The Coming Kingdom

The Coming Kingdom

January 1st, 1984 @ 10:50 AM

2 Samuel 7:12

And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
Related Topics: King, Kingdom, Second Coming, 1984, 2 Samuel
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King, Kingdom, Second Coming, 1984, 2 Samuel

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THE COMING KINGDOM

Dr. W. A. Criswell

2 Samuel 7:12

1-1-84    10:50 a.m.

 

 

This sermon The Coming Kingdom; as a background text, in 2 Samuel chapter 7, verse 12, the Lord says to David:

 

 

And when thy days shall be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy body, and I will establish his kingdom—

 

[2 Samuel 7:12]

 

verse 16—

 

and thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever: thy throne shall be established for ever.

 

[2 Samuel 7:16]

 

 

Then in Psalm 89, Psalm 89; that unconditional—and you mark that word—that unconditional does not depend on David, it does not depend upon David’s heirs, it does not depend on human ingenuity or strength or genius; it depends on God!  It is an unconditional covenant.  Now listen to it again, Psalm 89:3-4: “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn unto David My servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations.”  Now verse 34:

 

My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of My mouth. 

 

Once have I sworn by My holiness that I will not lie unto David.

 

His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before Me.

 

It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.

 

[Psalm 89:34-37]

 

 

As long as that sun shines in the sky and as long as that moon shines by night, just so long, says the Lord God, will My covenant be unconditionally unalterable before David. 

 

Now I want you to look at how that is picked up in the Prophets, this same avowal about the sun and the moon.  Jeremiah chapter 33, beginning at verse 20: “Thus saith the Lord; If you can break My covenant of the day”—if you can stop the rising of the sun—”and My covenant of the night”—if you can break the moon from shining in its lunar orbit—”that there should not be a day and a night in their season; then may also My covenant be broken with David, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne” [Jeremiah 33:20-21]. 

 

Then, as though that were not enough, God repeats that same unconditional covenant, contract.  Swearing by Himself, by His holiness, He sayslook at verse 25: “Thus saith the Lord.” In Jeremiah 33:

 

 

If My covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and the earth;

 

Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers…for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy upon them.

 

[Jeremiah 33:25, 26]

 

 

This is an unconditional covenant that God has made with David that there is to be eternally a kingdom of God on whose throne, in which kingdom the Son of David shall reign.  God says that “by My holiness, I swear there is a coming kingdom” [Psalm 89:35-37].  And the Lord God’s Son shall reign over that “kingdom of the seed of David” [2 Samuel 7:12, 16].

 

Now that day came.  God said it was coming, and the day came.  In the Bible, that kingdom is called the “kingdom of God.”  In the Book of Matthew, thirty-two times it is called the “kingdom of heaven.”  There are expositors who say the reason Matthew calls it the “kingdom of heaven” is because of the Jewish reluctance to name the name of God.  They held God in such holy awe and reverence that they even forgot to pronounce His name.  No one knows how you pronounce the name of Yhwh.  They just took the consonants of Yhwh and added to it the vowel points of adonai, and it came out “Jehovah.”  But the Jewish people refused to pronounce the name of Godit was too holy—so we don’t know how it is pronounced.  It has been lost for thousands of years.  The kingdom of God; the reason Matthew calls it “the kingdom of heaven” is out of deference to the Jewish sensitivity toward naming God. 

 

Matthew’s Gospel is written for the Jew.  It is that Jesus, King Jesus, has come; and it is written for the people of the Lord, the chosen family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  So the day came when the prophecies of the Old Testament were to be fulfilled.  The kingdom is here.  So the New Testament begins like that.  Matthew 3: “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent you”—get right; get ready; get right with God—”for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” [Matthew 3:1-2].  It is here!  It has come; that is the way the story begins. 

 

Now the story of Jesus’ ministry began in the identical way.  Matthew 4:17: “Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent”—get ready, get right with God—“for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  When He sent out the twelve apostles, in the tenth chapter of the same Gospel, these twelve, Jesus sent forth saying, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand!” [Matthew 10:6-7].  It is here.  All of those Old Testament prophecies that describe the glorious reign and rule of God, it is here! It has come! The time is now; the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  In Luke chapter 10 and verse 9, He sends out the seventy, and those seventy disciples preached the same and identical message: “Get ready.  The kingdom of God is here; it is at hand” [Luke 10:1, 3, 9]. 

