the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
“In whom we also have obtained AN INHERITANCE, being predestinated
according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His
own will” (Eph. 1:11).
Having read these words from our beloved brother Paul, three questions
only concern us. What is this
inheritance? To whom does it
belong? How do we obtain it?
In order to answer the first of these questions, we are naturally
concerned whether the inheritance is worth possessing.
If we should be promised an inheritance of a million dollars, I am sure
there are few of us who would not become considerably excited.
Our interest would be stirred. Our
hope would be aroused. If there
were conditions laid down which must be fulfilled before we could inherit, we
would look carefully at those conditions. We
would not risk the loss of our inheritance through indifference or willful
Stop to think what a million dollars could do for you if you had it!
It could do much, but there is just as much, and more, that it could not
do. The power of money to do good
and to give happiness is strictly limited.
To mention just a few things that it cannot do: It cannot give you an
untroubled conscience or peace of mind. If
you are sick it can buy you the best medical care, but it cannot guarantee to
make or keep you well. Does it give
security? After a fashion, yes;
yet, those who have it anxiously wonder how long they can keep it, or they may
blow it all in just a few months. A
thousand hands are outstretched to grab it, by fair means or foul. The ways in which it may be lost or destroyed are too
numerous to mention. Nor can it
stave off death or prolong life. Its
enjoyment is limited strictly to this present world, which is passing away, and
it is the matter of only a few years. Such
is every human inheritance. We do
not despise it for its limited present value.
We would simply look at it dispassionately in its true light, in order
that we might appreciate the more the words of the hymn writer,
We Christians should ever consider
What Christ hath so gloriously taught;
For He who hath made us His children
Would have us retain in our thought
How little things earthly do merit,
Lest we who the Kingdom inherit,
The heavenly prize leave unsought.
“Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified and made us fit to
share the portion which is the inheritance
of the saints in the Light. The
Father has delivered us and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the
dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the
kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col. 1:12-13, Amplified).
This beautiful passage sets forth the great truth that as saints God is
preparing us to receive that which the Spirit identifies as “the INHERITANCE
of the saints.” What is the
inheritance which is ours as children of God?
Do you really know?
Of course most Christians have always heard
that the grand purpose of our salvation is that we might escape hell and make
heaven our home when we die. And
most believers have simply accepted this concept without
question. But have you ever
stopped to prove it for yourself? Did
you ever look into the promises of God to see whether it really
does say that “heaven” is the inheritance of the saints?
We have surely read these inspired words of instruction: “Blessed be
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant
mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus
Christ from the dead, to an inheritance
incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved
in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto
salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Pet. 1:3-5).
Let me draw your earnest attention to seven wonderful truths revealed in
these words of the apostle. (1) We
have been, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, begotten again unto a living
hope. (2) This living hope is
the hope of an inheritance.
(3) This inheritance is incorruptible. (4) This
incorruptible inheritance is reserved in
heaven — the invisible realm of the Spirit — for us.
(5) Until we fully receive our inheritance we are kept
by the power of God unto the inheritance — preserved so that we can appropriate it.
(6) The inheritance is salvation — full and complete.
(7) This full salvation is ready
for us — already
prepared for us and appointed to us — and shall be
revealed in the last time.
Blind to the true nature of our inheritance and the plan by which God is
bringing His elect into it, many of the Lord’s people make ignorant and
unscriptural statements regarding it. For
instance, speaking of a departed saint who has passed from this life, they say,
“He has gone to his reward.” Where
does the Bible say such a thing? Nothing
could be father from the truth! It
is not death that qualifies one to
receive his inheritance, but rather, the raising up of one’s entire being INTO
THE RESURRECTION LIFE OF CHRIST. The
hope is a living, quickening hope.
It is secured for us by the resurrection life of Jesus Christ.
This living hope has been given to us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the dead. And “heaven” is
NOT the inheritance. The
inheritance is merely “reserved” in heaven for us.
That is, it is reserved, laid up, retained, earmarked, allocated and
proportioned in the realm of the Spirit for us.
It is available and accessible in
the Spirit. It is there
for us. Let us say that you
have $50,000.00 and all of it is in a checking account at First National Bank.
The money is all yours — but
it is kept, held, reserved, retained, earmarked, allocated and proportioned for
you in the bank — until you write a check on it. The check is a claim on the account and by that claim you
gain what is “reserved in the bank” for you.
You don’t have to live in the bank or even go to the bank in order to
spend the money. And you don’t
have to go to some far-off heaven somewhere in order to receive or live out of
your inheritance in the Kingdom of God.
Faith is our claim upon the
inheritance “reserved in heaven — the
realm of the Spirit” for us!
It is not paid at our death, for it is Jesus who died to give it to us, but is paid upon
Furthermore, the inheritance is
reserved for us, ready to be revealed,
that is, paid, “in the last time.”
Make no mistake about it — the
“last time” is not a date on the calendar!
That is where so many “end-time” teachers go wrong.
They think the last time is a date, so they are always trying to figure
out the date, setting dates for the coming of the Lord, the beginning of the
great tribulation, the dawn of the millennium, or the manifestation of the sons
of God. I do not doubt for one
moment that our present age is rapidly drawing to a close, perhaps the new age
has already dawned, but that is not the issue here.
