Signs of Christ's Kingdom
by Henry Dyer
It is of signs and tokens of Christ's Kingdom that we write, and of its near approach; not of that still nearer event, the rapture of the saints, to meet Jesus our Lord in the air. Yet nearness of the one means a still greater nearness of the other. Hence it should be a subject of lively interest to all His waiting ones.
The Kingdom day of Christ will be His actual reign over the entire earth for a thousand years, as we read in Zech. xiv. 9, "And the Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Lord and His Name one." Many Scriptures describe the setting up of this kingdom, and the solemn overthrow of man's religion and pride, which must precede its blessed sway. Signs of the approach of this great day are also given us in the Scriptures for us to mark. These are of two classes: (1) Bright and joyful signs of the bright Millennial morning, and (2) Dark and solemn signs of its preceding judgment hour. Among the former, there may be named:—
1. The Spread of God's blessed Gospel into almost every land and language of the earth. This accords with the word of Acts xv. 14, "God did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His Name." And so literally is this to be done, that before Christ's reign begins, we hear a new song sung in heaven by a company redeemed "out of every kindred, and tongue, and people" (Rev. v. 9). The Gospel then must necessarily have been taken to all the nations, and gained some from each, to swell this blessed company. At the Reformation, this was not so, nor in the days of Whitefield and Wesley. But it is now.
2. The Increase of God's people in the world, as a result of seasons of Revival and quickened energies in the evangelization in these Christendom lands, from which the tares (Matt. xiii. 24-30) are to be gathered and bound in bundles before Christ and His own, shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. As it was in Egypt, just before the day of Israel's deliverance, when "the people grew and multiplied" as "the time of the promise drew nigh" (Acts vii. 17), and the houses were filled with those sheltered under the blood, feeding on the lamb that night, so will it be in guilty Christendom, before the Lord shall come.
3. Quickened Hope in the saints. Not only an increase of knowledge and Scriptural doctrine concerning Christ's personal coming, but real heart separation from man's world and man's religion, to wait for the Lord. Many hymns have been written during recent years on "the blessed hope," and there has been a general waking up of slumberers to trim their lamps, accompanied by a return to simplicity of worship, according to the Word, with a weekly partaking of the Lord's Supper, which is to be continued "till He come."
Of the dark and solemn signs which show the kingdom near, we may name:
1. Increased Corruptions in the lands of Christendom. These began in the apostles' time, and were to continue (Acts xx. 30). But in "the last days" (2 Tim. iii. 1), they are to multiply greatly. Many antichrists have since arisen, and doctrines denying to the Lord His honour, and to the Cross its virtue, are now vastly increased and accepted by many who call themselves Christians.
2. Jewish Infidelity, which will result in a return to their land in unbelief, to build their temple and receive Antichrist. Signs of their infidelity are evident in the letting go of their ancient Scriptures, and becoming "Gentileized " through love of wealth.
3. The Fulfilment of Prophecy. Daniel's visions of the course and end of "the Times of the Gentiles" as given in Daniel, chapters ii. and vii., prepare us for the revival of the ten kingdoms of the Roman Empire, bringing great changes in south and south-eastern Europe, the energies for the accomplishment of which seem to be already at work. Many an international struggle may take place before an iron-clay government is settled over this area, out of which ten kingdoms will arise, five on the west and five on the east. Hence the solemn but thrilling interest of events now occurring in the East. It is for us, who are "children of the day," to "look up and lift up our heads," waiting for that redemption which assuredly "draweth nigh."