the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
KINGDOM OF GOD
PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM
The Kingdom of God is the divine dominion of Christ’s sovereignty.
Accordingly, the Kingdom of God has its commandments.
But these commandments are not imposed laws nor enactments of ordinances;
these commandments are the enunciation of principles.
The principles of the Kingdom of God are scattered throughout the New
Testament. But there is one
discourse of them so profound, comprehensive, explicit and divinely imperial,
that it may be called the Manifesto or the Constitution
of the Kingdom. It is the Sermon on
the Mount. In the days when our
blessed Lord, the King of the Kingdom, clothed in humanity, walked as a man
among us, He established a school of learning in order that His many brethren
might be instructed in the way of the Kingdom of God and fulfill their roles as
ambassadors of that Kingdom and rulers in that Kingdom.
We shall now give heed to the curriculum that He set, and which He
carried through in His own ministry; and which He caused to be recorded for all
future generations of the sons of God.
The principles of the Kingdom are not the way to enter the Kingdom, but reveal to us the lifestyle of the Kingdom. Our
King is not asking us to live any differently than the way He lives Himself.
The more we yield ourselves to the Spirit to live the Kingdom lifestyle,
the more Christ-like we become. The
Sermon on the Mount is not a teaching for those who expect the end of the world
someday, and a Kingdom to follow, but for those who have
experienced the end of the world within themselves and the coming of the
Kingdom of God here and now. The
basic outline of the principles of the Kingdom is as follows:
1. The Principle of Kingdom
Attitudes (Mat. 5:1-2).
2. The Principle of Rewards
3. The Principle of Outward
Righteousness (Mat. 5:17-26).
4. The Principle of Inward
Purity (Mat. 5:27-32).
5. The Principle of
Integrity (Mat. 5:33-37).
6. The Principle of
Non-Resistance (Mat. 5:38-42.
7. The Principle of Divine
Love (Mat. 5:43-48).
8. The Principle of
Almsgiving (Mat. 6:1-4).
9. The Principle of Prayer
10. The Principle of Fasting
11. The Principle of Kingdom
Priorities (Mat. 6:19-23).
12. The Principle of Faith
13. The Principle of Mercy
and Judgment (Mat. 7:1-6).
14. The Principle of
Persistence (Mat. 7:7-11).
15. The Principle of
Discernment (Mat. 7:15-23).
16. The Principle of Hearing
and Doing the Father’s Will
To walk in the Kingdom of God we must have an eye that is single to His glory.
We cannot lead a double life. “A
double minded man is unstable in all
his ways,” wrote the apostle James. The
word “minded” in this passage is the Greek word PSUCHE which is often
rendered “soul.” “A double-souled
man is unstable in all his ways,” it might just as well be translated.
Is it possible to have two souls? There
is no doubt about it! The soul is
composed of four primary functions: mind, will, emotion and desire.
These are the four parts of the soul.
The natural man consciously has only one soul. But the regenerated man consciously has two souls.
This is a great mystery, but let us see how this is.
The natural man knows only one mind
mind of the flesh, the carnal mind, his own human mind.
The natural man knows only one will
will of the flesh. The natural man
experiences only one set of emotions —
the emotions of the flesh. And
the natural man has only one desire —
the desire of the flesh.
Paul makes this very plain. “Wherein
in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the
prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of
disobedience: among whom also we all had our lifestyle in times past in the
lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and
were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:2-3).
Again, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;
fornication, uncleanness, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and covetousness,
which is idolatry: for which things the wrath of God cometh upon the children of
disobedience: in the which ye also once walked, when ye lived in them” (Col.
3:5-7). Paul doesn’t tell us that
all these things have passed away, that they no longer exist in us, that they
are dead or were crucified two thousand years ago on the cross.
The command is, “Mortify —
put to death, execute, slay, assassinate, liquidate,
do away with, wipe out, put an end to, waste, finish off — the evil
desire, the animal impulse, the earthly disposition lurking in your members!”
May I here point out that within the Lord Jesus Himself, in the days of
His flesh, dwelt two souls. We know
that within Him were two wills, for on
that dreadful night in the agony of Gethsemane, He said it Himself.
“And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed,
saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless,
not as I will, but as Thou
wilt” (Mat. 26:39). Have we
ever considered that GOD has a soul? Many scripture passages speak of the soul of God, as we find
in Isaiah 42:1, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my
soul delighteth.” Delight is
an emotion, and emotion is a function of the soul.
It should not be difficult to understand that God, though He is
spirit, has a soul.
Does God have a mind? Mind is soul.
Does God have a will? Will is soul.
Does God have emotions? Emotion is
soul. Does God have desires? Desire is soul. God
thinks, plans, and purposes. God
determines and predestinates. God
feels, laughs, is vexed, angry; God hates, loves, is pleased, displeased,
satisfied, dissatisfied. Ah, yes!
God has a soul.
When a man is born of the Spirit he inherits from his heavenly Father the
soul of the Spirit.
The soul of the Spirit is simply the mind of the Spirit, the will of the
Spirit, the emotions of the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit.
