TO WHOM ARE WE RELATIVE?
HEAVEN AND EARTH SHALL PASS AWAY
KINGDOM OF GOD and KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
BECOME AS LITTLE CHILDREN
There are those who are relative to the absolute, and there are those who are relative to the temporal. The former will abide while the latter will not. God, the absolute, is unchangeable. He said "I am" and I change not." He is (1)sure. He is the Absolute, while man in his scheme of things can be changed; for he is relative to that which can be seen , and we know that which can be seen is temporal.
Everyone who is born of Adam is relative to one another, as well as to his or her environment. This is the way it is with everything in the kingdom of Adam. It is all affected to some degree by everything else, and the closer a man or woman is to a thing or another person, the more they will be affected by it. Every thing is relative to everything else. There is also the eternal, and every creature is either in relation to the temporal or to the eternal. It cannot be avoided.
Temporal things can be shaken, while eternal things cannot. When a rock is dropped into a pond, for instance, everything in that body of water is affected. Nothing is excluded from being moved to some degree by the shockwaves of the rock coming in contact with the water. Each particle of the pond -- fish, frog, lily pad, water-spider, and algae -- is relative to the disquieted water. The rock, however, is not affected, for relatively speaking, it is absolute. For that matter, the rock is what prompts the effect to begin with.
God, like the rock, is sure. He is not relative to the world, and neither is anything which is in union with and walks in Him. All things that are of Him are absolutely sure. They don't vacillate with every wind that blows. God and those who are one with Him are ABSOLUTE within the temporal. For example, the one taken in Matthew 24 is relative to the world and is temporal, while the one left is absolute.
Another example is when Jesus and those with Him were being pounded by a storm upon the Sea of Galilee. The disciples, being tossed by the turbulent waters were relative to the sea, while Jesus was absolute. They were disturbed, while He was at peace, so much at peace, He slept. He was the Sure Word and Testimony in the time of trouble.
Later, the Absolute walked unaffected upon the waves of the storm. Peter also walked upon the unstable elements. So long as his sight and spirit were one with his Absolute Lord he defied the natural law of physics. He was no longer walking in the world of troubles and woes. When his focus reverted to the threatening waves, however, he was brought back into relationship with the churn of the sea, and being once again relative to it -- a wave of fear overwhelmed him and he sank.
The foundation upon which Jesus walked was that of His Father. His relationship, or relativity, was with God, not the earth. It mattered not what the physical elements were doing or not doing, He stood firmly steadfast in that which was from above. And Peter, likewise, for a moment or two -- while looking into the face of Jesus -- stood and walked upon the firm foundation of the Absolute. Rather than being relative to the wavering world, he became relative to the Absolute, and he walked upon the waves of the storm. When his eyes reverted back to the natural, however, he gave way to its fear-wrenching threats and quickly sank.
Many storms have beset us over the years, and they relentlessly continue to sweep over our vessels today as we sail on to the other side of this sea of life. Some people are still unsettled in the mist of them, while many hardly give them a second thought. They used to be terrified by them; but now they find themselves at perfect peace as the swells beat upon their ships.
One thing that makes this possible is that they know they've been sent to the Gadarenes, and upon arrival they will free those who dwell among the tombs. So they fear no element that may rise up against them; for such is not their relationship. And if their ships should be tipped over and pulled into the deep, that is neither here nor there; for even then, they shall walk upon the waves and continue to their journey's end. And should their bodies be laid in the earth, they shall still continue. They who are absolute can neither be hindered, altered, nor stopped from the course set before them. On the other hand, those temporal items (time, place, and circumstances) falter when they come into the presence of those who dwell in the arms of Eternity. Like their Absolute Father, of whom they are relative, they cannot be moved.
The ships themselves by which we are traversing this vast and uncertain sea are for the most part relative to it. These crafts can be a number of things: our churches, our families, our physical bodies, our jobs, our beliefs, our principles, and the list mounts. Some of these ships, like natural seafaring vessels, are sturdier, better equipped, and seemingly more reliable than others, which naturally endure better in the midst of life's storms.
