the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
KINGDOM OF GOD
Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of God cannot be fully appreciated until
there is put by its side the conception that was held by the Jews of His day.
The Jews are still looking for their Messiah.
When Jesus came they were expecting a powerful military leader who would
deliver them from the tyranny of Rome. They therefore rejected the humble
Nazarene even though they saw His mighty works and heard His wonderful words of
life. They wanted a military genius who would save them from the
Roman yoke, and they were not interested in a Saviour who would save them from
sin. These men wanted a king of
nations — God sent a King of hearts; men wanted a mighty deliverer —
God sent the Son of His love; men wanted temporal, political power —
God sent His Christ to lead them into spiritual power; men wanted to hear
the clash of arms and the swish of swords — but God
sent a Teacher and Healer and Miracle Worker.
The Kingdom was the one hope of the nation, the bright millennium for
which every one waited; its establishment would bring in the golden age, whose
glory would outvie all the splendors of their past history. It spoke to them of an exalted nation, a restored people, a
perfected society; of the time when their wrongs should be redressed.
This was the Kingdom the Jews expected: a display of divine sovereignty
that would overthrow Rome, sweep the godless Gentiles away, purge the earth of
unrighteousness and evil, and exalt God’s people, Israel, in their own land
over all the nations of the earth. Then
the treasures of the nations should be at their disposal; the Gentiles should
come to their light, and kings to the brightness of their rising; strangers
(foreign hired workers and slaves) should stand and feed their flocks, and the
sons of the alien be their plowmen and vinedressers; and in plenty, prosperity
and glory, their Messiah King should rule over them.
The national imagination was fired with the thought of this Kingdom.
The minds of the people were full of it, their patriotism yearned for it.
To them the signs of the times pointed powerfully to the imminence of its
The people of Israel had expectations about an earthly, political
kingdom. Jesus came doing miracles
and preaching powerful sermons. As
His fame spread He gained thousands of followers and soon He began to fit their
expectations. Who could better deal
with the Romans than a man who could walk on water, feed thousands
with a handful of food, cast out devils, heal the sick and raise the
dead? But from prison John the
Baptist sent two messengers to inquire of Jesus, “Art thou he that should
come? or look we for another?” John,
like many of his fellow Jews, had expected God to send someone to oppose the
powerful authorities, both Jewish
and Roman. When Jesus came on the
scene he trusted that He was the one who would confront the established order
and bring it down. Yet there were
things that troubled John...Jesus didn’t seem to be fulfilling all of his
Jesus claimed that the new order of the Kingdom of God had arrived, but
there was no visible change in the political order of the day. Jesus didn’t stir up the crowds with fiery political
speeches; He was not recruiting bands of fighters; He was not passing out
swords; He urged no one to practice civil disobedience; and He was not
organizing any resistance movement. So
John wondered — Is
Jesus really the One, after all? As
Jesus entered Jerusalem riding upon a donkey, the vast crowds that had gathered
felt a surge of patriotism, and in their excitement they waved palm branches and
sang, “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of
the Lord: Blessed be the King of our
father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the
highest!” They were eager to
raise up Jesus as their King to sit on David’s throne.
But Jesus cried. He climbed
up the mount of Olives and wept. He
could see the folly of seeking a deliverance and peace on the outside instead of
in the heart. Gazing sorrowfully
over Jerusalem He said, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy
day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine
eyes” (Lk. 19:42).
The corruption of the human heart is incredible beyond words to express
and it would have been completely useless had the Lord sent His Son to be the
deliverer of His people from enemies without, while leaving their wicked hearts
unchanged and their carnal natures uncrucified. The men of Israel could have believed in Jesus as their
Saviour from the Romans. As their
Saviour from their sins they could not believe in Him, for they loved their
sins. The King of Heaven came to
offer them a share in His Kingdom; but they were not poor in spirit, and the
Kingdom of Heaven was not for them. Gladly
would they have inherited the earth; but
they were not meek, and the earth was for the humble children of the perfect
Father. The whole problem with the
kingdom of Judah as a nation in the days of Christ was that they were
unconverted. There was no birth
from above. There was no new heart
and no new spirit placed within by which men are transformed into new creatures
and conformed into the image of God. They
wanted Christ to come and rule from without over their external enemies, but
they had no desire for Him to march triumphantly into their inner life to
deliver them from the kings of corruption and idolatry that ruled upon the
throne of their hearts.
The persistent, perverse, unholy disposition in the natural man and the carnal
mind does not change itself. Refinement
will not change it. Education will
not change it. Social and
rehabilitation programs will not change it.
Prison will not change it. Evolution
will not change it. Society will
not change it. Religious creeds,
ceremonies and programs will not change it.
“Deliverance meetings” will not change it.
The perfidious hearts and lives of unregenerated men can no more be
changed by these means than an Ethiopian can change his skin or a leopard his
spots. The only way a change can be
brought about is by being “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph.
2:10). In all the ages past the
only permanent reformations have been those which were wrought of God in
INDIVIDUALS. All national
reformations and improvements have ended in degeneracy and revolt.
All ecclesiastical reformations, after they have run their course, have
ended in backsliding and apostasy.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
in earth, as it is in heaven” (Mat. 6:10).
So then the Kingdom of God originates in the realm of Spirit (heaven) and
finds expression in the physical realm (earth).
It is set up in the believer’s heart.
He takes unto Himself His mighty power and subdues all things unto
Himself. He goes into the soul,
conquering and to conquer, until He has put all things under His feet.
We are praying for the time when God will give every unbeliever in the
universe to Jesus Christ for His inheritance.
We pray for the day when the uttermost parts of the earth will come under
His dominion and possession. We
pray for the day when all kingdoms will bow before Him and all nations shall
serve Him. We pray for the day when the mountain of the house of the
Lord, His government of kings and priests after the order of Melchizedek, the
many-membered Christ of God, shall be established everywhere.
