Is The Kingdom Of Heaven Here Yet?
But let us take it one step at a time. First, what does repent mean? Repent comes from the Greek metanoeo, which simply means to change one’s mind. In this case, it means to change our mind about following the ways of the flesh. We can’t serve both God and mammon. And the way of the Spirit is the way of God, which is not compatible with the way of the flesh. Once we truly repent, and with faith in the truth of the word of God, we can be baptized, and receive the Spirit of God. We begin a new life, born again, but of the Spirit. Metaphorically speaking, “No man puts new wine into old wineskins: else the new wine bursts the wineskins, and the wine is spilled, and the wineskins will be marred: but new wine must be put into new wineskins.” [Mark 2:22].
The old wineskins here are a reference to living our lives under the old law covenant delivered by Moses to the children of Israel. That is, their lusts of the flesh were kept in check by the penalty of the law, at least to a point. But their hearts were not in it. “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would.” [Gal. 5:17]. This is to say, the cares and ways of this world keep us from doing that which is good according to the word of God when we are only of the flesh, and not led of the Spirit. "For the promise that he would be the heir of the world [Greek, kosmos, John 3:16] was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith." [Rom. 4:13; see Feature article, MIrror, Mirror On The Wall].
Thus, for Christians the new wineskins here represent the advent of the covenant of Abraham, by repentance and faith becoming a new man, “born again,” by the Spirit of God, which came about with Christ’s death and resurrection in the first century. In our new lives, we are to be ambassadors for Christ, representing life lived with the Spirit of God in all that we say and do. “And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” [Eph. 4:24; read the Feature articles, We're Abraham's Seed And Heirs and The Tale Of Two Covenants].
Now in reference to “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” most of the time we think of the word kingdom to mean a physical entity, like Disney’s Magic Kingdom or the UK, the United Kingdom, something we can see with our own two eyes. But this is not the meaning of the word kingdom as Christ used it in the first century. It doesn’t refer to a location complete with GPS coordinates. It is completely spiritual in nature, an intangible referring to the sovereign power and authority of God. In Matthew 4:17, the Greek noun is basileia, which is the power and authority of a king to have dominion and govern rather than a tangible geographical reference like the Roman Empire.
This is why Christ said to repent or change our mind about which path in life we choose to live. “For this you know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance [Greek, kleronomia, what is given as a possession] in the kingdom [power and authority] of Christ and of God.” [Eph. 5:5].
So this leads us the next question, what is it that we can be in possession of by the power and authority, the kingdom of Christ, and God our father? Christ gives us our answer.
“Then was brought to him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, ‘Is not this the son of David?’ But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, ‘This fellow does not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.’
“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, ‘Every kingdom [power and authority] divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
“And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom [power and authority] stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom [basileia, power and authority] of God is come to you.’” [Mat.12:22-28]. The Spirit of God, sent by Christ from our Father after his ascension into heaven, is the kingdom, the power and authority of God.
We can be in possession of the almighty power and authority of God each day of our lives. "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" [Mat. 7:11].
“And when he [Christ] 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 [the power and authority] of God is within you.” [Luke 17:20, 21]. The words within you used in Luke in Greek are entos hymon. Hymon is the pronoun, you. Entos is defined as within, or in the midst, or inside, which is why Christ said the kingdom, or the power and authority of God given us through the Spirit of God can't be visibly detected like a palpable kingdom as the Pharisees were expecting. After all, faith is the evidence of things not seen [Heb. 11:1] and we received the Spirit by the hearing of faith, which is the conviction of the truth. [Gal. 3:2].
With the Spirit of God, the power and authority of God is within us, “… the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” [Rom. 8:11; see chapter one in The Blind Man’s Elephant, the Three Creations Of Life]. It is made clear here that the Spirit of God dwells in us. Are not our bodies the temple of the Spirit of God? [1 Cor. 6:19]. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven or of God is in us when we have his Spirit. And as Christ said, it can't be visibly observed. Otherwise, we'd halfway expect to have little castles and moats somewhere in the midst of us.
As our Father’s children, we are instructed to seek first the power and authority of God. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” [Mat. 6:33]. As we go about our daily lives, it is this power and authority of God resident in us, giving our mortal bodies life, which is to be our first priority. When we do this, coupled with a love for the truth, then we need not worry about our lives. "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” [Mat. 6:25; read the Feature article, Brown Paint: Quantum Potentialities]. However, having the Spirit of God, if we weaken and lapse to follow the ways of this world, then we are divided against God and ourselves.