People will find confidence in a huge church, but like the great Titanic, it can sink in a moment's time when it comes in contact with the Absolute. He who created the universe began the preparations of humbling the giants eons before such churches came into existence. Like the iceberg, the absolute mountain of God that affected one of the relative sons of the (2)gods -- so are there absolute icebergs that have been in the making for eons. They can and may shipwreck those rebellious religious giants. These huge organizations might weather the storms that would capsize others; but they can not plow through the mountain of God if He chooses to set it in their path -- for it is absolutely unmovable. Such worldly churches are relative to the worldly ways of doing things, making them rebellious against God. And if they are faced with the absolute of God, they will succumb.
Not everyone will find their supposed safety among the lumbering giants of religion. Some look to smaller ones, such as nondenominational organizations, even Sonship/Kingdom churches and home groups. Nevertheless, if they are not joined to He who is Absolute, and they don't find their foundation in Him, they too will be relatively moved when the storms roll in. Incidently, it is not where you go to meetings that causes one to be relative to the world, it is where you walk. It is who you are joined to. You can be just as worldly at home alone as you can in attending a church of 10,000 members. You can also be just as absolute in the midst of the giant as those whose foundation is God; that is, if your foundation is likewise God. It is not location in the physical that determines whether you are relative to the world or absolute in Christ -- it is where you are in the spirit.
There are many today who are tossed hither and yon by circumstances with in their marriages, their children, their friendships, their churches, their finances, their jobs, and a host of other things that are too numerous to count. When travesties hit their frail vessels, it is often said that they will either "sink or swim". And we have seen that those who are strong in the world and have natural fortitude will "swim", for awhile. Their genetics and self-willed determination refuses to allow them to go down with the ship. They are like the bulls of Bashan, and are commended by most. And we must concur, for to cower under adversity profits nothing, not even in the natural. However, there is a better way than to rise up in one's own strength and swim until exhausted. Namely, it is not profitable to be so relative to the world to have to tread water for any length of time. We must walk upon it!
If your life's foundation is your marriage, your family, your home, your investments, material things, or your job, then you will eventually indeed either sink or swim; but if your foundation is the Lord, who is Absolute, you can rest in the midst of turmoil, and if need be, you can rise up and walk across it.
Ah, come hell or high water, as the saying goes, we are not shaken, for what a sure foundation we have in Jesus. "Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, A SURE FOUNDATION..." (Isa 28:16). The high mountains of man's pride and rule are made low, the deep pits of despair and squaller are made high, and we have a highway upon which to walk. Praise God! It is thereon where we shall abide, that is, so long as our gaze is riveted steadfastly to Him.
HEAVEN AND EARTH SHALL PASS AWAY
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away." (Mat 24:35).
Many suppose the heaven Jesus was speaking of is what they see when they lift their eyes skyward and gaze into the blue. And for the earth, they look no farther than the solid terra firma upon which they stand and the stormy seas roll. This is unfounded. It is natural thinking and has no part with spiritual things. The truths concerning God's mysteries cannot make room for such foolishness.
Those whose understanding has been opened have been given stewardship over the mysteries of God. And one such mystery that unfolds to His elect is what heaven and earth are when generally referred to in the Bible. It is phenomenal to see learned men of the religious world wrestle with eternal truths, trying to put literal, ironclad seals on everything, when it is obvious that certain scriptures are speaking metaphorically. We all would like to explain in simple terms what some of these mysteries speak; but spiritual blindness is the norm of the day with so many, and there is absolutely no way for those of dogmatized minds to see it. They, therefore, teach from the platform of their carnal opinions and age-old traditions. This in turn keeps the people just as ignorant of spiritual truths. We must say, however, there are some who are truly seeing beyond the veil of carnal reasoning; but like Balaam some of them sell out to those who can seemingly promote their ministry and pad their bank accounts. These are sad affairs and hardly merit mention, yet such men and women have been with us through the ages. Even so, their spurious ways do not hinder the course of the Kingdom in any way. For what God blesses, who can curse it?
Heaven and earth, metaphorically speaking, have to do with spiritual authority and its physical manifestation. Prior to being able to comprehend even to the slightest degree of what Jesus was speaking in Matthew 24, we must both get our heads out of the clouds and out of the dirt. We must stop looking skyward and downward and peer into the truth of the matter. Heaven is not a place in the sense of being physical. It is not a distant planet somewhere in the far reaches of space, nor is it a grand Disneyland with overtures of glistening streets of gold and angels flying around strumming harps throughout eternity. Heaven is not an amusement park or a place of perpetual picnics. Heaven is not a place up there somewhere with natural mansions and cabins!