The Kingdom of God is not an age. The
Day of the Lord is not an age. The
last time is not a date on the calendar. The
last time relates to the people of God entering into and possessing their
inheritance! The last time is the finish, the completion,
the consummation of our experience in
God. It is when we have grown up
into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. It is when we have fully put on the mind of Christ.
It is when we have gone on to perfection. It is
when we have attained unto a perfect man. It
is when we have been filled with all the fullness of God.
It is when Christ has been raised up within us in all the glory and
fullness of Himself. It is when we
have spiritually developed into a mature faith, hope, and love. It
is the third day, the third feast, and the illumination, life, and authority of
the Most Holy Place. It is a time,
not on the clock, but in the development of Christ in us.
It is not the end of the age that brings the manifestation of the sons of
God — it is the
manifestation of the sons of God that brings the end of the age. Therefore let
us take heart as saints of God, for growth in Christ is far more accessible to
each of us than the unknown dawning of a chronological age!
The truth and fullness of the wonder of it all only begins to dawn upon
our ransomed souls when the spirit of revelation shines with penetrating power
upon the eyes of our understanding enabling us to see into the magnificent
working of the divine and heavenly scheme.
An heirship always implies an inheritance.
If we are made heirs of God, we become partakers in the inheritance left
us at the death of the Testator. It
comes with the divine sonship, and is ours because our Lord died.
In the epistle to the Hebrews, we read of the method whereby the
inheritance of the Lord was secured for us.
“How much more (than animal sacrifices) shall the blood of Christ, who
through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your
conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
And for this cause He (Jesus) is the mediator of the new testament
(covenant, will), that by means of (His) death...they which are called might
receive the promise of eternal INHERITANCE” (Heb. 9:14-15).
Notice how the writer tells us that through His death, Christ became the
mediator of the New Covenant.
And those who are called into this new covenant relationship as sons of
God, are given the promise of eternal inheritance. The writer goes on to say, “For where a testament (will)
is, there must of necessity be the death of the testator (the one who made the
will)” (Heb. 9:16). Nothing is
more certain than this! A will is
worth nothing until the person who made
the will has died. This is how our
eternal inheritance has come to us. The
Lord Jesus loved us — and He died! Now
our inheritance has been made sure. Thank
God, that there might be no question about our inheritance, that none could rob
us of it, that we might be assured of
receiving it, Christ arose from the dead to become the executor of His own estate! I
have read accounts where an executor squandered an estate and the heirs were
cheated out of their rightful inheritance. This cannot possibly happen to the sons of God for Jesus
Christ ever liveth to make sure the inheritance goes to the RIGHTFUL HEIRS.
But there is a truth deeper and more wonderful than this. As the ocean includes the seas, the bays, the straits, which,
though known by separate names, are parts of its majestic and all-embracing
fullness, so is there a dimension of HIS INHERITANCE that encompasses all that
is ours in Christ. In the law of
the Old Testament priesthood, “the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no
inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them.
I AM THY PART, and THINE INHERITANCE, among the children of Israel”
(Num. 18:20). It was a very
satisfactory arrangement for the pious priest.
He could not own any land in
Israel. But he could well dispense
with the oliveyards and vineyards, the cornfields and homesteads of Canaan, if
he might have GOD HIMSELF as the strength of his heart, the source of his
supply, and his portion forever. And
the Psalmist eagerly caught at the thought, gladly surrendering all portion in
this life, if only he might be “satisfied” with God (Ps. 17:15).
“The LORD is the portion of MINE INHERITANCE and of my cup: Thou
maintainest my lot. Yea, I have a
goodly heritage” (Ps. 17:5-6).
Ah, our inheritance is God
Himself! That is the
inheritance of the kings and priests of the Kingdom of God.
Not golden harps. Not golden
streets. Not walls of jasper or
pearly gates. Not a cabin in the
corner or a mansion over the hilltop. Not
wings and a white nightgown with which to flit about over the Elysium hills of
glory. There is something deeper,
more inward and rapturous — the possession of God.
HEIRS OF G-O-D! Not
merely heirs of the things of God, but
heirs of God Himself. Oh, the
mystery of it! Oh, the wonder of
it! Heirs of all the communicable
glories of the divine nature and power. To
know Him, to explore His being, to
live on His fullness, to discover new tracts and continents in the “terra
incognita” of Godhead, to see His glory, to be changed into His image, to
receive His authority and power, to be filled with His wisdom and knowledge —
this is “the
heritage of the servants of the Lord.” Glory
Beloved, you and I have been given an inheritance in the Lord Jesus
Christ. He has left us a title deed
to His very own wisdom, righteousness, nature, glory and power. Of course, Jesus lived in absolute poverty while on this
earth; He owned no land, no vast estate, no great herds of cattle, no store of
gold or precious stones, no account in the bank.
But He willed to us riches greater than the diamond mines of South
Africa, greater than the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, greater than the gross
national product of the United States. Jesus
gave us an inheritance that makes us far richer than a Rockefeller, Bill Gates,
or any Middle Eastern oil sheik. It
is the inheritance of all the riches of His very own life and glory!
Once you understand the value of this inheritance you will count
everything else in your life and in this world as mere rubbish.
You will seek after it with all your mind, strength and heart, and be a
glad and willing heir to His legacy. The
most important thing we can seek God for in this life is the value
of our inheritance in Christ — and it’s waiting to be claimed!
