(Kersten, The Heidelberg Catechism in 52 Sermons, Vol.2, Part 22)

The Coming of the Kingdom of Heaven

Lord's Day 48

Psalter No. 131 st. 1, 2
Read Daniel 2:27-49
Psalter No. 397 st. 6, 7, 8
Psalter No. 421 st. 2
Psalter No. 125 st. 5, 6, 7


    How clearly do we see in the portion of Scripture read to you, that
in His Word the Lord would especially reveal Christ as the eternal King
of Zion, given to His people for their complete redemption. The main
purpose in Daniel's prophecy is not to show us Daniel and his friends,
but to portray Him who as the Lion of the tribe of Judah wages war for
His church and shall one day triumph.
    To give us that revelation the Lord caused Nebuchadnezzar to dream
that well known dream which so troubled him that his sleep departed
from him. He found no rest until the dream which had slipped away, and
its interpretation were told him. He sent for the wise men of Babylon.
Those wise men of the world had to instruct their king. Although Daniel
was at the court of the king in Babylon and was famed for his wisdom,
he was not among those who were called. The wise men whom the king had
called were asked to declare to him the dream and its interpretation.
    It was an impossible demand against which all the wise men
protested, especially as the king threatened to cut them in pieces and
burn their houses if they did not comply. Yet there was something in
the king's command that justified him. Did not the wise men say that
they had communion with the gods? Let those gods instruct them and
declare what was hidden for men. Finally they had to admit they could
not tell the dream, nor interpret it. Hence commandment was given to
execute the threatened judgment.
    When Arioch, who had to execute the order came to Daniel, Daniel
was brought before the king. A delay was ordered, so that he and his
friends could pray to Him Who is God alone and knows all things. It is
this God Who showed Daniel the dream and its interpretation. He could
tell it to the king, not because of his own knowledge but God had
instructed him. Daniel could tell the king what he had dreamed, namely,
that he saw a great image, an image that was terrible made of gold,
silver, brass, and iron, resting upon feet made of iron and clay. Do we
not know the meaning of it? The head of gold was the kingdom of the
Chaldeans. Soon another kingdom would arise, not so great and glorious
namely the Persian kingdom, of silver. After that the Macedonian empire
would come, of brass. Finally the Roman empire would come, hard as
iron. That too, shall be broken down.
    All this has happened as Daniel prophesied. Those mighty empires
which suppressed all peoples are no more. They are gone. What was the
cause of their downfall? The image rested upon feet made partly of iron
and partly of clay. Iron and clay do not mix together. Men shall
attempt by such a mixture to form world empires again, but they shall
not stand. For, there was a stone, not cut, nor made by hands. It was
the stone Christ, the King of Zion, Who has another kingdom not
associated with the world empires, but opposes them. This stone rolled
against the feet of the image, so that it was entirely broken and blown
away like chaff from the threshing floor.
    What does it mean that Christ is King eternally? His kingdom shall
endure, that He is at war with the powerful world forces, that one day
He will judge them, and all nations shall be destroyed. His kingdom
will then endure forever, and He will bring His subjects into that
glorious Kingdom above. In the end Zion's anointed King will deliver
this kingdom to the Father again. Should not the hearts of God's people
then be fixed upon the coming of that Kingdom? Does not the Lord teach
His children to pray: "Thy Kingdom come"?
    It is to that petition for the Kingdom of grace, that I would ask
your attention as this petition is described to us in Lord's Pay
forty-eight of our Heidelberg Catechism.
