THE KINGDOM OF GOD

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

THE KINGDOM OF GOD Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints governing the creation of God. The Kingdom of God is the eternal union of the Life of God with all that is found worthy in the material realm. The Person and Life of God provide the government, the life, the righteousness, the holiness, the love, the joy, the peace, the significance, the wonder, the glory of the Kingdom. The people, creatures, and things of earth provide the substance and visible form of the Kingdom.

Table of Contents

Introductory Scriptures

Definition

Introduction to the Concept of the Kingdom of God

The Kingdom is the Word made flesh The Kingdom of God has image, relationships, ability to multiply,    and dominion Two major misconceptions Some basic understandings The Church and the Kingdom of God God’s purpose in creating a spiritual-material kingdom and revelation

Elements of the Kingdom

The King The Queen The nobility The center of government The laws The army The power The wall The territory The subjects The subordinate kingdoms Organization and care The spiritual and material environments A spiritual nature and a material form Relationships and fellowship The means of communication The activities The program of expansion

The Old Testament Vision of the Kingdom of God

Psalms Daniel Isaiah Zechariah Review of the elements of the Kingdom

The New Testament Revelation of the Kingdom of God

The two dimensions of the Gospel of the Kingdom Our perception of the Kingdom John the Baptist Jesus of Nazareth The keys of the Kingdom The early apostles and evangelists The human, tangible aspects of the Lord Jesus, and His Kingdom

Kingdom Teachings

The Kingdom of God is within us A harmful error Sin, and the Kingdom of God The Mount of Transfiguration The power and coming of the Lord Installed on the earth with force The rich have great difficulty entering the Kingdom The relationship between Pentecost and the Kingdom Children enter the Kingdom readily The wheat and the tares Treasure hidden in a field Goodly pearls A net cast into the sea Things new and old A grain of mustard seed The leaven of the Kingdom Seek ye first the Kingdom of God Patience and tribulation The Kingdom suffers violence Repentance and belief The Kingdom of God is hidden The Word of the Kingdom grows in us The supreme importance of the Kingdom The Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth The first two laws of the Kingdom Water baptism The Kingdom of God is one kingdom We must be born again The Kingdom of God is not of the present world system The poor in spirit Persecution for righteousness’ sake Healing the sick More important than family ties Perseverance A witness to all nations The elect who reject Christ Pressing into the Kingdom Not less righteous but more righteous How to enter the Kingdom Diligence The rulers are servants Forgiveness The fruits of the Kingdom We must respond! Proper clothing Not everyone will be ready The Kingdom does not consist of religious observances Final victory Unregenerate man cannot inherit the Kingdom The Kingdom is of the Holy Spirit Sin shall never enter the Kingdom of God Coming under the authority of the Kingdom The Kingdom of God needs workers today Worthy of God The judgment of the living and the dead The scepter of righteousness The Kingdom of God cannot be shaken or removed The poor inherit the Kingdom An abundant entrance Dying and living

Conclusion

 

Introductory Scriptures

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:0)

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 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)

THE KINGDOM OF GOD 

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

Definition

The Kingdom of God (of Heaven) is God in Christ in the saints governing the creation of God.

The Kingdom of God is the eternal union of the Person and Life of God with all that is found worthy in the material realm. The Person and Life of God provide the government, life, righteousness, holiness, love, joy, peace, significance, wonder, and glory of the Kingdom. The people, creatures, and things of the material creation provide the substance and visible form of the Kingdom. 

Introduction to the Concept of the Kingdom of God

The Kingdom is the word made flesh. It is the eternal union of Heaven and earth. It is not a place in Heaven or on the earth. It is the blending, the merging, the intersecting of Heaven and earth. The Kingdom "cometh not with observation." It is in us when we are new creatures in Christ. Yet the Kingdom does have a visible, external dimension.

The Kingdom of God has character, life, and a material form, as a person has a soul, spirit, and body. God Himself possesses a Soul, a Spirit, and, in Jesus, a material Form.

The Lord Jesus is the Logos, the Expression of God. Jesus Christ, who is the word, the Logos, has a glorified material Form. His Form can be seen. The Logos has become flesh. The saints, the members of the Body of Christ, are being created an integral part of the Logos. We are being brought into eternal union with Jesus in spirit and in soul, and finally will be like Him in form. We then shall be the Kingdom of God.

All persons who are saved, all the things, and all the circumstances of the universe will reveal to some degree Christ, the Logos of God. Christ will be central in the creation. Through Christ, God will become All in all. 

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:10)

The result of the rule of the Kingdom of God in the earth will be to make the Lord Jesus the Center and Circumference of everything.

Through the discipline of a cross-carrying life our souls are being brought into union with the Soul of God so that our will and God’s will are becoming one will. When our will becomes one with the will of God we enter the greatest freedom and joy possible for a human being to experience.

The Spirit of God is the Spirit of the Kingdom of God. Our spirit is being made one with the Spirit of God so that we are one Spirit with God (I Corinthians 6:17).

The Lord Jesus is the fullness of the expression of God, and His glorified body is the beginning of the material form of the Kingdom of God. The members of the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, are being created an eternal part of the expression of God, of the revelation of God to His creatures. Through union with Christ we are becoming part of the Logos. When we receive glorified bodies the form of the Kingdom of God will be enlarged through us.

As Kingdom life flows through the members of the Body of Christ to the nations of the earth, those people too will begin to show in themselves the likeness and ways of God. In this manner the Kingdom of God will spread until it fills the whole earth. 

. . . and the stone [Christ—the Kingdom of God] that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2:35)

We realize that our description is imperfect and limited. It is impossible to comprehend the infinite God and to describe His Person and work in human language. May the God of Heaven through the Lord Jesus give to all of us an ever-increasing understanding of His Person, will, ways, and eternal purpose.

The Kingdom of God has image, relationships, ability to multiply, and dominion. The Kingdom of God has image. It is being fashioned after the image and likeness of God.

The Kingdom of God has relationships. Human beings are so constructed that they can be one with God and with one another. Such union is not possible to the angels. The supreme, final law of the Kingdom of God is perfect love for God and perfect love for one another. When there is enmity between two persons the Kingdom of God is lacking in one or the other, or both.

The Kingdom of God has the ability to multiply. The Kingdom can be born in people. Of the increase of Christ’s government and of peace there shall be no end (Isaiah 9:7).

The Kingdom of God is destined to have dominion over all other governments and powers. God’s will shall be done in earth as it is in Heaven. 

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:44)

Two major misconceptions. Today there are at least two major misconceptions concerning the Kingdom of God: (1) that there will be two kingdoms of God, an earthly and a heavenly; and (2) that Heaven is the Kingdom of God.

There will not be two kingdoms, a kingdom of Christians in Heaven and a kingdom of physical Jews on the earth. Israel after the flesh was a necessary forerunner of the Kingdom of God. But it is impossible for God to have a true and lasting relationship with flesh and blood. No human being can enter the one Kingdom of God until he or she has been born a second time, becoming—as Christ is—both Divine and human.

The Lord Jesus is, as the Church fathers have stated, very God of very God and very Man of very Man. We who are members of the Body of Christ are flesh and blood. But because Christ has been born in us we now are both son of man and son of God. God is bringing forth in us a new creature who is from Heaven but wrought in the earth.

We are being fashioned in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29; I John 3:2). We are His brothers, having the same Father. Yet, Christ remains Lord of all.

There are not two kingdoms as some are teaching. The new Jerusalem is not an earthly kingdom consisting of members of the Jewish race while the Christian Church, a "spiritual" kingdom, remains in Heaven forever. This concept is not biblical.

The new Jerusalem is in Heaven at the present time. It consists of the true saints, all of whom have been born from above. At the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Millennium) the Lord Jesus and His saints will descend from Heaven and enter the Jerusalem on earth, making it the governing city of the world.

At the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age the new Jerusalem in Heaven will descend to the new earth and govern the nations of saved peoples of the earth forever. This is what the Scriptures teach. Thus it is not possible for there to be two different kingdoms of God made up of two different sets of people.

The new (and eternal) Jerusalem does not consist of Jews after the flesh. The new Jerusalem is the Wife of the Lamb, the Christian Church, the Kingdom of God. It is destined to govern the creation of God. The new Jerusalem eternally will be thoroughly Divine and thoroughly human.

Flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom of God. But humanness, an essential, eternal part of the Kingdom of God, is a quality distinct from the flesh and blood characteristics of the physical body. Dogs and horses are flesh and blood but they do not possess the quality of humanness.

Human beings are part spirit. Humans never can come into lasting joy and peace until their spiritual life has been renewed in Christ. But angels, who also are spirit, never can enter union with one another or with God. God never will dwell in an angel because God dwells only in Jesus, and through Jesus in man. Humanness is a quality unique to Christ and to all the other sons of God.

To enter the Kingdom of God we must be born twice: once of a human being and also of God. This is true of Jesus and of all other members of the Kingdom of God. (We recognize that the Lord Jesus is the eternal Logos of God and is different from us in this respect.)

Now that Christ has come, God will recognize no earthly kingdom, such as physical Israel, that is human but not born of the Spirit of God. The Scriptures do teach, however, that as soon as the full number of Gentiles has been grafted on the good olive tree, God in Christ will turn once again to the people and land of Israel. The physical Jews then will be born again and will enter the Kingdom of God.

All the beauty and joy of Heaven is included in the Kingdom of God, and all that is found worthy in the earth will be made new and included in the Kingdom of God.

As far as we know, when a saint dies he or she passes into Paradise, into the beautiful and wonderful light-filled domain of the spirit realm that we term Heaven. Paradise is the present location of God and of Christ, of the tree of life, and of the spiritual Jerusalem and Mount Zion.

The spirit paradise is an environment created by the Soul of God working through the Holy Spirit through Christ. When we lose our flesh and go to Paradise we enter love, beauty, peace, joy, and other extraordinary surroundings and things that are not of our making.

Here’s the point.

Heaven is not a projection of the unregenerate human soul but of God’s Soul. Heaven is an external Paradise imposed from without. But the Kingdom of God is the re-creation of what we are, as well as the filling of us with the Spirit of Christ, until we can project Paradise wherever we are.

It is important to understand that the Heaven of God and Christ is external to us, while the Kingdom of God is what we are.

Current Christian teaching is attempting to bring hellish people into God’s Paradise by grace. To do so would be to turn Paradise into Hell. If untransformed personalities were brought into the spirit paradise we would have a repetition of the original rebellion. Satan once more would be in Heaven with God.

On the other hand, the unsullied Paradise of God would be "hell" for the untransformed because they would be forced to live in an environment that they have rejected while on the earth, an environment of peace, of the worship of God, of holiness, of obedience to God. Would this be "heaven" to someone who longs after the fulfillment of the lusts of the flesh?

It is time for a reformation of Christian thinking.

The creating of the Kingdom of God is the creating of people who themselves are of the Spirit and life of Heaven. Such people are of the nature of Heaven and bring Heaven wherever they go. 

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them [the highways to Zion]. who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. (Psalms 84:5-7)

The heart of the saint is a highway to God. The true saints make the valley of Baca (weeping) a well of refreshing.

The Kingdom of God is not a location, such as Paradise, so we can say Here it is! or Now I have arrived! The Kingdom of God is in us. It is God in Christ in the saints ruling and ministering to the creation of God.

Every true saint of Christ yearns to be in a place of peace and joy with God. This evil world no longer is home to us after we are filled with the nature of Christ. For the victorious saint to die is great gain. After all, what godly person wouldn’t want to live in Paradise? What saint wouldn’t desire the immediate fellowship of God, of Christ, of the saints, of our deceased loved ones, in an environment filled with every conceivable delight and totally free from pain, anxiety, and dread?

God’s will is being done in Heaven, in Paradise. Paradise is a location in the spirit realm. When the righteous die they enter the spiritual realities of Paradise, which also are realities of the Kingdom of God.

The fullness of God’s Kingdom is the eternal union of the Paradise of God with the material realm. When Christ is born in us we enter the Kingdom of God. Now our humanity receives glorious paradisiac spiritual life into itself. The heart and substance of the life of Paradise is Christ. It is He, and only He, who makes Paradise our delight and goal. When Christ is formed in us, the heart and substance of Paradise have been formed in us.

The Apostle Paul did not wish to be "unclothed," that is, to lose his flesh and depart into the spirit realm. Rather, Paul was seeking to be "clothed" with his house, his glorified form, from Heaven. 

For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (II Corinthians 5:4)

When we are in Heaven with the Lord we are in the spiritual environment of the Kingdom of God. But when Christ has been formed in us, the Kingdom of God is in us.

The Gospel of the Kingdom is not the good news that we will go to Heaven to live forever in an external Paradise. As extraordinarily marvelous as that would be, God has something far better for us.

The incident of the thief on the cross (who demonstrated remarkable faith), or Paul’s desire to be "present with the Lord," thus making his physical death a gain to him, are part of the grand design. But they are not central to the Gospel of the Kingdom or to the eternal purpose of God.

"Going to Heaven" is not what John the Baptist, or Christ, or the Apostle Paul, or any of the other first-century apostles and evangelists meant when they cried out in the streets concerning salvation and the soon coming of the Kingdom.

The good news of the Christian redemption is not that of "going to Heaven." The good news of the Kingdom of God is that of salvation in the Day of the Lord, of being spared the wrath of God, of entering eternal life when Christ returns to set up His Kingdom on the earth. This is what was preached by the Apostles of the Lamb. 

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: (Acts 3:19,20)

The invitation given to the thief to be with Jesus in Paradise, and Paul’s anticipated and longed for homegoing in the event of his physical death, reveal to us that those who are approved of God will pass into the Presence of Christ when their soul leaves their body. The emphasis is on being "with the Lord." But this is not our entrance into the Kingdom of God or the coming of the Kingdom to the earth.

The tradition concerning going to Heaven is so strong that it affects our ability to perceive what is written in the Scriptures.

For example: 

To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (I Corinthians 5:5)

Our traditions would say of the preceding verse that Paul was trying to get the sinner of Corinth into Heaven. But that is not what the passage is about. That is not what is stated.

The expression go to Heaven does not appear in the entire Scriptures.

Paul was attempting to save the man’s spirit in the Day of the Lord, not so he would go to Heaven but so eventually he would be permitted to live on the earth under the reign of Christ. Paul’s success or lack of it, concerning this member of the church in Corinth, will be revealed in the Day of Judgment that will occur at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. Second Corinthians 2:6,7 gives us some ground for confidence that Paul’s efforts in this case proved to be fruitful.

The Apostles preached salvation in terms of the coming of the Lord, not in terms of what happens to us when we die physically. 

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (I Thessalonians 1:10)

Again: 

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, (II Thessalonians 1:7)

And so forth.

The first message of the Gospel of the Kingdom has to do with our being saved in the Day of Christ. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). Being "saved" means to escape torment and destruction when the Lord returns.

In addition to this primary message, the New Testament writings speak of the attainment of victory in Jesus such that rewards are gained. The rewards are given to the nobility of the Kingdom, the royal priesthood, the conquerors—the "mighty men" who will govern the nations of saved peoples of the earth. The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation have much to say concerning our attainment to power, glory, and opportunities for service.

Both primary salvation and attainment to power and glory (attainment to the first resurrection from among the dead), have to do with the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, not with our dying and "going to Heaven." God is interested in bringing righteousness and justice into the earth. This is the burden and message of the Hebrew Prophets. 

He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:4)

When we emphasize the concept of going to Heaven to live forever, the entire Scriptures become incoherent. Since going to Heaven is the subject neither of the Old Testament nor the New Testament, we find ourselves constantly adding to the text a concept not present, making the entire passage say something other than what is stated in the words. Christianity then takes its place alongside the other religions of the world that teach matter is evil and spirit is good. We change the message of God, the intent of His redemption in Christ.

The truth is, the Christian redemption has to do with the removing of all sin and death from the earth. All that is glorious and wonderful in the spirit paradise will be brought into the earth and made one with the things of earth. The kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of God and His Christ.

Some basic understandings. The key parable of the Kingdom of God is the parable of the sower. The sower sows the Seed of the Kingdom, which is Christ—the living word of God. Until one understands the parable of the sower the other parables of the Kingdom are not clear.

The parable of the sower reveals that the Kingdom of God is Christ, the word of God, conceived and brought to fruitfulness in us. According to this parable, many in whom the Seed germinates never bring any fruit to maturity. Of those who do succeed in bringing forth fruit, some produce more than others.

The Kingdom of God is the forming of Christ in us. To enter the Kingdom is equivalent to having Christ formed in us. The Spirit brings our first personality down to death so henceforth it is Christ who is living in us. It no longer is our original personality who is living but Christ who is living. This is the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God does not consist of a set of theological beliefs. Theological beliefs can be helpful, but as far as eternal life is concerned, theological beliefs are sterile. Only Christ Himself is eternal life. It is only as His life is in us that we have the light of the Kingdom of God. Theological beliefs are useful in the Kingdom of God only to the extent that they contribute to the forming of Christ in us. Otherwise, such beliefs are dead religion.

The Kingdom of God is not in words but in the power of the Presence of Him who is the Resurrection and the Life.

Christianity is not a religion, although its practitioners have made it so. Rather, Christianity is a kingdom that soon will descend from Heaven and by great violence take over the governments of the earth. Christianity is the giving of Divine Life and Substance to the concepts of biblical Judaism.

Our church trappings, organs, pews, steeples, are not essential parts of the Kingdom. They are scaffolding that will be removed when they no longer are needed. Christendom has created a culture of its own separate from the ordinary ways of earth and therefore alien to the Kingdom of God. The Body of Christ is being created in the midst of this alien culture, this Babylon (man-directed Christianity). How good God is! How patient and loving!

No sin ever can enter the Kingdom of God. Sinning people can be forgiven through the grace of God in Christ and thus be saved in the Day of the Lord. In fact, Christ pointed out that the "publicans and the harlots" go into the Kingdom of God before the chief priests and the elders of the people (Matthew 21:31). The remorseful and truly repentant find a welcome awaiting them at the door of the Kingdom, the cross of Calvary. Nevertheless sin cannot be brought into the Kingdom of God.

We do not obtain permanent status in the Kingdom of God on the basis of forgiveness, on the basis of the removing of our guilt by the mercy of God. Satan never will obtain residence in the Kingdom of God. We who believe become part of the Kingdom by means of the power of deliverance that resides in the Kingdom, and that is extended to people at the will of Christ. He is the King and Judge.

The churches on earth are composed of forgiven sinners. The Kingdom of God consists of new creatures.

Perhaps the greatest single mistake in Christian thinking is the concept that the grace of Christ brings the sinful and self-seeking into Paradise. This would be to destroy Paradise, to make it Hell.

Christ did not come in order to bring the sinful and self-seeking into Paradise. Christ came in order to convert the sinner into a righteous person and the self-seeking into a God-centered individual. For only the righteous and the God-centered enter the Kingdom and are the Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God, which is righteousness, peace, and joy, is in us. The Kingdom of God, the rule of God, is formed in us. It is not a delightful place where, by the application of grace or faith, the unrighteous go when they die. This is our current tradition but it is incorrect.

The Kingdom of God begins in our spiritual nature and will extend into the material realm when our spiritual nature has been brought into union with Christ. God always creates the heavens before the earth.

The human being begins in the material realm because the material realm is the form of the Kingdom; not the eternal substance, but the outline, as it were, of that which will be eternal one day if the program of redemption is allowed to succeed in his life.

If the person is faithful with the "unrighteous mammon" he then will be entrusted with the true riches, which are spiritual. "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual" (I Corinthians 15:46).

First we are natural. Next, our spiritual nature is perfected in Christ. After that our perfected spiritual nature will return, take up the dead material outline (the resurrection), and fill it with incorruptible life, substance, and glory. This is the Kingdom of God.

If in this present life we "overcome"; if we through the Holy Spirit resist the opposition of Satan and enter God through Christ; if we allow Christ to bring us into restful union with God; if through the grace of Christ we conquer the world, Satan, and our own lusts and self-centeredness and put on the image of Christ; then we "attain unto the resurrection of the dead" (Philippians 3:11).

If we attain to the resurrection from the dead, the first resurrection, we will be given back our visible form, our body, when the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven with the saints and holy angels. Our present body will be tremendously strengthened and enlarged, being brought into the likeness of the body of the Lord Jesus. Such is true of the ruling priesthood of the Kingdom of God.

Having received the Kingdom from the hand of the Lord Jesus we now are ready to work and rest in total righteousness, peace, and joy alongside Christ in the activities of the Kingdom of God. Perhaps our most important task will be developing the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom in other people.

The Kingdom of God will be formed in the elect, whether Jew or Gentile by natural birth, and also in the members of the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

The first resurrection from the dead, that which will occur when the Lord Jesus returns, is for the purpose of gathering to Christ His army, His kings and priests—the nobility of the Kingdom. These have had the Kingdom created in them in this life and now are able, through Christ’s Presence and the Spirit of God, to bring the power and glory of the Kingdom wherever Christ directs them.

The victorious saints will reign with Christ throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age and will not be affected by the judgment that will take place when the Kingdom Age has been concluded.

The great judgment that will take place at the end of the Kingdom Age, when the present heaven and earth have vanished in a fiery explosion, will be for the purpose of determining who will be saved: that is, who will be permitted to enjoy the glorious reign of the Kingdom of God; who will be given eternal life and become part of the nations of the saved.

In the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, every person who is saved, every thing and every circumstance of worth, will have been renewed and will continue to be renewed by the revelation of God in Christ in the saints. God will be All in all. Christ will be the Center and Circumference of the universe.

The thousand-year Kingdom Age is for the purpose of moving all saved persons toward this perfect reign of God through His Christ.

The Church and the Kingdom of God. There has been confusion over the relationship between the Church and the Kingdom of God.

It is not true that the Kingdom of God is for the earth while the Church is for Heaven. Rather it is true that the Kingdom of God rules in Heaven now and soon will govern the earth also. The Church is the Body of Christ and is destined to govern all things, including the heavens and the earth.

It is not true that the Church is for the Gentiles and the Kingdom of God is for the Jews. The most superficial knowledge of the Scriptures will confirm that both Jews and Gentiles enter the Church and also into the Kingdom of God.

The term church means "called out from." A synonym is "elect." God’s elect, although drawn from the Jews and Gentiles, are no longer Jew or Gentile. They are the one Church, the one Kingdom of God that shall rule on the earth from the city of Jerusalem.

It is customary today to refer to a Gentile Christian as a "Christian," while a Jewish Christian is termed a "Jewish Christian." This is unfortunate. The truth is, a Gentile Christian is a Christian and a Jewish Christian is a Christian. There is no difference. Both are of God’s elect, of the one Body of Christ. Until this obvious truth is thoroughly accepted, all kinds of false distinctions will continue.

The difference is not between Jew and Christian, it is between Jew and Gentile. The terms Jew and Gentile refer to race. The term Christian refers to faith in Christ. Let us have done forever with the terms Gentile Church, Jewish Christian, Messianic believer. Were Peter and Paul Messianic believers or Christians? 

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)

True, or false?

How many Churches are there? How many Bodies of Christ? How many Kingdoms of God?

We have such confusion today over this simple truth that some Christians are teaching the Torah while others are making the observance of the Levitical feasts mandatory. Two thousand years have passed and we still are unable to believe the Apostle Paul when he stated that the cross of the Lord Jesus reconciled Jew and Gentile and created one new Man in Christ!

It is no wonder that some Christians, Jews and Gentiles alike, are returning to the Torah, in that the prevailing perversion of the grace of God into an excuse for sin has removed the moral strength from Christian doctrine. The Torah at least makes some moral demands on the worshiper.

It is not true that the Kingdom laws, such as the precepts set forth in the Sermon on the Mount, were for the Jews of Jesus’ day only, and now that grace has come we no longer are under the discipline of the words of Christ our King.

When we accept this teaching we make the precepts of Christ and of His Apostles of none effect by our tradition. The four Gospel accounts, as well as the Epistles of the Apostles, contain numerous exhortations to righteous and holy living. We are learning each day to obey these Kingdom laws, as the Spirit of God gives us the wisdom and power. 

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19)

The preceding statement, as well as all the other words of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Kingdom of God, will still be in effect when the heaven and earth pass away.

The true relationship between the Christian Church and the Kingdom of God is as follows.

The Lord Jesus Christ himself uniquely and perfectly is the Kingdom of God.

The Church, the Body of Christ, is the enlargement, the fullness of Christ. The Church is the royal priesthood of the Kingdom of God. The members of the Church, the Body of Christ, are the kings and priests of the Kingdom of God. 

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:6)

This is the true relationship between the Church of Christ and the Kingdom of God. The members of the Body of Christ, when they are filled with the Spirit of God and are walking in obedience to the Lord Jesus, hold the keys of the Kingdom. They possess the power and authority to close and open the doors of the Kingdom of God.

Because Christ in them governs both Heaven and earth, whatever the saints (when they are abiding in Christ) bind on the earth is bound in the heavens and whatever they loose on the earth is loosed in the heavens. When Christ is living and working in them they possess the authority to forgive and to retain sins (John 20:23).

God’s purpose in creating a spiritual-material kingdom and revelation. Now we come to a great mystery. 

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (I Timothy 3:16)

The question is, What is the significance of the Kingdom of God? Why is God creating an eternal revelation of Himself that is both spiritual and material?

A related question is, Why did God require that His sons, the rulers of His Kingdom, even His only begotten Son, be born physically in the material realm? God could have created mankind in the spirit realm as easily as He put Paradise on the earth and created Adam and Eve in that environment. And why did God permit Satan to enter His new creation?

The beauty and wonder of the spirit paradise was created by and for the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who have had visions of the spirit paradise say there are parks, children playing on the grass, tame animals, lovely valleys and hills, rural and suburban scenes of unblemished beauty and joy. Some have seen the jasper wall, the gates of pearl, and the transparent gold street of the heavenly Jerusalem.

No one who has returned from such an experience has expressed disappointment in what he or she has witnessed. Many were grieved because of having to return for a season and finish their tasks in the world.

The Logos of God dwells in His spirit paradise. Paradise is His true environment. Paradise issued from God who dwells in the Logos.

But Paradise is not the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God began when the Logos became flesh. 

. . . These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (Revelation 3:14)

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; (Colossians 1:18,19)

God envisioned a state of being for the Logos that is better than the spirit paradise. God counseled the Logos

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (Psalms 2:8)

Why should the Logos be required to pray in order to receive that which He Himself had created? Another mystery!

God’s Kingdom is the eternal union of the Person and Life of God and the material world. The everlasting inheritance of Christ is the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth. Christ had to pray for possession of the nations because God cannot possess a human being merely by creating him. God must gain his love, his heart.

Isn’t Paradise marvelous and wonderful enough for us? Why does the Father deem it desirable that the Kingdom of God include the material realm as well as the spirit realm?

Perhaps it is easier for us to understand the reasons for a temporary sojourn of God’s Son and sons in the material world, a temporary spiritual-material revelation of God and His Kingdom.

One reason for a temporary joining of Heaven and earth might be that the Character of Christ (who was made perfect in the world—Hebrews 2:10), and the character of the sons of God could be forged in God’s image and likeness, developing obedience, faithfulness, courage, faith, patience, perseverance, trust, and other virtues necessary for the proper conduct of the universe. We know that the tribulations of this life work patience—a mark of perfection in the Kingdom of God.

How could overcomers, conquerors, an eternal wall against sin and rebellion, be created in the spirit paradise where, it appears, there is nothing to overcome? The creation of kings and priests certainly must be one reason that man is born of woman on earth and not created in Paradise (although it appears that Melchizedek, a priest of God, was not created on the earth of human parents).

Another reason that may be advanced for a temporary union of Paradise and the earth is that the physical body is an excellent tool for teaching us humility and dependence on God. From the standpoint of what will be true of the overcomers in the future, the frail physical body of today is ludicrous. We could consider our animal body to be a joke that God has played on us, shutting us up in prison like this.

But God is serious about our behavior in our physical body. Our body is a perfect arena of testing, a means of challenging and evaluating our character in terms of righteousness, holiness, faithfulness, obedience to God, courage, understanding, compassion, and other attributes and virtues. The Judgment Seat of Christ will reveal that which we have done in our body.

Our physical body is the temple of God, of the Holy Spirit. Our body will be redeemed through means of an increased portion of the same resurrection life that currently is dwelling in us and thus be brought into the Kingdom of God.

The redeeming of our mortal body by resurrection life signifies our adoption as sons of God, and so we understand that our body is of great importance in the Kingdom of God. The resurrection from the dead has to do only with our body, our spirit and soul already having been received of God.

But we have stated that the Kingdom of God is not a temporary but an eternal union of Paradise with the earth. Why an eternal union? Why is the Lord God of Heaven transforming the purely spiritual into that which internally is spiritual but externally is material? Why is God clothing Paradise with a robe of flesh?

Perhaps for the pure joy of creating something new. God is the great Creator.

A central emphasis of the Scriptures is the construction of the house of God. It appears that God no longer is content with His temple in Heaven. He now is constructing for Himself a living temple, of which the conquerors are pillars. This is not a temporary abiding place. It is God’s house forever. It is the new Jerusalem, eternal Zion, the holy city, the Wife of the Lamb. 

