Written on April 1st, 2006 - 11:39PM Last Updated: April 1st, 2006 - 11:43PM
One of the primary ministries of God's Son upon the earth was to proclaim the Kingdom of God to the nation of Israel (Luke 4:43). This Kingdom was a place where Yahweh was truly in control, and where the fruit of that control was evident in both what happened visibly as well as within a person.
20Being asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The Kingdom of God doesn't come with observation; 21neither will they say, 'Look, here!' or, 'Look, there!' for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21)
Those questioning Jesus wanted to know when the Kingdom would come. They were expecting a visible sign of a change in their world, where no longer would the Romans rule their land, but a man sent by God would be their king. The Lord responded that the Kingdom doesn't come by observation, but that it was simply already in their midst!
God's Kingdom, therefore, is a spiritual reality, not a physical place. It cannot be seen by the eyes nor can a person say, "look, over here!" This is because it is a plane of existence that is separate from the natural world.
Another example of this truth is of Christ's several testimonies of those who would or would not enter the Kingdom. At one time he told the authorities of the Temple about who was entering the Kingdom. He used an example of two sons to illustrate this profound truth.
28But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first, and said, 'Son, go work today in my vineyard.' 29He answered, 'I will not,' but afterward he changed his mind, and went. 30He came to the second, and said the same thing. He answered, 'I go, sir,' but he didn't go. (Matthew 21:28-30)
We can probably relate to this parable, whether personally or by seeing how other people respond to commands by those in authority. There are the man-pleasers who say they will do it, but never do. And there are those who are truthful about their lack of desire, but later confront themselves and do the right thing.
Sinners & the Righteous
Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said to him, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Most certainly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering into the Kingdom of God before you. (Matthew 21:31)
As Jesus states the obvious, He also explains the real life application of the parable. The authorities of the day said they were doing God's will, and taught others to do so, but were not doing it. The sinners of the day were admitting they were not doing God's will, but were changing their minds and beginning to do it. It was those sinners who were already entering the Kingdom of God.
Righteousness is only that if it is given or decreed by the only One Who knows what is right. Yahweh alone is Judge, and it is only from Him that we are declared righteous. These Jews had already declared themselves to be righteous on account of their works and claimed obedience to the Law (Romans 9:30-33)(Philippians 3:9). However, God had not given witness to their claim. Because they were living as though already righteous, they had no occasion to repent and enter the Kingdom. But those who recognized they were living in sin and did not have God's affirmation, came to the only One able to give such: God Himself.
But to him who doesn't work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5)
Here is the truth that Lord Jesus was revealing: this thing called the Kingdom of Yahweh was in fact a mode of being, a way of life. Entering it was possible in this lifetime, and was not relegated to an age to come. The Kingdom was already here, and people were already entering it! The unbelieving Jews who claimed to wish for it to come had the opportunity but were rejecting it.
For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn't believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. When you saw it, you didn't even repent afterward, that you might believe him. (Matthew 21:32)
Again Christ shows us the method of entry into the Kingdom, and thus what more exactly the Kingdom is. It is a place of faith, of trusting, after having turned from unrighteousness. The authorities were seeing this profound change, of sinners such as prostitutes and thiefs turning from their lives of sin and living in righteousness, and still did not follow their example. These unbelievers were watching the method of entry into God's Kingdom and were totally blind to it.
23Jesus said to his disciples, "Most certainly I say to you, a rich man will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:23-24)
The rich are a prime example of what type of person will enter this glorious place called the Kingdom of Yahweh. It is very difficult for them to do so because their way of life is fundamentally opposite the reality of God's rulership. They are looking to themselves for provision, how to do things to acquire more, and are then weighed down by the burdens and cares associated with living that way. They come to expect the things they have will support them and mistakenly put their trust in those material things.
The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answered again, "Children, how hard is it for those who trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God! (Mark 10:24)
How contrary this is to living by faith in God, where we trust Him as our provider by seeking Him before all.
But seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
The rich cannot enter this reality of living where Yahweh is King because they are blind to His ways. They are in a dreamworld of living for the things of this life, as though their life was merely the sum of what they possessed.
He said to them, "Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man's life doesn't consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses." (Luke 12:15)
Therefore, Christ tells His listeners that it impossible for a rich person to enter God's Kingdom. Not a Kingdom in another age that has yet to come, but this Kingdom that is already in our midst. They cannot enter it because their attitude is fundamentally opposed to it. It will be when they stop and wake up from their stupor, realizing that their life is from and for God, that they will be able to enter this glorious place.
It is easy to expect God's Kingdom to be a physical place if we have been taught so from our youth. Living with the symbols of the Old Covenant which point to the spiritual realities contained in the New Covenant, we can become blind to the truth before us as happened to the Jews of Christ's day.
God's Kingdom doesn't come with observation, it isn't something external to see descending: the Kingdom of Yahweh is in our midst, awaiting our entry by repentence from our sin and faith toward Him.
As you read this site, you will hopefully come to know Yahweh more fully.
But all of this continuing knowledge is useless unless and until you come into union with Him. I use the word union because it is truly a marriage. It is that deep connection we all seek, for which we most often look in other people. However, the truth is that our hearts will only be fulfilled when we enter that union in fullness with the One Who made us.
This is the grace of God, that He has not stayed distant for us only to worship as Creator. But He has come unto us, even become one of us—in His Son, ChristJesus—in order to share an intimate union with us. He desires such closeness that it truly will envelope our entire life, transforming us into something new and wonderful.
You may have already entered this union with Him and only seek to know Him better through reading here. But if you have not, as you do read, let this Gospel sink into your heart as you read it now.
God loves you, and has cast your sins into the sea. He has sent His only Son as the Savior of the world—that includes you.
That Son, JesusChrist, was born as a man through a virgin who had given her life to Yahweh; He lived without sin, reflected the glory of His Father, God, in all His words and deeds, and was persecuted even unto death because of it.
His death upon a cross was the powerful explosion that separated you from your life of death. It remains for you, now, to enter into that death with Him. As you die to the one you are now, a person separated from God from your many sins, you will be born anew, with a nature predisposed to live rightly. This gift is free to you, with nothing you can do to earn it. It is the mercy of God to offer it to you, as He loves you so much! All you must do is receive it by trusting Him to have delivered you. Simply place your life in His hands and embrace the freedom that came through that death on the cross.
The Gospel is that Jesus did not remain dead, but rose again on the third day after His crucifixion! Death could not hold Him, as He was without sin. And so death will not be able to hold you, as you identify with Him fully through your trust in Him. Let go of yourself and confess Him as Lord of your life. The power of His death and resurrection will work in you all that your Creator has destined for you. You will truly enter a new life and experience that intimate union you have been seeking all of your life.
So ponder these words as you read here of this great God—Yahweh—and all that He has revealed to His creation. Let His Spirit testify to your heart that these words are true, that God is Love, and that He sent His Son so that you might receive the life that is unbound by time and space. As you feel that witness in your heart, simply believe and receive what He is offering to you, even now, and begin your new life as a child of God.
Please write to me and let me know when you take this step, as I will be your brother in Christ—we will be one in Him!
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