Jesus and the End of the World

Clayton R. Bowen

Berry Street Lecture, 1921


read before the Berry Street Conference

Boston, Massachusetts

May 25, 1921


Religion seems seldom able to dispense with a cosmogony. Most of its organized forms have been in some degree pre-oc­cupied with the origin of the world-order within which men live, and with its dissolution. Among ancient religions, nowhere was this interest more marked than in the religion out of which our own sprang, Judaism, and nowhere does Christianity more clearlyreveal its origin than in the persistence with which it clings to this concern. From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of God is preached, somewhere, in some form, in Christianity; the vision of a better world to be nourishes always a divine discontent with the things that are. It is no mere accident that our Christian Bible begins with a description of the creation of the old world, and closes with a glowing picture of the world that is to come. We could not strike this element out of our religion if we would. Whatever be true of other religions, that is no true Chris­tianity which concerns itself alone with the life of the day and the individual, and does not take within its scope the whole of the universe and of history, the entire drama of the destiny of man. The world of the Christian is the world as the subject of redemp­tion. It is not the world of the geographer or of the geologist; it is a creation that groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting for some transcendent consummation. The sudden liberal we sometimes meet, who thinks to have a religion of today, with no memory of a yesterday and no vision of a tomorrow, is a salutary lesson to us in that his going is commonly as sudden as his coming. When and how did our world come into being, when and how is it to be replaced by that better world of our hearts' de­sire—these are questions with which religion may not only legiti­mately concern itself, but which it cannot ignore and live. For better or for worse, eschatology is a permanent strand in the warp and woof of our faith.


This is true even in the case of those who, though the product of our Christian culture, assume a certain critical detachment from it. Nothing save this is the dominant interest of a writer like H. G. Wells, most clearly set forth in our latest apocalypse, the Outline of History.


We look before and after, but particularly, of course, our thoughts reach forward toward the end. No one of us lives to himself alone, or in his own generation alone. What shall be isour concern, and gives what is its meaning. Today is great be­cause it was tomorrow and shall be yesterday. By itself alone it is unintelligible. The actual status of this present is satisfactory to no one living, however conservative. If the world that is were to be fixed in an eternal state by divine fiat this afternoon, not one of us but would labor frantically to alter some things for the bet­ter before the irrevocable moment. The replacement of the exist­ing world-order by an ideal state belongs, in other words, to the very essence of the religious world in which we live. For some of us it is a more pressing concern than for others, for some theimmediacy and completeness of the change is more urgent; but we all believe in the end of the world, we all pray: Thy Kingdom come. It is not unknown to any of you that this conviction of the present world's ending is just now a dominant element in very large sections of Christianity, particularly in these United States. We all hear of the pre-millenialists and even of the post-millenial­ists, of the host of Adventist sects of whatever name, for whom religion has scarcely any other aspect than this of the great change. Those of us who live in New England or the East can have only a limited notion of the enormous proportions this movement has reached farther west and south. For your orientation, let me recommend the judicious resume given by Professor Harris F. Rall, in his book Modern Premillenialism and the Christian Hope, published last year. We all know of Plymouth Brethren and Seventh Day Adventists, we hear of Russellism and the International Bible Student’s Association; perhaps we do not realize the extent of the propaganda outside these organized denominations, spreading through all evangelical communions like an epidemic. The movement has large funds; it has vigorous and devoted apostles; it prints and distributes incredible quantities of propa­ganda material; its schools in Boston, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles send out annually more men, more devoted to a single vital object, than do most of our seminaries. Protestantism in the west and south is reported to be invaded by this teaching to a degree not unlike that to which second-century Christianity was invaded by Gnosticism. In certain quarters alarm is even felt lest non-millenial Protestantism should be submerged entirely. Here we have a striking and contemporary instance of the devastation wrought by the exclusive predominance of one element in the complex structure of religion. It is easy for us to grow impatient with such obscurantism and dismiss it with censure or contempt. It is less easy to recognize that if it is a perversion, what has been perverted is something original and genuine.


The appeal in all this Advent propaganda is of course to the Bible; its whole basis is an interpretation of Scripture. Those who would rebut it have either to show that in these matters Scripture is not authoritative and final, or else that the interpre­tation is erroneous. As a matter of fact, both things can be shown. Scarce a decade in the history of the church from Jesus' time to ours has been without a group of earnest believers who fixed upon just those years for the end of this world and the coming of Christ to establish a new one. The late Bishop of Durham, an Anglican divine of great learning and ability, was convinced that Holy Writ foretold the end of all created things in 1920—and in that year the world did indeed end for him. In every case the time has been fixed by the Scripture text. Now while it is true that the Bible does contain some speculation as to the times and seasons of the eschatologicaldenouement, it gives nowhere theslightest warrant for any of these modern dates. The one idea that all the Biblical writers would unite to fall upon as unquali­fiedly false, as the common enemy, is that the world would end in 1921, or 1925. Each one of them cherished with passion the con­viction that the world would not be here to end, in 1921. Different writers, to be sure, have different periods in mind, but each has in mind his own time, the generation which he addressed. They had no concern with future centuries, they were not even writing for their own grandchildren. They were voicing contemporary expectations, holding forth visions for the day in which they lived. Even if they had not in mind the current year, at least the current century should see the realization of what they foretold. This generation shall not pass away till all these things be fulfilled, is the hall-mark of all genuine eschatology. The message is to those who shall in person witness the advent; ye shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Almighty, and coming with the clouds of heaven. There are some of them that stand here, who shall in no wise taste of death till they see the Kingdom of God come, with power. We that are alive, that are left at the coming of the Lord, shall be caught up in the clouds; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed. The Revelation is of things which must shortly come to pass; the time is at hand. The Revelator is to partake with his readers in the tribulation and the kingdom, and in the patience which must bridge the gulf between the two. The New Testament begins with the cry: The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, and closes with the assurance from the exalted Christ, Behold, I come quickly. Never in between is the mood of expectancy of an immediately impend­ing crisis lost for a moment. All this, I say, did not contemplate the readers' great grandchildren, still less their descendants 19 or 20 centuries later, but themselves. Even later apologies for an un­expected delay, like II Thessalonians and II Peter, do not post­pone the climax beyond the horizon of the generation addressed. II Thessalonians, indeed, argues that the end will not come until the Antichrist program be worked out; yet this very sentence be­gins with an allusion to "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him,” and a slightly earlier passagepromises a divine recompense of "affliction to them that afflict you, and to you that are afflicted rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven.” II Peter, conceding that from the day the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation, and explaining this delay by the patience of God, with whom one day is as a thousand years, and a thou­sand years as one day, yet promises that the day of the lord will come, as a thief in the night, and the writer pertinently asks his readers, "Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God?” The modern eschatologists mean their own time when they so confidently set their dates; why can they not see that their decessors nineteen centuries ago also meant their own time? If the Bible is to be taken as any criterion in the matter, the world should have ended more than eighteen centuries ago at the latest. Thus one thing we can learn from the Bible; the utterly futile folly of fixing times and seasons for a climax to human history. If its own inspired very confident predictions were given the lie by the God of history, the imaginings of our own contemporaries will not be more secure. William Temple [Foundationsp. 340] helps to restore the balance with his comment, "The earth will in all probability be habitable for myriads of years yet. If Chris­tianity is the final religion, the church is still in its infancy. 2000 years are as two days. The appeal to the ‘primitive church’ is misleading; we are the primitive church.”


