposing that a man may be saved by faith in the personal history of Jesus, though he may never have heard of the Kingdom of God! These non-essenitalists can never get beyond the scene of the crucifixion, and the “eternal sonship” of Jesus, where they lose themselves in the maze of Athanasian perplexities. All that is essential with them is, that Jesus is the Son of God; that he died to make satisfaction for the sins of the whole world; was raised from the dead, and ascended to heaven, where he will remain until he returns to destroy the earth. These are the principles of the faith-alone system – all-sufficient for the salvation from sin and it’s punishment – eternal agony and liquid fire – of those who believe them! With some, the number of these principles may be still further reduced without jeopardy of soul. Repent of your sins, and believe that Jesus died for you, and thou shalt be saved. This is called “believing in Jesus!” Only believe this in the popular sense of belief – that is, “feel like it’s so” – and you have the theological minimum of “salvation by grace!”
Such is the molecule to which the Apostasy has reduced “the gospel of God which he hath promised before by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures,” (Rom 1:1,2) under the morbid excitation of cautiousness feeling like it’s true! Interpreting the creed of the Non-essentialists by their practice and its practical results, the understanding of the prophets in which the gospel is promised (a promise still unfulfilled) is of no importance, being, in their view, unnecessary to salvation. How many of those whom they despatch to glory on angels wings through their “consolations of religion,” know anything about the gospel of God exhibited in the word of prophecy, “to which,” Peter says, “men do well to take heed, as to a light shining in a dark place?” Nay, where are the preachers who can define the gospel of God which he hath promised in Daniel, or in Ezekiel, or in Isaiah? But what is the use of further question? They know nothing about it, for their systems ignore the prophets in the case: and being themselves ignorant and blind, they who are led of them can only repeat the foolishness they hear.
There is but one gospel. There never has been more than one true gospel from the pronouncing of the sentence upon the Serpent to the present time, in which the Serpent is rising to great pre-eminence preparatory to his being bound by the Woman’s Seed. Hence, the gospel promised in the prophets is the gospel Jesus preached; and the same that was preached by his apostles in his name after his ascension; and the same that has been confessed by all true believers for the past 1800 years. It comprehends what the Scriptures teach concerning the Sonship of Christ, the death of Christ, the blood of Christ, the burial of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, and the ascension of Christ; and concerning Jesus of Nazareth, as the Christ discoursed of by Moses and the Prophets. These are important and essential incidents, and necessary constituents of a justifying faith; but a person may believe them, and yet be ignorant, and consequently faithless, of the gospel. Gospel is glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all the people” – i.e. To all Israel’s tribes; “for there is born to you this day in the city of David (Bethlehem) a Saviour, who is Christ, the Lord” (Is 9:6, Luke 2:10,11). Now take this angelic definition of the heavenly message indicated in the word “gospel,” and say, What glad tidings of great joy were there to all Israel in the death, burial, resurrection, and sonship of Jesus, as now exhibited by “converted sailors,” and other oratorical thumpers of velvet cushions and “sacred desks?” A disputant would reply, that, “as the eternal divine Son of God, he died to propitiate the Father’s wrath against all mankind, and so to procure for them who believe this, forgiveness of sins, and a consequent escape from endless torment in fire and brimstone, which is glad tidings of great joy enough.” But, granting that this is the salvation procured, what glad tidings is there in this “to all the people,” seeing that so infinitesimal a portion of Israel have accepted Jesus?
This is question the disputers of this world cannot answer. Remission of past sins, and a hope of eternal life, as the line of a man’s spiritual horizon, is but a meagre gospel, as is everywhere proved by the meagre effects the belief of it produces. What does God propose to raise righteous men to eternal life for? In what sense was the birth of Jesus glad tidings of great joy to all the people of Israel? Bible answers to these questions will bring out from the prophets, like the action of light, a daguerreotype image, the subject-matter of the gospel of the kingdom of God, promised in the sacred writings of the Hebrews. In answer to the latter inquiry, read what Micah says the man born in Bethlehem is to do for Israel (Mic 5:2-7), Also in Isaiah (Is 60:1,2), and see the answer on record in Daniel, and repeated by Jesus in Matthew (Mat 25:34). The righteous are raised to eternal life, to posses, in all the Age, the Kingdom of God restored again to Israel, with the government of all nations thereunto annexed. The possession of this universal dominion implies also the possession of the world, with all it’s riches and glory (1Cor 3:21-23). This inherited for 1000 years is a foretaste of what is to come when the 1000 years shall have passed away. This is a great inheritance for earthborns; and he that is not satisfied with this in conjunction with the Lord Jesus, does not deserve to be considered. It will be a noble inheritance, and all that shall be honoured to share in it are required to believe what God has promised concerning it – i.e. The Gospel of the Kingdom – and to obey it; for “though Jesus were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things that he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him (6:8,9). Yea, verily; for to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams: for rebellion (disobedience) is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry,” (1Sam 15:22), which are all punishable with death by the law of God. Men impose upon themselves, with their sacrifices of prayer, and praise, and pious talks, as a substitute for obeying the truth. Thus, like Saul, they reject the word of the Lord; therefore he will reject them from being kings over his realm in the age to come.
Brother Chase has done well in obeying the gospel of the Kingdom; let him now continue in well-doing, fearing nothing. The Lord’s people are known to him by their childlike obedience to his word. All is mere talk that falls short of this. The obedience of faith is God’s test by which he tries the professions of the children of men, who are generally so perverse that, like Naaman, the Syrian, they are ready to do any great things he does not require, but stubbornly refuse to submit to the simple action he prescribes.
John Thomas (1854)