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02 The Kingdom In Prophecy

by Robert Garrett

RobertGarrett(Transcribed from the message presented Monday night, Oct. 27, 2014)

It is mighty good to see each one of you who are here tonight. We heard a very good lesson last night concerning the signs of the times. Now the next three nights of this week-Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday-will be certain aspects of the things that are going to take place in the future, such as the nation of Israel, what God has promised for them and things concerning the rapture and the revealing and things concerning the great tribulation. But if you don’t have a proper concept of the Kingdom of God in prophecy you probably won’t be able to get what you should get out of the messages that you are going to be hearing the rest of the week.

The Kingdom of God in prophecy. Well, let’s look at some definitions here. What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘church’ or the word ‘Israel’ or the words ‘Kingdom of God’? Do these words speak of three different identities or are they-as far as the New Testament is concerned-just synonyms for the same thing?
Is the Church spiritual Israel as many good folks do proclaim? I have written a little tract which you are free to take from the table in the vestibule as you go out entitled “Is the Church Spiritual Israel?” If you have never really considered that, I would love for you to read that. Is it the new Israel? In other words, does the Church fulfill the Old Testament prophecies about the kingdom of God and replace Israel in God’s plan of redemption? That is what many do teach.

Now. Fact. You all heard the joke about the man who said: My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts. Well, here is a fact. There is absolutely no verse of Scripture to support these ideas that the Church is
spiritual Israel or that it is the new Israel or that it fulfills the Old Testament prophecies about the Kingdom of God. Those are terms that have been invented to express the belief that the fulfillment of all kingdom prophecies in the Old Testament are to be found in the Church.

Now I’ll tell you a story. You have probably heard his one before, but it fits in here. There was a man who was wearing a t-shirt with this inscription. B A I K. Someone asked him: Friend, what does that mean? What do those initials stand for? He answered: It means Boy, am I confused. But the man said: But, my friend, you do not spell confused with a K. To which he answered: Ah, but you don’t know how confused I am.

So tonight we want to try to sort out some of this confusion. The Kingdom of God. First of all, God has always had a kingdom and he always will. Psalms 103 verse 19 we read that the Lord has established his throne in heaven and his kingdom rules over all. So the whole universe is the Kingdom of God. And, again, Psalms 145 verse 13 we read your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and your dominion endures through all generations. And there are other verses also. Psalms 45:6 and 1 Chronicles 29: 11.

But there is a rebellious territory within God’s Kingdom. This earth is the Kingdom of God, but there is a rebellious territory within. We all know the story of Adam and Eve how sin entered God’s Kingdom. Through one man sin entered this world and through sin came death. And the result is, the Scripture tells us, that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. That is 1 John chapter five verse 19. Then in the third chapter of Genesis God foretells of the coming of the seed of the woman who will crush the head of the serpent. So from that point on the rest of the Bible is telling us the steps that God takes to remove that rebellion and reestablish his kingdom here on this earth.

Now God establishes his Kingdom here on earth by creating the nation of Israel. In 1 Chronicles 28:5 we read about The Kingdom of the Lord over Israel. And this is often referred to as the house of Jacob or the house of Israel. But as we know, Israel because of their sin, lost the kingdom. And eventually they were taken captive, first by the Assyrians and then by the Babylonians. Then for the most of the next 400 years Israel is under
Gentile domination and by the time we reach the time of Christ they are suffering under the Romans. But their prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah and others called them to repentance and promised them that God would send them the Messiah, the Son of David if they would repent and that when he came he would overthrow their enemies and restore the kingdom to Israel. Just one example of those many, many prophecies is Daniel 7:27
where we read that the sovereignty, the power and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven. It is not something up in heaven. It is not pie in the sky by and by. This is something here on this earth. The kingdoms, world, USA, Canada, Mexico, England, France, Germany and so on. The kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the most high. His Kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom and all rulers will worship and obey him.

Another one in Amos chapter nine says the days are coming, declares the Lord, when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. So here is material promises to the nation of Israel, promises of abundant agriculture. And he says I will bring back my exiled people Israel. They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. This is not a promise to the Church. It has nothing to do with the Church. It is to the exiled people Israel. And once they have rebuilt those ruined cities and live in them, he says they will make gardens and eat their fruit. Those are material blessings that God will give them. He will also give them spiritual blessings. We will refer to some of those a little later. He says: “I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God.” That has not happened yet. They have not yet been planted never again to be uprooted. But it shall be. But it waits their repentance and the coming of the Lord.

