ORIENTATION TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Words of Righteousness)

ORIENTATION TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD From: Kingdom Concepts Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the Kingdom of God, is the coming of the rule of Heaven into the earth. The Kingdom of God is Christ: Christ with us, Christ being formed in us, Christ dwelling in us, Christ central in all things in the heavens and on the earth (Ephesians :10).

Wherever Christ is, or any saint in whom Christ is Lord, there is the Kingdom of God. There is the rule of God. There is the power and wisdom of God to release the world into righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

ORIENTATION TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD 

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14)

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)

What is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God?

The Gospel of Christ is the Good News of a kingdom coming to the earth. The Kingdom of God will establish righteousness, peace, and joy throughout the creation.

The Christian saints through and with the Lord Jesus Christ will inherit the earth and its peoples. Can you imagine anything more glorious than that?

First of all, let us make certain we know there is a Heaven, that Heaven is more real than the present world, and that the godly in Christ go there the moment they die physically (Luke 23:43; II Corinthians 12:4). The writer is anticipating with joy entering the Presence of God and the Lamb, and to reunion with loved ones, at the moment of passing from the body.

So while we are orienting the reader toward the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, we are not in any way taking away the hope of going to Heaven when we die. That hope remains firm.

It remains true, nevertheless, that the Christian Gospel is not a plan whereby we attain eternal residence in Heaven. Eternal residence in Heaven is not the goal of the Kingdom of God. It is not the goal of the Christian discipleship and pilgrimage.

Consider the following: 

God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:40)

They, in the above verse, are Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, and the other heroes of faith of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews.

Are these patriarchs and prophets in Heaven around the Throne of God and of the Lamb? Are they beside the crystal sea, casting down their crowns before God and His Christ, worshiping and adoring God continually? We are persuaded that they are.

Have they reached perfection by attaining residence in Heaven? Have they attained the goal of their pilgrimage? Have they found the "country," the "city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God"?

No, they have not. Look once more at the verse:

 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:40)

What is better than the present state of the patriarchs in Heaven? What is the perfection that is better than eternal residence in Heaven? Perfection is the Kingdom of God. Perfection is the bringing of the Lord Jesus Christ into every atom of the material creation.

The better thing, the perfect state, is union with the Lord Jesus. The union (marriage) of the saints with the Lord will be revealed in the first resurrection from the dead. In terms of the Book of Hebrews, the "better thing" is the rest of God.

The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the Kingdom of God, is the coming of the rule of Heaven into the earth. The Kingdom of God is Christ: Christ with us, Christ being formed in us, Christ dwelling in us, Christ central in all things in the heavens and on the earth (Ephesians 1:10).

Wherever Christ (or any saint in whom Christ is dwelling) is, there is the Kingdom of God. There is the rule of God. There is the power and wisdom of God to release the world into righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

The entire Scriptures emphasize the coming of the Kingdom of God into the earth.

The resurrection from the dead, which is a major part of the entrance of the Kingdom of God into the earth, will take place as the Lord Jesus descends from Heaven, bringing with Him the perfected spirits of the righteous dead. The all-powerful Conqueror will descend from Heaven with a shout, the voice of the chief angel, and the trumpet of God. He will destroy Antichrist at His glorious appearing.

As part of the advent into the earth of the Kingdom of God, we who remain alive on the earth unto the coming of the Lord will go forth, along with the dead in Christ, to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. We then shall have resurrected bodies.

The hope of the Christian Church is the return of Christ to the earth in order to receive His saints, to destroy Antichrist, and to establish a righteous government on the earth in fulfillment of the words of the prophets of Israel (II Thessalonians 1:7-10).

The prophecies, doctrines, and admonitions of the prophets and apostles have to do with our being transformed into the righteous and holy image of Christ so we can serve God acceptably on the earth (Isaiah 40:10,11; Daniel 7:27; Matthew 25:31,32; John 17:21; Revelation 2:26).

It is obvious that our concept of the Kingdom of God will affect the seriousness with which we obey the many New Testament passages that exhort us to enter now into the transforming work of the Kingdom in us; for if we are waiting to die and go to Heaven we may tend to give little attention to the laws of the Kingdom of God.

Why pay attention to the laws of righteousness if we are waiting to die and go to Heaven, where our faith and strength of righteous and holy conduct will not be tested constantly; where we will behave in a godly manner without effort (we suppose)?

