A HEAVENLY KINGDOM
The Jews were looking for a physical kingdom and not only missed the Christ, but crucified Him. The same thing is happening today to many people. They are looking forward to the ultimate kingdom of God in Israel and missing blessings today. Deceit is one of Satan's devices. Christ did not die only for tomorrow, but also to save us today. Ephesians 1:13,14 13-And you were also included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. 14-who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession -- to the praise of His glory. 2Corinthians 5:5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
As we struggle from day to day, we can look to the Holy Spirit to give a touch of what it will be like when we do live in the final kingdom of God. We can live in the kingdom of God now to the extent that we are submitted to the Holy Spirit, but only when we receive our glorified bodies, will we be able to live completely in the kingdom of God.
Matthew 4:17 says - "From that time Jesus began to preach and say. "repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." What did he mean? We know that the mother of James and John thought the kingdom was physical because in Matthew 20:21&22, she asked Jesus to seat one of her sons on His right hand and one on His left.
John 6:15 tells us, "Jesus therefore perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force, to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone."
Luke 19:11 tells us - And while they were listening to these things, He went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.
Jesus went out of His way not to give the impression that the kingdom of God was physical, - but what about the physical kingdom?
The first great prophecy after the flood was through Abraham. If you can understand Abraham, you will better understand the whole bible. If you don't understand Abraham, you will miss much of the real meaning of the bible.
Genesis 12:1-3, 1-Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you; 2-And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; 3-And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, an in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." We see the Abrahamic covenant.
In Genesis 13:14-17, we see God's promise to Abram. 14-And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15-for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. 16-"And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. 17-"Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you."
Genesis 15:4-6, 4-Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir. 5-And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." 6-Then he believed the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. God tells Abraham that he will have an heir from his own body and that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the heavens.
Genesis 15:18-21, 18-On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying. "to your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: 19-the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Rephaim 21-and the Amorite and the Cannanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite." the Lord described the land that He had given Abram.
These were statements that the Lord made to Abraham concerning the future.
Genesis 5 was the formalizing of that in a blood covenant. In a blood covenant, you exchanged weapons and clothing to symbolize that all one was, was now being given to the other. An animal was taken and split down the middle and you would walk through the walls of flesh of the animal in a figure eight. You and the person that you were entering into covenant with, would both walk through in a figure eight and meet in the middle. You would cut your wrist and as the blood ran down your arm, you raised your right hand and stated all that was being given to the other person and he would do the same thing. You would then bring your and his wrists together and let the blood mingle and became blood brothers. The incision in your wrist would then be sealed as a covenant mark. You would also change your name to include the other fellow's name in yours and yours was included in his to let the world know that you were in covenant together. It would be finalized with a covenant meal. Usually breaking bread and drinking wine.
In Genesis 18, God made a covenant with Abram. One of the terms of the covenant that God made with Abram was the giving of a large portion of land and that he would have descendants multitudinous as the dust of the earth and the stars of the sky. He also said that his seed would bless all nations of the earth. Did God mean that he would bless the earth through all those people or through one seed (person)? That is the great question which is the key to understanding this prophecy.
After the cutting of the covenant, Abram's name was changed to Abraham and Sarai's name was changed to Sarah. The Name of God cannot be pronounced, but it had an "H" sound to it. This sound was added to Abram's name to make it Abraham and to Sarai's name to make it Sarah. Also after this God became known as the God of Abraham. He actually took a man's name into His.
Has all of this been fulfilled? Most of the books you read will tell you that it had not. The bible goes overboard to tell us that Israel has inherited everything that was promised to them.
Joshua 21:43-45, 43-"So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. 44-And the Lord gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and not one of all the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.
Nehemiah 9:7,8 7-You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. 8-You found his heart faithful to You, and You made a covenant with him to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites. You have kept your promise because you are righteous.
This is very straight forward.
There are many other scriptures which show that Israel was inhabiting the land promised to them. In light of all of these, a person can say without a doubt that physical Israel has received all that was promised to it.
Israel then broke the covenant with God and lost the land.
Jeremiah 32:21-23 21-You brought Your people Israel out Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror. 22-You gave them this land you had sworn to give their forefathers, a land flowing with milk and honey. 23-They came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey You or follow Your law; they did not do what You commanded them to do. So you brought all this disaster upon them.
Jeremiah 3:8 "And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. We see that the Lord divorced Israel.
Malachi 2:11 "Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord which He loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.
Deuteronomy 24:1-4, 1-When a man takes a wife and marries her; and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house. 2-and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man's wife. 3-and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife. 4-then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.
We can see that the people of the Lord committed adultery and were divorced and according to the law could not be remarried to the Lord. Do you think that the Lord could break His own law?
What about the promises concerning the seed?
1 Kings 4:20 - Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance; They were eating and drinking and rejoicing.
2 Chronicles 1:9 - "Now, O'Lord God. Thy promise to my father David is fulfilled; for Thou hast made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. (Solomon is speaking)
Hebrew's 11:12 - Therefore, also there was born of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
The greatest part of the promise was that all nations of the earth would be blessed through the seed of Abraham. Who is this seed of Abraham?
Abraham has many descendant including the Arabs. Ishmael was Abraham's son and father of the Arabs. The promise did not come through Ishmael, but through Isaac. The blood of Abraham in their veins does not make them the seed of Abraham. Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau, but The Seed was to come through Jacob. Jacob had twelve sons and The Seed was to come through Judah. The twelve tribes were known as the seed of Abraham, but Israel (Jacob) passed The Blessing down to Judah.
Galatians 4:21-31, 21-Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? 22-For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. 23-But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. 24-This is allegorically speaking: for these woman are two covenants, one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she Hagar. 25-Now this Hagar in Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26-But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. 27-For it is written, "Rejoice, barren woman who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in labor; for more are the children of the desolate than the one who has a husband." 28-And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise, 29-But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. 30-But what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, For the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman." 31-So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.
