the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
KINGDOM OF GOD
FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND
“Look both ways before crossing the street.”
“Don’t feed the bears.” “Stay
on the path.” All of us have
heard these familiar statements. Each
one is really a one-sentence sermon that says something important: if we don’t
look out, we could get hurt; if we feed the bears, we may be inviting danger; if
we don’t stay on the path marked out, we might get lost. It’s to our advantage to take these one-sentence sermons to
heart. Jesus also preached a
one-sentence sermon: “Repent! for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat.
4:17). It was in accord with
Jesus’ conception of the Kingdom of Heaven as the rule of God in the hearts of
men that He preached repentance as a necessary prerequisite for living in the
Kingdom. The rule of the Spirit
cannot begin without a turning to God, for it is not a rule of force but of
love, and therefore repentance holds a prominent place in the Kingdom teaching
There are occasions when if one speaks a word about “repentance” to
saints who have received the call to sonship and are pressing into deeper truths
and higher realms in God, most of them have closed their ear to such a word, and
have no desire to hear anything else that is spoken, thinking that the message
isn’t for them, only for the unsaved. Having
once repented of their sins, receiving Jesus as their own personal Saviour,
being washed in the blood and regenerated in spirit, that message which deals
with repentance has to be for people in a lower realm, so they think.
When we look carefully into the scriptures, however, setting aside our
own religious conceptions, we see that the words of God paint quite a different
picture from ours.
Christ taught that every man on earth is in need of a Saviour.
He taught them how they could be saved.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have eonian life” (Jn. 3:16).
“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe
in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”
(Rom. 10:9). “For by grace
are ye saved through faith” (Eph.
2:8). The GOSPEL OF SALVATION also
includes a realm of repentance, but repentance is not first.
Faith is first. The GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM, however, does not begin with
faith. We do not say, “Believe on
the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt enter into the Kingdom.”
No, that’s not it. Do you want to know the beginning of the gospel of the
Kingdom of God? We find it in the
Gospel of Matthew. “In those days
came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent
ye! for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat. 3:1-2).
That is the beginning of the gospel of the Kingdom, not faith, but repentance. This, then, was the message John brought to Israel.
The people who for centuries had looked for the Messiah and for the
Kingdom which He would establish were now confronted with the sobering truth
that, though the long awaited Messiah was about to appear, there could be no
entering into His Kingdom without a true repentance on their part.
Jesus Himself came preaching the same gospel.
“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee,
preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is
fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent
ye, and believe the good news” (Mk. 1:14-15).
The gospel of the Kingdom begins with this: “Repent! for the Kingdom of
Heaven is at hand.” It presents
the KINGDOM — not forgiveness, not reconciliation, not salvation, not cleansing, not
eternal life — as the object of repentance. Why should we repent? Not
merely to obtain mercy, not merely to obtain pardon, not merely to obtain
acceptance, not merely to obtain reconciliation, not merely to obtain life.
We should repent because there is a heavenly Kingdom that requires our
repentance. The Kingdom is coming and repentance is the first priority in
order to become a partaker in it. We
may be satisfied, as most Christians are, to have obtained grace, and pardon and
life; but the Kingdom demands more than that. The word of the Kingdom comes to us saying, “You must
The subject of repentance is one that has scarcely been touched because
of our ignorance of the matter and the total lack of understanding of the
meaning of the word. The English
words “repent” and “repentance” have placed the idea on such a low level
that we have entirely lost the true and biblical meaning of the term. Webster’s dictionary defines repent as “to feel sorrow,
remorse, or regret for one’s past errors, sin, omission, action or conduct; to
experience such contrition as to amend one’s way of life; to remember with
compunction or self-reproach; to feel remorse on account of.”
I am certain that most of those who read these lines are aware that the
Bible was not written in English.
The English meanings of words are not always the meaning in the original
language. And even in English,
after correctly translating, words often change their meanings over the decades
and centuries. Translators are
fallible and often unspiritual men who sometimes, despite their best intentions
and accomplished scholarship, flavor their translations with the beliefs,
doctrines and teachings acquired from their religious backgrounds.
This is just as true of the King James Version of the Bible as it is of
any of the modern revisions and translations.
The older the English the more unintelligible it becomes. The spelling changes, word meanings change, sentence
structure changes, until finally one is helplessly lost in a morass of
indecipherable hieroglyphics. Even
in the four centuries since the translation of the King James Bible, what
changes have taken place! “Thee”
and “thou” have been replaced by the more familiar “you” and are now
used only in classical literature and religion.
“Let” meant to “restrain or prevent” in King James’ day; now
the word means exactly the opposite!
So with Greek. Ancient Greek is a dead language, while modern Greek is a
living language, with about as much similarity as there is between Spanish and
Italian. And don’t think for one
moment, dear friend, that religion doesn’t influence language!
The English word “hell” once meant “a dark hidden place,” but
church dogma has through the years caused it to take on an altogether different
connotation. There is so much fire
in the modern hell that there could be absolutely no darkness there! Word
meanings do change!
And religious dogma has effected many such changes.
It is furthermore interesting to note how our English word, repentance,
came to us. It was originally
brought to us from the French and Latin languages.
My book on word origins shows that it stems from the word “pain” and
is connected with the word “penalty.” With
the “re” prefix attached to it, it signifies “pain-again.” Therefore we might say that repentance, in English, is
“twice born pain; a second penalty.” And
that is exactly what sinners feel during a scathing hell and brimstone sermon
when they run to the altar weeping and wailing because of their sins.
As one has written, “Repentance is a word of classical Latin origin and
of Latin theological and ecclesiastical descent.