We are learning what it means to be a son of God, realizing God’s great
plan and purposes involved. One of
the most important rights of sonship is that of inheritance. Heirship depends entirely upon our relationship with God.
When we were born again, born of God, we became children of God and
consequently heirs of the Almighty Father.
This is an aspect of the great and wonderful purpose of God in
redemption. Inheritance is also
concerned with law and nationality — one
inherits in the country of his parentage and according to the laws of that land.
Jesus explained to Nicodemus that in order to enter the Kingdom of God
human beings have to be born again — of the Spirit.
The Kingdom of God is the realm or land of our inheritance, and that
great land is entered into by birth. It
is there in the land of the Kingdom of God that we are able to see, enter,
possess and inherit Christ as our All-in-all.
Having been separated and set apart for the Father’s work in His
Kingdom, we are then given our inheritance, which is the Kingdom of God. That is the condition of the will — the
full inheritance is given only upon our reaching maturity. Upon reaching
spiritual maturity the Kingdom of God is our rightful inheritance.
Then the Lord says unto us, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mat.
25:34). When Father set forth His
plans and purposes in the beginning, He determined to give His Kingdom to His
sons when the time was ripe for it. According
to the Amplified Bible, we are to receive the Kingdom of God as our own! And that is
exactly what it means to “inherit” the Kingdom! After we have learned all
the lessons of our walk in Christ, after we have endured our share of the
sufferings of Christ, we are then fully qualified to receive our rightful
inheritance in the Kingdom of God. We
shall then have no worldly or personal kingdoms of man.
We shall own no other kingdom but the Kingdom of God, which becomes our
How little does the wailing infant, over whose cradle hangs the
photograph of his father’s vast estate, understand of the inheritance to which
he has been born! The old
homestead, the far-spread lands, the immense business enterprises, the enormous
investments, the accumulated wealth, the prestige of fame and prosperity and
power — all
these things are his; but years must pass ere they can be truly realized or
appreciated. And how little do most
earnest and zealous and saintly children of God conceive of that inheritance
which is ours so soon as we become the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.
As a matter of right all God’s nature and power and glory and wisdom
and dominion is ours the moment we are born into His family; as a vast tract of
land, filled with woods and rivers and oil wells, belongs to the heir at the
moment of birth. But, as a matter
of fact, we shall never occupy all until we have grown up into the maturity of
Christ. His gifts
are for His children, but His inheritance
is reserved for His full-grown sons. We
are urged, therefore, by the apostle Paul, to press forward from the gift-realm
into the inheritance-realm! “Therefore
it is said...He bestowed gifts on men. His
intention was the perfecting and full equipping of the saints, that they should
do the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body, that it might
develop until we all attain...at really mature manhood — the
completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of
Christ’s own perfection — the measure of the stature of
the fullness of the Christ, and the completeness found in Him” (Eph.
4:8,12-13). Together we can praise
God that He has brought us to that day!
Here is a scene with which we are all familiar.
The car is humming along the road. Suddenly
there’s a sputter, a fruitless pumping of the gas pedal and then a full halt.
You’re out of gas! Hundreds
of thousands of motorists have that experience each year, and I must confess
that it has happened to me a few times, too.
The problem is not technological. The
basic problem is usually human error — either a failure to plan ahead or heedless attention to an
obviously depleted gas level. That
failure to plan ahead is common. Although
the motorist is aware of the distance to be traveled and of the gas performance
of his car, he sets out without adequate fuel.
Closed gas stations or long distances of remote highway on which there
are no service stations spell trouble. Simple
preparation would have averted the dilemma, but after some inconvenience the
destination will likely be reached. The
Kingdom of God is another journey that might not end up where we would like it
to. Unfortunately many Christians
are content to drift aimlessly with no thought of whether they are prepared for
the journey of journeys. Often they
are prepared for the wrong journey, and therefore miss the Kingdom.
They are getting ready to fly away to heaven instead of preparing to inherit
the Kingdom of God!
There are four classes of people in relation to the Kingdom of God today.
There are those who see the Kingdom. Then
there are those who enter the Kingdom.
After that there are some who press in to possess
the Kingdom. And finally there is a
people that inherits the Kingdom.
It is one thing to see the Kingdom, but quite another thing to inherit
the Kingdom. To see the Kingdom is vision.
To enter the Kingdom is exploration. To possess
the Kingdom is appropriation.
And to inherit the Kingdom is to fully
and permanently utilize and exercise all of its riches, abundance, position,
responsibilities and powers.
Those who inherit the Kingdom are the ones who sit with Jesus upon His
throne and rule with Him; those who only enter the Kingdom enjoy its blessings
and benefits and they serve Him, not reign with Him. They are citizens and subjects of the Kingdom, not kings and
priests. Those who enter the
Kingdom will be a great multitude, as John the Revelator saw them... “After
this (the sealing of the 144,000) I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude which no
man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before
the throne, and before the Lamb,
clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice,
saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve
Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth upon the throne shall dwell
among them. They shall hunger no
more, neither thirst any more; for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto
living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes”
It should not be difficult to understand that those who sit with Christ in
His throne occupy an altogether different position than those who merely
enter the Kingdom and serve Him before the throne. “To
him that overcometh shall I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my
Father in His throne” (Rev. 3:21).
