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The Epistle to the Colossians (3).
pp. 85 - 90
We are considering the mighty work of the Father Who has made us `sufficient to be
partakers of the inheritance of the heavenly holiest of all', a tremendous goal, whose
magnitude is beyond our limited comprehension. Foreseeing our great danger, our being
under the dominion of sin and death and the powers of darkness, He has rescued us from
this (Col. 1: 13) and translated us into the `kingdom of the Son of His love', a beautiful
expression, not only expressing the great love that exists between the Father and the Son
(John 17: 22-24), but also the practical showing forth of it in His most gracious dealings
with those who are members of the Body of Christ. Every member is a translated one
from the domination and kingdom of Satan and the powers of darkness into the supreme
glories of the heavenly phase of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is well to realize that in the `dispensation of the Mystery' (Eph. 3: 9 R.V.) we have
not left the thought of a kingdom behind. Many who value dispensational truth
apparently do not realize this, for they say we must distinguish between the `Kingdom
and the Church', as though the word `Kingdom' is always limited to Israel and does not
occur after Acts 28: What they mean is right, but it is wrongly or inaccurately
expressed. Paul uses the word `kingdom' five times after Acts 28: (Ephesians 5: 5;
Col. 1: 13; 4: 11; II Tim. 6: 1, 18), and to be faithful to what God has written we must
not divorce the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, related to the Mystery, from the
thought of a kingdom. As the context we are considering tells us, each member of the
body has been translated and brought into the kingdom of Christ. Those with whom
the Apostle was working when he wrote to the Colossians, he describes as "my
fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God", and one of his last thoughts in his last epistle
is that the Lord will `preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom' (II Tim. 4: 18).
What we must realize is that there is more than one phase of God's kingdom purposes.
There are His earthly kingdom purposes of which the redeemed people of Israel are the
centre. This phase was postponed at Acts 28: when this people were laid aside in
spiritual darkness after their rejection of Christ and the further offer of mercy and
forgiveness in Acts 3: 19-26. But there is a heavenly side to God's kingdom purposes
and here the Body of Christ is the centre and `heavenly places, far above all' the sphere
of operation. We must therefore `rightly divide' and distinguish between these differing
aspects of the purpose of the ages and not be lax in the way we use the word `kingdom'.
It is not sufficient to say we must not confuse the `Kingdom' and the `Church'. We
should be more specific and say the earthly kingdom of God, (when the so-called Lord's
prayer is fulfilled Matt. 6: 10), and the church, the heavenly people of the heavenly
kingdom (which embraces the highest heavens as the sphere of blessing).
Realizing this, let us rejoice in the teaching of Col. 1: 13, that at the present time we
are members of this supreme calling in the Kingdom of the Son of His love. Its basis is of