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The Sabbath Rest of Hebrews 4

Genesis 2: 3: “God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made,” but this written by Moses is not a command for man to observe this day and enter into his rest. Genesis was written by Moses for the Jewish people after the giving of the Law, we can understand why he included this explanation. He was explaining to them the significance of the Law that he had laid down for the nation of Israel. Speaking of the Sabbath; God declared: “It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed” (Exod. 31: 17).

When the commandments are give later on Mt. Sinai, the Sabbath is included and they are told to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Why? This was the commandment God gave them after their release from bondage. They had worked in slavery over 400 years with no days off, the Lord was giving them a blessing, a day as a gift in which they could rest. However they had already broken it by not remembering and He was angry at them saying “why don’t you keep my commandments.” Here God gave to Israel a gift, the same day He rested after His work of creating.

To remember the Sabbath means to distinguish it from the other days of the week. Israel was identified by their observance of rest on the 7th day because they were the only nation (theocracy) under the creator. The Bible states that God made known “the holy Sabbaths” by the “hand of Moses His servant” (Neh.9:14). This means many holy days set aside for rest but it all came through Moses to man. The sabbath did not come through any other prophet but Moses.

There are many Sabbaths that did not occur on the 7th day so the word Sabbath should not be limited to the narrow meaning of 7th day only as some teach, it means to rest, to cease from work. The true Sabbath was not just a rest one day in seven but involved a complete change of life. All the feast days were instructions for Israel, but they were also types and shadows of something that was to come. All the feast days had relevance to doctrinal instruction, they were types and shadows of something that was to come. The Sabbath day rest was a shadow and a type. In Christ the type is done away. In Israel’s Sabbath they did not have to prepare anything but only rest at home and enjoy God provision. This is a type of Christ in that He did the work for us and we enter into His rest. Instead of the continuing sacrifices of animals, he became “ the lamb of God” offered for the sin of the world only once. Instead of going to a high priest at the temple to represent us, we have the great high priest who entered the Holy place once and for all. In place of literal circumcision, he gave the cutting off of the flesh, a circumcision “that is of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter”( Rom.2:28-29). Instead of Sabbath observance each week , he incorporated a day to rest from our works in the rest of God.

Hebrews is a commentary basically on Leviticus and compares the things of the law with Christ showing he is superior to what God gave through Moses. He is the substance of the shadows that are mentioned.

Heb.4 Explains of those not entering His rest was because of their unbelief 3:19. 

Heb. 4:3-11 “For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest,” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”

The question that needs to be answered: is God telling us to keep the Sabbath day or something much more. The “Sabbath rest” should not be equated with the keeping of the 7th day Sabbath of the Old Covenant, because the Israelites who did keep it did not enter this “rest.” The writer explains there is “another Day.” Since Joshua and Israel kept the 7th day Sabbath this must mean something other than what Sabbatarians interpret it as. Joshua did not bring them into this day nor did he enter it himself.

David spoke of another day of rest.  Heb.4:7-8... “saying in David, TODAY, after so long a time, as it is said, TODAY if you will hear his Voice, harden not your hearts. For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of ANOTHER DAY? There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” Joshua whose Hebrew name is equal to Jesus spoke of the one who came to deliver this rest. This was another day not a specific day like the 7th but a life that is given to all through the Messiah.

If there is another day then it isn’t Saturday. There is another rest that the author is referring to in the future. The Israelites did not enter God's rest because of unbelief, not having faith but they did keep the Sabbath. They had the rules and regulations the oracles, but it was not mixed with faith. God has always looked to our heart, our attitude in the Spirit. The word for rest in vs.9 is the same word for Sabbath in the Greek. It is a Sabbath that never ends. In Heb.4.the author writes For the one who enters his rest he himself rests as God himself rested from his works. Today Jesus is our Sabbath. our every type, command, ordinance in the Old Testament He fulfilled.

Israel in the Old covenant rested in a day; we rest in the Person and His finished work. It was a picture of the future rest in the new covenant, the cross has the same implication, God finished his work. Our Sabbath day is rest in our soul, it is by faith. Under faith we can cease from our own works. Works that were required for the Israelites to do in the Old covenant to be accepted by god In this way the believer enters in and ceases from his own labors. God was bringing Israel to the promised land after their labors in Egypt this typifies rest in Messiah. “

Hebrews 4 tells us to be diligent to enter his Sabbath rest (4:11), we do this 365 days a year. This rest is found only in the Messiah who accomplished all of God’s work in our place. If you do not cease from your labors then you are not obedient to the New Testament Sabbath

Not the Law, nor Joshua could bring Israel into God's True Sabbath “rest”, “another day”, not a Seventh day or a First day, Sunday, but the day of Salvation. Heb.4:2 “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as them” But he states they did not mix it with faith.

Isaiah 49:8: “Thus says the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in “A” DAY OF SALVATION have I helped you: and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, (not a day, but Christ the savior) to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; Paul quotes the Isaiah passage 2 Cor. 6:2. “ For he says, in a acceptable time I have heard you, and in the DAY OF SALVATION have I helped you. behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the DAY OF SALVATION. This day is any day one receives the Lord and enters into the rest He offers in the new covenant. With the law one had to do work to be blessed in the New covenant that operates under grace we receive by faith to be blessed.

Hebrews 4:9-10: “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” One can observe the Saturday Sabbath, but to have the rest they need to know “the Lord of the Sabbath. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.” 

Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. The old covenant which the Sabbath was the seal of was a conditional one based on works.

This Scripture is speaking of entering into a future God's Sabbath Rest. Go back and read verses 4 and 5 again. Don't forget that the “Rest” which God entered into (Genesis 2) was not a physical rest from his labor. It is an Eternal rest, not once every week. In Genesis 2 on the day God rested there is no “evening” or “morning.” This “rest” neither they nor we can enter into by the law, or the fourth commandment- a day; Moses was kept out of the Promised Land, the law kept him from entering while Joshua entered by faith.

These men are illustrations of types. The “True Sabbath Rest” is found only, by faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the New Testament the true light comes to earth and the shadows (types which were temporary) disappear. Now we no longer look to the shadows, but to the substance which the shadow was cast from, the substance in the person of Christ (Col. 2:16-17). To go back in the shadows out of necessity is to have our light become darkness as if we never received it. We are undoing all that Christ has done. Jesus said in Mt.11:28: “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” The Apostles knew the burden of the law. This is why at their Jerusalem Council they refuted the law being added to grace. Stating those who do trouble you with words and subverting your souls. In Acts15:10: “Now therefore, why put God to the test, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.”

The Old Testament purpose of Sabbath was one of completion, the number 7 is the number of completion the 8th day is the number of new beginnings. 

The emphasis at Pentecost is the first day, we should not confuse the Sabbath (edited). These are pictures of what God would do in the future as He came to earth. The Sabbath refers to completion, God rested when He was done, the Lords Day has to do with a new beginning, the resurrection to eternal life was something absolutely new. The Sabbath is relating to God's rest in creation. The 8th day is a memorial of new creation of Israel as well as Gentiles receiving new life in God, Commemorated by the resurrection.

 In Scripture the number seven represents completion; it is the cycle given for us as a completed week. Jesus rose on the first day of the week, (the 8th day) giving us Eternal Life and an eternal Sabbath rest in him. 1 Pet.1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

In Heb.4:10: “For he that has “entered into” his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his. “This “entering in” is to “remain in”, the rest. It is an Eternal rest of which the seventh day is but a type. The high priest would enter in with sacrifices and come out again. Christ the eternal high priest entered once and finished the work remaining as our eternal high priest.

V.11 therefore let us be diligent (strive) to enter that rest- we must persevere in faith to the end not become disobedient and turn back as Israel did. This was not a day but a person and relationship. The solution is clear, its Jesus, it’s found in His person and not in the Old Testament commandments he replaced.

“We are delivered from the law, that ... we should serve in newness of the spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Rom. 7: 6). This letter clearly is in reference to the Old Testament law.

At His death on the cross, the “veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51), indicating that the offering of sacrifices and other temple services have already served their purpose and were finished. Christ did not bring reform to the Mosaic Law and the Sabbath, but instead installed a NEW COVENANT to replace the Old (Heb.8:13). The Old Testament Sabbath was based on a works covenant. The NEW Testament rest (Sabbath) is based on grace.

Exod. 33:13-16: “Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. ”For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” 

Grace was shown to Israel by the Holy Spirit who gave them rest. God’s presence, His Spirit brings us into His rest for today. Without Christ fulfilling the law perfectly and raising from the dead we could not be given the Spirit.

This we see why God could not give us any one day of the week as a Sabbath (rest). We've 'entered into' and are to 'remain in' His rest. This, Israel could not do having only a shadow of the true substance which came later, which we now enjoy. God sent the Holy Spirit on Sunday (Pentecost), to accomplish that rest which was apprehended in Christ. 1,500 years before this event the Sabbath was given for Israel, 1,500 years later the church was given the comforter, the Spirit, God himself, who gives us the promises of God and the true rest promised.

http://www.letusreason.org/7thad25.htm (accessed February 27, 2013).

 

God’s grace- [The ability to receive by Grace) the quality of life that is marked by an overflow of peace, health, wholeness, and provision, [which all equals to prosperity!] (Dollar 2012).

Resting in the Results of the Resurrection

Summary:

 

God has a will for our lives; however, just because He has a will for each of us doesn’t mean it will automatically come to pass. Nothing just happens. God’s will is for us to live long, successful lives; however, we will not see His promises manifest in our lives if we do not believe Him.

It was not God’s will for the Israelites to spend 40 years in the wilderness. They could not make progress because they didn’t believe God (Hebrews 3:15-18).

God’s will for our lives is good; however, it will not manifest on its own.

Our faith and belief are required to reach the next level God has for us.

Faith will not work until the will of God is known; the will of God is the Word of God.

Some people think that everything that happens to them—good and bad—is the will of God for their lives.

However, there are things that happen that are not according to God’s will for our lives. 

Many Christians miss out on God’s precious promises because they do not believe (Hebrews 4:1, 2, AMP).

Faith will not work until the will of God is known.

For example, it is the will of God for us to be healed and delivered, and to prosper in every area of our lives.

There is also a specific will for each of us, which will not manifest without our faith for it.

The Sabbath

The rest is referring to God’s finished works (Hebrews 4:3-8, AMP).

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. For six days He worked, and on the seventh day He rested (Hebrews 4:4; Genesis 2:2, 3).

Rest in this context means to cease from work because everything is done.

Man was created right before the Sabbath. At that point, God had provided everything mankind would ever need, including the ability to reproduce (Genesis 1:5, 11, 22, Genesis 2:4-8).

There is a rest we can enter into today. Faith and obedience are still required to enter into His rest (Psalm 95:7-11; Hebrews 3:15).

Reasons for the Sabbath

God wants us to rest (or be confident) in the fact that He has done all the work for us.

Resting on the Sabbath is a way of symbolically recognizing that God is our real source, not our own work (Exodus 20:8-11; Colossians 2:16, 17, AMP).

God’s rest describes our relationship with Him—trusting, relying on Him and what He has already done, instead of relying on our own works and abilities.

We now have in Jesus the reality of what the Sabbath symbolizes.

Through Jesus, we can have a relationship with God, and have all our needs met.

When we are resting, we are trusting in what God has done through the Lord Jesus Christ. We have everything we need within our born-again spirits (2 Corinthians 5:17).  

Labor to enter into the rest

Our labor is our labor of faith.

Praying, serving, studying the Bible, confessing the Word, and listening to Word-based messages are ways in which we build our faith and walk in obedience.

Our Christian walk should consist of entering into God’s rest instead of trying to work to make Him do something (Hebrews 4:8-11, AMP).

 

Scripture References:

 

Hebrews 3:15-18

Hebrews 4:1-11, AMP

Genesis 2:2-8

Genesis 1:5, 11, 22

Psalm 95:7-11

Hebrews 3:15

Exodus 20:8-11

Colossians 2:16,17, AMP

2 Corinthians 5:17

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This site is Powered, Anointed, Empowered, and all Provisions provided by the Holy Spirit who is the Godhead, Power, Cornerstone and Foundation of it, in Jesus' Name, Amen!

 

The Church -

The first mention of the word “church” in the KJV Bible is found in the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus laid forth the foundation and the chief reason that the church of God exists on the earth.

The narrative begins with Jesus asking the disciples in Matthew 16:15, “Who do you say that I am?”. Simon Peter boldly exclaimed, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The literal Greek text is “ho Christos”, the anointed One, referring to the Messiah, the Son of God. Peter openly confessed for the first time the disciple’s belief that Jesus is the long expected Messiah, the Son of God.

Building on this confession of faith, Jesus continued, “...blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:17-18).

Using the possessive pronoun, “My” church, Jesus declared that the “church” is His possession, and will be built according to His specifications, in a manner that guarantees the gates of hell will never prevail against it or overcome it. From its inception, the church has been designed to triumph over all the works of the enemy and to completely dominate the kingdom of darkness.

“Upon this rock I will build My church...” While some religions teach that Peter is the rock that the church is built upon, a careful examination of the original text contradicts this belief. The Greek word “Peter” is translated from the “masculine” noun, #4074 “petros”, which refers to a small rock or stone that can easily be picked up and thrown. “Upon this rock”, however, is translated from the “feminine” noun, #4073 “petra”, which refers to a large, massive, and immoveable rock (such as the Rock of Gibraltar).

Obviously, the word “petra”, which represents the steadfast and immoveable rock the church is built upon, cannot refer to a sin stained and fallible man called Peter. A few verses later, Jesus rebuked Peter for trying to talk Him out of going to the cross, “... Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence unto me...” (Mt. 16:23).

The rock that the church of Christ is built upon is the revelation knowledge that Jesus is the Messiah, the redemptive works that Jesus accomplished in His death and resurrection, and man’s confession of faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Christ then added in verse nineteen, “And I will give unto thee [a 'dative” pronoun, referring to the church] the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Jesus immediately revealed that the “church” is being handed the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, which represent the authority that the church now has to lock and unlock, to bind and loose, to open and close doors, here, on the earth.

In the original Greek text, the tense of the different verbs used in this verse reveal an interesting interpretation. In each phrase we find a simple future tense that is followed by the perfect, passive participle. The Concordant Literal New Testament correctly translates, “I will be giving you the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, and whatsoever you should be binding on the earth shall be those things having been bound in the heavens, and whatsoever you should be loosing on the earth shall be those having been loosed in the heavens.”

In other words, as the revelation knowledge of Christ’s redemptive work increases, the church will be given new keys, which “should be” employed to bind and loose on the earth what God has ”already” bound or loosed in the heavens. Our prerogative and our jurisdiction is determined by the conditions in heaven, i.e. the will of God, and by our willingness to use the keys of the Kingdom. Although the church has been given keys of authority, whether or not we use those keys is up to us.

Phillips translation says, “... whatever you forbid on earth will be what is forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be what is permitted in heaven.” This indicates that the will of God is not automatically performed in the earth; it must be enforced, released, and prayed through by the victorious church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If the “law of first mention” has any validity in Scripture, then Matthew 16:17-19 tells us that the primary role of the Church is to proclaim the revelation of Christ and to receive, learn about, and successfully use the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

The “church” has been commissioned by Christ to walk the paths of restored rulership on earth; to bind or lock up the enemy everyplace that we find him, and to loose the people that have been held captive by the kingdom of darkness. We have been given authority over the devil and over all the works of the enemy, to liberate people and to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the earth. This is the primary function of the Church of God.


The “called out” one’s -

The word “church” or “churches” occurs 117 times in the King James New Testament and is used to describe congregations of believers that number in the thousands, such as the church at Jerusalem and the church at Corinth, as well as the gathering of a few believers in private houses (I Corinthians 16:19, Philemon 1:2, Colossians 4:15). In every instance, except one, it is the Greek noun #1577 “ekklesia” which literally means the called out ones.

“Ekklesia” is a compound word that is derived from the preposition, #1537 “ek”, which denotes out of, and the verb, #2564 “kaleo”, which means to call, to invite or bid. The “church” is, therefore, comprised of people that have been called out of the kingdom of darkness and invited to live in the kingdom of Heaven.

“Ekklesia” is used in the Bible to denote any local assembly of believers who profess faith in the redemptive works of the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as the universal church of God, which is comprised of everyone who has ever or will ever profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This later group includes the deceased believers that are living in heaven as well as the believers that are presently alive on the earth or shall be born in the future.

In I Timothy 3:15, the Apostle Paul wrote, “...the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

The church (the “ekklesia” - the called out ones) is the house of God’s presence upon the earth. Paul said that the church is both the pillar (that which supports the weight of a building) and the ground (literally the seat, the underpinning or bulwark) of God’s truth. The church carries the responsibility of maintaining the doctrines of the faith by teaching and practicing the Word of God in the earth.

The church has been called by God to be a school of Divine truth, to equip the saints of God for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12) and for the edifying of the Body of Christ, and then to send them out so they can preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.

In Ephesians 3:10-11, Paul further reveals that the “church” was designed to manifest the wisdom and the redemptive plan of God, not only to men on earth, but also to the angelic beings in heavenly places. “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The Amplified translation says, “[The purpose is] that through the church the complicated, many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere.”

All of heaven is closely observing the activities of the “church” to more fully understand the wisdom and the redemptive plans of God.


The Great Commission -

The Great Commission that the “church” has received is described by our Lord in Matthew 28:18-19, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.”

The first thing the Lord instructed the “ekklesia” (the called out one’s) to do is to go into all the world and to teach the nations. The word “nations” comes from the Greek noun #1484 “ethnos”, which is the origin of our English word “ethnic”; and means a tribe, a nation, a group of people. Paul uses this Greek word to refer to the entire group of gentile christians that live in every country of the world. In fact, it is translated “gentiles” ninety-three times in the New Testament and “nation” sixty-four times.

We are instructed to do two things for the nations. We are to “teach” them, which is the Greek verb #3100 “matheteuo” and means to make a disciple through teaching and instruction. We are commanded to make disciples of every nation, every ethnic group, and every tribe on earth by teaching them the truth of God’s Word.

Along with “teaching” we are instructed to be “baptizing” them. The Greek verb #907 “baptizo” is used here and means to fully immerse, to submerge, to inundate, saturate and make fully wet. We are instructed to saturate the nations in the “name” of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Many in the body of Christ believe that if they work in the church nursery, or teach sunday school, or volunteer to sing in the choir that they are fulfilling God’s great commission. All of these acts are good and should be employed. However, the great commission of Christ is to go beyond the four walls of the church building. Christ tells His disciples to go into all the world (nations) and to make disciples of all men.

Many have believed that we are to evangelize the world by bringing the people into our church buildings. But Jesus did not say, Go and build great church buildings; He said, Go out and disciple the nations. The focus is not “in here”, but “out there”.

The great commission takes place outside of the church building, in a world that is starving to hear the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When Christians only focus on the activities of their local congregation instead of the world around them, their church is turned into a monastery that exists, primarily, to meet their needs and to fulfill their desires. When pastors hoard the gifts and anointings of the people and keep the members captive to “his/her” meetings, the members become prisoners and the pastors become their wardens.

The church is not designed to hoard it’s gifts and anointings. It has been designed by God to flow out to a lost and dying world and to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom and to set the captive free.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary writes, “God has commanded His people to organize themselves into distinct visible ecclesiastical communities.... for the great purpose of giving visibility to His kingdom, of making known the gospel of that kingdom, and of gathering in all its elect subjects. Each one of these distinct organized communities which is faithful to the great King is an integral part of the visible church, and all together constitute the universal, visible church of God.”

In John 17:18 Jesus prayed to the Father, “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”


Christ is the Head of the Church -

The Scriptures often declare that Christ is the “Head” of the true church of God; which points to Jesus’ authority and preeminence in the church, as well as the church’s role of submission and obedience to His leadership and teaching.

In Colossians 1:14-18, the Apostle Paul declares that God, “...hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.... And He (Christ) is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence [#4409 “proteuo” - to be first, to hold the first place].”

The word “head” is translated from the Greek noun #2776 “kephale” which refers to the head as the chief part of the body. The spiritual significance regarding the position of Christ in relation to the Church is of paramount importance. Christ must be at the center of everything the church believes and does.

If you take “Christ” out of a local church, that church looses it’s anointing and ceases to be an effective member of the body of Christ. If a local church no longer worships the Lord or teaches His Word, like a body separated from its head, that church will dry up and die, spiritually. When a church is controlled by boards and committees of “unspiritual” men, then Christ’s leadership is diminished and that church will no longer function according to it’s spiritual purpose.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:22-23 that God, “hath put all things under His [Christ’s] feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.”

The Bible teaches that the “church” is the body of Christ, created to be filled with the fulness of Christ and to demonstrate His deeds upon the earth.

The Amplified translation says that God “...has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church.... Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].”

Adam Clarke writes: the Christian Church is to be filled with Christ, whose fulness fills all the members of His mystical body with wisdom, goodness, truth, holiness, and with all the spiritual gifts and graces.

No one member of the body of Christ operates in all the spiritual graces and gifts that Christ operated in; however, when the whole “body” comes together and each individual member displays the gifts that he has been commissioned with, then the whole Body of Christ operates in the fullness of the gifts and graces of the Lord. In other words, the “church” reaches it’s apex when Christ is the head and each member is allowed to function as Christ intends.

Paul continues in Ephesians 5:23-27, “... Christ is the head of the church.... the church is subject unto Christ.... even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

No local congregation is perfect in and of itself; every church has problems. The only way the “church” can become glorious and holy is to continue to give Christ the preeminence in all things.



In the second chapter of the book of Colossians, Paul tells us another way that Christ is removed from His position as head over the local church.

In Colossians 2:8, Paul warns the church at Colossae to not teach the philosophies, the traditions, and the commandments of men as the doctrines of their church; and concludes in verse nineteen that to do so will effectively remove Christ as the true, spiritual head of their local church. “Beware lest any man spoil you (#4812 “sulagogeo” - to carry one off as a captive or slave) through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

Holding fast to human traditions and religious doctrines that are not founded in the Word of God will effectively nullify the church’s power on earth and diminish Christ’s headship. Jesus warned the disciples in Mark 7:13, “Making the word of God of none effect (#208 “akyroo” - to render void, to deprive of force and authority] through your tradition, which ye have delivered [#3860 “paradidomi” - to give into the hands of another, to commit to others]....”

Paul goes on to say that the Old Testament laws and commandments were completely fulfilled in Christ and no longer apply to the New Testament (New Covenant) believer. Colossians 2:14 tells us that Christ, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.”

When Christ was nailed to the cross, man’s duty to keep the Old Testament Law with all it’s rules and obligations was nullified.

Therefore, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Col. 2:16-17). The literal translation is, “the body belongs to Christ.”

The law was but a shadow or representation of the good things to come, which have now been procured for the church through Christ’s sacrifice. In Christ, we are free from the religious traditions of the Old Testament Law.

However, we are not free from men trying to force the church back into bondage by teaching rules and religious doctrines that violate the New Testament principle of grace. If a local church opens its pulpit to these religious doctrines, they will, in effect, release their hold on the headship of Christ and remove Him from His place of preeminence over the church.

Paul says as much in Colossians 2:19, “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.”

“Holding” is translated from the Greek verb #2902 “krateo” which means to lay hold of, to hold fast. In other words, when men fail to hold fast to the teachings and doctrine’s of Christ, the true Head of the church, the spiritual nourishment and the bond of unity that holds the “church” together will be diluted and greatly diminished.

The church must not allow the philosophies and the traditions of men to rob her of the spiritual purpose that God has designed her to accomplish. The church must, therefore, remain focused on Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross and in His resurrection to fulfill her destiny on the earth. The church has been commissioned to use the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to set the captives free and to bind up the work of the enemy. It has not been commissioned to teach religious tradition or doctrines of men.


The Unity of the Church -

Paul writes that as each believer is spiritually joined to Christ, so all believers in the church are vitally joined to one another in a living relationship that must be founded in brotherly love.

Paul describes the spiritual operation and the unity of the church, the body of Christ, in Ephesians 4:15-16, “...the head, even Christ. From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

With Christ operating as the head and each member effectually working (#1753 “energeia” - energized, working efficiently), the church will increase and continually edify itself (#3619 “oikodome” - to build up) in love. Love is the binding force that that keeps the church together.

The Amplified says, “...Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.”

The church, therefore, works most effectively and grows to maturity when each member is allowed to function according to God’s design and purpose.

Dr. MacKnight writes, “As the human body increases till it arrives at maturity by the energy of every part in performing its proper function, and by the sympathy of every part with the whole, so the body of the Church of Christ grows to maturity by the proper exercise of the gifts and graces of individuals for the benefit of the whole.”

Paul used a great analogy of this concept in I Corinthians 12:12, where he compares the body of Christ, the Church, to the human body. “For as the body is one, and hath many members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.”

Though the human body is composed of many diverse and unique members, it functions in the earth as one unified body. Likewise, the church is composed of numerous and diverse members that must also learn to function as one unit on earth.

I Corinthians 12:13-14 continues, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.”

The moment someone accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal saviour, that person is immediately baptized (#907 “baptizo” - fully immersed) into the body of Christ by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. The walls of ethnicity and pride that were previously used by the devil to keep us apart are cast aside by the unifying work of grace that the Holy Spirit performs. We become one with Christ and supernaturally joined to one another.

David Guzik writes, “The body-like unity of Christians is not a goal to achieve; it is a fact to be recognized. Paul clearly says we “were” all baptized into one body.

Therefore, we must fully recognize this position of supernatural unity that God has afforded us and order our conduct accordingly.


Romans 12:5, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”

Romans 12:9-10, “Let love be without dissimulation.... Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.”

Romans 12:16 in the Amplified Bible continues, “Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits.”

I Corinthians 12:25 in the Amplified Bible says, “So that there should be no division or discord or lack of adaptation [of the parts of the body to each other], but the members all alike should have a mutual interest in and care for one another.”

Paul describes the attitude that believers should have towards one another in Colossians 3:13-17. The Amplified translation says, “Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].”

Verse fifteen continues, “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].”

Obviously, this attitude of brotherly love and unity is not exemplified in much of the church world that presently exists on earth. With its divisions, schisms, and shortcomings in faith, love, and humility, parts of the modern church have become a fractured and egotistical society of believers that has lost sight of Christ’s command: “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35).

Nevertheless, Jesus prayed for the church in John 17:21, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

This attitude of brotherly love is exemplified in the description of the early church at Jerusalem. Acts 2:44-47, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common.... And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their mean with gladness and singleness of heart. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be save.”

The church will be edified only when it learns to live with one another in love and unity!


God sets gifts in the church -

The book of First Corinthians, chapter twelve, describes many of the gifts and anointings that the Holy Spirit has endowed certain members of the church with. I Corinthians 12:28, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”

The church is a large organization that is composed of many diverse members that differ from one another in temperament, ability, and function. The Holy Spirit anoints individuals with unique and diverse anointings to fill the various offices the church requires. No one man has all the gifts; but, together, the entire body of Christ contains every gift that Christ used while on the earth.

Adam Clarke’s Commentary says that these spiritual gifts are gracious endowments of the Holy Spirit that lead to miraculous results.

I Corinthians 12:11 tells us, “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing [#1244 “diaireo” - to distribute] to every man severally as He will.” Notice, it’s not up to each man to choose the gift that he wants to be endowed with, but it is the Holy Spirit that chooses the man. The Amplified Bible says, “... the Holy Spirit... apportions to each person individually [exactly] as He chooses.”

I Corinthians 12:18, “But now hath God set [#5087 “tithemi” - to set or put in place] the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him.”

I Corinthians 14:12 tells us how these gifts should be used, “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual [gifts], seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”

The gifts and anointings that the Holy Spirit sets in the church should never be used to tear down or destroy the body of Christ. We are anointed to build up and edify the church of God in love.


The five ministerial gifts -

Ephesians 4:11 describes the five ministerial gifts that Jesus set in the church, “And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.”

The first ministerial gift mentioned is that of an apostle. The Greek noun, #652 “apostolos”, simply means one sent forth. The twelve disciples that comprised Jesus’ inner circle were called apostles by the Lord in Luke 6:13. Paul declares that he is also an apostle in I Corinthians 9:1 and 15:9. Barnabas and Paul are called apostles in Acts 14:4. Apostles are men that the Lord sends out to preach the gospel and establish churches throughout the world.

