Note:  J. Preston Eby, in order to continue to devote his full energy to writing, no longer works in the office and does not receive email. He does, however, respond to any urgent correspondence via snailmail.

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KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES

"Teaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God..."

 

The Kingdom of God

Book Three

By J. Preston Eby

 


Table of Contents

Chapter                   Title                                  Page

28.       The Principles of the Kingdom                                           3

29.       The Principles of the Kingdom (cont.)                              16

30.       The Principles of the Kingdom (cont.)                              28

31.       The Principles of the Kingdom (cont.)                              42

32.       The Principles of the Kingdom (cont.)                              55

33.       The Principles of the Kingdom (cont.)                              69

34.       The Keys of the Kingdom                                                    82

35.       The Righteousness of the Kingdom                                 96

36.       The Righteousness of the Kingdom (cont.)                     105

37.       The Peace of the Kingdom                                                             118

38.       The Joy of the Kingdom                                                      132

39.       The Power of the Kingdom                                                             141

40.       The Power of the Kingdom (cont.)                                                 153

41.       The Power of the Kingdom (cont.)                                                 168

 


Chapter 28

THE PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM

In the new order of the Kingdom of God all earthly and man-made institutions cease to exist.  Our lives are not governed by external rules, regulations, laws, traditions, systems, organizations, or hierarchies, but wholly by the guidance of the Holy Spirit of Truth.  Our citizenship is in heaven, therefore the rule of our realm is SPIRIT.  The Kingdom is not a physical, organizational, or political structure, but always the doing of God’s will.  Sonship to God is a relationship.  It is not measured by movements, structures, forms, nor by creeds.  Indeed, true sons of God will not be characterized by un Christlike conduct nor by false doctrine.  Yet, neither of these is a criterion for determining the reality of sonship to the Father.  Sonship is strictly a spiritual relationship and is entered into by the reception from the Father of the Spirit of sonship.  Then only can one cry, “Abba, Father,” out of a union of Spirit with the Father.  Because we are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts; and as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  Nothing external contributes anything to this sonship, nor is sonship dependent upon any external thing for its manifestation.

Jesus broke every tradition and violated all accepted standards, procedures, norms, orders, methods and systems.  He demonstrated the ways of the Kingdom of Heaven, and never did so more eloquently than on the night of the last supper.  On that solemn occasion Peter and John had made all the arrangements for the Passover all but for one item.  When guests entered a house it was customary for their feet to be bathed, washing away the dust and grime of their journey, for people in those days wore sandals or walked barefoot.  This washing of the feet was a simple act, but a menial task performed only by servants.  Each of these men had been called to the Kingdom and were associates of the King.  They were anxiously competing for position and power in this Kingdom about to burst upon the world.  Not one of them would stoop to take the place of a servant, to wash feet.  They jostled one another to prove their superiority and closeness to the Master.  Each thought the other should be washing feet.

When the hour arrived for supper, no one’s feet had been washed.  Although no one mentioned it, there was an uncomfortableness about them because the service had not been rendered.  Then it happened! Jesus, fully aware that the Father had put everything into His hands, and that He had come from God and was returning to God, got up from supper, took off His garments, and taking a servant’s towel, He fastened it around His waist.  Then He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the servant’s towel with which He was girded.  Peter watched, astounded.  They knew in their hearts who He was.  They had confessed Him as the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God.  He was the deliverer prophesied by all the holy prophets since the world began.  He was the promised son of David destined to rule all nations, Emmanuel, God with us, who was the King of earth and the universe.  And He was washing feet!

Peter’s blood was boiling, beads of perspiration stood out on His flushed face, and His thoughts raced wildly.  This isn’t the way to rule over men, this isn’t a demonstration of power!  Caesar doesn’t wash the feet of his soldiers, not even his generals!  Power would mean that they would wash his feet if he so ordered!  Power means that you are served, that your orders are obeyed, that your rank, position, and prestige is respected, bowed to, even cringed before.  What was Jesus doing!  Jesus came to Judas, gazed gently into his shifty eyes, and humbly washed and dried his feet.  Peter was horrified and his mind was going crazy. Jesus can’t do this, it isn’t right; what kind of a King is He if He assumes the role of a servant; what is the dignity and power of this Kingdom if its King serves His subjects instead of ruling over them.  And what will be our role as administrators in this Kingdom if we are to wash feet instead of barking orders!  It all seemed so contradictory.

When Jesus came to Peter, Peter had his thoughts collected and said to Him, “Lord, are my feet to be washed by you?  Is it your place to wash my feet?”  Jesus met Peter’s gaze and replied, “You do not understand now what I am doing, Peter, but you will understand later on.”  Peter said to Him sharply, “You shall never wash my feet!”  Jesus calmly answered him, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me no share in my Kingdom.”  Shocked, Peter said to Jesus, “ If that’s the case, then Lord, wash not only my feet, but my hands and my head, too!”  Jesus said, “Anyone who has had a bath needs not to wash except his feet, but is clean all over except for where he has walked through the dust.  And you are clean but not entirely clean your walk must be cleansed, purified.”

The disciples took their places at the table.  Their damp, cold feet testified against their pride and condemned them from beneath the table.  A holy hush fell over them as they tried to digest the full meaning of the event that had just occurred.  Their concepts of the Kingdom were disintegrating, and their quest for power and position was trembling beneath their feet.  Jesus looked from one to the other and said, “Do you understand what I have done to you?  You call me Master and the Lord, and you are right in doing so, for that is what I am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet if I have ministered to you in meekness and humility, and by my words and actions have cleansed your walk you ought, it is your duty, you are under obligation, you owe it to wash one another’s feet!  For I have given this to you as an example, so that you should do in your turn what I have done to you.”

The Gospel of Luke gives additional insight into the events of the last supper.  According to Luke an eager contention arose between the disciples as to which of them was considered and reputed to be the greatest, and Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles are deified by them and exercise LORDSHIP, ruling as emperors and tyrants over them; and those in authority are elevated above the people and called Benefactors.  But this is not to be so with you.  On the contrary let him who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and him who is the chief and leader as one who serves.  For which is the greater, he who reclines at table (the master of the house), or he who serves?  Is not he who reclines at the table the greatest?  But I am in your midst as the one who serves.  See, I have esteemed you  better and greater than myself.”  With those words Jesus laid down one of the greatest principles of the Kingdom of God: true greatness is not to exalt yourself above others to rule; true greatness is to humble yourself before men to serve!

THE UNSTRUCTURED KINGDOM

Jesus came to change the world, transform the world, and rule the world by the power of the Spirit of God.  Yet, while on earth, He seemed to have no program, no method, no system, no organization, no instrument, no structure to accomplish such a feat.  He expended His energies on individual cases, teaching and healing all who were drawn to Him, but forming them into no cohesive movement.  Christ’s life had no other program than that of personal influence, the transformation of individuals.  When Jesus ascended, He left behind Him no system of doctrine, no instructions for the organization of the ministry, no specified chain of command, no detailed guidance about worship.  Oh, yes, on the day of Pentecost He founded the church, but He founded it neither as an organization nor with a hierarchy.  The commission laid upon the church with respect to the world was to go out and make disciples of all nations and continue His work upon individuals.  Christ’s definition of a church had nothing to do with a group of people submitted under a pastor, a board of elders and deacons, with board meetings, Sunday School, church buildings, fellowship halls, recreational facilities, committees, youth programs, crusades and the like.  The Lord’s own definition of church is given in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Our long years of captivity in Babylon have given us a distorted sense of the ways of the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom of God is not an externally organized government, it is the rule of God in the lives and affairs of men by the Spirit.  To the church the glorified Lord has given ascension gift-ministries of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.  “Wherefore he saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:8,11-13).

The apostles of the church age are not the same order of apostle as the original twelve.  The twelve apostles were ordained apostles by Jesus during the days of His flesh, while He was still on earth.  They were already apostles when the day of Pentecost arrived.  The apostles of the church age are given by the ascended Christ, after He had ascended on high.  When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”  After Christ ascended He gave to His church a new order of apostles and they were given along with prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers and therefore have been a continuing ministry in the body of Christ throughout the age.  Let all who follow on to know the Lord understand the undeniable truth that there is an infinite difference between a gift-ministry and an organizational hierarchy.  The gift-ministries are just that gifts to the body of Christ not lords over God’s heritage.  As a teacher I am myself a gift to the people of God.  I have a divine commission to teach, exhort, reprove, counsel, instruct, beseech, encourage and strengthen the body of Christ in any and all ways He leads and empowers me to do.  But I have no right to subject any man or group of men to my ministry, to form them into a movement around myself, to rule over them, dominate them, control them, or become a lord or master over them.

Let not those who have received the call to sonship imagine even for a moment that some minister or ministry is able to usher them in to the fullness of Christ.  There is a great error propagated in the land that says that the five-fold ministry  has been ordained of God to bring the Lord’s people into perfection, unto maturity as a perfect man, and unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ manifested sonship.  Now should someone reply that the scripture itself declares that God gave the five-fold ministry for the perfecting of the saints, and to bring us all unto a perfect man and to full stature in Christ, I must respond kindly but firmly that the scripture says no such thing.  A faulty translation and faulty punctuation has spawned that erroneous and absurd notion.  But that is exactly what all the self-appointed apostles want you to believe so that they can bring you under their dominion.  We are living in an hour of great deception, and the land is full of self-proclaimed apostles and prophets who will tell you that only their ministry, or their revelation, or their church, or their movement can bring you to perfection, immortality, and sonship.  

You see, my beloved, there is no punctuation in the original; the punctuation is supplied by the translators as part and parcel of their translation.  There should be no comma between the phrase, “for the perfecting of the saints,” and the phrase that follows, “for the work of the ministry.”  The perfecting of the saints and the work of the ministry are not two separate functions of the five fold ministry.  It should read, “And He gave some apostles...prophets...evangelists...pastors...teachers, for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry...”    A number of translations have corrected this error and given the accurate sense of the Greek. I will quote just a few.  “And He gave some. for the equipping of the saints for ministering work” (Wuest).  “And the same one gives these...toward the adjusting of the saints for the work of dispensing” (Concordant Literal).  “And He gave some...with a view to the fitting of the saints for the work of ministering” (Rotherham).

It should be a self-evident truth that no man can bring another man into something that he does not himself possess. You cannot give what you don’t have, neither can you bring anyone into a place you have not entered. The five-fold ministry cannot bring God’s elect saints into something they have not themselves experienced.  It is impossible for the five-fold ministry to perfect the saints unless the five-fold ministry itself IS PERFECT.  It would be an effort in futility for any ministry to try and make me a PERFECT MAN IN CHRIST except that ministry should have already attained perfection.  How could any apostle or prophet bring saints unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ except that apostle or prophet has already reached that position of absolute fullness in Christ?  I cannot lead men to Christ if I have not myself experienced Christ.  Preachers who have not been filled with the Holy Spirit do not go around laying hands on people, imparting the gift of the Holy Ghost.  A teacher cannot successfully teach science or mathematics unless he is proficient in those subjects.  ONE CANNOT MINISTER OR IMPART WHAT HE DOES NOT POSSESS.   If an apostle or prophet is to bring you into immortality, he must first become immortal himself.  No sick, aging, or corruptible servant of God can minister incorruptible life to your body. If a ministry can bring you into fullness, that ministry must first be filled with fullness.  Can we not see by this that only one who is perfect can bring men to perfection, and only a manifested son of God is able to bring men into sonship.  Thank God, there is ONE! “But we see Jesus...crowned with glory and honour...for it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Heb. 2:9-10).  That is why Jesus is called our great forerunner He has entered in before therefore HE is able to draw us in!

The five-fold ministry are indeed ministers to the body of Christ for the blessing and edification of the body.  But notice the limitation of the perfection they minister.  “And He gave some...for the perfecting of the saints FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY.”  These gift-ministries are placed in the body of Christ to perfect the saints in the area of ministry.  The five-fold ministry is just that MINISTRIES!  Any ministry can take people only as far as that ministry has gone, reproducing itself.  The disciple is never above his master it is enough that he be as his master.  Therefore ministry can only perfect you in ministry.  They can bring you into what they themselves posses and which they are able to impart.  You can become as that ministry in the experience of Christ.  All the knowledge, wisdom, anointing, power and ability of that ministry can be reproduced in you.  But they cannot bring you to full Christ perfection and stature because they are not themselves perfect or fully mature as sons of God.   They cannot bring you to manifested sonship because they are not manifested sons.

The five-fold ministry continues TILL we all come IN THE UNITY OF THE FAITH AND OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD UNTO a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”  There are three key words in this passage: TILL, IN, and UNTO.  The five-fold ministry is only valid TILL.  Then it is IN the unity of the faith of the Son of God and the knowledge or knowing of the Son of God that we arrive at the measure of the Christ’s full stature.  The “till” is the dividing point.  All before the “till” is what the five-fold ministry can do for us.  It can edify us and equip us for the work of ministering in the present “in part” realm of church experience.  That is all.  Everything after the “till” is what the unification of His faith and knowledge within ourselves can do for us!  Since HE is the only one thus far to enter into the perfection and maturity of sonship, it becomes obvious that only by HIS FAITH, and only by KNOWING HIM in intimacy of fellowship and vital union, are we enabled to enter in!  J. B. Phillips, in his translation, has beautifully and accurately expressed the truth of these words: “His gifts were made that Christians might be properly equipped for their service, that the whole body might be built up UNTIL THE TIME COMES, when in the unity of common faith and common knowledge of the Son of God, we arrive at real maturity the measure of development which is meant by ‘the fullness of Christ.’”

The Kingdom is established by the power of the Spirit and it is ruled by the ministration of the Spirit not by men in hierarchical positions of authority.  Do I mean by this that I am opposed to brethren meeting together as the church or the body of Christ, with elders, pastors, teachers, prophets, apostles, evangelists, and the various gifts and ministries the Spirit would bring forth among them?  Not at all!  Let me be understood very clearly.  It is not a question of whether brethren come together as a local expression of the Lord’s body to encourage, strengthen, bless and edify one another it is altogether a matter of the spirit in which they assemble, and the attitude, agenda and role of those who minister.  God is not the author of organizational structures,  man-made dominions, or hierarchical lordships over His people.  But He is in the midst of His people, and He does move among His people, and He does flow through spiritual ministry to the members of His body.  If I didn’t believe that I would put away my pen, for whether I write the counsel of God via articles and personal correspondence to a vast, scattered “invisible congregation” of God’s elect, or whether we meet together and I speak the word of God to a local “visible congregation” of saints THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!  The idea that a local congregation with physical and visible ministry is Babylon, whereas a scattered congregation with ministry via the Post Office and telephone is not Babylon, is ludicrous.  Either way I would be the “ministry” and those who receive would be the “congregation.”  It is not a question of whether, but a matter of how.

The Spirit flows through men in a fluid way, ministering as Christ ministered, touching lives, healing, delivering, teaching, instructing, encouraging, counseling, correcting, rebuking, and any other needed service all as a ministry of the spirit and life, as a gift to men, not out of title, delegated authority, organizational design, or hierarchical position.  The Kingdom is thus an unstructured kingdom, for it is the kingdom of the Spirit who is like the wind you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell from whence it comes or whither it goes.  The Kingdom is the rule of God in our hearts, activities, and relationships. The Spirit teaches us Kingdom ways and manifests through us in Kingdom grace, mercy, wisdom, glory and power.

When I say that the Kingdom of God is unstructured I do not mean that it is without parts, form or order.  There are two kinds of structure in the world that imposed from without, and that unfolded from within.  Let me illustrate.  There are only two ways of building anything.  It must be built either by external manipulation by the works of men’s hands or it must be a product of life.  For instance, a chair, an automobile, or a house is the work of men’s hands.  All of its design, symmetry and structure is achieved by a power outside of itself.  On the other hand, a bird, a beast, a flower, a tree or a man is fashioned by an internal power apart from any external manipulation at all.  It is not necessary to create some kind of “form” to slip over the tiny shoot or the microscopic embryo in order to fashion it, as it grows and develops, into the shape of an oak or a human.  Its nature, characteristics, function and structure are all the product of an indwelling life.  And therein lies the difference!  Everything in the whole world that is fashioned by outward work or power is dead no inherent life at all.  Automobiles have no life, furniture has no life, clothing and buildings have no life.  They do have structure, but not life.  Plants, animals and humans, however, have form and order by life and out of life.  Education, technology, planning, design, skill, manufacturing and organization play absolutely no role in what they are.  They are what the life in them is, and form by the life continually ministered to them by nutrition.  They are created by life, develop by life, and function by life.  They are unstructured so far as the  operation of man is concerned.

The Kingdom of God is an unstructured Kingdom because it cannot be “built,” “assembled,” “formed,” or “produced” by the wisdom or ability of man nor by any external exercise, handicraft, workmanship, management, control, administration or governance. The Kingdom is only by life and out of life.  Though the word of the Kingdom be spoken and imparted into your life by man, just as the seed is planted in the earth by man, the germination, growth, development and result is all the work of life.  Both the foundation and superstructure of the Kingdom are the result of the reign of God within our hearts.  The Kingdom is not, nor will it ever be, a political institution or outward organization controlled and dominated by a president, prime minister, senate, parliament, mayor, council, police force, army, pastor, apostle, bishop, or organizational headquarters.  The dominion that God uses in His theocracy is something altogether different.  The Kingdom is God’s authority by the Spirit versus Babylon’s authority by system and hierarchy. The Kingdom is God’s government by the flow of His life vs. the governments of the world by law and force.  When men speak, act, and minister out of the anointing they express and manifest the wisdom, power and glory of the Kingdom of God.  That is not structure that is LIFE!

If you were Jesus and realized that you were going to leave the earth and return into the heavens, surely you would have made arrangements with those who were going to carry on your work and establish your church.  It would seem to us, naturally and religiously speaking, that after His resurrection, when the Lord Jesus planned a special meeting with His chosen apostles on a mountain in Galilee, that meeting would have been a very long meeting filled with much teaching and many detailed instructions.  We know that He was shortly to ascend into heaven, and how logical it would be for Him to seize this opportunity to pass on many counsels, directions, recommendations, directives, guidelines, and regulations for His disciples to follow after His departure.  Surely He would dictate to them the creeds, doctrinal statements, liturgies, how to organize local churches, methods for ordaining elders and selecting deacons, with specifics about church finance, church programs, delegated authority and the chain of command in the assemblies.

One would think the Lord would need to schedule a three week work-shop with His disciples.  But to our amazement, instead of a three week work-shop, He appears but briefly and delivers an 88 word memo!  “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.  All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Lk. 24:49; Mat. 28:18-20).

That was the first conference after the resurrection of Christ, and the only one that related to the future church agenda!  The Lord Jesus was so simple.  He wasn’t concerned about external things and outward structure He was only concerned that they be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit!  There was no need for Him to tell them so many things, or to give them a book on theology, a minister’s manual, or a church discipline.  There was only the need for them to possess the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit and to be led by the Spirit.  The Spirit Himself would guide and teach them day by day as to where to go, what to do, and how to do it.  They would not need to write a book about it to guide those who would come after them, but all God’s ministers, throughout all generations, would need the very same credentials and qualifications the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and to be led by the Spirit.  “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

And the Lord would probably never do the same thing in the same way twice, for God is a God of infinite variety and diversity.  One of our difficulties in doing the work of the Lord is that we think only in terms of established patterns.  We want to know how God has done it, so that we can follow the pattern.  We think that when God does something by His Spirit once or twice that He is revealing a system for us to embrace and use.  But it is impossible to limit God to a fixed pattern, to any method He has used in the past, or anything He has done before.  Sometimes saints get the notion that if they fast for forty days because Elijah and Jesus fasted forty days they will receive the ministry of a prophet or become a manifested son of God.  But copying patterns is wrong.  Just because God blessed someone when they did a certain thing a certain way doesn’t mean that is His purpose or requirement in our life.  God doesn’t usually do the same thing twice, in the same way, in our own experience!  Just as soon as we think we have found the “groove” or discovered the “method” or laid hold upon “the way it works,” we discover that this is not His groove, but our rut.  Unless we are ready to follow the Lord along the new and strange paths of HIS PURPOSES, discovering that His ways are inexhaustible, we might become buried in this rut.  As wind, those who are born of the Spirit cannot tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth (Jn. 3:8).  Ever try figuring out the wind?  Where did it start, where is it going?  Can I detect some sort of pattern so that the next time I can predict its movements?  There are no precise patterns for those who are born of God!  There are no precedents for the on-going ministry of the Spirit of God!

Our God is spontaneously creative; He is not systematically creative.  What I mean is that God does not employ a program in His purpose; God is a God of spontaneity.  God moves not by system, method, or organization, but by the creative power of His life.  God is speaking in this hour by His life.  His words are words of life.  God is quickening, energizing and transforming by supernatural life.  The life of God is the creative instrument of His nature.  God is infinite in all of His thoughts, abilities, actions and ways.  God in creation is ingenious beyond comprehension.  Everything God creates is unique.  God is a God of unlimited diversity, of infinite variety, of inexhaustible capacity, and we behold the blessed wonder of this fact displayed gloriously in creation.

There are billions of trillions of stars in the heavens and no two stars are equal in their glory.  With my finite human brain I can’t even comprehend the understanding, wisdom, knowledge and power that is able to create a billion trillion stars and make each one of them unique, giving each an unduplicated glory and naming them!  Oh! The wonder of it.  How many snowflakes do you suppose have fallen upon the vast plains and towering mountains of earth through the measureless ages of time?  And yet they tell us that no two snowflakes are alike!  What kind of a mind is the architect of this marvel of nature?  There are more than six billion people walking the face of this globe today, and no two fingerprints match no two people are identical.  God has established it all by His creative word of life.  When God speaks the superlative comes into existence.  And the varieties are as infinite as His divine mind.

The Lord builds His church and establishes His Kingdom, not in a human way, but in a divine way; not in an organized way, but by His life-giving, transforming Spirit.  There is no so-called “divine order” pattern or system for God’s church what He does in one place or at one time will be totally different from what He does in another place or at another time if it is by His Spirit!  The way He deals with you may not be the same as the way He deals with me.  What He requires of me in specific acts of obedience may not be the same thing that He requires of you.  The way the Spirit moves and directs His people to worship, minister, and the structure He brings forth in their midst, will not be carbon copies of what He did in Jerusalem, Ephesus, Colossae, Corinth, or in the body of Christ today in the next city, state or nation.

Jesus never made any arrangements or left any schedule.  He left a bunch of men in charge who only weeks before had abandoned Him, who cursed and swore that they didn’t even know Him, and who fled in terror into hiding.  What a faithless, unpredictable, undependable group!  From our natural viewpoint, what He did was a mess.  Everything occurred as a kind of accident.  Jesus did everything without any revealed plan or any appointments or any pre-arrangements or apparent method.  When He wanted to speak to His disciples after His resurrection He just came.  He came in a way that was absolutely different from the religious systems of today.

Even during His three and a half years of sonship ministry He never called a formal meeting there never was one.  Never did He announce that He would be preaching and ministering to the sick on a certain day, at a particular place and time.  He held no organized crusades.  He did no advertising, nor mailed out any announcements.  He rented no halls, stadiums, auditoriums, and pitched no revival tent.  His meetings had no announced time of beginning or ending.  He hired no campaign manager and appointed no song or worship leader.  Peter didn’t open the meeting with prayer, James didn’t lead the worship, John didn’t make the announcements or take the offering.  Think of it no prayer, no singing, no worship service, no Bible reading, no stirring of the emotions, no form of preliminaries, no order of meeting, no hype of any kind!  There were absolutely NONE of the activities or structure without which modern-day traditional evangelistic, revival, crusade and church meetings could not function.  There was certainly nothing religious.  Only His preaching and teaching as one having authority, and the spontaneous manifestation of the power of God   that was all Jesus used that was positively all!

Sixty seconds is all it takes.  When sponsors of a television program want to entice viewers to tune in next week, a one-minute preview of the most exciting scenes is all it takes.  If you like what you see in that brief encounter, you will surely love the complete version or so they hope.  In a similar way, the Lord Jesus provided His disciples and the nation of Israel with a brief yet powerful portrayal of the realm of sonship.  The only ministry of manifested sonship the world has ever seen is the ministry of Jesus Christ, the firstborn Son of God.  As we consider and meditate upon His sonship ministry I believe the Lord is revealing something to us which is absolutely different from today’s Christianity.  The ministry of the sons of God must be absolutely outside of religion.  With religion, there is always a schedule, an organization, a system, an arrangement.  But with sonship there is none.  There is only one thing the appearing of CHRIST in the sons.

Jesus raised Lazarus at the cemetery and Tabitha in her home.  Blind Bartimaeus was healed on the street and Zaccheus was saved in a tree.  A cripple was healed in the synagogue and another at the pool of Bethesda.  Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding, and fed the multitude in a desert place.  The sea was calmed from a boat and the centurion’s servant was healed by a word.  Jesus erected no platform, issued no “healing cards,” and the sick were not formed into a “healing line.”  There was no production, no show, no theatrics; simply a continual flow of compassion and power that worked wherever He was.  Will the many brethren minister any differently?  The Spirit of the Lord has been speaking to my heart.  He is urging me to seek that ministry that is not religious.  He is planting deep within the hearts of His elect the desire for that  spontaneous ministry of Christ that will work at all places, at all times, and in every situation and circumstance.   In the open air or under a roof, indoors or outdoors, in the homes, on the streets, in the business establishments, in the churches, at the seashore, on a train or airplane HE is always there, unrehearsed, unprogrammed, unannounced spontaneously appearing in glory and power.

That is how Jesus ministered, and He is the pattern, the prototype of the life of sonship and the realm of the Kingdom.  Jesus ministered wherever He was, day or night, here or there, with one person, two, ten, a thousand, five thousand it mattered not.  He preached by the sea and in the fields; He ministered on the streets, in the homes, in the desert, in the temple, in the synagogues, in the mountain, by a well. This is not the order of the modern-day church systems, but this is how the Kingdom of God will be established on earth.  The sons of God will not function within the framework of our old kind of Christian “service.”  We must confess that is pure man-made tradition.  We didn’t learn it from Jesus!  It is easy to get out of religion, to come out of Babylon but far more difficult to get the religion out of us!  We are called to be the sons of God, led by the Spirit; to speak the words of God and do the works of the Father spontaneously at all times and in every place, not doing anything religious, not doing anything of tradition, organization, forms, rituals, ceremonies, showmanship, or churchiness.  The sons of God are the display of the infinitely creative, omnipotent power of HIS LIFE.

Recently a brother shared with me a little article he wrote in which he gave the following example.  A gentleman was on a plane that was in serious trouble. Someone on board the plane suggested that all the passengers on board the plane bow their heads in prayer.  One man didn’t.  Others asked why.  He said, “I don’t believe in prayer.”  They said, “Well, do something religious!”  So he took up a collection.  The firstborn Son of God opposed religion and all that went with it.  He broke the Sabbath, He companied with harlots and ate with sinners, and He sat at meat with unwashed hands.  He acted so clearly “un-religious” before His disciples, showing them by example His attitude toward religion.  They all saw it.  By example He taught them the ways of the UNSTRUCTURED KINGDOM.  And when, after the day of Pentecost, the apostles went out into all the world preaching the name of Jesus and the Kingdom of God to every creature, they did it exactly the same way!

The twelve apostles and Paul and the other apostles all preached and did mighty signs and wonders among the people.  This they did on the streets, in the temple, in the synagogues, by the rivers, in the deserts and fields, in the homes and places of business, in the shadow of pagan temples, on ships and in chariots but never in an organized “crusade.”  Read the book of Acts and you will see.  They rented no halls, established no system, made no program, announced no schedule, built no platform.  They required no hour of “worship” to create an “atmosphere” for God to move!  God was in them equally at all times and in every place to spontaneously reveal the power of Christ.  They didn’t have to preach for two hours in order to get spiritually “primed” so their “gift” would work!  Their ministries were not traditional “Christian” ministries, they did not do things the way they are done today, but they had the goods even in this in-part realm and they turned the world up-side-down!

While I was still writing this message brother Bob Torango’s paper arrived in the mail.  He has written some words so poignant and powerful that I am compelled to share them here.  He speaks of the manifestation of the sons of God in terms of the “New Millennium Ministry,” and says, “A millennial mind-set is one that does not allow the world to dictate death and destruction to it, but the world must line up to the order of this Millennial Ministry.  Their order dictates the blessing of God in the earth and they are the representatives of an everlasting kingdom that will never pass away.  They are the shining lights of God’s presence and are His express will in the earth.  They are not preachers, teachers, bishops, prophets or any other labeled office of ministry, but they are a new order, a company that is totally re-programmed from the six-day mind-set.  They do not rely on the intellect of learned knowledge, but they operate out of a millennial mind-set of newness.  They do not feel compelled to line up with the church system and know that the armor of Saul will never fit them in the upcoming battle with Goliath.

“God has a ministry to minister to this Millennium!  We are being initiated into it even now and our heart-mind is teaching us the order of it.  One thing is certain.  This New Millennial Ministry will not rely upon the smoke and mirror methods of the passing church age to meet the challenges of this Day.  Kiss your Sunday morning religion good bye.  You can also kiss your dead, structured, lifeless, Bible thumping, pulpit pounding, money pulling, program driven, people pleasing ministry good bye.  While you are at it, why don’t you kiss your philosophical, theological, pseudo-psychological, metaphysical, intellectual, holistical, rational, logical, apocalyptical, twice dead, plucked up from the roots, doctrinal dogmas good-bye, also.  None of these things will do anything for you or anyone else if the collapse (of the world system and economy) comes.

“The only thing we can rely on, the only thing that will save us is the Spirit of the living God.  Anything else that we have used in the past to try to describe that Life...will be utterly useless to us.  Only the real McCoy, the 100%, concentrated, undiluted, unmanufactured, true blue, pure, undefiled, unpolluted Life of God will help us in that case.  All temporary, maintenance type of ministries will not be Millennial ready.  The five offices of the church, namely the Apostle, Pastor, Prophet, Teacher, and Evangelist are for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ, UNTIL we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.  The offices of the church are a maintenance ministry, necessary and needful to KEEP THE CHURCH MAINTAINING, but in view of the arrival of this new millennium, they are not Millennial ready!  I say that there is coming forth out of our midst a New Millennium Ministry that will not be molded out of the old mold of the church maintenance system, but will start a new lineage of priestly and kingly ministry”    end quote.

THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

The fame of Jesus’ miracles and teachings increased until vast multitudes followed Him.  He began to teach in the open air.  Once He taught the people from the bow of a boat, while the multitude stood on the shore.  At another time He spoke on a grassy knoll.  But on one wonderful occasion He climbed into a high place in the mountain and sat, undoubtedly on the ledge of a rock, and delivered His wonderful words of wisdom.  It was a plain, simple address.  It was but a few direct words.  There were no oratorical flights of eloquence.  There were no stately rhetorical periods.  There was no emotional appeal, no animated theatrics, no soulish stirring of the crowd to respond with “Amen’s,” “Hallelujah’s,” or “Praise the Lord!”  But in its simplicity and unpretentiousness it was one of the mightiest and most momentous proclamations of history.  It was potent because it came with divine authority.  It was a message from God.  It was delivered by His chosen messenger.  A great company of people sat listening, silently, hushed by the power of the message which they heard.  Today it is called “The Sermon on the Mount.”

The crowd assembled before Jesus resembled the multitude of Israel that stood, fifteen centuries before, at the foot of Mount Sinai and heard the voice of God and received His law.  Men of different opinions, persuasions and backgrounds were there.  But they all had one thing in common the earnest desire that the Messiah should come and cleanse Jerusalem and the land of Israel of the Roman legions and the Roman standards that were perched atop every tower, and redeem the people of God from the degrading yoke of Roman bondage and servitude.  They were ready to take up arms in the holy cause of patriotism and religion.  They waited only for the signal that the hour had come, and they would march at His command up to the city of David as Israel had marched at Joshua’s command to drive out the nations that polluted the land in the long ago.  They supposed that he would stand highest in the new Kingdom whose sword had drunk most freely of the blood of the slain.  God would restore the Kingdom to Israel, and the law of the Lord would again rule over His people.

What must have been their astonishment when the first sentence fell from His lips, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven!  The Kingdom of God for which you so earnestly yearn is not an empire of war and conquest, nor is it the military power of Israel, to be exercised over foreign nations.  It belongs to the humble, the quiet, the peaceful, the contented.  You expect a Messiah to vindicate the weak against the strong, to revenge injury, to repay insult; that He will set up His empire with the sword and defend it by the sword.  But I say unto you, Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  The gentle, the kind, the gracious, the merciful, the caring, the loving, the compassionate, the peacemakers, the forgiving, the pure in heart are those who are to flourish in the days of the Messiah.  They shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.  The blessings and benefits of my Kingdom belong only to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.  They shall be filled with the quality of righteousness manifested by those who experience God’s kingly power in their lives.  Those who become citizens of my Kingdom, those in whom God reigns by His Spirit, receive a new righteousness, the righteousness not of an outward law, but of an inward life.  It is a righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, for it is the righteousness of God who reigns within.”

The Lord began His sermon on the mount by describing the citizens of God’s Kingdom.  The men seated immediately around Him had seen things that no man before them had ever seen.  Their ears had caught the sweet sounds of a message so transcendingly glorious that even the soldiers exclaimed, “No man ever spake like this man!”  And now their ears heard with joy His manifold blessings pronounced upon those who had the spirit of the Kingdom of God in their hearts.  Blessed are the poor in spirit; blessed are they that mourn; blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth; blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled; blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy; blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God; blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God;  blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

Never could man devise such a Kingdom as this!  This is how the citizens of the Kingdom live, this is how the citizens and rulers in the Kingdom of God are.  All other kingdoms since the dawn of  earth’s history have been governed by man’s stupidity, fashioned as they were by the weakness and futility of the carnal mind, and crumbling in decay and disarray after a few fleeting years because of the deep corruption of the human heart.  Jesus told His audience of a Kingdom that would be the direct antithesis of all former kingdoms, a Kingdom in which the mind of God and the righteousness of God and the love of God would both be shed abroad and rule in every human heart.  The Sermon on the Mount is the Constitution of the Kingdom of God.  It is the Constitution setting forth the laws and principles by which the holy nation, the Kingdom of God, is governed.  Old Testament Israel had a Constitution the law of Moses.  Jesus introduced a NEW CONSTITUTION for the NEW KINGDOM.  He said, “It was said by them of old time (Moses, specifically)...but I say unto you! And although we refer to the Sermon on the Mount as the CONSTITUTION or LAWS of the Kingdom, I have chosen to title this article THE PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, for these are the wonderful principles by which all life in the Kingdom functions, manifests, and ministers.

“Upon the mountain Jesus sat; the hillside by the beach
Grass-carpeted cathedral where He could speak, and teach
Those flaming, burning words of truth that priest and demagogue
Would never tolerate at all in church or synagogue.

His own cathedral He had built; had built it by His word,
And ‘neath its vaulted panoply the glory of the Lord
Would pale the light of noonday sun; for what He said that day
Would blaze and shine eternally, when worlds had burned away.

Back to their tasks the crowd had gone, and He was left alone
Save for a little company that He could call His own.
  What use was there for restless crowds
the worldly, giddy throng
  Might listen to the music, but never hear the song.

Blessed are ye, the tones rang out, repeated o’er and o’er!
Galilee pressed with watery hands the keyboard of the shore;
And from her heaving bosom rose the music of her waves,
For heaven was calling earth to tell that only Jesus saves.

For can the sermon on the mount be lived by human life?
  Can sinful man ascend so high above his sin and strife?
  Is there the possibility that he can strive and strain
  Through a thousand consecrations that life to attain?

 

Forgive us, Lord, if such we think, for this is not the way.
Oh, give us ears to really hear what Thou didst say that day!
We want life.  Oh, vision blessed, from us, Lord, never part,
For we can only live it when Thou livest in our heart.”

Charles S. Price.

