the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
KINGDOM OF GOD
THE KINGDOM COMES
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
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
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
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 nations...to 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
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 —
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!
IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD ESTABLISHED
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” —
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
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
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
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
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
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 —
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
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 —
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...
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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