WE CHRISTIANS DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL!
WE CHRISTIANS DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL! Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The Christian Gospel has been preached for two thousand years. Inconceivably great good has resulted. One wonders, however, if most of the believers most of the time have understood what the Gospel is.
The Gospel is viewed as a proclamation stating whoever will believe in the Lord Jesus and be baptized in water will go to Heaven when he or she dies and live there forever in a luxurious house. The truth is, the Gospel (Good News) is a proclamation stating justice will come to the nations of the earth when the Kingdom of God has come down from Heaven. Whoever believes in the Lord Jesus and is baptized will be saved from destruction at that time.
Table of Contents
Introduction The Announcement of the Coming to Earth of the Kingdom of God The Appearance of the Savior-King of the Kingdom The Calling Out and Re-creating of the Nobility of the Kingdom Re-creating our moral nature Re-creating our union Training the soldiers of the Lord’s army The Return of the King and His Nobility To Bring Righteousness, Peace, and Joy to the Saved Nations of the Earth
WE CHRISTIANS DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL!
For most of the world’s history, most of the people have suffered injustice. Under every form of government, from absolute monarchy to democracy, most of the earth’s population has suffered injustice in one form or another. This is because of sin and self-seeking in the hearts of people. The beggar starves at the gate while the rich gorges himself with delicacies.
The philosophy of communism, for example, addresses the problem of financial and social inequity by attacking the evils of capitalism. However it may be noticed that some of the leaders of the Communist Party have lived in luxury while the "working class" has not been as fortunate. Whether capitalism or communism, whether a totalitarian or democratic state, a minority revels in abundance while the majority live from hand to mouth. This condition is far worse in some countries than in others.
Many millions of people are suffering today from lack of food and shelter. In other countries people have a problem with overweight and are killing their spiritual nature with material possessions.
The United States and other Western nations pride themselves on the fact that their citizens enjoy freedom of speech. Yet the most horrible bondages exist, including lust, various addictions, violence, covetousness, and sorcery. Those who practice evil bring the wrath of God on the whole nation. As a result the innocent suffer.
Today the United States exerts sanctions against nations that do not permit freedom of speech. But some of the larger cities of America are in a state of anarchy because of our emphasis on personal freedom. The very statutes that guarantee personal liberty are used to defend every form of destructive, criminal behavior. The wicked are assured of the protection of law.
Because the teachings of the Lord concerning mercy and forgiveness have unscripturally and unwisely been mixed into the criminal justice system, criminals are set free to prey on law-abiding people.
Americans cannot seem to understand that freedom cannot be given to one person without taking it away from another. Excessive protection of the rights of lawless people take away from the rights of law-abiding people. When there is too much emphasis on the rights of the individual, an orderly society is impossible.
Perhaps if Adam and Eve had obeyed God mankind never would have brought itself into such misery. But Adam and Eve did not obey God and so we have the debauchery and injustice that presently exist throughout the world.
Philosophers, educators, politicians, military leaders have all promised to bring mankind to a state of peace and prosperity. But wars and rumors of wars continue to the present hour, just as the Lord Jesus predicted.
The various Christian organizations have addressed the problems of mankind in two ways: () by promising a better life after the believer dies; (2) by attempting to develop social programs that would alleviate the causes of suffering. We would not for one minute express anything but admiration for an individual who gives his or her life to better the conditions of suffering humanity.
Many religions of the world speak of paradise in the spirit realm, a place of abundance and ecstasy for those who adhere to the tenets of the faith. No passage of the Scriptures present the Judaic-Christian salvation as being the means to escape after death to a paradise in the spirit realm. Yet it may be true that the prevailing concept of the Christian faith of today, following the teachings of other religions, is that the believer makes his eternal home in a paradise when he dies.
The idea of making Heaven our eternal home after we die is so widely believed that anyone who would challenge this concept would appear to be ignorant of the Bible. The truth is, however, that the Bible does not point us toward an eternal home in the spirit paradise.
If the Scriptures do not point us toward Heaven as the eternal home of the saved, what then do they proclaim? The Scriptures proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, a kingdom that will bring justice and peace to the nations. Christ will come and bring righteousness, peace, and joy to every saved person on the earth.