At that time only Jesus knew how to love His enemies; only Jesus knew how to pray for those who would despitefully use Him.  No one but Jesus knew how to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first, and have all else added unto him.  Only Jesus knew how to bring Himself to complete subjection to the Father, that He might stand in God’s place on earth. Jesus taught the people a higher realm of life, a dimension of life that is completely above any natural realm.  IT IS NOT NATURAL TO LOVE OUR ENEMIES.  Such is supernatural.  It is not natural to pray for those who despitefully use us.  It is supernatural to do that.  It is not natural to seek first the Kingdom of God. It is supernatural to do that.  It is natural to see material things first and the things of God afterward.  It is natural to worry about tomorrow and what it will bring.  It is supernatural to live in a world where worry and fear are unnecessary by the faith of Jesus Christ.  This is the power and glory of the Kingdom of God!

 


Chapter 29

THE PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM

(continued)

Every nation on earth has a Constitution.  The Constitution of a country is its supreme law.  The Constitution is the basis of the national government.  The Constitution establishes the branches of government with their respective powers, as well as the rights and privileges of the citizens.  In the United States, for example, no decree of the President, no act of Congress, and no law of any state, county or city can conflict with the mandate of the Constitution.  The primary function of the Supreme Court is to rule whether a law or act of any institution or individual is “Constitutional,” that is, conforms to, and is permitted by, the Constitution.  Any law, regulation, or activity ruled unconstitutional is then unenforceable and forbidden.

If we admit that the Kingdom of God is a kingdom indeed, then it must be acknowledged that it has a Constitution and laws by which its government functions.  And though we refer to these as laws, I have chosen to title this message “The Principles of the Kingdom of God.”  It is not difficult to fathom what kind of principles an infinite, all-wise, all-powerful, all-righteous and all-loving Ruler would adopt. Necessarily they must be in keeping with the nature and character and purposes of that Ruler.  They must work in the same manner within the citizens of the Kingdom of God as they do in its Ruler by the Spirit for God IS SPIRIT.  His righteousness is the spirit of righteousness.  His wisdom is the spirit of wisdom.  His peace is the spirit of peace.  His joy is in the Holy Ghost.  His might is the spirit of might.  That the principles of the Kingdom are by the Spirit and therefore spiritual, does not for a moment mean that they are not real!  Spirit is real!  Peace is real!  Righteousness is real!  Joy is real!  Power is real!  These things are not tangible or material, but they are very, very real.

There is an old saying that things are not what they seem; that is to say our faculties are not infallible.  The testimony they give is not always dependable on its face value.  The world is packed full of illusion.  The earth looks as if it were flat but we know it is not.  The sun looks as though it rises and sets, but we know it does not.  We say that seeing is believing, but when we say that we forget the curious tricks our senses play.  Scientists speak of the phenomena of nature, but phenomena is a Greek word and simply means appearance.  The appearance of things is not the reality; the reality is infinitely more wonderful than the appearance.  To the eye the firmament is studded with fixed points of light but to the soul these points are celestial worlds sweeping by at a breathless velocity.  I have met men who say there is no God, simply because they have never seen Him.  But then, my friend, have you ever seen any of the really great things about you?  Have you ever seen any of the cosmic forces?  Have you ever seen a single motive that impels you?  Have you ever seen love or hate or joy or peace or patience?  Have you ever seen music?  A visible God would not be our God.  A visible God would have limitations.  God, to be God, must be invisible. No man can see thought but thought can be clothed in speech.  No man can see truth but truth can be communicated.  The seeming is not the real.  The real is the intangible, the eternal, the spiritual.  When I say that the Constitution or laws of the Kingdom of Heaven are spiritual, it simply means that they operate in the realm of the spiritual, not as external laws of force or control, but as the inward law of life.

The Sermon on the Mount is the Constitution of the Kingdom of God.  It is the Constitution setting forth the laws and principles by which the holy nation, the Kingdom of God, is governed.  The Beatitudes “blessed are...blessed are they...blessed are they that...” these are the preamble to the Constitution.  The key to all of this, as the key thought, is a change of nature, HIS LIFE being worked out in and through us.  Consider just a portion: “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  And why take ye thought for raiment?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself” (Mat. 6:25-34).

Jesus repeated again and again, “Take no thought, be not anxious,” meaning “Don’t worry, don’t fret yourself,” or as one brother put it, “Save your nerves for an emergency!”  Jesus was teaching us that life in the Kingdom is free from worrying, that life in the Kingdom is free from anxiety, that life in the Kingdom is free from fretting.  You have such a relationship with the King, you are so very close to Him, so very one with Him, and you are convinced of His ability to rule your life and to rule the nations, that there is no concern in you at all.  These are spiritual principles the principles of the Kingdom of God!

There are, therefore, spiritual principles that govern the Kingdom of God.  There is a difference between a principle and a law, though the two are closely related in the same way money and possessions are related.  Money is the cause, source, ability and power, and possessions is the effect and result of having money.  God by His Spirit deals with principles.  The whole universe runs by principles, although often these principles are called laws.  Those of you who read these lines who have children have sometimes said to them, “Do this,” or, “Don’t do that.”  The question then follows, “Why?”  “Because I said so!  You do what I tell you and that’s that or else!”  When we say it that way we have laid down a law.  But if we counsel them in wisdom to do such and such, or not to do the other thing, and then they ask, “Why?” we can explain to them the principle behind our advice.  There are things children want to do that will hurt them, disappoint them, end in failure or break their hearts.  We know this both by observation and experience, we understand the principle by which such actions work.  On the other hand, we know that if the child does thus and thus it will benefit him, it will work for him and bring joy and satisfaction.  That is what I mean by a principle.  It is the reason behind the law.

God is a God of principles.  The law given to Israel was the external commandment.  The principle behind that law is the revelation of why men were given the law.  The law of God is given to reveal the nature of God Himself.  For instance, when God says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” He is not merely trying to prevent us from enjoying our flesh.  He is telling us something about Himself how He is.  The only eternal, unchangeable, immutable, invariable, unalterable, firm, fixed, sound, solid, balanced, dependable, reliable, steady, steadfast, and trustworthy thing in the whole universe is GOD!  “Thou shalt not commit adultery” it means that GOD HIMSELF is committed, reliable, true, dependable, faithful and trustworthy.  He keeps His commitments.  He keeps His covenant.  He honors His word.  He is faithful to all His promises.  He will not cheat on you, lie to you, deceive you, forsake you or fail you.  He loves you and will take care of you, cherish you, nurture you, protect you and cleave to you.  THAT IS HOW HE IS! When you understand the nature of one who is not adulterous in thought, desire or action; who has no roving eye or lying, cheating heart, you understand something about the character of God.  And that is how He wants us, His sons, to be!  These are the very principles Jesus enunciated in the Sermon on the Mount.  “It was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Mat. 5:27-28).

When God’s law is written in our heart, His nature how He is is inscribed upon the tablets (genetic code) of our inner life.  There would never be a broken home, a heartbroken wife or husband, or deserted and destitute children if the nature of God was written in all men’s hearts.  There would be no bigotry, no hatred, no crime, no war, no evil or trouble anywhere on earth if the nature of God was written in the heart of every man, woman and child, giving them a heart in the likeness of His own and a mind as the mind of Christ.  From the redeemed and transformed heart the law (nature) of God flows forth as a river of life.  The law of life within us is the principle of the external law.  The Sermon on the Mount enunciates the underlying principles of the Kingdom of God.

Under principles we are free we can do what we want.  Nobody is telling us that we can’t do this or that, or we must do the other.  There are still those among us who thunder the letter of the law from Sinai’s mount and would impose the penalties for breaking it, but I do not hesitate to tell you that Moses’ law has no authority or power in the Kingdom of Christ.  In the Kingdom the Spirit of God reveals in our hearts the way it works what will happen if we do this or don’t do that.  Paul said it this way, “All things are legitimate permissible, and we are free to do anything we please; but not all things are helpful, expedient, profitable and wholesome.  All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive to character and edifying to spiritual life” (I Cor. 10:23, Amplified).  There is the difference between the law of Moses and the Sermon on the Mount.  The law of Moses said, “Thou shalt...thou shalt not!” and imposed a penalty if broken.  But the principles of the Kingdom say, “Blessed are they that...”

Therefore it is in the Sermon on the Mount that we find the complete statement of the Charter or Constitution of the Kingdom of God, answering to the law of Moses, the Constitution of the nation of Israel, given at mount Sinai.  Both were delivered from a mount to God’s people by the very voice and authority of the Lord Himself!  The contrast between the two mountains and between the circumstances of these two givings of a Constitution to a people on earth, is wonderfully expressive.  At the first were awesome sights and sounds; the mountain burning with fire and quaking at the presence of God, the blasting of the trumpet long and loud, and above all that terrifying voice of words which caused the people to shrink back in fright and to beg that the word not be spoken to them any more; and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I exceedingly fear and quake.”  Ah, at the second mountain the same divine Lawgiver, now in lowly human guise, sits quietly down, and the people gather willingly at His feet to drink in His words. With tenderness and compassion He then opens His mouth and taught them, saying, “Blessed are they that...

Jesus assumed an authority above that of Moses.  The character of His teaching stood in sharp contrast to the teaching of the priests and rabbis which relied upon the authority of earlier rabbis.  Nor did His teaching follow the style of the prophets who said, “Thus saith the Lord!”  The prophets, including Moses, spoke on behalf of God.  But Jesus’ message was grounded in His own authority and is repeatedly introduced by the words, “I say unto you!”  “It has been said by them of old time (Moses and the prophets)...but I SAY UNTO YOU! Jesus did not speak for God, He spoke as God.  Jesus was not speaking as a prophet, He spoke as the Lord Himself.  And that is the order of sonship.  Sons are not mere messengers for God, sent by God sons are themselves, within themselves, the Voice of God, the righteousness of God, the wisdom of God, the authority of God and the power of God.  As we move out of the old order of the in-part church ministries into the reality of manifested sonship we will no longer use the gift of prophecy which says, “Thus saith the Lord.”  God will speak to humanity out of us as us — “I SAY UNTO YOU!”

In the Kingdom we must be able to discern what is constructive to spiritual character in our lives and the will of God in the earth.  That is the way of sonship!  It’s not a matter of whether it’s good or bad, right or wrong, but is it constructive to the life of God being raised up in men?  Is it in conformity with the principles of His Kingdom?  When we walk in the ways of the Kingdom we are BLESSED!  If we sow to the flesh, we shall of the flesh reap corruption.  There is no avoiding that.  But we are not under a law.  We are blessed if we do the Father’s will, and not blessed if we don’t.  “Blessed are they that...”  It’s that simple.  Only those who understand and live within these Kingdom principles shall be qualified to rule and reign in the Kingdom of God!  If the principles are fulfilled in your life you reap great glory and heavenly wealth; if they are not, you forfeit the blessings and benefits of the Kingdom.  In the Sermon on the Mount there are twenty-one principles of the Kingdom.  If by the Spirit of God within you, you live by and in these principles it will set you free.  These principles are progressive, for they are the blueprint for spiritual growth, development, and attainment.

A MESSAGE TO THE SONS OF GOD

The underlying thrust of the Sermon on the Mount is revealed by the word “Father” which pervades it.  That word, along with the word “sons”, beyond anything else, is its prominent feature.  It is here that the name “Father” is first revealed in the word of God.  And it is here that the principle of “sonship” is first established.  The Sermon on the Mount sets forth the lifestyle, not of Israelites under the law, nor yet of subjects of the Kingdom of God in some future age.  It is not a message to babes in Christ in the church systems teaching them how to be good little children of God.  It is the very essence of the Kingdom of God instructing SONS OF GOD how to be the sons of their Father, in what nature and character to live and reign in the Kingdom.  Throughout the teaching Jesus speaks of “the Father,” “thy Father,” “your Father,” and “our Father,” and “your Father in heaven.”  Then He teaches in what spirit one should act “that ye may be the sons (Greek: huios, mature, adult son) of your Father which is in heaven.”  The characteristics of the son company will be exactly the characteristics of Jesus, the Pattern Son, and the Father who indwelt Him.

The Sermon on the Mount reveals the divine characteristics of the sons of the Kingdom.  In fact, some of the principles specifically state that this divine kind of nature sets them apart as sons of God, and to have this kind of disposition means they are in the Kingdom of God.  “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you: that ye may be the sons of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mat. 5:44-45). “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the sons of God” (Mat. 5:9).

It is not true that the church is for the Gentiles, as some teach, and the Kingdom of God is for Israel.  The most superficial knowledge of the scriptures shall confirm that both Israelites and Gentiles enter into the church and also into the Kingdom of God.  It is not at all true, as has been taught by many theologians in the church systems, that the Kingdom laws the principles of the Kingdom set forth in the Sermon on the Mount were for the Jews of Jesus’ day only; and now that grace has come we no longer are subject to the words of Jesus Christ our King.  When we accept such flawed teaching we make the precepts of Jesus and of His apostles of none effect by our tradition.

The Sermon on the Mount is the most important word in all the scriptures given to the sons of God who are the sons of the Kingdom.  It is the Manifesto of the King, it is the Constitution of the Kingdom.  Today there are multitudes of believers who claim to be born again and children of God, but they live lives that contradict the principles of the Kingdom of God.  The Sermon on the Mount is not about salvation or being a church member or a servant of the Lord; there is no mention in it of salvation, grace, or the church.  It is about the LIFE OF SONSHIP.  It teaches us who will be called “least” and who will be called “great” in the Kingdom of God.  You don’t need to fulfill any of these precepts in order to be saved by grace and be in the Church.  Living out these principles are the marks of sonship.  Let no one called to sonship despise the law of our King; rather let us consider prayerfully the depths of truth and revelation nestled in the heart of this great teaching.  The principles of the Kingdom are committed to those sons of God who are called to rule in the Kingdom of God.  As a matter of fact, the Manifesto of the King does not apply at all to the outside world or to the carnally-minded Christians who fill the pews of the churches. To attempt to establish these high and holy precepts among the vast unregenerate masses of the people or even among the millions of nominal church members would be an effort in futility.  It is as impossible for those people to walk in the spirit of sonship as for a pig to fly.  The things Jesus spoke to His chosen disciples on this occasion can only be fulfilled in the sons of the Kingdom.  That sublime and heavenly Manifesto is the enunciation of the very nature of the Kingdom which no man can fulfill until He grows up into the measure of the stature of the fullness of THE KING.    Only the Lord’s brethren, who are led by the Spirit, and have been conformed into His image, CAN FULFILL IT!

The Sermon on the Mount is the picture of the Perfect Man.  It is the portrait of one who has fully put on the mind of Christ which is the mind of the Father.  It embodies all the deepest yearnings of the heart of the man or woman who has been apprehended to live and walk and rule by the divine nature.  The man that Jesus describes in that sermon is poor in spirit, humble and meek, always thirsting after righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker, suffering for righteousness’ sake, yet rejoicing in it, the salt of the earth, the light of the world, devoid of anger in human relationships, using no contemptuous words, having the spirit of quick agreement when opinions clash, without lustful thinking, relentless against evil, happy in family relationships, truthful in speech and motive, ready to turn the other cheek, giving sacrificially, going the second mile, giving to those who ask, loving his enemies, blessing and praying for those who hate and persecute being perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect.  What a word!

“It was said by them of old time...but I say unto you...  If anyone doubts the power and authority of this teaching of Jesus as the Constitution of the Kingdom, let him recall what the Lord Himself said at the conclusion of His teaching on the mount.  “Therefore whosoever heareth these saying of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.  And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mat. 7:24-29).

The Holy Spirit also bears witness to the significance of the Lord’s teaching.  “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2).  The prophetic mysteries spoken by Moses himself give testimony to the blessed fact that our Elder Brother, the firstborn Son of God, brought a new and higher word than any word delivered to Israel by the great lawgiver at Sinai.  “The Lord thy God shall raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desirest of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly (before mount Sinai), saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.  And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.  I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and I will put my words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them ALL that I shall command Him” (Deut. 18:15-18).

Christ was the prophet like unto Moses in that He spoke the words of God to a people whom God had set apart for Himself.  When Jesus said, “It was said by them of old time,” it is abundantly clear that He referred to the word and law of Moses.  “It was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill.”  “It was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery.”  “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill of divorcement.”  “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths.”  “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.”  “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.”  Can we not readily see from the above quotations how each and every one of these is right out of Moses’ law, including the ten commandments?

Now listen to what Jesus says following each of the above: “BUT I SAY UNTO YOU!”  I SAY!”  Ah, there is a word that is higher than Moses’ word.  There is a commandment that transcends, as the heavens are high above the earth, the commands of Moses.  There is an authority that is greater than the authority of Moses.  There is a law that supersedes and replaces the law of Moses.  But I say unto you” is indeed a very impressive claim of the King of the Kingdom.  And His word always goes beyond Moses’ word, and sometimes completely reverses Moses’ law.  See how radically and powerfully the Son of God repudiates the commandment of Moses: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy (Lev. 19:18; Deut. 23:3-6).  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you...”

Moses gave an outward law to the people of Israel, but Jesus gives an inward law to the sons of God.  The law of Moses, on the one hand, was the Constitution of the fleshly nation of Israel, inspired, spoken and delivered by the hand of Yahweh to the prophet Moses and the nation at mount Sinai.  The Sermon on the Mount, on the other hand, is the Constitution of the Kingdom of God, inspired, spoken and delivered by the hand of the heavenly Father to Jesus Christ the Son of the living God and to all who are called, chosen and predestined to be the sons of God.  Which Constitution you live under, and seek to bring mankind under, clearly and unmistakably reveals whether you are called under the Old Covenant to be a human Israelite, or whether you are called under the New Covenant to be a divine son of God!

The Sermon on the Mount was not spoken to the careless and promiscuous multitudes on the plain below.  To enjoy the unspeakable privilege of hearing the laws of the new order of the Kingdom of God they must have the heart of a disciple, and must undergo the exertion of climbing the mountain into a high place in God.  There it was that Jesus opened His mouth and taught them and there proceeded from His gracious lips those matchless words which God had promised through Moses.  One would think that Jesus would have remained with the multitudes where there were such pressing and desperate needs, to minister to them in their sicknesses and sorrows.  Who can deny that most preachers today, hearing the urgent cries of the people for help, would have reasoned with their carnal minds that the needs of the people should have priority.  Oh, how need conscious we are!  How man-centered our gospel is!  But not Jesus!  Hearing within Himself the voice of the Father, and seeing by the spirit His higher plan and wiser purpose, Jesus turned away from the demanding pleas of the multitudes and led His disciples up the mountain where, in a place of quietness and solitude, He taught them the ways of the Kingdom of Heaven.  “And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: and He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying...”

Father had a higher purpose in mind than just to minister to some needy people.  If Jesus would have healed their sick and cast out devils and done signs and wonders all that day, all we would have of it would be the record of some wonderful works done in a far away place on a long ago day.  God’s plans and purposes go beyond meeting physical and material needs.  His concern is for the whole man that men might be sound in mind, pure in heart, kind and merciful and loving in disposition, holy in character, joyful in spirit, powerful in life, helpful and redemptive in actions, honest and upright in motives, filled with righteousness, wisdom and power.  God sees the overall plan, while we may see only the immediate problems.  It is His plan to bring the blessings and benefits of His Kingdom to all the earth.  The earth shall be filled with His glory and all nations shall come and worship before Him.  The tabernacling of God in His sons shall be with men, and He shall 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 all men shall be righteous for there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things shall pass away and all things shall be made new.  It is only as we are led by the Spirit that we can be right on target and right on time in God’s great Kingdom program of redemption and restoration.  When Jesus taught the Kingdom principles to His disciples, He set forth a plan for His Kingdom that would raise up many more sons, just like the first Son.  And when His vast family of sons was complete, matured and equipped, they would set the whole creation free from the curse of sin and death.  That hour is now upon us for in our own generation, in the midst of the sound of a mighty wind from heaven, as God has again visited His people in great power and authority, the mouth of the Lord has spoken it!

The scriptures record for our instruction the two great and wonderful occasions in the history of the world when men heard the voice of God Himself giving them the divine Constitution for their age.  What a marvelous contrast there is between those two occasions!  At mount Sinai there were terrifying sights and sounds.  The mountain was aflame because the Lord, the consuming fire, descended in glory upon it and the smoke of His presence hung like a thick fog over the craggy peak and the desert floor beneath; the whole mount quaked violently.  There were blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet which waxed louder and louder.  But the hardest of all for the people to endure was the voice of the Lord Himself which was powerful and full of majesty, which so terrified them that they begged that the word should not be spoken to them any more.  “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.  And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Ex. 20:18-19).

How different it was at the other mount, concerning which it is written, “And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: and He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying...”  Because of His miracles great multitudes followed Jesus from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.  It was upon “seeing the multitudes” that Jesus purposed to sift and separate “His disciples” from them by going up into a mountain.  Many have portrayed the vast multitude assembled on the mount to hear Jesus teaching, but that is a mistake.  There was no great multitude at the Sermon on the Mount.  His closest disciples, not just the twelve, but all those whose hearts were deeply stirred to pursue the depths of God in Christ, climbed the rugged terrain to hear the gospel of the Kingdom of God.  And now we have His real ministry, which was not to heal nor to work miracles, but to speak the Father’s words to those whose hearts were ready to hear them.

Why did they come to Him now and not shrink back and stand afar off as when the same Lord gave commandments to a fleshly people at mount Sinai?  Why did they climb that mountain and listen unterrified to His words?  He was not working miracles on the mountain, nor dispensing loaves and fishes.  He was giving a new order for a new age, just as He had done at the other mountain.  Yet His disciples came unto Him and quietly and reverently drank in His words while He revealed the heart of the Father who had sent Him for this very ministry.  Ah, at Sinai we see man shrinking from the presence and the voice of God, and standing afar off.  That was LAW.  But on the Mount of Beatitudes we have Immanuel, God with us, the King of glory, the blessed Saviour, come in the form of a servant, made flesh like unto His brethren, to redeem, lift, and transform into the image and likeness of God.  That is the KINGDOM.

Those disciples, in response to a heaven-sent impulse, made their way up the mountain, away from the distracting sights and sounds of earth, to that quiet place where the Christ’s own voice might be heard speaking the words His Father gave Him to speak, that they might be the sons of their Father in heaven.  Those who ascended the mount with Jesus heard His call by the spirit and separating themselves from the noisy crowd, followed Him in silence.  On reaching the summit, Jesus sat down and they gathered around Him.  They had come not to be entertained, not to be blessed, nor to see a sign and wonder, but to be taught by Him of the Kingdom of God.  Only those whose hearts were strangely drawn to Him were prompted to climb the mountain, and only they heard those words of priceless worth that poured from His lips.

Today, as then, it is necessary for every son of God, in order to hear the words of the Kingdom of God, to leave the level of the crowds, even of those crowds that sing Hosannas and glory in the signs, wonders, and miracles of the Christ in their midst.  Is it not sadly true that the multitudes still follow Him for the healings, for the miracles, and for the loaves and fishes?  They follow Him for the blessings, the meeting of their immediate physical and emotional needs, the answers to their prayers about earthly things.  Few there are who leave the noise, the clamor, the excitement, and the experiences of the religious fervor below, to climb the mountain, and to come to Him.  The difference between those who ascend into the high place, there to sit at His feet, and listen attentively to His words, and the “crowds” who follow Him for various causes, is entirely a matter of being called to sonship and called to the Kingdom.

It is certainly high time for the saints of God to stop playing church and come apart instead to be taught by the King of kings.  There is a place closer to Him than the multitudes that throng to churches on Sunday mornings.  There is much subtle truth in the words of the Gospel writer where he records, “And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem He took the twelve disciples apart” (Mat. 20:17).  Again, “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them” (Mat. 17:1-2).  I wish to draw your attention for a moment to that word “apart”.  Matthew is especially specific about the word, mentioning several occasions where either Jesus went into a place apart to pray, or where He took His disciples to some remote or high place apart.  There was always something dramatic and especially significant that transpired in these places apart.  Indeed all the Gospel writers, but especially Matthew, have a fondness for this word, which, by the way, in the original is two words and denotes separation.  The Greek means aside, away from the people, the idea being that of division.  We speak of taking a piece of mechanism apart as a watch or an automobile engine; we break it up into its components.  An apartment is a suite of rooms usually in a building separated from others the aim being that of privacy.

Our Lord loved the people, yearned after them, and met them compassionately and powerfully in their need.  But how often do we read of His going away from them for a season.  Every time there was something truly important and superlative to be done He withdrew from the crowd.  So He went up, up to symbolically get near to His Father and to be alone with Him.  He was always stealing away at evening to the hills.  Most of His ministry was carried on in the towns and cities by the seashore, but He loved the mountains best and oftentimes when night fell He would climb into their peaceful embrace.  And I cannot help feeling that what the sons of God need today, more almost than anything else, is that they should go apart with their Lord and sit in  silence and holy solitude at His feet in the sacred privacy of His blessed presence.

Consider with bowed head and shoes removed from your feet the secrecy of true relationship with the Father.  Sonship is preeminently a personal matter; it is a strictly close and familiar relationship; it is a sacred association.  There is something about the walk of sonship that was never intended for the vulgar gaze, just as the relationship between a husband and a wife.  Sonship is different than brideship, but sonship can only be learned in the presence of the Father.  In order to know intimacy of fellowship and vital union with our Father it is necessary to find a state of retirement from the throng.  “Come,” says the Master, “come ye apart into a desert place, come with me into the height of the mountain,” and He did not mean by that a vast waterless, treeless, grassless, flowerless waste or a place with nothing but rocks and boulders, but rather a place deserted by the people, a place of tranquil and undisturbed and intimate communion.

We all know that there is a strange strength that is conceived in solitude.  The noblest creatures of the field and the air are not sociable.  Crows go in flocks and wolves in packs, but the cougar and the eagle are solitaires.  When we study the history of the church we find a great deal said in it about a certain class of people, some of whom were called saints and others mystics.  They were men and women who seemed to have genius for the unseen.  They had a strange passion for seclusion.  They loved to go apart.  They were a company of God’s elect children who even in this dark age pilgrimed on the heights St. Francis, Loyola, St. Teresa, Thomas a Kempis, Jacob Boehme, George Fox, Jane Leade, Praying Hyde, and a long glorious chosen band on whom the Spirit came.  What a shining group they are as they walk the great white lonely way!  And the particular point just now that impresses me is that they all loved the secret place.  They lived in the shadow of the Almighty.  The heavens were opened to them and they saw things none other saw, and experienced the Lord in measures beyond all the divines of the church age.  They sang songs in the night.

In relation to mystics George Hawtin once wrote, “Though some may disbelieve it, the truth is that all spiritual men must and will appear to be mystics.  It is not because they try to be so, but it is because they are so.  They cannot help being oddities and misfits here because they do not belong to this world.  Jesus said, ‘Ye are not of this world, even as I am not of this world.’  Therefore, because we are not of this world, we will always be strangers to it.  We are foreigners and wanderers in a strange country.  Our speech will always betray us.  Our actions and customs will always reveal us.  Our communications with the spiritual realm will mark us.  The things we love will unmask us.  Our lack of interest in all that belongs to this present realm will give our identity away.  We will always feel that we do not belong in this realm and that we neither can belong nor wish to belong.  ‘They that speak such things declare plainly that they seek a country.  And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.  But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He hath prepared for them a city’”    end quote.

We are living in a very wonderful age.  It is an age of drive and hurry and stress and storm.  One would not go far afield today in describing our age as an age of impatience and unrest.  The tragic fact in the life of the American people at the present time is the absence of apartment or repose.  We believe in “drives.”  We slavishly pursue our careers and social involvements, we meet our husband or wife in the hall and say, “Hi!” and we are gone.  It takes great effort and tenacity in order to find a few minutes to spend “quality time” with the children.  If nothing else is going on we have the television going to keep our mind engaged lest we discover the silence.  We are in too great a rush for repose.  We have little or no time for the inner chamber.  We prefer the limelight and the crowds, the hustle and bustle.  Nothing appeals to us but the strenuous and the thrilling.  Repose is too tame a thing entirely for this atomic space age.

The sad part of it is that it is no different in the church world.   The church is imitating the world.  Christians regulate their devotion by the clock.  The church schedule is packed with flesh-appeal programs and activities that run day and night.  They feel that a ministry that does not cry aloud in the streets, and does not advertise in every newspaper in glaring headlines is an ineffective thing.  They have the strange idea that nothing is being done unless somebody is talking.  So they fairly swarm to conferences and seminars and committee meetings and platform discussions and concerts and programs and workshops and conventions.  The inquiry that is nearly always made concerning a religious gathering is, “Was there much of a crowd there?”  They take it for granted that if the speaker was a good talker and the building was crowded, the meeting was a big success.  Do you remember in “Pilgrim’s Progress” the conversation between Christian and Talkative?  “I thought we should have a great deal of talk by this time,” says Talkative. The moments when he was pursuing his journey in silence seemed wasted.

The church systems are reaching out their hands to society around them but their hands are so full that their hearts are empty.  What do busy preachers or busy Christians know about the secret place of the Most High?  The churches are filled to overflowing with members who are so busy running hither and thither, on errands of mercy and ministry it may be, that they are never alone with God.  Undoubtedly they think that their heavenly Father is proud of them and their “Christian success,” their “religious career” and their eternal, unceasing busi-ness for the Kingdom of God, never giving thought to the fact that they are not unlike the successful child who is so absorbed in his pursuit of position, fame and prosperity that he never finds a moment to stop by and chat with Dad who made it all possible.

The churches that don’t have great programs often specialize in the noise of emotionalism, forgetting that their true power is out of sight.  Today we have the noiseless gun.  The noise is eliminated by the use of a muffler called a silencer; it being a well-known fact that the noise which goes with an explosion is not produced by the actual discharge but by the sudden escape of the gas.  There is no real power in noise. There is never any real power in noise.   The prophets of Baal discovered this long ago on Mt. Carmel.  Many meetings today remind me of the scene on Mt. Carmel as the saints shout and cry and dance about, commanding God and rebuking spirits with the noise and fervor of a pagan war dance.  They tell me that the engine room of a great factory is often the quietest room in the building, although it sets all the rest of the machinery in motion.  Strength is not in bluster and noise.  Strength is in quietness.  The life of sonship is deep rather than demonstrative.  “It is the brook and not the river that goes brawling,” someone said. Jesus never sweat His garments wet while preaching, nor worked Himself into a lather when healing the sick and casting out devils.  If the authority is there the calmest command will evoke obedience    There is no need for the President of the United States to yell and scream and work himself into a frenzy in order to give a military general orders to initiate hostilities against an enemy.  The quietest directive will do the job.

Oh, for the culture of the secret place!  It is in solitude that we catch the mystic notes from the depths of God within.  It is deep down in the depths that the righteousness and power and glory of the Kingdom are known.  By going apart one gets a vision of eternal realities. How vast the soul becomes when in the presence of the Infinite!  But ours is an age of fuss and trumpet blowing.  Most Christians have more faith in the noise and swirling activity of the whirlwind than in the still small voice.   I have learned by arduous experience that God usually speaks in whispers but we cannot hear these whispers for the clamor of the street.  We are called to heavenly places, far above the clamor of the world and the Babel of religion.  For after all our real home is in the heights.  Our real power is in communion and union.  There is a music that no one can hear until the ears are anointed.  The voice of truth is a very low sweet voice.

Amid all the religious ruckus of the hour there is a little flock that has climbed the mount with Jesus.  They care not for the flamboyant humbug of the hour, but, having beheld the glories of the Kingdom afar off, they are pressing through surging waves of humanity to come apart to receive instruction from the King of the Kingdom.  At His feet they hear the call to the heavenly mark and find a door opened for them to enter in to lay hold upon the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  These are they who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.  They lean hard upon Christ.  The spirit of His sonship dwells within them.  They are partakers of His mind.  They have been given the knowledge of His will.  They comprehend His plan and purpose in the earth, in His sons, and in the universe.  They have laid aside every weight and the sin which does so easily beset them.  They are running the race with patience.  They esteem the hope that is set before them higher than all the pleasures of Egypt and the prestige of Babylon.  They are patient in tribulation, knowing that through much tribulation we shall enter the Kingdom.  They continue instant in prayer to God, and He comforts them and upholds them with the right hand of His righteousness.  To them the voice of the Father speaks in words of everlasting hope and assurance, “Fear not, little flock; it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

I will close this message by quoting some pertinent words from the pen of George Hawtin.  “Men and women must abandon this mad rush of religion and come before God in quiet meditation and prayer, looking to God and looking to His word that they might clearly see how far away from God this sectarian religion has led them.  God has no pleasure in it.  He has pleasure only in those who love Him and seek to know Him.  ‘The ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master’s crib, but Israel doth not know, and my people doth not consider’ (Isa. 1:3).  How dreadful a statement that is that even a dumb ox should know his owner and a dumb ass should know his stall, yet God’s people, the sheep of His pasture, know not the voice of the Lord!  They know the doctrines of denominations.  They can recite the records of great men or rhyme off their litanies and creeds, but, if they met Jesus on the street, nothing within them would respond or bear witness to Him.  Oh, how we need to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering!  Oh, how we need to say with Paul, ‘That I may know Him!’

“Let not those who enter into the secret place of God’s presence imagine even for a moment that other Christians will understand, for they will not.  Tell them ever so earnestly, but they cannot hear. From this day forth the spiritual man will be a speckled bird (Jer. 12:9).  Even while he tells them, their eyes will be heavy with sleep and he will seem to them as one who has taken leave of his senses.  The hour is coming and now is when the sons of God, who are coming into the image of the firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, will find themselves living in a spiritual realm completely independent of the bondage of all that is earthly.  It is clear to be seen that Jesus, even while He lived among men being found in fashion as a man, proved that sons of God are in all things independent of the bondage and power of this present world system.  Always after the hour of His baptism in the Jordan the heavens were opened to Him and all the lasting and eternal benefits of that realm were His, never to depart from Him.  When He ministered, the angels of God ascended and descended upon Him.  Is it any wonder that no power of man or devil could stand before Him?  This, then, is the heritage of sons!”    end quote.

 


Chapter 30

THE PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM

(continued)

The Kingdom of God is the divine dominion of Christ’s sovereignty.  Accordingly, the Kingdom of God has its commandments.  But these commandments are not imposed laws nor enactments of ordinances; these commandments are the enunciation of principles.  The principles of the Kingdom of God are scattered throughout the New Testament.  But there is one discourse of them so profound, comprehensive, explicit and divinely imperial, that it may be called the Manifesto or the Constitution of the Kingdom.  It is the Sermon on the Mount.  In the days when our blessed Lord, the King of the Kingdom, clothed in humanity, walked as a man among us, He established a school of learning in order that His many brethren might be instructed in the way of the Kingdom of God and fulfill their roles as ambassadors of that Kingdom and rulers in that Kingdom.  We shall now give heed to the curriculum that He set, and which He carried through in His own ministry; and which He caused to be recorded for all future generations of the sons of God.

The principles of the Kingdom are not the way to enter the Kingdom, but reveal to us the lifestyle of the Kingdom.  Our King is not asking us to live any differently than the way He lives Himself.  The more we yield ourselves to the Spirit to live the Kingdom lifestyle, the more Christ-like we become.  The Sermon on the Mount is not a teaching for those who expect the end of the world someday, and a Kingdom to follow, but for those who have experienced the end of the world within themselves and the coming of the Kingdom of God here and now.  The basic outline of the principles of the Kingdom is as follows:

  1.  The Principle of Kingdom Attitudes (Mat. 5:1-2).
  2.  The Principle of Rewards (Mat. 5:13-16).
  3.  The Principle of Outward Righteousness (Mat. 5:17-26).
  4.  The Principle of Inward Purity (Mat. 5:27-32).
  5.  The Principle of Integrity (Mat. 5:33-37).
  6.  The Principle of Non-Resistance (Mat. 5:38-42.
  7.  The Principle of Divine Love (Mat. 5:43-48).
  8.  The Principle of Almsgiving (Mat. 6:1-4).
  9.  The Principle of Prayer (Mat. 5:5-15).
10.  The Principle of Fasting (Mat. 6:16-18).
11.  The Principle of Kingdom Priorities (Mat. 6:19-23).
12.  The Principle of Faith (Mat. 6:24-34).
13.  The Principle of Mercy and Judgment (Mat. 7:1-6).
14.  The Principle of Persistence (Mat. 7:7-11).
15.  The Principle of Discernment (Mat. 7:15-23).
16.  The Principle of Hearing and Doing the Father’s Will
(Mat. 7:21-27).

