St. Paul Enterprise, July 11, 1916


Sioux City, Iowa, July 9. Pastor Russell is in our city, in attendance upon the I B S A convention here. Today he delivered a powerful lecture based upon Matt. 11:12 - "The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." He said in part:

According to the Bible, our earth is the only province in all God's universe that is in rebellion against the great Creator. We will not recount the history of this rebellion, save to remind you briefly that our father Adam was created in the image of God, in perfect harmony with his Maker. He was abundantly supplied with suitable food, delightful surroundings, and everything needful to his welfare and happiness. The terms under which he might have life and its accompanying blessings continued everlastingly were clearly stated to him by Jehovah God, and were most reasonable. But the temptation to disobedience came; and in his inexperience Adam succumbed to the Tempter. He became a rebel against his Creator, and brought upon himself the sentence of death not eternal torment. That sentence was, "Dying, thou shalt die" NOT "Living, thou shalt live in torment." Gen. 2:17; 3:19; Eze. 18:4; Rom. 6:23.

This is the plain statement of the Scriptures, no matter how much we have been taught to the contrary. That rebellion which set in more than six thousand years ago, has continued ever since. During this period God has not interposed to stop this rebellion in the human family. Ever since the fall of man, Death has reigned over all of Adam's posterity. God purposed to permit sin to take its course, for a certain limited period, in order that mankind's experiences with sin should be a great lesson, not only to themselves, but to all of God's intelligent creatures throughout eternity.

The angels have been very deeply interested onlookers regarding what has happened upon this planet, as the Scriptures plainly show. Some of the angels followed man into sin; others remained true to their Creator and His laws. But while the holy angels have not transgressed at any time, yet they have beheld the transgression of mankind, and are noting how it has turned out. They perceive that in its very nature sin brings a sure penalty; that its only possible effect is mental, moral and physical decay; and that misery, pain and sorrow are its inevitable accompaniments, ending in death.


But our wise Creator does not purpose to permit sin to continue indefinitely. Why should He permit sin to mar His great universe? Before deciding that nothing can be done for humanity, God purposes to give the whole human family an opportunity to return to harmony and fellowship with Him. This opportunity, the Apostle Peter tells us, will be given during the "Times of Restitution." "Times of Refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you: whom the Heavens must retain until the Times of Restitution, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:19-21.

There have been no times of refreshing since Father Adam's sin of disobedience; for there the curse began and has continued even until now. St. Peter tells us, however, that in God's great plan, our Lord Jesus Christ is sent to earth, to accomplish the great work provided for in His death over eighteen hundred years ago. For a thousand years He will reign for the purpose of eradicating sin, of helping mankind up out of their fallen condition and bringing back to the image of God all the willing and obedient. That will be the time when Messiah will take to Himself His great power and reign. First of all He will bind Satan, so that the nations will no more be deceived by him.

In His own due time God sent forth His Son to be the King, sent Him into this world, this rebellious province, to tell mankind that the great God who had condemned them has mercy on them and wishes to bless them. Our Lord Jesus came to the most favored nation of His time; but they rejected Him and crucified Him. He who had come into the world as its rightful King, as God's Representative, suffered violence even unto death. Since He represented the kingdom which God purposed to set up on earth, when He was crucified, violence was done to the Kingdom.

These things have not take the Lord by surprise. God foreknew it all from the beginning. It was a part of the Divine program to permit His Son to be crucified; and knowing that it was the Father's will, the Son permitted His life to be taken from Him by wicked men. He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. "Wherefore God hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name above every name," next to His own. He who came into the world as its rightful King was crucified. But His death as a man was the gateway to glory, when He was resurrected by the power of the Almighty, and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High, there to remain until He should come to earth again to take His rightful authority as earth's Ruler for a thousand years.