 

Now had the Jewish nation accepted that message, that announcement, had they received their King, the kingdom would have come, and the reign of God from heaven would be established down here in earth.  And all of those multiplied, multifaceted prophecies of the Old Testament, from beginning to end, that describe the glorious reign of God in the earth, it would have come to pass.  It would have been established.  For the King had come, the Son of God, the Seed of David had arrived, and He arrived with the announcement that the kingdom is at hand [Matthew 4:17]. 

 

It is hard for us to imagine how it would have been had the nation accepted the King, had they accepted the announcement, had they received the Lord God from heaven, the kingdom would have been established.  There is no kingdom without a king, and there is no king without a kingdom.  When we have the King, when we have the King, the kingdom is come.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, of the seed of David is here, the King is here, and the kingdom of God is at hand.  It’s here.  And had they received Him, they would have gone into the establishment of that kingdom then—two thousand years ago. 

 

Is Jesus a king?  Is He that King that God spake of to David?  Is He that King of which Jeremiah spake;

 

 

I have made My covenant with Him.  As surely as My ordinances stand,

 

the sun to shine by day and the moon to shine by night,

 

just so sure, will He come to establish His kingdom in the earth.

 

 [Jeremiah 33:25-26]

 

 

  Now, is Jesus that King?  He said He was.  He thought He was.  He avowed that He was.  In John 1:49, we have the adoration and the exclamation of Nathanael, who was brought to Jesus by Philip [John 1:45-48].  And when Nathanael looked upon the Lord Jesus, he said “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel” [John 1:49].  Now, it would have been very easy for Jesus to say, “You are ecstatic.  You are too enthusiastic.  I am not the King of Israel, and I am not the Son of God.”  But He received that acclamation and adoration—the Son of God, the King of Israel. 

 

In the [twelfth] chapter of the Book of John, when we have the story of the royal entry—some people call it the “triumphal entry”—into the Jerusalem, the people shout when Jesus enters the Holy City; they shout, saying, “Hosanna: glory to God!  Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” [John 12:13].  He is a King, King Jesus.  He is a King. 

 

In the eighteenth chapter and the nineteenth chapter of the Book of John, is one of the most interesting conversations you will ever read in literature.  It is between Jesus, who has been brought to Pilate for trial, and Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator of the providence of Judah.  Pilate looks at the Lord Jesus, and he says, “Art Thou the King of the Jews?”  And the Lord says to Pilate, “Sayest thou this of thyself, or did somebody speak of Me to thee concerning that?” and Pilate answers, “Am I a Jew? [John 18:33-35].  I do not know—where did You come from?  Are You a king?”  And the Lord replies, “Thou sayest that I am a king” [John 18:37].  That is the most emphatic affirmative that the Greek language can avow.  In order to avow an emphatic affirmative in the Greek language, you repeat what the man has said.  Jesus is asked by Pilate, “Are You a king?  You?”  And the Lord replies, “Thou sayest that I am a king.   To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world” [John 18:37].  He is a king, King Jesus, the Prince of glory. 

 

In the next chapter, you have the story of the final conclusion of the trial of our Lord and His crucifixion.  Pilate brings Jesus forth before that maddening throng and says, “Behold your King, your King.”  And the crowd cries, “Away with Him!  Crucify Him!  We have no king but Caesar” [John 19:14-15].  They repudiate and disclaim and refuse the King and the kingdom, and Jesus is crucified, and He dies a King.  When they nail Him to the cross, Pilate wrote a superscription above His head, and it read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews” [Matthew 27:37].  He died a King!  And when the Jewish leaders came to Pilate and said, “Do not write ‘He is the King of the Jews.’  Write, ‘He said He was the King of the Jews,’” Pilate replied that famous response: Gegraphō, gegrapha, “What I have written I have written” [John 19:21-22], and it stands forever.  This is Jesus the King.  He is the promised King from heaven, the Prince of glory, the Seed of David who shall establish an everlasting kingdom.  Now, when Jesus died [Matthew 27:32-50] and was buried [Mathew 27:57-61], then was raised from the dead [Matthew 28:1-7], and ascended back to glory [Acts 1:9-10], before He ascended up into heaven, the disciples asked Him the question that you would have asked, “Lord, what about the kingdom?”  You are leaving us.  You are going back to the realms of glory and the heights of heaven, what about the kingdom?  “Lord, wilt Thou at this time establish that kingdom that is promised to Israel?” [Acts 1:6]  Will You?  What of the kingdom? 

