THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM
Copyright © 2017 Robert B Thompson. All Rights Reserved Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
When you first became a Christian, were you exhorted to place seeking God’s Kingdom as the first priority of your life? Probably not. Do you know what God’s Kingdom is? Probably not.
So I believe we have a lack in our Christian teaching. The Lord Jesus and John the Baptist came preaching that the Kingdom of God is at hand, the idea being that it soon is to come to the earth. But what is the Kingdom of God? Why is it so important that we place seeking it above acquiring our daily necessities?
It has been 500 years since Martin Luther nailed a list of his objections to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Luther was objecting to some of the teachings of the Catholic Church of that time. Some leading Christian scholars recently are noting that the foremost teaching of the Lord Jesus, that of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, is not emphasized in Luther’s objections.
To this day only half of the Gospel ordinarily is presented by Christian teachers. This half is our personal salvation through the blood of the cross of Calvary, also teaching that our goal for partaking in the forgiveness of our sins, purchased by the Lord Jesus on the cross, is that we might enter the heavenly Paradise when we die. Yet, the New Testament does not tell us that eternal residence in Paradise is the goal of our redemption. The New Testament teaches us about entering the Kingdom of God. The salvation relating to the Kingdom of God begins today, and continues for how long we do not know. The original Gospel of the Kingdom, taught by the John the Baptist, the Lord, and the Lord’s Apostles, has changed from the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Gospel of Heaven.
That is unwelcome news, especially for the multitudes in the world who are waiting for God’s Church to bring to them the salvation that is in Christ.
However, there is welcome news. It is that Christian leaders are becoming aware of this unwelcome change, and the depressing effect it has had on Christian growth, and are considering restoring the original Gospel of the Kingdom. The Good News is that the Lord Jesus, using the Head and Body of Christ, shall establish the righteous behavior of God among all the peoples of the earth, with the result that righteousness, love, joy, and peace will fill the world. Compared with the international situation of our day, that really is good news, isn’t it?
There is one major aspect that is part of God’s program for establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth that must be understood. It is the creation of a Royal Priesthood drawn from the peoples of the earth. Thus there will be two major divisions of earth’s population:
- The Church, which is the Royal Priesthood.
- The nations of saved people who have received Christ as their rightful King and Lord, but who have not been called out to serve God and mankind as kings and priests.
What I will say further has to do with the preparation of the members of the Priesthood, that is, of the Body of Christ, to bring the promised redemption to earth’s bound multitudes. However, the obligations of the saved people of the nations is that they believe in Christ and are baptized in water. What else is required of them I do not know.
Now we will occupy ourselves with the preparation of the members of the Church, of the Royal Priesthood. That preparation has begun and is continuing at the present time. The text that follows shows how we enter the Kingdom of God, the state of living in the rest of God.
The first action of God, in the construction of His Kingdom, is the forgiveness of the sins of His elect, the removal of all condemnation from them. They must place their faith in the atoning blood of the cross of Calvary. They must be baptized in water as an affirmation of their faith in the atonement, and of their willingness to change their trust in the present world to that of taking their place on the cross with Christ. When they do this, they receive a portion of the Spirit of God that seals them to their future redemption.
We must turn aside from our former sins, gaining complete victory over the impulses to sin residing in our flesh. We can do this by calling upon the Lord Jesus, confessing to Him our bondages, expressing our guilt, and through His wisdom and power turning away from every trace of our worship of the passions of our flesh and spirit. We must take up our cross of self-denial and follow Jesus at all times. We must be patient before the Lord as we suffer various afflictions. Suffering is necessary if we are to be delivered from our self-will and self-love. We are found worthy of the Kingdom of God when we choose to accept our sufferings in a godly manner.
The object is to live in the vision that God had when He created man in His image. We must cease from our own planning and goals and seek continually to determine God’s will for the moment in which we are living. Through prayer, we submit our thinking, speaking, and behaving to Jesus, just as our Lord Jesus always submits His thinking, speaking, and behaving to the Father. As we learn to do this, we are entering the Kingdom of God, that state in which God’s will is always done.
Now we can see what Jesus meant when He said we must place seeking the Kingdom of God as the primary priority of our life. To be a member of the Body of Christ, we must live in complete obedience to the Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ must be formed in us in ever-increasing maturity. As we obey Jesus, we are given to eat of the hidden manna, that is to say, His broken body and shed blood. Little by little our daily wisdom and strength are coming from the body and blood of Jesus. This is our eternal life.
Essential to the transfer of eternal life to our inner nature is the operation of the gifts of the Spirit, such as speaking in tongues and prophecy, operating in us to build up the other members of the Body of Christ. These gifts are also ministered to us for our benefit by our brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus.
