Daniel explains the four kingdoms to be great in energy and power to the end of the days. When fully developed, another king will come out, when Israel will figure on the earth. It was too much for Nebuchadnezzar, his heart was filled up. The Assyrian monarchy, Persian, Grecian, and Roman, went on till judgment was brought forth in the end. Then a kingdom given to the Son of Man, which cannot be moved. In the first chapter of Daniel we find he was one of the royal seed, a captive in Babylon, afterwards brought into the Court of the king Nebuchadnezzar. When his heart was exercised before God, he was told to go away in peace, and to stand in his lot at the end of the days. This has not yet been fulfilled, Daniel has not stood in his lot. Others from the twelfth chapter are to rise, but have not risen; Daniel's people will be delivered; Israel shall, come forth. I propose this evening to look at the promised coming of the Lord Jesus Christ at the present time. In order to get the unity of the subject in our minds, I must begin with the call of Abram. I do not say what he was before, the Jews say he was an idolater, and his father, Terah, a maker of images. The Lord God took him up as he was; God called him right out of his country, kindred, and father's house, and said, "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee." I just remind you how simple it all is, a man heard a voice, a word spoken he had never heard before, and went forth. He obeyed; if there were a king there must be obedience. Remember, too, how people may get into connection without having a word spoken to them. Lot went forth with Abram. Abram was told to come, out, and leave his kindred. I do not find the same thing with Lot that I do with Abram. I find him settling down in one place, then in another, no principle of guidance given him. God had not sway over him; Abram and Sarai got the blessing. Side branches of the family were Eglon, (afterwards Idumea) Moab, Ishmael, and Ammon not regulated by the word of God. They come out in Daniel 11. When they (Abraham's family) went down into Egypt. God brought them out, but they did not recognize Him as their object of worship, and fell down before the golden calf. He gave them the law which was on the principle of "do and live," the new covenant that they are to be brought into is, "live and do." Do you not remember Hosea, where He said, "LoAmmi," not my people, and afterwards "Ammi," my people; "Lo-ruhamah" not having obtained mercy; and afterwards "Ruhamah," having obtained mercy. He plainly showed them if they were disobedient what would be the consequence. It was not that made God at that time cast them off. The exceeding patience of God was manifest towards them. There were but two tribes in the land when Christ was born into it. When it came to the close of His life, the question was, What shall I do with your King? We have no king, but Caesar, said the Jews. It was put up as over-ruled by God, and could not be altered as Pilate said, "what I have written, I have written." It was written according to the custom of the people of those days, in three different languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. It was the habit of the ancients to do it. Then closed shortly after the history of the Jews as a nation. They were taken captive by the Romans, and the market was so glutted with Jews as slaves, that people did not care to buy them. The principle of obedience is taken up by the prophet Isaiah. Christ Jesus took the place on earth of a teacher. See what is called the "Sermon on the Mount." First, His own disciples, then others became indoctrinated. Isaiah 8: 11, Jehovah spake this with me, "say ye not a confederacy." When the Lord was on the earth, that was the doctrine. Among the Jews were many schools of doctrine. Sadducees, Herodians, Pharisees, etc. The company who had respect for Jehovah, was very small comparatively. Jehovah of Hosts became a stumbling block, and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel. Paul quoted those words to them. On the part of the Jews, it was, You want to persuade me that the One who was gibbeted outside was the king of the Jews. As it is written "Many among you shall stumble and fall, and be broken, as saith the Lord, And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder." The Jews did stumble and were broken as a nation. "Bind up the testimony, and seal the law among my disciples." Who were the disciples? The Jews could not believe that a few poor fishermen would be His disciples. He said to Peter, and to the rest of them, "Blessed are the eyes which saw the things they saw, and heard the things they had heard." In Matthew 13 I desire to trace out the kingdom, because it is more easy for mans minds to follow. In Matthew 11 we find Jesus speaking of those who had rejected His doctrine, and thanking God, that while He was hidden from those who were wise in their own eyes, He had revealed it unto babes. In Matthew 12, He speaks of the sin of the nation against the Holy Ghost. He ends that chapter, when they tell Him that His mother and brethren desire to speak with Him, by stretching forth His hands toward His disciples, saying, "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." Unless the persons of those united in natural ties took the place of hearing, and bearing fruit, Jesus would not hear them. He would only know those who would hear and do the words of God. He begins to give them seven parables, they all begin with His humiliation. They