Number 199


The Lord Jesus made the promise to His eleven apostles, Judas Iscariot being out of the picture (John 13:37), that the Holy Spirit would show the "things to come" (John 16:13). The fulfillment of this promise, which He later revealed, has been recorded for our benefit in the books that these men wrote, and it is to these writings that we must turn if we would know what the future holds for Israel, the world and us who now stand as simple believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

As a result of reading, studying, interpreting, and teaching the Bible for over 65 years, I believe that I have gained some degree of familiarity with what the Bible says. As to understanding what certain passages and portions mean, I make no claim. I am still working upon many things which the Apostle Peter called "Things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also other Scriptures, unto their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:16). I live daily in the hope that the Holy Spirit, the earnest of which I possess along with other believers (Eph. 1:13, 14), will give me better understanding so I can be of help to others.

Nevertheless, in spite of all the problems of interpretation and translation that are now present, we do not understand innumerable passages and these lay on us the responsibility of believing what God has said.

It is my deep conviction, and one that grows every day as I study the Bible, that God's present administration is one of absolute grace, under which every act of God is one of love and favor to the undeserving. He may be actively gracious or passively gracious, but if He does not act in grace, He will not act at all. And if I were to give an epigrammatic passage that summarily describes this, I would probably cite Ephesians 4:32 which when translated literally tells us: "Become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, dealing graciously (charidzomai) with one another, according as God also, in Christ, deals graciously (charidzomai) with you."

It is also my understanding that God's present method of dealing in grace with all mankind will not continue forever. It will have its end. When Paul spoke to Timothy of "last days" (2 Tim. 3:1-9), it is manifest that he was speaking of the concluding days of God's manifestation of unadulterated grace. He tells Timothy that these days will be filled with "dangerously violent times," and then adds 20 more specific manifestations of unusual wickedness that will be present. The appearance of these evils in concert and intensity will demonstrate that we are living in the concluding days of this present evil eon (see Seed & Bread No. 16).

As to what follows this present dispensation, there can be no question. God's administration of pure grace will be superseded by an administration of pure government, which is designated in Scripture as the Kingdom of God. And since the Kingdom of God is actually the subject of the Bible, we have ample materials to tell us all that we need to know about it. lf we begin with the plain, simple facts of God's word concerning it and steadfastly refuse all the theological refuse that church theologians have heaped upon it, we will surely come into the most marvelous revelation that God has given in the Bible. This revelation is epitomized in Psalm 67:4 where it is declared: "0 let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for Thou shalt judge the peoples righteously and govern the nations upon the earth."

This passage declares it in simple words, and its character is summarized for us in Psalm 9:7-9: But the Lord shall sit as a king outflowing (olam): He hath prepared His throne for judgment. And He will judge the world in uprightness, He will minister judgment to the peoples in uprightness.

Not one particle of truth set forth above is in any way dependent upon the second coming of the Lord Jesus (His parousia). Over and over we hear it declared that the Lord Jesus is coming back to earth to "set up His Kingdom upon it," but this is not the Word of God. It is the mistaken concept of men. Isaiah 42 describes the process by which God sets up His Kingdom (government) on the earth. This truth is repeated in Matthew

12:17-21. And, it is 1 Thessalonians 4: 15-17 that describes the process by which the Lord Jesus will be personally present upon the earth again. These two passages set forth two very different events, and those people should be ashamed if they have been guilty of exalting the Thessalonian passage and ignoring the declaration of the Lord in Matthew. There are many who do so.

lf there is one thing that is clear in Scripture, it is that the parousia of Jesus Christ takes place only after certain other definite events have come to pass (Matt. 24:20 and 24:30). And the first event, that must come to pass at the close of God's administration of Grace, is the divine assumption of sovereignty. This is a proper description of that important work of God which includes numerous other acts and which results in the Kingdom of God being set up on the earth. Thus, God will rule by the manifold acts, all of which are embraced in the words "the divine assumption of sovereignty."

