Researched and studied by HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
The Two Kingdoms of Judah and Israel.
1 Kings 12
One of the adversaries whom God stirred up against Solomon, and who lifted up his hand against the king, was Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. As he is evidently representative of that principle which lay at the foundation of the spiritual separation which the division of the twelve tribes of Israel represented, it is necessary to turn our attention to his history during the reign of Solomon, as given in chapter 9
The first fact we learn to respect Jeroboam is that he was an Ephrathite. The tribe of Ephraim, the descendants of the younger son of Joseph, represented, as we have had occasion to show, the intellectual part of the mind, as Manasseh represented the voluntary part. These two sons of Joseph, therefore, represent in epitome what was represented by the whole house of Israel, with the characteristic difference between Judah and the ten tribes which finally ultimate itself in their division into two kingdoms. As Ephraim represented the intellectual faculty of the mind, he represented also, as a matter of course, the spiritual principle itself, and thence the spiritual kingdom in the Church and in heaven. His paternal name answers to this; for to look or regard, which Nebat means, is expressive of intellectual sight. But Jeroboam’s mother was a widow, whose name was Zeruah. A widow is one who is in goodness and desires truth. But Jeroboam’s widowed mother bore the extraordinary name of Leper, which indicates that the goodness she represented was mixed with evil, and was thus to some extent profaned. Such indeed was the root of the intellect of those who constitute the Ancient or Spiritual Church, and even the spiritual heaven itself. With the spiritual, the original will is corrupt and is never renewed, as with the celestial, into the likeness of God which it has lost. With the spiritual a new will is formed in the intellectual part of the mind. Being formed by means of truth, it is, therefore, the will of truth rather than of goodness. This new will, with those who are born again, holds the former will in subjection, or, becoming the active and actuating power of the mind, it supersedes the function of the original faculty. Yet the old root is never entirely destroyed. It is that corrupt will which everyone feels, and the disturbing influence of which even the children of God have cause to lament. It was this leprous will which made Paul declare that when he would do good evil was present with him, and in the bitterness of his spirit exclaim, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” This is the carnal mind which is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Although this carnal will can never, with the spiritual, be either restored or extinguished, it can be subdued. To both of these facts, the same apostle bears experimental testimony. After speaking of the two conflicting laws, the law in his members that warred against the law of his mind, he exclaims,” O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind, I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:24, 25).
Jeroboam, who was a mighty man of valour, had by his industry commended himself to Solomon’s favour when the king built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father; and he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. Millo was a fortress on Mount Zion and was originally built by David (2 Samuel 5:9). The charge of the house of Joseph was no doubt part of “the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the Lord, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 9:15). Jeroboam, who thus laboured to repair the breaches of the city of David, was himself to be instrumental in opening a breach in the kingdom of David which was never to be repaired. Yet in performing that work, Solomon, and Jeroboam, and the house of Joseph was performing good work, and one not unnecessary, or inconsistent with that breaking up of the kingdom into two, for which both Solomon and his servants were, in a different manner, preparing the way.
The cause of Jeroboam lifting up his hand against the king was one that was likely to inspire him with motives of ambition, although it ought to have restrained him from any hostile action during Solomon’s lifetime. “When Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: and Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: and he said to Jeroboam, Take you ten pieces: for thus says the Lord the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you.” It is easy to see the meaning of this sign, as it refers to the kingdom of Israel, but its symbolism in reference to the division of the one kingdom in heaven is not so obvious. Garments are emblematical of truths, for these invest goodness as garments clothe the body, and perform for their corresponding uses. It was for this reason that so many and minute directions were given for the garments of Aaron. His garments also represented the spiritual kingdom of the Lord. On account of this representation, God Himself is spoken of as being clothed with light as with a garment, for the garment with which He is clothed is His Divine Truth which covers His Divine Goodness. It is a truth also that is capable of being divided or rent into pieces. Goodness is one, but the truth is various according to the reception, and although it does not divide, it modifies, the good with which it is connected. It is from this circumstance that, however variously truth may be received by men if all are actuated by goodness they are one. So the Church may be one in goodness and love, although it may be varied as to doctrine. So the celestial and spiritual heavens are united in love although they are distinguished by the truth. The Church may be divided as regards truth and doctrine and yet may be one in spirit: as Israel was divided into two kingdoms, which yet could live at peace with one another; and as heaven is divided into two kingdoms, which yet are united by charity.