The basic meaning of the term salvation is preservation in the Day when the Lord Jesus comes and sets up His Kingdom on the earth.
Before we speak of the announcement of the coming of the Kingdom, the appearing of the King, and the re-creation of the nobility of the Kingdom, let us first expose a commonly held misunderstanding of the Divine plan.
It is being taught in Christian circles that in the future there will be a Jewish Kingdom on the earth and a heavenly, Gentile Kingdom existing in the spirit paradise (in Heaven). While this doctrine is taught by Christian scholars its source is in Satan.
The reason Satan (through well-intentioned people) has advanced the doctrine of the Jewish kingdom on earth and the Gentile kingdom in Heaven is twofold. First, Satan understands very well that Jews on earth who are not an integral part of the Body of Christ, who do not have God’s Spirit, do not have the wisdom or power to abolish Satan and sin from the earth. Second, Satan greatly desires that all the saved Gentiles be carried off to Heaven. Satan understands better than any of us how superior the environment of earth is to the environment of Heaven. This is why Satan and his angels left their first position in the heavens and invaded the earth. As long as the Church is in Heaven Satan can express his lusts in the earth.
To those who would claim the Jews on the earth would be an integral part of the Body of Christ and would have the Holy Spirit when they set up the so-called "earthly kingdom," we answer that the one Seed of Abraham would then be two, in spite of the express statements of the Apostle Paul to the contrary. There is no scriptural basis for two kingdoms—a spiritual, heavenly kingdom and an earthly kingdom based on physical race.
In addition (in the two-kingdom doctrine) there is the problem of what to do with people who are not one hundred percent Jewish. Are they in a Gentile Church? Would Paul and Peter be in the Gentile Church or with the Jews on the earth? What about the original Christian Church in the city of Jerusalem, all Jews, led by the Apostle James? Would they be in the heavenly Gentile Bride or part of a so-called Jewish kingdom on the earth?
Another error in Christian thinking is that there has been a great change from the Old Testament in the New. It is supposed that while the Old Testament speaks of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, the New Testament refers to the bringing of "saved" individuals to Heaven to live there in a mansion. This is hardly the case. The New Testament flows from the Old and is an integral aspect of the Old. The Old Testament presents the forms of the Judaic-Christian salvation. The New Testament presents the life and meaning of the same forms. The Old Testament describes the sin offering. The New Testament reveals the fulfillment of the sin offering in our Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary.
If the New Testament is the continuation of the Old, then we would expect the writers of the New Testament to continue with a discussion of the Kingdom of God, not with some new plan in which believers are brought to Heaven to live forever. The New Testament is in fact a further revelation of the same kingdom described in the Old Testament.
There are "four horsemen" that have infiltrated Christian thinking. They are humanism, Gnosticism, antinomianism, and Dispensationalism. These four philosophies account for the errors we have mentioned above.
Humanism stresses the rights of people and that man is his own God.
Gnosticism emphasizes the evil of the material world and points us toward the spirit realm, which is held to be pure.
Antinomianism accounts for the teaching that if we believe in the truths concerning Christ we will live in God’s favor whether or not we live a righteous life.
Dispensationalism cuts in half the one Kingdom of God by separating the Christian Church from physical Israel. Dispensationalism has added the destructive doctrine that prior to the great tribulation all Christian believers will we caught up to Heaven so as not to be harmed by Antichrist.
Until these four horsemen are driven from Christian thinking the people will be unable to understand the Old Testament as well as the New Testament.
Let us proceed now to discuss four aspects of the one Kingdom of God, the one Kingdom presented in both the Old Testament and the New:
The announcement of the coming to earth of the Kingdom of God.
The appearance of the Savior-King of the Kingdom.
The calling-out and re-creation of the nobility of the Kingdom.
The Return of the King and His Nobility To Bring Righteousness, Peace, and Joy to the Saved Nations of the Earth.
The Old Testament prophecies are filled with references to the coming of Christ and His Kingdom to the earth and to the resulting justice and peace that will be brought to the nations at the hand of Christ and His saints.
But the Lord shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. (Psalms 9:7,8)
"He (the Lord) shall judge the world in righteousness."
O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. (Psalms 67:4)
"Govern the nations upon earth." Upon earth!
Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations. (Psalms 82:8)
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)
Such verses have always been in the Scriptures but it appears they have been hidden from our eyes. If we thought about them at all we supposed that they had something to do with the physical land and people of Israel.
How many Christians throughout the centuries have prayed for the Lord’s Kingdom to come, for His will to be done in the earth as it is in Heaven? But it may be true that the coming of the Kingdom of God has not seemed real to us because of today’s emphasis on going to Heaven. Perhaps it is because the coming of the Kingdom is nearer that we now are able to perceive the words of the Hebrew Prophets.
It may be true that Isaiah has the most to say about the coming of Christ and His Kingdom.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:2-4)
The "mountain of the Lord’s house" is Zion. Zion is another name for the Church of the Lord Jesus.
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (Hebrews 12:22)
When the Lord returns He will establish His government in Jerusalem. All the saved peoples of the earth will go up to Jerusalem from time to time to learn the righteous ways of the Lord. In this manner peace and justice will come to the inhabitants of the earth.
In spite of the proclamations and plans of the leaders and sages of the earth, true and lasting peace will never come to the earth except under the rule of the Prince of Peace and His saints.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6,7)
When the Lord Jesus returns with His saints He will be crowned King of kings on the throne of David in Jerusalem. The earth will be governed from the city of Jerusalem. The Law shall go forth from Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. This is one of the principal prophecies of the Scriptures.
Can you see now Satan’s purpose in suggesting to Christian people that they will remain in Heaven while God’s Kingdom is installed on the earth? It is to remove the importance of the kingdom prophecies from our thinking and to introduce confusion into any attempt to understand the Scriptures. The Christian saints have been cut off from their inheritance in the Prophets.
If the Lord Jesus is reigning from Jerusalem, where will you and I be? The Scripture states that we always will be with the Lord. This is the desire of our heart. The Scriptures state also we shall be governing the nations of the earth.
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: (Revelation 2:26)
We Christians are the light of the world, not of Heaven. As far as we know there is no passage of Scripture that states we will rule in Heaven. We have no role to play in Heaven other than to worship God while we are there just as we do here. Our responsibilities and tasks, the responsibilities and tasks for which we are being trained today, are on the earth among the nations. We are the only moral light the nations have. When the Lord Jesus returns we shall return with Him so the Kingdom of God may be established on the earth.
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
You and I would like to go to Heaven now in order to escape the pain of life. But in the Day of the Lord we shall desire to be where the Lord is—on earth among the nations, which are His (and our) inheritance.
But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. (Isaiah 11:4)
When Christ comes He will bring justice to the poor and meek of the earth. The poor always have the Gospel of the Kingdom preached to them. The poor are the heirs of the Kingdom.
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? (James 2:5)
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment [with justice]. And a man shall be [or, each shall be] as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. (Isaiah 32:1,2)
The righteous, equitable rule of Christ and His saints will begin when the Lord returns.
He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment [justice] in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:4)
The above verse is referring to the coming of Christ and the members of His Body. The Servant of the Lord, mentioned in the Book of Isaiah, is Christ—Head and Body.
When we Christians refer to "being saved" we are speaking of the condition of the individual in the Day of the Lord. The Gospel message, as preached by the Lord Jesus and John the Baptist, was, and still is, "Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. He who refuses to believe and be baptized remains under condemnation."
The great hope of the Kingdom of God is the return of the Lord Jesus with His saints to set up His Kingdom on this earth. Later there shall be a new heaven and a new earth. But these are far off in the future. The issue at hand, the glory soon to come, is the appearing of Christ with His saints and holy angels to drive all the wicked and their sin from the earth.
And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 4:3)
Perhaps we have made it clear to this point that the burden of the prophecies of the Hebrew Prophets is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth to establish justice and peace among the nations. This of course was the message of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus.
The writings of the Prophets announce the coming of the Kingdom to the earth. The four Gospels present the Savior-King of the Kingdom, the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we have stated previously, there is no change from God’s intention as outlined in the Old Testament and God’s intention as outlined in the New Testament. The goal still is that every person be treated justly. The goal still is that every individual, from the King to the least in the Kingdom, practice justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. There shall be no more "sea" of people who are driven here and there by every notion of angels and men.
