Kindgdom Bible Studies Kingdom of God Part 14


"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."


 Part 14


            The history of every son of God will eventually be the story of a progression from the natural through the spiritual to the celestial; passing from the realm of darkness and death through the realm of quickening, change and transformation, to the fullness of stature and glory in the image and likeness of God; from the world of sinners through the realm of the Church to the power and glory of the Kingdom of God; from the brazen altar of sacrifice for sin in the outer court to the golden altar and table of prayer, praise and communion in the dim light of the candlestick in the holy place into the Holiest of all, where shines undimmed the more excellent glory of the undiminished majesty of God.   

            This brings us to an important question Is the Church this Kingdom of God, or, is the Church part of this Kingdom?  The Lord Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”  Like believers, the Kingdom of God is IN this world, but is not OF this world.  It is not established by the world’s methods.  It is not moved forward by the politics of this world.  It is not represented by the Constitution of the United States of America or of that of any other nation on earth.  God’s Kingdom does not contain a Republican or Democratic platform.  It is established and maintained on a different basis from that of our world. 

            Again I ask the question Is the Church this Kingdom, or, is the Church part of this Kingdom?  Many proclaim that this present age is the “Church age” and that the coming age is  the “Kingdom age,” thus separating the Church from the Kingdom on the basis of time.  The difference, however, is not one of time but of relationship and administration.  For you see, the Church is a present reality and the Kingdom is likewise a present reality.  If you say that the Church is not the Kingdom, I think you are accurate; but if you say that the Church is not part of the Kingdom, then you are wrong.  May I illustrate.  Texas is part of the United States, but Texas is not the United States.  It just is not all of the United States either quantitatively or qualitatively.  It pertains to the United States, and the federal government has an authority over the state of Texas, but Texas is not the United States.  It has a different name, a limited area, and its own state government and its own state laws.  It functions within the framework of the United States, but it does not function as the United States.  Just as the laws and powers of the federal government supersede those of the state government, so does the dominion and rulership of the Kingdom with its King-Priesthood after the order of Melkizedek transcend the powers and ministry of the Church with its apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.  The Kingdom order is: “Thou...hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on (over) the earth” (Rev. 5:10).  “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).  The Church order is: “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (I Cor. 12:28). 

            Now the Church is the very heart of God’s program as He moves us toward His glorious Kingdom.  Are you moving with Him?  It is my conviction that God’s great men of the past moved with Him.  When John Knox said, “Give me Scotland or I die,” he was praying, I think, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  When the Puritans came to this country to establish a place where they could worship God and propagate the gospel of Christ, they were saying, in fact, if not in word, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  And there are times when you and I arise to that high level and say from our hearts on behalf of all creation, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven!” 

            The Kingdom, however, is never to be identified as the Church.  Nowhere in the New Testament is such an identification made.  The Kingdom is always prior to the Church.  God is King.  As King He has a Kingdom.  John the Baptist first announced the Kingdom among men.   The Kingdom came into manifestation through Jesus Christ and He afterward created the Church.  His disciples were first heralds of the Kingdom before there was a Church.  They were sent to proclaim what they had seen and heard from Jesus of the rule of God.  When Jesus sent the 12 and the 70 on their missions, He sent them as ambassadors of the Kingdom.  They were an extension of His own ministry, and thus He gave them the “power of the Kingdom.”  Everywhere they proclaimed the arrival of the Kingdom and demonstrated the authority and rule of God with mighty signs, wonders, and miracles.  Kingdom and Church are related terms, but they are not synonymous terms.  The term “kingdom” is found about 160 times in the New Testament.  The term “church” is found about 115 times in the New Testament.  The Kingdom is the dynamic rule or reign of God and the sphere in which His rule is expressed.  The Church is a body of people the congregation of believers.  The Greek word for  church is ECCLESIA meaning “the called out” or “an assembly.”   

            In Matthew 6:33 Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”  Often this verse has been used to stimulate “church attendance.”  “Put the Church first,” it is said.  The subject, however, is not the Church, but the Kingdom.  Instead of thinking of people when contemplating the Kingdom of God the rule or reign of God dominion and royal power are the proper reference.  All the Lord’s people, His called out ones, constitute the Church and when any of these assemble in any place, even two or three in a home or on the street, you have a Church.  But that assembly is not the Kingdom.  Let me illustrate again.  Every country has a government.  The government is the “rule,” “authority,” and “dominion” of the nation.  From that government proceed the laws and powers that regulate and control the society.  The nation is composed of “people” men, women and children.  But the people are not the government.  If a hundred thousand people in a city are gathered in a stadium for a ball game or concert you have a congregation of citizens, but you do not have the government.  The government is something above and beyond the “gathering.”   

            The government is thus a higher dimension than a mere congregation  of people.  In like manner, the Kingdom is the rule of God; the Church is a congregation of believers.  The saints may “see” the Kingdom, “enter” the Kingdom, “receive” the Kingdom, or “inherit” the Kingdom, but being members of the Church does not make them the Kingdom.  You do not “receive” or “inherit” the Church!  The many sayings about seeing and entering into the Kingdom are not equivalent to entering the Church.  You may enter a Church by walking into the midst of the believers, but one does not enter the Kingdom in that way.  Every citizen of the United States has entered the nation, but only a few of them have entered the government.  The Kingdom as the sphere of God’s rule is invisible, not a tangible phenomenon in this world, whereas the Church is a visible body of redeemed men and women.  There is never the slightest hint in scripture that the visible Church IS the Kingdom of God.  All the analogies are different.  The members of the Church may come under the rulership of the Kingdom, but they are not the Kingdom. 