The core of it is not mind, but
pain. The note of it is not emancipation, but of condemnation.
The scope of it is not spiritual, but judicial.
The working of it is not joyful, but sorrowful.
Its face is turned in horror toward sin, not in rapture toward
righteousness. It is a way to
righteousness, but by way of retreat. It
flees the evil in fear of penalty —
vengeful punitive action of God or of its own conscience. In its effective operation it can take hold of the mind,
change the mental attitude, but it can never renew the spiritual constitution of
the mind. It is retrospective, and
it leads to introspection, often to intense spiritual self-consciousness.”
Before I try to tell you what repentance is, let me tell you what it is
not. It is not
a certain amount of felt and experienced broken-heartedness caused by deep
conviction evoked in the heart over the great failings or wickedness of one’s
past life. There are those who
suppose that the goodness of God toward them depends upon the depth of their
sorrow, even as those of yesteryear, who had a “mourner’s bench” where
people would come and mourn their sins. If
they were penitent long enough, wept loudly enough, shook violently enough, and
were sorry deeply enough for their sins, perhaps there was some chance that they
might, in some way, induce a stern and angry God to have mercy upon them.
But nowhere in all the New Testament did the Lord Jesus or Peter or James
or Paul or anyone else call people to an altar and tell them to weep and cry
their way through to either salvation or the Kingdom.
Such a concept is unscriptural, totally foreign to the Word of God, and
is in fact an “extra-biblical” concept.
In the days of the great revivals that swept the world in the past few
centuries, there were altar calls in evangelistic meetings, and sinners came
down and wept before God with godly sorrow and holy brokenness, dreadfully sorry
for the things they had done and the life they had lived. In the well-known Welsh Revival at the turn of the century,
people were so sorry for their sins that they were at the altar weeping and
wailing many hours into the night. The
people were so sorry for their sins, that the entire society underwent a
transformation. But I do not
hesitate to tell you that none of that sorrow WAS REPENTANCE. Ah, it indeed did lead
them to repentance in relation to their sins, but the sorrow and pain and
weeping and begging God for mercy was not of itself scriptural repentance.
With divine inspiration and deep spiritual insight the apostle Paul
wrote, “For godly sorrow worketh
repentance” (II Cor. 7:10). Can
we not see by these words that godly sorrow IS NOT REPENTANCE.
Godly sorrow works repentance, it leads one to repentance, but godly
sorrow is not repentance. The
notion that sorrow for sin is
repentance is another of the foolish fables of Babylon.
I have seen people weep their eye balls out at altars, drenching the
floor with their tears, and their lives never changed.
Until men are willing to turn
from sin, to turn from carnality, to turn
from self and self-will, to turn from
religiosity, to think differently about these things, to see all things with a new mind, there has been no repentance. And when men do take a new mind about things and turn from
their course, they have repented even though they shed no tears and experience
no wailing or emotional brokenness.
The Greek word METANOIA and our English word REPENTANCE do not bear the
same meaning at all. “Repentance”
has cast an almost exclusively emotional character around the preaching of the
gospel that brings men to Christ. Those
who hear the preaching of repentance in Fundamentalist and Pentecostal circles
particularly, hear it like a cry, a note of danger, a somber warning, a dire
alert, full of alarm and terror, amid which the hearts of the people stand
still, instead of what it really was when Jesus preached it — the
invocation of a mind, heart and life which should be prepared and adapted to
receive such a glorious reality as the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
If the call had really been “Repent ye!” as we understand the term in
English, it would have been only an appeal to the feelings, and we would find a
record in the Gospels of men kneeling and weeping and trembling and wailing in
the streets of Jerusalem, in the desert sands of Judea, and along the seashore
of Galilee. It would have moved men
to look back to what they had done
amiss, and for which punishment hung over their heads,
instead of forward to the glory of the coming of the Kingdom of God.
The cry for repentance would have stirred up in the people a terrific
image of wrath, judgment and punishment. Instead,
the repentance Jesus preached brought great joy, expectation, anticipation, hope
and a change of attitude and action that prepared men for the coming of the rule
of God in their hearts by the Spirit.
A NEW MIND
Then what is repentance?
May the blessed Spirit of Truth help me, while I try to tell you.
METANOIA, the Greek word translated in the King James Version of the
Bible as “repentance”, in its plainest and most literal meaning signifies A
CHANGE OF MIND. Yet that in itself
can miss the mark. A better
rendering would be TO TAKE ANOTHER MIND. A
man may change in the conceptions of his mind, thus bringing himself to another
viewpoint, but with the possibility of being just as mistaken in his new opinion
as he was in his former. But to
TAKE ANOTHER MIND brings into being A NEW CREATURE, one who cannot revert back
to the old viewpoint or adopt another faulty reasoning out of the limited powers
of the old mind. So let us see that
repentance has to do with the TAKING OF ANOTHER MIND, never before possessed. There is to be no mixing of the old leaven with the new
bread. This is extremely important
if we are to have any understanding at all of God’s workings in this, our day.
Thus repentance means “to change the mind” — and with a new kind of mind. Let
us notice the difference between some terms.
Repentance involves a radical change or exchange of mind,
whereas regeneration involves a radical change of nature,
and conversion involves a radical change of life-style.
Each is involved in the formation of a NEW CREATURE.
The command of our Lord, “Repent! for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand” would have been more literally translated, “Take a new mind! for the
Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” If
you even try to understand the things of the Kingdom of God without having a new
mind you will be thoroughly confused and confounded.
