THY KINGDOM COME

Jesus talked a lot about the kingdom. Throughout His ministry, His message was, “The kingdom of heaven is near.” Matt. 4:17. Interestingly, Christ often combined His preaching about the kingdom with healing the sick, and casting out demons. For example:

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people…. And people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and He healed them.” Matt. 4:23, 24.

“He called His twelve disciples to Him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness…. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions:… ‘As you go, preach this message: “The kingdom of heaven is near.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.’” Matt. 10:1, 5-8.

Imagine the excitement of the people as Jesus moved from place to place, touching and healing the hearts, bodies, and souls of those who responded to Him! He was always surrounded by hurting people who were longing to exchange their misery for the light and peace of the heavenly kingdom, which they felt whenever they were with Jesus. But Jesus was not satisfied just to make people feel better temporarily. He wanted to separate them from the dominion of Satan. He wanted to establish the kingdom of His Father in their souls and make them subjects of His kingdom forever. So He sought to open their minds and implant truths which would dispel the distorted concepts they been taught. Only then could they be true subjects of His kingdom.

But let’s fast-forward now to our modern times. As you see the desperate state of our society, so riddled with fear, anger and anxiety, have you ever wished you could do a work of healing similar to what Jesus and the disciples did for their generation? Notice these comments from the Spirit of Prophesy:

“I saw that if the church had always retained her peculiar holy character, the power of the Holy Spirit which was imparted to the disciples would still be with her. The sick would be healed, devils would be rebuked and cast out and she would be mighty and a terror to her enemies.” EW 227.

What has happened to the Christian church which would take away her “peculiar holy character”? For the answer, we need only to review the history of the church through the years of persecution from pagans, papists and the development of the little horn power. Behind all these earthly developments, Satan himself was working out the principles of his own kingdom so that very little light was left to shine on the pathway of those who sincerely wanted to know and serve God.

But God had a purpose and plan for allowing these Satanic developments. The universe, and especially all people on this rebel planet, must see the true nature of God’s enemy. Everyone must be allowed to see what would happen if Satan were allowed to rule. Each person much have enough evidence to choose intelligently and freely, without coercion from God. Only then will God’s universe be at harmony and peace again, and God’s kingdom fully restored.

That is why the restoration of God’s kingdom must include the casting out of demons, for it is the devil’s continual warfare against God, His people, and His truth that makes the battle necessary. This warfare began in heaven, when Satan and his angels assaulted the throne of heaven and were cast out by Jesus, thus establishing His authority over the heavenly hosts.

“And there was war in heaven. Michael and His angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and…. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ.’” Rev. 12:7-10.

Christ’s next place of conquest became the earth. Having rid heaven of the presence and influence of the evil one, He must come to the rescue of those on earth who would choose Him and the principles of His kingdom. This He did as He went about teaching and healing, delivering the possessed, and raising the dead to life again. Then those who accepted and followed Him were given the same power and authority over the devil that He Himself had.

“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Luke 9:1, 2.

Of course, Satan was very angry about this, and as he always does, he fought back. He caused persecution and death to Christ’s followers, and designed errors and false doctrines from heathenism to filter into the flock of God. His attack upon God’s people is recorded in Rev. 12:13, 15:

“When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child….Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent.”

During that 1260-yr. period, God permitted Satan to develop his kingdom and his strategy to the limit of divine forbearance. At the end of that period, the deadly wound spoken of in Revelation 13:3, 12 was inflicted when the pope was taken captive. Again Satan was put on the defensive by the limiting of his power among the nations, and in a rage he sets himself to attack and try to destroy the remnant of God’s people “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.” Rev. 12:17.

Dear Friend, this brings the battle for the kingdom right down to us, doesn’t it? As God’s remnant people, we have a vital message to bring to the world. “The hour of His judgment has come!” Rev. 14:7. I think we are accustomed to seeing this in the context of the church at large. But I want to bring it down to us personally. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” Lu. 17:21. When Jesus was here, He cast demons out of individual people, not the church in general. The church is made up of individuals like you and me. It is easy to concentrate on the problems in the church, but what about the problems in our personal lives? Are we living lives of consistent victory through Christ as it is possible to do by His strength and grace? Or is Satan gaining the victory over us too much of the time? Satan wages his battles against us every day. He wants to sit on the throne of your heart and mine. He wants to usurp God’s authority in our lives. He wants us to succumb to his wiles, his lies, and his doctrines. He wants to undermine our allegiance to God’s laws and His messages to us through the Spirit of Prophecy.

Fortunately, the book of Daniel prophesies the triumphant outcome of the judgment. In Daniel 7 the picture becomes quite clear. Jesus’ final work in the judgment will produce a people who will be free from error, free from demonic control, free from rebellion. To them He will give his kingdom forever. In broad sweeping strokes, Daniel is shown the power of the little horn, the beginning of the judgment, the receiving of authority, dominion, glory and sovereign power by Jesus as a result of the decisions of the heavenly court, and the giving of that power to the saints.

“As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom…. He (the little horn power) will speak against the Most High and oppress His saints…. But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of heaven will be handed over to the saints, and the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey Him. This is the end of the matter.” Dan. 7:21, 22; 25-28.

The judgment is the time when God reveals before the universe the lies and deceptions of the devil, both corporately and individually. Nothing that Satan has done will be left undisclosed, whether in the world, in the church, or in our lives. Right now, while Jesus is still in the heavenly Sanctuary, He continues to cover for us. Now is the time to search our lives for anything in which we are tolerating the work of the evil one. Jesus said: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined…. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Matt. 12:25, 28.

Jesus drives out the demons who are influencing us by revealing to us through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and His Word where we are still believing the lies of the devil. These errors tolerated by us show that we are yet affected by, or in sympathy with, the kingdom of darkness; and unless we choose to be delivered from the devil’s way of thinking and acting, our kingdom will surely collapse. But as we are freed from these errors, the demons lose their power over us because they cannot abide with truth. This is the real purpose of the judgment. Like in any court scene, error must be exposed, and the truth exonerated. The dominion of Satan over God’s people will be forever broken. Then will be fulfilled the promises of latter rain power spoken of in GC pp. 611, 612:

“The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening…. Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven…. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers.”

Then Jesus will say to His faithful people, “Come, ye blessed of my Father! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matt. 25:34.

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