But strangely enough, some of the very men who are so scornful of the alleged “materialism” of a Millennial Kingdom, are the most insistent that the Church today must make effective in society what they call the social and moral ideals of the present kingdom of God. Thus, it is our duty to vote the right ticket politically, give to the Red Cross, help the Boy Scouts, support the United Nations, endow hospitals, etc. But if a “spiritual” kingdom can and should produce such effects at the present time through the very imperfect agency of sinful men, why cannot the same thing be true in larger measure in the coming age when the rule of God will be mediated more perfectly and powerfully through the Eternal Son personally present among men as the Mediatorial King? ... The reasoning of such men at times seems very curious. If physicians conquer disease, if scientists eliminate certain physical hazards, if by legislation governments improve the quality of human existence, if wise statesmen succeed in preventing a war, etc.,—these things are often cited as evidence of the progress of a present Kingdom of God. But if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself returns to earth in person to accomplish these same things, more perfectly and universally, then we are told that such a kingdom would be “carnal.”3
Some people tell us that it is quite too low and coarse a thing to think of the earth in connection with the final bliss of the saints. They preach that we do but degrade and pervert the exalted things of holy Scripture, when we hint the declaration of the wise man, that “the earth endureth forever,” and that over it the glorious and everlasting kingdom of Christ and His saints, is to be established in literal reality. But if the ransomed in heaven, with golden crowns upon their brows, kneeling at the feet of the Lamb, before the very throne of God, and with the prayers of all the saints, and the predictions of all the prophets in their hands, could sing of it as one of the elements of their loftiest hopes and joys, I beg to turn a deaf ear to the surly cry of “carnal”—“sensual”—“unspiritual”—which some would turn me from “the blessed hope.” Shall the saints in glory shout “We shall reign on the earth,” and we be accounted heretics for believing that they knew what they were saying?4
1 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 1-7 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1992), Rev. 5:10.
2 Concerning the land promises made to Israel, see: Gen. 15:7, 18; 26:4; 35:12; Ex. 3:8, 17; 6:4; 12:25; 13:5, 11; 32:13; 33:1; Deu. 1:8; 29:1, 9, 12; 30:1; 32:52; Jos. 21:43; 23:5; 1Chr. 16:18; 17:9; Ps. 105:11; Isa. 60:21; Jer. 11:5; 16:15; Eze. 37:14, 25; Amos 9:15; Acts 7:5.
3 Alva J. McClain, The Greatness Of The Kingdom (Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1959), 520-521.
4 J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), 119.