It means that as we approach the Kingdom every man who from his birth, or
from his entrance into society, or from his beginnings in religion, remains
unchanged in the thoughts, ideas, opinions, perceptions and conceptions he has
about God, himself, and the nature of all things, is
shut up from the realm of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Repentance is, above everything else, a turning away from your wrong idea
about God. It is changing your mind
(by the Spirit of Truth) about everything you thought about God.
Do you think anyone had the right conception of God before Jesus came?
There were those who were circumcised, who constantly poured through the
scriptures, who prided themselves that they kept every jot and every title of
God’s law, and pretended to know God. Yet
these were the very people who hated and crucified Jesus!
Obviously they did not see God in Jesus. That is an indictment on all mankind. You know, we can crucify Jesus today. When preachers “kill” the image of God in Jesus by
preaching a false idea of God, they crucify Jesus afresh.
We need our minds, our whole impression of who God is and of what God is
doing in the earth today, to be changed. It
indicates the receiving in our hearts of a whole new concept, instead of a mere
mental change of viewpoint in regard to God.
It is not the changing of our carnal mind about something, not an
intellectual shift in our thinking. An
EXCHANGE has to take place. We are
a NEW CREATION in the image and likeness of God.
So we are to put away everything that comes from the natural mind.
The mind of Christ is not obtained through acquired knowledge or formal
training. It comes by the
transforming work of the Spirit.
Repentance is what has been referred to by some as a paradigm
shift. A professor was asking
his class if they knew what a paradigm shift was.
The students scratched their heads — thinking.
After a few minutes, one student spoke up, “A paradigm shift is when
you give me twenty cents because that’s a pair of dimes.”
The professor answered, “Well, not quite.
A paradigm shift is when you gain all kinds of opinions and knowledge and
experience about a thing, and suddenly you receive new information, new facts,
fresh truth, or further experience, which causes you to have a change of mind, a
change of feeling, a change of understanding, a change of belief, a change of
heart. You suddenly have a
different perspective on life which gives you a totally new set of priorities
and sense of being. That is what is
called a paradigm shift.” This
is what Jesus brought into the world. Jesus
came as the revelation of truth and the power of life, the expression of God as
He really is. Encountering Christ
and the realm of sonship He opens
to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, is mind-changing and life
transforming. To touch His reality
produces within us a paradigm shift that is repentance! It is
the taking of a new mind about God, ourselves, and the true nature of all
The two kingdoms of which Jesus spoke — the kingdoms of
this world and the Kingdom of Heaven — are in total opposition to
each other. There is no middle
ground. In order to become
completely subjected to Christ’s Kingdom we must be set free from Adam’s. This requires a deep, thorough repenting in the heart of
every man concerning the things which he was thinking and doing before he knew
about the Kingdom of God. If we are
really going to do God’s will and accomplish His purpose in the earth and all
creation we must repent categorically for everything in which we have been
participating that is contrary to His mind, His ways, His heart, and His
purposes. Repenting is not a
weeping, it is not a wailing or mourning our sin. We may weep out of frustration
and be sorry out of shame, but we have not truly repented until we have changed
our mind about ourselves, the world, religion, the church, and God Himself.
True repentance deals less with the negatives of sin and failure and more
with the positives of embracing God’s ways and God’s will.
When we truly say an irrevocable and eternal “Yes” to His plan in our
lives, we have repented.
It means changing our mind and making decisions out of the mind of
Christ, to repudiate one kingdom and embrace another.
As Ray Prinzing has said, “Marvelous indeed is HIS SUSTAINING GRACE
even while He processes us so, for it is essential, yea, it is imperative that
we be brought to the absolute end of ourselves, that we might be totally filled
WITH HIM. Repentance is not
a one time event at the beginning of our conversion, it is an ON-GOING PROCESS
as we are changed from glory to glory — being
fully renewed into the mind of Christ. Thus
He probes even deeper — into areas it
would not have been possible for us to endure in the beginnings of our walk with
Him. Patiently He has endured with
great long-suffering our carnality and self-centeredness, our ambitions and
desires, while He steadily drew us closer to Himself, filling us with a desire
for more of HIM in His righteousness, peace, and joy. And now He also reveals new depths to being made conformable
to His death, that we might come forth in the power of His resurrection life.
A life that is a WITNESS UNTO HIM!”
Right now today we need to repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
And yet, we cannot do it!
Adam cannot repent. The
carnal mind cannot repent. The
natural man cannot repent. But when
that word, “Repent! for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” comes to you in
the power of the Holy Spirit and you hear it by the Spirit, it is a creative
word within you just as the words of omnipotence in the beginning, “Let there
be light!” were creative words of divine power.
Just as the gospel comes from God, just as conversion is the work of God,
and in the same manner that the Kingdom is of God, repentance also originates
not with man, but with God. Repentance
must be wrought within us by the Spirit of the Lord.
Notice carefully in the following scriptures how repentance is given,
granted, and worked in us by God Himself. “Him
hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give
repentance to Israel...” (Acts 5:31).
“When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified
God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted
repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18). “Or
despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forebearance and longsuffering;
not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth
thee to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4). “In
meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give
them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (II Tim. 2:25).
Men can only acknowledge the truth
by receiving a new mind.
In the Old Testament the words repent, repented and repentance are seldom
used in relation to the sinner (check your Strong’s Concordance!).
There it is God who is usually spoken of as repenting or changing His
mind. God repents.
And the way it is brought out in the context is that in His dealings with
mankind GOD TURNS in His feelings, in His actions, towards His creation.