 

Now, if there was to be no kingdom, that would have been the marvelous, pertinent, ideal time for Jesus to say to the disciples, “There is to be no kingdom.”  He did not say that.  The Lord said, “It is not for you to know the times that the Father hath chosen in His own heart and in His own sovereign will” [Acts 1:7].  There is a kingdom, and it is coming. 

 

God has postponed it to another day, to another era.  And in this intermission, you have a great assignment.  Between the first coming of Christ [Matthew 1:20-25], and the second coming of Christ [Matthew 25:31-46], there is a mystery hid in the heart of God that the prophets never saw.  It is never referred to and never mentioned in the Old Testament.  There is a secret that God has kept in His heart, and He did not reveal it until King Jesus was slain [Matthew 27:46-50], and the chosen people repudiated and refused and rejected the kingdom of God [Matthew 21:43; John 1:11]: namely, that there is an intermission, there is an hiatus, there is a great interception between the first coming of our Lord, when He was rejected [John 1:11], and the second coming of Christ, when He establishes His kingdom in the earth [Matthew 25:31-46].  And that intermission is the day of grace in which we live.  Jesus gave them the appointment and the assignment to preach the gospel to every creature, to get people ready [Mark 16:15].  “Repent, ye!  Get ready, ye! Believe the gospel, ye, for the kingdom is coming!” [Matthew 4:17].  It’s at hand.  It is surely coming.  By an unconditional covenant, God swares by His holiness that it is coming [Hebrews 6:17].  And that the King shall reign and rule over heaven and earth forever and ever [Revelation 11:15].  It is coming!

 

And in this period of the grace, in this period of the Holy Spirit, in this period of the church, it is a time when God is calling out, calling out citizens getting ready for the establishment of the kingdom of God.  And that space, that intermission in there, between the first and the second comings of Christ is called “a great musterion—a great mystery”; a secret which God kept in His heart until He revealed it unto His holy apostles.  For example, in the concluding benediction, a tremendously beautiful one, in the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Romans, Paul says:

 

Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 

 

But is now manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of God, and is made known to all the nations for the obedience of faith; 

 

To God only wise, be glory through Christ Jesus for ever.  Amen

 

[Romans 16:25-27]

 

 

 

Do you see that?  “According to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” [Revelation 16:25], there was a secret called “a mystery”; a secret in the heart of the God that the Lord never revealed to the holy prophets.  They never saw it; namely, that between the first coming of Christ in His rejection [Isaiah 53:3], and the second coming of Christ, when He comes to establish the kingdom [Isaiah 9:6-7], there is a great interlude.  There is a great intermission [Romans 11:25].  Paul speaks of that at length in the third chapter of the Book of Ephesians.  It was revealed to the apostles, this great mystery that God kept in His heart [Ephesians 3:4-5].  There is a vast intermission, now almost two thousand years, between the first and the second comings of Christ, at which time He will establish His kingdom [Romans 11:26]. 

 

Now, the Lord says that in this interval, in this interlude, in this intermission, the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, assumes a mystery form.  It is here; but now let me read from the Lord Himself, let the Lord Himself say it.  In the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew.  He says, “It is given unto you”—this is verse 11—”It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” [Matthew 13:11].  Now look at verse 16: “Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” [Matthew 13:16].  The kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, when the Lord Christ was rejected and crucified and slain [Matthew 27:22-50], the kingdom of God assumed a mystery reality [Romans 11:25-26]. 

 

It’s here, but the unbelieving world doesn’t see it, and the unbelieving world can’t accept it.  To them, this is a world of sin and death for ever.  To them, the world is nothing but a vast cemetery in which to bury our dead.  To them, to the unbelieving world, this earth is nothing but a stage upon which soldiers march, and nations war, and hatred and greed and violence and blood consume the headlines of every newspaper in the land.  Now, that’s what it is to an unbelieving world.  It has no purpose.  It has no triumph.  It has no victory.  Every life ends in the grave.  It’s nothing but darkness and death.  Now, that is the world in unbelief.  But to us the kingdom of God is as real as though it had been established by Jesus two thousand years ago; only it is in a mystery form.  Jesus says it is in a mystery form, but your eyes see it and your ears hear it.  And “blessed,” He says, “are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” [Matthew 13:16]. 