The separation which was effected, at the end of the first and the beginning of the second Church, between the human faculties of will and understanding, was necessarily followed by the division of heaven into two distinct kingdoms. Heaven takes its form as well as its state from the state and form of those of whom it consists. Regenerate man is a little heaven, and heaven is the greatest regenerate man. While the faculties of will and understanding were inseparably united in the individual man, their representatives in the Grand Man could not have a separate existence. So long as the human mind was one, heaven, which consists of regenerated human minds, was one also. When the human mind came to be divided, heaven underwent a corresponding division. The division of heaven into two kingdoms could not take place until the time of the Incarnation. Not till then did the Ancient Church come to a complete end by the last judgement which the Lord performed upon it in the spiritual world. To this event, our Lord referred when He said, “Now is the judgement of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out;” and when He said, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” For the world spiritually means the Church; and Satan means those in the other world who were opposed to and infested the spiritual, who were preserved in the middle state, preparatory to their being elevated into heaven when the Lord had risen from the dead and ascended on high. The heaven from which Satan fell was the imaginary heaven, which the false and unfaithful in the Church on earth had formed for themselves in the world of spirits, into which all departed souls first enter after death. The faithful who had been preserved in the middle state from the time of the Flood and the days of Noah, or from the commencement of the Ancient Church, formed the spiritual or second heaven, which is also the spiritual kingdom.
But the second heaven, or the spiritual kingdom, was not formed of those only who had been preserved in the world of spirits. The heaven which had been formed of those who belonged to the Most Ancient Church, which was a celestial Church, constituted the one kingdom of which heaven originally consisted, which was celestial and still constitutes the celestial kingdom, as distinct from the spiritual.
Although originally there was but one heaven, and that heaven constituted but one kingdom, yet that one heaven and kingdom had in it the essential elements of all the three heavens and of the two kingdoms of which the universal heaven now consists. The Grand Man was in this respect as the individual man. From his first creation, man consisted, mentally, of will, understanding, and action. By the change which took place in the condition of the human mind at the time of the Flood, nothing was added to the mind or taken from it. The same faculties remained, they were only differently circumstanced in relation to each other. They acquired, so to speak, a separate individuality—a separate but not independent existence. The mind acquired a kind of double consciousness; the power of thinking and willing separately. The Grand Man also consisted originally of will, understanding, and action. These are the elements of the three heavens and of the two kingdoms. The celestial heaven is the will of the Grand Man, the spiritual heaven is his understanding, and the ultimate heaven is his action. Originally all these were united in one, as they originally were in the individual man, and, as in him, they had no distinct consciousness, and therefore had no distinct activity. When heaven was formed into two kingdoms, it was not entirely by the formation of a second heaven out of those who belonged to the Ancient or Spiritual Church, but it was partly by a division of the celestial heaven itself, as formed from among those who had lived in the world during the time of the Adamic Church. The celestial heaven was necessarily internal and external. When God assumed man’s nature, as it had become both by change of state and change of condition, and had, by glorification, made His Humanity the great Archetype of all order in heaven and on earth, He made an organic change in heaven corresponding to that which He had made in human nature in the world. The Humanity of the Lord is Divine-celestial, Divine-spiritual, and Divine-natural; and these in Him are the Archetypes of the three heavens, the celestial, the spiritual, and the natural. But these three heavens constitute two kingdoms. The two higher heavens form these two kingdoms; for the lowest heaven does not of itself form a kingdom, but it is the ultimate and basis of the two superior heavens. It consists of two kinds of angels, celestial-natural and spiritual-natural, the celestial-natural being the ultimate of the celestial heaven, and these constituting together the celestial kingdom, and the spiritual natural being the ultimate of the spiritual heaven, and these forming together the spiritual kingdom.