If the New Testament flows from the old and is not a new "dispensation," then the New Testament immediately should begin to speak of the King and His Kingdom that are to come and establish justice on the earth. Because it would be impossible to establish God’s Kingdom on the earth while the condemnation of sin hovered over the nations, the King had to appear not only as Lord but also as Savior.
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
Notice the announcement of the Savior-King made by the Angel Gabriel:
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:31-33)
Do you see that the promise of the Kingdom of God passed from the Old Testament to the New?
Notice again how the birth of the Lord is always associated with the bringing of social justice.
He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. (Luke 1:51-55)
Doesn’t this sound like a continuation of the Prophets? Do you see any new "dispensation" here?
What was the message of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus?
And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 3:2)
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)
Some are teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are two different kingdoms. Yet we find the same parables are called parables of the Kingdom of Heaven, in the Book of Matthew, and parables of the Kingdom of God, in the other Gospel accounts. Would this be true if there were two different kingdoms?
Every parable of the Lord Jesus had to do with the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom that comes down to us from Heaven. There is no parable concerning our going to Heaven. The four Gospel accounts describe the Savior-King of the Kingdom as He went about revealing the power of the Kingdom and teaching us that the Kingdom of God is first born in us and then will be manifested in external, visible form, in the Day of the Lord.
And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 8:11)
But didn’t all this change after the Lord was crucified and raised from the dead? Why would it change? Does God keep changing His mind about what He is doing?
To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: (Acts 1:3)
"Speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." Of course! This is what the Scriptures proclaim.
If the Kingdom of Heaven announced in the Book of Matthew is a kingdom of Gentiles in Heaven, as some are teaching, why did the Lord speak to His Apostles about the Kingdom of God rather than the Kingdom of Heaven? After the Lord was raised from the dead He certainly would have been emphasizing the heavenly kingdom (if there were one)! But the resurrected Jesus spoke of the things pertaining to the one Kingdom of God.
Notice the first question that the disciples asked the risen Lord:
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6)
The issue was, and yet is, the Kingdom.
The Lord, understanding that they did not realize the Kingdom could not come until the nobility of the Kingdom, the royal priesthood, had been formed, answered their question by informing them that they would first go to the ends of the earth bearing witness of His atoning death and triumphant resurrection.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Does the Book of Acts reveal that we now are in a new "dispensation," a change in God’s plan for His righteous Kingdom, or does the Good News of the Kingdom continue to be preached?
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Acts 8:12)
Was Philip careful to tell the Jews they would be part of an earthly kingdom and to tell the Gentiles that they would be part of a heavenly kingdom?
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)
Was Paul careful to tell the Jews they would be part of an earthly kingdom and to tell the Gentiles that they would be part of a heavenly kingdom?
And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. (Acts 19:8)
And now, behold, I know ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. (Acts 20:25)
And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. (Acts 28:23)
We might conclude from the above verses that Paul did not preach a new "dispensation" of grace but the one Kingdom of God, the kingdom announced by the Hebrew Prophets. If the Apostle Paul were bringing the good news of a "dispensation of grace," a dispensation not known to the Old Testament, then he would not have taught Jesus and the Kingdom of God from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.
But surely all this changed when Paul began to write his epistles.
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17)
Is it your opinion that Paul has changed his message and now is preaching a kingdom different from that "concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets"?
For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. (I Corinthians 4:20)
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10)
"Shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
The goal of redemption is not that of entering Heaven when we die but of inheriting the Kingdom of God. It is not stated that sin will keep us out of Heaven but out of the Kingdom of God. Are Heaven and the Kingdom of God the same place, the same condition, the same realm of authority? Undoubtedly they are not. Heaven is an area of the spirit realm. The Kingdom of God is God in Jesus in the saints ruling and blessing the creation.
We are not born again in order to see or enter Heaven but to see and enter the Kingdom of God. This is because the Kingdom of God is Jesus who is born in us. The Kingdom of God is as a seed that is planted in us. Heaven is a place, not a seed that is planted in us. The Lord never said Heaven is in us, but He did state that the Kingdom is in us. The Lord did not state that when demons are cast out, Heaven has come to us but rather that the Kingdom has come to us. Therefore Heaven and the Kingdom of God are by no means the same place, condition, or realm of authority.