As we live in complete obedience to God, our position in the Father is established. We are hidden with Christ in God. Jesus dwells in the Bosom of the Father; we also are to dwell in the Bosom of the Father—the very Center of the Father’s will and Being. We then are a part of the Kingdom of God.
As we are growing in the Life of Jesus in our inner nature, God brings us to the place where our physical body is filled with the Holy Spirit, the former elements having passed away. This is the resurrection—making our mortal body eternally alive.
The thousand-year period in which Christ and His Firstfruits govern the nations, the period that precedes the installation of the new sky and the new earth, is for the purpose of bringing the members of the Royal Priesthood to the maturity necessary for the successful administration of their duties. A second purpose is to bring the nations of saved people to the godly, peaceful relationship to Christ and His Church as these representatives of God govern those saved peoples.
The members of the Royal Priesthood must be made ready for the works of power they are to perform. And let me say that today, such miraculous works of power are a novelty that we may speculate about. The fruit we bear as we abide in Christ is righteous, holy behavior, plus the extraordinary sacrifice God sometimes calls upon a saint to make. That fruit of abiding in Him also includes powerful miracles. Without the miraculous signs that accompanied His ministry, the claims made by the Lord Jesus regarding Himself might have fallen on deaf ears. We humans understand that if a person comes from God, he will have abilities that go beyond the natural.
It is true also that when we preach and teach the Kingdom of God, we lose our believability when we are limited to normal resources. The Gospel becomes a philosophy rather than the oracle of God; the Bible is seen to be the work of earnest men rather than Words from the Most High God that will stand absolutely true in every circumstance.
So the Kingdom of God is infinitely greater than wise sayings or even the testimony of people who have turned from sinful to righteous behavior. The Kingdom lives in demonstrations of supernatural power. We have the statement concerning the power of the seven thunders found in Revelation chapter 10. Then we have the remarkable statement of the Lord Jesus that those who believe in Him shall perform His works and even greater. And we have the statements in Mark chapter 16 concerning the supernatural manifestations that shall follow those who believe in Jesus Christ.
Some may ask, where may we see such extraordinary miracles? Our answer is, “Wherever Christian people believe and pray to receive the promises in the Holy Scriptures.” What does this tell us? That we do well if we read in the Bible the outstanding promises concerning the marvelous impartations that God has promised to those who believe, and then begin to pray for them. Will God give us such promises, such hope, and then ignore us when we come to Him in prayer? I don’t think so!
Although I cannot state truthfully that God has told me this, I believe that there will be so much social chaos in the coming days that the present state of the Christian Gospel would be as the tinkling toys in a baby’s playpen. There is coming thunder from Heaven—the seven thunders which are kept silent in the present hour when the Christian religion is conducted by the will, wisdom, and power of human beings.
Let us mention now some of the miraculous endowments of God’s Spirit mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Please keep in mind that these are as much the image of God as is true of honesty, faithfulness, and compassion. Remember, all of the gifts listed below are available today to whoever lives a victorious life and asks for them specifically. They all can be given to one believer, unlike the gifts of the Spirit that are assigned to one individual one at a time. But we must believe and ask!
- The right to eat from the Tree of Life and to live in the Paradise of God. The Tree of Life is the body and blood of the Lord Jesus.
- Christ will give us the crown of Life.
- We cannot be hurt by the Lake of Fire.
- Christ will give us some of the hidden manna.
- Christ will give the overcomer a white stone with a new name written on it.
- Authority over the nations.
- The Morning Star. This is the Presence of Christ in us.
- To be dressed in the white robes of the Royal Priesthood.
- To be made a pillar in the Temple of God, and never to leave it.
- To have the names of the Father, and of the new Jerusalem, and the new name of the Lord Jesus Christ written on us.
- To be kept from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
- If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
- To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
- The river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.
The Divine promises outlined above are to be in the possession of every believer in Christ who is living a victorious life in the Lord Jesus. What God has given us up to this point in the Christian Era has been necessary for our salvation and survival.
Tumultuous days are ahead of us. Each one of us will need a full dispensation of the promised endowments of authority and power that God has written to us. These, along with the forgiveness and deliverance from the bondages and passions of sin, constitute the Kingdom of God into which we are to press and claim for our own.
We are in an hour of preparation, the fulfillment of the concluding feast of Tabernacles. The doors of Heaven are open. We must be diligent to confess and turn away from the sins of the flesh and from our self-will and self-love. We are to covet the rest of God, learning how to cease from our own works and to do all that the Lord Jesus is pointing out to us. All things are possible to God and to those whose life is hidden with Christ in God. It is time to take the promised land.
Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. (Revelation 21:7)
Each of the promised abilities in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 is accompanied by states and behaviors that qualify the believer to receive the blessing that has been promised.
(“The Powers of the Kingdom”, 4312-2, proofed 20210814)