For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. (Psalms 132:13,14)

By dwelling eternally in a tabernacle that is material in outer form the invisible God is given Substance. He then can be seen by humans, by angels, by all His creatures. His holy, fiery Glory can be observed in material form.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the chief Cornerstone of the eternal Temple of God. The members of the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, are living stones in the Temple of God. In this form God can dwell among the people whom He has created and wipe away their tears. 

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

God dwelling in Christ in the saints can govern and bless other people, having fellowship with them. God loves all His children but there is a great gap between Him and them. That gap can be bridged only by a person who has met God’s standards, in whom God is dwelling.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the great Bridge, Jacob’s ladder that reaches from earth to Heaven. The ladder always is "set up on the earth" and the angels of God ascend and descend on it.

The members of the Body of Christ are being created "Jacob’s ladder." The entire Body is born of humanity and also of Divinity so God in Christ in us can rule, bless, and have fellowship with His creatures. This is the Kingdom of God and it is an eternal kingdom.

The marriage of the Lamb is the eternal union of the saints with the Lord Jesus and God in Him. Perhaps it would not have been possible for such a union, such a kingdom, to be accomplished in the spirit realm only. In any case, Christ was born as a Human.

Each of us is born as a human. It is in this realm, the material realm, that Christ and we are pounded, pounded, pounded together until we are one new creation in Christ in God. The new creation is the indissoluble union of Christ and the saint. The new creation is both human and Divine. The new creation is the Kingdom of God. 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God,.... (II Corinthians 5:17,18)

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

For in Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature [creation]. (Galatians 6:15)

The deepest mystery of all is that God is multiplying Himself and is bringing Himself into a new dimension. There is a Man seated on the highest throne of Heaven; not an angel, or a cherub, but a Human Being. That Man still is clothed in the body that walked along the shores of Galilee, for the cave of Joseph of Arimathea is empty. Those who have seen Him say that the marks of the nails can be seen in His hands and His feet. 

Elements of the Kingdom

As is true of many other kingdoms, the Kingdom of God has a King and Queen (Psalm 45:9). We capitalize queen because of the glory, authority, and power to which God has raised her. The Kingdom also has a nobility. The Queen and the nobility are not different groups of people but different roles of the victorious saints.

The Kingdom of God has a government, laws, an army, and power to perform the King’s will. The center of government, Jerusalem, will be protected by a massive wall. The Kingdom has a territory that it governs, subjects whom it rules, and subordinate kingdoms that are under its sovereignty. The Kingdom of God is organized carefully; nothing is left ungoverned or uncared for.

The Kingdom of God has a spiritual nature and a material form; a spiritual environment and a material environment. The rulers and subjects of the Kingdom have a spiritual nature and a material form. There are relationships and fellowship in the Kingdom. Such relationships and fellowship are of supreme importance in the Kingdom, for the Kingdom is one of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

There are means of communication and a common language. There are all kinds of activities.

The Kingdom of God has a means of expanding, a method of growth and development. The expansion of the Kingdom will continue forever—ages without end.

The King. The Kingdom of God has a King. Jesus is His name. He will sit on the Throne of David forever. 

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)

The Lord Jesus is the King whom God has chosen. He is King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Whoever rejects the rule of Christ will not be admitted to the Kingdom of God.

The Queen. The Kingdom of God has a Queen. The Queen of the Kingdom is the Church, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb. 

Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: on thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. (Psalms 45:9)

There are many "daughters of Jerusalem," but there is only one queen. 

My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. (Song of Solomon 6:9)

The Spirit of Christ in David addresses His Queen: 

Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him. (Psalms 45:10,11)

No doubt the imprisoned Paul was meditating on this passage when he exclaimed, "Brothers, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before" (Philippians 3:13).

Many people have been brought into the churches as the Kingdom invitation has gone forth. There are numerous individuals who profess belief in Christ. Among these there are a few who abide "in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs." These are the dove, the Bride, the undefiled. Jesus knows precisely who they are.

If the call to the Bride has come to us we are to "forget" the persons, things, and circumstances of this life and seek the King with a perfect heart. When we do, the King greatly desires our beauty, which is His own image in us. We are to worship Him alone.

The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation are the royal summons directed toward the Bride, toward her who will share all things with Him.

It is important to note that in the New Testament the Wife of the Lamb never is referred to as the queen. However, "Babylon the great" (man-directed Christianity) regards herself as sitting as "a queen" (Revelation 18:7).

"Babylon" represents the Christian religion, denominationalism, the attempt of man to organize the things of Christ into a system whereby he can get what he desires, including advancement in an ecclesiastical organization.

Babylon sits as a queen. She views herself as being on the throne with Christ and using His name to accomplish her own ends. She eats her own bread and wears her own apparel, and uses the name of the Lord to take away her reproach: that is, to give an appearance of merit and Divine sanction to what she does (Isaiah 4:1).

Perhaps the major part of Christendom is of Babylon the great.

The reason the true Wife of the Lamb never is referred to as Christ’s queen is that she is one with Him. A queen is separate from the king. She is a different personality. She may be stronger than he. She may survive him when he dies.

Some of the subjects may be loyal to her rather than to the king. Most importantly, a queen has her own personality, her own ways, her own ambitions, her own goals. She is a different person from the king. Queen Jezebel and King Ahab are a case in point.

This is not the case with the Wife of the Lamb. She is Him! She is nothing apart from Him. She is of His bone, His flesh. He and she are one. He is revealed in her. He is her life. She is a branch growing out from Him. She has been created on His body and blood. She is termed "the Lamb’s wife" because she eats the flesh and drinks the blood of the Lamb.

He who does not understand the perfect oneness of the Lamb and His Bride is in danger of becoming part of Babylon the great.

Many Christians today are part of Babylon. They are seeking to use the name of the Lord to further their own religious ambitions. In the day of tribulation at hand, all who are using the Lord for the accomplishment of their own ends will find themselves in the church of Laodicea. They are lovers of themselves. They say they are Jews but are of the synagogue of Satan.

Before the Lord returns, the true members of the Body of Christ will be cleansed from their spots and wrinkles by the blood of the Lamb and by a baptism of fire. Their number may prove to be relatively small by the time the Lord appears, but they are the ones who will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.

The members of Babylon, of Laodicea, will be dealt with as those who are separate from the Lord. Even though they call themselves by His name they never have become part of Him. They love themselves and their sect of the Christian religion, not the Lord Jesus.

In the New Testament writings the victorious saints never are referred to as the queen of the Kingdom. They are the Church (called-out), the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the Temple of God, the new Jerusalem, the saints (holy ones); but never the queen.

The nobility. The Kingdom of God has a nobility. The saints are joined to Christ as His Body, speaking of their eternal union with Him. The saints also are destined to rule over the works of God’s hands, thus constituting the nobility of the Kingdom of God. 

Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. (Isaiah 32:1)

The nobility must be spiritually strong. 

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;.... (Isaiah 53:12)

The nobles must learn to serve and not attempt to be tyrants over God’s inheritance. 

If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. (John 13:14)

Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. (I Peter 5:3)

The nobles are kings and priests unto God the Father. 

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:6)

It is the nobles, the overcomers, who will be raised at the coming of Christ from Heaven, in the Day of the Lord, in the first resurrection. The nobles will be raised so they can proceed, in Christ, with the program of growth and development of the Kingdom of God. 

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

The center of government. The Kingdom of God has a center of government and a specific location of that center.

Today the center of government of the Kingdom of God is at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. 

And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. (Acts 7:56)

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (Hebrews 12:22)

When Jesus returns He will sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem. 

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: (Luke 1:32)

. . . upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, . . . . (Isaiah 9:7)

And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:29,30)

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. (Isaiah 2:3)

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

In the present hour the throne of Christ is in the new Jerusalem in Heaven. During the Kingdom Age, the thousand-year period, the throne of Christ will be in Jerusalem on the earth. During the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, which will commence after the thousand-year Kingdom Age has been concluded, the Lord Jesus will govern from the new Jerusalem, which will be located on a "great and high mountain" of the new earth. 

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (Revelation 22:3)

The laws. The Kingdom of God has laws. Many of the laws of the Kingdom are found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, Chapters Five through Seven).

The first law of the Kingdom of God is that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second law of the Kingdom of God is that we love our neighbor as ourselves.

One of the greatest misunderstandings in contemporary Christian thinking is that the Sermon on the Mount is for the Jews but not for the "heavenly Gentiles," who are "saved by grace." This is not true. The grace of God in Christ creates in us the ability to obey the eternal moral law of God.

The role of God’s moral law in the Christian redemption has been grievously perverted in the thinking, preaching, and teaching of numerous Christians of the twentieth century.

It is taught that the law of God, the Ten Commandments, has been done away. But this is not true. The new covenant is not the doing away of the Ten Commandments. The new covenant is the putting of the Torah, the law, in our minds and the writing of the law in our hearts. To state that New Testament grace is the removal of the law is to misunderstand the new covenant.

The law referred to here is not the Law of Moses but the eternal moral law of God, of which the Law of Moses is an abridged, negative at times, covenantal form. 

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inner parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:31-33)

The above could not be termed a doing away with the law. 

Grace is much more than imputed (assigned) righteousness. God’s grace includes imputed righteousness but has much more to do with the actual practice of righteousness. Christ did not come to forgive the works of the devil. Christ came to destroy the works of the devil.

The current definition of grace is limited to forgiveness and imputed righteousness. It is incorrect and misleading to say that the Kingdom of God consists of "sinners who are saved by grace," unless by "saved by grace" one means delivered from the person and works of Satan and brought into the Person and works of Christ (which is the New Testament concept of redemption).

The truth is, there are no sinners in the Kingdom of God. Those who practice the works of the flesh cannot possibly inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21).

The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will. The Kingdom of God does not consist only of an imputed (assigned) righteousness. The Kingdom of God consists of actual righteousness, actual peace, and actual joy in the Holy Spirit—the eternal moral law of God placed in the mind and engraved on the heart.

It is correct to state that the Kingdom of God consists of sinners who are being changed by grace.

The Lord Jesus Christ did not come from Heaven so men would not reap what they sow. Rather, He came from Heaven so men would have better seed to sow.

Any human being who transgresses the moral law of God will die. The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross in order to suspend the sentence of death until the transgressor has had an opportunity to avail himself of Christ’s Virtue, Substance, and Nature, thus to be transformed from the image of Satan into the image of God.

But the permanent doing away with the sentence of death is dependent on the believer keeping his part of the contract. 

For the earth that drinketh in the rain that cometh oft on it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:7,8)

The passage above implies that our redemption is conditional, being based on our fruit-bearing, that is, on the image of Christ coming forth in our personality. If we do not bear the fruit that the Lord desires we will be cursed just as Jesus cursed the fig tree.

We see that doing away with the sentence of death is conditional for the individual. If the new covenant is to have an eternal effect, the believer must keep the commandments of the Lord. He must follow the Holy Spirit in the work of sanctification. 

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, will be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: (Matthew 7:26)

Some theologians of today will disagree vehemently with our position that our redemption depends on our response. The teaching of today, which is strongly affected by the concept that once we make a profession of Christ we never can come under the curse of God, clearly is unscriptural. Numerous believers have been deceived and their spiritual potential destroyed by the error of the doctrine of the "eternal security" of the saints.

The end result of the workings of God with man is to make man in God’s image so he can have fellowship with God.

Many Christians of the twentieth century have perverted God’s plan by interpreting the Apostle Paul to mean that the Christian redemption is a method of bringing man into eternal fellowship with God on the basis of forgiveness and imputed (assigned) righteousness alone, apart from a continuing process of transformation into God’s image (II Corinthians 3:18). We have made the word of God of none effect by our traditions. Truly, it is a grievous perversion of Divine truth.

The keeping of God’s commandments is essential to the Kingdom of God. Under the new covenant the Ten Commandments have been greatly expanded in application until they govern the entire personality at all times. For example, the observance of the Sabbath Day is amplified until the individual ceases for eternity seeking his own pleasure, speaking his own words, performing his own works. He enters the Sabbath rest that is the Day of the Lord, the eternal day during which we rest in God’s perfect will and He is able to find rest in us (compare Isaiah 58:13; Hebrews 4:10). 

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19)

"In the kingdom of heaven"! 

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:3,4)

The doing of God’s will in the earth is the Kingdom of God (Kingdom of Heaven). 

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

The army. The Kingdom of God has an army. It is a powerful army indeed! 

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)

The army of the Lord will invade the earth at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven. 

When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)

The army of Christ will destroy the forces of Antichrist at the Battle of Armageddon. 

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Revelation 19:19,20)

Because the Kingdom of God is both spiritual and material there is an army of angels, led by Michael, that fights alongside the army of saints. There actually are two armies (Mahanaim —Genesis 32:2).

The army of saints is an army of judges passing judgment, opening and closing the gates of the Kingdom, forgiving and retaining sins, as they are guided by the Spirit of God.

The army of angels constitutes irresistible power that moves at the judgments and pronouncements made by the saints in whom the Lord Jesus is abiding. All this is an expression of God the Father who is dwelling eternally in Christ.

The power. The Kingdom of God possesses the power to perform the will of King Jesus, to crush all rebellion and sin and drive it from the creation. 

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)

Satan himself will be forced to bow the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. (Habakkuk 3:13)

And the God of peace shall bruise [crush] Satan under your feet shortly. . . . (Romans 16:20)

The wall. The Kingdom of God has a great wall that protects its center of government from all that is unholy. 

And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: (Revelation 21:12)

No sin ever will be allowed past those gates. 

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

Here is another misconception concerning the Kingdom of God. It is believed commonly that people can enter the new Jerusalem, the center of government of the Kingdom of God, on the basis of being forgiven through means of the shed blood of the Lamb of God, Christ. But this is only partly true. It is a fact that whoever would enter the holy city must be forgiven by the blood of the Lamb. It never will be possible for an individual to come into the Presence of God apart from the Lord Jesus.

But, as we have stated previously, the Christian redemption does not stop with forgiveness. It includes the total rehabilitation of the individual.

Adam and Eve were denied access to the tree of life because they had sinned. God in His mercy thrust them out of the garden. In order for them to get back into the garden they must be delivered from the guilt of their sin, from the compulsion to sin, and from the effects of sin.

In order to go through the gates in the city of God the individual must keep God’s commandments. 

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)

The wall is one of the most important concepts of the Kingdom of God. The wall of separation from all sin and rebellion against God is being constructed now in the personalities of the victorious saints. It is the wall that is stressed in the description of the new Jerusalem. God has determined to have no more unwalled Edens, no more undefended glory. One rebellion against the Lord God of Heaven is enough.

Building the wall against sin is of extreme importance in the present hour. The believers who are dwelling in carelessness, as far as the development of resistance against sin is concerned, are missing the current move of the Spirit of God. The purpose behind the current deceptions, such as the overemphasis on grace, the overemphasis on the love of God, the overemphasis on the ascension of the believers, is to prevent the building of the wall against sin. Satan knows he has access to the work of God until the wall has been constructed.

God requires that each saint of today become a reinforced bronze wall (Jeremiah 15:20). Such victorious Christians will play an important role in the days to come. But the believers who continue in their carelessness and lukewarmness will suffer much in the near future. They will not be able to stand in the midst of the spiritual darkness hovering over the world.

Around the Kingdom of God is a jasper wall. It is high and impenetrable and its gates are guarded by angels. Sinners cannot enter past the gates whether or not they name the name of Jesus. It is the holy city and the holy city it shall remain. Neither the person of Satan nor any of his works will ever enter through the gates. The sinner cannot enter through the gates. Only those who have actually washed their robes (conduct) in the blood of the Lamb, making themselves pure as He is pure (I John 3:3), can enter through the gates into the holy city.

Blessed are those who do the will of Christ. They will be permitted to enter through the gates into the city of God.

The territory. The Kingdom of God, as is true of other kingdoms, has a territory it governs. The territory of the Kingdom of God is everywhere God’s will through Christ is being performed. It is the determination of God that His will through Christ will be performed everywhere in His creation. The King of our Kingdom has been given the entire universe, by God, His Father. 

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18)

The Kingdom of God rules throughout the heavens and the earth. The kings and priests of the Kingdom have access to Heaven and earth. Being both spiritual and material they are at home equally in Heaven and on the earth. They are thoroughly human and thoroughly of the Divinity of Christ. They are the expression of His Life (John 17:22).

The subjects. The Kingdom of God has subjects. If there were no subjects, no one to rule, love, and teach, what would be the use of being a king or priest? But there are in fact nations of saved people for whom we are responsible in Christ. 

And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: . . . . (Revelation 21:24)

These saved peoples will respond gloriously to the love for them that Christ has put in the heart of His saints. 

Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. (Isaiah 60:4)

The nations of the saved peoples of the world, who are the subjects of the Kingdom of God, will believe that Christ came from God when they behold the glory of the Kingdom in the saints. 

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

"That the world may believe."

The subjects of the Kingdom will respect and serve the royal priesthood. 

And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. (Isaiah 61:5,6)

The subordinate kingdoms. The Kingdom of God will include subordinate kingdoms that it governs. The subordinate kingdoms are the nations of saved peoples of the earth. They will be ruled by God’s kings. This is why Christ is crowned King of kings and Lord of lords. Christ is King of God’s other kings and Lord of God’s other lords.

The peoples of the earth will enter eternal life in the Kingdom, or into torment in the everlasting fire, depending on how they have treated God’s witnesses, the saints, the "brothers" of Christ. 

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matthew 25:31-34)

"The kingdom prepared for you [for the people who assisted the Lord’s elect, His brothers] from the foundation of the world."

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)

"The least of these my brethren." 

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12)

The nations of the saved will pay tribute to the Kingdom of God. 

And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. (Revelation 21:26)

The nations of the saved will be required to come up to Jerusalem and worship God, who then will be dwelling in and with His saints. 

And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. (Zechariah 14:17)

Because the wicked will have been destroyed by the brightness of the Lord’s coming, and the Spirit of God in the sons of God will have driven the spirit of evil from the earth, the nations of saved people left alive on the earth shall have a "will" to go up to Jerusalem to be blessed of the Lord. 

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. (Isaiah 2:3)

Organization and care. The Kingdom of God will be organized perfectly. Nothing will remain ungoverned or uncared for.

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:44)

In the Kingdom, no individual will be overlooked or allowed to suffer harm. There will be no "sea," that is, no mass of persons who are tossed here and there like the waves of the ocean without regard for their individual identities.

Ungodly spirits and ungodly people no longer will be permitted to enter and abuse God’s subjects, as happens today.

There will be nothing hurtful or destructive in all of the Kingdom. The knowledge of the Lord will cover the peoples of the earth so they no longer will be driven to and fro by every wind of doctrine. The whole world will be filled with the waters of God’s Spirit. 

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)

The spiritual and material environments. The Kingdom of God has both a spiritual and a material environment. The world of today has both a spiritual and a material environment. However, the spiritual environment of the world of today flows from rebellious angels and demons. Therefore the material environment is confused, corrupt, destructive—altogether under the curse of God.

In the beginning the creation was both spiritual and material. There was "light" prior to the creation of the sun, moon, and stars. There was the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent was able to speak.

But when Adam and Eve rebelled against the will of God the spiritual life was withdrawn. Only the lifeless material creation remained.

For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, (Romans 8:20)

The material creation still is under the curse of God; still is void of God’s holy Life. The spiritual activity of the world, to a great extent, is that which proceeds from wicked, rebellious spirits.

At the present time the Kingdom of Heaven is "not of the world."

The material forms we see about us, the people, trees, grass, mountains, valleys, and so forth are the forms of the eternal Kingdom of God. These forms will be greatly improved and glorified when the Kingdom of Heaven comes. Yet they are the forms of the Kingdom. Individuals who in vision have seen Paradise describe much the same forms of nature as those to which we are accustomed.

It is the spiritual environment that must be changed.

If God were to fill the earth that we have now with His Holy Spirit, driving out the spirit of Satan, then Paradise would have come to earth.

This precisely is what the Scriptures state will take place. It is the coming of the Kingdom of God. 

But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. (Numbers 14:21)

. . . for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)

In order for the spiritual environment to be changed there must be a change in the spiritual personages who are attempting to create the earth and its people in their own image. The coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth is just such a change. It is a change of the kings who sit on the spiritual thrones that control the world.

The purpose for the first resurrection, that which will occur when the Lord Jesus returns, is to bring spiritually perfected saints into glorified material forms so they can ascend to the spiritual thrones that govern the world, and also live and move among earth’s peoples.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)

The first resurrection is the resurrection of God’s royal priesthood. The first resurrection will take place when the Lord comes. There is no resurrection or ascension prior to the first resurrection.

Today the Lord God is perfecting our spirit, the spiritual dimension of our being. He will perfect our body when Jesus returns to earth. 

To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)

The Lord Jesus has exhorted us and warned us to keep our material concerns to a minimum and to concentrate on seeking the Kingdom of God. 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

When the Lord Jesus teaches us to seek first the Kingdom of God He means to seek first the realm of God’s righteous spiritual Presence and power. No doubt the greatest mistake any believer in Christ can make is to walk "in the flesh" (occupying himself primarily with eating, sleeping, working, playing, and reproducing—the life of the animal).

When we walk in the flesh we miss the whole point of the Kingdom, the whole idea of what man is destined to be. Our flesh is dead in sin. When we allow our flesh to dominate our existence we reap only corruption.

Flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is made up of creatures who are at once human and Divine. They began as living souls, but through the Substance and Nature of Christ in them they have become life-giving spirits—a different kind of creation.

They no longer can be classified as merely intelligent animals. They are like the angels in some ways; like human beings in other ways. They are a new creation of God. To continue to live in the flesh is to continue to live as an animal. Such neither can see nor enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

As we have stated previously, the Kingdom of God does not consist of people who only are forgiven. The Kingdom consists of transformed personalities. It is a new creation, not a forgiven old creation.

Being forgiven by grace means that God will allow our prayers to enter His Presence on the basis of the atoning authority of the blood of the righteous Jesus. However, we have been granted this grace wherein we stand in order that we may devote our time and energy to seeking the Kingdom, not to following the appetites and dictates of our dead flesh.

If we who are members of God’s elect allow our flesh to rule us, God will send judgment on us even though we have professed belief in Christ. In this case we have received the grace of God in vain. We have turned again as a dog to its vomit.

The Scripture admonishes us to "walk in the Spirit." This means we are to seek the Lord Jesus, pray much, study the Scriptures, and obey the Spirit of God until we begin to experience the righteousness, peace, joy, and love of God’s Presence.

The holy Scriptures contain many negative statements because God is exhorting us and warning us concerning the danger of continuing in the deadly ways of Satan, of the world, and of our own flesh and self-will.

Also, the Scriptures contain many positive statements because God is holding out to us saved sinners the joy of fellowship with God. Christ rebukes and chastens us because He understands the peace and love that will be ours if we succeed in pressing past the lusts and covetousness of our flesh and soul and enter the life lived in the Spirit of God.

It is time now to "take the Kingdom." We must seek Christ with utmost diligence. There are thrones to be gained. The treasures of the Kingdom will be handed out to those who care enough to ask, seek, and knock. It is today that God is training the kings and priests of His Kingdom.

The spiritual environment of the Kingdom of God is incorruptible, eternal resurrection life—the same life that raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. We are to sow to that life now. We are to "lay hold on eternal life." The river of God’s Spirit is too wide for any of us to completely pass over. How far into the River we get depends on the diligence with which we seek the Kingdom.

If we are thoroughly diligent we can attain to the first resurrection from the dead; we can experience life lived in the power of Christ’s resurrection.

If we persevere in the power of Christ’s resurrection today, attaining to the first resurrection from the dead, we will be given back our material form when Jesus comes. Our body will be marvelously strengthened and glorified. If we are living in Christ’s resurrection, and yet are alive on the earth when the Lord Jesus returns, our body will be strengthened and glorified in the same manner that is true of those saints whose bodies are asleep in the ground. 

Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:21)

But if we have not gained the spiritual life of the Kingdom of God during our pilgrimage on the earth we will not be given back our material form when the Lord comes. We will not be given back our material form until our spiritual life has met with God’s approval.

When Jesus appears and the Spirit of life pours out from Him through His saints, the material creation will awaken from its long sleep, its chains having been broken by Christ in the sons of God. 

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)

Nature once again will be filled with life. 

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)

Eternal springtime will have come. 

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; (Song of Solomon 2:11,12)

When Jesus comes it always is springtime.

A spiritual nature and a material form. The subjects of the Kingdom of God will possess both a spiritual nature and a material form. There will be no person in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ in whom Christ is not dwelling to some degree. Flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom of God. The individual must be born again of the Spirit of God if he or she is to see or to enter the Kingdom.

No person can live by bread alone because God intends that mankind be both spiritual and material in nature. Every human being on earth must eat both spiritual food and natural food if he is to maintain his life.

Spiritual food and spiritual healing will be available to the members of the nations of the saved. Pain and death will be removed forever from God’s Kingdom. 

And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine. (Ezekiel 47:12)

There also will be natural food. 

And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. (Isaiah 65:21)

It is interesting to note that the resurrected Jesus ate bread and fish. 

Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. (John 21:13)

Relationships and fellowship. There are relationships and fellowship in the Kingdom of God. There is no other element of the Kingdom as important as relationships. The first law of the Kingdom is that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second law of the Kingdom is that we love our neighbor as ourselves. All the Law and the Prophets proceed from these two Kingdom laws.

We have spoken in our other writings of the supreme importance of union with God as distinguished from seeking power with God or working for God. It appears that far too much is said today about gaining power with God, as though God is seeking to develop more "christs." The desire to find ways of gaining power in Jesus’ name can run dangerously close to the Antichrist spirit.

The highest concept of the Kingdom of Heaven is as follows:

That they all [all the saints] may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

It is good for us to strive for unity and for love among ourselves. We always must continue in that endeavor, for love is the mark of the Lord’s disciples.

But John 17:21 goes far deeper than our frail attempts to love the brothers. There is a perfection of unity that can be achieved only as we die to self and the Life of Christ is created in us. The unity of the saints among themselves, and of the saints in Christ in the Father, is not only the unity of agreement and good will, it is a unity of substance, of nature, of what we are in essence.

When God in Christ fills every atom of our being, our spirit, soul, and body, then there exists among us the unity that exists among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Such unity is not of our striving. It is not of the world. It is the unity of the Kingdom of Heaven. When our abiding in Christ is kept in its proper place of emphasis, then our moral behavior and the works of the power of Christ Himself in us will follow naturally, being kept in perspective and balance.

The Kingdom of God will affect the relationships among the nations. The coming of the Prince of Peace will put an end to war on the earth. 

And he will judge among the nations, and will rebuke many people: and they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)

The means of communication. There will be extensive communication in the Kingdom of God. When we began this present study of the Kingdom of God we mentioned that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Logos, the Expression, the word of God.

All the elements of the Kingdom we are discussing have been and are being created by and for the Logos, the Expression, the Manifestation of God. The Logos has had from eternity a spiritual Being, and has revealed His Nature and His intention for man by forming Paradise and the remainder of the material creation. Now the Logos has become flesh. Now the Revelation of God is both spiritual and material.

The entire Kingdom of God is a communication to all God’s creatures of the true Character of God (compare Romans 1:20).

Christ—Head and Body—is itself the Covenant of God to the nations of the earth. Originally the Ten Commandments were the Covenant of God. Now the Ten Commandments are being personified in those in whom the Logos is being formed (Isaiah 42:6).

The confusion of language instituted at the Tower of Babel will be removed. 

For then will I turn to the people a pure language [purified lips], that they may all call on the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent. (Zephaniah 3:9)

God will give the nations of the earth holy expression so they may be able to communicate with Him (and with one another) and serve Him. At the Tower of Babel, God deliberately created a multitude of languages, knowing that confusion, suspicion, and wars would be the result. God did this because He understands that human beings, in their present state, would not use the gift of a common language to call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent.

We humans suppose that if all men were at peace with one another an ideal situation would be created. The truth is, such a unified world of people would shake its fist at God. Nonbelievers and believers alike would gather together against the Lord of Heaven. God, understanding this human trait, works so that each individual enters his own relationship with God before he enters lasting unity with other people. True unity among humans, the unity of the Kingdom of God, can result only from the union of each individual with God through the Lord Jesus.

Many churches of our day consist of believers who are in love with one another. Their assemblings reflect these strong horizontal relationships. But the essential relationships, the union of each believer with the Lord, are not nearly strong enough. The assemblies of people who are bound to each other but not to the Lord reject the spirit of the prophet.

Also, there is a tendency for such "churches" to fall into immorality. This type of unity is not healthy. It is spiritually soft, soulish, tending toward foolishness, spiritual laziness, sympathy, and lust.

True union with God always results eventually in union with those who are abiding in the Lord. But union with people does not always result in true union with the Lord.

In the Holy Spirit the confusion of Babylon is reversed. When the Holy Spirit first was poured on the Christian Church, marking the beginning of the expansion of the Kingdom of God (expanding from the Person of Christ who Himself Is the Kingdom of God), God enabled the disciples to communicate with Jews from all over the Roman Empire who were in Jerusalem for the observance of the Jewish feast of Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit of God is the great Light, the great Communicator. When the Holy Spirit reveals Christ through the believers He gives them supernatural wisdom, knowledge, tongues, prophecy, interpretation of tongues, and discernment. The Holy Spirit includes the seven Spirits who give light before the Throne of God.