But our interest in the matter of course does not end here, in pointing out the folly of the millenialists of our own and of for­mer days. Rather does it begin here. For if it be true that this eschatological element, i.e., the expectation of the superseding of the present defective world-order by an order more divine, had a considerable history among the Hebrew people and in their sacred writings which we Christians call the Old Testament, we all know also that this expectation found culminating embodiment in the New Testament, specifically, in the faith of the founders of our religion and in that faith's oral and written expression. Com­ing directly to our main question, we want to know, if we can possibly find out, to what degree and in what sense Jesus himself shared these expectations and how he considered his own person related to their realization. We want to know, further, the bear­ing of our answer to these questions upon the validity of Jesus' religious message. Let us, then, address ourselves directly to these problems.


We may fortunately take for granted, in a company like this, an acquaintance with the essential features of what is called Israel’s Messianic hope. The heart of it was of course the burning conviction that some day the complete sovereignty of God would be established, or re-established, in the world. We know how the Jews were in theory theocratic, owning no sovereignty but that of Jahweh their God. Even the establish­ment of human kings like Saul and David, resisted at first as faithlessness to their divine Lord, had to adapt itself in theory to the traditional ideal, by making the monarch the vice-gerent or earthly representative of God. We know how the bitterest ele­ment in the exiles and subjugations later experienced was the humiliating necessity of owning the sway of a pagan ruler, on the part of those who of right owned allegiance to the Most High alone. We know with what passionate zeal and longing the prophets and leaders of the people developed and nourished the hope of a restoration of the Kingship or Sovereignty of God—these words, as well as "Kingdom,” expressing the heart of the familiar concept. The sovereignty of God in the national life of the chosen people, over against the sovereignty of Persia or Syria or Rome; the rule of God in the cosmic and spiritual realms over against the rule of Satan; the dominance of God in the moral and social and religious life of every man, over against the dominance of sin and wrong and unfaith; the world itself transfigured and made new as the Kingdom of God, where he alone should bear rule in every aspect of its material and personal existence. We know how the thought of God became transcend­entalized, leaving this world to the principate of Satan and hisever-increasing hordes of evil spirits. Then the restoration of God's rule must be transcendentalized also, and we have the great system of apocalyptic, which contemplates, not a historical revo­lution or evolution, by which Israel shall come again to be free, and the Davidic Kingdom restored, but a supernatural and catas­trophic intervention, wherein God himself, or a heavenly being who should act for him, with angelic powers to do their will, should overthrow every ungodly power and establish in full splendor the universal sway of God. This apocalyptic conception, for historically obvious reasons, was the dominant one during the century before and the century after Jesus' birth. It reaches its most magnificent expression in a Christian writing, the Apoca­lypse of John, which reflects the scarcely less splendid pages of earlier Jewish works such as the Books of Enoch. We know that there was no fixed and universally-expected program, no orthodox Messianism, no settled definition of even such common terms as Kingdom of God, Messiah, end of the age, new heaven and new earth. Simply each prophet or seer or dreamer put into these phrases the fulfillment of his own heart's desire, the utmost accomplishment of his ardent imagination and of his will to believe the best. Various unharmonized elements were not uncommonly held in one and the same mind, with no sense of incongruity or inner demand for consistency. Just how far these expectations were "literal,” expected to have realization in that exact form, and how far they were pictorial attempts to describe hoped-for values, is not easy for us to say, nor would it have been easy for those who cherished them. Doubtless this varied much with dif­ferent individuals. In any case, as we know, the boundary be­tween the literal and the symbolic was less sharply drawn then and there than now and here. The heart of the matter, behind all the varying expectations of detail, was that God should rule—in nature, in the national life, in the personal life religious, moral, social, physical. In this sense the Kingdom of God is the perma­nent ideal of humanity, now as then and always.


Though we commonly speak of the "Messianic hope” or the "Messianic age,” the expectation of Messiah was secondary and not universal. That God's Kingdom should be established was the essential thing, how it should be established was another mat­ter. Yet this establishment was scarcely conceived of apart from some human mediator, so strong was the Jewish sense of God's transcendence and the logical difficulty of conceiving his perfect spiritual being operating directly upon mundane material condi­tions. Even where God was thought of as personally intervening and re-asserting his lost sovereignty, it was supposed that a great prophet, in the spirit and power of one of the old prophets, es­pecially of Elijah, would appear among men, to go before his face and prepare his way. Such a prophet might be called Messiah, Christos, the anointed one, since prophets, priests and kings were consecrated or set apart to their work by anointing with oil. So there were those of ecclesiastical and cult propensities who thought of a great priestly figure, who by establishing the worship of the one true God in all temples and all hearts should establish the Kingdom. The Epistle to the Hebrews makes much use of this imagery, as do a few of the Jewish writings, such as the Testa­ments of the Twelve Patriarchs. But in the main we use the term Messiah for the kingly figure, who in the spirit and power, not of prophet or priest, but of David, should act as God's agent inabolishing the old order and establishing the new. He should be King, seizing the Kingship and reigning for a thousand years or even forever, but always as the vice-gerent of God. That he should be conceived as another David was inevitable; equally in­evitable that this should come to be understood prosaically and literally, so as to make him a lineal physical son of David, born inDavid's town of Bethlehem. How this fits the concept of theheavenly Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with all the holy angels, we should not ask. Some held one notion, some the other; most, doubtless, held both. Kirsopp Lake once remarked that "the Jew is separated from the realm of bliss by time, the Greek by space.” The opposition of now and then dominates Jewish thought of the Kingdom, which is therefore eschatological, concerned with the last things. All duration is divided by a great catastrophe into the age that is and the age to come—this world and the Kingdom of God. The catastrophe is the end of one and the beginning of the other; it is the great day of the Lord. It is notable that the Jewish mind tends rather to fix itself on the com­ing new than on the passing old; theKingdom of God is more often the theme of discourse than the end of the world. Herein do our modern millenialists fall short of the ancient standard. Now all these concepts and all this language form a major and constant element in our New Testament, especially in that portion of it which purports to give the historical tradition as to the mis­sion and proclamation of Jesus. If we should blue-pencil the eschatology in the gospels, we should have nothing intelligible left —we should have no historical motivation for that mission, no historical cause for its tragic end. It is impossible so to treat the record. William Sullivan has well put the case, in his very valu­able chapter on "Christ's Conception of the Kingdom,” in Letters to His Holiness. After citing a great body of gospel sayings clearly eschatological in content, he comments, "That our Lord should have so spoken, and been so absorbed in the thought of the world's end and the glorious coming of the Son of Man, if these divine manifestations were in His mind, two, ten or twenty thou­sand years in the future, wears the look of a simple impossibility.”


