SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM
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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica. Used by permission.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
What does the passage above mean? Does it signify we will not go to Heaven if we practice sin? Are Heaven and the Kingdom of God the same thing? That cannot be true because Satan was in Heaven at one time, but he never has been and never shall be in the Kingdom of God!
The New Testament never mentions our going to Heaven, as far as I know. But it does speak often of the Kingdom of God, or of the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew uses the term “of Heaven.” But all the other writers use the term “of God.” It is the same kingdom. There is only one Kingdom of Heaven, of God. How could there be two?
Matthew refers to the parable of the sower as a parable of the Kingdom of Heaven.
He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.” (Matthew 13:11)
Luke refers to the same parable as a parable of the Kingdom of God.
He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,’though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’” (Luke 8:10)
So we see there is but one Kingdom, the Kingdom that is of God and comes from Heaven. The Old Testament always speaks of one Kingdom.
“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” (Daniel 2:44)
Can you see from the above that Daniel spoke of the one Kingdom of God? I am stressing this point because I there are some who preach that the Kingdom of Heaven, of which Matthew writes, is somehow different from the Kingdom of God, of which all the others write. The Kingdom of God comes from Heaven and is of Heaven, and today we speak much about Heaven—far more than the Scriptures do.
So I suppose it is easy to think there must be two kingdoms, one on earth and one in Heaven. But there is no kingdom in Heaven nor does the Bible teach that there is a kingdom in Heaven, as far as I know. Except for Matthew, no writer in the entire Bible mentions a kingdom of Heaven.
“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.” “In the time of those kings” means that the Kingdom of God was instituted at a certain point in the history of the earth. The Kingdom of God will crush all the kingdoms of the earth until there is one Kingdom and the Lord Jesus is King over all.
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
When we pray “Thy kingdom come,” we are praying for the Lord Jesus to come with His saints and set up the Kingdom of God, the will of God, on the earth. The power of the nations shall all be smashed to pieces, for Christ and His saints shall rule with the rod of iron.
The rod of iron is being formed in the victorious saints today. Each time they (through Christ) conquer the forces that attempt to hinder them from seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, iron is formed in their personality. Christ and they shall enforce the will of God in the earth for a thousand years, which I refer to in my writings as the “Kingdom Age.” Notice the following:
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 2:26-29)
The Apostle Peter tells us that we are to pay heed to the Scriptures until the Morning Star rises in our heart. The Morning Star is the Lord Jesus Christ. Why is the Morning Star associated with our governing the nations with the iron scepter? It is because it always is the Lord Jesus Christ in us who dashes the power of the nations to pieces like pottery. It is not glorified saints who do this, it is Christ, the Morning Star, working through us.
Now we get an inkling of why Paul in Galatians and Ephesians informs us that if we do not overcome the evil in our flesh, we shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. Satan can never enter the Kingdom of God. Evil spirits can never enter the Kingdom of God. Neither can we inherit the Kingdom unless we (through Christ) overcome the evil in our own nature.
Why the term “inherit”? Because we inherit the Kingdom of God from God Himself when He sees that we, through our steadfast obedience to Christ in the matter of renouncing evil, are worthy of the Kingdom.
All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. (II Thessalonians 1:5)
Exactly what is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God is the Father in Christ in the saint performing the will of God throughout the creation, particularly in the earth. It is Christ in us who Himself is the Kingdom of God. It is only as we are living by His Life that we are living in the Kingdom of God and able to overcome Satan and all of his works.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
I suspect that the majority of professing Christians in the United States, perhaps in the world, are not living by the Life of Christ. To live by the Life of Christ, there must be a time when we think of our former adamic life as dead and are endeavoring each day to present our thinking, speaking, and acting to the Lord Jesus so they may be in agreement with His will for us.
How many believers that you know are living by the Life of the Lord Jesus? They may say they have given their heart to Jesus, but I think on many occasions this is just religious talk more than anything else.
But—and please hear me on this—unless it is true that Christ is our life, we shall not appear with Him when He returns to set up His Kingdom on the earth. Where will we be in that Day? I really do not know. But I do know from the Scriptures that only those of whom it can be said “Christ is your Life” are going to appear with the Lord and reign with Him with the iron scepter.