We pray for that day when the fullness
of the Gentiles shall come in and all Israel shall be saved.
In that day it shall be seen that Christ is King over the whole earth.
He will appear to every soul on earth, in heaven, and in hell as the King
of kings and the Lord of lords. It
is proper for those who love Him and seek His appearing, to pray that He would
haste the time. Everyone should
pray that His Kingdom, the Kingdom of grace and glory and righteousness and
power, would come quickly and swallow up the kingdoms of the earth.
Men need not a King to straighten out the mess in the outer world, in
Washington, D.C., in Moscow, in the Middle East or in Bosnia — they need a
King to change the inside of every man! “Please
come Lord Jesus,” I found myself saying the other day, after reading the gory
news. Killings and muggings, and
violent jail-breaks; endless marriage disputes; child abuse; the video tape muck
and mire sewering through our cities and homes; drunkenness with its toll of
broken homes and killings and destroyed lives; mass killings of innocents
by terrorism and in bloody strife in countries all over the earth; and last but
not least, what kind of human beings have we that could push the red button,
sending the whole race into oblivion? THY
The truth is, not very much has changed in two thousand years.
The vast majority of Christians today think exactly
like the Jews of Jesus’ day! The
same crowd is all about us today. They
want deliverance from the government, from persecution, from abortion, from
communism, from the antichrist, from the tri-lateral commission and the council
on foreign relations, from the banking system, from the vast political
conspiracies that are steadily pushing the world toward a nightmlare of tyranny.
Most people are aware of the world’s need for salvation.
In these troubled days there is an almost universal longing for a better
world. But our tragedy is in
seeking it from the wrong source. Like
the Jews, we cannot believe that what we need to be saved from is OURSELVES!
You remember that when the Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God
should come, He answered, “The kingdom of God cometh not with
observation...for lo, the kingdom of God is
within you.” The Pharisees
were treating as future what was already present.
The Kingdom of God was right there within
them if they could have understood it.
“But,” someone objects, “surely the Kingdom of God was not within
those carnal, hateful, legalistic, Christ-rejecting Pharisees!” Some say that the correct translation should be: “For the
kingdom of God is in your midst,” or
“among you,” meaning that the
Kingdom was present in their midst in the person of Jesus, “among” them but
not “within” them. It cannot be
denied — the
Kingdom was indeed present among them in the very life of the Son of God, the
King of glory! But that is not the meaning of this passage.
The clearest meaning of the Greek can always be ascertained by usage. The way a word
is used reveals its true meaning —
meaning that the Holy Spirit of inspiration puts upon it, not the meaning our
English translators give it. It is
a thing of wonder — the Holy Spirit has faithfully, powerfully, wisely and
indisputably recorded for us the precise meaning of the word here translated
“within”. The Greek word is
ENTOS meaning simply, according to Strong’s Concordance, “inside; within”.
The word is used in only one other place in the New Testament, in Matthew
23:26. It is the Lord Jesus Himself
that uses the word on both occasions, and notice what He says.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the
outside of the cup and platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within
(entos) the cup and platter, that the outside
of them may be clean also.” No
one can argue that ENTOS means “in the midst” or “among” in this place —
clearly means “within”. “Within”
is contrasted with the “outside” of the cup and platter and plainly speaks
of the pollution within the hearts of
men, not in their midst or among
them. The evil in men is not something apart from them or outside
of them but something rooted deeply in the inward nature.
The question follows — how could Jesus say to the same Pharisees that both
corruption was within them and the Kingdom of God was within them!
It sounds like an obvious contradiction.
But it isn’t. Paul spoke
of a dual reality within man when he said, “For I delight in the law of God
after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my (spiritual) mind, and
bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom.
7:22-23). Little wonder that in
desperation he cried out, “O wretched man that I am!” It is really very simple.
The carnal, soulish heart of man is the seat of all uncleanness, just as
the deeper spirit of man is the root of all godliness.
So it is not surprising that the Pharisees failed to discover the
presence of the Kingdom within them, for they were not walking after the spirit,
but after the flesh. Yet they were
potentially capable of either.
I am absolutely certain that the statement Jesus made to the scribes and
Pharisees that day is very true. “The
kingdom of God is within you.” I
totally believe that statement to be accurate.
The Kingdom of God is within you, it is within me, it is within each
member of your family, it is within all your relatives, your friends, even
within your enemies. It is within
the lowliest citizen of the most backward country, it is within the greatest of
the ruling monarchs, presidents, or prime ministers. It is within mankind, it is
within every man — even the scribes and Pharisees. This is the true light “that lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (Jn. 1:9).
When the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus when
the Kingdom of God should come He did not tell them when, but He did answer
them. And on various occasions when Jesus’ own disciples asked when
the Kingdom would come He never once told them when.
You can’t really say “when” the Kingdom of God is coming because it
always is. There is no
“when” to it. It’s just that
we must know what it is and where it is and how it
comes, to become conscious of that indwelling Kingdom.
We must “enter in” to it within ourselves, experientially, for the
Kingdom is even now “at hand”. The
church world has taught us that the Kingdom is something that came into the
earth when Jesus came, but because the Jews refused to receive it, after Jesus
died and rose and ascended into heaven it was withheld
and deferred until He comes back
again, postponed until a coming
“Millennium”. But I have good
news for you today. Every one who
reads these lines now receives the good news — the Kingdom of God
is within you! YOU! It is now
within you. It doesn’t have to get within you, it doesn’t have to come from without to enter into
you, it is already right there on the inside of you.
