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—DEC. 22.—Luke 2:8-20.—

Golden Text—"Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."—Luke 2:10.

FOR comments on this lesson see our issue of July 1, '94; and do not fail to note in the announcement of the golden text that the good tidings of great joy shall be to all people "in due time" (1 Tim. 2:4-6) and then "Whosoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely."

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Golden Text—"Thy Kingdom come."—Matt. 6:10.

WHILE our Lord taught his disciples to go and preach "The Kingdom of heaven is at hand;" he also taught them, and the Church all through the age, to pray, "Thy Kingdom come." Both of these thoughts were true. The Kingdom in its incipient, embryo condition was then at hand—the Gospel Church in its formative, probationary state was about to be organized under the care of the twelve apostles, who in turn were supervised and inspired by the Lord. But the Kingdom was, and is, yet to come in glory and power.

"The sure word of prophecy" indicates that in 1878 it began to be established and that the process of establishment will be from that date to 1915, when the Kingdom in its glory of power and righteousness will have come. The true Church, whose names are "written in heaven," and which have not been blotted out because of unfaithfulness (Luke 10:20; Rev. 3:5) will then be exalted to reign with Christ. They shall be like him, and see him as he is, they shall reign with him a thousand years, and they shall judge the world in righteousness and bless all the families of the earth.—1 John 3:2; Rev. 20:6; Isa. 32:1; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:16,29.

This is the Kingdom to which the dying thief referred when he said, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdom;" to which Jesus referred when he said, "Fear not, little flock [the faithful Gospel Church]: it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom;" and which in the parable of the young nobleman he represented himself as going away to receive, and to return again to receive his faithful people unto himself as "joint-heirs" of that Kingdom. (Luke 23:42; 12:32; 19:12; Rom. 8:17.) If we have the witness in ourselves that we are now accepted of God as members of the Kingdom in its present embryo condition, let us endeavor by faithfulness to make our calling and election sure to the Kingdom in its completeness and glory and power.