With the mind of the Spirit we think the thoughts of God, thoughts of
peace, thoughts of righteousness, thoughts of wisdom, knowledge and
understanding. The mind of the
Spirit is the vehicle of revelation. By the will of the
Spirit we are motivated to act as sons of God, to fulfill all of Father’s
purpose in us. The emotions of the Spirit are love,
joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and
temperance. By the desires
of the Spirit we are drawn to spiritual and heavenly realities and seek the
Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
I doubt that any child of God would deny that there is also within him another
soul — the
soul of the flesh. The soul of the
flesh is simply our own natural mind,
our own human will, our fleshly
emotions and carnal desires.
If we say we have not this soul of the flesh we deceive ourselves and the
truth is not in us. E. Stanley Jones has given the following
illustrations. The Chinese have a character for “peace” which depicts a
house roof and one woman under it. The
character for “strife” or “contention” is the same house roof with two
women under it! A mother said to
her little girl as she was all flustered and flurried with indecision: “Now,
hurry up, Mary, and make up your mind.” To
which the little girl replied with a sigh, “It’s easy for you to make up
your mind, mother, for you’ve got only one mind to make up, but I’ve got
lots of minds to make up!” There
is age long wisdom gathered up in those stories.
Where there is unity of purpose and action there is peace and power, but
where there is inner division in loyalty and purpose there is strife and
contention and consequent weakness and breakdown.
The double-souled man that is unstable in all of his ways is the man who
constantly vacillates back and forth between God’s will and his own, between
the emotions of the Spirit and those of his flesh.
Back and forth, back and forth, seeking God’s will today and his own
tomorrow. He can never make up his
mind, can never maintain constancy in his experience, is like a wave driven by
the wind, and never becomes established in the will and ways and life of the
Spirit. That is the two-souled man.
The spiritual man, in all things, says
with the firstborn Son of God, “Not my
will, but Thine be done!”
The spiritual man denies — not the movie house, not the liquor store, not the dance
hall — he denies HIMSELF! His
own flesh-soul is brought under subjection to the spirit-soul.
Our heavenly Father never functions out of any soul except that of the
Spirit, for He is Spirit.
God’s soul is a spirit soul. Man’s soul is a flesh
soul. Therefore there is
omniscient wisdom beneath His determination to subdue
our soul unto His.
The following quotation from George Hawtin will plainly illustrate what
our true position should be. “There
is coming a day when the sons of God
will subdue all things and bring everything
into subjection unto the Father. Christ
must reign until all enemies
are under His feet (I Cor. 15:24-25). Let
us therefore face this solemn fact that all who reign with Him must first of all be subject to Him and be ruled by Him. Those who will be used of God to subdue all things must first
of all be subdued. Those who
are to subdue the enemies of Christ must first
of all have all the enemies of Christ subdued within themselves.
Never let this truth depart from
you either day or night, for, if God should give men power to subdue
who have not themselves been subdued,
they would not be one whit superior to all those tyrannical dictators of the
past, who in their lust for power trod their enemies under their bloody feet,
rejoicing only in their bombastic and
dictatorial spirit and the groveling servitude of the people.
“Before God can launch us into the breadth and sweetness of His service
and entrust us with great things for Himself, we must be perfectly subdued in
every part of our nature to His will and the disposition of His mind.
We must be subdued in our hearts, in our minds, in our words, in our
tempers, in our manners: subdued through and through so thoroughly that we will
be flexible to all His purposes and plans.
We must be subdued that harshness, severity, criticism, sluggishness,
laziness, impetuosity, and all wanting our
way, even in spiritual things, must be subdued out of us.
Conversion will not finish this work and perhaps not in one case out of a
thousand will a second work of grace produce this complete condition of
teachable subjugation to God’s will. Being
able to preach strong sermons on sanctification will not do it, or having charge
of camp meetings, or conventions, or Bible schools, or the writing of books and
editing of papers on Christian holiness will not prove adequate for this.
“We must be subdued, not
merely in our opinion, not merely think ourselves subdued, not only in the
esteem of our friends and fellow-workers, but subdued
so perfectly that the all-seeing eye of God can look us through and the
omniscient One knows that we are subdued. God
must conquer the man that He can trust with His great thoughts and plans” — end quote.
It is here that we meet the powerful principles of the Kingdom of God in
the Sermon on the Mount. No more
penetrating words were ever spoken concerning the spiritual life than the
statement of Jesus that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
And that is a discerning portrait of
religion and religionists. Jesus
saw that men were trying to live in contradictory directions, upon contradictory
principles, with divided loyalties. So He pronounced a doom upon all this living by the simple
statement, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
The man who is double-souled is trying to do an impossible thing,
something that is against the nature of things and therefore impossible.
The double-souled man is unstable in all his ways and his life and works
can only end in collapse.
When Jesus uttered those words about the house divided against itself, He
was speaking to Pharisees. They
themselves were what He meant by the futility of living a life in two different
directions. They were not
consciously bad men — just hypocritically divided
men. They were trying to please
God while they pleased themselves.
They were trying to fulfill the law of God by being self-righteous.
They drew around themselves a set of religious scruples which fit into
their outward form of what religion was, and rejected things that were closer to
the heart of God. ‘Ye tithe mint and anise and cumin and pass over justice
and the love of God.” These men
were so zealous for the law that even if in their patio or on the roof top they
raised a very small patch of spices for their personal use in cooking, they tithed it! They
were legalists to the penny. But
mercy, goodness, helping the needy, forgiveness, love, and compassion would mean
they would have to share and consider the feelings and circumstances of others,
and that they felt no responsibility to do.
