Written by Philip Mauro (1859-1952).
A KINGDOM “NOT OF THIS WORLD”
When the Lord Jesus Christ and His forerunner, John the Baptist, were publicly announcing in the hearing of many thousands of people that the Kingdom of heaven was “at hand,” that is, about to be introduced, what actually was at hand was this present dispensation of the Holy Spirit. And that is precisely what John announced in clear words when he said, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I cometh, the ratchet of Whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose. He shall baptize you with the, Holy Ghost and with fire” (Luke 3: 16). And the Lord Jesus, after His death and resurrection, referred to this announcement, using the same words, and telling His disciples that the event which John had proclaimed, the baptism with the Holy Ghost, would take place “not many days hence” (Acts 1: 5). This proves conclusively that the “kingdom” which John heralded as “at hand” began at Pentecost.
This dispensation of the Kingdom of God, heralded by John the Baptist, which is the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, was to embrace the whole world, and was to be introduced by the Lord’s death and resurrection and His ascension to the right hand of God, in fulfilment of Psalms 2, 16, 110, and other prophetic Scriptures. This also was announced by John the Baptist in words of unmistakable clearness when he pointed to the Lord Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world;” and when he went on to say, “the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost” (John 1: 29-34).
It is clear that John was here announcing this era of the gospel of Christ crucified and risen from the dead, preached “with the Holy Ghost come down from heaven.” Every one with the smallest Bible knowledge knows that the words, “Lamb of God,” speak of God’s appointed Sacrifice for sinners; and the remarkable expression — “the sin of the world” — shows that the coming Sacrifice was not for Israel only, but for the whole world.
The reader is called upon to say whether, with all the facts now before him, he will join himself with the chief priests and rulers of the Jews in accusing the Lord Jesus Christ of stirring up insurrection against Caesar, and seeking to set up another government.
For our part we maintain the judgment of Pilate was correct, and was strictly in accordance with the testimony in the case; and; moreover, that the testimony of the only Witness, the Accused Himself, that appeared before the court in that trial was true.
The argument which the author has developed in the foregoing pages was concisely set forth several decades ago in one of his books — GOD’S PRESENT KINGDOM. A lawyer in one of our largest cities, after reading that volume, wrote the author a letter which contained the following:
If in the mind of anyone who reads this book there is anything left of the ‘postponement’ theory I cannot imagine what it is. There is one argument which seems to me, it may be because of my profession, is the strongest argument against the postponement theory, and when I read it on page 203 of the book I was surprised that it had not occurred to me before.
It is this: ‘Manifestly, had the Lord uttered a single word that could have been construed as a proclamation or suggestion that He was about to claim the throne, or would accept it, there would have been thousands of witnesses to prove the accusation. But there was no proof forthcoming. And be it noted that anything which would prove today our friends’ theory, would have proved then the accusation which the priests and Pharisees brought against the Lord before Pilate’.
That last sentence puts the whole case in a nutshell; and I do not see how anyone can get away from it. It is surprising to me that Dr. Scofield, being a lawyer by profession, and for many years in actual practice, did not see this as a fatal objection to his theory, but then as I say, I wholly missed the point myself until my attention was called to it in your book”