The word “prophets” is translated from the Greek noun #4396 “prophetes” and means one who can speak of things before they happen. Prophets are oracles of God that are inspired to speak concerning future events. Miracles, signs and wonders often accompany their ministry.

The word “evangelists” is translated from the Greek noun #2099 “euaggelistes” and means one who announces and brings forth good news. It is derived from #2097 “euaggelizo” which is one of the main words translated “preach” in the KJV New Testament.

The word “pastors” is translated from the Greek noun #4166 “poimen” which means a shepherd, one who tends and cares for a flock.

The word “teachers” is translated from the Greek noun #1320 “didaskalos” and means a teacher, one who imparts instruction and doctrine.

I Corinthians 12:28 explains the hierarchy of authority for the ministerial gifts, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers...” Being called into full time ministry is something that must be initiated by God. Man cannot choose his position in the body of Christ, he must submit himself to the will of God.

Ephesians 4:12 continues Paul’s description of the five-fold ministry and succinctly outlines their mission on earth, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ministers are called to perfect the saints, to do the work of ministry, and to edify the body of Christ.

“Perfecting” is translated from the Greek noun, #2677 “katartismos”, which means to furnish and equip. It is derived from the verb, #2675 “katartizo”, which means to arrange and put in order, to render something fit and sound, to repair and mend what has been broken or torn.

In conclusion, Paul establishes the ultimate goal of the five-fold ministry and the Body of Christ in Ephesians 4:13, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

The Amplified translation clearly establishes the level of maturity that God expects the church to manifest, “...that we might arrive at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ and the completeness found in Him.”

Our goal is to become like Christ!


Minister’s role in the church -

Addressing the elders of the church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul gave them this charge in Acts 20:28, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.”

The minister’s role is to “oversee” and to “feed” the church of God.

The word “oversee” is translated from the Greek noun, #1985 “episkopos”, which means to watch over, to be a guardian or superintendent; and is translated “bishop” six times in the KJV New Testament. Thayer’s Lexicon says “an overseer is the one charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly.”

“Feed” is translated from the Greek verb, #4165 “poimaino”, which means to act as a shepherd by tending and feeding the sheep. Vine’s Dictionary (quoting from Trench) says, “In the spiritual care of God’s children, the ‘feeding’ of the flock from the Word of God is the constant and regular necessity; it is to have the foremost place.” Teaching the Word of God and educating the church about spiritual truth should be the primary duty of every minister.

We see this point borne out in Jerusalem, where the local church grew so large that Peter and the other apostles realized they could no longer give adequate time to the daily administration of church business and at the same time continue to study and effectively preach the Word of God. So, in Acts 6:2 they told the congregation, “...It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.”

They decided to appoint deacons and elders to tend to the daily business of the church, while they focused their energy on prayer and the teaching of the Word. Acts 6:4 says, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word.”

Serving as an “overseer”, a minister’s chief duty is prayer and the ministry of the Word of God. Too often minister’s yield to pressure and focus their attention on the daily needs of the church and neglect prayer and the study of the Word. When this happens, the whole body of believers suffer. Minister’s should take note of the Apostle’s decision, and realize that their prime duty as overseers is to “feed” the flock of God.

Peter’s exhortation to the elders is found in I Peter 5:2-3, “Feed [#4165 “poimaino”] the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. Neither as being lords over [God’s] heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.”

Paul describes the office and duties of the Bishop and deacon in I Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, I will build “My” church. The true church of God belongs to Christ and no other.

When a pastor uses words like “my church” and “my people”, he is sharing the true feelings of his heart and unconsciously establishing himself as the head of the local assembly instead of Christ. When a pastor sees the church as the means to fulfill his own dreams and the measure of his own ministerial success, he creates the same attitude in the minds of the people.

When people regard the church as a place of self-gratification, they get caught up in living for themselves and develop a warped view of the church, believing that it only exists to make them feel good about their lives.

When a church looses its true focus, people get busy fighting among themselves and start using kingdom resources to build their own personal kingdom.

We are not called to build our own personal kingdom, but the Kingdom of God. We do not own the church; we are merely co-workers with Christ, who is the true owner of the church.


I Peter 2:5, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Source

Hell -

The word “hell” occurs fifty-four times in the King James Bible and is commonly regarded as the place of eternal punishment for wicked souls after death, as well as the final abode of satan, fallen angels, and evil spirits. Jesus mentioned the place called “hell” sixteen times in the New Testament.

The Old Testament word translated “hell” is the Hebrew noun #7585 “sheowl”, which is defined as Hades, the world of the dead, where disembodied spirits of the wicked go when they die. It comes from the root #7592 “sha’al” which means to ask and demand; indicating that “sheowl” is a place of insatiable need, where every request for relief is denied.

Psalms 9:17 says, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”

Proverbs 15:24 in the Amplified says, “The path of the wise leads upward to life, that he may avoid [the gloom] in the depths of Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead).”

In the New Testament, the word most frequently translated “hell” is the Greek noun #1067 “ghenna”, which literally means the valley of Hinnom. This rocky valley was located southwest of Jerusalem, where the people of the city deposited their filth and garbage and set it on fire. Hence, a valley of perpetual fire and destruction.

The valley of Hinnom was also the site of an Old Testament cult, where children were burned as offerings to the god Molech (II Kings 23:10).

Another New Testament word translated “hell” is the Greek noun #86 “hades” and refers to the infernal regions of the damned, the place where the departed spirits of the lost are deposited after death.

Peter referred to “hades” when he taught about Christ’s resurrection in Acts 2:31, “...spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell (“hades”), neither his flesh did see corruption.”

After His resurrection, Jesus said in Revelation 1:18, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell (“hades”) and of death.”

The final New Testament word translated “hell” is the Greek #5020 “tartaroo”, which Strong’s Concordance defines as the deepest abyss of Hades; where the angels that sinned during the time of Noah are locked up in chains of darkness, waiting for the final day of judgment (II Peter 2:4-5, Genesis 6:2-4).

As you can see, hell is not a single place. It has several compartments or regions that are covered in detail at the end of this article.


Created for the devil and his angels -

In Matthew 25:41, Jesus said the place of everlasting fire and punishment was originally prepared, not for human beings, but for the devil and his angels.

Matthew 25:31-41 says, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall he sit upon the throne of His glory. And before Him shall be gathered all nations; and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.... Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Hell was not created for man, but for satan and the angels that followed him when he rebelled against God and tried to exalt his throne above the throne of the Most High (Ezekiel 28:13-17 and Isaiah 14:12-15).

Was “hell” the devil’s original abode, that was corrupted when satan fell into sin and rebelled against God? Was “hell” once a pleasurable place until satan sinned, which caused the glory of God to be removed from it’s atmosphere and an everlasting fire to begin consuming it? We can’t be sure if “hell” had a previous existence or was specially created for the devil. But Jesus clearly taught that the everlasting fire that will receive the devil and the unrighteous at the end of days was originally prepared, not for man, but for the devil and his angels.

God loves all men and desires to see every person saved (I Timothy 2:4). John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Every person can escape “hell” by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and the sacrifice that He provided for man’s salvation.

But John 3:18 says, “...but he that believeth not is condemned (#2919 “krino” - judged) already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” There is a day of judgment coming for the human race.

I Timothy 3:6 says that it is possible for man to, “...fall into the condemnation (#2917 “krima” - judgment or sentence) of the devil.” The judgment that is reserved for satan (i.e. banishment to “hell”) will be meted out to every person that refuses to accept the sacrifice of Christ.

In Mark 9:43-44, Jesus taught that “hell” was a place of “...fire that never shall be quenched. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

In II Thessalonians 1:8-9, Paul describes the fate of those who do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, “...on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.”

The word “destruction” is translated from the Greek #3639 “olethros” which is used to describe the effect of the Divine judgments upon men in the Day of the Lord; where unbelievers will be cut off from the presence of the Lord.

The Amplified says, “...and [upon those] who ignore and refuse to obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Such people will pay the penalty and suffer the punishment of everlasting ruin (destruction and perdition) and eternal exclusion and banishment from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

But there is no need for any man to perish; because Jesus has conquered “hell” for all men.


Jesus took back the keys of hell -

Between His crucifixion and resurrection, the Bible teaches that Christ first descended into the abode of the dead. Ephesians 4:9 states, “Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?”

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He told one of the prisoners that was being crucified with him, “...Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43). Paradise, as we shall see later, is also called Abraham’s bosom in Luke 16:22.

At death, all those that were part of the Abrahamic covenant, went to this place called paradise; where they waited for the promised Messiah to come and liberate them and lead them into the presence of God (covered in more detail later on).

In Matthew 12:40 Jesus described what would happen after his soul departed from his body at the time of His crucifixion, “...so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Quoting from Psalms 16:10, Peter preached about Christ’s death and resurrection in Acts 2:27, “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Indicating that Christ’s soul went to “hell” (#86 “hades”) sometime after He died. And again in verse thirty-one, “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell (“hades”), neither his flesh did see corruption.”

To completely pay the price for man’s redemption, Christ had to suffer the same penalty that all men, up to that time, had to endure at the moment of their death.

I Peter 3:18-20 also describes what happened after Jesus died, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. By which (the Spirit) also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison. Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah...”

Peter wrote that Christ “went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” The word “went” is translated from the Greek #4198 “poreuo” and means to transfer, to depart from one place to another. The word translated “preach” comes from the Greek #2784 “kerusso” which means to herald or proclaim, and is translated “preach” fifty-one times.

Jesus was raised as an orthodox Jew and, therefore, a partaker of the Abrahamic covenant; which meant, that upon His death, His soul initially travelled to paradise or Abraham’s bosom. But then, Peter says that Christ transferred or passed over into a different place, to preach or announce to the spirits in prison that He was the Messiah and had constituted a New Covenant which subsumed and now supersedes the old, Abrahamic Covenant; whereby, any that believed could escape “hell” and rise with Christ into the presence of the Lord.

No doubt, this was what the Apostle Paul referred to when he wrote in Ephesians 4:8, “...When he ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” The phrase “He led captivity captive” is translated from both the noun and the verb conjugation of #162 “aichmaloteuo” which mean a prisoner of war. In other words, the spirits that were taken captive as prisoners of war, by the Kingdom of Darkness, were recaptured by the great liberator, Jesus Christ.

The Amplified says that when Christ ascended to the Father, “...He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes]...” This procession of souls included all the Old Testament greats; including David, Noah, Daniel, and many, many more. Paradise was emptied when Christ rose from the dead.

Since Christ’s resurrection, when a believer dies, his soul does not travel to “paradise” or Abraham’s bosom; he is ushered immediately into the Lord’s presence. Paul expressed this doctrine in two passages of scripture: II Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”; and Philippians 1:23-24, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better. Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”

Death and Hell can no longer claim the souls of believers when they die. Jesus declared in Revelation 1:18, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Jesus took the keys of “hell” and the grave from the devil when He redeemed mankind from the Kingdom of Darkness.


Jesus description of hell -

In the sixteenth chapter of Luke’s gospel, Jesus gave us a vivid description of “hell” and the afterlife when He shared the story of two men and the events that followed their death. Since He did not label this narration a parable (#3850 “parabole” - a narrative which uses symbolic language to set forth a spiritual lesson), we must assume that all of these events are factually based and really happened to these two men. One was a rich man who died and went to “hell”; and the other was a beggar called Lazarus, who died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.

Jesus said in Luke 16:22-23, “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom; the rich man also died, and was buried. And in hell (#86 “hades”) he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”

Jesus’ narrative represents “hell” as a real, tangible place; not a figment of some primitive man’s imagination. In “hades”, man does not cease to exist when his soul leaves his body; rather, man loses his personal freedom and well-being. In “hell”, the rich man could still see and recognize other people; later verse’s tell us that he was still able to communicate and possessed the faculties of reason and memory. He also had a sense of where he was and could feel pain, thirst, and torment. In other words, he was a functioning soul.

Verse twenty-four says, “And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”

But Abraham was constrained by the boundaries of “hell”, and explained why he had to refuse the rich man’s request for mercy in verse twenty-six, “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”

The word “gulf” is translated from #5490 “chasma” and represents a huge chasm, a gaping opening or gulf; used only in this verse. The gulf that surrounds “hell” cannot be traversed; either by those that want to give aid, or by those that desire to escape.

This teaching should end the speculation that ghosts of the departed are able to linger on earth to haunt people or places. Jesus taught, once a man dies and enters “hell”, he can never cross over the great chasm that surrounds it. His soul and spirit are imprisoned in “hell” until the last days judgment of God.

This should also put an end to the idea that someone alive on the earth can offer indulgences that would effect a release of their departed loved ones. Not even the great patriarch Abraham, whom God called His friend, could help the rich man once he was confined to “hell”.

Once the rich man realized that there was no escape from the torments of “hell” and that his condition was completely irremediable, he changed his tactics. Luke 16:27-28 records his new request, “Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him (Lazarus) to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”

Once again, Abraham had to deny his request and replied in Luke 16:29-31, “Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

In other words, God has already sent His Word to warn men of the existence of “hell” that they may escape it’s punishment. Every man is the steward of his own soul, and must choose between spending eternity in the presence of the Father, and spending eternity in “hell”. And that choice must be made while men are still alive on the earth.


Five compartments of Hell -

The Bible talks about five compartments of hell or the underworld.

Tartarus is the prison for fallen angels who sinned before the flood of Noah. II Peter 2:4 says, “ For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (#5020 “tartaroo”), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.”

Jude 6 says, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation (#3613 “oiketerion” - dwelling, of the body as the dwelling-place of the spirit), He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”

These angels did not remain in their own realm or native state, but tried to enter the human race by having intercourse with women and producing children (Genesis 6:2-4). To preserve the purity of the human race until Christ could come, God locked these angels up in “Tartaros”. No human beings ever go to this place.

Paradise, or Abraham’s bosom, was the abode of the righteous who died before Christ’s resurrection. Jesus referred to this place in Luke 16:23-26 in the story of Lazarus and the rich man (covered earlier in this article). He also told one of the men that was crucified with him, “...today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43).

Christ’s teaching on “paradise” is the foundation of some religion’s doctrine of “purgatory”. But “paradise” is now an empty place (and “purgatory” never existed); Christ emptied “paradise” when He revealed Himself to the captured saints as the Messiah and then took them to Heaven when He ascended to the Father (Eph. 4:8-10). Ever since Christ’s resurrection, all believer’s immediately go to the presence of the Father when they die (II Cor. 5:8, Phil. 1:23,24).

The third compartment is Hades, the place where all the wicked go at the time of their death and are held in a conscious state of torment until the day of judgment. Revelation 20:13 says, “...and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.”

The Abyss or the bottomless pit is the fourth compartment. It is the abode of demons, some fallen angelic beings, the “beast” of Revelation eleven, and the temporary home of satan during the Millennium. The Greek noun #12 “abussos” means to have no bottom, to be unbounded. Vine’s Dictionary says that “abussos” is used to denote the abyss, the immeasurable depth of the underworld, the lower regions, the abyss of Sheol. It is mentioned seven times in the book of Revelation and no human beings are ever sent there.

Revelation chapter nine talks about an angel that “...was given the key of the bottomless (“abussos”) pit...”, who opened the door and loosed the spirit beings imprisoned there to torment men for five months during the tribulation period.

Revelation 20:1-3 talks about satan being “...cast into the bottomless pit (“abussos”) and shut up.... till the thousand years should be fulfilled...”

It is noteworthy that the demons who possessed the demoniac of Gadaera begged Jesus in Luke 8:31, “...that He would not command them to go out into the deep (#12 “abussos”).” Some believe this verse indicates that demons know that this will be their final fate.

The “lake of fire” is the final, eternal compartment of “hell”; where all the fallen angels, demon spirits, and wicked men will be sent at the end of the Millennium and during the great White Throne Judgment of God. Revelation 20:10 says, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

Revelation 21:8 says, “...and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murders, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.”

Then, after the Great White Throne Judgment, Revelation 20:14-15 says, “And death and hell (“hades”) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

God is love and has plainly warned men of the existence of “hell” that they may escape it’s punishment.

Proverbs 15:11 in the Amplified says, “Sheol (the place of the dead) and Abaddon (the abyss, the final place of the accuser Satan) are both before the Lord. How much more, then, the hearts of the children of men.”

Verse nine in the Amplified says, “The way of the wicked is an abomination, extremely disgusting and shamefully vile to the Lord, but He loves him who pursues righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation).”

II Peter 3:9 says that God is “...not willing than any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” John 3:15 says, “That whosoever believeth in Him (Jesus Christ) should not perish, but have eternal life.”

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus preached, “...I will build my church; and the gates of hell (“hades”) shall not prevail against it.”

Source

 

Principalities and Powers -

Ephesians 6:12 describes the satanic hierarchy of the kingdom of darkness, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities (#746), against powers (#1849), against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Believer’s must understand that we do not wrestle or contend with flesh and blood (a Hebraism for human beings); but we are in a spiritual conflict with the rulers and powers of the kingdom of darkness. The Amplified says, “For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.”

By using the phrase “principalities and powers,” Paul is telling us that there is a hierarchical structure to the kingdom of darkness; where fallen angels, evil spirits, and demons are ranked one above the other according to their power and authority. These evil spirits exercise influence over people, geographical areas, cities and nations; and must be successfully dealt with to experience revival in those areas. For instance, Daniel 10:12-13 speaks of the spiritual ruler that operated over the ancient nation of Persia, who’s power was broken by the prayers of Daniel (covered later in this article).

“Principalities” are the chief rulers of the kingdom of darkness; they are first in rank or power and constitute a high order of evil spirits. Every place you see the word “principality” in the KJV New Testament, it is the Greek noun #746 “arche” which Vine’s Dictionary defines as that which is first in time, order, or place. “Arche” is used seven times in the scriptures to denote angelic or demonic rulers.

The word “powers” is the Greek noun #1849 “exousia” and means one who possesses authority or influence. It is used in Ephesians 6:12 to represent the angelic or demonic authorities that operate in the spirit realm.

Ephesians 6:12 also speaks about the “rulers of the darkness of this world,” which is only found in this verse. “Rulers” is translated from the Greek noun “kosmokrator”, which Thayer’s Lexicon defines as lord of the world, the prince of this age. It is a compound word that is derived from #2889 “kosmos” (the present world order which includes the worldly affairs of mankind) and #2904 “kratos” (dominion, power, ruler).

The last group mentioned was “spiritual wickedness” (or, wicked spirits) that operate in high places, which is translated from the Greek #2032 “epouranios” and refers to the dwelling place of God as well as the abode of angels and evil spirits. Vine’s dictionary says “epouranios”, also translated “heavenly places”, refers to the sphere of activity or existence that is above, in contrast to that of the earth.

Vine’s Dictionary states: The context of Ephesians 6:12 (“not against flesh and blood”) shows that not earthly potentates are indicated, but spirit powers; who, in consequence of human sin, exercise satanic and therefore antagonistic authority over the world in its present condition of spiritual darkness and alienation from God.


Daniel 9 and 10 -

The clearest picture we have of a satanic principality ruling over a nation and its people is found in the ninth and tenth chapters of the book of Daniel. These chapter’s describe what happened after Daniel set himself to fast and pray until he received revelation concerning the prophetic future of the nation of Israel (who was being held captive by the nation of Persia).

After twenty-one days of seeking the Lord, an angel approached Daniel and explained why it took so long for his prayers to be answered. Daniel 10:12-13 records the angels’ words, “Then he said unto me, Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand.... thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.”

Notice, the angel was sent to answer Daniel’s prayer on the first day of his fast, but he was hindered in his journey by the prince of the kingdom of Persia.

Both mentions of the word “prince” in this verse are translated from the Hebrew #8269 “sar”, which means a chief ruler, leader or commander over an army. Since the earthly ruler of Persia could not hinder an angel from completing his assignment, and the chief prince Michael is commonly known to be an angel of the highest order, the term “prince of Persia” must refer to the satanic ruler of the spiritual kingdom of darkness that operated over the physical nation of Persia.

There are principalities that rule in the realm of the spirit over cities, regions, nations and governments. Some of these spiritual powers are good, and some are evil. Revelation 12:7 tells us, “And there was a war in heaven (“ouranos” - the abode of God, as well as the spirit realm); Michael and his angels fought against the dragon (satan); and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not...” Angelic forces are doing battle in the heavenly realm, fighting one another to gain control over the regions of the earth.

Daniel 10:13 referred to the angel Michael as one of the chief princes; which is the Hebrew #7223 “ri’shown”, and means first or chief in degree and authority. Everytime you find the angel Michael mentioned in scripture, he is doing battle with the spiritual forces of darkness.

A messenger angel was dispatched to bring Daniel revelation from God concerning the prophetic future of the nation of Israel; but he did not possess enough power or authority to break through the forces of darkness that were controlling the spiritual regions above Persia. So, Michael (a chief prince) was sent to engage the forces of darkness and to open up a highway for the lesser angel to pass through and deliver God’s message to Daniel.

The last part of verse thirteen says, “...I remained there with the kings of Persia,” indicating that the messenger angel was restricted by the forces of darkness until Michael set him free, allowing him to resume his journey.

Then, after he delivered his message, the angel said in Daniel 10:20, “...and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.” The angel had to fight his way back out of the earthly kingdom by doing battle, once again, with the satanic principality that ruled over Persia.

It’s important for us to realize that Daniel’s prayers were the catalyst that released the angelic forces of God to break the stronghold the prince of darkness had over the nation of Persia. Once the satanic principality was broken, the earthly kingdom of Persia was finished as a world power. History tells us that the kingdom of Greece rose to greatness in 334 B.C. and destroyed the Persian empire. The prince of Grecia, which refers to the satanic principality that governed over the Grecian Empire, empowered Alexander the Great and his armies to conquer much of the world.

This story clearly indicates the power and authority that angelic principalities have over nations and regions of the earth. It also tells us the important role that our prayers have in releasing the forces of God to break the devil’s stronghold. The angel told Daniel, “... I am come for thy words.” In other words, Daniel’s prayers were the active agent that precipitated a change in the heavenly realm over Persia.

In Matthew 6:10, Jesus told us to pray, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (“ouranos” - the dwelling place of God, and the abode of angels).” God’s will is not automatically worked in the earth or in your life; it must be prayed through.

In Matthew 11:12, Jesus said, “...the kingdom of heaven (“ouranos”) suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force (“harpazo” - to seize and take by force, to pull up).” The spirit world can be a violent and intense place; and believers must take it by force.

Jesus talked about the church’s authority and how we need to take authority over the heavenlies in Matthew 16:18,19, “...the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (the church). And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven (#3772 “ouranos” - the realm of the spirit); and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Keys are a symbol of authority; they lock and unlock, they bind and loose. Jesus was teaching that He has given to the church the authority to bind and to loose on the earth what has already been bound and loosed in the spirit realm.

Psalms 115:16 says, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth hath He given to the children of men.” The Will of God is not automatically carried through to completion on the earth. It must be sought after, prayed through, and then released on the earth by men and women that possess a strong faith in the power of God.

No matter how much money, aid or support you send to some nations, they will always be impoverished and governed by tyrants; because they are being ruled in the spirit realm by principalities and powers of darkness. Until the stronghold that satan maintains over these nations is broken through prayer and revival, the people living there will never be free.


Prince of the power of the air -

Since the fall of man, satan is called the prince or ruler of the power of the air (#109 “aer” - the atmosphere that surrounds the earth). Ephesians 2:2 says, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince (#758 “archon”) of the power (“exousia” - authority) of the air (#109), the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”

The word “prince” is translated from the Greek #758 “archon” and refers to a ruler, a commander, chief or leader. A ruler or commander must have an army that he rules over. Luke 11:15 tells us that Beelzebub, or satan, is the chief (“archon” - ruler and leader) of devils (#1140 “daimonion” - demons or evil spirits). Satan is the principle authority figure that rules in the earth’s atmosphere, which is the seat of his authority. He exercises control and dominion over the hierarchy of demon spirits that oppress mankind.

The Amplified translation says, “...you were obedient to and under the control of the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God.”

In John 12:31, Jesus made a similar statement about the authority of satan, “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince (“archon” - ruler or commander) of this world (“kosmos”) be cast out.”

Again, in John 14:30, Jesus said, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you; for the prince (“archon” - ruler) of this world (“kosmos”) cometh, and hath nothing in me.”

Jesus clearly taught that Satan is the prince or the ruler of this world (#2889 “kosmos” - this present world order, which includes the systems and governments of mankind; or, as Vine’s Dictionary says: the present condition of human affairs). He is the commander and chief, exercising authority over the rulers of the darkness of this world; which includes principalities, authorities, and every wicked spirit.

Paul also declared that “satan” exercises authority as the “god of this world” in II Corinthians 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

People have mistakenly believed that the Heavenly Father is the God of this world and they ignorantly blame Him for all the bad things that happen on this planet. But the scriptures reveal that Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul clearly taught that satan (not Jehovah) is the god and ruler of this world. This is why the world is in such a mess.

But God has a plan to completely restore this world and its inhabitants by exalting Christ above all principalities and authority. God never starts anything unless He also has a plan to finish it.


Christ exalted above principalities -

Colossians 1:16 tells us that all the angels and principalities (the good and the bad) were originally created by God, “For by Him (or, through Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven (#3772 “ouranos” - the realm where God and angels live), and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones,or dominions, or principalities (“arche”), or powers (“exousia”); all things were created by Him, and for Him.”

All angels and spiritual rulers were initially given their position and authority by God. However, when satan rebelled against the sovereignty and dominion of God, some of these angelic rulers rebelled with him; and, today, they use their power to work against the Gospel of Christ and to oppress the nations of the world.

Jude 1:6 talks about some of the angels that rebelled with satan, “And the angels which kept not their first estate (“arche” - principality), but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” These angels did not remain in their own realm and native state, but rebelled against God and sought to produce offspring with the women of the earth (Genesis 6:1-4). While “these” angels have been locked up and no longer pose a threat to the people of the earth, there are still many other fallen angels who are ruling as principalities in the kingdom of darkness and oppressing this planet.

To right these wrongs, God sent Christ to the earth to pay the price for man’s salvation and to regain the authority over the planet earth.

Ephesians 1:19-21 describes the power that was released when Christ was raised from the dead, “...the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His might power, Which he wrought in Christ, when He raised him from the dead, and set him at His own right hand in the heavenly places (“epouranios”). Far above, all principality (“arche”), and power (“exousia”), and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.”

Christ has been set at the right hand of God and given authority to reign over all principalities and powers, both in the spirit realm and in the earthly realm.

I Peter 3:22 says that Christ, “Who is gone into heaven (“ouranos”), and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities (“exousia”) and powers being subject unto Him.”

Colossians 2:10 adds, “And ye (the Body of Christ) are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality (“arche”) and power (“exousia”).” When we accept Jesus Christ as the Lord and saviour of our life, we are seated with Him, far above every principality and power in the spirit realm.

You are “complete” in Him is translated from the Greek #4137 “pleroo” and means to be filled to the brim, liberally supplied and consummated. “Pleroo” is translated “fulfill” fifty-one times in the KJV Bible. When Christ was raised from the dead, He completely fulfilled all the Old Testament promises and prophecies, which effected our total release from the kingdom of darkness.

In fact, Jesus told the disciples in Luke 10:19, “Behold, I give unto you power (#1849 “exousia” - authority) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power (#1411 “dunamis” - power) of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” We have been given authority over the devil and over all the power of the enemy (which includes principalities and powers of darkness).


Christ stripped them of power -

Colossians 2:15 gives us further insight into the change that Christ’s resurrection brought to the rulers of the kingdom of darkness, “And having spoiled principalities (“arche”) and powers (“exousia”), he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

The word “spoiled” is the Greek #554 “apekduomai” and means to strip off, as in taking off garments that are clothed about one. Jesus stripped off of himself all the principalities and powers of darkness that were gathered against Him, and triumphed over them through the power of His resurrection.

Vine’s Dictionary says that “apekduomai” is in the middle voice and should be translated “having put off from Himself (the principalities and the powers). “There is no doubt that satan and his hosts gathered together to attack the soul of Christ, while He was enduring, in propitiatory sacrifice, the judgment due to our sins. Doubtless the powers of darkness gathered against the Lord at that time, fiercely assaulting Him to the utmost of their power. The metaphor of putting off from Himself these powers... seems to stand simply as a vivid description of His repulsion of their attack and of the power by which he completely overthrew them.”