It is interesting to note the New Testament emphasis on speaking in tongues. By tongues the Holy Spirit enables us to speak "in the Spirit." It appears that one of the reasons otherwise devout Christians refuse to speak in tongues is that they are so busy attempting to build God’s Kingdom by means of their own wisdom and strength they do not know how to turn the task over to the Spirit, whose responsibility it is.

It is true also that many who do speak in tongues never have learned the "rest" into which the speaking in tongues will lead us if we are sensitive to the Spirit of God.

The activities. There are all sorts of activities, creative enterprises, services, and responsibilities in the Kingdom of God. Whether our area of responsibility is in the spirit realm or on the earth our days will be filled with opportunities to rule, to judge, to teach, to love, to bless, to create. In the Kingdom of Heaven each creature will find the reason for his existence—that for which God has created and trained him or her.

Our opportunities for service begin now, in this life, as we serve the Lord. The two great tasks of today are (1) building the Body of Christ to the fullness of the stature of Christ; and (2) bringing the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to every man, woman, boy, and girl on the earth. God is doing a third great work also, in bringing back the Jews to the land of Israel.

At the time of Jesus’ return to earth, the victorious saints will follow Him in the great cavalry charge, the attack of Armageddon. They then will participate in the greatest of all coronation ceremonies, when the Lord Jesus Christ ascends the Throne of David in Jerusalem.

The Lord Jesus will establish His kings on the spiritual thrones that were vacated when Satan and his angels were hurled down from their positions in the air.

Then will come the period when the sons of God bring the liberation of the thousand-year Jubilee to the members of the nations of the saved.

In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. (Amos 9:11-13)

And saviours [deliverers] shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. (Obadiah 1:21)

Because the Lord will have established us as both kings and priests we will be ministering to people constantly: crushing all rebellion with the rod of iron; acting as judges when problems of law and equity arise; teaching adults and children of the Person and ways of God; bringing the Presence and blessing of God to all who are obedient.

The Apostles of the Lamb will be judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Because of the horrors of the great tribulation and the slaughter of Armageddon, the cities of the earth will have to be restored. 

And they [God’s saints] shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. (Isaiah 61:4)

In addition to these activities, ordinary living will be taking place. 

And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. (Isaiah 65:21,22)

The victorious saints will serve God forever and will rule over all the works of God’s hands. 

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 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 22:3-5)

The program of expansion. The Kingdom of God has a program of expansion, a plan for growth and development. The Kingdom of God will grow throughout eternity. 

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 9:7)

The Kingdom of God expands now as human beings are born physically and God’s Seed then is planted in the human and nurtured into a child of God.

We know that at the end of the Kingdom Age, after a thousand years of righteous government and teaching by the saints, Satan will be able to lead the nations of the earth in one last rebellion against God and His Christ. From this we understand that the task of teaching, and the growth and development of Christ in people, must continue for a long time before the Kingdom of God has been established in them fully and permanently.

But what about the addition of new members? Jesus taught us that human marriage does not take place in the resurrection but that people are as angels. God has billions of angels that He has created apart from any process of birth taking place, as far as we know.

It seems to us personally that the Kingdom of God would be lacking in an important aspect if there were no children. 

And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. (Zechariah 8:5)

And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. (Isaiah 11:8)

How could a little child lead the calf and the young lion together if there were no children?

We shall have to leave the explanation of this problem for a later time. We must occupy ourselves for now with the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth and with the need for the nations of the earth to repent. 

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)

The Old Testament Vision of the Kingdom of God

The Old Testament describes the creation of the first heaven and earth and gives us a vision of the coming Kingdom of God—particularly of the earthly aspect of the Kingdom.

The New Testament describes the establishing of the heavenly, or spiritual aspect of the Kingdom of God and gives us a vision of both the heavenly and the earthly aspects of the Kingdom of God and of their eternal union under the Lordship of Christ.

Sometimes it is held that the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven are two different kingdoms. It also is commonly taught that the Kingdom is for the physical Jews while the saved Gentiles go to Heaven to live in mansions. These two misunderstandings of the Kingdom of God are destructive of biblical interpretation. They separate the Old Testament from the New, and the elect Jews from the Church. They serve not only to render a satisfying interpretation of the Scriptures impossible but also to perpetuate the reign of Satan in the earth.

Satan is not concerned about Gentiles going to Heaven. Satan’s fear is that Christ will govern in Jerusalem and take over the rulership of the nations of the earth.

The entire Scriptures are speaking of the one Kingdom of God, the Kingdom from Heaven. The Kingdom is coming from Heaven to rule in the earth among the nations. This is the true Kingdom of God preached by John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, and the Apostles of the Lamb. This is the true Gospel of the Lord Jesus, Christ from God. Any Jew or Gentile who would enter this Kingdom must be born again. Christ must be born in him.

Psalms. The Hebrew Prophets announced the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The Book of Isaiah, in particular, is rich in descriptions of the Kingdom of God. Also, the Book of Psalms speaks of the coming rule of God in the earth: 

So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:15,16)

The preceding verse reveals to us that the Lord Jesus will return as soon as the Body of Christ has attained the desired level of maturity.

God has pity on the prisoners of the earth. 

For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord. (Psalms 102:19-22)

When the peoples of the earth and their kingdoms are gathered together to serve the Lord—this is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

God shall rule and bless this earth and its peoples. His will shall be done on the earth as it is in Heaven. 

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him. (Psalms 67:1-7)

We understand from the preceding Psalm that one day all the nations of the saved will be praising the Lord and singing for joy. If China, England, Russia, Germany, Uganda, Brazil, America, are among the nations of saved people, then their streets and homes will be filled with the praises of the Lord and with gladness of heart.

Let no nation suppose, however, that it will be ushered into eternal life at the coming of Christ if it has persecuted, or even refused to help, the Jews and the Christians, the people whom God has chosen. Rather such nations will be led away into the fire.

The thousand-year Jubilee is at hand. The Kingdom of God is at hand. 

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. (Psalms 100:1,2)

The entire ninety-sixth Psalm proclaims the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The first and last verses of this Psalm announce the good news to the peoples of the earth: 

O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. (Psalms 96:1)

Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. (Psalms 96:13)

The Spirit of Christ in David revealed the coming of the Kingdom: 

Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together Before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity. (Psalms 98:8,9)

The nations of the earth, and the earth itself, have been given to the Son by the Father as His eternal inheritance. Because the conquering saints are coheirs with the Lord Jesus Christ, the nations of the earth, and the earth itself, are their eternal inheritance also. In fact, through Christ the overcomers inherit all things in Heaven and on the earth.

To inherit the spirit paradise of God would be glorious beyond the power of mortals to express.

But to inherit the nations and an earth filled with the Life of God stuns the hopes and imaginations until our present perceptual abilities no longer can receive the glory of it all.

The Father issued the eternal fiat: 

. . . Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the farthest reaches of the earth for thy possession. (Psalms 2:7,8)

This is the royal charter for the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

God has given the earth and its peoples to the Lord Jesus, and He will rule wisely and well. 

He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. (Psalms 72:2-5)

The last prayer of David was that the Kingdom of God would come to the earth: 

And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen. (Psalms 72:19)

Christ will sit on the Throne of David, His "father." Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords, and possesses the key of David—the key to the Kingdom of God. 

My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things that I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. (Psalms 45:1)

The Church, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem, is the Wife of the Lamb, the Queen of the Kingdom of God. 

Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. (Psalms 45:9)

The reason that the King, Christ, did not set up His Kingdom at His first coming to the earth is that His Bride must be made an integral part of Himself. The Lamb and the Wife of the Lamb are One. They are One because the Wife has been formed from the body and blood of Christ just as Eve was formed from Adam. At His first coming, the disciples of Christ were entities separate from Himself.

The basis of the Kingdom of God is the eternal union of Christ and His saints. The Lamb and His Wife are One with the Oneness that exists only in the Godhead. God will not give His glory to another person.

Daniel. We can notice the oneness of the King and his Bride in the vision of Daniel: 

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13,14)

This is a vision of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

The question is, who is the "one like the Son of man"?

We know from the Scriptures that only the Lord Jesus Christ will receive "dominion, glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him." The "one like the Son of man" is Christ.

Daniel asked "one of them that stood by" what the vision meant. Daniel "asked him the truth of all this."

The answer reveals the perfect Oneness of the King and Queen of the Kingdom of God.

Who is the "one like the Son of man"? Three times the answer is given: 

But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. (Daniel 7:18)

"The saints of the most High." 

Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (Daniel 7:22)

"The saints of the most High." 

And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. (Daniel 7:27)

"The people of the saints of the most High."

All dominions will serve and obey God because God is ruling in His saints.

Obviously the "one like the Son of man" is the saints. Yet, the inheritance belongs only to Christ. Therefore God considers Christ and His saints to be One.

This vision is a strong indication of the fact that much of the rule of Christ throughout the thousand-year period (and perhaps forever) will be through His saints, they being one with Him. 

When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe . . . . (II Thessalonians 1:10)

The creation will be delivered, not by the Son of God directly, in many instances but by the Son working through the sons. 

For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)

The error that always is made by the flesh is that of looking here and looking there for the Kingdom.

But the Kingdom of God in the present hour is not a place to which we can go. The Kingdom of God is the transforming of what we are by the forming and dwelling of Christ in us. The Kingdom is in us. We enter the Kingdom as the Lord Jesus creates us in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. This is why Jesus makes the demands on us that He does.

The Kingdom of God is not made up of "saved" flesh and blood, a saved animal creation. The Kingdom of God consists of new creatures—creatures that are of the substance of eternal life. Only as we pass from being flesh and blood descendants of Adam to being life-giving spirits descended from God do we enter the eternal Kingdom of God.

A living soul and a life-giving spirit are different in kind, not just in degrees of righteousness, holiness, and obedience.

The human personality looks for an external paradise (Heaven) to which it can go after it has satisfied its inclinations in the present world. No doubt this is part of the reason that the Gospel of the Kingdom has been buried under the traditions of men for the past hundreds of years.

To the Prophet Daniel was given the Gospel of the Kingdom. 

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:44)

Isaiah. The Prophet Isaiah also was given the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. It may be true that Isaiah has more to say concerning the Kingdom of God and Christ than is true of any other of the Hebrew Prophets. This is fitting, because the one who cried, "Here am I, send me!" was denied the satisfaction of being able to awaken the interest of his own people. 

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. (Isaiah 6:9)

So often God crushes our immediate hopes in order that He may enable us to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom to a universe of people of whom we are not aware during our travail of soul. But later we understand and are satisfied.

Isaiah beheld the city of Jerusalem exalted as the head of all nations and the peoples of the earth going up to be taught the righteous ways of the Lord. 

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. (Isaiah 2:3)

Isaiah proclaimed the coming of Christ, the King, the Servant of the Lord, the Anointed One who is to rule the earth forever: 

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)

The merging of the spiritual life of Paradise with the material creation can be viewed in the following passage. Here indeed is Heaven come to earth, the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven: 

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp [cobra], and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ [viper’s] den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)

Notice that the wolf does not become a lamb nor does the leopard become a kid. Rather, the compulsion to destroy one another is taken out of them. They are willing to be led in peace by a child.

Jesus is as a lion, a powerful, kingly animal. He also is as a lamb, a tame, gentle animal. But His heart is that of a child. Why else would He come "leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills" (Song of Solomon 2:8)? Skipping is the action of a young boy, a youth, not of a bilious emperor or an eminent theologian. Truly, we must become as a little child if we are to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, if we would skip with Jesus on the hills. 

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. (Luke 10:21)

Jesus is a Lion. He is fiercer, more savage, more cunning than any other emperor who has ever lived.

Jesus also is the Lamb of God who was slain in order to take away our sins. The Church is termed the Wife of the Lamb, never the wife of the Lion. No doubt we humans are not able to become one with the fierce kingliness of Christ.

But we are being changed into His image. Therefore there is both a lamb in us and a lion in us. If there is no lamb in us we cannot inherit the earth, because it is the meek who inherit the earth. If there is no lion in us we cannot become a conqueror, and it is the conqueror who inherits all things and who is God’s son (Revelation 21:7).

We must be a lamb, and we must be a lion, if we are to be in the image of Christ. But the "little boy" of our personality must lead us or else we can never enter the Kingdom of God.

Zechariah. Zechariah, one of the prophets of the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth: 

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9)

Zechariah saw that God’s King would be meek; but he understood also, by the Spirit, that the Kingdom of God is destined to rule the other nations of the earth. 

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16)

The Old Testament Scriptures, by type and by doctrine (Isaiah, Chapter 53, for example), proclaim the good news of redemption through means of the atoning death of Christ.

The Old Testament Scriptures, by type and by doctrine, proclaim also the coming of the Kingdom of God, the rule and Presence of God, to the nations of the earth:

Review of the elements of the Kingdom. The King and Queen of the Kingdom are mentioned: 

Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. (Psalms 45:9)

The nobility of the Kingdom are declared: 

Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. (Isaiah 32:1)

The center of government and the location of that center are set forth: 

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. (Isaiah 2:3)

That the Kingdom of God has laws that will be enforced can be seen in the preceding verse.

The Old Testament Scriptures portray the fierceness of the army of the Lord: 

When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he shall invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)

All rebellion and sin shall be crushed. 

And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. (Micah 5:8,9)

There will be a wall around the glory. 

And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. (Isaiah 4:5)

The Old Testament Scriptures teach that God is coming to the earth to rule among His creatures. The earth in a special way is the territory of the Kingdom of God. The members of the nations of the saved are God’s subjects.

The Kingdom of God will rule subordinate kingdoms. This is shown in the Old Testament prophecies: 

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12)

The Kingdom of God will be well organized. No individual will be overlooked. 

For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. (Amos 9:9)

The Kingdom of God will have a spiritual environment that comes from God through the Lord Jesus Christ through the saints. 

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)

The Kingdom of God will have a material environment that reflects the Divinely blessed spiritual environment. 

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)

God’s subjects will need material food. 

And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. (Isaiah 65:21)

God will teach all nations how to have fellowship with Him and with one another. 

. . . and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: . . . nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:3,4)

There will be a pure language. 

For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call on the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent. (Zephaniah 3:9)

There will be many tasks to perform when the Kingdom of God comes to the earth. 

Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. (Isaiah 60:11)

The Old Testament proclaims that the Kingdom of God will continue to grow and develop forever, age without end: 

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, . . . . (Isaiah 9:7)

Let us repeat a statement made previously: The Old Testament Scriptures describe the creation of the first heaven and earth and give us a vision of the coming of the Kingdom of God, particularly the earthly aspect of the Kingdom.

The New Testament Scriptures describe the establishing of the heavenly, or spiritual aspect of the Kingdom of God and give us a vision of the heavenly and earthly aspects of the Kingdom and of their eternal union under the Lordship of Christ.

The whole Scripture is speaking of the one Kingdom of God. The New Testament must not be cut off from the Old Testament. The new covenant is the spiritual fulfillment of the old covenant.

The two covenants are one. The old covenant was a forerunner and shadow of the new covenant. The new covenant gives significance to the old and accomplishes the intent of the old. In this sense they actually are one covenant, the old serving until the Substance and Power of the eternal Covenant, Christ, died for the sins of the world and was raised again as a sign that God had accepted the sacrifice.

The Kingdom prophesied by Isaiah and the Kingdom announced by Jesus of Nazareth are precisely the same Kingdom. There is only the one Kingdom of God, of Heaven.

The coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth is good news; but it is an awesome, sobering good news. 

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: (Malachi 4:5)

Now let us turn to the New Testament revelation of the Kingdom of God. To participate in the new covenant fulfillment of the Kingdom of God we must open the eternal door of our heart and allow Christ, the Lord of Glory, the King of the Kingdom, to enter our personality and sit on the throne of our life.

The Kingdom of God is Christ in us, the hope of glory. 

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. (Psalms 24:7,8)

But first the King of Glory had to be born as a human infant, not in a palace but in a manger.

The army of Heaven awaited the birth of the King of kings, the Commander in Chief, into the world of mankind. 

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host [army] praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:13,14)

The New Testament Revelation of the Kingdom of God

The two dimensions of the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Old Testament promised that Christ would bring:

Forgiveness of sin.

The cleansing of sin from the earth and the doing of God’s will in the earth.

Concerning the forgiveness of sin: 

And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)

Concerning the cleansing of sin from the earth: 

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. (Malachi 4:1)

Concerning the doing of God’s will in the earth: 

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inner parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33)

These are the two parts of the Gospel of the Kingdom—the forgiveness of sin, and the cleansing of the earth and the establishing of God’s will in the earth. Both parts are emphasized in the Old and New Testaments.

The angel of the Lord announced both dimensions of the Gospel of the Kingdom: 

To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, (Luke 1:77)

The above verse speaks of forgiveness of sins through the blood of the cross.

The angel spoke also of the rule of God in the earth: 

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 1:32,33)

The theologians of the Christian Church have given careful attention to the first dimension of the Gospel—that of the blood atonement for our sins. They have explained the atonement thoroughly. The Lord’s evangelists announce to every creature the free gift of salvation that God has given in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps it is time now to give that same careful attention to the second part of the Gospel, the rule of God in Christ in the saints in the earth.

Because the forgiveness of sins has been given so much attention (and it deserves the attention it gets), and the rule of God in the earth has been given so little attention, the preaching of today often proclaims that as long as we are in the world we are compelled to sin; but God has forgiven us and soon we will be transported to another world where sin no longer is a problem.

It is easy to understand that whoever believes this point of view probably will not exert enough diligence to overcome the enemy in this life. Why should he (or she)? If the purpose of the Gospel of the Kingdom is to take us to Heaven, and if God has made provision only for forgiveness, why become concerned over our conduct in the earth? However, this is not the position of the Scriptures. Rather, it is our tradition.

The Christian redemption is not primarily a change of location; it is a transformation of what we are, what we think, say, and do.

Through means of the first part of the Gospel of the Kingdom, that of forgiveness through the blood of the cross, we pass from the authority of the kingdom of Satan to the authority of the Kingdom of Christ. We have been "tagged," as it were, for salvation in the Day of Christ. We have been sealed to the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).

But after we have been "tagged" for preservation in the day of wrath, and have become a subject of the Kingdom of God, we are supposed to press into the Kingdom of God.

Being "saved," as we customarily employ the term, means we have a legal standing of righteousness before the Father in Heaven. He hears us when we pray because of the atoning authority of the blood of Christ, and sends us Divine grace to help in our hour of need—our need to overcome sin and walk in righteousness. This state of imputed (assigned) righteousness gives us the legal right to enter the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God.

But the Kingdom of God does not consist in the main of a legal standing of righteousness before the Father in Heaven. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints governing the nations of saved peoples of the earth. The Kingdom of God is the eternal union of the spiritual Life of God and the forms of earth. The Kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

If after having been sealed for salvation in the Day of Christ we then continue to walk "in the flesh," not giving adequate attention to entering the spiritual life of the Kingdom of God, we will die spiritually (Romans 8:13).

Our perception of the Kingdom. Numerous individuals of our day have professed Christ and have been baptized in water. But a great part of this multitude is living a fleshly life in the world, hoping that at their death they will enter the Kingdom of God. They have made the Kingdom of God synonymous with Heaven, with the realm of bodiless spirits; and they believe that the purpose of the Divine redemption is to enable us to go to live forever in the realm of bodiless spirits.

But the Kingdom of God is not synonymous with the realm of spirits. The Kingdom of God is the union of the Life of God with the material world. The believers who sow to their flesh, living as an animals, spending the majority of their time and energy eating, drinking, working, playing, and reproducing, will reap corruption in the Day of the Lord.

If they actually do enter the Kingdom of God in the Day of Christ it will be a salvation as through fire. This is because there is little or no Kingdom life in them. If they are to enter the Kingdom they must be purified by suffering—perhaps while yet alive in the flesh.

Heaven is the holy part of the spirit realm. Paradise is in the spiritual Jerusalem in Heaven. But the Kingdom of Heaven is in the heart of the saint whether the saint is in Heaven or on the earth.

The Kingdom of God is located in Heaven at the present time because Christ and His saints are located at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. When Christ appears, then we also shall appear—in the earth. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God, the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven.

We must keep on preaching the Good News of the gift of salvation through Jesus’ blood. We also must keep on preaching the Good News of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth; and then continue to press into that Kingdom each day of our life.

Today God is preparing the nobility of His Kingdom, His "mighty men of valor." The requirements are strict for such a high calling. The constant challenges and battles of our Christian pilgrimage are not for the purpose of earning salvation (although if we grow careless we might lose a major part of our inheritance—Hebrews 2:3; 3:6).

Rather, the challenges and battles are for the purpose of preparing us to rule with Christ. We must walk worthy of our calling. Kings and priests of God must be trained with far more rigor than is true of the subjects of the Kingdom who bear less responsibility. To whom much has been given, of him will much be required.

We have been saved from wrath. Now we are to "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ." That high calling is to attain the fullness of eternal life as a king and priest of God, thereby becoming eligible and competent to participate in the first resurrection from among the dead.

The birth of Christ in the manger, His crucifixion, and His resurrection, were the most significant events of all time—perhaps of all eternity. They were the birth of the Kingdom of God, the beginning of the new creation of God. They reveal the purpose of God, the merging of Heaven and earth, the eternal uniting of the Divine and the human.

Christ, the Logos, the eternal Life who was with the Father, entered the material realm. The invisible God was pleased to give form to Himself in this manner.

The Kingdom of God existed alone in Christ until Christ rose from the dead and poured the Spirit of God on human flesh. Then the Kingdom of God (Christ in us) began to multiply. God in Christ entered eternal union with members of mankind. Life-giving spirits began to be formed (I Corinthians 15:45).

The people of Israel knew the Scriptures. They were waiting for their King to come and for the glory of the Kingdom of God to descend from Heaven.

John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, and the Apostles of the Lamb proclaimed the Kingdom of God. The confusion and rejection arose in part because the Israelites understood only the earthly aspects of the Kingdom. They were not nearly as aware of the spiritual aspects of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom announced by their own Prophets.

It appears that just the opposite is true today. The Christian people understand, to a certain extent, the spiritual aspects of the Kingdom of God. But they are not nearly as well acquainted with the earthly aspects of the Kingdom, supposing that their destiny is to live forever in Heaven, in the spirit realm while the destiny of the Jews is to participate in the Kingdom of God on the earth.

It is impossible to understand the preaching of Christ or His Apostles to any appreciable extent until one’s participation in the earthly aspect of the Kingdom of God is grasped. To this day a great many of God’s people misunderstand the purpose of the coming of the Lord. The purpose of the coming of Christ is not to take us to Heaven, it is to set up the Kingdom of God on the earth; it is to bring justice to the nations..

John the Baptist. John the Baptist announced both dimensions of the Gospel: the forgiveness and removal of sin and the coming of the Kingdom of God into the earth. 

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)

Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:12)

Notice carefully that the Lamb of God does not take away only the guilt of the sins of the world, but the sin itself. This is the difference between the sacrifices of the old covenant and the sacrifice of the new covenant. 

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. (Hebrews 10:1-4)

John announced the removal of sin through the Lamb of God, and also the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. 

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 3:1,2)

John the Baptist was the herald of the King. He preached repentance on the basis that the righteous and holy Kingdom of God soon is to enter the earth.

Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus of Nazareth announced the blood atonement: 

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:28)

Christ proclaimed also the Kingdom of God, the entrance 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)

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (Matthew 25:31)

A large part of Jesus’ teaching consisted of parables about the nature of the Kingdom. 

And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, (Matthew 22:1,2)

Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. (Luke 13:18,19)

Jesus taught us to pray for the coming of the Kingdom of God, the government of God, into the earth: 

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

Jesus informed Nicodemus of the spiritual aspect of the Kingdom: 

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

It is interesting to observe Pontius Pilate’s perception of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus had informed Pilate that He indeed is a King: 

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. (John 18:37)

Pontius Pilate was an officer of the Roman Empire. Pilate appeared to know little of the Hebrew Prophets, and it is certain he knew nothing whatever of the concept of the Church of Christ. He was seeing only the carpenter’s son who stood before him.

Pilate’s concept of a king was defined by Caesar and Herod. A king is a person of supreme authority over a nation. A king lives in a palace and is attended by a variety of lesser authorities and powers. The king’s word is law.

Pilate was not talking "religious" talk. He weighed his words in the light of his perception of a king when he wrote the title and nailed it to the cross:

JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS

Perhaps this politician understood deep in his personality that it was he himself who was on trial before the King of the Jews. It is unfortunate that he washed his hands in water only and not in the blood of the cross. Pilate will answer for his lack of righteous judgment when he is manifest before the Judgment Seat of Christ.

After His resurrection Jesus continued to teach His Apostles concerning the Kingdom of God: 

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)

The Apostles desired to know when the Kingdom would be restored to Israel; when the Throne of David and Solomon once more would exercise great authority and power in the earth: 

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)

Jesus knew they still did not understand that the Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints. Therefore He answered them obliquely, speaking of the soon coming of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can give us understanding of the spiritual aspects of the Kingdom, as well as the power to bear witness of the King and His Kingdom.

The keys of the Kingdom. Christ did not come preaching the Church. Not one of His parables has to do with Heaven or with His Church, except as we consider the Church to be synonymous with the Kingdom. Christ preached the Kingdom of God and His parables concern that Kingdom.

The term church is used by the Lord only on two occasions, both times in Matthew’s record. Mark, Luke, and John do not mention the term. Jesus left it to His Apostles, particularly Paul, to explain the mystery of the Church, the Body of Christ.

But Jesus did reveal that it is the Church that holds the keys of the Kingdom, the key of David. The Church is the ruling authority of the Kingdom, the keys being representative of authority. 

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [a smaller rock], and on this rock [the greater rock—the fact that Jesus is "Christ, the Son of God"] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth will be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:18,19)

To the Lord Jesus Christ has been given all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth: authority and power in the spirit realm and authority and power in the material realm (Matthew 28:18). As Christ abides in His saints they can express this unlimited authority in both realms. It is the Christ-filled Church that possesses such staggering authority and power—the power to permit people to enter, or to refuse them entrance, into the Kingdom of Heaven. The Church, the center of government of the Kingdom of God, is the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 1:23).

Jesus used the term church on one other occasion, again referring to the keys of the Kingdom: 

And if he will neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye will bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye will loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 18:17,18)

Jesus is speaking here of the key of David. Christ holds the key of David, the key of the Kingdom of God, the key of total victory over His enemies. He can exercise that authority through His Church as He will. 

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; (Revelation 3:7)

The key of David is the key of the Kingdom, the key that can open the door and allow an individual to enter the Kingdom, or lock the gates and prevent entrance. 

And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. (Isaiah 22:22)

As we understand it, the key of David (the keys of the Kingdom) is fourfold:

The key to Paradise.

The key to eternal life.

The key to Hell.

The key to death.

The key that opens the gates of Paradise brings the Presence and blessing of God to people. It creates an environment that is righteous, peaceful, and joyous. At the right hand of God there are pleasures forever.

When God the Father gives the long-awaited word, Christ will descend from Heaven bringing the Presence of God and Paradise in Him and with Him. Then the sons of God will be revealed and the material creation will come alive. The curse will be lifted and all nature will sing and dance for pure joy.

The second key, the key to eternal life, brings power into the lives of people. Christ governs after the order of Melchizedek, after the power of an endless life. The saint who loves not his life to the point of death will be crowned with this eternal power. The power of endless, incorruptible life gives the saint power over all the power of the enemy, over all the power of death. Paul was seeking the power of the resurrection from the dead, the same power that delivered the Lord Jesus from the power of the grave.

The key to Hell brings the torment of the judgment of God. It is as important for the saint to hold this key as it is the first two keys. The Kingdom witness cannot be given, and the will of God cannot be performed, unless the severity of God’s chastisement and wrath can be administered.

The fourth key, the key to death, removes life and power. The saints have been given the authority to add life and to subtract life; to loose and to bind; to deliver over to life and to deliver over to death. Power belongs to God and He gives it to whom He will. To the Lord Jesus Christ has been given all power so He can cause the will of God to be done in Heaven and on the earth.

This fourfold key has been given to the Body of Christ so Christ working through His Body can bear a true witness of the coming Kingdom of God, and so the will of God will can be done in earth as it is in Heaven.

The early Apostles were able to give a true witness of the Kingdom of God because they were guided and empowered in the use of the keys of the Kingdom. They brought righteousness, peace, and joy to the churches—not in word only but in power. They imparted the Presence of God and the favor of God.

The Apostles of the Lamb brought the power of eternal life to people, laying their hands on them so they would receive the Holy Spirit, who is the Life of God, the Life of the Kingdom of God. Demons were cast out. The dead were raised. The sick were healed. Miracles were performed. A true witness of the Kingdom of God was borne.

The Apostles had the power to deliver people to Satan for the destruction of their flesh; to strike with blindness; to pronounce Anathema (Accursed); to reward people according to their works. The third key, the key to torment, is an important aspect of Kingdom witness and Kingdom rule.

As for the fourth key, Ananias and Sapphira fell dead in the Presence of the Apostles. Their life was taken from them. This is the key to death, which is one of the keys of the Kingdom of God.