Now the apocalyptic eschatology of the first century is uncon­genial to many modern Christian minds, perhaps to most, save the minds of the pre-millenialists; indeed it became as early as the second century uncongenial to many early Christian minds. It has been gotten rid of, either explained away or denied. It was explained away dogmatically, or homiletically. The Messiah became the second person of the Godhead, the Kingdom of God be­came the Christian church, the parousia or advent became thedestruction of Jerusalem, and so on. Or the Kingdom became the Christianizing of the individual life, a thousand sermons ex­ploiting that most modern and indispensable of texts, "the King­dom of God is within you.” The Son of Man became the ideal type of humanity, the man in every man; the advent the yielding of the soul to his saving sway. All this on the tacit assumption that since we do not mean what these words seem to mean, they must mean something other than they seem, something consonant with what we mean. In practice, many an exegete's or preacher's discussion of the question: What was Jesus' thought of the King­dom? should have been captioned: What is my thought of the kingdom? This interpreting away of the gospel eschatology is still common today, in many an eminent expounder. It has been very frequent among "liberal” Christian teachers, for whom the figure of Jesus had supreme human values in its moral excellenceand wisdom. The eschatology seemed fantastic or fanatical, lack­ing in ethical appeal and demonstrated by history as a complete illusion. Jesus is too great to have shared such a discredited view; charge it to his slow-witted disciples, steeped as they were in the visionary speculations of that primitive time, or to reac­tionary reporters and evangelists, too literalistic to understand the timeless gospel of pure spirit which fell from the Master's lips. With some such approach to the gospel material we are all fa­miliar in our reading. For us the classic expression of it is prob­ably found in the noble pages of the fourth book of Martineau's Seat of Authority in Religion. That many local and temporary Jewish ideas permeate the substance of the evangelic narrative, says Dr. Martineau, "is well known, not perhaps without sorrow­ful regret, to every reader of the synoptic gospels. Not that any one can nowadays suppose these things to form any part of the Divine message of Jesus to the world; for with him, at all events, they are not original; if he is responsible with regard to them at all, it is only for letting them alone. . . The whole drama had already been written, and photographed in thought, and might haunt the believer's conscience by day, and startle him in dreams and visions of the night. And if Jesus spoke of it, it was as of something given, and not of what he brought. But though thepre-existence of the Messianic idea relieves Jesus of responsibility for its contents, it leaves the question open how far he shared it with his contemporaries, and carried its influence into his min­istry.” Martineau cannot deny that Jesus did share it with his contemporaries, did carry it into his ministry. The evidence is too strong. "This sense of a divine crisis and new spiritual birth is more than the subject of a parable here, and a denuncia­tion or a blessing there; it is, throughout, the very spring of conviction that disposes of his will and shines through all his public compassions and lonely devotions.” So far Martineau goes inone short paragraph: Jesus did assuredly accept the contemporary conception of the Kingdom and did believe it to be literally at hand. "It is one thing, however,” he goes on, "to admit his be­lief in a reign of truth and righteousness as a promise made to the fathers, and now approaching its fulfillment; it is quite another toaffirm that in his own person he claimed to realize it as its Prince and Head.” In short, Martineau cannot believe that Jesus con­ceived of himself as Messiah, and the rest of the section, 29 large pages, is devoted to the disproof of this notion. Here he makes no attempt to disguise his own antipathy to the Messianic concept. He quotes the scene at Caesarea Philippi, where in response to Jesus' question, Who do ye say that I am?, Peter bursts out as spokesman for the disciples, Thou art the Messiah, the Son of theliving God. Hereupon, says the gospel record, Jesus strictly charged his disciples and commanded them to tell no man that he was the Christ. This declaration Martineau, by an ingenious exegesis, turns into "Silence! to not a creature are you to say such a thing again!” (p. 349) and comments, (p. 329) "If the disciples had only kept that injunction instead of spending their lives in reversing it, Christendom, I am tempted to think, might have possessed a purer record of genuine revelation, instead of a mixed text of divine truth and false apocalypse. For, the first de­forming mask, the first robe of hopeless disguise, under which the real personality of Jesus of Nazareth disappeared from sight, were placed upon him by this very doctrine which was not to go forth, that he was the Messiah. It has corrupted the interpretation of the Old Testament, and degraded the sublimest literature of the ancient world into a book of magic and a tissue of riddles. It has spoiled the very composition of the New Testament, and, both in its letters and its narratives, has made the highest influ­ence ever shed upon humanity subservient to the proof of un­tenable positions and the establishment of unreal relations. . . That the Messianic theory of the person of Jesus was made for him and palmed upon him by his followers, and was not his own, appears to me a reasonable inference.” It is clear that we have here the will to believe doing its perfect work, rather than the calm judgment of the purely objective critic. And who shall cast the first stone at this kind of criticism? In behalf of his thesis Martineau must admit that he can offer only "several slight but speaking indications.” The bulk of the Gospel material is against him, a fact which he explains by the assumption that the "Mes­sianic belief had been busy among the memorials floating in the air, sifting the very leaves that drifted to the compiler's feet; the only wonder is that, with so strong a set of the wind, any shred of history should have slipped beyond the margin and be found upon the field outside.” In other words, we have here strong depreciation of the historical value of the gospels, vigorous ex­cision and re-interpretation, in order to get rid of the Messiah-ship. We may feel a very real sympathy with Martineau's con­clusion, "The identification, then, of Jesus with the Messianic figure is the first act of Christian mythology, withdrawing man from his own religion to a religion about him,” without thereby feeling justified in adopting his critical expedients for getting rid of an unwelcome element in the historical record.