So note — not to the disciples who followed Him and kept His sayings, but to the
Pharisees in their spiritual blindness Jesus spoke these amazing words: “The
kingdom of God is within you.” Again,
some would say, surely the Kingdom of God could not be found IN these Pharisees,
within them, for they were against the King.
But, think again, for the territory is HIS regardless, whether He was
actively ruling from within their hearts or not.
The Pharisees were part of His Kingdom, only they were in rebellion
against the King, their hearts were filled with treason, and there was a need to
dethrone the usurped rulership of the flesh, that the true King might be
enthroned. Where is the King’s
domain? WITHIN YOU!
Yes, the Kingdom of God was indeed “within them”
as a bright and radiant possibility. This
appeals to me, in a sense, as the most beautiful thing Jesus ever said.
Consider what the Kingdom of Heaven was in His thought — the most pure and perfect and heavenly of all existing
realities; then consider that He said this to His implacable enemies, and to the
men, who, in their lives, exemplified the exact opposite of what He had come to
reveal and establish. Within these
men — religious intellectuals and scholars, hypocrites, hateful —
there slumbered this lovely and lovable thing — the
Kingdom of the spirit. They were
possible members of that Kingdom; in their spirits were all the materials
necessary for the development of the Kingdom of God. I cannot emphasize too strongly that the Kingdom of God is
the Kingdom of the spirit, for God is
spirit. Buried deep within every man is the spirit that has come from
God, for every man is body, soul, and spirit.
The Bible says that “God is the Father
of the spirits of all flesh” (Num.
27:16; Heb. 12:9). We might ask,
“Who, really, is entitled to think of God as Father?” God is the Father of all men.
Some men walk as children of the devil, for they walk after the flesh,
after the serpent nature. But God
is still the Father of their spirit. God
is the Father of all and He is the Saviour of all. He is the Saviour of all because
He is the Father of all. There is a
special sense in which God is the Father only of those who are reborn of Him
through the Holy Spirit of regeneration. To
these He gives, in a blessedly unique sense, the “spirit of adoption” or the
revelation of their sonship, whereby they cry, “Abba, Father!”
The Holy Spirit quickens their
spirit to know that they are sons of God and to enable them to walk in that
realm. Nevertheless, the fact remains, universal and unalterable,
that God is the Father of the spirits of all men.
If we had no spirit from God, the Holy Spirit would be unable to quicken
our spirit and make it alive unto Him.
Father Adam is declared by the Spirit of inspiration to be “the son of
God” (Lk. 3:38). He is indeed a
“prodigal son.” But
notwithstanding his disobedience and banishment from Father’s house, he has
never ceased to be a son; the Father, notwithstanding His anger and punishment,
has never ceased to be a Father. And
He is a loving and tender and gracious Father who waits patiently for every
prodigal to come home. And they will come home! Blessed
be His name. He has built within
the heart of every prodigal the capacity to return.
How precious beyond words to express is the blessed truth that God-life
abides within every man down in the depths of his spirit, although most men walk
not after the spirit, but after the flesh. It is there, within
man’s spirit, that the Kingdom of Heaven is to be found.
There is the root, the base, the seed, the fountainhead of God’s life
and God’s rule. The Kingdom of
God is truly within every man — but
he knows it not, and therefore walks unheeding its claims and powers.
But if ever he discovers that Kingdom of Life and Light and Love he
discovers it within as his spirit is
quickened by God’s Spirit, his consciousness awakened to the Kingdom of the
spirit within. The day comes for
all, every man in his own order, when it can be said, “And you hath
He quickened, who were dead in
trespasses and sins...” (Eph. 2:1).
While the Kingdom of God is thus present,
it is also still future.
Its full realization has yet to come.
So long as there is in this world one man who has not surrendered to the
spirit of Christ, so long as there is a single area of life that has not been
brought into subjection to the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, so
long will the Kingdom remain unrealized, so long shall we need to pray the prayer, “Thy kingdom
All the misery of this world is due to the fact that there are still
multitudes of men and women walking after the flesh, there are whole areas of
human activity that are not birthed out of, or controlled by, the Spirit.
The Kingdom is still imperfect, incomplete.
Its full establishment lies in the future somewhere, as the apostle has
taught, “Then cometh the end, when He shall
have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall
have put down all rule and all authority and power.
For He must reign until He hath put all enemies under His feet” (I Cor. 15:24-25).
Until that full establishment takes place, until God is experientially
King everywhere and over everybody and every thing in the union of love, the
world’s “golden age” will not have arrived.
For the elect of God the Day has dawned!
The Sun of Righteousness has arisen within our hearts!
Our old heavens and our old earth have passed away.
We live now in a New World, we sing now a New Song, our night has turned
to Day. Darkness has flown away,
sin and sorrow and death are swallowed up, God has wiped all tears from off our
faces, we are living stones in the City which hath foundations, whose builder
and maker is God, and all things are made new!
This is the present glorious and eternal reality of the sons of God in
this wonderful Day of the Lord! This
is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory of God within His chosen ones.
If I did not believe in the ultimate triumph of the Kingdom of God in all
realms and everywhere and over every thing throughout the vastnesses of
infinity, and if I believed that this world was to continue to be misruled and
misgoverned as it is; if I believed that sin and sorrow and death and wicked men
and vile institutions were to continue unto the end, I should despair of
humanity and God, and I should certainly tear I Corinthians 15:20-28 out of my
Bible and burn it in the stove. But
God never gives up. God reigns!
The good news which our Lord Jesus Christ came to preach is “good news
of great joy to all people.”
Praise God for the good news! God
reigns! — that
is the good news. God shall be
Victor! God shall put every enemy
under His feet and our feet! He is
Lord of ALL!
It is a blessed day for any man when he discovers that what the Bible
calls “heaven” is in fact and in truth the REALM OF THE SPIRIT.