    Lord's Day 48
Q. 123. Which is the second petition?

A. "Thy kingdom come"; that is, rule us so by thy Word and Spirit, that
    we may submit ourselves more and more to thee; preserve and
    increase thy church; destroy the works of the devil, and all
    violence which would exalt itself against thee; and also, all
    wicked counsels devised against thy holy Word; till the full
    perfection of thy kingdom take place, wherein thou shalt be all in

    There you have the delineation of the coming of the Kingdom of
heaven. Let us notice further:
      I. the spiritual nature,
     II. the safe state,
    III. the sure victory, and
     IV. the perfect glory of that Kingdom.
    I wish first to say something about the spiritual nature of that
Kingdom whose coming we ask for in this second petition. When we speak
of the Kingdom of God and of the Kingdom of heaven, we must make a
clear distinction. We must distinguish between the Kingdom in a general
sense and the Kingdom in a special sense. In a general sense God is
King. God is King by virtue of creation. He not only created things,
but also subjected them to Himself and to His divine government. Thus
the authority rests upon Him by virtue of creation. As King He has the
original and absolute authority. No one gave or delegated it to Him. He
possesses it by virtue of His Godhead and as Creator. The Father
exercises this authority in His divine providence and governs all
things. All things in heaven and on earth are subjected to Him. He even
governs the devil according to the purpose He has determined, so that
according to His good pleasure His Name shall be glorified eternally.
Thus everything that lives and has a being is a subject of that
    When we speak of the Kingdom of heaven, we are in an entirely
different realm. The Lord Jesus Himself said, "Verily, verily, I say
unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of
God." Here an entirely different kingdom is spoken of, a kingdom in
which Christ is anointed to be King because through the depth of the
fall and the agitations of Satan, the world and sin, it has pleased God
to prepare a people for Himself according to His mercy, and on the
basis of the satisfaction of Christ in whom He will be eternally
glorified. Since it is stated very emphatically in Psalm 2, "Yet have I
set My King upon My holy hill of Zion", we are to understand that this
King in the Kingdom of grace has received power. This is not the
original authority of the Triune God; this is a given authority. The
Lord Jesus says, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth."
One of the purposes for which the Father chose Him was that He should
be King of His church, and it is He Whose subjects are in His church.
It is the kingdom of grace that will one day terminate in the Kingdom
of eternal glory. Therefore the Lord Himself makes that distinction
when in the gospel of John He says, "My Kingdom is not of this world."
    His coming was heralded by the prophets. For example, by Isaiah,
"Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government
shall be upon His shoulder." There the Messiah, as the anointed King
who had received power from the Father, is foreshadowed by the prophets
as He actually appeared in the fulness of time.
    It is that Kingdom that we now discuss. Immediately the distinction
becomes apparent that only those who are born of God are its subjects.
The Lord Jesus says in Matthew 7:21: "Not every one that saith unto Me,
Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; but he that does
the will of My Father which is in heaven." To Christ, as King of Zion,
all power is given - all power in heaven and on earth - so that all
things are placed under His dominion, including worldly people and the
devils, so they shall not harm God's church or destroy it. All
creatures are not the subjects of this Kingdom of heaven: only they who
are born of God, who do the will of the Father.
    Further doing the will of the Father does not mean keeping His law
only outwardly. Consider the rich young man. It is being saved by grace
through faith and that through the blood of the Lamb. In this Kingdom,
entirely different laws are in force. We witness here the way that
speaks of grace and truth according to the word of the Lord Jehovah.
The subjects are not only upheld in the way of God's providence to
receive what they need in this life, but they also receive spiritual
benefits out of the Kingdom of heaven, so that godliness is great gain
in this life as in the life to come. They are blessed with spiritual
blessings that are in Christ Jesus. This is not all. The chastisements
that come upon the people of God in the difficult ways through which
they must pass, are given them in this Kingdom as the Catechism says
and we soon shall hear, so they may submit themselves more and more to
their eternal King, and that He may extend dominion more in their
    We see then that this Kingdom is one that is distinct from that
kingdom of God which is general. Therefore the weapons used in this
Kingdom are not carnal. When the Pope of Rome wanted to establish his
principality, he resorted to temporal power. He subdued nations by
force. This is not the teaching of God's Word. Spiritual weapons must
be used here. The subjects are armed with the armor of God which is
described in Ephesians 6. When we ask, "Thy Kingdom come", it means
that the Kingdom of Christ is always coming. The petition asks that it
may come throughout the world so the King may gather His elect more and
more, may build His church and glorify Himself as having obtained the
full dominion. Thus it may be evident, even in the darkest times, that
Satan does not hold the reins; but this King who is above all temporal
power and might, is the King Who shall extend His scepter over Zion
eternally to protect and deliver it. It is He that was dead and is
alive forever more. In the Revelations to John, he calls to His church
from heaven, "I have the keys of hell and of death." How safe then, is
the state of that Kingdom. I now come to this point in the second
    The instructor says, "Rule us so by Thy Word and Spirit, that we
may submit ourselves more and more to Thee." The safe state of God's
kingdom lies in the rule of its King. He fights the battle alone, and
goes before His people. Through Him Zion obtains the victory. If He
alone reigns in His church, all enemies will flee, all rebellion cast
down and all opposition broken.