“Thou hast made us unto our God kings
and priests: and we shall reign on
the earth” (Rev. 5:10). Those who
inherit the Kingdom and reign with Christ upon His throne are a select and
chosen people, especially prepared for this position, a small number in
comparison with the “great multitude” serving Him before His throne.
The requirements for those who inherit the Kingdom are much higher than
for the ones merely entering the Kingdom and partaking of its wondrous blessings
and bounteous benefits.
Some who read these lines are familiar with the visions of Annie of
Argentina. In one of her visions
she recounts, “While I was with Him in the wonder and glory of His invisible
world, He showed me His own entering into the possession which He gives them. He explained that there were two distinct times of tremendous
importance in which there could be an entering into one’s possession.
Now, before the storm or later, after the storm.
Those who entered their possession before the storm became His elect
ones, with a far superior place and development.
In them the perfect will of God was brought
forth. Occupying a place
very near to Him, they became the instruments of God in His workings.
Those who entered their possession after the storm were perfected upon a
definitely inferior plane.” I
believe the “storm” represents God’s dealings in judgment.
Those who now gladly submit to all of Father’s dealings and
chastisements upon His sons become qualified to occupy a place of intimacy with
Him and share His glorious throne. Those
who, though His children, must be dealt with in judgment in order to bring His
will into their lives, occupy a lesser place in His Kingdom, a place of serving
rather than reigning.
The Kingdom of God is something we inherit.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth has already inherited
the Kingdom of His Father and now sits upon His Father’s throne.
And, like a multibillionaire Father, He has written His will, designating each one of us as potential inheritors of His vast, unlimited estates — called
the Kingdom of God!
Paul says that we are heirs of God, and joint-heirs
with Christ (Rom. 8:17). Yes, heirs
— not yet inheritors! All creation is waiting with eager anticipation for the heirs
to become inheritors, for all shall be
delivered and blessed in the overflow of their glory and power.
Paul Mueller has written, “Obviously, there is a difference between entering
the new land and inheriting it.
As soon as Israel entered their promised land of Canaan, they were to
appoint judges ‘in all thy gates’ (Deut. 16:18).
If their judges rendered righteous judgment and observed many other
principles of righteousness and obedience to the law and word of the Lord,
Israel would then inherit the promised
land of Canaan. This truth applies
to this new land of the Kingdom of God on earth as well as to the old land of
Canaan. In entering our promised
land of the Kingdom of God on earth now, we are beginning to experience a new
and different set of tests and trials that qualify us to LIVE IN and INHERIT
this land of promise. Jesus
explained the high calling of His disciples, which was to inherit the Kingdom of
God and judge the twelve tribes of Israel.
He said to them, ‘Ye are they which have continued with me in my
temptations (testings). 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.’ In
speaking to His disciples as He did, Jesus fully recognized the trials and
testings they had gone through with Him. Jesus said because those disciples remained with Him all
through their adversities and trials — being literally put to the
proof through those difficult times — they would inherit
the Kingdom. This establishes a
pattern for us also. The early
disciples were appointed to the Kingdom as a result of the tests and trials they
endured and by being obedient to the work of the Spirit within them.
Even so do we inherit the fullness of the Kingdom of God by being tested
and tried. We are entering the
Kingdom ‘through much tribulation’ (Acts 14:22).
If our testings are increasing, it is because Father is pressing us into
the fullness of His Kingdom with greater haste and intensity.
Because we are proven by experience to be true, faithful and righteous,
we shall eat and drink of Him at His table in His Kingdom.
We shall also sit with Him on His spiritual throne to judge the world in
truth and in righteousness” —
That the hope of honor and glory may be fastened firmly in our spiritual
minds let us examine more closely this principle of inheritance.
When a titled person dies, the heirs inherit all that is his: the family
crest, the property, the land, the fortune, or possibly even a great mass of
debts. What I am saying is that
sons and heirs inherit everything pertaining to the title of their father.
Even in life all children inherit genetically something from their
father, such as his nature, life, love, care, and daily provision.
But how much of his wealth they
will each receive, a wise father will determine by their individual capacities
for profiting by possessions. He
will not bequeath a mansion to a son who loves only nature and prefers to live
in a shack on the creek bank, nor will he leave a million dollars to one who has
no appreciation of the value of money and would squander it all in a short time.
And he most certainly will not give the family business into the hands of
an irresponsible, reckless, and lazy son who has never prepared himself for
assuming such responsibilities.
This practical principle also operates with the Lord in the realm of the
Kingdom of Heaven, for Jesus has taught us that “The kingdom of heaven is as a
man who was about to take a long journey, and he called his servants together
and entrusted them with his property. To
one he gave five talents (probably about $5,000), to another two, to another
one; to each in proportion to his own personal ability.
Then he departed and left the country.
He who received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and
he gained five talents more. And
likewise he who had received the two talents; he also gained two talents more.
But he who had received the one talent went and dug a hole in the ground
and hid his master’s money. Now
after a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts
with them. And he who had received the five talents came and brought him
five more, saying, Master, you entrusted to me five talents; see, here I have
gained five talents more. His
master said to him, Well done, you upright, honorable, admirable and faithful
servant! You have been faithful and
trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much.
Enter into and share the joy — the
delight, the blessedness — which your master enjoys.
And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, Master, you
entrusted two talents to me; here I have gained two talents more.