There is great need today for the exercise of the keys of the Kingdom. For one thing, the witness of the Church has become weak. Indeed it is a flickering flame. Much ministry is being carried on but the true testimony is greatly obscured by fleshly lusts and self-seeking on the part of the ministry.

The love of God is emphasized but not nearly enough is said about the severity of God. The Christian Church of today is not demonstrating a genuine love for the world in that it is giving a false witness of God and of His Kingdom.

Neither the nations of the earth nor the Christian people are being brought under the discipline of Christ. They are not observing to do all things that the Lord has commanded us. To the contrary, we are beholding the life of Satan coming forth in the men and women, boys and girls of the earth. The Christians desire to change these abominable perversions but have to content themselves, to a great extent, with wringing their hands helplessly. The power and wisdom of Satan is overcoming them at every turn.

When God cursed Satan He threw him on his belly and decreed that he would eat dust: 

And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: (Genesis 3:14)

But serpents do not eat dust, they eat small, living animals.

However, Adam and his race are the dust of the ground: 

. . . for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 3:19)

God has cursed the fallen angels with an insatiable appetite for the lusts of the flesh (the dust) and the gluttony of the human belly. Man and Satan are bound helplessly to one another. This is Divine justice.

Today we witness the most abominable debaucheries being practiced as human beings yield to the appetites of demons for human flesh. Recently we read of cannibalism being practiced in the so-called "civilized" nations. This corruption of the flesh of mankind will become increasingly perverse and bizarre until our minds no longer can cope with it. We are entering an age of moral horrors.

But the God of Heaven has given a solution to us. That solution is the keys of the Kingdom of God, the authority and power to bind and loose on the earth with corresponding actions taking place in the heavens. The keys of the Kingdom include the authority and power to bind that which is taking place today in the moral behavior of people.

We Christians have not as yet been entrusted with the keys of the Kingdom because we are ignorant of God, of His eternal purpose in Christ, and of His ways—particularly the way of the cross, of strength out of weakness and suffering. We are full of sin, rebellion, self-love, presumption, and pride. We cannot be trusted with the awesome authority and power of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.

But in the time in which we are living the hair of Samson is growing back, so to speak. In the future, perhaps the near future, the saints will be given all four keys of the Kingdom to use so a true witness may be borne and so the perverting of mankind may be halted for the duration of the witness.

The end-time Kingdom witness and the accompanying exercise of the keys of the Kingdom are described in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation. This is a true Kingdom witness and it will be given before Christ returns from Heaven.

The use of the first two keys, the key to Paradise and the key to eternal life, are not mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Revelation; but they are given to the church in Philadelphia, which is the last church before the abominable church of the Laodiceans.

Speaking to the angel of the church in Philadelphia: 

. . . I have set before thee an open door,.... (Revelation 3:8)

The "open door" consists of the first and second keys—the keys to Paradise and life. It is the authority and power to bring the Kingdom witness to every nation; for the Gospel of the Kingdom must be preached to every nation for a witness before the end of the age can come.

The church in Philadelphia has a "little strength," and so, in accordance with the Kingdom principle that more will be given to those who use what they have, Christ gives to Philadelphia an "open door." This is the latter-rain revival, and we can expect the fullness of the power of the latter rain of God’s Holy Spirit in the days in which we are living.

In the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation the emphasis is on the last two keys, the key of Hell and the key of death.

Our task is to bear witness of the glory and the terror that are coming. We shall be empowered to give to the obedient as well as to the disobedient a foretaste of the power of the age to come.

We have not been called as yet to set the creation free from corruption but to be witnesses. We shall not be empowered to set up the Kingdom in advance of the return of Christ. We saints still are ruled largely by our self-will and self-interests. The Kingdom will not be set up today by Christians exercising "faith." The Kingdom will come when the Lord returns to earth.

We can give people a taste of glory or of the terror to come. But, as in the case of the giving of the Holy Spirit, the taste is an "earnest," a pledge or guarantee against the day of redemption.

We are not being empowered to set up the Kingdom today. Rather we are to be preparing the way of the Lord. We are His witnesses.

In some instances Christians are entering a covenant with other Christians so that all the secrets of their hearts are laid bare before one another. This is to awaken the Lord’s Bride before she pleases. This too will come to nothing just as efforts to set up the Kingdom today will come to nothing. The garden that is in each of us is for the Lord’s use. The gate to that garden is to be opened only by the Lord. To open it to another is to cause a conspiracy against the Lord. 

Then said the Lord unto me; This gate will be shut, it will not be opened, and no man will enter in by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it will be shut. It is for the prince; the prince, he will sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he will enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and will go out by the way of the same. (Ezekiel 44:2,3)

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (Revelation 5:5)

The scroll of the human heart is for the Lord alone to open.

We of the Church must come to understand that God has not called us to be saviors but to be witnesses. The present work of the Kingdom has been accomplished when the true witness of the Kingdom has been borne to every nation on the earth.

Because our motives are humanistic and not spiritual we go forth to save and deliver people. This is why we warp the Kingdom witness. God has not called us to save and deliver people except as the Holy Spirit leads. Rather, God has called us to be true and faithful witnesses of what God has done, is doing, and yet will do (Acts 1:8).

The desire to save and deliver people proceeds from our humanitarian motives. We must learn to perceive matters as God perceives them. We are on the Lord’s side, and this often makes us an adversary of people. If we put ourselves on the side of the people we will not give a true witness. We will compromise the testimony.

Once the true, Spirit-filled witness has been given, people can choose to obey God or else defy God. If they choose to obey God they will be saved in the Day of Christ. But if they reject the Kingdom witness they will be judged severely in the Day of Christ (Mark 6:11).

The two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11 emphasize the last two keys. This is because it is in the area of the severity of God that the Christian testimony has been warped by those who would make man the center of the universe, valuing the "rights" of people more than the eternal purpose of God and His Christ.

When the two witnesses turn the third key, fire comes out of their mouths and devours their enemies. This is the key of the torment of the judgment of God. The environment of the peoples of the earth becomes one of torment, whereas prior to the Kingdom witness the nations had been living at ease on the earth. These two witnesses "torment" those who dwell on the earth.

When the two witnesses turn the fourth key, that which had been serving as "life" turns into manifest death. The power of death is revealed in the "power to shut heaven, that it rain not," and in the "power over waters to turn them to blood." Rain and water in the Scriptures are symbolic of God’s Spirit and Life. Blood is the corrupt life of the flesh.

Today there are many voices, both in the churches and in the world, that profess to bring life and power to people, either by a metaphysical principle, by some educational scheme, by new political leadership, or by some other instrument that can be used by human beings to their own advantage. People are confused, not knowing what truly is God’s voice and eternal life or what is not God’s voice or eternal life.

The saints, not having the third and fourth keys of the Kingdom, are powerless to do more than argue doctrine and hope that Christ will come and remove them from the earth to Heaven.

But when God’s witnesses are authorized and empowered to turn the fourth key of the Kingdom they will cause that which appears to be God’s Spirit, and professes to lead toward Paradise, to be cut off at the source; and what is here already to be "turned to blood," that is, to be manifested as the corruption and death it indeed is.

The solution to the problem of the feeble witness of today, and the abominable perversions that are taking place, is the keys of the Kingdom of God—the fourfold key of David. Money, politics, group action, and other flesh and blood efforts may provide a temporary relief for a specific problem. But the cause of mankind’s agony is Satan, not people; and Satan is not harmed by money, political efforts, or group action.

Satan has no fear whatever of the organized efforts of flesh and blood. But Satan does fear the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If we will turn to God the Father and ask Him in Jesus’ name for the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, He will begin to prepare us so we can receive and use these keys.

When we are competent to receive the keys He will issue them to us. We then shall be able to bear a true Kingdom witness throughout the whole earth, which is the will of God for the period of time just before the Lord returns. The members of the Body of Christ will be able to perform works of righteousness in the social environment in which they are living.

God has purposed to give His saints the power to bear witness of Christ and of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 11:3). Whoever has the most power is the one who rules, the one who accomplishes his will.

The Kingdom witness of Revelation, Chapter 11 will take place before the great tribulation and the reign of Antichrist arrive in their fullness. After the testimony has been given completely, God will allow the witness to be overcome for a brief season in order that sin may attain maturity in the earth. Then Christ will return and call up His kings and priests from the surface of the earth.

There is no other authority and power under God as great as that of the key of David. Christ gives this authority and power to His Church when the members are full of His Divine Presence and Life and are perfectly submissive and responsive to His will in every element and circumstance.

The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints ruling over the nations of saved peoples of the earth. Notice this design in the following passage: 

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. (John 20:21-23)

The Christian Church, the Body of Christ, when it is filled with God in Christ, possesses the authority and power of Christ to forgive sins and to retain sins. This is the government of the Kingdom of God.

In the beginning God breathed into Adam the breath of life. Adam and Eve potentially were members of the Kingdom of God. They possessed material forms and dwelled in Paradise. They had the spiritual capacity to be filled with God in Christ.

But they rebelled against the rule of God and were driven from Paradise. They no longer had access to the tree of life. They lost their fellowship with God. They were forced to labor in a cursed earth. Finally they died physically.

In John 20:21-23 (above) we notice that God is breathing on the new Adams, on the members of the Kingdom, so that the Holy Spirit will enter them and they will have the keys of the Kingdom. Being the firstfruits of the Kingdom of God, the Apostles of the Lamb have been designated as kings and priests of the Kingdom. Their names are in the foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem.

The early apostles and evangelists. The early apostles and evangelists of the Christian Era preached and taught the Kingdom of God: the Kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament; the Kingdom proclaimed by John the Baptist and by the Lord Jesus; the Kingdom beheld in vision by the Apostle John: 

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)

"Things concerning the kingdom of God." 

Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)

"Enter the kingdom of God." 

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)

"Things concerning the kingdom of God." 

And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things that concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. (Acts 28:30,31)

"Preaching the kingdom of God."

The writer of the Book of Hebrews agrees: 

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom that cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: (Hebrews 12:28)

"Receiving a kingdom."

And James, the Lord’s brother: 

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)

"Heirs of the Kingdom."

Peter preached not only the gift of God’s grace but also the need to press into the kingdom of God: 

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 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)

"The everlasting kingdom."

The Apostle John associated the Kingdom of God with tribulation and patience: 

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)

"In the kingdom."

This reminds us of the exhortation of Paul: "We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God."

John heard the seventh angel announce the coming of the life of Heaven into the nations of the earth: 

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)

"The kingdoms of our Lord."

The words the kingdoms, after the word "become," are not in the original text. The original text gives us a better flavor of the Kingdom of God:

"The kingdom of the world has become of our Lord, and of his Christ."

Here is the passing of the material realm into the hands of God in Christ in the saints. This is the point at which the "one like the Son of man" was given "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him." This is the coming of the Kingdom of God announced by John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, and the Apostles of the Lamb.

The human, tangible aspects of the Lord Jesus, and of His Kingdom. It is interesting to note the material aspect of the resurrected Lord Jesus and the tangible nature of the Kingdom He preached during His ministry on the earth.

The eleven Apostles had been telling each other stories they had heard about the resurrected Jesus appearing to the believers. You can imagine how excited they were. It is one matter to leave your job and follow a gifted rabbi. It is another matter to deal with an individual whom you know of a certainty to have died. 

And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (Luke 24:36)

They were terrified of Him. They believed they were seeing a spirit.

The Kingdom of God brings eternal life to us: not just eternal spiritual life, some kind of vague existence in a mystical land, but real earthly life—body included.

Jesus asked, "Why are you troubled? What is getting you so upset? Look at My hands and my feet. Do you see the nail prints? Can you doubt that it is I? Why don’t you grab hold of Me and see for yourself? Did you ever see a spirit with hands and feet of flesh and bone?"

For the eleven, the thought of Jesus being alive was too marvelous to be reality!

The prospect of going to Paradise when we die fills us with joyful anticipation. But the vision of coming back to life and being able to live in Heaven, on the earth, or anywhere else in a body of stupendous capabilities, is joyous beyond our ability to comprehend.

What do you believe Jesus did during the forty days after He was resurrected and before He ascended? What would you have done under those circumstances? Whatever He did or the trips He made will be continued when He returns. And we with Him! This wearying Christian pilgrimage does have a fairy-tale ending.

"I’m still Jesus, and furthermore, I’m hungry."

So they gave Him a piece of broiled fish and a honeycomb.

He took the food and ate it in front of them.

Spirits do not possess flesh and bones. Angels are not clothed in flesh and bones. Flesh and bones are of the material creation.

Where are the flesh and bones of Jesus now? They are in Heaven at the right hand of God. How can there be flesh and bones in Heaven? There is nothing in the Scriptures that states that there are no flesh and bones in Heaven. Maybe Heaven is different from what we think.

The Kingdom of God is a tangible kingdom, not just a concept or an ethereal wraith that passes before us causing our hair to stand on end.

"You are the ones who have stayed with me through all of my trials. As my Father has given me a kingdom, I am extending that royalty to you so you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (from Luke 22:28-30).

Jesus was telling the Apostles they would be powerful lords in His Kingdom, sitting at His table and ruling Israel.

Jesus could not set up His Kingdom in those days because He was not dwelling in His men. The Apostles were of the material form of the Kingdom but they did not contain the spiritual Life of God in themselves. They were, in fact, quarreling among themselves concerning who would be the greatest.

The Kingdom of God is tangible, but its spiritual life must be perfected before God can entrust it with an eternal material form. As soon as the spiritual has been perfected we shall behold the Lord Jesus and His kings and lords eating and drinking in the King’s palace in Jerusalem—and we will not be arguing among ourselves as to who will be the greatest in the Kingdom. The Gospel of the Kingdom, as we said before, has a storybook ending.

We wait with such longing for these wonderful things to come, and so does the Lord Jesus. He is waiting for all of us to be made perfect in Himself before He enters the joys of His Kingdom: 

For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God will come. (Luke 22:18)

Kingdom Teachings

The Kingdom of God is within us. One of the most important of the Kingdom teachings is that the Kingdom of God is within us. 

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20,21)

The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints. There are two aspects of God in Christ dwelling in us: (1) the transformation of what we are by the forming of the Life, Substance, and Virtue of Christ in our personality; and (2) the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in the new transformed creation. Both aspects are taught in the Scriptures.

As for the new creation, the transformation of our personality, the changing of what we ourselves are: 

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [there is a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, . . . . (II Corinthians 5:17,18)

For in Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature [a new creation]. (Galatians 6:15)

As for the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in the new creation: 

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

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)

The basic parable of the Kingdom of God is the parable of the sower: 

And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? (Mark 4:13)

The Seed that the sower sows is the word of God, the word of the Kingdom. The Seed is not the words of the Scriptures, as valuable in the Kingdom as those words are. The Seed is the Divine Substance of God in Christ, of which the words of the Scriptures are a counterpart in human language.

If we, having "an honest and good heart," keep the word and bring forth fruit with patience, the Kingdom of God begins to grow in us. This is the new creation. It is an inner creation, the transformation of what we are in personality and in action.

The King of the Kingdom comes to us to re-create us and He directs the process. He does not leave us alone, He comes to us: 

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3)

In Ephesians 3:16-19 we can see the Christ-supervised construction of the Kingdom taking place: 

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; (Ephesians 3:16)

Paul’s prayer for "the saints which are at Ephesus" was that God’s Holy Spirit would create the Kingdom in them. As they are being strengthened Christ comes and dwells in their hearts, and God in Him.

The Kingdom of Heaven will have an external, tangible form when the Lord returns from Heaven. But in the present hour the Kingdom is being created in us.

A harmful error. We must not confuse going to Heaven with entering the Kingdom of God. The practical problem here (and it indeed is a problem of our day) is that Christian people are neglecting the task of entering the Kingdom, into the rest of God, because of their mistaken assumption that as long as they are "saved" they will enter Heaven (which they believe to be the Kingdom of God) when they die physically.

It does not require an extensive knowledge of the nature of the Kingdom of God in order to understand what a harmful error this is. The harm of the error does not lie in the fact that the believer misunderstands a point of doctrine. Jesus does not attach as much importance to the knowledge of doctrine as His churches do.

The problem is that the believer wastes his or her life on earth by walking in fleshly appetites and desires because of the mistaken assumption that entering the Kingdom of God and "going to Heaven" are synonymous. "If we enter the Kingdom of God when we die there is little to do now except wait."

When a believer in Christ dies he must give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:12). He is evaluated in terms of what he has practiced in the flesh. Then he must wait until "Zion" has been built up to the level of maturity required for the revealing of Christ in and with those who live by His Life. Every member of the victorious saints will come to maturity at the same time, the Head will be joined to the Body, and Christ—Head and Body—will be revealed for all creatures to behold.

Each person on earth, including the believer in Christ, will receive in the day of resurrection the exact consequences of his or her behavior. If the believer in Christ has neglected the inner transformation of the Kingdom of God, choosing instead to live in the appetites and thoughts of the adamic nature, he will not be a part of the revealing of Christ. He will not participate in the taking of the Kingdom. He will reap corruption in the Day of the Lord. All he has gained by his carnal behavior will be burned away. He will be left with an impoverished personality and may be cast into outer darkness, according to the judgment of Christ. 

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)

There are no mixtures in the Kingdom of God. The filthy will be filthy and the holy will be holy. The filthy are not termed holy on the basis of an imputed (assigned) holiness. We must have become, through Christ’s grace, truly holy in character. The Kingdom of God is not a state of being forgiven, it is a new creation.

Paul warned in his Epistles that if we live in the flesh we will die spiritually; we will reap corruption. But we of today have made Paul’s warnings invalid by teaching that God’s grace permits sin to exist in the Kingdom of God. The serpent is still whispering in the ears of Christians and others, "You shall not surely die!"

We have been mistaken and it is time to repent and press into the redemption that is available today. How many believers in Christ die with the expectancy of hearing the Lord say Well done, good and faithful servant, and instead find themselves grouped with other naked spirits who are waiting with trembling to hear what will be spoken to them at the Judgment Seat of Christ? No wonder Paul spoke of the "terror" of the Lord (II Corinthians 5:11).

We must warn the believers of our own day concerning the true nature of the coming of the Lord from Heaven with His saints, and also of what is awaiting them when they die. Every individual will be judged according to his works. The Christian will be judged according to his behavior as a Christian, while the unsaved will be judged according to his behavior as an individual ignorant of Christ.

Those who hear the Gospel of Christ and reject it are already under condemnation and shall experience the wrath of God.

There will be no secret coming of the Lord in which all who profess faith in Christ are caught up to Paradise, there to enjoy the Glory of the Lord whether or not they have served Him in righteousness, holiness, and obedience. This is the current Christian tradition but it is not found in the Scriptures; neither is it logical in view of what we know about the nature of the Kingdom of God.

The coming of the Lord Jesus from Heaven (and there is one coming, not two) will be an open, visible event—as visible as lightning in a sky as black as coal. Every eye will see Him. Those who pierced Him (although they are not in the physical realm but in the spirit realm, for there will be a convergence of the spiritual and natural realms in the Day of the Lord) will weep and wail in anguish because of Him.

The Lord Jesus Christ will call up the physical forms of His holy kings and priests, the nobility of His Kingdom. Doctrinal beliefs cannot pull us up from the earth in that hour. Rather, Divine Life will call to the Divine Life that has been created in us. The great Fire will call to the little fires. If we are not living in and by the Divine Life, the Divine Fire; if we do not have the "oil" of the Life of Christ in us; it will do us little good to have the "lamp"—the knowledge of the Scriptures.

The purpose of the first resurrection from the dead, that which will take place when Christ appears in the clouds, is the bringing into one glorified whole the army of the Lord Jesus—those who are called, chosen, and faithful. Armageddon will be fought, and then the nobility of the Kingdom will be sent by the Lord Jesus, now King over all the kingdoms of the earth, to their designated thrones in the Kingdom. They will be given the rod of iron. They, being an integral part of Christ, are the rulers and priests of the Kingdom.

The first resurrection is not the resurrection of salvation, the time when individuals either are saved or lost, but is the resurrection of the royal priesthood.

According to our understanding, the resurrection and judgment that do determine the eternal destiny of most of mankind will come at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. We believe in the Lord Jesus and are baptized in water in order that we may enter eternal life in that great Day of Judgment (Revelation 20:12).

It also is true that the Day of the Lord, the Day of Judgment, actually began when Jesus rose from the dead and will continue until the end of the Kingdom Age. The placement of each individual in the program of Divine judgment is according to the will of God in Christ. Of one thing we are certain: every one of us will give an account of himself to God.

Notice how Peter ignores the entire thousand-year Kingdom Age when he maintains "that all should come to repentance": 

Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (II Peter 3:12)

The "day of God" of which Peter is speaking will not occur at the return of the Lord Jesus in the clouds but at the end of the thousand years, the time when "the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and the elements shall melt with fervent heat."

The resurrection at the beginning of the thousand-year period, at the time when the Lord Jesus appears with His saints and holy angels, a coming ignored by Peter in the above verse, is for God’s royal priesthood. It is the first resurrection.

When "salvation" is mentioned in connection with the return of Christ we believe it is referring in particular to those who are alive on the earth at that time. When the Lord Jesus comes with His saints and holy angels to usher in the Kingdom of God there will take place the judgments on the living that are part of the establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth. This is true for the nations of the earth and also, according to our present understanding, for those who profess faith in Christ but who have not attained to the first resurrection (Philippians 3:11; Revelation 20:4-6).

The coming of the Lord from Heaven will be as the days of Noah and as the days of Lot. Those who believe and are baptized will be saved from the fires of destruction that will accompany the return of Christ to the earth. The judgments described in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew may not be judgments of resurrected people. They appear to be judgments of living people—people who are alive on the earth at the coming of the Lord, as we understand it.

However, as we have said, there will be a convergence of the two realms, the physical and the spiritual, at the time of the coming of the Lord. Many promises of the New Testament would be difficult to interpret if they did not include both realms. For example, if the Lord is coming for a bride without blemish we must consider both realms at once. Otherwise we would be referring only to the members of the Bride living on the earth at the time of His appearing. And so with many other statements.

The general resurrection from the dead and the eternal judgment of spirits will take place after the thousand-year period has been concluded. The thousand-year Kingdom Age includes the last sifting of the nations of the earth, as Satan is released from prison and goes forth to deceive mankind (Revelation 20:7,8). After the thousand years will come the general judgment.

We understand, therefore, that the first resurrection from the dead, that which takes place before the thousand years, is for God’s kings and priests, for the overcomers, as the Book of Revelation teaches. 

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: (Revelation 2:26)

The rest of the dead will not be resurrected until the thousand-year period has been concluded.

The main part of the Day of Judgment will take place at the end of the thousand-year period. The overcomers are not subject to this judgment because they already have attained immortality. Their judgment took place during this life as they confessed their sins, were crucified with Christ, and continually were raised up by His glory. When they died and passed into the spirit realm they gave an account of their life to Jesus and then were placed in their own rank to await the revealing of Christ.

Sentence is passed on the overcomers when the Lord Jesus appears. Their sentence is to receive a body like the Lord’s body; to inherit all things; and to be with the Lord Jesus forever. Truly, there is a reward for seeking the Lord. 

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

Paul was a saved man. Yet, he was diligently seeking the resurrection Life of Christ in order to attain to the first resurrection, the resurrection of God’s kings and priests: 

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ. (Philippians 3:11,12)

The above two verses are not understandable in the context of our tradition that all who profess Christ will attain to the first resurrection. But these verses make perfect sense if we view the first resurrection (as the Book of Revelation teaches) as the out-resurrection of the nobility of the Kingdom of God.

It is interesting to note that when the Lord returns He does not rebuke or praise people concerning the purity of their doctrine. Rather, He speaks of "oil," or the use of "talents," or drunkenness, or how we treat our fellow servants, or visiting those who are in prison.

Christ does not concern Himself with our belief in the virgin birth, with our precise understanding of the Godhead, with our position concerning the inspiration of the Scriptures, or with any of the other creeds that we esteem so highly. In fact, Jesus doesn’t stress even His own Divinity, from the standpoint of theological importance, but as being practically important. We will not render to Him the worship and obedience that are due Him if we are not convinced He is God.

The Lord Jesus is primarily concerned about our relationship to Himself and with what we are and what we do.

In view of the coming judgments we easily can see the necessity for entering the Kingdom of God today. If we receive Christ as our Savior, and then do not press into the Kingdom because of our mistaken idea that dying and going to Heaven is the same as entering the Kingdom, we will be unprepared for the judgments that are coming. Instead of flying gracefully into Paradise we will find ourselves bowing the knee to a stern Lord and giving an account to God of our indifferent, lukewarm discipleship.

The Lord’s desire is that we leave the spirit of the world behind and press forward each day into the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints ruling over the nations of the earth, performing the will of God in the earth as it is in Heaven. Obviously, a great transformation must take place in our personality if we are to meet the standards for participation in a kingdom of this kind.

To relegate our entrance into the Kingdom to the day of our physical death, or to the return of the Lord from Heaven, is to neglect and waste the daily opportunities that must be filled with the Presence of God in Christ. The Scriptures describe plainly the attitude of the Lord toward neglect and careless waste. Confusing going to Heaven with entering the Kingdom of God indeed is a deadly error!

Sin, and the Kingdom of God. We have referred previously to the relationship of sin to the Kingdom of God. We must keep on emphasizing this point because of its extreme importance to our understanding of the Kingdom of God.

The current Christian teaching has led us to assume that the Kingdom of God is made up of people who continue to sin but who are "saved by grace." The concept is that God cannot see the sins of Christian people because the blood of Christ acts as a covering. It is possible to interpret a few phrases from Paul’s writings to mean this. If such were the case, however, a great portion of the exhortations of the New Testament (including Paul’s Epistles) would lose their force if not their very relevance.

If the blood of Christ were intended to serve as an eternal covering that prevents God from observing our behavior, what sense would the following statement make? 

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (II Peter 2:20)

We could fill pages with quotations from the New Testament that warn the believers of the dreadful consequences of continuing to walk in the sins of the flesh. What sense do such exhortations make if the primary benefit of Christ’s atonement is the covering of our sins? If our conduct is hidden from God’s eyes, why is there such an emphasis in the New Testament on godly living?

In the preceding verse we notice that a person who comes out of the world through the knowledge of Christ, and then goes back into the world, is in a worse condition before God than if he never had known Christ. The demons were cast out. The house was swept, decorated, and ready for occupancy (Matthew 12:44). But the Lord never was invited to enter and reign there. More demons returned than had lived there in the first place.

We can understand from this that the concept of the Christian salvation consisting primarily of hiding our true condition from God’s eyes is misleading.

The truth is, there is neither guilt nor the practice of sin nor the tendency toward sin nor the effects of sin in the Kingdom of God.

How does such total deliverance come about? It comes about through means of the authority and power that reside in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

The new Jerusalem is the center of government of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is surrounded by a massive wall. The new Jerusalem specifically is the Kingdom of Heaven but it governs subordinate kingdoms that are part of the overall Kingdom.

There are twelve gates in the wall, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Sin cannot pass through any of the twelve gates. Sin cannot enter the new Jerusalem. As long as we continue to practice sin we cannot enter the holy city.

The inhabitants of the new Jerusalem are not people whose sin is hidden from the Lord because of their profession of belief in Christ. Rather, they are people who, like Heaven, earth, and the city itself, are new creations. Their past sins have been blotted out by Christ’s atonement. Now they do not sin, not because they are in the spirit realm but because Christ has been formed in them and is dwelling in them.

They are not just guilty people whose transgressions are overlooked. They are sons of God who have been re-created in the image of Christ. They no longer practice sin and rebellion because God has changed their nature by forming His Son in them.

The wall of the city serves as a protection against those who choose to continue in sin. If there were no rebels against the Father’s will there would be no need of the wall.

The original rebellion took place in the spirit realm, in Heaven, in the vicinity of the Throne of God. Dying and passing into the spirit realm does not solve the problem of sin for us. Sin originated in the spirit realm and still today derives its life from spirits, not from flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12; I John 3:8).

This is difficult for us to grasp because we have assumed that as soon as we die physically we will have no more problem with sin or self-will. Yet, sin and self-will originated and still are present in the spirit realm. A little reflection, both logical and scriptural, will reveal quickly that there is no foundation for the assumption that physical death rids us of our sinful tendencies or our self-centeredness and rebellion against God and His Christ.

The tendencies of sin of our physical bodies are intensified by demons who exist in the spirit realm. Lust, lying, violence and other passions exist in the spirit realm independently of the physical body. Passing into the spirit realm does not solve the problem of sin for us. It only makes it impossible for us to fulfill our lusts.

As long as God permits us to make choices we will be capable of rebellion against God’s will. In order to eliminate the possibility of sinning God would have to remove from us our ability to choose our own thoughts, our own words, and our own actions.

If the people of eternity no longer were to have the power of choice there would be no more need for the law of God or for a wall around the holy city. The truth is, people and angels always will have the power of choice and there always will be laws, and kings and priests to teach and enforce those laws (Revelation 21:24; 22:5). Heaven and earth shall pass away but the words of Christ never shall pass away. His words are to be obeyed forever. He is God’s eternal King!