    To come to the point: I have stated before that the true subjects
of this Kingdom are those who are born of God. When in this question it
is asked by those who have found their salvation in Christ by faith,
"Rule us more and more", the meaning is, so direct Thy Word by Thy Holy
Spirit that we may be broken off from all grounds which we have outside
of the King. Is it not true that we lean upon much that is outside of
Him, Who is the only ground of salvation? Beside Him there is none
other name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved. O,
how many exercises of faith, how many rebukes from that King are
necessary to take away all our grounds, causing us to lean upon Him
alone, to seek and find our salvation in Him and through Him as His
subjects, to rejoice in God.
    "Rule us more and more by Thy Word and Spirit." This means that
Christ must occupy the highest place, the throne of our hearts, and
that all self-love must be mortified. There are many other kings
sitting upon the throne of our hearts. In Psalm 72 (Psalter No. 194),
the church sings, "Yea, all the kings shall bow to Him." In this
petition we ask that this may take place in our hearts and that all the
kings which are enthroned in our hearts may bow before that eternal
King of Zion. Take for instance, all self-love, all self-exaltation,
all spiritual pride and all glorying because of the blessings which God
has given. The petition is that Christ may rule within us and that we
may renounce our own will and desire, in order that we may submit to
God's will, according to which He rules and Christ rules; so that He
may display His majesty and glory in our hearts. The more the rule of
this King is embraced in our hearts and the mightier the rule of Christ
is in the souls of His people, the more they are privileged, as a
result of that rule, to live and walk in God's commandments. You
realize, of course, that I am stressing the spiritual significance that
lies in this petition. When we ask here that Christ may rule in us more
and more, we ask that He may bring His spiritual dominion in us more
clearly. This does not exclude praying for the preservation of His
church in its visible form, for we read also, "Preserve and increase
Thy church."
    It is this church, which His kingdom reveals itself, here in the
world. This church is invisible but it receives a visible
manifestation. It was already in existence in the beginning. In the New
Testament it came to such a glory that it is written, "The Kingdom of
heaven is at hand." This church needs preservation and growth. God's
people need the continuous protection of that King in their internal
conflicts with a triple-headed enemy. The church in its visible
manifestation also needs the rule of that King, His protection and the
glorification of His grace in the heart. The safe state of the church
lies in the promise of this King, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto
the end of the world." That includes even the darkest times.
    Read the history of the church of old, also in our country, and
think how in those dark days the Word of Christ retained its power, and
how He reigned as King over His church. He does so internally in the
hearts of His people, but also externally in His inheritance, so that
His church may not be lost but remain visible, in spite of all the
attacks which are made upon her.
    Why is the state of the church so safe? Because this King has
fought the battle alone, and He alone is the Conqueror; because He
makes His people and His church victorious; and He will be their
defense, for "upon all the glory shall be a defense". Thus the church
is safe in the hand of the King, yes, even when one would say, "What
will become of the church of God?" The church lies safe in His hands.
Therefore it shall triumph over all the enemies that rise up against
it. For we read: "Destroy the works of the devil, and all violence
which would exalt itself against Thee, and also, all wicked counsels
devised against Thy holy Word." The church shall obtain the victory
over the enemies. We speak of this in the third place.