Those of you who’ve read our articles and books know by now that Christ said, “I am sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” [Mat. 15:24]. The apostle Peter reiterates this point, in 1 Peter 2:10. “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” “In time past were not a people” is a reference to the divorced state of the House of Israel as we can read in Jer. 3:8. [Read the Feature articles, Galilee Of The Gentiles, What Exactly Is The Gospel?, and chapter six, The Blind Man’s Elephant]. In the Christian age, the lost sheep of the House of Israel, descendants of Abraham and his Seed, Christ are redeemed, once again the people of God having obtained mercy, which is the good news or the gospel delivered by Christ and the apostles. "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David ...." "Of this man's seed has God raised up for Israel a Savior, Jesus." [Luke 1:68, 69; also Acts 13:23; see the Sneakers article, His Treasured Possession].
Peter, on the first day of Christianity, Pentecost, addressed his remarks to the people of God, “Therefore let all the House of Israel know assuredly, that God has made that same Jesus, whom you have crucified [due to our divorce from God], both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, ‘Men, brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said unto them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” [Acts 2:36-38; also see chapter four, The Hijacked Elephant for the historical and prophetic significance of the first fruits of the Spirit of God in this age; also Rom. 8:23].Prior to this day of Pentecost, Christ sent out the apostles to preach the good news of the kingdom, the power and authority of God available to us through the Holy Spirit. And to whom did Christ send his apostles? “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, ‘Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans do not enter: but go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom [power and authority] of heaven is at hand.’” [Mat. 10:5-7]. This is a simple and clear instruction to the apostles.
Christ explained it this way. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say to you, except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter [Greek, eiserchomai, access] the kingdom [power and authority] of God. That which is born [Greek, gennao, to be born rather than conceived] of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” [John 3:5, 6]. This is why Christ said the kingdom, the power and authority of God doesn't come with observation. The Spirit of God is within us. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is at hand meant that the coming of the Spirit of God for the lost sheep of the House of Israel would be available to those baptized, born of the water and the Spirit beginning on that first Pentecost day after Christ’s resurrection on a sabbath, thereby fulfilling the Law and the Prophets. [See Mat. 5:17; the updated Feature article, Easter, Babylon And The Antichrist].
The apostle Paul explains the effects of the power and authority of God within us through the Spirit of God. “Therefore now there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. [The law of sin and death refers to the covenant made only with the children of Israel, Exd. 34:27].
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." [Rom. 8:1-15]. Abba in Aramaic means father.
More than a few of our Feature articles are “strong meat” as the apostle Paul would say. “But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” [Heb. 5:14]. This is in stark contrast to Churchianity’s “cotton candy” that belongs to them that are poorly nourished in the truth. But truly, if we are Christians we need to know what falsehoods are being foisted upon us and why. We should be furious that we've been fed these lies, especially considering the prophetic consequences. Knowing where this is leading us, we can make informed decisions about our lives as Christians.Like strong meat when we are not used to eating it, it can be hard to digest. Therefore, in light of these previous articles, this article is somewhat of a digestif, an after meal spiritual beverage to help our digestion.
When examining how far Christianity has gotten off the path set before us in the first century by Christ and the apostles, and where we are in relation to the prophecies concerning us and our Big Brother, it is easy to get fearful, feeling events are out of our control. [See the Feature article, Is That You, Big Brother?]. And, in fact, they are out of our direct control. But what is in our control is our direct relationship to God through the Holy Spirit within us and his promises to us. This is what Christ's fulfilling of Pentecost is all about. After all, we adults who have been baptized and received the Spirit of God did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear.
The apostle John pointed out, “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, [Greek agape, brotherly love, affection, good will] and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 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. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear [Greek phobos, dread, terror], because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” [1 John 4:16-18].
When crises in life confront us, whether they are personal in nature or those related to the prophecies in Revelation and Daniel, causing those pangs of fear in our stomach, it is because we get tunnel vision. We are not fully focused on God in love. Instead, we are focusing on those circumstances that are in our immediate consciousness. We are reactive rather than proactive in the Spirit, focusing on the weakness of the flesh rather than the strength of the Spirit of God. After all, who’s power created the universe and the mind-boggling energy and force contained therein? It is this same power that gives life to our mortal bodies through the Spirit of God.
We need to be mindful of a few points. First of all, if we are living in the ways of the flesh, we live contrary to God. The only way we can live in harmony with God is to be led in our lives by the Spirit of God. As we read above, when we are lead by the Spirit, we are the sons of God. “ … what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?” [Mat. 7:9]. Would you help your son or daughter in need? Of course. Then, we need to believe our Father when He said will do the same for us through the Spirit of God.
As Paul told us, “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we don't know what God wants us to pray for. The Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. Our Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will. We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” [Rom. 8:26].
Perhaps a few examples from the Biblical record will help us understand our relationship with God when led by the Spirit. We need to be strong and forceful in faith, the conviction of the truth, living it rather than the fables and deceit that have saturated Christianity today. Otherwise, if we don’t trust Christ’s words enough to believe them, such as telling us he was sent only to the House of Israel, then we deny our heritage and inheritance, and therefore our actions deny Christ’s love, his death on the cross for us, despite words to the contrary.