It is not a place on some far-away planet, nor a figment of man’s
imagination, but a realm of reality where saints of God may dwell here and now.
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in
the heavens in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).
These things are hard to utter, because the vast majority of Christians
cling tenaciously to the dark understanding of the carnal mind, and it is almost
impossible for them to believe that heaven is an abiding and eternal reality.
It is even harder for them to comprehend that the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS WITHIN
MAN, and that in spirit we possess the fullness of its more excellent glory.
To most of the Lord’s people the outer, physical, and natural realm,
including the supposed golden streets of that great “city in the sky,” is
the realm of REALITY while the spiritual realm, the unseen Kingdom within, is
the realm of shadows, mists, visions, dreams and UNREALITY.
At best it is of only minor importance.
But just the opposite is the truth.
The natural man (and most believers are pathetically natural) receiveth
not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither
can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.
If you would understand the scope and magnificence of the mighty working
of God in your life, my beloved, consider the message of the radiant
constellations of the illimitable heavens above and know
that all the power and glory
and wisdom and working so marvelously illustrated in their shining
configurations is in fact and in truth wrought out in the deepest recesses of
your own being. If you will give
prayerful consideration to the statement of our Lord that the Kingdom of the
Heavens is within you, you cannot avoid the conclusion that man is a copy in
miniature of the universe, and every thing that exists or takes place in the
vast expanses of the cosmos, also exists and takes place in the inner
constitution of man. The powers and
forces and laws that make up the nature and constitution of man are the same as
the powers and forces and laws that on an infinitely larger scale are called the
universe, and every reality in the heavens expresses itself in the consciousness
of man, and reflects itself in the experience of man, enabling man to know the
universe by himself, and himself by the universe.
Scientists are probing into two unseen worlds.
One is a world too vast and far away to be seen by the eye, and the other
is a world too small to be observed by the eye.
I want to give you three words in this connection, together with their
meanings. First, we find the word
MICROCOSM. This word means a little
world: any thing regarded as a world in miniature: man, viewed as an epitome of
the universe. This word comes from
two words in the Greek. One is
MIKROS which means little or miniature. The
other is KOSMOS meaning world, in the sense of an orderly arrangement.
Thus we have the meaning of LITTLE WORLD.
The word MACROCOSM, on the other hand, means the great world, or the
universe. It also comes from two
words. One is MACROS meaning great,
and the other is KOSMOS meaning world. We
noted above that the word MIKROS carried the meaning of
“man viewed as an epitome of the universe.”
This word EPITOME means, among other things, a
condensed representation of something.
The word MACROCOSM then gives us the meaning that man is a CONDENSED
REPRESENTATION OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE!
Thus, man is the CONDENSED REPRESENTATION of all the universe, or man is
all the universe in miniature.
After the original creation, God then began to move to bring the whole
vast creation into fellowship and harmony with Himself.
In order to accomplish this God made man in the image of the creation,
but also in the image of Himself. Man
is therefore the bridge or connecting link between God in His spiritual
existence and the creation in its visible and material constitution.
God put both Himself and the whole universe into man in miniature —
a microcosm of the macrocosm! His purpose is that by and through man all things shall be
brought into subjection to the mind of the Lord. We read in Hebrews that all things were placed under man, but
we do not as yet see all things put in subjection to man, but WE DO SEE JESUS
who was, we may safely say, as the second man and the last Adam, a CONDENSED
REPRESENTATION of God, the universe, and all mankind. In other words, what was done in and through the singular
Man, Jesus the Christ, will also be done in and through the corporate man, but
on an enlarged scale, for Jesus said we would
do even greater works than He did. There
is no stagnation in God, for He continually moves ahead.
And as He moves, we move with Him, advancing according to His
pre-determined plan. What wonders
lie ahead of us in this majestic pathway!
The seventeenth century German mystic, the simple shoe cobbler from
Golitz, Jacob Boehme, penned the following words which are just as revolutionary
and up-to-date as the space age. “Now,
dear reader, observe: If you want to know about Heaven and what Heaven is and
where it is, you do not need to cast your thoughts many thousands of miles off,
for that place, that heaven thousands of miles away, is not your Heaven.
The true Heaven is not a created place but an uncreated place, and it is
not found in a particular place but everywhere, even in the very place where you
are standing and going. For when
your spirit within yourself is able to penetrate inward through and beyond your
own flesh and life, and is able to catch hold upon the innermost moving of God,
then you are clearly in Heaven.
“I urge you to open the eyes of your spirits and your hearts, for I
want earnestly to show you the true and proper way to the gates of God’s
God is the True, the One, the only Being out of whom you yourselves were
created, and within whose Life you are living even now.
Therefore, Oh child of man, when you behold in your flesh the depths of
the universe, the stars and the complexity of the earth, and all that is in
heaven and earth, you are in fact truly in the presence of God.
For He is All, and in him you live and have your being; and that same God
reigns and rules over you as well, because He is your King and Creator.
It is from this God that you receive even your senses and your ability to
have consciousness and to know and think and express yourself.
Don’t you see? You are a part of Him, and your entire being is a derivative
of Him. You are His offspring, you
came from Him, and you truly exist in Him.
If this were not true, you would never have been, for you are the image
“And so, little children, if you now want and desire to draw near by
faith to the Life of God, Listen! You
must enter inward to the depths within yourselves wherein Christ dwells —
without. For within you there
exists an eternity, even as there is an eternity within Him. So you must go in to the depths of the hidden secret place
within you, to the very depths of the Eternal Willing in the Father.
