The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Man’s Kingdom vs. God’s Kingdom

We live in a time of great striving in the world, nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom (Matt. 24:7). Earthly kings (though they often be called by other names, such as presidents) all strive for authority over multitudes, just as the four winds strove upon the great sea in Daniel’s vision (Dan. 7:2).  God gives power to whom He wills, even to wicked men, so as to sift the nations and expose them to the glorious gospel of the one eternal Kingdom. His hope is that men will choose the infinite over the finite, the eternal Kingdom of God over the temporary kingdoms of men, the great and merciful King of kings over kings who must be regarded as beasts in prophecy–for they follow beastly instincts in all their conquests.  King Jesus is the only King who ever conquered hearts by selflessness, and whose subjects are all servants by choice. His throne is forever and ever, and He rules by righteousness (Psa. 45:6).

King Jesus is the Stone of Dan. 2:44-45:

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, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.  Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

The Stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands–the very stone which the rebellious builders rejected–will break into pieces every kingdom that exists, from the gold down to the clay. Those who are delivered from the power of darkness are translated into this kingdom (Col. 1:13), and have together become a holy nation, as well as chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and a peculiar people to show forth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (I Pet. 2:9).  The kingdom of God has been taken from all rebels who reject the chief Cornerstone, and given to the holy nation bearing its holy fruit (Matt. 21:43)  It includes men from every nation, for they will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God (Luke 13:29).

This kingdom of God, and the righteousness by which it is ruled, we are to seek first before all things (Matt. 6:33). We are to preach with John the Baptist, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.“  For is it not at hand? Has not the King been installed on God’s holy hill, and do not the nations all rage in vain against Him? (Psa. 2)  We know that our King’s arrows are sharp in the hearts of His enemies (Psa. 45:5), and we plead with men, be reconciled to God through the death of His Son.

The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. (Luke 16:16). When the Pharisees demanded answers concerning the kingdom Jesus preached, He answered, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21) He likewise answered Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (Jn. 18:36) Oh, if only men would stop and reflect on these verses, how many deceptions about the Christian’s so-called “duty to bear arms” in so-called “just wars” would be cast down by the knowledge of God.

In order to see this spiritual Kingdom, we must be born again (John 3:3), because the things of the Spirit are spiritually discerned (I Cor. 2:14) All who enter must first be converted and enter as little children ready to be led and taught of God (Matt. 18:3). Flesh and blood cannot inherit this kingdom (I Cor. 15:50). It differs from carnal kingdoms in that it does not strive for the carnal activities of eating and drinking (flesh-indulgence), but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:7).  The members of this kingdom do not fight with carnal weapons but spiritual, for though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh (2 Cor. 10:3-4). The unrighteous shall in no wise inherit this holy kingdom (I Cor. 6:9-10), and it is very difficult for the rich to enter–just the opposite of man’s kingdoms (Matt. 19:24).  This kingdom is made up of the poor in spirit, those who mourn over what breaks God’s heart, the meek and merciful, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and those persecuted for righteousness’ sake (Matt. 5:3-10).  “Tax collectors” and harlots who repent and produce the preceding qualifications shall enter the kingdom before religious men who go to church but do not do the Father’s will (Matt. 21:31);  for only those who do the will of God will enter, and calling Him “Lord” is not enough (Matt. 7:21).  As a present subject of this kingdom, one is given a stewardship from God, and He will demand an accounting, and cast unprofitable servants into outer darkness (Matt. 25:14-30).  We must let the dead bury their own dead and preach this kingdom of God–the one that is not of this world–not looking back, nor being overly discouraged by the cross which it is our duty to bear; for no one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.  (Luke 9:60, 62)

Men are pressing into the kingdom NOW, and it is not a visible kingdom, but a kingdom within the hearts of men. Therefore Jesus’ servants needed not to fight for His life, and need not now fight for their own lives, for the Kingdom is secure and out of reach of the carnal weapons of men.  No matter how the kings of the earth set themselves, and no matter what counsel the rulers take together against Him and His anointed, no matter how they make war against those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:17),  the Lord shall laugh and have them in derision (Psa. 2). He knows that the days of earthly nations are numbered, and that though the saints be given into the hands of the wicked for a space,  by enduring they shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever. (Dan. 7:18) Though they are troubled, perplexed, persecuted and cast down under the rulerships of carnal men, yet they are NOT forsaken nor destroyed, for their feet rest surely upon the immovable Rock (2 Cor. 4:8-9).

Here is the patience of the saints, dear reader–Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore do good to all your enemies, and do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. You must rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation (through which we all must enter the kingdom of God), and continue instant in prayer.  Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.  (Rom. 12; Acts. 14:22; I Pet. 4:19)

Our kingdom has an army whose Commander has already overcome this world. We must choose whom we will serve, the kingdoms of this world that fight for territory, riches, and power over men–or the kingdom of God that fights with spiritual weapons to set men from every nation free from darkness.  There are lost sheep in every corner of the globe, and it is our duty as the Body of Christ, to seek them out of the highways and biways and invite them to fill up the house of our God.  We must show them the kingdom that transcends all other kingdoms, and invite them to come in. And though we will be perceived as a threat to all the temporary kingdoms on earth, and though for our love they may unjustly hate us and persecute us–

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

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