    The Lord shall destroy the works of the devil as well as all
violence and all wicked counsels, especially the works of the devil;
for the devil is the prince of darkness. He hates God's Kingdom and
cannot endure the light of the Kingdom of Christ. Therefore He always
resists the dominion of King Jesus. The devil found his kingdom upon an
imitation of Christ. Luther called him the imitator of Christ. He does
what he sees in the Kingdom of Zion. He has an army with which he
intends to wage war against this spiritual and eternal Kingdom. He goes
about, not only as a roaring lion, but also as an angel of light. In
this warfare the church of God in itself is powerless. What then lies
in this petition, "Thy Kingdom come"? That the King Himself shall
destroy the works of the devil. He has already fought the battle; He
has bruised the head of Satan; as a victor He arose from the dead, and
He triumphs eternally at the right hand of the Father. He alone can
destroy the works of the devil, preventing them from doing any real
harm to His church.
    We read further, "Destroy all violence which would exalt itself
against Thee." It speaks of violence against the church of God. Did I
not speak in the introduction of the kingdoms of the world that set
themselves against Christ and of the stone that was seen, cut out
without hands? This Kingdom set itself against the kingdoms of the
world and broke them to pieces so that they were carried away as chaff
by the wind. The world, in the service of Satan, has done violence to
the church of God. Satan is the prince of the world. From age to age
violence has been committed, even from the days of the apostles. Think
of the persecutions under the Roman Popes and of the violence revealed
against God's heritage from age to age. This violence of the powers of
the world is described in the rising of the beast that came up out of
the sea and the earth, and finally in the eventual rise of the
Antichrist. Oh what times of distress are still awaiting the church of
God, through the violence that shall be committed against it by the
power of Satan. Nevertheless, Zion's King shall triumph. He alone
protects His church and defends it against the violence expressed in
this portion of the Catechism, which is said to exalt itself against
the Head of the church. When war is waged against the church, the main
object is to cast the King Himself from the throne, if possible, to
destroy His kingdom. This war which must be fought by God's church is
actually waged against Christ. Could we but see a little of this, how
encouraged we would be. The Lord shall one day settle the accounts of
all His enemies.
    This is the war which He Himself wages, and He will not allow His
people to lose. What will all this lead to? It will lead to the triumph
of the church because the King Himself is at the head in this battle.
"The Lord is at the head of those who would help me", says one.
    "Destroy also all wicked counsels devised against Thy holy Word."
For as mentioned before, the enemy also goes about as an angel of light
to blind their eyes and draw them away from the Word of God, to destroy
the doctrine of truth and introduce the error. You can find many
examples from the beginning already in the days of the apostles, which
show the wicked counsels devised against the Word of God. You can see
in the history of our country what has been devised against the Word of
God, and you will often ask: "How was it possible that the church fell
so far from its firm foundation?" So it is still. Those wicked devices
against the Word of God are woven so carefully that you can hardly
detect them, but their purpose is to set aside the old doctrine of
truth. Therefore I have said so often, "By all means, read the old
Reformed theologian writings, so that you can defend the true doctrine
when a falling away shall come. Search these old writings and use them
to try all that is published in our days. Then you will turn away from
them, for they are the wicked counsels of the devil devised against the
Word of God and the true doctrine. Upon this the church shall stand
firm so that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." How many
blasphemies and false representations arise; all of them are counsels
devised against the Word of God to make the preaching ineffectual. Paul
also writes that men sought to make him contemptible, to lessen the
power of his testimony. But the Lord has assured us in His Word, "No
weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that
shall rise against thee in judgment shalt thou condemn." God already
grants this in the establishment of His Kingdom and in the preservation
of His church. He causes it to stand firm and preserves it that it be
not moved. How fully will this be seen in the perfect glory which this
Kingdom shall receive one day. Of this the last part of our Lord's Day
speaks: "Till the full perfection of Thy Kingdom take place, wherein
Thou shalt be all in all." That is our fourth main thought.