His master said to him, Well done, you upright, honorable, admirable and
faithful servant! You have been
faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much.
Enter into and share the joy — the delight, the
blessedness — which your master enjoys.
“He who had received one talent also came forward, saying, Master, I
knew you to be a harsh and hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and
gathering where you had not winnowed the grain; so I was fearful, and I went and
hid your talent in the ground. Here
you have what is your own. But his
master answered him, You wicked and lazy and idle servant!
Did you indeed know that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather grain
where I have not winnowed? Then you
should have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I could have
received what was my own with interest. So
take the talent away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.
For to everyone who has shall more be given, and he will be furnished
richly so that he will have abundance. And
throw the good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness (a realm of loss
outside the Kingdom); there shall be weeping and grinding of teeth (in sorrow at
being denied the power and glory of the Kingdom)” (Mat. 25:14-30).
Christians as a whole have very faulty ideas concerning ruling and
reigning with Christ, and the structure and administration of the Kingdom in
general. They imagine that by sheer
grace they will be caught up into
heavenly realms of power and glory. But
the Spirit of God teaches us clearly that “He
that overcometh shall inherit
all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son”
(Rev. 21:7). The whole passage
(Rev. 21) mentions three classes in relation to the Kingdom — first,
the unconverted, who have their part in the lake of fire — the
purging, purifying fires of purposeful, redemptive judgment; second, saved
peoples with God dwelling among them, children
of God who have an entrance into the Kingdom to receive of its blessings and
benefits; third, heirs and sons
inheriting all things.
George Wylie once gave the following illustration which beautifully makes
the point. He said, “In entering
the Kingdom you are just being there, you have a place in the Kingdom, you are a
subject of the Kingdom: but to inherit it is something else.
This might help you to understand it better.
I live in Canada, and am a Canadian subject.
Many times I cross the border between here and the U.S.A.
When I cross the border I have entered the United States, but I am just a
visitor there, I am not even a citizen of that country; but I have entered it
when I left Canada and crossed the border.
As I travel around the U.S.A. I meet many people who are citizens of the
land; they belong there, but I am a foreigner, nevertheless I have entered that
country and enjoy its hospitality. But
if in some way I inherited the
country, I could go to the White House and say to the President, ‘Now Mr.
President, you kindly get out of here, I am taking over this nation, for I have
inherited it.’ So you see there
is a great difference between entering a place and inheriting it.
“When one enters the Kingdom of God, he is there, he is a citizen, a
subject of that country. But when
one inherits it, he is not just a subject of the Kingdom, he is the owner, the
controller, the authority, the power, the government!
This is something greater than merely entering into the Kingdom and
enjoying the blessings and rights of citizenship. The qualifications for entering the Kingdom and those for
inheriting the Kingdom are altogether different” — end quote.
That this great honor and glory to which Christ is now bringing us
through many trials, testings, and sufferings, is predicated upon our overcoming in them, cannot be disputed in the light of what He
further states in chapters two and three of the book of the Revelation.
Oh, let us give earnest heed to these tremendous statements!
“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” (Rev. 2:26-27).
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit
with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my
Father in His throne” (Rev. 3:21). “He
that overcometh shall inherit all things;
and I will be his God, and he shall be my son”
(Rev. 21:7). It is the son who is the heir of the
heavenly glories — not simply any child
of God you may meet on the street or in a church meeting.
Let not carnal, self-willed, immature Christians imagine for one moment
that it will be given to them to reign with Christ without first having shed
their carnal minds and put on the righteousness, knowledge, wisdom, obedience,
and maturity of the Son of God.
God only commits Kingdom authority and power to those sons who have
reached the spiritual stature of maturity.
The scriptures refer to this as the “adoption”.
Paul speaks of this adoption when he says, “Having predestinated us
unto the ADOPTION OF SONS by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good
pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:5). To
understand the various New Testament references to adoption, we must first have
some background to show how the Oriental customs in this regard differ from our
own Western concepts. Here in the
West, adoption is the taking of a child from one family and making it the member
of another family. The Greek word
for adoption is HUIOTHESIA. The
first half is HUIOS, the common noun for an adult
son. The latter half is THESIA,
meaning a placement or an installation.
In Israel, as in many Eastern countries, after a male “child” had
come to full age and had been instructed and trained and had proven through
obedience that he was able to assume the responsibility of the family name,
wealth, and power, then the father held a public ceremony where some of the
families and neighbors in Israel gathered together and the father publicly
placed his boy as a “son”.
Jesus, in His relationship to His heavenly Father, passed through these
two stages, as the prophet points out: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a
son is given...” (Isa. 9:6). Consider
these two statements: (1) a CHILD is BORN (2)
a SON is GIVEN. Jesus fulfilled the
first when He came into the world as a babe.
The “child” was born in Bethlehem.
But thirty years passed before the “son” was given at the Jordan
river. When Jesus was twelve years
old the revelation of who He was came to Him, but even then “He went down with
them (Mary and Joseph), and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them...and
Jesus increased in wisdom and (spiritual) stature,
and in favor with God and man” (Lk.