            The Church of the living God must remember that it is not the whole thing; that the Kingdom of God is greater than the Church; that men must press into the Kingdom of God, through much tribulation we must enter the Kingdom, and through qualifying we may be accounted worthy of the Kingdom, but there is no need to press, suffer tribulation, or pay a high price to enter the Church.  The Church is, after all, only an ecclesia, a people gathered out of sin and the world unto God through faith in Jesus as Saviour.  Just as the true Church births the manchild, so is our experience in the Church a prerequisite for entrance into the Kingdom.  Is not this the very reason why the Holy Spirit testified to each of the seven Churches in the book of Revelation, “To him (in the Church) that overcometh will I give power over the him that overcometh shall I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I am set down with my Father in His throne.”  It is the processing of the Lord in the Church realm that qualifies one for a place in the Kingdom and the Kingdom is greater than the Church.  The Kingdom can be the outcome only of a Church which has followed on to know the Lord, purged and purified, changed and transformed, growing up unto a Perfect Man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ.  The Churches on earth comprise forgiven sinners.  The Kingdom of God comprises new creatures.  The Church consists of all unto whom the righteousness of Christ has been imputed by faith.  But not every one that saith “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the Kingdom, but he that doeth the will of his Father in heaven. 

            Great and powerful as the Church is, Jesus made very little of it, compared to the Kingdom.  He said, “I will build my Church” (Mat. 16:18) and He mentioned it two times more in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew; that is all Jesus ever said about the Church during His earthly ministry.  He gave no “church” teachings; He answered no “church” questions; He told no “church” parables; He made no “church” promises; all He said and taught and demonstrated had to do with the reality of the Kingdom.  In all the Gospel according to John the word Church is not once used.  In all the Gospel according to Luke the word Church is not once used.  In all the Gospel according to Mark the word Church is not once used.  During the forty days between His resurrection and ascension the Lord never once spoke to His disciples of the Church, but on nearly every occasion when He appeared to them He opened the scriptures to them and spoke to them of the Kingdom of God.  The Church idea, great and glorious as it is, is narrow and small compared to that of the Kingdom.  We are a Church within the Kingdom, but the Kingdom is greater than the Church. 

            It is the Kingdom, and not the Church, that breaks in pieces and consumes all the kingdoms of the world and of the increase of which there shall be no end.  The fervent prayers upon the lips of holy and seeking men has ever been, not, “Thy church come,” but “Thy kingdom come.”  Let your heart consider what I now say.  Every man, woman and child who throughout this blessed dispensation of grace has trusted Jesus Christ as Saviour and been washed in His precious blood has been numbered in God’s great Book as members in His Church.  We are now, one and all, in the Church of Jesus Christ.  We do not need to pray to enter, seek to enter, press on to enter, overcome to enter, or meet any further qualification to enter.  We are the Church, and only by faith in Jesus Christ and His salvation.  “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:41,47).   

            But those faithful and persevering ones who follow on to purge themselves of the corruption of the flesh; who fully partake of the divine nature, putting on the mind of Christ; who give all diligence to add to their faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience God-likeness, and to God-likeness brotherly kindness,  and to brotherly kindness the love that is agape; to those who do these things the blessed promise is held forth of an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (II Pet. 1:4-11).   

            The sun is setting rapidly upon this tired old age in which we have lived so long.  The Church during this age has dwelt in the realm of limitation, of mixture, equipped only with the firstfruits of the Spirit.  As Paul by the wisdom granted unto him truly stated, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (I Cor. 13:9-10).  The Church of the dispensation men call the dispensation of grace pertains to the “in part” realm.  The Kingdom, on the other hand, is the realm of fullness, an abiding, triumphant dimension of life.  “Revivals” are a characteristic of the Church realm.  Fullness and permanence are characteristics of the Kingdom realm.  God’s purpose in His sons is to move us from revival to unmovable stability from the Church to the Kingdom. 

            In praying for and seeking revival we develop a revivalistic mentality which contradicts the purposes of God for this Day.  When one examines revivals historically, he finds that when you live in the revival mentality you are like a person who gets “high” on a drug you soon need another “fix”.  Revivals throughout history are recurrent activity activity that returns from time to time.  Revivals are those kinds of divine intervention which bring about awakening, followed by spiritual declension and apostasy.  It is a vicious, never-ending cycle.  Awake, asleep.  Awake, asleep.  Alive, dead.  Alive, dead.  Delivered, bound.  Delivered, bound.  Refreshed, sluggish.  Refreshed, sluggish.  Filled, empty.  Filled, empty.  Revivals are oscillating in nature, swinging back and forth between two extremes.  Furthermore, revivals are occasional and variable.  They occur now and then.  In and out, up and down, here and there, now and then, back and forth, awake and asleep do you feel yourself getting motion sickness? 