For in truth—and if I seem here to speak abruptly and categorically, it is because of our limitations of time—in truth we cannot on any legitimate critical grounds excise from our gospels the element which to Martineau and many another has been so antipathetic. It is unassailably there. Not only did Jesus certain­ly and literally expect the realization of his people's hope in his own generation, but he did believe, at least during the later months of his mission, that to him would be committed the task of carry­ing out, for his God and Father, that realization. His words of appeal and warning were addressed to his hearers, not to their children or grandchildren or remote descendants. In explicit words he declared that the present generation should not pass away until the eschatological program should be fulfilled—that among those who stood by and heard his words some should nottaste of death till they saw the Kingdom of God come in itspower. It was at hand in no labored unreal sense, but in plainest literal truth. At Caesarea Philippi he accepted his disciples' ascription to him of the Messiahship, though he forbade them to make it known to others. Repeatedly thereafter he spoke of him­self to them as the Son of Man of Daniel's vision, in other words, as Messiah. Those parables of the last days, in which he pictured a master departing and leaving his affairs in the hands of trusted slaves, whom his sudden return ought to find serving faithfully and fruitfully, illuminate his expected separation from the dis­ciples and his no less certainly expected reunion with them on a day of reckoning when they must give account of their steward­ship. To his Jewish judges, on the last night of his life, when confronted with the solemn question, Art thou the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed, he declared, firmly and with no shade of equivocation, I am, and you shall see me coming as such, to as­sume Messiah's task. Over his head, as he hung dying, stood placarded the statement of the charge on which he suffered, the claim to be King of the Jews. On no other pretext could the Sanhedrists have compassed his condemnation by Pilate. And it is obvious that only on his own admission was Pilate willing to pronounce the judgment; repudiation of the charge by Jesus would have secured swift acquittal. It is very obvious also, as has often been pointed out, that had Jesus not when alive accepted the identification with Messiah, it would never have been spon­taneously applied to him after his ignominious defeat and shame­ful death. The ascription made in days of influence and power, might survive the catastrophe; it could notarise after the catas­trophe. Every consideration makes it absolutely certain that the conviction: Jesus is Messiah, goes back to his own life-time, goes back to himself.


Let us then, try to reconstruct, in broad outline, the historical situation. Sometime in the year 28 of the Christian era, appar­ently, there appeared along the lower course of the Jordan an ascetic preacher who seemed like an incarnation of one of the old prophets. Rough, uncouth, he came proclaiming a message from on high: The Kingdom of God is at hand. Yet this was not in his mouth, as it would have been in the mouths of most of his contemporaries, a glad proclamation of joy, that after the long night of waiting the dawn of bliss was about to break. Rather it was a stern cry of warning, as who should shout, A flood is at hand! Save himself who can! If we can trust our record of this man John Baptist—a few scanty fragments in all—he spent no time in painting consoling pictures of the joys shortly to be realized, but used the whole energy of his few and precious days to summon the complacent pious in Palestine to such a thorough­going reformation of the very inmost springs of their lives as would fit them for citizenship in a human order where God alone was dominant. It might have been supposed that just as God was expected to invade and master the cosmic order with his cleansing power, and the political order, and the spiritual order, putting there all his enemies under his feet, so he would invade the moral order, in the personal characters and dispositions of men, setting up there also his irresistible sway. But that would be, as this prophet John knew quite as well as we do, an unmoral procedure, quite impossible to the God whom he revered. That God could of the stones beside the river raise up children of Abraham; he could not raise up children of Himself, of his own Kingdom, by any such, ready-made process. Each must make his own self ready, by an inner purifying and right-about-face of his moralpersonality, that voluntary act of the human spirit which our Greek Gospels call Metanoia, and we somewhat inadequately trans­late repentance. And in solemn token and seal of this definite conversion of self to God and his purposes, John summoned men to baptism. Those who thus underwent inner and outer purify­ing made up, in the eyes of John as in their own, a nucleus of citi­zenship for the Kingdom which was at hand. When it came they could enter at once into its life, perfectly at home there, for what John had led them to do was to assume already, in anticipa­tion, the Kingdom-life. John said nothing of a Messiah, so far as we know, but like Malachi looked for the direct intervention of God, whose right it was to reign. LikeMalachi also, he expected that ere God came to seize his rule, he would send before his face a great prophet, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to make ready a people prepared for him. This expectation of John’s later Christians naturally but mistakenly took as a prediction of Jesus the Messiah. The prophetic Elijah did not come, the Nazarene Messiah did: of course what John foretold was what came to pass. Jesus saw in John himself the fulfillment of the promised Elijah, and did not look for another. But John himself was more modest and never thought of him­self as standing within the sequence of the eschatological drama, as one of its characters, but rather as upon its outer verge, point­ing forward to the imminence of its opening scene. That he had been foretold in Scripture he never dreamed.


Among the many converts who thus came confessing their sins and bathing in the stream as a prelude to theirnewness of life, came also Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized of John in Jordan. There is no ade­quate evidence, and no historical probability, that at thetime John differentiated Jesus from any of his other converts or had any personal knowledge of him. The two men meet, one is powerfully moved by the other, they pass and part. Onlyfrom his prison, weeks or months later, does John hear that one of his disciples has taken up his work, and sends to ask, with newly-kindled hope; Art thou, perhaps, the prophet that should come, or must we still wait for another? Probably he died with­out an answer to that anguished query.


The baptism was the turning-point in Jesus' life. Our evangel­ists rightly minimize the baptism with water in favor of that bap­tism of the spirit which followed; we can not easily describe it save in those graphic pictures which his disciples took from his own lips. In that hour of illumination the heaven was opened unto him, the voice of God spoke into his heart the consciousness of Sonship so deeply that he never again, even in his bitterest agony, lost it—and the consciousness of vocation as well, of a task to be fulfilled, a message to be delivered. And through it all the sense of the divine spirit, the very presence of God, welling into his soul and taking up its abode there, never again to depart. God is with me, the Holy Spirit is within me, guiding, teaching, impelling me to speak the word of God and to manifest the mercy of God to men—such was clearly Jesus' consciousness when he began his ministry. It found expression in his language, the con­stant reference to his Father; in his deeds of healing and of help; in his strange authority and independence; in his untiring courage,faith, zeal. But the Messiahship was not involved, was not re­motely suggested, in his consciousness at this point. There are no traces of that till later.