 

Now Jesus describes this kingdom in mystery form here in the Gospel of Matthew, and He does it in twelve parables, twelve wonderful parables; the kingdom in mystery form [Matthew 13:1-52].  Now, I wish, and I studied hard to prepare this, I wish I had time to speak of those twelve mysteries that characterize the present kingdom of God in mystery form.  What we need to do is to announce services here at the church that begin at six o’clock on Sunday morning and goes until one o’clock—until Sunday afternoon, and all we are going to do is just listen to what the preacher has to say, studying the Word of God.  Now, I would love that.  I love you choir and I love you orchestra and I love all the things that you do.  I just wish I had all day long to preach.  That’s all.  That is all.  And you had all day long to sing.  The kingdom is in mystery form, and these are the characteristics of the kingdom.  There are twelve stories, twelve parables that describe the kingdom of heaven.  And each one begins; “The kingdom of heaven is like” . . .  the kingdom of heaven is like  . . . it is like . . . it is like. 

 

Now we may take the first one, and then we may take one or two others, just start off.  What is the kingdom of heaven like now in its mystery form?  He says it is like a sower sowing seeds.  The fowls of the air come and take some of it.  Some of it grows up and soon dies.  Some of it is choked by thorns.  Some of it falls on good ground [Matthew 13:1-9].  Now, that is a mystery revealed to me that comforts my heart beyond any way that you could ever know it.  When I preach the gospel, do it the best I can, prayerfully, earnestly, study hard, pray zealously; when I prepare and preach the gospel, some of it is going to fall on stony ground.  Some of it is going to fall by the way side.  Some of it will be listened to for a moment and then go right out that door and forget it.  But, some of it is going to fall on good ground, some of it is going to find lodgment in a responsive heart, and somebody is going to be saved.  Isn’t that comforting to a preacher?  That is part of the mystery.  That is the first mystery revealed to us about the kingdom of God.  Not everybody will listen.  Not everybody will be saved.  Not everybody will respond, but somebody will, somebody will. 

 

All right, the second one: it is in verse 24 and following [Matthew 13:24-30]; “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man that sowed good seed in his field: and while he slept, his enemy came and sowed tares” [Matthew 13:24-25]—oversowed.  No matter where you are in the kingdom of God, you are going to find that oversowing of Satan, so do not be discouraged.  Do not fall into the despair.  He told us that before it comes to pass; there will be an oversowing of Satan.  There will be all kinds of things, all kinds of things.  I was dumbfounded by yesterday morning’s newspaper.  [They] put my picture up there in the middle, and some of those people were the funniest looking critters I ever saw in my life.  And I thought that is what it is: I try to preach the truth—it is the truth to me—and then there is the oversowing of Satan; all kinds of aberrations and all kinds of heresies.  I am not supposed to be surprised at that; that’s the way God said it was. 

 

Look at a third mystery here, “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man sowed [in his field]: and it is the least of all seeds: but it grew to be a tree, and the birds of the air came and lodged in the branches thereof” [Matthew 13:31-32].  Now whenever you look at that, “the birds in the air”––you remember Revelation 18:2: “Babylon is become a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”  This kingdom of God in its mystery form, the kingdom is going to grow, not only going to be here in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria; it is going to be in Ephesus.  It is going to be in Philippi.  It is going to be in Rome.  It is going to be in London.  It is going to be in New York.  It is going to grow in the whole earth.  It is going to grow!  But as it grows it is going to be filled with every dirty and unclean bird.  It just is.  And there is not a schoolboy here but has read medieval history to know the corruption indescribable that overwhelmed the church of the Middle Ages.  And wherever you have a great denomination today, you are going to find unclean and dirty and hateful and filthy birds that are on the inside of it, teaching in the schools, preaching in the pulpits.  It is just a part of the mystery of the kingdom [Matthew 13:31-32]. 