When there was but one heaven and one kingdom, that one heaven, as we have said, contained the elements of the three heavens, and that one kingdom contained the elements of both kingdoms. The celestial kingdom existed actually, the spiritual existed potentially, not only in those who were in the world of spirits but in a part of those who were in heaven. That heaven consisted, as every heaven does, of an internal and an external; and the internal was celestial and the external was spiritual. The internal was love to the Lord and the external was love to the neighbour, and love to the Lord is the celestial principle, and love to the neighbour is the spiritual principle. In that ordination or arrangement of the heavens which took place as a result of the Lord’s glorification, the external of the celestial heaven receded and became the nucleus of the spiritual heaven, to which were added and around which were gathered those who were elevated out of the world of spirits; and these together formed the second heaven and the spiritual kingdom. Those who had formed the external of the celestial heaven thus now formed the internal of the spiritual heaven. Those who had been the spirit of the celestial heaven now became the celestial of the spiritual heaven; for love to the neighbour, which forms the external of the celestial heaven, forms the internal of the spiritual heaven. Thus, while the two heavens are distinct from each other, and form two distinct kingdoms, they are united by the love of the neighbour. There is, however, a. the difference in the character of neighbourly love as it exists in these two kingdoms; though one is the similitude of the other, they are in nothing exactly the same. The love of the neighbour in the celestial heaven is mutual love, and the love of the neighbour in the spiritual heaven is charity. Mutual love is like the love that exists between brothers and sisters, and charity is like that which exists between friends and connections—the difference between consanguinity and affinity. Yet these affections, while they differ, answer to each other, and are the means of joining the two heavens and kingdoms together. The distinction of the heavens into two kingdoms and the connecting-link between them may be illustrated, as indeed they were represented, by the division of the twelve tribes after their entrance into Canaan, which itself represented heaven. Nine entire tribes took their inheritance in the land of Canaan, and two entire tribes chose their inheritance in the land of Gilead, on the other side Jordan. But of the remaining tribe, one half settled in Canaan and the other half in Gilead; and that tribe was Manasseh, which represented the very principle by which the two kingdoms in the heavens are joined together.
The separation of the one heaven into two kingdoms is described symbolically by Zechariah, in a prophecy that evidently relates to the coming of the Lord, and to His works of redemption and judgement: “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south “(Zechariah 14:3, 4). This is the day of which the prophet further says, that “the light shall not be clear, nor dark: but it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one” (Zechariah 14:6-9). “In this passage, the evening time is the last time of the Church when judgement takes place, for then it is an evening to the evil but light to the good. This being known it may appear from the spiritual sense what the particulars involve and signify. Jehovah going forth and fighting against the nations signifies the last judgement to the evil; to go forth and fight is to execute judgement, and the nations are evils. That this was effected from Divine Love is meant by the Lord’s feet standing upon the Mount of Olives; for the Mount of Olives when it relates to the Lord, signifies the Divine Love, Jerusalem signifies the Church as to the truth and the east of the Divine goodness. The Mount of Olives cleaving in the midst, part thereof going toward the east and toward the sea, leaving a great valley between, signifies the separation of those who are in good from those who are in evil; for, as has been said, the Mount of Olives signifies the Divine love, the east is where that dwell who are in the Divine good, and the sea where those are in evil. The half of the mountain removing toward the south and half toward the north signifies the separation of those who are in falsities derived from evil from those who are in truths derived from good.” In this explanation, the cleaving of the mountain is said to mean the separation of the evil from the good, which is the immediate effect of the judgement. But the other separations resulting from the judgement are also included in its meaning. So we read that “the Mount of Olives represented heaven as to the good of love and charity, as the subject treated of is concerning the Lord and His coming; the Mount of Olives signifies the good of love and charity, thus the Church, for these constitute the Church; that the Church should recede from the Jewish nation and be established among the Gentiles is signified by that mountain being cleft to pieces toward the east, towards the sea, toward the south, and toward the north.” This being meant by the prophecy when applied to the Church, when applied to heaven it describes the separation which was effected in it, by which it was divided into two kingdoms. This division was the necessary result and ultimate effect of the division that had been miraculously effected between the two constituent faculties of the mind, when the will, which then ruled the understanding, had become so corrupt that “every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually.” While the one kingdom was separated into two, the one heaven was divided into three. And these three heavens are in the spiritual world what the three dispensations of the Church—the Most Ancient, the Ancient, and the Israelitish—were in the natural world, Celestial, Spiritual, and Natural. These three dispensations of the Church on earth arose out of the states of mankind, who passed successively through these three descending degrees of religious life. Yet these three heavens form but two kingdoms, for there are but two essential faculties of the mind, the will and the understanding, as there are but two fountains of life in the body, the heart and the lungs, and as there are but two principles of spiritual life, goodness and truth, or love and faith. There is indeed a third, which is action, and in religion is work, but this is the use resulting from the combined effort of the other two and is their ultimate form. This ultimate, which is action or work, is what the Israelitish dispensation was to the other two. It was a dispensation of works, which had no life but that which had descended to it from the two previous dispensations. The Israelitish was not therefore properly a Church, but the representative of a Church. It was a dispensation in which their great virtue was obedience, obedience to law and ritual, with little perception of their true purpose and meaning. So with the three heavens, the highest is love, the second is charity, the last is obedience. And as these have been produced from the three elements of human nature and degrees of spiritual life, they are the divinely provided receptacles and eternal habitations of human souls, according to as, during their sojourn upon the earth, they attain to any one of these states. This ordination or arrangement of heaven, which was one of the works that the Lord performed at the time of His Incarnation, as a result of the past, and an adaptation to the future, states of mankind, and is, therefore, an evidence of the condescension of Divine Goodness and Wisdom to their imperfections.