We Christians need to pay attention to the Holy Spirit in these days. The actual Gospel of the Kingdom of God has been lost to us for two thousand years.
The current teaching of "grace" states that I Corinthians 6:9,10 (above) cannot possibly apply to Christian people because we are in a "new dispensation." The result of ignoring Paul’s warnings concerning the practice of sin has been the weakening of the moral strength of the Christian churches. How could it be otherwise? How do you think Paul would feel if he knew his exhortations concerning the effect of sin on the Christian personality were being viewed as invalid because of a misinterpretation of his teaching of Divine grace?
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (I Corinthians 15:24)
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (I Corinthians 15:50)
If flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, and if Paul is speaking of the one Kingdom of God announced by the Hebrew Prophets, by John the Baptist, and by the Lord Jesus, then where is the earthly kingdom governed by Jews—Jews who never have been born again? Would such be a threat to Satan’s Kingdom?
The Jews always shall be God’s chosen people and the Kingdom of God is for them first. But no individual, Jewish or Gentile, will ever see or enter the Kingdom of God until he or she is born again of Christ. This is what the Lord told the Jew, Nicodemus.
Once a Jew is born again he or she is an integral part of the Lord Jesus. He is a member of the Body of Christ, the one Church of God. How could it be otherwise? Paul says there is only one new man. Are we to say today there are two new men? Paul says there is one cultivated olive tree. Are we to say there are two—a Jewish olive tree and a Gentile olive tree? May the Lord Jesus help us to understand there is but one Kingdom of God, the Kingdom that will bring justice to the meek and afflicted of the earth.
The Lord Jesus is the Savior of the world. There is no other sin offering whereby the Jew and the Gentile can approach God.
The Lord Jesus is the King of the one Kingdom of God. His scepter is a scepter of righteousness.
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. (Hebrews 1:8)
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: (Hebrews 12:28)
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (II Peter 1:11)
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1:9)
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)
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. (Revelation 12:10)
It is clear the New Testament continues the Old Testament declaration of the coming of the Kingdom of God, the kingdom that will bring peace and justice to the nations of the earth. Whether a person ends up as a member of the saved nations, or is assigned to punishment or torment in the Day of the Lord, depends on his or her attitude toward the Lord Jesus and toward the saints of the Lord. The sheep nations received the Lord’s brothers and will enter the new world of righteousness. The goat nations did not receive the Lord’s brothers and will be thrown into the fiery Gehenna.
Thus we see that the Kingdom of God indeed is presented in the New Testament. Also the way of being saved when the Kingdom comes is clearly shown. He who puts his faith in the Lord Jesus shall be saved. He who rejects the Lord Jesus or rejects those whom the Lord sends remains under Divine condemnation.
There is another topic of the New Testament, and that is the preparation of the Church, the royal priesthood. There must be mature sons of God who will appear with the Lord when He returns and rule with Him over the nations of the earth. The Lord cannot return until the members of His Body, the members of the royal priesthood, have been prepared to govern with Him.
If there were no need for the royal priesthood the Lord would have established His Kingdom the moment He was raised from the dead. But it pleased the Father that the Lord Jesus would have a Bride with whom He could share the glory of the Kingdom.
Let us look at some of aspects involved in the preparing of the nobility of the Kingdom of God.
Let us think about the meaning of the term "Church." The word Church literally means called out, that is, called out from among the nations of the earth.
Each member of the Christian Church (not each member of all the churches that term themselves Christian) is a member of the Body of Christ, a part of the Wife of the Lamb. He or she is a holy one of God, a saint.
Each member of the Church was called of God from the beginning of the world. Each member is destined to be an integral part of the new Jerusalem, the city that will govern the world for eternity.
Each member has been called, justified, and glorified in the sight of God. However, this does not mean each member will arrive at the place that has been prepared for him or her. Let each reader keep in mind the following: every aspect of salvation is an opportunity. It always is possible to forfeit one’s inheritance, as did Esau. We are made a partaker of Christ provided we steadfastly hold the beginning of our confidence to the end of our life.
Righteousness is imputed (freely ascribed) to us when we receive the Lord Jesus, apart from any works of righteousness we have performed. Imputed righteousness authorizes us to enter the process of salvation.
