The Kingdom of GodBro. David Chancellor
4/9/2006 11:00 AM
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 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.
This kingdom is one that God makes us a part of. The Revelation chart is a graphical depiction of some things, but the message is the same with or without it because the Bible is the same. The four beasts on the Old Testament end of the chart are found here in Daniel. These beasts and the beasts in Revelation look nothing like anything we see. The beasts in Daniel deal with literal kingdoms, and the beasts in Revelation deal with spiritual things.
Each of the empires depicted by the beasts Daniel saw had their own gods. These empires used the powers of the government to enforce their religion. When Christ came, kingdoms were still using the power of government to enforce religion. When Catholicism came along, the only thing that changed was the religion of the empire. Protestantism is the same way. Even now, the spirit of man hasn’t changed. There is something in the heart of mankind that causes him to go that way. Only Christ within will change the approach to sharing religion.
The United States appears to believe that it created the concept of “separation of church and state.” When Jesus set up his kingdom, he made a separation between his church and civic government. Pagan Rome opposed Christianity because of a fear that they would overthrow the nation. Christianity caused people to be a part of something different, even though they were still Romans, Greeks, etc. by nationality. When Jesus came, religion was no longer a matter of national government.
The law and the prophets were until John; since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
This establishes a time. The declaration of God’s kingdom came first to Israel. He had worked to prepare them for the message of the gospel. Within five years, it went out to all mankind. The Israelites opposed the establishment of this kingdom, too.
The law and prophets were to be enforced by the government on the people of Israel. How do you or can you enforce love? You can’t, by law, force people to love. Government can’t enforce worship that is pleasing to God.
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: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
The time is here; repent and believe the gospel. Repent and believe the good news. Believe that it is here now. It has been here for over 2000 years. Our part is to believe the kingdom is here. The government will never be able to make people live holy. Only God can change people. We can enjoy the benefits of the kingdom of God in a world of sinful man. The kingdom came with Christ.
When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 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.
Jesus hadn’t found faith like the centurion’s in Israel. The religion enforced by their government hadn’t built great faith. The Israelites that rejected what he came to bring were cast out. Those that teach all the Israelites will make it to heaven are wrong. All sinners will go to the same place because they are all part of the same spiritual kingdom. God’s kingdom is for everyone - we all have the same opportunity to enter in. We get in through God’s plan of redemption. We all have to come through the blood of Jesus.
And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
“And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” This scribe got a glimpse of the picture. When you have the love of God in your heart, you’ve got it. This kingdom isn’t about commandments; it’s about having the love of God in your heart. We need the love of God in our hearts.
The disciples needed the love of God in their heart. The nature has to be changed if people would be filled with the love of God. When you’re filled with the love of God, you will love your neighbor as yourself. We expect people who are saved to want to help others.
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
This makes clear what this kingdom is - a spiritual one. You can’t observe it and see its boundaries. It is within us. Because it is a spiritual kingdom, there is no place it can’t go. This kingdom can go anywhere. Wherever the message of Christ can be carried, people can find him.
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Paul prayed for these that they would learn and grow. There are things people need to achieve and have, but it has to come by the person being translated to God’s kingdom and getting the Spirit within. You can’t enforce having the traits of a saint. These rejoiced in suffering because people could see Jesus in them. We’re glad we can be part of his kingdom.