    Here on earth the Kingdom of heaven is the church militant. Soon it
shall obtain the full victory. Now that Kingdom is imperfect. It is
imperfect, not only because the church in its visible manifestation is
composed of wheat and tares together, but also because it is imperfect
in the hearts of God's children. There are always wrestlings with sin
and the old man. But one day that will change.
    Christ has taken a part of His Kingdom into heaven already; a part
is still on earth. One day He will gather His church, that is to say,
all His elect together and set up His Kingdom in perfect glory. That
will be at the end of days. That will be on the great judgment day
which the Father has appointed. Of that day and hour knoweth no one but
the Father only. Then Christ will deliver that Kingdom to His Father.
The church will no longer need His Mediatorial offices of prophet,
priest and king. Then the kingdom of grace will become the kingdom of
glory, and its subjects will no longer be faced by any enemies. They
will be destroyed with an eternal destruction when the King says,
"Those, My enemies, which would not that I should reign over them,
bring hither, and slay them before Me." Christ will then deliver the
Kingdom to His Father and sit in the midst of the throne, to receive
glory and honour and thanksgiving for ever.
    The great King will then be worshipped perfectly, for not only will
the souls of God's people inherit glory, but also the church of God,
His chosen multitude. They will enter into heaven with soul and body
where they will shine forever and ever in the light of that King to
display their beauty. They will rejoice perfectly in the presence of
God. This is reserved for God's people. There the Kingdom will be
perfect, for Satan will not be there and no enemy; for they shall gnaw
their tongues with everlasting pain. There the Kingdom is perfect and
in such glory as eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered
into the heart of man to conceive. However severe the conflict may be
here below, at the end of the course the Lord has the crown laid away
for His people, and He will adorn them with that incorruptible and
undefiled crown that fadeth not away; and He will exalt and glorify
Himself in them perfectly. However insignificant God's people are in
themselves, there they will rejoice forever. Here below they have
already by grace received a place in that Kingdom through faith, and
taken refuge under the protection of that King. Soon they shall enter
into His glory forever. This is it that encourages, comforts and
strengthens the church and makes it sing with the Psalmist in Psalter
No. 421 st. 2,
        The sparrow finds a house to rest,
        The swallow deftly builds her nest,
        And broods her young hard by Thy altar.
        O Lord of hosts, my God, my King,
        With all my soul to Thee I cling!
        Hold Thou my hand, lest I should falter.
        How blest are they that dwell with Thee!
        They praise Thy Name continually.
    The Kingdom of heaven reveals itself within the visible church. As
to the outward condition of the visible church, the Lord Jesus spoke
several parables which tell us clearly there are not only wise virgins
but also foolish virgins; that the Kingdom of heaven is as a net
containing good fish and bad; and that it is as a field in which tares
also grow. With these parables the Lord Jesus alludes to the
manifestation of the Kingdom of heaven here on earth. At the same time
they tell us that we are not only under the universal government of God
the Father as Creator, but that He Himself in the way of His divine
providence, brings us within the boundaries of that Kingdom.
Nevertheless it remains true, that no man can enter that Kingdom except
He is born again. It is written so emphatically in John 3 that no man
need doubt it, "Verily, verily I say unto you" and that "verily" has
the strength of an oath, as if the Lord would say, "I confirm it in the
most solemn manner", "no man can see or enter the Kingdom of God except
He be born again."
    Let us therefore hold fast to this rule: the true subjects of that
Kingdom are those who are born of God, who are regenerated by His Word.
For His elect, the Lord opens His Word and the free administration of
the Gospel, in which He earnestly invites sinners to salvation. By
reason of your bringing up, you may answer me, "Yes, but God's Word can
only bear fruit when God Himself accompanies it." Indeed, so it is. We
cannot give each other the grace of regeneration. God's servants cannot
give you grace. Neither are they responsible for the fruit of the Word.