When Jesus triumphed over these forces of darkness and stripped them off of Himself, He opened the door for anyone who genuinely puts their faith in Jesus’ sacrifice to escape the punishment of “hell”. At the same time, Christ fully empowered us, through the power that is in the Name of Jesus, to successfully resist all the devil’s attacks against our body, our mind and our spirit.

Colossians 2:15 also tells us that Christ, “...made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” The word “triumphing” is translated from the Greek #2358 “thriambeuo” and means to celebrate and lead a triumphal procession. Vine’s Dictionary says, as a victor displays his captives or trophies in a triumphal procession, Christ showed the angelic beings in their true inferiority.

Colossians 1:13 states that Christ’s resurrection, “...hath delivered us from the power (“exousia” - authority) of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” When Christ triumphed over the principalities of darkness, He delivered the people of God from satan’s authority and translated them into the Kingdom of Light. The kingdom of darkness no longer has any authority to rule over your life (if you are a child of God).

Ephesians 3:3-11 further talks about God’s plan of redemption for mankind, which the Apostle Paul calls a mystery or a secret, and declares that it is made known only by Divine revelation (which Paul now possessed). In verse nine, Paul wrote that he was commissioned to, “...make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God...”

The angelic realm (which included satan and the principalities of darkness) did not possess any revelation of God’s plan of redemption for mankind. It was a mystery to them.

Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2:7-8, But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery (#3466 “mysterion” - a hidden, secret thing), even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. Which none of the princes (“ archon”) of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” The kingdom of darkness had no idea of God’s plan; otherwise, they would have never worked to crucify Jesus. Satan was totally surprised when Christ was raised from the dead; it was a shock to him.

Colossians 1:26 says, “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints.”

Now that the secret is out, Paul writes in Ephesians 3:10 that the church is the means of revelation to the “principalities and powers” of the manifold wisdom of God, “To the intent that now unto the principalities (“arche”) and powers (“exousia”) in heavenly places (“epouranios”) might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.”

The Amplified says, “The purpose is that through the church the complicated, many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere.”

Angels are watching the church with amazement and wonder as the plan of God that brings redemption to fallen man and, at the same time, justice to the rebel satan is being played out in the events that are transpiring on the earth.

At the end of this age, I Corinthians 15:24-25 declares, “Then cometh the end, when He (Christ) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule (#746 “arche” - principalities), and all authority (“exousia”) and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.”

Until that time, anyone that accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, can exercise their authority in Christ and break the demonic chains of darkness off their life.

Romans 8:38 declares, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor live, nor angels, nor principalities (“arche”), nor powers (#1411 “dunamis”), nor things present, nor things to come.... shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


Earthly principalities -

The Bible also makes reference to earthly principalities and the duty that we have to them.

Luke 20:20 tells us that the chief priests and scribes sent spies to gather information against Jesus so they could arrest Him and, “...might deliver Him unto the power (“arche”), and authority (“exousia”) of the governor.”

Titus 3:1 says that spiritual leaders should teach the church and, “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities (“arche”), and powers (“exousia”), to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.” God’s people are to obey the rulers and authorities in this present, temporal world.

Luke 12:11-12, “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates (#746 “arche” - principalities), and powers (“exousia”), take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say. For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”

Romans 13:1-7 in the Amplified Bible says, “Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God's appointment.” While this statement is true in many nations, it is not true in every nation. Some nations are still being ruled by principalities of darkness because the people of God have not taken authority over them and pulled them down.

The Amplified continues, “Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged [in divine order]. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves [receiving the penalty due them].”

“For civil authorities are not a terror to [people of] good conduct, but to [those of] bad behavior. Would you have no dread of him who is in authority? Then do what is right and you will receive his approval and commendation.”

“For he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, [you should dread him and] be afraid, for he does not bear and wear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant to execute His wrath (punishment, vengeance) on the wrongdoer.”

“Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God's wrath and escape punishment, but also as a matter of principle and for the sake of conscience.”

“For this same reason you pay taxes, for [the civil authorities] are official servants under God, devoting themselves to attending to this very service. Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due.”

In other words, we are to obey the laws of the land and pay our taxes.

However, if the nation we live in is being ruled by the kingdom of darkness, we should obey their laws but pray that the principalities of darkness will be obliterated by the forces of light. And that God would remove the earthly leaders of darkness and replace them with men and women that are governed by God’s righteous kingdom.

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What or Who has the Key to your heart?  Who or what is more important to you than God in your life?  Who or What is before God in your life? If anyone or anything other than Christ Jesus has the key to your heart - change the locks and the keys! Did you know that if anything or anyone is before God in your life, you are making that someone or that something your god?  Seek God and His Kingdom first before all things!

 

2 Corinthians 4:4

Amplified Bible (AMP)

For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God.

"I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star" (Revelations 22:16).

 


 

 

 The Will of God

The will of God will never take you
Where the grace of God cannot keep you,
Where the arms of God cannot support you,
Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot endow you.

The will of God will never take you
Where the spirit of God cannot work through you,
Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you,
Where the hands of God cannot mold you.

The will of God will never take you
Where the love of God cannot enfold you,
Where the mercy of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.


The will of God will never take you
Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears,
Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you,
Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.

(Author Unknown)

Be still and know that I AM God.

 

 
 



But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast" (1 Thessalonians 5:21/Amplified Version).





 

 

 

The New Covenant

Many Christians focus more on the Ten Commandments (under the Mosaic Covenant) than they do the New Covenant. However, since Jesus sacrificed His life, we no longer have to live under the Mosaic Covenant. We have a better covenant with better promises. With the New Covenant, God demonstrated His grace and mercy toward us by forgiving us of our sins. We are not able to keep all of the law; therefore, we are all in need of a savior—Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

 ________________________________________

The grace of Christ is the only genuine Gospel (Galatians 1:1-12, AMP).

Paul said he preached a gospel that was not man’s gospel, but a direct revelation given by Jesus Christ.

We live under the dispensation of grace, not the dispensation of the law (Galatians 3:24, 25).

The law originated from the Ten Commandments, which are under the Mosaic Covenant.

A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties to carry out the agreed upon terms.

We find an agreement between God and man in the Garden of Eden. God generously gave Adam and Eve the liberty to eat of any tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16, 17).

Satan used that one law to make Adam and Eve conscious of their sin.

Where there is no law or knowledge of transgressions, there is no sin-consciousness.

God wants us to freely know Him, and not come to Him with a sin conscience (the knowledge of good and evil). 

With the Mosaic Covenant, God gave commandments and told His people to keep them. However, they could not (Exodus 20:1-24).

God made provision for their inability to keep the law. He gave them the opportunity to make animal sacrifices to cover their sins, and He promised to bless them because of their sacrifices.

The law was good, glorious, right, and holy. The only fault with the law was man’s inability to keep it (2 Corinthians 3:7-9).

Under the New Covenant, our part is to know and believe God, and to believe that He is  merciful and gracious toward us (Hebrews 8:6-13, AMP; Romans 1:5-12).

We walk uprightly when we believe that God has forgiven our sins (Galatians 2:11, 12). 

Many Christians believe, in error, that the New Covenant gives us liberty to sin.

However, with the New Covenant, God gives us the grace to have true, godly character (2 Peter 1:5-9).

Under the New Covenant, God writes His laws on our hearts. In other words, we do not want to sin when we have a one-on-one relationship with God.

The New Covenant restored our relationship with God.

Scripture References:

Galatians 1:1-12, AMP

Galatians 3:24, 25

Genesis 2:16, 17

Exodus 20:1-24

2 Corinthians 3:7-9

Hebrews 8:6-13, AMP

Romans 1:5-12

Galatians 2:11, 12

2 Peter 1:5-9

 

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REST IN THE FINISHED WORKS

#00.133

"For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world"(Heb 4:3).

Ah, to enter God's allusive rest, a grueling quest for countless millions. And I say it's an allusive rest,because people have been searching for that resting place through the centuries with few having found it. Many claim they have entered this rest; but I am pressed hard to believe most claims.

The majority of those in the popular church system have chosen one of two days, Saturday or Sunday, and they call it the Sabbath Day of Rest. Some bind themselves so tightly to the legalism of a natural day that they will not lift a finger to do an ounce of work during that 24 hour period. However, the same people will defy the other part of what they are told by not working during the other six days: "Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest..."(Exo 34:21). They will take an entire week, two weeks, or a month to go on vacation and fail to work any of those six days, thinking nothing about it. But when it comes to the one day, they bow to it as if it determines their eternal destiny.

Although Jesus told the "do or die" legalists that the sabbath was made to serve man, they would not receive it, and neither do like minded people today. To be reminded: "He said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath" (Mark 2:28). And please, we should know, everyone who is in Christ is also lord of a day which gives their minds and bodies the vital rest they need. It is good to rest. A day was given to man to serve his needs; however, if you hold to that day by legalistic fortitude and mental determination -- bringing yourselves under that law -- you are not resting, you are working. People who work hard at keeping the sabbath find it easy to ignore many others. For instance, Leviticus 11:6-8 says that touching the skin of a dead pig makes you unclean; therefore, to be safe and not offend any of the laws, you should wear gloves when playing football, since they are made of pig skin.Just a point to consider if you are adamant about bringing yourselves in servitude to one day or another.

Since I have no desire to debate legal issues, I will say only a little more on this; for my vision is of a Day altogether different than one you can pinpoint on a calendar. It is the Lord's Day of Rest,and I can guarantee you, it has nothing whatsoever to do with any day of the week, month, or year.

Incidentally, when people meet on either of those two days, or any other day -- in itself, there is nothing wrong with it. When it is for convenience sake, and the day is used to serve the people, rather than the people serving the day, this is great. It is good to come together, whether in a home or a church building; for assembling ourselves together serves well to minister to our needs. It is when we are bound to a natural day and its rituals that we become not only servants to the day, but to people, not to mention the spirit of Mystery Babylon. And I can tell you this -- you don't have to be in a huge church building for that spirit to grip you. It can be had in your own home with you alone. It depends on the attitude of your mind, where your heart is, and to what you give yourself.

If you are bound by such a ritual and binding spirit, and you continue meeting religiously on the day you call the Sabbath, the Lord's Day, the Day of Rest,I will have no ill feeling toward you whatsoever. This is between you and God. However, if you do this out of religious duties, thinking you are fulfilling the law, I will make a suggestion -- for your own conscience sake, be careful to wear gloves if you play football. There is a truck load of similar laws to the dead pig thing that would likewise need to be followed to the letter, if the one is to be religiously held.

Good Pharisees don't have any trouble with all those laws; for the more laws they have the more "good" works they can be seen doing, and the more good works they do, the more righteous they perceive themselves to be. But to those who wish to live -- it is unbearable.

Notwithstanding, let us note again our text verse. "For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world"(Heb 4:3).

There are at least four questions we should ask concerning this verse: 1) Should although be the choice of words used here? 2) what are the finished works? 3) what is the Rest? And, 4) what have we believed?Hopefully, by the time we come to the end of this short article, they will be answered to some degree.

NAMELY

Kaitoi is the Greek word from which although is translated in this verse, and it is used no other place in the New Testament. A similar word, kaitoige, is used, and is translated twice as though, and once as nevertheless. Therefore, grammatically, kaitoi can be translated as although. However, to more clearly see what God's Rest is, something is lacking when although is the word used.

Young's Analytical Concordance translates it as and truly, which is somewhat better; but this still does not settle what is stirring in me. It is the way the Emphatic Diaglott renders the word that strikes a cord in my heavens and bears witness to my spirit. It says -- "If they shall enter into the rest of Me; NAMELY...the works done at the foundation of the World."

Very quickly we see exactly what God's Rest is when the word NAMELY is used. It is His Finished Works, which is certainly not a day of the week. If it was a twenty-four hour day on the calendar, there would have been no reason for the writer of Hebrews to say "There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God."(Heb 4:9, NASB). You see, those who were keeping the natural day were working feverishly to rest in the mere symbol of the real rest. Symbols are good when we know they are symbols. However, when we fail to see them as such, the reality will never be known. And with symbolism as our religious focus -- we would likely stone whoever lives the reality.

God rested in His finished works, and when we enter into His works, we enter with Him into that same Rest. When we rest in what has already been done, how can we work up a sweat trying to do it? Only if we are in the flesh of religious laws will we sweat. Self-righteousness and works of the law will be our sole vesture, and we will know nothing, absolutely nothing, about God's Rest, that wonderful, peaceful Rest with our Father and Creator of all.

Therefore, brethren, let us not be found with sweat upon our faces,but rather, Sons of God who are arrayed by the Glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Laborious sweat of legalism will never manifest God's finished works upon the earth. It never has and it never will; but those who are at rest will bring them to pass.

It is written in Hebrews 4:11 that we are to labor to enter that rest. Such a word sounds as if we can't help from breaking into a sweat, especially since sweat is a byproduct of labor. However, labor (spoudazo), according to Strong's, should be translated: with speed, eager, prompt. Therefore, it is essential to use speed when it comes to entering that righteous rest. There is great merit when are hearts are eager to cease from our labors and leave the toil of religious works and enter His peaceful rest. And how joyful it is when we are prompt to believe and embrace that which is finished.

There is something we have missed far too long -- the fact that all of God's works are finished. There's nothing left for Him to do. From the earth's perspective, this is nigh to impossible to believe; but from heaven's gates it becomes increasingly clear that the first part of God's work is simply to believe in Him whom He sent(John 6:29).

Hopefully, those heavenly gates will be opened today for us to peer more intently upon those marvelous works that He worked on for six days, and then rested. One of those individual finished works was, no doubt, the man who was born blind that Jesus healed: "Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (John 9:3). The man was healed before he ever heard those wonderful words, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam."They streamed like a river from the heavens of Jesus in whom all things were created (Col 1:16). Prior to that day, the healing could not be seen; for such grace had not rained upon his earth to bring it forth. But when Jesus showed contempt for blindness by smearing muddied spit in his eyes, and he washed, he then saw.

The book of Genesis is a recorded history in seed form of what God did in His six days of work, and part of that work is you and me in particular. Not only that, every good work we do has already been done. It was finished before we breathed our first breath of Earth's air. When we sing a song by the inspiration of the Spirit, preach a life-giving word, write an anointed message -- each one of those precious works were finished before ever a word or deed were uttered or seen.

If our songs, sermons, lessons, witnessing, testifying, and other services are by the Spirit, then they are those things which were finished from the foundation of the world. They are from above and not from beneath. When they are charged with His life, every particle is a portion of the finished work coming into manifestation. They are those things which have been waiting in the wings of the ages, waiting for their time and season to be made known in the earth. Such are the good works we receive from heaven, else they would not be available to us at all.

If we believe what is written, we will quickly know that it is impossible to receive anything of God unless it is from His Eternal Day of Rest. John said, "...A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (John 3:27). You see, it is not in our natural makeup to suddenly decide to do God's good works and expect Him to sanction them. Our works and carnal efforts will not be endorsed in heaven. Even so, it is not uncommon to see people take to themselves a ministry, not realizing, if it has been already made in the heavens for them, there will be no need for them to take it; for at the proper time they can receive it when it is given to them.

Neither ministries nor any other religious works which find their roots in the earth will have God's hand of blessing upon. Only in Christ does He recognize anything as being His own; for it is in Him, in His Son, wherein all His works were done.

We can glean from the wise sages of the past and present, and apply what we learn to our daily lives; but the upper echelons of men's minds are still not the good works that God finished from the foundation of the world. If it is not already in heaven, it will never be in the earth with His mark upon it.

Before Adam was sent from Eden to till the ground from where he was taken, it is interesting to see that after he was created, his first day of walking in Eden was in God's rest. God's last day, the seventh day, His day of rest, was also Adam's day of rest. All the works had already been done, which left him in a perfect world with nothing to do but rest in it. Everything was finished, and he was commissioned to have dominion over all those works. With the ease of a word he could have spoken every good work into manifestation. The earth would have flourished and multiplied and the whole of it would have been like the Garden from where the man lived and ruled. But it was not to be; for God had a more excellent way, which, of course, was Jesus. He, therefore, subjected Adam and all creation to vanity and futility with the greater hope of them coming into the liberty of being born of God (Rom 8:20-21).

The world was in the hands of the one who had the authority and power to bring paradise to it on a certain level. There was, however, an element in his dust which had the tendency to do it some other way than in rest. Being from the earth, earthy, he had to work it out his own way, the earthen way. And it goes without saying, he fell from that place of rest when he said in his heart of clay "...I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isa 14:13-14). (See The Lucifer Question,free upon request).

The will of man, coupled with pride, power, and self-aggrandizement, has been the downfall of more than a few, and we should not be surprised, since the genetic coding goes all the way back to the "I will" man. When a person says, I will, regardless of how grand his or her scheme might be, or how "good" the works may appear, if it is not God-breathed, it is not part of the works finished from the foundation of the world. It is not from the heavens. It is by toil and sweat. It is of the earth, earthy, and such cannot inherit or be a part of the Kingdom of God. It can be part of a kingdom, but not the Kingdom.

THE FINISHED WORKS AT THE FOUNDING OF THE WORLD

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from ALL His work which God created and made"(Gen 2:1-3)

I have not found it written that He started back to work. And frankly, I don't think we can expect Him to work again until the whole world has entered His rest, not until His finished works and rest are known by all men . There are places where it speaks of His works; but, if I see clearly, they are those which are finished, and then brought into view upon the earth. Such as, "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will"(Eph 1:11). And please tell me, is there anything which is spoken and manifested into the earth from the finished works of the heavens contrary to His will? Absolutely not! It can't be contrary, else He would not have created it a very good, finished work to begin with.

When viewing and thinking from the earth, it is not easy to lay hold of the truth that God made every thing in Christ and has been resting ever since. However, we might note something which is very clear. Everything was made before ever an eye rested upon any of them: "These are the generations (towledah; descendants, families, history) of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field BEFORE it was in the earth, and every herb of the field BEFORE it grew: for the LORD God HAD NOT CAUSED IT TO RAIN upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground"(Gen 2:4-5).

Can you picture that? All His works, everything He made was made before it was ever seen in the earth. Before a blade of grass grew, it already was, and likewise with you and me. We were here before we were got here. Paul said: "...we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto (Grk. en, in) good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph 2:10). You see, WE, who are His workmanship, were created in Christ Jesus. And when were we created in Him? At the founding of the world. It couldn't have been afterwards; for God rested from the works of this present creation. Moreover, being created in Christ Jesus was part of that which was very good works,works which were finished a long time ago.

It is in this, the finished works, even our own yet to be manifestation, that we set our affections. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory"(Col 3:1-4).

And we, like Paul, who was caught to heights unknown, can rise up and minister that which we have seen. This is how Jesus spoke to him that life-changing day on the road to Damascus: "...Rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee"(Acts 26:16).

Only when we have seen things of Christ Jesus, and from where He sits, can we minister and witness. Otherwise, it will be our own words and works. Until we see and hear from that high and holy place, and until the season of rain graces the earth with life, we will remain hidden as it was when the generations of the heavens and the earth were created and made. Every finished work is ready, in store, waiting for the thundering call. They have all been in reserve; for the LORD God HAS NOT CAUSED IT TO RAIN upon the earth.But, oh, my friend, it will rain! There is a time for mist, a time for dew, and a time for rain, and also for snow. There is a time for God's finished work to be manifested. For myself, I smell the rain. It is in the air.

RAIN FROM HEAVEN

"For as THE RAIN cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall MY WORD be that goeth forth out of My mouth: IT shall not return unto Me, void, but IT shall accomplish that which I please, and IT shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent IT.

Ah, praise God! The season of rain! The billowing clouds of His body are forming above. They were there as vapors in the heavens even before they could be seen. Now that the season is upon us, the conditions are right, prepare for rain. And in the preparation, you will either be rained upon, or you will be the rain itself: For YE shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains (great kingdom) and the hills (lesser kingdoms) shall break forth before YOU into singing, and all the trees (all the people) of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off"(Isa 55:12-13).

The above is a beautiful picture of God's salvation of all. When the rain comes -- Christ and His many membered body -- the finished work will then be seen and known of all men, as John wrote in Revelation 1:7 (see also Isa 40:4-5).

Those who are in the heavens of those finished works will be the rain. His Word, namely, Jesus and all His words of expression (the Sons of God),will descend in raining manifestation upon the earth and in the whole world. Those who are having a hard time believing God has a finished work, rather than being the rain, will be rained upon by it. They will then believe and be blessed by it.

Ah, yes, as God's holy clouds in the heavens. What a blessed place to be; namely, resting in His finished works. When the time comes, and our Lord's voice thunders through the ranks of the heavenly host, we as rain shall descend upon the earth to give fruit in due season. It will be as Isaiah prophesied of things to come forth that were already created: "Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it."(Isa 45:8 NASB)

THE REST

"For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His"(Heb 4:10).

We often receive letters, or hear brothers and sisters who are terribly disturbed because they don't have a place to minister, or they don't have a ministry at all, or a word to teach, or a song to sing, or even a testimony. Some become so condemned in their own minds that they go back to Babylon with hopes of getting involved with some sort of work or program that will ease their minds, and appease God. And the sad note is, whether they are in Babylon, nestled in down-cushioned pews with a holy-hush of reverence pervading the air, or they are alone at home with nothing to do -- they are not at rest.

For some reason, many feel that if they are not doing something, they are not pleasing God, even though God has not called them to do anything but to rest in Him. I can tell you this, if God has called you to minister in word or song, to write, to minister in the gifts of the Spirit, or any other finished work He could possible call you to -- you will fulfill that calling. He will make is so; for if you have been called to do something, it is already finished in the heavens, and come hell or high water, you will do it! Nothing can keep it from manifestation in its appointed season. The rain from heavy water-laden clouds could just as easily be held back, as to stop what God has created for you from coming to pass.

Therefore, all you saints, rest in whatever you have been called to, as well in that to which you haven't been called. Enter into that which God has finished. It might be a finished work to where you will move the mountains of the world, or it might be the mountains in your own life. Or it could be nothing but simply being at peace in Him. It matters not what it might be, that which must be done is to rest in that finished work and never covet the calling of another person. Even if you were permitted to walked in their shoes, you would not find rest; for you would be moving in something contrary to the finished works.

WE WHO HAVE BELIEVED

For we who have believed do enter into rest.Believing seems to be one of the hardest things for the human mind to do. It is not hard to believe in what we see; but those things we see can be products of our natural reasoning. Mental persuasions can also come by the scriptures we read by the letter, and with all the above, we then hash it over in our natural minds and come up with natural beliefs. This is not believing in God's finished works, it is assuming them to be so.

To believe or not to believe -- that is the question? Do we believe something we don't understand or cannot grasp? By no means; for we can't believe spiritual truths that have not been revealed to us. There must be revelation in order to believe. We are not expected to grasp anything until it is illumined in our own minds by the Spirit of revelation. If we lay hold of a teaching only because this brother or that sister teaches it, or only because we can see it in the scriptures -- such will fail in the heavens of our beliefs when they are shaken. No rest would be found therein, and it would all pass away; for only the finished works of God will remain (Heb 12:27). Only in resting in those eternal things will righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit be found, which happens to be the Kingdom of God(Rom 14:17).

Our believing is more than mental persuasion. It has to do with where we are in Christ, which should be in and above all heavens (See Far Above All Heavens #00.131, free upon request). When we sit with Him above all heavens, we begin to see those things which are finished, as it was with Him before us. It is from there that we can likewise finish them in the earth.

Jesus said, "...For the works which the Father hath given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me" (John 5:36). Every work He did was in God's Rest.There were no struggles, no sweat. He saw the finished works, believed them, and brought them into manifestation by His word.

He did not imagine a vain thing. He did not attempt to do anything that seemed to be a good work, then by the sweat of His face do everything in His wit and might to bring it to pass. He simply spoke that which He saw, thereby bringing into view what was already done: "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, 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. For the Father loveth the Son, and SHOWETH Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel."(John 5:19-20)

Do you see why it is so easy to believe in the finished works of God? As it was with Jesus, so it should be with us. We must know that we can do nothing of ourselves. There will be no healing or deliverance in people's lives just because we deem it good. Only as we see what our Father has done, that which is completed, can we do. Moreover, as wonderful as those things have been that we have seen of Him, greater works than these will we see.

Although it is all finished, we do not now see it all. Even in the Spirit we are not allowed to see the complete picture, and we see precious little of this work manifested in the world. Even so, this does not disannul the fact that God has finished His works. Knowing this, I do not look for another day of His glorious Rest; but I do look to see more of His Day. I look to walk in a much greater way in the course of it. I look to rest in the finished works. 

REST IN THE FINISHED WORKS

(Part 2)

#01.135


"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it"
(Heb 4:1).

I had assumed the thought on God's Rest was finished with Publication #00.133.However, our Lord has so graciously quickened it anew in my spirit and built upon that which was laid. I will then walk, as He permits, a little space farther in it.

Therefore, if we haven't already entered that rest, the rest which other Oracles of God have been resounding -- what else is there to do but to enter therein? I see nothing at this moment. For that matter, the time has been at hand since the example of belief and unbelief were both laid in the wilderness by Israel many centuries ago. Joshua and Caleb, along with the younger generation believed and entered that which had been promised. Those twenty years old and upward refused to believe and would not venture onward. Their fearful example was to die with unbelief and without entering God's rest. Although the battles had already been won, they just couldn't believe it. And such has continued to this day with not so much as an eyebrow of concern.

Some, of course, believe they have entered God's rest because they attend church on Saturday and restthe remainder of the day, or Sunday if they deem that time-element as the right one. There is certainly nothing wrong with resting for twenty-four hours out of the week, for the mind and body requires it. And attending meetings for fellowship and to hear a good word either of those days is fine, as long as the reality to which the shadow speaks is not forsaken.

We know people who swing with the pendulum to the other side. You see, they refuse to go to any meetings, whatsoever, believing they are all of the spirit of Babylon, old-order, legalistic, full of dead works, etc. With such a regulated stand, however, they have come just as much under the legalistic bondage of NOT doing as those who DO.The fact is, spiritual bondage has nothing to do with where one's physical body is. That which determines bondage is where their spirit resides, and it is the same with being in God's Rest. They can be just as much in that Rest while sitting on a cold pew as in a warm recliner, that is, if their allegiance is to Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, and they should not be criticized for where their body located.

For example, if an ambassador of the United States is sent to China, he is not criticized for going there. He is commended for doing what he was sent to do, and although he will abide by the laws of that kingdom while there, he is not bound by them. If he doesn't abide by them, he is not guilty, for he has diplomatic immunity. And likewise with the ambassadors who are truly sent into various churches. But let me say, if you have not been sent, you are not an ambassador and you will be bound by Babylon's laws, and you will worship her idols if your remain for any length of time.

Daniel and his three companions were prisoners in Babylon; but they were free. Most all of the Christians today are in Babylon, not because they are ambassadors, but because God has them there due to not letting their land rest.Some are free, others are not, depending on where their spirit resides. Others are there by choice, which is a mystery in itself. This causes me to think that their spirits might be at home there as well.

A few of those with ties to the spirit of Babylon may become very unsettled by the mere mention of the Sabbath, that is, if it is not in the legalistic sense. And I will have to say -- praise God! For if one's iron-clad heavens are sewn with carnal ceremonies, rituals, and the like -- they need to be shaken. And if they choose to argue their point, they will have to argue alone, for no one benefits from heated debates. I will discuss it with them; but I will not argue or spend toiling hours writing 95 thesisto defend what I see.

Paul wrote about divisions such as this, saying -- "For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?" (1 Cor 3:4). Or we could paraphrase, beginning with verse two: "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, and neither are ye yet able. When meat has been given, you cry as children for the milk I formerly fed you. Therefore, you are yet carnal children: for there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions due to what you will hear and what you won't. This clearly shows that you are carnal. You walk as children and not as the Sons of God. For while one says, 'I have entered God's eternal rest, which is His finished works from the foundation of the world'; and another says, 'I hold to the Sabbath day that I can see on the calendar' -- are ye not carnal?"(1 Cor 3:2-4). Certainly! We are very carnal if we enter such bantering! Regardless of which is the truth, arguing about doctrinal issues will divide people, and it is carnal, pure and simple.