Hence the wall of the new Jerusalem.

The Kingdom of God contains the authority and power to drive out of us all that is satanic so that of our own will we can choose to overcome sin, to overcome the world, to overcome Satan, to overcome our own lusts, to obey God no matter how painful or inconvenient for us such obedience may prove to be.

We spoke previously of believers neglecting the task of entering the Kingdom (because of the mistaken assumption that if they profess belief in Christ they will enter the Kingdom of God at the time of their physical death). By task we are referring to the effort required to obtain the grace of Christ in every circumstance of life. We continually must lay hold on the power of the Kingdom of God, which is the Presence of Christ, in order to overcome and drive out our lusts and self-will.

Each of us has to keep at this task day and night, night and day. No letup is possible. The kingdom of Hell, of darkness, wars against us constantly. If we are to become and remain a conqueror we must turn aside from the clamor of the world and do what Jesus said. This is impossible in the wisdom and power of our flesh but there is enough grace in the Lord Jesus to enable us to do what Jesus commanded—to the point of loving not our life to the point of death.

It is not easy to enter the Kingdom of God. It is a battle on every front. The Lord Jesus is leading and strengthening us. The Holy Spirit of God is helping us. The Word of God is guiding us. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom but there are many adversaries. We can achieve victory over the world, Satan, and our own lusts and pride, if this is what we are determined to do.

We can be purged of sin and self-will and enter through the gates into the city of God.

Dying physically is not the solution to our sin and self-will. The solution to our sinning and self-will is receiving into ourselves the living Word of God, the word of the Kingdom, and then allowing that living word to grow in us. As the Word of God grows in us the Father and Christ enter us. Little by little, step by step, command upon command, rule upon rule, here a little and there a little, we become a new creation. There is no sin or self-will in the new creation. There is no sin or self-will in the Kingdom of God.

What can keep us out of the Kingdom of God? 

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [immorality], Idolatry, sorcery, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

There is no fornication in the Kingdom of God. There is no murder in the Kingdom of God. There is no covetousness in the Kingdom of God. If a believer is covetous (and some are teaching today that the Christian redemption includes being rich in material wealth, whose end will be according to their works), he or she cannot enter the Kingdom of God. 

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)

When the Kingdom of God comes it drives the devil out of us. 

But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. (Matthew 12:28)

The first sign to follow the believer in Christ is that of casting out devils; for the casting out of devils is the manifestation of the coming of the Kingdom of God: 

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; (Mark 16:17)

Also, the coming of the Kingdom of God brings healing to our bodies: 

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23)

The coming of the Kingdom of God has to do with destroying the power of the devil: 

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 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 12:9,10)

The events on the Mount of Transfiguration were a demonstration of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

The reaction of Peter to this heavenly glory was to set about constructing three tabernacles. The reaction of the Christian churches to the heavenly Glory of Christ is to build tabernacles (church buildings).

However, the true nature of the Kingdom of Heaven was revealed in the incident that took place right after the transfiguration: 

And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father. (Luke 9:42)

The "tabernacle" of the Kingdom of God is the heart of the saint. The work of the Kingdom is performed when the saint casts out the devil from those who are bound.

We have stated before that the Gospel of the Kingdom has two parts:

The good news that Christ has made an atonement for our sin.

The good news that the Kingdom of God soon is to come to the earth.

The Scriptures explain carefully the need for an atonement for sin and also the rules that govern making a satisfactory atonement in the Presence of God. The first seven chapters of the Book of Leviticus, Chapters Three through Five of the Book of Romans, and Chapters Nine and Ten of the Book of Hebrews, are especially rich in the various elements involved in making an atonement for sin in general, and in the atonement made by Christ in particular.

But a great portion—perhaps the greatest portion—of the Scriptures is not directed toward making an atonement but has to do with the manner in which people conduct themselves: with their righteousness, their holiness, and their obedience to God—that is, with the Kingdom of God. This is true of the Old Testament, the four Gospels, and the Epistles of the Apostles. The whole Scriptures point toward that perfect Day, and the path of the righteous points toward that Day, when the will of God is performed in the earth as it is in Heaven.

Making an atonement by means of animal blood was performed with the understanding that those who have been cleansed, even the priests, will sin again.

Making an atonement by means of the blood of Christ is performed with the understanding that those who by faith enter the atonement have now the authority and power to be cleansed totally from the guilt, compulsions, and effects of sin.

The blood of animals could not remove sin from the camp. But the blood of Christ can and does remove sin from the camp when the worshipers enter fully into the new covenant.

The blood of Jesus is an eternal forgiveness that operates on the premise that the believer follows the Spirit of the Lord. If the believer chooses not to follow the Lord but continues to walk in the flesh, God sends judgment in the form of chastening. If the believer then refuses to obey God the covenant is invalidated and the blood no longer makes an atonement for the individual.

This is a point of enormous confusion today because of the teaching that the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus continues to forgive us no matter how we behave, that the forgiveness is unconditional being a sovereign action of God. This is a tremendous and destructive error. The blood forgives us only as we walk in the light of the will of God. 

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

If we do not walk in the light of the God we do not have fellowship with the Father and the blood of Christ does not cleanse us from all sin. If we as a Christian choose to serve sin we will die spiritually.

The new covenant is designed to both forgive and remove sin. This it will do if we obey the admonitions of the Apostles. 

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (Romans 6:17,18)

This is one of the principal differences between the old covenant and the new covenant.

The Kingdom of God does not save us in our sins, as was true of the sacrifices of the old covenant. The Kingdom of God forgives us completely through the blood of the cross and then sets about to tear down all the works of darkness in our life and to create all the Life and works of God in us.

We can see readily that the new covenant is superior to the old covenant in the area of making an atonement for sin, an atonement consisting of both forgiveness and deliverance from sin.

The Mount of Transfiguration. The people who were present and the events that transpired on the Mount of Transfiguration were a demonstration of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. 

But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, that shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:27)

We cannot see the Kingdom of God now, because it is in us as a seed. But the day will come when the Kingdom of God appears in magnificent glory for all the Church and the world to behold. It is of this visible aspect of the Kingdom that the Mount of Transfiguration is a foreshadowing. 

And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. (Luke 9:28)

Eight is the number of the Divine covenant. The Hebrew males were circumcised on the eighth day. There were eight souls saved in Noah’s ark. The coming of the Kingdom is associated with the Divine covenant of salvation.

There were a total of six people on the mountain. Six is the number of the Day of Atonement, the time of making man in God’s image. The thousand-year period is the sixth of the great days of God’s working, the day of reconciliation (atonement), the Day of the Lord.

The fact that Jesus did not bring the multitude to witness this demonstration of the Kingdom, or the seventy, or even the twelve, portrays the ranks that exist in the Kingdom of God. We may think that the Kingdom of God is a democracy but it is not. Jesus "took" only these three, and then warned them carefully to tell no one of what they saw until after He was raised from the dead.

The Kingdom of God is organized according to the will of God. Each of us has been chosen for a specific place in the Kingdom.

The mother of James and John desired that her sons would sit, the one on Christ’s right hand and the other on His left, in His Kingdom (Matthew 20:20,21). Her foresight and faith were commendable. But notice carefully the Lord’s response to her petition:

"You do not know what you are asking!"

Jesus turned to this enthusiastic family and asked, "Are you able to drink of the cup that I will drink of? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"

They answered, "We are able."

It is one thing to desire a position of authority and responsibility in the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom that one day will rule the world. It is another matter indeed to be willing to die the death to sin and to self-will that persons who are highly placed in the Kingdom must die. If we are to rule we will suffer.

Jesus continued, "You will drink indeed of my cup and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with. But to sit on my right hand and on my left is not mine to give, but it will be given to them for whom it is prepared by my Father."

Sometimes we get what we ask for. James and John announced that they were able to drink the cup of death to self and to be baptized with the fires of suffering. It came to pass in their lives.

God is looking for diligent saints who will not shirk the rigors of the Kingdom but will press into the places for which they have been elected. Like Peter, the sons of Zebedee were ready to follow the Lord Jesus anywhere, at whatever cost. And so these three were present on the holy mountain.

But notice the election operating, the choice of God, His specific plan in terms of individuals: "To sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father."

There shall be one or more persons on Christ’s right hand and on His left, ruling with marvelous authority as did Daniel in Babylon. Who will they be? We shall know when we see them in their glory.

The choice is not Christ’s to make. They will be the persons whom God chose before the creation of the world for such incredible glory. We can be sure that their testings on earth will be thorough and fiery and that they will overcome by faith every challenge placed before them.

One of the greatest events of Jesus’ ministry was witnessed only by Peter, James, and John, not necessarily because they were worthy but because the Lord God had chosen them for this honor.

Peter, James, and John were interested in being prominent in the Kingdom, as evidenced by their words and actions. God’s choices are so mixed together with our desires and hopes that it sometimes is difficult to understand what part is God and what part is our own personality and ambition.

If we plan on being in the Kingdom of God we must become accustomed to the manner in which the Lord does things. The Kingdom of God is not a democracy. It is a kingdom. God exalts one person and puts down another as He pleases, and no one can question or change His judgments. He is the supreme Lord.

Can you imagine how the other Apostles felt when they learned, after Christ rose from the dead, about the special experience that had been given to Peter, James, and John?

They "went up into a mountain to pray." They did not go into town to pray. People who are successful in entering the Kingdom of God are those who learn to pray. They come to understand that in order to pray we must, on a regular basis, go to a place of prayer. It is difficult to pray in the midst of people. Mountains and deserts are good places in which to pray. Sometimes we have to settle for our automobile or bedroom. But it is important to come apart to pray.

Weak believers do not enjoy prayer very much. They bring their "grocery list" to the place of prayer. They tell God all the things they think they need, and then leave and resume their necessary (and more interesting) tasks.

But the saint who is learning how to press into the Kingdom discovers that prayer is the door. Some of his hours of prayer are routine Kingdom work. But once in a while he sees and hears things that the worldly Christians know little about.

The Lord Jesus loves to come "leaping on the mountains, skipping on the hills." He wants to bring us to the "lions’ dens," "to the mountains of the leopards."

Entering the Kingdom of God is a heavenly romance. It is packed with adventures of every sort. The closer we come to the Lord the more wonderful our pilgrimage becomes.

We do not experience the Mount of Transfiguration every time we pray. But sometimes we do. Once we do the present world begins to lose its charm for us.

The Kingdom of God always is on a high mountain. The new Jerusalem is on a high mountain. We go "up" to Jerusalem. It takes a little work, when we are praying, before we are able to shed our worries, pains, fears, dreads, and doubts. We must do a little "climbing." But soon the air becomes clearer and we are able to leave the weights of the world below us and ascend the heights of Zion. That is where the glory is, and also the rule of God.

How marvelous it is to stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion and to follow Him wherever He goes! Nothing the world of flesh and blood can offer compares with the joy of standing with Christ on Mount Zion.

Christ was able to endure the world, this valley of the shadow of death in which we mortals attempt to survive, because He spent His nights in prayer on the heights of Zion, spiritually speaking. We can do the same if this is what we desire above all else. 

And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was changed, and his raiment was white and glistering. (Luke 9:29)

Jesus no longer looked like the rabbi from Nazareth. The King of kings and Lord of lords momentarily was appearing in His glory. The Divine authority and power of the eternal Logos, the Incarnation of God Almighty, shone from the face of the carpenter-turned-rabbi.

His robe began to glow brilliantly, lighting the area around Him. The glory of the Kingdom transfigures everything it touches of the material creation—even robes and sandals. Every element of the Kingdom is gloriously alive. 

And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: (Luke 9:30)

Not two spirits, two men. These men were over several hundred years old at the time, alert, informed, intelligent, living in glory. This is the way the Kingdom is.

Moses and Elijah were recognizable. They are real people, not ghosts, not vapors. We are the ones who are the vapors!

Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus. They knew Him. Moses and Elijah had spoken to Christ often during their pilgrimage on the earth, calling Him Yahweh, the I Am of God. No doubt they had continued to talk to Him in Paradise before His birth in the manger. The Lord Jesus Christ is the revelation of I Am —the One who always Is. 

Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. (Luke 9:31)

Moses and Elijah were discussing Christ’s death that was to take place soon in Jerusalem. They realized that the successful completion of the offering of Christ meant the removal of the guilt of their sins and of the sins of all who repent and believe in Christ.

The great work of atonement was yet ahead, and the Lord Jesus was preparing Himself for that terrible travail of spirit, soul, and body.

Notice that the Kingdom of God includes the old covenant saints as well as the new covenant saints. They without us cannot be made perfect and complete.

He who is least in the Kingdom is greater than any of the Hebrew prophets until that prophet has had the King, Christ, formed in him. The prophets were flesh and blood people anointed with the Spirit of God. The Kingdom of God is Christ created in His saints and dwelling in them. It is the eternal union of Christ and the saint.

No person ever was born again until after the Holy Spirit was poured out by the Lord Jesus Christ. This leads us to believe that Moses, Elijah, and the other saints of the old covenant believed in Christ and received the new birth on the day of Pentecost—at the same time as those in the upper room. Christ had to be crucified and resurrected before anyone could be born again. The Kingdom of God began when Jesus rose from the dead.

The gap between the saints on earth and the saints in glory may not be as wide as we think. No doubt the saints in Paradise are growing with us as the word of the Kingdom keeps coming forth through the Lord’s witnesses. The Presence of Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration, speaking of His decease that He should accomplish at Jerusalem, lends support to this concept.

Moses and Elijah are among the heroes of faith who are seeking a city that has foundations. They are in Paradise with Jesus. But they have not reached the end of their quest as yet, for they without us cannot be made perfect (Hebrews 11:40).

The "city" that the patriarchs are seeking is the new Jerusalem, the center of government of the Kingdom of God, the eternal tabernacle of God and of the Lamb.

How wonderful to be dwelling in the spirit paradise! Yet the drama is being acted out on the earth. And the play is not over yet. 

But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. (Luke 9:32)

How often we humans are sleeping when events are transpiring that are of worldwide, historical significance—moments that never can be recalled! The present hour is no time in which to sleep. But we are so frail, so bound in the flesh.

The Spirit of God is announcing in our day the imminent appearing of Christ in His Kingdom. The latter rain, the forerunner of the Kingdom, is falling in many places. Eternal destinies are being decided. The thrones of glory are being possessed.

How many Christian people slumber on, permitting the tinkling vanities of the world to crush the spiritual life and joy out of them? If we will wake up we will behold His Glory. We will begin to understand that the Kingdom of God is not a flight to another world but is the bringing of the Glory of God into the earth, into the lives and businesses of the men, women, boys, and girls who are attempting to survive on this sin-cursed planet. 

And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. (Luke 9:33)

Peter was babbling. He did not know what he was talking about. Building three tabernacles was not an appropriate response to what they had just witnessed.

There are some who believe that the tradition of the Jews was in Peter’s mind. It is thought that when Christ comes the feast of Tabernacles will be celebrated. Perhaps this is what Peter was picturing.

The churches of today are busily constructing tabernacles, supposing that such activity is a proper response to the Glory of Christ. Building churches is an understandable human activity; for it appears that human beings would rather be busy doing something, even though they are not sure what it is they are doing, than to wait until they are certain of the true and eternal goals and plans of God.

But the Kingdom of God has little to do with building temples made with hands, even though the worshipers ought to have a roof over their heads when it rains.

After we behold the Glory of Christ it is wisdom to wait and allow the Lord to reveal to us the significance of what He is doing; why He is behaving as He is. Otherwise we rush about not knowing what we are doing or saying. 

While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered the cloud. (Luke 9:34)

God the Father was in the cloud. No human being ever has seen the Father. The Lord Jesus Christ was known as Yahweh under the old covenant. The appearances of God in the Old Testament were appearances of Christ.

No doubt they "feared" as they entered that cloud because of the Divine Majesty who was surrounding them. They were in the Presence of the Father of the Lord Jesus, the One whom Christ serves and reveals.

The Kingdom of God is the rule of the Father in Christ in the saints. As soon as every person and every thing in the universe has been brought under subjection to Christ, then Christ Himself will be subject to the Father in order that God may be All in all (I Corinthians 15:28). 

And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. (Luke 9:35)

God the Father always will honor and point toward the Lord Jesus. God is pleased when we honor Christ and when we listen carefully to what Christ tells us to do, and then do it with utmost diligence and good will.

Christ is the Expression of God the Father. Christ is the Center and Circumference of every element of the Kingdom of God. Whenever another center, such as the construction of a tabernacle, begins to be stressed, the power of the Kingdom leaves that enterprise.

God loves Jesus. When we hear Jesus, doing what He says, then God is pleased with our person and blesses the works of our hands. 

And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen. (Luke 9:36)

After everything had been said and done, Jesus alone remained. So it is in the Kingdom of God. There are joys and wonders without number in the Kingdom. But when the Kingdom is brought down to its essential element, Jesus alone remains.

He who has Christ has the Kingdom of God. He who does not have Christ does not have the Kingdom and cannot see or enter the Kingdom.

Peter, James, and John were commanded to be silent about the things they had witnessed. The Kingdom of God is not just words, it is the things that we witness, that we see and do and feel. In the case under discussion, the things consisted of the personages and events of the Mount of Transfiguration.

We shall be allowed to experience more of the Kingdom of God as we learn when to tell the things we have seen and when not to tell the things we have seen. The believer who is unable to control his tongue will not get far in the Kingdom of God. 

And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him. (Luke 9:37)

The world is full of people, all sorts of people, who are in great need of the Presence and blessing of God. God wants to take His saints up into the mountain of prayer so they may behold the Glory of God in Christ. He wants us to see and experience the Kingdom, to be assured of its glory and reality, even though for a season it may be necessary that we walk by faith and not by sight.

God desires that we be filled to overflowing with the joys of Paradise, with the powers and delights of the age to come.

However, God does not intend for us to begin the construction of tabernacles so we can shut up the Kingdom of God in boxes of our own making. The soul of man loves to create institutions that will outlive him, and then to bow down to them and serve them. Such fleshly ventures do not interest God in the least and hinder and frustrate the true work of the Kingdom. God is constructing a house for Himself on which the hand of man never can be placed.

But God does intend for us to bring the glory we have experienced into the midst of the multitudes of the earth. We saints are the Kingdom of God, bringing Christ, and God in Him, to the prisoners of the earth. The Kingdom of God has its mountain tops of visions and also its valleys of service. It is so now. It will be so throughout the thousand-year period. Perhaps it also will be true in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints ruling over the nations, performing the will of God in the earth as it is in Heaven. This is true in embryonic form today and, according to the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New, the rule of the saints will predominate throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age and on into eternity (compare Daniel, Chapter Seven; Isaiah, Chapters 60 and 61; also Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22).

The elements and events of the Mount of Transfiguration may be more of a picture of the coming of the Kingdom of God than we realize.

The power and coming of the Lord. When Jesus comes the victorious saints will be given bodies of eternal power and glory and will be caught up to meet Him in the air. This is the assembling of the army of the Lord, the time of the attack of Armageddon. The conquerors will mount the white war horses of the Kingdom.

Down from the clouds will thunder the Lord and His saints. Antichrist will gather together the kings of the earth and their armies to make war against Christ and His army.

The battle soon is concluded. Antichrist and the spirit of religious delusion are hurled alive into the Lake of Fire. Satan is bound and shut up in the bottomless pit. Christ ascends the Throne of David in Jerusalem amid the shouts of triumph and praise of His saints.

But now what? The events after Armageddon may prove to be far more natural and practical than we have envisioned.

The nations of the earth, the nation of Israel, and the believers in Christ who did not attain to the first resurrection, still will be flesh and blood people living on the earth.

Satan, the "soul" of the kingdom of darkness, will be confined in the bottomless pit. Satan is the source of all sin. His absence from the earth will result in a profound difference in the spiritual environment that surrounds the nations.

Antichrist, the expression of the kingdom of darkness, the satanic counterpart of Christ, will be in the Lake of Fire. Antichrist is the government of the kingdom of darkness. Since Satan is a cherub and not a man he has determined to become incarnate in a susceptible human being, using human self-will, self-centeredness, and self-love as his entrance into a human personality.

We think that the human being who is chosen to be the body of Satan will be an ambitious Christian who has decided to do the work of the Kingdom in his own strength rather than to enter the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

The False Prophet, the spirit of religious delusion, the satanic counterpart of the Holy Spirit, will be in the Lake of Fire. The False Prophet, the spirit who communicated the will of Satan and wrought miracles in cooperation with Antichrist, has taught mankind that life consists in the possession of the abundance of things. He is covetousness, the great idolater, the mixture of Christianity and the soul of man.

During the thousand-year period, Satan, the False Prophet, and Antichrist no longer will be present on the earth to delude and coerce the nations. Antichrist (man making himself God), and the False Prophet (Christian efforts motivated and guided by the human soul), never again will be permitted to corrupt people. The saints will rule in a world environment that the Lord will purge of personal ambition, commercialism, and soulish religion.

Satan, the source of all sin and rebellion, will be released for a brief period at the close of the thousand-year period so there may be one last testing of earth’s peoples.

Even in the absence of these spiritual lords of corruption, people still will be full of frailties, doubts, fears, the inability to accept Christ as the fulfillment of their hopes and desires—as is true today. After a thousand years of the righteous government of Christ and His saints, human beings will be willing to rebel against their righteous overseers (Revelation 20:9).

The people of the Kingdom Age will be people. There will be men, women, boys, and girls, as we understand it. The saints who return with the Lord Jesus still will be people themselves but with some important differences. Their personalities have been filled and re-created by the Divine Nature. God and Christ are dwelling in them. They are full of the Holy Spirit of God. Their bodies are instruments of such stupendous glory and power that they have abilities that can only be dreamed of at this time. Their bodies are like that of the Lord Jesus.

The conquering saints will be as Jesus was during the period of time between His resurrection and His ascension. They will be able to appear and disappear at will. They will have access to Heaven and earth. Best of all, they will be able to go up to Jerusalem to be with Jesus and the other glorified saints.

Now we have two different races of people on the earth. There are the human beings who are living in flesh and blood bodies. Then there are the sons of God who are clothed in bodies like the glorified Body of Christ. The elect abide on the Mount of Transfiguration, so to speak. The nations are living on a lower level and in different circumstances.

The work of the sons of God begins at this point, the work for which they have been trained and tested, trained and tested, trained and tested until it seemed that their souls would perish under the pressure.

Their task now is to work among the nations of saved peoples of the earth. Each of the sons of God will be assigned an area of responsibility in the Kingdom. He will inherit people and will bring them into the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Holy Spirit.

The thousand-year Kingdom Age (Millennium) will be a golden era of beauty and harmony (after an initial crushing of rebellion) because of the Presence and blessing of Almighty God. The knowledge of the Glory of the Lord will fill the earth.

The peoples whom we are teaching will find it as easy to live righteously as we of today find it easy to sin. This is because Christ and His saints will be seated on the spiritual thrones that govern the earth. The spiritual and material environments will guide all saved human beings into the righteousness and joy of Christ.

However, the glory of the Kingdom Age will not approach the peace, joy, and glory of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

The Kingdom Age will be a time of subjugation of the will of the nations of the saved, and the will of immature members of the elect, as we understand the Divine program. The thousand-year Kingdom Age, for all its peace, glory, and joy, will of necessity be a period of harsh rulership (the rod of iron). Those who refuse the reign of Christ will be shattered as clay is shattered into fragments. The Kingdom Age will be as the reign of David—a time of war and conquest. The new heaven and earth reign of Christ will be as the reign of Solomon—an eternity of majesty and splendor.

There is at least one difference between the practice of righteous conduct now and the practice of righteous conduct during the thousand-year period. The difference is in what takes place in the people themselves.

Many years ago it was quite difficult to travel across the United States of America. The trip brought out the best and the worst in people. Those who survived the journey learned courage, fortitude, patience, perseverance.

Today the same trip from point to point can be made in a matter of hours. The same destination is reached but there is no development of courage, fortitude, patience, and perseverance. The pilgrimage has been made but nothing has been accomplished in the personality.

In our day, God is perfecting rulers: not just righteous people, but those who through Christ are able to rule in righteousness. They will be given the crown of life. They are the kings and priests of the Kingdom of God. The nations of the saved will be able to obey the laws of righteousness provided the environment is favorable. But the overcomers, through Christ, obey the laws of righteousness while living in a sea of wicked spirits.

It is exceedingly difficult to serve God perfectly during the closing days of this present age. To behave righteously, to purge ourselves from all uncleanness, to obey God patiently no matter what death we have to die in order to do it, is possible but very strenuous. Those who do overcome, who persevere with sufficient determination to accomplish God’s will, are enabled to do so through the Virtue and Substance of Christ.

The result of such difficult exercise is the image of Christ wrought in the personality. It is the result that God is seeking, for He is creating the nobility of the Kingdom.

It will be easy for people during the Kingdom Age to behave righteously, to keep themselves pure, to obey Christ, just as it is easy today to fly from New York to California. But the virtues of patience, hope, faith, courage, and conquering love will not be formed to the same extent that is true during the present distress.

The jasper-hard wall of the new Jerusalem is not formed in the personality when one is in a righteous environment. Precious stones are formed under heat and pressure. Godly character is developed when the believer behaves righteously in the face of strong opposition.

When we consider our future, that which was portrayed on the Mount of Transfiguration, fellowship with God’s heroes, the Divine Glory, the work of deliverance among earth’s multitudes, we begin to realize that our pilgrimage indeed does have a fairy-tale ending. Imagine being able to move about on the earth without the limitations of this mortal prison of sin and death we are required to drag around in the present hour!

We understand that all the love, faith, patience, and courage that have been formed in our personalities over the years will be needed in the ages to come. People do not learn easily the ways of God and His Christ. Humans are enthusiastic one moment and depressed the next. Some are timid. Others are boisterous and overconfident. A few refuse to learn no matter how hard we try to teach them, and this is why there can be a rebellion at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

For the overcomers, the rulers, the glory of the Kingdom Age is that they can go up to Jerusalem to be refreshed in the Presence of Christ, then back down to meet the needs of the multitudes of earth’s peoples who have such a difficult time coping with their fears, unbelief, and self-will.

The sons of God will be able through faith to lift the curse from the earth and to bring the Life of God into the material environment. Perhaps they will not do so all at once, but carefully, and in the strictest obedience to the will of God in Christ who is dwelling in them. The earth shall take on a heavenly environment as God’s will begins to be performed among the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

What a delightful place the earth will be then, when the hills break forth into singing and the trees of the field clap their hands. The accusing voice of Satan will be gone. The self-centered rule of willful people will be absent. The grinding, crushing spirit of material gain and commerce, that archenemy of God and His Christ, that competitor against God for the service and love of mankind, will be allowed no longer to imprison earth’s multitudes in slavery to dead material things.

The Holy Spirit will cover the earth bringing life to all the creation. All will be brought into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. Then will the voice of singing arise from every land under Heaven. 

Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. (Isaiah 42:10)

What marvelous glory soon is to come!

There is a song that only the Lamb’s Wife can sing; and the glory that will be given to her is so marvelous, so far beyond our imagination, that it must be pointed out to us little by little or our ability to comprehend and receive it would fail completely.

We of the Bride scarcely have been born. One billion years from today we will be beholding the Face of the Father and will be being changed into His image.

Our life of the present hour will be viewed as the merest beginning of existence. But even then, in that distant hour, we shall only have arrived at the beginning of life in God.

In comparison to the eternity of which we have just been speaking, the Kingdom Age is but a short buffer zone between our present crude formation and the eternal new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have all eternity to learn to dwell with God and to work with people. The challenges and tasks will continue forever, calling for personal maturity on our part, just as Christ’s personal maturity governs and provides for us today. Through us, God in Christ will wipe away all the tears of earth’s peoples: "and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain" (Revelation 21:4).

In the beginning God created all things. Now, in the Kingdom of God, God is making all things new.

Installed on the earth with force. The Kingdom of God is in us now. But when Jesus returns, the nations of the earth will witness the glory of the Kingdom. At that time the Kingdom will be installed on the earth with violence.

The cavalry charge of Armageddon and the subsequent invasion of the entire earth will usher in the Millennium—the thousand-year Kingdom rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. At that time every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

Those who are called, chosen, and faithful will descend from Heaven, riding on the war horses of God. They will be following their red-robed Commander in Chief: 

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. (Revelation 19:19)

The invasion army of saints will be fierce, a frightful sight to behold: 

A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. (Joel 2:3)

The Lord and His saints will judge and rebuke the nations of the earth: 

Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. (Habakkuk 3:12)

The Lord Jesus Christ is a stern Monarch. 

Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalms 2:12)

Wickedness and foolishness abide in the hearts of people. It is so now. It will be true during the Kingdom Age even though Satan is confined in the bottomless pit. Before the saints will have the opportunity to impart Kingdom joy and peace to people they first will have to establish control. They will do this with sternness and irresistible power: 

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Revelation 2:26,27)

The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. (Psalms 110:5)

We can understand from the preceding passages that the first resurrection, the resurrection of God’s kings and priests, is not for foolish, spiritually lazy, halfhearted believers. Only the most determined and faithful servants of Christ are eligible for receiving back their bodies, and positions of power and majesty, in the first resurrection from among the dead.