            In the 1800’s there was a revival called “The Great Awakening.”  As someone has pointed out, unfortunately it was followed by “The Great Asleepening.”  We don’t need another Great Awakening so that we can have another Great Asleepening so that we can have another Great Awakening.  What the world needs in this hour is not another revival.  No revival has brought the ultimate triumph of God’s Kingdom in the earth.  No revival has brought the universal defeat of sin, sorrow, sickness, limitation and death.  No revival has brought an end to war, strife, hatred, corruption, fear, tyranny, pain, hunger, or any of the other problems  and curses that blight mankind.  And no revival has ever brought perfection and the fullness of God to the Church!  Ah, our prayer should be, “Lord, don’t send another revival!”  Our prayer should be as our Lord taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come!”  I am not a revivalist.  I am a Kingdomite!  I am a son of the Kingdom, an announcer of the Kingdom, a proclaimer of the Kingdom, an ambassador of the Kingdom of God.  A Kingdomite is just the opposite of a revivalist.  Instead of advocating and praying for a move of God that returns from time to time, the Kingdom Ambassador views the presence and rule of God as perpetual, constant, progressive never vacillating and never retrogressing.   

            Our God is abiding and progressing from glory to glory, from realm to realm, from age to age not sleeping and awaking.  The Kingdom sons are builders who build a place for God to inhabit permanently not a resort for Him to visit occasionally.  I want to be a builder!  Jesus said, “We will come and make our abode with him.”  What God desires in this hour is a place to stay, a temple to dwell in, a throne to sit upon, a nature to be formed in, a Kingdom to rule from forevermore.  The focus in the New Testament is upon Christ and His Kingdom not revivals.  You don’t read about revivals in any of the writings of the apostles.  The word revival does not appear in any dictionary of Kingdom terminology.  So far as the New Testament economy is concerned, revival is an unscriptural and extra-biblical concept.  You won’t find the idea anywhere!  Jesus didn’t promise revivals.  The apostles never taught or exhorted or gave any instructions about revivals.  Amazing, isn’t it, how much of the language of Babylon we still speak over here on Kingdom territory! 


            GOVERNMENT means to rule (govern) thoughts or the mind.  The suffix “ment” and the word “mental” are both derived from the Latin root ment.  Both human and divine government are forms of mind-control; human government is by various forms of control by the carnal mind, whereas the rule of God is by the direct control of the mind of Christ.  The carnal mind molds and shapes the carnal man through fleshly passions, impulses, propensities and expediencies.  The carnal mind also influences and controls the carnal man through outward agencies such as television, teachers, books, magazines, movies, advertising, laws, fashions, parents, peer pressures, etc.  The mind of Christ molds and shapes the life of the sons of God by the inward law of life, by the living word of God,  by the promptings and dealings of the Holy Spirit, as well as through the outward agencies of godly examples, instruction, counsel, manifestations of the Spirit, preaching, teaching, and the overwhelming presence and power of God.   

            I have written all these things that our hearts might be prepared for the truths that concern the establishment of the Kingdom of God.  How is the Kingdom of God established?  Let me first say how it cannot be established.  When our Lord spoke of the Kingdom of God He said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”  Jesus had just told the disciples where the Kingdom is and how the Kingdom does not come.  Before you can ever see the Kingdom you have to know how it’s not coming because the first thing we try to do is build it by the natural.  I tend to be “conservative” in my political thinking where the politics of this world are concerned.  But I must tell you there is something terribly wrong with what is known today as the “Christian Right.”  They are possessed of the notion that they can establish the Kingdom by political involvement, without the Holy Ghost.  If somehow we can gain enough votes by the people people of any religion, spiritual or carnal, saved or unsaved, moral or immoral, lovers of God or haters of God, Jew or Gentile, if we can get enough votes to kick this or that president out of power, to elect this or that congress, to send to Washington people of a particular political philosophy or party affiliation, to enact this or that piece of “godly” legislation, then somehow the Kingdom of God will come in America. 

            Furthermore, many hold the absurd idea that the Kingdom of God is America and that righteousness can be legislated through our branches of government.  I tell you today that you cannot establish or demonstrate or walk out the life of the King or the Kingdom as long as you don’t know how it’s not coming.  Jesus says that the Kingdom is not coming by observation it is not a visible, tangible, external operation.  The reign of the King is a peaceful reign.  Yes, He comes to make war, but the warfare He makes is an internal battle, not an external conflict of  bombs and bullets.  The reign of the King is a reign of righteousness, but that righteousness is not established by external rules, regulations, laws, or any police action or military enforcement.  Some have actually thought that the way to establish righteousness in the heart of a seventeen year old girl who is scared and frightened because she is carrying a baby that she doesn’t know how she is going to pay for or care for some have honestly thought that the way to establish righteousness is to stick a placard in her face as she enters the abortion clinic and scream at her that she’s a M-U-R-D-E-R-E-R!  The King will never do anything that violates His character and His nature of LOVE.  He came not to condemn the world, but to save it, and as the blessed Saviour He doesn’t go about screaming at people who are lost and frightened and hopeless.  “Neither do I condemn thee,” He whispered tenderly to the adulterous woman who under the law deserved to be stoned.  The abortion problem will never be solved by demonstrations, intimidation, condemnation, arresting doctors or bombing clinics.  Such activities are diametrically opposed to the Kingdom of God.  They are religious carnality at its highest intensity.  The spirit of wisdom and understanding from God must deliver us from our confusion about how the Kingdom of God comes.  It cannot be established by force.  It cannot be established by law.  It will never be established by political action.  It is impossible for it to be established by the will, efforts, or programs of men or of governments. 