2:51-52). After passing through
thirty years of spiritual development under the dealings of His Father, learning
His ways and complete obedience, in a public ceremony at Jordan, with multitudes
of the families of Israel present with John the Baptist, God declared His
Son’s SONSHIP: “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of
the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of
God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a voice from heaven
saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I
am WELL PLEASED!” (Mat. 3:16-17). From
that day forward Jesus assumed the responsibility of His Father’s name,
wealth, and power, and God’s SON became manifested to the world, glorifying
the Father in word and in deed. That
is when the Kingdom of God came among men.
The proclamation of adoption gave the son certain privileges not enjoyed
by him before this time. These
privileges are important to all who have received the call to sonship and will
teach us much about our own adoption as God’s sons if we think upon them.
First, the son at the adoption ceremony was given the right to use
his father’s name. He had the
power of attorney and could buy or sell and do business in his father’s name.
Secondly, at this time the son was given his inheritance,
all the wealth that the father would entrust to him.
It was at this time that the prodigal son came to his father to request
of him all the portion of goods that belonged to him.
Thirdly, and of tremendous importance for our consideration, the son was
promoted to equality with his father!
None of this was his by right of birth, but only as an attainment
received following years of growth, development, discipline, schooling, testing,
and experience. Ah, at this present time we know in part and prophesy in part
and our spiritual life and ministry is limited to that “measure” given to us
as the children of God.
But the Spirit witnesses around the world, by incontrovertible witness
and testimony, in dreams and visions, through the mouths of holy prophets and
apostles, and by the spirit of wisdom and revelation to many thousands of
saints, that the hour is wonderfully close at hand for the adoption,
the placing, the manifestation of the sons of God, the full, complete, qualified,
prepared, body of that firstborn Son. What
a day this is for us, and for the whole creation that groans and travails for
The implication of such a marvelous event as the manifestation of the
sons of God is staggering to the imagination, and it is small wonder that the
immature and careless Christians know nothing at all of it even as the day of
manifestation draws nigh. But the
implication it holds not only for those who have received the call, but for the
entire creation in the age and the ages to come, is beyond expression or even
imagination. Jesus Christ, the
lonely carpenter of Nazareth, the first manifested Son, who challenged death,
healed the sick, cleansed the
lepers, raised the dead, cast out devils, wrought mighty signs and wonders and
miracles, and had power over the laws of nature and all things, was but one man placed as the Son of the Almighty Father in heaven; but what
glory it will be when the entire family of sons is placed by adoption and stands
up in the earth to do the works Jesus did and even greater works than those!
Earlier I mentioned that an adopted son shares equality with his father.
Suppose you are driving down the street and pass a store with a sign out
front that reads, BROWN AND SON HARDWARE — what
does this suggest to you? Naturally,
it suggests that Mr. Brown is the owner of the store and that Mr. Brown has a
son who is partner with him in the business.
But it further suggests that this son is grown, that he has reached the age of maturity, experience, and
responsibility where he can be taken into his father’s business as
a partner — as
a mature business man!
You certainly would not expect, upon entering the store and asking for
the son, to be presented to a ten year old boy or an infant in a playpen!
Nor have we ever seen a sign across the front of a store that read: BROWN
AND CHILD HARDWARE! This, then, is exactly
the difference between a child of God
and a son of God. A child is born,
but a son is developed. Since we
have been born of God we have God’s nature,
the divine nature. But we must grow
up into God’s character and ability! That is what it really means to be a manifested son of God!
So many Christians today are satisfied with merely an entrance into the Kingdom realm of God where as children they can
enjoy the many blessings and the wonderful benefits of God’s mercy, goodness
and kindness. Their eyes are blind
to the higher purposes of God, and any efforts to lead them on to higher ground
are rebuffed and resisted by a human reasoning that asks why one should waste
time on “deep things” when they are already saved and “on their way to
heaven.” But the new birth, while
it is the most astounding miracle of the ages, is, nevertheless, but the birth
of a mere spiritual infant.
There are many further steps that must follow this birth if one is to
come into all the glories and the full heritage which is prepared for those who
follow on to know the Lord. The
life of God is a free gift of unmerited mercy and favor.
But heavenly attainments of spiritual wealth and power and glory and
usefulness are given to those who grow up
unto the “measure of the stature of the fullness
of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). There
is great glory, wisdom, power, and responsibility awaiting those who grow up to
be God’s sons. Let us press
forward unto SONSHIP!
God’s Kingdom is a body politic. And
there are two parties: God’s righteous government, and the opposition.
The opposition has been trying for six thousand years, by any and every
means, to gain control of the government. But
it has been a disheartening battle. The
Word says, “The government shall be upon HIS (Christ, Head and body)
shoulders...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” (Isa. 9:6-7).
Because this rule can never diminish or cease, every apparent victory of
the enemy, in the end, has turned out to be a defeat.
Of course, God planned it that way from the beginning for our learning
and development in the Kingdom.
Out of God’s own mouth proceeds the assertion, “I have created the waster
to destroy” (Isa. 54:16). We
gather from this passage that God has created the negative realm for a specific
purpose, to serve as a backdrop for the positive realm.
That purpose is stated in the opening words of the above quoted verse:
“I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an INSTRUMENT for His work.”
The “smith” that “bloweth upon the fire” is also the one who
heats the furnace seven times hotter! “Beloved,
think it not strange concerning the fiery
trial which is to try you, as
though some strange thing had happened unto you” (I Pet. 4:12).