That is, He purposes within Himself to initiate a new method, a new way
of dealing with humanity. It was not
that God didn’t do things right the first time, that He made a mistake, or
that His program was failing so He had to remedy the situation by admitting His
error and starting over; it was, rather, that He had brought man as far as man
could be brought in that way, so it was necessary for God to “shift gears”
so to speak, to change the order, to turn and institute new provisions for
man’s instruction. It was a
CHANGE OF PURPOSE conceived in the mind
of the Lord. The prophets wrote
of that change of dealing and direction, that shift in attitude and intent on
the part of God, as “God repented.” It
means He turned, adopting a new
posture toward man.
Repentance is the power by which we put aside our own will to embrace the
will of God — therefore it involves us in a radical change of mind.
This is a more exacting process than many people realize, for it does not
mean that we occasionally act on what we presume
or believe to be divine guidance in preference to some impulse or
instinct of our own. That indeed we
must always be prepared to do. But waiting
upon God to receive His orders for us is an essential function of the life
of sonship. The son does only what
he sees his Father doing.
Something more than blind faith is required of the man who will truly
walk as a son in the Kingdom of Heaven. He
must learn to know the voice of the Father and speak only what he hears from the Father. He must see the
Father’s ways, the Father’s heart, the Father’s will, and the Father’s
actions and do only what he sees the
Every son of God must repent! Repent
of what? Ah, not just repent of
certain fleshly wrongs, not just repent of certain sins. It is not merely repenting of anger, cursing, smoking,
drinking, gossiping, lying and lusting; but repent radically — repent
of insubjection to the authority of Heaven; repent of nonconformity to the word,
will and ways of the King; repent of not submitting to the rule of God.
It pains me to say it, but the sad truth is that most “saved” people
know nothing of the mind of God, are not in line with the purposes of God, nor
are they possessed of the nature of God. They
may not curse, smoke, drink or carouse, but they continue to walk carnally after
the desires of self, after the rudiments of the world, after the blindness of
religion, obeying the traditions of the elders, keeping the commandments of men,
employing in their service of God the methods and techniques of the flesh,
observing sacraments, rituals, programs, holy days, and a whole world of
religious activities that have neither been inspired nor commanded by the Lord. Are they, then, under the authority of God?
No! Are they led by the
Spirit of God? No!
Do they know the ways of God? No! Do they have the mind of Christ?
No! Is the gospel they
preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God? No!
They are not under the rule of
God, which means that they are not walking in the Kingdom of God.
There are yet few upon the earth who respond to the call of God to enter
the Kingdom, who will to be God’s sons, to be ruled by God and to rule for
God. To all who are called to the
Kingdom the Spirit cries, “Repent! for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
The Kingdom is near you. Let
your King possess His own. Let God
enthrone Himself in you, that all His will be done in your life.
Here is the grand and glorious reason why men were called to repentance
by John the Baptist and by the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is because the Kingdom is approaching. The reign of the righteous and loving King is about to begin.
The revelation of the rule of God in the hearts of men by the Holy Spirit
is ready to explode with power in the midst of mankind.
The King who is all powerful to push His conquests, omnipotent to
maintain His authority, is disposed out of His nature of love to grant a full
and complete amnesty to all His enemies, and pour out His redeeming grace and
transforming power in unrestrained profusion upon the right hand and upon the
left. The King of glory is coming
to men in mercy, grace, redemption and power!
Therefore men must experience a drastic change
of mind about God, about themselves, and about everything.
May I point out the important fact that the Lord commands all men
everywhere to repent because the Kingdom is
coming, and not in order that it would
The King is approaching with His power, His glory, His profuse love and
grace; therefore, you, my relatives, and you, my friends, and you, my
acquaintances, and you strangers, and you steeped in sin, and you entrenched in
wickedness, and you overwhelmed with hopelessness and despair, and you bowed
down with grief, and you who sit in darkness, and you shackled by the chains of
religion, and you who are burdened with the impossible demands of the law and
the commandments of men, and you who are weary of feast days, ceremonies,
rituals, rules and regulations, ordinances, purifications, sacrifices,
offerings, pilgrimages and self-righteousness of men — all ye people of
the earth, make way for such a King as this!
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give
you rest. Take my
yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye
shall find rest unto your souls” (Mat. 11:28-29). It is the most potent reason that can convince your mind, and
impress your conscience, and inflame your heart, and arouse your will.
Come at once and make way for the King!
Jesus was saying that there must be a change in our thinking in regard to
the Kingdom of Heaven. We must see
this Kingdom differently from the way the scribes and Pharisees and chief
priests and elders of His day were seeing it.
They were viewing the Kingdom in the very same way the Baptists,
Fundamentalists, Pentecostals and Charismatics are viewing the Kingdom today.
They were expecting an earthly Kingdom with an earthly Ruler.
In their minds that rule of God was yet future, away out in some Golden
Age yet to dawn. They could see no
evidence of the Kingdom because Israel was ruled under the iron heel of Imperial
Rome. How they longed for their
Messiah and the Kingdom He would some day bring!
Then Jesus came. His first
proclamation was, “Repent! Re-think
it! Reach a new conclusion!
Change your mind about it! Adopt
a new understanding! Prepare your
minds and hearts!” And why?
“For the Kingdom of Heaven is at
hand.” Repent, change your
way of thinking about the Kingdom. Don’t
think of the Kingdom any longer as future,
as something one day coming —
the Kingdom is now at hand, accessible. It
is not future. It is now.
It is available. You can
enter it, partake of it, experience it, minister it.
It is a place of dominion deep within you that governs and controls the
rest of your outlook. If God is
totally in control in that place, everything else will follow suit.