            How far can force go in this world?  Is force the final word, the end of all argument, the arbiter of every dispute?  Men have tried to answer this on a thousand battlefields.  The answer is that force can go a long way.  It is a mighty power.  Jesus was crucified by force.  Roman soldiers must have cynically laughed as they pressed His hands to the cross and drove the nails through His flesh.  He was helpless before this overpowering might.  Yet Christ had power to destroy those men’s lives if He had the will.  When He stood there with the cross in full view, He said to His persecutors that it was in His power to call twelve legions of angels.  If that heavenly host which hovered about that Son could have once made itself manifest, O how they would have swept that doomed city, that accursed conclave of false priests, and those wretched, blind and filthy-minded heathen soldiers!  How the breath of these heavenly angels could have swept the life out of them and swept them down into hell and the grave.  But that is not God’s way.  That is not the mission of the Son or the sons.  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” 

            Brutality has been the hallmark of mankind’s turbulent and violent history.  Man has no answer to the dilemma.  But God has the answer!  It was brutal force that nailed the firstborn Son of God to the tree but the third day He arose triumphant from the grave!  The account says that the soldiers who guarded the tomb “were like dead men” they were like dead men before the might, the sheer might of this rising Life.  Those soldiers and the irresistible force of Rome they represented perished with the hour, but this Man lives on, His might unfolding in ever-increasing splendor with the passing of centuries.  He stands deathless and invincible.  The greatest might in the world is not brute force it is LIFE!  As a groveling worm is transformed to become a butterfly, so our Lord was transformed from corruptible to incorruptible, from natural man to manifested Son of God.  He arose in the celestial  light of the glory of God, the Shekinah.  He is not a reflected light, but the manifestation of the light which He Himself is.   

            His light is the light of life.  It is the same glory that lighted the world in the beginning when the almighty Father said, “Let there be light,” and there was light, and in Him was life, and His life was the light of men.  Nothing can stand before the power of this light of life (which is love) and all things that are touched by its life-giving rays are completely transformed thereby.  Resurrection life is the mightiest power in the universe.  But it is not force it is the quickening, transforming, creative power of life.  That is the power of the Kingdom of God.  God does not rule by the sword, by intimidation, by coercion, by armies, by slaughter and destruction.  Oh, no!  The world knows nothing of this power of life, for it abides in death and rules by death.  That is the only way it knows.  Men dead in trespasses and sins are blind to the power of life, so they turn to force to overcome evil.  Anything gained by force must be held by force.  You cannot fight the devil with his fire without getting yourself burned.  They that use the sword shall perish by the sword, saith the Lord.  We cannot by some alchemy get the gold of brotherhood out of the base metals of hate and brutality.  The only possible way to get rid of the enemy is to turn him into a friend the only possible way to turn him into a friend is through the transforming power of the light of life. 

            The Kingdom of God is within, for life is within.  That is a principle so simple and yet so powerful that any child should be able to understand it.  It is the birth from above that gives us entrance to it.  But while this Kingdom is established within, it makes itself felt and visible without.  Finding its subjects in us, it makes its laws be obeyed in all our doings.  It takes possession of every department of activity, of every region of everyday life.  These external things, are they our doings?  Our relationships with others, the way we do our work, how we spend our leisure, the things we seek after in life, are they not all outward expressions of our inner being?  Then if the Kingdom of God be in us, it will find expression there.  As it is impossible for any great earthly dominion to be solitary, uninfluential, but is effective, is imitated, and must mold others; so it is impossible for this Kingdom of God to be side by side with worldly influences and not change, alter, reverse, transform, or some way operate on them.  As little is this possible as it is possible to carry a light through a dark room and scatter no darkness, but confine the light to the flame.  “Ye are the light of the world.”  This is the manner of the Kingdom’s increase, and it will grow until there is no room for any opposing dominion on earth.  The stone becomes a great mountain that fills the whole earth.  All powers and dominions shall serve and obey Him.  The Son of God has brought this light of life into our lives, and the sons of God shall bring it to all creation, praise the name of the Lord! 

            When our Lord Jesus was ready to begin His great sonship ministry on earth, He was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil (Mk. 1:12; Mat. 4:1).  What a strange statement!  The Holy Spirit drives the Son of God into the wilderness to be tempted by satan, the arch enemy of all righteousness, a murderer from the beginning, the father of lies!  Ah, but it was necessary for the Son to be PROVEN, made STRONG, to OVERCOME in these realms before proceeding on into His glorious ministry and the agony and death of the cross.  Remember Jesus was not only the Son of God, He was the Son of man.  And being both He was capable not only of hearing from God, but hearing those things that be of man.  So when we speak of that ancient serpent which is the devil and satan, we are not talking about a beautiful and glorious fallen angel, but that mind which savors the things of man the carnal mind.  The carnal mind is the ground where the serpent crawls.  The flesh nature is the dust that he feeds upon (Gen. 3:14).  The apostle James put it this way, “Everyone is tempted when he is beguiled and allured by his own desire; the desires conceives and breeds sin, while sin matures and gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15, Moffat).   

