We come to the hour of our morning meditation on the last Sunday of the year 1953. This Christmas Season, just past, has heard many expressions from choir and pulpit with respect to the birth of the Christ Child, commemorating the coming of our Lord on earth. In our meditations, we have recognized the Gospel of our LORD as, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” The world has long celebrated the coming of the King, and has come to anticipate what is called His “second coming;” but, by and large, the so-called Christian world has ignored the coming of His Kingdom, assuming that His Kingdom could not come, in fact, until He, in some mysterious fashion, should come again. Such an attitude suggests the belief that His first coming was not adequate to the establishment of His Kingdom on earth.
Many tender and sweet songs have been written in recognition of His birth in the form of the Babe Jesus. The finer instincts in human hearts have been stirred by the thought of that Babe in the manger, and the stories have been recounted with respect to the shepherds and the wise men. But the primary purpose of His coming has been largely ignored; for of what value is the coming of a king if his kingdom does not likewise come? Is it necessary that we, as human beings, steadfastly ignoring the message of His first coming, should require that He must come again before His Kingdom can be established among men? If His first coming cannot establish His Kingdom, what assurance have we that human beings would let any second coming establish His Kingdom?
The picture portrayed with respect to that second coming assumes that the matter will be taken out of the hands of men, and that He will arbitrarily impose His Kingdom, regardless of what human beings do, and in spite of them, not because of them. But such a concept places the load of responsibility on the King and does not truly share that load of responsibility with the citizens of the Kingdom. A kingdom that is imposed upon unwilling peoples establishes a realm of dictatorship, of tyranny. And our King has no intention of establishing a dictatorship or a realm of tyranny. The citizens of His Kingdom must willingly and eagerly accept the privilege of living in that Kingdom as citizens of it.
He came, and we know the story. The tender sentiments, the sweetness, the beauty, the vibrancy of Life, the wonder of Love, found in that outworking, is something from which human beings have largely separated themselves, and they have considered it only as they have celebrated, in memory, the event.
How shall His Kingdom come? We ourselves know, by our lives and our experiences, that something of the influence of His Kingdom has, most assuredly, extended into our lives. We have tasted of the reality of that Kingdom, and from what we have known, in actual, personal, experience, if we consider it without the obscuring veils of darkness which tend to arise from old world patterns, it has a peculiar and distinct character. That which we have experienced, be it ever so little, and though we know it to be inadequate as yet, has had, in its coming into our lives, exactly the same qualities which we find so richly portrayed in relationship to His birth; for we have found, to whatever degree we have yielded to His Kingdom and let it have meaning in our hearts and lives, that unspeakable sweetness, the delicacy and yet the overwhelming all-inclusive quality of Love. We have found in it a beauty which can transform even a stable in a manger into a Heavenly place. We have recognized that, regardless of external factors which may be pressing in round about, Heavenly music as of an angel's song reached into our hearts.
While we were in the process of letting this Kingdom have real meaning, we found expressions of wisdom coming into the realm of our awareness—the wise men. And in this experience we have received rich gifts into our own lives, for it was indicated by our Lord Himself, when He walked among men, that as He had received, both from God and through channels on earth, the things of God, so likewise should we. He indicated that as He had received ill things at the hands of men which were not the gifts of God to Him, so might we also expect to receive certain ill things from the hands of men who were not under the control, or dominion, of God. But, regardless of that which we might receive from men who were not under the dominion of God, He indicated that we should receive something from God.
Now, the Master, as a babe, received certain gifts from God. Gold and frankincense and myrrh are specifically mentioned. But He received these gifts from God through the wise men. They were the agents of God, making available to Him the gifts of God. He received responsive recognition from the shepherds, and in this response there was one of the gifts essential to a king—response—for he who is a king in name only, having no response, is not, in fact, a king. It is only as there is response to a king that there can be acknowledgment of a king, and only so can he express his kingly qualities and make them known within the scope of his kingdom.