For it is within this Will or Desire that Wrath and Love eternally
struggle against each other, and in which Love is the eternal victor out of the
fiery dark wheel of selfishness, through the eternal cross in God’s Heart,
into regeneration bursting forth as the eternal glorious light of God’s
nature. His nature is Light,
Gentleness, Mercy, Wisdom and Love forever, and it is expressed to us by His
Voice, the Word, the Son, our Lord, Saviour, and God.
And out of this eternally immense depth of God’s Desire, there forever
streams forth the Light and Love which is the uncreated glory.
And this is the true Heaven.
“For in this depth within you, God eternally rules in Holiness in His
uncreated Heaven. And His Willing
within you expresses itself as the willing to all goodness, not wrath, and this
willing ever reigns in everlasting dominion, the Sovereign God of Love in
victory through the eternal cross on which was slain the Lamb of God before ever
a single atom was created. And when
you comprehend this, that is, the tragedy which forever occurs in the eternal
depths of the Heart of God, and when you know that our God is safe forever, True
forever, Merciful forever, and the Being of Love forever (because He forever
dies to Himself on the cross in His own heart to all wrath and selfish desire), then my brothers and
sisters, you will have crossed through and penetrated into the very and holy
heart of God” — end quote.
Our dear friend and brother, Charles Roby, recently sent us this
illustrative story. There once was
a little boy who wanted to meet GOD. He
knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with
Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and he started his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman.
She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons.
The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase.
He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the
old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie.
She accepted it and smiled at him. The
boy was delighted! They sat there
all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.
As it grew dark the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave.
But before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back
to the old woman and gave her a big hug. She
gave him her biggest smile ever.
When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his
mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face.
She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?”
He replied, “I had lunch with God.”
But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what?
She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”
Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home.
Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked,
“Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?”
She replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.”
But before her son responded, she added, “You know, He’s much younger
than I expected.” To which
brother Roby added: “As you know, the only way we know GOD or the things
pertaining to the KINGDOM of GOD is by the SPIRIT of GOD!
Our mind can’t comprehend this great mystery of GOD IN US, but God who
is our Father has revealed it unto us by His Spirit: that we are flesh of His
flesh, and bone of His bone. Jesus
said, ‘When you see me, you see MY FATHER.’
Isn’t that a wonderful truth that expresses what Paul wrote: ‘He that
is joined unto the LORD is ONE SPIRIT!’”
Our transition from the kingdom of the flesh to the Kingdom of God
demands the new strength, day by day, of some Fountain springing up through all
the bitter wastes of earth. Bitter
wastes cannot make themselves sweet: fountains must spring up in sweetness from
the ground of Life. In a hotel in a
certain city in the Northeast there is a notice in each room that the water is
drawn from deep artesian wells. The
city is on a narrow strip of sandy land. On
the East is the salty ocean, on the West a brackish marsh.
Shallow wells are all filled with undrinkable salt water.
But shafts sunk deep enough yield pure, sweet water.
Ah, the flesh is a shallow
well! When a man tries to live by
the carnal thoughts, ideas, ways, understanding, wisdom, methods and strength of
the flesh realm of the outer world, he tries to quench his thirst with salt.
It is the realm of death. But
when a man taps into the deep down inner
resources of the SPIRIT he then lives by the freshness, sweetness, vitality
and power of the Kingdom of God within.
I would say to you that the life of Christ, the life of sonship, is not
something outside ourselves. The
idea is not that Christ is in heaven, or standing by us, or worn as a garment,
so that we stretch out some mysterious faculty and touch Him there.
This is the vague form in
which babes in Christ conceive the truth, but it is contrary to Christ’s
teaching and to the analogy of nature. Vegetable
life is not contained in a reservoir somewhere in the skies, and measured out
spasmodically at certain seasons. Animal
life is not bottled up somewhere in the blue beyond and dropped down to earth
now and then when it is time for an embryo to be formed.
The life is IN every plant and tree, every animal and fish and fowl,
inside its own tissue and cells, and works there as a mighty power to form even
that which is contained within the life. The
life is permanently fixed and rooted in the organism.
Life is not one of the homeless forces which promiscuously inhabit space,
or which can be gathered like electricity from the clouds and dissipated back
again into space. Life is definite
and resident; the Spiritual Life is not a visit from a force, but a
resident tenant of Being. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a...seed, which a man took,
and SOWED IN HIS FIELD.” The life
of sonship is not derived from the occasional touch of Jesus as He “passes
this way,” nor from the weekly refreshing that comes to our weary souls as we
gather in meetings with others. Thank
God for the opportunity to praise and worship the Lord together, and for the
fellowship and encouragement of those of “like precious faith,” but I
declare to you that the life of sonship can only be known as we turn INWARD, to
discover and know the living and eternal REALITY OF THE CHRIST WITHIN. Only in the consciousness of His voice speaking, His hand
guiding, His power generating, His life producing, from within, is there infallible stability, undiminished strength,
unfailing wisdom and knowledge, unlimited power, incorruptible nature and the
unveiling of the image of God within. With
my poor and puny ability I cannot make the potential of GOD’S INDWELLING LIFE
to be a living, transforming, all-sufficient reality to your heart.
None but the Spirit of God can perform this wonderful and divine
act of illumination. He
alone can take the things of God and show them unto you.
TRIUMPH OF THE KING WITHIN
The institutions of civilization find no place in God’s program for the
redemption of the world. The wisest
and most powerful enterprises on the part of man cannot banish the evils of sin,
sorrow, sickness, limitation and death. Thank
God for humanitarian efforts for the alleviation of suffering and misery, the
March of Dimes, the United Way, the Christian Children’s Fund, airlifts to
refugees fleeing war ravaged areas, welfare programs, rescue missions, and a
thousand more. The heart of the
child of God is a heart of compassion for the afflicted and needy on whatever
level help can be rendered. I
myself have contributed to such charitable causes.
