Thoughts and Observations of a Minister

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Friday, February 22, 2008

The Kingdom of God

John the Baptist came preaching, as recorded in Matthew 23:2. Repent ye, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.
The scripture then reports in Mark 1:14-15. Now after that John was put in prison Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye; and believe the gospel. John and Jesus spoke very clearly about the kingdom of God.
The term kingdom is used throughout the New Testament, and is refereed to more than one hundred times. The term born again, sanctification, and kingdom have all been used to divide Gods people, but all of these terms, if understood, will bring unity to all believers.
There never has been any argument about the preaching, or message of John the Baptist referring to Jesus Christ. Jesus is the messiah. He is the king of kings. When the angle in Luke 1:33 said, He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. All Christians agree Jesus is king of the everlasting kingdom. The controversy has always been that man has tried to make this kingdom of God an earthly kingdom. Jesus spoke very plain on this subject, in Luke 17:20-21. And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said. The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Neither shall they say, lo here, or lo there, for, behold the kingdom of God is within you. The kingdom is not a worldly kingdom, but a spiritual kingdom headed by Christ, and made up of born again believers. Jesus even cleared up for us when the kingdom would be setup. In Matthew 16:28 Jesus said. Verily I say unto you, there is some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the son of man coming in his kingdom. In Luke 21:32. Jesus said verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away, till ALL be fulfilled. The point that Jesus made here is so clear that it leaves no room for any other interpretation than the obvious. The only point that might be challenged is how long a generation is, but I am sure that in our wildest imagination a generation could not reach two thousand years. The number we would probably come up with would be more like forty years. The number of years the children of Israel were in the wilderness. Then Jesus sad some shall not even taste death, till they see the son of man in his kingdom.
The words that Jesus spoke while hanging on the cross was, it is finished, but some may question, if it was finished or not. Jesus being the messiah had fulfilled all the prophesies. Jesus stated this in Luke8:31. Then he took unto him the twelve and said unto them, Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the son of man shall be accomplished. Jesus was the word that was made flesh. The New Testament is a testimony of his life, and teachings. The cross was the final defeat for Satan, and when Jesus said it was finished, it was over the scriptures had been fulfilled. If we can see what it is to be born again, and sanctified unto God, it will not be hard to understand what Jesus was talking about in Luke 11:20. The kingdom of God is upon you.
Jesus had finished his work. Pilot had asked Jesus art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus answered thou sayest. He is defiantly the king, but a king without a kingdom is no king at all. The kingdom of God is here now, it is within the heart of every believer, and has been sense Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament. John speaking through the spirit in Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom. John knew he was in the kingdom at that time, he also knew the Christians he was addressing were also in the kingdom. Luke 18:29-30 . And he said to them, verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or parent, or brother, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of Gods sake, who shall no receive many times more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. Notice the phrase in this present time. Jesus is speaking of the kingdom being already in existence and the believers being part of it then, and there. Jesus speaking again in Luke 12:31 But rather seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not little flock; for it is your fathers good pleasure to give you the kingdom. We are not to be waiting on the kingdom of God, we are to be seeking it, and it is the father’s good pleasure to give it to you. Still there are some who do not believe that Jesus fulfilled all the prophesy as he said he did. They believe that Daniels seventh week must be fulfilled at some later date, and Jesus must return to do that. I chose to take the word of Jesus rather than that of man on this subject. The problem is if Jesus did not fulfill the prophesy, then he wasn’t the messiah, and it really wasn’t finished when Jesus said it was finished.
How then do we deal with the woman in Revelation chapter twelve, where she is with child, and cried travailing in birth, and pain to be delivered? Then in verse five the scripture says she brought forth a man child who was to rule all nations, and her child was caught up to God, and to his throne. There cannot be any doubt that this is talking about Jesus Christ. Then we read in verse ten, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brothern is cast down. Salvation, strength, and the kingdom is come, now notice how all three are used together.
The word travail, or tribulation coming before the kingdom, that is scriptural. Let us take some time and explore this. The whole creation groaning together from the time John the Baptist started his ministry until the time Jesus completed his ministry. The bible even tells us that when Jesus died the graves opened, and the sun turned black. The spiritual warfare had to be beyond description. The day heaven, and hell meet. Jesus was victorious. Man could live again not under the law of discipline, but in the kingdom of God. If you need to fit in the seven years, I believe this is a very good place to do that. The 3 ½ years of Johns ministry and 3 ½ years of Jesus ministry.
Another word we hear is millennium. The word millennium means a thousand. Some theologians use it to refer to a period of time for an earthly kingdom. Jesus answered this himself and so did the angle of God, and every Christian knows in his heart, that there is no end to the kingdom of God, not in a thousand years, or ten thousand years. The kingdom of God cannot be put in a box.
The question then comes up about Revelation 20:2. He laid hold on the dragon that old serpent which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit; and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should not deceive the nations any more.
This verse means what it says Satan cannot deceive the nations, because the kingdom of God cannot be deceived. Satan lost his power over this world when Jesus defeated him on the cross, and if this did not happen at the cross than what did happen to Satan at the cross? Does he have the same power he did before, or are his movements limited, and where are they limited? We might say he has been chained. Satan is not only limited, but totally powerless over the kingdom of God. Remember Jesus told Peter I give you the keys to the kingdom, whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.We have a exit, when we are born again, we exit the worlds authority and enter the kingdom of gods athrority.
The next word is Armageddon as referred to in Revelation 16:6 angle poured out his vial upon the Euphrates, and three unclean spirits like frogs came out of the dragon’s mouth; they are the spirits of the devil. These go forth to the kings of the earth to gather them together to battle. This is taught by some to take place at the end of the tribulation. Now it is the belief that the church will be in heaven at this time. Then what is to take place is that, Jesus is to lead an army consisting of the Christians in heaven, and these dear saints will come out of heaven, and fight earthly men, and kill then. The slighter will be so bad that the blood will run as high as the bridle on the horses. If I believed in soul sleep I would have an easier time trying to understand this line of thinking, but I do not believe in soul sleep.
Paul tells us to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. When our body dies, we go directly to heaven to be with the Lord, and he will wipe away every tear. In John chapter fourteen Jesus says let not your heart be troubled you believe in God believe also in me. In my father house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also. Heaven is a place. We go directly there. We do not pass through purgatory, or limbo. The reference to Jesus coming to take us to heaven is referring to our physical death.
Then after we are in heaven, having communion with the saints, listening to the angelic choir sing. Then we are to take up a sword, and fight a battle that Jesus has already won. I think not.
The New Jerusalem as spoken of in Revelation 21:10 The angle carried me away in the spirit to a great high mountain and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. We need to remember that John saw this city, and the angle made no mention of it being an illusion. Then in the sixteenth verse it tells us the length, breath, and height, all fifteen hundred miles each. The scripture tells us in the book of Galatians 4:25-26. For this is Agar in Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children, but Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. Notice verse twenty six Paul says the Jerusalem which is above, that is in the present tense, and the same verse says which is the mother of us all, again in the present tense. The New Jerusalem is already in place, and has been throughout the kingdom age. Christians may be in this natural world, but we are not of this world.
We have a real King, Jesus Christ, who presides over a real Kingdom, of which we are citizens of now.
That kingdom is in our hearts, and it gives us victory over the world. Jesus told us how to live in the kingdom, and though we are in the world, we are not to be part of it. We have different values, we have different goals, we are empowered by him, and protected by him. Jesus is a real king, he rules now. Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord I will repay.
Our king has everything under control.

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