The Kingdom of God (continued)
The Kingdom on Earth Entrusted and Betrayed
a. The First Adam
But we move to that terrible scene when that kingdom, for its realization, had to be entrusted to man. Seeing that it is a moral kingdom - not just a mechanical one, not something brought about by the sovereign determination of God irrespective of man's response - man had to cooperate by his own free will. We know how God committed the interests of His kingdom to man - in a sense, made man the custodian of His great purposes; and then the tragedy of the great betrayal, where man failed Him and betrayed His interests into the hands of a hostile one of whom we have spoken in our previous meditations, who had purposed in his heart to usurp God's place, and who, finding that that did not work, determined that he would have a counter kingdom to God's. Man betrayed the trust into the hands of that rival, so that, for the time being the kingdom of God, so far as this creation is concerned, was suspended. But God did not abandon His intention because of the betrayal; so that, although the whole race which should have been the sphere of the realization of that Divine kingdom had been betrayed into those other hands, God moved in relation to His intention to take out of that race a people.
We know the movement of God - first one man, than a family, a tribe, a nation; and elect nation in which all the meaning of the kingdom of God was to be illustrated in principle. It is a very wonderful thing to recognize fully the significance of that elect nation, that chosen people, that nation out from the nations but not reckoned among the nations. Why did God choose Israel? - In order to give in the midst of the nations a demonstration, an illustration, of the kingdom of God; a temporal and partial, but nevertheless a very true, expression of the kingdom of God, where the government is theocratic, and where God, having things according to His own mind and being able to express Himself, shows what a blessed thing it is for man to live under that government; for there is that side of Israel's history which is a wonderful, even if imperfect, expression of what God means His whole domain to be. You hear of a land flowing with milk and honey and all that there was therein; you see that people really settled in the great days of their national history, with overflowing wealth, with prosperity, with everything abounding unto them in that Divinely chosen land of unexampled productiveness. it was indeed the center of the earth, selected by God because it could, in a temporal way, set forth something of what things could be like if God were all. In the greatest days of Israel's history - the time of Solomon - the land was overflowing with wealth. Read those chapters telling of the gold and the silver and the precious stones and all the fullness that there was in that kingdom. It is a wonderful story. Why? Simply because God is seeking to show in temporal and imperfect terms, but in such a way as to be better than anything else known in the history of this world, what the whole domain of God will be when His kingdom is established; and so He chose a nation, in order that in that nation - as far as could be in conditions such as those which exist spiritually in this universe - there should be some faint reflection and indication of what the kingdom of God is, where God is all in all.
But that nation failed; they too betrayed God - and into the hands of the same enemy; for the cry of the prophets throughout was against the idolatry of Israel, and idolatry is, in principle and background, controlled by the evil powers in this universe. God was betrayed again; but He was not defeated, He did not give up. He was moving in relation to His original intention.
(continued with # 25 - (The Kingdom Secured Spiritually In the Last Adam)