As the King came into the world, it was signified, by that very fact, that the world was included in His Kingdom. From His standpoint, according to the Divine Pattern, the world was included in His Kingdom; else the King would not have come into the world, as a babe or by any other means. Regardless of appearances, in spite of all the ways in which human beings had spoiled the Kingdom through rebellion and traitorous conduct, this world was still, and is now, a part of His Kingdom. He did not go into someone else's kingdom to try to take someone else's kingdom to Himself. He came into the realm that belonged in His own Kingdom, that the fact might be made evident in the world.
Now that His coming is at a safe distance in the past—nineteen centuries or more—human beings feel quite free to celebrate that coming in the limited fashion that the world uses, as long as they can postpone the idea of the coming of His Kingdom to some fantastic future. But the world of men has never admitted that the world is, in fact, now, a part of His Kingdom. Human beings have consistently taken the attitude that this world is the kingdom of the devil, and that only by some fantastic means could this kingdom be taken away from the devil that it might become the Kingdom of our King.
We remember the manner in which it is presented in Revelation: “And the kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.” Now, it does not say, “And this world has become the Kingdom of our Lord,” for this world has been the Kingdom of our Lord all the while, although human beings have not acted like it. The statement is, “The kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.” Once we accept the basic fact that this world is now, and always has been, contained in His Kingdom, regardless of the nature of function of the people living in the world, we can begin to be in position to recognize the true nature of that which He brought into the world when He came as a babe born in a manger. Only so can we begin to see that the evidence of the coming of the Kingdom was supposed to follow the evidence of the coming of the King. The evidence of the coming of the Kingdom into manifestation, a revelation of the fact, was supposed to follow the evidence of the coming of the King. But that evidence has not followed, though nineteen centuries have passed. Instead, when we look into the world we find evidence that the Will of God is not being done in millions of lives, that the real control, from the standpoint of that Heavenly Kingdom, has not been revealed on earth. There is chaos and fear, misery, suffering, disease, every sort of ill thing appearing to have control.
As a representative of that King who walked among men so long ago, I am interested in having citizens in the Kingdom. I am interested in people, that they might share the manifestation of the evidence of that Kingdom. In fact, human beings are essential to that manifestation of the evidence of the fact of the Kingdom on earth. But, my interest in people, as such, even so, is secondary, secondary to the fact of the King and the fact of His Kingdom, whether it is as yet evident or not. The reality of the King and the Kingdom is basic. The rest is incidental.
As long as human beings imagine that the Kingdom, as such, is not a fact, they think that they must go through some kind of fantastic experience in order to bring that Kingdom on earth, which is not the Truth of the matter at all. The Kingdom is here, and always has been here. It was never away from here. This is not the whole Kingdom, but the Kingdom is here and always has been here. And, once we clearly see that basic Truth, we can see that we do not have to go through some peculiar experience in order to get the Kingdom to come. Our concern is that the evidence of the Kingdom shall come into manifestation. “Thy Kingdom come,” into manifestation. But the Kingdom already is, and it is already here. So, as long as the human being is imagining that God's Kingdom does not extend to here, he feels that he must somehow make God's Kingdom extend to here; and then he imagines that everything will automatically change and be thus and so, which is not the case at all. The Kingdom is here, but there has been very little evidence of the fact. So, our concern is with the coming of the evidence of the presence of the Kingdom.
The Kingdom itself is, in fact, the evidence of the presence of the King. Human beings have been looking, in one way or another, for evidence of the presence of the King without being concerned about revealing evidence of the presence of the Kingdom, and it leads to all kinds of fantastic concepts and beliefs, longings and futile desires. The Kingdom is the evidence of the presence of the King of the Kingdom. So, we need not be so concerned about making the evidence of the King present, that it may be seen. We should be concerned about revealing the evidence of the presence of the Kingdom, and the Kingdom itself will reveal the evidence of the presence of the King. Once we accept the Kingdom as being here as a basic fact, the rest is really quite easy.
If we, then, would derive the greatest possible Blessings from the Christmas Season, now past for this year, and be prepared thereby for the greatest possible expression of service in the year that is at hand, we need, more than anything else, to become thoroughly conditioned to these basic Truths, so that what we do and say, what we feel and express in various ways, shall in the New Year conform to the Truth, and our lives shall give evidence of our conviction of the Truth.