            The battle lay not with some mythical personage outside of the Christ.  The conflict was within.  The voice was an inner voice.  The suggestion was in His mind, its power in His emotions and will.  God speaks to us in our mind and spirit.  Satan also speaks in our mind and emotions.  There is no monster without.  There are three things in this vast world which are not of the Father, and only three the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; briefly, appetite, avarice, and ambition.  These are the power of satan.  I do not think you will be able to avoid the conclusion that all the inventions, creations and contrivances of man are in existence to cater to these three things.  It was with these three things that Eve was tempted in the garden.  She saw the tree was good for food (the lust of the eyes), a tree to be desired (the lust of the flesh), a tree to make one wise (the pride of life), and the temptation was not from without but from within.  How remarkably the three temptations of Jesus in the wilderness parallel these three!  Every temptation of the devil comes to us through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.  There are no others.  Not for Adam and Eve, not for Jesus, and not for us. 

            Let us consider for a moment the third temptation of Jesus.  There is great wisdom, understanding and power in the truth I now set before you.  By it we comprehend the ways of the Kingdom of God.  For the third temptation, the devil took Jesus up on an exceeding high mountain to the very heights of the dominion of men and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them.  He saw what gave them their power and clearly perceived what made them great.  He saw the fame and fortune that could be His by seizing the reins of the government of the world.  And satan said to Him, “All these will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”  When the Tempter came thus to Jesus he came as an angel of light, offering suggestions on how His messianic mission might be more quickly and effectively implemented and realized.  He offered the kingdoms of the earth to Jesus if He would bow to the shrewd worldly wisdom the adversary outlined in His mind by which He could have used His sonship power to conquer the might of the Roman empire.  I do not doubt for one moment that what tempted Jesus was a MASTER PLAN outlined by the carnal mind that seemed to promise success in the rapid and effectual establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. 

            Jesus is here confronted with the question: Shall I win the world through self-effort, by worldly methods, by military might, by force of power, and conquer it in order to bring it salvation?  Does the end justify the means?  Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon all faced a similar question.  For they too did not merely have an eye to conquest.  In the back of their minds, though naturally on a much lower plane than the divine and exalted level of Jesus, was the desire for welfare and peace.  They would ruthlessly overrun the people for their good!  They would force them to be blessed, improved, prospered and happy!  Any means were justified by the end.  But the vision of Jesus is as clear as sunlight.  He realized that the plan was no inspiration from His Father in heaven, and was therefore earthly, sensual, and devilish.  To adopt it would be to “fall down and worship” the god of this world. 

            It is impossible to possess the world, or to conquer it by carnal means, even for God, without loss of purity, without using guile and hateful force, without trampling men’s lives, killing, destroying, plundering, and locking up masses of men in prisons, which is equivalent to worshipping the very devil whom we intend to drive out.  Matters not whether Hitler does it or whether Jesus Christ does the same thing riding out of the heavens on a white horse and with His armies from heaven ruthlessly and brutally smiting the kingdoms of the world!  It is the same.  There is not one iota of difference.  And yet I tell you that this is exactly how millions of Christians conceive of the arrival of the Kingdom of God on earth!  “Boy, we’re gonna put that devil down, we’re gonna blow the wicked sinners off the face of earth, we’ll enforce the laws of God and set up the Kingdom of God in the earth.”  That is precisely the mentality of multitudes of Fundamentalists, Pentecostals and Charismatics.  You cannot deny it.  And if they were given the opportunity to do so, they would fall down and worship the very devil they seek to destroy!  The serpent would have the last laugh. 

            Accordingly the clear and lofty answer wells out from the holy soul of every son of God as it sprang up from the soul of that firstborn among many brethren: “It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve!”  In other words, God’s business can only be done in God’s way and by God’s power!  Here we can marvel at the loftiness of the Pattern Son.  In an instant He passes through the sum total of the experiences that we encounter in innumerable succession in our journey into the fullness of God and to the throne of universal dominion: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve!”  That is the first law of sonship.  May God make this wonderfully real to the heart of every elect son of God. 

            So Jesus saw through the intoxicating visions and glittering prospects which the devil conjured up before Him.  He renounced worldly power even the power that He might have used in a “spiritual way” for His purpose, the establishing of the Kingdom of God.  Multitudes of Christians today have been deceived by this very temptation, as they seek political power within the institutions of this world, to further the cause of the Kingdom of God.  They infiltrate the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and get all involved in political activism, political action, parades, demonstrations, marches, voter registrations, clamoring for social and/or military action by our government in the name of justice and right, falling down and worshipping the god of THIS WORLD in their weak and futile efforts by such carnal means to establish the Kingdom of God in the land!  What a misguided stupidity it is.  Jesus understood the true nature of all things and He knew that the very substance of His message would be altered and falsified if the child were put under the compulsion of law or government to go back home to the Father.  For then the prodigal would become a slave and the Father a tyrant.   