On the side of the law they served God, but on the side of mercy,
forgiving, loving, lifting and blessing creation they served themselves.
They were divided in their religion, majoring in minors, and minoring in
majors. They were double-souled,
and their religious house doomed to
When Jesus enumerated the principles of the Kingdom of God He set forth
in the sweetest of terms the power and glory of an undivided
life. That is the power and
glory of the life of sonship!
The expression and actions of the life of sonship reveal the heart and
nature of the Father and our own reality as His sons.
After teaching about loving our enemies and doing good to those who
despitefully use us and many other noble qualities of the spirit He ended with,
“Be ye therefore PERFECT, even as your Father which is in heaven IS PERFECT”
(Mat. 5:48). To be “perfect” means in the Greek to be “complete” —
The reason many Christians do not live as sons of God is because of one
thing and one only: inward division. Someone
has pointed out how Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, struck out at this inward
division in the following phrases:
1. Don’t try to give your
alms with the divided motive of pleasing God and getting credit from men (Mat.
2. Don’t pray to God and
at the same time try to impress men with your sanctity (Mat. 6:5).
3. Don’t fast before God
and at the same time try to build up a reputation for self-abnegation and
spirituality (Mat. 6:16).
4. Don’t try to make the
best of both worlds by attempting
to lay up treasure in two directions (Mat. 6:19).
5. Don’t try to be divided
in your loyalty by attempting to serve two masters — God and mammon
6. Don’t be anxious in two
directions — today
and tomorrow — concentrate on today (Mat. 6:34).
7. Don’t try to judge in
two directions — yourself and others — concentrate on yourself (Mat. 7:1-5).
8. Don’t try to bring
forth good fruit out of an evil heart (Mat. 7:15-18).
9. Don’t try to give lip
service saying, “Lord, Lord,” without doing
the will of God (Mat. 7:21).
If you try to live with a dual motive, Jesus says, then there will be one
sure result — you will be like a man building his house on sand, and when the pressures
of life come, when the winds blow and the floods come, there will be a great
crash! In these examples Jesus was
not preaching what men call “morality.”
He was expounding how life in the
Kingdom of Heaven works, how the life of sonship functions.
If you try to live a divided life of flesh and
spirit you are living against yourself and against the Kingdom, and that won’t
work. You can live that way and
appear religious, you can live that way and prosper in many churches, you can
live that way and the church systems will promote you to the office of Sunday
School Superintendent, Member of the Board, Head of a Committee, Deacon or
Pastor; you can live that way and become famous and perhaps have your own
Christian Television Show — but you cannot live like that as a son of God. Every son
of God is one-souled, living only by the
When I speak of Kingdom laws I do not mean external rules and
regulations. True, Jesus enunciates
these principles of the Kingdom as an instruction, as a teaching, but He does
not demand legalistic obedience in the
way Old Testament laws were obeyed. That
is merely external righteousness. And
that is why Jesus didn’t say, as Moses said, “Thou
shalt and thou shalt not.”
He said, rather, “Blessed are they
that...” Someone may say, “I find it almost impossible to love that
person, but I am going to love them
because Jesus says I must.” That
is not the Kingdom! That is not
sonship! That is just plain law, and the person who attempts it is still divided within himself
and his attempt will fail.
You cannot love people by any human
effort. The principles of the Kingdom can only be lived out by a new
nature, not outward conformity. If
you have to bite your tongue and count to ten, you are still divided and living
under law. And I am not preaching condemnation to you, precious friend
of mine; I am merely
pointing out how the life of sonship is.
The law of the Kingdom is the law
of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
Jesus is not instructing us as to what commandments we are to obey, but
about what nature we must receive. “If
ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is
born of Him. Whosoever is born of
God does not practice sin; for God’s seed abideth in him: and he cannot
practice sin because he is born of God. In
this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil...” (I
Jn. 2:29; 3:9-10). Nature is
inherited. Moses was the giver of laws; Christ is the giver of life!
Those who fulfill the law of the Kingdom are not servants, slavishly
obeying, but sons, born of His life, possessed of His heart.
The righteousness of the Kingdom can be lived only by the man who has
experienced the powers of the Kingdom of Heaven within himself.
You cannot have the apples without the apple tree.
You cannot grow the tulips of the Kingdom of God
unless you get the bulbs from heaven.
The demands of the outward law proved how utterly impotent man was; now the demands of the inward law prove
HOW INFINITELY ABLE GOD IS! Today
the demands of the Kingdom serve to demonstrate the infinite ability of God in
His sons by the Spirit. He has
Himself become our life that He may meet all the demands His Kingdom makes upon
us. God’s life has been given us,
not merely for our eternal enjoyment and benefit, but for the sake of His
Kingdom. As He sits upon the throne
of our lives and asserts His authority in us His Kingdom is raised up in us and
functions through us. This is the
power and glory of the Kingdom of God!
