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The Kingdom of Heaven.

THE Old Testament has references to the everlasting Kingdom that will exist after the end of the world, but there are also many prophecies of a coming Kingdom in which the Messiah will reign over the earth. There is also reference to a new covenant. Both of these suggest allegiance and service. Kingdom suggests that we accept Jesus as Lord and are loyal to him as our Sovereign, while Covenant implies that we fulfil the condition under which God promises to bless us. A Kingdom and a Covenant can mean nothing less than that.
During the ministry of John the Baptist and of Christ it was proclaimed that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Christ gave the keys to Peter, and Peter, acting on the authority given him, opened the Kingdom on Pentecost. Christ having entered within the vail, into the presence of God, with an infinite and ever enduring sacrifice, he was then enthroned at the Father's right hand. Like Melchisedek he became both priest and king. He is King of Salem and priest of the most high God.
There is no Scripture to show that Christ will come and reign in person on earth. That smacks of going back to Judaism. Christ from his throne in heaven now rules over his kingdom on earth, which was established at Pentecost, and he will reign until at the end of the world he comes to judge and reward.
Revelation 20 tells of a thousand-year period in the reign of Christ when some of the saints and martyrs will be associated with Christ in his reign. The reign of Christ itself is not discussed in the passage, but that of those who had been persecuted and who, under Christ, had an influence over the hearts and lives of the people of God. Reformers and martyrs can live in the hearts of men. It is not revealed when in Christ's reign the thousand years will begin or how long after the thousand years Christ will continue on his throne in Heaven. These questions and the mistaken idea that there will be a reign in person on earth, are unprofitable fields of fanciful speculation which fascinate many and blind them to the simple truth. No person should be deceived by a profound and superior manner.
The Mosaic Law having been annulled and the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile having been taken away, Peter on the day of Pentecost opened the world-wide kingdom. Being guided by the Holy Spirit, Peter would do all things in keeping with the Lord's instructions and his great commission. Jesus said that 'except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.' He taught the same in different words when he said, 'he that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.' He also said that 'repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his Name, among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.' These plain statements, in spite of the attempts to undermine them have never been reasonably explained away. We will try to find from Acts 2 how Peter at the opening of the Kingdom understood the words of the Saviour.
In Acts 2:22 to 36 we have what Peter proclaimed. The Gospel or the life-giving word of God that was preached seemed to be received and take root in the hearts of the hearers, as their conviction caused them to say to the Apostles, "what shall we do?' Acceptance of the Apostle's word and belief in Jesus, and nothing else, would bring them to this state of mind. Spiritual life had been begotten in their hearts. In the parable of the Sower it is said, 'the seed is the word of God.' Paul said to the Corinthians, 'yet have ye not many fathers: For in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel.' As the Apostle only associates the Gospel with the part of the father, we should avoid making the Word cover both the part of father and mother. James 1:18 says 'of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.' 1 Peter 1:23 (R.V.) says, 'having been begotten again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible through the word of God.' From the passages quoted we conclude that the Holy Spirit through the Gospel begets life. It is one thing to receive life or be begotten and it is another to be brought forth or born again. In one we receive, in the other we emerge from. The one has a premier place from the beginning right through while the other only consummates our conversion or turning to God.
The words of life spoken by Peter had gone home and changed the minds of the hearers. It is written 'Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.' The fact that Peter in his reply did not tell them to believe shows that he looked on them as having believed the Gospel they had just heard. The anxious inquiry they made indicated their belief. The answer to their question was, 'repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and yet shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.' To repent is to resolve to act on your faith and therefore implies that there is faith. The prodigal through his faith in his father said within himself, 'I will arise and go to my father.'
In like manner baptism presupposes faith. I have never heard of a person of responsible age being baptised who was an unbeliever; it is as a believer they are baptised. Philip said to the eunuch, 'If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest.' So although it is not stated we cannot but conclude that the three thousand all believed. As they had believed on the Name of Jesus Christ and accepted the word of God into their heart, they possessed the right or privilege to become children of God - the right to be born of water into

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