Yet we must not fail to point out that the root of social and national
ills lies too deep for these agencies to eradicate. Sin, sorrow, sickness, limitation and death do not come
merely by ignorance; therefore they cannot be removed by knowledge.
They do not come merely by environment; therefore they cannot be expelled
by improved circumstance. They do
not come merely by poverty; therefore they cannot be annihilated by the infusion
of money and programs.
The redemption of the race from the evils that afflict it, and work
mischief and misery in it, must come about by the direct intervention of God.
There is a valid reason why, as the scripture says, “Salvation is of
THE LORD.” It could
not be otherwise! Since God
drove man out from the Garden, from life, from the Kingdom of Heaven on earth,
into a world of thorns and struggle and need and pain and death, it can only be
GOD HIMSELF who brings man back into the blessedness of Eden.
That is exactly why all the efforts of man to eliminate crime and poverty
and sickness and bigotry and warfare and bloodshed have utterly failed.
Only the mighty power of God within man can liberate man.
That is the law of the Kingdom within.
God Himself will bring victory as all men are drawn into Him, and the
Kingdom of God is released within.
The character and procedures of the Kingdom of God are so entirely
different from the ways of men, they do not compare.
In far away Babylon the Holy Spirit witnessed through the prophet Daniel,
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom,
which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other
people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it
shall stand for ever” (Dan. 2:44). Though
many look for a “revived Roman Empire” to arise in Europe with
“Antichrist” at its head, the ten-toed confederacy of the end-times, yet,
praise God, “IN THE DAYS OF THESE KINGS SHALL THE GOD OF HEAVEN SET UP A
KINGDOM WHICH SHALL NEVER BE DESTROYED.”
That there may be a fulfillment in the outer world of appearances I would
not deny, although it is my opinion that historically it has already been
fulfilled. But the quickening of
the Spirit upon the truth so vital for today bids me look beyond the letter
of the word, beyond the outward manifestations, beyond the European
Community and the Common Market, along with the religious Ecumenical Movement;
and receiving of the spirit of the word, turning inwardly, we find that all that pertains
to the kingdoms of this world lies within the heart of man, and there have been
so many kings which have ruled within us,
and as His Kingdom unfurls its banner over our lives, these kings are subdued
and brought to nought.
There are kings of self-will, of worldly ambition, of fleshly zeal, of
ruling thoughts, of compelling desires, of religious dogmas, creeds, and
traditions and commandments of men, of soulish emotions and impulses spirited by
the world, of fleshly appetites dominated by the five senses, of fears, doubts,
anger, rebellions, weaknesses and sins. The
still small voice speaks a word, and immediately carnal reason tries to argue us
out of it. We sense His direction
and leading to “stand still,” but human sympathy and sentiment tell us to
get involved in things He
has not led us to do. So we
yield and obey these emotions and impulses, and wonder why we miss the joy and
blessing of the Lord. But, praise
God, in the days of these kings —
they flourish, control, and bear heavy in their rule — shall
the God of heaven set up His Kingdom and all authority and power shall be
subdued before it. Into the midst
of these kings has rolled THE SONE, it is breaking i n pieces, consuming all
these, bringing all into submission to Him!
Ray Prinzing has beautifully expounded along this line — “Many
a battle has been fought and won,
though devils were not rebuked, and there was no writhing on the floor in
intense travail, nor any challenge by an antagonist against the truth believed —
it was all INTERNAL. Battles
of the mind, battles of inner spirit conflict, a warfare against the vision,
against the thing which God had
personally revealed, but which the flesh was not ready to receive.
And while we would ‘reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, and
alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord,’ yet only HE can complete this
work in us and make it an experiential reality.
So we surrender, and He works it out.
‘Now why dost thou cry aloud? IS
THERE NO KING IN THEE? is thy counselor perished?...’ (Micah 4:9).
Israel was desperate, she was in travail, in pain to bring forth, and was
crying out in her distress. God
answered back, ‘IS THERE NO KING IN THEE?’
Praise God, there is One in the
midst of us who shall take the reins of the government, and He shall rule in
righteousness, so that we eagerly await the emergence of His
“It is our own little INNER KINGDOM that needs The King, so it is to
this realm that we ask the question, and praise God, can answer back positively,
YES, THERE IS A KING WITHIN. Paul
declared that ‘we must through much tribulation (Greek: pressure) enter into
the kingdom of God’ (Acts 14:22). As
much as the flesh would desire an easier way into His Kingdom, there is no other
way. If there was a list of special
works to do, we’d struggle through, checking them off one by one, and lay
claim to the glory. If a baptism
would do it, we’d be baptized seven times face forward, or backwards, upside
down, or however the requirement. BUT
THIS IS GOD’S PROCESSING IN US, and He has purposed to do it through much
pressure. If it isn’tDa5phsical
pressure, it will be a mental one, and if not mental, then a spiritual one —
we travail to enter through the straight gate, and receive of His fullness.
There is no cause to view this negatively, for it is this very pressure
that shall literally and gloriously PRESS US INTO GOD, as His life becomes a
REALITY WITHIN. One might have
doctrines, visions, dreams, revelations, and be able to recite it to all who
pass by your way, but they are of little value when just a mere form of
head-knowledge. They have to be
worked into us experimentally through the nitty-gritty processings of the day,
until self is conquered, and Christ reigns supreme within us, and the vision
becomes LIFE, a firm foundation upon which we can stand to face the storms of
“In some occupations a man with very little authority, limited in his
power to make decisions and rule over others, is referred to as a straw boss. Yet betimes
this individual gets carried away with his own sense of importance and tries to
go beyond his rightful place, giving orders and bossing others.