Perhaps the central issue of our discussion is this question: exactly what is the Kingdom of God? Is the Kingdom of God the place called Heaven? Or is the Kingdom of God a change taking place in us today in preparation for the invasion of the earth by Christ and the saints and elect angels?

Is the Kingdom of Heaven a place where we go or is the Kingdom the filling of the peoples of the earth, and the earth itself, with Christ?

Is the Kingdom of God a land beyond the stars where we will travel some day if we profess Christ? Or is the Kingdom of God the transformation of the world by introducing into it Christ?

Is our main objective to die and go to Heaven? Or is our main objective to press into the Kingdom of God, meaning we continually are bringing Christ into each area of our own lives and, as the Spirit of God enables, into the lives of those around us?

The Kingdom of God either is another country to which we will go some day or else it is the bringing of righteous behavior into the earth. Either we die and journey to the Kingdom of Heaven or else the Kingdom of Heaven is being formed in us now, and will be revealed in great power and authority when the Lord Jesus returns to destroy the wickedness out of this earth.

The Kingdom of God either is Paradise in the spirit realm filled with sparkling fountains and luxurious homes or else it is the conquering of evil in the spiritual and material realms by the Presence of Christ.

Is the Kingdom of God Paradise or is the Kingdom of God Christ? Heaven and Christ are not the same thing. Heaven is a place. Christ is a Person. One may say, Heaven would not be "Heaven" without the Lord Jesus. That is our point.

When Jesus came from Heaven and dwelled on the earth, the Kingdom of God left Heaven and dwelled on the earth; the resurrection from the dead and eternal life left Heaven and dwelled on the earth.

If the Kingdom of God is Christ, then to be with Him and in Him is to be with and in the Kingdom of God. Wherever Jesus is, there is the Kingdom of God. If Christ comes to this earth and reigns over the nations, and we are left in Heaven, then we are left without the Kingdom of God for it has gone into the earth.

Jesus does not promise us we will be in Heaven forever. But He does promise we will be with Him forever (John 14:3; 17:24; I Thessalonians 4:17).

If gaining Christ, gaining the Kingdom of God, is our goal, then we need to be pressing into Christ each day of our Christian sojourn.

 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (Philippians 3:10)

Paul to the end of his days on earth was pressing into Christ, into the Kingdom of God.

If our goal is eternal residence in Heaven we essentially are a death-oriented individual. We are holding our "ticket" and waiting for the Lord to come and take us "home," or to die and go "home." In some cases, those who are waiting to go to Heaven are not using the talents that the Lord of the harvest has given them. This is not wise.

The Christian who is correctly oriented to the Kingdom of God also regards Heaven as his homeland. He has been born from above, from Heaven. His heart, his treasures, are in Heaven above. He yearns to be with God, with Christ, with the saints and holy angels.

But something else is true of the Kingdom-oriented Christian. Each day of his pilgrimage he is pressing into Christ—into Christ’s death and triumphant resurrection. He is seeking to attain to, to arrive at, the first resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:11). He is being changed into the image of the Lord (II Corinthians 3:18).

What is the difference between these two attitudes toward the Christian life? The death-oriented believer perceives the spirit Paradise beyond the stars as being his or her eternal destiny. The resurrection from the dead is not supremely important. What is of supreme importance is getting to the heavenly home. Many of our best-loved hymns are written around this theme.

The Kingdom-oriented believer perceives perfect union with Christ as being his or her eternal destiny. The resurrection from the dead is of supreme importance because then his personality—body, soul, and spirit—will be whole again. He will be whole in Christ. He will be with and in Jesus forever, serving the Lord throughout the creation of God, but particularly in the earth because the inheritance of Jesus consists of the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth (Psalms 2:8).

The death-oriented Christian primarily is concerned with a change in location. The "Kingdom" Christian, while he also with great joy is awaiting the coming of the Lord or going to Heaven, whichever comes first, is concerned with gaining an ever-increasing grasp on the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings and the power of Christ’s resurrection.

The reason the "Kingdom" Christian is so concerned with coming to know Christ in a greater way is that God has placed in his heart a love for the Lord and also a love for the nations that are Christ’s inheritance. He begins to share in the awesome love that God has for those people whom He has created.

The Kingdom-oriented Christian is becoming aware, from the writings of the Prophets of Israel and also from the present-day burden of the Holy Spirit, of the wonderful plan God has for the release, the conversion, and teaching of the nations of the earth—for the removing of all sin and unrighteousness from the world.