The rich have great difficulty entering the Kingdom of God. Yet, the Kingdom of God is powerful and wealthy beyond the mind of man to conceive: 

And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24)

Why, then, is it so difficult for a rich individual to enter the Kingdom? This fact is mentioned in three of the four Gospel accounts. 

And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:23-25)

Jesus had just finished advising a wealthy young man to sell what he possessed, give the proceeds to the poor, and take up his cross and follow Him. Jesus loved the young man and was revealing to him the way to eternal life.

The Gospel of the Kingdom came to the young man as bad news, not as good news. He went away "grieved" because he was very rich.

Why is it nearly impossible for a wealthy individual to enter the Kingdom of God? It is so difficult because the Kingdom of God is the union of the spiritual and the material. To be in the Kingdom a person must allow God to perfect the spiritual side of his personality. Perfecting our union with the Lord requires the utmost attention and the expenditure of much time and energy. The heart and mind must be lifted from the things and circumstances of earth and placed in Heaven.

Material wealth also requires the total attention and the expenditure of prime time and energy. Either the spiritual life of the Kingdom must prevail and the pursuit of material gain must yield, or else the pursuit of material gain must prevail and the development of union with God must yield. No man can serve both of these masters at the same time.

An individual who is poor or of moderate means has the time and energy to devote to seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. He can enter the union of the spiritual and the material, the union that is the Kingdom of God. The wealthy person finds most of his pleasures and resources in the material realm. To enter the Kingdom of Heaven is very difficult for the wealthy.

The reason people lay up wealth is to keep from being dependent on the invisible God. Covetousness is idolatry. Money is a God that often competes against the Lord God of Heaven.

It is relatively easy for a rich person to accept Christ and be baptized in water. But to then make seeking the Kingdom the principal consideration of each day virtually is impossible. This is why the Lord counseled the wealthy to sell their possessions, give the proceeds to the poor, and take up their cross and follow Him each day. This is not a penance. It is the only manner in which the wealthy can be free enough in spirit to enter the Kingdom.

The rich find the suggestion to "sell all" to be grievous. The poor, the beneficiaries, are not as concerned. Understandably so! But if the rich do not obey Christ they will howl because of the miseries that will come upon them. The corruption of their gold and silver will testify against them and eat their flesh like fire. But God has made the poor of the world to be the heirs of His Kingdom (James 5:3; 2:5).

The relationship between Pentecost and the Kingdom. The devout Jews were waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. The Apostles asked the resurrected Jesus about the coming of the Kingdom: 

. . . Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6)

Jesus informed them that the hour of the appearing of the Kingdom was for God alone to know.

And then He said: 

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)

Was the Lord just evading their question, or is there a connection between Pentecost and the Kingdom of God?

The Apostles still were unaware that the Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints performing the will of God in the earth. They were expecting an external kingdom, as people do today when they long to go to Heaven. (There is a Heaven to go to, and there is an external dimension of the Kingdom of God.)

Jesus knew that the result of the Holy Spirit’s coming would be the gathering out from the nations of the future members of the Body of Christ; and that those members would be built into the perfect Body, the fullness of Christ, the Servant of the Lord, the eternal dwelling place of God in Christ, the center of government of the Kingdom of God.

The Apostles could not have understood such a concept at that time. The descent from Heaven of the Spirit of truth made it possible for the spiritual life of the Kingdom of God to be born in the hearts of people. The maturing of the spiritual life leads naturally and perfectly into the material aspect of the Kingdom.

The government of the Kingdom, as well as the love, the joy, the peace, the wonder, the significance, and the glory, proceeds from the spiritual life, not from the material form. The Lord Jesus, knowing that the coming of the Spirit would bring the life and knowledge of the Kingdom to them, parried their question by pointing toward the Day of Pentecost.

Also, the power of life of the Holy Spirit is the second key of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is the power to cause the will of God to be performed in the earth as it is in Heaven.

Doing God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven, whether in the realm of moral behavior or in casting out demons, is the Kingdom of God and also the witness of the Kingdom of God.

The true Kingdom witness is a preview, an advance showing of what it will be like during the Kingdom Age. The power of the Kingdom of God, the Life of it, is the Holy Spirit. Therefore Jesus said, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me."

Children enter the Kingdom readily. Why do children enter so easily into the Kingdom of God? 

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. (Luke 18:16,17)

In the Kingdom of God it is a little child who leads the wild and the domestic animals (Isaiah 11:6).

Children are by nature happy, trusting, innocent, relatively free from pride and guile. The Kingdom of God by nature is happy, trusting, innocent, and totally free from pride and guile. Ordinarily children are fairly quick to overlook wrongs done to them.

Adults are stiff, suspicious, malicious, proud, and as full of guile as the ocean is full of water. Adults often harbor grudges and diligently nourish real and imagined insults. They must, through Christ’s Nature imparted to them, once again become as children so they may skip happily and cheerfully, lovingly and trustingly, into a kingdom where God the Father is Present in His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus appreciates the fact that His Father hides the Kingdom from the wise and prudent but reveals it to children because the Lord Jesus loves children and their ways. Jesus is not stiff, suspicious, malicious, proud, or full of guile, even though the peoples of the earth on many occasions treat Him with suspicion and hatred.

The wheat and the tares. Many of us have read the parable of the wheat and the tares. Tares are weeds that grow in a field of wheat. The parable of the wheat and the tares is a parable of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 13:24).

Jesus said, "The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one" (Matthew 13:38).

The wheat are the people in whom is dwelling the true Life of God from Heaven, the life of the Kingdom. The tares are people who resemble the wheat in outward form, but the life that rules them is the life of Satan, of Hell.

The wheat and the tares will grow together side by side until the time arrives for the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth, at the close of the present age.

At the end of the age Christ will return to earth. He will send forth His messengers and they will separate out from His true people those who dwell among them but who do not have the true Life of God in them. These are they who say they are Jews but their life is the life of Satan (Revelation 3:9).

The end of those whose inner life is the life of Satan will be according to the spirit that governs them: 

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41,42)

This concept is somewhat different from the prevailing tradition holding that the believers will be whisked out of the world before wickedness has come to maturity.

First, the messengers will gather out of the Kingdom the "things" that offend. This is taking place today, as the Spirit of God is commanding us to confess our sins, repent of them, and be washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Next, the messengers will gather out of the Kingdom "them that do iniquity." If we do not permit the Spirit to remove "all things that offend" from us, then we ourselves will be removed from the Kingdom and will be cast into a furnace of fire.

Notice that the "field" is the world. In this parable, the world is considered as the Kingdom of God. And so it is, for "The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psalms 24:1).

At the Lord’s coming He will "punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible" (Isaiah 13:11).

The context of Isaiah 13:11 indicates that this punishment will take place at the coming of the Lord: 

For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. (Isaiah 13:10)

These signs in the heavens are the signs of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. They always are associated with His return to earth, and with the attack and invasion of the Kingdom army (Matthew 24:29; Joel 2:10,31).

There are numerous people who are included in the churches of Christ but who, like the peoples of the world, are ruled by the life of Hell. When the Lord Jesus returns He will not heed their doctrinal assertions, or even their accounts of mighty works done in His name. Christ will pay attention to the spirit governing their behavior. This is why he instructed John to write to the "angel" (spirit) of the church.

It is not always possible today to know who is of the Lord and who is not. Only the Lord knows the hearts.

But when the Lord returns, the things now hidden in the darkness will be revealed for all to see. The persons in whom Hell is ruling, regardless of their doctrines or affiliations, will be cast into the furnace of fire. Then the Life of God in the righteous will blaze forth as the sun, revealing the true members of the Kingdom of the Father.

Treasure hidden in a field. 

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. (Matthew 13:44)

In order to enter the Kingdom of God we must forsake all other possessions and interests. We are not called on, nor are we able, to forsake everything at once. But little by little the Holy Spirit leads us into complete release from all our idols and other pursuits. The richer we are in the world the more difficult such separation may prove to be.

Sometimes the preaching of the Kingdom sounds like a string of "don’ts." It appears to be extremely negative. Those who truly are pressing into the Kingdom have learned that when the Holy Spirit takes something from us He replaces it with something else of so much greater liberty and joy that we would not go back to our original state no matter what was offered to us.

Those who make a clean break with the world and sin discover that the Kingdom is of infinite value. With joy they "sell all" and "buy that field." They may hide the treasure that they have found because it is so precious to them. God does not tell us to give that which is holy to the "dogs." There are times to give what we have, and there are other instances in which we are to share our joy with Christ alone.

Goodly pearls. 

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: (Matthew 13:45)

Many individuals spend much of their lives seeking philosophical truth, or business success, or mastery of an art or profession. But then these seekers "stumble" across the Kingdom of God. They recognize that here is the only true goal of man’s quest. They leave all else and follow the Holy Spirit into the unutterable joys of the Kingdom.

A net cast into the sea. 

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, (Matthew 13:47-49)

The Gospel call brings into the churches all kinds of "fish." We are to work patiently with each individual, strengthening the weak, warning those who are walking in the flesh. We do not cast people out of the church because they irritate us personally. Many times God sees good in a person, and if we exercise patience and compassion God will bring him or her into victory in the Spirit.

When the end of this age comes, and the Lord returns, every person’s deeds will be judged. The wicked will be separated from the righteous. There can be no person in the Kingdom who is not righteous, holy, and obedient to God.

The churches of today contain a mixture of righteousness and wickedness. But there is no such mixture in the Kingdom of Heaven. "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still" (Revelation 22:11).

When the Lord comes, the unrighteous and the filthy will be cast into the furnace of fire so they may drink their fill of unrighteousness and filthiness there. The righteous and the holy will be conducted into Paradise so they may drink their fill of righteousness and holiness there. God’s way is to give us what we truly desire.

Things new and old. 

Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. (Matthew 13:52)

Every true teacher from the Lord Jesus preaches both the Old Testament and the New, the old covenant and the new covenant. He knows the old grace of the Lord and the new grace of the Lord.

The Lord’s teacher is as well acquainted with Moses and Elijah as he is with the Apostle Paul. The Psalms are his guide to warfare while the Gospel of John leads him to the Bridegroom.

It is not always so today. The concepts of "Dispensationalism" and "unconditional grace" have removed the foundation of the Kingdom. They have made the Old Testament of little use to the Christian. They have placed a barrier between Israel and Christianity.

Because of the power and fury of the spiritual warfare that is at hand, many modern Christian traditions will eventually blow away as the chaff that they are. They cannot possibly continue as God and Satan face each other on the earth. Only those believers who place their trust in the Lord will survive. The hour is upon us when no man can work. We shall be forced to leave our traditions and return to the God of Jacob.

God warns us never to remove the old landmarks. It is time today for the true saint of God to turn his eyes toward Jerusalem, realizing that the words of the Hebrew Prophets are nearing fulfillment.

There are only two cities of religious significance: Jerusalem, and Babylon. Jerusalem is the dwelling place of the Lord. Babylon is man-directed Christianity.

In the day in which we are living the spirit of Antichrist is rising in the world leaders as never before in history. Massive deception is falling on earth’s inhabitants. Angels of light will make their appearance, not as horrible demons but as gentle, reasonable, educated people. They will be kind to the Christians. The fallen lords of the spirit realm prefer not to operate on the lower levels of hatred and violence.

Because the Christian churches are filled with foolishness, not knowing their right hand from their left, they will be deceived by congenial world leaders. They do not realize that in these polite, pleasant people burn the fires of Hell. The believer cannot see the satanic fires because they are not praying, they are not denying themselves, taking up their cross, and following Jesus. They love the world, sin, and their self-will.

Every believer must choose to turn to Jerusalem (the God of Israel) or else to Babylon (man-directed Christianity). The way of the Lord must be made straight.

The Christian leaders of today who are teaching that God has no further purpose in the land of Israel or in the Jewish people are in deception. They are ignorant of the Lord’s will. They are blind leading the blind, as the future will reveal.

The true saint of today, the overcomer, is being drawn to Jerusalem, as is true also of the Jews by race. God has remembered the words of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and the time has come for the deliverance of Israel. Jerusalem yet will be the center of government of the earth, the true Christian nation. The moral law will go forth from Zion to the ends of the earth and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

A grain of mustard seed. 

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. (Matthew 13:31,32)

Sometimes when the Gospel of Christ is preached, sinners repent right then and receive Christ. Soon they are baptized in water. They now are Christians, being covered with the blood of the Lord Jesus.

This is an outward show of repentance and it is necessary. But something else must take place. The tiny seed of the Kingdom must be planted in the personality. If that seed is planted and allowed to grow, it will in due time become a tree of righteousness. It will dominate the entire personality. Its roots will go down into the waters of eternal life. Its branches will reach out so the creatures of the Kingdom can find rest therein.

The sower goes forth at night with weeping, bearing his precious seed. In the morning he comes with joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

The leaven of the Kingdom. 

Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, that a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Matthew 13:33)

A little leaven will affect an entire ball of dough. Jesus warned His followers to beware of the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees. We must be careful concerning the ideas and attitudes that enter our minds and hearts. They may be small to begin with but eventually they will become the governing principles of our whole life and behavior.

The Kingdom of God is like leaven. It works in us until our actions, our words, and our thoughts are filled with the Life of God in Christ.

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God. 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

God has given us here the supreme guideline for our life. "All these things" refers to the necessities of existence on the earth: what we eat; what we drink; what we wear.

It is not always easy to trust God for the necessities of life. For some of us, a certain amount of experience in the Kingdom is required before we gain enough trust and strength to be confident God will insure we are not left destitute, and that if we are left destitute it is because God is bringing to pass in our life something marvelous of the Kingdom.

The prime energies of our days on the earth must be devoted to seeking the spiritual life and ways of the Kingdom of God. The God mammon, the God of material wealth, will compete cunningly and continually for our attention. Money often wins the contest if we are living in a materialistic culture.

It requires considerable faith and determination on the part of the believer if he is to throw off the pull of money and set his interests and energies on the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness, giving himself to prayer and the study of the Scriptures and to the other necessary tasks of the Kingdom.

Seeking the Kingdom is a totally demanding activity. The more we give of ourselves to Christ, seeking His will in all matters, the more we discover there are areas of our personality that are not "in the Kingdom" as yet. 

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. (I Timothy 4:16)

Part of "seeking first" the Kingdom is taking no thought for tomorrow. Here is a mark of perfection. Human nature is comfortable when the prospects look good, when we are reasonably certain there is money enough and food enough to take care of our needs and desires in the foreseeable future.

The experienced saints know that the pressures of Kingdom living become such we must learn to live one day at a time and trust God for the morrow. For the saint, there always is grace for the present moment. Discouragement comes when we worry about the future.

If we could see into the future and gain a glimpse of what the world will be like a thousand years from now, we would understand that seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness is of such stupendous importance that no other goal of life can compare with it in significance. Because of its relative value, seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness should be the highest priority of every human being. If we spend our few, miserable days in any other pursuit, eternity will not be long enough for us to grieve over our foolishness and shortsightedness.

To those who are considering making the seeking of the Kingdom of God the primary task of each day, the Lord Jesus would say, "Do not be afraid! Your Father in Heaven is delighted to give the Kingdom to you.

"Sell what you own and give the proceeds to the poor (the Lord will guide the reader in this, for it is an individual matter). Put your treasure in heavenly bags so it cannot be stolen or eaten by moths; for wherever you place your treasure, this is where your heart will be.

"Do not grasp things, circumstances, or relationships. You came naked into the world and this is how you will leave the world. Hold everything lightly except your relationship to Me.

"Always be ready to leave your present circumstances at a moment’s notice so when your Lord comes you can leave with Him immediately. I will be pleased if I find you prepared when I come. I will be so pleased I will cause you to sit down and eat, and will serve you with my own hands.

"Remember! I am going to pay you a surprise visit. Be ready for Me every moment of the day and night."

We are not teaching that the believer should forsake his family and his employment, for this is not God’s will. We are stating rather that the first priority of every human life is to be the seeking of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Patience and tribulation. 

And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. (Luke 19:11)

Whenever God moves in our life it always seems the Kingdom of God will appear right away. But then it does not come and we continue on our way, plodding through the wilderness. One of the most important elements of the Christian pilgrimage, of Kingdom living, is the willingness on the part of the saint to remain faithful to the Lord during the long, long seasons of waiting. "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise" (Hebrews 10:36).

When the parable of the absent nobleman was spoken, Christ was approaching Jerusalem. The disciples were elated at the thought of the imminent appearing of the authority and power, the splendor and wealth, of David and Solomon. But the Lord Jesus was envisioning the cross on which He was to be nailed. They were rejoicing but He was preparing Himself for suffering and death.

The Kingdom of God is associated with patience and tribulation: 

I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, . . . . (Revelation 1:9)

If we are not willing to endure tribulation patiently we cannot enter the Kingdom of God: 

Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)

Suffering and persecution make us worthy of the Kingdom of God. It is not that we earn the Kingdom. Rather it is true that we demonstrate before the Lord our willingness to do whatever is necessary for gaining the Kingdom. We show God our appreciation for the worth of the Kingdom, that the Kingdom is something we sincerely desire. We stand ready to "sell all" in order that we may obtain the Kingdom. God is searching among us to see who places a value on His Kingdom; who is worthy of His Kingdom. 

So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (II Thessalonians 1:4,5)

The patriarchs and prophets of old set aside every other interest in order that they might gain a "better country." "God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city" (Hebrews 11:16).

If those who lived before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, before the resurrection of Jesus, before Calvary, showed so much interest in the Kingdom of Heaven, how much more should we who have Christ as our example, who have been born again of God’s Holy Spirit, be pressing toward the Kingdom? If we would please God we must continue every day in the attitude that no matter how long it takes or how much we are called upon to suffer, we will gain the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom suffers violence. 

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12)

Perhaps the Lord was referring to the fact that John, the herald of the King and of His Kingdom, had been seized and cast into prison. It is a fact of church history that wicked, unscrupulous men have attempted to gain power in the Kingdom of God by cunning and ruthlessness.

The leaders of many Christian enterprises are lacking in the fruit of the Spirit. They manifest self-centeredness, guile, hatred, impatience, and a willingness to do what they will without consideration for the needs or desires of their fellow believers.

But the true Kingdom of God is gained and held by faith and trust in God, by obedience to Christ, by patient forbearance in the face of provocation and perversity, by a willingness to deny ourselves and take up the cross of delayed gratification and unpleasant tasks, by following the "rules of the game." One of the rules of the game is kindness and gentleness with other people.

A champion athlete might throw the javelin past all previous records, but if he stepped one inch over the line his accomplishment would not be entered in the record book.

It is the same way in the Kingdom of God. We might win ten thousand souls into the Kingdom and work mighty miracles in the name of Christ. But if we abuse our fellow workers, or break God’s rules in some other manner, accomplishing our success by lying, robbing, forcing people and situations, then we will not be rewarded in the Day of Christ.

God is preparing eternal servants. If we have accomplished much in the Kingdom, but there is not much of the Kingdom in us, then we disqualify ourselves from receiving the rewards of the Kingdom. God is more interested in the character of His servants than He is in what they are able to accomplish for Him. There will be grievous scenes in the Day of Christ when the workers of the Kingdom are made manifest before the Judgment Seat.

Repentance and belief

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:14,15)

The Gospel of the Kingdom requires repentance and belief. In order to enter the Kingdom of God we must turn away from the spirit and works of the present world and center our belief and trust on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not enough to accept Christ "by faith." We must repent of our worldly ways.

If we do not turn away from the spirit and ways of the world it is obvious we do not possess saving faith in Christ.

A gospel too frightened of the opinions of people to declare the need for repentance is not the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

The Apostles of the Lamb did not preach in the streets, "Believe in our doctrine, make a profession of faith, and you will go to Paradise." They proclaimed repentance. 

Whereon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance [appropriate to repentance]. (Acts 26:19,20)

"They should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance." "Do works"!

We must believe in Jesus and be baptized in water. We must also repent, turning away from the spirit and deeds of the present age. We must separate ourselves unto Christ. We must "do works " that demonstrate genuine repentance. If we do not we are not a true Christian.

The churches of today are filled with worldly believers because the ministry is not emphasizing the necessity for disciplined, continual repentance, for continually washing our spiritual robes through confession and repentance, making them sparkling white in the blood of the Lamb.

How did Paul present the Christian faith to the worldly Felix? 

And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 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 24:24,25)

Felix sent for Paul after that, hoping that Paul would bribe him in order to gain his release. How many people waste our time, hoping to get something out of us? They do not want Christ. Like Felix, they are hoping for some kind of advantage for themselves.

Paul did not present a simple pattern of "getting saved" whereby Felix could raise his hand, receive Christ, continue serving his own gods for the rest of his days, and then die and go to the spirit Paradise.

Paul reasoned with Felix concerning the Kingdom of God, concerning righteous conduct, the necessary exercise of self-control, the soon coming of the Day of Judgment (apparently a favorite topic of Paul’s—Acts 17:31). Paul reasoned until the worshiper of money trembled.

God’s ministers of today ought to reason with people concerning the Kingdom of God until they tremble, repent, and place their faith in Christ for salvation in the Day of the Lord, the day of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

If an individual believes in Christ but does not repent, his "belief" is of no avail. What if the Israelites in Egypt had believed in the Passover, had roasted and eaten the lambs, and then had not made their exodus from Egypt? What good would have been accomplished? They never would have entered the land of promise. Neither will a "believer" who does not repent enter the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is hidden. 

And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. (Mark 4:11,12)

The Kingdom of God is a mystery. God keeps the Kingdom hidden from all except those to whom He desires to give the Kingdom. Foreknowledge and election are involved here as well as the diligence with which we apply ourselves to seeking the Lord.

Christ spoke to the multitudes in parables so they would not be able to understand His message. Had He explained the parables to them they might have been converted, receiving the forgiveness of their sins.

The concept of God deliberately preventing the conversion of people is foreign to our thinking. This is because we have been busily attempting to build the Kingdom of Heaven according to our own enthusiasms, sentiments, and fleshly reasoning. Also, the spirit of humanism has entered the Christian churches to such an extent any doctrine that appears to be not in the best interests of people is rejected at once. How little we know the Lord!

The Kingdom is the Lord’s, not ours. God does things in His own way, not in ours. He is the Potter, we are the clay—and rebellious clay at that!

The mystery of the Kingdom is revealed only to those who ask, seek, and knock. To the overcomer is given access to the tree of life, and the hidden manna for his daily strength. To those who have shall be given. To those who have not shall be taken away even that which they possess.

We must obey the commandments of God if we desire to enter through the gates into the holy city and partake of the Tree of Life. 

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)

He who overcomes inherits all things. He comes to know God as his Father. But the mystery of the Kingdom remains a parable to those who do not make seeking the Kingdom the first business of their life.

Jesus speaks in parables in order to conceal His meaning, in order to hide the path of life from the curious. Then He explains the mystery to those who have been chosen by Divine election and who respond with intense, consistent, diligent seeking of the Presence and ways of God.

The Word of the Kingdom grows in us. 

And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. (Mark 4:26-29)

The Word of the Kingdom is living Seed. It is of the Substance of God. We do not understand how it grows; what is transpiring in our personality. But God carefully watches the seedling.

When the Kingdom has attained the maturity that God desires for a particular individual, God may take him or her from the earth. If a person is doing the will of Christ, and God takes him or her to Paradise, no tragedy has occurred. God will bless and help the survivors if they turn to Him for strength and peace.

Someone has said that God plucks the ripe, not necessarily the old. How true! Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (Psalms 116:15).

The supreme importance of the Kingdom. 

And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: (Mark 9:47)

It often happens that an individual will decide to seek the Kingdom of God, and then an obstacle arises. A person, thing, or circumstance begins to turn aside the seeker and weaken his or her determination to enter the Kingdom. Such a distraction can produce a crisis in the life of the believer. The choice he makes may determine his joy or remorse for eternity.

It is so important that we place seeking the Kingdom first in our life that we are exhorted to cut off our foot or pluck out our eye, if need be, rather than to turn aside from seeking the Kingdom of God.

This advice was not given by some fanatic, it was given by the Person who created the foot and the eye. He is not joking. He is pointing out that seeking the Kingdom of God is not some pleasant choice we can make if we feel like it. His counsel here cuts to the bone our lazy indifference concerning seeking the Kingdom.

We are not exhorting people to cut off their foot or pluck out their eye. We are exhorting them to make seeking the Kingdom of God the first order of business of their life.

The Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. 

And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. (Mark 11:9,10)

Somehow the multitudes of Israel knew that Jesus is the King of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom spoken of by the Prophets. We catch a little glimpse here of the hour of glory that yet is ahead of us when Christ, surrounded by His "mighty men of valor," is crowned King on the Throne of David in Jerusalem.

As we have stated previously, the coronation of Christ was not possible two thousand years ago because the spiritual life of the Kingdom, the inner aspect of the Kingdom, had not been formed in the members of the Body of Christ, in the nobility of the Kingdom, in the saints. "King Saul" still was reigning in the personalities of Christ’s followers. We know this to be true because the Apostles of the Lamb were arguing among themselves concerning who would be greatest in the Kingdom.

Christ’s warrior-kings must have the Kingdom in them before they can work with Christ in establishing the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth. Christ must be reigning supreme in their personality.

The entrance of Christ into Jerusalem is a glorious preview of the Day of days just over the horizon.

The first two laws of the Kingdom. 

And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question. (Mark 12:32-34)

Relationships are the most important element of the Kingdom of God. There is no other aspect of the Kingdom that approaches relationships in importance. This is why love is greater than faith and hope. Love is the supreme relationship of the Kingdom.

To love God with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves, are the first two laws of the Kingdom of God. He who dwells in love dwells in God and God in him. He who does not abide in love does not know God, for God is love.

We humans, even as Christians, spend our lives playing with the material toys of the world. Some of us learn early, and some late in life, that the things we hold so dear are no more than toys. The truly valuable and precious possessions are our relationship with God and our relationships with people.

No matter what we may accomplish in the world, whether it be in the realm of wealth, or fame, or power, it is of comparatively little value. We came into the world poor, unknown, and weak. We will return to God poor and weak. Whether the memory of our name is cursed or blessed depends on how we treated God and people.

People associate Heaven with mansions, gold, silver, jewels. What foolishness! The real treasure in Heaven is our relationship with Christ, the renewing of former acquaintances, and the gaining of new friends. What good would gold and diamonds be if there were no Christ and no people in Paradise?

It is a mark of maturity when we come to realize that the Kingdom of God and the significance of life on the earth do not consist of the abundance of things we possess. It is relationships that are supremely important. We shall understand this when we are on our deathbed.

Water baptism. 

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)

It appears that today in some places water baptism is viewed as having minor importance. This ought not to be the case. Water baptism announces our release from the kingdom of Satan and our acceptance into the authority of the Kingdom of God. 

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (Colossians 1:13)

The Red Sea is a type of the water of baptism. We pass through the Red Sea and emerge at the beginning of the wilderness, the school of the Kingdom of God—the school whose curriculum is Christ and whose Teacher is the Holy Spirit.

Satan, the king of the kingdom of darkness, attempts to come after us but he cannot pass through the water of baptism. We now are free from the authority of Satan and are under the authority of the Lord God of Heaven.

The message of the Kingdom of God is repent, believe in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and be baptized in water. There will be no change in this message until Christ returns from Heaven.

The reason people do not repent in these days is that they are not baptized in water with an understanding of what is taking place, of what they are signifying by allowing themselves to be put under the water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They do not wash away their sins, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16).

Water baptism is not an initiation into a local assembly of Christians or into a denomination. We are not baptized into a church. Rather, baptism portrays our passing from the kingdom of Satan into the Kingdom of God. It is our identification with Christ on the cross and our identification with Christ in His triumphant resurrection.

Water baptism should take place as soon as possible after the individual has placed his faith in Christ as Savior and Lord and has repented of his sins.

The Kingdom of God is one kingdom. 

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)

Many teach there are two separate kingdoms: the Christian Church that is destined to abide forever in Heaven, and the physical nation of Israel.

Splitting the one Kingdom is totally unscriptural. From our point of view the concept that the Gentile Christians will be caught up to live forever in the spirit Paradise works against the growth in righteousness and holiness of the believers. Those who view themselves as destined to live forever in a mansion in Heaven have almost no concept of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth and therefore do not see the purpose for their coming to maturity in the image of the Lord Jesus. It is life on the earth, not life in the spirit Paradise, that requires spiritual maturity on our part, or so it seems to us in the present hour.

Some who advocate the "two kingdoms" point of view go so far as to state that the Christian Church is not mentioned in the Old Testament; that the Christian Church is a special "dispensation" during which the eternal moral law of God is suspended for believing Gentiles, their conduct being overlooked by the Lord. When the full number of Gentiles has come into the faith (this error maintains) and has been removed from the earth to the spiritual kingdom in Heaven, God will resume His work with the natural kingdom of Jews on the earth.

Enough has been said thus far in our book for the inquirer to see the total impossibility of two separate kingdoms. If there are two separate kingdoms, which kingdom were John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus preaching?

A careful examination of Acts 28:23 (above) completely uproots the foundation of the two-kingdom doctrine:

There is no question that Paul is addressing Jews.

There is no question that Paul is expounding and testifying concerning the Kingdom of God, not the "kingdoms" of God.