So Jesus begins his work, at first in substance a continuation of the work of John. He is preparing men for the near realiza­tion of the Kingdom. His message is more penetrating, more fundamental than John's, but his task is essentially the same. He touches and moves greater masses of people, and he does not re­inforce his personal work by baptism or by any other rite. Theprospective citizenship of the Kingdom is growing. Many are ready, but there is no sign or outward bond of fellowship, no sect or order; only an inner community of consecration and of hope, a common devotion to Jesus and to his ideals. Months pass. John, whom Jesus appraises as the fulfillment of Malachi's expectation of the returning Elijah, has been done to death and it begins to be evident that, humanly speaking, the same fate is sooner or later in store for Jesus. The Kingdom is still at hand; it does not come. God delays his manifestation. But Jesus is working for him; he is binding the strong man and conquering the demons; he is expelling sin and inducing repentance and the godly life. In what he is doing the Kingdom is being prepared. He knows his own spiritual powers, he knows that his religious experience goes beyond that of his fellows; what he yearns to give them is what he already has. Nay, in him already the divine sovereignty is supreme, in one life God rules. These are the lastdays of the old order; the Elijah has come and has passed; the end is near. But if John had the task of Elijah, what task have I? For I am serving as he served, only my work is more fully blessed of God. Jesus has two great personalities, both somehow involved in the Kingdom's coming, to account for. If John is the Elijah, who is he? Just how the transition was made in his own mind, just how and when and why the tremendous suggestion came: suppose God means me to be Messiah, we simply do not know. Any Jewish youth might dream of being Messiah. Jesuswas doubtless not the first, as he was certainly not the last, who so dreamed. Any Jewish mother might whisper rapturously to herself: Perhaps my son is to be he who shall redeem Israel! Yet to trace the genesis of the notion in Jesus' mind is impossible. It is the secret of his inmost consciousness. He felt himself to be a prophet, but something more than a prophet, something more than Jonah is here. Monnier, commenting on this, remarks, "Mais au-dessus des prophetes, it n'y avait que le Messie” (p. 12). We might speculate at length, but in vain. Out of his religious consciousness of close relationship to God, out of his strong sense of vocation, out of his deep conviction of the Kingdom's nearness, perhaps out of some dim feeling that the Kingdom waited until one should appear willing to assume the tremendous burden for God, somehow grew, slowly, tentatively, the conviction: On me the responsibility shall be laid. It must have come to him at first as a tremendous shock, as something incredible and monstrous; he must have wrestled with it in agony, begging that this cup too might pass from him. The burden becomes too great to be borne alone; the problem finds vent. At Caesarea Philippi he puts the question to his disciples: Who do men say that I am? Swift comes the answer: John the Baptist; the similarity becomes in some minds identity. Others suggest Elijah (as John himself had); some Jeremiah, or another of the prophets. But all agree that a prophet has arisen among them, mighty in deed and word among all the people. This is true, but it does not go quite far enough, it does not quite exhaust the possibilities in Jesus own feel­ing. Has any other mind been visited by the thought that has been torturing his own, or is he mad, presumptuous, blasphemous? What do these who know him best, think of him? He puts the decisive question: Who do you say that I am? There is a sec­ond's pause, then comes the flash of insight, the clairvoyant rap­port, the telepathic reading of the other's mind—call it what youwill. The rash, impulsive, intuitive Peter it is who speaks, voic­ing what no one of them, not even himself, had known or dreamed of half an hour before: "Thou art the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” So at last it is spoken; for the first time Jesus is called Christ. How does he take it? Our report of the scene is of course limited to its salient features, as they had significance in apostolic perspective. But it is evident that whatever of uncer­tainty had lingered in Jesus' mind is now done away, he accepts from Peter's confirming voice what he could not wholly believe at the prompting of his own breast. Perhaps he did not say pre­cisely the words: Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven, but the words are true. No human being had told Peter this great thing, for no human being knew it; itcame by flash of what Jesus' contemporaries called by the clear word "revelation,” we by the obscure word "intuition.” Jesus accepts the identifica­tion, yet not explicitly, only tacitly. He does not say in so many words, Yes, Peter, I am Messiah. He does say, in so many words, with urgent iteration, that what Peter has spoken in the confidence of the group shall on no account be spoken to anyoneoutside. He charged them strictly that they should tell no man that he was the Messiah. Neither he nor any disciple has spoken it before the present hour, for neither he nor any disciple has been sure of it until now. Still less has anyone on the outside de­clared, or guessed, the identification of Jesus with Messiah. Prophet, yes, but only that. Nothing in Jesus' whole career, noth­ing in his present activity, could possibly suggest Messiahship. He has not fulfilled one of the prophecies; he has not done one thing Messiah was expected to do. It is sometimes forgotten how utterly unlike anything in the Messianic expectation was the whole phenomenon of Jesus' mission. The Jewish Messiah was not a savior or redeemer; God was that. Nowhere in Judaism is it said that Messiah should be the bringer of a new revelation, that he should be a teacher, that he should deliver men from sin, in­deed that he should have any particular relation to religion at all. He was not to be interested in morality or in individuals; not apersonal friend, to be known and loved, not a healer of disease or a helper of the poor. Jesus' life was as unmessianic as possi­ble, and could not possibly have suggested the identification toany one. In the temptation-story we see him deliberately refus­ing to put any Messianic elements into his life, such things as would have meant the proclamation and exercise of his higherstatus. As a matter of fact, his Messiahship was not suggested to himself or to Peter by any outward circumstance of his career, but solely from within.