But rather, (3)Heaven is a spiritual realm wherein God's government finds its authority. The Lord said, "...The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?" (Isa 66:1).
It is from the heavens where God's Kingdom receives its authority and power. Moreover, the Government of God, the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of Heaven are one and the same, and it is from this realm where the source is found that makes it visible and viable in the earth. And it is no different with all the other kingdoms we see in the earth. Their source of power also comes from a spiritual realm. What we see of them is the product of power and authority from the heavens, whether it is the kingdom of the prince of Persia, the prince of Iraq, or the prince of United States of America. There is not one power seen in the earth that does not receive its authority from the spiritual realm called heaven. Perhaps we can more clearly see the purpose of the war in heaven between Michael and His angels and Satan and his angels of Revelation 12. Namely, whoever wins that war wins the ground war wherein the winner's kingdom is seen by all.
Again, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Mat 24:35). Which heaven and earth do we suppose would be passing away? The focal point of what Jesus was speaking can be found in verse one and two of the same chapter: "And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and His disciples came to Him for to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Mat 24:1-2).
The temple speaks of the seat of authority and power of the Jews' Kingdom as seen in the earth. It was a kingdom that received authority and power from God who is in heaven (Mat 6:9). Albeit, it was not an absolute kingdom, for the Jews were able to corrupt it severely. Therefore, God removed it from their hands and scattered them to the four quarters of the earth. In its place Jesus established the Kingdom that could never be moved, much less removed.
We will not take the time to cover Matthew 24 verse by verse; but one thing rings out with crystal clarity -- the heaven and the earth of that chapter bespeaks the Jews' religious kingdom and its manifestation in the earth. Jesus made a very direct statement which clearly defines His prophecy, and the era in which it was to be fulfilled. He said, "THIS GENERATION", and again, "T-H-I-S GENERATION shall not pass, till A-L-L THESE THINGS be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away." (Mat 24:34-35). The heaven and earth, to which he was referring passed away, and that generation lived to see His words come to pass.
I do not believe there is one person in the world who will say, much less believe, that the literal heaven and earth of that day passed away. If anyone did believe such an absurdity, he would be made a laughing stock; for it is evident that all the galaxies of the universe, along with this earth, abide. They have not passed away! But the heaven of the Jewish rule passed away as foretold by Jesus, and so did its manifestation in the earth. When Titus, the Roman General, destroyed Jerusalem, leaving the temple with not one stone unturned, and the dominion of that religious kingdom was scattered like the chaff on the summer's threshing floor -- that heaven and earth of which Jesus spoke passed away that day. The generation to which Jesus delivered those fateful words lived to see it all come to pass. Every jot and tittle of what he said was fulfilled in the sight of that generation.
In A.D.70 The Jews kingdom (their heaven) departed like a scroll when it is rolled up. We see something similar to this in the book of Revelation, which may be referring to the same thing that Jesus prophesied: "And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places" (Rev 6:14).
The heaven John saw departing was the spiritual realm of power, while the mountains and islands lend credit to the manifestations of what was in the heavens. With that thought in mind, let me ask -- do you still want to go to heaven? Perhaps not, for heaven does not guarantee eternal bliss; for there is war in heaven (Rev 12:7), the heaven is shaken (Heb 12:26), the heavens are on fire and pass away with great noise (2 Pet 3:10). But not only the heavens -- "...the (4)elements shall melt with fervent heat, the (5)earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." (2 Pet 3:10).
And why is it, do you suppose, all these heavens, the earth, and all the work therein, are shaken, pass away, and are burned up? It has to do with their relationship. Anything relative to man's order is subject to being moved, even destroyed. When a kingdom, even an individual himself, comes face to face with the Absolute, we don't have to guess which one will be moved or have its course altered. The Jews' religion and hierarchy of things had once been relative to God, in a similitude of the absolute, for no weapon formed against them prospered. However, once they slipped away under the cloak of darkness, their relationship became earthly, sensual, devilish. Their kingdom that was once in union with the Absolute, became as easily moved as the chaff in a Mighty wind. Thus came the demise of that once great kingdom in the face of Titus -- God's mighty wind.