We need to remember, the power and authority of heaven is to have His Spirit, “ … you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light ….” [1 Pet 2:9]. Therefore, in our generation, we are told not to worry about our life. Our faith requires works of love and trust. We can’t do this when we focus on the events that confront us rather than focusing on the power and authority of God.
Where were our enemies, those who hate goodness and love evil and darkness “ … when I [God] laid the foundations of the earth? Who determined its measurements? To what were its foundations fastened? Have [they] an arm like God? Or can [they] thunder with a voice like His? Have [they] commanded the morning since our days began, and caused the dawn to know its place?” [Read Job 38-42].
The point in all this is that we get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that we get tunnel vision. We misplace the priorities we had when we first committed ourselves to God and our Savior Christ. Step back, and look at the big picture that God pointed out to Job to get him to put his life into perspective. We need daily to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to our Father. For when we do this, the perfect love of God within us through His Spirit casts out our fear.
Beginning with the establishment of the first Babylonian empire, we are told, “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will, and sets up over it the basest of men.” [Dan 4:17]. The key point of understanding here is that our Father, who makes His Spirit available to us, tells us we need not worry about our life. He rules in the kingdom of men. He determines who gets the keys to the palace so to speak. Our Father is in charge. All we need do is fervently avail ourselves of that which He is offering to us with a love of the truth. [See Eph. 4:15; 2 Ths. 2:10].
When the apostle Paul was addressing the men of Israel, he said, "The God of this people Israel chose our fathers … I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will … From this man's seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus, after John [the Baptist] had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.” [Acts 13:17, 22, 23; also see 1 Sam. 13:14]. All the people of Israel includes the House of Israel.
We read in the first verse of the New Testament, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” Then in the last chapter of the New Testament, “I, Jesus, have sent My messenger to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star." [Rev. 22:16; see the Feature article, Why Is Jesus Jewish, But Not Moses?].
So not only is David a man’s after God’s own heart, but Christ is his ancestor through the Spirit and his descendant in the flesh. There is no other such strong connection between God and man in the Biblical record. Therefore, we would do well to learn from David’s example and pattern our life with his unconditional love for and trust in God.
In his lifetime, David’s enemies sought his life and his own son, Absalom, temporarily drove him from the throne as king of Israel. David felt the pangs of sorrow and fear. He was human too. But in all this, David never lost sight of his first priority in life. “David, in distress, is very earnest with God in prayer for succour and relief. This eases a burdened spirit, fetches in promised mercies, and wonderfully supports and comforts the soul in the expectation of them.” [Mathew Henry's Commentary, 1706, Psalm 31].
David’s psalm 31 is an example of putting our focus in life on God rather than those things of the flesh that trouble us.
“In You, O LORD, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed; deliver me in Your righteousness. Bow down Your ear to me, deliver me speedily; be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name's sake, lead me and guide me. Pull me out of the net, which they have secretly laid for me, for You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. I have hated those who regard useless idols; but I trust in the LORD.
I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; you have known my soul in adversities, and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a wide place.
Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble; my eye wastes away with grief, yes, my soul and my body! For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.
I am a reproach among all my enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and am repulsive to my acquaintances; those who see me outside flee from me.
But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me. Make Your face shine upon Your servant; save me for Your mercies' sake.
Do not let me be ashamed, O LORD, for I have called upon You; let the wicked be ashamed; let them be silent in the grave. Let the lying lips be put to silence, which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!
Blessed be the LORD, for He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city! For I said in my haste, "I am cut off from before Your eyes;” nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried out to You.
Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person.
Pray daily and remember the promise of Christ. “But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” [John 14:26], including “ … the power and authority, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
For adults who haven’t been baptized, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. We need only to ask our Father. Our promised inheritance, of which we can be in possession, is the Spirit of God, the power and authority that is the kingdom of heaven. All the riches of this Earth combined cannot purchase this inheritance. The promise Peter made known to the House of Israel on the first day of Christianity in the first century still stands for the children of the House of Israel today; and is freely available to those who humbly and sincerely ask, being of one mind, unwavering [see James 1:6-8], seeking first the kingdom of God. The Spirit of God, coupled with the knowledge and love of the truth of the Word of God are the only possessions in this life of any enduring value because they are not of this world. All the rest, Solomon pointed out, is vanity, nothing more than chasing the wind. [See Ecc. 5:16]. As Christ said, "Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." [Luke 21:33].
So then, let us take Christ at his word. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." [Mat. 7:7]. And then, by His promise, we need not worry about our life, rejoicing in His mercy, for the kingdom of heaven is within us.
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"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."