Now this means, of course, that his Messiahship is something future, not something present, something expectativ, as the French say, that he was merely Messias-Kandidat, as the Germans say. Before we go any further, let us get this point clear. He is not being Messiah now, he is the one who is to be Messiah; Messiah in person, but not in function. Just as the youthful David was sought out by the prophet in the sheep-folds of Bethlehem and anointed to a Kingship which was to be his only at God's appointed hour, so Jesus was the anointed one in prospect of a Messianic function to come. Young David had to wait through humble patient years, for a day and an hour which he knew not, never taking advantage of what was to come, never anticipating his future powers and prerogatives. So Jesus must be content to know that God has appointed him to the supremest destiny in human history, yet make no slightest assertion before the time. Of that day and hour knew no man, not the angels in heaven, not himself, but the Father only. One thing he did know, that that day of exaltation would be cut off by a great gulf from his pres­ent life. The sameperson, he would be another personality. His present life as Jesus of Nazareth, teacher and helper of men, must come to an end before his life as Messiah could begin. And he knew only too well how it would come to an end. Elijah had come already and they had done unto him even as they would—and how is it written of the Son of Man! He knew the bitterhostility of the Jewish leaders to him, he knew they meant to have his life, and would in all human probability accomplish their end. There was no way of escape, save the way he would not take. His Father might send twelve legions of angels to his de­fense, but that he would not ask. At the time he finally admits that he is Messiah, he already knows that he must die. And this is accepted as the divine will, a part of the wise plan of God. It behooves Messiah to suffer and so to enter into his glory. He does not suffer as Messiah, he attains the Messiahship by the way of suffering. The idea of a suffering Messiah, that suffering and death were a part of the Messiah's work, was as foreign to him as to Peter or any other Jew of the time. His rebuke of Peter, who would dissuade him from the path of the passion, is not because Peter is wrong in thinking the function of Messiahship incom­patible with suffering, but because Peter would substitute an easier way into his glory, than the one God was plainly setting before him, the per aspera ad astra. If Jesus is doing nothing Messianic now, he does not expect to do anything Messianic in the weeks or months that he has still to live. He has discovered in anticipation what is to be his destiny, but not while he remains Jesus of Nazareth. Hence the discovery must remain a secret between himself and his disciples; it must not be proclaimed. A wandering, premature Messiah, with no Kingdom and no power, waiting for a day and an hour which even he did not know, did not lend itself to proclamation. The issue would only be con­fused, Jesus' real work interfered with, by any announcement that in him the Messiah-to-be was already walking the earth. He charged them strictly that they should tell no man that he was the Christ. And they told no man; the secret was kept through the following weeks and months until the fatal four-and-twenty hours that we call Holy Thursday. It formed the basis of many an intimate and searching talk between Jesus and his Twelve, but neither he nor they spoke it or hinted it outside that circle. The triumphal entry into Jerusalem, as it is described by Mark, is clearly no ascription or acceptance of Messianic honors, but only the festal reception of an idolized prophet. Matthew and Luke, from their perspective, conscious that in truth it was the entrance of Messiah into his capital, put this element into their account of it. But the whole context reveals the inaccuracy. When the city, stirred, inquiries, Who is this? the reply comes, This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee (Mt. 21: 11). In the days that follow Jesus faces many questions and discusses many matters of burning concern, but the question, is he or is he not Messiah? is never raised.


He asked no man, outside the Twelve, to accept him as Messiah, nor would it have had the slightest meaning for the Jews to ac­cept him as Messiah, as he was. If we once try to picture to our­selves the ensuing program if the Jews as a whole had thus ac­cepted him, we shall see that the demand and its acceptance would be equally impossible. We must dismiss from our minds the no­tion, if by chance we still retain it, that Jesus was martyred be­cause the leaders of his people rejected his claim to be their Messiah. This claim was not rejected; it was never made. The growth of the hostility that culminated in Jesus' death had nothing to do with the idea of his being Messiah, but rested on funda­mental moral and religious divergences. The resolution to destroy Jesus is reached by the authorities early; we read it already in Mark 3:6. Having under the Roman power no right of capital punishment, they were unable for months to carry out their pur­pose. In vain they tempted him to some speech or action which would incriminate him in the eyes of Rome; even during PassionWeek, bent as they were on his speedy destruction, they sought without success for an accusation which would force Pilate to act. Then, on the Thursday, came Judas, one of the Twelve, who knew a secret which would insure his Master's death on the Roman cross, a secret he was willing to betray. And they, when they heard it, were glad and promised to give him money.This, and this only, is Judas' betrayal—the breaking of Jesus' ex­press command that they should tell no man that he was the Christ. Armed with this information, the Sanhedrists lost no time in arresting Jesus, forcing the Messianic claim from his own lips and dragging him before Pilate with the charge: This Man claims to be Messiah a King. Pilate is reluctantly compelled to act, and in a few hours Jesus is hanging on the cross, with the ac­cusation written above: Jesus of Nazareth—the King of the Jews. Thus the Messiahship, discovered less than twenty-four hours before Jesus' execution, furnished merely the pretext on which the Sanhedrists secured action by Pilate. Failing that, they would have found some other; or there would have been an act of mob violence, such as carried off Stephen, a few years later, or Jesus' own brother James, after long guidance of the Jerusa­lem church. In such fashion was the secret betrayed, which Jesus had intended should remain a secret until his advent asMessiah, when the angels and the opening clouds of heaven should tell the world. Then the tongues of the other disciples were unloosed, and it was assuredly a relief and a joy to them to be able to proclaim freely, God hath made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom ye crucified, and the whole course of the propaganda was deflected into a somewhat different direc­tion. But that is another story.


The evangelists Matthew and Luke, to be sure, do not pre­serve the original situation so clearly as does Mark their source, but any fair synoptic study of the matter will demonstrate the truth of the position stated. Jesus is thus, to use the felicitous phrase of Holtzmann, his own forerunner. Jesus as prophet and teacher is preparing his people for the advent of Jesus as Mes­siah. And the two functions are kept very carefully distinct in his own consciousness; I had almost said, in his own subconscious­ness. We scarcely find him saying, I am Messiah; never saying, when I come again, but, when the Son of Man comes. It is fre­quently a source of surprise or of misunderstanding that Jesus always speaks of the Messiah thus in the third person, as of one distinct from himself, usually by adopting the Messianic title Son of Man.Art thou the Messiah? I am, and ye shall see the Son of Man—not "me”—the Son of Man coming. In our gos­pels, indeed in our whole New Testament, we never find the phrase so common in all later Christian speech, "the second com­ing of Christ.” Jesus of Nazareth is here, the parousia, the advent or coming of Messiah, is yet future.