When, after the revolt of the ten tribes and the establishment of a second kingdom under Jeroboam, Rehoboam “assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, Speak to Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying, thus says the Lord, You shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from Me.”
Had the first or primeval Church remained in its integrity, there would have been no need for the Lord to come into the world; and heaven, like the Church, would have continued to be one. Its fall was foreseen, and a remedy was provided. No less an event than the manifestation of God in the flesh was the answer which Divine Love gave to man’s departure from the condition in which he had been created. All the results of that marvellous act of Divine goodness and mercy were the means of providing for the salvation and happiness of mankind. The Lord had followed the man on his downward course, accommodating His dispensations to his states and necessities, and ordering heaven itself to his altered condition. Whether man’s declension and the means provided for his restoration shall finally result in his elevation to a higher state than that from which he has departed, is a question which may seem more curious than profitable. Yet it admits, if not of a positive, at least of a hopeful answer. The history of the race is like that of the individual. Man, collectively as well as individually, has his infancy, his youth, and his manhood. There is, indeed, one important difference between the infancy of unfallen and that of fallen man. Both are characterised by innocence. But the innocence of primaeval man was not, like that of man as he now is, the innocence of ignorance. Originally, wisdom was inscribed on innocence and was as natural to man as instinct is to animals. Now, wisdom is not an inheritance but an acquisition. Born in ignorance, man has everything to learn. He must acquire knowledge, that by the knowledge he may acquire intelligence, and by intelligence wisdom. He, therefore, begins where primaeval man ended. But primaeval wisdom differed in its character as much as in its birth from that which is now attainable. Wisdom was not, with primaeval man, applied knowledge. What with us is knowledge was with his perception, and his perception did not rest on the superficial qualities of things but penetrated into their interior nature and spiritual meaning. His science was that which recognises the relationship between the Creator and His creation and between heavenly and earthly things. Now, we begin with the science of earthly things, and this forms the common foundation of all our possible acquirements, even the highest. The question then is, May we on this foundation build a still higher and nobler superstructure than that which man would have reared had he remained in his original integrity? We think it is possible. Had not man fallen the Incarnation would have been unnecessary? But since that great event has taken place, and humanity has been glorified and has added a new resplendence to the Sun of heaven, we may reasonably hope, if not conclude, that man may rise higher than the height from which he has fallen; and that in this sense we may understand the Divine promise that “of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.” One thing there is of which we may be assured. The Lord has done for mankind all that it was possible for infinite love and wisdom to do, and nothing is needed to secure for them the full benefits of the Redemption that has been effected for them, and the Salvation that is freely offered to them, but their own consent to be made happy. Whatever degree of perfection men may be able to attain on earth, a place for everyone has been prepared by the Lord’s Divine Wisdom in the many-mansions House of His Divine Love. Although on earth as in heaven there will always be a diversity of gifts, there may be the same spirit; and even that diversity will produce a unity rich in its varied fullness. And we have a promise of the time when all will bring their gifts into the one sacred treasury, and when all shall know the Lord from the least to the greatest when the Lord shall be King over all the earth when there shall be one Lord and His name one.