There is no question that Paul is preaching the one Kingdom of God, and Christ, from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets of Israel.

Now then, which kingdom is Paul expounding, the heavenly kingdom or the earthly kingdom? If the heavenly, how, then, can he employ the Law of Moses and the prophecies of the Prophets of Israel? If the earthly, why is Paul preaching to the Jews salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, the same message he announced to the Gentiles?

There is no indication in the Book of Acts or in the Epistles, that the Apostle Paul preached one kingdom to the Gentiles and another kingdom to the Jews. We must conclude, therefore, that Paul, in Acts 28:23 is preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God—the same Kingdom we are describing in this present book.

The Hebrew Prophets spoke, as we pointed out earlier, of the coming of the government of God to the earth, and of Christ who will bear the government on His shoulder. It was these passages, no doubt, that Paul was employing in order to convince the Jews concerning the Kingdom of God and Christ. Also, Paul would have been emphasizing the fifty-third chapter of the Book of Isaiah.

There only is one Kingdom of God, and it has come down to us from Heaven above. We must be born again in order to see it and to enter it.

We must be born again. 

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:3,5,6)

Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, wanted to learn about the Kingdom of God. He began a conversation with the Lord, hoping after some polite conversation to get around to the subject that was on his heart. But Jesus, as He always does, having no time to waste and no need to be guileful, got right to the point: "You must be born again if you would see and enter the Kingdom."

How often we waste time attempting to persuade people or to refute heresy! The Kingdom of God is not in word. A human being must be born again. Once he is born again he needs no more discussion. But until he is born again, no amount of argument can enable him to see or enter the Kingdom of God.

Every member of the Kingdom of God must be born twice: he must be born of woman and he must be born of the Spirit of God. The Kingdom of God is the eternal union of the human being and the Life of God—that Life that Christ is.

God the Father proclaimed to the eternal Word: "This day have I begotten You." Emphasizing "this day" is interesting because the eternal Word exists from eternity.

When God the Father said, "this day," perhaps He was referring to the day when the Lord Jesus was born of Mary. The Lord Jesus, the eternal Life of God, was born of a virgin, was baptized in water by John, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead. Now He is very God of very God and very Man of very man. He is the Beginning and eternal Source of the new creation of God, the Kingdom of God.

No angel ever was born of a woman, baptized in water, filled with the Holy Spirit, or raised from the dead. Neither was Christ ever born in any angel, nor does He dwell in any angel. Angels are sent by the Father to minister to those who indeed are the heirs of the Kingdom of God.

In order to enter the Kingdom of God we must have been born into the race of mankind. Then we must believe in Jesus, be baptized in water, and be born again of the Spirit of God. We shall be revealed fully as sons of God when we are raised from the dead.

The Kingdom of God is not a theological position, a creed, a set of beliefs. The Kingdom of God is the germinating, growing, and coming to maturity of the Divine Seed that has been planted in us by the Spirit. It is the entrance of the Life and Substance of God into our whole personality. When the Seed grows to maturity there exists a tree of life from which all the creatures of God can draw nourishment and healing.

We are being created life-giving spirits (I Corinthians 15:45).

The Kingdom of God is not of the present world system. 

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36)

We are not to make the churches a culture in competition with the culture of the world or antagonistic to the world. The Kingdom of God is not of the present world. How far we should go in attempting to impose our will on the world system is not clear. God will not always honor our attempts to force the world to conform to our moral values.

We are in the world but not of it. The present world system is not the Kingdom of God nor can it ever become molded into the Kingdom of God. The reason is, the world has the wrong inner spirit. Satan is the spirit who governs the material forms of the world system.

Our God-given role is to bear witness to the peoples of the nations of the earth concerning the Kingdom of God, baptizing them, making disciples of them, and teaching them to observe all the Lord Jesus has commanded us.

We never are to coerce the nations by force or politically. We are to bear witness to the nations, baptizing all who believe, bringing them under the discipline of the Word of Christ. We are to do this, not by the power and wisdom of man but by the Holy Spirit—always by the Holy Spirit. The powerful state churches destroy the true work of God because they attempt to force the citizens of the state to conform to their ecclesiastical institutions and beliefs.

Although we are not at this time to attempt to force our values on the world, the earth eventually will be ruled by the sons of God and given to the meek. We notice that at the end of the age "the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just" (Matthew 13:49). It appears that the separation is not between those who believe in Jesus and those who do not believe in Jesus but between the wicked and the righteous. This always is true in the day of judgment, although our Christian traditions teach that the division is between those who believe Christian doctrine and those who do not believe Christian doctrine.

In the day of judgment it is the wicked who will be removed from the earth. The righteous will remain in the earth to receive their inheritance. This is what the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, teach clearly and consistently.

The wicked do not prosper for very long. If we will remain meek, bringing our needs and desires to God in prayer, God will control the things of the world so we can make a success of our pilgrimage. But it is impossible for us to reform the world because the world has the wrong spirit.

Water baptism announces our death to the present world system and our birth into the Kingdom of God. It is the will of Christ that the citizens of every nation on the earth be baptized in water, announcing their death to the present world system and their birth into the Kingdom of God. Then the believers are to adhere to the laws of the Kingdom. The nation or individual that does this will be saved in the Day of Christ.

When the Lord Jesus returns, the governing spirit will change. Satan will be hurled into the pit that has no bottom. The conquering saints will go forth throughout their earth, bringing the Life of God to every person who is willing to receive it (Ezekiel 47:9).

When the Lord returns, the Kingdom of God will be installed on the earth by the force of the Spirit of God. When that moment comes, Christ will be crowned King. The kingdoms of the world will become the possession of God and His Christ. But in the meantime, before Jesus returns, we Christians are to attend to proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and to the work of the Holy Spirit as He builds up the spiritual life of the Body of Christ. 

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:9,10)

"We shall reign on the earth"!

The poor in spirit. 

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)

The Sermon on the Mount announces the laws of the Kingdom of God. Giving the Kingdom of Heaven to the poor in spirit is in accordance with the nature of these laws. It is not true that we can successfully employ trickery, violence, and other worldly tactics in order to gain status in the Kingdom. Those who use these means to make a success in the church world often enjoy fame and wealth. They are regarded highly by their fellow believers.

But they are naked and blind as far as the Kingdom of Heaven is concerned. The Kingdom always is given to the lowly in spirit, to those who mourn over the ungodliness in the land, to those who are not arrogant, not rich in their own ways, to those who are humble and teachable. The lowly of the earth may be stepped on and crushed in the world, and sometimes in the churches. But if they are rich in faith toward God they will inherit the world to come.

Truly, until we are willing to humble ourselves as little children it is not possible for us to enter the Kingdom of God. The violent cannot defy God’s way of love and then seize the Kingdom by force and guile.

Persecution for righteousness’ sake. 

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

There is nothing that God loves more than to see one of His children attempting to keep His righteous ways in the earth. There is nothing that God abominates more than to have some wicked individual seek to deceive or harm the person who meekly and in the fear of God and Christ is attempting to practice righteousness. Truly, a man would be better off drowning himself in the ocean than to harm someone who for the love of God is attempting to give glory to Him by behaving in a righteous manner.

We are to leap for joy when we are harmed because of our stand for Christ and His righteousness. Our reward is great in Heaven. But woe to those who seek to hurt the little ones of the Kingdom! It would be better for them had they never been born.

Healing the sick. 

And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:2)

Healing the sick is a principal witness of the Kingdom of God. Healing the sick accompanies the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Supernatural healing is a tangible evidence that the power of God is present. It is said that talk is cheap. This is true. The Kingdom of God is not in talk but in power. If God truly is with us, and we are preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, then all manner of sickness and disease will be cast out of people.

Both sin and sickness have their ultimate source in Satan. The Gospel of Christ brings the Life of God against the works of Satan, setting the prisoners free. Healing for the body is available wherever people are receiving the Gospel of the Kingdom.

When discussing the keys of the Kingdom we mentioned that the power God gives to us is for a witness, for a sign. Christ is not in the business of emptying the hospitals or otherwise removing the curse from the earth.

When Joshua and Caleb, the two faithful witnesses of their day, returned from Canaan they brought a sample of the grapes of Canaan with them. The Scriptures do not discuss who ate the grapes the witnesses brought back because eating the grapes was not of Kingdom significance. The purpose of the grapes was to spur the people forward in faith so they might possess the land God had given to them.

Alas! They looked at the giants rather than at the grapes.

Healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead are "grapes of Canaan." These supernatural actions, while they indeed are a blessing to the recipients of God’s goodness (as no doubt some people enjoyed the grapes brought back by the spies), are not the end of our quest. Their purpose is to inspire us to struggle forward in faith and hope so we may enter the spiritual inheritance that God has given to His sons.

We should not be considering the "giants" but the "grapes." Yet, not the grapes for their own sake but because they are a visible evidence of what lies ahead for the faithful pilgrim.

The Kingdom of God is the performing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven. It is God’s will that the sick be healed, the demons cast out, the dead raised. It was so when Jesus of Nazareth ministered on the earth. It is so today. It always is so when Jesus is in town.

When these supernatural works of deliverance take place today they are a witness of the Kingdom that is coming to the earth.

But before deliverance, before peace, before joy, comes the all-important righteousness. Righteousness takes precedence over deliverance. Righteousness is more important in the Kingdom of God than health, peace, or joy.

When we preach the Kingdom of God we are preaching righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Of these three, righteousness is first in importance. Righteousness is practicing God’s will, God’s rule, God’s law, in relationships. Righteousness is practiced in Heaven. Righteousness is to be practiced in the earth. This is the Kingdom of God.

We are not called to heal or deliver people. We are called to bear witness concerning the coming of righteousness, peace, and joy into the earth. In order to bear a true witness of the Kingdom of God our own personality must demonstrate the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Spirit of God. If it does not we are not a Kingdom witness.

Healing, deliverance, raising the dead, are of value only as they support the practice of righteousness and faith in Christ. Healing and deliverance are not ends in themselves, they are part of the witness of God’s Kingdom and righteousness.

Healing and deliverance have not been given merely to make people feel better but to lead them toward a fuller relationship with God through Jesus.

Sometimes healing and deliverance support repentance and faith toward God. On other occasions they result only in the restoration of the individual’s ability to practice rebellion against God. In the latter instance the person is better off remaining sick until such time as he or she turns toward the Lord Jesus.

In one case healing and deliverance will result in the will of God being performed, while in another case affliction will result in the will of God being performed. The criterion is not how people feel or what they desire. The criterion of the Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven.

The best human condition is spiritual and bodily righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, including bodily health. But God is our Father, and if He determines we must be chastened in order to partake of His holiness, then that is what will take place. No saint is called to deliver the son who is being afflicted until the need for the affliction has been concluded.

Healing, deliverance, and raising the dead are the Divine witnesses of the glory of the coming Kingdom of God. They are essential to the Kingdom witness. Also, it is God’s will that His people be healed of their sicknesses. He will heal the godly when they press forward in faith, doubting nothing. 

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)

We can see, in the above passage, the will of God for the saints. God desires we be holy and perfect in our spirit, in our soul, and in our body. This is the promise of Scripture.

Moral deliverance, that is, the casting out of spirits of lust, murder, covetousness, drunkenness, profanity, and so forth, come under a category different from bodily healing and deliverance. Bodily healing and deliverance are temporary, being signs that point toward the day when our body is raised from the dead in the fullness of righteousness and glory.

Moral deliverance, however, is not a sign. It is a work of eternal judgment. It is part of the redemption of the personality. If the believer confesses his sins and repents of them, and is washed in the blood of the Lamb of God, then the guilt, and the spirit of sin itself, will be removed. This is, as we have said, a work of eternal judgment on the spirit of uncleanness. 

Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:2)

"The doctrine of . . . eternal judgment."

If the believer then presses forward in Christ, the area of the personality formerly given over to Satan begins to be transformed in Christ. It is an eternal judgment. Its effects are eternal. Satan is cast out of the believer and remains under Divine judgment. The believer is redeemed from the hand of the enemy.

Bodily healing, on the other hand, is the patching up of what will be re-created completely as soon as the inner personality is prepared for the redemption of the body at the coming of the Lord.

More important than family ties. 

Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:60)

We Christians have the responsibility for taking care of our loved ones. We are not to "hide ourselves from our own flesh" (Isaiah 58:7). However we need God’s guidance in this because an unsaved loved one, taking advantage of our piety and our tender conscience, may choose to make himself or herself a burden on a Christian family, accusing the family of not being Christians if they do not load themselves down with his or her problems—problems that have arisen because of ungodly living.

The Kingdom of God is of such supreme importance that those who have wives are to be "as though they had none" (I Corinthians 7:29). We are to place the Lord Jesus Christ above father, above mother, above wife, above children, above brothers, above sisters, and above our own life as well.

We are not to neglect our families. The father or mother who neglects his or her children, the husband who neglects his wife, the wife who neglects her husband because of a misplaced zeal for "doing the Lord’s work" will reap the destruction he or she is sowing. God is not in it. God blesses us when we take care of our responsibilities diligently and thoroughly.

But when our family is insisting we do not follow the Lord Jesus Christ, it is time to seek the wisdom of God. 

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)

Our true fathers, and mothers, and brothers, and sisters are those who do the will of the Father in Heaven (Matthew 12:50). If we do not love Christ more than our wife or husband, more than our father and mother, more than our sons and daughters, we are not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37).

Only the Holy Spirit of God can give us God’s wisdom concerning our relationships with our non-Christian relatives and friends.

Perseverance. 

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)

There are many traits that work together to produce the victorious Christian. There are various components are included in a true, saving faith. None of these traits and components is more important than perseverance.

The saint who reaches the goal is the one who keeps on going forward. Many who are more intelligent, more knowledgeable, more talented, fall by the way during the course of life on the earth. But the believer who keeps on going, keeps on plodding along in Christ, is the one who gains the everlasting prize.

The Book of Hebrews emphasizes continuing to the end of the race: 

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:14)

It is the one who endures to the end who will be saved.

There are many points of crisis during our pilgrimage. But no matter how black the night may appear to be, daylight will come in the morning if we do not lose our confidence in Christ. No matter how severe the testing, God always remembers to make a way of escape so we are enabled to survive the pressure.

There are moments when we are certain we cannot endure any longer. Those are the seasons when great things are wrought in us if we do not quit, do not surrender in despair.

The victorious Christian life is not an easy route to follow. It will test the courage and fortitude of the most determined and faithful individual. "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him" (James 1:12).

A witness to all nations. 

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)

The Gospel of the Kingdom is a witness. It is our point of view that the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11 will preach the Gospel of the Kingdom with power and authority never before entrusted to people. They will be given the fourfold key of the Kingdom of God, the key of David. This is the latter-rain witness of the Kingdom of God, the last great testimony before the Kingdom of God enters the earth.

The nations must have a witness before the Lord returns. They must have the opportunity to behold the power of the Kingdom as well as to hear about the Kingdom in words. A new King is coming. The nations will be required to turn over their governments to Him. The wicked and rebellious will be punished. People must understand this so they can choose whether or not to receive God’s Ruler.

It is time now, as we understand it, for the saints to go forth to every nation under the heavens, casting out devils, healing the sick, raising the dead, and announcing the imminent appearing from Heaven of the Kingdom of God. 

And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. (Luke 10:8-11)

Whoever repents, believes, and is baptized will be saved when the King comes. But whoever refuses and resists God’s Kingdom will be destroyed when the King comes.

The nations will be saved or lost depending on how they treated the Lord’s witnesses, His brothers (Matthew 25:31-46).

Are you willing to forsake your personal goals in order that the Gospel of the Kingdom may be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations? Great rewards will be given to those who assist the King in His hour of need—which is today.

But those who choose to waste their time and strength on the pursuit of other goals will be dealt with accordingly by the King when He appears.

The elect who reject Christ. 

When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: (Luke 13:25)

There is a terrible finality associated with eternal things. God is so loving, so patient, so unwilling that any should perish. But there shall come a day when the opportunity for peace and glory has come to an end. The above passage contains dreadful words. 

Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. (Luke 13:26)

Becoming overly familiar with God is a temptation when one is a member of God’s family. The untimely end of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1,2) and the sudden death of Uzzah (II Samuel 6:6,7) teach us that familiarity with God’s house as a member of God’s family does not exempt us from the necessity for following God with a pure heart nor from rendering to Him the homage due the mighty Emperor of the universe.

"How can You shut the door in our face, Lord? We have known You all our lives. Our families are Jewish (or Christian). We always talk about You. We know Your anointing."

The Kingdom of God is a serious matter. It is no joke to be shut away from God’s Presence for five minutes let alone for eternity. But God will not be mocked. 

But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. (Luke 13:27)

How often we grow careless. We begin to imagine that the Holy One of Israel is accepting our transgressions because we are "in the family"; we have an "in" with God. How many pastors and evangelists have committed adultery with the wives of the members of the congregation because they were deceived by the warm social environment of an assembly of Christians, thinking that somehow their immorality was acceptable behavior in the Kingdom.

What a shock they experience when Satan decides it is time to bring their behavior to the light! They come crashing back into reality, their testimony destroyed, their family ruined, their reputation stained, perhaps irreparably.

God will forgive them if they repent, but their prized relationships may never recover. They have brought on themselves years of abject misery.

We are not speaking, of course, of the truly wicked, for they continue to do the same things again and again. Rather, it is the conscientious believer who falls through deception who suffers such anguish.

God judges sin whether it is committed by a Jew, a Christian, a Hindu, or an atheist. Sin is sin and it shall be judged. The possession of the Word of God is not enough; we must practice what the Word teaches. Many Christians discover to their dismay that God judges sin whether committed by a believer or an unbeliever. There are numerous believers today reading their Bible in prisons and jails.

All workers of iniquity, unless they truly repent and bring forth the fruits of genuine repentance, shall be cast into the Lake of Fire. This is what the Scriptures teach. This is as true for the Christian as it is for the atheist.

Becoming a Christian is the Divine opportunity for repentance, not a means of evading the laws of the Kingdom of God. 

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. (Luke 13:28)

One can imagine the sights and sounds of the Day of Christ. People who were certain that God is so "loving" He never could punish them will see with their eyes the patriarchs and the prophets dwelling in indescribable glory; but when they attempt to join those blessed ranks the holy angels will thrust them away from Christ’s Presence.

This will be particularly tragic for the Jews because they expect to enter among their righteous ancestors on the basis of their race. But it will not be so. They too must repent and believe in Christ.

Tribulation and anguish will fall upon every person who practices wickedness, on the Jew first and also on the Gentile (Romans 2:9). God is no respecter of person, and those who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law (Romans 2:12).

The screaming, moaning, and shrieks of terror in that Day will give us something to think about for a long time to come.

There is only the one Kingdom of God. The patriarchs and the prophets of Israel are members of it. So are the apostles and saints of the new covenant. 

And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. (Luke 13:29)

The Kingdom of God is in us now as the Life of God is formed in our heart. But in that Day the Kingdom will be visible and tangible such that people can go and sit down in it. 

And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. (Luke 13:30)

The day in which we are living is close to the midnight hour. Those who desire the treasures of Heaven have the opportunity to press into glory that few in time past have been privileged to experience. There have been mighty heroes of faith in days gone by and there will be mighty heroes of faith in our own day. In fact, many who come in at the end will be first in the Kingdom.

Pressing into the Kingdom. 

The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. (Luke 16:16)

The Kingdom of God is available today for whoever cares enough to press into it. There are many adversaries: the lusts of our flesh, the world, Satan, sometimes our friends and relatives, our own pride and self-seeking. The Kingdom of God may be easier to enter during some future age but now it is an uphill struggle all the way.

The woman who was healed of the issue of blood is a good example of pressing into the Kingdom of God (Luke 8:43,44). No doubt she had many good reasons for not making a public spectacle of herself. But her misery was such she decided to press through the throng that surrounded Jesus of Nazareth.

There always are a number of excellent reasons for not pressing into the Kingdom. But no reason is good enough even though we term it good enough. If we, however, desire the Kingdom of God above all else, and begin to ask and seek and knock without ceasing, we will receive; we will find; it shall be opened to us. All things are possible to whoever believes God.

How much does the Kingdom of God mean to you? Everything? If so, you will give your life in order to gain it. You will press into it although there is vicious opposition; although there are many powerful and cunning forces that are determined you shall not have it. Crowns and thrones are not gained easily.

You can have what you want if you care enough to go after it. But you will have to forget everything else, including your past (whether glorious or dishonorable), and set out after the prize.

Not less righteous but more righteous. 

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)

In many instances the grace of God under the new covenant is presented as though it is not necessary for the believers in Christ to keep the laws of righteousness. The assumption is that the Israelites were bound to live a moral life, but now that grace has come it no longer is necessary for us to be much concerned about our conduct.

This dreadful error has come about because of a misunderstanding of Paul’s doctrine in the early chapters of the Book of Romans. (Paul talks much about righteous conduct in other passages!)

It is not God’s intention that the new covenant produce people who are less righteous and holy in behavior than was true under the old covenant. If such were the case the new covenant would be inferior to the old, for God’s objective is not people whose sins are forgiven but people who are "oaks of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:3).

There were many distinguished Israelites, as described in the Scriptures, who walked in all the ordinances of the Law of Moses. The mother and father of John the Baptist were godly people, according to the Scriptures. Moses, Ezra, Daniel, and Samuel are illustrious examples of godly behavior under the Law.

No doubt there were many thousands of Israelites who were righteous in their moral behavior. The same is true today of numerous Jews and Gentiles who are striving to live righteously according to their conscience.

But the individual who truly is a member of the Kingdom of God lives a more righteous life than does any Jew or Gentile who has not been born again.

The member of the Kingdom of God has Christ dwelling in him and the power and wisdom of the Spirit of God assisting him. He not only has the forgiveness of Calvary to rid his conscience of the guilt of sin, but in addition he possesses the body and blood of the Lamb in him as a fountain of virtue.

He has the gifts and ministries of the Body of Christ to build him up in the faith and the writings of the Apostles in the New Testament and the example of their lives to guide him. All these dimensions of Divine grace work together to cause him to become righteous and holy in personality and behavior.

The devout Israelites strove to keep the Ten Commandments. But God is writing the Divine law in our hearts and minds by His Holy Spirit (Hebrews 8:10-12). We have God’s Presence dwelling eternally in us, a condition that was not true of any human being before Christ rose from the dead and poured the Holy Spirit on the waiting disciples.

Indeed, in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven our righteousness, holiness, and obedience of behavior must exceed that of the most conscientious of the scribes and the Pharisees.

Those who practice righteousness, and teach others to practice righteousness, are considered to be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. They will shine as the stars forever. God desires that righteousness be practiced in the earth, that His will be done in the earth. Doing His will in the earth is the Kingdom of God.

How to enter the Kingdom. 

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)

The Kingdom of God is the doing of the will of the Father who is in Heaven. We do not enter the Kingdom by referring to Jesus as Lord, by prophesying in His name, by casting out devils and doing many wonderful works in His name. We may think that the Lord Jesus can be flattered; that if we keep on speaking of how righteous and wonderful He is, God will accept us on that basis.

But not so! If we continue to practice our sins we cannot enter the Kingdom of God because sin is not permitted in the Kingdom. Sin cannot pass through the gates of the new Jerusalem although we cry Lord Jesus! Lord Jesus!

Diligence. 

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. (Matthew 25:14)

The parable of the talents illustrates the value that the Lord places on diligence. Diligence is the opposite of carelessness and laziness.

God has entrusted each Christian with some Kingdom "money." Every member of the Body of Christ has been given one or more abilities from the Holy Spirit. Some believers spend their entire lives identifying and cultivating the will of God for themselves. Other believers are careless and lazy—quite disinterested in the work of the Kingdom.

The lazy and disinterested never find the will of God throughout their entire lifetimes. Some of them are waiting for God to "speak" to them before they take the trouble to exercise diligence in the things of the Spirit. They may be vigorous and ambitious in other matters but they do not spend their "money" in the Kingdom marketplace.

The parable of the talents teaches us that the believers who practice diligence in the use of their Kingdom "money" will experience, in the Day of Christ, the favor of a grateful Monarch.

But those who have been lazy and disinterested will be stripped of the Kingdom and cast into outer darkness. Their abilities will be taken from them and given to those who have been diligent. The diligent will have abundance while the lazy will be destitute of everything of value. So high a premium does the Lord Jesus place on diligence!

The rulers are servants. 

But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. (Luke 22:26)

And again: 

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:4)

The disciples of Jesus were arguing among themselves concerning who would be the most important, the most powerful person in the Kingdom of God. They still were unconverted. When there is strife among us today concerning who will have the first place, who will receive the highest honor, it is because we have not been converted as yet (Luke 22:32).

The Holy Spirit has to work with some of us a long time before we are content to perform our ministry without being the leader and receiving recognition and approval from people. But after a while we gain understanding and realize that is a bondage to have to be regarded as important, to be lord over our brothers and sisters.

Children, as we said before, enter the Kingdom readily because they are lighthearted, carefree, cheerful. Little children are humble. When we grow older we become proud, full of guile, suspicious, determined to seek our own advantage at the expense of other people.

It is a law of the Kingdom that the person possessing the more love can understand the other individual. The individual filled with more of God’s love possesses more power in the Kingdom than does the other person. How marvelous it is that God has created the Kingdom after this fashion! We always can be certain that those who rule over us in the coming Kingdom of God will have more love than we do. Even those who wield the rod of iron will do so from the vantage point of greater love.

God is love. In His Kingdom, the most powerful of the princes and lords have the humble, loving heart of a little child. They stand ready to serve. How different from present circumstances!

Forgiveness. 

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise will my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:34,35)

Forgiveness is one of the principal laws of the Kingdom of God. If we will not forgive men their trespasses our heavenly Father will not forgive our trespasses.

The victorious saints learn quickly that one of Satan’s strongest weapons is hatred, including strife, malice, gossip, and bitterness. Satan is skilled in sowing discord among brothers and sisters, a practice that is an abomination to the Lord. Satan is the accuser of the brothers. It appears there are few Christian assemblies in which one or more of the saints is not in bondage to a spirit of bitterness, who does not hold unforgiveness against another person—often another Christian.

Saints who would never commit fornication, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, use profanity, lie, or steal will succumb to hatred, to gossiping, to criticizing, to bitterness, to unforgiveness.

The believer who has malice or bitterness in his or her heart has been seriously wounded in Kingdom warfare. There is power enough in the body and blood of Christ to enable us to overcome all hatred, all bitterness, all unforgiveness.

He indeed is a strong warrior who has learned how to employ the grace and Virtue of Christ in overcoming bitterness and unforgiveness.

Every Christian who holds unforgiveness against another person is under the judgment of God. If we do not forgive other people God will not forgive us. Eventually our health may be affected. We will suffer spiritually and physically if we do not fight through to total victory in this realm.

There is no greater key to the conquering life, the life of victory in Jesus, than that of being able to obtain enough grace from Christ to enable us to forgive those who have been spiteful or perverse toward us.

The fruits of the Kingdom. 

Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God will be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. (Matthew 21:43)

Jesus was speaking to the chief priests and the Pharisees. They represent all of us who become overconfident in the Kingdom and do not faithfully perform our duties. We begin to think that God has become so obligated to us He will never punish us for our carelessness.

The fruit of the Kingdom of God is righteousness and praise in the earth: 

. . . so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11)

Here is the goal. The workings of God are for the purpose of bringing forth righteousness and praise in the personalities of God’s saints to the extent that the peoples of the earth see these good works and glorify God. Righteousness and praise are the precious fruit of the earth. God has sent the early and the latter rain so He may obtain righteousness and praise in the earth (James 5:7). 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

God will bless and strengthen any individual or any nation bringing forth righteous conduct among people and the fear and worship of God. These are the virtues the Lord is seeking.

But if an individual or a nation is not bringing forth righteous conduct and the fear and worship of God, then God will remove His blessing from that person or nation. God does not lift His blessing all at once. God is patient and sends guidance and reproof so repentance may take place.

If the individual or nation ignores the messengers of the Lord, choosing to continue in lawlessness and in casting aside the Lord’s restraints, then the Kingdom is taken from the person or nation and given to other people who will cultivate righteous behavior and the fear and worship of the Lord.

We must respond! 

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. (Matthew 22:2,3)

The Gospel call of the Kingdom of God is delivered in love and mercy. It is incredible that God in Christ would reach down in this manner to sinners. His intention is to lift us up to His likeness and His stupendous Glory. We not only cannot earn such treasure, we scarcely can believe in it.

It is as though we are sitting one day in our mud hovel and the trumpeters from the King’s palace come and sound a fanfare in front of our dwelling. A purple rug is laid out. A liveried messenger descends the steps of a silver chariot, approaches our door, and calls out our name. We have been summoned to the palace to live as one of the King’s sons.

Can you imagine such a wonder? Yet this is exactly what takes place when the Gospel call comes to us, only on a much higher level. Who would be so foolish as to wander about in the midst of his squalor, considering whether or not to return to the palace in the gleaming chariot?

When we hesitate after hearing the Gospel of the Kingdom, trying to decide whether to receive Christ as Lord and become a son of God or else to continue in our own way, we are as a peasant who cannot decide between the offer of adoption by the King or our mud hut, goat, and chickens.