POOR IN SPIRIT
We come now to the first principle of the Kingdom of God. “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom
of heaven” (Mat. 5:3). It seems
strange to say that the poor in spirit inherit the Kingdom of Heaven; rather it
would seem that the rich in spirit should inherit the Kingdom! There is a great depth here that can only be plumbed by the
wisdom of God. The things of the
spirit are always contrary to the logic of the carnal mind. Only when we are willing to reject our minds and our wisdom
does God draw nigh to us and give us light, true light. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit
of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because
they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14).
To be poor in spirit does not mean to be lacking in spirit, but indicates
an attitude of heart. The Greek
word used for poor is PTOCHOS. It
is one of two words for “poor” in the Greek language.
While the other word, PENES, is used to describe one who has fewer
possessions, and has to work hard for a living, the word PTOCHOS describes the
man who has absolutely nothing at all. It
means a pauper or a beggar. It has
connections with the root word PROSSEIN which means to couch or cower. It describes the poverty of one who has been beaten to his
knees. To be “poor in spirit”
is to become like Jesus, who “made Himself of no
reputation” (Phil. 2:7). For,
“though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor (ptochos), that ye through His poverty might be rich” (II Cor. 8:9). Deeper yet, this term “poor in spirit” in the original
speaks of bankruptcy. I like to translate our Lord’s words this way, “Blessed
are the bankrupt — they
who have come to the end of themselves — for theirs is the
Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are
those who have nothing within themselves, for theirs is the Kingdom of
Heaven.” God is looking for a
people that will be emptied out, that out of their weakness they may find His
strength. That is a principle of
the Kingdom — it
is how the Kingdom of Heaven works!
Ah, we cannot come to be taught of God feeling within ourselves that we
are understanding, we are power, we are creators, we are
kings and rulers, or that we have
anything that commends itself to God. We
must be poor in spirit, poor
in attitude — unclothed
of self. The word “spirit” is
used many times to describe an attitude of heart or a state of mind.
If we say of someone, “He has a good spirit,” we don’t mean that he
has an holy angel or a well-mannered ghost living inside of him.
We mean that he has a good attitude, disposition, temperament,
personality, demeanor, and expression. The
beatitudes are just that — attitudes of
being. They are the BE-ATTITUDES,
the very attitudes the sons of God must become.
Jesus said in effect, “The attitude of a poor person is the same
attitude that will help you to inherit the Kingdom of God.”
But He does not mean by this that we are to be spiritually destitute! We
must realize that we are the “branch” dependent upon the Root and the Vine
just as the firstborn Son testified of Himself, “Verily, verily, I say unto
you, the Son can do nothing of himself,
but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also
doeth the Son likewise. I can of
mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I
judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent
me” (Jn. 5:19,30). It follows
then that the poor in spirit are actually the rich in spirit!
Poor in spirit means “renounced in spirit.”
Yielding up everything of self — selfishness,
self-assertiveness, self-interest — that we may gain
Christ. Right on the threshold of
the Kingdom of God we encounter an act of renunciation from the deepest depths
of our being. One Greek scholar has
said that poor in spirit comes closer in the Greek to mean “teachable in
spirit.” Ah, what a word that is!
To be happy and blessed in the Kingdom we must be renounced
in spirit, teachable in spirit, pliable
in spirit, and receptive in spirit.
Receptive to all that God is, to all that God does,
to all the strange and wonderful ways that He leads, and to all that He
speaks by His Spirit. We must be pliable in the Father’s hands at all times and in all situations.
We must have an ear to hear. We
must know and think and be nothing of ourselves.
We don’t bring anything to the Kingdom — but the Kingdom is ours!
All the resources of the Kingdom are at the disposal of the poor in
spirit. The Kingdom of God is
within us, and it also reaches to the lowest hell and beyond the farthest star.
All the powers of the Kingdom are centered in those who are the sons of
The saintly George MacDonald has beautifully expressed the truth in these inspiring words: “The poor, the beggars
in spirit, the humble men of heart, the unambitious, the unselfish; those who
never despise men, and never seek their praises; the lowly, who see nothing to
admire in themselves, therefore cannot seek to be admired of others; the men who
give themselves away — these are the freemen of the
Kingdom, these are the citizens of the New Jerusalem.
The men who are aware of their own essential poverty; not
the men who are poor in friends, poor in influence, poor in acquirements, poor
in money, but those who are poor in spirit, who feel
themselves poor creatures; who know nothing to be pleased with themselves
for, and desire nothing to make them feel well of themselves; who know that they
need much to make their life worth living; these humble ones are the poor whom
the Lord calls blessed. The gate of
the Kingdom begins to open to such a man.
“Whatever such a man has attained to, he straightway forgets; it is
part of him and behind him. His
business is with what he has not, with the things that lie above and before him.
The man who is proud of anything he thinks he has reached, has not
reached it. He is but proud of
himself, and imagining a cause for his pride.
If he had reached, he would already have begun to forget.
He who delights in contemplating whereunto he has attained, is not merely
sliding back; he is already in the dirt of self-satisfaction.
The gate of the Kingdom is closed, and he is outside.
The man who does not house self has room to be his real self — God’s eternal idea of him. He lives eternally; in virtue of the creative power in him,
How should there be in him one thought of ruling or commanding or
surpassing! He can imagine no
bliss, no good in being greater than someone else.
He would lift every man to the embrace of the Father.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they are of the same spirit as God,
and of nature the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs”
— end quote.