To walk in the Kingdom of God we must have an eye that is single to His glory.  We cannot lead a double life.  “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways,” wrote the apostle James.  The word “minded” in this passage is the Greek word PSUCHE which is often rendered “soul.”  “A double-souled man is unstable in all his ways,” it might just as well be translated.  Is it possible to have two souls?  There is no doubt about it!  The soul is composed of four primary functions: mind, will, emotion and desire.  These are the four parts of the soul.  The natural man consciously has only one soul.  But the regenerated man consciously has two souls.  This is a great mystery, but let us see how this is.  The natural man knows only one mind the mind of the flesh, the carnal mind, his own human mind.  The natural man knows only one will the will of the flesh.  The natural man experiences only one set of emotions the emotions of the flesh.  And the natural man has only one desire the desire of the flesh.

Paul makes this very plain.  “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our lifestyle in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:2-3).  Again, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience: in the which ye also once walked, when ye lived in them” (Col. 3:5-7).  Paul doesn’t tell us that all these things have passed away, that they no longer exist in us, that they are dead or were crucified two thousand years ago on the cross.  The command is, “Mortify  kill, put to death, execute, slay, assassinate,  liquidate, do away with, wipe out, put an end to, waste, finish off the evil desire, the animal impulse, the earthly disposition lurking in your members!”

May I here point out that within the Lord Jesus Himself, in the days of His flesh, dwelt two souls.  We know that within Him were two wills, for on that dreadful night in the agony of Gethsemane, He said it Himself.  “And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Mat. 26:39).  Have we ever considered that GOD has a soul?  Many scripture passages speak of the soul of God, as we find in Isaiah 42:1, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth.”  Delight is an emotion, and emotion is a function of the soul.  It should not be difficult to understand that God, though He is spirit, has a soul.  Does God have a mind?  Mind is soul.  Does God have a will?  Will is soul.  Does God have emotions?  Emotion is soul.  Does God have desires?  Desire is soul.  God thinks, plans, and purposes.  God determines and predestinates.  God feels, laughs, is vexed, angry; God hates, loves, is pleased, displeased, satisfied, dissatisfied.  Ah, yes!  God has a soul.

When a man is born of the Spirit he inherits from his heavenly Father the soul of the Spirit.  The soul of the Spirit is simply the mind of the Spirit, the will of the Spirit, the emotions of the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit.  With the mind of the Spirit we think the thoughts of God, thoughts of peace, thoughts of righteousness, thoughts of wisdom, knowledge and understanding.  The mind of the Spirit is the vehicle of revelation.  By the will of the Spirit we are motivated to act as sons of God, to fulfill all of Father’s purpose in us.  The emotions of the Spirit are  love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.  By the desires of the Spirit we are drawn to spiritual and heavenly realities and seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

I doubt that any child of God would deny that there is also within him another soul the soul of the flesh.  The soul of the flesh is simply our own natural mind, our own human will, our fleshly emotions and carnal desires.  If we say we have not this soul of the flesh we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  E. Stanley Jones has given the following  illustrations.  The Chinese have a character for “peace” which depicts a house roof and one woman under it.  The character for “strife” or “contention” is the same house roof with two women under it!  A mother said to her little girl as she was all flustered and flurried with indecision: “Now, hurry up, Mary, and make up your mind.”  To which the little girl replied with a sigh, “It’s easy for you to make up your mind, mother, for you’ve got only one mind to make up, but I’ve got lots of minds to make up!”  There is age long wisdom gathered up in those stories.  Where there is unity of purpose and action there is peace and power, but where there is inner division in loyalty and purpose there is strife and contention and consequent weakness and breakdown.

The double-souled man that is unstable in all of his ways is the man who constantly vacillates back and forth between God’s will and his own, between the emotions of the Spirit and those of his flesh.  Back and forth, back and forth, seeking God’s will today and his own tomorrow.  He can never make up his mind, can never maintain constancy in his experience, is like a wave driven by the wind, and never becomes established in the will and ways and life of the Spirit.  That is the two-souled man.  The spiritual man, in all things,  says with the firstborn Son of God, “Not my will, but Thine be done!”  The spiritual man denies not the movie house, not the liquor store, not the dance hall he denies HIMSELF!  His own flesh-soul is brought under subjection to the spirit-soul.  Our heavenly Father never functions out of any soul except that of the Spirit, for He is Spirit.  God’s soul is a spirit soul.  Man’s soul is a flesh soul.  Therefore there is omniscient wisdom beneath His determination to subdue  our soul unto His.

The following quotation from George Hawtin will plainly illustrate what our true position should be.  “There is coming a day when the sons of God will subdue all things and bring everything into subjection unto the Father.  Christ must reign until all enemies are under His feet (I Cor. 15:24-25).  Let us therefore face this solemn fact that all who reign with Him must first of all be subject to Him and be ruled by Him.  Those who will be used of God to subdue all things must first of all be subdued.  Those who are to subdue the enemies of Christ must first of all have all the enemies of Christ subdued within themselves.  Never let this truth depart from you either day or night, for, if God should give men power to subdue who have not themselves been subdued, they would not be one whit superior to all those tyrannical dictators of the past, who in their lust for power trod their enemies under their bloody feet, rejoicing only in their bombastic  and dictatorial spirit and the groveling servitude of the people.

“Before God can launch us into the breadth and sweetness of His service and entrust us with great things for Himself, we must be perfectly subdued in every part of our nature to His will and the disposition of His mind.  We must be subdued in our hearts, in our minds, in our words, in our tempers, in our manners: subdued through and through so thoroughly that we will be flexible to all His purposes and plans.  We must be subdued that harshness, severity, criticism, sluggishness, laziness, impetuosity, and all wanting our way, even in spiritual things, must be subdued out of us.  Conversion will not finish this work and perhaps not in one case out of a thousand will a second work of grace produce this complete condition of teachable subjugation to God’s will.  Being able to preach strong sermons on sanctification will not do it, or having charge of camp meetings, or conventions, or Bible schools, or the writing of books and editing of papers on Christian holiness will not prove adequate for this.

“We must be subdued, not merely in our opinion, not merely think ourselves subdued, not only in the esteem of our friends and fellow-workers, but subdued so perfectly that the all-seeing eye of God can look us through and the omniscient One knows that we are subdued.  God must conquer the man that He can trust with His great thoughts and plans    end quote.

It is here that we meet the powerful principles of the Kingdom of God in the Sermon on the Mount.  No more penetrating words were ever spoken concerning the spiritual life than the statement of Jesus that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”  And that is a discerning portrait of  religion and religionists.  Jesus saw that men were trying to live in contradictory directions, upon contradictory principles, with divided loyalties.  So He pronounced a doom upon all this living by the simple statement, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  The man who is double-souled is trying to do an impossible thing, something that is against the nature of things and therefore impossible.  The double-souled man is unstable in all his ways and his life and works can only end in collapse.

When Jesus uttered those words about the house divided against itself, He was speaking to Pharisees.  They themselves were what He meant by the futility of living a life in two different directions.  They were not consciously bad men just hypocritically divided men.  They were trying to please God while they pleased themselves.  They were trying to fulfill the law of God by being self-righteous.  They drew around themselves a set of religious scruples which fit into their outward form of what religion was, and rejected things that were closer to the heart of God.  ‘Ye tithe mint and anise and cumin and pass over justice and the love of God.”  These men were so zealous for the law that even if in their patio or on the roof top they raised a very small patch of spices for their personal use in cooking, they tithed it!  They were legalists to the penny.  But mercy, goodness, helping the needy, forgiveness, love, and compassion would mean they would have to share and consider the feelings and circumstances of others, and that they felt no responsibility to do.  On the side of the law they served God, but on the side of mercy, forgiving, loving, lifting and blessing creation they served themselves.  They were divided in their religion, majoring in minors, and minoring in majors.  They were double-souled, and their religious house  doomed to collapse.

When Jesus enumerated the principles of the Kingdom of God He set forth in the sweetest of terms the power and glory of an undivided life.  That is the power and glory of the life of sonship!  The expression and actions of the life of sonship reveal the heart and nature of the Father and our own reality as His sons.  After teaching about loving our enemies and doing good to those who despitefully use us and many other noble qualities of the spirit He ended with, “Be ye therefore PERFECT, even as your Father which is in heaven IS PERFECT” (Mat. 5:48).  To be “perfect” means in the Greek to be “complete” undivided!  The reason many Christians do not live as sons of God is because of one thing and one only: inward division.  Someone has pointed out how Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, struck out at this inward division in the following phrases:

1.  Don’t try to give your alms with the divided motive of pleasing God and getting credit from men (Mat. 6:1).

2.  Don’t pray to God and at the same time try to impress men with your sanctity (Mat. 6:5).

3.  Don’t fast before God and at the same time try to build up a reputation for self-abnegation and spirituality (Mat. 6:16).

4.  Don’t try to make the best of both worlds  by attempting to lay up treasure in two directions (Mat. 6:19).

5.  Don’t try to be divided in your loyalty by attempting to serve two masters God and mammon (Mat. 6:24).

6.  Don’t be anxious in two directions today and tomorrow concentrate on today (Mat. 6:34).

7.  Don’t try to judge in two directions yourself and others  concentrate on yourself (Mat. 7:1-5).

8.  Don’t try to bring forth good fruit out of an evil heart (Mat. 7:15-18).

9.  Don’t try to give lip service saying, “Lord, Lord,” without doing the will of God (Mat. 7:21).

If you try to live with a dual motive, Jesus says, then there will be one sure result you will be like a man building his house on sand, and when the pressures of life come, when the winds blow and the floods come, there will be a great crash!  In these examples Jesus was not preaching what men call “morality.”  He was expounding how life in the Kingdom of Heaven works, how the life of sonship functions.  If you try to live a divided life of flesh and spirit you are living against yourself and against the Kingdom, and that won’t work.  You can live that way and appear religious, you can live that way and prosper in many churches, you can live that way and the church systems will promote you to the office of Sunday School Superintendent, Member of the Board, Head of a Committee, Deacon or Pastor; you can live that way and become famous and perhaps have your own Christian Television Show but you cannot live like that as a son of God.  Every son of God is one-souled, living only by the spirit.

When I speak of Kingdom laws I do not mean external rules and regulations.  True, Jesus enunciates these principles of the Kingdom as an instruction, as a teaching, but He does not demand legalistic obedience in the way Old Testament laws were obeyed.  That is merely external righteousness.  And that is why Jesus didn’t say, as Moses said, “Thou shalt and thou shalt not.”  He said, rather,  Blessed are they that...”  Someone may say, “I find it almost impossible to love that person, but I am going to love them because Jesus says I must.”  That is not the Kingdom!  That is not sonship!  That is just plain law, and the person who attempts it is still divided within himself and his attempt will fail.  You cannot love people by any human effort.  The principles of the Kingdom can only be lived out by a new nature, not outward conformity.  If you have to bite your tongue and count to ten, you are still divided and living under law.  And I am not preaching condemnation to you, precious friend of mine;  I am merely  pointing out how the life of sonship is.

The law of the Kingdom is the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  Jesus is not instructing us as to what commandments we are to obey, but about what nature we must receive.  “If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him.  Whosoever is born of God does not practice sin; for God’s seed abideth in him: and he cannot practice sin because he is born of God.  In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil...” (I Jn. 2:29; 3:9-10).  Nature is inherited.  Moses was the giver of laws; Christ is the giver of life!  Those who fulfill the law of the Kingdom are not servants, slavishly obeying, but sons, born of His life, possessed of His heart.  The righteousness of the Kingdom can be lived only by the man who has experienced the powers of the Kingdom of Heaven within himself.  You cannot have the apples without the apple tree.  You cannot grow the tulips of the Kingdom of God  unless you get the bulbs from heaven.  The demands of the outward law proved how utterly impotent man was; now the demands of the inward law prove HOW INFINITELY ABLE GOD IS!  Today the demands of the Kingdom serve to demonstrate the infinite ability of God in His sons by the Spirit.  He has Himself become our life that He may meet all the demands His Kingdom makes upon us.  God’s life has been given us, not merely for our eternal enjoyment and benefit, but for the sake of His Kingdom.  As He sits upon the throne of our lives and asserts His authority in us His Kingdom is raised up in us and functions through us.  This is the power and glory of the Kingdom of God!

THE POOR IN SPIRIT

We come now to the first principle of the Kingdom of God.  “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 5:3).  It seems strange to say that the poor in spirit inherit the Kingdom of Heaven; rather it would seem that the rich in spirit should inherit the Kingdom!  There is a great depth here that can only be plumbed by the wisdom of God.  The things of the spirit are always contrary to the logic of the carnal mind.  Only when we are willing to reject our minds and our wisdom does God draw nigh to us and give us light, true light.  “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14).

To be poor in spirit does not mean to be lacking in spirit, but indicates an attitude of heart.  The Greek word used for poor is PTOCHOS.  It is one of two words for “poor” in the Greek language.  While the other word, PENES, is used to describe one who has fewer possessions, and has to work hard for a living, the word PTOCHOS describes the man who has absolutely nothing at all.  It means a pauper or a beggar.  It has connections with the root word PROSSEIN which means to couch or cower.  It describes the poverty of one who has been beaten to his knees.  To be “poor in spirit” is to become like Jesus, who “made Himself of no reputation” (Phil. 2:7).  For, “though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor (ptochos), that ye through His poverty might be rich” (II Cor. 8:9).  Deeper yet, this term “poor in spirit” in the original speaks of bankruptcy.  I like to translate our Lord’s words this way, “Blessed are the bankrupt they who have come to the end of themselves for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  Blessed are those who have nothing within themselves, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”  God is looking for a people that will be emptied out, that out of their weakness they may find His strength.  That is a principle of the Kingdom it is how the Kingdom of Heaven works!

Ah, we cannot come to be taught of God feeling within ourselves that we are understanding, we are power, we are creators, we are kings and rulers, or that we have anything that commends itself to God. We must be poor in spirit, poor in attitude unclothed of self.  The word “spirit” is used many times to describe an attitude of heart or a state of mind.  If we say of someone, “He has a good spirit,” we don’t mean that he has an holy angel or a well-mannered ghost living inside of him.  We mean that he has a good attitude, disposition, temperament, personality, demeanor, and expression.  The beatitudes are just that attitudes of being.  They are the BE-ATTITUDES, the very attitudes the sons of God must become.  Jesus said in effect, “The attitude of a poor person is the same attitude that will help you to inherit the Kingdom of God.”  But He does not mean by this that we are to be spiritually destitute!  We must realize that we are the “branch” dependent upon the Root and the Vine just as the firstborn Son testified of Himself, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things so ever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.  I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (Jn. 5:19,30).  It follows then that the poor in spirit are actually the rich in spirit!

Poor in spirit means “renounced in spirit.”  Yielding up everything of self selfishness, self-assertiveness, self-interest that we may gain Christ.  Right on the threshold of the Kingdom of God we encounter an act of renunciation from the deepest depths of our being.  One Greek scholar has said that poor in spirit comes closer in the Greek to mean “teachable in spirit.”  Ah, what a word that is!  To be happy and blessed in the Kingdom we must be renounced in spirit, teachable in spirit, pliable in spirit, and receptive in spirit.  Receptive to all that God is, to all that God does,  to all the strange and wonderful ways that He leads, and to all that He speaks by His Spirit.  We must be pliable in the Father’s hands at all times and in all situations.  We must have an ear to hear.  We must know and think and be nothing of ourselves.  We don’t bring anything to the Kingdom but the Kingdom is ours!  All the resources of the Kingdom are at the disposal of the poor in spirit.  The Kingdom of God is within us, and it also reaches to the lowest hell and beyond the farthest star.  All the powers of the Kingdom are centered in those who are the sons of God.

 he saintly George MacDonald has beautifully expressed  the truth in these inspiring words: “The poor, the beggars in spirit, the humble men of heart, the unambitious, the unselfish; those who never despise men, and never seek their praises; the lowly, who see nothing to admire in themselves, therefore cannot seek to be admired of others; the men who give themselves away these are the freemen of the Kingdom, these are the citizens of the New Jerusalem.  The men who are aware of their own essential poverty; not the men who are poor in friends, poor in influence, poor in acquirements, poor in money, but those who are poor in spirit, who feel themselves poor creatures; who know nothing to be pleased with themselves for, and desire nothing to make them feel well of themselves; who know that they need much to make their life worth living; these humble ones are the poor whom the Lord calls blessed.  The gate of the Kingdom begins to open to such a man.

“Whatever such a man has attained to, he straightway forgets; it is part of him and behind him.  His business is with what he has not, with the things that lie above and before him.  The man who is proud of anything he thinks he has reached, has not reached it.  He is but proud of himself, and imagining a cause for his pride.  If he had reached, he would already have begun to forget.  He who delights in contemplating whereunto he has attained, is not merely sliding back; he is already in the dirt of self-satisfaction.  The gate of the Kingdom is closed, and he is outside.  The man who does not house self has room to be his real self God’s eternal idea of him.  He lives eternally; in virtue of the creative power in him, he is.  How should there be in him one thought of ruling or commanding or surpassing!  He can imagine no bliss, no good in being greater than someone else.  He would lift every man to the embrace of the Father.  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they are of the same spirit as God, and of nature the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs”   end quote.

The following quotation by Paul Grubb further illuminates this wonderful Kingdom principle of poor in spirit.  “When Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ in essence He was saying, Blessed are they, who in spirit reckon that they possess nothing.  Blessed are those who in their spirit are conscious of the fact that they do not possess one thing.  It all belongs to the Father.  If the automobile has their name on the title, it does not belong to them.  If the house has their name on the deed, it does not belong to them.  If the million dollars in the bank is deposited in their name, it does not belong to them.  It belongs to the Father.  If humility is demonstrated through their lives, it does not belong to them.  It belongs to the Father.  If righteousness is manifested in them, it does not belong to them.  It belongs to the Father.  If goodness is exerting its influence through their lives, it does not belong to them.  It belongs to the Father.  If power flows through them to the needs about them, it does not belong to them.  It belongs to the Father.  Anything valuable that they possess either spiritually or materially is not their own.  They are conscious that a man does not really possess any righteousness.  Any he thinks he possesses is self-righteousness.  He does not possess any humility or goodness.  He does not possess any power, for ‘all power is of God.’

“Until we come to know we are poor in spirit, we are not in the Kingdom.  Anyone who thinks he has righteousness is far from the Kingdom.  He who thinks he has humility, goodness or power is far from the Kingdom.  Jesus never boasted of humility, goodness, righteousness or power.  But you never saw Him with anything less!  Jesus declared that even the words which He spoke and the deeds that He did were not of Himself.  The very words that He spoke belonged to the Father; they were the Father’s words.  The works that He did were not His own works, they were the works of the Father.  What He heard from His Father He spoke, and what He saw of His Father He did.  As sons of God we must be brought to the place where we know the words are not ours, the works are not ours, the results are not ours, the humility is not ours, the gifts are not ours, the calling is not ours, the ministry is not ours,  the automobile is not ours, the house is not ours, the family is not ours, the children are not ours, the parents are not ours.  Everything belongs to Him.  ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’”    end quote.

Brother Bob Torango adds this testimony from a recent article: “Don’t be anxious!  Look not on the outward evidence of the vessel.  You are only a container, a bottle in which the Lord of glory abides. The container is only as holy as what it contains.  It is not the container that this Day depends upon, but what is contained within it.  This Kingdom has nothing to do with you, with your righteousness, with your power, with your ability, with your holiness; but it is totally reliant and dependent upon the Righteous, Holy One who embodies us.  It is not up to us to perform these things, it is His plan, His ministry, His salvation, His conciliation; it is Him and only Him that this Day is about.  You are His vehicle through which He will express Himself, but the ultimate work of change, the melting of the elements, the burning of the heavens and earth, the passing away of the old and the rising up of the new, all  of this cannot and will not be done by mortal man but we do contain the Lord of lords, and the Logos of His will is in us to will and to do of His good pleasure!  Our only challenge is to expect, believe, yield, disappear, get out of the way, lose our self, avail our self, and ultimately just to hang on when the ride begins!”

THEY THAT MOURN

Jesus gave the second principle of the Kingdom in these words: “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Mat. 5:4).  Let all who read these lines understand Jesus is not merely putting a premium on mourning.  He is saying that the man who can mourn and is able to know sorrow is to be thought of as a blessed man because he shall find comfort in his sympathy for his brethren.

Nowhere is this principle seen with greater clarity than in God’s Royal Priesthood company being selected and trained in God’s school of sonship dominion to restore all creation back to God.  Of these King-Priests it is written, “Thou...hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign  on the earth” (Rev. 5:9-10).  This passage is one of rare beauty.  It is like a precious diamond, the effulgence of whose radiance dazzles the mind.  It must be engraved deeply upon the heart of every son of God.  There is so much depth to that text that I am afraid we often do not perceive it.  It is like a beautiful star-studded sky on a bright clear night and one cannot even begin to grasp the vast depth that lies above us.  So it is with these marvelous words: “Thou hast made us TO BE KINGS AND PRIESTS!”  Can you say that?  As we plumb its depths a little more I hope that you will ask yourself the question more carefully, “Am I being made a priest unto God?  Is the process of transformation into the kingly and priestly nature practically taking place in my life?”

The wonderful book of Hebrews is literally packed full of mysteries, types, shadows, and allegories, all pointing to the ministry of the sons of God  who are God’s Royal Priesthood.  These are only unfolded by the Holy Spirit as we are able to bear it.  Hebrews chapter five sets forth the qualifications that the typical High Priest under the law, and therefore Christ Jesus, the anti-typical High Priest of the new order of the Kingdom, must possess.  All the members of the Royal Priesthood, the Kings and Priests of the Kingdom who are, with Him, “partakers of the heavenly calling,” must also have the same qualifications, for they are the body of the High Priest.

“For every High Priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that He may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way, for that he himself is compassed with infirmity” (Heb. 5:1-2).  Here we have defined the intrinsic nature of the priestly office.  First, he must be “taken from among men,” that is, he must partake of both the nature and the circumstances of those on whose behalf he acts.  Second, he acts not as a private individual, but as a public official: “is ordained for men.”  Third, he came not empty-handed before God, but furnished with “gifts and sacrifices for sins.”  Then, he himself must not be exempt from infirmity, so that he might the more readily succor the distressed and distraught.

All this is important for it points to Jesus’ qualifications to be our great High Priest.  A High Priest must know and experientially understand the problems and limitations of those he represents.  “Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.”  On three different occasions Matthew tells us that our Lord was “moved with compassion” on the multitudes.  Frankly, when you read the Gospels you read of Jesus doing miracles, healings, signs and wonders; but Jesus never went around looking for a miracle to perform.  HE WENT ABOUT DOING THE FATHER’S WILL.  The Father brought Him to a place where His heart could be moved with compassion.  It was not a gift of compassion that came to Him by the Holy Spirit; it was the  compassion wrought out in His life by His many sorrows, sufferings, and testings.  He had suffered loss, He had suffered pain, He had suffered reproach.  Coming to a town He sees a funeral procession and as a Son, having suffered the loss of Joseph and friends and family members, and shared in the sorrow of His mother at the loss, thereby developing the nature of a Priest, He is filled with compassion when He sees the widow and her dead son.  There was no Social Security in those days, and the boy was the only person to look after the widow, so He stops the procession, raises the boy, hands him over to the mother, and goes about the Father’s business.  I find that the basis of the sonship ministry of Jesus was not power IT WAS COMPASSION!

When He saw the multitude He was moved with compassion.  They were hungry, and He had known gnawing hunger, so He said, “Let us feed them.”  When He met the leper He was moved with compassion, for He had experienced pain and shame, and He laid His hands upon him and healed him.  He could have spoken a word to heal him, but that man needed the touch of somebody’s hand on him, he had been separated from people so long, he needed more than to be healed from his leprosy, he needed the sense of the hand of God upon him.  When Jesus looked upon the careworn faces of the toiling, tax-ridden multitudes taxed by cruel priests; taxed by Herod; taxed by Pilate; taxed by their own sins and sorrows; wearily burdened, wounded at heart, and heavy laden He was not looking for a chance to show off His power He was moved with compassion.

“Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; FOR THAT HE HIMSELF ALSO IS COMPASSED ABOUT WITH INFIRMITY.”  The condition which develops compassion in us, is that we ourselves get compassed surrounded, hedged in by the problems, the difficulties, the needs that are going to be represented in the people to whom we minister.  So many of us are intolerant in certain areas of our lives because we have not gone through the pressure, we have not been compassed by that particular infirmity, weakness, sorrow or need.  Priesthood demands suffering, trial, testing, tribulation,  and pressure.  Sonship demands relationship with God.  He sends the Spirit of the Son into our hearts and we cry, “Abba, Father!”  Now God intends that all of us who have been called should be sons of God, and that all of us should be a Kingdom of Priests, a Royal Priesthood unto God.  But you may be a son and still not be a priest!

 John the Revelator said, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them...they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4-6).  Here you see that it is not the sons who are reigning it is the PRIESTS!  What about the sons?  “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Rev. 21:7). The sons inherit, for they are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17).  Who, then, is destined to reign?  THE SONS WHO ARE PRIESTS!  Christ was a Son before He was a Priest.  He was not a Priest during His years in the flesh, although He was qualifying to be one, but He was a Son.  Christ in His ministry from the heavens today is not merely the Son of God.  As a Son He is “heir of all things;” but to become the great High Priest and provide the priestly ministry on our behalf the Son had, as a Son, to go through the experience that was necessary to perfect Him for the understanding heart of the Priesthood.  “We have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; BUT WAS IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).  “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became...AN HIGH PRIEST AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK” (Heb. 5:8-10).  “Every High Priest...must be compassed with infirmity.”

Ah, Jesus could have been a son without being so totally compassed with infirmity, BUT HE COULD NEVER HAVE BEEN A PRIEST WITHOUT IT.  He might have been perfect in character, noble in motive, and desirous to help us; but, if He had never tasted death, how could He allay our fears as we tread the verge of Jordan?  If He had never been tempted, how could He succor those who are tempted?  If He had never known pain, how could He have compassion on the sick and sorrowing multitudes then and now?  If He had never wept, how could He dry our tears?  If He had never suffered, hungered, wearied on the hill of difficulty, or threaded His way through the quagmires of grief, how could He be a merciful and faithful High Priest, having compassion on the ignorant and wayward?  But, thank God!  Our High Priest is a perfect one!  He is perfectly adapted to His task.  If we would sit with Him upon that blessed throne of mercy we must not shrink from the problems and troubles and perplexities of this life, for this is the stuff Priests are made of!

There have been those precious folk who have said to me, “Brother Eby, I don’t understand.  Since I came into this Kingdom message things have gotten worse all hell has broken loose.”  That is just what you need IF YOU WOULD BE A PRIEST!  Have you not known some beautiful saints to whom you naturally betake yourself in time of trial and sorrow?  They always seem to speak the right word, to give the very counsel you are longing for; you do not realize, however, the cost they had to pay ere they became so skillful in binding up gaping wounds and drying tears.  But if you were to investigate their past you would find that they have suffered more than most.  They have watched the slow untwisting of some silver cord on which the lamp of life hung.  They have seen the golden bowl of joy dashed at their feet, and its contents spilt.  They have stood by ebbing tides, and drooping flowers, and darkened skies; but all this has been necessary to make them comforters and healers, the priests of men.

The only persons on earth who really understand our sorrow are the persons who have traveled the same valley of despair.  Only those who have been bereaved know what bereavement really is.  They alone can shed the sympathizing tear and intercede in power with God, for they alone truly understand.  Others may kindly and with feeling offer their condolence, but they can do little more than that, for they have not experienced the pain and loneliness of our loss.  The reason our blessed Lord is touched with the feeling of our infirmities is that He knoweth our frame.  He remembereth that we are dust.  He knows this not by  revelation or by divine omniscience, but He Himself was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”  He knew what it was to be despised, afflicted, and rejected of men.  He knows what it is to be misunderstood,  to be dragged from prison and judgment with no man to declare His generation.  He knows what it is to be tested in all points as we are tested, and the sympathizing tears flow from His eyes as He extends His nail-pierced hand to lift us from the shades of our gloomy night to the ineffable light of the plain on which He dwells.

If you are going to be a manifested son you must first get bound because God wants His sons to be Priests, kingly Priests who show forth both authority and redemption.  You must not only have the authority of Kingship, but also the compassion of Priesthood.  Let me say now, I DO NOT RECOMMEND PRIESTHOOD I RECOMMEND SONSHIP!  When you are a son you have an inheritance, great wealth, blessings from the Father’s hands, and freedom.  As a son you have power to do things, but the moment you become a Priest, they put you in chains: compassed, surrounded, hedged in, pressed on every side by infirmity.  Infirmity is weakness.  I pray that as God deals with His sons in these days that we will not despise our limitations, our infirmities, and our sufferings, but look unto Jesus who has pioneered the way of Royal Priesthood before us.

Christ was tempted as a Son, but after that there came a temptation in testings that had nothing to do with Him, but were preparing Him for the perfection of the Priesthood.  As sons of God, with full inheritance, we should be blessed beyond measure, we should have no problems, by rights we should be in perfect health, have good jobs, money in the bank, and everything coming to us.  And we can demand our rights!  Vast numbers of Christians today choose to walk only in their Kingdom privileges of blessing, health and prosperity.  And they do not know it, but they SHALL NOT REIGN WITH CHRIST.  It is the priests that reign!  “And they shall be priests of God...and they shall reign.”  To the Priests God says, “No, I am going to limit you here, put you through pressure there, subject you to suffering, hedge you in and compass you about with infirmity, not because you have no rights, but that it will work a compassion, an understanding, a mercy, a grace, work something in you so that out of you will flow a river of love, forgiveness, tenderness, redemption and then a flow of power, enabling and ability.

Now can we understand the depth of the principle of the Kingdom that teaches, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” and they shall be comforters!

There is, however, a further dimension to the mourning of the sons of God!  In the true and eloquent words of another, “When Jesus says, Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted, He is not talking about someone who is hired to mourn.  Of course, in Jesus’ day, the Eastern custom at funerals was to have just such as that. With cruel, yet merciful swiftness, the hour arrives for interment.  The lamentation, that was passionate before, became tumultuously defiant.  Relatives lost all self control, and refusing to let the pall- bearers discharge their sad office, had to be forcibly removed.  A procession was then formed and on the way to the cemetery the wailing was increased by those who joined in to show their respect to the family.  After the family and neighbors became weary with wailing, they hired professionals to continue it.  This highly hysterical type of mourning continued for days!

“The foregoing is just a description of the Oriental custom for mourning.  That certainly was not what Jesus had reference to in the beatitude.  As we look to another scripture or two, we will be able to determine what Jesus had in mind when He said, Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.  John 16:4-6, ‘But I have said these things to you that when the hour comes you may remember that I told you of them.  I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.  But now I am going to Him who sent me.  Yet none of you ask me, Where are you going?  But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts.  Nevertheless I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away.  For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” And then in verse 20, “Truly, truly I say to you, you will weep and lament (mourn), but the world will rejoice.  You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.”  And then in verse 22, “So you will have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice and no one will take your joy from you.”

“The mourning Jesus is referring to is a mourning over the absence of the presence of God, or of Christ.  That is the godly mourning that Jesus had in mind.  And that is the mourning that is representative of the sons of God.  The only time that Jesus mourned was when He mourned for the absence of the presence of God.  Twice we find Him weeping.  He wept at Lazarus’ tomb.  It was because of the absence of the presence of God.  “When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; and He said, Where have you laid Him?  They said to Him, Lord, come and see.  Jesus wept.  So the Jews said, See how He loved him!  But some of them said, Could not He that opened the eyes of the blind have kept this man from dying?  Then Jesus deeply moved came again to the tomb” (Jn. 11:33-38).

 “His deep mourning here is for the absence of God.  Lazarus had died.  In the first place, that signifies the absence of God.  Life is of God and God is life.  Death is the absence of the presence of God.  Where God is, there is life.  Death is the opposite to it.  The mourning here is because there is death and not life.  Jesus was not  mourning because He thought that Lazarus would not come back to life.  He knew exactly what He was going to do.  In part, Jesus was mourning because there was the presence of death and the absence of the presence of God.  But the absence of faith in God grieved Him also.  The unbelief was expressed by the mourning scene and the expression of the sisters.  The unbelief was undoubtedly the influence of their past teaching.  Although the doubt was the expression of the emotional disturbance and grief in the hearts of these women, it displayed the absence of God’s assurance and faith.  God’s presence is faith.  God’s presence is life.  The mourning of Jesus was for the absence of God in this situation.  He mourned because they did not believe.  Satan had beclouded their minds to cause them to believe a lie rather than the truth.  After all that He had said to them, they still could not believe.  Although Martha said, ‘I know that my brother shall rise in the resurrection at the last day,’ they still did not believe.  Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.  If a man believes, though he were dead, yet shall he live;  and if you live and believe, you shall never die.’  Jesus did not see that kind of faith there!  So He mourned because of the absence of the presence of God.

“On one other occasion Jesus mourned when He beheld Jerusalem and contemplated her rejection of the King and her rejection of God’s Kingdom.  He witnessed her rebellion against God and against His Kingdom program.  The whole nation of Israel was represented by Jerusalem.  When He used the word Jerusalem, He was not just speaking of a city that is made up of buildings and streets.  He was speaking of the Jewish nation.  ‘Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets, stoning those who are sent to you.  How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!  Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate.  For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’  Here Jesus was mourning over Jerusalem because the Jewish nation was rejecting the King and the Kingdom.  That is the true reason for the mourning of the sons of God today.  Their mourning is because God is absent from the lives and activities of the people of the world.  God is being rejected from all of their ways.  The King and the Kingdom are not being accepted in this hour, when God is offering the King and the Kingdom to the church and they are rejecting it.  Certainly the mourning is in the hearts of God’s sons.

“That is one of the ways in which the sons of God enter into the fellowship of Christ’s suffering.  It first begins in our own lives and then it goes out to the others.  Our first revelation is how little of the King is embraced in our own lives.  There comes a mourning in our spirit, when we recognize how little of the Kingdom of God is operating and being demonstrated in our lives.  We are beginning then to suffer with Christ.  We begin to understand how Jesus felt when God, who deserved to be worshipped and obeyed as King in the earth, who deserved to be Ruler in men’s lives, was rejected.  Jesus sorely grieved as He witnessed how God was rejected and dethroned when men would not have His Kingdom enter  their lives.  Jesus’ mourning was for the fact that God was displaced.  It is when we begin to realize that there is so little of Christ in us, and so little of God’s Kingdom manifested through our lives that we enter into the mourning of the true sons of the Kingdom.

“Jesus’ promise in the beatitude is that this mourning will not be permanent.  This mourning of the sons is going to climax with a comfort when Christ fully rules in our lives and finally rules in all the earth. The Kingdom of God is going to fill these lives.  If we have a godly mourning because God is not occupying many areas of our lives and those of other men, Christ will come and expel the self-life and all things that are contrary, and ascend to His throne, to His rightful place in the hearts of men.  When He comes to His rightful place in your life and mine, that mourning turns to joy.  Then, as we view the world, our mourning becomes like that of Jesus for the world.  We are conscious that God ought to be in His rightful place in all things, everywhere.  Satan ought not to be ruling in lives by bonds of sin, sickness and sorrow.  God deserves to be there!  There should be perfect minds and bodies revealing the power and life of God.  There ought to be life instead of death.  Instead of going down in death with cancer, man ought to be victorious in life.  But sin and death rule in men’s lives, therefore we are grieved in spirit.  As we sorrow for that condition, we allow the Christ to reach men.  God, who is Life, begins to spring forth.  Comfort, joy, and life in God come out of that death-realm for which we had mourned.   

“Our mourning is because there is sin in the world.  There is sickness.  There is sorrow.  Christ is not ruling in the lives and affairs of men.  But we live in assurance that the day is coming when all of the kingdoms of this world will give way to the Kingdom of our God and His Christ!  Then all of the mourning of the sons will be comforted and shall be turned to joy.  This mourning is the kind of mourning experienced by the firstborn Son of God.  It is mourning because God has been displaced and is denied His rightful place.  Likewise, all the sons of the Kingdom mourn because of it.  I am sure that Christ is mourning today in the lives of the sons of God because many multitudes of people, including the religious ones, are rejecting His Kingship and His Kingdom in their lives.  The common people heard Jesus gladly.  They welcomed the gospel of the Kingdom and the King.  They had lived in distress and hardship long enough.  They wanted to see God!  They welcomed a Kingdom in which there was peace and joy and plenty, righteousness and health and perfection.   