Jesus was telling the people of Israel that if they wanted to see the
Kingdom the very first thing they needed to do was to repent, to take a new
mind. They needed to transfer the place from which they drew their thoughts, because the
Kingdom of God was not going to be realized the way they thought it was. The
Greek word for repentance (METANOIA) basically means to transfer the realm from
which we think. Jesus opened this
realm up to men. He was telling
men, “I don’t want you to merely try and change your mind because your mind
is carnal; it is not subject to God, nor will it ever be.
What I want you to do is draw from another account which I am quickening
within you, in your spirit.
I am giving you this account; now I want you to draw your thoughts from
this realm of the spirit.” Once we begin to think out of the spirit of wisdom and
revelation from God instead of the brain, we immediately perceive that the
Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. When
we are thinking rightly, we are in the
Kingdom and see it in its righteousness, power and glory.
That is the first fruit of repentance. We need to have our minds renewed, re-programmed, in the light
of Kingdom reality. Traditional
interpretations and ideas that restrict the Kingdom to a coming age have to be re-thought out in the light of the fact that
the Kingdom is within us.
Take a new mind, Jesus told the people of Israel, because the kind of
rule of the heavenly dimension is at
hand. Everything is changing.
The law will not be the same. The
temple will not be the same. The
priesthood will not be the same. The
nation will not be the same. Worship
will not be the same. Sacrifice
will not be the same. The
government will not be the same. You
will need to be re-programmed, re-oriented.
You must think differently
about everything and prepare for a new order, a new way of life, a new reality.
Instead of the law of Moses, in the Kingdom of Heaven there will be the
law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
Instead of the magnificent temple of stone, cedar and gold
in Jerusalem, there will be in the Kingdom of Heaven a living temple of
living stones. Instead of the
priesthood of Aaron offering the sacrifices of bulls and goats and lambs, there
will be in the Kingdom of Heaven a Royal Priesthood after the Order of
Melchizedek ministering to men the blood-life of the Lamb of God slain from the
foundation of the world. Instead of
a nation of physical descendants of Abraham, circumcised in the flesh, in the
Kingdom of Heaven there will be a nation of people justified by the faith of
Abraham, circumcised in their hearts by the sharp knife of the living word of
God. Instead of ritualistic worship
and ceremony, there will be in the Kingdom of Heaven worship in spirit and in
truth. Instead of a human king upon a physical throne, in the
Kingdom of Heaven there will be the rule of God by the Spirit upon the throne of
Two thousand years later people are still looking and waiting for the
Kingdom of God. Evidently they
haven’t experienced the Kingdom yet.
To them it is something illusionary, mystical, or intangible, and they
can’t get a grasp on it, so they
think it is yet to come. If men are
repenting because the Kingdom of God is at hand, is it not clear that they are
repenting from another kingdom? We
have been translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. That is a transference from one kingdom to another.
Jesus came to subdue the kingdoms of this world, and a kingdom is a rule,
a domain and a dominion, a mode of operation, a system, an order.
All men are walking according to a rule or a mode of living.
The people of America walk in one way, the people of Saudi Arabia walk in
another way, and the people of China walk in yet another way because they live
in different kingdoms, under different rules, dominions, laws, governments,
cultures, social customs and religious requirements.
They are subject to various pressures, demands, mandates and conditions
imposed by various authorities and powers.
When Jesus came proclaiming the Kingdom He didn’t say, “Repent
because you have been sinning.” Sin
is not the issue in the Kingdom. The
issue is allegiance. Repentance means to repudiate something you have believed in
and clung to in order to believe in and cling to something else.
Repentance is the call to change our minds about the rule of our lives.
Repentance is the call for
us to change kingdoms. The Kingdom
of God is spiritual, it doesn’t work in the carnal mind.
So whether a man is sinning or being religious he must repent, because
the Kingdom only works in the spiritual mind.
Kingdoms clash. Every
kingdom wants to rule. When one
kingdom is in power and another kingdom comes to take the dominion there is
warfare. The message of the Christ
is repentance unto another Kingdom. Another
rule comes into our lives which will cast out the demons and establish the mind
of Christ. God has called upon us
to repent of the rule of the flesh, the rule of the carnal mind, the rule of the
world, the rule of religion, the rule of the church-systems, the rule of laws
and external ordinances, and all that pertains to the old order.
Repent of sin?
Yes! But much more.
It is a whole economy, a whole mentality, a whole way of life, an entire
system of things that we must repent of in order to enter into the Kingdom Rule
of God. When we talk about entering
the Kingdom we are changing many things; there must be a change in our whole
world of existence, where we think we came from, who we think we are, what we
think we are, what our purpose is in this world, how we live in this world, and
where we think we are going. All
our concepts and realities change. In
our natural birth we came from the
earth. In our spiritual birth we
came from heaven. We are shedding
that Adam identity, that Adam delusion, the Adam mind, the Adam life-style, the
Adamic wisdom, knowledge and ability.
There is an interesting and illustrative incident in the ministry of
Jesus that speaks powerfully to us of the new mind of the Kingdom. “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also,
and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He
Himself would come. Therefore He
said unto them, Into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such
things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto
them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways
out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do WIPE OFF
against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is
come nigh unto you” (Lk. 10:1-2,8-11). Jesus
sent the disciples out to heal the sick. The healings were a sign
and a sign is a message.
The message was that the Kingdom of God had come.
The healings were done by the power of the Kingdom.
They were the sign, the declaration of the Kingdom, the proof that the
power of another Kingdom was already at work in their midst.
Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees, “O, ye hypocrites, ye can
discern the face of the sky; but ye cannot discern the signs of the times.”
In other words, “You don’t understand the message that sounds forth
when I do these things.”