all take place in the interval of His going to heaven, and coming back the second time from heaven. I ask you to pay special attention to the fact, that the first is not about the kingdom, but about the word of the kingdom. The last six are the things formed by it, "the kingdom of heaven." Sometimes we read of the kingdom of God, sometimes of the kingdom of heaven. Are they the same? I believe the answer is very simple. The kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of God is not always the kingdom of heaven. If the Lord Jesus who is the King, is in heaven, it is the kingdom of Heaven: it is the kingdom of God, wherever the sway of God is. When it comes out at the end, it is part of it on earth, and part in heaven, as He will be in heaven reigning on earth. If God and Christ be in heaven at the time the thing is spoken of, then it is the kingdom of heaven. In a second way this parable differs, as it is that by which the kingdom is formed. God is going to set up a kingdom, and He prepares for it. A sower went forth to sow: He brought everything with Him. God said to Abraham, leave everything, and see if God is not able to bless you. More in what may be the earthly part, and more in the heavenly part also. A word may have other effects than bringing forth in blessing. I have come to sow, yea, blessed are they that get the seed. It brings out what a responsible thing it is to him that hears it, and shows out what poor things we are. Did God's beloved Son come into the world to teach us who God is, and will not Satan try to hinder it? The parable tells of the wonderful truth of God, of the One who left the throne eternal, to take the heart back to God, and make the heart happy with Him. Of some we read when the Lord was on earth, with joy received the word; how many for a time appeared to receive it, saying, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord," and went back and walked no more with Him? God's Son came into the world to give blessing. It will come out, that some seem to get a share, but the conscience has not been reached, and there is no fruit. In the third class of hearers the care of this world, as describing the poor, the thorns, the riches, choking, and both rich and poor influenced by the lusts of other things. The character of Satan, the flesh, and the world, all get detected by the word.
I believe this truth might be deeply considered by those that hear the word. When a man like Saul gets hold of the truth, what comes out is a life consistent with that which went in. When the word came to Abraham, it put him in the way of obedience, God always at hand to help him. When he was in Egypt God was there to help him, when he went to meet the kings He was with him, and through his whole course. He gave Him a testimony of his resurrection power, that He should have all the promises made good. How far has that been the case with our hearts? The Word is a detective thing proving the flesh. Some say "It is no use, my heart is not good." You mistake in saying it is no use, when it is the seed that falls that brings forth the good fruit -- the word of God. Let me ask you what did it find in the idol-maker, Abraham, or in the persecuting Saul of Tarsus? The saved one is a vessel of His own workmanship that had to be made manifest. The first three parables give us the aspect of the kingdom down here -- the earthly side of it; the last three God's aspect of it -- the heavenly side of the kingdom. The tares which the enemy, Satan, came and sowed, had, at the first beginning, the appearance of wheat. Even in the early days Ananias and Sapphira were found in the church. How soon did the care of all the churches prove too much for Paul! Things will go on unto the end. At the revelation of Christ coming to judge Babylon the saints come with Him as the heavenly court of the King. People say, they cannot see the difference of the parables. There has been an outward polity, which has failed. And there is a people who wait for the Lord. There is a large mass just the opposite. All the good came through the Lord Jesus Christ. What were those, "whose God was their belly, whose glory was in their shame," in Philippians? The outside thing is as distinct as possible in the third parable. In the history of the Church as given in Revelation 2: in Pergamos where the evil as introduced, the time of Constantine, I believe, is represented. It is said, Constantine, the Emperor, put off his own baptism to the last, that he might then, before his death, wash away his many sins. He might have his golden footstool, and be decked with diamonds, and appear to be humble in things ecclesiastical. What did he see, as he looked around him? that the doctrine of the cross had become so popular, so that he dreamed, or professed to have had a dream of the cross in a bright light in the heavens, and to have adopted it as a banner, saying "By this I conquer!" Where did he learn the cross, which is the death of the flesh? did he mortify his flesh? He knew how to please the ecclesiastics; afterwards protestant kings and governors became, as they said, nursing fathers, and queens nursing mothers, to the Churches. In the parable of the mustard seed, the tree is not a symbol of Israel, but the vine. What is the good of a vine except to bear fruit? Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a tree which described his greatness: just like Constantine, using the figure of a tree or of Christianity, to advance and strengthen his kingdom.
