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"When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Sonů"

The "fullness of time" should be understood as the God-established timeframe for mankind to ripe up for acceptance of ideas that underlie the Kingdom of God among people. As we know, our Lord Jesus Christ in His conversations and especially in parables called His Church the Kingdom of God. The Holy Evangelists alternately use similar terms: "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Kingdom of God." The Kingdom of God relates to the Church on earth, Church Militant, and the Kingdom of Heaven mostly implies the heavenly Church Triumphant. In fact, both these spheres make up one Church of Christ, one Kingdom of God.

Referring to the Church as a Kingdom is a later usage in the Bible. This term had not existed twenty or fifteen hundred years before the nativity of Christ, when tribes just started to join into states. However, by the time of apparition of the Savior, the shape of people's communities matured. It is especially true for the Roman Empire with its sophisticated structure of state. Emperor was head of state; there was a legislative body, Senate, and an elaborate system of judiciary with circumspect laws. In fact, Roman law laid the basis of legislation of Western Europe and Russia. The empire was divided into provinces, also called proconsulates. These were governed by proconsuls, governors and sometimes local 'kings' (like king Herod of Judea). A well-trained army, organized in legions, led by generals, chief captains and centurions, guarded the vast empire.

When Jesus Christ used the word 'Kingdom' referring to the Church, His audience could understand that He meant a certain society with a well-defined structure. It should be obvious that Jesus called the society, which He was creating, a Kingdom, because He intended to provide it with a certain structure that would have some features in common with kingdoms of men.

This commonness is disclosed in the following comparisons. A regular kingdom always has one ruler, and all spheres of state's life are subordinate to him. In the same way, the Lord Jesus Christ is one King and Head of the Church. Each kingdom must have its laws and customs that guide and regulate its life. It is assumed that one lives in his kingdom, and if one comes to dislike it due to any reason, he would be free to move to another country. However, while living in a certain kingdom, one is obliged to obey all of its laws and customs. In the same manner, one is free to become a Christian and a member of the Church; nobody would be forced to do it. But being a member of the Church, one should comply with Her teaching and abide by the commandments of God. One cannot say that he agrees with some commandments and disagrees with others, that something suits him and something else does not.

Citizens, abiding by their country's laws, receive access to a variety of privileges granted by their kingdom. For example, one objective of every state is to protect its citizens, immunity of their property and reputation, care for their welfare, children, elders and handicapped members of society in general. In a similar way, the Church cares about Her members, i.e. the faithful. And in the first place, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself takes care of and provides protection to the faithful: "I am the good shepherd ... neither shall any man pluck them out of my handů" In order to bring believers up in the true faith, and lead them to salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ installed prophets, apostles, bishops and pastors, as it is written, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the [moral] perfecting of the saints [Christians], for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-15).

In regular states, every able-bodied citizen would bear certain responsibilities with respect to the society, pursuant to his title and position, and everybody would contribute his bit of work in order to better the life in his country. So in the Church, each member must not be a 'consumer' only, but should also try to be useful for others.

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