We have seen briefly something of the Kingdom as it was promised to Israel in the Old Testament. I want us now to look at the New Testament and look at some of the teaching here concerning the Kingdom. In the New Testament we also find the Church. Are they the same thing? I want to begin by examining some very confusing and erroneous teachings. First, though, let me make it clear that if you are a Christian then you are in God’s Kingdom, the Church. For we read in Colossians 1: 13 that God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son he loves. That is the Church. So we are in God’s Kingdom. The Church, indeed, is a spiritual kingdom. Our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await the Savior from there, Philippians 3 :20.

The Church has not been promised our own national land as God promised to Israel. We have not been promised land. We have not been promised perfect government. That promise was given to Israel. We are God’s elect, strangers in the world. 1 Peter 1: 1, 1: 17 and 2: 11. The Church is the Kingdom of God here on the earth
today, during that period between Acts chapter two and the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, but the Church is not the Kingdom promised to Israel. I have heard from the pulpit and seen it in writing a statement made to support the idea that the Church is the fulfillment of the kingdom prophecies of the Old Testament. That statement goes something like this. Every mention of the Kingdom in the New Testament before the second chapter of Acts speaks of it as being future. Then every mention of the Kingdom after that, after Acts chapter two, speaks of the Kingdom as being in existence. Therefore, they conclude that the Church is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the Kingdom of God. Now that statement is false on both sides of Acts two. We don’t have time to take up all of them, but if you have a concordance, you can look up the word kingdom and you will see that.

There are humorous examples and I want to point out two in the book of Acts itself. First of all Acts chapter 14 verses 21 and 22. We find Paul and Barnabas speaking words of encouragement to the Church, people that they have baptized and brought into Christ. We, so Paul and Barnabas are including themselves must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. He is talking to the Church. Is not the Church the Kingdom of God? Yes, but it is not the kingdom of prophecy. And that kingdom that was prophesied in the Old Testament, that is what we have yet to enter in. And the Scripture says we must go through many hardships, difficulties, tribulations to enter that. So it is we Christians, we the Church, must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.

What is that kingdom? It is the kingdom that we have already read of in Daniel 7:27, when the sovereignty, the power and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints. It is the kingdom of Isaiah chapter nine verses six and seven and 11 from verse 10 to 16 when the Son of David will rule this earth in righteousness and the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. That last has never happened. The Church has been here now near 2000 years. The gospel has been preached. The world is still in darkness and the vast, the great majority, of the people do not know God. They do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. The earth is not full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. But it will be God that will bring that about, but it is not our present day.

But someone will protest and argue and say: But there is a bunch of promises in the Old Testament which in the New Testament are applied to the Church. And that is very true, but the conclusion that some folks make that therefore the Church is the kingdom of Old Testament prophecy, that is just not so. You would notice that in all of those promises from the Old Testament that are applied to the Church are all of a spiritual nature. The material promises are never applied to the Church, only the spiritual ones, because God has blessed us-according to Ephesians 1 :3-God has blessed us, that is the Church, you and me, the children of God, he has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. So whatever spiritual blessing God promised to anyone is ours in Christ. But they are not taken away from Israel. God is still going to perform
them for Israel. Let’s take up another example in the book of Acts that most definitely shows the
kingdom of Old Testament prophecy has not yet come. It is still future. Here in Acts chapter three verse 12 to 22, we don’t have time to read all of it. There are little dots you see there on the screen that words we have left out. Now here Peter is not speaking to Gentiles. He is speaking to the nation of Israel and he says: You men of Israel. You disowned the holy, righteous one and ask that a murderer be release to you. You. Who is it? Israel. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. Repent then and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord and that he may send the Christ who has been appointed for you, even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.

So there are three things that are promised to Israel if they will repent. Number one, their sins will be wiped out. Number two, times of refreshing would come from the Lord. Number three, God would send the Christ who had been promised to them. Now let’s analyze that promise. The promise to send the Christ if they would repent was given only to Israel. It is never given to Gentiles. As we go about preaching to Gentiles we don’t tell them, we don’t tell the city of Louisville or anyone in America: If you will repent, God will send the Christ. But we can tell Israel that. We can tell the nation of Israel that. They will repent. Their leaders, Netanyahu and all his cabinet and parliament – they will repent, that ‘will’ leads the people to repentance. God will send the Christ. And it is the physical, bodily presence that is promised. The Messiah is this Jesus they crucified, but God raised him from the dead. God will send him to them if they will repent.