The actual working out of our salvation is a process of re-creation. If we are not participating each day in the program of re-creation then we are not being saved; for the process of re-creation is the Divine salvation.
An individual is not saved into the Kingdom of God when he is forgiven his lying except in a legal, imputed sense. The liar is saved into the Kingdom when he begins to tell the truth. The process of salvation converts the liar to one who tells the truth. This is the Kingdom of God. There are no liars, fornicators, murderers, or covetous people in the Kingdom of God. The ability to always tell the truth is not imputed to us, it is created in us as we live by the body and blood of the Lord Jesus. This is how we are born into the Kingdom of God.
There are three areas of change that must take place in us if we hope to appear with the Lord Jesus as part of the nobility of the Kingdom of God.
Our moral nature must be re-created.
Our union must be re-created.
We must undergo strict training so we may march in the army of the Lord Jesus.
We will not appear with the Lord when He returns if these three aspects of our personality have not been dealt with satisfactorily.
The key to the re-creation of our moral nature, our ability to choose righteousness and reject evil, is death and resurrection.
It is of the utmost importance that the believer understands God will save no part of the personality born of his human father and mother. No matter what array of desirable characteristics may dwell in his human personality, all of them must be crucified with the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary.
When an automobile is in an accident the insurance carrier must decide whether it is more economical to attempt to repair the vehicle or whether to tow it away to the junkyard and present the insured person with another car.
God has determined to send the entire race of Adam to the junkyard. No aspect of flesh and blood can enter the Kingdom of God. Only that which is born of Christ can enter the Kingdom.
Because our first personality is not to be saved but to be crucified with Christ, and our second personality is to be born of Christ and raised to the right hand of God, we can expect our Christian life to be a continual program of death and resurrection!—death and resurrection!—death and resurrection!
How does God bring us down to death? By bringing pressure on our adamic personality each day. As we suffer various tribulations we surrender our will to God. Then the Virtue of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus raises us up into newness of life. Each day we die. Each day we live. The result is a new creation, a creation that is an eternal blend of us and the Lord Jesus.
We are re-created morally as we accept the deaths and prisons the Lord sends our way, praying always that God will raise us and grant us the desires of our heart. We always are to be pressing toward the mark in this manner.
Have you been crucified with Christ? Is He living in you? This is the new creation. This is the internal Kingdom of God, the kingdom being formed in the royal priesthood; the kingdom the royal priests will bring with them when they return with the Lord Jesus. That which now is internal will then be revealed in unimaginable external glory. The thousand-year Kingdom Age will come to the nations from within the saints. The glory of the Day of the Lord is in Jesus, and is being created in us provided we are willing to be crucified with Christ.
Mankind was made in half. No individual is complete in himself or herself. Perhaps the angels are complete in themselves. But no human being can achieve God’s image, fruitfulness, or dominion by himself or herself. We were created male or female.
Each human being was created with a throne room in his personality. That room was meant to be shared with God. In addition there are many other rooms.
We are unable to sit on the throne of our own soul until first God and Christ reign supreme on that throne. When Their supremacy has been established beyond doubt, then we are permitted back on the throne of our personality.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
There are many "rooms" in us just as there are many rooms in Christ. Christ is the Father’s House.
When we first come to Christ there are a multitude of relationships and things in the throne room of our heart, and in other rooms, that do not belong there. But we do not have the power to cast them out. In fact, we may not want to have them cast out.
Much of our Christian life consists of Christ casting out of our personality that which does not belong there. We must pursue the Lord until the Father and the Son have total mastery in the throne room and every other room of our personality.
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)
When the Father and the Son are firmly established on the throne of our personality, and there are no challengers in sight, then we are permitted to share the throne with Them. But there must be no one else in that room!
When the throne room has been established properly, then we are ready for inhabitants of the additional rooms of our personality. The proper occupation of our throne room and the additional rooms are what we mean by "the re-creation of our union."
The Father sits with the Lord Jesus in the throne room that is in the Lord Jesus. The Father and the Lord Jesus sit with the believer in the throne room that is in the believer. No one else is permitted in that room. Eve permitted Satan to enter the throne room of her life. The result was utter chaos. Adam permitted Eve to enter the throne room of his life. The result was utter chaos. The throne room of the personality of each believer is to be occupied by the Father, the Son, and the believer. When anyone else is allowed to enter the result always is utter chaos. It is idolatry!