“The present world condition distresses our spirits.  It gives us a mourning within.  But Jesus promised that this mourning is going to be changed.  We shall be comforted because we are going to see in fullness what we now see in part.  What we are seeing on a small scale in a local manner, we are going to see on a mighty scale, in a world-wide visitation.  We are going to see this glorious Christ come to His rightful place. We are going to see the Kingdom come in its power and come in its glory.  Then shall we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!”    Paul Grubb.

 


Chapter 31

THE PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM

(continued)

Of all the beatitudes, or the be-attitudes of the sons of the Kingdom, the third is the one that seems to bear the greatest contradiction.  “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Mat. 5:5). After all, isn’t it the high-energy, self-motivated, grasping, ruthless, promoter, wheeler-dealer, fast talker, power broker who really gets super rich, famous, and powerful, and inherits the earth?  What did Jesus mean when He said that the meek shall inherit the earth?  Wouldn’t it have made more sense if He had said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit heaven?”  That we could understand.  But inherit the earth? To the natural mind that doesn’t seem to add up.  And it doesn’t add up until with the spiritual mind we understand what it means to be meek and how the principle of meekness works in the Kingdom of God.  The word “meek” means “to be mild, gentle, free from retaliation, self-defensiveness or avenging oneself.”  How many are born meek?  Not one of us!  We all want our way and from a babe we will cry for it, scream for it, fight for it and defend our “rights” to the bitter end.  But Jesus says, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.”

Let me give you an illustration.  “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3).  Moses, when he first felt the call of God upon his life, sensed that God was with Him and had raised him up to be the deliverer of His people.  God had called him to this deliverance ministry.  One day it happened that he went out among his brethren, the Israelites, and looked at their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of Moses’ brethren.  At the sight something rose up within Moses’ spirit and he rushed over and smote the Egyptian with his fist.  Moses was a real macho man!  I do not doubt for one moment that he worked out in the palace and had bulging, rippling muscles.  He was no jelly fish or wimp.  He grabbed that Egyptian and slew him and buried him in the sand.

He went out again the next day to observe his brethren.  On this occasion he saw two Hebrew men quarreling and fighting.  He said to the unjust aggressor, “Why are you mistreating your comrade”  The man snarled at Moses and said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us?  Do you intend to kill me, as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?”  Then Moses realized that his actions had been observed and the news of what he had done was spreading among the people, and he was afraid.  And sure enough, in due time the news reached the ears of Pharaoh.  Pharaoh was furious and put a price on Moses’ head.  So Moses fled the land of Egypt and took refuge in the land of Midian, a desert land beyond the Red Sea.  God took Moses to that backside of the desert and kept him there in seclusion for forty years.  It was there that God enrolled Moses in the school of the Spirit.  God stripped him, purged him, taught him, dealt with him, processed and prepared him, and when Moses came out of that wilderness experience he said, “Ah, Lord God, I can’t speak I am not a man of words or ability or influence,” and the Spirit testifies that he was the meekest man on earth!

The Hebrew word for meek is ANAV which can be translated this way, “He was the most worn out man on the face of the earth.”  God drew Moses to the backside of the desert and there He wore him out. He conquered him.  He broke him.  He took all the fight out of him.  He purged all the arrogance and self-reliance and self-sufficiency and self-defensiveness out of him.  He stripped him of all his spirit of retaliation.  He brought him to the place where he was worn out and meekness was the hallmark of his life.  God changed him.  God prepared Him to be a deliverer.  Today God is preparing us to be deliverers, to deliver all creation from the bondage of corruption self, rebellion, sin, sorrow and death.  God is preparing us to rule and reign with Him in His Kingdom.  And He is wearing us out, bringing us to the end of ourselves!

One day Jesus was up in Nazareth preaching and the people didn’t receive Him too kindly there.  James and John, the sons of thunder, began to defend Jesus.  They wanted to do like Elijah did and call fire down from heaven and consume the adversaries.  “We won’t let them get away with this.  They can’t treat Jesus this way.  We’ll teach them a lesson or two.  We’ll show them who we really are.  We are the rulers in the Kingdom.  We have the power and authority for this new Day, and the mandate to establish the new order of the Kingdom of God in the earth.  We’re not going to take this sitting down.”  Jesus stopped them in their tracks, saying, “Wait a minute boys.  You don’t realize what you’re doing.  You don’t know what spirit you are of!  That is the spirit of the law, the spirit of the prophets, the spirit of the passing order, not the spirit of sonship and the Kingdom.  God has not sent His Son, or His sons, into the world to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.  This isn’t the way my Kingdom operates!”  So God took John out in a boat and dropped him off on a little island there called Patmos, and by the time John got off the isle of Patmos he wrote, “Little children, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.”  John’s epistles are epistles of meekness.  Ah, yes, God has a way of breaking us and qualifying us for the Kingdom!

King David prophesied, “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (Ps. 37:11).  The word “meek” in both the Hebrew and Greek conveys the idea of being humble or saintly.  And indeed, God’s firstfruits shall be just that.  The spirit of the firstborn Son was the spirit of humility and virtue.  Paul wrote, “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind within you, which also was in Christ Jesus who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped or held onto, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:3-8).

Two striking statements stand out: “He emptied Himself,” and “He humbled Himself.”  The most startling thought of all is that GOD HUMBLED HIMSELF!  We can hardly conceive of such a thing.  The high and holy One, The omnipotent Creator and omniscient Lord of the universe humbled Himself!  Yet, it could not be otherwise.  Let me state it this way: God is humble!  Have you ever thought about that? If God were not humble there would have been no babe in Bethlehem’s manger, no Son growing up in a peasant home in dusty, riotous Nazareth, no Redeemer dying in agony upon a Roman cross.  If God were not humble there would be no indwelling Spirit, no habitation of God in vessels of clay.  If God were not humble it would mean the destruction of God Himself.  He would then have almighty power and infinite knowledge without the balance of mercy, love, compassion, and identification with His creation.  Thus, He would be a tyrant, and tyranny holds within itself the seeds of its own destruction.

Furthermore, God requires humility of all His sons and daughters.  “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up” (James 4:10).  “Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God...” (I pet. 5:5-6).  “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved...humbleness of mind...” (Col. 3:12).  God does not require an attitude of mind or a state of being of His elect that He does not Himself possess.  Nay!  “He humbled Himself.”  In Jesus Christ we behold the meekness and humility of God!

And now comes the word: “Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God emptied Himself, and as a man humbled Himself.”  The sons of God must be like Christ in His self-emptying and self-humiliation.  The first great act of self-abnegation in which as God He emptied Himself of His divine glory and power and laid it aside, was followed up by the no less wondrous humbling of Himself as a man, to the ignominious death of the cross.  And in this amazing twofold humiliation, the astonishment of the universe and the delight of the Father, the Word with utmost simplicity tells us we must, as a matter of course, BE LIKE CHRIST.

People have great difficulty understanding an abstraction or a force.  It must be personalized.  And that is why God has come in the person of Jesus Christ, so that we might see Him and see what God is like.  The only begotten Son, He hath revealed Him, hath led Him forth and made Him visible.  God has been personalized in Jesus Christ, and this personification, this embodiment of God Himself, HUMBLED HIMSELF!  That One who walked by the sea of Galilee and through the dusty roads of Palestine was none other than the Living God, the great Creator who emptied Himself and humbled Himself and came into this world.  Humility, self-abasement, serving, laying down our lives to pour out to others these are the very principles of the Kingdom of God!  “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mat. 18:4).  “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself, shall be exalted” (Mat. 23:11-12).

God said, “I will invade humanity and come down in the person of my Son, limit myself to a human, physical body just like man has, with all its appetites, emotions, possibilities of suffering hunger, pain, weakness and death, and I will demonstrate the character, the life, the love and the power of God on the human level.”  The incarnation was God manifesting Himself within the limitations of a human body.  As a man Jesus could not fly, He could not see further than anybody else, He could not run faster than the other young men in Nazareth, He got as tired as anyone else, He got as tempted as anyone else, He got hungry and thirsty and weak, fell asleep, they could spit on Him and finally kill Him.  Yet in Jesus Christ you have the perfect expression of God.  The meaning of the incarnation is that God could drink out of a bottle if Jesus drank out of a bottle, God in Him learned to crawl before He learned to walk, God learned a language and stumbled over the words before He got it straight, His mind could increase.

When God invaded humanity in the body of Jesus Christ, He took upon Himself human nature and limitation.  He was made in the likeness, not of glorified flesh, but of sinful flesh, and for thirty-three and a half years lived, walked, slept and died in that body, manifesting God in the scope of humanity.  God was not in Christ as a separate entity, as a separate personality and reality dwelling in His body.  No, God was in Christ as Christ, as the personality of His life.  Being mocked, God was living in Him.  Asleep in the boat, God was living in Him.  Hungry, and He goes to a tree and finds nothing to eat on it, God was living in Him.  When He was weary, pressed, persecuted, hated, reviled, slapped, His back beat, His brow crowned with thorns, His hands and feet nailed to a cross, His side pierced, yet, dying on the cross in agony with the blood and spittle running down His face, GOD WAS LIVING AND MANIFESTING IN HIM God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself!

Do you see what God did?  He made it possible for Himself to be at home in human bodies.  “The tabernacle of God is with men” (Rev. 21:3).  Not with angels, with man.  “And the Word  was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14).  Oh, the mystery of it!  The wonder of it!  It means that God can, by His Spirit, Jesus can, by His Spirit, come in and live in these human bodies of ours, grow up in the fullness of His nature, mind, and power within us, becoming the personality and reality of our lives, living in us, loving in us, and manifesting Himself in us, yea, as us, until with Christ we can say, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father; I and the Father are one.”

Described negatively, meekness is the opposite of self-interest and self-assertiveness.  In keeping with this Ricky Evans wrote, “Meekness is the state of being where we have lost self-interest.  How hard it is to lose this self-interest!  We have all our lives been taught to set goals and strive for those goals.  Find what it is you want in life and go for it.  Choose a worthy vocation and make it the center of your life.  Plan around it.  Let nothing stand in the way.  For role models we are given examples of those who have worked hard and become ‘successful.’  Meekness doesn’t fit into the modern person’s life-style.  Ask people today and you will soon discover they have everything well planned out.  They know what they want and how to get it.  They have their five year, ten year, and twenty year plan.  All of this is geared to enjoying the ‘good life’ and being ‘successful.’

“People who have been born of the Spirit, and yet have not had their soul realm dealt with, are no different.  One only needs to take a drive around their community some Sunday morning for it to be obvious that born again people are most often still full of self-interest.  One can see the great buildings filling with people whose one great interest is to get blessed.  ‘I come here because I get fed, I get a blessing, I like what Dr. So and So preaches...’  Self is still the motivation behind what is being done.  Those who build the great buildings and great ministries, for the most part, are simply those who have redirected their self-interest into religious areas, saying, ‘Let us make a name for ourselves’ (Gen. 11:4).  Turn on your television and soon you will find Brother So and So’s or Sister So and So’s ministry.  Does not all this reveal that there is yet self-interest involved in our lives?  When we see those who promote their ministry, their books, their tapes, their meetings, does this not speak of the self-interest behind such actions?

“Ah, meekness.  Meekness says, ‘I do only what I see the Father do’ (Jn. 5:19).  ‘I seek not my own will, but the will of Him who sent me’ (Jn. 7:16).  These statements show a lack of self-interest.  The interest is not in self, but in the Father and His purpose.  We are not learning and growing in the spirit so we can preach better or prophesy better.  Oh, no.  We are learning and growing into a mature relationship with the Father, that we might be led by the Spirit as mature sons of God (Rom. 8:14).  Maturity is not measured by the amount of knowledge  we may attain about God and His Kingdom; maturity is measured by the degree that we are led by the Spirit.  Meekness means no self-interest, no self-assertiveness, not occupied with self, every vestige of self pushed aside for the will of the Father.  The Father’s will becomes our only concern.  We now find a new freedom from all that religion would impose upon us.  We are now free to be led by the Spirit, and not by religious rules and regulations.  Meekness finds its expression toward God.  When we learn the meekness of our Lord Jesus Christ we find developed in us the attitude that is interested only in the will of the Father.  Those who have meekness developed in them seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, knowing that all other things shall be added unto them”    end quote.

Another adds yet a further depth of meaning to this principle of the meekness of the sons of God.  “Meekness is not timidity, as some suppose.  If you review the life of Jesus, you will not find any timidity about Him.  Yet, He was meek and lowly.  The personal life and ministry of Jesus demonstrated great meekness associated with great boldness of character and fearlessness of opposition.  He was never plagued by fear or timidity when brought to verbal blows with the pharisaic religionists of His day.  Well aware of the opposition being incurred by His utterances and the logical outcome to which it would eventually lead Him, Jesus never compromised a principle, or declined a declaration.  He had no misgivings about the reactions even from the king of Israel, when He said, ‘Go tell that fox, that I heal and do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be glorified.’

“Meekness is a relationship between Father and son.  The son senses a meekness in His fellowship with the Father.  The Father gives the command the son performs it.  The Father administers discipline the son submits to it.  The Father instructs the son in wisdom the son receives enlightenment with thanksgiving.  The acid test of true meekness  comes when the Father uses someone else to bring His discipline to us.  If we are truly meek, we will not only rejoice in submitting to the Father’s process, but will level no blame or accusation against the one who is the immediate instrument through whom the correction reaches us.  Meekness as an attitude of soul toward the Father results in an attitude of love, humility and kindness toward those who despitefully use us, recognizing that Father does all things well although we may not understand at the moment why it is done in the manner in which, and by the instrument with which, He performs it.  But we meekly submit to it.  This is the most difficult test of sonship meekness!  Jesus displayed it as He hung upon the cross.  Rather than silently or openly cursing or retaliating against His murderers, in meekness He prayed, in essence, ‘Father, you do all things well.  I am on this cross because it is your will.  These fellows are not putting me here.  It is the fulfillment of your plan that I am here.  And Father, because it is your will, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’  That was nothing short of perfect meekness in submission to the will of His Father.  ‘Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.’  That is true meekness.

“These are the kind of meek ones  who are going to inherit the earth.  It looks impossible!  Man says, ‘It is the strong who will inherit the earth.’  Surely it would seem that those who are skilled in the art of warfare should inherit the earth.  The human attitude declares that might makes right.  Not so!  God the Almighty’s principle is different.  Meekness brings dominion and rulership, the son of God assures us. What does ‘inherit the earth’ really mean?  Jesus took the phrase from the Old Testament scriptures.  It was not a new phrase with Him.  It is found in Isaiah 60:21 and in many other passages.  Psalm 37:9 declares, ‘For evil doers shall be cut off.  But those that wait upon the Lord, they inherit the earth.  For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be.  Yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.’  The 29th verse reads, ‘The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell therein forever.’  The 34th verse continues, ‘Wait on the Lord and keep His way and He shall exalt thee to inherit the land:  when the wicked are cut off thou shalt see it.’  Those who become submissive (meek) in their spirit shall enjoy this inheritance of the earth.  This does not forego their possession of the heavens.  Some seem satisfied with inheriting heaven, and some with inheriting the earth.  But the sons of God will possess both.”

“The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek Him: your heart shall live forever” (Ps. 22:26).  The meek are those who eat the bread of God, which is the bread that is come down from heaven as the Christ of God, and are abundantly satisfied.  Their heart, their inner, deepest self, their very nature and life are quickened by the bread of God, for the bread of God is the life of God in Christ. The sons of God are right now experiencing this precious reality from day to day, as God spreads a table and gives us spiritual, heavenly bread that the world knows not of and of which the church systems have absolutely no conception.  By this bread they shall LIVE FOREVER.  What a wonderful promise of abundant life!

There shall be a marvelous result of this celestial bread of life manifested in a company of “meek ones,” the sons of God.  When mankind finally sees the pure and abundant revelation of the fullness of life in the son company, it shall cause them to remember a state they once possessed and enjoyed in union  with God.  Like a person who catches a glimpse of someone from out of his distant past, and the recognition brings a sudden flood of memories of wonderful events of another time, so it is that when mankind sees the full revelation of divine life and glory upon the sons of God there shall come instant recognition and recall of a time when GOD WAS THEIR LIFE.  The very next verse following the one I quoted above declares, “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee.  For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and He is the governor among the nations” (Ps. 22:27-28).  If all the peoples of the earth are to “remember” something, it means that they have already heard the voice of the Lord, they have at some previous time seen His glory, and have in some distant eon experienced His life!  Certainly that was before the race fell into the futility of sin and death!  And when “the meek” shall eat of the heavenly life of God until they are “satisfied,” until they have appropriated all of His divine life, nature, and power it is then that all the kindreds and nations of the earth shall be caused to remember and turn unto the Lord!   And I am convinced by the Spirit of God that we are right now standing wonderfully close to that very day!

It would be of utmost profit if every Christian would diligently study the oft repeated scriptural term “in Christ” or “in Him.”  I will now quote one passage that appears to teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things.  He is, of course!  But that is not the truth set forth in these particular verses.  I will quote this first from the King James version, since it is in this translation that the apostle Paul seems to say that all things were created by Jesus Christ.  “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature; for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers;  all things were created by Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist” (Col. 1:15-17).  From this scripture we would be led to believe that the creation was made by the Son; but it is important to note that the word translated “by” here in the first instance is the Greek word EN, and means in, not by.  And this is the way that nearly all other translations render it: “For IN HIM were all things created.”

Words are totally inadequate to articulate a truth so sublime, so I must leave this ultimately to the Holy Spirit of Truth to unfold within your spirit.  You see, when God planned the universe, He planned it in and around His Christ.  The Christ is the center and the circumference of it all.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  The whole vast creation, including the spirit of every man, was made in Him and for Him.  It all began in Him because He is the beginning; and it will all end in Him because He is the end.  The Christ was the beginning of the creation of God, the firstborn of every creature; that doesn’t mean that He was personally created before everything else, but that originally ALL WAS CREATED IN THE BEGINNING IN HIM.  “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD” (Rev. 3:14).   You see, beloved, creation began in Christ.  Christ is the origin of all things, including all men.  That was the first reality of the universe.  He will also be the end, for all things must not only begin in Him, but all must end in Him, for this is the Father’s purpose for His Son.  Everything that can possibly exist or be, is included in the scope of both creation and redemption in that wonderful passage in Colossians 1:16-20.  Within the compass of five verses we read no less than eight times that the things created in Him and for Him are all-inclusive and all-pervading.  He is the firstborn of every creature.  All is created in Him, and all is created through and for Him.  He is before all.  All is bound together by Him.  In all He is becoming first, having preeminence.  All fullness, or the fullness of all, dwells in Him.  He reconciles all through the blood of His cross and on two occasions this is amplified and defined as all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth.  It is said to include both visible and invisible all matter and all spirits!  Nothing is omitted and nothing can be left out.  It certainly includes ALL MEN!

Our God and Father has been pleased to leave us in no doubt or uncertainty as to how or where all things began, but in clear, unequivocal language stated the source and goal of all things for our assurance and joy.  All originated IN HIM, created from the substance of His own divine energy and being, and held together in a harmonious wholeness in His eternal Word, or the Christ.  But, for His own wise purposes, all did not remain that way.  The scriptures are clear that all did not remain in that pristine state “in” Him.  We are assured that there was initiated another stage of activity whereby all things were brought “out” of Him. Nothing can be clearer than the fact that “in” and “out” are opposites!  You cannot be both in and out of any place or thing at the same time.  It indicates a COMING OUT of.  The Word of God declares that not only were all things created in the Christ, or in God, but there was a process by which the same all things came out of God.  Let us read it: “We are aware that an idol is nothing in the world, and there is no other God except One.  For even if so be that there are those being termed gods, whether in heaven or on earth, even as there are many gods and many lords, nevertheless to us there is but one God, the Father, O-U-T OF WHOM ALL IS, and we for Him” (I Cor. 8:4-7).

And again, “O, the depth of the riches and of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God!  How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways!  For who knew the mind of the Lord? or who became His adviser? or who gives to Him first, and will be repaid by Him? seeing that ALL is OUT of Him and through Him and for Him: to Him be glory for the ages!  Amen!”  (Rom. 11:33-36).  Now let us read these last verses from the Emphatic Diaglott.  “For who knew the mind of the Lord? or who was His counselor? or who first gave to Him, and it shall be given to him again?  Because OUT OF HIM, and through Him, and for Him are ALL THINGS.  To Him be the glory for the ages.  Amen.”  This is without doubt one of the least understood statements in the whole of the Word of God.  And yet, a true comprehension of the real purpose of God from the dawn of creation to the final consummation of all things cannot be had apart from it.

In that primeval and pristine glory the spirits of all men were one with God.  All began in the bosom of God and all came out of God.  In the glory of that celestial beginning there was no trace of sin, no evil, no adversity, no death, and no darkness or discord at all.  Everything everywhere existed in Christ and every spirit stood forth in its full majesty, pulsating the dynamic anthem of exulting creative glory.  It was preeminently a spiritual creation, vibrating as a symphony of unutterable beauty, a triumphant masterpiece of dynamic harmonious accord.  What a song!

O my Father, Thou that dwellest
In a high and glorious place;
When shall I regain Thy presence,
And again behold Thy face?
In Thy holy habitation
Did my spirit once reside;
In my first primeval childhood,
Was I nurtured at Thy side.

For a great and glorious purpose
Thou hast made me here on earth;
and withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth.
But at times that secret something
Whispers, “You’re a stranger here;”
And I feel that I have wandered
From a more exalted sphere.

O my Father, Thou that dwellest
In a high and holy place
Yet shall I appear before Thee,
And again behold Thy face
Day by day Thy Spirit leadeth,
Ever onward up to Thee;
Till at last I find contentment
In Thy pure reality!

And now, Oh the wonder of it! “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek Him: your heart shall live for ever.  All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee.  For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and He is the governor among the nations.”  And that is how the meek shall inherit the earth the meek, the sons of God, are first restored in their remembrance and enter back into their inheritance in God; then as all creation is quickened to remember the sons shall restore every man and every thing back into God again. What a plan!

To be the instrument of God to restore all things unto Him requires that we be changed.  We must become meek in all our ways, for the ministry of Christ is specifically directed to the meek and through the meek.  Our own hearts have been won by the forerunner of meekness, the Man of Galilee now exalted in the heavens.  The prophet declared of this firstborn Christ, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me TO PREACH GOOD TIDINGS UNTO THE MEEK” (Isa. 61:1).  The good tidings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the joyous message of the Kingdom of God, is a message reserved for the meek.  The meek shall inherit the earth that is, all things shall be delivered into the hands of the meek!  This is a principle of the Kingdom of God, and it is a principle of the realm of sonship. Therefore, all the great declarations of God throughout scripture in regard to the meek (check your Concordance) are revelations of God’s great purposes in His sons.  The meek inherit the earth and all things, and the same is stated of the overcoming son company.  “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be His God, and he shall be my son” (Rev. 21:7).  If the Lord has appointed us to hear and embrace the good news of the Kingdom, He will process us, thus causing us to be meek.  And when God makes us meek, we then have no reason to glory in ourselves.  The meek have that inner ear of the spirit to both hear and do the will of the Father, and therefore God can trust them with omnipotent power and universal dominion.  What a calling rests upon the firstfruits!

THEY THAT HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS

“Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Mat. 5:6).  This is a great saying.  It is so great that we will never be able to grasp it in its rich and rounded completeness except by the illumination of the Holy Spirit.  It speaks of being satisfied; it speaks of the only thing that can satisfy righteousness.  And the article is used in the Greek, the righteousness, the one real righteousness, the righteousness of the Kingdom of God.

Now to hunger and thirst after a thing is to feel that we need it and need it badly, and need it so badly that we are determined to have it, whatever the cost.  The Lord Jesus takes the most familiar of physical cravings, the appetite for meat and drink, and applies these to the cravings of the soul.  He is not asserting the blessedness of righteousness in itself, but the blessedness of those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.  The Lord looks upon the heart.  It is not a question of what we are, but of what we are called to be, and therefore want to be.  He promises to fill the sons of God, not with the elementary blessings and benefits of free grace, but with that high and holy thing we desire above all else.  Our deepest longings shall become our greatest possessions!  And this is the principle of His promise to the sons of the Kingdom!  Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after the righteousness of the Kingdom of God!  Blessed are those sons who shall reign in righteousness!

One scholar says that the Greek expresses it this way, “Blessed are those who hunger for the entire loaf and thirst for the entire pitcher.”  God is raising up a people that is not satisfied with the firstfruits of the Spirit, that is not satisfied with the Spirit by measure, that is not satisfied with mere gifts and blessings, that is not satisfied with just the feast of Passover or the feast of Pentecost, who will not settle for salvation and speaking in tongues and a few healings and miracles along the way they want the whole package.  They want the fullness of God.  They want perfection, the mind of Christ, maturity, and incorruptible life and glory.  Some think these are extremes, pipe dreams, things that are too high for us.  But such desires are “blessed” in the words of the first manifested son of God!  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for the fullness of God!  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for the Holiest of all!  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for the feast of Tabernacles!  And these are blessed simply because they shall be filled!

The Kingdom of God is infinite just as God Himself is infinite.  Our progression into God is infinite, and that is just why the prophet declared by the Spirit, “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end” (Isa. 9:7).  Eternal increase!  Can we even comprehend that?  The story is told of a man in the Patent Office in Washington, D. C. who resigned his position in 1835 because he had come to the conclusion that about the last of the inventions had been made, and his office would soon close.  That was almost a hundred and sixty-five years ago, and still the inventions come pouring in thicker and faster than ever!  There are no limits to the field of invention.  It is as boundless as space.  And the possibilities of the life of sonship are equally rich and ample.  The thirst of the soul is not soon quenched.  It is like the asymptote to the parabola in mathematics, in that the line only reaches the curve at infinity.

The greatest curse of religion is that it settles, it forms its dogmas and creeds, its rituals and forms, it institutions and programs, and builds its fences around them and there is nowhere to go beyond that.  But the Kingdom of God is like walking across the earth.  On yonder hill I see the horizon line, but when I climb the hill and put out my hand to touch it, the line retreats and is just as far off as ever.  So when I know one truth I see another.  When I attain one experience in God there is another just ahead.  No explorer in the vastness of the Kingdom realm need ever sigh that there are no more worlds to conquer.  We are on a journey.  What is behind is interesting but it is not half so interesting as what lies before!  We are sons of God, children of the infinite and only the infinite can be our eventual home.  If you eat a meal you lose your appetite, but if you feed on the Lord Jesus Christ your appetite is intensified and you cry for more.  Ah, that we might know Him, not just in a measure, but in the infinitude of His fullness; this, O Lord, is the cry of our hearts!  The attainable is not attained until we “awake in His likeness.”

Hunger and thirst after God is not a condition that comes at will.  We cannot will ourselves to be hungry.  We cannot put an edge on appetite if the appetite is not there, except by some questionable temporary stimulant; just as at the old Roman feasts men would drink bitter mixtures to make them thirsty and regurgitate their food to regain their hunger.  Only God can give man a hunger for the Kingdom, just as it is only God who can satisfy the hunger.  We pray for our loved ones, we cry out to God because we are concerned, dismayed, or alarmed that they have no hunger for the depths of God.  It distresses us that they are satisfied with the husks that the swine eat in the pig pens of the world or the church systems of man.  And yet, they cannot hunger until God’s time for them arrives and He Himself creates within them the hunger.  They cannot will to hunger.  Nor does God command us, “Hunger!  Thirst!”  Jesus merely explains the way of the Kingdom, the principle of the Kingdom Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst! Happy are they!  We are happy because we hunger, and we hunger because our heavenly Father sovereignly laid His hand upon us and  apprehended us to His Kingdom.  Yes!  WE ARE BLESSED!

And, furthermore, the quest for righteousness is the only quest that is certain of fulfillment.  In this blessed crusade there can be no disappointments, no failures.  We have our Lord’s own word for it.  If you are truly hungering and thirsting after the fullness of God, my beloved, it is not possible to fail.  “They shall be filled” is the promise.  Fed, Filled, Satisfied!  The peacemakers are going to be called the sons of God; the merciful are going to obtain mercy; the mourners are going to be comforted; the meek are going to inherit the earth.  All of these are divine certainties, absolute principles of the Kingdom of God.  And those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are going to be satisfied.

Only righteousness can satisfy.  That is the law of the Kingdom.  Should you be given power without righteousness, it would not satisfy.  Would not it have been surprising, for instance, if Jesus had said, “Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after knowledge. How great a thing is knowledge!  “Knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven,” said Shakespeare.  There is not much danger these days of underrating knowledge.  The pursuit of truth, the unveiling of nature’s secrets, the development of technology, the exploration of the universe is mind-boggling.  Alexander the Great so valued learning that he used to say that he was more indebted to Aristotle for giving him knowledge than to Philip his father for giving him life.

“Knowledge is power,” said another; on which yet another comments that knowledge is power in the sense that wood is fuel.  Wood on fire is fuel and knowledge on fire is power.  There is no more power in knowledge of itself than there is in pieces of sticks or lumps of coal.  Knowledge is not power until it burns and sparkles in some earnest, consecrated life.  When such a life hungers and thirsts for knowledge then it becomes power.  If we desire the knowledge of God and the knowledge of His Kingdom only for the sake of knowledge, then we will never be conformed into God’s image, we will never attain unto incorruptible life, nor will we ever rule in the Kingdom of God.  Head-knowledge of Kingdom truths is only so many sticks and pieces of coal.  There is no power.  Nothing will ever be accomplished.  I meet people continually who can mouth all the right phrases and are able to speak Kingdom terminology, they know all the doctrines inside-out, but it has never burned in their lives, it has never been translated into power in their experience. But even when the power of the Kingdom begins to operate within, we are not satisfied.  There is yet a void, a lack, something is missing, we are still hungry and thirsty.  ONLY RIGHTEOUSNESS CAN SATISFY! I would not be mistaken in saying that you will be far more blessed, dear friend, more satisfied, more filled by possessing righteousness without power than in having power without righteousness.  That is the law of the Kingdom of God.

“They shall be filled.”  “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall never thirst.”  Filled with righteousness means that they shall be righteous.  They shall be like Him.  God has made man’s spirit so great that no created thing can possibly feed it, much less fill it.  There is a vacuum in the soul that nothing can fill but the life of God Himself.  The world’s concoction is like rich confectionery to a starving man.  Only spiritual realities can satisfy the spiritual life.  “My soul thirsteth for the living God.”  I believe that I would be correct in saying that the soul thirsts and the spirit hungers after God.  And we who hunger and thirst after God and His Kingdom and His righteousness in this hour are being filled!  To be sure, this reaches far beyond the present.  It can only be true in its literal completeness  when we stand on mount Zion with the Father’s name written in our foreheads.  To be satisfied is to cease from hungering and that can only come in the fullness of God.

 George MacDonald once put it so well: “To be filled with righteousness is to forget even righteousness itself in the bliss of being righteous, that is, a son of God.  The thought of righteousness will vanish in the fact of righteousness.  When a creature is just what he is meant to be, what only he is fit to be; when, therefore, he is truly himself, he never thinks what he is.  He is that thing; why think about it?  It is no longer outside of him that he should contemplate it or desire it.”  That is what it means to be “filled with righteousness.”  Filled goes beyond hungering and thirsting.  How blessed is the one who is filled!

All through His ministry, Jesus emphasized the great value of eternal things, in contrast to the material or visible things.  The “blessed” one must be just as hungry for righteousness as he would be for food if he had had none for days or weeks.  All men can understand this, for all of us have at one time or another had this experience in the physical body.  Jesus insists that blessing is never attached to mere hungering and thirsting after natural things.  Those who seek wealth and prosperity in this world’s goods, those who say the “King’s kids” should have the finest homes, the fastest cars, the best jobs, the most expensive clothes, and the largest bank accounts know nothing of the blessing of the Kingdom of God.  “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mat. 7:33).  That is the law of the Kingdom.  The hunger for, and the thought of seeking after, must be for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.  Then all these necessary natural things will be added.  They are not the blessing they are the added.  Yet multitudes of Christians today are seeking the added and calling it the blessing.  They are wrong.  God does not bless you with houses and lands and earthly things.  Those are not blessings of the Kingdom!  They are mere things that are added after you have received the blessing of the Kingdom.  God’s counsel to all those who imagine that God is blessing them with temporal, corruptible things is: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world...having predestinated us unto the placement as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:3-5).  Now that, my friend, IS BLESSING!

To hunger to add something more to our stature, some finer clothing to our wardrobe, or a swimming pool to our place of dwelling promises no satisfaction or blessing.  Even those who seek after signs are hungering after externals and not after the Kingdom of God.  In the whole Constitution of the Kingdom Jesus never once says, “Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after signs and wonders and miracles, for they shall be called the sons of God who shall inherit the earth.”  Hungering to behold signs in the sun, in the moon, in the hand, in the forehead, in healings, miracles, and wonders, or anywhere else, is not hungering for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.  There is no promise that those who seek after signs will be satisfied or blessed.  If we are hungering and thirsting after signs, we become just a part of an adulterous, unbelieving generation that demands a sign.  No sign shall be given to it. 

The deepest meaning of righteousness is obedience to the will of God.  Jesus said, “My meat (the thing I hunger after, that sustains me) is to do the will of Him that sent me.”  That is true righteousness.  It was demonstrated in the life of the firstborn Son of God.  The basic principle of His life was phrased by the Psalmist, “Lo, I come to do Thy will O God.”  He did not come to save lost souls primarily.  He did not come primarily to heal sick bodies.  He did not come primarily to perform miracles, to feed the multitudes, to still the raging sea, or to produce tax-money from the mouth of a fish.  His sole mission on earth was to fulfill the will of the Father.

The sons of God must have this same testimony.  Our all-consuming passion must be to perfectly perform the will of God in our lives, whether that be working or waiting, winning or losing, suffering or recovering, prospering or being impoverished, going or staying, preaching or carpentering, or living or dying.  We feel helpless beside a truth so great and eternal.  God must teach us these things.  He sets before us the example in Jesus.  He hungered to be in the center of, and perfectly obedient to, the will of the Father.  He learned this obedience by the things which He suffered (Heb. 5:8).  The sons of God today are learning this righteousness through the things which they suffer in their maturing experience.  Their personal action in the process is merely to hunger and thirst after this righteousness.  God wisely and sovereignly “sets us up” by causing the circumstances to so arrange themselves into the suffering by which He teaches us righteousness.  He brings us into conformity with His will by the pressure of our environmental experiences.  Our steps are ordered by the Lord.  And the righteousness thereby effected within our lives is the righteousness of God.  This is exactly what the sons of God are hungering and thirsting after today.  They are bowing low before the Father and saying “Amen!” to the will of God.  It is not an external demonstration of righteousness that someone might behold and commend to exalt our ego.  It is not a set of standards established by a group of religious churchmen.  It is not the observance of outward rules and regulations called holiness.  We are hungering after a deeper righteousness.  We are hungering after the very life, the very nature, the very substance of Christ that we might become “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.”  Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after this righteousness!

 


Chapter 32

THE PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM

(continued)

The fifth beatitude, or principle of the Kingdom of God, is found in Matthew 5:7.  “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”  Mercy is a characteristic of the sons of God since it was a characteristic of the Pattern Son Jesus.  Luke states this principle in these words, “Be ye therefore merciful, even as your Father in heaven is merciful” (Lk. 6:35).  The life of the firstborn Son revealed this attribute of the Father’s own nature.  The life of all of God’s sons will express that same attribute, for it is the nature of our Father.  Mercy is love in manifestation toward an erring one.  In the Old Testament mercy is used to describe God  in His attitude and activity toward His people.  David exults about the goodness of the Lord, saying, “The mercy of the Lord endureth for the ages.”  It means that the actions of God toward mankind are merciful and remain so as long as time endures, until that blessed dispensation of the fullness of times, the consummation of all ages, when all things are gathered together into one in Christ, and God becomes ALL IN ALL everything to everyone, everywhere!  It is an enduring relationship that does not end until grace and mercy and redemption have finished their work on behalf of the human race.

