The Kingdom of God – Part 2

Continued from Part 1: Brother Roberts vision of the Kingdom:

This is only the profane portion of the land – a scene of peace and righteousness and plenty, truly, but not comparable to “the holy portion of the land.” Come to the holy portion of the land – the land given as an oblation to the Lord.

We approach Jerusalem, or rather Yah Shammah (the new name of the new city) from the south.

It stands in the southernmost section of the holy portion.

It is an immense city, built upon a plan of perfect symmetry and proportion.

It is very unlike the huddled clusters of human dwellings called towns with which we have been familiar.

The general plan is an exact square, marked by an outer wall.

The square is of enormous extent, measuring nine miles through at any point.

The wall is of bright stone, and adorned with towers at regular distances.

We only see the south wall.

It stretches away right and left further than the eye can follow.

It is over nine miles long on the south side, and on all the other sides the same.

There are lofty ornamental gates at regular distances.

We descend from the overlooking hill and enter by one of these gates.

It would be pleasant to stay and inspect the city; but we want to hurry on to the temple, and, therefore we must be content with a rapid passage through the central thoroughfare, which we have chosen, to the northern exit by one of the gates in the north wall.

Just before passing on, we notice at a glance the stately character of the city.

The streets are straight and wide, and shaded with trees, and, at regular distances, open out into squares and crescents.

The houses are not high, and stand apart in gardens except where here and there palatial blocks of buildings spring from the midst of the squares.

We ask what these are and are informed that they are reception-houses, for the accommodation of the visitors who daily come from all parts.

There is an immense number of the people in the city, but the city is so vast that they do not appear numerous, except at certain points, as we pass along.

Their aspect is such as never saw in any city crowd before – so quiet, yet so cheerful; so brightly interested in everything, yet so orderly and respectful; so apparently cultured and well-to-do, yet having none of the fussiness and arrogance usually associated with prosperity.

All are well-clad, clean, intelligent, good, righteous, and happy,- no boisterous merrymaking- no foolish banter – no unsuitable speaking.

They are a few of the happy subjects of the kingdom of God.

They have come from all parts of the earth to do homage to the king – wives and families with them, leaving behind them prosperous homesteads and occupations, to which they will return in a little season.

We hasten in a straight line along our nine-mile avenue of picturesque and happy human habitation – (we could take the help of an electric car, if we liked; for such has been provided in all the thoroughfares, for the use of the people; but, in our new state, we prefer to walk); we can quicken our pace, when we want to do so, as we dreamt of in our mortal days.

We get out at the gate of Judah; opposite which, after crossing an ornamental common of about half a mile in breadth that runs round the entire city, there opens a magnificent highway running in a straight line in a northern direction towards the temple which is distant about thirty miles.

Along this highway we proceed.

It is very broad, and of noble aspect.

A line of tall trees in a broad band of turf divides it in the center, and again in the middle of each side, giving four spacious roadways running side by side, lined with trees and bordered with turf and flowers.

The country on each side is laid out in field and estates, which are in the occupation of the Levites and of second order who serve the temple, whose lands, however, are accessible to visitors at all times.

The country becomes more magnificent at every step.

At certain points, side roads strike off and return in many turnings and windings to the main road again.

These side roads lead through woodsy solitudes of paradisaic beauty.

Let us go down one of these roads and behold the fulfillment of the promise that the Lord would make the place of his feet glorious.

All is quiet, comforting, and beautiful.

There is no dankness, but only a sense of bracing relief in the shade they give: no wetness on the ground, but only a pleasant soft hardness.

There are no walls or fences at the side of the road.

You may walk straight off the road on to velvet turf under the trees and among the shrubs.

Here you find all kinds of fruit growing – all kinds of flowers in bloom.

You are at liberty to put forth your hand and do as you will.

How delicious the odor everywhere! We stroll and stroll.

Bro. Robert Roberts describes his vision of the Kingdom in ‘The Final Consolation’.

Stay posted to read the remainder of the series.

The Kingdom of God

It is a picture, but not a fancy.

It is beautiful, but not a fable.

It is ravishing to the imagination, and yet the presentment of truth as practical and actual and tangible as any sight to be seen at any time in the humdrum streets of a modern city.

It comes direct to us on the guarantee of Him who holds heaven and earth in His hand – who, having cursed, can bless; who, having smitten, can heal; who, having caused us to know the misery of His withdrawn countenance from the earth, and the consequent prevalence of disorder and death, can gladden our eyes by the spectacle of the tabernacle of God with men, and human life a beautiful and holy and joyful thing for ever.

Come to the land of promise in the day of its glory – not as you are now – burdened with infirmity, with a nature easily fatigued, eye soon dimmed, power soon spent, and having but scant capacity to rise to the surrounding sublimities of the universe, or to apprehend sympathetically the subtle glories of the Spirit.