God foretold the death of our Lord Jesus through the prophets hundreds of years before He came to earth as a man, in order that we might be able to see that all things have worked according to the counsel of the Divine will, and that sin and evil have not been permitted in any wise to frustrate His plans and purposes. And as it was the Father's design to permit the great Head of the Church to suffer violence, even so has it been His design to permit those who have followed the Master in the way of sacrifice to suffer violence. "If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household?" (Matt. 10:25) In these, as representatives of the Heavenly Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven has suffered violence throughout the Gospel Age. [HGL833] How comes it that so false and unjust an impression of Jesus and His saints could exist? Why should good appear to be evil to many and the evil appear to be good? We answer, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not." (2 Cor. 4:4) The religious leaders of Jesus' day said He had a devil because He did not join in with the Scribes and Pharisees, because He would not teach the traditions of men, because He would not endorse their theories nor walk in their ways. Had He joined in with them, He would have been popular. They would have praised Him and pointed to Him as one of themselves. But He would not do this because they were wrong. Our Lord stood for God and the Truth; therefore He could not and would not

endorse the theories of the religious leaders of His day. He would not teach their doctrines. As a result, the leaders opposed, maligned and persecuted Him. And thus it has been with all who have followed in His steps ever since.

There was a time when Christ's true followers were put to all manner of gross indignities, were tortured on the rack, were roasted at the stake. We may not today suffer in the same manner; for such physical tortures are out of style. Tormenting, burning, crucifying, etc., are no longer practiced. Now the Lord's faithful servants are held up to public opprobrium. This is called "roasting." The former kind of roasting has become unpopular; and so we now have this more modern method. Many newspapers and preachers seek to dishonor those who follow the Master and have His Spirit. What shall we do when thus misrepresented and defamed? Shall we return evil for evil? Oh, no! Our Lord Jesus did not do so. (1 Pet. 2:21-23) Although He had the power to do so, yet He would not use that power. He could have saved Himself from the cross; but if He had done so, He would not have been the Savior of the world. He knew that His enemies did not realize what they were doing. This was the testimony of the Apostles. Acts 3:13-17; 1 Cor. 2:8.


Thus it has been all down the Gospel Age. The members of the Kingdom class have suffered violence from those who knew not what they were doing. Had they realized that they were persecuting the true Church of Christ, they would surely have refrained at once. But the Lord's faithful followers are to put up with this ill treatment with good grace, knowing that it is working out for them a great blessing, and that in due time a blessing will come even to our persecutors.

This is God's arrangement for all whom He has called to be of the Gospel Church. If the Head of that Church, our Lord Jesus Christ, had not suffered, even unto the death of the cross, He would not have received the high reward of exaltation to the right hand of the Majesty on High. The same principle is operating toward all the Kingdom class. If we miss the persecution, we shall also miss the blessing, the reward. (Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:11-12) We cannot change God's plan.

The Scriptures assure us, however, that this matter of suffering violence under present evil conditions will ultimately work out for the good of the saints of God. It is written, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to the called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28) How reasonable a proposition, that He whom God has purposed shall be the great King to bring the fallen race of man back to harmony with Himself should first learn sympathy for those whom He would uplift and restore! How reasonable, too, that those called to be associate rulers and blessers with Him should learn the same lessons!


There has been a great mistake made regarding the nature of the Kingdom of God and the time for its domination of earth. We have not properly understood the matter. We have thought that the Kingdom of God was already here, that its rule had already begun. Some have thought that it was set up when our Lord arose from the dead. Others have supposed that it was set up at Pentecost. But long after Pentecost St. John prayed for this Kingdom to come. (Rev. 22:20) Still others have thought that it must have come with the destruction of Jerusalem. But it did not come then.

Many people believe that the Kingdom of God was established on earth in the year 800 A D Then the Roman Catholic Church had become very powerful, and the European kingdoms very weak. Religious leaders said, "We have waited eight hundred years for our Lord to return and set up His Kingdom. He has not come. But the church is growing strong and influential. Surely it must be the will of God that we should set up the Kingdom."