When I steer away from the natural and write of spiritual matters, some might assume I am against the Law of God. To the contrary, my friend. I find no fault in the law, none whatsoever. It has been a part of our journey, and God's law will be with us always. It will be fulfilled forever in our lives. In the legalistic sense, however, we must know it is not the end of our journey. It was never intended to be our final goal. There is much more to the law than being blessed if we march to its commanding cry and damned if we don't. The spirit of the law that exposes sin and works death is not for the elect of God. This may sound disagreeable to some; but please note: "Knowing this, that the law is NOT made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers"(1 Tim 1:9).

Legalism that binds is not suitable garments for the Sons of God. Even so, we must not lose sight that "the law is holy and the Commandment is Holy" (Rom 7:12), and "the scriptures are good for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16). They also testify of Christ our Lord, and are almost always the tools used by the Spirit to enlighten souls; but they are not Christ(John 5:39). Life is not found in them, not in the letter alone, and they are not our salvation.

For example, as I wrote once before, the Boy Scout manual may tell the boys how to build a fire, and we may hear them bragging about how they can start a fire by rubbing two sticks together; but until they get the fire going, they will not feel its warmth. The book and all its worthy information cannot replace the reality. It is the same with the Bible. I encourage you to learn from it, memorize and quote the scriptures, for this is good; but never let them take the place of the One to whom they speak, and likewise with a day of the week. Go to church, rest the entire day, meditate, pray, reflect upon the goodness of the Lord and be glad in it; but don't let a temporal day replace the One to which it speaks.

Attempting to fulfill the law of a day, by subjecting one's self to its letter, is an impossibility. It can't be done. Acting the part of a law-abiding saint does not make a person Godly. Godliness is never the result of outward performances. Godliness comes when God's holy law is resident within. The godliness of the Law will then shine like the Sun in a dark world. It behooves us, then, to know the spiritual side of the law, rather than the letter of it. If we don't, we will never possess Christ's authority, nor will we come forth in His glory.

If anyone wishes to keep the law, as Jesus did, it would be wise for them to take note of how He was able to perform this marvelous feat. It was something that had never been done before, but He did it. He was the FIRST to blaze the seemingly impossible trail for others to follow, and we should understand Jesus did not fulfill the law by being taught it from any man. He said, "...I do nothing of Myself; but as MY FATHER hath taught Me, I speak these things"(John 8:28).

He knew the scriptures and the law VERY well, but He did not memorize every jot and tittle of them, and then set His mind like flint to do what they said. Not at all! He did not fulfill any part of them out of shear will power, nor religious devotion. He did not possess a key of super-knowledge that unlocked the mystical door to immortality. And neither was His success due to Him being gifted with a supernatural edge called the Holy Ghost. Indeed, it was by the Spirit that the law was fulfilled, but not just because it was a gift or a tool in His hands to use as a miracle-working lever. It went much deeper than that.

He was born with the law in the Heart-center of His being -- in the Ark of the Covenant. His every heartbeat was the Law. Everything He did was, therefore, in the Name (the Nature and Authority) of His Father (John 10:25). He was in union with the law because He was in union with His Father. Jesus and His Father were one in all things(John 17:11,21). Due to this union, they knew each other as only a father and son can, and having been born of the same Seed, we are called to this union wherein we are likewise fulfilling the law!

Let me now submit to you a paradox -- although Jesus fulfilled the law, He also broke it. This happened when He shucked corn on the Sabbath, and when He healed on the Sabbath. He could do this, of course, because He was Lord of the Sabbath(Mat 12:8), even as you and I are lord of it.

Some people speak ill of devout Catholics who do penance by abstaining from certain foods, drinks, and activities during Lent. Yet, they think nothing of doing the same by dogmatically keeping the Sabbath. They literally place themselves into its stocks every week for all to see, fearing they will offend God if they don't. They are obedient to the outward but refuse to enter the inward, the finished work wherein they could find true rest. However, with their unclear vision, can we find fault? Not at all, for it is God who fashions every heart, causes the blind and makes men to see: "From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works." (Psa 33:14-15). "Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day." (Deut 29:4). "And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?"(Exo 4:11).

Although we know better than to condemn the blind for not seeing, fault is sometimes with us by those whose vision is marred. It has been said to us that to break the Sabbath is to become guilty of breaking the other commandments, such as thou shalt have no other God before thee, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, etc. In their stand, they site what James wrote, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all"(James 2:10).

Frankly, it is not my toiling, religious goal to "keep" the whole law; for man has attempted to do so for thousands of years and they all failed. So why would I be so presumptuous as to think I could do better? It is in me, however, as it should likewise be in you, to fulfill the law by the Spirit by which I was born. Moreover, if we refuse to enter the works done from the foundation of the world, The Rest of God,then we are not fulfilling the law.

We can go to church every time the doors open and still be far removed from God's Rest. That which causes us to offend the law in that point would be in refusing to believe that the works are finished, and thereby, fail to enter them. And if we teach others to do the same, we will be called the least in the Kingdom of God,as Jesus warned in Matthew 5:19.

If Jesus was so concerned about keeping the letter of the law out of the sense of religious duty, I doubt that He would have broken it. And I can assure you that He was never guilty of the others when it was broken, such as, adultery, murder, covetousness, or any other act that would be in violation of the other commandments.

However, if we want to strain at gnats, we could say that Jesus broke the seventh commandment as well, thou shalt not steal. For, you see, He it could be that He did not get permission from the farmer whose corn they were eating. Oh my! When the law becomes our hard walk, all kinds of things begin to crop up in our path.

And what about some of the first commands ever given to man? Did Jesus break them? "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Gen 2:24). To cleave to a wife, one must first have a wife, and Jesus never married, at least, not in the natural. His bride was and is His many membered body. Man was also commanded to Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth(Gen 1:28), and again, without a wife He could not do so, and, of course, He never did.

Are you getting the point? Hopefully, it can be seen that there are certain positive commands of God, that when fulfilled in the Spirit, they are not necessarily seen or required in the natural. The wife of Jesus -- by which He would be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth -- was His mystical body of saints. Therefore, once the spiritual reality is known, the need for the physical fades.

It is believed by more than a few that the commandments Jesus referred to, and the ones spoken of in the book of Revelation were the Ten Commandments. Such as: "If ye love me, keep MY commandments" (John 14:15). "If ye keep MY commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love" (John 15:10). "He that hath MY commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him"(John 14:21). Do you suppose that by religiously keeping the Ten Commandments the best to one's ability is the true test of whether he loves Jesus or not? I don't think so. The Pharisee's kept them fairly well; but they surely didn't love Jesus.

The commandments He was referring to were all those things He taught to His disciples. They were those things which would establish a new order; namely, THE KINGDOM OF GOD! It was a living word that would establish a Living KINGDOM, and this Kingdom would destroy the legalistic one of death.

The commandments in Revelation speak the same. They are God's living words, rather than dead letters. If there is any remote way that it is referring to the ten commandments, you can be sure, they are fulfilled and kept by living them. When this new and living way becomes a reality, you can also be sure there will be some opposition, and will be directly from the infamous dragon. That spirit of religion which gives the beast his power, his seat, and his authority will contend with you; for true religion is the only thing that is a threat to the dragon's kingdom.

"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and (kai - even) have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev 12:17). "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and (kai - even) the faith of Jesus" (Rev 14:12). You see, the dragon went to war with her seed who kept the commandments of God, even who have the testimony of Jesus Christ, and here are they who keep the commandments of God, even the faith of Jesus. By using even, rather than and, we see that the commandments of God are more akin to the testimony of Jesus Christ and His faith than the ten commandments.To be truthful, the dragon has no problems whatsoever with religious people following the letter of the law. For that matter, he delights in such practices, for there is no godly power in them at all, and he remains enthroned in the heavens. It is when God's words are being lived that he gets a little concerned.

We will draw our attention once again to Revelation 14:12. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they who keep the commandments of God, namely the faith of Jesus. You see, the commandments are the same as the faith of Jesus. This is the only way anyone can be justified. It is by His faith (Hab 2:4), and not our own. This is the commandby which we will live and not be guilty of offending any point of the law.

One final verse where God's commandments are used: "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city"(Rev 22:14).

In "doing" the commandments, the Pharisees did as good a job as was humanly possible; but I can tell you plainly -- they had no authority at all when it came to the tree of Life, and they did not enter through the gates of the city! It was the exact opposite; "For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie"(Rev 22:15).

There is also another point to note. According to more than two dozen of the twenty-seven Bible translations I have in my library, they render the verse altogether different. Rather than the ones who do His commandments having authority and entering the city, unanimously the other Bibles have it as -- those who wash their robes. And likewise with the three or four of my Greek New Testaments, they have it as those who wash their robes, except for the Vatican Manuscript Number 1209. This one alone uses the word, entole, which can be translated, commandment.

It is, therefore, fairly conclusive that doing commandments is not the issue, but rather, the washing of robes. However, let us use it as does the King James Version and see that it washeswell.

Doing His commandments does not suggest it is speaking of observing the ten primary laws of the Old Testament. The word, doing or to do, has no hidden meaning; for it is translated from the Greek word, poieo, which, according to Strong's simply means to make or do and is used in a very wide application. However, when we see how Jesus often used the word, it begins to carry more weight. He said, "I can of mine own self DO nothing..." (John 5:30). Therefore, how do you suppose He was able to keep or do the Law? Clearly, it was not of Himself that He did it.He had help. He had His Father with whom He was one. Everything He did was by a higher law than the law of the sweat of dos and don'ts. It was the Law of Life, and it kept Him free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2).

In another place John wrote of Him saying, "But he that DOETH truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God" (John 3:21). The DOING has nothing to do with a person being told what the truth is, and then he attempts to accomplish it by the will and determination of himself. It is far from such religious gymnastics. When people DO truth, they DO them in the Light of Christ. In turn, they are manifested in the form of godly deeds, and those deeds testify that they were wrought in and by God. Of themselves they can do nothing. Of themselves they cannot do the commandments of God, not even one of them, not even the keeping of the Sabbath. Of themselves they cannot do the truth; for only in Christ our Lord is truth found. There is no other way. Of themselves they cannot come to the light. Light and truth are conjoined. You can't have one without the other. If either is missing, so will be the other.

I like the way the Diaglott translates the verse, (All the UPPERCASE letters were by the translators for emphasis to reflect the original voice in the Greek): "But HE who DOES the TRUTH comes to the LIGHT, so that His works may be manifested That they have been done in God."

Let me now ask, do we DO the commandments of God? If we are doing anything which is called God, and if it is done by the sweat of our faces, if it is done by the power of our might, if we are doing it due to our religious persuasions, if they are done in ourselves and not in God -- the answer is NO! If WE are not hearing His word, WE are not doing His works! And neither are WE doing the commandments of God! It matters not how devout we feel about it, or how sincere we are in doing this and that -- if those things are not wrought in God, we are not doing His commandments. If we ever expect to do any of the commandments of the law, it will only be done in Christ and not by the will and power of the flesh. "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth"(Rom 10:4).

It is good to rest the mind and body one full day a week; for the natural Sabbath was given to man so his mind and body could repair; but let us not make that long shadow our tenant of faith, and therewith bind ourselves. The elect are called to be free, and as Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath, so are those who abide in Him, rather than it being lord of them.

"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it" (Heb 4:1). If Saturday was the Rest being referred to in this verse, do you suppose it would have been difficult to get the Christian Hebrews, to whom this letter was written, to go to church on Saturday? And do we believe for a minute that it would have been said to them, let us therefore fear, lest you come short of it? There is no way we could assume such; for Saturday was the day by custom that the Hebrews had gone to church all their lives. They knew nothing else. There was no other day for them to consider; but the writer of Hebrews saw first hand that they had not entered the true rest of which the Sabbath was a shadow. If it was anything like it is today, he was probably witnessing the same things we see; namely, that they are trying to finish in the flesh what was started in the Spirit. And we could say with Paul, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"(Gal 3:1-3)

Brethren, of a truth, there is a great need to change that which we perceive as truth. There must be a shift in our thinking -- from carnal to spiritual, from religious to reality, from death to life. In so doing, we can thunder from the heavens of our spirits, "we which have believed do enter into rest...namely, the works that were finished from the foundation of the world"(Heb 4:3).

"For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, 'And God rested on the seventh day from all His works." And again in this place it says, 'They shall not enter my rest'" (Heb 4:4-5, NRSV). Not to belabor the point; but does this sound as if the Rest is a mere day of the week? Not by any means, and to make this more sure, we note the next couple of verses, "Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, 'Today,' saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, 'TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS'" (Heb 4:6-7). If you do hear, as Margit related to me recently, and you do not harden your hearts -- you will enter at that instant.

"For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that" (Heb 4:8, NASB). "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief"(Heb 4:9-11).

In closing, we will borrow from our previous study, Rest In The Finished Works#00.133:

To labour in order to enter into God's rest, is an oxymoron to say the least. It sounds as if we can't help from breaking into a sweat, especially since sweat is a byproduct of labor, and rest is the exact opposite. However, with the proper definition of the word, labour, we can quickly see what is actually being said. Therefore, it is imperative to use speed when it comes to entering that Sabbatical rest, that which is heaven's bliss to those therein. Great merit is gained when their hearts are eager to cease from their own labors and leave the toil of religious works and enter His peaceful rest. And how joyful it is when they are promptto believe and embrace that which is finished.

There is something we have missed far too long -- the fact that all of God's works are finished. There's nothing left for Him to do. From the earth's perspective, this is impossible to believe or grasp; but from heaven's ramparts it becomes increasingly clear that it indeed is. And our first part of entering into God's finished work is simply to believe in Him who was sent. "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent"(John 6:29).

Hopefully, those heavenly gates will be opened today for us to peer more intently upon those marvelous works that He worked on for six days, and then rested. One of those individual finished works was, no doubt, the man who was born blind that Jesus healed: "Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (John 9:3). The man was healed before he ever heard those wonderful words, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam."They streamed like a river from the heavens of Jesus in whom all things were created (Col 1:16). Prior to that day, the healing could not be seen; for such grace had not rained upon his earth to bring it forth. But when Jesus showed contempt for blindness by smearing muddied spit in his eyes, and the man washed, he then saw.

The book of Genesis is a recorded history in seed form of what God did in His six days of work, and part of that work is you and me in particular. Not only that, every good work we do has already been done. It was finished before we breathed our first breath of Earth's air. When we sing a song by the inspiration of the Spirit, preach a life-giving word, write an anointed message -- each one of those precious works were finished before ever a word or deed were uttered or seen. They were trumpeted by us long ago when the morning stars sang and the sons of God shouted for joy.

If our songs, sermons, lessons, witnessing, testifying, and other services are by the Spirit, then they are those things which were already said and sung. They were finished from the foundation of the world. They are from above and not from beneath. When they are charged with His life, every particle is a portion of the finished work coming into manifestation. They are those things which have been waiting in the wings of the ages, waiting for their time and season to be made known in the earth. Such are the good works we receive from heaven, else they would not be available to us at all.

If we believe what is written, we will quickly know that it is impossible to receive anything of God unless it is from His Eternal Day of Rest. John said, "...A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (John 3:27). You see, it is not in our natural makeup to suddenly decide to do God's good works, and should we try, we can't expect Him to sanction them. Our works and carnal efforts will not be endorsed in heaven. Even so, it is not uncommon to see people take to themselves a ministry, not realizing, if it has been already made in the heavens for them, there will be no need for them to take it; for at the proper time they can receive itwhen it is given to them.

Religious works which find their roots in the earth will not have God's hand of blessing upon them. Only in Christ does He recognize anything as being His own; for it is in Him, in His Son, wherein all His works were done.

We can glean from the wise sages of the past and present, and apply what we learn to our daily lives; but the upper echelons of men's minds are still not the good works that God finished from the foundation of the world. If it is not already in heaven, it will never be in the earth with His mark upon it.

"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it"(Heb 4:1).

Elwin R. Roach

SOURCE (ACCESSED AUGUST 06, 2012)

 

 







 

 

 

 
 

James 1:22

Amplified Bible (AMP)

22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].

 

 


  

 

John 14:21

Amplified Bible (AMP)

21 The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]

 
 

Kingdom of God -

Mark 1:14-15 tells us, “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand (#1448 “engizo” - drawing near, imminent): repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Goodspeed’s translation says, “...the reign of God is near...”

The word “kingdom” is translated from the Greek noun #932 “basileia” and means royal power, dominion, sovereignty, realm, i.e. the territory subject to the rule of a king. Therefore, according to the original Greet text, the “Kingdom of God” is the realm or territory that God has complete and sovereign rule over. Vine’s Dictionary defines it as the sphere of God’s rule.

The New Testament mentions several distinct kingdoms that are different from one another in scope and purpose. They are the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, the kingdoms of this world, every kingdom, satan’s kingdom, Christ’s kingdom, the Father’s kingdom, the kingdom of His dear Son, a heavenly kingdom, and, in the last days, the kingdom of the ten kings of Revelation chapter seventeen.

The kingdom most often described in the New Testament is the “Kingdom of God” (translated seventy-one times); whereas, the “Kingdom of Heaven” is mentioned thirty-three times (used only in the book of Matthew). While many Bible interpreters teach that the “Kingdom of God” and the “Kingdom of Heaven” represent the same reality, a careful study of the scriptures reveals several distinctions (covered at the end of this article).

In Mark 4:11, Jesus taught, “...Unto you it is given to know the mystery (#3466 “mysterion” - hidden thing, secret, not obvious to the understanding) of the kingdom of God...”; which indicates that the Kingdom of God is presently a mystery that can only be understood through Divine revelation. Jesus said in John 3:3-5 that one must be “born again” to fully perceive and comprehend the Kingdom, and “born of the Spirit” to enter into the Kingdom of God.

In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus described the territory that the Kingdom of God presently governs, “...The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation (#3907 “parateresis” - that which is seen with the physical eyes, in a visible manner). Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there!, for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”; that is, the Kingdom of God presently does not come within the range of the natural powers of observation, but is first and foremost residing in the heart of the individual believer. Vine’s Dictionary states, “Thus at the present time and so far as this earth is concerned, where the King is and where His rule is acknowledged, there is the Kingdom.”

The Kingdom of God is also a future reality. Revelation 11:15 describes what will happen to the kingdoms of this world in the last days, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” The word “become” is translated from the Greek verb #1096 “ginomai” which signifies a change of condition, state, or place.

In other words, at the end of the present earth’s history, all the kingdoms of the world will be either subsumed or abrogated by the Kingdom of God, which is the superior and the greatest kingdom of all. The Amplified says, “...The dominion (kingdom, sovereignty, rule) of the world has now come into the possession and become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (the Messiah), and He shall reign forever and ever (for the eternities of the eternities)!”


Seek first the Kingdom of God -

The first mention of the phrase “Kingdom of God” is found in Matthew 6:33; at the end of Jesus’ message on the futility of worry and anxiety, He concluded by saying, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Above every other priority in our life, Jesus told us to seek “first” the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. The Amplified says, “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.”

To seek God’s Kingdom we must also seek His righteousness, His way of doing things. We must conform our will to the Will of God and want only what He wants. We must adjust our behavior to do the things that are right in His eyes and live our life according to the ways and purposes of God, i.e. according to His righteousness.

Psalms 97:2 tells us that, “...righteousness and judgment are the habitation (lit: foundation) of His throne.” The Harrison translation says that righteousness and justice “are the basis for His sovereignty.” God’s Kingdom is founded upon His righteousness, His way of doing and acting.

The Holman Bible Dictionary states: “What did Jesus mean when He spoke of the Kingdom of God?? He was not speaking of a geographical area such as the Holy Land. Rather, the Kingdom of God simply means the rule of God. Jesus never said that people are to build the Kingdom of God.” Therefore, to enter the Kingdom, one must submit to the righteousness of God and submit to the rule of Christ.

Jesus began this message on the Kingdom of God by teaching His disciples how to pray correctly. Matthew 6:9-10 says, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”


Entering the Kingdom of God -

Jesus clearly taught in the third chapter of John’s Gospel that the only way a person can enter the Kingdom of God is to be born again. While speaking to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, Jesus said in verse three, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

The word “see” is translated from the Greek verb #1492 “eido” which means to see or perceive, as in understanding the true meaning of some thing. Jesus taught that the only way a person can perceive or understand the Kingdom of God is to be “born again”, i.e. to have a spiritual conversion. The Greek text for “born again” literally means to be born from above, from a higher place (referring to the things which come from heaven or God).

Nicodemus was confused by this statement and asked, How can one be born a second time? Verse five continues, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter (#1525 “eiserchomai” - to come into, to enter) into the kingdom of God.” In other words, you must be born of the Spirit to gain entrance into the Kingdom of God.

Jesus continued in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

Every man that enters the Kingdom will experience two births. The first birth is through the womb of his mother which enables him with physical life. The second is through the agency of the Holy Spirit, which enables him for spiritual life and opens his eyes to perceive and enjoy the benefits and the excellency of the Kingdom of God.

Nicodemus was very perplexed at Jesus statement. Since he was a Jew, he was taught from childhood that he ascended from Abraham and was automatically assured of heaven. But Jesus taught a new message that is based upon the New Covenant.

Jesus clearly taught that the Old Covenant that Nicodemus was raised under has now been subsumed by the New Covenant. He said in Luke 16:16, “The law and the prophets were until John (referring to John the Baptist): since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” God has now established a new plan for man’s salvation. In order for one to enter the Kingdom of God, he must now accept the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, and experience a spiritual conversion.

Jesus also taught that we must humble ourselves like a little child to receive the Kingdom of God. Mark 10:15 says, “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” In other words, we enter the Kingdom of God with simple, child like faith.

David Guzik writes, “Children receive the blessing of Jesus without trying to make themselves worthy of it, or pretending they don’t need it. We need to receive God’s blessings the same way.” In other words, we no longer earn salvation by keeping the righteous demands of the Old Testament Law; instead, we must humble ourselves like a little child and accept by faith the sacrifice that Christ provided for us.

The Apostle Paul was even more specific about what type of character inherits the Kingdom of God. I Corinthians 6:9-10, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” The morally corrupt cannot inherit (#2816 “kleronomeo” - to receive as a birth-right) the Kingdom of God. They must be born-again! They must be changed.

The next verse says, “And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” In other words, before Christ we are all sinners; but when we turn away from our life of sin and accept Jesus Christ as the Lord of our life we receive a spiritual conversion and become born-again, which enables us to receive as our birth-right the Kingdom of God.


How the Kingdom operates -

In Mark 4:11, Jesus taught, “...Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables.” To the outsider (those that are insincere and worldly) the knowledge of the Kingdom is a mystery (something they could never figure out on their own); but true believers, those that are seeking revelation knowledge from God, will be granted Divine insight into the operation of God’s Kingdom.

Jesus often used “parables” that were rich in spiritual meaning to teach His disciples the truths of the Kingdom of God. He also used parables to limit the knowledge of the worldly and religious people. In other words, only the sincere seekers of Divine truth would be blessed with revelation knowledge about God’s Kingdom.

Jesus began to explain this parable in Mark 4:14, “The sower soweth the word.” Jesus went on to explain that the seed is the living Word of God, and the ground that the Word is sown in represents a man’s heart. How each believer receives the seed of God’s Word into their respective heart determines the measure of God’s Kingdom that is activated in their lives.

The Kingdom of God is based upon the “Word” principle. It is not based upon religious activity, social position, money, cliques, church boards, or politics. To fully enjoy the benefits of God’s Kingdom, you must nurture and cultivate the seed of God’s Word and allow it to produce fruit in your life.

Jesus went on to describe four types of ground that represent four classes of people that hear the Word of God.

Verse fifteen describes the first type of ground, “And these are they by the wayside, where the word is sown...” This represents the casual believer who is standing on the sidelines and not fully committed to serving the Lord with his whole heart. Verse fifteen continues, “...when they have heard, satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.” Because they have no firm commitment to serve the Lord, the Word is easily robbed out of their heart and, therefore, produces no fruit in their life.

Luke 8:12 says it this way, “...then cometh the devil and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” In other words, these people are never truly saved.

The second type of ground (i.e. heart) that Jesus described is called stony ground. Mark 4:5, “And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth.” This represents the people that have a shallow or superficial relationship with the Lord and with His Word.

The dictionary defines “superficial” as something that is limited to the surface area only, concerned with and understanding only what is apparent and obvious; that which is shallow, not profound, and lacking any true significance.

Mark 4:16-17 continues, “And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground, who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness, and have no root in themselves, and so endure for for a time (lit. “season)...” Because they have no depth of character and live shallow lives (i.e. “no root in themselves”), they rejoice over God’s Word for only a short season before it is robbed from their heart.

Verse seventeen continues, “...when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.” The word “offended” is the Greek verb #4624 “skandalizo” and means to put a stumbling-block or impediment in the way. This Greek word is translated “to offend” thirty times in the New Testament.

People who are easily offended and continually hold on to hurt feelings and strife will never fully mature in the things of God. Though God truly loves them, their failure to integrate the love nature into their daily walk will limit their revelation knowledge of God’s Word and dwarf their spiritual growth, diminishing their potential in the Kingdom.

Mark 4:18-19 describes the third type of ground, “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.”

The Amplified says, “The cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.”

Like weeds that choke the life out of the young seeds in a garden, the cares and anxieties of your physical life will choke the Word of God and prevent it from producing fruit. This is why Jesus instructed us to subordinate our earthly needs to our quest of seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Mt. 6:33).

Then, Jesus described the good, productive ground (heart) in Mark 4:20, “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” In other words, there are various degrees of success and fruitfulness that one can experience in the Kingdom of God.

In Luke’s version of the same parable, verse fifteen adds, “...having heard the word, (they) keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” The phrase “keep it” is translated from the Greek verb #2722 “katecho” which means to hold fast, to retain, to possess. In other words, the good ground are those believers who hold on to the Word of God and refuse to allow any outside force to dig it up or impede it’s growth.

Luke also adds that the key to bringing forth fruit is “patience”. The Greek noun #5281 “hupomone” means steadfastness, constancy, endurance, the absence of change.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that “hupomone” is the characteristic of a man who is “unswerved” from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.

The Word of God carries within its kernel enough power to cause itself to come to pass. It will produce in your life what God designed it to produce. Healing, freedom, forgiveness, deliverance, mercy, prosperity; all the blessings of the Abundant Life in Christ Jesus are yours to possess. But you must be developed, schooled, and grounded in the force of “patience” (an unswerving, determined attitude that says, I will never give up, I will never quit until I see the fruit of God’s Kingdom produced in my life).

Mark 4:24 in the Amplified translation says, “...The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you - and more [besides] will be given to you who hear.” How much of God’s Kingdom is released in your life is based upon your ability to hear and retain God’s Word.


Other parables of the Kingdom of God -

In Mark 4:26-27 Jesus continued teaching that the Kingdom of God works according to the “seed” principle, “And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground. And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.”

The Word grows in our heart and produces the fruit of the Kingdom. We might not understand it, it is a mystery to us; but, if continue to nurture the seed and allow it to grow, a harvest will bountifully spring forth, and our lives will gradually change.

In Mark 4:30-32, Jesus continues, “And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth.”

“But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.”

Luke 13:20-21 says the Kingdom is like leaven that influences the whole loaf, “And again He said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”

Hebrews 4:12 in the Amplified tells us that the Word of God is “...alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]... penetrating to.... [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.”

If you allow it to penetrate the depths of your heart, the Word of God will change your personality, your habits, your thoughts, and every part of your being. It will transform you into the loving and faith filled child that God created you to be.


The Kingdom of Peace -


The Apostle Paul stated in Romans 14:17, ”For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Paul made this statement to try and settle misunderstandings that existed between the Jewish and Gentile Christians at Rome. The Jewish Christians taught that all believers must keep the Old Testament law that expressly forbade the eating of certain types of food. However, the apostle Paul had a different and more mature understanding about the New Covenant in Christ.

Living in God’s kingdom is not meant to be a hard and frustrating experience that is filled with ritual and sacerdotal duties of religious observance. The kingdom is about righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

In verse eighteen, Paul wrote, “For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.” In other words, your only obligation is to follow God. Religion should have no hold over your life.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The phrase “all ye that labor” is translated from the Greek #2872 “kopiao” which means to grow weary, tired, and exhausted with wearisome labour and effort.