This fifth principle of the Kingdom of God insists that the sons of God are to demonstrate this same spirit in their ministry to men.  We are the instrument of God to bring His salvation unto all the ends of the earth.  And only love can prevail!  Judgment is sometimes necessary to restrain evil, but only grace and mercy reveal the tender heart and redemptive purpose of the Father.  And while it is true that the merciful also obtain mercy,  this demonstration of mercy is not motivated by the hope of receiving mercy in return.  That is only the glorious by-product of being merciful.  The sons of God do not come to have mercy shown to them, but to show mercy.  When we show mercy because it is our nature to be merciful, and with no hidden agenda of obtaining mercy in return, we are moving onto the high plane of sonship ministry.  It is still true that those who show mercy will have mercy shown to them, for it is the law of the Kingdom!  The Father will abundantly pour out His mercy upon those who flow out in His mercy unto others.

Mercy is an aspect of the perfection of the Father’s nature.  This is to be found also in the sons.  For sons it cannot be something we learn to do, or something we do out of obligation because we are commanded to do it, but it must flow out of the heart of the Father birthed within us.  Many years ago there was a song titled, “Doing what comes naturally.”  That is what all of Adam’s race is doing what comes naturally!  In Adam it is natural to sin, natural to doubt, natural to fear, natural to lust, natural to strive, natural to fight, natural to hate, natural to cheat, natural to war, natural to retaliate.  All these things and many more are natural because they spring out of nature.  That is what natural means nature-al.  People just do what comes nature-ally!  But the sons of God are made partakers of the divine nature.  When a son of God does “what comes naturally” he is acting just like his Father!  Ah, yes, we are putting on the mind of Christ, the law of God’s life is being inscribed within our hearts, and we are coming to that place where we now think as God thinks, we now speak as God speaks, we now walk like God walks, and we act like God acts.  To be   perfect in character, to be pure in mind, to be kind, generous, faithful, loving and merciful is becoming NATURAL!  In the words of the country song:

“I’m seein’ my father in me,
I guess that’s how it’s meant to be,
And I find I’m more and more like him each day;
I notice I walk the way He walks,
I notice I talk the way He talks,
I’m startin’ to see my father in me.”

A brother related the following experience. “I recall one time when I had laryngitis, the doctor wanted to take a throat culture to see if I had an infection.  He took a long Q-tip and reached way back into my throat.  I gagged and coughed.  When he withdrew the Q-tip he said, ‘I need to do this one more time.’  I said, ‘Okay.  But this time I won’t gag.  I am going to practice positive thinking.’  He shook his head and assured me that, in this case, positive thinking would not work.  I insisted that it would.  And so he explained, ‘Bob, the gag is a reflex.  A reflex comes from the spine, not from the brain.  I’ll put pressure on the back of your tongue and you will gag.  It’s that simple.’  Then he demonstrated by having me cross my legs.  He hit my knee.  My leg kicked.  Then he challenged me, ‘Okay, try positive thinking.’  I did.  He hit my knee again.  My knee kicked again.  Then he summarized, ‘The brain doesn’t control the spinal cord.  And the spinal cord is the source of a reflex.  So, thinking, be it positive or negative, won’t do you any good in this situation.”

The nature of the sons of God works like a reflex.  There is a realm beyond the mind and beyond the will where the nature of God makes us like our Father without conscious thought or effort.  Children often walk or talk or laugh or manifest some other mannerism just like one of their parents or some other ancestor.  These are inherited traits that have nothing to do with thought, training or effort.  It is the way we are.  The nature of God must be so formed in us by the operation of the Holy Spirit that the attributes of God become our nature.  If we are still thinking about how we should act and react, if we are still trying to bring ourselves to the point where we can manifest God’s life, then the nature of the Father has yet to be fully formed in us.  There is no condemnation if you fall short; but trying will not do the job.  Nature is inherited on the basis of relationship, and as we are truly born again from experience to experience, from realm to realm, we are made partakers of the divine nature.  When the Father’s life has truly become our life, the attributes of God will flow naturally and effortlessly and powerfully from our lives!

Mercy is not measured by outward demonstrations of kindness and goodness.  As wonderful as visible acts of kindness are, they do not guarantee  the possession of mercy in the heart as a true revelation of the Father.  Any of us can force our actions to conform outwardly to the standard we believe God requires of us.  And even though externally we appear to be kind and gracious and good and merciful, we are not yet doing “what comes naturally.”  Mercy by revelation is the transmission of the very heart of God to the son.  When mercy flows out of our state of being, every attitude and activity is merciful.  There is no other possible way for the son of God to act or react.  Because the Christ within cannot act in any other manner, the son of God cannot act in any other manner.  He is merciful because he is filled with and possessed by the SPIRIT OF MERCY.  Blessed are the merciful!”

All who rule and reign with Christ in His Kingdom rule in mercy.  The throne of God is the Throne of Mercy.  “And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth...judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness” (Isa. 16:5).  In mercy shall the throne be established, saith the Lord.  God has come to our lives in mercy.  The only reason we are breathing today is because of His mercy.  God didn’t have to wake us up this morning in our right mind, but He did.  Mercy is an aspect of God’s nature that flows out to all men, for our heavenly Father causes His sun to rise on the evil and  on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  Man does not know how to be so merciful!

The Greek word for throne is KICCE.  It means the place or seat of authority.  The throne of God is not a golden chair somewhere out in outer space, nor is it a seat in London, England or in Jerusalem, Israel.  It is the authority that is invested in the name of Jesus Christ within His elect.  The Lord is taking all the authority that is in the name or nature of Jesus Christ and He is establishing that authority in His sons and daughters as the power of life.

Before David became king, while Saul was seeking to kill him, God put mercy in David’s heart.  David and his men hid in many places in the mountains of Judah, continually hunted by Saul, but always escaping from him.  At one time Jonathan, Saul’s son, and David’s friend, came to meet David in a forest, and he said to him, “Fear not, for the Lord is with you; and Saul, my father, shall not take you prisoner. You will yet be the king of Israel, and I shall stand next to you.”  And Jonathan and David made the promise to be true to each other and to each other’s children always.  Then they parted; and David never again saw his dear friend, Jonathan.

At one time David was hiding with a few men in a great cave near the Dead Sea, at a place called Engedi.  They were far back in the darkness of the cave, when they saw Saul come into the cave alone and lie down to sleep.  David’s men whispered to him, “Now is the time of which the Lord said, ‘I will give your enemy into your hand, and you may do to him whatever you please.’”  Then David went toward Saul very quietly with his sword in his hand.  His men watched to see him kill Saul, but instead, he only cut off a part of Saul’s long robe.  His men were not pleased with this; but David said to them, “May the Lord forbid that I should do harm to the man whom the Lord has anointed as king.”  And David would not allow his men to harm Saul.  After a time Saul rose up from sleep and went out of the cave.  David followed him at a distance and called out to him, “My lord the king!”  Saul looked around, and there stood David, bowing to him and holding up the piece of his royal robe.  David said to Saul, “My lord, O king, why do you listen to the words of men who tell you that David is trying to do you harm?  This very day the Lord gave you into my hand, and some told me to kill you, but I said, ‘I will do no harm to my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed king.’  See, my father, see the skirt of your robe!  I cut it off to show you that I would do you no harm, though you are hunting after me to kill me.  May the Lord judge between you and me!”

When Saul heard these words, his old love for David came back to him and he cried out, “Is that your voice, my son David?”  And Saul wept and said, “You are a better man than I am, for you have done good to me, while I have been doing you harm.  May the Lord reward you for your kindness to me this day!  I know that it is God’s will that you shall be king, and you will rule over this people.  Now give me your word, in the name of the Lord, that you will not destroy my family, but that you will spare their lives.”  And David gave his promise to Saul in the name of the Lord; and Saul led his  men away from hunting David to his place at Gibeah.  David is a type of the greater son of David who was prophesied to reign in righteousness over the people of Israel and over all the nations of the earth.  The blind man recognized who Jesus was when he cried out from his place by the roadside, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me!”  All the sons of God are members of that corporate son of David whose throne is established in mercy!  As the authority of Christ is raised up within us in mercy we are beginning to see the Throne of Mercy established in our lives.  When this wonderful work is completed within the sons of God the overwhelming manifestation of mercy shall be seen by all the peoples of the earth!

The greatness of a man is measured by his attitude toward his enemies.  While living here on earth, our Lord was extremely kind.  He picked up little children and blessed them.  He healed all who were suffering with disease and pain.  While relatives were weeping over dead loved ones, He raised four of them to life again.  The Saviour of ALL men said to the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.”  His kindness made an evangelist out of the licentious woman at the well.  Because Jesus really loved the weak, helpless creatures whom He had created, He wept over them, prayed for them, succored them, and taught them continually.  Except those religious Pharisees, Jesus never spoke one cross word to the multitudes of people, saint or sinner.  He was very tender and kind and merciful in all His dealings with men.  His approach to them was very gentle, delicate and considerate.  Surely, then, we are safer in His hands than anywhere else!  The things He has in store for every one of us are far greater than we could plan for ourselves.

Does God expect His sons to be either better or less than Himself?  In Luke 6:35-36 we read, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be THE SONS OF THE HIGHEST; for HE IS KIND UNTO THE UNTHANKFUL AND TO THE EVIL, BE YE THEREFORE MERCIFUL, AS YOUR FATHER ALSO IS MERCIFUL.”  In this instance Jesus plainly says that if we desire to be the sons of the Highest, we must be merciful as He is merciful.  THE HIGHEST IS MERCIFUL TO ALL!

The question follows: Why should the Highest be merciful to the evil and the unthankful?  The answer is clear that the evil one and the unthankful one may come to know the mercy and goodness of God!  They would never know that mercy in any other way.  If Jesus teaches us that we are to be kind to those who mis-use us, reproach us, curse us, and make themselves our enemies, then what kind of a God and Father would He be, whose words Jesus taught us, who would hate His enemies, refuse to be kind and merciful to those who oppose Him, and cast them into merciless eternal hell to burn forever even if they deserve it?  If such a thing were to be, then God would require us to be better than Himself!  Jesus teaches us that we are to be kind and merciful to the most despicable of men.  Do we then have a Father whose nature is entirely opposite to ours?  Impossible!  The sons of God are sent, as was the Son, to reveal the nature of our Father to all not merely in words, but by our actions.

If we see a God who loves only those who love Him, then we have a very small and fickle God indeed.  But Jesus taught us the principles of the Kingdom of God, and laid down as the very Constitution of His Kingdom this law: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; THAT YE MAY BE THE SONS OF YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  And if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  BE YE THEREFORE PERFECT AS YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT” (Mat. 5:43-48).

Are we to suppose that God requires us to behave in one way toward the unrighteous, while His own disposition toward them is exactly the opposite?  Are we to believe that our Father commands us to love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them that persecute us...while He banishes His enemies to everlasting damnation, torturing endlessly those that curse Him, meeting out eternal vengeance upon those that hate Him, and shutting up all mercy from those who persecute Him?  But that is exactly what the churches tell us.  What great nonsense!  What horrible blasphemy!  “Oh,” they say, “God does not send men to hell; they take themselves there.”  What an absurd, unspeakable cop out!  It is God Himself who has all power over every creature and over every event that transpires in the whole universe.  There is no power but of God.  He is the Judge of all.  None can go into hell except that He banishes them there.  Men do not go down into hell on their own volition.  No man would!  Adam didn’t leave the Garden of his own volition, God Himself drove the man from the Garden.  The serpent didn’t do it; God did.  And the devil certainly isn’t the one who takes men to hell!  No scripture says that.

God in infinite wisdom has ordained judgment for His corrective purposes, but blessed be His name, He always makes a way for His banished to return.  Is it not obvious that if even one ounce of that infinite love, of that unequaled goodness, of that unending mercy, of that omnipotent power of the heavenly Father and His sons in His image, were to reach these people the goodness of God would ultimately triumph and lead all men to repentance; and hell would eventually freeze over!  And it is so!  Hallelujah!  It is so!  How do I know?  The Bible tells me so.  Furthermore, the mind of Christ and my Father’s nature and heart within my own ransomed spirit tell me so!  That is why God Himself is the Saviour, the Deliverer, and the Redeemer.  He loves the sinner enough to be patient even for long ages with him; He loves the sinner enough to forgive him any depth of vileness, insult, or injury; He loves him enough to pardon, cleanse, and transform him by His Infinite Grace and Omnipotent Power.  He hates sin enough to deal with it, He hates death enough to destroy it, and He hates hell enough to empty it!  It cannot but be true, David’s testimony of Him, “His mercy endures for the ages...”

God not only reigns  in righteousness, He reigns in mercy.  Mercy is the activity of His authority and power.  “And in mercy shall the throne be established” (Isa. 16:5).  The Hebrew word for throne also means “a canopy; something that is covered.”  The mercy seat in the tabernacle in the wilderness was covered by the skins and the veil of the Most Holy Place and by the overspreading wings of the Cherubim of gold.  “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my covered place the mercy seat.”  It was upon the mercy seat that the glory of the God of Israel dwelt.  He is preeminently a God of mercy, who remembers mercy in time of judgment.  The writer to the Hebrews says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).  God is the God of mercy.  Mercy is the ability to get in other people’s skin until you see the way they see, hear the way they hear, feel the way they feel so that you can be touched by the feelings of their infirmities.  That is exactly what Jesus did for you and me.  And it is what every son of mercy  must attain to.  “In mercy shall my canopy be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth...judging, and seeking judgment, and accelerating righteousness” (Isa. 16:5).  God’s throne is a covered place, a canopy, the place of mercy where all sin is covered.  On another level we are the tabernacle of God and the ark is in us.  The throne of mercy is established in our hearts.  “In mercy shall the throne be established.”  Where?  IN US!  “And He shall sit upon it.”  Where?  IN US!  “And He shall judge.”  Where? IN US!  “And He shall seek justice.”  Where?  IN US!  “And He shall accelerate righteousness.”  Where?  IN US!  Nothing that God’s throne is or that it represents is worth a hill of beans until it becomes reality and life in us.  God must reign in us and through us in mercy!

The world today is full of people who excel in so many virtues, and live in a state of holiness so far as their conduct is concerned, and yet spoil it all with an unmerciful disposition.  It has been said that there are only two kinds of sin: there are the sins of the body and the sins of the disposition (soul).  Christians have been conditioned to condemn the sins of the body as far worse than the sins of the disposition. But listen to this, O sons of God: No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of money and possessions, not foul language, not drunkenness or drug abuse, not adultery or sexual perversion, does more to shut up God from men than unmercifulness.  For embittering life, for splitting churches, for breaking up communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for alienating friends and loved ones, for withering up men and women, for perverting the innocence of childhood, for fostering hostilities and warfare, in short, for sheer misery-producing power, lack of love and unmercifulness take the lead.

The sins of the body and the sins of the soul (disposition) are illustrated by the story of the Prodigal Son and his Elder Brother.  But, ultimately, which was worse?  And how many prodigal sons are kept out of the Kingdom of God by the unlovely character of those who profess to be inside?  Analyze, as a study in mercy, the thundercloud as it gathers upon the older brother’s brow!  What is it made of?  Jealousy, anger, pride, judgment, vindictiveness, uncharity, cruelty, self-righteousness, touchiness, doggedness, sullenness these are the ingredients of this dark and sullen soul.  I do not think I am mistaken when I say that the sins of the soul are worse to live in, and for others to live with, and more destructive to God’s gracious nature, than any of the gross sins of the body.  Did Jesus not say that the harlots and the publicans enter into the Kingdom of God before the religious Pharisees?  Why is a judgmental, condemning attitude so vile?  Because it denies the very redemptive nature and heart  of the Father His mercy!  And I do not hesitate to tell you that no man can be a priest after the Order of Melchizedek, which is the Order of the Son of God, unless he be a MERCIFUL PRIEST.

The writer to the Hebrews put it this way: “Forasmuch then as the children (of God) are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.  For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.  Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a MERCIFUL AND FAITHFUL HIGH PRIEST in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:14-18).  When the Word of God consented to be made flesh, to strip Himself of the glory He had before, and become a man, a human being, to live among the vileness of the sinful, rebellious, and dying, to be touched by the same infirmities, weaknesses, and feelings that touch us, to suffer being tempted in all points like as we are, to be rejected and suffer the agony of false accusation and the humiliation of ridicule, the pain of the stripes received from the Roman lashes, and the suffering of the cross itself why did He submit to all this?  The stock answer to this is that He had to become a man and suffer and die in order to purchase our redemption.  This is true.  This is a part of the reason He became a man, but only part of it; there is much more to the reason He became a man, much more.

Not for one moment would I detract from His great love for us in the sacrifice He made for our salvation.  Such love, such wondrous love!  Words fail to express the wonder of all that was transacted at Calvary, and how thankful and appreciative we are for it!  But in the passage quoted above we see that Jesus became a man, not only to die on the cross for our sins, but after having redeemed us, to become a High Priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek, a faithful High Priest and a MERCIFUL HIGH PRIEST.  Ah, Jesus could be the eternal King without having been so totally compassed about with infirmity.  But He could never be  a Merciful High Priest without it!  He might have been perfect in character and desirous to help us; but, if He had never tasted death, how could He allay our fears as we walk through the dreadful quagmire of  this death realm?  If He had never been tempted, how could He succor those who are tempted?  If He had never wept, how could He soothe and dry our tears?  If He had never suffered, hungered, wearied on the hill of difficulty, or threaded His way through the swamplands of grief, how could He be a merciful and faithful High Priest, full of understanding, compassion, and kindness?  And the nature of the firstborn Son of God, the High Priest of our Profession, must be the nature of every member of the body of sons who are also the body of the High Priest  the Priests and the Priesthood of the Most High God! “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9-10).  “And I saw thrones, and they  sat upon them, and...they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4,6).

Let all men know that God is a GOD OF MERCY!  “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.  He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever” (Ps. 103:8-10).  “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.  For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth unto all generations” (Ps. 100:1,5).  “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Lk. 6:36).  “Blessed are the merciful...” (Mat. 5:7).  SONS OF THE HIGHEST will be merciful even as their Father!  It is the mark of sonship.

The following words by Paul Mueller are precious truth for this hour.  “The basic principle of mercy in the Kingdom of God is clearly stated: the merciful shall receive mercy.  Those who lack mercy, who condemn the lawless, inconsistent lifestyles of others, and put them outside the grace and mercy of the Lord, will not receive mercy for themselves.  Much of Christendom is embroiled in carnal, political efforts to isolate and bring judgment on those who do not live according to their standards.  It is plain to see that they themselves are violating a basic principle of the Kingdom of God.  When they stand before the great Judge of all, their merciless attitude toward others will bring forth a harvest of judgment.   But the judgments of the Lord are always tempered with His abundant mercy (Ja. 2:13).

“Most certainly, what most Christians believe is far from the basic principles of the Kingdom of God.  A good friend told me years ago that the only truth most Christians know for sure is the truth that Jesus died for them.  Everything else they believe and teach is either a mixture of man’s ideas, or is total error.  But this is a new Day of reformation and restoration unto full redemption.  The Lord has been restoring truth to His elect, by the Spirit.  We are blessed in being part of another, significant, spiritual reformation.  This time, we are not led to post these kingdom truths on the doors of the churches, as Martin Luther did, but Father is writing them on the tables of our hearts, by the Spirit, where it will do the most good.

“All who receive of the Lord’s salvation and enter His house do so by the abundant mercies of the Lord.  The Psalmist said, ‘I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy’ (Ps. 5:7).  And all who dwell continually in His house are surrounded by His goodness and mercy.  David said, ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever’ (Ps. 23:6).  The basic principle of the kingdom of God and of the Lord’s house is mercy.  All who come into the kingdom and the house of the Lord can only come because of the Lord’s goodness, grace and mercy.  But for Christians to show a merciless attitude toward others is to stand in the doorway of the kingdom as the scribes and Pharisees did.  Jesus said to them, ‘ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in’ (Mat. 23:13).

“The Lord has had mercy on His elect in Zion.  Therefore we should be merciful to others.  The Psalmist prophesied, ‘Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come’ (Ps. 103:13).  It is due to the Lord’s forever enduring mercy that He is now favoring Zion, which is the spiritual realm of the elect.  The Lord is dealing with the elect of Zion now, not with the multitudes in the world.  The Lord’s purpose for us is perfection in Christ. It is a purpose only He can fulfill.  The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of Thine own hands’ (Ps. 138:8).  We are the works of His hands!  And we know that in His mercy, the Lord will surely perfect that which He has begun in us for His glory”    end quote.

Demonstrations of mercy, such as the world has never known, are now upon the horizon, ready to be manifested at our Father’s appointed time.  Ah, darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people, but God is forming a body of His own nature with a message of mercy and hope, and in them the light of His glory shall arise upon all the ends of the earth.  God is preparing a merciful priesthood to minister unto all the kindreds and nations of mankind.  It is a light arising in the darkness and out of the darkness to swallow up all the darkness everywhere.  It is a theatrical of mercy in a world of wrath and violence and degradation.

My earnest prayer to God is that all His dear sons shall learn this one grand truth: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Mat. 7:1-2).  That is but a negative way of saying, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”  Note the words: Shall be judged shall be measured.  There are two kinds of judgment.  One is of condemnation; the other is of mercy.  The one is according to appearance and accusation of evil; the other is righteous judgment and according to truth and mercy.  Jesus commands to “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”  He warns against the judgment which arises from faultfinding and condemning.  The warning is just this: You will be judged with your own judgment, and you will be measured with, or in, your own measure.  The measure that you use for others is the very same measure that shall be used for you until you learn!  Until you become a merciful one!

 How precious this inworking of His grace whereby we are being transformed to become HIS MERCIFUL ONES.  How long we have walked with God without learning what it means to “have mercy,” to become a vessel or channel through whom His mercy is poured forth.  There has been far too much fight in us, a demand for justice according to what we perceived to be justice.  “And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He hath called...” (Rom. 9:23-24).

Merciful priests!  The priestly heart is above all things a sympathetic, compassionate, merciful heart, in which the love of Christ constrains us to express His goodness unto men.  If a vicious serial killer is caught and slain, or some homosexual activist is murdered, there is that deceitful self-righteous spirit within us which silently judges, saying, “Good...there is one less murderer or one less pervert in the world.”  That is not the Spirit of God, and it is not the judgment of a Priest of God.  A priestly heart!  Oh, Spirit of God!  Write upon my heart, with indelible letters, the merciful heart of my High Priest!  It is my deep conviction that it is more important to manifest the nature of Christ in meeting a person’s need, than in witnessing to people about the “plan of salvation.”  Christians have become so conditioned to the idea that they aren’t “doing anything for God” unless they go out and witness, skillfully using the sword of the Word of God.  But, my precious brother, my dear sister, when you are merciful and encourage and help people in their desperate need, you become a living word to them that says, “I care and God cares for you!”  Jesus speaks His word through us in actions, we become a word that is alive to them, not a dead, printed word, or doctrinal word, or religious word, but a Living Word.  This is a life to be lived, as Jesus did, and it is more important than witnessing, quoting scripture verses, teaching or preaching.  Instead of witnessing, we BECOME THE WITNESS of what our Father is really like.

There is no need to be skilled in the wisdom and ways of this world, no need to attend a Bible School or Seminary; no special talent is needed, no training, no education, no wealth, no power, or attainment in order to BE A VESSEL OF MERCY.  Any saint of God can be a merciful priest any day, because there are people who need help every day!  When we care for them, we are bringing the heart of God to them in the place of their need.  Our Father cares for every soul that has ever seen the light of day upon this planet.  The way that He has chosen to reveal that He cares is through His MERCIFUL PRIESTHOOD.  That is why it is so important for us to know what our Father is like, that He is a God of justice and a God that is filled with kindness and tender mercies that endure throughout all ages.

It is the property of God to always have mercy, and mercy triumphs over judgment.  His mercy is above the heavens.  It is from everlasting to everlasting.  He has provided a way that the banished may always return.  There can be no limits to God’s mercy.  Men have limits to their mercy, but our Father has none.  The mercy of God is not only mercy, it is tender mercy.  It is mercy of the utmost tenderness and compassionate love and infinite kindness.  It is mercy that reaches to all, to the darkest sin, and to the lowest hell.  Christ Himself manifested that mercy.  It is mercy without any alloy, pure, and without any restraint.  It is mercy without any remembrance of the transgression.  It is the blotting of it out.  The record is erased.  It is the casting of it into the deep sea of eternal forgetfulness.  It extends through all time and into eternity.  Those who would be priests of the Most High must exercise His mercy.  When you exercise mercy it must be in great tenderness; not grudgingly, not by compulsion, but because it is your nature to do it.  Gentle and heavenly mercy is of God.  When God speaks of mercy, He uses a figure which is of the sublimest character.  He says not only that His mercy endures for all ages, but that His mercy is above the heavens, as if it were the dome of Infinite Love over all.  Matters not where are the heavens of His justice and wrath; His mercy is higher than all!  It shines brightest in the fair crown of God Himself.  It seems as if it were the celestial diamond in the diadem of heaven.  On the brows of all God’s sons there is no brighter gem.  He sets a crown of forgiveness and tender mercy upon our brows.  When we are compassionate and kind and merciful, we are most like God, the very sons of the Father.

THE PURE IN HEART

The sixth principle of the Kingdom of God is given us in these words, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Mat. 5:8).  Who are the pure in heart?  Those whose hearts are undivided, unadulterated, unmixed, and unalloyed.  To be “pure” means to be “unmixed, single, free of anything that adulterates or taints; containing nothing but its own reality.”  Pure water is water without any contaminants; pure air is air free from pollutants; pure gold is refined until it contains no tinge of alloy, no trace of impurities, no residue of dross.  Under the law of Moses people were not permitted to wear garments of wool mingled with linen.  Not that there is wrong in either one, but the type is meaningful, for wool is derived from animals while linen comes from a plant.  They were not to plow with an ox and an ass in the same yoke, for an ox is a clean animal, but an ass is unclean.  God was showing that there are things that are not to be mixed.  Flesh must not be mixed with spirit.  Truth must not be mixed with error. Righteousness must not be mixed with unrighteousness.  The will of God must not be mixed with the will of man.  The activities of the people of God must not be mixed with the methods and ways of the world and of Mystery Babylon.  Purity of heart means that the old Adamic heart is put off; the old religious heart is put off as well.  There is singleness of vision, purpose, hope and motive; the mind of Christ which is the nature of the Father is its only reality.

This truth is powerfully expressed in one of the writings of George Wylie.  He writes, “Some years ago, at a camp meeting I attended, there was a lovely flow of teaching.  There was very little prophecy, but wonderful teaching.  The people, and especially the young people, expressed their appreciation of the teaching.  ‘This is just what we need,’ they said.  When it came to the last meeting, and the teaching ministry had not reached its climax, one of the brethren said to one who had taken it on himself to direct the meetings, ‘Don’t you think we should let the teaching ministry finish?’  ‘No,’ he answered, ‘we want to pray and prophesy over some people, we want to impress some who are here from a certain area.’  I won’t mention any names, but the idea was to try and impress those present with the greatness of our prophetic ministry.  We wanted to let them see how we could do it.  So we got some people up on the platform where all could see and prophesied gifts and ministries to them.  I don’t think they were the least impressed, as we never saw them again.

“One wonders, when such things are done, how much of God is in it and how much of the fleshly nature; how much of the prophecy was from God, and how much came from the mind of man.  We have seen some poor earnest souls struggling to exercise a gift, and fulfill a ministry that was prophesied to them, that didn’t seem to be there.  How we need to make sure that our deeds are wrought in God.  ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name...and in Thy name done many wonderful works...depart from me, ye workers of lawlessness.’  How we need to make sure that our hands are clean, that when we carry into the temple our sacrifice of praise and service, to present it to the Lord, that it is not defiled with the uncleanness of the works of darkness, the corruption of the flesh, and the pride of self.  Are we ministering unto the Lord in pure love or are we looking for praise and acclaim from men, trying to impress others with our ability and greatness.

“‘Who has the right to climb the mountain of Yahweh, who has the right to stand in His holy place?  He whose hands are clean, whose heart is pure’ (Ps. 24:3-4, Jerusalem Bible).  ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.’  If we are to see God, and stand in His presence in the Most Holy Place, we not only need clean hands but also a pure heart.  Pure means to be without mixture.  It is oneness.  One of the hamburger places here advertises ‘Pure Canadian Beef.’  That means there is nothing in their hamburgers but Canadian beef.  It has no fillers, no hamburger helpers such as oatmeal, bread crumbs, or whatever else they can put into it.  One can usually tell whether it is pure beef or not.

“Our heart is our inward man and when we first invite the Saviour in, our heart is not pure; besides the Lord being there, there is a lot of the old self nature.  We have dual personality, a mixture of self and the Spirit of Christ.  These two are at enmity with one another.  There is constant conflict between the flesh and the spirit.  Whether we call it self, the flesh, sin, the carnal nature, or the old man, it is all one and the same and is contrary to God and doing His will.  ‘For the desires of the flesh are against the spirit, and the desires of the spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would’ (Gal. 5:17, R.S.V.).  If one is careless, and not overly concerned about pleasing the Lord, he may not be too conscious of this conflict and most of the time he will be living after the flesh; but if your heart’s desire is to do the will of God you will certainly know of this war in your inward parts.  When we desire to do the will of God, the old self is there to oppose.  Sometimes we know when the flesh has had its way, but many times we have been doing the will of self and are convinced we have done the will of God.  ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.  Who can know it?’ (Jer. 17:9).  It is so deceitful that one can even commit murder and think he is doing God’s will.  Jesus said, ‘They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God a service’ (Jn. 16:2).  Can you imagine a man being so deceived?  It is easy!  Many today, even among the professed elect, are committing character murder, slandering a brother in Christ, desiring to kill his ministry and destroy his influence with God’s children, and are convinced they are doing God’s will.

“The pure in heart is one in which only one personality dwells.  Paul described the pure in heart when he said, ‘I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me.’  Paul’s old self nature had been brought to death, it no longer existed, only the Christ lived within him.  Paul’s old nature was gone and the divine nature controlled his being.  If we are to have a heart pure enough to be able to stand when He appeareth, we will have to come to this place also.

 “If we are to arrive at the place God wants us to attain, and be what He wants us to be, the old self nature has to go.  If from us a pure stream of the water of life is to flow to the restoration and life of the rest of creation, this river must be unpolluted.  I think we should all be conscious of the fact that in the course of our ministry we may receive something pure directly from God, but after flowing through a carnal vessel what comes out of our mouth may not be all that pure.  It could, and usually does, pick up some impurities along the way.  It is like running pure water through a dirty pipe.  The water may be pure when it enters the pipe, but what comes out the other end has very likely picked up some of the impurities left by what formerly flowed through the pipe.  We have been contaminated with sin and self, and even though saved and washed in the blood, there is still fleshliness in us and we are still possessed with selfish and carnal desires; some of our own thoughts and desires can be mixed with what God has given us as it flows through us to others.  My prayer for years has been, ‘Lord, as I minister what you have given me to give to your people, please let it be a pure stream; let it not be polluted with my own thoughts or desires as it flows through my mind.  Cleanse my mind, renew my mind that I may only have the mind of Christ.’  Every time I sit down at the computer to write, my last prayer is, ‘Lord, I am your vessel; I want you to use this vessel.  I want to be like your firstborn Son who said, I speak only the words I have heard from my Father; I want to do the same.  Give me the words to write and help me to write only what you have given me, no more and no less; prevent any of my own thoughts or feelings  from entering into this writing’”    end quote.

The pure heart is the heart that thinks only redemptive thoughts toward all mankind, regardless of their race, their religion or lack of it, or the degree of sin in their lives.  God loves them all, God was in Christ reconciling them all, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and God shall deliver and change them all, in their due order (I Cor. 15:23).  We are the elect who are now being changed in our order, for this Day is the Day of God’s choosing in our lives to change us into the image and likeness of Christ.  The process of our change requires a new heart.  We shall have a heart that wills only the purposes of God and His Kingdom.  It is the heart that counts all men and all things as reconciled unto God.  It is the heart that embraces the power of the Kingdom of God to subdue every person on earth, and make them subject to God’s will and way.  The pure heart is the heart that sees every hell empty, every sin destroyed in every life, every enemy, including death, abolished, and Christ All-in-all.  Those who have a pure heart do not consider any other possibility except the absolute triumph of God’s Christ.  They also know that all this is accomplished and fulfilled by the Kingdom of God.  These are the pure in heart who shall see God.  They shall see only God in all things everywhere!  With this pure heart they shall live to reign with Christ in His Kingdom until every enemy is put under His feet!

This may, in some respects, be called the greatest of the beatitudes; for surely of all things, the most sublime is seeing God.  “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”  The word “see” in the original tongue is interchangeable with the word “know,” and must be so understood.  “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall know God.”  It is better to know God than even to see Him by the eyes of sense. There were many who saw Jesus who did not know Him.  They saw the Christ, but they knew not that He was the Christ.  They saw His miracles, but they did not know Him.  They thought that He was a great Teacher or Prophet, but they did not see God in Him.  They even rejected Him and hated Him, some of them.  You could see Christ Himself in bodily form today, but unless you had purity of heart you could not know Him to be the Christ.  I do not mean that you must be sinless, with never a wrong thought or deed.  No, that is not what I mean by pure in heart.  Your heart must be single, unmixed, turned wholly to the Lord, the Spirit.  Then you will know God when you see Him.  Only such purity of heart gives purity of sight.

As one has written, “The nature of Jesus Christ will be demonstrated in the lives of the sons of God.  His characteristic conduct will be reproduced again through them.  Even as the holiness of His conduct is to be reproduced in this company, also His pureness of heart shall be duplicated within them.  He does not declare, “Blessed are the pure in deeds: for they shall see God.”  Frankly, one can have exemplary conduct and yet not have purity of heart.  We can manifest good deeds without having them spring from pure motives.  With a sinister purpose and evil motive men can look good and act good at times.  So we conclude that the pure in heart are not necessarily detected by good deeds.

“Knowing now by this instruction of Jesus that sons of God must have purity of heart, our next consideration is how to obtain it.  The beatitude states that the pure in heart shall see God.  There is no higher, no more glorious reward than to see God.  It is not here making reference to a natural view of God with physical eyes, visualized as some ancient prophet with long flowing locks of snow white hair, or as a cloud of brilliant haze, or devouring fire as beheld by the Israelites throughout the wilderness journey, and by the High Priest in the Holy of holies.

“The apostle John tells us that ‘No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has revealed Him, has made Him known’ (Jn. 1:18).  Paul supports this truth, saying, ‘I command you to keep the commandments unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light whom no man has ever seen or can see’ (I Tim. 6:15-16).  John and Paul are both writing about visibly seeing God with the physical eyes of man.  Jesus affirms this same fact when He says, ‘And the Father who sent me has Himself borne witness to me.  His voice you have never heard.  His form you have never seen’ (Jn. 5:37).  He repeats the thought in John 6:46 by the reference, ‘Not that anyone has seen the Father except Him who is from God.  He has seen the Father.’  In I John 4:12 there is another reference to the fact that the Father is not beheld in physical form by man.  ‘Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No man has ever seen God.  If we love one another God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.’

“Perhaps these scriptures are sufficient to show that man is not to expect to see God with his human eyes, nor to expect to behold Him in the form of a man.  Therefore, this promise of Jesus to the pure in heart, does not indicate a physical beholding of a material form of God.  He promises to the pure in heart the view of the Father which He, Himself, always experienced.  The word ‘see’ used in the beatitude is specifically indicating SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION.  In John 3:3, the word ‘see’ is used in this sense.  ‘Jesus answered him, Truly, truly, I say unto you, Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ The word is here connoting an understanding, comprehension, perception or revelative knowledge of the Kingdom of God.  We must also translate John 14:7 into this same spiritual category.  ‘If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.  Henceforth, you have known Him and have seen Him.’  We must guard against the idea that a visible view of Jesus was the sight of God.  That does not prove to be true. The Pharisees beheld Jesus literally, but by all means they never saw the Father.  The words of Jesus made specific reference to a spiritual perception of the Father.  The person who beholds Jesus with spiritual comprehension is granted the privilege of perceiving Him in all of His glory, majesty and being far beyond any physical appearance!