It is true, then, that Jesus thought that God had chosen him to be the Messiah, that he shared this expectation with his dis­ciples, that its betrayal played a notable part in the circumstances of his death. But having said this much, we have said very little that is really significant; we have not at all described the essential thing in him or in his mission. All this might have been true without in the least entitling him to our veneration today, or mak­ing it worth our while to discuss him in a conference like this. Other Jews might have the same notion of their destiny. As a matter of fact, other Jews did so, and came to defeat and death, as he did. We have forgotten them; we cannot forget him. He is vital in our religion, not even remotely because he was the Messiah, or because he thought he was, but because of a contri­bution to the higher life of man that lay quite outside the sphere of eschatology. Not as Christ, but as Jesus, he did the great work of spiritual emancipation which makes him the master of the centuries.


Albert Schweitzer and a few others, in the ardor of discovering that Jesus held a genuine and literal eschatology, have declared that this invalidates entirely his ethical teaching for any later time and any other situation; specifically, for our own. He taught simply an interims-ethik, they say, a morality of the interval, brief as it was, before the great crisis. He counsels how to act in view of that crisis, not how to live ideally human lives in an enduring world. It is true that Jesus might have taught an interim-ethics. Paul did so, some year later, in a famous letter to the church in Corinth (not in the great bulk of his moral teachings). "If thou marry, thou hast not sinned, and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Yet such shall have tribulation in the flesh, and I would spare you. But this I say, brethren, that the time is shortened so that henceforth those that have wives should be as though they had none, and those that weep as though they wept not, and those that rejoice as though they rejoiced not, and those that buy as though they possessed not, and those that use the world as not using it to the full—for the fashion of this world is passing away. And I would have you to be free from cares.” There is in­terim-ethics, in clear expression. John Baptist's demand for baptism was of the same sort. But there is nothing of this in Jesus. He does not demand any strange thing, any special, extra, peculiar behavior, valuable to secure a place in the coming reign of bliss, but with no absolute significance. The matter may be stated in a sentence. Jesus' declaration is simply: The way to gain entrance to the Kingdom is to live as if you were already in it. Begin to live the Kingdom-life now; then, when the Kingdom comes you will simply and naturally find yourself a part of it be­cause you are already, in character and deed, of its citizenship. Jesus, as a moral genius, had his vision of the ideal human life, life lived in the closest intimacy with God, wholly submissive to His will, complete in love and goodness to all the brothers and sisters in the human family. That ideal he believed, of course,would be realized in the Kingdom ofGod. Indeed, the living of that life - by all men everywhere would constitute the Kingdom of God, or its inward side. It is that ideal which he urges in his ethical counsels; it is to be judged on its own merits, as a type of personal and social living. Its value is not in the least contingent on the fact that its proclaimer expected soon to see it realized on a universal scale in the earthly scene—and was mistaken in so expecting. As a matter of fact, the ethical teaching is not eschatological at all. Even where it is related to some aspect of the expected change, the connection is superficial and in no sense necessary. We read the Sermon on the Mount, and live by it, in our degree, without the slighted reference to the end of the world. It is as valid in one human situation as in another. It is notable that in all these counsels, the image that dominates the mind of Jesus in thinking of the perfect life with God is not the image of the Kingdom at all, but the image of the family; not subjects under the sway of a monarch, but children living in per­fect affection and intimacy with a father of tenderness and infi­nite bounty. Though his inherited term is the Kingdom of God, he never once, in any original utterance, calls God King, but al­ways and only Father. The religious experience of the man Jesus is thus seen crowding into the background the traditional escha­tology which he accepts from his time; and the common Christian consciousness is right, however uncritical, in reading the gos­pels to the soul's profit, as counsels of eternity, unrelated to the apocalyptic expectations of ancient Jews. Jesus as he lived and taught, then, may be judged apart from these expectations. Into that life the eschatology, the Kingdom and the Messiah, came only as a dream, a hope, a confident expectation of a future realization. The actual course of his life and teaching is left un­affected, it would have gone on, practically the same in substance, if he had never dreamed of himself as Messiah. What difference did it make who was to be Messiah? Men's duty to prepare, to live as God's men, was still the same, and that moral prepara­tion gave Jesus his whole mission. Still would he have proclaimed, as John did before him, "The Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent and believe in the gospel!” Still would he have burned to make his own filial consciousness the portion of all his fellows in their relation to God. Still would he have cherished his great ideal of the brotherly and self-forgetting life as the will of God for the citizenship of his Kingdom, still would he have incurred all thehostility and the hatred of the Pharisees and the Jewish spiritualaristocracy for his mordant strictures on their practice of piety. Still would they have taken counsel together how they might destroy him, and still would they have found means to carry out their evil purpose. If we should eliminate all the personaleschatology, as Jesus did in his outward deed and word, we should still have substantially the same Jesus left. Some intimate talks with the disciples would fail, some earnest counsels for their future, some other pretext would have to be found for his murder at the end, but the main body of his public teaching and of his mission of help and healing would remain untouched. Doubtless his conviction of the near end of the present order somewhat clarified his vision and set the values of life in a truer proportion for him. B. H. Streeter has written (Foundations p. 119): "The summits of certain mountains are seen only at rare moments when, their cloud-cap rolled away, they stand out stark and clear. So in ordinary life ultimate values and eternal issues are normally obscured by minor duties, petty cares and small ambitions; at the bedside of a dying man the cloud is often lifted. In virtue of the eschatological hope our Lord and his first disciples found them selves standing, as it were, at the bedside of a dying world. Thus for a whole generation the cloud of lesser interests was rolled away, and ultimate values and eternal issues stood out before them stark and clear, as never before or since in the history of our race.” This was of incalculable import. Doubtless also thesolemn sense of the impending change gave an urgency to Jesus' work that was a great factor in its power, gave him a sense of vocation and dedication perhaps unequalled in history. In a hun­dred ways, of course, the eschatology acted as a shaping influence; it furnished the frame for the whole mission, but it was never the thing framed.


