Thoughts on the Similitudes of the Kingdom; Part 13

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Two very important questions, and which we by no means pretend to answer, arise, namely-What is the leaven? and what is the leavening process? A few suggestions is all we can give. Evidently the parable sets forth some doctrine or principle which obtains universally within the sphere of the kingdom; just as the tree typified power and dominion. When, however, we get the idea of doctrine, it is confined to a Church point of view, and we forget that it is a similitude of the kingdom. Manifestly the kingdom has assumed a Church or ecclesiastical form, and this parable has a special reference to this form. Profession at one time or other was made in every part of the kingdom; the leaven that has infected it has produced results of varied appearance, till all is leavened; infidelity and superstition, corruption and formality, are alike the effects of the leaven; and in every place there is what we may call a religious element, even though it be a denial of all God's truth. This will take in a larger circuit than the professing Church. As a Church there are many things predicated of it which could not be if simply viewed as a.. kingdom. Take, for instance, the doctrine of the Holy Ghost's presence in the Church: the waiting for the coming of the Son from heaven. How soon after the Apostles' departure they were denied! The presence of God's Spirit in the Church soon came to be regarded as a mere influence. Jesus said, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever: even the Spirit of Truth, &c." (John 14:1616And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (John 14:16).) This abiding was ignored practically. He was grieved and hindered. It is His work to lead us into the patient waiting for Christ. If worldliness and love of power lead men to deny His presence, as ruling and guiding the destinies of the Church here below, that they may themselves reign as kings, what wonder if the daily expectation of the Lord's coming, be considered as contrary to the teaching of the Word, as only a figurative expression for death? For nothing could so materially interfere with their power as the habitual expectation of the Lord's coming. The seeking the power of the world made them deny the Lord's coming for His Church, ignore the presence of the Spirit who alone can maintain that truth vitally in the Church; and this spread through all the mass. Differences here and there have existed on many points, but there has been unity of sentiment and feeling in this, In whatever else the Church has disagreed, on this point it has been of one mind.
But yet the presence of the Holy Ghost in the Church is no feature of the kingdom as such, nor the return of the Lord for His saints.
The return of Jesus, as King to execute judgment upon His enemies, to assert His rights, to take His own power and glory, to show Himself the only true Potentate, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, are essential characteristics of the kingdom. True and loyal subjects always remember the rights of their absent king. And we, as members of the Church, raised above the mere condition of subjects, rejoice in asserting and maintaining the claims of Jesus, the King. But this has been denied. Jesus, as priest and prophet is freely confessed, but as king denied, save as reigning over the affections, a sort of spiritual king; all expression by the way not easy to understand, as the honest adherents of the Pope show when they contend for the necessity of the temporal power as a support to his spiritual functions. I repeat the true and rightful claims of the KING have been denied, and those who have usurped authority in the Church of God claim power over the world, and even in our day a dignitary of this huge system has not shrunk from declaring that all kings and emperors should bow to the authority of the Pope. Now, from the kingdom point of view, may not this, with all its resultant evils, be the leaven here meant? If not this only, yet is it not a chief ingredient. For the denial of His right, as King, has always characterized the mysteries of the kingdom ever since it assumed the form and place of a great tree. And the order of these two parables -first the tree, then the leaven-suggests the thought that the obtaining of power in the world caused the evil doctrine of denying the rights of the Lord over His own kingdom, and of denying the true position in which the world, as a whole, stood towards the rightful king, namely, the rejectors of Him.
This is not the same thing as a man rejecting Christ as Savior. But a position in which, alas, some Christians have been found; and which although there may be faith in the blood of Jesus for salvation' is yet more dishonoring to the Lord Jesus. And all who set aside the plain teaching of the word of God, and assert that the millennium, or the reign of righteousness, is to be brought in by the means and appliances used by the religious world, do virtually deny the scriptural and proper Kingship of our Lord. Of course, in the Christian it is rather the denial of the doctrine than of the person. But in the case of the sinner, sooner or later personal hatred is manifested against the Lord Jesus.
Looking on Christendom we find it just as these parables foreshowed. The kingdom has become quite different from what was apparently the Lord's intention. It is now a world-power, or world-powers, if we look at the several parts of the kingdom. There are the Latin, and the Greek, and the mixed Protestant mass; and whatever may be said of the last confessedly the first and the second aim at and possess worldly power. So completely is the Lord Jesus shut out from His own kingdom that infidels of various shades hold positions of authority and emolument in that which calls itself by His name. Nay, we find not only His rights denied but the Deity of His person attacked. Soon they will deny Him come in flesh, and bow down to anti-Christ.
To him Infidels, Mahomedans, and all, but the Church of God, will submit. Then come judgment and eternal death upon those who would not have the man, Christ Jesus, to reign over them. All this evil has come into the field because the servants slept. -
What is to keep us from being affected in any way with this terrible evil Waiting for the Son from heaven. May we be ever in the attitude of looking for Him. To such He will appear, "without sin, unto salvation."
Note.-In page 154, line 9, for "Theodorias" read "Theodosius." Line 85, for "require" read "acquire."