            As we consider the call of God in sonship for this significant hour, let us look unto Jesus who is our Pattern and Forerunner.  When He was tempted to merge the power of the Spirit with the methods of the world in order to bring the Kingdom of God to pass in the earth, He rose up from the place where the kingdoms of the world shimmered before Him, where crowns flashed and banners rustled, and hosts of enthusiastic people were ready to acclaim Him, and quietly walked the way of poverty and  suffering to the cross.  He walked the road where the great and the rich of this world will despise Him, but where He is the brother of sinners, the companion of the forsaken and lonely, the sharer of the lot of all who know not where to lay their head, the comrade of the insulted and injured, to whom He reaches out with the power of divine love.  He chose to walk the way of the cross and of obedience to the ways of His Father, He who could have possessed the whole world in one bold stroke.  And that is why the story closes with the angels ministering unto Him.   

            Did He stake His life on the wrong card, this Jesus of Nazareth?  Did He make a bad exchange when in the hour of temptation He preferred the ministration of angels and the presence of the Father to the riches and honor of this world?  If He had accepted the kingdoms of this world and their “glory”  He would be forgotten today.  He would have become a great king in history, buried in the history books of our schools.  He would have become a venerated museum piece if He had signed the pact with the devil.  But because He learned obedience to the voice of the Father He has become our Elder Brother and our King, and therefore we too know that this sonship is our destiny; with the crown and the throne and priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. 

            If there is one lesson every son of God needs to learn it is this: One must not, yea, cannot, utilize the strength or wisdom of the flesh or the ways of the world to promote and build the Kingdom of God!  This is the third temptation, the final test for every son of God.  It is confidence in the flesh that motivates men to busily and craftily work for God rather than seeking the Lord until He works.  If we don’t reign in the Kingdom of God for another million years, we must wait in faith and patience for God to work.  It is Self doing what only the Spirit can do; it is the Soul taking the lead, in the hope that the Spirit will second its efforts, instead of trusting the Holy Spirit to lead and to do all, and then waiting on Him.  Oh, brethren, how we need to watch this!  I would rather spend my whole life doing nothing while waiting upon God, than to do everything in the strength of the flesh, becoming a devil worshipper.  All that is not of the Spirit is merely the carnality of man soulish.  It has no place or reward in the Kingdom of God. 

            In a certain Christian college there is a speech club called Ambassador Club.  During each meeting of this club there is a question and answer forum during which the “Topic Master” can ask various questions of the members relating to current events, weather, human interest and other topics of his choosing, including subjects relating to the Bible.  One day the question was: In the Kingdom of God what will you do first after you receive your resurrection body and have all power? The answers were many and varied, some good and some questionable.  “The first thing I will do,” clamored one freshman vigorously, “is to wipe out all the churches, destroy all of their buildings, pile all of the steeples into one big pile and burn them in sight of all the pagan people that are still alive.  That will show them who is boss.”  Obviously this student didn’t know much about what he was saying, because if he wiped out all of the churches he would be killing a great many people, for, after all, churches are people and not buildings.   

            Still another student had his mind made up as to how things should be run, and replied: “I will go into the ghettos and force all those lazy poor people on welfare and food stamps to go to work and earn their food, or else they can starve.  Compassionate Son of God!  Merciful Saviour!   What an example of false priesthood!  At least Jesus created bread and fish and wine for the poor and famished to eat!  Another outstanding example of things to come in the “millennium” was voiced by a junior, who stated: “Since we will be ruling with a rod of iron, I will force all people to keep the Sabbath, and then all the rest of God’s laws, and if they don’t do as I say I will punish them and force them to obey me.”  Here, of course, was an answer born of  a smattering of knowledge and an overdose of ego.  Obviously not all the comments were as harsh as these, and a number were quite good and well thought out, but these comments do illustrate the attitude that many Christians have regarding the way they would rule and reign in the Kingdom of God.  Just what is the attitude we should have of ruling the nations and all things?  And what is the first thing you would do, precious friend of mine, should you wake up one fine morning a manifested son of God, a King-Priest in the Kingdom of the Father with all power and authority in heaven and in earth! 

            True peace and blessing will not come to this war-torn world by military might and power.  True and lasting peace and blessing will come only by the overwhelming, transforming power of God’s love through His sons of love in the Kingdom of love.  The Kingdom of God, the Kingdom into which God has called His elect, is not of this world.  It does not have the same rules or values.  It is not governed by the same principles.  Jesus Christ is its champion, but He won the victory over all that threatens peace in a way not of this world.  He did not overcome His enemies with superior firepower and sophisticated weaponry.  Instead, Jesus looked into the faces of those who hated Him and overcame them by the love of God.  He overcame evil with good.  God has conscripted His elect into the advance army of peace.  He is making us emissaries even now of that perfect Kingdom.  He is cleansing us from the emotions of hatred, malice, condemnation, greed, lust, selfishness, ego, pride, bitterness, and rage all the things that lead to oppression, strife and war.  We are now in training and testing as the sons of the Kingdom.           

            The question is just this: How is this Kingdom to be administered?  Let me say again how it cannot be administered.  It cannot be administered by force.  Men have tried that method.  They have used fire and sword to make God’s Kingdom come.  Peter had that spirit when he pointed to the two swords the disciples possessed.  Mohammed followed this plan when he gave men the alternative either of Islam or death.  In the early part of the fourth century, the monarch of the Roman Empire died, leaving the question of succession in dispute.  The Roman general Constantine led his forces against his rival for the throne.  Near a little river in northern Italy, at a place called the Milvian Bridge, the two armies encamped over against each other waiting for the coming day and the order to battle.  Constantine, who had come into some minor contact with Christianity, that night made a vow.  If he won the battle, he would become a Christian.  It is said that he saw a vision in the night of a flaming cross in the sky with the Latin inscription, in hoc signo vinces (“by this sign conquer”).  Constantine made a bargain with some power to join the church organization if he won his battle.  Succeeding events indicate that the bargain was made with the prince of this world, the god of this age, the spirit which blinds the minds of men that they should believe the lie.  Constantine was “converted.”  He was not born again.   