To understand this act of God which ends God's administration of pure grace and brings to the world an administration of divine government (the Kingdom of God), we need to consider certain Old Testament passages. In Psalm 93:1,96:10,97:1, and 99:1, we find in each one the statement "the Lord reigneth." The Hebrew word for reigneth in all these passages is malak which means "to govern," or more exactly "to be a king." In these passages, Rotherham understands them as saying, "Jehovah has become king." Delitzsch says it means "Jehovah is now King." Rotherham declares concerning 93: 1, "that it tells of nothing less than an special assumption of sovereignty by Jehovah Himself." MacLaren states that these words declare an act rather than a state, and says further that "He has become king by some specific manifestation of His sovereignty." I would add that Jehovah will show the world numerous and various deeds that His government, His sovereignty and His Kingdom has begun.

We find this great truth stated in other words in Revelation 11:15, where the seventh angel announces: "The Kingdom (basileia--government) of this world became our Lord's and that of His Christ, and He shall be reigning (basileusei-govern) for the eons of the eon."

No time is set in this passage that informs us when the government of our Lord became the government of the world. But we do know, from 1 Corinthians 15:25, that once this begins, "He must reign (basileuein--govern) until He hath put all enemies under His feet (i.e., made fully submissive unto Him)." Since it is by a process of governing that He gets the victory, His reign will be a fact of life long before He leaves His Father's throne. That condition of things, which men call "the millennium" and the Bible calls the parousia of Jesus Christ, does not suddenly spring into existence out of the air. Scripture says, "He sends forth judgment unto victory," and "He will not fail or be discouraged."

However, some have objected that the divine assumption of sovereignty is too insignificant an event to establish the Kingdom of God upon the earth. They insist that the Kingdom must come by means of something spectacular like the descent of the Lord Jesus from heaven to earth as set forth in Matthew 24: 7 - 31, 1 Thessalonians 4: 16 and Revelation 19: 11-16. Therefore, most, if not all, teachers speak of the Lord returning to earth to set up His Kingdom, but this is not the act that brings the government of God to the earth. But even as peace comes to the earth, so will divine government come.

Psalms 85:8 declares that "He will speak peace unto His people, and unto His saints" and thus it is that absolute peace will suddenly come upon one of the most troubled sections of the world-the Middle East. Even so will God speak the word that declares His sovereignty and divine rule will come upon mankind and every inch of this planet we call earth.

In this connection it behooves everyone who seeks truth to learn that in the great act of the divine assumption of sovereignty there is encapsulated at least a dozen or more acts of God that take place, without which His government would be as flawed as the governments of men are today. Let us consider a few of these.

First there is the unveiling of Jesus Christ. This act of God is clearly revealed in 1 Corinthians 1:7 where we are told that the Corinthian believers were waiting for the apokalupsis of the Lord Jesus Christ. This Greek word is formed from apo which means "from" and kalupsis which means "veil" or "covering." It does not mean "coming," and is not so translated in any of its 17 occurrences in the New Testament. The unveiling of Christ will show the world who He is and what He is according to His place in the Deity. It will make known His right to assume sovereignty, to be the world's judge, lawgiver, and King (Isaiah 33:22). This unveiling was clearly predicted in the Old Testament. It will fulfill the great promise made in Isaiah 40:5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Contemporaneous with the unveiling of Jesus Christ will be the manifestation of the glory of the great God, even our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is called in the original Greek "the epiphaneia." To fully express the meaning of this word in English, it must be translated "blazing forth" (see Seed & Bread No. 37). This act of God implements the unveiling, acting upon every human being who has been included in the Kingdom of God. The word epiphaneia means a favorable intervention, one of great favor and not one of terrible wrath, as men everywhere are proclaiming today. It is this favorable intervention that we are to live looking for today, as set forth in Titus 2:13.

This Seed & Bread study was written by Otis Q. Sellers just prior to the debilitating stroke that stopped his writing and eventually took his life. The manuscript was misplaced and although it was known to exist was not found until recently when it was discovered among some old financial records of the Word of Truth Ministry. We are happy to add it to Seed & Bread, volume 2.

Published June 25,1997


Issue no. 199