The Lord holds this in His own hands. But tell me, since you by your
presence have been a part of the revelation of that Kingdom, what
advantage have you taken of the Word of the Kingdom? What are you doing
with the Word of God? Tell me, did you ever seek to partake of the
salvation of Zion's eternal King in the deliverance, by which He
delivers His church out of the state of misery and eternal perdition to
which it has subjected itself with all men? Let us be honest. We have
many thoughts and seasonings, sometimes objections against the Word of
God and against the simple doctrine of the truth.
    Let us honestly examine ourselves. Is it not true that man works
out his own destruction? Is it not found to be true that we do not want
to be converted in the way that God converts His people? Let me say it
in the words of the King Himself: "Ye will not come to Me, that ye
might have life in My Name." Do not you and I do the same? Here is the
revelation of God's Word. Here Zion's eternal King is busy gathering
His church and protecting His inheritance. Does not the fault then lie
with us - as we are told so clearly in the Canons of Dort - that when
the Word bears no fruit, "it is not the fault of the gospel, nor of
Christ, offered therein, nor of God," but only of ourselves (Canons of
Dort, Head III & IV, Art. 9). Now I say this for a reason: Sometimes an
unconverted listener says, "Give us a little comfort, too." Well, I do
give you comfort and encouragement when I tell you it is our own fault.
I do so in order that, as you consider the Word of truth, you may come
to yourself by grace, and learn to see and confess, "It is my own fault
if I am lost." Would you want me to plaster you with untempered morter
and say, "People, pray much, believe a little, call, and then God will
come?" Shall I say, "Because of your exercises you may take courage?"
That will not help you because ultimately you will be deceived
eternally by such words. This is one of the wicked counsels devised
against the Word of God to build each other up as presumed citizens of
    That is a false comfort. The case appears entirely different when
by the light of the Spirit we ourselves bear the responsibility for the
labor which God has bestowed on our souls. Then we cry out, "It is our
own fault." Then you do not blame God's servants, for they have made
themselves free from your blood. You yourself become the guilty one so
that by regeneration you might be led into that Kingdom of grace. The
Lord has promised, "My Word shall not return unto Me void." For as the
rain watereth the earth and maketh it bring forth and bud, so the Lord
shall bless His Word. When that happens we become subjects of that
Kingdom and not just followers. Then indeed we become true subjects
because Christ enters our hearts as king.
    Therefore we need so much to preserve the old doctrine, especially
in our days, for the church is being allured from its foundations.
Consider how insistent our fathers were to save the doctrine of free
grace. Remember what has happened. Our fathers were called Protestants
and were bitterly persecuted. They bore it steadfastly and retained the
true doctrine. Although they were driven from their pulpits, they did
not yield an inch. Should we then surrender the truth and be carried
about by every wind of doctrine? If we do, the church will be ruined.
    The Word of God must run its course among us. It is the Word which
tells us that Christ was anointed King of Zion which is founded on the
holy mountains. It pleased God the Father to make His own Son to be His
servant, but He also anointed Him to be Zion's eternal King. He, who
with the Father is the eternal, almighty God, received power as the
Mediator of His people, when He came in the likeness of men. He
exercises that power by making His Word effective, by placing the light
of that testimony upon the candlestick.
    I would say, boys and girls, make it your chief concern. We have
our young men's societies; insist upon the pure doctrine; search the
old writers, so that you will have a good foundation to make war
against the errors that arise. Above all, may God work effectually in
your hearts. Remember, you will never amount to anything spiritually
with what you fancy to possess when you have much historical knowledge;
you must become a lost sinner, and for that purpose there is great need
for the ministration of the Spirit and the power of that King, Who
visibly defends His church and invisibly governs His people.
    This is what happens in regeneration when by His royal power, He
delivers a sinner out of the power of darkness and incorporates him
into His spiritual and heavenly kingdom. Then he becomes a subject of
King Jesus. God knows the work of His own hands. However hidden this
work may be in the beginning for the soul itself, this King also
upholds that work of His hands. If it is true that there is something
of that work of His Spirit in our hearts, that King will uphold it; He
will never forsake His inheritance, and those that are purchased by His
precious blood He will never forsake.