The following quotation by Paul Grubb further illuminates this wonderful
Kingdom principle of poor in spirit.
“When Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ in essence He
was saying, Blessed are they, who in spirit reckon that they possess nothing.
Blessed are those who in their spirit are conscious of the fact that they
do not possess one thing. It all
belongs to the Father. If the
automobile has their name on the title, it does not belong to them.
If the house has their name on the deed, it does not belong to them.
If the million dollars in the bank is deposited in their name, it does
not belong to them. It belongs to
the Father. If humility is
demonstrated through their lives, it does not belong to them.
It belongs to the Father. If
righteousness is manifested in them, it does not belong to them. It belongs to the Father.
If goodness is exerting its influence through their lives, it does not
belong to them. It belongs to the
Father. If power flows through them
to the needs about them, it does not belong to them. It belongs to the Father.
Anything valuable that they possess either spiritually or materially is
not their own. They are conscious
that a man does not really possess any righteousness. Any he thinks he possesses is self-righteousness.
He does not possess any humility or goodness.
He does not possess any power, for ‘all power is of God.’
“Until we come to know we are poor in spirit, we are not in the
Kingdom. Anyone who thinks he has
righteousness is far from the Kingdom. He
who thinks he has humility, goodness or power is far from the Kingdom.
Jesus never boasted of humility, goodness, righteousness or power.
But you never saw Him with anything less!
Jesus declared that even the words which He spoke and the deeds that He
did were not of Himself. The very
words that He spoke belonged to the Father; they were the Father’s words.
The works that He did were not His own works, they were the works of the
Father. What He heard from His
Father He spoke, and what He saw of His Father He did.
As sons of God we must be brought to the place where we know the words
are not ours, the works are not ours, the results are not ours, the humility is
not ours, the gifts are not ours, the calling is not ours, the ministry is not
ours, the automobile is not ours,
the house is not ours, the family is not ours, the children are not ours, the
parents are not ours. Everything belongs to Him.
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of
Heaven’” — end
Brother Bob Torango adds this testimony from a recent article: “Don’t
be anxious! Look not on the outward
evidence of the vessel. You are
only a container, a bottle in which the Lord of glory abides.
The container is only as holy as what it contains.
It is not the container that this Day depends upon, but what is contained
within it. This Kingdom has nothing
to do with you, with your righteousness, with your power, with your ability,
with your holiness; but it is totally reliant and dependent upon the Righteous,
Holy One who embodies us. It is not
up to us to perform these things, it is His plan, His ministry, His salvation,
His conciliation; it is Him and only Him that this Day is about.
You are His vehicle through which He will express Himself, but the
ultimate work of change, the melting of the elements, the burning of the heavens
and earth, the passing away of the old and the rising up of the new, all
of this cannot and will not be done by mortal man — but we do contain the Lord of lords, and the Logos of His
will is in us to will and to do of His good pleasure! Our only challenge is to expect, believe, yield, disappear,
get out of the way, lose our self, avail our self, and ultimately just to hang
on when the ride begins!”
Jesus gave the second principle of the Kingdom in these words: “Blessed
are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Mat. 5:4). Let all who read these lines understand — Jesus
is not merely putting a premium on mourning.
He is saying that the man who can mourn and is able to know sorrow is to
be thought of as a blessed man because he shall find comfort in his sympathy for
Nowhere is this principle seen with greater clarity than in God’s Royal
Priesthood company being selected and trained in God’s school of sonship
dominion to restore all creation back to God.
Of these King-Priests it is written, “Thou...hast redeemed us to God by
Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made
us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign
on the earth” (Rev. 5:9-10). This
passage is one of rare beauty. It
is like a precious diamond, the effulgence of whose radiance dazzles the mind. It must be engraved deeply upon the heart of every son of
God. There is so much depth to that
text that I am afraid we often do not perceive it. It is like a beautiful star-studded sky on a bright clear
night and one cannot even begin to grasp the vast depth that lies above us.
So it is with these marvelous words: “Thou hast made
us TO BE KINGS AND PRIESTS!” Can
you say that? As we plumb its
depths a little more I hope that you will ask yourself the question more
carefully, “Am I being made a priest unto God? Is the
process of transformation into the kingly
and priestly nature practically taking
place in my life?”
The wonderful book of Hebrews is literally packed full of mysteries,
types, shadows, and allegories, all pointing to the ministry of the sons
of God who are God’s Royal
Priesthood. These are only
unfolded by the Holy Spirit as we are able to bear it.
Hebrews chapter five sets forth the qualifications that the typical High
Priest under the law, and therefore Christ Jesus, the anti-typical High Priest
of the new order of the Kingdom, must possess.
All the members of the Royal Priesthood, the Kings and Priests of the
Kingdom who are, with Him, “partakers of the heavenly calling,” must also
have the same qualifications, for they are the body of the High Priest.
“For every High Priest taken from among men is ordained for men in
things pertaining to God, that He may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: who
can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way,
for that he himself is compassed with infirmity” (Heb. 5:1-2).
Here we have defined the intrinsic nature of the priestly office.
First, he must be “taken from among men,” that is, he must partake of
both the nature and the circumstances of those on whose behalf he acts. Second, he acts not as a private individual, but as a public
official: “is ordained for men.” Third,
he came not empty-handed before God, but furnished with “gifts and sacrifices
for sins.” Then, he himself must
not be exempt from infirmity, so that he might the more readily succor the
distressed and distraught.