The teaching of a “rapture” today is so much wishful thinking. The immature believers are not going to be caught up to Heaven to recline in mansions. What good would that do them? The goal of our salvation is that we might have fellowship with God and Christ, and this will not be accomplished by carrying carnal Christian believers to Heaven to recline in mansions. This is so much foolishness, and the sooner it vanishes from Christian thinking the better.
God’s purpose in the present hour is to call out a firstfruits who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They are standing on Mount Zion with the Lord, being prepared to descend with Him in a terrifying onslaught that will put an end to sin in the earth. This is what we are praying for when we say, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in the earth as it is in Heaven.”
The Kingdom of God, as I said, is God in Christ in the saints enforcing God’s will in the creation, particularly in the earth. Having overcome through Christ their sinful nature, Satan, and the temptations of the world, they are ready to put an end to sin in the earth. They do not know the meaning of the term “compromise.” They are accustomed to iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father.When God says “destroy,” they destroy without mercy.
When God says “show mercy,” they show mercy.
When God says “go,” they go.
When God says “come,” they come.
Through suffering, they have learned stern obedience to God. They live in the Life of Jesus. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. He and they are the Kingdom of God. They do God’s will in the earth.
We are but intelligent dust. There is nothing we can do of ourselves. It is only Christ in us who is Eternal Life. He is the King whom God has enthroned. Apart from Christ we have no wisdom, authority, or power. We are to learn this in the present hour, for our day is a time of preparation.
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” (John 3:3-5)
I think being “born of water” is referring to natural birth, but I would not argue with anyone about it. In any case, to enter the Kingdom of God, we must be born as a human and then born of the Spirit of God. Angels are not born from humans, and so there is no way they can enter the Kingdom of God. The eternal Throne that governs the creation is destined to be established in the hearts of people, not angels.
So we must be born of the Spirit of God. What does this entail? It means we must receive Christ as our Redeemer. When we do, the Spirit implants in us a portion of Christ, of Divinity. This is the meaning of the parable of the sower.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12,13)
When does this conception take place? I know in my own case, I was in the USMC in Hawaii, eighteen years of age. I read in a book about being born again, so I asked God for this experience. Well, it came. Don’t ask me how. But I left the chapel when the service was over, and that beautiful Hawaiian night somehow was new. Everything was new. The stars looked new. I had been born again.
I wrote and told my mother in Los Angeles. Our letters crossed in the mail. She had written saying that when she woke up one morning she had seen a man standing at the foot of the bed. I do not understand how she could see his shoes, but she said they were shiny. She associated that with me, because Marines always have shiny shoes. The “man” spoke and said, “I have been reborn and renewed.” Think of that!
Well, I indeed had been reborn and renewed. I am 87 years old now, and I still have been reborn and renewed. A year later, in Sasebo, Japan, in a former Japanese barrack, the Lord Jesus called me to preach.
Maybe being born again and called to preach while in the Marine Corps has something to do with my interest in the army of the Lord and the Kingdom of God. I love to think of the descent of the army of saints and the army of angels, with Christ at their head on His mighty white stallion, whom I have named “Conqueror.”
Can you imagine the trumpet peals, the angel drums, the shouts of Michael, angels, and the victorious saints, the white stallions with their heads held high! This is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, for which we all are praying when we recite the Lord’s Prayer.
Now we can see what a disaster it would be for you personally if you did not inherit the Kingdom of God.
I want to be where my Lord Jesus is, don’t you? Well, His heart is directed toward the establishing of His Kingdom in the earth, not toward mansions in Heaven where people do nothing of significance for eternity. Our Lord was crucified in Jerusalem, on the earth. One day, people shall see this same Jesus seated at the right hand of Power, descending from Heaven. This will not be a happy time for the wicked of the earth. But the righteous shall sing and dance in the heights of Zion. Justice shall be enforced at the hands of Christ and His saints, and the meek shall inherit the earth.
Today we have the marvelous opportunity of giving up our own life that we might live in the Life of the Lord Jesus. To neglect the present hour, preferring to live our typical fleshly life, will incur a loss so dreadful as to be indescribable.
For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. (Ephesians 5:5-7)
“When Christ who is my Life appears, I shall appear with Him.” Can you say that along with me?
(“Shall Not Inherit the Kingdom”, 3378-2, proofed 20210827)