The phrase “heavy laden” comes from the Greek #5412 “phortizo” which means to be loaded up and overburdened with ceremony and unwarranted precepts. It refers to the religious burdens that are imposed upon men and women that seek right standing with God.

Attempting to find rest and peace with God, many in the body of Christ have burdened themselves with religious ceremony and sacerdotal duties that can easily become wearisome and tiring to their soul. But the God of the New Testament never instructs us to be religious or liturgical. Real and sustainable peace can only come from an intimate relationship with the Lord.

In Matthew 11:29,30 Jesus added, “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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Your relationship with the Lord should never be a burden or an exhausting activity. The Lord’s yoke is easy (#5543 “chrestos” - that which is good and pleasant, in contrast to what is hard, harsh, sharp, and bitter) and His burden is light (#1645 “elaphros” - light in weight and easy to bear).

Living in the Kingdom of God is not meant to be a heavy burden around your neck. In fact, the word translated “rest” is the Greek #372 “anapausis” which Vine’s Dictionary describes as being at rest in your work. The Hastings’ Dictionary says, “not the rest of inactivity but of the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections, of will, heart, imagination, conscience, because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development.”

The Kingdom of God is all about your learning to live according to God’s righteousness, in total peace and joy which is supplied by the Holy Ghost.


Money and the Kingdom -

Jesus made an remarkable statement about riches and the Kingdom of God in Mark 10:23, “And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches (#5536 “chrema” - money, riches, wealth) enter into the kingdom of God!”

Inasmuch as everyone has money and prosperity is considered to be a sign of God’s favor, the disciples were stunned by His statement and listened attentively as Jesus expounded further, “And the disciples were astonished (#2284 “thambeo” - to be amazed, terrified) at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust (#3982 “peitho” - to be persuaded, influenced, to have confidence) in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:24).

In other words, it is not wrong or detrimental for a person to possess money or riches, as long as that person values his relationship with the Lord above the accumulation of wealth, and does not place his security in the money he possesses. The Amplified Bible correctly translates the Greek word for “trust”, “...how hard it is for those who trust (place their confidence, their sense of safety) in riches to enter the kingdom of God.”

It is not wrong to have money; however, it is wrong to let money have an abnormal control over your life. Jesus taught that a person who places his trust and confidence in money, instead of the Lord, will find it “hard” (#1422 “dyskolos” - difficult to please, hard to satisfy) to remain focused on spiritual pursuits, as his attention will naturally be drawn to the accumulation and enjoyment of more wealth.

The Bible clearly teaches that God’s desire is for His children to prosper in this physical world. Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power (#3581 “koach” - strength, capacity, means, energy) to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant...” Psalms 35:27 says that the LORD, “...has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.” Moffatt’s translation, “All Hail to the Eternal, who loves to see His servant prospering.”

When the Lord gives His children the power to get wealth, He will also give them the grace and wisdom they need to keep their wealth in the proper perspective; i.e., to never let their prosperity override their devotion to the Lord.

I Timothy 6:17, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”

The Apostle Paul warned in I Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money(#5365 “philarguria” - to love money, avarice, covetousness) is the root of all evil...” Money, in and of itself, is not evil; but an immoderate desire for wealth will cause you to become an extremely greedy and covetous person. If left unrestrained, the “love of money” will override your spiritual hunger for the Kingdom of God and dampen your quest for intimacy with the Lord.

I Timothy 6:9 in the Amplified Bible says, “But those who crave to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish (useless, godless) and hurtful desires...” The craving for riches is a snare in your soul that causes you to focus on the accumulation of wealth instead of pursuing the Lord.

Jesus taught in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (#3126 mamonas - riches or treasure personified).” A wealthy man usually possesses pride in his accomplishments and is less likely to recognize his need for God. A rich and self-possessed man will have a difficult time humbling himself like a little child and confessing that he has need of God.

Psalms 62:10 tells us how to handle our wealth, “...if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” The Jerusalem Bible reads, “...though riches may increase, keep your heart detached.”

Jesus went on to say in Mark 10:25, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man (#4145 “plousios” - wealthy, abounding in material resources) to enter into the kingdom of God.” Jesus did not teach that rich men “cannot” enter the Kingdom. He did say that it would be difficult.

Although there is no archaeological evidence to prove it, many believe that the “eye of a needle” refers to a small door that was located at the Jaffa Gate in the wall that surrounded Jerusalem. For a camel to pass through this small opening he would have to be unburdened of his baggage, bow on his knees and crawl through the door. In other words, for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, he must stop clinging to his earthly wealth and humble himself like a little child.

Mark 10:26 describes the disciple’s reaction to this statement, “And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?” The Amplified says, “...they were shocked and exceedingly astonished...” Why? Because they all had money and possessions. Some of the disciples that followed Christ were wealthy: Matthew was a tax collector; Peter owned a a fishing boat as well as a house that was big enough to entertain Jesus and the twelve disciples.

Realizing their astonishment, Jesus responded in Mark 10:27, “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” In other words, through God’s grace, it is possible for a rich man to humble himself like a little child and enter the Kingdom of God. The love of God can transform every class of man, both the rich and the poor, and cause them to possess the full measure of eternal life by being born-again in Christ.

Jesus began this teaching on riches and the Kingdom of God after a rich, young man approached Him and asked what he should do to inherit eternal life (Mark 10:17). After it was determined that the young man was religiously observing the “Law”, verse twenty-one says, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest (#5302 “hustereo” - to fall short, to fail, to be in want): go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor.... and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” In other words, there was only one area where this man fell short; he placed too much trust and confidence in his riches.

The young man, who could not break free from his love of money, became dejected and saddened at Jesus’ statement. Verse twenty-two in the Amplified Bible says, “At that saying the man’s countenance fell and was gloomy, and he went away grieved and sorrowing, for he was holding great possessions.” Although he had everything the world could offer, this man did not have peace in his heart; his wealth was hindering his relationship with the Lord.

In the Gospel of Luke’s telling of this same story, Luke 18:28-30 tells us what happened next, “Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all and followed thee. And He (Jesus) said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.”

Unfortunately, Peter’s bold statement of sacrifice was completely false. We know that Peter had not given up all his earthly possessions when he made this statement; he still owned his house and his fishing boat. Instead of correcting him, Jesus loved him; and Peter went on to be one of the greatest apostles of the church.

Therefore, what God requires is that we refuse to allow our material possessions to have a greater hold on our life than our pursuit of the Kingdom of God. Our primary concern should be the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness.

Proverbs 8:20-21 in the Amplified Bible tells us that God leads, “...in the way of righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation)... that I (God) may cause those who love me to inherit [true] riches and that I may fill their treasuries.” With God’s help, you can be both righteous and prosperous.

Jesus said it so succinctly in Matthew 6:33 (Amplified), “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and than all these things...” (the prosperity that the world is seeking after) “...will be given you besides.” Phillip’s translation says, “Set your heart on His kingdom.... and all these things will come to you as a matter of course.”


Miracles and the Kingdom -

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus demonstrated that the power to work miracles and heal the sick was a vital part of the Kingdom of God. Luke 9:11 tells us that the people, “...followed Him: and He received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.”

The power to work miracles in the Kingdom of God is not limited to the ministry of Christ. After He called his twelve disciples together, Luke 9:1-2 says that Jesus, “...gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And He sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” Verse six continues, “And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.”

The power (#1411 “dunamis” - inherent power, ability, and strength) and authority (#1849 “exousia” - the right to exercise power) to work miracles and heal the sick is transferred from Christ to every disciple in various degrees of effectiveness, which enables them to fully preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.

The anointing to work miracles is not limited to the first twelve disciples either. Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power (“dunamis”), after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you...” Every believer that receives the Holy Spirit is enabled to work miracles in the name of Jesus.

Mark 16:17 tells us, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils.... they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” All believers possess the same “power” and “authority” that the early disciples possessed.

The Apostle Paul, who was saved after Christ’s resurrection and, as far as we know, never heard Christ preach, wrote Romans 15:19, “Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power (“dunamis”) of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” To fully preach the gospel of the Kingdom, one must also demonstrate the power of God.

The Kingdom of God is also the place where believers exercise authority over all demons. In Luke 11:20, after He cast a devil out of a man, Jesus said, “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” Jesus has not given us the power to merely fight against evil, but to overcome every stronghold of the devil through the power of the Holy Ghost by delivering those that are possessed with a devil.

I Corinthians 4:20 says, “For the kingdom of God is not in word (#3056 “logos”), but in power (“dunamis”).” The Kingdom of God is the place where God’s power is demonstrated to minister to the whole person; spirit, soul, and body.


Tribulation and the Kingdom -

In Act 14:22 the Apostle Paul preached this message, “...and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” To enter into the Kingdom of God, one must realize that he will go through “tribulation”.

Paul was speaking from personal experience. Even though great miracles were worked in Paul’s ministry, the preceding verse’s in the book of Act’s tell us that Paul was persecuted, defamed, vilified, stoned and left for dead by the enemies of the Gospel of Christ.

The word “tribulation” is the Greek #2347 “thlipsis” which means pressure, affliction and trouble. Vines Expository Dictionary defines these pressures as anything which burdens the spirit, such as the pressure of circumstances or antagonism of persons, and specifically refers to pressure that is coming from the outside as opposed to internal pressure.

In Matthew 7:14 Jesus told us, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow (#2346 “thlibo” - filled with outside pressure) is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” In other words, the road to eternal life is filled with tribulation and pressure of all sorts that causes many to loose heart and give up.

But you can overcome tribulation. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation (#2347 “thlipsis”); but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

The phrase “be of good cheer” is the Greek #2293 “tharseo” which means to exercise courage, to be bold and to be confident. Jesus wasn’t merely telling us to cheer up, put a smile on our face and hope for the best. He was telling us to take an active and courageous position of faith instead of passively acquiescing to the problem. He was telling us to get on the offense and become pro-active with our faith by doing something bold.

Why? Because the believer will never escape the tribulation that is in the world. The Amplified Bible says, “... in the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration...”

Tribulation comes through people, through outside circumstances and through evil spirits that all try to fill your heart and mind with doubt and unbelief. Since the present earth is under a curse, those who enter the Kingdom of God are automatically brought into conflict with every personality that opposes Christ’s rule.

However, if you keep your eyes on Jesus, you can overcome in the day of adversity. Jesus said, when tribulation comes .... Be of Good Cheer! Do something courageous. Do something bold.

Paul wrote in II Thessalonians 1:5, “...that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer.”


When will the Kingdom of God appear -

The Jews in Jesus’ day believed that the Kingdom represented a time when the Romans would be cast out of Israel and a world-wide kingdom, based in Jerusalem, would be set up to rule the world. They believed that the Kingdom of God was both a supernatural and physical kingdom that would bring man’s history to a close and establish God’s reign upon the earth. Soon the Messiah would come, the final judgment would take place, and world history as we know it would cease.

In Luke 17:20, the Pharisees demanded to know when the Kingdom of God would appear. Jesus, “...answered them and said, the kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” The Amplified says, “...the kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display.” In other words, one cannot point to one event and declare that the Kingdom has come in it’s fullest measure to the Earth.

Luke 17:21 continues, “Neither shall they say, Lo here or, lo there, for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” The Amplified says, “...the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].”

In other words, the Kingdom of God is not an outward or physical reality that can be seen or observed with the physical eye. It is both inside you and surrounding you. The present Kingdom is spiritual in nature and can only be discerned with spiritual eyes.

Luke 19:11 tells us that many in Jerusalem believed that “...the kingdom of God should immediately appear.” To correct this view, Jesus taught a parable in Luke 19:12-28 about a nobleman who “...went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.”

The “nobleman” obviously refers to Jesus; Who, after His crucifixion, ascended to the Father in Heaven (the far country) and was crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords (i.e., He received a kingdom), and will soon return (the Second Coming) to judge the world.

Luke 19:13 tells us that before he left, the “nobleman” gave his servants (his followers) ten pounds and said unto them, “...Occupy till I come.” Verse fourteen says that the citizens (a different group of people) hated the nobleman and sent a message, “...saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” The “citizens” represent the nation of Israel who initially rejected the Lord and crucified Him, as well as the people of earth who refuse to accept Christ as the Lord of their life.

Luke 19:15-27 says that when the nobleman returns, he judges his servants according to what they have done with the ten pounds (the judgment of works in Revelation 20:12-13), and then judges the citizens that rejected his rule over them (fulfilled in Revelation 20:15).

While the signs and powers of the kingdom are already at work in the earth, the prefigurement of its glory is already present, the literal fulfillment of the Kingdom of God is a future event, described in the book of Daniel.

In the second chapter of the book of Daniel, God revealed to Daniel the interpretation of a dream that Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, had concerning his kingdom, the latter days, and the Kingdom of God. Daniel revealed that after the Babylonian kingdom’s demise, three other kingdoms would rise, which are later interpreted in Daniel to be the Medo-Persian Empire, the Greek Empire (ruled by Alexander the Great), and the Roman Empire. History confirms the rise of these great empires.

Further study in the succeeding chapters of the book of Daniel reveals that the Roman Empire will be revised in the latter days and ruled over by ten kings. Daniel 2:44 tells us, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed.... and it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”

In other words, the literal kingdom that God establishes on the earth will be set up during the last days.

In the twenty-first chapter of Luke, Jesus described a series of events that would take place and precede the Kingdom of God coming fully to the earth. Luke 21:14 says, “...and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” This scripture was fulfilled in 1967 when the Jews captured Jerusalem during the six-day war.

Afterwards, Jesus described His Second Coming in verse twenty-seven, “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Then, after the Second Coming, Jesus said, “...when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand (#1451 “engus” - imminent, soon to come to pass).” (Luke 21:31). In other words, the Kingdom of God will not fully come to the Earth until after the Second Coming of Christ.

After satan and his rebellious angels are cast out of heaven, Revelation 12:10 says, “...Now is come.... the kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”

The Apostle Paul, speaking about the Second Coming of Christ and the Kingdom, wrote I Corinthians 15:24, “Then cometh the end, when He (Christ) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all the rule and all authority and power.” In other words, after His Second Coming, after all earthly authority and power has been put down, Christ will deliver to God the kingdom that Christ now rules over (i.e. the Kingdom of Heaven). At this time, the Kingdom of Heaven will be subsumed by the Kingdom of God.

The next verse continues, “For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Revelation 20:14 says that “death” (the last enemy to be put down) will be destroyed at the end of Christ’s Millennial reign and at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment.

Right before His crucifixion, Mark 14:25 tells us that Jesus told His disciples at the last supper, “Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” This refers to the marriage supper of the Lamb, which is a future event and will take place after the Second Coming of Christ.

While Jesus clearly taught that the Kingdom is a future event, He also indicated that it’s power had already come among believers. After Jesus cast a devil out of a man, He said in Luke 11:20, “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” The word “come” is translated from the Greek verb #5348 “phthano” which Vine’s Dictionary defines as coming sooner than expected.

In Mark 9:1, Jesus said, “And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” The Greek word translated “seen” does not refer to physical sight; rather, Vine’s Dictionary states that #1492 “eido” means to know by perception. Strong’s Concordance definition is to see with the mind’s eye, to possess a clear and mental perception.

Therefore, while the literal Kingdom of God will not be fully consummated on the earth until after the Millennial reign of Christ, the effects of God’s Kingdom can come upon human lives today, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, at any time.


Comparing the Kingdom of God
to the Kingdom of Heaven -

While many Bible interpreters teach that the “Kingdom of God” and the “Kingdom of Heaven” represent the same reality, a careful study of the scriptures reveals several distinctions.

Many times in the Bible both phrases are used interchangeably; such as Matthew 19:23-24, “...a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.... it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Because both terms are often substituted for one another, many in the Body of Christ have a difficult time separating the Kingdom of Heaven from the Kingdom of God.

Vine’s Dictionary states, “The phrase, Kingdom of Heaven, is used only dispensationally and in connection with Israel. The term “Kingdom of God” is broader in aspect and signifies the entire sphere of God’s rule and spiritual force.” The Kingdom of Heaven is contained in the Kingdom of God, but the Kingdom of God is not limited to the Kingdom of Heaven.

In Matthew 13:47, Jesus taught that the Kingdom of Heaven is composed of both the righteous and the unrighteous, “...the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind of fish, both the good and the bad. This parable indicates that the Kingdom of Heaven is all-inclusive, open to everyone, and includes both good and bad fish.

However, Paul writes in I Corinthians 6:9-11 that the Kingdom of God is exclusive and inhabited only by the truly righteous, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators... nor adulterers, nor effeminate... nor thieves... nor drunkards... shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

This parable of the “Kingdom of Heaven” continues in Matthew 13:48-50 where the net is brought to shore and the “good” fish are separated from the “bad” fish. “So shall it be at the end of the world; the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.” At the end of the world, the angels will separate the wicked from the just in the Kingdom of Heaven. In other words, according to Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven is presently composed of the wicked dwelling among the just.

While the Kingdom of Heaven is inclusive, the Kingdom of God is composed only of the righteous, born-again believers. John 3:5, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter (#1525 “eiserchomai” - to come into, to enter) into the kingdom of God.” You must be born of the Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God.

In Matthew 13:24-25, Jesus taught, “...the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field.... (then) his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat...” In other words, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a great field that contains both good seed and bad seed.

Jesus fully explained this parable, privately, to the disciples in Matthew 13:36-43. He taught that the man that sowed the good seed is the Son of Man, i.e. Jesus (He is the Lord over the Kingdom of Heaven), the “field” that the Kingdom of Heaven encompasses is the world (#2889 “kosmos” - figuratively, all mankind, the human race); the good seed are the true believers (planted in the kingdom by Jesus and later called the “righteous”), and the tares are people that are sown by the devil (i.e., children of the wicked one). In other words, the Kingdom of Heaven is all-inclusive and includes both the righteous and false believers (tares) in its midst.

Matthew 13:40-41 says that at the end of this world (#165 “aion” - age, era, a period of time) Jesus will send forth His angels to first gather out of His Kingdom (i.e. the Kingdom of Heaven) the tares that were sown by the enemy. After this is done, verse forty-three says, “Then (after the tares are gathered out of the Kingdom of Heaven) shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father (i.e. the Kingdom of God)...”

At this time, at the end of the Millennium, the Apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 15:24 that Christ will deliver up the kingdom (the Kingdom of Heaven) to God.

In Matthew 18:3, Jesus said, “...Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” In modern usage, when we use the word “converted” we usually mean spiritual conversion; however, the Greek word used here does not imply to be “born-again”. The Greek verb #4762 “strepho” simply means to turn, to turn around, as in Matthew 5:39, “...whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn (“strepho”) to him the other also.”

While some in the Kingdom of Heaven are born-again, many have merely changed their outward behavior and never submitted to Christ ruling in their heart. They have never experienced the spiritual conversion that is required to enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:4).

The Kingdom of Heaven is inclusive. To enter into the Kingdom of God you must be born-again and exhibit the character of God’s righteousness.

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Kingdom of Heaven -

The phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” appears thirty-three times in the KJV Bible, and is found only in the gospel of Matthew which was written to present the gospel message to the nation of Israel. According to the Scofield Reference Bible, the “Kingdom of Heaven” signifies the Messianic earth rule of Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist was the first person to use the phrase. Matthew 3:1-2 says that he was, “...preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Verse three says that John the Baptist’s ministry was prophecied in the book of Isaiah, “...saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” In other words, John the Baptist was sent to be the harbinger and forerunner of Christ. His ministry was to prepare the hearts of the people to receive the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the King that rules over the Kingdom of Heaven.

A few months later, Jesus began to preach the same message. Matthew 4:17 says, “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Both men preached that believers should “repent” (#3340 “metanoeo” - to change one’s mind or purpose) for the Kingdom of Heaven was “at hand”, which is translated from the Greek verb #1448 “engizo” and means to be imminent, drawing near, approaching. The use of this verb indicates that Jesus taught the Kingdom of Heaven was not yet on the earth during the early stages of His earthly ministry, but was drawing near.

When did the Kingdom of Heaven come to the earth?

In Matthew 25:14-19, Jesus taught, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.... After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.” Since Jesus is obviously referring to Himself as the lord who traveled to a far country (i.e. heaven, when, after His resurrection, He ascended to the Father) and returns to settle accounts with his servants (the Second Coming), we can assume that the Kingdom of Heaven began when Christ ascended to the Father.

When Christ was being questioned by Pilate, He said in John 18:36, “...My kingdom is not of this world (#2889 “kosmos” - the present condition of human or worldly affairs including the inhabitants of the earth, the earthly state of things). Christ’s kingdom is not derived from an earthly origin, it is a “heavenly” kingdom. “...if my kingdom were of this world (“kosmos”), then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence (#1782 “entheuthen” - from this place).” The Amplified says, “My kingdom is not from here (this world); [it has no such origin or source].

Earthly kingdoms are based upon material power, the power of armies, or the power of wealth. But the Kingdom of Heaven is a spiritual kingdom and based upon the righteousness of God.

The word “now” is translated from the Greek adverb #3568 “nyn” and means at this present time (in contrast to the past or the future). At the time of this statement, His Kingdom (the Kingdom of Heaven) had not come. It did not come until Jesus was crucified and ascended to the Father.

Jesus said in Luke 16:16, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” When Jesus used the phrase “the law and the prophets” He was describing the era of the Old Covenant and the Law of Moses. We know that Jesus operated under the Old Covenant and fulfilled all of it’s obligations.

From the time of Christ’s resurrection a New Covenant has been operating in the earth and the gospel of the kingdom has been preached.

A similar statement is found in Matthew 11:12, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence (#971 “biazo”), and the violent take it by force.” The Greek word translated “from” is #575 “apo” which Vine’s Dictionary says represents a starting point, indicating that the Kingdom of Heaven began after the days of John the Baptist.

Later in this article I will show that the Kingdom of Heaven continues through the Millennium, is all-inclusive or open to everyone, and includes both good and bad fish, good seed and tares. At the end of the Millennium, Christ delivers up His kingdom (the Kingdom of Heaven) to the Heavenly Father, at which time the Kingdom of God comes to reign in full force upon the earth.

While many Bible interpreters teach that the “Kingdom of God” and the “Kingdom of Heaven” represent the same reality, a careful study of the scriptures reveals that there are several distinctions (covered later in this article).

Vine’s Dictionary states: “With regard to the expressions ‘the Kingdom of God’ and the ‘Kingdom of the Heavens’, while they are often used interchangeably, it does not follow that in every case they mean exactly the same and are quite identical. In the Kingdom of Heaven, the phrase is limited to the Kingdom in its earthly aspect for the time being, and is used only dispensationally, and in connection with Israel. The Kingdom of Heaven is always the Kingdom of God, but the Kingdom of God is not limited to the Kingdom of Heaven, until in their final form, they become identical.”


Parable of the “good” seed and the “tares” -

The parable which best illustrates the full range and extent of the Kingdom of Heaven is found in Matthew 13:24-25. Jesus taught, “Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field...” (Notice that the man that sowed the good seed is also the owner or lord over the field). “...But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” Jesus taught that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a cultivated field that contains both good seed and tares.

Jesus fully explained this parable, privately, to the disciples in Matthew 13:36-43. He taught that the man that sowed the good seed is the “Son of Man”, which is the Messianic title that Christ used of Himself (John 3:13,14). In other words, Jesus is the owner of the field; He is the Lord that rules over the Kingdom of Heaven.

In verse thirty-eight, Jesus said the “field” that the Kingdom of Heaven encompasses is the world (#2889 “kosmos” - the present condition of human or worldly affairs; figuratively, all mankind, the entire human race). The good seed are the “children of the Kingdom” (i.e., the true believers that are planted in the kingdom by Jesus and later called the “righteous”). The tares are people that are sown in the Kingdom by the devil (i.e., children of the wicked one). In other words, the Kingdom of Heaven is presently all-inclusive and contains both the righteous and the unrighteous (tares) in its midst.

The word “tares” is translated from the Greek #2215 “zizanion”, which is derived from the Babylonian word that describes a degenerate plant that resembles wheat in appearance. As it grows, one cannot tell it apart from the real wheat; however, when it matures, it produces a bitter, black kernel that is poisonous to humans.

Matthew 13:27-30 says that the man’s servants asked permission to gather up the “zizanion”; but the lord replied, “Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.” The attitude of the servants aptly describes the tendency that many in the Body of Christ have to be critical and judgmental of others. However, Jesus said that we are not able to separate the good wheat from the tares, and if we attempt to do so we will damage innocent people. We possess neither the proper spiritual discernment nor the correct attitude to decide who is righteous and who is unrighteous.

The owner of the field continued in verse thirty, “Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.” The word “let” is the Greek #863 “aphiemi” which means to release, to let alone, to forgive. In fact, “aphiemi” is translated “forgive” forty-seven times in the New Testament. Christians should not be judgmental of others; instead, we should forgive everyone, even the people we suspect to be “tares”. God will sort it all out at the time of harvest.

Jesus continued in Matthew 13:40-41 and tells us that the harvest will take place at the end of this world (#165 “aion” - age, era, a period of time). Jesus will send forth His angels (the reapers) to first gather out of His Kingdom (i.e. the Kingdom of Heaven) the tares that were sown by the enemy. “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity.” “Iniquity” is translated from the Greek #458 “anomia” which means lawlessness. Vine’s dictionary says the word suggests the idea of contempt of Divine Law. In other words, there are some that are presently in the Kingdom of Heaven that are living in defiance of God’s law.

After the tares are gathered out of the Kingdom, they will be “...cast into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” This represents the fires of “hell”; which is the final destination for all who reject Christ’s rule.

Verse forty-three continues, “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father (i.e. the Kingdom of God)...”

To summarize, Jesus is the Lord over the Kingdom of Heaven, which is all inclusive and contains both the righteous and the unrighteous. The Kingdom of Heaven will continue through the time of the great harvest (at the end of this present age); at which time, the Kingdom of God will begin to reign in it’s fulness.


Jesus delivers His kingdom to the Father -

The Apostle Paul, speaking about the Second Coming of Christ and the Kingdom, wrote I Corinthians 15:24, “Then cometh the end (5056 “telos” - a consummation or termination, the limit, the last in any succession or series of events), when He (Christ) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.” In other words, after His Second Coming, after all earthly authority and power has been put down, Christ will deliver to God the kingdom that Christ now rules over (i.e. the Kingdom of Heaven). At this time, the Kingdom of Heaven will be subsumed by the Kingdom of God.

The next verse continues, “For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Christ will reign over His kingdom until the last enemy, death, is destroyed. Revelation 20:14 says that “death” (the last enemy to be put down) will be destroyed at the end of Christ’s Millennial reign and at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment.

In Ephesians 1:10, the Apostle Paul reveals God’s eternal purpose, “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.” All things will be resolved when Christ delivers to God the Kingdom of Heaven.

Adam Clarke writes: “For now, God has granted a measure of rule and authority and power to men, to satan, and even to death. But all that is temporary. Jesus will take His rightful place as the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15).”

Christ will reign through the Millennium, the one thousand year period that is described in Revelation 20:1-6. Then (Rev. 20:7-10), satan will be released one last time to deceive the nations (#1484 “ethnos” - individuals of the same nature or genus) that still refuse to submit to Christ’s authority. These rebels will be gathered together and destroyed by the fire of God, and the devil will be cast into the lake of fire.

Then, Revelation 20:11-15 says the Great White Throne judgment of God will take place and “death” will be cast into the lake of fire. At this time, Christ will deliver to God, the Father, the Kingdom of Heaven.


Entering the Kingdom of Heaven -

In Matthew 7:21, Jesus said, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Merely saying that you are a christian and performing religious acts does not guarantee entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus taught that you must be obedient to do the will of God to gain entrance.

In Matthew 8:5-10 we find the story of a Roman Centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant. The Centurion displayed tremendous faith in the word of Jesus when he said, “...I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.”

The Centurion’s understanding of Jesus’ spiritual authority and the power of His word caused Jesus to marvel at his faith. “When Jesus heard it, He marveled and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”

Jesus takes this occasion to make a bold statement about the Kingdom of Heaven and the Jewish people. Matthew 8:11-12, “And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

When Jesus used the term “the children of the kingdom”, He was talking about the Jewish people, who believed that they were guaranteed entrance into the Messiah’s kingdom by virtue of their blood line.