Now if God raised him from the dead, where is he? Peter goes on to say where he is. He says he is up in heaven and we are witnesses of his resurrection. But he ascended to heaven and he is at the right hand of God. He must remain there until the time comes for God to restore everything as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. So this is referring to those promises of restoring the Kingdom that we have already quoted from
Isaiah, Daniel and Amos. Now this need of repentance is not a new thing. The prophets have made that plain. But now Israel has added a new and more terrible sin to themselves. They have killed the Christ, the very Son of David who was to restore the Kingdom to them. But if they would repent God would send the Christ and this would usher in the Kingdom that they have been longing for.

Then in Romans chapter eight we find another example of the Kingdom still future. Remember that erroneous teaching that after Acts two every reference to the Kingdom of God shows it already in existence. Not so. Here is one in chapter eight showing it still to be future. The word kingdom is not there, but it is describing the kingdom. Here we read that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay, that is from that curse that God placed upon the creation in Genesis chapter three because of the sin of our forefather Adam. The kingdom of Old Testament prophecy will not take place until the return of Christ, for that is when our mortal bodies are redeemed and that is what he is saying here in Romans chapter eight. He is talking about that very thing, our mortal bodies being transformed and the creation itself is waiting for that, because it is when that happens that God will liberate the creation. Also, besides these, there are other references in the New Testament where the Kingdom of God is spoken of as our future inheritance. It is our inheritance. We don’t inherit the Church. You don’t inherit yourself. You inherit something else. And the Kingdom is our inheritance.

And that is in 1 Corinthians 15:15, Colossians 1:12 and James 2:5.
Then there are several warnings to Christians, not to unbelievers, but warnings to Christians of the danger of failing to inherit the Kingdom of God. They are warned of sins of the flesh that are listed there in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 6:10, Galatians 5:21, Ephesians 5:5 – various sins of the flesh. And we are told that those who live like that shall have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God. So it is still future.

In the Kingdom parable in Luke 19 from verse 11 to 21 we read first: While they were listening to this he,
that is Jesus, went on to tell them a parable because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the Kingdom of God was going to appear at once. Now who were these people? It says the people thought something. And Jesus is telling them this parable, because of what they were thinking. Now who were these people? These were the people of Israel. These people knew the prophecies of Isaiah and other prophets. They were groaning under Roman oppression. Many thousands of them had been baptized by John the Baptist who had preached to them repentance because the Kingdom of Heaven is near. And then Jesus and his disciples also baptized thousands, preaching the Kingdom of heaven is near. Preaching and telling people to repent. We don’t know, of course, but I would guess that almost everyone in that audience had been baptized either by John or by the disciples of Jesus.

They were looking for the Kingdom of God. Now what was their understanding of the nature of the Kingdom? Several things. They were looking for a literal Kingdom of Israel here on the earth. They were looking for a Son of David to rule over Israel on David’s throne. And many in that audience believed that this Jesus was the Son of David and they were ready to take him and make him king. They believed that this Son of David would also rule over all the Gentile nations. And the prophets spoke of righteous government, perfect justice for everyone, which we don’t see and never have seen since Abel… since Cain killed Abel. There will be a time of universal peace with all nations worshipping the Lord because the earth would be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Not only that, there would be changes in nature itself. Much of the curse being lifted. For the lion will eat straw like the ox. This what the apostle Paul is talking about in Romans chapter eight, the liberation of the creation, when it is freed from its bondage of decay. That is what Isaiah is talking about here.

Now in this parable … but let me go back just a second here. That was what they thought. They thought that Jesus … they felt that the Kingdom was going to come. Jesus was going to do it. He tells them this parable to show them that there is going to be a long delay before the kingdom of prophecy that they were expecting could come. Here is the parable. We can only read part of it. He said: A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called 10 of his servants and gave them 10 minas. Put this money to work, he said, until I come back. But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say: We don’t want this man to be our king. He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money in order to find out what they had gained with it. The obvious application here is that the man of noble birth is our Lord Jesus Christ. The distant country is heaven. And the
return is obviously the second coming of Christ which has not yet taken place. It is only upon his return that the king begins to exercise his authority. For in the parable the nobleman who went to the far country to be appointed king, he could not exercise any authority over his kingdom while he was traveling. Only upon his return, just as we have … when we elect a president, yet it is several weeks or months before he is actually to start exercising authority the way our constitution is written.