Our trials and testings are associated in the Word of God with the
ministry of Satan. You never
thought of Satan having a MINISTRY? Meditate
deeply upon the following passages and I do not doubt that you will see how it
is that God Himself sends the adversary into our lives to accomplish that work
which can only be done by adversity, trouble, temptation, processing, trials and
testings. “Then was Jesus led up
of the Spirit into the wilderness to be TEMPTED (tested, tried) OF THE DEVIL.
And when the Tempter came to Him, he said, If thou be the Son of God,
command that these stones be made bread” (Mat. 4:1-3).
“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the Devil
shall cast some of you into prison, THAT YE MAY BE TRIED...be thou
faithful...and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have
you, THAT HE MAY SIFT YOU AS WHEAT: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith
fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Lk.
A friend has written, “God is constructing a temple, made of living
stones, through which to manifest Himself throughout the ages to come.
Satan was created as a chisel and hammer to be used in the construction
of this building. The living stones
that are even now being placed in this temple have been chosen, says the Lord,
in the ‘furnace of affliction’ (Isa. 48:10).
God, however, is mercy; God is love; God is compassion.
He is a healer, not a destroyer. It
was, nonetheless, necessary that an oven be heated in which to purify the gold —
furnace in which the wood, hay, and stubble were to be burned — but
God, in His nature of love and goodness, could not perform the necessary
affliction. It was for this reason
that He created AN INSTRUMENT that was capable of performing this essential
action in the lives of men, for in Satan God literally created
a chastening rod.
If we can realize that behind the acts of Satan is the mighty hand of God
working to bring forth gold from these earthen vessels, we can rejoice, as
David, in our afflictions and trials and exclaim with him, ‘It is good for me
that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes’ (Ps. 119:7).
Praise God! When we begin to
see the good that comes from the
assaults of Satan in our lives, we are able to appreciate all the more the
greatness of our God and the depth of the wisdom of His great mind.
He is truly a God of power and might, and all
things are in His hand and by His design — even this adversary whom we call the Devil.”
The human race fell to the deception of the opposition at the very
beginning. But instead of that
being a victory for the adversary, it turned out to be a blessing for the human
race. For now, not only will all
men be restored to what was lost by the fall, but those who are called and
chosen are translated to the heavenly realm, to a position as far removed from a
perfect Edenic state as the east is from the west.
The opposition even went as far as to crucify the King, the Lord of
glory. But that seeming defeat for
Christ’s cause was a signal victory, for on the third day the crucified One
arose from the tomb, thus breaking the sway of death and delivering all who were
in bondage from its clutches. Because
He arose, so shall every son of Adam arise.
“The hour is coming, in the which A-L-L that are in the graves shall
hear His voice and come forth...” (Jn. 5:28-29).
The Kingdom of the righteous One has not yet been brought forth in all
its fullness and perfection over the earth.
We are passing through a period of preparation in which those who have
proven themselves faithful to the rightful King and His cause, are being sealed,
and now joyfully await the day when, upon the full manifestation of the Kingdom,
they will be raised to great honor and power and majesty, to reign as heavenly
kings over the earth, to bring life and light and love to all mankind and to all
worlds and all creatures throughout the endless vastnesses of infinity.
Faithful adherence to the principles of the government is the one and
only condition laid down by which men attain to these positions of honor.
But through the ages the opposition has been trying to overthrow the
dominion of the Kingdom of God and to gain the ascendancy by enlisting the
supporters of the government in his own cause.
He enlists them and leads them to work against their sovereign Head by
confusing them concerning the principles of the government.
Those who thus follow the adversary are rebels, traitors, unfaithful
servants. They can never come to honor.
That doesn’t mean they can’t be saved — it means
that they forfeit their place in the government of God.
They have betrayed a sacred trust in that which is considered least: they
have been faithless in a few things. Thus
they have proven themselves unfit to be entrusted with more important matters.
I have seen brethren who received the call to sonship take the word of
the Kingdom and prostitute it with the ways of religion and the methods of the
flesh, for financial gain, for a name, for
a following, to build a little
kingdom around themselves, to control men’s lives, or simply because they
lacked the faith and consecration to walk
out the principles of the Kingdom of God.
They can never, with the faithful, be made rulers over many things.
And such is the sad state and condition of the church in general of the
The Lord has, in mercy, allowed the least faithless of the popular church
systems to declare enough of the gospel to lead a few to the Saviour.
Some of these receive and teach a genuine baptism in the Holy Spirit,
with gifts, and healings, and blessings and miracles.
But from here on, practically everything that is taught is nothing but
defilement and shame: nothing but the traditions of the elders, and the lies and
deceptions of the adversary. Oh,
that we all might now leave our delusions and press on toward perfection.
My God, lead us onward and upward to “be no more children, tossed to
and fro, carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and
cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth
in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ”
(Eph. 4:14-15). Adult spiritual
perfection alone will win the prize incomparable at the end of the race.
And that perfection can be attained only by leaving the popular crowd: by
seeking the Lord who is our life, and by trusting Him to take us all the way in
to His crucifixion, and then into all His glorious fullness of resurrection life
and light and glory. Let us die to
all that defiles. Let us awaken to
righteousness and truth and reality.
From out of the masses of the redeemed our Father in heaven is even now
calling and preparing a people to inherit
the Kingdom of God, a people that has learned through the processings of this
Day to let the mind of Christ dwell in
them. They live and act out of that
perfect, holy, wise, glorious mind.