Being Abraham's seed was not a matter of blood in the veins, but faith in the heart. Galatians 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
John the Baptist was the last Old Testament prophet. In Matthew 3:9, John says "And do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, We have Abraham for our father; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise children to Abraham."
In John 8:37, Jesus speaking to the Pharisees, said "I know that you are Abraham's offspring: yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. In verse 39, They answered and said to Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus said to them, "If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham. He is saying that even if you are the offspring of Abraham, you are not the seed of Abraham unless you do the works of Abraham.
You do not take a blood test to find out if you were a true Israelite, you take a heart test.
Roman's 9:6-7, 6-But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7-neither are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but; Through Isaac your descendants will be named. Can it be more clear?
Understanding this can transform one's understanding of the Old Testament. When Jesus came, the line of descendants was narrowed to the remnant. Jesus was the final Israelite. The line was finally narrowed down to one person - Jesus. Roman's 15:8 For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers. Remember the promises, the land, the descendants and the Seed who would bless the world.
Galatians 3:16 - Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds." as referring to many, but rather to one. "And to your Seed,"That is Christ.
From the Old and New Testaments, we can see that God fulfilled all of His promises to Physical Israel.
John 8:56 - Jesus said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad."
We should interpret the Old Testament by the New Testament. When you read in Genesis that through the seed of Abraham all nations shall be blessed, you would think that this meant the nation of Israel, but Galatians says no.
What about Israel now? They have broken the covenant. They can only be saved through Jesus like everyone else.
The symbol for Israel was the vine, not the fig tree as some would say. In John 15:1 Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser." He is saying that Israel was now one person. The nation of Israel was only a shadow of the true Israel, Jesus was the true Israel. The true and final descendant of Abraham.
Galatian's 3:14 - He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Many people think that the blessing of Abraham is a bit of sand on the Mediterranean. They think that God would do all that He has done to give a bit of sand.
You can see how scripture will be misinterpreted if we miss this?
Many Jews think that they are special. Galatian's 3:28 says there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29-And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.
Look again at Roman's 9:6-8, 6-But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7-neither are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but; Through Isaac your descendants will be named." 8-That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.
Roman's 2:28 & 29, 28-For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which outward in the flesh. 29-But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
It is Jesus who made Israel special. Israel was "pregnant" with the Christ. They brought the Christ into humanity. The were special because Christ was in them. Today, the Church is special because Christ lives in the Church - His bride. The only thing which makes someone special is Christ in them
God's chosen people today is The Church. Galatian's 3:7-9, 7-Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham, 8-And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations shall be blessed in you." 9-So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
All those promises made to Abraham's offspring were made to us in Christ. The promises of glory to Israel were made to The Church.
There is nothing left to be fulfilled. Jesus is the final fulfillment of all the promises. 2 Corinthians 1:20 - For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him (Jesus), they are yes; Wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.
Even Abraham didn't receive the land of Israel. Hewbrew's 11:9-10, 9-By faith he (Abraham) lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise: 10-for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrew's 11:13-16, 13-All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14-For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15-And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16-But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
Revelation 21:9-10, 9-And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I shall show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." 10-And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
This is the city they were looking for. The Church, the Bride of Christ, the heavenly Jerusalem.
Hebrew's 12:22-23, 22-But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels. 23-to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect.
The following scriptures tell us that the blessings of God are spiritual.
Ephesians 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."
1Peter 1:4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.
In John 18:36, Jesus told Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is , My kingdom is not of this realm (is not derived from this realm)."
Luke 17:20-21, 20-Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21-nor will they say, Look, here it is! or, There it is! For behold, the kingdom of God is your midst (Within you)."
Roman's 14:17 tells us "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. How can it be put and clearer?
Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh,
God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin,
condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 ¶ And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.
1 Corinthians 15:50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
2Timothy 4:18 tells us "The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; To Him be the glory forever and ever.
Colssians 1:13 For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.
Philippians 3:20-21, 20-For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ 21-Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
Matthew 16:28 "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.
Does this mean that some will live 2,000 years? Some people think so and have formed groups looking for them.. Not understanding scripture leads to this type of misinterpretation. He was saying that some to those people would be born again before they died.
John 3:3-6 3-Jesus answered and said to him (Nicodemus), "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," 4-Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" 5-Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6-"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7-"Do not marvel that I said to you, you must be born again.
Nicodemus was trying to understand spiritual things with a fleshly understanding. This is not possible. You must be born again of the Spirit to understand spiritual things.
John 3:12 Jesus tells Nicodemus, "If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
John 4:24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
1Corinthians 15:50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness: and all these things shall be added to you."
2Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things are passed away; behold, new things have come.
Galatians 5:16-18, 16-But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17-For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18-But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
Galatians 5:19-26 tells us about the works of the flesh and the works of the Spirit.
Revelation 3:12-13, 12-He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore: and I will write upon him the name of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10:4 For [it is] not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and [offering] for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure [therein]; which are offered by the law;
Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have
confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
People say that this is spiritualizing everything. The scriptures prove otherwise. Every problem with the flesh is only a symptom of something wrong in the spirit. To work on the flesh is to work on a shadow. The unseen things are real. 2Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Galatians 6:7-8, 7-Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8-For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 (NASB) in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you. 12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
How much time do you spend each day sowing to the flesh? How much time do you spend sowing to the Spirit. When we look at this we may begin to realize why people are always looking to the future. Things are not what they should be today, so they have to better in the future. As long as they take this view, Satan has defeated them. Our Father is the great I AM, present tense. Read your bible again in light of this revelation and ask the Lord to open your understanding.