THE NEARNESS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
I have written a great deal about the Kingdom of God, which is the same as the Kingdom of Heaven. I do not know why I feel prompted to write about it again. But we will see if anything new pops up. I suppose my greatest concern is that the Christian believers are being lied to, and they are not prepared for the coming of the Lord.
Why do I say this? Because the teaching of lawless-grace and escape-by-rapture, two thoroughly unscriptural doctrines, have left the believers unacquainted with the severity of God, the severity of Christ, and the severity of the Day of the Lord. Really, there is little fear of God in the churches. You would think you were at a friendly gathering of your neighbors instead of being the Lampstand of God in the local community.
In several previous essays I have discussed the scriptural basis for my assertion that if believers continue to sin knowingly, they are in trouble with God. If we are not confessing and turning away from our sins, two things are true:
- We assuredly will not be resurrected and caught up to meet the Lord when He appears in the air.
- We are in clear danger of being sent into the Land of Darkness when we die.
So I will not repeat what has been written previously and is available to anyone who wishes to go to our internet site (www.wor.org/book) or to our Kindle Library. Suffice it to say that the Christian who keeps yielding to the compulsions of his or her sinful nature shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Having written clearly in those former essays, I would like to just tell you from my heart what I am feeling this Saturday morning, July 14, 2012.
The Kingdom of God is first an inner rule, and then, at the Lord’s return, an outer rule. Since this is true, we might expect that the inner rule would be developed some time before the outer rule.
The outer rule will be exercised as Christ appears with His called, chosen, and faithful saints. He and they will govern the nations of the earth with the scepter that is the iron righteousness of their personalities.
And may I add in passing that the casual church member in America today is not at all prepared to govern with Christ, and therefore will not be resurrected and caught up to meet Him in the air. The current “rapture” teaching has no scriptural basis whatever. It is nothing more than the desire of the fleshly man to escape trouble.
The real issue of our day is the development of the inner rule, the inner Kingdom. It seems to me it is being emphasized more than ever, and I have been a disciple of the Lord for over 65 years. If we hope to be resurrected and caught up when Jesus appears, the inner Kingdom first must be established in us. We must be perfectly obedient to the Lord Jesus at all times!
To be fully prepared to govern with Christ when He comes, we must be living by His Life. That is, we must be thinking as Christ thinks, speaking as Christ speaks, and acting as Christ acts. We must be in the same relationship with Him as He is with the Father. In order for our thoughts, words, and actions to be in harmony with Christ’s thoughts, words, and actions, we must have overcome the three temptations faced by all of God’s sons:
- We, through Christ, must overcome our love for and trust in the antichrist spirit of the world.
- We, through Christ, must overcome the sensual pleasures of the world, including sexual lust and the lust for money and power.
- We, through Christ, must overcome our self-will, always exclaiming, “Not my will but Yours be done.”
Until these three attitudes and passions have been burned out of us, we cannot possibly live by the Life of the Lord Jesus. One or the other of these three areas will warp our spirit so that we cannot hear the Lord accurately, and so we cannot prophesy accurately (if we belong to a church that encourages prophecies from the congregation).
The present days have been given to us to prepare us for the coming of Christ in His Kingdom, to have the inner Kingdom developed in us. The lawless-grace and “rapture” teachings have been added to Christian thinking for the purpose of leaving the believers unprepared for the violent fury that will accompany the return of Christ. The wrath of God has been held in check since the rebellion of Satan and his angels. It will be exercised at the coming of the Lord.
You and I have been deceived into thinking we have nothing to worry about. This is not true. Unless we are living a life abandoned to Christ, we are not as fireproof as we may believe.
Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light — pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness? (Amos 5:18-20)
I believe this is what I am feeling this morning. The Christian people are soft. Yet we are facing immediate Divine judgment, and then the coming of the great and terrible Day of the Lord. Can you see how the “rapture” teaching has disarmed us? That teaching is false and misleading.
According to our media, tens of thousands of people from different areas flocked into San Diego this week to celebrate comic-strip characters. At the same time, 200 people were killed in one city of Syria. Fathers, mothers, children — all slain, while we are playing comic-strip characters. What does God think of this? Does He love us more than He loves them? We of America, especially we Christians, should be seeking Christ with all our heart at all times that we might stand in the evil day that is on the horizon.
As far as the coming of the Lord is concerned, it will be a time of the Lord’s fierce anger against all sin and self-seeking. It will not be a happy “rapture” in which carnal Christians fly up through the church roof and travel gaily through the air while Divine wrath is poured out on everyone else.