All this is important for it points to Jesus’ qualifications to be our
great High Priest. A High Priest
must know and experientially understand the problems and limitations of those he
represents. “Who can have
compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.”
On three different occasions Matthew tells us that our Lord was “moved
with compassion” on the multitudes. Frankly,
when you read the Gospels you read of Jesus doing miracles, healings, signs and
wonders; but Jesus never went around looking for a miracle to perform.
HE WENT ABOUT DOING THE FATHER’S WILL.
The Father brought Him to a place where His heart could be moved with
compassion. It was not a gift of
compassion that came to Him by the Holy Spirit; it was the
compassion wrought out in His life by His many sorrows, sufferings, and
testings. He had suffered loss, He
had suffered pain, He had suffered reproach.
Coming to a town He sees a funeral procession and as a Son, having
suffered the loss of Joseph and friends and family members, and shared in the
sorrow of His mother at the loss, thereby developing the nature of a Priest, He
is filled with compassion when He sees the widow and her dead son.
There was no Social Security in those days, and the boy was the only
person to look after the widow, so He stops the procession, raises the boy,
hands him over to the mother, and goes about the Father’s business.
I find that the basis of the sonship ministry of Jesus was not
power — IT
When He saw the multitude He was moved with compassion. They were hungry, and He had known gnawing hunger, so He
said, “Let us feed them.” When
He met the leper He was moved with compassion, for He had experienced pain and
shame, and He laid His hands upon him and healed him.
He could have spoken a word to heal him, but that man needed the touch of
somebody’s hand on him, he had been separated from people so long, he needed
more than to be healed from his leprosy, he needed the sense of the hand of God
upon him. When Jesus looked upon
the careworn faces of the toiling, tax-ridden multitudes — taxed
by cruel priests; taxed by Herod; taxed by Pilate; taxed by their own sins and
sorrows; wearily burdened, wounded at heart, and heavy laden — He
was not looking for a chance to show off His power — He
was moved with compassion.
“Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of
the way; FOR THAT HE HIMSELF ALSO IS COMPASSED ABOUT WITH INFIRMITY.” The condition which develops compassion in us, is that we
ourselves get compassed — surrounded,
hedged in — by the problems, the difficulties, the needs that are
going to be represented in the people to whom we minister.
So many of us are intolerant in certain areas of our lives because we
have not gone through the pressure, we have not been compassed by that
particular infirmity, weakness, sorrow or need.
Priesthood demands suffering, trial, testing, tribulation,
and pressure. Sonship
demands relationship with God. He
sends the Spirit of the Son into our hearts and we cry, “Abba, Father!”
Now God intends that all of us who have been called should be sons of
God, and that all of us should be a Kingdom of Priests, a Royal Priesthood unto
God. But you may be a son and still not be a priest!
John the Revelator said, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them,
and judgment was given unto them...they shall be priests
of God and of Christ, and shall reign
with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4-6).
Here you see that it is not the sons who are reigning — it
is the PRIESTS! What about the
sons? “He that overcometh shall inherit
all things; and I will be his God, and he
shall be my son” (Rev. 21:7). The
sons inherit, for they are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). Who, then, is destined to reign?
THE SONS WHO ARE PRIESTS!
Christ was a Son before He was a Priest.
He was not a Priest during His years in the flesh, although He was
qualifying to be one, but He was a Son. Christ
in His ministry from the heavens today is not merely the Son of God.
As a Son He is “heir of all things;” but to become the great High
Priest and provide the priestly ministry on our behalf the Son had, as a Son, to
go through the experience that was necessary to perfect Him for the
understanding heart of the Priesthood. “We
have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our
infirmities; BUT WAS IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE, yet without sin”
(Heb. 4:15). “Though He were a
Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became...AN
HIGH PRIEST AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK” (Heb. 5:8-10).
“Every High Priest...must be compassed with infirmity.”
Ah, Jesus could have been a son
without being so totally compassed with infirmity, BUT HE COULD NEVER HAVE BEEN
A PRIEST WITHOUT IT. He might have
been perfect in character, noble in motive, and desirous to help us; but, if He
had never tasted death, how could He allay our fears as we tread the verge of
Jordan? If He had never been
tempted, how could He succor those who are tempted?
If He had never known pain, how could He have compassion on the sick and
sorrowing multitudes then and now? If
He had never wept, how could He dry our tears?
If He had never suffered, hungered, wearied on the hill of difficulty, or
threaded His way through the quagmires of grief, how could He be a merciful and
faithful High Priest, having compassion on the ignorant and wayward?
But, thank God! Our High Priest is a perfect one! He is perfectly adapted to His task. If we would sit with Him upon that blessed throne of mercy we must not shrink from the problems and troubles
and perplexities of this life, for this is the stuff Priests are made of!
There have been those precious folk who have said to me, “Brother Eby,
I don’t understand. Since I came
into this Kingdom message things have gotten worse — all hell has
broken loose.” That is just what
you need — IF YOU WOULD BE A PRIEST! Have
you not known some beautiful saints to whom you naturally betake yourself in
time of trial and sorrow? They
always seem to speak the right word, to give the very counsel you are longing
for; you do not realize, however, the cost they had to pay ere they became so
skillful in binding up gaping wounds and drying tears.