From the hosts of the redeemed He is raising up a company of kings and
priests to share His glorious throne and dominion.
Even now they are reigning over a few things, and soon they shall be
given dominion over many things. By
the spirit of revelation these have been quickened to the knowledge that they
are integral parts of Himself — all the sons of God elect according to the purpose of Him
from the very foundation of the world. Oh,
with what incredible faithfulness and omnipotent power our heavenly Father has
with His chastening rod and His tender mercies molded the vessels of glory
appointed to His Kingdom! Ah, my
brother, my sister! Strip
for the race! Let nothing
impede your progress now. Cast off every
weight and the sin which so easily
besets us, looking unto Jesus, who is
both the author and the finisher of our faith.
Just as there are certain things which are essential prerequisites to
inheriting the Kingdom of God, so there are certain things which are hindrances
and barriers and which stop a man from inheriting it.
Certain of these barriers we must already know for they are the opposites
of the things that are the qualifications for the Kingdom.
Just as the childlike, the forgiving, and the serving spirit are all
necessary passports to the Kingdom, so the proud, the bitter, and the selfish
spirit are hindrances and barriers to the Kingdom.
The apostle Paul, earnestly contending with the carnality of the saints
in the church at Corinth, speaks to believers about such a mundane thing as
suing each other at the law. He
admonishes them in the love of Christ that it is a shame for them to do this.
He is trying to persuade them that this is not something the elect of God
should be doing. They, like Jesus,
should be willing to suffer loss rather than fight and contend with one another
over earthly things. How can we
rule and reconcile all things in mercy
and love, if we demand our rights and use the law against those who wrong us
today? That very spirit is contrary
to the principles of the Kingdom! It
will keep you off the throne of righteous judgment, my friend!
By the wisdom given to him by the Lord, Paul writes, “Now therefore
there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another.
Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why
do ye not suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
Know ye not that the unrighteous (believers) 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 Cor. 6:7-10).
The above list is not pleasant, but it needs to be published.
These things remind us that the principles of the Kingdom must be laid in
our everyday lives. It is easy to relish the deep teaching of the Kingdom, and
revel in the hope of the glory that is coming, but the nature of holiness and
love and perfection must become expressed in every word and deed of those who
call themselves the sons of God. We
may not be subject to the grosser sins of the flesh, but there is also
selfishness, anger, jealousy, idle words, faultfinding, condemning, dissension
and a hundred other personality traits that defile the Kingdom. There is a Kingdom of God to which we must give answer every
day of our lives. There is an
eternal Kingdom of power and glory to be “inherited” or lost. There is an eternal issue to all of life.
It has its terminal point in the eternal Kingdom.
There is something then at stake — vitally and desperately at stake.
It is our inheritance, our place, our usefulness, our reward, our very
future in the government of God!
A passage in Galatians says essentially the same thing: “Now the works
of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath,
strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and
such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that
they which do such things shall not
inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21.
Do you know any Christians who do such things? Do you practice these
things yourself? If you do, then
you can be assured that you will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
You will not enter into the glory God has prepared for you.
You will be ruled “disqualified”.
Disqualified for the Kingdom! Ah,
you will be saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but will
forfeit your opportunity to rule and reign with Christ.
This is not judgment and condemnation I am preaching today — this is the solemn truth and wisdom of God who is raising
up kings and priests who shall REIGN IN RIGHTEOUSNESS!
Only the righteous can reign in righteousness!
In God’s Kingdom today there are great spiritual rewards. There is joy unspeakable and full of glory, and righteousness
and peace in the Holy Ghost. But
there is a Kingdom of life, of incorruption, of immortality, of universal rule
and dominion, of almighty power and glory that lies just before us.
But we will never know it or taste it unless we lay aside what is keeping
us from entering in. The exhortation of the first perfect Son of God reaches us
even today, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you,
will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Lk. 13:24). This is referring to how a pack animal, in order to go
through a narrow opening in the gate of a city, first had to have its baggage
all unloaded. It was only after
being thus disencumbered that a beast of burden could squeeze through.
The sad reason that some who have heard the call to sonship do not enter
into the Kingdom is that they are unwilling to rid themselves of all the baggage
that is keeping them from the will of God.
They are hanging on to many things, fleshly or religious, being afraid to
let go of them and trust God to be all to them.
Many believers have barely gotten the aroma of the rich enjoyment of
Christ that is available to them today. They
stand in the Outer Court, or in the Holy Place, and never enter into the Most
Holy Place, into the very presence of God, into the fullness of incorruptible
life, glory and power, because they are attached to an outward, organizational,
ceremonial, ritualistic, creedal, emotional, sentimental and works-oriented
religious realm. Let us lay aside
the weights and the sin which so easily besets us and run
the race. If there is something
that is keeping you from inheriting the Kingdom, cast it aside.
Do not be encumbered, my beloved, so that you cannot fully enter
in to inherit your promised land. The
Kingdom of God lies waiting before us. The
door is open, and all who hear the call may enter in.
Let me say boldly that no one is too weak or too feeble.
The ones who do not enter are simply unwilling. No matter what your state or your condition, you can turn
today to the heavenly Father, the Father of mercies, the Father of glory,
and He will strengthen you, nurture you, and empower you to inherit the
everlasting Kingdom. Arise, and enter in!
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