And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying…
This text is generally quoted in a missionary connection, and associated with the conversion of the heathen. But it is of much wider scope than that. There are plenty of Christians that want converting, plenty of Churches that want Christianising. The progress of all life in our planet has been a progress from the animal upward to the intellectual, the moral, the spiritual; from mere brute force to the dominion of thought and reason. Ages back mere bigness of mass seemed to count for everything. The so-called "antediluvian" monsters were rampant. As life developed mere bigness became of less and less account, and brain became of more account. Those who can influence mind are the true monarchs of creation. This is the realm in which Christ's supreme triumphs are to take place. Christ will fascinate and possess the mind of the world, and the mind will rule all the rest. "Strong beliefs win strong men, and then make them stronger." The masculine but humane morality of Jesus Christ must more and more commend itself to the thinking and influential portion of society. Ideas and institutions which have been long prevalent go down before a superior idea. So shall it be with many world-ideas in presence of the truth of Christ. Many institutions have lived and done their work. They have served their day and generation, but now they have waxed old, and are ready to decay and vanish away in the presence of a nobler ideal. Still, we are not to disparage the old because the new has come. The present forms of animal life are far superior in development and attainment to those whose remains are found in the tertiary rocks. But the forms of to-day could not have existed without the forms that went before. Those very things which Christ's law and spirit will supplant have been important factors in human progress. When the Apocalyptic dream of the New Jerusalem, the Christian state, the city of God, finally and triumphantly established upon earth, shall find complete fulfilment, it will be characterised by a fuller embodiment of the law of Christ in every sphere of human relationship and conduct. For instance, the kingdom of Art shall become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. It has become so to a great extent. All the noblest paintings, all the grandest buildings in the world during the Christian era, have been the product of the Christian imagination. Certainly the sublimest music owns this inspiration. We need not fear the complete annexation of this kingdom, because the genius of the true Christianity is hopeful and happy. The kingdom of Literature would, in like manner, come under the dominance of Christian ideas. It is hard to say at present whether this tremendous engine for good or evil works most good or evil. What a blessed thing it will be when the domain of literature becomes the domain of Christ; when nothing will be written or read the tendency of which is not to the true elevation and edification of the human mind; when editors shall all be men of conscience, and the venal pen shall be as much an archaeological curiosity as the stone hatchet; when we shall be able to take up any book and feel that it will be safe for our children to read; when we can open even the latest novel from Paris with the confidence that none of our finer sensibilities will be shocked, and that an atmosphere will not be introduced into the home whose poisonous vapours we should shudder to think that our young people will breathe. The kingdom of Commerce, too, shall one day fall under the rule of Christ. That will be indeed a blessed day when men can trust one another, and when all shall be worthy of that trust; when another man's property shall be as sacred in our eyes as our own; when public funds shall be administered with the same scrupulous integrity with which our own are dispensed. The realm of Amusements, too, shall come under the same rule. The prophecy will find its fulfilment not in the expression of any particular forms of recreation, but in the Christianising of them all. And will it not be a grand day when the kingdom of Politics shall be sanctified by the Spirit of Christ? When debates shall be purged from the pettiness of personality and the rancour of recrimination; when offices shall be filled with the sole aim that the commonwealth shall receive the services of its most capable citizens; and when the statesman's ruling principle shall be not to catch votes, but to redress wrongs and establish righteousness. And then may we not hope that even the Church itself in that happy day shall come under the dominion of the law of Christ? No longer to be the collection of ecclesiastical antiquities, the museum of theological curiosities, the arena of strife and debate that it is to-day, but the abode of ideal men and women, the home of all the sweet and pure Christian virtues. Then Christians shall no longer "bite and devour one another"; "giving the enemy occasion to blaspheme." Their energies shall be converted into light, and not into heat, and men will be willing to rejoice in that light. But how shall those great results, of which we have spoken in other spheres, be achieved unless the Church be first true to herself? It is through her that these beneficent impulses upon society must come. We must begin by being ideal Christians if the world is to become an ideal world.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.