Matthew records Jesus’ instructions to the seventy in these words,
“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out
of that house or city, shake off the dust
of your feet.” One thing is
certain — the
disciples were not just shaking dust off their clothes and shoes.
They were saying something. By
that action they were sending a message. The
message was just this. When the
people rejected the ministry of the disciples they were rejecting the Kingdom of
God, because that is what they were preaching, demonstrating and manifesting.
Jesus instructed them, “When the people reject the Kingdom of God shake
that dust off of you, shake that Adamic nature off of you, don’t let that
earth-bound mentality cling to you, or find a place in you, don’t be
influenced or affected by their words or actions, don’t walk away from the
city with the same kind of serpent meat
they are providing!”
This brings us back to the curse laid upon the serpent in the beginning.
The ancient serpent, having beguiled Eve, became the recipient of the first
curse in history. “And the
Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed
above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou
go, and dust shalt thou eat all the
days of thy life” (Gen. 3:14). This
is a symbol and the Deceiver, Satan, that old Serpent, the Devil, has to eat
dust! The metaphor can be more
clearly understand when we hear the judgment handed out to the man. God said, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,
till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for DUST THOU
ART, and UNTO DUST shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:19).
So that first Adam, the fleshly man, that cursed man, is declared by the
counsel of the Lord God to be dust.
Said the wise man, “He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we
are dust” (Ps. 103:14). That
we are DUST! Not very flattering,
not very complimentary, is it? This
great gob of mud called man, strutting
his superior know-it-all attitude even in the face of the Almighty!
Dust! Our FRAME!
Adam’s name could just as well have been called “Dusty.”
The mind of Adam is the earthly
mind, and it always minds earthly
things. It is a dust-mind.
The message is clear — Adam and those belonging to him are of the earth, earthy.
The Holy Spirit bears witness, “And so it is written, The first man
Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from
heaven. As is the earthy, such are
they also that are earthy: and as is
the heavenly, such are they also that are
heavenly. And as we have borne
the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (I Cor.
15:45-49). The Amplified Bible
reads, “The first man was from out of the earth, made of dust — earth minded; the second man is the Lord out of heaven.
Now those who are made of the dust are like him who was first made of the
dust — earth
minded. And just as
we have borne the image of the man of dust, so shall we and so let us bear also the image of the Man of heaven.”
It’s not news to any of us that we are in the midst of a war between
two kingdoms. Neither is it news to
us that WE are the battleground! More
particularly, the major focal point of the battle is our
mind. There the battle rages at
its greatest intensity, because the war is a struggle for our hearts and
loyalties — the very souls and lives and beings of men. Adam is dust, the natural, sensual, sense-oriented realm.
When God gave dust to be the serpent’s meat the earthy man became the
rightful food for the serpent. This
means that the serpent now finds its base of operation and fulfillment of its
nature, desires, and purposes in and through mankind.
By the very nature of things, when the serpent eats, he seeks to satisfy
his appetite and gratify his desires.
The curse of “eating dust” means that the serpent nature is only
gratified in and through carnal-minded men.
Today the sphere of Satan’s activity is earth, and the object of his
devouring is the man of dust. “Be
sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh
about seeking whom he may devour” (I
Pet. 5:8). He devours you by
overwhelming you with sensual lusts and carnal-minded pursuits in which your
whole being becomes consumed with things that are not of the Spirit nor of Life.
You will find men and women who claim to hate the devil and all he stands
for, but no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it.
In so doing he gives place to the devil.
It is the flesh that wars against the Spirit! The flesh
unceasingly wars against the King and His Kingdom that is within you.
Just as the religious leaders of the Jews cried, “We will not have this
Man to rule over us,” so the flesh, your flesh, and my flesh, desperately
striving to perpetuate the corrupt nature of Adam within, would push Christ from
the throne of the heart and reign in His stead.
The energy force and motivating power of the flesh IS
the ancient serpent of Eden. He
now crawls upon his belly, restricted to the realm of man’s earthiness. He is the nature of the carnal mind. Multitudes do not understand this mystery, and few will
proclaim this truth. The sacred
mysteries of God are revealed only by the Holy Spirit of Truth.
Adam is dust. If you want to
keep the kingdom of satan, the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of the earth
realm alive in you, just feed him!
If you don’t feed him, he’ll starve!
When you proclaim the Kingdom of God, and the message is rejected, shake
off the dust of that realm, don’t let anything people say or do against the
Kingdom cling to you, let them keep their earthiness, let them continue on in
their carnal religious and worldly foolishness, and you be a testimony against
that realm by continuing on progressing into the life and reality and power of
the Kingdom of God! SHAKE OFF THE
DUST, sons of God!
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). What we think in our hearts consciously and unconsciously
consists of beliefs, ideas, concepts, habits and practices gathered from our
earliest childhood, modified by education, reading, experience and contact with
all kinds of people and movements including
friends, mingled with the prevailing opinions of our times as drum-beat
into us by the media, and the accepted standards of the society in which we
live. Furthermore, most of those
who read these lines have also been deeply influenced and powerfully shaped by
the teaching and example of our religious leaders and spiritual mentors.
Every one of us has had false ideas about God, false ideas about church,
false ideas about the scriptures, false ideas about ministry, false ideas about
sin, false ideas about law, false ideas about grace, false ideas about
righteousness, false ideas about heaven, false ideas about hell, false ideas
about the coming of the Lord, and false ideas about the Kingdom of God and the
present and future program of God on earth.
Enough has been said to show how we have needed
a MIGHTY CHANGE IN OUR THINKING! Our
thoughts and understanding make us what we are and determine the way we live.