David Guzik writes, “Jesus reminds His Jewish listeners that just as the Gentile’s racial identity is no automatic bar to the kingdom, their racial identity is no guarantee of the kingdom.”

Indeed, the Kingdom of Heaven includes people from every nation of the world. John 10:16, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold...”. John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.”


Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven -

In Matthew 18:1, the disciples asked, “...Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Jesus answered by setting a little child in their midst and saying in Matthew 18:3-4, “...Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

David Guzik writes, “Children receive the blessing of Jesus without trying to make themselves worthy of it, or pretending they don’t need it. We need to receive God’s blessings the same way.” In other words, we no longer earn salvation by keeping the righteous demands of the Old Testament Law; instead, we must humble ourselves like a little child and accept by faith the sacrifice that Christ provided for the entire human race.

What does it mean to be converted? In modern usage, we use the word “converted” to refer to a spiritual conversion; however, the Greek word used here does not imply the “born-again” experience. The Greek verb #4762 “strepho” simply means to turn, to turn around, as in Matthew 5:39, “...whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn (“strepho”) to him the other also.”

Many will appear to turn their life around and enter the Kingdom of Heaven. They will appear to be doing the Will of God; but in reality, they are never born-again.

In Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity (#458 “anomia” - living in defiance of God’s law).”

Many people will be disappointed on the day of judgment. While they have done many wonderful works in the name of Christ, Jesus will say to them, I never knew you. In other words, you were never born-again.

Matthew 11:11, “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist; notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”


The Beatitudes -

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus began His Sermon on the Mount with several declarations of blessedness, or “beatitudes”, that would reward the truly penitent.

The first “beatitude” is found in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The NLT says, “God blesses those who realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.” The Amplified says that the poor in spirit represents “...the humble, who rate themselves insignificant...”

Adam Clarke’s Commentary states that the “poor in spirit” represents one who is deeply sensible of his spiritual poverty and recognizes that he would perish without the salvation of God.

The word “poor” is translated from #4434 “ptochos” and means one that has been reduced to begging and is powerless to enrich himself. Since the word is linked with the “spirit”, in this scripture “ptochos” does not refer to material wealth or riches, but to a spiritual poverty that cannot be remedied without God’s help.

A beggar lives not by his own labour or industry, but on the generosity or alms of another. To receive the Kingdom of Heaven, one must recognize that he is spiritually and morally bankrupt without God; he must possess a spiritual hunger and thirst for the things of God.

The eighth “beatitude” is found in Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

In verse twelve, Jesus told us how to react when we are persecuted, “Rejoice (#5463 “chairo” - to rejoice exceedingly), and be exceeding glad (#21 “agalliao” - to leap and jump for joy); for great is your reward in heaven...”


Keys of the Kingdom -

In Matthew 16:18,19 Jesus told His disciples, “...the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (the church). And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind (#1210 “deo” - to bind, to fasten, to forbid or prohibit) on earth shall be bound (#1210 “deo”) in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose (#3089 “luo” - to loose, to break up, to destroy, to put off) on earth shall be loosed (#3089 “luo”) in heaven.”

Keys are a symbol of authority; they lock and unlock, they bind and loose. Jesus was teaching that He has given to the church the authority to bind and to loose on the earth what has already been bound and loosed in heaven, or in the spirit realm.

The Concordant Literal New Testament gives us the literal translation of Matthew 16:19, “I will be giving you the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, and whatsoever you should be binding on the earth shall be those things having been bound in the heavens, and whatsoever you should be loosing on the earth shall be those having been loosed in the heavens.”

In other words, what God has already bound or loosed in the heavens is what we are authorized to bind and to loose here on the earth.

Phillips translation says, “... whatever you forbid on earth will be what is forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be what is permitted in heaven.”

The Phillips translation goes on to makes this comment, “There is a very curious Greek construction here, a simple future tense followed by the perfect participle passive ...the force of these sayings is that Jesus’ true disciples will be so led by the Spirit that they will be following the heavenly pattern. In other words, what they forbid or permit on earth will be consonant with the Divine rules.”

What we bind or loose on earth, will be those things that have already been bound or loosed in the heavens (#3772 “ouranos” - the spirit realm).

We have been commissioned by God to walk the paths of restored rulership. To bind or lock up the enemy everyplace that we find him; and to loose the people that have been tormented by the kingdom of darkness. Christ has given the church “keys” of authority over the devil and over all of his works; to restore the rule of God in the earth.


Forgiveness and the Kingdom -

Jesus was teaching about the power of forgiveness and began to say in Matthew 18:23, “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.” The first servant brought before him owed the king ten thousand talents but could not pay his debt, so he fell down and worshipped the king and asked for more time. Verse twenty-seven says, “Then the lord...was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him his debt.”

That same servant found another fellowservant who owed him money and could not pay. Instead of forgiving that man’s debt when he asked for more time, the first servant cast the debtor into prison.

Matthew 18:31-35 continues, “So when his fellowservants saw what was done.... (they) came and told unto their lord all that was done.” The king became very mad and said, “...O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt because thou desiredst me; Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant...?”

Then, the king “...delivered him to the tormentors...”; and Jesus said, “So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”


Other Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven -

In Matthew 20:1, Jesus said, “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.” The first laborers were hired early in the morning and agreed to work the full day for a penny’s wage. Then, the lord of the vineyard hired another group about the third hour and sent them to labor in his vineyard, and later in the day he hired several other groups around the sixth, the ninth, and the eleventh hour.

At the end of the day, the lord payed every man one penny (even though the last group of laborers only worked one hour). The laborers that worked the full day, naturally, complained that they were cheated. But the lord answered in verse thirteen, “...Friend, I do thee no wrong; didst not thou agree with me for a penny?”

Then Jesus said, “So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few chosen.” (Mt. 20:16).


In Matthew 22:2, Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son.” When the servants were sent to call the guests that were invited to the wedding, they all made excuses and declined to attend. The king sent a second group of servants to bring the invited guests to the wedding, but they still refused to go.

Verse six says, “And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.” This act angered the king and he sent his armies to destroy the murders and to burn their city.

Then, the king said in Matthew 22:8-9, “...The wedding is ready, but they which are bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.”

The servants did as the king requested and “...they found both bad and good; and the wedding was furnished with guests.” Once again, Jesus says that the Kingdom of Heaven is composed of both the bad and the good.

When the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man that was not wearing a wedding garment. Matthew 22:13-14, “Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.”


In Matthew 25:1-2, Jesus began to say, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.”

Jesus said that the foolish took their lamps but forgot to take extra oil. The wise brought with them extra oil as well as their lamps. When the bridegroom tarried, they all fell asleep. Verse five continues, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”

But the foolish virgins could not light their lamps because they were out of oil. So they asked the wise virgins to share their oil with them. Verse nine says, “But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you; but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.”

Verse ten continues, “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut.”

When the foolish virgins returned, they asked the Lord to open the door. Jesus continued, “But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Mt. 25:12-13).


In Matthew 13:44 Jesus taught that the Kingdom should be the highest priority in our lives and that we should be willing to sell everything we have to possess it. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.”


In Matthew 25:14, Jesus said, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.”

“And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several (#2398 “idios” - pertaining to one’s self) ability; and straightway took his journey.” (verse fifteen).

After a long time, the lord returned and began to reckon with his servants. The first two servants took what the lord had given them and doubled it. To both of these servants the lord said, “...Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of the lord.” (Mt. 25:21,23).

But the servant who received one talent didn’t do as well. He said in Matthew 25:25, “I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth; lo, there thou hast that is thine.” He merely returned what the lord gave him, with no added gain.

The lord became angry and said in Mt. 25:26-29, “...Thou wicked and slothful servant... thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”

The lord continued, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”


In Matthew 13:47, Jesus taught that the Kingdom of Heaven is composed of both the righteous and the unrighteous, “...the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind of fish, both the good and the bad. This parable indicates that the Kingdom of Heaven is all-inclusive, open to everyone, and includes both good and bad fish.

This parable of the “Kingdom of Heaven” continues in Matthew 13:48-50 where the net is brought to shore and the “good” fish are separated from the “bad” fish. “So shall it be at the end of the world; the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.” At the end of the world, the angels will separate the wicked from the just in the Kingdom of Heaven. In other words, according to Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven is presently composed of the wicked dwelling among the just.


Matthew 13:31-32, “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”


Matthew 13:33, “Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”


Matthew 13:45-46, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”


Comparing the Kingdom of God
to the Kingdom of Heaven -

While many Bible interpreters teach that the “Kingdom of God” and the “Kingdom of Heaven” represent the same reality, a careful study of the scriptures reveals several distinctions.

Many times in the scripture, both phrases are used interchangeably; such as Matthew 19:23-24, “...a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.... it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Because both terms are often substituted for one another, many in the Body of Christ have a difficult time separating the Kingdom of Heaven from the Kingdom of God.

Since the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” is only found in the book of Matthew, one would ask the question, Why would Matthew use both terms?

Vine’s Dictionary states, “The phrase, Kingdom of Heaven, is used only dispensationally and in connection with Israel. The term “Kingdom of God” is broader in aspect and signifies the entire sphere of God’s rule and spiritual force.” The Kingdom of Heaven is contained in the Kingdom of God, but the Kingdom of God is not limited to the Kingdom of Heaven.

In Matthew 13:47, Jesus taught that the Kingdom of Heaven is composed of both the righteous and the unrighteous, “...the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind of fish, both the good and the bad. This parable indicates that the Kingdom of Heaven is all-inclusive, open to everyone, and includes both the good fish and the bad, soon to be rejected, fish.

However, Paul writes in I Corinthians 6:9-11 that the Kingdom of God is exclusive and inhabited only by the truly righteous, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators... nor adulterers, nor effeminate... nor thieves... nor drunkards... shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

In Matthew 13:24-25, Jesus taught, “...the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field.... (then) his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat...” In other words, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a great field that contains both good seed and bad seed.

While the Kingdom of Heaven is inclusive, the Kingdom of God is composed only of the righteous, born-again believers. John 3:5, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter (#1525 “eiserchomai” - to come into, to enter) into the kingdom of God.” You must be born of the Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 13:40-41 says that at the end of this world (#165 “aion” - age, era, a period of time) Jesus will send forth His angels to first gather out of His Kingdom (i.e. the Kingdom of Heaven) the tares that were sown by the enemy. Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven will continue until the end of this “age”, when God judges the righteous and the unrighteous. After this is done, verse forty-three says, “Then (after the tares are gathered out of the Kingdom of Heaven) shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father (i.e. the Kingdom of God)...”

At the end of the Millennium, the Apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 15:24 that Christ will deliver up the kingdom (the Kingdom of Heaven) to God. Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be subsumed by the Kingdom of God, which then reigns in full force upon the earth.

In Matthew 18:3, Jesus said, “...Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” As we illustrated earlier in this article, the Greek word translated “converted”, #4762 “strepho” does not mean to be “born-again”; it simply means to turn, to turn around.

While some in the Kingdom of Heaven have been born-again, many have merely changed their behavior and have never experienced the spiritual conversion that is required to enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:4).

You must be born-again and exhibit the character of God’s righteousness to enter into the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of Heaven is populated by any person that turns from their past life and either honestly or dishonestly attempts to follow God.

Jesus said in Matthew 13:11, ...it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven...”

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Walking in the Spirit: The Key to Absolute Victory

Creflo Dollar

 

Life is full of twists and turns, and we are constantly faced with decisions that can either move us further into the will of God for our lives or farther away from it. In these last days, it is going to be imperative that we be able to hear God’s voice and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit every step of the way. In fact, I will go so far as to say that your very life could depend on it. Walking in the Spirit is the way God designed us to live as Believers. We possess recreated spirits that are infused with the life and wisdom of God. The Holy Spirit resides in our born again spirits, and when we renew our minds with the Word, we can begin to receive “downloaded” information from heaven that can lead us into a life of abundance, prosperity, protection, and peace.

The Word of God instructs us to “walk in the Spirit” in Galatians 5:16. What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? Walking in the Spirit is twofold. First, it means to walk according to the Word of God. Jesus said in John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Jesus’ words are spiritual because He is the Word of God. Therefore, when we walk according to the Word of God, we are walking “in the Spirit.” So we know that walking in the Spirit means walking according to the written Word of God.

The second aspect of walking in the Spirit is related to following the leadership of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, and the Word says that He will lead and guide us into all truth (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit only speaks what He hears the Father say, so when you become tuned into His voice and direction, you can be confident that you are going in the right direction. Living a Spirit-led life, every moment of every day, is the other component of walking in the Spirit. It is the fail-proof way to achieve victory and success in your day-to-day life.

Walking in the Spirit is not something the Lord casually asks us to do; we are charged to do it. We are not supposed to be led by our flesh, our unrenewed soul, or any other voice besides the voice of God’s Word. Many people cannot distinguish the voice of the Holy Spirit and, consequently, they are not able to be led by Him. Recognizing the Holy Spirit’s voice comes from spending time in the Word. His voice will always be in agreement with what is written in the Bible. God’s methods of operation have not changed, which is why the Holy Spirit is never going to tell you to do something that violates the written Word of God.  

 

Walking in the Spirit takes a commitment to choose God’s way of doing things over the way of the flesh. In fact, when we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. It is God’s formula for overcoming the temptations and attacks of the enemy. Keeping ourselves immersed in the Word and praying frequently in the Holy Spirit are the sure-fire ways to maintain a Spirit-led existence.

Regardless of your level of spiritual development, you can always go to higher heights, and deeper depths in God. You can determine the intensity and acceleration of your growth by your commitment to God’s Word and your commitment to prayer. Walking in the Spirit liberates you from the desires of the carnal mind, and frees you to live a supernatural existence that’s in a constant state of going from glory to glory. Your life will never be the same!

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The Kingdom of God in accordance to scripture is righteousness, peace, joy and the Holy Ghost.

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The Word (Christ) is the Truth, the Way and the Life!

 

John 16:13

13 But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].

 

Colossians 2:8-19

Amplified Bible (AMP)

See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah).

For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature].

10 And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power].

11 In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision [performed by] Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts).

12 [Thus you were circumcised when] you were buried with Him in [your] baptism, in which you were also raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God [as displayed] when He raised Him up from the dead.

13 And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions,

14 Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross.

15 [God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].

16 Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath.

17 Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ.

18 Let no one defraud you by acting as an umpire and declaring you unworthy and disqualifying you for the prize, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions [he claims] he has seen, vainly puffed up by his sensuous notions and inflated by his unspiritual thoughts and fleshly conceit,

19 And not holding fast to the Head, from Whom the entire body, supplied and knit together by means of its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

 

"I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star" (Revelations 22:16).

Jesus Christ is the Foundation and the Cornerstone of Solael Ministries and is Your Advocate, Teacher, Healer and Guide of the same, in Jesus' Name and in Spirit and in Truth - Amen (Apostle of Christ Solael 2012).

 

2 Corinthians 4:4

Amplified Bible (AMP)

For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God

50 truths Concerning Apostolic Ministry

 

 "You are not fighting for Victory, but 'FROM' VICTORY!!!" (Dollar 2012)

To Understand the Anointing of Apostleship and the responsibility of obeying and abiding the Lord by Apostle Solael - please click onto the below link to view the truth about the "Sent Ones" who are the Apostles.  They MUST be Anointed by God.TheMinistryAnointingoftheApostle.pdf

"Where your Mind Goes, Your Behind Will Follow" (Author unknown - Media - 2012).  Transform your Mind to the Word of God and follow Christ Jesus and be blessed with everlasting life! (Solael 2012).

Romans 8:38-39

Amplified Bible (AMP)

38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate [me] from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

"Don't tell God how big your storm is.....Tell the storm how big your God is!" (Unknown)

 

 

 

 – The Kingdom of God is the Gospel – Living according to the “good news of the government of God” (Pack 2012).  God woke me up this morning to show me further details about the differences between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven, and this is what I am going to teach you today.

 The word “gospel” is an old English word meaning “god spell” or good news. The word “kingdom” is also an old English term simply meaning government. In other words, Christ preached “the good news of the government of God.” The coming of world peace, happiness, health and abundance will certainly be good news for a mankind that has not known it for 6,000 years (Pack 2012).

Take time to carefully read Daniel 2:28-44. This astonishing and detailed prophecy reveals many things about God’s intention to restore His government to earth—including the time sequence in which this will happen.

The first several verses describe the image of a giant man. Verses 32-33 state, “This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.”

This is obviously an image of a man, but one that is constructed of four distinct parts. Verses 34-35 then describe a supernatural “stone that smote the image [and] became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” Note that verse 34 states that this stone “was cut out without hands,” because God, not men, had formed it.

The “stone” shattered the image and replaced it, going on to eventually encompass all nations—“the whole earth.” This can only be a description of the government of god coming to earth. Daniel is merely announcing the same message of the gospel of the kingdom that Christ preached.

You do not need to believe me, because this is precisely what your Bible states. No one needs to interpret this series of verses for you.

Just notice verse 37. It plainly states, “You, O king, are a king of kings: for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.” Verse 38 clarifies, “You are this head of gold.” We must always let the Bible interpret the Bible.

Verses 39-40 go on to describe three successive kingdoms that would follow the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. This is amazing knowledge that almost no one understands today.

These verses show an historic succession of world empires depicted by different metals of which the giant image (statue) was made. These were literal kingdoms: (1) The Chaldean-Babylonian Empire of gold, (2) the Medo-Persian Empire of silver, (3) the Greco-Macedonian Empire of brass, and (4) the Roman Empire, made of iron mixed with clay in its final appearance. The message from history is that these four kingdoms (empires) ruled, and the fourth kingdom will once more rule and influence the world until the kingdom of God is established on earth.

God expressly reveals to us now that He is the One who establishes and removes—and establishes and removes, again and again—earthly governments (kingdoms).

Take note of two important aspects of the towering metallic image described here. First, the metal decreases in value as we descend from the head to the legs and feet of the image. This means that the quality of each succeeding kingdom/empire is less in value than the one preceding it. Second, the metal increases in strength as we descend the statue’s body. In other words, the power and scope of each succeeding kingdom/empire is greater than the one preceding it.

Finally, notice that the two legs of iron represent a kingdom that is divided. The Roman Empire was indeed divided, with capitals at both Rome and Constantinople. The toes of the feet are part of iron and part of clay. Iron does not and cannot mix with clay, so this is a picture of final instability. When the feet break apart, the entire man will collapse. Careful study must be made of three chapters in order to fully understand the succession of these four kingdoms and to see more clearly that the ten toes are actually ten separate kings who temporarily unite in the last days.

Compare Revelation 13 and 17 with Daniel 7. Together, they present a sobering and powerful prophecy about latter-day eventsevents that will affect you and me in our lifetime!Revelation 17:8 describes a “beast” that ascends out of a “bottomless pit” and is ridden by a “woman.” Verse 12 shows that this beast involves ten kings who shall receive power and unite under a charismatic leader who will take the role of the “beast.” This will be the seventh, and last, short-lived resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire—arising right now in the heart of Europe.

A United States of Europe is coming and lies just ahead of us. It is vital that you understand what these prophecies mean! (Read our extensive booklet Who or What Is the Beast of Revelation?)

Something incredible happens “in the days of these kings” (the ten toes, which depict the ten last kings of Revelation 17:12). Christ’s arrival removes all doubt about exactly what the kingdom of God is. Also, God tells us when it will arrive—“in the days of these kings.” Daniel 2:44 states, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people [God will never allow people to seize control], but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”

That’s right! God—not men—will establish the final and greatest world-ruling empire of all time. And He tells us that He will never allow the opinions of men to intervene and disrupt it, for it will “stand forever.” This promise is sure. It will happen—whether men believe it or not!

Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek you first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness…” If you are to seek something as your first goal and focus in life, you must know exactly what it is!

This chapter contains what many call “The Lord’s Prayer” (vs. 9-13). Christ instructs Christians to pray “after this manner,” and then continues by adding the phrase, “Thy kingdom come.” Knowing what you are praying for will make your prayers far more meaningful!

There are four necessary components of any kingdom: (1) Land, property or territory—however large or small. In other words, one must have a specific and definite set of boundaries establishing the size of the kingdom, (2) a ruler, king, monarch or governor leading the government, (3) people or subjects living within the territory governed, and (4) a system of laws and rules and a basic structure of government.

No kingdom is complete without all these basic elements.

The Woman of Revelation 17

Comparing Daniel 7 with Revelation 13 and 17 reveals that there are seven revivals of the Holy Roman Empire. Six have come and gone—and one remains that is now forming! It will last for about 3 1/2 years, during the terrible period that the Bible calls the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21-22), and the time of “Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:1-7). It is after this last resurrection that the kingdom of God will come.

It is crucial to understand another important connection to the seven revivals (or resurrections) of the Roman system. Revelation 17 describes each revival as having “a woman sit[ting] upon [the] scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns” (vs. 3). The seven heads are seven separate revivals, with a ten-hornfinal revival composed of ten kings.

Of the woman, verses 5-6 state that “…upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” Verse 1 calls her a “great whore that sits upon many waters…” with verse 15 explaining that the “waters” are many “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”

This is a graphic description of a very large and powerful Gentile church that is a modern-day descendant of the ancient system of Babylon. She is a “mother” of many “harlot” daughter churches. These daughters came out of her in protest because they disagreed with some few of her abominations. Understand. This is not a small church, but rather a “great” church ruling many “peoples” and “nations.” Verse 2 speaks of her “fornication” with the “kings of the earth.” And verse 18 speaks of the woman as “that great city,which reigns over the kings of the earth.”

This is a very different woman than the one of Revelation 12, who is to marry Jesus Christ (Rev. 19:7; Matt. 25:1-10; Eph. 5:23) at His Return. This chapter describes the true Church of God that the powerful Gentile church has persecuted for 2,000 years (17:6). God will destroy this great whore and her harlot daughters by turning the beast she rides against her (17:16). But first she must “ride” the final resurrection of the Holy Roman (Babylonian system) Empire!

There is not much time left until this last revival appears—it is forming even now!—with the wonderful kingdom of God to appear soon after (Rev. 19:11-16). All the governments of men—including that of every large and small country on earth today—will be smashed and replaced by God’s coming super government.

Soon the whole world will see the fulfillment of Revelation 11:15: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” Just as there is no doubt that countries today represent real, literal, physical kingdoms (governments), there can be no doubt, from just this passage, that God’s coming government is also real and literal.

Jesus Christ was born to be a King—to rule all nations of the earth forever with the help of other spirit-composed kings. This is the central theme of the entire Bible. Notice: “And out of His [Christ’s] mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron…and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev. 19:15-16).

Has anyone ever told you about these passages? I never learned or even heard of them in the church of my youth—and yet, here they are, available with unmistakable clarity.

Entering the Kingdom

The Bible teaches that the kingdom of God rules over the people and nations of the earth. The nations are not actually part of the kingdom, any more than the average citizen of any country is part of the government that rules over them. One must enter the kingdom of God to be in it. Therefore, we must ask: As distinct from those who are governed by it, who is actually in the kingdom?

In I Corinthians 15:50-51, Paul stated, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery…” Certainly, this is a mystery to almost everyone—that flesh and blood human beings cannot enter the kingdom of God. It would be helpful to read the entirety of this “resurrection chapter” of I Corinthians 15. Only at the resurrection are human beings (all true Christians) changed (born again) from flesh to spirit.

Do you see, then, how no churchcan possibly be the kingdom of God? Churches are physical. Flesh and blood physical people are able to enter and exit a church building. So, this rules out all churches (or, for that matter, the British Empire) from being the kingdom of God. Just believe the plain truth of the Bible!

The kingdom of God cannot include flesh and blood people!

A series of verses in John 3 is commonly misunderstood by those who believe that they can be “born again” in this life (while they are still composed of flesh and blood) and see the kingdom of God.

SEVEN PROOFS God’s Kingdom is not on Earth Now!

Many professing Christians misread Luke 17:21 and Colossians 1:13 and conclude that the kingdom is here now, either in the form of the Church or “in the hearts of men.” They then conclude that it is their “Christian duty” to spread it through brotherly love, tolerance, etc.

As sincere as this belief may be, it is not biblical. Then how did men jump to this false conclusion?

Here are two major reasons:

First, they don’t let the Bible interpret the Bible. Instead of heeding II Peter 1:20, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation,” they assign their own preconceived notions to Bible verses. Also, they do not allow the Bible to teach, reprove, correct or instruct them (II Tim. 3:16-17).

Second, they limit their understanding on a subject by reading only one or two passages, and taking them out of context. They also ignore many other verses that would give the “big picture” of what the Bible actually teaches. To understand the Bible on any doctrine, you must search allthe scriptures on the subject. No single verse captures the entire meaning and understanding of any subject.

Isaiah 28:9-10 states, “Whom will He teach knowledge? And...make to understand the message?...For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” In a sense, God designed the Bible to be like a jigsaw puzzle: Always piece together all related verses found throughout the Bible.

Now let’s examine seven proofs God’s kingdom is not on earth now.

ONE: The Kingdom of God Is Within You?

In Luke 17:20-21 Christ said, “The kingdom of God comes not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Many read this verse and conclude, “Aha! God’s kingdom is within me.” But is that what the verse really says?

To whom was Christ speaking? The first part of verse 20 gives the answer: “And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said…” Christ was talking to the Pharisees—not His disciples! They asked Him, “When will Your kingdom come?”

Here is Christ’s answer: “The kingdom of God is within you.” Could Christ have meant that His kingdom was within the Pharisees—men He called “hypocrites” and “blind guides,” who “omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith,” who were “full of extortion and excess,” who were like “whited [tombs], which appeared beautiful outward, but...within [were] full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:21, 23-27)?

Emphatically, NO! More study shows that the phrase “within you” is a mistranslation. The New King James margin says, “in your midst.” The New English Bible reads, “is among you.” The Revised Standard Version says, “in the midst of you.” Christ was telling these carnal men that His kingdom was in their presence. How?

Christ was referring to Himself. Here presented God’s kingdom. While Jesus was a flesh and blood man, He was also the Messiah. Born to become a king, He never sinned or went against His Father’s will. He was, quite literally, the perfect representative of God’s government.

TWO: Defining a Kingdom

All kingdoms consist of four parts: Territory, a king (or ruler), subjects, and laws.

If God’s kingdom is already here, whether as the Church or in the “hearts of men,” then the entire earth would be under its rule (Zech. 14:9).

If God’s kingdom is already here, Christ, its King, would be sitting on David’s throne (Isa. 9:6-7), ruling from Jerusalem (Zech. 8:3). Note: Jerusalem means “City of Peace.” Yet today it is one of the most chaotic, terrorized, war-torn cities on earth! Obviously, Christ is not ruling from there.

If God’s kingdom is already here, His subjects (all mankind) would live under Christ’s rule. Even Gentile nations such as Egypt will be required to obey Him—or suffer the consequences (Zech. 14:16-19). That is not the case today.

If God’s kingdom is already here, His laws would be known by every man, woman and child throughout the earth. All people would at least be moving toward obedience. No one would be able to claim ignorance of these laws (Isa. 30:21; Jer. 31:34). This has not yet happened.

THREE: Seeing the Kingdom

In John 3:3, Christ told Nicodemus, a Pharisee, “Except a man be born again, he cannot seethe kingdom of God.” Confused, Nicodemus replied, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (vs. 4-5).

To see and enter God’s kingdom, you must become like spirit. Paul wrote, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 15:50)!

Christ further explained that Spirit is like wind. It is invisible. You cannot see it. But human beings are flesh and blood, and can be seen.

Those who are “born again” shall resemble Christ (I John 3:2). No physical man looks like Him as He is in heaven today: “His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters…and His countenance was as the sun shines in [its] strength” (Rev. 1:13-17).

Do you know of anyone who looks and sounds like this now?

We should also consider that the first resurrection (when God’s servants are “born again”) won’t happen until Christ returns (I Cor. 15:50-54; I Thes. 4:16-17). If this had already occurred, the whole world would know it. No one could possibly miss such an event (Matt. 24:23-27).

FOUR: World Peace Now?

Isaiah 9:6-7 says of Christ, “The government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.”

Watch the networks, read national news magazines and newspapers. Is this world enjoying peace? Do you believe Christ would allow murders, rapes, child molestation, riots, terrorism and wars under His divine rulership?