Seems like we have all had our share of straw
bosses usurping authority, as they would assume control over that which they
have no right. We’ll pass very
lightly over the fact that most of the so-called ‘shepherding movement’
falls into this classification, as they usurp the Headship which rightly belongs
to CHRIST in every individual.
At the moment we are more concerned with these internal
straw bosses — our
own will, our own desires, our own impulses, etc., which would like to hold
control within us. But when we have
been OVERCOME BY CHRIST, He shall be King within. Praise His name! In
fact there is quite a bit of truth in the statement that we shall only become overcomers
in Christ in proportion to how much we have been overcome by
Christ. To partake of His victory
He must first become Victor over all
our inner kingdom” —
I do not hesitate to tell you that the sphere of the Kingdom is the individual heart. This
is the end for which man was made, the final cause of his creation, that he
might be a province and principality of God: the King eternal septering him
throughout his whole nature, spirit, soul, and body. When I pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” I do not feel that I am
praying solely for my city, my nation, the world, or the vast reaches of the
cosmos. I do not think first or
foremost about harlots, drunkards, drug addicts, criminals, atheists, Moslems,
communists, or the masses of
sinners throughout the world. When
I pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” I am not content with adding to the thought my
unpleasant neighbors, the Mafia, or Fidel Castro.
No! When I utter the prayer
it is with the deep conviction that I am praying for myself. I am praying
that God’s rule may come fully and powerfully in my own heart, mind, nature
Oh, yes, this prayer has reference to ourselves.
There is a problem and that is that we have our own kingdom, the kingdom
of man. My
business, my enterprise, my family, my
ministry, my church, my elders, my
people, my thing that I am doing, that we are concerned with.
And over against all that, Jesus sets His “Thy.”
“THY Kingdom come.” When
we pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” we pray, “Father, come in Thy Lordship into
my own heart; rule there; take Thy throne there;
make me completely Thine.” See
what it means. It means that we are
asking that every wicked way, every cherished sin and passion, every
self-serving desire and ambition, every carnal thought, word and deed may be
cast out of our hearts. It means
that neither money nor pleasure nor prestige should have any power over us. It means that the Father’s will and not our own may dictate
fully our lives. It means that the
precious mind that was in Christ Jesus so possesses us until all death is
swallowed up into HIS VICTORY. Oh,
that is a great prayer!
I have known men that loved their sins too much, their pleasures, their
money, their position, their religion, their traditions, their power, themselves too much, ever to be able to pray sincerely, “Thy
Kingdom come!” The Kingdom is,
first and foremost, the reign of God in the hearts and lives of men.
Less than this it cannot be; more than this it will not be.
There is no department of human life where the Kingdom can rule unless
first God rules the heart. God
cannot rule nations until first He rules in the hearts of the citizens of those
nations from the king, president or prime minister all the way down to the
garbage collector and the shoeshine boy. God
cannot rule over things or institutions
until first He rules the hearts of those who form, own and control those things
and institutions. Imagine God
trying to rule over an army without first winning the allegiance of the general
who commands that army and the soldiers who fight in it!
Is it not a right thing and a possible thing, that all men should in
their hearts yield allegiance to God? And
were this allegiance yielded, would it not necessarily result that all our
relations with one another would be transformed and hallowed by the law of His
life within? Would it not
necessarily result that the whole constitution of the world, in all its
domestic, political, social, and economic arrangements, would be guided by the
Spirit of God and would show in every situation and circumstance that God was
ruling? You see, to bring the
Kingdom of God to pass in the earth does not require that all forms of
government and all institutions be replaced, though they may be — but that the
spirit of those who administer them be changed!
Capitalism or communism would either one work just fine if every person
involved, from the top to the bottom, were guided and motivated by the spirit of
love, generosity, faithfulness, honesty, goodness, brotherly concern,
righteousness, meekness, and the mind of Christ.
In order for the kingdoms of this world to become the kingdoms of our
Lord and of His Christ it is not necessary for many employments or relations of
life to be altered, but it is needful that WE OURSELVES BE ALTERED!
As brother Paul Mueller has aptly written: “Indeed, God does not change
the world by man’s armies, or by any of man’s carnal systems of government.
The Lord is beginning to change the world by first changing the hearts,
souls and minds of mankind. People
shall be changed, not by human agreements or by war, but by the operation of the
Spirit of God in their lives. The
Lord also is beginning to dispel the darkness in the world by imparting the
greater Light of His presence into the hearts of His elect.
This is the method by which the just and righteous rule of the Kingdom of
God is coming to the earth. In this
way alone, all the evil and darkness in all the earth shall be completely
dispelled. Then the blessings and
benefits of the Kingdom of God shall be fully manifested in all the earth for
the glory and honor of our sovereign and omnipotent Father.
And His glory shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
“The Kingdom of God has been planted as a seed in the fertile garden of
the hearts of His people. And His
Kingdom has been growing in the hearts of His people ever since. His Kingdom began in His faithful sons as a word or seed that
sprouts in the ground. The Kingdom
seed is the very life of Christ that was planted within us.
As a seed in the natural soil sprouts or explodes by its inherent life,
so the seed of the Christ within us has burst forth with His life to manifest
the fruit of the Kingdom of God. The
seed is Christ, the Word of God and the word of His Kingdom.
When we receive that seed/word, and it grows within us, the Kingdom of
God will grow, and indeed has grown, to become the greatest tree on earth so
that the birds of the air will find lodging in it.
That seed/word within us has sprouted, bursting forth by the Life of
Christ to manifest first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn
in the ear, until its abundant fruit shall fill the whole earth.
“The Kingdom of God is within you, and is not seen by observation.
Christ, the King, reigns within your life and mine.