According to this conclusion, the Holy Roman Empire was established about the year 800, with the bishop of Rome, as the Vicegerent of Christ His earthly representative. Doubtless the leaders of this movement thought they were following Divine instructions regarding the establishment of the long promised, Kingdom; but the Adversary deceived them. The Bible tells us that he has deceived the whole world. (Rev. 20:1-4) For centuries this pseudo-kingdom of God made and unmade kings, as appointees of God's Kingdom. For a while the kings had to walk very humbly and quietly; for if they displeased the Pope, he would depose them and appoint their successor. History records many humiliating experiences which disobedient European sovereigns were compelled to undergo as a result of the Pope's anger at their course.


Surely the Kingdom which had such power was not the Kingdom of Heaven which according to our text, was to suffer violence at the hands of men throughout the Gospel Age! In the light of the Scriptures we cannot believe that the Kingdom of God has been reigning on earth for the past 1, 100 years. If it has been in power, we would be greatly disappointed; for the Word of God leads us to expect that Kingdom to accomplish something far greater and more lasting than anything that has been accomplished during these centuries. The Word assures us that when Messiah reigns; He will reign in righteousness and in judgment; that His control will extend over the entire earth, for the uplift and blessing of the whole world, for their deliverance from sin, sorrow and death. Isa. 32:1-4; 35:1-10; Psa. 72, etc. [HGL834] We have seen nothing like these blessed results during the Papal Millennium. For the past 1, 100 years the records of history reveal nothing but a reign of corruption and violence, not a reign of righteousness and peace. All evil-doers have not been cut off; neither have the righteous flourished. Speaking through the Prophet David, the Lord says of this present evil time, "I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree." "Their eyes stand out with fatness." (Psa. 37:35, 36; 73:3-12) But to the righteous our Lord Jesus says, "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake." Of the same class the Apostle Paul declares, "All that shall live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Matt. 5:11; 2 Tim. 3:12

All this is in harmony with our text, which declares that during the present life the Kingdom of Heaven, the true Church of Christ, suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. The meek have not yet inherited the earth; they seldom get even a good slice of it. Are the righteous blessed and the wicked punished today? No; just the reverse. Those who are living godly lives in Christ Jesus are misrepresented, persecuted and put out of the synagogues. All manner of evil is spoken against them falsely for Christ's sake. And this is being done in the name of Christ! John 16:1-4


For centuries the true Church has suffered violence at the hands of the rulers of this world. Some have done this under one name, some under another; but the persecution has been done under the direction of Satan, whose object it is to destroy the true saints of God. But when the true Kingdom is set up, there will be a great change in this respect.

God's times and seasons are absolutely fixed. No one can hasten them. Everything is in the Father's power. Now we see that God wished the world to have six great Days of a thousand years each, during which to learn certain necessary lessons; and that these six Days were to be followed by a Seventh Day, during which Christ and the Church will occupy the office of Prophet, Priest and King, in order to teach, help and uplift the world, restoring them to all that was lost in Eden and redeemed at Calvary.

The present order of things will not last. Our Lord will set up the Kingdom of God (Dan. 2:44) which will do away with this present order and will bring in the New Order. At that time He will have associated with Him all those who have been loyal to Him and His Cause, and who have proved themselves faithful even unto death. Only such will be His joint-heirs in the Kingdom.

Seeing these things, perceiving the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Scriptures all about us, and knowing from the sure Word of God the outcome of present events, the Lord's faithful people may well wait in patience for their deliverance, may well life up their heads and rejoice. (Luke 21:28) Daily we are getting ready for the Kingdom by proving and manifesting that we have a thorough-going loyalty of heart to the coming Kingdom and its principles of righteousness. If we are willing to suffer violence for the Kingdom and its righteous principles, God will know that we are loyal to Him; and He will reward us openly. The deliverance of the suffering saints of God draws near.

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