But if you were to investigate their past you would find that they have
suffered more than most. They have
watched the slow untwisting of some silver cord on which the lamp of life hung.
They have seen the golden bowl of joy dashed at their feet, and its
contents spilt. They have stood by ebbing tides, and drooping flowers, and
darkened skies; but all this has been necessary to make them comforters and
healers, the priests of men.
The only persons on earth who really understand our sorrow are the
persons who have traveled the same valley
of despair. Only those who have
been bereaved know what bereavement really is.
They alone can shed the sympathizing tear and intercede in power with
God, for they alone truly understand. Others
may kindly and with feeling offer their condolence, but they can do little more
than that, for they have not experienced the pain and loneliness of our loss.
The reason our blessed Lord is touched
with the feeling of our infirmities is that He knoweth
our frame. He remembereth that
we are dust. He knows this not by
revelation or by divine omniscience, but He Himself was a “man of
sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
He knew what it was to be despised, afflicted, and rejected of men.
He knows what it is to be misunderstood, to be dragged from prison and judgment with no man to declare His generation.
He knows what it is to be tested in all points as we are tested, and the
sympathizing tears flow from His eyes as He extends His nail-pierced hand to
lift us from the shades of our gloomy night to the ineffable light of the plain
on which He dwells.
If you are going to be a manifested son you must first get bound because
God wants His sons to be Priests, kingly Priests who show forth both authority and
redemption. You must not only have
the authority of Kingship, but also the compassion of Priesthood. Let me say now, I DO NOT RECOMMEND PRIESTHOOD — I
RECOMMEND SONSHIP! When you are a
son you have an inheritance, great wealth, blessings from the Father’s hands,
and freedom. As a son you have
power to do things, but the moment you become a Priest, they put you in chains:
compassed, surrounded, hedged in, pressed on every side by infirmity.
Infirmity is weakness. I
pray that as God deals with His sons in these days that we will not despise our
limitations, our infirmities, and our sufferings, but look
unto Jesus who has pioneered the way of Royal Priesthood before us.
Christ was tempted as a Son, but after that there came a temptation in
testings that had nothing to do with Him, but were preparing Him for the
perfection of the Priesthood. As
sons of God, with full inheritance, we should be blessed beyond measure, we
should have no problems, by rights we should be in perfect health, have good
jobs, money in the bank, and everything coming to us.
And we can demand our rights!
Vast numbers of Christians today choose to walk only in their Kingdom
privileges of blessing, health and prosperity.
And they do not know it, but they SHALL NOT REIGN WITH CHRIST.
It is the priests that reign! “And they
shall be priests of God...and they shall reign.”
To the Priests God says, “No, I am going to limit you here, put you
through pressure there, subject you to suffering, hedge you in and compass you
about with infirmity, not because you have no rights, but that it will work a
compassion, an understanding, a mercy, a grace, work something in you so that
out of you will flow a river of love, forgiveness, tenderness, redemption —
and then a flow of power, enabling and ability.
Now can we understand the depth of the principle of the Kingdom that
teaches, “Blessed are they that mourn:
for they shall be comforted” — and
they shall be comforters!
There is, however, a further
dimension to the mourning of the sons of God!
In the true and eloquent words of another, “When Jesus says, Blessed
are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted, He is not talking about
someone who is hired to mourn. Of
course, in Jesus’ day, the Eastern custom at funerals was to have just such as
that. With cruel, yet merciful swiftness, the hour arrives for interment.
The lamentation, that was passionate before, became tumultuously defiant.
Relatives lost all self control, and refusing to let the pall- bearers
discharge their sad office, had to be forcibly removed.
A procession was then formed and on the way to the cemetery the wailing
was increased by those who joined in to show their respect to the family.
After the family and neighbors became weary with wailing, they hired
professionals to continue it. This
highly hysterical type of mourning continued for days!
“The foregoing is just a description of the Oriental custom for
mourning. That certainly was not
what Jesus had reference to in the beatitude.
As we look to another scripture or two, we will be able to determine what
Jesus had in mind when He said, Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be
comforted. John 16:4-6, ‘But I
have said these things to you that when the hour comes you may remember that I
told you of them. I did not say
these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to Him who sent me. Yet none of you ask me, Where are you going?
But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your
hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the
truth, it is to your advantage that I go away.
For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go, I
will send Him to you.” And then
in verse 20, “Truly, truly I say to you, you will weep and lament (mourn), but
the world will rejoice. You will be
sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.”
And then in verse 22, “So you will have sorrow now, but I will see you
again and your hearts will rejoice and no one will take your joy from you.”
“The mourning Jesus is referring to is a mourning over the absence of
the presence of God, or of Christ. That
is the godly mourning that Jesus had in mind.
And that is the mourning that is representative of the sons of God.
The only time that Jesus mourned was when He mourned for the absence of
the presence of God. Twice we find Him weeping.
He wept at Lazarus’ tomb. It
was because of the absence of the presence of God.
“When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who came with her also
weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; and He said, Where have you
laid Him? They said to Him, Lord,
come and see. Jesus wept. So the Jews
said, See how He loved him! But
some of them said, Could not He that opened the eyes of the blind have kept this
man from dying? Then Jesus deeply
moved came again to the tomb” (Jn. 11:33-38).