So this parable teaches us a lot about the kingdom of prophecy. Now the rejection of the king. We read that his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say: We don’t want this man to be our king. Now Jesus is using the political activities in Judea to illustrate the Kingdom of God. He is using something that was common gossip among the people. Rome required that those who would be appointed as king must travel to Rome to receive in person the kingdom from Caesar himself and then to come back. And this happened to all three of the Herods, but especially here in the case of Archelaus when he went to Rome to confirm the title which he had inherited from his father Herod the Great. This guy was worse than the other Herods. He was
a vile, horrible person and the Jews hated him. And they sent an embassy of 50 men to Rome to appeal to Caesar. Please don’t appoint this man to be our king. Appoint anyone else, but not this guy. Not just a delegation of two or three, but 50. In those days travel was not as easy as it is now. And it takes a long time, some weeks and months to make the trip to Rome and then back again. But Caesar Augustus rejected their appeal and he conferred the kingdom upon Arche1aus and that is why back in Matthew 2:22 when Joseph was bringing Jesus back from Egypt he was going to go back to Galilee and then he learned that Archelaus had been appointed … uh, oh. So he did not go back there to his jurisdiction. That is why he went to Nazareth. So Jesus is using this very thing to illustrate the long delay in the kingdom and the very nature of the kingdom. He is confirming the people in their expectation of the nature of the kingdom.

Just so did the Jews reject the kingship of Jesus. Here is your king, Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted: Take him away. Take him away. Crucify him. Shall I crucify your king, Pilate asked? We have no king but Caesar, the chief priests answered in John chapter 19. The nations of this earth also reject Christ. This was prophesied in Psalms chapter two and verses one through nine. Why do the nations conspire and the peoples
plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his anointed one. Let us break their chains, they say, and throw off their fetters.

Is there a nation anywhere on the earth that has not rejected God? Our nation, unfortunately, law makers, judges, supreme court, shaking their fist in God’s face and saying: We don’t want you to rule over us. We are going to murder the little babies in their mother’s womb. We are going to be like Sodom and Gomorrah. Don’t you tell us otherwise. This was prophesied way back there in Psalms chapter two. The nations of the earth reject Christ. They have done so the past 2000 years. Why do they conspire together?

Then verse four says: The one enthroned in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath saying: I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill. That will be evident in Revelation chapter 19 with the coming of the Lord, when he comes there and destroys the armies of the antichrist. God is putting into effect this very thing, installing his King on Zion, his holy hill. Then the King, that is, the Lord Jesus, speaks. And he says in verse seven: I will proclaim the decree of the Lord. He said to me: You are my Son. Today I have become your Father. Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. That is not the Church. You can’t describe the Church like that. The ends of the earth your possession. The nations to be your inheritance. You will rule them with an
iron scepter. You will dash them to pieces like pottery.

Now, of course, there is a period between the travel to the far country and the return. Now upon his return notice what he does in the parable. First thing he does is meet with his servants and give them their reward.

Now his servants were given duties to do while he was gone. He is traveling to a far country, but before he goes he calls his servants together and he gives them work to do in his absence until he returns. That is the Church. We are the servants in this parable, looking after his affairs, gently. The Lord Jesus commissioned the 12 and us through them. He said: Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Surely I am with you always to the very end of the age. So that is our work that he has left to us.

Now the citizens of that country, not the servants, but the citizens of that country, who did not want Archelaus to reign over them, what do you think was their attitude toward the servants of this man? And so Jesus said, as he is in this world, as he was, so will we be, that we will be often persecuted, and that has happened. He said: Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. In the world you have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. Don’t be surprised if the world despises us and in many countries the Church is suppressed and we have folks here in this country who are … would like to do the same thing.

So this begins the Church age. The building of the Church that Jesus had promised in Matthew 16 verse 18. And this is no accident. This is no afterthought. It is the eternal purpose of God which had been kept secret from the past, but it is now revealed. In Ephesians chapter three verses three to six and nine to eleven and Colossians chapter 1 verse 26, the mystery of Christ. During this time the nation of Israel experiences the hardening of heart. So there is another mystery that we are told which is going along with this same time as the Church. I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited. Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. So the obvious implication of that is that once that full number has been reached (of course, we have no idea what that is, only God knows) then there will be a repentance of Israel. They will turn to God and they will be saved. So this temporary hardening of heart, the prophets did not prophecy that. The prophets prophesied the repentance of Israel, but they did not prophesy that there would be this long period of time when Israel’s heart would be hardened. That is what the apostle Paul was calling the mystery here. And mystery in the Bible is not something hard to understand. It is easy to understand. It is just something that was kept secret in Old Testament days, but has now been revealed.