    Where do the encouragements lie for a sorely assaulted and
oppressed people? They lie in the fact that this King will lead them to
the eternal victory, not because they have weapons in this battle, but
because He is the King of Zion who not only fought the battle, but also
finished it, and then ascended triumphantly into His eternal victory.
    It is the prayer of the true supplicant that this King may reign in
his heart more and more, swaying His royal scepter. By the light of the
Spirit he learns that there is much within him that rebels against this
King. Let God's people tell you how much they seek rest outside of
Christ. Consider the whole church together if you will. One must lose
his life to find it in that King. May the Lord grant this to us. May He
work continually so that He alone may be exalted in our hearts. What a
privilege it would be if we would forget ourselves just for once.
    Yes, God's people should keep on praying, "Thy kingdom come", for
that Kingdom shall come. Oh, what an encouragement it is that He will
never forsake His inheritance. He protects it against all the violence
of Satan and all counsels that are devised against it, as well as
against all the devices of our own hearts. People of God, remember the
church in your prayers, not forgetting what concerns its outward
revelation. Think it no small matter to remember the needs of God's
church in prayer, the needs of God's Kingdom which He shall extend unto
the ends of the earth. Remember each other also in your personal needs,
so that you may deny your own will and desires, because that King
sometimes leads His subjects through very deep ways. There are divine
chastisements and strokes of His love which His people receive so that
He may become their all, for then alone will they say with Isaiah, "O
Lord, I will praise Thee, though Thou wast angry with me." Are these
not the deeds of love of Zion's eternal King, so that He alone may have
the highest place in their hearts, and that His subjects may walk in
His laws, agreeing with His will and government? He chastises them so
that they may be strengthened in faith to walk in the path of His
commandments, and have exercises in sanctification as a people entirely
powerless in themselves. What will the fruit be? A longing for the full
perfection of that Kingdom. At times God's children may view it from
    The Bible tells us what will happen. Anyone can read how sad the
state of the church will become, and what is in store for God's church
in the future. Therefore I say, if you seek an external glory, you will
seek in vain. Who knows how near the end of time is? Through the midst
of the terrible woes, the King leads His church to the sure victory,
for in Him we are more than conquerors.
    People of God, the entire church on earth is certain to obtain
eternal victory. Let come what will, God will keep His church standing.
Is it not a strong consolation that the oppression will not last
forever, and that the warfare will soon be over, when one day we shall
inherit the perfect glory to praise our King perfectly? God's children
have a beginning of this already in their hearts here in this life when
they extol the greatness of their King in these words, "O King divine,
supremely fair Thou art." Sometimes they would like to call heaven and
earth together to help them praise their God and King. But such praise
is imperfect. The more we enjoy of it, the less we can express it; but
soon our souls and one day both soul and body shall do so perfectly in
eternal glory.
    Should not our high regard for Zion's great King be more in
exercise, so that we may count ourselves to be strangers and sojourners
on earth and thus show that we are seeking another country? Soon the
Lord will bring us forth with honour out of our earthly abode unto the
King in raiment of needlework. This is true of the entire church. For
not one shall be missing; not one out of all nations, and kindreds and
people and tongues. The King will gather them together and say,
"Behold, I and the children which Thou hast given me." Then shall the
Kingdom be delivered to the Father, because the protection of this King
will no longer be needed, but He will then receive all thanksgiving and
honour. Then the atonement will not be needed any longer, for nothing
that is unclean shall enter there. Neither will they need Him as a
Prophet to instruct them, for there they will see God face to face.
    May the Lord comfort and encourage us. May He grant a life of
dependence on Him with the constant desire that His Kingdom may come,
so that He may rule over us more and more as King. May He guide us with
His counsel and cause us to walk in His ways, so that His great name
may be glorified at all times to our comfort and encouragement. Amen.

Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism in 52 Sermons, Vol.2
(continued in part 23...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: krhc2-22.txt