No person will appear with the Lord Jesus as a member of the royal priesthood until he or she has been crucified with the Lord Jesus and has become a new creature by receiving each day the Virtue of the risen Christ.
No person will appear with the Lord Jesus as a member of the royal priesthood until he or she has been perfected in union with God, abiding in untroubled rest in the Father through the Son.
Because the Kingdom of God must be established on the earth with force, a third transformation must occur in each member of the royal priesthood, the nobility of the Kingdom of God.
In order for the Israelites to enter the land of promise they first had to overcome the enemy who was dwelling there. The earth and its peoples are our land of promise. In order for us to occupy our inheritance we must overcome the enemy who is entrenched here.
Many passages of the Scriptures speak of the army that is to come from Heaven and drive Satan and his forces from the face of the earth.
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (Joel 2:1)
They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. (Isaiah 13:5)
The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. (Habakkuk 3:11)
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 1:14,15)
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. (Revelation 19:11)
We Christians are to regard ourselves as soldiers.
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. (II Timothy 2:3,4)
Some of the characteristics of the trained warrior are mentioned in the second chapter of the Book of Joel.
They defeat the enemy thoroughly, not like unfaithful Israel in the land of Canaan.
. . . yea, and nothing shall escape them. (Joel 2:3)
They move swiftly. They are not "fools, and slow of heart to believe" (Luke 24:25).
. . . and as horsemen, so shall they run. (Joel 2:4)
They are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
. . . as a strong people... (Joel 2:5)
They are organized for battle. They understand their land of promise can be conquered only as they are willing to fight.
. . . set in battle array. (Joel 2:5)
There is a holy sternness on their countenance that terrifies their enemies.
Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. (Joel 2:6)
They have grown in the Lord and have learned from Him to run the race of righteousness and obedience to God.
They shall run like mighty men; . . . . (Joel 2:7)
They have learned to pray their way around, over, and through obstacles.
. . . they shall climb the wall like men of war; . . . . (Joel 2:7)
They do not rush about willfully, following their own ideas and enthusiasms. They have died to self-will and follow the Father in stern obedience.
. . . they shall march every one on his ways, . . . . (Joel 2:7)
They remain at their post until the Lord moves them. They are absolutely dependable. The rest of the army can be sure they are holding fast to what has been entrusted to them.
. . . they shall not break their ranks: (Joel 2:7)
Gossip and slander, brother against brother and sister against sister, are among the most effective weapons in Satan’s arsenal. Even though the Scripture (Romans 1:28,29) teaches us that those who engage in such behavior are worthy of death, Christian believers continue to destroy one another with gossip and slander. No individual can hold his place in the army of the Lord unless he is willing to be delivered completely from gossip and slander.
Neither shall one thrust another; . . . . (Joel 2:8)
We have to present our body a living sacrifice in order to prove the will of God for ourselves. Each member of Christ’s army is led by the Spirit of God and continues at all times in the perfect will of God. When he stumbles he rises again and seeks the will of the Lord unceasingly.
. . . they shall walk every one in his path: . . . . (Joel 2:8)
During his lifetime every soldier of the Lord is cut, cut, cut by the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. His joints and marrow, his soul and spirit, are cleanly divided. The result is, the Word of God no longer can wound him. He is a dead-living person.
. . . and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. (Joel 2:8)
Because they are righteous, holy, and sternly obedient to the Father, all the powers of the heavens are moved when they march.
The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: (Joel 2:10)
This is God’s army, not man’s army. We must undergo lifelong training to qualify to be in the army of the Lord. We must first be called, then be chosen because of our zeal for Christ, and finally proven faithful throughout a lifetime of tests and imprisonments. Those who will appear with Christ when He returns are called, chosen, and faithful.
And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:11)
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14)
The two thousand years of Church history primarily have been for the purpose of calling out and training the members of the nobility of the Kingdom of God, the royal priesthood. In addition, the testimony of Christ has been given to the nations of the earth.
In the days to come the great latter-rain testimony will be given to the nations, as symbolized by the two witnesses of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation. But even more important than this colossal work of witnessing will be the full transformation of the royal priesthood, as symbolized by the birth of the ruling Son, an event found in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation.