Now the first thing that he does upon his return is to meet with his servants and give him their rewards. And that is exactly what Christ is going to do and one of our speakers, Brother Ray Naugle, is going to talk about the rapture (when the Church is called out of this world) and the revelation. The Son of man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels and then he will reward every person according to what he has done. Ephesians 6:8, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does. Verse 21: 12-13. Behold I am coming soon. My reward is with me. I will give to everyone according to what he has done. So after this man returns having received the kingdom, he meets with this servants. He gives them their rewards. And what do these rewards consist of? He sets up the administration of his kingdom. Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of 10 cities. And the Lord promised to us in Revelation chapter two verses 26 to 27: To him who overcomes and does my will to the end I will give authority over the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He will dash them to pieces like pottery. This is the rewards that Jesus will give to his faithful children at his coming. And then it is after he has given the rewards to his servants, after he has set up the administration of his Kingdom, then he says: Bring these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king and kill them in front of me. This was envisioned by Enoch in Jude 14 and 15. He said: The Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way and that all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
Revelation 19 verse 11 to 21: I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse whose rider is called faithful and true. With justice he judges and makes war. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God almighty.

Now one more thing. It may surprise you, but I want to talk about sex and marriage. God uses marriage, the sexual relationship that he ordained between husband and wife to signify his relationship with Israel. So when God created Adam and Eve he created marriage and what is going on in our day today with people trying to join a man to another man and call that marriage, that is an abomination in the sight of God and no matter what the world may call it, no matter what the Supreme Court may say – and it won’t surprise me at all to see the Supreme Court misdirect itself yet again on this. But it is not marriage. And a child of God will never admit that it is. But God created sex, sexual relationship between husband and wife and that is where it is supposed to be. And it is a beautiful thing. I thank the Lord for my good wife, being married 61 years now. God has blessed our union. We have six children, 25 grandchildren and now seven great grandchildren and number eight is on the way. So children are a wonderful part of marriage, but children grow up. They leave home. But the couple still stay together. And this is the most profound, wonderful relationship of all the others – children and parents and so on. That is a wonderful relationship. But this which God ordained in marriage is a very wonderful thing. And God uses this to signify his relationship with Israel. I wish I had time to read these Scriptures, but I don’t. There is one prominent figure of speech is used to represent Israel’s relationship to God the Father. And that is as the wife of Jehovah. These verses, Isaiah 54 verses five to eight, Jeremiah 3:14 through 18, Ezekiel 16:1-63, Hosea chapter two verse seven, Hosea chapter two verse 14-16, Hosea chapter two verses 21-23 and Hosea chapter three verse four and five. These Scriptures tell us God the Father takes Israel as his wife. They enjoy a time of happiness together. Then she is adulteress. She commits adultery. This is spiritual adultery, of course, but this
is the metaphor that God is using and it is a most serious thing. Because of her adultery God divorces her, gives her a writ of divorcement, sends her away. And then wonder of wonders, he calls her back. He says he will woo her again. He will court her and bring her back and promises to restore her to her former position and even make her position more glorious and permanent. That is what is behind these verses.

Now what about the Church? In the New Testament two figures of speech are used to represent the relationship of the Church to Christ to the Son of God. She is represented both as the body of Christ and as the virgin bride of Christ, the Son of God. You find that in Ephesians 5:22-32, 2 Corinthians 11:1-3, Revelation 19:6-8. Now in this figure of speech the Church is a virgin bride espoused to her bridegroom, but not yet married. In this present age the Church is still being formed. It is not yet complete. The marriage cannot take place until the return of Christ. Therefore to say that the Church is spiritual Israel is to mix up those metaphors, because if, as the Old Testament clearly states, Israel is the adulteress wife of the Father who is later going to

be restored to him, then it is absolutely impossible for the Church to be spiritual Israel. The Son cannot take the Father’s wife. No, the Church is a separate entity. She is the virgin bride of Christ.

Now in this day and age, the day of the Church time, there is no salvation outside of Christ. There is no one going to be saved except the bride of Christ. You can come to Christ, believing in him. If there is anyone here tonight who is not a Christian, you have never confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you are not part of his bride the Church. If you would like to be a part of the Church, have the eternal life that he promises, your sins washed away by his blood, as we stand and sing our hymn that has been asked for us, number 57, we offer this invitation for you to come to the Lord.

 

Robert Garrett has served for many, many years as a missionary in Zimbabwe. He and his wife now reside in Louisville, KY, and Bro. Garrett makes frequent trips to Zimbabwe to work with the saved there to ensure that God’s word is still preached and souls are won.

 

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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10