“His deep mourning here is for the absence of God.
Lazarus had died. In the
first place, that signifies the absence of God.
Life is of God and God is life. Death
is the absence of the presence of God. Where God is, there is life.
Death is the opposite to it. The
mourning here is because there is death and not life. Jesus was not mourning
because He thought that Lazarus would not come back to life.
He knew exactly what He was going to do.
In part, Jesus was mourning because there was the presence of death and
the absence of the presence of God. But
the absence of faith in God grieved Him also.
The unbelief was expressed by the mourning scene and the expression of
the sisters. The unbelief was undoubtedly the influence of their past
teaching. Although the doubt was
the expression of the emotional disturbance and grief in the hearts of these
women, it displayed the absence of God’s assurance and faith.
God’s presence is faith. God’s
presence is life. The mourning of
Jesus was for the absence of God in this situation.
He mourned because they did not believe.
Satan had beclouded their minds to cause them to believe a lie rather
than the truth. After all that He
had said to them, they still could not believe. Although Martha said, ‘I know that my brother shall rise in
the resurrection at the last day,’ they still did not believe.
Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.
If a man believes, though he were dead, yet shall he live;
and if you live and believe, you shall never die.’
Jesus did not see that kind of faith there! So He mourned because of the absence of the presence of God.
“On one other occasion Jesus mourned — when He beheld Jerusalem and
contemplated her rejection of the King and her rejection of God’s Kingdom.
He witnessed her rebellion against God and against His Kingdom program.
The whole nation of Israel was represented by Jerusalem.
When He used the word Jerusalem, He was not just speaking of a city that
is made up of buildings and streets. He
was speaking of the Jewish nation. ‘Oh
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets, stoning those who are sent to you.
How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers
her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold,
your house is forsaken and desolate. For
I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, Blessed is He who comes in
the name of the Lord!’ Here Jesus
was mourning over Jerusalem because the Jewish nation was rejecting the King and
the Kingdom. That is the true
reason for the mourning of the sons of God today.
Their mourning is because God is absent from the lives and activities of
the people of the world. God is
being rejected from all of their ways. The
King and the Kingdom are not being accepted in this hour, when God is offering
the King and the Kingdom to the church and they are rejecting it.
Certainly the mourning is in the hearts of God’s sons.
“That is one of the ways in which the sons of God enter into the
fellowship of Christ’s suffering. It
first begins in our own lives and then it goes out to the others.
Our first revelation is how little of the King is embraced in our own
lives. There comes a mourning in
our spirit, when we recognize how little of the Kingdom of God is operating and
being demonstrated in our lives. We
are beginning then to suffer with Christ. We
begin to understand how Jesus felt when God, who deserved to be worshipped and
obeyed as King in the earth, who deserved to be Ruler in men’s lives, was
rejected. Jesus sorely grieved as
He witnessed how God was rejected and dethroned when men would not have His
Kingdom enter their lives.
Jesus’ mourning was for the fact that God was displaced.
It is when we begin to realize that there is so little of Christ in us,
and so little of God’s Kingdom manifested through our lives that we enter into
the mourning of the true sons of the Kingdom.
“Jesus’ promise in the beatitude is that this mourning will not be
permanent. This mourning of the
sons is going to climax with a comfort when Christ fully rules in our lives and
finally rules in all the earth. The
Kingdom of God is going to fill these lives.
If we have a godly mourning because God is not occupying many areas of
our lives and those of other men, Christ will come and expel the self-life and
all things that are contrary, and ascend to His throne, to His rightful place in
the hearts of men. When He comes to
His rightful place in your life and mine, that mourning turns to joy.
Then, as we view the world, our mourning becomes like that of Jesus for
the world. We are conscious that
God ought to be in His rightful place in all things, everywhere.
Satan ought not to be ruling in lives by bonds of sin, sickness and
sorrow. God deserves to be there!
There should be perfect minds and bodies revealing the power and life of
God. There ought to be life instead
of death. Instead of going down in death with cancer, man ought to be
victorious in life. But sin and
death rule in men’s lives, therefore we are grieved in spirit. As we sorrow for that condition, we allow the Christ to reach
men. God, who is Life, begins to
spring forth. Comfort, joy, and
life in God come out of that death-realm for which we had mourned.
“Our mourning is because there is sin in the world.
There is sickness. There is
sorrow. Christ is not ruling in the
lives and affairs of men. But we
live in assurance that the day is coming when all
of the kingdoms of this world will give way to the Kingdom of our God and His
Christ! Then all of the mourning of
the sons will be comforted and shall be turned to joy. This mourning is the kind of mourning experienced by the
firstborn Son of God. It is
mourning because God has been displaced and is denied His rightful place.
Likewise, all the sons of the Kingdom mourn because of it.
I am sure that Christ is mourning today in the lives of the sons of God
because many multitudes of people, including the religious ones, are rejecting
His Kingship and His Kingdom in their lives.
The common people heard Jesus gladly.
They welcomed the gospel of the Kingdom and the King.
They had lived in distress and hardship long enough.
They wanted to see God! They
welcomed a Kingdom in which there was peace and joy and plenty, righteousness
and health and perfection.
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