The Millennium is becoming real to the Kingdom-oriented Christian. The Millennium (thousand-year Kingdom Age) is the coming of the Lord Jesus to assume the rulership of the world. The coming of Christ in His Kingdom is near at hand!—at the door! This is the Good News that is to be preached to every man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of the earth, accompanied by signs and wonders of the Spirit.

Because the Kingdom of God is at hand, at the door, people are to repent of their unrighteous behavior, being baptized in water and confessing Christ as Lord and Savior. To be saved means to be kept from Divine wrath when the Lord Jesus returns to take control of the world.

The Kingdom-oriented Christian is being carefully trained and prepared every day of his life to bring Christ and His righteous government into the earth now, and in greatly increased measure when the Lord Jesus returns in glory with the saints and holy angels.

The death-oriented Christian hopes he will go to Heaven rather than to Hell when he dies, or perhaps will escape from the problems of this wretched world by being carried up to Heaven. What happens to the nations of the world at that time is of little concern to him.

The Kingdom-oriented Christian is on the pathway of righteousness that shines more and more to the perfect day when righteousness will fill the whole earth. The death-oriented Christian is apt to view the problems that come his way as being unrelated troubles we all encounter while we are on the earth. As a result, he learns little from them and tends to blame people around him or Satan for his discomfort.

The Kingdom-oriented Christian views each problem as a lesson in righteousness that the Spirit of God has brought to him for his strengthening in the Kingdom of God. The death-oriented Christian is spiritually "high" and then spiritually "low" as he waits for death to remove him from the present world.

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament Scriptures are directed toward the Kingdom-oriented Christian. The Prophets spoke plainly of the day when Christ comes and establishes righteousness throughout the earth. The Prophets had nothing to say about the elect dying and going to Heaven.

 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. (Psalms 96:10)

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it. (Isaiah 45:8)

For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11)

Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2:35)

Notice the emphasis in the preceding passages on the world, the nations, the earth. There are many similar passages in the Old Testament. They stress the coming of the rule of God into the earth.

Christ and the Apostles of the New Testament also emphasized the coming of the rule of God into the earth.

 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:31)

And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. (Acts 24:25)

Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)

Revelation 11:15 presents the nature of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not the making of all new things, it is the making of all things new. God will take the kingdoms that are, including our own personality, and make them new by filling them with Christ.

The Kingdom of God is both internal and external. The Kingdom of God is in us, like a grain of mustard seed "that a man took, and sowed in his field" (Matthew 13:31). Yet, the Kingdom of God will come in power and great glory and we will see many "come from the east and west, and... sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 8:11).

The Mount of Transfiguration was an advance coming of the Kingdom of God.

 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. (Matthew 16:28-17:2)

Here is a picture of the coming of the Kingdom of God into the earth—that for which our whole Christian life is a preparation.

Christ is the Center. The location is the earth. The Old Testament and the New Testament saints are present. That which is physical (the Body of Christ) is transfigured by the Glory of God. Christ’s raiment was "white as the light," speaking of God’s righteousness that will fill the whole earth in the Day of the Lord.

A few verses later we notice the work of the Kingdom of God being carried forward as the bondages of mankind are released through judgment on the kingdom of Satan.

 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. (Matthew 17:15-18)

The Kingdom of God is the righteousness, peace, and joy that are in Christ. As Christ is formed in us the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom are formed in us. We are able to bring release into the earth as we ourselves are released by the authority and power of Christ.

The material creation is waiting anxiously for the revealing of the sons of God—those in whom Christ has been formed and is dwelling (Romans 8:19). When Christ returns we shall return with Him and establish righteousness, peace, and joy throughout the earth in fulfillment of the writings of the Prophets.

How about you? Are you a Kingdom-oriented Christian or a death-oriented Christian? Are your experiences and faith preparing you to escape to a world without problems or are they preparing you to be a solver of the problems of the world through the power and wisdom of Christ?

We are to press into the Kingdom of God now. Now is the time to take the Kingdom. God is cheering us on. The Holy Spirit stands ready to exercise the tremendous power of the Godhead. Christ is the only solution to the bondage and confusion of mankind.

The inheritance of Christ consists of both the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth (Psalms 2:8). If Christ were to inherit the nations by taking them to Heaven the Father would not have added, "the farthest reaches of the earth."

The peoples of the earth belong to Christ and to the coheirs. Is the chief desire of your heart to bring the love and blessing of God to the nations of the earth?