No! Obviously, Christ—the Prince of Peace—is not yet ruling His kingdom on earth.

FIVE: What About Colossians 1:13?

To “prove” that God’s kingdom is here, many cite this verse: “Who [the Father] has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”

Let’s carefully examine this verse and let the Bible interpret itself.

What is the “power of darkness” that God delivers His people from? Acts 26:17-18 states, “…delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send you, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God…” Satan and his demons rule the nations today. This is why Paul wrote that Christians do not “wrestle…against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Eph. 6:12), and it is also why Christ said, “My kingdom [government] is not of this world: if [it] were...then would My servants fight…but now is My kingdom not from here” (John 18:36).

When God delivers His people from the “powers of darkness,” He calls them out of this world (Rev. 18:4), out of its Satan-inspired (Eph. 2:2-3) system and ways of life—its governments. And He “has translated [margin: transferred] us into the kingdom [government] of His dear Son.” God delivers His servants from the government, laws and ways of Satan to His government at conversion.

Christians are citizens of God’s kingdom, though it is not here. For example: You are an American traveling abroad. Though you are not in the U.S., you are still an American citizen. Your citizenship is in America. In the same way, a Christian’s citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20), though he does not live there.

Now consider Romans 4:17 as it speaks of Abraham: “God, who quickens [gives life to] the dead, and calls those things which be not [do not exist] as though they were…” When God said to Abraham, “A father of many nations have I made you” (Gen. 17:5), Isaac would not even be born until a year later (compare 17:1-5 with 21:5). His offspring did not grow into a single nation until hundreds of years later in Egypt! God knew that their descendants would become prosperous nations many centuries later. Since nothing can stop God from fulfilling His plans, to Him they are as good as done. Though His people are not yet born into His kingdom, He knows that they will be. Nothing can prevent this from occurring. In His mind, it is certain.

SIX: Thy Kingdom Come

If the kingdom is here now, either as the Church or “in the hearts of men,” why would Christ command His servants to continually pray, “thy kingdom come” (Matt. 6:9-10; Luke 11:2)? If at least the beginnings of the kingdom were here, or if the Church is the kingdom, wouldn’t Christ have commanded His followers to pray “thy kingdom grow and spread”?

SEVEN: Seeking the Kingdom

If God’s kingdom is here now, why would Christ tell His followers, “But seek you first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33)? If church members are already in the kingdom, why seek it? Again, would not Christ have told them to “first spread the kingdom”?

The Great Domino Effect

The Bible states that Satan is the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). If he can convince you that God’s kingdom is here, then you will believe you are “born again.” And if you are “born again,” you must be “saved.” If you are “saved,” you cannot sin. If you cannot sin and break God’s law (I John 3:4), you do not need to actually keep the law, because righteousness is being “imputed” by Christ. If you do not keep God’s law—which defines His way of life (Rom. 13:10)—then you will no longer be a Christian (John 15:4-10, 14). This is exactly what Satan, your enemy, seeks.

Carefully examine the Bible for allthat it says on every subject. Let it interpret itself. Only then will you grow in true biblical understanding!

In this account, Nicodemus, a Pharisee, approached Christ and acknowledged in verse 2: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God.” He plainly admitted that they knew who Christ was and who had sent Him to earth. Notice that Nicodemus spoke for more than himself when he stated, “we know.” He was referring to himself and the other Pharisees who recognized who and what Jesus Christ was. They could not deny the power of God evident in the miracles that Christ was performing.

The religious leaders, the Pharisees, well understood that He was a “teacher come from God” bringing the truth. They still called Him a blasphemer, drunkard, heretic, seditionist, bastard, ignorant, demon-possessed, false prophet and more—and crucified Him!

Many people see the plain truth of the Bible, yet choose to ignore it in order to hold to their own traditions (Mark 7:7) and ideas!

Christ told Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (vs. 3). He explained that only by being born again can one actually “see” God’s kingdom. So, there is a limitation on who can see the kingdom. But there is no limitation on physical people seeing either a church or an empire. Anyone of any religion or belief can see any other physical item.

Grasp these critical points that Christ is making!

In verse 5, Christ states that unless one is “born of water and of the Spirit,” he “cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Yes, the kingdom is something that can be “entered into”—but Christ explains His “born of water [baptism] and of the Spirit” phrase in verse 6: “That which is born of the flesh IS flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit IS spirit.”

Flesh and blood cannot enter into the kingdom of God—but spirit can! Because Christ wanted to allow no room for misunderstanding, He likened spirit to wind. Wind, like spirit, is invisible. It cannot be seen. Therefore, those in the kingdom must be composed of spirit.

The Kingdom in the Hearts of Men?

Many choose to believe that the kingdom enters into people rather than people entering into the kingdom. We have seen that people must ignore the plain statements of Christ in order to draw this conclusion. They “spiritualize away” the coming very real kingdom of God, in order to turn it into an ethereal feeling in the hearts of men. Deceivers say that to have the Spirit of God is to have the kingdom within you. Many centuries of outright deception have caused millions to believe nothing more than fiction—instead of the plain truth of the Bible.

Since it is obvious to many that people can enter into the many modern-day countries of what was once the British Empire and that people can enter into a church, deceived religionists concocted the idea that the kingdom of God rests in the “hearts of men.”

I have often heard people express something similar to the following: “The kingdom of God can be established in the hearts of men if all Christians everywhere will just work together in love to bring about world peace and tolerance toward all.”

Where do they get this idea? From a mistranslation of Luke 17:20-21! In this passage, Christ appeared to speak of the kingdom of God “within you.” We need to examine this mistranslation. If this verse actually does say that the kingdom of God is “within” people, then it contradicts all the other scriptures we have examined. And if the Bible contradicts itself in such obvious ways, we can throw it away, for it cannot be the Word of God.

The Kingdom in the Pharisees’ Hearts?

Let’s now examine Luke 17:20-21: “And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, The kingdom of God comes not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

If you do not understand anything else about this verse, get this one point straight! Christ was speaking to carnal-minded, lying, hypocritical Pharisees. Even by the most vague and ethereal idea that the kingdom of God is something in men’s hearts, there is no way Christ could have been referring to it being in the hearts of these people!

The Pharisees were self-righteous and unconverted. They sought to tempt and accuse Christ at every turn. It is utterly silly and even ludicrous to say that the kingdom of God was “within” them. Do not lose sight of the fact that, when Christ responded, it states, “He answered them.” He addressed “them”—the Pharisees. Understand that the Pharisees were not in the Church, and the Church of God was certainly not in the Pharisees. Actually, the New Testament Church did not yet even exist.

Notice what Christ did NOT state in this verse. He did not say, “the kingdom of God will be set up in the hearts of men” or “in your hearts.” What He did say is, “the kingdom of God IS…” It is important that we understand Christ was not describing, in this one instance, the kingdom of God as something in the future, but rather He spoke of it in the present tense.

Why?

I have said that this is a misrendering of the original Greek. The actual Greek words that Luke used here are much better translated “in the midst of you” or “among you.” A number of other alternate translations read this way, and most Bibles with marginal references include these phrases.

The Revised Standard Version states, “the kingdom of God is in the midst of you,” and the Moffatt translation offers even more insight. He translates these two verses as “He answered them, ‘The reign of God is not coming as you hope to catch sight of it; no one will say, “Here it is” or “There it is,” for the reign of God is now in your midst.’”

Let’s ask, what—or who—could it have been that Christ was speaking of? What—or who—was it that was “in the midst” of the Pharisees? What—or who—was “among” them?

The Son of God—Jesus Christ Himself—was standing in the middle of this group of Pharisees. Think of it this way: They were in the presence of a direct representative who will “reign” in the coming kingdom of God. It was Jesus who was standing “among” them. Clearly, Christ was speaking of the kingdom of God, through Himself as its representative, being right where they were standing.

Let’s understand! The Pharisees knew of the many Old Testament prophecies and scriptures describing God’s kingdom. They were well aware of the verses that we have studied from the book of Daniel. They would have understood why Peter would later say, “all the holy prophets” spoke of the “restitution of all things.” They were familiar with the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and many others. The Pharisees ignored the scriptures about Christ’s First Coming because they wanted to focus almost entirely on the many scriptures describing His Second Coming!

Obviously, the Pharisees did not believe the kingdom of God was a church. They certainly didn’t believe it was the British Empire—which the world was not to see for many centuries. And they did not believe it was more emotional sentiment in men’s hearts. They fully understood that it had to do with government—rulership!

The problem was that they did not understand when the kingdom was to come or that its purpose was not merely to sweep away the Roman legions from Palestine. Had they understood Christ’s First Coming, they would have better understood the “when” of His Second Coming—and why it had to come much later. So, they were hoping for a conquering Messiah who would aid them in their quest to reverse Roman rule by replacing the Romans with themselves, as their masters.

Jesus explained the fallacy of their thinking. He made it clear that the coming of the kingdom was not a small, local event, merely limited to rulership over where the Jews lived in Palestine.

The Jews were looking for a physical government located in a single nation—their own! This is why Christ told them not to think of it as being “over there” or “right here.”

Remember, in John 18:37, Christ had said that He was born to be a King. He knew that He would be the ultimate King over His Kingdom. (Daniel 7:17-18 and 23 demonstrate that the words for kingdom and king are interchangeable in the Bible.)

By simply continuing to read more of the context in Luke 17, we are left with no doubt as to what Christ was referring to. Read verse 24, where, like Matthew 24:27, it refers to, “For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day.” Christ was describing a stunning, world-shaking event that would be as visible as lightning. But, notice the term “in His day,” which shows that it is a yet future event. Take time to read Matthew 24:26-30 and how it describes the “day when Christ will be revealed.”

By no stretch of the imagination did Christ say that the kingdom of God was in the unrighteous, carnal, hateful Pharisees—who continually plotted His death—anymore than He was saying it was a church.

Christ had previously indicted the Pharisees with a terrible warning. No doubt, it had made them angry, and it led them to try to catch Him saying something that was incorrect about either the kingdom of God or any other matter. In Luke 13:28-29, He warned them, “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.”

Christ was plainly telling the Pharisees that they were not going to be in God’s kingdom. They would not be allowed to enter it, as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would—though these men have not yet entered it (Heb. 11:13, 39-40).

Kingdom of God “at hand”?

Someone will surely quote Mark 1:15, where Jesus had preached that “the kingdom of God is at hand.” There, recall that He had also gone on to add, “Repent you, and believe the gospel.” So some have concluded that when people repent and believe the gospel, thus becoming part of the church—they simultaneously enter the kingdom of God, which was, sort of, waiting for them—it was “at hand.”

As with Luke 17:21, people read into a verse what they want it to say. Christ did not say the kingdom of God had been set up or established—or that it was a church. These are all “traditions of men” that people observe in place of God’s plain Word (Mark 7:7).

Luke 16:16 shows that, from the time of John the Baptist, the kingdom of God had become something that was being “preached.” The kingdom had not arrived yet, but it was then being preached. Preaching the kingdom and having the opportunity to qualify to enter it certainly were then (and still are) “at hand.”

Saints Rule With Christ

Before returning to Luke, let’s examine more of what Daniel recorded about the kingdom of God.

Remember, Christ will come like lightning shining from the east to the west (Matt. 24:27). This will be an earth-shattering event that no one could possibly miss. But will He come to rule the earth by Himself—or will there be others with Him? We could ask: When Christ establishes His world-ruling government, who else might be part of the structure that He establishes? If the governments of men require the efforts of many, who assist a supreme leader, is God’s government different? No!

Daniel 7:13 speaks of Christ coming in the “clouds of heaven.” Before His Return, God officially grants Him the authority to rule the world He is returning to. The next verse states, “And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (vs. 14).

Again, we ask whether Christ rules alone, or are others to rule with Him? Exactly how does God intend to manage all of the peoples and nations of the earth?

Several more verses in Daniel 7 are critical to understand. Remember that the kingdom of God is prophesied to replace the four previously discussed world-ruling kingdoms, described in chapter 2. Now notice verses 17-18: “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even forever and ever.”

Believe this verse for what it says! The ultimate calling of Christians is to join with Christ in order to share rulership in the kingdom of God over all nations and all peoples. Truly, Christ is “KING of kings and LORD of lords.” These other kings and lords can be you or anyone who is willing to accept God’s terms for entering His kingdom.

Verses 19-20 shed additional light on what happens when the saints return with Christ. Their first responsibility is to replace what is called the “fourth beast,” which rules with the assistance of a “little horn.” This little horn is the religious kingdom that is the same as the woman who rides the beast of Revelation 17. This religious government (centered in Rome) has ruled over all of the previous resurrections, or revivals, of the Holy Roman Empire, since A.D. 554.

Now read verses 21-22: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints [plainly the work of the Babylonish whore of Rev. 17:5-6], and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

Finally, Daniel’s long prophecy concludes with verse 27 further confirming the marvelous potential lying ahead for all the true saints of God. Notice: “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”

What could be plainer? No wonder Christ stated, “And he that overcomes, and keeps My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father” (Rev. 2:26-27) and, a few verses later, added, “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne…” (3:21).

The phrase “in My throne” is used because Christ understood that His throne is on this earth, unlike the Father’s, which is in heaven. Luke 1:32 shows that Christ will sit in Jerusalem on the Throne of David. (Also see Revelation 5:10, 20:4, Matthew 5:5, Psalm 25:12-13 and 37:11.) There is no doubt that when Christ Returns, the saints will rule with Him—on earth!

Let’s now examine a very important parable that Christ spoke so that people would understand the coming of the kingdom of God and the Christian’s responsibility to qualify in order to be part of it.

The Parable of the Pounds

Luke 19:11-27 contains a parable written to illustrate what is at stake when the kingdom of God comes. In it, Christ compared Himself to a Nobleman who went to a “far country” (a type of joining the Father in heaven) for nearly 2,000 years, until His Return. The disciples believed that the kingdom of God would “appear immediately,” and Christ wanted to illustrate that much time would pass before it did.

In this parable, Christ completely dispels any idea that the kingdom would immediately appear in the form of His Church. And, of course, He has not yet returned to this earth.

The “Nobleman” of the parable “called” his “ten servants” (a type of Christians being called out of this world by God) and instructed them to increase the worth of a “pound” (money) that He gave to each one of them for investment. The pound actually represented a kind of symbolic unit of basic spiritual worth or value. Remember that it was a parable, so Christ was not referring to any kind of literal money. He told His servants to “Occupy till I come”—or to “grow” the pound into more money. While the Nobleman was gone, several of the servants said, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” It is important to understand the intent of this statement.

These “citizens” understood that the Nobleman (Christ) was coming to “reign” on earth. They wanted no part of this and rejected His government (reign) over them—and, thus, their future part in it (vs. 27). They understood that the kingdom of God would be a government ruling over the earth. Remember, the parable had begun with the Nobleman (Christ) going to heaven to “receive for Himself a kingdom and to return.” (We have already seen in Daniel 7:14 that God confers supreme authority on Christ just before He returns to rule with the saints.)

Upon the Nobleman’s return, He called each of the servants into His presence to receive a report of how each man had increased the pound that he had been given. Some had gained five pounds, others ten, etc., but one servant had buried his pound in the ground and produced nothing with it. Christ wanted an accounting of how “each man had gained” while He had been away.

The first servant had gained ten pounds and Christ explained his reward by saying, “you good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little, have you authority over ten cities” (vs. 17).

The servant who had gained five pounds was put “over five cities.” Because the second servant produced half as much, his reward was half as much. So, these men were given “authority”—they were put into positions of rulership “over cities.” Their reward was to “reign” with Christ (Jude 14) in His world-ruling kingdom. How obvious!

The servant who buried his pound in a napkin had wasted a wonderful opportunity to qualify for rulership in the kingdom of God. It states, “And He [the Nobleman, Jesus] said to him, Out of your own mouth will I judge you, you wicked servant.”

This servant had not grown. He had not produced anything with his life and thus had not qualified for rulership over cities in the kingdom of God. Christ gave the wicked servant’s reward to the one who had gained ten pounds—so that the latter had even more than his own reward. The cities that this man’s conduct had caused him to lose would have to be ruled by someone. Otherwise, they would become abandoned, with no ruler assigned authority over them.

Some brief history is needed to better understand the setting of this parable. Christ was a Jew who was preaching this parable in the land of Judah. Judah was merely one of twelve tribes in ancient Israel. Ten of those tribes had become lost over 700 years earlier, because they had rebelled against Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. They had been taken into captivity by the ancient Assyrians and had later migrated into Northwestern Europe, becoming the democratic, primarily English-speaking peoples of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and certain other Western European nations. Only some of the tribes of Benjamin and Levi remained with the Jews, whose capital was Jerusalem.

(You are strongly encouraged to read our extensive book America and Britain in Prophecyto understand the big picture of what has been only most briefly described here.)

When the Parable of the Pounds speaks of the Nobleman’s citizens “hating Him,” and states that they said, “We will not have this Man to reign over us,” it is a reference to the Jews. History plainly records that they rejected the authority of Jesus Christ. This is what John 1:11 means when it states that “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” The “ten servants” (those Christians called today) are then a reference, in type, to the lost TEN TRIBES of Israel. Christ offered the man opportunity to rule, because the Jews rejected His authority over them.

Sadly, some do not want the true Christ of the Bible to tell them what to do. They do not want Him to rule over their lives and conduct. But they do want salvation—with no strings attached.

No one will be given rulership before he has proven that he can be ruled! No one can be part of God’s world-ruling government unless he has learned to submit to the government of God and to be ruled by God and Jesus Christ in this life. This is the all-important lesson of the parable of the pounds!

When Christ called His servants into account, He was showing that all people will one day stand and give an account before the judgment seat of Christ. Like the reward of the twelve apostles, who will be put over the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:27-28), some will be given tremendous AUTHORITY to rule over cities with Christ “in the throne of His glory.”

WHEN Will the Kingdom Come?

All want to know when Christ will return. The disciples asked Him, “What shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3.)

The entirety of the next forty-eight verses in Matthew 24 is Christ’s answer detailing many of the events, in sequence, that would precede His Coming. In verse 36, referring to the exact time of His Coming, He stated, “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

Just a few weeks later, in Acts 1:6-7, prior to Christ’s final ascension back into heaven, the disciples proved that they still did not either understand or really accept His previous explanation. So, they asked Him again. Notice: “…they asked of Him, saying, Lord, will You at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power.” Christ gave them the same answer as in Matthew—“it is not for you to know the times or the seasons.”

It is important to note that the New Testament Church would be established just ten days after this encounter (2:1). Why would Christ answer, “it is not for you to know the times or the seasons” if the kingdom of God was going to be the Church, which was to be almost immediately established (on Pentecost)—just ten days later?

The same is true for us today. We cannot know exactly when Christ’s kingdom will come, but we can know a close approximation. In Luke 21:31, at the end of a long prophecy paralleling Matthew 24, Christ stated, “when you see these things come to pass, know you that the kingdom of God is nigh [near] at hand.”

He did want them to know that “you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you” (Acts 1:8), but not to know when the kingdom would arrive. The same is true for all who are converted today. We cannot know exactly when Christ will return, but we can know that we will receive power now to grow and overcome—and to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God until He does.

Men’s Efforts Cannot Bring the Kingdom

True Christians are not activists seeking to “make this world a better place”—thereby bringing the kingdom of God to earth. They have their “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). They walk through life having their “feet” covered with the knowledge of how the true gospel spells the only way to all the good things that mankind longs for. They understand with certainty that the kingdom of God is coming. They know what lies ahead for this world. They do not go off to serve and kill in the endless, futile wars of men and nations, or participate in the governmental affairs of men.

They do not take matters into their own hands, and try to supposedly “spread the kingdom,” thereby attempting to neutralize God’s purpose, which is to show man that he is not capable of governing himself! 

Notice what Paul was inspired to write: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they [leaders and religionists] shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief” (I Thes. 5:2-4).

All who understand the truths of this booklet need never again be “in the dark” about God’s Plan or their awesome potential role within it.

Citing Isaiah 52:7, Paul also recorded, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings [the good news of the gospel] of good things” (Rom. 10:15). In verse 16, he went on to cite another passage from Isaiah: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah said, Lord, who has believed our report?” (53:1).

Of course, most people will not believe “God’s report” of what lies ahead for civilization. They will not believe that they are unable to bring world peace through human effort. Many will shout “Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14; 8:11, 14-15), and most will continue eagerly believing their false predictions, even in the face of abject failure.

The professing Christians of this world will continue desperately striving to bring about the kingdom of God and world peace through human effort. Deceived religious leaders will tell them that this is their “Christian duty.” Many will see this as the sole mission of their church. Millions are looking for happiness, abundance, peace and security around every corner—but will be terribly disappointed in the short term. This is because world conditions, leading into a final devastating period of worldwide calamity, will get far worse before they ultimately get better.

“Thy Kingdom Come”

Most people are familiar with what is called “The Lord’s Prayer.” Many can recite it without effort, having practiced it without understanding that it is simply a model or guideline for how to pray. I learned it at age four. It begins, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come.Thy will be done in earth…” (Matt. 6:9-10). This short prayer continues for three more verses. But, of the millions who know and use it, how many actually think about the phrase “Thy kingdom come”—or God’s “will [His Master Plan] being done on earth”? For 2,000 years, many may have basically sought to follow Christ’s instruction, praying, “Thy kingdom come” without ever really pondering the staggering meaning behind this small phrase.

Have you?

Only a few verses later, in the same chapter, Christ stated, “But seek you first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (vs. 33). Christians must be continually seeking the kingdom of God FIRST—above everything else—in their lives! How can they do this if they do not know what it is—or when it will come—or how it affects their own salvation?

But now you do!

The Kingdom MUST Come

The following quote comes from Herbert W. Armstrong’s booklet Just what do you mean…KINGDOM OF GOD?It is an extraordinary summary of the wonderful truth contained in the answer to the question, what is the kingdom of God? This appeared under the subhead “The Two Fateful Alternatives”:

“This world trouble began in 1914, with World War I. There was a recess from 1918 until 1939. We are in a second recess now…But now at last we have nuclear energy. We have hydrogen bombs stock-piled in such power and volume that they could blast all human life off this planet several times over. There are two other destructive weapons today in existence, either of which could erase humanity from the earth.

“Today world-famous scientists say only a super world-government can prevent world cosmocide. Yet men cannot and will not get together to form such a world-ruling government.

“It’s time we face the hard, cold, realistic fact: humanity has two alternatives: either there is an Almighty, all-powerful god who is about to step in and set up the Kingdom of God to rule all nations with supernatural and supranational FORCE to bring us peace—or else all human life would be obliterated (Matt. 24:22).

“If the deceived religionists, who think the Church is the Kingdom of God, were right, and there is not going to be any supernatural and all-powerful world government which is the Kingdom of God, then humanity is utterly without hope. All human life is in danger of extinction.

“But notice what Jesus Christ said!

“Can you believe Jesus Christ?

“Where is your trust—in the Word of God, or in paganized, empty, deceiving teachings falsely labeled ‘Christianity’—inherited as ‘Christian tradition’—which says the Church is the Kingdom of God; or, that the Kingdom is merely a meaningless, frothy and ethereal sentiment ‘set up in our hearts’? It’s about time you come to know who are the false prophets, and who is speaking the true Word of God faithfully!”

 

Complete Source

 

Which is the True Gospel?

American & Britain

Are These the Last Days?

Does the Bible Teach Predestination?

Life After Death

What is Your Reward in the Next Life?

Who is the Devil?

Who or What is the Beast

To View the Portfolio of Solael Ministries - Click Here!

 

 

"34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool..."(Matthew 5:34-35 KJV)

"Gossip is the Devil's Radio" (Get Low [Movie] 2012).

 

"Grace is a person - His Name is Jesus!" (Dollar Media 2012).

This Church has been anointed by the Power of Jesus Christ (the Holy Spirit) to  teach you to "Rest in the Finished Works of God", as He also rested in His Finished Works on the 7th day.  "Healing is not trying to get to you, it is already done!" (Dollar 2012).  Faith and belief in God and His Finished Works and God's provisions for your life and your each and every step in life is what will bless your ability to  receive it.  God created the foundation of the Earth in 6 days and rested the 7th day - making sure that He has provided all things (the provisions) for all things that you will need before man was even created!  Purposely!  That is why man was not created before the 6th day - because the planet was not ready for you.  Therefore, your healing, your prosperity in all areas of your life (healthy  mind, body, spirit, soul, family, relationships and finances) have already been provided unto you.  God has given you the provisions to receive it.  Therefore, God has blessed you with the provisions to pay your mortgage (even to pay your house off), to pay your bills as well as healing your body from cancer, sickness, disease, depression, unbalance and  sin.  It has been done by Grace (His unmerited favor), which is free.  All it takes from you is your Faith and belief in Him - and your obedience unto Him too - and trusting Him that all things are His Plan and He has provided unto you all provisions that is needed for every area of your life - no matter what you have done.  That means in all circumstances, no matter if they are good or bad - God has provided a provision for you to be victorious in it and defeat the devil.

Hebrews 4:1-11

Amplified Bible (AMP)

4 Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still holds and is offered [today], let us be afraid to distrust it], lest any of you should think he has come too late and has come short of [reaching] it.

For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe).

For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest, in accordance with His declaration that those [who did not believe] should not enter when He said, As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest; and this He said although [His] works had been completed and prepared [and waiting for all who would believe] from the foundation of the world.

For in a certain place He has said this about the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.

And [they forfeited their part in it, for] in this [passage] He said, They shall not enter My rest.

Seeing then that the promise remains over [from past times] for some to enter that rest, and that those who formerly were given the good news about it and the opportunity, failed to appropriate it and did not enter because of disobedience,

Again He sets a definite day, [a new] Today, [and gives another opportunity of securing that rest] saying through David after so long a time in the words already quoted, Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts.

[This mention of a rest was not a reference to their entering into Canaan.] For if Joshua had given them rest, He [God] would not speak afterward about another day.

So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God;

10 For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own.

11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].

Scriptural Reference

 

 

 The Lord hath anointed this Church .....12 In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith (by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises

Hebrews 6:12

Scriptural Reference

 

 

"The Hand of God" (above)

"God Chuckling and throwing something AT someone - but it apparently made His day!  - even though He is eternal and everlasting - days mean nothing to Him" (above)

"Hand of God caught Creating"

"A Holy Angel - Celestial Being entering Earth"

 

 

Hebrews 8:6

Amplified Bible (AMP)

6 "But as it now is, He [Christ] has acquired a [priestly] ministry which is as much superior and more excellent [than the old] as the covenant (the agreement) of which He is the Mediator (the Arbiter, Agent) is superior and more excellent, [because] it is enacted and rests upon more important (sublimer, higher, and nobler) promises." (Biblegateway.com)

 

 

Ephesians 6:10-19

Amplified Bible (AMP)

10 "In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].

11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.

12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].

14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God,

15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.

16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].

17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.

18 Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).

19 And [pray] also for me, that [freedom of] utterance may be given me, that I may open my mouth to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news (the Gospel)..." (Biblegateway.com).

 

BE DELIVERED BY THE GRACE OF GOD THROUGH FAITH!

 Change your Mindset to the Word of God and the Kingdom of God's way of Living only!

Ephesians 4:17-32

Amplified Bible (AMP)

17 So this I say and solemnly testify in [the name of] the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the heathen (the Gentiles) do in their perverseness [in the folly, vanity, and emptiness of their souls and the futility] of their minds.

18 "Their moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished) from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the ignorance (the want of knowledge and perception, the willful blindness) that is deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart [to the insensitiveness of their moral nature].

19 In their spiritual apathy they have become callous and past feeling and reckless and have abandoned themselves [a prey] to unbridled sensuality, eager and greedy to indulge in every form of impurity [that their depraved desires may suggest and demand].

20 But you did not so learn Christ!

21 Assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as [all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him],

22 Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;

23 And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],

24 And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another.

26 When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.

27 Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].

28 Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need.

29 Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).

31 Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).

32 And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you". (Biblegateway.com)

 

 

"God is not the Author of confusion.  You become confused when you try to figure out the things that only God knows!" (Meyer 2012 T.V.)