“Jesus was not saying,  ‘Look at Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, and you see the Truth and the Life.’  It was the eternal God speaking through the human lips of an earthly tabernacle who could lay claim to being the I AM who is the Way and the Truth and the Life.  Many had seen and known the earthly tabernacle of Jesus of Nazareth after the flesh, or from the human viewpoint, who never saw the eternal Christ, the Deity, the God within Him.  Likewise, many are now beholding the earthly tabernacles of the sons of God today after the human viewpoint, who never see the Christ, the Deity, the God within them.  They have never seen Him who spoke through Jesus’ lips to declare, ‘Before Abraham was, I am.’  They neither knew Him nor had seen Him, although Jesus had walked in their midst for over thirty years.  They saw with physical eyes and understood with human comprehension and thereby knew only after the flesh and not after the spirit.  Only those who came to know Him after the spirit had truly seen the Father.

“‘Beloved, we are God’s children now.  It does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope within him, purifies himself even as He is pure’ (I Jn. 3:2-3).  The ‘hope’ which is making us purify ourselves is the hope of this glory coming to us, the hope of seeing God as He is.  Millions who only hope to see Jesus coming in clouds are doing nothing about purifying themselves as He is pure.  But a company that has become anxious and hungry to see God as He is is setting to work to purify themselves.  When we receive the revelation that God plans to again fully manifest Himself in some human tabernacles, we immediately make ourselves candidates for that demonstration, and begin to purify ourselves (become single, unmixed, unadulterated), as He is pure, that we might qualify to see God as He is, and be of the company of sons in whom He will be glorified, and through whom He will manifest Himself to the waiting world.  When you inspect the company that today is attempting a purification of themselves in the inner man, you will find it to be the people that has this blessed hope that God once more is going to descend into tabernacles of flesh.  This time it will not be just one Son, but a company of ‘many sons brought to glory’”     end quote.

George MacDonald adds these inspiring words: “It is not because we are created and He uncreated, it is not because of any difference involved in that difference of all differences, that we cannot see God.  If He pleased to take a shape, and that shape were presented to us, and we saw that shape, we should not therefore be seeing God.  Even if we knew it was a shape of God call it even God Himself our eyes rested upon; if we had been told the fact and believed the report; yet, if we did not see the Godness, we should not be seeing God, we would only be seeing the tabernacle in which for the moment He dwelt.  In other words, not seeing in the form what made it a form fit for Him to take, we should not be seeing a presence, a reality which could only be God.  To see God is to stand on the highest point of being.  Not until we see God no partial and passing embodiment of Him, but the abiding reality do we stand upon our own mountain-top, the height of the existence God has given us, and up to which He is leading us.  That there we should stand is the end of our creation.  This truth is at the heart of everything, means all kinds of completions, may be uttered in many ways; but language will never compass it, for form will never contain it.  We not only may, but we must so know Him, and it can never be until we are pure in heart.  Then shall we know Him with the infinitude of an ever-growing knowledge.”

I could see God tonight,
if my heart were right.
If all the rubbish in my soul
were cleared away, I’d be whole.
My breast then would thrill in glad surprise
of all the wonders before my eyes.
If my heart were right,
I could see God tonight,
and the radiance of His face.
I’d fling with light and fill this place
with beauty and the world would know
the face of God down here below
tonight;
if my heart were right.

 


Chapter 33

THE PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM

(continued)

Matthew 5:9 gives us the seventh principle of the Kingdom of God.  “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the sons of God.”  It is interesting to note that seven is the number of spiritual perfection.  Peace is the hallmark of the glorious reign of the Kingdom of God in the heavenlies and in the earthlies.  The seventh day is the sabbath, and the sabbath pictures the rest or peace of God.  This principle speaks, therefore, of the realm of KINGDOM PEACE.  The peacemakers are called the sons of God; the activity of the peacemakers springs from their sonship to God.  Peacemaking is an important characteristic in the lives of God’s sons, as it sets them apart for manifestation of the nature of God in the earth.

Jesus Christ, the firstborn Son of God, is the Prince of Peace. Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, resides within His elect, the body of Christ.  Can we not see by this that with Christ in our lives God has given us the role of peacemakers in this world?  Has it occurred to you what it is a peacemaker does?  A peacemaker is expected to MAKE PEACE!  If you fulfill what Jesus said about peacemakers, you will be blessed indeed.  You will be called the sons of God!  The nature of your Father will be recognized in your life, and acknowledged.  In order to be a peacemaker you must become involved in legitimate conflicts.  In this world, if you truly want to be blessed in the Kingdom dimension of the term, you have to encounter crises and conflicts and get involved in them so that you can change the conflict into a peaceful situation.  You can do it even now, for the spirit of sonship is already within you!  If you are not willing to become a peacemaker in the nitty-gritty of everyday life, don’t think that in some future blaze of glory you will suddenly become qualified to be a peacemaker on behalf of nations and principalities and powers.  Many have no desire to become involved in conflict and problems.  We would just as soon stay at home, laid back in our Lazy Boy recliner, with a glass of iced tea, watching our favorite television program, and say, “Thank you, Lord, for that wonderful word you gave me, that you will make a son of God and a peacemaker out of me. I feel so peaceful here!  May everyone know this deep peace that I have come into.”

Comfort does not make peace.  The peace that we experience in the absence of conflict is not Kingdom peace.  Anybody can have peace when all is going well and there are no cross-currents, opposition, trouble, or conflict.  Learn this and you will know a great truth: Peace is more than the absence of war.  The peace of God is unaffected by any external conditions.  If your peace flees in the face of trouble and calamity, what you have is not peace it is merely the calm between storms.  Because you are not being blessed by being a peacemaker, but are satisfied with a sense of comfort which you perceive to be peace, you speak peace but are totally uninvolved in those situations which prove peace and demand a peacemaker.  You don’t want to be disturbed.  You have no desire to be challenged.  You feel inadequate to attempt anything so demanding.  You say, “I can’t do it!”  No, you can’t.  No one can!  But there is One in the midst of us, in our very midst within who has already been conditioned to rise to the occasion and accomplish the task.  It is Christ who is our life.  The Christ within is the Prince of Peace!  You must step forth in your weakness, for His strength is made perfect in weakness; that is, His ability is perfectly and wholly revealed out of your human inability.  Christ will arise in you and minister out of you, and display His power and victory through you.  Oh, yes!  You will be blessed as a peacemaker and all men will rise up and call you the son of God!

While writing on this blessed subject of the principles of the Kingdom of God I have quoted the inspiring words of brother Paul Mueller on numerous occasions.  I cannot do better than quote him again at this point.  “Christ also is The Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6).  According to Strong’s concordance, a prince is a head person of any rank or class.  Therefore, Christ is the Prince or the Head of a class who are all sons of God.  Everyone of them are peacemakers.  Like their Head or Prince, each one in that chosen body has a peaceful nature.  And each of them is called to bring the whole universe into a peaceful state.  Divine peace, order and harmony are attributes now lacking in the world.  Man, through all his own carnal, limited efforts, could never bring true peace, order and harmony to the world.  But what man can never do, our God is doing by the power of the fullness of Christ and His kingdom.  There is no doubt whatsoever that true and lasting peace shall prevail in all the earth and in the whole universe, for ‘the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this’ (Isa. 9:7).

“The Hebrew word ‘shalom’ is the word that is translated peace when the prophet says that Christ is the Prince of Peace.  But the Hebrew word means much more than the English word, ‘peace,’ would imply.  The word ‘shalom’ also means to be safe, well and happy.  It means that every person who comes into the kingdom or dominion of Christ will also be healthy and prosperous, and will live on this earth in peace (Lk. 2:14).  By the anointed power and divine leadership of the sons of God, who will be moving in the Spirit and functioning at their Father’s direction in this world, every person of every nation shall enjoy the many blessings implied in the word shalom.  The sons of God are peacemakers, just like their Prince or Head, for they bring everything around them into a peaceful state.  In Father’s time, He shall raise us up to proclaim peace to all.  Yea, our message shall be more than peace, for we shall decree ‘SHALOM’ and all that it means to all mankind.  And if this sounds like too much of a task for us to envision, much less fulfill, we should remember that ‘the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.’  That which is impossible with man is always possible with God!

“To become peacemakers, we must have the peace of God inworked within us.  The anointed prophet said, ‘Lord, you will ordain peace (God’s favor and blessings, temporal and spiritual) for us, for you have also wrought in us and for us all our works’ (Isa. 26:12, Amp.).  In order for us to have peace and be peacemakers, the Lord must establish His peace within us.  And it should give us great peace just to know that He is doing it!  All the work necessary to make us what we must be in His kingdom is the Lord’s work.  He has wrought all our works in us and for us.  All the work necessary to make us Melchizedek kings and priests unto God is the Lord’s work.  And He is doing it within us for His glory”    end quote.

The word that Jesus used for “peace” reached to the very heart of what He meant when He spoke of the “peacemakers” who are the sons of God.  This important term involves harmony not merely with man, but especially harmony with God.  Let us remember that in all of Jesus’ teaching, the paramount issue was man’s relationship with God.  Man’s relationship with his fellow man always took a secondary place. He said that we must love God first, and then love our neighbor as our self.  We can only manifest to men what we have first of all experienced and appropriated in our relationship with the Father.  Every teaching of Jesus was God-centered first.  It cannot be otherwise!  And thus it is in relationship to peacemaking we, and all creation, must first be brought into harmony with our heavenly Father before peace can reign between men and nations on the earth.

The word peace is used approximately 90 times in the New Testament, and in the vast majority of cases it is used in reference to harmony with God.  It has become clear to me that this principle of the Kingdom is related primarily to harmony with God.  “Blessed are the peacemakers” those who have within themselves entered into peace with God, and have launched upon a mission to bring all men into that same harmony with God.  When men can be brought into harmony with the Father, concern about their relationship with one another becomes unnecessary, for the peace of God out of the heavenly realm flows into them and through them, bringing peace on earth, goodwill to men!

Yes, our Lord Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.  He came to bring peace.  Peace is alien to earth.  When sin entered, peace fled.  The moment that sin entered man removed himself from harmony with God, and peace fled.  Adam and Eve themselves were at strife with God and each other, so that their firstborn son had the spirit of the devil and was a murderer from the beginning.  He slew his own brother.  The second Man, the last Adam, was the Lord from heaven.  When He was once rejected, in the days of His flesh, His disciples, with indignation, besought Him to command fire to come down from heaven and destroy those wicked people.  His answer comes down to us through the ages: “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Lk. 9:55-56).  The firstborn son of Adam was a murderer, but the firstborn Son of God was a Saviour.  One was the peace breaker shedding his brother’s blood, the other was the peacemaker shedding His own blood that He might make peace with God.  Yet the Christ had power to destroy men’s lives, if He had the will.  When He stood there with the cross in full view, He said to His persecutors that it was in His power to call twelve legions of angels.  If that heavenly host which hovered about that Son could have once made itself manifest, oh, how they would have swept that doomed city, that accursed conclave of false priests, and those wretched, blind and filthy-minded heathen soldiers!  How the breath of those heavenly angels could have swept the life out of them and swept them down into hell and the grave.  But that is not God’s way in redemption.  That is not the mission of the Son of God nor of the sons of God.

“For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.  And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to RECONCILE ALL THINGS UNTO HIMSELF, by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.  And you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled” (Col. 1:16-17,20-21).  “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to US the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given unto US the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ (the representatives of His Kingdom), as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (II Cor. 5:18-20).

Here we see the great truth that reconciliation is first and foremost unto God.  And it is utterly impossible for any man or any creature on earth or in heaven to exclude himself from this most precious provision the reconciliation of all unto God.  Before the reader can shut himself, or any other man or being out from the application of this grace, he must prove that he does not belong to earth, for all things in earth are reconciled; he must prove that he does not belong to heaven, for all things in the heavens are reconciled; he must prove that he does not belong to the “all things” that are created, because all created things are reconciled; and since he has no identification with any of the all things created, the all things in earth, and the all things in heaven, therefore he is excluded from being reconciled!  This he cannot do. Every foot of this earth and every man upon this earth belongs to Christ, for the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof: the world, and they that dwell therein.  On that wonderful day when God created “all things” in earth and in heaven He also said, “Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness.”  God made every man and Christ tasted death for every man, and therefore every foot of the earth and every man on the earth belongs to Christ my Lord, first by right of creation, and second by right of redemption.

Far too many Christians testify like this: “Thank God I’m saved, sanctified, and baptized in heaven’s sweet Holy Ghost but it’s too bad for the rest of you people.  Thank God He laid His hand on me, so I believed and am on my way to heaven but it is going to be hell for the rest of you.  Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and take me out of this sin-cursed world, and let it go to the devil.”  Few people, even if they had the authority, would condemn anyone, even their worst enemy, to a burning, scorching, tormenting, eternal hell.  Yet they expect God to do it!  Some, as we have spoken of the good consolation and everlasting hope we have for all men, have said, wistfully, “I wish it were true.”  But sadly they confessed that their own sense of hope and mercy obviously exceeded that of God’s.  Other folk would never be satisfied for God to judge the world in a way that would bring the world back to Himself.  Their attitude is, if men have spurned God’s love, if they have lived in sin, if they have done wickedly, if they have drawn their last breath blaspheming His name, or even if they have carelessly neglected so great a salvation, then let them burn in hell they deserve it!  And these so-called followers of the Lamb of God who died to take away the SIN OF THE WORLD would personally join in shoveling the coal and seeing to it that they get everything they deserve and perhaps a little bit more!  I have no hesitation whatever in saying that people who hold that attitude are not Christians at all.  They are devils.

Reconciliation brings harmony and peace.  “And having made peace by the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself.”  “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.”  The distinguishing characteristic of a son of God is that he is a peacemaker above all things.  How are we to be peacemakers?  We are peacemakers, first of all, by being at peace with God.  We cannot make peace; we cannot assist in ministering God’s peace, unless we are ourselves at peace.  If I am to be an ambassador for the Kingdom of God, which is the Kingdom of Peace, I must surely be at peace with God.  I must not be striving with God about anything, or harboring any accusation against God’s purpose, or resisting in any way God’s will in my life.  If the ministry of reconciliation (peacemaking) is my ministry, then I must possess the peace of God that passes all understanding.  Many Christians are not at peace.  They ought to be but they are not.  They talk about being justified by faith and having peace with God, but they have no such thing.  Every time God sends something into their life that is hard and seems adverse, they immediately cry out, “God, why did you allow this to happen to me!”  Some are at controversy with God because they are not obedient.  All within has not been stilled, reconciled, made peaceful.  All within has not been subdued.  You may be God’s child and yet be at controversy with your Father.  Some who now read these lines are children of God but you are at controversy with the Holy Spirit of Truth over the message of the reconciliation of all men to God!  My message to you today is: BE YE RECONCILED TO GOD.  Accept God’s beautiful plan and stop fighting against His Omnipotent Love, His Measureless Grace, and His Infinite Mercy; and He will receive you, and be a Father unto you, and you will be His son, a fit instrument to bear the word of His reconciliation to all the ends of Creation.  How blessed you will be!  Blessed are the peacemakers...”

The Lord is trusting His sons with the job of seeing to it that the lost men and women of the world and out of all ages know that God has reconciled them unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.  The Christians in the church systems today cannot fulfill this awesome task, because they are still imputing men’s sins unto them.  When they say, “You are headed straight for eternal hell,” they are imputing men’s sins unto them.  When they shun men because of their evil or wickedness, they are imputing men’s sins unto them.  When they say a person who died without Christ is eternally doomed, they are imputing men’s sins unto them.  Every time we think judgmental thoughts against people for their sins and errors, we impute their sins unto them.  The sons of God are not sent to threaten men with damnation if they do not receive Jesus there are plenty of God’s immature, mis-guided, deceived, naive little children who are doing that!  The sons are sent with the message that all men and the whole world are reconciled to God on God’s part, and to convince them, not that they are going to hell, but that they should be reconciled to God within themselves.  The church world has a ministry of threatening men and coercing them by fear of hell-fire; the sons of God are the sons of peace and love and mercy who speak the word of reconciliation into men’s lives by the Spirit.

Now, as representatives, as ambassadors of Jesus Christ and His eternal Kingdom, you and I are to minister this reconciliation to the world.  The debt of sin has been paid in full.  The books are balanced so far as God is concerned.  Divine righteousness is theirs also, when they will finally lay down their rebellion and surrender, believing God’s word of love, and accepting the life He offers them in exchange for their death.  As Ray Prinzing once said, “Not charging them with guilt, to heap upon them loads of condemnation, but simply giving them the GOOD WORD, namely, that God loves them, forgives them, and is ready to receive them back to Himself.   All is well, come home forsake your wayward course, the Father waits to receive you.  No word of condemnation, not imputing a list of sins against you, but a word of hope, of grace, of love.”  And the sons will never give up, for God’s heart of infinite love will never give up.  He will seek the sheep as far as they have strayed, and carry them home.  Jesus did the work, and now God is making His appeal through us.  God shall make a full and lasting peace with the world through His sons, His peacemakers.  Blessed are those through whom God brings the world to peace with Himself!  That is the ultimate of the ministry of the sons of God.  The ministry of Jesus is a pattern picture of the ministry of the sons.  Amazing grace!  Stupendous and glorious plan!  What a ministry!

THE PERSECUTED

The final principle in this preamble to the Constitution of the Kingdom is the eighth.  “Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 5:10). Sometimes we take a mistaken attitude toward the “blessedness” that comes from fulfilling these principles of the Kingdom of God.  We are so prone to view blessedness in terms of the great ministry of the sons of God, forgetting that Jesus also suffered and it is those who suffer with Him that shall also reign with Him.  Sometimes we think, “Blessed are you when you can heal all the sick that come to you for help.  Blessed are you when you can cast out all the devils that you encounter, without failure.  Blessed are you when you can reveal the secrets of men’s hearts and prophesy mysteries unto them.  Blessed are you when you can perform mighty signs, wonders, and miracles before the multitudes.  Blessed are you when you can gainsay all the critics and stop every mouth and humble all the wisdom of the world by your words of authority and power.  Blessed are you when you can win millions of souls and sweep nations into the Kingdom of God.”    That is not what Jesus indicated in His teaching of the Sermon on the Mount.  He did not promise that the Kingdom belonged to those who could heal the sick, cast out devils, perform miracles, and raise the dead.  He said, “Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven!”

Jesus did not evaluate things the way we evaluate them.  We measure success and blessedness by the effectiveness of our ministry.  We use the world’s system in determining “blessedness.”  Jesus used the divine instrument of measure divine evaluation of what constitutes blessedness.  Blessedness, He asserts in this case, is experienced by those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them!  This persecution of which Jesus speaks is not the religious persecution that we have seen throughout the age.  He is not saying that everyone who has been persecuted for their faith is in possession of the Kingdom of Heaven.  He does not even mean that everyone who is persecuted because of Jesus is blessed!  There is virtue in some kinds of persecution and there is reproach in other kinds of persecution.  This principle of the Kingdom is very specific about the type of the persecution.  “Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake...”  Not all persecution, even when it involves one’s walk with the Lord, is for righteousness’ sake, and only that which is for righteousness’ sake reflects possession of the Kingdom.

Righteousness means “right-ness”.  To be persecuted for righteousness’ sake is to be persecuted for that which is right.  But even then it doesn’t involve just any kind of right-ness!  A person may be persecuted because they are politically right, that is, on the right side of some political issue, but that certainly would not qualify them as a possessor of the Kingdom of Heaven!  The person might not even be a child of God!  There are a thousand disputes every day between the people of God, disputes between husband and wife, disputes between neighbors, disputes between brethren in a fellowship, disputes between preachers, disputes over doctrine, disputes about the will of God, disputes over what is ethical for a believer to do or not do; and someone may be right and another wrong in each of these disputes.  But if being right brings persecution, that doesn’t necessarily make that one a possessor of the Kingdom of Heaven.  To be right means to walk in the nature of God, to think with the mind of Christ, and fulfill the will of God.  Only as we are led by the Spirit are we truly right or righteous in Kingdom terms.  These are the principles of sonship, and only as they are related to sonship to God are they related to the Kingdom of God.  This is the righteousness of sons, and “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”  Kingdom righteousness means living the Kingdom Life.  When we are persecuted for sonship righteousness we share in the sufferings of Christ.  And all who are persecuted for this kind of righteousness possess the Kingdom of Heaven!

People, including professed Christians, are persecuted for various reasons.  Sometimes the cause of persecution is ignorance.  But Jesus does not promise, “Blessed are they that are persecuted for ignorance,” any more than, “Blessed are they that are persecuted for wrong doing.”  I have met a great number of people through the years who are filled with self pity because they are being persecuted for their Christian walk, when the fact is  they are being persecuted for saying or doing unwise, ignorant, outlandish, ridiculous,  bizarre or stupid things in the name of the Lord.  They have supposed that they were doing righteously and being led by the Spirit, but they were misguided or deceived and made a display of themselves to the public through ignorance.  They have suffered tremendous persecution because of it, and don’t realize that they were acting out of the carnal mind and have therefore been persecuted for foolishness’ sake.  It is obvious that if we are ignorantly performing foolish things that are bringing undue persecution, we experience no blessedness in it!  The blessedness that Jesus promised is not in manifestations of spiritual immaturity and ignorance, or in demonstrations of the flesh by those who think God is speaking out of every rock and tree and happening, and speak in riddles and do weird things, or in displays of excessive emotional feelings in the soulish realm of their nature.  Persecution for the righteousness of the Kingdom is on a plane higher than all this!

The reward for sonship persecution is BLESSEDNESS!  Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.”  But what is this blessedness?  Ah, the blessedness is just this: “for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”  The blessedness is in obtaining the blessings, the provisions, the benefits, and the privileges of the Kingdom of Heaven.  All that the Kingdom involves its gifts,  its joy, its peace, its wisdom, its powers, its glories, its manifestation are included in this blessedness.  For these who walk after the Spirit and do all the will of the Father in spite of the adversity it brings every element of the Kingdom is theirs!  What a promise!  What a principle!

Well has George Hawtin written: “I would to God that all God’s elect might see that everything everywhere is working tirelessly and endlessly to produce sonship in those who are the called according to His purpose.  Everywhere!  Everything!  Temptations, tears, heartaches, unfaithful friends and brethren, loss of property, loss of business, perils, hateful neighbors, fiery furnaces, dens of lions, rugged crosses, and isles of exile!  All things!  All things!  All things, too numerous to mention, are working for the good of God’s elect, and are adding, though unseen now, an exceeding and eternal weight of glory to us.”

We who have endured our share of the persecutions of Christ shall be abundantly blessed of the Lord to receive our inheritance in the Kingdom of God.  “If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.”  As we look beyond the present, with its trials and persecutions, we will see the glory of the fullness of the Kingdom of God that is yet before us.  The darkness of this present world, with its evil, ignorance, beastliness and violence, is rapidly fleeting.  The new morning, with the fullness of the Light and Glory of God and His Kingdom spread upon the face of all nations, shall soon dawn over the whole earth.  While we wait for the glory that shall be revealed we may “rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Paul Mueller bears wonderful witness to this same blessed truth in the following testimony.  “To be persecuted for righteousness’ sake gives one the right and privilege to inherit the kingdom of God. Persecution marks all the saints of God, from the Old Testament sages and prophets, including the prophets and apostles of the early church, to the sons of God of this present hour.  Every one of us, from Abraham to the fullness of Christ, has endured the necessary persecutions for the sake of Christ and His kingdom.  We may not have known it in the beginning of our appointed time of trials, but with every trial we endured, we were gaining a royal entrance into the fullness of the kingdom of God.

“Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, shall inherit the kingdom.  Jesus clearly qualified the type of persecution that would gain us an inheritance into the kingdom of God, when He said, ‘for righteousness’ sake,’ and ‘for my sake.’  To be persecuted for any other reason, including for our own disobedience or for breaking the law, does not count in the kingdom.  Let me give you an example.  Years ago I served as an assistant minister in a large church here in Portland.  One of my duties was to minister to the sick in hospitals and homes, and to visit the needy, some of them in prisons.  I enjoyed a rich and rewarding ministry and learned much from those experiences.  One day, I visited a man from the church who was in a local prison.  After praying with him and encouraging him in the Lord, I left the area of the prison where he was.  Before I got very far from him, he began to wail and mourn as if he was dying.  All the other prisoners could hear him.  When I went back to ask why he was mourning so, he shouted that he was crying and mourning because he was being persecuted for righteousness’ sake.  But I knew he was in prison because he failed to pay his first wife’s alimony, which he was ordered by the court to pay.  His moaning and groaning did not stop even when I reminded him of the reason he was in prison.  I met this same man some years later, and he informed me that he was ‘holding the universe in balance!’  To be persecuted for righteousness’ sake will give us an inheritance in the kingdom.  But to be persecuted for our own lawlessness and disobedience will only bring more of the corrective judgments of the Lord into our lives.  And of course, as the elect of the Lord, you already knew this!

“Jesus was persecuted by the world because He was of another Spirit, even the Spirit of His Father.  He was not of this world, and neither are we!  The world hated Him, and we can expect to be treated as He was.  The servant is not greater than his lord.  Our Lord was persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and we shall be also.  They treat us the way they do for His name’s sake, for they do not know our Father, who sent us on this mission for the kingdom of God.

“Being persecuted for His name’s sake brings rewards undreamed of.  Persecution for righteousness’ sake identifies us with Christ.  The sufferings of Christ that we have gone through made us one with Him and linked us with Him in Father’s eternal purposes.  And now we are one with Christ united and identified with Him in the eternal purposes of His kingdom.  Because of our union and identification with Christ, the world shall surely hear us when we speak forth His anointed word.  Jesus said, ‘The servant is not greater than his lord.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also’ (Jn. 15:20).  Think of that!  Just as people of the world kept the sayings of Jesus, so also shall they keep our sayings.  They will respect the word we speak!  The persecutions and trials that we endured have removed from us all personal, egotistical and exalted ideas and carnal desires.  We are being set free of old Adam that we might fully glorify the Lord.  When the Lord has finished His work in us, He shall say of us as He did of His first Son, ‘This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him’ (Mat. 17:5).  The authority and power of God’s word spoken by one of Father’s anointed sons may be beyond the scope of our present understanding, but God shall bring it to pass.  If the world kept the sayings of Jesus Christ, the first manifested Son, they will keep our sayings also, for we are also sons of God and members of the same purified and anointed Christ body”    end quote.

THE PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM

In addition to the eight beatitudes we have considered over the past months, there are almost three whole chapters and one hundred and seven verses in this Constitution of the Kingdom of God.  Wonderful and significant principles of sonship are here set forth in simplicity and power.  The sons of God that Christ describes in this Kingdom Manifesto are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  They embody the spirit and the life of every law that Jesus Himself fulfilled, or brought to its true intent and spiritual reality, out of the old letter of the law of Moses.  These sons are devoid of anger and strife in all of their human relationships, using no contemptuous words and seeking peace and harmony with all men.  They are without lustful thinking and are victorious over the deceitful wickedness of their own hearts.  They are content in their family relationships, truthful in speech and motive, longsuffering, merciful, and without retaliation toward their enemies or any who would mis-use and abuse them or violate their rights.  They are generous and give joyfully and sacrificially, go the second mile, turn the other cheek, giving to those who ask, loving their enemies, praying for those who persecute.  They do nothing for pretentious show, recognition, or vain glory.  They forgive everyone their trespasses.  They seek eternal, heavenly and spiritual realities above earthly possessions, prosperity and wealth.  They are not anxious about what tomorrow may or may not bring, but trust explicitly and commit all things into Father’s loving hands.  They do not condemn or judge others, they pray in faith and receive every blessing with gratitude and thanksgiving. They treat others with the same concern and respect they wish to be shown to themselves.  They live wholly to the will of the Father and seek only His Kingdom and His righteousness.  THEY STRIVE TO BE PERFECT AS THEIR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT.  What an order!  What a challenge upon God’s firstfruits!

All these are the marks of sonship.  All these are the principles of the Kingdom of God.  All these comprise the Constitution of the Kingdom of God!  We can readily see, therefore, that any behavior that falls short of this Constitution, or that is contrary to this Constitution is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!  In the Kingdom of God it is unconstitutional to be angry at your brother without a cause.  It is unconstitutional to see your brother have a need and shut up your bowels of compassion against him. It is unconstitutional to refuse to forgive any man, to fail to be merciful, to retaliate for a wrong done you, to judge and condemn others.  It is unconstitutional to pray or fast to be seen of men, or to do any act of righteousness for show or recognition.  It is unconstitutional to walk in any spirit, attitude, expression or action other than the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom!  These are the character traits that qualify  one to be given authority and dominion in the Kingdom!  No greater hope was ever set before the ransomed of the Lord than the hope of being members of His body of sons to reign with Him in the regeneration.  Every man that has this hope in him purifies himself even as He is pure.  Let us therefore lay aside every weight.  Let us seek to be rid of self and self-will and self-glory.  Let us waste the mind and motions of Adam in our flesh and put on the mind and the nature of our glorious Father in heaven.

In reading the Sermon on the Mount we must learn to distinguish between the letter of the command and the spirit of truth that it expresses.  For even of Christ’s own words it is true the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.  I do not mean that we are to so “spiritualize” these laws of the Kingdom as to make them of none effect.  I do not mean that we are to so etherealize our Lord’s commands as to get rid of the obvious, practical applications.  What I mean is, we must make allowance, for instance, for Jesus’ methods of teaching.  The Eastern mind loved the parabolic and proverbial form of speech.  He was fond of stating his truth in bold, picturesque, illustrative and metaphorical ways.  Our Lord was typically Eastern in this respect.  He opened His mouth in parables, and without a parable spake He not unto them.  In this sermon His teaching is again and again in proverbial form.  Only by that wisdom that comes down from above are the sons of God able to separate the spiritual principle from the literary form in which it is expressed.  Jesus was not giving us maxims to which we are to give slavish obedience, but sets forth principles that we must apply and walk out under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  He did not come to give a second and more minute external law, but to create a disposition, a spirit, a new attitude and state of being which should be the law of nature within ourselves.

Let me illustrate what I mean by taking just a few precepts out of the Sermon on the Mount for our reverent consideration.  Take first that staggering precept about “turning the other cheek.”  “Whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”  Now what kind of a spineless individual would do a thing like that!  I think many of us would be like the little boy in the Sunday School class.  His teacher had been teaching the class some of the teachings of Jesus, and she said to Johnny, “Johnny, what would you do if Tommy slapped you on the right cheek?”  “Teacher,” said Johnny, “I would turn the other cheek.”  Then after pausing and thinking for a moment he added, “But, boy, if he hit that one, I would beat the daylights out of him!”  We have our rights, you know, and we are pretty good at sticking up for our rights.  If we think the mechanic has cheated us on the repairs on our car, we would like to tell him so.  If we haven’t had the service we think we should have had, we are tempted to raise our voice and give them a piece of our mind.  We at least reduce the amount of our tip or leave no tip at all!  That is natural.  But sons of God are not natural!  We are ordained to be spiritual.  And spiritual is not some religious exercise or worshipful appearance, it is simply expressing the nature of the Spirit.  It is just as “spiritual” to keep our cool under pressure as it is to sing in the Spirit or prophesy yea, even more so!

Although there are times for literally turning the other cheek, Jesus was speaking of a spiritual reality that transcends the physical act.  He did not give a literal obedience to the precept Himself!  When He was smitten on the face in the High Priest’s hall, He did not turn the other cheek, He gently but firmly rebuked the smiter for his injustice and violence.  And besides, a literal obedience would sometimes defeat the very object at which Christ was aiming.  To do this literally to an angry man would in some instances so infuriate him that it would bring even harsher recriminations against you.  The “letter” in this case “killeth.”  We must get at the “spirit” of the command, and the spirit is just this: that we must meet rage and violence not with rage and violence, but with meekness, compassion, and forgiveness.  Retaliation and revenge are the practice of the world forgiveness even until seventy times seven is the practice of the sons of God.

Ah, these things are against human nature.  It is impossible for the natural man to do these things!  Oh, we might try, but trying isn’t good enough in the Kingdom.  Even if we did walk out these things, just because Jesus said we should, it would still be a forced action out of a sense of duty, and not because we felt like doing them.  Though outwardly we may obey, inwardly we would rebel against them.  Unless our obedience emanates from our nature, it isn’t Kingdom obedience!  Isn’t that why Jesus said, “Except your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of God.” If we do these things because our nature desires to do them, then we have experienced the power and the glory of the Kingdom of God!

Take the next precept which says, “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”  As it stands it sounds almost like an order to indulge in indiscriminate charity.  Now indiscriminate charity when it is indulged in is not a blessing to men, but a curse.  If you give to every one who would bum off of you, you turn people into economic leeches.  It is a direct encouragement of sloth and irresponsibility.  It disintegrates the character; it degrades more than it helps and delivers.  The apostle Paul tells us that if a man will not work, neither shall he eat.  The spirit of what Jesus is telling us is that we must have the spirit of self-sacrificing generosity!  As a son of God I cannot turn a deaf ear to any cry of need.  It does not follow that we shall give money to every beggar who stops us on the street, or to every supposedly homeless person holding a sign at the intersection.  By so doing we may be only confirming in idleness men who ought to be compelled to work, or giving another bottle of liquid damnation to a man already drinking himself to death.  We simply impoverish ourselves to injure others.  That is not what Christ meant!

We do not give even to every brother in Christ  who asks our help.  Solicitations arrive in the mail almost daily to help this person and that, to support this ministry and the other, to give to this and that cause.  If we gave to everyone that asks what an array of worldly methods and spurious ministries and deceitful causes we would be supporting!  Sons of God are led by the Spirit even in their giving.  How much better to seek the Lord about what we should give, and to whom, and receive His guidance by the Spirit, than merely to dole out money to every one who presents a need!  Where we know need to be urgent and real, our help will always be forthcoming, even if it is an unspeakable sacrifice.  A loving heart and a ready hand, guided by the Holy Spirit of wisdom and understanding, are the marks of the son of God.  And sometimes we give even when no one has said anything about a need, simply because the Spirit of the Lord speaks to us to give.  HE knows every need, and just how He will meet the need.  We become His channels of blessing. This is the way of the Kingdom!

Now let us look at another principle.  “And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.  And if any man shall compel you to go a mile, go with him two.”  Of this principle George Wylie wrote, “This is a reference to a custom in the East, and which we saw in Liberia while there.  You see, the soldiers and government officials didn’t ride around in cars and trucks like they do today.  They were on foot, or else carried in a conveyance that was carried on the shoulders  of four men.  When they needed someone to carry their load, or carry them about their business, they would just say to someone nearby, ‘Hey you, come and carry my load.’  And they dare not refuse.  In Liberia, when a soldier, or a government official was on the road, and by road I mean a little foot-path through the jungles, each village was supposed to provide them with porters to carry them to the next town, and that is as far as the law required them to go.  Then that village was supposed to provide carriers to take them to the next village.  It was the Town Chief’s duty to find these porters, and sometimes when the men of the village heard that the District Commissioner was coming their way, they would head for the bush, and the poor chief had a time finding the men to be carriers.  Nobody wanted to be forced into this kind of labor.  They had other things to do, things they wanted to do for themselves, so they would try to get out of this duty if they could.

“The custom in Palestine and the law of the Romans was very, very similar to this.  The law required a man under these conditions to go one mile, but he was not compelled to go any farther; he could stop there and drop his load and let someone else take it from there.  But Jesus said, ‘If he compels you to go a mile, don’t stop there, go with him another mile.’  In other words, do more than is expected of you, more than it is your duty to do, more than the law requires of you!  You see, the sons of God are to be a whole lot different than the ordinary run of people.  Jesus gave us a little parable in Luke 17:7-10.  I am just beginning to understand what He meant by this parable.  ‘Will any man of you, who has a servant plowing or tending sheep, say to him when he is come in from the field, Come at once and take your place at the table?  Will he not instead tell him, Get my supper ready, and gird yourself and serve me till I eat and drink; then afterward you yourself  shall eat and drink?  Is he grateful and does he praise the servant because he did what he was obligated and ordered to do?  Even so on your part, when you have done everything that was assigned and commanded you, say, We are unworthy servants possessing no merit, for we have not gone beyond our obligation; we have merely done what was our duty to do.’