The only people who will be resurrected and caught up to meet the Lord in the air are those in whom the inner Kingdom of God has been formed. Do we actually believe the silly believers of today are prepared to govern the rebellious nations of the earth with the scepter of the iron righteousness of their personality? The Spartans are at the door, and the play goes on in America.
But we are no worse than the rest of the world. They applaud the same naked entertainers. The difference is, we in America have been given so much by the Lord that we are the envy of the world. That is why so many people from other countries are moving here.
Some of the immigrants hope to overthrow our government so they can enshrine their own god. If they do, then America will become like the country they are fleeing from. Many of those who are entering America do not know the one true God, the God who has made America a world leader.
As I see it, there are two forces that are about to destroy our country:
- The raid on our economy.
- The bringing of opposing moral and political viewpoints to such a level of antagonism that it will take only a spark to ignite the most vicious civil war in our history.
I think the Islamic nations realize that if America is to be brought down, the best way would be to destroy the economy by whatever means, and to inflame public hostility to the point that the country destroys itself with civil war. We may not believe this is possible, but it seems quite possible to me, and it may be true that the Islamists are working to this end.
I feel confident about two future developments because of the strength with which they have come into my spirit. First, that there is going to be much blood shed in America in the near future. Second, that America will be reduced to the level of a minor place in global politics. How these two calamities will come to pass I am not certain. But as I said, I am confident I have heard from the Lord about these two events.
The shedding of blood in America, and the political degrading of America, without doubt should be major concerns to us, and should result in our drawing nearer to Jesus than we ever have before.
But an additional concern shows that trouble in America is relatively unimportant when compared with the nearness of the return of Christ, His saints and angels, and the installation of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
What will the coming of Christ mean to you? Have you been called to be a
part of the Lord’s family? Have you passed to the ranks of the chosen,
to the ranks of the royal priesthood
They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings — and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. (Revelation 17:14)
Are you a lukewarm church member or an intense disciple of Jesus? Do you want to be forever with the Lord? Let us suppose that you continue drifting, trusting that lawless grace will hide all your sins from God’s sight and that at any moment you will be caught up to Heaven, while looking back to see if your family also is being caught up. In this case, you are neither eligible according to the Bible, nor competent in character formation, to govern with Christ. Therefore you will not be resurrected and caught up to meet Christ in the air when He returns. The trumpet sounds. You can see a few people at a distance from you, beginning to shine with a great light. But you yourself are unchanged.
A young man in our church many years ago told me he could not see how it could happen that the trumpet would sound and he would not be caught up. Shortly thereafter he had a dream. He heard the trumpet. I do not remember whether or not he saw the Lord. Anyway, he came and told me that now he understood. You see, nothing happened to him when the trumpet blew.
So we are soft, believing firmly that God would not let anything bad happen to us. This is a lie, as countless Christians of history and of today could tell us. God is not a human being. He is a Spirit. While He assuredly loves us with a love we cannot comprehend, we must cleave to His Word in the fear of God. To not fear God is the height of foolishness. The fear of God is the very beginning of wisdom. To fear God and keep His commandments is the whole duty of man!
We do not fear God today. The Bible translators are substituting “reverence” in place of “fear.” I am not confident they have a basis in the Greek language for this change. Reverence and fear are not at all the same emotion. We use “reverence” because we wish to retain our haughty pride.
Whoever does not fear our Creator is without good sense, because God can do as He wishes with any of us, and our Bible tells us about Hell and the Lake that burns with fire and sulfur. God at one time killed everyone on earth except for eight people, and He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and left Mrs. Lot a pillar of salt.
We have lost our healthy fear of God because of unscriptural teaching. Our God is the Consuming Fire of Israel. He is not called that because He is a kindly grandfather!
My burden this morning is that chaos is near us in America, and also that most of us are not prepared for the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord. We have been lied to by our leaders. We have been infected with the spirit of humanism, believing that we all have “rights” that cannot be removed or violated in any manner.
We do not have a true vision of the coming days of fiery judgment.
We are in love with ourselves.
May God wake us up before it is too late and we and our children are starving, or the trumpet sounds and we are unmoved.
I wish I had a great loudspeaker that would reach every Christian in America. I would shout: “WAKE UP. WE ARE NOT PREPARED. GET AS CLOSE TO JESUS AS YOU CAN. BAD TIMES ARE COMING!”
The only effective preparation is to draw so close to Jesus every day from now on that we actually are living by His Life.
(“The Nearness of the Kingdom of God”, 3263-1, proofed 20211019)