 

Look again, the parable of the leaven “Another parable spake He unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened” [Matthew 13:33].  There is no such thing as any church being wholly sanctified; it just isn’t.  There isn’t, isn’t any such thing.  There is no such thing as a denomination being wholly sanctified.  There is no such thing as the kingdom of God, in this generation, in this period of its mystery form, being whole and pure.  You will find evil all the way through it—human failure, human folly, human weakness.  You will find it all the way through it, all the way through.  We won’t follow it anymore.  The kingdom is in mystery form today.  It is among us, and if you have eyes you can see it, and if you have ears you can hear it, but it is in mystery form.  It is in this great interlude [Romans 11:25-26]. 

 

Now we come to the conclusion.  There is coming a time, a glorious time, when the King is coming back.  At the end of the age, at the end of this period of time, this interlude, this mystery form of the kingdom, there is coming a time when the King will return, and when He comes this time, an angel will come down to precede Him, “having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand” [Revelation 20:1].  “And he will lay hold on that dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil”—this is Revelation 20—”and shall bind him a thousand years” [Revelation 20:2]. 

 

Now that is where you get the name “millennium.”  In Greek it is a chiliad, and in ancient literature, the millennium was called a chiliad.  Chiliasm is the study of what you call the millennium.  Because most of our culture is come to us through the Latins, the Romans, we use the Roman Latin word for a thousand years—mille is a thousand and annum is the word for year.  So “millennium” is the word for “a thousand years.”  The kingdom comes, and that old dragon is bound and placed in the bottomless pit for a thousand years [Revelation 20:2].  At the end of the millennium, he is loosed for a season [Revelation 20:7], and then the great white throne judgment that purges heaven and earth [Revelation 20:11-15].  And the eternal establishment of God’s King and His subjects are ours to enjoy forever and ever in our home, in our city, in our beautiful mansion in heaven [Revelation 21:1-22:21]. 

 

Now in the coming of that kingdom, in the establishment of that kingdom, all of the prophecies of the Old Testament are going to be fulfilled.  Not a word, not a word that the Lord has said will ever fall to the ground.  When you read those Old Testament prophecies, the day is coming when everyone of them will be fulfilled exactly, literally, just as God revealed it to His prophet, when the kingdom comes.

 

Out of all of those prophecies, I am going to take one, just one.  If we had hours and days, we would look at many of them.  Let’s just take one; this one is from Micah, Micah 4, “In the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains” [Micah 4:1].  Mountains in the Bible refer to nations and hill refers to little nations; God is going to establish His throne at the head of all the nations, “and it shall be exalted above the hills,” above the lesser nations:

 

 

and the people shall flow unto it. 

 

And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

 

[Micah 4:1-2]

 

 

 

The capital of all of God’s creation will be Jerusalem.  And we are going to live in a New Jerusalem which will be right up there, coming down from heaven close to the earth. And He shall judge, this great Lord and King, King Jesus:

 

 

He shall judge among many people, rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more. 

 

But every man shall sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

 

 [Micah 4:3-4]

 

 

One, just one, of the marvelous facets of the kingdom of God when Jesus comes; now to speak of that one—universal peace: “ . . . beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruninghooks . . . Every man sit under his vine and his fig tree, and none to make them afraid” [Micah 4:3-4].  We will learn war no more [Micah 4:3].  I guess the reason that I am sensitive to that is because of the things in my own life.  I remember, as though it were yesterday—World War I, vivid.  I remember things then more than I do things that happen now.  I remember World War I.

 

 I remember World War II traumatically.  I was a pastor in those days, and the War Department had a habit—instead of sending word to a father and a mother that their son had been slain in the war, they sent the word, the telegram, to the pastor.  And the pastor went to the father and the mother and announced to them: “The War Department has sent word saying your boy has been killed.”  Can you imagine an assignment as traumatic and as sorrowful as that?  Yet that is what I had to do all during the years of that Second World War. 

 

Then, of course, I lived through the Korean War; then through the Vietnam War; and now what do we face?  The whole world trembles at the prospect of any day.  Over there in the Near East, where God says the final denouement of the age will be consummated, where the final battle and campaign of Armageddon will be fought [Revelation 16:16], over there in the Middle East, it looks as though the whole earth is converging in conflict and confrontation in that troubled area of this world. 