It is often said that Jesus changed or reconceived or spiritual­ized the current conception of Messiah. In the sense in which this statement is usually meant, it is wholly un­true. He did not exercise criticism on the contemporary ideal, always remembering that one fixed, standardized ideal did not exist. But by postponing his entire Messianic career to a period beyond his present life, he did effect a tremendous shifting ofpsychological values. When you or I say "Messiah” we mean rank, exaltation, dignity; just these connotations were in mind when the word was used by any ancient Jew—except Jesus. For him alone, who expected to assume the role, the word meant not exaltation, but service, not Gabe, but Aufgabe, as the Germans say. It was a tremendous task, which he accepted with trembling hands only because he believed his Father laid it upon him. The seat on the right hand of God, the subjection of all enemies under his feet, the name that is above every name: these were not the visions that thronged his mind when Peter exclaimed: Thou art the Christ. Rather the sense of a supreme responsibility, a super­human obligation, a task to do for God. Conceiving it thus, Jesus' acceptance of the role is little short of sublime. It is an act of supreme courage and self-dedication. A hundred prophets, a thousand dreamers, had talked of the Kingdom as the slow years passed, with no sense of personal responsibility in the matter, but only a passive waiting upon God. Psychologically what comes to Jesus is the willingness to do something about it, to offer himself as the instrument of the divine will; the feeling: Why wait forever for a Messiah to come? The Kingdom of God is at hand; I’m the man for whom the ages have waited. The spirit of the Lord is upon me, he has anointed me, not someone else, toproclaim release to the captives, the acceptable year of the Lord. Lesser men wait and look for Messiahs to come. Great men are Messiahs. I do not mean to imply, of course, that these reflections went consciously through Jesus' Mind, but only to suggest that the whole thing was for him the offering of himself for the ac­complishment of a supreme service for which God and man could no longer wait.


Involved in the acceptance of the task was acceptance of the way that all too clearly led to the assumption of the task—the way of shame, of suffering, of death. Messiah must enter into his glory by the Passion. Already before his searching question had drawn out Peter's inspired answer, he had faced the fact that he must die, had accepted it and made himself at home in it, because it was God's way. Hence his constant use to his disciples, from that time on, of the Danielic title "Son of Man.” He might have said "Messiah,” or one of many other phrases, but the phrase of Daniel supplied the precise resolution of the situation. The Son of Man comes from the upper world, on the clouds of heaven, with angelic hosts—he is a man already on earth. The passage from one state to the other of course involves death, the end of the present earth-life and the transition to the heavens. Hence he knows that he must die—and that he must rise from the dead. It must never be forgotten that Jesus did not at any point ac­cept Messiahship as exaltation alone; he accepted it only when it had already come to include the prelude of the passion. The antinomy which Peter could not tamely accept was no antinomy to Jesus, but a clear path which his feet were already pressing, a goal toward which his face was already set.


We may, then, remove the Messiahship altogether from the career of Jesus, as Martineau and many another have wanted to do, not arbitrarily, by violence to our sources, but historically, because he did the same. His career as Messiah was to begin where his career as the prophet of Nazareth closed—the two were not to overlap. This is not only his own clear conscious­ness; it is the clear understanding of Paul and the Christians of the first generation. He was born, says the apostle, of the seed of David according to the flesh, and established the Son of God with power, i.e. the Messiah, by the resurrection of the dead. (Rom. I: 3). He had stooped in his service to his fellows to the endurance of death, yea, the death of the cross. Wherefore God highly exalted him and gave him the name which is above every name, the title and dignity of Messiah. So the primitive preach­ing, as described in Acts, declared to the hostile Jews, "God hath made him both Master and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” They had seen him perish as Jesus; they looked eagerly forward to his advent as Christ, the Son of Man. There was no confusion here. But the days passed, and the months and the years, and so the generations—and he came not. He is more and more, to larger circles, proclaimed as Messiah, but as the advent hope grows dim, the Messianic values which find no real­ization in a second appearance, are insensibly put back into the first—and only—appearance. Since he is Messiah, and has not come again, he must have been Messiah when here. Gradually, unconsciously at first, the earthly career is Messianized; thereare placed the fulfillments and the functioning. The process has not gone very far or struck very deep, in Mark, but it has over­laid with a tinge of Messianic color the mission. The ecstatic ex­perience which followed Jesus' baptism by John, the anointing with the Holy Spirit, was the moment when he became the Anointed one, and all that follows is, in some sense not veryclearly apprehended by Mark, the career of Messiah. But Mark makes no great attempt to force it into conformity with the pro­gram expected of Messiah. Matthew, later, is more thorough­going. For him, Jesus was born son of God. His establish­ment as Messiah coincides with his entrance on the human stage; hence the virgin birth. Matthew, however, does unsuccessfully try to conform the story to the prophecies and the current ideas of what was expected of Messiah. Hence his frequent proof-texts and his labored adjustments of the minor and unessential details of the historic life to alleged prophecies. He cannot, of course, successfully Messianize the outstanding essential elements in Jesus, and scarce attempts to do so. Luke occupies substantial­ly the position of Mark, though he too has birth stories, which are a kind of prophetic prologue, wherein most of the later values find poetic expression. Finally the Fourth Evangelist, by identifying the Messiah with the Logos, pushes back to the beginning of all things the moment which coincides for Paul with the resurrec­tion, for Mark with the baptism, for Matthew with the birth. Strip off, then, from the gospels this Messianic color; set it over, as Jesus did in his own thought, into the period subsequent to Good Friday, and you have the Jesus who re-made the world.He was mistaken, let us say frankly, as to the nearness of the King­dom and the way in which it was to come to realization through him. But this mistake is a small and unessential matter. His great convictions were true. It is true, or else we are of all men most miserable, that God has in store for his children a diviner social order than that in which we now live. It is true that the coming of this order shall mean the absolute dominance of God in every life, in every aspect of the world. It is true that such a perfect world-order cannot descend upon us ready-made and in­volve us in its blessed life automatically, that we can enter inonly as we are inwardly prepared and purified, made men and women of the Kingdom-type. And it is true, is it not, that when this order comes, as come it must, it will be largely the work of Jesus of Nazareth. As men look back in that happy day over the long historic process which brought them to that estate, they shall see that Jesus was captain in the well-fought fight, that his was the great inspiration, the great enunciation of principles, the great dynamic; the victory shall be his victory, and the Kingship his of right. His shall be, not theologically or mystically, but literal­ly and historically, the name that is above every name, the seat—not on the throne of the world—but at the right hand of that God whose is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


1.       The Mystery of the Kingdom of God, by Albert Schweitzer. English Translation by Walter Lowrie. Dodd Mead, 1914.

2.       The Kingdom and the Messiah, by E. F. Scott. Scribner, 1912.

3.       The Kingdom of God in the New Testament, by E. F. Scott. Macmillan, 1931.

4.       The Promise of His Coming, by C. C. McCown. Macmillan,1921.

5.       The Eschatology of Jesus, by H. Latimer Jackson. Macmil­lan, 1913.