Revisiting the Christian and State Relationship.

The Kingdom of Christ

Ellen G. White

Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? “said Christ,” or “with what comparison shall we compare it?” Christ found the kingdoms of the world corrupt. After Satan was expelled from heaven, he erected his standard of rebellion on this earth, and sought by every means to win men to it. In order the more successfully to gain the allegiance of the world, he put on the garb of religion. By familiar intercourse, through his agents, with the inhabitants of the world, he worked to extend his power, that the contagion of evil might be wide-spread. His purpose was to establish a kingdom which would be governed by his own laws, and carried on with his own resources, independent of God; and so well did he succeed that when Christ came to the world to establish a kingdom, he looked upon the governments of men, and said, “Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God?” Nothing in civil society afforded him a comparison. The poor and needy, instead of being protected, were oppressed. The world had cast aside that class of people most needing care and attention; even the most earnest religionists among the Jews, filled with pride and prejudice, neglected them, and some among them even frowned upon their existence.

In striking contrast to the wrong and oppression so universally practiced were the mission and work of Christ. Earthly kingdoms are established and upheld by physical force, but this was not to be the foundation of the Messiah’s kingdom. In the establishment of his government no carnal weapons were to be used, no coercion practiced; no attempt would be made to force the consciences of men. These are the principles used by the prince of darkness for the government of his kingdom. His agents are actively at work, seeking in their human independence to enact laws which are in direct contrast to Christ’s mercy and loving-kindness.

Prophecy has plainly stated the nature of Christ’s kingdom. He planned a government which would use no force; his subjects would know no oppression. The symbols of earthly governments are wild beasts, but in the kingdom of Christ, men are called upon to behold, not a ferocious beast, but the Lamb of God. Not as a fierce tyrant did he come, but as the Son of man; not to conquer the nations by his iron power, but “to preach good tidings unto the meek;” “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;” “to comfort all that mourn.” He came as the divine Restorer, bringing to oppressed and down-trodden humanity the rich and abundant grace of Heaven, that by the power of his righteousness, man, fallen and degraded though he was, might be a partaker of divinity.

In the eyes of the world, Christ was peculiar in some things. Ever a friend of those who most needed his protection, he comforted the needy, and befriended those shunned by the proud and exclusive Jews. The forsaken ones felt his protection, and the convicted, repentant soul was clothed with his salvation. And he required of his subjects that they give aid and protection to the oppressed. No soul that bears the image of God is to be placed at the footstool of human power. The greatest possible kindness and freedom are to be granted to the purchase of the blood of Christ. Over and over again in his teaching, Christ presented the value of true humility, showing how necessary it is that we exercise helpfulness, compassion, and love toward one another.

Professed Christians of today have the example of Christ before them, but do they follow it? Often, by the hardness of their hearts, they make it manifest that they do not belong to the kingdom of Christ. Too many educate themselves to censure and condemn, repulsing with harsh, stinging words those who may seek their help. But cold-hearted worldliness excludes the love of Jesus from the heart. We can cooperate with Christ in the upbuilding of his kingdom only by being sanctified by his Spirit. We must use no force, take up no weapons to compel obedience; for to do this would be to exhibit the same spirit revealed by the enemies of Christ.

Christ taught that his church is a spiritual kingdom. He himself, “the Prince of peace,” is the head of his church. In his person humanity, inhabited by divinity, was represented to the world. The great end of his mission was to be a sin-offering for the world, that by the shedding of blood an atonement might be made for the whole race of men. With a heart ever touched with the feelings of our infirmities, an ear ever open to the cry of suffering humanity, a hand ever ready to save the discouraged and despairing, Jesus, our Saviour, “went about doing good.” His words inspired hope; his precepts awakened men to faith, and caused them to put their trust in him.

Before man can belong to the kingdom of Christ, his character must be purified from sin and sanctified by the grace of Christ. He must become a member of Christ’s body, receiving nourishment from him as the branches of the vine derive their strength from the parent stalk. And all who are members of the kingdom of Christ will represent him in character and disposition. Who are thus working out their lives in the service of Christ? All such will sit with him on his throne. But all who exalt themselves, all who oppress their fellow men in any wise, do this to Jesus Christ; for every soul has been purchased at an infinite price, and through faith in Christ is capable of receiving immortality, to live through the eternal ages.

How long God will bear with the heartless indifference shown in the treatment of men toward their fellow men, we cannot determine. But “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” If men sow deeds of love and compassion, words of comfort, hope, and encouragement, they will reap that which they have sown.

Christ came to put down wickedness and oppression, and establish a kingdom of righteousness in this world. And his purpose will yet be carried out. The prophet says of him, “He shall not fail nor be discouraged till he have set judgment in the earth.” Then “a King shall reign in righteousness.” His kingdom will embrace the whole earth, “and of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.” (The Southern Watchman, December 24, 1907)

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