The Grace of God

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

There are only Two Kingdoms

The following was written by my friend Steve Thomas, and is posted here with his permission.

The Bible Describes TWO KINGDOMS – We each belong, individually, to one, or the other:

1.) The Kingdom of Heaven & God (in and amongst the disciples of Jesus)
2.) The Power of Darkness (operating in the ‘children of disobedience’).
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Many proponents of Christian Zionism & Messianic Judaism would have us believe the primary distinction on the earth, is between Israel and the nations – Jews and Gentiles – as it was under the Old Covenant. It seems many are living according to the terms of the former covenant still (which is a bit embarrassing if not fatal) as it has been displaced (by God!) – replaced with the New Covenant, 1984 years ago.)
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Jesus came to lift humanity from the flesh (fallen & mortal) to the spirit (righteous & eternal in Christ). Opponents, some operating in an antichrist spirit, tend to demean anything that (as they say) ‘spiritualizes’ the physical. They complain when Christians ‘spiritualize the promises’. By this, it is usually meant, allegorizing, or making into an imaginary thing or an unreal thing. And normally, in a bid to defend the political / military / cultural restoration of Israel as the center-piece of God’s (alleged) intentions today.

But the work of God is done in the Spirit, by His Spirit, in union with the born again spirits of regenerated saints of God. God *is* a Spirit. Those who worship him must do so in Spirit and truth – not now in the mountain of Zion on earth, nor in the derelict & non-existent remains of the former stone temple. Flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom of God – but only those who have been born of the Spirit – born again in the image of the heavenly man – Jesus Christ, (not the earthy man – the ‘first Adam’).
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The Apostle John described the antichrist spirit. Much is written and said about ‘the antichrist’, but in fact we have noticed there are only four references to antichrist/s in the entire Bible, in just three passages – all of them in the first two epistles of John. In a nutshell, the antichrist spirit works in tandem with human antichrists – basically anybody who denies the Deity and Lordship of Jesus Christ, or operates in another spirit contrary to the gospel and truth of Jesus.
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Jesus knows those who are his – those who love him and talk with him, and draw off his wisdom, living in his Spirit, in communion with him in their regenerated spirits, in reverence for God. These are the ‘chosen people’ of God – his own children – those who walk now after the Spirit, not after the flesh – not according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.
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John the Baptist was very clear in his warnings to Israelites and Judeans, (and anyone who would listen) to not even say within themselves that they had Abraham as their father. The very thing that many today in the CZ / MJ movement are placing at *top priority* – John, the greatest prophet of the Old Covenant (according to Jesus) – told us effectively to not even THINK! – let alone to teach it as a central and primary doctrine, defining our fellowships according to this criteria – emblazoning it across our ministry materials.
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Faith in Jesus is the only given way to God. The only way to be his child. It is the way of the CROSS – not the way of the blue & white HEXAGRAM!
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It is said that God is displaying his power and glory in the nation of Israel today – that this nation is his chosen vessel to honor and sanctify his name. Whereas we do not single out Israel for particular opprobrium amongst other nations of this fallen world, and whereas we maintain a positive outlook towards her citizens – holding out the hand of friendship; There is no recognition (amongst CZ/MJ groups) that any application of such statements regarding her elevated position in the eyes of God, in the bible, pertains specifically to the former nation under the old covenant, leading up to Christ. Little or no recognition is in evidence that the planned SHIFT **from Judah to Christ** occurred at his first coming (Genesis 49:10) – and now unto HIM is the gathering of the people – all people.
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Jesus said his kingdom is *not of this world* – not from here. (I think he meant it.) He said this in Jerusalem – in front of the Roman world power of the day and the gathered Jewish leaders seeking his demise – Almost his last and final statement before his death. Thus removing all grounds from the ones who seek to establish a power structure, or physical kingdom, on this earth, in the present age (- and certainly not in his name!).
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Two kingdoms: We each either belong to Jesus, or to Satan. God, or the devil. The way to tell, is to ask somebody who is their Lord – their God. Who do they worship? Who/what do they live for? [and, what do they primarily focus on in conversation, private reading, viewing, conference attendance etc?] If they say Jesus Christ, (in public,) chances are they belong to the Kingdom of God (if they are living for God in the secret place as well – relying on the blood of Jesus for their eternal justification before our righteous God.)
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But Israel, as a corporate secular entity, is no way even *remotely* in submission to Jesus Christ. Thus, sadly, she is (predominantly) under the power of darkness – satan – the devil – the god of this age – the spirit of antichrist. Of course the grace of God *is* towards her, and her citizens – grace upon grace – an open way to be restored to right standing for each and every one.
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I have managed to identify just 2 Members of the Knesset in Israel who self-declare as Christian, out of a total of 120.

=> Basel Ghattas – an Arab Christian from Rameh
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basel_Ghattas
=> Hana Sweid, an Arab Christian from near Nazareth.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hana_Sweid
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Whereas this is a good thing – being thankful for their presence – How is Israel, in truth, especially in it’s Jewish aspect, remotely the nation of God? With zero Christian Jewish presence (as far as I can tell – please correct and I will edit without hesitation).
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Can we imagine the entire collective of Judah returning from exile in Babylon, in complete denial of the Lord who sent them to the nations to purge them of their sins, and humble them to bring them back to himself? (which did happen as described – in fact, this the given reason for the God-defined *biblical* Diaspora.)
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What happened to the Israelites leaving Egypt? That entire generation (except faithful Joshua & Caleb) fell in the desert, in their negation of the work of God in their midst. What has changed? Why are Christian Zionists and Christian lovers of Israel not issuing forth clear & persistent warnings to the nation they love – to not fall after the same example of disbelief? As if it matters not a jot. Preferring instead to post anti-Arab propaganda, support for militarism, technology, and Israeli political prowess. Fawning over the marvellous Bibi Netanyahu, Lieberman & co. (like they are Zerubbabel, Ezra and Jeshua…. or Moses, Joshua and Caleb)
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God is the same yesterday, today and forever. His calling and drawing of men is as it always was. If God would simply convert a nation en masse, would he not have done so at Pentecost? *The gospel* was given as the power of God unto salvation – then as now. There is no indication this will change between now and the day of the Lord, at his coming in power and glory to judge the world – the living and the resurrected dead.
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I dare to say the Christian Zionist Israel-centred paradigm is flawed in far too many places to stand up. Nobody seems to be willing to come forward to hold a decent conversation to show the veracity and clarity of the biblical foundations of this belief system against even the most moderately presented questions. Try as we might, whenever we almost embarrassingly are duty bound to expose false claims, misapplications of prophecy, the clearly mistaken context of OT statements cut and pasted over today’s nation – the protagonists generally evaporate. Delete then block. The power of deception must be very strong, as doors are bolted, and barricades erected against the biblical truth, when it is laid out with genuine respect and care and friendship.

Steve Thomas. 17.12.14

 
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