KINGDOM OF GOD and KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
"There are many strange ideas around about the difference between the terms 'Kingdom of God' and 'Kingdom of Heaven'. It has been taught that the Kingdom of God is spiritual and heavenly, whereas the Kingdom of Heaven is temporal and earthly, and that the two cannot be mixed. Actually, if there were any truth in that, it still sounds backwards! Some say that the Kingdom of God is an eternal kingdom of God over all and that the Kingdom of Heaven is an earthly and temporal program, some future divine dynasty to be established on earth, and that it is of special significance only to the Jews, who, still awaiting their Messiah, will see His righteous government in control of the world, and in their hands, during the Millennium. Others assume that the Kingdom of Heaven means a kingdom in heaven, so they are waiting to die so they can go to their kingdom in heaven where they intend to spend eternity strumming harps and dancing up and down the streets of gold. Ignorant men have long tried to make a distinction between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven, as though they were two separate kingdoms. They often explain that the Kingdom of Heaven embraces the 'Church age' and the Kingdom of God will be set up during the 'Millennium'. The simple truth is that the two terms are used interchangeably in numerous places in scripture. To cite only a few of several examples, when Matthew recorded the Sermon on the Mount he quoted Jesus as saying, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their's is the kingdom of heaven.' But when Luke recorded the same saying of Jesus he said, 'Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.' Again, Matthew quoted the Lord, 'And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the law and the prophets prophesied until John' (Mat. 11:12-13). Luke says, 'The law and the prophets were until John: from that time the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached, and every man entereth violently into it' (Lk. 16:16). In these two passages the messenger spoken of in both cases is John. His message was said to begin where the law and the prophets left off. His message was announcing a kingdom. In one passage that kingdom is called the Kingdom of God, while in the other it is called the Kingdom of Heaven. The time was the same, the man was the same, the message was the same, and the kingdom was the same in both cases. Our Lord's instructions upon sending out the twelve were, according to Matthew, 'And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand' (Mat. 10:7). According to Luke, 'He sent them forth to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick' (Lk. 9:2). Certainly Jesus did not preach two conflicting messages at the same time! Certainly He was not announcing two separate and distinct kingdoms and declaring them both to be at hand! These, and many other passages, show the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven are one and the same. Yet, there is a difference! God does not have TWO KINGDOMS, He has only ONE. There is not one Kingdom of God and another Kingdom of Heaven. There is only one Kingdom. However each of these two terms is not without its special significance. For, you see, heaven is a REALM and God is a PERSON. The Kingdom has its origin in the REALM OF HEAVEN, and in the PERSON OF GOD. The term 'Kingdom of Heaven' denotes, on the one hand, from whence (from what place, location, realm or dimension) the Kingdom proceeds, while the term 'Kingdom of God' reveals, on the other hand, from whom (from what person or being) the Kingdom originates. When we consider these two items, place and person, it immediately follows that as to REALM the Kingdom is out of the heavenlies, but as to PERSON the Kingdom comes from God. It is called the Kingdom OF God because it is from and by God. He is the Instigator and Head of the Kingdom. It is called the Kingdom OF Heaven because it has its inception in heaven, the invisible realm of Spirit. The prophet Daniel brings the two together when by inspiration he says, 'And in the days of these kings shall the GOD (person) of HEAVEN (place, realm) set up A KINGDOM, which shall never be destroyed' (Dan. 2:44). Jesus then brings the two together when He says to Pilate, 'MY (person) kingdom is not of THIS WORLD (place, realm): for if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now MY (person) kingdom is not from HENCE (place, realm)' (Jn. 18:36). Through their relationship we understand there cannot be a Kingdom of Heaven without the presence of God. On the other hand, where the presence of God is, there is a manifestation of Heaven's Life.
"Ah, then, this Kingdom of God may also be called the Kingdom of Heaven! To call, then, the Kingdom of God the Kingdom of Heaven is to ascribe to the Kingdom of God every heavenly and spiritually perfection. The Kingdom of God is, for example, heavenly in its origin, that origin is the bosom of the eternal Father. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its purpose, that purpose is to restore creation to its original glory. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its king, that king is the Son of the Highest, Head and body. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its subjects, those subjects are the children of God. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its nature, that nature is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its entrance, that gateway is not by birth of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but by birth of God. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its laws, those laws are not ordinances, rules, or regulations, they are spiritual principles. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its method, that method is not by might, nor by power, nor by the enticing words of man's wisdom, but by the Spirit of the living God. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its prerogatives, those prerogatives are for the sons of God to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world, a kingdom of priests after the order of Melchizedek, saviours on mount Zion. The Kingdom of God is heavenly in its privileges, those privileges are to be heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ to the inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. In brief, the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Heaven, it is the Kingdom of Heaven because it is the kingdom or dominion of the GOD OF HEAVEN! " (The Kingdom of God, Part 1, by J. Preston Eby).