So if there is to be any significant change in our lives it must be a change of mind. That is
why the Spirit of God so often calls for a change of mentality.
“Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing
of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). “Be
renewed in the spirit of your
mind” (Eph. 4:23). The gospel of
the Kingdom begins with the record of John the Baptist’s first proclamation at
the Jordan: “Take a new mind! for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” John was telling the people that although they did not
discern it then, they were in the midst of a most marvelous change in the
world’s history. He was telling
them that those things God had given them in the past, by the law and the
prophets, were being fulfilled and were passing away.
The law, the temple, the sacrifices, the feast days, circumcision, the
priesthood, the kingship, were all to be taken away.
A completely new world order was to be instituted and made operative,
first in their own midst, then throughout all the earth, and eventually
throughout the universe.
John told the people there was ONE in their midst whom they knew not.
This One was to be the head of the new order, the forerunner and
firstborn of many brethren. He was to be despised and rejected of men, but given the
highest honor and authority in God, and that honor and authority were to be
passed on to those of His brethren
when they were prepared for it. Yet
He was totally and completely unknown to the people.
John the Baptist told the people they were to take a new mind.
The mind they possessed at the time of the coming of Jesus could never,
under any circumstances, conceive of the work God would do at the coming of
Jesus. Their minds were full
of the law Moses had given them, of sacrifices, temples, and a whole system of
earthly, worldly, external things. They would of necessity need another mind to be able to
comprehend the coming of Jesus.
All who were faithful in the present truth of that day, as revealed in
the law and the prophets, were included in the call to repentance.
Why? Because a new day had
come! The order was changing!
God would do a new thing in
their midst and in the earth! And
only with a new mind could they grasp it and enter into it.
A new mind means a new creature, for we are exactly what we are in our
minds! A new mind is a new reality,
a new sense of being. Repentance
produces the NEW MAN FOR THE NEW AGE! Repentance
was the very first word of John the Baptist.
It was the first word of Jesus the Christ.
And the first message of the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost began
with repentance, the taking of a new mind that they might comprehend the
magnitude of the thing God was doing in that day. God would now call His elect people out of every tribe, every
tongue, every people and every nation and would reconcile the whole world unto
Himself through Jesus Christ. The
Jewish mind was too narrow to believe that, so a new mind was needed.
All who are called to sonship and to God’s new purposes in this hour at
the dawn of a new age have experienced, and are experiencing, a mighty work of
repentance. This change of mind may
be, and in some degree must always be, a sudden transformation
of life, but for most of us repentance is a process that goes on for
years, from experience to experience, from realm to realm, from glory to glory,
by which we put away our erroneous beliefs and old order practices and take on
the mind of Christ. All of us are in the process of changing, and God is the
author of that process. If you
think repentance is something you have only experienced in the past, I suggest
you think again. God has thoughts
for you to think that are so powerful and creative.
They will challenge all of your human limitations, doctrinal limitations,
and spiritual limitations. He will
continue to change the way we think until both our minds and bodies are in
alignment with His plan for us in the Spirit.
In this way He is forming us into His image and likeness, bringing us to
our full stature and maturity in Christ, and accomplishing the work that shall
make us the manifested sons of God. Oh,
the wonder of it!
Repentance is the work of God. As
we look back on our lives, it is evident that we have made no major choices of
our own. The Lord made them all for
us. He placed obstacles, blessings,
brethren, books, ministries, dealings, teachings, movings of His Spirit,
manifestations of His power, and experiences in our pathway to give us an
understanding of His will and His ways and His great plan and purposes in the
earth, in His people, and in the universe.
He Himself injected all these things into our pathway.
Every step we took was in response to His intervention and in obedience
to His leadings. Never in a million
years could I have found the way to the Kingdom of God.
Never in a million years could I have searched to find God, to see Him as
He is, to know Him as I know Him. Never
in a million years of effort could I have uncovered the truth of this new day to
which we have come. Just as in the
days of John the Baptist and Jesus, the church systems of today think all things
shall continue on as they have been. They
are not aware that an age has ended and a new day has dawned.
They do not understand that God’s program is changing, the order of the
past two thousand years has waxed old and is ready to pass away.
They cannot see that God’s many-membered Christ has finally come to
maturity and that the time has come for judgment to be given to the saints of
the Most High. It is not in their
thoughts that the true church, the spiritual woman of the heavens, is now
birthing her manchild who shall rule all nations with a rod of iron.
Their teachings know nothing of the manifested sons of God who shall
deliver all creation from the bondage of corruption.
There is ONE in their midst whom they know not.
He is the corporate son of Elohim.
The hour is at hand and the stage is set for the next phase of the
Kingdom of God on earth. Some do
not understand that there are different stages of development of the Kingdom and
various ages of its unfolding from one glory to another.
Israel of the Old Covenant didn’t understand it, either.
Therefore the message sounds forth today as it did across the Judean
desert in that long ago, “Repent! Take
a new mind! for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
As we repent our Father shall lead us into our destiny as the manifested
sons of God and into the glorious future of the Kingdom of God in all the earth.
Our faithful Lord and King shall lead us into the fullness of His Kingdom
and into the greater glory that awaits us.
The third day, the Holiest of all, the feast of Tabernacles, and the
catching up of the manchild are upon us. Only
by a deep, profound, and total repentance shall we be able to enter in.
“Have this mind in you,” says the apostle, “which also was in
Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). To be
a son of the Kingdom is to do just that, to have the spirit of Christ and to
learn to think and act out of the reality of sonship to God.