In the parable of the leaven -- leaven is never used to represent what is good, but what is evil. It ferments in the flour, becomes sour, and then alters its character. The character of the kingdom becomes altered as we see in the churches of Greece and Rome, and elsewhere. In Thyatira it became a nursery for Jezebel who ought never to have been Queen of Israel. Read in Revelation 2. I see the three there. I see Constantine coming in Pergamos and the evil going on until the last state of the church is so bad, that the Lord said of it, "I will spue thee out of my mouth." A measured quantity of meal spoiled by that which had been brought in. In the last three parables He privately taught the disciples. I understand selling all that He had and buying the pearl of great price was Christ's love to the church, and laying down His life for it.
Did it ever strike you, those words in John 17: "Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him?" What given to Him? for what purpose? That He might give! Yes, He purchased the whole human family that He might bless. He has a right over the whole human race. To those who will therefore despise His Lordship there is judgment. He bought the field for the sake of the treasure: those who accept Him, and acknowledge His Lordship. It is sweet to know the Lord works in them, and they work out their own salvation. The Church is the pearl of great price. The merchantman went and sold all that he had and bought it. I could not apply that to anything but the work of the Lord Jesus. I have not to sell all and go and buy Him: I have to receive life before I can do anything right. There is also the heavenly side, the glory to come, for the Church, as Eve was lovely in the garden of Eden. The Church is now espoused to Him: He loved her and gave Himself for her, as we see in Ephesians 5. And the casting of the net into the sea, the end of the kingdom of heaven in God's mind; you can help bad as well as good -- all that teaching the Lord gave when He was on earth. Then comes the separation between the righteous and the wicked. Then "the righteous shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father;" they who have followed Him in His humiliation, shall form His train in the heavenly part of the kingdom.
In turning to Daniel we find in Daniel 9 he humbled himself, and got more revealed to him than he expected, although a short vision. He saw not only respecting the 70 years, but the 70 weeks of years. The period is divided into three distinct parts: the first 7 weeks, and then 60, and 2 weeks: when they were expired, Messiah would be cut off and have nothing. In the first week or forty-nine years, the wall and temple were rebuilt in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. After the threescore and two weeks or four hundred and thirty-four years, the people of the Prince that shall come; the Roman power destroyed the city and the sanctuary as was foretold. In the person of Stephen there was stoning, as well as in His own person rejection, and that of John the Baptist. there was nothing for Him as Messiah. There were to be great desolations for the Jews, but are they to be for ever? If we went to visit Jerusalem, should we find any glory in it? The poor Jews have hardly sufficient to live upon. Then there is the last week, or seven years. In the midst of the week, Revelation 12, which is still future, will be accomplished. The Jews are still the people that will have the earth. When Israel is gathered back, will it be merely as the children of Abraham, or as a people that have a new heart and sin forgiven, and the law written on their hearts? The nation as a whole will be blessed, but not every one that is a Jew outwardly. As soon as they have an ear to hear, God will bring them back. When all the other great kingdoms are set aside, they will be the nation blessed and honoured on earth, as no other nation ever was. On high Christ Jesus will have His Court. "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father." John knew he belonged to the heavenly royal priesthood! He sang of it at Patmos as the elders sing of it in heaven. The very same thing will cause, will bring about the sure destruction of His enemies, those who would not have Him to reign over them. One might say to a Jew: You call yourself an Israelite? when God spake to Abraham he left all to follow and serve Him. Abraham was triumphant; poor Lot was dragged out of Sodom, because he really had no heart for God. What, dear friends, about your heart? have I got Christ as the wisdom of God in my heart? am I obeying the word of the kingdom? If so, I shall form part of this mercy, part of this heavenly court. But if I have not accepted the word about the seed of the woman bruising the head of the serpent, then it will be the terrible judgment along with Satan and his kingdom. The word of the kingdom was spoken first by Jesus, and then by His apostles.
"What a noble thought God making friends of man," said one; but drew back when he found it was through the blood of His Son: afterwards he saw his error, and became blessed and honoured as a preacher of the gospel. There is nothing in human nature, or natural religion to equal it, in which the kingdom of heaven is open, because the doctrine of atonement is connected with it. We have to judge what will crop up to hinder the growth of the word of the kingdom in our hearts: cares, riches, lusts, pleasures. But how precious is the word itself! I have reserved the heaven and the earth, God says, wherein righteousness shall dwell. I will destroy those who have defiled and corrupted the earth. Do you not know the history of the woman in the garden of Eden; and the seed of the woman who should crush him that did the mischief? Do you not know the truth that those who had not the wedding garment would be cast into outer darkness? In the second covenant it is not, do and live; but, believe on the Son of God, and live. Are you who do believe subject to the sway of the Son of God sent down from heaven?
Delivered in Georgetown, Demarara, March, 1873. Publishers: George Cooper, George Morrish.