Within you is the seedbed of His Kingdom that will fill the whole earth
and then the universe. The same
Kingdom that began in us has burst forth as a germinated seed to become a tender
plant. That plant is growing until the power and glory of the King
who reigns within His elect begins to spread His influence far beyond into all
the earth. As He continues to reign
in us and in the earth, all things shall be gathered into the Kingdom of God and
nothing will be left outside of it. With
enlightened spiritual eyes, and the mind of Christ, we can see the Kingdom of
God as a great tree that is filling the earth and the universe with His peace,
justice, righteousness and life. His
Kingdom has now grown so that He is beginning to swallow up the kingdoms of man
and reign on this earth. The
Kingdom of God that began within His faithful sons has grown from the original
word or seed, then to the blade stage, and finally it has become the full corn
in the ear.
“Our spiritual life is no longer to be seen as either a seed, or a mere
blade, but we are now seen as the full corn in the ear.
The natural earth brings forth fruit of herself when a seed is planted
(Mk. 4:26-29). So also does the
word/seed of Christ and His Kingdom grow within us, and of itself, to bring forth a Kingdom plant identical with the
original seed. We cannot see its
growth, but it is growing nevertheless. As
long as we are feeding on Christ, nothing can stop the growth of the Kingdom
seed within us. By virtue of the
nature and life of the original seed planted within us, Christ must grow up
within us to come forth with the same Life that He is.
That is the law of natural seed-life!
But the original seed grows within us by the power of the greater law and
life of Christ and the Kingdom of God.
“If we have any questions regarding our present trials and
tribulations, we should consider a reason for these trials.
Within us is the seed life of the Kingdom of God.
The planting of the Lord requires special care.
As the farmer trims and prunes his crops to produce better plants
resulting in a better harvest, so
the great Husbandman and Lord of the vineyard dresses and cares for His Kingdom
plantings. The harvest must go on!
Nothing must be allowed in our lives that will curtail this harvest,
either to reduce the quality and quantity of the harvest or to prevent it from
taking place. So our wise
Husbandman cuts and prunes us, removing everything in our lives that would
affect the harvest. Christ is the
Vine, and we are the branches. We
are growing out of Him! His life is
our life! As long as we abide in
Him, this vine will grow to become that Kingdom tree which shall fill the whole
earth with its abundant and life-giving fruit.
Our Husbandman will see to it that we are always trimmed and pruned, fit
to abide as a branch within the great Vine that He is.
And now, our time of fruit-bearing approaches.
“The seed that we are becoming shall be scattered abroad to reproduce
after His kind, filling the earth with Kingdom sons just like us and, more
importantly, just like Christ. Understanding
this blessed truth as we do, is it not important then that our wise Husbandman
should put His chosen ones to the test, that He might prove us and purge us from
all that is not of the purity of Christ? It
must be so, otherwise we would reproduce after the carnal nature and not after
the wonderful, loving, restoring and redemptive nature of Christ.
Thank God for the blessed truth in Christ that gives us understanding of
our present life and its difficulties! His
truth is also setting us free from the fears and weaknesses of the past and of
man. And how blessed and privileged
we are to see the truth as it is in Christ!
“Let it be established then that the Lord works with the hearts of
mankind, and not with the external things of this worldly order. Jesus said, ‘When anyone heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the
wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. But he
that receiveth seed into the good ground (of his heart) is he that heareth the
word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some
an hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty’ (Mat. 13:19,23).
So it is that the Lord sows the word of His Kingdom into the hearts of
His elect, enabling them to bring forth Kingdom fruit.
The seed-word of His Kingdom sown in our hearts will bring forth the
fruit of transformed lives.
“In the fullness of time, when the Lord begins to restore mankind, He
will do so by transforming the hearts of individuals.
Just as He transformed us by sending His word into our hearts, so the
Lord will transform others. What
our nation needs is the impartation of the divine word resulting in the
transforming power of the Spirit in the lives of individuals, not more
legislation, or more money for more police or more prisons.
We may be sure that when the Lord begins to restore our nation and
people, He will do so by sending His word into the hearts of men, and not by any
outward, literal, legalistic means.
“By the mind of Christ we can see that the Kingdom of God is at hand.
The new order of the Kingdom of God is being
established within us, and we are walking out the path of that new
Kingdom Order. We are becoming the Lord’s new administrative order for the
wonderful advance of the Kingdom of God on earth. The Kingdom of God is not of the status-quo; His Kingdom is
the life-force of the creation which is ever progressive. The Kingdom of God is growing and shall never cease to expand
until it fills everything in the universe with the very life that God is.
The Kingdom of God reigns as the Christ within is coming forth from our
lives. The power of the Kingdom of
God, which is a spiritual power, is flowing out of Zion now to shake all things
and overturn the governments and kingdoms of man”
It is a great folly to conclude that we can pray the prayer, “Thy Kingdom come,” by rote, in cool detachment. The Kingdom is not an antiquated Jewish dream, dusty with the history of centuries. It touches us at all vital points — if we are sons of God. It is an immediate and personal concern. It is God’s plan of the ages, His time-abiding strategy for redeeming us from ourselves and the vanity of the flesh and the world. It is God’s way of conforming us into the image of His Son and making us one in Him. We are faced then with the solemn truth that when we pray for the coming of the Kingdom we are not praying for the advent of some great world-wide political or economic program. We are not praying for the end of the world, or for the rapture, or for the millennium, or blessing upon the state of Israel, or the exaltation of the United States and Great Britain. It is far more personal than that. This is a prayer that storms the gates of my own little kingdom, and breaks down the barriers between the will of God and me. It brings the rule of the Spirit in mind, heart, and body until the glory of God arises upon me and His glory is seen upon me, bringing blessing and transformation to all He touches.
To be continued...
J. PRESTON EBY
If you would like to receive these studies write to:
J. Preston Eby
P.O. Box 371240
El Paso TX 79937-1240
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