We are no longer to see ourselves after the childish mentality that calls
us “sinners saved by grace.” No
more are we to be called after the much maligned, generic term, “Christian.”
Beloved, now are we the sons of God. We are now
laying aside our own mentality, conditioned as it is by the spirit of this world
and the foolishness of religion, and accept the instruction of the Christ
within. As we expose our minds to
the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God, our thoughts, understandings and
beliefs undergo a marvelous change. Our
fallacies, misconceptions, errors, ignorance and illusions lose their power over
us and we begin to know the truth that makes us free.
We cannot have power in the Kingdom of God as long as we are in bondage
to any realm of knowledge or false conceptions about God and His purposes in us
and in creation. If we are to rule for God in the earth and in the universe we
MUST KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING AND BE SUBJECTED TO HIS WAYS, PLANS AND PURPOSES.
Much that has seemed to us in the past as just plain common sense is now seen for what it is — the
perverted reasoning of Adam. Our
natural and religious and church way of thinking is being transformed by the
glory of Christ who is now being raised up within us in power as our very life.
We are repenting of everything that has been a carry-over from our
fleshly mind, we are repenting of all the baggage we have tried to bring along
with us into the Kingdom from the church systems and tradition, we are repenting
of all our ignorance and all our self-hood.
We are repenting because our true and full inheritance in the Kingdom of
God is now being offered to us by our elder brother, our forerunner, our Captain
and our Lord who lives in us.
“Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour,
for to give repentance to Israel”
(Acts 5:31). In another place the
term is “the repentance,” meaning to give them the
change. Repentance means
change. You see, it’s not a
matter of what you do, it’s a matter
of what you are. This change is more than a conversion to an idea, a
philosophy, or a religion — it’s a change to LIFE.
It’s a change of identity. “When
they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then
hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance
unto life” (Acts 11:18). God
has granted unto men of all nations the change that brings life.
Why was Jesus raised up to the right hand of God, to the right hand of
power? So He could give change
to Israel! This repentance is the
CHANGE TO LIFE.
It reaches its consummation in a total metamorphosis.
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the
kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Behold, I show you mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we SHALL ALL BE CHANGED”
(I Cor. 15:50-51). What is
the mystery Paul was declaring? That
we shall be CHANGED! We shall not
all sleep, but we shall be changed. “And
be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND” (Rom. 12:2).
The word “transformed” in this passage is the Greek METAMORPHOO from
which we get our English word “metamorphosis.”
The same word is used of Jesus when He was transfigured. This metamorphosis, this change, is brought about by the
renewing of the mind.
My prayer is that all who read these lines will understand what the
renewing of the mind means. It is
not exchanging negative words for positive ones.
It is not the power of positive
thinking. It is not being a possibility thinker. It
is not mental imaging.
Some people have the idea that the only thing a believer must do to renew
his mind is confess only good things as opposed to bad things.
“I don’t feel too good today” — “Oh, don’t say that, that’s a negative
confession,” as if not saying it makes you feel any better.
In the early days of my ministry I instructed people in that way because
that is how I was taught. But often
they got sick and died making their positive confessions.
It was a kind of denial. If
I have cancer and I confess, “I’m not sick...by His stripes I am healed,”
I am still sick until I AM HEALED. It
has been my experience that the most positive thinking people in the world are
in many cases the most carnal and materialistic people.
They mind earthly things.
Mind renewal is not positive thinking.
It is a spiritual process of a changed identity.
It is learning to use the mind of a completely different person than
Adam. It is not making the carnal
mind repeat spiritual phrases. It
is not a matter of positive thoughts over negative thoughts, because both the
positive and the negative thoughts may originate out of the carnal mind.
Only if the Lord Himself has spoken it within yourself is it from the
mind of Christ. It is a matter of
experiencing Christ over and over again until the mind of that Spiritual Man is
imputed and stamped and imparted into our thinking processes.
The 144,000 sons of God in the book of Revelation have the Father’s name
or nature stamped upon their foreheads. Their thought processes have become spiritualized by the
raising up of Christ within them. This
change doesn’t come by trying to think different thoughts, but by experiencing
Spirit — the mind of Christ. The
anointing within teaches your spirit man all things concerning the new creation.
And that, precious friend of mine, is the renewing of the mind.
“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is liberty. But we all, with
open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the
same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Cor.
3:17-18). This change is coming out
of the spirit within us. We are
renewed from within, not from without, by the anointing that abides within us,
to raise Christ up through us. Christ
is coming to be glorified IN His saints. He
is coming from the inside out. He’s
not coming from the sky, He’s coming from among His people the way He came the
first time. He came from heaven
into man and out from man. The Life
was planted in the womb of a peasant girl and was birthed in humanity into the
world. Now He has come again in
mighty Spirit power and been conceived within us, He dwells in our hearts by
faith, He is being formed in us, He is growing up in us, and shall come out from
us AS US — the new creation man, the image of God, the very Christ of God.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). By this scripture we learn the truth that creation is just two things: Heaven and Earth. Everything God created is contained within the heavens and the earth — there is nothing of creation outside of these. And now — “If any man be in Christ he is a NEW CREATION” (II Cor. 5:17). A new creation! The new creation is “the new heavens and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” (II Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1), for that is what creation is, heavens and earth. The new heavens and the new earth of the new creation are the mind of Christ made substance within us. Christ doesn’t come from some far-off heaven and descend down to earth; He comes out of the new heavens and the new earth which we are to bring forth the revelation of Himself. Only those who have truly repented, who have taken a new mind, can understand the reality and power and glory of these things. Repent! Take a new mind! For the rule of God out of the mind of Christ within the sons of God is at hand!
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