            Imagine the whispering that went around Rome.  The Emperor had become a Christian!  Out of the catacombs they came.  Instead of being persecuted, they found themselves popular.  Like a youngster among heavy drinkers, the church’s head was turned by the wine of the world.  The priests of the pagan temples had been paid  from the purse of the Empire, but now Caesar was a Christian and the priests of God were paid by the State.  Eventually the role was reversed the persecuted became the persecutor and the awesome power of the sword was used to compel all the priests and worshippers of Mars and Venus to come to the Kingdom of God and be baptized.  They were plunged beneath water, but their hearts were unchanged.  Their pagan customs and rituals were accommodated into the church and “christianized.”  The church was married to the world, and flooded with unconverted religious sinners.  The wanton harlot now staggered across the world scene, with whom all the kings of the earth have committed fornication to this day. 

            The Crusaders, spurred on by the eloquence of Peter the Hermit, committed the same blunder.  The old Saxon and Gothic kings, who when they accepted Christianity themselves compelled their people to be baptized as well, followed the same mistaken method.  But these people did not advance the Kingdom of God one whit.  You do not make a man a member of this Kingdom by baptizing him, enrolling him among the adherents of a Church, or by calling him a Christian.  A man may be saved by simple faith in Jesus, but one does not enter the Kingdom in that way.  Men must have their hearts changed, their natures transformed, their allegiance turned.  They must be willing to render glad obedience to their Father King before they become members of this Kingdom.  If force was the method of His Kingdom then Charlemagne and the Roman Catholic Church during the Dark Ages were on the right track when they compelled men to accept Christianity and burned heretics for the salvation of their souls. 

            Force may increase the numbers of a sect, it cannot add one to the membership of the Kingdom.  The sword may compel a man to change his name; it can never compel him to change his heart.  Oh, no; it is not by the sword that God’s Kingdom will come, not by a literal sword out of the mouth of the Christ nor in the hands of the saints.  To all ecclesiastical persecutors Christ says, “Put the sword up into his sheath.”  Not by the sword is the Kingdom to come, but by the cross.  This is the weapon we have to use in our warfare.  Not the cross and the sword, as Constantine conceived it; but we are to conquer by the power of Love.  For the cross means love love at its best, love in the glory of sacrifice.  The cross is the power of God.  It is by the cross that men’s hearts are broken, and their affection and allegiance won.   

            The Captain of our salvation is not General Joshua crossing the Jordan, but Jesus the Lamb of God upon the throne.  Therefore He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, not on the war-like horse, but on the peaceful ass.  And therefore He will yet cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and break the battle-bow; He will speak peace to the nations; and His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.  And such is the spirit too of all the sons of God!  For, though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh; and therefore the weapons of our warfare are mighty before God to the pulling down of strongholds.  The only sword that the sons of the Kingdom are permitted to wield is the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD. 

            There are different kinds of government but of one thing we may be very certain the Kingdom of God is no dictatorship.  It is no tyranny.  A preacher once said that Jesus will one day come back to earth and force the people to be obedient and happy.  Indeed!  That, undoubtedly, is how he would reign if ever he got the chance!  He won’t.  That is not how God reigns.  God reigns as a Father, not as a despot.  “Our Father...Thy Kingdom come!”  The nature of God is entirely gracious in all His dealings with the sons of men.  That is the way of our wondrous God and Saviour.  It is not by force, but through love.  And in the end He will win.  Love never fails.  It shall be demonstrated before all principalities and powers that love will  conquer every foe.  In the days of His flesh the Lord Jesus could have easily consummated His Kingdom He had the power to subdue every enemy, to vanquish every foe.  Had He so willed He could have by a single word or look disintegrated the bodies of all who opposed Him so completely that not a vestige thereof would ever have been found by man!  Then everything on earth would have been at His command.  But would that have been HIS Kingdom?  NO!  Only in outward appearance not in reality. 

            God is love; and love does not impose its will upon us, or enforce it against ours.  Love woos and wins by a principle far higher than brute force.  Should Jesus return to earth to enforce the laws of His Kingdom with carnal weapons all that could be accomplished would be the erection of larger and more secure prisons overflowing with ever-increasing masses of rebellious humanity.  Force does not transform it merely breeds contempt.  Love transforms.  Love changes the nature.  Love wins the allegiance of the heart.  Love forms an indissoluble bond.  Love makes one.  Love captivates the will.  Love, though omnipotent, is very gentle.  God reigns by infinite wisdom, power and love and the greatest of these is love.  Love conquers all!  And King Jesus came to earth to reveal that love and the Father’s Kingdom. 