In the coming of the King nineteen centuries ago, in spite of the limitations that were present in the world, there was that which characterized His coming—all the sweetness, the beauty, the vibrancy of Life, the tender, and what we might call the magical, aspects of His birth and babyhood. He received these things from God through other human beings on earth. He received the opportunity of birth through His mother and His father. He received the essential care from His parents and others. He received the gifts of God's provision through the wise men. He received the significant gift of response from the shepherds and from others, from the lowly and from the great, as is necessary to a king. Response from the great—the wise men; response from the lowly—the shepherds; portraying a response that was destined to be all-inclusive throughout the body of humanity. And in all of this there was an exquisite and beautiful simplicity, something clothed in the Spirit of Love and Truth and Life.
If we are to allow the coming of the evidence of the Kingdom, as those few then allowed the coming of the evidence of the King, we must realize that the qualities which characterized the coming of the King likewise characterize the coming of the Kingdom. Human minds have tended to attribute to the Kingdom qualities which were not of the King. Just as surely as it was important to the salvation of man for the King of the Kingdom to come, so must the second step be taken, and the Kingdom of the King must come into manifestation.
Now, the King of the Kingdom was a reality, and had been through the thousands of years prior to His birth in the form of a babe on earth, but the evidence of the presence of the King had been lost to the consciousness of man. So, in actual fact, what do we see in that Babe that grew to be the body of a Man? What do we see? Simply the evidence of the presence of the King. The King was a fact before, but the evidence of His Presence was not adequately recognized by human beings. Therefore, in His coming there was the evidence of the presence of the King so made manifest that humanity has had to acknowledge it, but the meaning of that evidence has not been adequately comprehended or grasped. Its significance has been limited because human beings have failed to comprehend the fact that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, and they have not taken any real steps toward providing the coming of the evidence of the presence of the Kingdom. They were going to be good, so that when they died they could go to Heaven; or they were going to be saved; or, “When Jesus comes, then everything will be all right”—a thousand and one concepts and ideas, but nothing actually done according to the Divine Pattern, nothing actually worked out.
So, if we accept the evidence of the presence of the King, as that evidence was made manifest nineteen centuries ago, then, to be consistent and to let that have any meaning, we must likewise accept our responsibility in letting the evidence of the coming of the Kingdom, or the presence of the Kingdom, in fact, now, come. And if we can see this point clearly, and if it penetrates deeply into consciousness, so that it is not forgotten in any moment of time, so that it conditions everything we think and say and do, every attitude we express in life, then the new year shall have true meaning unto us. But, to whatever degree we fail to comprehend this and let it be a central conditioning factor in our lives, the new year will be meaningless unto us, filled with miseries, turmoils and difficulties, unnecessarily.
There must be the coming of the Kingdom, the coming of the evidenceof the Kingdom; the coming of the King, the coming of the evidenceof the King—because, in actual fact, they who then lived did not see the King except as His evidence was made manifest through the body that was called Jesus. The inner Reality of the King and the body were one, yes, but it was the evidence of the presence of the King shining through that body that made Him meaningful. And if we let the evidence of the presence of the Kingdom shine through us, we, too, will be meaningful.
He revealed amply, adequately, the evidence of the presence of the King. It is not our task to try to do what He did. We are delegated to doing the greater works, providing the evidence of the presence of the Kingdom, not just of the King. He provided that, and if we look at His life we see the evidence of the presence of the King. If we let this be the centering of the conditioning factors in our lives through the new year, we shall accomplish something to the glory of our King; if not, then it will be of no avail. But, in this day and time, since He did reveal the evidence of His presence as a King, the evidence of His presence as a King must appear by reason of the evidence of the presence of His Kingdom. That is our purpose here. And let it be clear in all that we do this coming year, that the increase of the evidence of the presence of the Kingdom, as revealed in and through and by our lives through this coming year, may glorify the King and be a Blessing to all who will accept the evidence made manifest, the evidence of the presence of the Kingdom of the King.