It is here, in the Kingdom of God/Heaven, where we find our Absolute assurance of rock-hard, unmovable, salvation. It is sufficient to see us through any storm or threatening situation. Rather than being moved by winds, tides, or fires -- we become a part of those absolute forces and move that which is moveable. We affect the temporal, that which is relative to earthy things, rather than being affected by them. Depending on where we stand today will determine to which kingdom we may be relative. Are we tossed by the waves of the storm, and are we brought to fear when we see billows roll heavily over us? Do we cringe in the face of disease, financial distress, hardships? Are we affected by ridicule and being forsaken by our friends? If so, it is likely that we are in relationship to the wrong kingdom. Such a kingdom may be mighty in the sense of being a great religious organization; but so was the Jews' religion, and look what happened when God gathered His elect from the four winds and blew upon it. They were swept away by the force of His absolute power. Although very religious, they were far from being anything like those who were relative to God, the Absolute. Those in union with Him believed His word of prophecy, and when they saw the signs He foretold, they left the city and suffered no harm.
BECOME AS LITTLE CHILDREN
We continue to see people building their kingdoms from the heavens that can be removed, and they someday will indeed be removed. Nevertheless, we are encouraged to see more and more who are fulfilling another word of Jesus, who said: "...Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Mat 18:3). It matters not how much we know, if we are not as little children don't expect to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Some of us may have silver pens, and are able to write words that flow from the throne as liquid gold, inspiring and ministering life to thousands; but if we are not as little children we can forget about entering into the kingdom of heaven. Some may have amassed great congregations and wealth, and are known and revered by those from every walk of life; but if they are not as little children, there is no place for them in the kingdom of heaven.
The kingdom of heaven is where there is no hurt at all. "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, saith the Lord....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" (Isa 65:25 & 11:6). Herein is the Absolute power of God. It lies in those whose hearts are that of a child. In such hearts there is no hatred, animosity, bitterness, pride, worldly ambition, desire to rule, war, or any thing that would bring hurt to any creature, especially to those of their own family. Even so, if they are hurt by those of their own household, we can hear them ever so humbly praying -- "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Mat 18:4). And "...Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Mat 19:14).
This, dear brothers and sisters, my friends and sojourners in Christ, is the number one qualification for entering the kingdom of heaven. It is not whether one can preach spell-binding sermons, or can write with the pen of angels that qualifies him to rule in the Kingdom of God -- it is whether or not he is as a little child. Isn't that just like our Father? Not only did He set it up to where He brings in the cream of the crop, while weeding out the riffraff, He made it so anyone can enter His Kingdom. All they have to do is to humble themselves as a little child. Who would have thought it? Not the mind of man by any stretch of the imagination. However, lest we miss the point, this is not saying it is only little children who can enter the Kingdom of God; for the ruling factor of the Kingdom is made up of mature Sons of God. It is the attitude, the condition of one's mind, the love and genuine concern for creation, and being void of guile. It is being as a child, not being a child that is the qualifying factor. Therefore, let us gird up our loins as men while our hearts are clothed upon by the pure love of a child. When we are relative to Jesus rather than Adam, we shall with ease do so.
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1. "...The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple" (Psa 19:7). Sure: Hebrew, "aman, ...to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent...to be true or certain...to go to the right hand"
"I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation..." (Isa 28:16)
sure: Hebrew, "yacad, to set...to found...settle..."
2. Titanic: from Titans, in Greek mythology, rebellious giant children of Uranus. (Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia)
3. The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men. (Psa 11:4)
4. elements; "stoicheion, ...something orderly in arrangement" (Strong's Exh. Conc.) That which is arranged in the heavens find its order in the earth.
5. The earth and its works are the visible
expressions of the invisible power in the heavens.