            The SPIRIT OF MIGHT which shall rest upon all of God’s sons is not the same kind of might known by the people of this world; it is not the might of force, of marching armies, of clanging swords, of tanks and bursting bombs, for these exist only in the realm of carnal might.  The might of God is spiritual might.  If our eyes have been opened by the Spirit of God we will see that the nature of all our work in the Kingdom of God is spiritual.  The power of the Kingdom is spiritual power, its citizens are a spiritual people, its ministry is a spiritual ministry, its authority is a spiritual authority, its dominion is a spiritual dominion, its laws are spiritual laws, its weapons are spiritual weapons, its priesthood is a spiritual priesthood, its sovereignty is a spiritual sovereignty.  Many of God’s precious people are no further advanced in their understanding than were the fleshly-minded Jews of Jesus’ day.  The work of the Kingdom is the work of rescuing men out of the power of darkness and driving out the satanic spirit that they may be gained for God.  It is the work of imparting unto men the very life and Spirit of the Lord that men may be gained even more and more by God until He truly becomes “all in all”.  Thus shall the whole creation be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God! 

            Praise God for the exalted road that leads to Zion, no ravenous beast shall trod the path that the vultures eye has not seen.  These are glorious days indeed for the army of God, a great people, there has not even been the like thereof unto the years of many generations.  There is a mighty stirring in the spirit as the army of the Lord musters for battle.  Truly the white horse is riding triumphantly through our land, conquering every enemy within, and announcing to us that He reigns in a voice of thunder from His throne.  May He reign and speak through us even as He reigns and speaks within us in this great Day of the Lord!  The weapon of the army of God is the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, the sharp two-edged sword of the living Word of God a sword to smite the nations, not with the carnal force of merciless slaughter, but with the life-changing properties of TRUTH AND LIFE.  The battle fought by the Christ of God is a spiritual warfare, combat between light and darkness, between spirit and flesh, between truth and error, between righteousness and evil, between life and death, between the customs and ways of this world and the principles of the Kingdom of God. 

            We are looking forward with great anticipation to God’s Kingdom dealings with ALL NATIONS.  Humanity is thirsting for these living waters from heaven!  Let us not sell creation short.  Arise, saints of God, and come away with the enChristed to the holy mount of God, the Kingdom of the Anointed, the Feast of Tabernacles, the Holiest of all, the throne of God in the sons of Zion.  Can we not see how simple a matter it shall be for the sons of God to minister deliverance and life to a weary and suffering world?  For these shall be OVERCOMERS in the fullness of Christ’s victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil.  Sin, sickness, or death shall have no more claim on them.  They will be EVEN AS their Lord and Master when He walked upon earth and ministered among men.  And more!  We can easily understand, therefore, how the glorious gospel of Christ shall be proclaimed in power and great glory throughout the whole earth.  There will not be a country, city, village or hamlet on earth that will be closed to this gospel of the Kingdom.  Glory to God! 

            The day is nigh at hand when there will be no more “thick darkness,” no more “gross darkness” resting upon the minds and hearts of earth’s teeming billions.  And at the close of that day, instead of growing darker, the world will have reached the high noon of its “light of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,” and its sun shall never set.  The Sun of Righteousness is the arising of the glory of the Lord shining in His full strength and majesty, dispelling the darkness, bringing in the day of victory, life and blessing.  This Day has already dawned upon us and shone in our hearts, but creation awaits its Day.  There has been a dawn for us and, blessed be God! there shall be a dawn for all creation.  The peoples of our planet will not remain in the icy clutches of an ever-deepening darkness until all hope is gone, until there is nothing but total darkness and death.  No, light will appear more light than the world has ever seen at the manifestation of the sons of Light.  The illuminating rays of glory will fill the earth, your earth, my earth, their earth, until all the shadows and darkness of night have been chased away.   

            All the carnal thinking of man, all the delusions of this gross material realm, all the doctrines of devils, all the superstitions, myths, folklore and fairy tales of religion, all the human creeds and dogmas, all human precepts by which men are taught to fear God rather than to love Him; all political intrigues, all humanistic education and institutions, all the myriad citadels of sin and vice and crime, are to be swept away, replaced by the glorious KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD AND HIS TRANSFORMING GRACE.  The Sun of Righteousness shall arise and arise until there is no more night anywhere in God’s vast universe.  No man anywhere will be able to escape the glory of God in the face of God’s Christ.  WE ARE THE DAWN OF IT, the firstfruits, praise His name!  “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the GLORY OF THE LORD  is risen upon THEE.  For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but...HIS GLORY SHALL BE SEEN UPON THEE.  And the GENTILES (NATIONS) SHALL COME TO THY LIGHT, and kings to the brightness of THY RISING” (Isa. 60:1-3).  “And the NATIONS  of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it...for they shall bring the glory and honor of the NATIONS into it” (Rev. 21:24,26).   

            The manifestation of the sons of God shall utterly eclipse anything we have ever read in the Bible or in Church history!  The River of Life has been flowing in the city of God, for truly “there is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of our God.”  The river has sprung up within those elect saints who as a firstfruit have experienced the powers of the Kingdom of Heaven in the realms of the Spirit.  But soon it shall empty into the mighty oceans of humanity, bringing life and blessing to a dry and parched wilderness where no water is.  “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?  I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isa. 43:19).  Therefore, let us even now begin to rejoice in the NEW DAY, as the first rays of hope arise on the eastern horizon; let us arise to plant our feet on the Anointed Mount and to drink in the intoxicating freshness of the morn!  Hallelu-yah!

To be continued...   



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