Come, when it has been said to you as to Joshua, “Take away the filthy garments from him…

I will clothe thee with a change of raiment.” Come when mortality no longer weighs you to the earth, and when you know the new experience of having “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Come when you can step lightly and joyously abroad upon the earth in the freedom and power of spirit nature; strong, penetrating eye looks out of a glad heart to behold in all things the unfolded love, and wisdom, and glory of God: when every thought is a joy, every movement a pleasure; every breath the inspiration of an ecstacy that can only find fit expression in praise to Him that sits upon the throne.

In such a state, any land, any configuration of country, would furnish suitable sphere.

But God puts his jewels in fit settings.

He hath called and glorified His children, and “He hath prepared for them a city” – a city having foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Abraham sojourned in the geographical area of this city – in the land of promise – as in a strange country; but that is now long past.

Forsaken and hated for ages, the land is now “an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.” God has fulfilled His promise, and has made “her wilderness like Eden – her desert like the garden of the Lord.” Come and see as we go; we stand on the hills of Judea, now no longer stern and wild.

They are clad with glorious vegetation, of every form and fragrance.

The hills are clothed with pleasant woods, and the valleys rejoice in the smiling beauties of a rich cultivation – field and vineyard, fruits and flowers, corn and wine.

The air is clear and warm, and laden with pleasant odours.

The view on all sides is magnificent and far-reaching.

No smoke obscures the landscape, no fog on the valleys, no mist on the hills.

The sky is cloudless, and the sun pours his healing flood of light on rejoicing land and ocean.

The whirr of pleasant insect; the musical song of bird helps the sense of gladness that fills the air.

Nearby are pleasant homesteads, standing each in its own plot or portion, neatly trimmed and well-kept.

Below in the valley, towns and hamlets, peopled by righteous Israelites, are visible in the far receding distance, clearly visible in this transparent atmosphere, in which everything appears nearer than it is.

Jerusalem is faintly visible on our northern horizon.

Let us hasten in that direction.

Bro. Robert Roberts describes his vision of the Kingdom in ‘The Final Consolation’.

Stay posted to read the remainder of the series.

Who are the Christadelphians?

“Christianity was in its earliest days, entirely unpolitical: The best representatives in our time are the Christadelphians.” – Bertrand Russel

“Christadelphians aim to get as close as possible to the faith and practice of the early Christian church.” – The BBC

The Christadelphians reject many of the major doctrines of modern Christendom, and have an understanding of the Gospel that is true to the original teachings of Jesus Christ.

It is recognized – even by historians – that many of the doctrines of the major churches were introduced in many cases under political pressure, or for political expediency. In other cases and especially around the 4th century, Christian practices adopted pagan characteristics in order to entice pagan worshippers. However the doctrines and practices of the Christadelphian community dispense with centuries of pagan and political influence, and are derived only through scriptural precedent.

Continued, personal and independent study of the Bible is the primary emphasis of the community, with sole reliance on Scriptures for guidance in a way of life.

The Christadelphians organise locally into groups called “ecclesias”, which is a Bible word in Greek that means A called out assembly. We have no clergy, and share responsibilities for various tasks among the baptized members of the ecclesia. Our ecclesias associate with one another by having what we term – fellowship, which is Christian association in many forms.

There are Christadelphians in many parts of the world, for example in Britain and parts of Europe, many African countries, the Far East from India to Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, North and South America from Canada to Argentina, and in the islands of the Caribbean. The community includes people of many races and cultures.

A brief summary of Christadelphian beliefs are listed below.

  • The Bible is the only true message from God and was entirely given by him.
  • There is only one God, the Father, who made the world and has a great purpose for it.
  • The Holy Spirit is God’s own power; by which He works out His own holy will.
  • Jesus is the Son of God. He is also Son of man through being born of Mary.
  • Jesus overcame all temptation and died to save his followers from sin and death.
  • Jesus was raised from the dead by God. Later he ascended to heaven but will return.
  • When he returns he will raise and judge the responsible dead and give immortality to the faithful.
  • He will be King over the restored Kingdom of God in Israel and over the whole world.
  • His immortalised followers will help him to bring everlasting righteousness and peace worldwide.
  • The devil is not a supernatural being but is another name for sin, destroyed only in Christ.
  • Salvation involves covering from sin through Christ, and freedom from sin and death at his coming.
  • When man dies he ceases to exist. The only hope of life is by the resurrection at Christ’s return.
  • Belief in God’s Promises about the Kingdom of God and the work of Jesus Christ is essential.
  • Repentance and baptism into Christ by immersion in water and daily following of Christ are all necessary for ultimate salvation.

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