“We think we have done pretty good when we have done some of the things commanded us, let alone all things.  If we only do the things required of us, and that which is our duty to do, we are still unprofitable servants.  If we are to be the sons of God, we have to go way beyond what is required of us, if we are to be profitable unto God.  He that does only what is required is a servant, not a son.  He has no initiative of his own, he is not a ruler in the kingdom, he has no authority to act unilaterally, he merely obeys orders and does what is required.  What this really means is, that what we do is not really that important, and doesn’t count for that much.  What really matters is what we are, who we are becoming, not what we do by commandment.  When the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount gets down into our deepest heart as the law of being, then the Kingdom of God operates within us in the realm of sonship”    end quote.

Take one more example.  “Lay not up for yourselves treasure upon the earth.”  It reads like a prohibition of thrift and provision for the future.  Taken literally, it would seem to forbid the farmer to store his harvest in the autumn for the coming winter; it would seem to put the seal of its approval on those who squander their money as soon as they get it, who spend up to their means and perhaps beyond it; it would seem to say that one should not make any provision for a rainy day, one should not pay into Social Security or any  pension fund, one should not invest in properties, stocks, bonds, or make any provision for security or retirement.  But that is not what Jesus meant!  What Jesus is saying in the Spirit is that our hearts should be entirely emancipated from the love of wealth that our care should be not so much about our balances at the bank as about our standing  in the heavenlies.  We are understanding by the carnal mind if we read this as if Jesus were encouraging irresponsibility; what He is bidding us do is to put first things first, to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and trust Him for everything else.

We cannot cease striving to lay up treasures on earth until we come to the point of absolute trust in our heavenly Father.  He will provide!  If He does not provide by natural means He will provide by supernatural means.  Testimonies to God’s unfailing faithfulness could be written by millions of saints throughout the ages.  In our own family we have seen the car battery charged by the power of God when the ignition key had been left on overnight and the battery was absolutely dead.  There was need to be in a meeting that Sunday morning and with prayer the impulse came to go out and try it one more time.  The car started immediately and the battery was better than before!  Lorain and I drove many miles through the Ozark mountains in the late night darkness and early morning with no gas in the tank, only praying that God would get us to our destination, as there were no gas stations open in that wilderness at that hour of the night.  We have had so many miraculous provisions that to us it is no longer a question of whether the Lord will provide merely when and how!  This is merely a small sampling of life in the Kingdom of God as a son of God!

No  one has more clearly and eloquently articulated the power and glory of this blessed dimension of Kingdom reality than George Hawtin when he wrote: “We can see and point out some very important examples of Christ’s heavenly citizenship which show us as nothing else can that all the time of His earthly ministry He lived and moved on the plane of a son of God.  He lived in a higher realm.  He lived in the realm He preached about, even the realm of the kingdom of God.  And I would like you to see that in every respect and in every phase of His life He proved Himself to be living in the realm of the kingdom and totally independent of every part of this world’s system.  Let us notice first that He was completely independent of that one thing to which we are always in bondage money, the currency of this world system.  I often wondered why it was that though Jesus knew that Judas was a thief, yet He allowed him to carry the money bag and though He knew Judas was stealing the money, He said nothing about it.  Now I know it is wrong to steal, but the point we should see is that in the realm where Jesus actually lived He did not need money and did not care whether there was any money in the bag or not.  He was no more in need of money than a robin, an eagle, or an angel.  He lived in a realm where God was all in all and everything belonged to Him.  It was a realm higher than the realm of men.  Judas by his thefts was trying to lay by in store for this realm, but Jesus was not living in this realm nor for it, but independent of it and far above it in the realm of the kingdom”    end quote.

We have only superficially touched this realm of the Kingdom of Heaven.  We have but tasted the powers of the age to come.  I cannot be too emphatic in saying that the full glory of the realm of the Kingdom of Heaven cannot ever be compared to the purely “in part” measure which we have experienced during this church age.  None can deny that this age has been very limited and lacking in the glory, government, and power of God and filled with human ways and human ideas and human methods and promotions.  When Jesus was here in the flesh He neither lived nor moved in the in-part measure of this passing age, but He walked and ministered and manifested out of the unlimited and boundless plane  of a manifested son of God.

And so I might go on illustrating but enough has already been said.  The first thing to be done is to disentangle Christ’s spiritual meaning from the form of its verbal expression.  The difficulties about the practicability of the Sermon on the Mount arise from a carnal and too literalistic interpretation of its principles.  These principles are not exact rules they embody divine nature.  It is the spiritual principle we must get at and blessed is the man or woman who does!  These words are the mere husk, the eternal truth they contain is the kernel.  The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life!

 


Chapter 34

THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM

“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mat. 16:19).

With the words of this passage in view, let us suppose that a king of incredible wealth decides to do something wonderfully beneficent for his people something no other king has ever done.  He decides to take all the wealth he has amassed and share it fully with each and every subject of his kingdom.  There are great treasures, vast sums of money, gold, silver, precious stones, houses, lands, huge warehouses full of grain and rations of various kinds, and a multitude of other commodities.  Why all this generosity?  Because the king is good, he has a pure spirit and a loving heart, and justice is the essence of his character.  He wants his people to be happy, to know joy, to prosper and experience the best of what life has to offer.  He wants them to live on his own level of wealth and abundance.

Of course, there must be a means, a method for the distribution of all these blessings and benefits.  Certain rules have to be established, and specific guidelines put in place.  For instance, the king must appoint a select company of men to have the oversight over the distribution of his wealth.  These men must be completely trustworthy honest, unselfish, faithful, industrious, skilled, conscientious and efficient. They must have only the will of the king and the best interests of the people at heart.

One bright morning you are called with a chosen group of men to appear before the king.  A background check has been done on each one and only those who have met the rigid qualifications have been selected.  “To you,” the king says to these men, “I entrust the keys of my kingdom.  It is obvious that you understand my heart and share my purpose.  Take these and do what you should.  My palace is available to you twenty-four hours a day, and all my houses, warehouses, treasuries, and gates will open and lock by these keys I give you.  The future success of this venture rests with you.  Now, I must be about other important matters!”

What an honor!  What a responsibility!

What would you do?  Would you use the keys carelessly, selfishly, or dishonestly?  Would you brag to everyone you meet that you are one of the select persons in the kingdom who has the final say as to who gets what and who doesn’t?  Would you walk about haughtily with an air of superiority because you have privileged access to the realms of riches of the king?  Would you conceal the full intent of the king to share his wealth with every man, from the pauper to the prince, and prevent certain individuals who appear unworthy, or whom you don’t like, from getting their fair share?  Or would you let everyone know of the king’s benevolence, while at the same time protecting the interests of the king by making known and enforcing the few stipulations and procedures he established?  I do not doubt for one moment that the king would be interested in whether or not the people were receiving and enjoying his gift!  Should some people refuse to believe his generosity, they must be convinced, because it is the decree of the king that they have their part in his kingdom.  If they don’t know the proper protocol for receiving the gift, they must be instructed.  If they have neither the wisdom nor the ability to properly use the gift, they should be taught, or someone appointed to administer the gift on their behalf.  That all this is accomplished is of vital interest to the king but the importance and power attributed to you, the holder of the keys, would be far less significant to him.

Within this illustration lies the divine secret to the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.  You see, Peter is not the issue.  The kind of power Jesus did or did not bestow on Peter is not what this is about.  Rather, Jesus was talking about something new and wonderful that had come to earth the Kingdom of God itself and the possibility and plan for every son and daughter of Adam to enter into a new realm and participate in that whole new dimension of life.  So different, however, was this Kingdom, that only a company of very special people with unique purpose and particular qualifications would be able to successfully unlock all of its riches and judiciously administer all of its benefits fully to every man according to the will of the King.  The issue is not what the people think they want, or what the administrators want, but a matter of the King’s decree!  Any who would illegally grasp after that which is not theirs must be quickly and effectively dealt with but in the end every man would receive his share.  Those unfaithful servants who would deny the blessings to some because of their own ignorance, unbelief, or rebellion, must be punished, but in the end every man will receive his inheritance.  For any man to live as he had previously lived would impugn the wonder of the gift.  But for any man to express contempt for the gift, or to secure it by illegal means, or to mistreat it in any way, would bring swift judgment by authority of the King.  So the person holding the keys was not only to open up this marvel of grace and glory, but to protect it from ruin as well.  Every man must be so dealt with that he will ultimately accept the gift and live in the power of its provision.  So the work of the keeper of the keys goes way beyond just passing out gifts; it involves the ability to convince every man to joyfully receive the gift and to prepare every man to properly appropriate the gift.  The intention and provision of the King is very wise and thorough!

“You understand me, Peter,” the Lord seemed to be saying, ‘you are someone to whom I can entrust the keys of my Kingdom!”  What a day of days it must have been for Peter, who had already seen so much beyond what other men had seen, to now be given the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven!  Many make the mistake of thinking that only Peter was given these keys!  Notice, however, the qualifying statement that follows which explains how the keys work.  “What so ever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  It is revealing to note that this whole incident isn’t even mentioned in any of the other Gospels.  But those identical words about binding and loosing are spoken by Jesus again just two chapters later, when He’s talking to all His footstep followers.  “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Mat. 18:18-19).  Check it out!  It should be obvious to every thinking mind that the other disciples, too not every follower, but every specially selected disciple was given the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven!

But beyond this what was Jesus’ intent in giving the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to His chosen disciples?  Was it to let everyone know clearly who was in charge of letting people into the Kingdom and keeping them out?  Not by any means!  It had nothing whatever to do with letting people in or shutting people out of the Kingdom of Heaven it was rather a matter of releasing the blessings and benefits of the Kingdom of Heaven to all men, but not so indiscriminately that men could inherit the Kingdom on their own terms without meeting its requirements.  To the key keepers is given the responsibility and ministry of opening up this new realm of the Kingdom of Heaven to all men, and making sure that Kingdom principles are adhered to.  Was Peter a good key keeper?  Or was Peter more interested in impressing people with the great power he had within himself to admit or bar them from the favor of God?  Ah, Peter proved worthy of this honor!  He never mentions the keys in his epistles, nor do any of the other apostles speak of the keys, but he does write about the wonders of who we are in Christ, a Royal Priesthood, of the great and precious promises by which we escape corruption; of the great principles of our entrance into, and inheritance in, the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; of the passing of the old heavens and earth and the establishment of the new; and how to walk in the will of God as sons of the Most High.  These are the words and wisdom and revelation of a man who within himself possessed the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven!  And he possessed those keys as an apostle of the church age to bring forth the formation of the Christ body in the earth!

The sun is now setting on the church age with its ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.  The transcendent glory of that brighter and greater age when the body of Christ has been brought to its fullness in the manifestation of the sons of God is even now dawning upon us.  We know this, not by claiming a scripture or by  embracing a doctrine, but because the Holy Ghost has powerfully spoken and testified of it among vast numbers of the Lord’s elect in recent years.  It is a revelation “come down from heaven” and proclaimed in the “power of the Spirit.”  Those who cannot see the change in dispensations, nor the implications of it, have not heard from God.  The present work of the Spirit has to do with the Kingdom of God increasing into the new age, not established just in the lives of the elect body of Christ, but through them among all the nations and peoples of the earth.  It is a new day and a new work.  In the previous age the Lord’s dealings have been for the formation of His body, the sons of God.  In the dawning age the Lord’s dealings will be through the manifested sons of God, gathered out of the previous age, for the increase of His kingdom and peace throughout the earth.  Of the increase of His kingdom and of His peace there shall be no end!  From age to age the Kingdom shall increase, first in the Lord’s people, then in all the earth, and finally throughout all the endless vastnesses of infinity forever more!

God has prepared His holy remnant, who are all sons of God, those whom He has formed for His purposes and called to sonship for such an hour as this.  Our Father has made us what He wants us to be, and that is what we are.  He has called us, separated us unto Himself, laid His hand upon us, broken us to pieces, purged and purified us out of the world and out of the religious systems of men, in the furnace of affliction, and led us in the strange paths of His dealings, that He might raise us up by the power of His Spirit and make us a blessing unto all the ends of the earth.  We now desire to do all the will of our Father in the earth! Our expectation is to use the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to bring the blessings and benefits, the power and the glory and the riches, of God’s Kingdom upon all men of all the nations.  During the church age the Lord’s ministers have only had power to claim the called out for God.  If men refused, there was nothing else we could do.  But in the age coming upon us, the sons of God will have power to claim all men for God!  We are not willing to lose even one to hell or eternal damnation. We will do whatever it takes to accomplish this!  We will use the keys of the Kingdom that God gives His sons, just as Jesus said, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing (or any person or persons) that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”  What power to claim all men for God lies in these keys! All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and resistance is futile, for the transforming power of the Spirit shall be poured out from on High through the sons of God.  All men shall be assimilated into the Kingdom of God!  All creation shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.  What a day!

It is now time for the apostles of the Kingdom to be sent forth.  These apostles of the Kingdom are the firstfruits company.  In these firstfruits the foundations of the Kingdom are being laid.  It is to these to the elect remnant of the Lord that the first dominion or reign of the Kingdom of God comes.  Christ must first rule and reign in the lives of His elect before He can reign in the lives of anyone else.  And when Christ fully reigns in our lives, the scepter, or ruling authority of the Kingdom of God, is then bestowed upon us.  According to the measure that Christ fully reigns in our lives He has given us the authority to reign with Him from His spiritual throne in the heavenlies.  And according to the measure that His life, wisdom, grace, nature, power and purposes are established in our lives WE ARE GIVEN THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN!  How wonderful and complete is the plan of our God!

There shall again be a true witness of God in the earth when the holy sons of God fully possess the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and are guided and empowered by the Spirit to use those keys.  These keys of the realm of the Kingdom of Heaven where God dwells and reigns over all are of very great value, above estimate, invaluable.  There is a very great need today for the exercise of the keys of the Kingdom!  The witness of the professing church has become quite weak; indeed, it is a flickering flame, the exaggerated claims of the televangelists notwithstanding.  Much ministry is carried on, but the true testimony is obscured by fleshly programs, fleshly lusts, carnal showmanship and worldly theatrics, soulish sentimentalism, and self-seeking.  Few Christians have as yet been entrusted with the keys of the Kingdom because they are ignorant of God, of His Kingdom purposes and processes, and His ways.  The churches today are full of sin, rebellion, carnality, self-love, fleshly pursuits, presumption and pride.  Believers and popular preachers cannot be trusted with the awesome authority and power of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven!

RECEIVING THE KEYS

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremiahs, or one of the prophets.  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Mat. 16:13-17).

How was it that Peter suddenly realized who Jesus was?  He got a revelation from the Father that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God!  He received a revelation of who this Christ was.  If there is one thing in the world that you and I and all men everywhere need to know it is who this Christ is.  Without a revelation of who the Christ is we will never attain anything in God.  But one cannot receive a revelation of who the Christ is without getting something else to go with it.  Let me show you what that something else is.  “Thou art Peter (Petro, small rock, fragment), and upon this rock (Petra, large rock, rock mass) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mat. 16:18).  Upon the revelation of who I am I will build my church, saith the Lord.  When you receive a revelation of who this Christ really is, the church is in that moment established in your heart, for Christ is not one member, not one person, but many.  “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ” (I Cor. 12:12).

It was upon this revelation of who the Christ is that Jesus said to Peter, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”  A key is an instrument that closes or opens something which without that key cannot be closed or opened.  Spiritually, it may be a word that opens a hidden mystery which cannot be otherwise discovered, or a power by which a state or condition or circumstance may be revealed, dealt with, or changed, which could not otherwise be effected.  Jesus spoke of keys several times.  To the astonished John on the isle of Patmos He declared, “I have the keys of hell and of death” (Rev. 1:18).  To John there came One who announced Himself as “the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last.”  At His girdle hung “the keys of Hades and of death.”  Ah, the enemy usurped control over mankind, ruling with fear, and bringing creation into bondage to the whole dreadful realm of death.  Death was the adversary’s “trump card,” his final victory.  He beguiled man into sin, and “sin when it is finished, bringeth for death” (James 1:15).  After all the beguilement, which the adversary has exercised with ruthless working and deception, causing man to become perverted and corrupt, sinking into the quagmire of fear, sorrow, and hopelessness, the final result was death with its habitation in Hades.

When Jesus came into the world in the humiliation of the Incarnation, He started on a route of conquest that took Him through the lonely years prior to His introduction at the muddy waters of Jordan, where the bony prophetic finger of John the Baptist was pointed at Him and those significant words were uttered, “Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29).  For some thirty-three and a half years He overcame and lived an impeccable life so that it was said of Him that “He was tempted in all points like as we, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).

Jesus’ flawless life was followed by a decisive death.  He went to Calvary to endure inexplicable and incomparable suffering: suffering of which we can only have a hint; suffering we can only look at curiously with a sob in our throats; suffering veiled in the mystery of the bearing of sin: suffering surrounded by torn rocks and a sun that refused to shine, and an earth that writhed in agony.  As He hung there alone, God reached down His giant fist and gathered the accumulated sins of men and placed them upon Him.  In the awful agony of Calvary, Christ made His soul and offering for sin.  The sin of the world was imputed unto Him, and the waves of sin’s judgment were released upon Him.  When He had become an offering for sin, He gave up the Ghost and came down from the mystery of His sufferings, having finished that work.  What men saw was a man hanging limp every bone out of joint, a swollen tongue protruding from burning lips that cried out, “It is finished!”

And then He arose the conquering Christ!  What a marvelous turn of events!  He took control of the situation as with one exultant shout He grasped the keys of death and hell from him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; stripped away the power of death, burst asunder the bars of hell, stalked boldly out in eternal triumph over all the dread powers of that unseen realm, entered back into His body in the garden tomb, passed through the walls of rock as water passes through a filter, ascended up far above all heavens, stepped up to the Father’s throne, and presented the tokens of His redemption.  The Father said, “Sit down, Son, at my right hand until all your enemies are made your footstool!”

Nearly two hundred years ago the world was in chaos because “The Scourge of the Earth” (we know him as Napoleon Bonaparte) almost conquered the world.  Everything fell before him.  The British feared that soon their homeland would be invaded by the troops of France.  In one last effort to stop the tremendous on-rush of Napoleon’s army, they sent their greatest general.  General Wellington invaded the heartland of Europe.  The people waited as the forces were joined at Waterloo.  Eagerly they followed the watchman on the tower of Winchester Cathedral as he looked out over the English Channel in the fog waiting for some sign of a ship to bring them news of the outcome.  The hope of England rested on that report.  Finally, as the fog lifted just a little bit, the watchman saw a ship blinking the signal of what had happened.  The letters were taken down.  W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N  D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D.  The fog sank and with it all the hope of England.  The people quivered at the thought that soon they would hear the tramp of French troops upon their land.  However, an hour  later, the fog lifted and again the message was sent forth: W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N  D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D  E-N-E-M-Y!  A wild shout of glee went out all over England; that feared invasion never came.

There is a great hero whose name is Jesus.  On a hill outside the city wall of Jerusalem, He went forth to take on the combined forces of death, hell, and the devil.  He did this with His hands and feet secured to a cross, and a lion out of the pit leaped forth in rage and threw itself upon Jesus.  The world and all spiritual realms waited to see what the outcome of that life and death struggle would be.  Hour after hour His life oozed forth drop by drop.  The people waited, hoping that soon He would respond to their taunts, “Come down, if thou be the Son of God, and we will believe on thee.”  Jesus never moved.  Finally the great, piercing cry He bowed His head and gave up the Ghost.  Word went out in the midst of that midday blackness: JESUS DEFEATED.  A pallor hung over the world.  Life went black, hopeless and meaningless.  But then, on the third day, as the sun began to break over that lonely sepulcher, a new light came with a dazzling radiance.  The huge stone that blocked the door began to move back as if by some unseen hand.  Those Roman troops were startled by the appearance of the messengers resplendent in white.  Then, out of the darkness of that tomb, out of the jaws of death, out of the very pit of hell itself, there stepped forth One who was dead and could now say, “I am He that was dead and, behold, I am alive forevermore and have the keys of death and of hell!”  Word went out through all of Jerusalem.  At first just a whisper then a voice then a cry then a shout and a chant sublime: JESUS DEFEATED DEATH!  JESUS DEFEATED HELL!  JESUS DEFEATED SATAN!

Jesus has the keys; He proved that He has the keys of both death and hell, for He unlocked both and arose Victor.  Death could not hold its prey!  Hell could not hold its captive!  Oh Christ!  Thou Son of the living God!  Thou art the resurrection and the life.  Thou wast alive.  Thou wast dead.  And, behold, Thou art alive forevermore and in Thy nail-pierced hand dost hold in triumph the keys of hell and death. Oh, death, where is thy sting!  Oh, grave, where is thy victory!  Oh gates of hell, thou shalt not prevail, thou shalt one day be empty, for the Redeemer of Israel and the Saviour of the world holds in His triumphant hand thy key.

Who now has the key of death?  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.  Who now has the key to hell?  OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.  Praise God, no one passes through the gates of either of those two, hell or death, except the Lord open or close those gates.  The devil has no authority there.  And now Jesus proclaims, “FEAR NOT I have the keys of death and of hell.”  Think about it!  What reason do we have to not fear?  He was dead, but behold, He is the living One.  He is living for the ages of the ages.  And this ever living One HAS THE KEYS.  We commonly think of keys being used to lock or unlock doors, but there is another sense in which the word key is used.  Many times when we say that we have the key to a thing, we mean that we have the solution to a problem.  Jesus was saying to John and to us all that HE HAS THE SOLUTION TO THE UNSEEN WORLD.  He has all the problems connected with it unraveled and solved.  He had worked out the problem for Himself, overcame in it, and now stands to proclaim to all men everywhere the GREAT EMANCIPATION.  Through His death and resurrection, Christ took away from the adversary his power of death, and from hell its’ power of containment.  No longer can negation claim the final victory over any man CHRIST HAS THE KEY, and shall ultimately bring every man into the fullness of His life.  Christ has the power to redeem, and He has the keys of death and hell.

Praise God!  Not only does the firstborn among many brethren possess the keys of death and hell, but He shares them with His OVERCOMING ONES IN WHOM IS INWROUGHT THE TRIUMPH OF HIS LIFE.  Jesus said to Peter, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock shall I build my church; and the GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT” (Mat. 16:18).  The gates of hell have not prevailed against our Lord Jesus Christ, and they shall not prevail against His Church.  What are the “gates” of hell?  Gates are used either to bar entrance or prevent exit.  What does it mean that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Christ’s Church?  I used to erroneously imagine the conflict between the Church and Satan as a game of “cat and mouse.”  Satan was the cat and the Church was the mouse!  Satan was big and powerful the Church was small and weak, always on the defensive.  But that’s not what that passage means!  Far from it!  The picture instead is of a VICTORIOUS CHURCH laying siege to hell and breaking down its gates to release its prisoners!  The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the example and prototype!  The key of hell gives Christ and His sons the spiritual power to open the “door” of Hades to set every captive free.  Death is literal and spiritual death, and includes the second death, for in the end there shall be “no more death” first death, second death, any death!  And the key of death gives the Christ company power and authority to conquer all death in every man.  What joy shall be ours when we fully possess the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, giving us Kingdom authority to reign with Christ and to release every captive from the bondage and curse of hell and of death!

Jesus also declared that He has the “key of David.”  There was a day when God called a man by the name of Eliakim to rule Judah, and the Lord said of him, “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open” (Is. 22:22).  The key of the house of David speaks of the divinely-invested power and authority given to Eliakim to rule and reign over the house of Judah.  With that key Eliakim was fully authorized of God to open doors of opportunity, favor, and blessing that no one else could shut, and to shut doors that no one else could open.  For the overcoming sons of God, the key of the house of David represents God-given authority and power, not merely to do a few works of God, not merely to build up churches, not merely to govern one nation, but to govern all the nations in the Kingdom of God.  And when we have fully come into possession of that Kingdom key, we shall shepherd all nations with a rod of iron, and govern  all peoples wisely, for we shall do so with the mind of Christ  and with the authority of the Father.

It is interesting to note that God told Eliakim that He would lay the key of the house of David “upon his shoulder.”  The Hebrew word translated “shoulder” in this passage indicates the area where burdens are placed.  When a man like Eliakim is commissioned by the Lord to reign over an earthly government or kingdom, none can deny that such responsibility is indeed a burden.  One has only to consider how quickly our recent  presidents of the United States have aged, how soon their hair turns gray and their faces wrinkle, to see how the responsibility of rulership in the earthly governments and kingdoms under man’s corrupt order is indeed a burdensome experience.  Ah, but in the Kingdom of God there are no burdens!  The Kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost!  It is not a burden to rule and reign with Christ in our Father’s Kingdom, for we reign in righteousness, we minister by peace, and we shepherd with joy!  We are then doing our Father’s will on earth in righteousness, peace, harmony and perfection.  All our would-be burdens are placed upon “His shoulder.”

Another aspect of keys is revealed when Jesus reproved the Jewish leaders, saying, “Woe unto you, lawyers, for ye have taken away the key of knowledge” (Lk. 11:52).  This they had done by killing the prophets and traditionalizing their teachings, for to them had been revealed the mysteries of God.  As it is written, “Surely Yahweh will do nothing, but He revealeth His secrets to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).  “To the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:1-3).  These hidden treasures are made known by the Holy Spirit in the power of inspiration, revelation, and spiritual understanding.  The key of knowledge opens the door of spiritual perception by which we understand by the Spirit the true and spiritual meaning of all things that are written in the scriptures.  If our understanding of the things of God is on a literal and carnal level, then this blessed key of knowledge has been taken away.  Woe unto all who see only the letter of the Word!

Keys what blessings, benefits and opportunities they open up!  Who would not like to be given the keys to a new Lexus or Rolls Royce!  You will notice that every key is formed with a series of notches. The purpose of those notches is that when you insert the key into the lock they turn some things there which you cannot see, called tumblers.  A key that doesn’t have the notches that correspond to the tumblers won’t open the lock.  That is why a key will generally open only one door.  My car key will not unlock my house, neither will my house key open my Post Office box.  If you are given the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and you use those keys, what are you going to get?  The Kingdom of Heaven!  You can bring the Kingdom of Heaven right into your now, into your present reality, and the reason you can do that is because you have the keys.  I can go out and get in my Dodge Intrepid today and go anywhere I want, but you can’t, because you don’t have the key.  There are men who live in beautiful mansions and in swanky penthouses and they come and go at their pleasure, but I have never stepped a foot in those places because I don’t have the keys.  While on the island of Puerto Rico one time we visited the El Conquistador Resort on the east end of the island at Las Croabas.  What an incredibly beautiful place!  We could not afford to stay there, but if you pay the price the hostess will give you the keys to a room with a magnificent view of the Caribbean.  When you receive the key you are given the ability to enter, occupy, and use to the full all the wonderful facilities of that magnificent resort.  Keys give access.  Keys grant the right of entrance. Keys often denote ownership.  Keys open up a world, a realm, a reality, a dominion.  Jesus says to Peter, “I will give unto you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.  I will give you the keys to the spiritual world.” Do we today possess any of the keys to that bright and exalted domain of the spiritual heavens?  If you don’t have any keys how are you going to see that realm?  Without keys how can you enter that world? With no keys how could you possibly use and enjoy the powers and glories of the Kingdom of the Heavens?

USING THE KEYS

The keys of the Kingdom provide us with all the authority and power of the Kingdom of God!  Those keys enable us to do God’s Kingdom work and are given to those elect members of His body who have grown spiritually and have followed the Lamb all the way to His fullness upon mount Zion.  They have the Father’s name written on their foreheads.  They have put on the mind of Christ.  When the keys of the Kingdom of God are fully operative in our lives we shall bind and loose things on earth according to God’s will out of the heavens where we dwell.  While the King James Version says, “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,” that is not how it reads in the Greek.  Young’s Literal Translation is one of the most accurate in conveying the meaning of the Greek text and reads, “Whatever thou mayest bind upon the earth shall be having been bound in the heavens, and whatever thou mayest loose upon the earth, shall be having been loosed in the heavens.”  The Amplified Bible also does a beautiful job, rendering “Whatever you bind on earth must be already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven.”

The message is clear whatever a son of God binds on earth must have already been bound in the heavens.  Whatever you bind in the outward world must already be bound in the spirit world.  It is impossible to bind something on earth that is loosed in the spirit realm!  If it is not loosed in the spirit realm you will never have enough power to loose it in the physical world!  How much do we know about what has been loosed in the spirit realm?  Only with the mind of Christ can one know what the Spirit of God has bound or loosed from the heavenly realm, and therefore only by the glorious mind of Christ can we, like the firstborn Son, do only those things that we see the Father doing.  The heavens must be opened to us so that we can clearly see the will and purpose of God on earth from that high realm of divine wisdom and understanding.  I am not talking about learning a set of scriptures or a doctrine, but I speak of seeing and knowing by the Spirit the will and purpose the Father in every situation.

This is what Jesus meant when He said, “I do only those things I see my Father do.”  “As I hear, so I speak.”  “The Father shall show me greater things.”  Jesus saw by eyes of spirit into the spiritual world of His Father and there He saw what His Father in heaven was doing.  He perceived by the spirit the plans and purposes and will of the Father and then acted upon what He saw.  And that is why Jesus had 100% perfect results!  When He saw the Father healing a blind man, He touched the eyes of that blind man and he received his sight.  When He saw His Father feeding the multitude, He multiplied bread and fish.  When the Father showed Him Lazarus alive and well coming out of the dark tomb of death, He went and raised Him from the dead.  Jesus had 100% faith and 100% results because He only bound and loosed things in the earth realm that He saw and knew were already bound or loosed in the spiritual world.

 You see, beloved, contrary to popular thinking, Jesus did not heal every sick person He met, He did not cast out every devil that passed before Him, nor did He stop every funeral procession in Israel.  One beautiful day He went to the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem and there was on Solomon’s porch a great number of sick people who waited for the stirring of the waters, for every now and then an angel of God made his appearance in the pool, stirred and agitated the waters, so that they bubbled up like a modern jacuzzi, and whoever was first to step into the waters at that sacred moment was cured made every whit whole of whatever disease of infirmity he had.  The Son of God came there that day, and lying among the multitude of sick folk was a man who was completely paralyzed and had been in this condition for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw Him lying there helpless, knowing that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Wilt thou be made whole are you really in earnest about being healed?”  The invalid answered, “Sir, I have nobody when the water is moving to put me into the pool; but while I am trying to drag myself, somebody else steps down ahead of me.”  Wonderful words of compassion and power flowed from the lips of Jesus as He said to the man, “Rise, take up your bed, and walk!”  Instantly the man was made whole, strength flowed into his body, his withered flesh filled out, and he picked up his sleeping pad and walked.

Now if this would have been in one of our modern healing meetings the preacher would have shouted, “Glory to God!  The power of God is here, the Lord is present to heal all who are sick,” and he would have immediately gone throughout all of Solomon’s porch and laid hands on everything that moved or didn’t move.  And do you know how many would have been healed?  Only the paralyzed man would have been healed!  All the rest would have gone home in the same condition they arrived, because in the heavens only one man was being loosed that day.  Jesus saw the Father healing this one man and He made His way there and did exactly what He saw His Father doing no more and no less!  As an obedient Son He healed the one man and walked away.  Jesus had the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and He also understood this great and eternal truth the keys will only lock or unlock on earth what has already been locked or unlocked in the heavens!

How often do we pray for things that are not God’s will?  How often do we speak things that we think are good and profitable and worthy, but about which we have no personal word or direction from the Lord?  Many years ago I heard Oral Roberts confess that he considered his ministry successful if only one person in five who passed through his healing lines received a touch from God.  What a confession!  It means that he was praying for five people, but the Father was healing only one.  It is obvious that he neither saw nor knew what the Father was doing, therefore he tried to loose five people on earth for every one that had been loosed in heaven.  How much time and energy we waste trying to do things the Father isn’t doing!  And I’m not condemning Oral Roberts we’re all just as guilty.

“Oh,” you say,  “it is God’s will to heal everyone!”  The truth is, beloved, He doesn’t heal everyone.  Evangelists and pastors may try to loose every person they minister to.  But how many of us have healed every sick person we have prayed for?  How many of us have had every demon we adjured to leave to come out?  How many of us have had every prayer we prayed answered?  I do not believe I will be contradicted  when I say not one of us!  Is it not because we failed to see what the Father was doing?  We thought we had a blank check to write in anything we wanted, not realizing that God has a time and away for everything and everyone.  We must know what God is doing today, right now.  When we truly understand these three things His will, His purpose and His timing, we will speak His words and not one word we speak will fall to the ground!  Everything we touch will turn into a miracle!  Jesus had 100% results just because He never wasted time and energy ministering to those He knew the Father was not ministering to.  He did only what He saw His Father doing!  He carried within Himself the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and in the spirit He carefully watched the heavens to see which lock they would or would not fit.  What He saw bound in the heavenly realm of the spirit He bound on earth, and what He saw loosed in the spiritual world of the heavens He loosed on the earth.  It is just as simple as that.  And He had 100% results.  The keys worked every time!  Hear me, sons of God we cannot lock or unlock every door we come to.  We must see that door in the heavens and as it is in the heavens, so act.  It will then work for us every time when we walk in harmony with the divine order out of the heavenlies!  When we try to bind and loose on earth and nothing happens, it is only because we fail to see by the Spirit what the Father in heaven is doing in the realm of the Spirit.  Sometimes we tread on illegal territory and brashly take unauthorized actions.  When the keys of the Kingdom of God are inserted in an illegitimate manner, the spiritual monitor flashes: Unauthorized request admission denied!

Did you know that if you are praying to stop something that in God’s plan has to happen, you’re wasting your breath?  The disciples of Jesus, when He spoke to them of how He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, could have prayed and fasted until they starved themselves to death to keep Jesus from going to the cross, and He would have died there anyway.  Peter could have practiced the power of positive thinking, he could have moved into his deliverance mindset and rebuked and bound every devil in every Pharisee, scribe, priest and in every Roman soldier throughout the land; he could have boldly spoken a word of authority to the principalities and powers in the heavenlies, commanding them to release Jesus from His hour of agony; but none of that would have availed anything.  What is bound in heaven cannot be loosed on earth!

My friend Franklin Fitzjerrel told about an event in the state of Utah several years ago.  There were devastating floods there due to the rains that had exceeded any rainfall they had received in recorded history.  The lakes were overflowing, the rivers and streams were flooding, highways and railroad tracks were washed out, homes and communities were under water, and destruction and devastation were everywhere.  Finally the Mormon Church called a day of fasting and prayer to stop the rain.  And the day they fasted and prayed they got the most rain that the state of Utah had ever had in one day!  Someone did not have the keys to the Kingdom!  You see, you can fast and pray until you wither away and die, and you will not receive what you are fasting and praying for unless that thing has first been accomplished in the spiritual heavens.  If it has already happened in the spirit world then I commend your fasting and prayer, for fasting and prayer are two of the primary instruments of binding and loosing in the Kingdom of God. But if our fasting is merely a hunger strike by which we are trying to force God into a corner, and force His hand to make Him do what we want, then we are indeed of that ignorant company of the spiritually stupid.  As it is written, “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him” (I Jn. 5:14-15).  And that is not just saying, “Thy will be done,” but involves the knowledge of His will and asking accordingly.

People sometimes ask us to pray for folks, situations, or nations that are under the dealing hand of God.  It is time for God’s elect to clearly understand that we cannot always pray for everything people request prayer for.  Ah, we will pray, but sometimes not the way people would desire, but according to what we sense in the spirit.  If God is purging, correcting, breaking, refining, teaching, or judging a person and has thrust them into the fires of tribulation and the waters of trouble, putting them under pressure of His making, how can we beseech God to save them out of it and abort His necessary work?  It is impossible to loose on earth what is bound in heaven!  Furthermore, it is spiritually irresponsible to try and do so.  It is mutiny, yea, treason against the Kingdom of God!  Let us seek the understanding of the Lord before we pray lest we be found fighting against God.  The spirit of wisdom and revelation from God is the vehicle bearing the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.  It was when Peter received a divine revelation of who the Christ was that Jesus disclosed that it was out of that very spirit of revelation that the keys of the Kingdom would be committed to him.  And it is clear to me that these keys come by revelation of the spirit in the life of each and every son of God!