 

And what shall we say about these nuclear warheads that are proliferating?  I was in Hiroshima—Hiroshima, we call it—just soon after the bomb had been dropped over Hiroshima. I visited some of those people in the hospital who were left desolate after the result of that tragic bomb.  And they say that is a firecracker compared to the H-bombs, the “hell bombs,” that we have today.  We face a future that makes every heart tremble, and the loss of life, the slaughter of the people, the sorrow and the tears that follow such death and desolation are beyond description. 

 

I was preaching in Leningrad, and preaching there in Leningrad, some of those Christian people took me about or six or seven miles out of the city and showed me a tremendous monument which marked the farthest advance of the German invading armies.  They surrounded Leningrad.  They besieged Leningrad for several years.  They never were able to take it.  They came to this far—and if you were ever there, there is a tremendous monument that marks the farthest advance of the German army.  But in those years of the besieging of the war for Leningrad, there were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people slain, killed.  It is awful to think about. 

 

Well, anyway, from Leningrad I went to Moscow, and I was preaching to our Baptist congregation in Moscow.  The place, as you know, always jammed and filled and the people standing out in the yard; the audience looks all alike to me.  I preached in Leningrad, in Moscow, in Kharkov, in Odessa, in Kiev, and they all look alike to me.  Mostly they are older women, and they are always covered with a heavy scarf tied under their chin, and they are stolid-looking.  Written in their faces is a century of toil, and deprivation, and sorrow, and trouble.

 

Well, anyway, having just come from Leningrad and having just been introduced to the people there who had gone through that terrible, terrible siege of several years— and the loss of so many hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people, I just began to speak of the common sorrows of war, and they had lived through it, those dear people there in the church in Moscow.  And I said something like this, “Whether it be an American mother bending over her son slain in the war and weeping tears of sorrow; or whether it be a German mother bending over her son slain in the war, weeping tears of sorrow; or whether it be a Russian mother bending over her son, weeping tears of sorrow; somehow the tears are all alike.” Whether it be American tears, or German tears, or Russian tears, the tears are strangely alike.  And whether it be the broken-heartedness of an American mother, or the broken-heatedness of a German mother, or the broken-heartedness of a Russian mother, somehow their sorrow and brokenness are strangely alike.

 

Well, as I say, when I stand and preach to those Russian audiences, they are so stolid; they just are there listening.  But when I began speaking of those tears of mothers over their boys slain the war, the whole congregation—big congregation—burst into crying.  Strange to me; they just began crying.  Those are people over there, whichever side of the waters—if they’re over there in the Pacific, if they’re over there beyond the Atlantic, if they’re at the base of the Mediterranean—where ever people are, there do you find the common denominator of human life: tears and sorrow over war and death.

 

And that is the glory of His coming kingdom.  “They will beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruninghooks . . . every man sit under his vine and his fig tree; and there will be none to make them afraid, and there will be no more war” [Micah 4:3-4], and no more death, and no more sorrow, and no more crying, for these things are all passed away” [Revelation 21:4].

 

O Lord, what God hath promised those who love Him [1 Corinthians 2:9].  Getting ready for the kingdom, getting ready for that triumphant day; He is coming [Revelation 22:20].  He is surely coming. God [sware] by His holiness He shall reign on the throne of David forever and ever [2 Samuel 7:12, 16].  Amen.

 

And that’s our invitation to you.  What a wonderful time; what a glorious day: “Lord, put my name in that Book of Life [Revelation 20:2, 15, 21:27], among those who are waiting for the kingdom of our Savior.  Lord, be my friend, and my companion, and my yokefellow, and my fellow traveler as I walk down through the days of the year that unfolds before me.”  Thus to give your heart in faith to the Lord [Ephesians 2:8-9], thus to put you and your family and your children into the fellowship of this dear church, thus to answer God’s call to your heart, while we sing this hymn of appeal—if you’re in the balcony round, there’s time and to spare; down any one of these stairways—come.  In the throng on this lower floor, down any one of these aisles: “God has spoken to my heart, and I’m on the way.”  Make that decision now.  Do it now, and when you stand up, stand up taking that first step.  It’ll be the most meaningful decision and commitment you’ll ever, ever make in your life.  And I’ll not only see you here, but someday I’ll walk with you arm in arm down one of those golden streets [Revelation 21:21], looking into the face of our great King, and live [Revelation 22:4].  O Lord, what God hath done for us.  Come, a thousand times welcome, angels attend you while you come, as we stand and as we sing.