Christ is the most powerful of all emperors. When we keep on setting aside the royal summons we provoke His anger. He has not given us a choice. He insists that we come when we are commanded. How shall we escape if we neglect the Divine invitation? We shall not escape. We shall be dealt with severely because the summons comes from the King of the realm, not from someone of lesser authority.

Proper clothing. 

And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 22:12,13)

One must be dressed properly for a wedding. We have stressed previously the critical importance of righteous behavior in the Kingdom of God. The wedding garment of the Kingdom is righteous, holy, and obedient conduct. Apart from such godly behavior we are naked; we are not fit for the Presence of the King or for participation in the Kingdom of God. 

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Revelation 3:4,5)

"Clothed in white raiment."

And again: 

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous deeds] of saints. (Revelation 19:8)

"Arrayed in fine linen, clean and white."

Christ has given us of His glory: first, to forgive our sins; second, to enable us to put away our filthiness of behavior. When the Kingdom of God comes and we are not clothed in the righteous behavior that Christ imparts to us, then, according to Christ’s own words, we are in danger of being cast into outer darkness.

The Lord advises us to buy of Him "white raiment" that we may be clothed. 

I counsel thee to buy of me . . . white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;.... (Revelation 3:18)

If we do not wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb by confessing and turning away from our sins we will be a naked spirit in the Day of Christ, whether or not we are a Christian.

"That the shame of thy nakedness do not appear."

The call of the Kingdom goes forth. Multitudes are brought in. Many are called. But at the end of the age the messengers of God will carefully sort out the "guests." Those who are not worthy of the King will be thrown out. Those who are fit for the Kingdom will be permitted to share in the King’s glory. "For many are called, but few are chosen."

Not everyone will be ready. 

Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. (Matthew 25:11,12)

There were ten "virgins," ten believers in Christ. All possessed lamps, that is, all had the testimony of Christian truth. Their lamps had been burning with the oil of the Holy Spirit, as evidenced by their dismay when their lamps went out.

Five were wise and kept an abundance of oil on hand. Five were foolish and took no precautions with their oil supply.

Suddenly the bridegroom came. The wise instantly were ready and went in with the bridegroom to the marriage.

The foolish (not the wicked, but the foolish ) went to the wise for help, as no doubt they were accustomed to doing. But the delay cost them their part in the wedding ceremony.

So it is today. There is a multitude of people who have the Christian testimony (the lamp). Some are wise and diligent, being careful to walk in the Spirit of God. They remain full of the Spirit at all times, in all places, and under all circumstances.

The remainder of the believers in Christ, perhaps the majority, are not careful to walk in the Spirit. Their minds and affections are divided. They believe that Jesus is Christ but they are not being careful to keep His words. They are busy with the affairs and worries of this life. Their lamp is flickering and they have no extra oil.

Without doubt the ten virgins are representative of Christian people. Jesus did not say there were five virgins and five prostitutes. This parable is not making a distinction between the believers and the nonbelievers but between the wise Christians and the foolish Christians. They all were going forth to meet the Bridegroom, Christ, which would not be the case if five of them were people of the world.

What, then, marks the distinction between the two groups? The difference is in the amount of "oil." It is not that one group did not have faith in the blood atonement while the other group did. The difference is in the amount of oil. Oil, in the Scriptures, is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Five of the virgins were walking in the Spirit of God. Five of them were not walking in the Spirit of God. It is as simple as that.

By "walking in the Spirit of God" we do not mean they were speaking in tongues. While speaking in tongues is a valuable part of our Christian experience it is not a sign we are walking in the Spirit of God. The sign, and the only sign, that we are walking in the Spirit of God is the fruit of the Spirit. If the Spirit is dwelling in us we will show love, joy, and peace in our personality. If the Spirit is not dwelling in us we will show hatred, misery, and unrest—whether or not we are speaking in tongues!

In the Day of Christ, not all who profess belief in Christ will be permitted to go in with Him to the marriage. The point that some have raised that these virgins are not the Bride herself is, from our point of view, a misuse of the parable. The virgins are not, as we see it, to be considered apart from the Bride, the Church. This is not the emphasis of the parable. The emphasis of the parable is that some believers will be prepared for Christ’s coming and some believers will not be prepared for His coming.

The concept that there will be a secret "rapture" and all professors of belief in Christ will go to meet the Lord independently of their walk in the Spirit, independently of their "oil," is false. The concept that once we are saved we can never be removed from the Presence of the Lord is manifestly false.

It is the victorious saints who will be resurrected and then ascend from the surface of the earth when the Lord appears. This is not the resurrection to basic salvation, the resurrection that brings escape from the Lake of Fire and entrance into eternal life. Rather, the first resurrection is the participation of the overcomers in establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The argument that our belief in the efficacy of the blood of the Lamb is sufficient for our participation in the first resurrection is not appropriate. The blood of the Lamb indeed does rend the veil so our prayers come before God in the Most Holy Place in Heaven.

But nowhere does the Scripture teach we will attain to the first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of the kings and priests of the Kingdom, on the basis of the blood atonement. We attain to the first resurrection from the dead on the basis of coming to know and share in the power of Christ’s resurrection and in His sufferings. 

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)

The blood has purchased for us the right to walk in the way that leads to eternal life. Also, eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood fill our personality with eternal life—the resurrection life of the righteous. 

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)

The way to eternal life is one of pressures and tribulations. If we, through the Virtue of Christ, overcome these pressures and tribulations and continue to serve and worship God, we will enter the Kingdom of God.

If instead we are overcome by the pressures and tribulations, by the forces of darkness, then we will receive the things we have practiced in our body (II Peter 2:20; II Corinthians 5:10).

Do the Kingdom parables suggest there may be some Christians who will be dealt with severely by Christ when He appears in glory? The parable of the talents, of the diligent and lazy slaves, reveals that some of the Lord’s own servants (not the unsaved but the Lord’s "own servants"—Matthew 25:14) not only will not be resurrected into glory when He appears but indeed will be cast into outer darkness. The same is true of those who do many wonderful works in Christ’s name while at the same time practicing lawlessness.

Of the Christian ranks, the foolish, the careless, the lazy, and the workers of lawlessness will not be accepted into Christ’s Kingdom when He returns. We see, therefore, that the teaching of the "rapture" (ascension of the saints) ought to be accompanied by the sternest exhortations to righteous, holy, and obedient behavior. If it is not, the proponents of the "rapture" will be judged and dealt with as false prophets.

In the parable of the talents, the recipients of the rewards and punishments are, as we have stated, "his own servants." In the parable of the ten virgins, the subjects are "virgins" who take their lamps and go forth to meet the Bridegroom.

In the case of those who are working iniquity, the accused have prophesied in Jesus’ name, have cast out devils in Jesus’ name, and in Jesus’ name have done many wonderful works (Matthew 7:22).

Yet, they are cast into outer darkness. They are not raised from the dead and caught up to meet the Lord in the air to be forever with the Lord.

In response to this obvious teaching of the Scripture, some have suggested that these individuals never were actually saved. If this is true, how can we know who is saved and who is not saved? Do we have to wait until the Day of Christ to find if we truly are saved?

The Book of Hebrews speaks of the fiery end of some who were once enlightened, who have tasted of the heavenly gift, who were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and who have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come (Hebrews 6:4,5).

If these should fall away they stand in danger of cursing and burning (Hebrews 6:8).

A footnote of the edition of the Bible that we use, a current best seller among Christians, when commenting on Hebrews 6:4,5, states that the passage is not referring to backslidden Christians but to those who profess Christianity while never possessing eternal life.

Never possessed eternal life? Mere professors? Let us examine what the text claims for those who are returning to iniquity: "once enlightened"; "tasted of the heavenly gift"; "partakers of the Holy Ghost"; "tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come."

The footnote, in its haste to prove it is impossible for a Christian to fall away, states that such are mere professors and never have possessed eternal life. This is an obvious perversion of God’s Word.

Truly, as the Lord said, "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:23).

To what lengths will we go to make the Word of God of none effect by our traditions?

If Hebrews 6:4,5 is not describing the elements of salvation, then what are the elements of the Christian salvation?

The exhortation of the Book of Hebrews is that we press forward toward perfection, toward the rest of God; and that if we do not, and do not begin to bring forth the good fruit of the Kingdom of God, the "things that accompany salvation," we are in danger of cursing and burning.

The concept that all who profess belief in Christ will be raised from the dead and caught up to meet the Lord Jesus when He comes, independently of the quality of their spiritual life, is not in accordance with the writings of the Apostles of the Lamb or with the Kingdom parables spoken by Christ.

Speaking of foolishness, we notice that the basis for separating Gideon’s three hundred men from the nine thousand seven hundred had to do with the manner in which they drank water. 

And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. (Judges 7:6)

The water symbolizes the Holy Spirit.

The three hundred who brought their hand to their mouth portray those who drink of the Spirit but continue watching for the enemy.

The nine thousand, seven hundred who bowed down and stuck their head in the water represent those who drink of the Spirit but are not careful to guard against the enemy.

So it is today. There are many believers who enjoy the things of the Spirit of God but they do not walk carefully according to the Scriptures. They abandon themselves to the blessing and behave wildly without regard for the consequences.

There are others who also enjoy the things of the Spirit of God but who at the same time keep a careful eye on all that is taking place. They are Gideon’s three hundred. These are the saints who attain to the first resurrection from the dead. These are the overcomers who, through Christ, overcome the accuser of the brothers. They will win the victory so all Israel can then partake of the fruits of victory.

The Kingdom does not consist of religious observances. 

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17)

The Kingdom of God is not found in any particular set of religious ordinances. The rules and regulations of religion do at times play a necessary role in orienting us toward God and His holiness. God honors our faith and observes how conscientious we are in adhering to what we believe to be His will.

However, the Kingdom of God is not of this world. All things are pure and lawful unless they are contrary to the eternal moral law or demons are involved in the practice.

The children of the Kingdom possess all things and give thanks for all things. But we always must take into consideration the appearance of things, how our actions will be regarded by other people. Whatever is considered to be unclean we do not do for the sake of those who are watching us. Our liberty is governed by the conscience of those around us. We refrain from practicing that which will wound the faith of others.

The Kingdom of God does not consist of doing or handling one thing or another in the world. We have been raised with Christ. Our spiritual nature is being perfected. We are citizens of another world and our attention is fixed there.

When Christ who is our Life appears we shall appear with Him in glory. Then we shall receive back our body and all else that is part of our inheritance, including the earth, its resources, and the nations thereof. All things are Christ’s and ours in Him.

But meanwhile we are to do all we can to help other people gain the Kingdom. One way in which we can help is by avoiding all appearance of evil, by refraining from doing things that might cause a brother or sister to stumble or prevent an unsaved person from coming to the Lord.

Final victory. 

Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Matthew 13:33)

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)

The "three measures of meal" represents the two thousand years of the Church Age and the thousand years of the Kingdom Age (Millennium). The leaven of the Kingdom will work until it fills the creation of God. That Leaven is Christ. It now is working in the overcomers, the victorious saints. It will spread to all Israel and finally to the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

When every spirit in Heaven and on the earth has been brought under subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ has been made the Center and Circumference of every person, every thing, and every circumstance in the entire universe, then will Christ continue in perfect subjection to His Father so God may fill His Creation with His own Person.

Unregenerate man cannot inherit the Kingdom. 

Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (I Corinthians 15:50)

No matter how righteous or capable an individual may be, no matter how morally perfect, honorable or humble, it remains true that he or she as a descendant of Adam cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is the eternal union of the Life of God in Christ with the material realm. Until a human being receives into himself or herself that eternal Life, he or she neither can see nor enter the Kingdom of God. The individual remains an intelligent animal, in the image and likeness of God but a creature of the dust nevertheless.

The Kingdom of God is not the determined efforts of human beings to obey religiously what they perceive to be the will of God, although zealous, conscientious efforts may lead a person to the Kingdom of God (Acts 10:2,3).

We enter the Kingdom of God by turning away from our dead works, setting aside all other interests and goals, and seeking the Father through Christ.

The Kingdom is of the Holy Spirit. 

For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. (I Corinthians 4:20)

The Kingdom of God is not our mental assent to correct doctrine. The Kingdom of God is the power, the Life of God Almighty through Christ, entering the material domain and filling it with righteous government, The Kingdom of God is Divine love, peace that overcomes anxiety, incorruptible joy, breathtaking wonder, eternal significance, and heavenly glory.

Sin shall never enter the Kingdom of God. 

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)

A study of the context of the above two verses reveals that Paul is not speaking to the unsaved; neither is he saying that now we have been saved God cannot see our sin and therefore we are not to be concerned with our moral behavior.

Chapters Five and Six of First Corinthians contain serious warnings to the churches concerning the conduct of their members. Paul is telling the believers that if they continue in their sinning they will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The danger is that of deception. "Be not deceived," Paul is saying, "because if you do not cleanse yourselves you will be judged as sinners."

Coming under the authority of the Kingdom. 

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (Colossians 1:13)

When we repent, believe in Christ, and are baptized in water, we come under the authority of Christ and His Kingdom. Now the task is to receive the Kingdom into our personality.

The Kingdom of God needs workers today. 

And Jesus, that is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, that have been a comfort unto me. (Colossians 4:11)

Christ the King needs workers today. The harvest is great but the laborers are few. "And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together" (John 4:36).

If we assist the Lord today in whatever tasks He assigns us we will experience the gratitude of a King. If we hold back in the hour of the King’s struggle, not gathering souls with Him, not turning men and women to righteousness, we will be recompensed accordingly when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.

Worthy of God. 

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. (I Thessalonians 2:12)

If we truly are members of the Kingdom of God, the government that soon is to fill the whole earth, we should conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the glorious King whom we are serving. We are to let the light of our good works shine: our honesty, truthfulness, integrity, purity of speech and action, fairness, courage, devoutness toward God through Christ, and compassion toward the poor. When people see us behaving in this manner they will glorify our Father who is in Heaven.

The judgment of the living and the dead. 

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick [living] and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (II Timothy 4:1)

The living nations of people who are alive on the earth when Jesus returns will be judged at that time as part of the process of establishing His Kingdom on the earth. The kinds of sentences that will be passed are described in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew. 

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matthew 25:34)

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (Matthew 25:41)

The dead will be judged at the end of the thousand-year period. The judgment of the white throne (Revelation 20:12) is the great Day of Judgment—the point at which the eternal destiny of the individual is decided.

The commonly accepted teaching is that the resurrection and judgment that take place at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age is only for the lost. But the Scriptures neither teach nor imply this. If such were the case it would not be a judgment, only a sentencing of that which had been judged beforehand.

The current concept is that all who "accept Christ" are saved and go to Heaven in the first resurrection, while the remainder of mankind is cast into the Lake of Fire at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. This perception incorporates many errors.

The general resurrection of the righteous and the wicked will take place at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, not at the beginning. Revelation 20:4-6 implies that only the overcomers, the saints who truly take up their cross and follow the Lord during their pilgrimage on the earth, will receive their glorified bodies when the Lord comes.

The Scriptures teach that the righteous will be raised to eternal life and the wicked will be raised to corruption and wrath. Modern theology stresses that those who "accept Christ" will be raised to eternal life and those who do not "accept Christ" will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

In numerous instances, "accepting Christ" under today’s conditions is not a genuine receiving of Christ but is rather a profession of theological facts accompanied by a continuance in wicked behavior. We must define what we mean by righteous and wicked.

The righteous who will enter eternal life at the end of the Kingdom Age are the people of all ages who have practiced righteousness but who are not part of the first resurrection.

The wicked are those who practice wickedness.

There are many professors of belief in Jesus who are among the wicked. No wicked person, whether or not he professes faith in Jesus, will be raised in the first resurrection. Any teaching that suggests otherwise is not of God.

There will be both wicked people and righteous people in the second resurrection, including many who have attended Christian churches. The righteous will enter life. The wicked will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

It is important that the seeker after God understand that the righteous will enter life and the wicked will enter the Lake of Fire. The purpose of receiving Jesus is that we may be forgiven and then be able to turn from our wicked ways. If we receive Christ and then do not turn from our wicked ways, we are in danger of being judged and rewarded as a wicked individual. Any clouding of this straightforward truth leads only to moral confusion. 

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28,29)

"They who have done good." "They who have done evil."

Is this speaking of Christians? Then Christians who have done evil will be resurrected unto judgment.

Is this speaking of non-Christians? Then non-Christians who have done good will be resurrected unto eternal life.

We must make up our mind what we believe! The Scriptures cannot be changed. 

To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, (Romans 2:7,8)

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:7,8)

There are two resurrections. The general resurrection, the second resurrection, takes place at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The return of the Lord begins with the first resurrection and ascension of the victorious saints, followed by the Battle of Armageddon and the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Our understanding is that it is the kings and priests of the Kingdom who will be resurrected to meet the King when He returns to the earth with His Kingdom, that is, at the beginning of the thousand-year period. This is the first resurrection from among the dead—that which the Apostle Paul was striving to attain (Philippians 3:11). 

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4,6)

The entire thousand-year period from beginning to end is the Day of Christ, the Day of the Lord.

Notice that Peter appears to agree with this as he bypasses the thousand-year period and points toward the white throne judgment, when referring to our need for godly behavior: 

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation [conduct] and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (II Peter 3:11,12)

The heavens and elements will not be dissolved until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The thousand-year period, the Day of the Lord, is a continuation of what we are experiencing now. It is the "third day," during which Christ’s Body will be perfected (Luke 13:32; see also Hosea 6:2). Viewed in this light, the pointing of Peter toward the end of the thousand-year period as the time of the Day of Judgment is perfectly logical.

We are stating that the thousand-year Kingdom Age is the Day of the Lord and that it is a period of judgment for the living. The White Throne Judgment, which will take place at the end of the Kingdom Age, is the climax of the Judgment Seat of Christ—that which began (for the saints) when the Lord Jesus rose from the dead. 

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)

The dead will be judged at the White Throne Judgment, with the exception of the saints who attain to the first resurrection.

Therefore we are considering the entire Christian Era to be a period of judgment, with the thousand-year Kingdom Age being the Day of the Lord and the White Throne Judgment being the time spoken of throughout the Scriptures when the dead are to be raised and stand before God.

The Kingdom Age, the thousand-year period, may be viewed as an extension of the Church Age in that the Kingdom of God is introduced into the earth and earth’s peoples. 

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. (Isaiah 2:3)

But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2)

Teaching, growth, and development take place now in the Body of Christ and will continue throughout the Kingdom Age. We think that the victorious saints, those with the double portion of God’s Spirit, will help their brothers and sisters to know the Lord in a greater way, in addition to serving as kings and priests over the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

The descent of the Father and the Son in the Church into the earth to tabernacle among the nations of the saved will take place after the thousand-year period, the period of the perfecting of the Bride of the Lamb, has been concluded; after the sky and earth that we know have been replaced by a new sky and a new earth.

The thousand-year period is seen as a transition period, an age of perfecting the Body and work of Christ in preparation for the unspeakably, unimaginably, transcendently glorious new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

The thousand-year Kingdom Age will commence, as we have said, with the resurrection and ascension of the victorious saints, followed immediately by the return of Christ and His saints to establish by force the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The Kingdom Age will conclude with one last testing of the nations of the earth. 

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. (Revelation 20:7,8)

After the last testing, the great Day of Judgment will take place; and then eternity will begin. It is in terms of the Day of Judgment that we believe and are baptized. But the bulk of our Christian struggle is addressed, not toward our being saved in the Day of Judgment but toward attaining the early resurrection and our position in the Kingdom of God. It is time now to "take the Kingdom."

The rewards go to the conquerors.

If we believe and are baptized we will be saved in the Day of Judgment, provided we maintain our confidence in Christ to the end of our sojourn on the earth. He or she who endures to the end shall be saved.

But the rewards of leadership in the Kingdom will go to those who succeed in overcoming the world through the grace of Christ.

The 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)

The Kingdom of God is first, righteousness, then, peace, then, joy—all in the Holy Spirit of God. In the Kingdom of God, righteousness is of supreme importance. The scepter of the King, Christ, is a scepter of righteousness.

The effect of righteousness is peace. There can be no peace where righteousness is not practiced. The effect of peace is joy. There can be no joy where there is no peace but only confusion and every kind of trouble.

The Kingdom of God, with its marvelous peace, its wonderful joy and glory, is founded on the righteousness of God that dwells in the Lord Jesus Christ and is being wrought in the personalities of those who are becoming an integral part of Christ. There is no sin in the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God cannot be shaken or removed. 

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)

The patriarchs were looking for a city that has foundations. They perceived that God has founded the earth, its resources and its inhabitants, on the seas and the floods (Psalms 24:2). The peoples of the earth are born, live, and pass away like the grass of the field. All flesh is grass. We humans are as vapors that appear for a short season and then vanish.

But the Kingdom of God is eternal. It cannot be shaken or removed. God shook the earth once when He spoke from Mount Sinai. But He has promised to shake both the earth and the heaven the next time He speaks. When He does, everything that can be shaken will be removed from its position. 

Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:26,27)

We mentioned earlier in this book that people, not understanding the relationship of the eternal Kingdom of God to the Church of Christ, have attempted to build little kingdoms of their own. Peter showed this tendency with his "three tabernacles." Building personal kingdoms has taken place throughout the entire Church Era with men sitting on their self-made thrones and reigning as kings over the Lord’s flock.

But none of these kingdoms will be able to withstand the shaking that even now is beginning. Only the true Kingdom of God can stand firm during the Divine testing.

The true Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints ruling over the nations of the earth. This is all that will be able to stand the shaking. Whatever has been wrought by God in Christ in the saints will stand forever. But whatever has proceeded from the energy and wisdom of the flesh, even though it is "Christian" in name and doctrine, will be shaken and removed. Only Christ and that which proceeds from Him and is an integral part of Him is eternal.

There is no safety in the heavens. The heavens themselves shall be shaken. The only safety there is, is in the Lord Jesus. The Scriptures do not promise we will be safe in Heaven but they do promise that the name of the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous are safe therein. The heavens themselves shall be shaken in the days to come but every soul who is abiding in Christ will remain in safety and peace.

The poor inherit 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)

As we said before, it is extremely difficult for those who are rich in material goods, or rich in their own ways, to enter the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God requires that we bring only ourselves. Then the Life of God enters our personality and brings righteous government, peace, love, joy, significance, wonder, and glory.

Because those who are rich in money, or in philosophy or education, already have acquired a substitute for the true Kingdom riches, they are not able to enter as freely into the wealth of the Kingdom as is true of poor people or little children.

It is possible but very difficult for the rich to enter God’s Kingdom. Truly, the love of money is the root of all evil. The rich carry a heavy burden of worry and grief. Christ counsels the rich to give their money to the poor, thus laying up treasure in Heaven, and to spend their time and energy in the pursuit of that which brings righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

The love and pursuit of money is a destroyer of the individual and of society—a fountain of every conceivable evil. Those who ignore the warnings of Christ and His Apostles concerning the pursuit of money will come to the same end as Balaam, as Gehazi, as Judas, as Ananias and Sapphira. 

Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. (James 5:1)

The most precious things of life, such as righteousness, peace of mind, love, joy, health, the affection of our family and friends, and eternal life cannot be purchased with any amount of money. The true love and respect of people cannot be purchased with money. Physical health and well-being cannot be purchased with money. The truly worthy things of life come only from the Father and must be purchased with our loving obedience to Him.

An abundant entrance. 

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)

The Scripture speaks of being "saved; yet so as by fire" (I Corinthians 3:15), and also of an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom of Christ. The contexts of the third chapter of First Corinthians and the first chapter of Second Peter suggest that the difference between the two kinds of entrances into the Kingdom has to do with how we build on the foundation, Christ.

When we place our faith in the blood atonement made by Christ we gain the pardon of God. Our prayers come into His Presence. We are accepted as His child. We are saved from the Divine wrath.

But God has not forgiven our sins in order that we may continue in our old ways of sin and self-seeking. God wants us to enter the wonderful Kingdom He has prepared for those who love Him.

Every person is given one lifetime on the earth. What we construct during our lifetime will determine our eternal destiny in the Kingdom of God. We can build a house of glory by serving Christ with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; or we can continue in a state of lethargy and indifference, not being willing to attend with all diligence to the things of the Kingdom.

Some Christians will have an entrance into the Kingdom as by fire, all their life’s accomplishments and perhaps much of their personality being burned away at the Presence of Christ. Other Christians will hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter the joy of your Lord."

Of all the goals that a human might set for his life, surely the most desirable would be to arrive at death’s door with this testimony: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day" (II Timothy 4:6-8).

Demas forsook Paul, "having loved this present world" (II Timothy 4:10). What will Demas experience in the Day of Christ? What will Paul face in the Day of Christ?

Those who are pressing the doctrine of grace to the extreme would suggest there will not be much difference between the reward given to Paul and the reward given to Demas because they both are saved by grace and not by works. Do you believe this? We do not.

The difference between the reward given to Demas and the reward given to Paul will not be based on their faith in the blood atonement, it will be based on their fighting or not fighting the good fight of faith. This is the Kingdom of God of which the Scriptures speak.

Dying and living. 

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 10:39)

The fundamental parable of the Kingdom of God is that of the sower. The sower sows the Word of the Kingdom. When the Divine Life enters us we have an important decision to make. We must choose either to keep our first life intact, giving token consideration to the Word of the Kingdom, or else to give over our old life to the death of the cross so the new life of the Kingdom can attain maturity in us.

No person can keep both his old life and the new life of the Kingdom. It is only as we are willing to allow the Holy Spirit to bring down to death the several elements of our personality that those elements can be raised again into true Kingdom life. The Kingdom of God is made up of that which is worthy in the material realm brought down into death and then raised again in the newness of Christ, the newness of eternal life. 

Conclusion

The story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) is the basic story of each human being, of the Christian Church, of mankind itself. In this story we can see the relationship between grace and the Kingdom of God.

The father, in the story, did not go to where his son was eating garbage among the swill, telling him that it did not matter how he lived because his father loved him anyway. Instead, the father remained at home.

When the young man "came to himself" he arose from his filth and misery and went home to his father. At this point grace entered. His father forgave him immediately and abundantly, treating him as his son and honored guest.

After this the father gave him the best robe, put a ring on his hand, shoes on his feet, and killed the fattened calf for the feast. It was a time for eating, for drinking, for dancing, for merriment.

What comes next? The story does not continue. But our expectation is that the son, having learned his lesson in the world, went on to become a worthy heir and successor of his father. This is the Kingdom.

Genuine repentance causes us to get up from among the pigs and return home to God, our Father. The grace of God, His love toward us in Christ, receives us as a son and honored guest. Now we have become an heir of the Kingdom of God. We are to conduct ourselves accordingly.

If the prodigal after returning home had continued to live as he had among his worldly friends, attempting to bring filth and degradation into the family home, the story would have had a tragic rather than a happy ending. Isn’t this true? So it is with us.

The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints ruling over the nations of the earth, performing the will of God in the earth as it is performed in Heaven.

The Kingdom of God is the eternal union of Christ-filled spirit realm with all that is found worthy in the earth. The spirit realm provides the government, the righteousness, the peace, the love, the joy, the wonder, the eternal significance, and the glory of the Kingdom. The people and things of earth are the outward forms of the Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God was proclaimed in the Old Testament: 

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6,9)

The Kingdom of God was announced by the Lord Jesus Christ: 

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

The Kingdom of God does not come as we look about us. When we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior the Kingdom is born in us. It is Christ in us, the hope of glory.

As in all kingdoms, the Kingdom of God has a king and queen (although in the Kingdom, the King and Queen are one in the fullest sense of the word—the Queen is the Body of the King), a nobility, a center of government protected within a walled city, an army, laws, a territory that it governs, and a multitude of subjects who will enjoy the rule of the Kingdom throughout eternity.

God shall come and bring peace to the nations of the earth: 

O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalms 67:4)

God shall crush the enemy: 

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly..... (Romans 16:20)

The nations of the earth shall be given to the Lord Jesus Christ as His inheritance: 

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

It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom. He has stated that if we will use this present life for the purpose of seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness, He will make certain that the necessities of life are provided for us.

Entering the Kingdom requires that we "sell all and buy that goodly pearl." It is impossible for us to seek material riches and the Kingdom of God at the same time. No man can serve two masters.

The present life of flesh and blood into which we were born appoints us children of men. But in order to become children of God, God’s eternal Life from Heaven must be formed in us and dwell in us. Apart from the Life of God we are as the flowers of the field, which make a fine show today but tomorrow are faded and dying.

Eternal life is here now, available to whoever will receive it. The Kingdom of God is here now, waiting to be taken by those who esteem it of enough worth to lay aside all else and press into it.

No human being can find true righteousness, unshakable peace, lasting love, deeply settled joy, eternal significance, or heavenly glory until he or she obtains such treasure in the Kingdom of God; until the Life of God in Christ enters his or her personality.

Human life apart from the Spirit of God is no life at all. Human life filled with the Spirit of God is the beginning of Paradise restored to earth.

The day of man is nearly over. The Day of Christ is at hand. The Kingdom of God soon will fill the heavens above us with glory. The King is coming. God’s will in Christ shall be done in earth as it is in Heaven. To Him be the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, ages without end. Amen.