To put it simply, as the saints, the members of Christ’s Body, are being used by the Spirit to give the endtime testimony (Revelation, Chapter 11), they also will be undergoing the transformation needed for their participation with Christ in governing the nations during the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Revelation, Chapter 12). He who would participate with the saints in governing the nations during the Kingdom Age must have been crucified with Christ and risen with Christ. Christ must be formed in him. For the Father will give His Glory only to His Son and those who are an integral part of His Son. God will never give His Glory to flesh and blood!
He who desires to rule with the Lord when He appears, to rise to meet the Commander in Chief in the air, must enter today into the process of death with Christ and resurrection with Christ, as the Holy Spirit directs.
There is a purpose in the return of Christ with His saints and holy angels. It is to bring righteousness, peace, and joy to every nation that will receive the Lord and His saints. As the Old Testament declares, Christ is coming to establish eternal righteousness and peace on the earth. Although it seems too good to be true, everlasting righteousness eventually will be installed on the earth.
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24)
"To bring in everlasting righteousness."
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (II Peter 3:13)
It ought to encourage every Christian to know the tests and tribulations he or she is enduring have a purpose. The purpose is to prepare him to appear with the Lord and bring justice to the nations.
As we look about us today we see the nearly incredible state of moral corruption that exists in the so-called civilized nations. People are abandoning themselves to their lusts. The governments, being anxious to please the people, are permitting moral abominations that a century ago would have been cause for hanging. Numerous individuals, especially the poor, suffer injustice because of the sin and self-seeking of those in positions of power and authority.
In the past we Christians have either pointed the believers to escape from the earth or else have advocated various programs of social and political reform. While it is good to provide people with a heavenly vision, and many efforts to help the poor and needy have worthwhile results, God has a plan for His creation that is supremely above all that the flesh of man can accomplish.
God’s plan is to call out from the world a royal priesthood, and then to re-create the members of the priesthood so they are able to return with the Lord and, by the power of the Spirit of God, deliver the peoples of the earth from the bondage of sin and self-will.
The knowledge that we are being made a light for the nations, and are not just pursuing our own spiritual glorification, should encourage us to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in every way as He performs the needed transformation.
We are being given some opportunities today to bring moral light and deliverance to people. For the most part our gifts and ministries are being used to build up our fellow members of the Body of Christ. But there also are times when Christians are able, by their good works, to give non-Christian people cause to glorify God. It is certain if we are faithful in the opportunities we have to serve people today we will be entrusted with much greater responsibility in the Day of the Lord.
The principal blessing we will bring to the nations is the Spirit of God. We who belong to Jesus have a firstfruits of the Spirit. We can share our blessing today as the Spirit enables. In the future we shall be filled to overflowing with the Spirit of God. The Spirit shall issue from our personality and bring eternal life to the dead sea of humanity.
And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)
When the creation is touched by the Holy Spirit flowing from the sons of God, the creation will be set free from the futility and corruption brought about by the original Divine curse.
Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)
What a wonderful paradise was on the earth in the beginning! Every blessing that heart could desire was present in the Garden of Eden. Believers think they want to die and go to Heaven. The truth is, the memory of the garden is in each individual and it is to the garden he wishes to return. Paradise is in Heaven now, and so we are not mistaken in desiring to go to Heaven in order to regain what we lost in the beginning.
However, Paradise belongs on the earth, not in the spirit realm. When the Lord returns with His saints and holy angels, Paradise will be restored to the inhabitants of the earth. But it will not be an unwalled, an ungoverned paradise. Paradise will be protected by the great wall described in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation. From the fortress Jerusalem will go forth the sons of God to rule the peoples of the earth.
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
All that God has stated shall come to pass gloriously. The earth yet shall be filled with the Glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
We Christians have not understood the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. We have pictured the Gospel as being our means of leaving the earth and passing into the spirit paradise when we die.
The truth is the opposite. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is our means of returning to the earth in immortal bodies so we can bring justice to the nations of the earth.
Let us cooperate fully with the Holy Spirit as He deals with us each day. In so doing we will hasten that Day of days when every person who will receive Christ as his or her Savior and Lord shall be filled for eternity with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit of God.