WITH MINGLED joy and anxiety I present this book to Christian readers everywhere. I am anxious because the matters taught are so weighty. I earnestly pray that God will make the truths that are herein presented clear to every humble heart who willingly seeks to know what God has promised and the things that "must shortly come to pass." But there is a great joy in the telling of this story. My own heart has been so blessed in the long months of preparation, study, prayer, and writing, that I cannot but feel that others likewise will be blessed.
The burden of the book is this: that Christ will return to this earth, restore Israel to Palestine and save them, and will establish again the throne of David, and from that throne rule over the entire earth; that this kingdom will be a literal kingdom of a visible Christ reigning over a literal people; that eventually Heaven will be on this earth. Many other details of teaching will become clear as you read. All I ask is that you give to the reading an open mind and a prayerful, humble heart, and that you search the Scriptures to see whether these things are so.
Two things particularly characterize this volume.
The first is that nearly one line in three of the book is actual Scripture quotations.
Many, many other Scripture references are given. The whole matter must be settled by the Word of God. It is a book of Bible teaching. I trust and earnestly believe that this feature will make the book valuable to the well-versed Bible scholar and at the same time understandable and rich to the beginning student who knows little of the Word of God.
The other outstanding characteristic is that the Scriptures are taken at face value.
I believe the Bible. I believe it says what it means. I believe that humble, prayerful hearts who approach the Word of God in reverent faith will find its treasures fully available, and each one may fill his vessel to the full. Worldly wisdom is not sufficient, for God has hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them unto babes. So we take the Scriptures at face value.
- "Israel" means Israel.
- "Jerusalem" means Jerusalem.
- "For ever" means forever.
- "A thousand years" means a thousand years.
- All the promises of God are "yea and amen."
If Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and the apostles believed the promises about the coming kingdom, then we may safely do the same.
- Some say the promised reign of Christ on the throne of David will never come to pass.
- Others say it began during His earthly ministry.
- Still others believe that at Pentecost the kingdom was set up and that the church and kingdom are the same.
- Still others believe that the Scriptural promises and prophecies on these matters are highly figurative, cannot be understood, and that we should leave the study of unfulfilled prophecies and preach only those that have been fulfilled.
But the careful and prayerful reader who checks this little book by THE Book will learn that God has promised a kingdom on this earth when the Lord Jesus Himself shall reign gloriously in Jerusalem over all the earth.
Please do not be offended at the positive ring throughout the book.
Before you are through you will see, I trust, that this book presents only the clear, positive teachings of the Word of God. If we were guessing about dates, or speculating on things not revealed, we might well be more timid. There is much about the future that we do not know.
Many faithful and good teachers and preachers of the Bible do not agree about details. But the great body of truth concerning the fact of Christ's literal return and literal reign on this earth are so clearly taught that for a humble and open-minded believer to know what God's Word says on these matters is simply to accept it and be glad.
For myself it was so. Reared and trained altogether under the teachings of postmillennialists in Sunday School, preaching service, college, university, and seminary, when I began the independent study of my Bible I was compelled and then happy to accept this Bible teaching.
In closing, may I say that the purpose of the book is not only to make clear a great Bible teaching but to establish a Hope and show Christians that it is the blessed Hope. I earnestly pray that hearts will be blessed even more than heads.
To me it is surprisingly sweet to know that there is coming a day:
- when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ;
- When the pure in heart shall see God,
- When the meek shall inherit the earth;
- When the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
- When the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped,
- When the lame shall leap as an hart,
- When the tongue of the dumb shall sing,
- When sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Our arms will hold again our dear ones, loved and lost awhile, and we shall see Him whom we love because He first loved us.
I trust that the longing in your heart, as you read this book, will teach you to pray sincerely in the words the Saviour taught us, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10), and like the beloved John, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus"! (Revelation 22:20).
I take this occasion to acknowledge my debt to many who have helped to make this book possible.
The writings of Dr. R. A. Torrey, Dr. C. I. Scofield, Dr. W. E. Blackstone and many others have taught me to take heed to the "more sure word of prophecy" "as unto a light that shineth in a dark place."
I owe to the ministry of such men a debt of gratitude which words can only poorly express.
The defects of the book must be many. My heart cries out that however much of prayer and study and labor has been bestowed upon the book I am an unprofitable servant. Yet before now God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the mighty, and He who blessed Moses' rod and Gideon's lamp, and the jawbone in the hand of Samson, can surely bless this. I put it in His hands as the little boy put the loaves and fishes there for Him to multiply and feed the hungry multitude.
May He get glory to His great name! Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
John R. Rice
Wheaton, Illinois December, 1944