This is chapter 5 from Forgotten Truths by Sir Robert Anderson. This chapter fits in well with the last study on the mystery of Christ, so I though that I would share it. Enjoy!
THE Bible has suffered more from Christian exponents than from infidel assailants. The prophets of Israel, “moved by the Holy Spirit,” spoke with united voice of a time when righteousness and peace would triumph and rule upon the earth; but “old-fashioned orthodoxy” interpreted their glowing periods much as an American crowd interprets the rhodomontade of political stump orators at election times! And thus the sublime words of the Hebrew Scriptures are supposed to find their fulfillment in the history of Christendom. They are read as referring to us and to our own age. And after us, the deluge! What wonder is it that sensible men of the world are skeptical both about the past predictions and the coming deluge! On this system of exegesis, for example, the sublime flights of Isaiah, when reduced to sober prose, find their realization — I repeat the phrase — in a pandemonium and a bonfire! This nightmare system of interpreting Holy Scripture makes the sacred pages seem to unbelief a hopeless maze of mysticism.
As we open the New Testament narrative we read that “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” And “when John was cast into prison,” the Lord Himself took up this same testimony, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1, 2; 4:17). Now the only meaning these words can bear, is that the time was at hand when heaven would rule upon earth,¹ a hope which, as the inspired Apostle declared at Pentecost, was the burden of Hebrew prophecy. But, as we have seen, the fulfillment of that hope has been postponed owing to the apostasy and sin of the Covenant people. And, because of its postponement, it has dropped out of the creed of Christendom; albeit Christendom, million-mouthed, daily recites the words the Lord Himself has given us with which to pray for its fulfillment — “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.” With the vast majority of Christians that prayer is merely a pious incantation; but the words are His own, and they shall be realized to the full. And yet, “in our covert atheism” — to borrow a phrase from Charles Kingsley — those who cherish this belief are commonly regarded as fanatics.