THE WORD OF GOD DELIVERS FAITH - THE FAITH OF GOD (THROUGH YOU) DELIVERS POWER AND THE POWER OF GOD DELIVERS THE MANIFESTATION OF YOUR REWARD (BLESSINGS)

 

 READ THESE THINGS, AND THEY SHALL BE GIVEN UNTO YOU:

I RELEASE THE GRACE OF HEALING POWER OF GOD UPON YOUR BODY IN JESUS' NAME

The Law of Sowing and Reaping:

Galatians 6:7-10

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside.) [He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.] For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap.

For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.

10 So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers] (Biblegateway.com)

 

 


 

 


 


The Key

 

Jesus Creator Savior Redeemer Son of Man

the Word I AM Bread of Life Light of the world

Gate for the sheep Good shepherd The vine

Messiah The resurrection and the life Witness

The way and the truth and the life Wonderful Counselor

Mighty God Prince of Peace The Alpha and the Omega

Lord God The Almighty The First and the Last

The Lamb Root of David Living Water

Son of God The Living One Lion of the tribe of Judah

Faithful and True King of kings Lord of lords

The Bright and Morning Star The Rock of Salvation

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound, To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion--to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit--that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified --

 

 

Will you Walk Through the Door that Leads to the Straight and Narrow Path of Righteousness for His Name Sake? Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it. But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you dressed as sheep, but inside they are devouring wolves. You will fully recognize them by their fruits. (21) Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My  Father Who is in Heaven (Matthew 7:13, 14, 21 Amplified Version)

 

(Isaiah 61:1-3 (Amplified Version)

 

 

"Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency (stand by, be at hand and ready), whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorably.  (Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher  of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong). 

 

.....And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustibly in patience and teaching". (2 Timothy 4:2 - Amplified Version)

 

 
 
 

Do you have Faith?  Take the Leap of Faith - and watch the Glory (Power) and Grace (Gifts) of God surround you!

 

Without the Holy Spirit:

God is far away,

Christ stays in the past,

the Gospel is a dead letter,

the Church simply an organization,

authority a form of domination,

mission a matter of propaganda

of events long ago,

Christian living a slave morality.

 

But in the Holy Spirit:

The cosmos is resurrected and groans

with the birth-pangs of the kindom,

the Risen Christ is present among us now,

the Gospel becomes the power of life,

the Church shows forth the like of the trinity,

authority becomes liberating service,

mission is Pentecost,

the liturgy is both living memorial of

Christ’s saving work now and anticipation

of our future worship in Heaven,

while human action is deified and joins

God’s action to redeem the world

Source

......for your membership and love!

Love

 
The Grace of God

This study seeks to present a Biblical teaching of how we can keep on receiving God's grace, life and power in our lives, so that we can be what we ought to be as Christians, both in the church and in the world. We will examine the subject of what God's grace is, and how it can be received and applied in our lives. This will help us to avoid the cycle of failure, resolutions, repeated failure, frustration and condemnation which is a common problem amongst those wishing to please God.

The Problem

The problem that we have as Christians armed with lots of theory about what God has done, and what we should be doing, is that we can still find ourselves falling desperately short of our own ideals, principles, convictions and hopes. Sometimes the power to make the Christian life and ministry practical and real seems to be sadly lacking. It is possible to talk about love and yet find oneself bound by selfishness and irritation. It is possible to talk about God's power and compassion in healing and yet be unable to demonstrate it or testify about how He has helped you personally.

This is due in part to a misunderstanding and neglect concerning God's grace - which is the working of His life in us. God has not simply left us commandments and principles to follow, without giving us the ability to live out what He is talking about. Let us see what the Bible says on this point in 2 Peter 1:2-4.

"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

Grace is not a cover for rebellion and wilful disobedience

Grace is not given to us so that we can indulge in sin without any serious consequences, as some have taught. It is given that we might escape sin's grip and fully do the will of God. It is given that we might escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. Without doing the will of God, no one will enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21). Grace does not guarantee eternal salvation to someone who knew God but then was overcome again by the corruptions of the world again and would not repent (2 Peter 2:20), nor does it guarantee eternal peace with God to those who never escape the fundamental slavery to sin and rebellion that is characteristic of unregenerate people. What DOES cover the failings of one who has truly committed his whole life to Christ, who has renounced the lordship over his own life and defers to Christ is MERCY obtained through the blood of Christ, not GRACE. God does more than "cover" - He cleanses. The Bible says if we confess our sins he will CLEANSE us and FORGIVE us. This is MERCY, and should not be confused with GRACE, which is empowerment to do God's will. But those who imagine themselves secure and "saved by grace" while continuing in wilful sin and rebellion against God are "turning the grace of God into lewdness" (Jude 4) and are in for a horrible shock unless they repent. There has been a lot of false teaching on grace in the last 100 years and a careful honest look at the Scriptures will refute it.

Grace gives the power to say 'No' to sin, and deny self for the one who is convicted of his need and humbles himself recognizing his need to change. Grace is needed because even the person who totally commits to Christ is powerless to honor this commitment or have a change of heart or nature without God's working in his or her heart.

God has already given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. He has already given us everything we need to live out everything that forms part of the Biblical plan for our lives as His followers. Where is the problem then? The problem lies with our failure to receive and take hold of the grace and power of God in our daily lives. The provision of power for holy living, for gracious living, for supernatural strength and anointing is there for us. Jesus is willing to share all He is with us, so that we can be like Him - not so much outwardly, but especially inwardly - in our thoughts, our attitudes, our love, faith and purity. He is also willing to share a measure of His power with us so that we can continue His mission of destroying the works of the devil and setting others free from Satan's destructive grasp. The question then becomes, "How do we then receive all that Jesus is wanting to offer to us of Himself?" We will consider this issue more later in this study.

It is a mistake to try to earn merit with God by our own religious activities. We cannot earn God's supernatural blessing on our lives through religious activity, sacrifice or anything else.

It is also an error to suppose that simply taking part in some of the ordinances of the Christian church will give us all that we need. Being baptised in water, or receiving regularly the Lord's Supper, or even having hands laid on us in the name of the Lord in themselves will not guarantee our receiving of the favour, power or grace of God so as to make a serious difference for our lives. Multitudes who have at some time received some or all of these ministrations and have been told to be good have found themselves nevertheless powerless to overcome sin within and temptation without. It is a mistake to assume that the power of the Lord is always going to work in us if we outwardly keep certain rituals and practices - even if they are Biblical!

What is Grace?

Grace (Grec.: charis) has been defined in many ways at many times. The Bible, especially the New Testament speaks much of grace. It is important to know what it really means.

Grace has been defined as the unearned, unmerited favour of God, but really this is a very inadequate definition. All grace is favour, but not all unearned favour is grace. This definition does helps us to see that it is something good that comes from God, which we don't deserve. It is a gift. "The Lord will give grace and glory" (Psalm 84:11). "God .. gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6).

Two important things to realise about grace is the totally undeserving nature of the recipient (us), and the totally generous nature of the giver (God).

It is important to realize that God may give grace as He pleases. He can set conditions, or waive them. No one can demand grace from God based on what they have done. Grace is something you cannot earn by good works or even by suffering. No amount of religious activity - Bible study, prayer, obedience to church leaders, fasting, church programmes gives you the right to expect God to bless you or help you in any way. Giving money to the poor or to the church does not earn us any right to God's favour or blessings. Your struggle to obey God's commandments does not earn you God's grace either. Nothing you do can make God owe you grace. "Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt." (Romans 4:4). The things we do for God or others - our works - if they earned favour with God, this favour would not be grace, but rather something that God owes us according to the principle of what is just and fair. "And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work." (Romans 11:6)

The fact that grace is unearned and unmerited does not tell us everything about grace, because it does not tell us what grace does. A more practical definition of grace could be "God's life, power and righteousness coming to us, the undeserving, as a gift." It is through grace that God works effective change in our hearts and lives. God's laws in themselves do not have the power to make us what we should be. It takes God Himself, working in the human life, to make us what we ought to be. At every step, we are dependent on God's life and power to come to us and work within our hearts, if we want to be what God wants and do what He wants.

It follows therefore that we cannot say that our life and power, independent of God, is sufficient to fulfil God's plan. No, every proud religious effort to keep a set of rules, even Biblical rules, is doomed to failure. To live under the law in this way is to be separated from Christ and to be fallen from grace. Paul wrote to some people who had come to fall exactly in this trap. He writes, "You have become estranged from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified [made right] by law [rules]; you have fallen from grace!" (Galatians 5:4).

So then, grace is God's life, power and righteousness coming to us, the undeserving as a gift.

Grace gives us a new life which is not condemned by God. Through God's grace we are forgiven. Grace also transforms our thinking, resulting in the renewal of the mind. Through grace we are sanctified and made holy. Grace enables us to live the kind of generous, carefree life of service and joy that God would like every one of His children to experience.

We will now consider more in detail what the grace of God does.

WHAT GRACE DOES

Grace saves us

"For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast". (Eph 2:8,9).

It is important to see here that by God's grace we have been saved. It is not by works. Salvation is all that God does in taking a fallen man and making him into a son of God - righteous, holy and glorified. Legally it all belongs to us now. God's grace works to make it a reality in our being. First God saves our spirits, making us born again. Then in this life He saves our souls - our minds, emotions and wills, as the process of sanctification in this life unfolds. He also saves our bodies - firstly in part through divine healing and health, and then eternally through the resurrection and redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23). All this, and anything else which God does in salvation, is strictly on the basis of God's grace. God's gift, not our works, made it all possible.

Grace justifies us

"... being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24). See also Titus 3:7.

We may be considered to be right by God only because of the grace of Jesus Christ, which is available to us because Jesus willingly layed down His life for us - paying the price we deserved for our rebellion against God. Our justification is not something we receive because of good works, but because of the payment Jesus paid for us at the cross when he suffered and died.

Grace santifies us

Indeed, not only our right standing with God, but also our right living depends on grace. God does not leave us to struggle in our own power to think, speak and act correctly. He gives grace after grace. "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace." (John 1:16). We need to "continue in God's grace" (Acts 13:43) in order to go on with God. The Word of God's Grace "builds us up and gives us an inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). As we hear about all that God's grace does for us, our faith grows and we can then receive the actual grace to make all this a possibility.

The work of sanctification and perfection belongs firstly to God, not to us. This is why it says, "But may the God of all grace, who has called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you." (1 Peter 5:10). It is as the "God of all grace" that the Lord "perfects, establishes and strengthens us."

Grace gives us the power to conduct ourselves correctly in the world. "For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in all simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you." (2 Corinthians 1:12). It is only by God's grace, and the graciousness He puts in us, that we can conduct ourselves simply and with godly sincerity in the world.

By Grace We Have Strength to Stand Against Opposition

A Christian must stand in the grace of God (Romans 5:2). He must be strong in the grace of God. "You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 2:1). The Scripture says plainly that is is "good that the heart be strengthened [or established] with grace" (Hebrews 13:9). "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (Ephesians 6:10,11). All the armour of God is received by the grace of God. We did not pay for the "breastplate of righteousness" or "the shield of faith" or any other parts of that armour. It is therefore by drawing on the grace of God that we are going to be able to resist temptation and stand against all the temptations and trials that Satan wants to discourage us with and make us fall, if possible.

Under Grace we are not ruled by the Power of Sin

Some imagine that the correct understanding of grace frees the believer to do whatever he wants - to sin against his conscience, against others, against the Word and against God. However, this cannot be correct, since the Scripture says, "Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14). Paul asks, "Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?" His response is clear. "Certainly not!" (Romans 6:15). Grace is not a license to commit sin. It is a force that both pardons us and empowers us to live right, without falling into temptation.

Grace Teaches Us Godliness

Rather than teaching us to sin freely, grace is "teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:11,12). Here we see how closely related is the concept of grace with the working of the Holy Spirit. For it is the Holy Spirit Himself who convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:7). It is the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth (John 16:13). It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit that "teaches us concerning all things" as we learn to abide in Jesus (1 John 2:27). All these things: the anointing, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the grace of God, are closely related. We can say that the anointing itself is a very special and important expression of the grace of God.

When we sin, it is the Holy Spirit who makes us feel this personally. He gives us an opportunity to repent. When we sin, He helps us to feel that something is wrong. He does not do it by condemning us (telling us that we are now condemned), but by convicting us (showing us where we are wrong), and by removing the fulness of peace and joy from our lives. We should let the peace of God rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15). If not, we will sense something is wrong. All this is an expression of God's grace. God wants to lead us to repentance, so that we will neither suffer loss, nor be destroyed.

Grace makes us what we are in God

"But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Corinthians 15:10) What we are in Christ is because of God's life and power which has been at work in us. No one can make himself a great man of God. Even the callings to be this or to do that in God's Kingdom are by grace (Galatians 1:6). Paul said that God called Him by His grace from His mother's womb (Galatians 1:15). This means that it was God, not Paul, who initiated Paul's being chosen for apostolic ministry. In a similar way, Jeremiah was called from His mother's womb to be a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). We cannot become special ministers of God without His calling. We can only be what God gives us grace to be. If through His grace we fulfil a special function in God's Kingdom, then it was not on the basis of our merit and work, but rather, because of God's grace - God's gift, God's favour.

Does this leave us without responsibility before God? No, it is very important for us to take hold of the grace of God, so that we can be what God intends us to be. We will see more on this in a later section.

God's Grace Empowers Us for Service

As we have stated before, the anointing for service is a part of God's grace. The ability to exercise a gift or ministry from God comes from God! This can be seen in the following Scriptures:

"From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed" (Acts 14:26). The early church recognised that these apostles needed God's grace in order that the work they were supposed to do be accomplished.

"Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name" (Romans 1:5). It was by the grace of God that Paul was able to get so many Gentiles in different lands to believe and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ.

"According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation." (1 Corinthians 3:10). Paul was able to do his work of laying the foundation in the Corinthian church only by the grace of God. This grace was for Paul the ability to do his work as an apostle.

"For I say, through the grace of God given to me, to everyone who is among you..." (Romans 12:3). It was God's grace that gave Paul the power and authority to say to the church at Rome and to us as well what he had from God to say. A similar idea can is expressed in Romans 15:15, 16. "Nevertheless, brethren, I have written to you more boldly on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles." Here we can also see that it was the grace of God which gave Paul the power to be a minister of the gospel.

"... I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." (Ephesians 3:7,8). We can see hear that the ability to be a minister, to preach the gospel among the peoples of the world comes through the grace of God.

"Having then gifts that differ according to the grace that is given to us: let us use them." (Romans 12:6). The receiving and operation of the gifts we have from God depends upon the grace that is given to us. Therefore it is through grace that we have certain gifts and ministries of the Spirit among us.

"Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia" (2 Corinthians 8:1). In the context we see that this grace mentioned was grace that made them to operate powerfully in the ministry of giving, even beyond their natural ability (2 Corinthians 8:3).

"But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift" (Ephesians 4:7). This verse makes it clear that grace has been given to each one of us believers that we might be able to serve with the gifts that God gives us.

In conclusion we see that God's grace empowers us for the service of God in three ways. Firstly, by making us a minister or servant of Christ. Secondly, by giving us gifts and ministry abilities necessary. And thirdly, by giving us power and authority to operate those gifts and ministries. It is God's grace that gives us the right words and the right way to communicate those words. It is God's grace that actually spreads through us to work in those that are hearing and receiving the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:15).

God would like us to be so full of His grace in our lives that we can say with Paul the apostle: "His grace towards me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (1 Corinthians 15:10). The grace of God is not received by works, but it produces work done in God. Grace, which is God's life, comes into us and begins to live in us. And God is working even now (John 5:17). In the same way, His grace is to work in us and through us so that we can be all and do all that He wants.

God's Grace Enables Us to Reign

God's Word says, "much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17). We have been made kings and priests to our God (Revelation 1:5). Grace is necessary to rule and reign in life. Grace is necessary to exercise authority in the way that God desires. God rules, but not harshly. He rules in grace, justice, mercy and truth. In order to exercise authority over the situations that we are in, we need to receive more and more of God's grace. This grace gives us power not only to use authority over the demons behind many of the negative situations in life, but also to lead and direct people in a way that will build them up and not destroy them.

WHAT WE MUST DO IN RELATION TO GRACE

1. Believe. The Scripture tells us that Apollos helped those who had "believed through grace" (Acts 18:27). Even the faith which saves us comes through God's grace. We don't produce faith - we receive it as a gift from God. "For by grace you are saved, through faith, and that [faith] not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8).

Nevertheless, we must choose to exercise the faith which God has given us (Romans 12:3). God has given us the grace to believe. We need to use that grace in whatever measure we have received it until now.

By the grace we have, we must believe God - His Word, His promises, His commandments, His judgments.

2. Receive. God's Word says, "much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17). Paul says in Romans 1:5, "We have received grace and apostleship." God may give grace, but we must also be willing to receive it.

Grace must be received as grace. It cannot be received as payment for good behaviour or good works. If we are thinking to receive grace from God on the basis of our good behaviour or good works, we will not be able to receive it as grace. We will therefore not be able to receive it at all. This is why God many times seems to greatly bless a sinner recently turned to him and gives them a great ministry, while seemingly ignoring many "good church people" who have been struggling faithfully for years - but with a wrong mentality concerning grace.

3. Continue in It. "Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God." (Acts 13:43). It is vitally important that all of us, especially those who have recently turned to God and trusted in His grace, continue in the grace of God. We need to allow God to keep guiding our hearts to the place where He can continue to work in us by His grace. In the moment when we cease to allow God's grace to work in us, in the moment when we no longer abide in Christ through disobedience; in that moment we start to dry up as Christians and that life of God in us begins to lose its effectiveness. God will not force us to remain in His grace. It is something He gives us the power to do, but we must choose to go on. Don't give up!

4. Use and Manage it. "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (1 Peter 4:10). Every born-again Christian has received a spiritual gift, and should use it. We have all been given grace to serve somewhere. God's grace takes many forms. There are many different anointings. A steward or manager must use what has been entrusted to him and multiply it. Otherwise, he is not being a good and faithful steward.

This means that whatever gifts and abilities God has given us by His grace, we should use them for His glory. God's grace and blessings were not given simply for us to sit in church and feel good. Rather, they were given that we might not only be blessed, but also be a blessing.

5. Spread It. "For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God." (2 Corinthians 4:15). Grace and peace will multiply as more and more people spread it. We can spread God's grace through giving, through preaching the gospel, and by "speaking such a word as is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29). It is the privilege and responsibility of every true Christian, and not just of a special few, to spread God's grace to as many as possible. When we to this, more and more people will give thanks to God, and so pleasure will come to the heart of God.

THE IMPORTANCE OF GRACE

In the light of all that we have seen so far it is clear that it would be difficult to over-estimate the importance of God's grace as far as our lives are concerned. Without grace we would not only be useless as Christians in God's sight - we would also be lost. There is no work that man can do to make him "good enough for God". Everything that we do outside of God's grace is worthless. Everything good that comes in us and through us is only by the grace of God.

It is therefore very important that we respect God's grace and follow the Scriptural warnings not to sin against the grace of God. To sin against the grace of God has serious consequences. If we wilfully go on sinning against God in this way, we "insult the Spirit of Grace" and "no sacrifice for sins remains" (Hebrews 10:26,29).

It is good to see the whole Bible in the light of grace, and not of law. If we read the Bible only in the light of law, it will condemn us, but never set us free to please God. By reading and interpreting the Bible in the light of grace, we may have hope for this life and for eternity - because we see the reality of forgiveness and blessing in Christ. At the same time, if we properly understand grace, it will lead us to God and away from sin. To see grace as an enouragement for sin is to "turn the grace of God into lasciviousness". This false understanding of grace is very dangerous.

We therefore see that it is good for us to study, understand, receive and apply the grace of God to every aspect of our lives.

SINNING AGAINST THE GRACE OF GOD

There are a number of different sins against the grace of God mentioned in the Scriptures.

1. Setting Aside the Grace of God (Galatians 2:21)

This is teaching that efforts to adhere to moral laws are all that is required for us to please God. It is a denial of our need for God's partnership in our transformation.

2. Receiving God's grace in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1)

This implies it is possible to actually receive God's grace, and yet fail to take hold of it and flow with it in such a way as to allow any good fruit to result.

3. Turning the Grace of God into Lasciviousness (Jude 4)

This is teaching that we can sin sexually, live to please our flesh or commit other sins and somehow the grace of God makes it so that we are still right with God while we go on like this.

4. Falling from Grace (Galatians 5:4)

This is to reject Christ after you have known Him, and turn back either to a system of rule-keeping and self effort, or to slide into sinful and rebellious ways, hardening the heart to God.

5. Falling Short of the Grace of God (Hebrews 12:15)

This is to fail to come up to the mark God has enabled you to attain by His grace.

6. Insulting the Spirit of Grace (Hebrews 10:29)

This is to speak against God, His ways, His system of salvation through the cross and the Holy Spirit.

7. Turning Aside from Grace (not continuing in it)

This is to get our eyes off God and go after other things.

Source (accessed March 05, 2013).


 

 

 

 

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A New Covenant

Creflo Dollar

One of the things that has been responsible for keeping so many Christians in bondage, where guilt and condemnation are concerned, is not having a correct understanding of the new covenant that has been implemented through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Many Believers maintain a “sin-consciousness” because they are trying to submit themselves to the Law rather than receiving the liberty and freedom that comes from knowing that their sins have been forgiven through Jesus’ shed blood . We are now living under the dispensation of grace, which means that we are not subject to the Law implemented by Moses. Knowing this is critical to living a successful Christian life.


When we talk about the “Law” we are talking about the guidelines that were put in place in the Old Testament pertaining to how God’s people were supposed to live. The Law was implemented for the purpose of making mankind aware of his need for a Savior. Under the Old Covenant, God had a part and man had a part. Man’s part was to offer sacrifices to God for the purpose of covering his sins, and God’s part was to respond by blessing the sacrifice. This is why the Jews in the Old Testament repeatedly offered animal sacrifices to God. They had to because under the Law the only way to remain in right-standing with God was to offer a burnt sacrifice to Him. However, one of the effects of the Law was that it bred “sin-consciousness” in the hearts and minds of people. Because they were not born again, they were subject to this sin-consciousness, and there was nothing they could do about it. They had their sins on their minds and the idea that they had to do something to eradicate them.


Please understand, the Law was holy and good. But the problem with it was that no one could keep it perfectly. Although the sacrifices the Jews made to God allowed them to be blessed in spite of not keeping the law, those sacrifices had to be done over and over again. The truth is that God knew man needed a savior, an ultimate sacrifice to perfectly fulfill the law and make us righteous in His sight forever. This is why Jesus came to the earth. He became that ultimate sacrifice once and for all, throughout eternity. When we receive Him as our Lord and Savior, we enter into a New Covenant that is based on God’s grace, not the Law, which requires us to do something to gain righteousness before God. 

 
Hebrews 8:6-13 paints a picture of this new covenant that we are part of as Christians:
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws in their hearts: and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people…For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which is decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.


For the born-again person today, there is a new covenant and, consequently, a new spiritual reality for us to partake of, as evidenced by this Hebrews passage. Because we cannot keep the Law in its entirety, God has made a new agreement with us in which He has put His Spirit in our hearts, enabling us to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. With the Holy Spirit within us, we become aware of God’s requirements, and God personally teaches us about who He is on an intimate level. He promises to be merciful to us and completely forget about our sins and iniquities! In this New Covenant, God’s part is to release the Blessing into our lives through Jesus Christ, who is our High Priest, and our part is to simply believe, receive, and give Him thanks for what He has done for us. It is a covenant agreement that is based on our faith in Jesus, and not our own efforts to become righteous in God’s sight.


Understanding the covenant of grace enables us to live free from sin-consciousness. When we know that God does not remember our sins when we confess them, turn away from them, and accept Jesus into our hearts, we no longer have to walk through life feeling condemned when we make mistakes. The blood of Jesus is continually working to cleanse us as we walk in the light of God’s Word that we know. All we have to do is believe in God’s love for us and know that He never goes back on His promises. If He has said that we are forgiven, then we are forgiven. Receive the freedom that comes from understanding the New Covenant!

Source

The Anointed One

The Word (Christ) Speaketh

"Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk.  Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run.  Obama’s running so all the children can fly.” 

Reference: Jesus Save Ministries

James 1:22

Amplified Bible (AMP)

22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].

 

2 Corinthians 1:21-22

PAUL'S CHANGE OF PLANS

21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

1 John 2

CHRIST OUR ADVOCATE

1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but  also for the whole world. 3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments,is a  liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But  whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God  is perfected  in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6  He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

 

 

THE NEW COMMANDMENT

7  Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had  from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard  from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 9  He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10  He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

11 But he who  hates his brother is in darkness and  walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

12 I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake.

13 I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father.
 14 I have written to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because  you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one.

DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world.

 17 And  the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Warning Concerning AntiChrists

18  Little children,  it is the last hour; and as you have heard that  the Antichrist is coming,  even now many antichrists have come, by which we know  that it is the last hour. 19  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out  that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 20 But  you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you  know all things. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23  Whoever denies the Son does not have the  Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 24 Therefore let that abide in you  you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25  And this is the promise that He has promised us - eternal life.

26 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. 27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing  teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

 

CHILDREN OF GOD

28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that  when He appears, we may have  confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 29  If you know that He is righteous, you know that  everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

 

CHILDREN OF GOD

1 Behold  what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that  we should be called children of  God! Therefore the world does not know us,  because it did not know Him.

 2 Beloved,  now we are children of God; and  it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed,  we shall be like Him, for  we shall see Him as He is. 3  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

 5And you know  that He was manifested  to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.

6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.

 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested,  that He might destroy the works of the devil.

 9 Whoever has been  born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning,  that we should love one another,

12 not as  Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous.

13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love  his brother abides in death.

15  Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

16  By this we know love,  because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

17 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

18 My little children,  let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

19 And by this we  know  that we are of the truth, and shall  assure our hearts before Him.

20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us,  we have confidence toward God.

22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments  and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave  us commandment.

24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And  by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

 

1 John 4

TEST THE SPIRITS

1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but  test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

 2By this you know the Spirit of God:  Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,

 3 and every spirit that does not confess 1 that Jesus  Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than  he who is in the world.

5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.

 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us.  By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

GOD IS LOVE

7  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten  Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

10 In this is love,  not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11Beloved,  if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

12  No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.

13  By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and  he who abides in love abides in God, and God  in him.

 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that  we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

19  We love  Him because He first loved us.

 20  If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God  whom he has not seen?

 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

1 John 5

Overcoming the World

1 Whoever believes that  Jesus is the Christ is  born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.

 3  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And  His commandments are not burdensome.

 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world -  our faith.

 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but  he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Testimony Concerning the Son of God

6 This is He who came  by water and blood - Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood.  And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.

7 For there are three that bear witness  in heaven: the Father,  the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.

 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.

9 If we receive  the witness of men, the witness of God is greater;  for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.

10 He who believes in the Son of God  has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God  has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.

 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

12  He who has the Son has  life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

THAT YOU MAY KNOW

13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life,  and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

 14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that  if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death.  There is sin leading to death.  I do not say that he should pray about that.

 17  All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.

18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God  keeps 6 7 himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.

19 We know that we are of God, and  the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

20 And we know that the  Son of God has come and  has given us an understanding,  that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God  and eternal life.

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

JUDGMENT ON FALSE TEACHERS

3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you  concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord  God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that  the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

 6 And the angels who did not keep their 3proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;

7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the  vengeance of eternal fire.

8  Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of  dignitaries.

9 Yet Michael the archangel, in  contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said,  "The Lord rebuke you!"

10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.

11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way  of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished  in the rebellion of Korah.

12 These are 7 spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried  about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;

13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,

15 "to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the  harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

16These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words,  flattering people to gain advantage.

A Call to Persevere

17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:

18 how they told you that  there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.

19 These are  sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

20 But you, beloved,  building yourselves up on your most holy faith,  praying in the Holy Spirit,

21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

 22And on some have compassion, 1 making a distinction;

23 but  others save  with fear,  pulling them out of the  fire, hating even  the garment defiled by the flesh.

DOXOLOGY

24  Now to Him who is able to keep  you from stumbling,
And  to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

25 To  God our Savior, Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and 

16 power,
Both now and forever.
Amen.

Source

1 Timothy 4:8

King James Version (KJV)

8For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come

Reference

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