It is only when we know by the spirit what God’s purpose is, it is only when we see by the spirit what the Father is doing, it is only when we hear from the spirit the counsel of God’s voice, that we can go forth and do the works of God.  Those works may be small or great, visible or invisible, but we will be found doing our Father’s will in the earth.  When some Kingdom purpose is wrought, first in heaven and then on earth, it is completed and finished, it is totally fulfilled, and the glory of God is manifested in the earth!  The will of God is then done on earth as it has already been decreed and fulfilled in the heavens!  What power and authority shall be ours when we have fully received the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and have matured in the knowledge of God to use them!  Such power shall not be given to babes in Christ, nor to the unprepared, nor to the carnal-minded Christians held captive to the deceptions of man’s religious systems.  I speak the truth when I insist that the Pentecostal and Charismatic realms today are filled with preachers and people who are presumptuously and illicitly trying to use the keys of the Kingdom.  Most of them have not even been given the keys but are trying to “jimmie” the door, and those who do in some measure possess keys of the Kingdom often use them according to their own will and for their own ends, to make a name, to build a kingdom, for financial gain, or for power over other men’s lives.  We may be sure that in this sacred hour God will not commit the fullness of Kingdom power to us until we are prepared and matured to both receive and use that Kingdom power and authority.  As the elect of the Lord we will have been thoroughly processed and finished by our heavenly Father to use the keys of the Kingdom.  We shall also have the fullness of the mind of Christ to know what should be bound and what should be loosed.

When Peter perceived who the Christ really was, Jesus told him, “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”  Ah, herein lie the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven THE REVELATION OF THE SPIRIT!  Someone insists, “But, brother Eby, isn’t it God’s will to save, heal, bless and deliver everyone in the whole world?”  YES!  There is no doubt about it.  But that doesn’t mean, precious one, that it is His will to save, heal, bless and deliver them all today!  If such were indeed His will, you can rest assured that it would be fully accomplished before the sun again sets beneath the horizon!  Furthermore, if it were God’s will to save the whole world today there would be no plan of the ages.  “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order” (I Cor. 15:22-23).  There is a time, an order, a plan for everything and for every man.  You see, beloved, it may be God’s will to heal you today, but on the other hand it may be His plan to heal you one year from today.  Only He understands the why, but His purposes are always wise and meaningful.  When that day arrives you will be healed.  If you prayed for healing yesterday, if you earnestly sought the Lord for healing yesterday, and didn’t receive it, obviously it was not His plan to heal you yesterday.  Only when one knows by the spirit what the Father is doing can one speak and act with authority.  And only then will we, like the firstborn Son, have 100% results!

That loved one for whose salvation you have been praying I tell you he or she will be saved!  You can count on it.  God has an appointed time and a prescribed order to deal with that one and bring him or her  to His salvation.  That appointed time could be today, tomorrow, or in another age.  Only by the spirit can we know.  Only God can teach us these things.  Ah, yes, do pray for them!  Do not hesitate, do not fail to do so, do not faint, never give up! for prayer is a vital part of the redemptive and restorative processes of God.  But seek God at the same instant for that holy understanding by which you can know WHEN HIS HOUR HAS ARRIVED so that you can cooperate in wisdom with Him to do your part, if indeed you have a part, in bringing it to pass.  Only then can you loose on earth what has already been loosed in heaven!

Within the living revelation of the Spirit of God is found THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN!  Keys are of no use unless we use them.  And if we mis-use them we will get into trouble.  Instead of trying to save, bless and deliver the whole creation today, or even your own family, wait humbly before God in holy submission to hear His voice, to know His ways, to understand His will and to see His works. Then go forth and speak and do those things that you have heard and seen of your Father in the secret place.  As you go you will hold in your hands the keys of the Kingdom!

 I will close this message by sharing the following words of godly instruction from the pen of our beloved brother Paul Mueller.  “Luke tells the story of a certain centurion who had a servant who was dear to him.  The centurion’s servant was sick unto death.  When he heard about Jesus, the centurion sent word through the elders of the Jews, beseeching Jesus  to heal his servant.  So Jesus started to go to the centurion’s house.  But when the centurion heard that Jesus was coming, he sent his friends to tell Jesus, ‘Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a WORD, and my servant shall be healed.  For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it’ (Lk. 7:2-8).

 “This centurion understood the power and authority that belonged to Jesus the Christ.  This story shows the power and authority of the kingdom of God in demonstration.  It is the same power and authority that we shall have in Christ.  Because that centurion understood the power and authority of Jesus, he saw that Jesus could simply speak a word and his servant would be healed.  That centurion was also a man of authority.  He was under authority, and had authority over other soldiers, as well as his own servants.  All he needed to do to accomplish something was to speak the word and his servants would obey him, thus fulfilling the centurion’s wishes.  As the centurion’s servants obeyed his every word, so also would every specter, of all the diseases and afflictions of man, obey the Lord Jesus Christ.  The centurion knew this, and so also should we.  This is the power of God given to His sons!

 “We are living in a greater and more glorious Day than did the centurion.  We are living in the great Day of the kingdom of God on earth when every disease and affliction when every sin and every form of death shall be completely conquered and put under the feet of this glorious Christ.  And the sons shall be given that authority!  The whole earth shall be cleansed of the many diseases and afflictions of man, including sin and death in every form, by the power of the Word that He is.  What a Day this is!  And what a privileged people we are!

 “‘When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.  And they that were sent, found the servant whole that had been sick’ (Lk. 7:9-10).  The servant that once was sick unto death was now healed and made whole by the power of God.  But how was that power manifested?  Obviously, Jesus did not go to the centurion’s house.  But did Jesus pray the prayer of faith?  Did He speak a word commanding the sickness to leave that servant?  There is no record that Jesus said or did anything!  When He heard the centurion’s plea for help, Jesus Christ saw the Father doing that work in the Spirit, and lo, it was done.  Just a thought in harmony with the Father’s will, sent on the winds of the Spirit, is all it took to heal that servant.  And that is all that is necessary to bring deliverance to the groaning creation, and bring forth the new earth.  Just a thought or a word in harmony with the Father’s will, sent on the winds of the Spirit, is all that is necessary to change us from the earthbound worms that we are into that glorious body, bearing the image and likeness of Christ.  As sons of God, we can see and hear in the Spirit. And so we await our transformation”    end quote.

 


Chapter 35

THE RIGHTEOUSNESS

 OF THE KINGDOM

The Kingdom of God is as enormous and awe-inspiring as God Himself.  God’s Kingdom is so vast and comprehensive that we can never fathom or understand it’s power and glory apart from the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God.  Since the Kingdom of God is the realm of His omnipotent power and universal dominion, we must know God in a greater way in order to fully grasp the wonders and powers of that realm.  Perhaps it is because of its transcendent nature that the church system rarely teaches anything about the Kingdom of God, and when they do, they invariably either confuse it with the religious systems called “the church,”  or place it out in some future time or age.  Yet, we need more than diligent study and research to see the Kingdom of God!  To perceive His Kingdom at all, we must be born of the Spirit and begin to put on the mind of Christ.  Without the wisdom and understanding of the mind of Christ, the mysteries of the Kingdom will remain hidden and veiled, lest the carnal-minded put forth their unclean hands to illegally grasp and use the Kingdom for their devious purposes, thus distorting its truth, diminishing its glory, and corrupting its power.

Many who read these lines can confess with me that the mighty seed of the Kingdom, which is Christ, has been sowed within our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  That Kingdom seed is daily growing within us and is bringing forth the increase of Christ the Lord in our experience.  The Kingdom of God shall continue to grow and increase, by the spirit of life from God, until everything everywhere is swallowed up into God and He becomes All-in-all.  The very life of God Himself is the power of the Kingdom of God within us!

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17).  The Kingdom is here defined both negatively and positively.  We are told first what it is not, and then what it is.  “The kingdom of God is not meat or drink.”  The blessings and benefits of the Kingdom of God are not the outward fruits of the land of Canaan, but the inward fruits of the Spirit of God in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.  “The kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”  The nature of the Kingdom is the new wine Jesus promised to drink with His chosen ones.  “But I say unto you, I will not henceforth drink of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it new with you IN MY FATHER’S KINGDOM” (Mat. 26:29).  Luke records these words thus: “I will not anymore eat thereof, until it be FULFILLED IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD” (Lk. 22:16).  And Paul says, “Who hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Col. 1:13).  And, “The kingdom of God isn’t meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”  The new wine of the Kingdom is wine of a new kind.  Wine out of a new vineyard.  Wine out of a new winepress.  Wine of a new character, a new sweetness, a new strength, and a new exhilaration.  The new wine of the Kingdom is the divine life of Christ!  He is now pouring out His divine life into His elect and the fruit of the True vine is now righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost!  I thank God for the privilege of proclaiming this message, this word of the Kingdom that Jesus brought, and that today is quickened in the hearts of God’s sons.  Do not forget how beautifully Jesus taught it, and do not fail to hear how powerfully the Holy Spirit unfolds it in our lives today.  “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Lk. 12:32).  Today the Father gives us a Kingdom which will never fade away a Kingdom which is righteousness, which is peace, which is joy; a Kingdom which is incorruptible and undefiled, and which fadeth not away.  Fear not little flock!  The Father has brought this Kingdom into our experience by His Word and by His Spirit.   

Paul knew of a blessed plane of existence, a glorious sphere of life, known as “the liberty of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:21).  He knew that there was another and better realm entirely beyond the earthly realm where men dwell and toil under the unrelenting spell of natural things, and beneath the weight of sorrow, limitation, fear, sin and death.  It is the realm where men are delivered from the bondage of this passing world, and are translated into a heavenly land of life and immortality in the spirit.  The moment God is given the throne of our life and is glorified in His sons, at that very moment, straightway, we begin to dwell in God and glorification begins its work in us.  It is not where we dwell in the natural that counts, but where our spirit dwells.  If our dwelling place is in God, then we begin to live out of the power of God which is the atmosphere of this new world.  Where grace is needed for any trial, we steadfastly draw upon His grace.  Where peace or joy is needed, it must flow forth from Him, for peace and  joy are the fruit of His Spirit within.  Where life and health are needed, we draw upon the life and power of the resurrection, which He is, and which through Him dwells within us, that the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead should quicken our mortal body by His Spirit that dwelleth in us.   

We know that Christ Himself from His riches in glory is the supplier of all our need.  Here in this blessed land of the Kingdom of Heaven we can live as Jesus lived, who did always those things that pleased the Father.  In like manner we also can follow His steps, doing only those things which are given us of the Father, that sonship may begin to manifest itself in us.  Herein is the righteousness of the Kingdom, not doing by laws, ordinances, regulations, doctrines, or commandments of men those things we think please the Father, but pleasing the Father by doing only those things which the Spirit of the Father instructs us to do.  It is a matter of life and nature, not of outward conformity.  Life on this high plane is THE LIBERTY OF THE SONS OF GOD.  The liberty of the sons of God describes our position in the Kingdom of Heaven.  And it is into this very liberty that all creation shall, in God’s due time, find its place, as the apostle has said:

“In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has in store for us.  The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.  The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in God’s purpose it has been so limited yet it has been given hope.  And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty WHICH CAN ONLY BELONG TO THE SONS OF GOD! It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail.  And it is plain, too, that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a state of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that we have realized our full sonship” (Rom. 8:18-23, J. B. Phillips).  ALL CREATION SHALL HAVE ITS SHARE IN THE LIBERTY THAT BELONGS TO THE SONS OF GOD!  What a word that is!  Oh, Christ, what glory Thou hast prepared for mankind!  How infinite is Thy love, how omnipotent Thy power, how all-inclusive Thy purpose, and all Thy ways past finding out!

We are sometimes confused about this idea of freedom and liberty.  To some it means no limitations, nor restrictions, no holds anything goes!  I have met men who thought that because they were “free” from the law that they could therefore indulge their flesh and do any perverse or licentious  thing their carnal heart desired.  But there are two sides of liberty!  The apostle Paul reveals these two sides of liberty in Romans 6:14-18.  “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?  God forbid.  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”

There is a freedom from and there is a freedom unto.  Should I drive on a highway where there is no speed limit I am free from the law, free from any legal limit  on how fast I can drive.  Am I then free to drive as fast as I wish?  Should I then on bald tires and a wet road travel at 120 miles an hour simply because there is no speed limit?  By no means!  Though I am free from the legal restraint of the speed limit, I am now limited by a number of other factors road conditions, visibility, safety and how fast the car will go.  There is no absolute freedom anywhere in the universe!  Absolute freedom could not be a liberty that guarantees ones rights or secures ones happiness it would be anarchy.  When people live without any form of government it is called anarchy.  Some people believe that all forms of government are unnecessary.  They are called anarchists, and what they believe is called anarchism. An anarchist says that government or any kind of control does more harm than good.  He believes that people will cooperate with each other and behave themselves without rules of any kind.  Anarchism is as old as history.  The Stoics, a group of philosophers in ancient Greece, believed in a world without laws, schools, or any force on the individual.  Conditions close to anarchy, however, have existed for short periods of time when a government has just been overthrown, or after a great catastrophe, such as a fire, flood or earthquake.  History proves that anarchy produces riots, looting, murder and every lawless act.

As a United States citizen I am not free, although I live in a so-called “free country.”  Nobody in the whole world is a free man or a free woman.  We are called unto liberty and justice, but we are not absolutely free.  The impressive statue standing majestically in New York harbor is called the Statue of  Liberty but it does not proclaim to those who sail past it, escaping from some totalitarian regime, that in this land men are unconditionally free.  Liberty means to live in a domain, an environment, a state of being wherein there are boundaries, and you can freely move within those boundaries.  When a slave is set free he is released completely and forever from the bondage of his former master, but as he goes out into society he discovers that he has freedom from his past, but he is still not free to do anything he pleases.  He is limited by his abilities and skills and by the availability of opportunity.  He cannot live anywhere he wants, and must be subject to the laws of the land and the customs of society.

As a citizen of this country I am aware that there are boundaries, there are restrictions and limitations.  I must pay taxes.  There are speed limits and stoplights.  If I am a felon I cannot run for the office of president.  Zoning laws do not permit me to build just any kind of house or put up a business just any place I choose.  THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOT ANARCHY!  It is a kingdom, a king’s domain, and in the Kingdom of God I am not free from HIS LORDSHIP.  As a matter of fact, the better I know Him the more I come under bondage to Him.  Paul continually affirmed, “I am a bondservant of Jesus Christ.”  When you begin to walk in liberty you recognize your boundaries.  Service men are often able to get “leave” for the weekend.  If they overstay their leave and fail to get back on time, there is a penalty to be paid.  And even while on leave they remain subject to all the laws  governing men in the military.  They cannot abuse their liberty.  They have liberty but they still have to obey the rules and get back.  They are not free, but they do have liberty.  Salvation makes men free from sin and death, but the Kingdom of God is not a realm of absolute freedom!  The Kingdom of God reveals a King in control.  This King has called us to be a people recognizing our liberty.   

What happens when we go beyond the bounds of our liberty?  It is called trespassing.  As you have walked along some street or road have you not come upon a “No Trespassing” sign?  You have all the liberty you can want to walk all around that property.  You can stand just outside that property line and enjoy yourself to the fullest.  But the moment you step over the property line you have trespassed.  And so it is in the Kingdom of God!  The Kingdom of God is first of all righteousness, and then peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  The moment you step outside those boundaries you have trespassed!  Anything outside of the Holy Ghost does not pertain to the Kingdom of God!  Whatever is not of righteousness is not of the Kingdom but of the world.  It is a trespass.  All that abides under the dark cloud of sorrow, despondency, trepidation, depression, disquietude, fear or guilt is not of the Kingdom for it lies outside the unspeakable joy that is in the Holy Ghost.  Frustration, agitation, confusion, anger, and emotional outbursts are a trespass, for they pertain to a realm outside the peace of the Kingdom realm of God.  The Kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  Every precinct beyond these is trespass you do not belong on that territory!  You have no right to be there!  You have entered another land, another country, another world without a valid passport.  You have been translated into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son, and you are a foreigner on any other territory.  You are no longer a citizen of the realm of the flesh, of sin, of the world, of religion, or of death.  You do not belong there!  You have no right to be there.  All those realms are beyond the sphere of your liberty in Christ Jesus, the liberty of the sons of God.  If you subject yourself to these it means bondage to a foreign power, to an alien domain. We cannot use our liberty as an occasion to the flesh.  “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:13).  “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).  Ah, there is the boundary of our liberty in Christ!  Liberty is in the spirit.  We are free to walk in the spirit and live in the spirit. We are not free to walk in the flesh or live after the flesh.  The moment we step out of the spirit to walk after the flesh we have trespassed beyond our liberty in the Kingdom of God.  Oh, the wonder of it!  Oh, the mystery of it! All creation shall be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption and shall gain an entrance into THE GLORIOUS LIBERTY OF THE SONS OF GOD!  All shall be the children of God and shall find their citizenship, their residence, their eternal habitation in the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God.  All other realms, above and beneath, shall be empty and desolate eternally uninhabited!  Sin shall have no slaves, death shall have no prey, hell shall have no prisoners!  What a hope!

SOULISH VS. SPIRITUAL

It is important to be able to distinguish between things that differ, for appearances are not to be relied upon.  Things which seem to be alike may yet be opposite of each other.  A serpent may be like a stick, and a stone like an egg; but they are far from being the same.  Like may be very unlike.  Especially is this the case in spiritual things, and without this understanding properly applied it is impossible to discern the righteousness, peace, joy and power of the Kingdom of God.  Every heavenly reality may be counterfeited, just as jewels can be imitated.  As zircons are wonderfully like real diamonds in appearance, so sham graces are marvelously like the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Many men in false religions have a belief which is similar to faith, and yet it is not the faith of the Son of God.  Their belief  does not save, redeem, quicken, deliver, or transform.  Vast numbers of people exhibit pious affections of love, joy, peace, righteousness and power, but are quite destitute of the living presence and power of Christ Jesus the Lord.  They indeed have a soulish joy, a soulish peace, or a soulish righteousness, but not one that emanates out of a quickened and regenerated spirit.

 Every man is both soul and spirit, and each has its own set of expressions and powers.  Only the two-edged sword of the Spirit, which is the living word of God, is able to divide and separate soul and spirit distinguishing between what is the expression of the soul and what is the manifestation of the spirit.  In this discernment between soul and spirit a man will need the mind of Christ, or he will soon deceive his own heart.  I do not hesitate to tell you that many are already mistaken, and will never discern their delusion till they lift up their eyes unto God on bended knee, with a broken heart, and a contrite spirit, to humbly and earnestly seek that wisdom which comes only from the heart of God.

Righteousness holds a very dominant position in the Kingdom of God.  It has a leading place of importance in the teaching of the King who will allow no one to enter or rule in His Kingdom without a righteousness which exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees (Mat. 5:20).  This same concern is uppermost in all those elect sons of God who shall reign in the Kingdom.  These hunger and thirst after righteousness (Mat. 5:6) and seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Mat. 6:33), knowing that in the Kingdom of God “the throne is established by righteousness” (Prov. 16:12).  “Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy Kingdom” (Heb. 1:8).  The Kingdom of God is first, righteousness; then, peace; and finally, joy, and all in the Spirit of God.  In the Kingdom of God righteousness is of supreme importance.  The very scepter of the King, Jesus, is a scepter of righteousness.  The effect of righteousness is  peace.  There can be no peace where righteousness is not established.  The effect of peace is joy.  There can be no joy where there is no peace, but only confusion and every kind of trouble.  This order can never be reversed or rearranged.  Any joy that does not proceed from peace and righteousness is a carnal, soulish, sensual joy.  It can never be the joy of the Kingdom of God!  It is a sham, a false joy, a mere pretense.  Therefore, the Kingdom of God with its marvelous peace, its wonderful joy and glory, is rooted in the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, and is being wrought in the personalities of those who are becoming an integral part of God’s Christ.  The Kingdom of God is a glorious Kingdom of righteousness!  The Psalmist assures us that “The Lord shall endure for ever: He hath prepared His throne for judgment.  And He shall judge the world in righteousness, He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness” (Ps. 9:7-8).  The deepest cry of every son of God is, “Give the king Thy judgments, O God, and Thy righteousness unto the king’s son.  He shall judge Thy people with righteousness, and Thy poor with judgment.  The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness” (Ps. 72:1-3).

As we look upon the sad earth today, it is plain for every eye to see that, flowing from the corrupt minds of the corrupt rulers of every corrupt government on earth, taught in the schools, practiced in business and in the courts and propagated on every hand, we find the evil fruit of death manifesting itself in lies, deceit, oppression, cheating, injustice, variance, murders, adultery, uncleanness, drunkenness, perversion, idolatry, heresies, bigotry, crookedness and sin of every kind.  Everywhere on the planet, in every nation under heaven, mankind is being overwhelmed by its evil until the earth is filled with violence and the thoughts and imaginations of men’s hearts are only evil continually.  Only with the mind of the Spirit may we imagine a world ruled by a government such as is prophesied in the ninety-sixth Psalm, “Say among the heathen that the Lord Reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: He shall judge the people righteously.  Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof.  Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord: for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth” (Ps. 96:10-13).  Isaiah adds his prophetic voice, speaking of the many-membered Christ of God, “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him...and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth...and righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins” (Isa. 11:2-5).

THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE KINGDOM

 “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 5:20).  The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees consists in following rules and regulations that seek to govern actions in every conceivable circumstance of life.  The Kingdom requires a righteousness that exceeds that and is not founded on any rules or regulations imposed from the outside.  It must be a righteousness of heart and nature.  What is righteousness?  Is it obeying every little law, dotting your “i’s” and crossing your “T's”?  Is it when you avoid every temptation to sin that comes your way, and live an absolutely flawless life, pure in every thought and deed?  In my opinion that is a very negative definition of righteousness!

If you want a positive definition, look at the Gospel the GOOD NEWS!  Scrutinizing everybody's life to make sure they don’t make one single mistake is definitely not good news!  It genders fear, intimidation, and condemnation.  Don’t look at what you shouldn’t do, look at what you should do!  If you are so busy doing what you should, you won’t have the time, energy, money, or will to do what you shouldn’t.  Righteousness is having the attitudes of Jesus.  How full He was of mercy, love, compassion, kindness, goodness, forgiveness and graciousness!  Righteousness is saying, “What can I do to make a difference?  How can I help, lift, encourage, heal, restore, and bless mankind?  How can I make the world a better and more beautiful place around me?  How can I practice righteousness?”

The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, it is not a matter of whether you eat pork or drink wine, it is not a matter of whether you take communion on Sunday, it is not external religion at all; it is not outward laws, forms, rituals, traditions or observances; it’s not what you take off your face, what you take off your ears, what you take off from around your neck; it’s not clothes, make-up, or jewelry; and it’s not diet.  Then, what is it?  Religion is man trying his best to please God.  Do you know something?  That is exactly what religion was trying to do in Jesus’ day!  It was trying its very best to please God!  But except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, except your righteousness goes beyond all your sincere and earnest efforts to please God, you will in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven!  There is a higher righteousness than that, a righteousness that doesn’t arise from our own efforts or from outward conformity to laws and commandments.  It is the product of the divine nature.  “Everyone that is born of God doeth righteousness,” says the apostle John.  He also says that “God is love.”

In Isaiah 45:19 we read, “I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”  God is righteous.  That means He is always right, He is never wrong.  That is what righteousness is it is right-ness.  God is always right in everything He says and does.  He never makes a mistake.  Sometimes we wonder why God does things the way He does, and we may sometimes question why; but He is never wrong, He is always right.  He cannot be wrong because He is absolute righteousness.  He acts out of divine wisdom, knowledge, understanding, goodness and love.  What a wonderful God!  What a marvelous Being to be able to trust in, to have as our God and King, and to commit everything to Him, knowing He can never be wrong, He cannot make a mistake, and all of His doings stream from His loving concern, from His inscrutable wisdom,  and His divine ability to do always and only what is best for us.  THIS IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS HE IS ASKING US TO SEEK.  THIS IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF HIS KINGDOM.  THIS IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF HIS THRONE.  THIS IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF EVERY SON OF GOD WHO SHALL REIGN WITH CHRIST IN HIS KINGDOM!  What a goal God has set before us!  We must be like Him in all of our ways that, precious friend of mine, is righteousness!

Why should men doubt the wisdom and love of God?  How dare they place a question mark after His beneficence?  Sometimes men’s doubts have arisen because they have listened to the ambiguous oracles of nature, rather than the revelation of God in Christ Jesus.  Nature impresses men with the awful mystery, power and sovereignty of God.  The storm with its jagged lightnings and rolling thunders, the proud mountains with their dizzy heights mantled in snow, the heaving bosom of the ocean with its foam-crested waves, yes, and the tiny violet on the hillside these eloquently proclaim a God of infinite power, wisdom and riches; but they do not convince the unconverted heart of God’s infinite love.  The forces in nature that sometimes work for our good often turn about and seem to work for our ruin and destruction. The sunlight that warms our fields to produce the golden harvests also beats down unmercifully upon the earth and produces a dust bowl making thousands homeless and hungry.  The warm rains that help to germinate the seed that has been sown sometimes come in ruinous abundance, producing floods in whose wake are destruction, disease, despair and death.  How apparently contradictory!  Possibly in the midst of some tragedy you, too, are asking the question, “Is God loving?  Is God just?  Is God righteous?”  “Why does God permit war?” you ask.  If He is a loving God, if He is all-righteous, why does He permit the roar of bombers and the barking of guns to silence the joyous laughter of innocent children?  If God is a God of love and righteousness, why does He not stop it all?”

We do not have the answer to many of the dark questions of life, for our vision is so limited, and unlike God, we cannot see the end from the beginning.  Ah!  If only we could see the end God’s glorious end, then we would understand all the “whys” and “wherefores” and how even all these things WORKED TOGETHER FOR OUR GOOD.  We do not have the answer to many of the dark questions of life because we cannot fully understand the wonderful interplay of God’s justice, chastisement, training, and mercy.  We only know that man has sinned, the whole planet is in rebellion, mankind continually rejects the ways of the Lord and spurns the love of God, and sin takes its awful toll, and all of nature is thrown into chaos in the process.  The ambiguous testimony of nature alone cannot supply you with an adequate answer.  Only those elect saints who are spiritually enlightened can discern the love and wisdom and righteousness of God, even in the adverse and fearful demonstrations of nature, in the cruel and violent actions of men, and in the terrible judgment that stalks through the earth.  Ah, let us turn from these oracles with their double and confusing answers and turn to the  only LIVING DEMONSTRATION of the loving, wise, and righteous nature of God a demonstration that all the ages have not been able to contradict, namely, the great fact of the incarnation; the deathless, eternally glorious fact that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them: and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation...for He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor. 5:19-21).  “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son...beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and HIS LOVE IS PERFECTED IN US” (I Jn. 4:10-12).  Can words make it any plainer that God’s love in Christ is given to pass into us and to become our life?  We shall then love God as He loved us.  And we shall then love the world with the same love which God in Christ revealed upon the cross!  This, my beloved, is righteousness!  This is the righteousness, the right-ness, that exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees!  This is the righteousness by which God shall judge the world through His sons!  Hallelujah!

The righteousness of the Kingdom, therefore, can be experienced only by the man who has submitted to the rule of God by the indwelling spirit of holiness, and who has therefore experienced the nature and powers of God’s Kingdom authority.  It is by the power of the inward reign of the spirit of HIS LIFE that the righteousness of the Kingdom is to be attained!  And contrary to what many preachers preach and most Christians think, righteousness is not first of all soul winning, preaching, prophesying, speaking in tongues, healing, casting out devils, establishing churches, doing good works, nor any of the thousand and one other things mistakenly imagined to be “fruit.”  Righteousness is, first and foremost, a state of being.  Righteousness is, above all else, a nature.  Righteousness is not merely what a person does, but what he is.  It follows, however, that there is a doing of righteousness which springs from the being of righteousness.

I have already pointed out that righteousness is RIGHT BEING...right living, right attitude, right desire, right motive, right actions, a total rightness in all things according to God’s standard and as an expression of God’s nature.  That is what God is righteous, right.  We are exhorted in the Word to seek and receive this same attribute.  And to be right doesn’t mean that all our doctrines must be absolutely correct, or that we dress in a particular fashion, or that we don’t smoke, drink or cuss, or that we observe certain religious traditions!  It means that you think, know, and act like God!  When you receive a new spirit, or right spirit, or Holy Spirit, you are destined to right being and right doing; you are destined to righteousness.  David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10).  Ah, that is what we want!  The right spirit.  That is righteousness!  Right being and right doing are attainable on this earth right now because of the right spirit.  Who is the right spirit?  Christ is the right spirit, a new spirit, the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, the spirit of righteousness.

The gospel that Jesus preached was the gospel of the Kingdom.  He announced that He had come to found a Kingdom; He claimed the title of King for Himself; and in the Sermon on the Mount He gave us the laws, the principles, the very constitution of that Kingdom.  Well, what kind of a Kingdom is it?  Across millenniums of time the answer of the great apostle Paul rings clear: “The kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”  There you have in one sublime statement the essence of the Kingdom.  The Kingdom of God is righteousness, or right-ness.  There is cruel wrong in this world of ours.  Man wrongs man, brother oppresses brother, nations war against and oppress one another, bosses become hard taskmasters, taking advantage of employees, pastors lord it over the flock and control and manipulate men’s lives, husbands beat and abuse their wives, parents neglect their children.  The low realms of the earth are full of cruelty, maliciousness, violence, lust and crime, and even in the midst of those who name the name of Christ there is iniquity also.  But the Kingdom of God is righteousness and when His Kingdom comes tyranny, oppression, strife, injustice and wrongs cease men do right out of the loving nature of the KING OF LOVE who reigns within.  Forgiveness of sins does not secure such a transformation, but when the Kingdom of God comes with power there is a mighty change!

 Let one thing be abundantly clear it is not just righteousness by man’s standard, not external obedience to law, not outward conformity to society’s norms, not observance of religion’s demands, not mere human goodness.  There is more than one kind of righteousness.  Paul says, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3).  I tell you the truth when I say that most of the “righteousness” taught by the church system is a righteousness imposed and exacted by the traditions of the elders and by the commandments of men.  It has nothing to do with the righteousness of God, being rather the religious man’s own righteousness.  It is the same old righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees accommodated to Christianity.  The righteousness of the Kingdom is found only in the Holy Ghost.  And it is found there today, right now, for the Kingdom of God IS righteousness.  The Holy Spirit does not say that “the kingdom of God is righteousness IN THE KINGDOM AGE.”  Too long preachers and believers have interpreted the Kingdom of God as a future, physical, materialistic Kingdom, attainable only in some coming age.  God wants you to understand today that His Kingdom is not to be sought in that realm.  That would make His Kingdom too cheap, materialistic, natural, worldly and earthly.  Oh yes, there are  many ages of the Kingdom yet to come, but all that the Kingdom is IS IN THE HOLY GHOST!  It is now, and ever will be.  When you enter into the consciousness of God by the spirit you have stepped upon the territory of the Kingdom.  It is in the Holy Ghost.  Glory to God!  Righteousness is the work of the Spirit within us.  It is the result of the rising of Christ, “the Sun of righteousness,” within us (Mal.  4:2).  When the Lord has fully transformed us and made us righteous within, we shall then be clothed outwardly with “the robe of righteousness” which is the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ in all His love, holiness, power and immortality.  Then we, the body of our glorious Head, shall be called, “The Lord our righteousness,” as the prophet said, for we have been “made the righteousness of God in Him.”  What a calling!

 


Chapter 36

THE RIGHTEOUSNESS

OF THE KINGDOM

(continued)

The miracle of what God has done through Jesus Christ ravishes my heart.  I am enthralled beyond measure that He has translated me out of the kingdom of darkness, and is clothing me with the fullness of the Son of God.  Daily I am putting on the Lord Jesus Christ who is my robe of righteousness and my house from heaven, the new man, the spiritual body, and the new building of God, eternal in the heavens.  Just as the life within a lamb produces its covering of wool, so does the life of Christ within each son of God create the garments of our full salvation.  We put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness, not by putting it on from outside of ourselves, by our own self-efforts and good works, but by the working and power of His life within.

Some time ago Jody Dragoo shared with me a beautiful experience the Lord gave him in vision in which he saw the glory of the robe of righteousness as the spiritual body of the new man.  The following is his account of this manifestation.  “The events that I now share are none other than the sons and daughters  of God coming into their own, having overcome through the blood of the Lamb and having put on the incorruptible, immortal, and resurrected body of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“It was about 7:00 o’clock one morning when I awoke to get ready for work.  I didn’t stay awake long as the next thing I knew I found myself in a foreign land.  The name of the land was not revealed, but it may have been in Africa.  The area was hot and dry without any wind at all on this day.  The sky above was blue and clear for miles around.  The sand beneath my feet was bright due to the sun beating down upon it.  There were areas of sparse plant life, but not sufficient to sustain life.  The area had apparently been in a long drought as there were very few cattle around.  There were a few people who still resided in this village, one of which was a woman who was carrying a pail of water upon her head.  She was off to my left and under the porches or walkways of the village.  Another individual was a young black man who wore a light shirt and dark pants, who took me through the village.  He spoke of the conditions that the people faced daily and how hard the drought had been on the livestock and all concerned.  As we walked, he said the greatest need of his people was for rain.  While he talked, I did not answer a word.  It seemed I was completely aware of the situation at hand and the conditions they were in (Amos 8:11-14).  Next we came to an open area within the village where we stopped and this individual stepped a few feet away from where I stood.

“After he spoke of the greatest need of the village being rain, immediately my hands and arms raised upwards toward the Father.  It was at this point that I began to notice my garment.  I was wearing a white robe with a small belt around the waist.  There were no wrinkles or spots within the robe, and no sand on it.  The robe kept out the effects of the climate and I felt no heat at all.  As for my feet, I don’t recall them as touching the ground at any time.  One aspect of this robe that has deeply impressed me is the fact that it felt different from the clothes or ‘robes’ we normally wear.  With the clothes we usually wear we can feel the separation from our body.  Furthermore, the fact that we have to change them daily, testifies to us that they are not really a part of our being.  They are only temporary coverings until the permanent garment is put on.   This robe, however, was part of my being.  It was inseparable from my body.  There was no sense of division or separateness.  Is this not the picture of the corruptible putting on the incorruptible, the mortal putting on the immortal the putting on the Lord Jesus Christ who is formed within us!  Is this not but the fulfillment of Romans 8:23 in regard to the complete redemption of the body? The sons and daughters of God clothed with the incorruptible, immortal, resurrected body of Christ, covered with the glory of God!  And these go forth ministering from that incorruptible realm of pure spirit, delivering creation from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.

“From this we should understand that putting on the robe the incorruptible, immortal glory of God is actually our union with the robe, making us complete, perfect, and lacking nothing!  It is interesting to note that the robe comes forth from the inner working of the Father Himself.  It is He who weaves each and every strand into a whole, complete unit.  It is brought forth from within as the Lord Jesus Christ is formed within us, revealed in fuller detail day by day.  This is the Father’s work, and it is beautiful to behold!  The robe is out of our innermost being and part of our entire being.

“The next thing I noticed was my thought processes and how they worked.  The mind seemed to operate on a completely different realm from what we are accustomed to.  This reveals that the mind of Christ was in full operation.  This is the new mind and heart promised by the Father.  The mind that was in Christ Jesus was the mind of the Father.  And it was this mind that was in operation within me.  This is the renewed mind of which Paul spoke.  It is this mind that the Father is perfecting within His sons and daughters.  And it is this mind that sought the Father for rain for a dry village!

“As I raised my hands upward and intercession for the people began, the Father was seen in a large white cloud which began producing rain clouds.  Almost immediately these clouds began pouring rain down upon the village.  It was rain in abundance that watered the ground and filled their wells.  I can’t say what the words I spoke were, but they had so much power and authority in them that the elements themselves were brought to obedience.  As the rains came, the man who guided me through the village had an astonished look upon his face.  He asked, ‘How did you do this?’  It was at this point that I awoke.

“As I have continued to meditate on this it has begun to transform my attitude, my understanding, my life, and all that is within me.  It has become strong meat in times of testing.  The scripture which states that ‘it does not yet appear what we shall be,’ comes to mind in reference to this dream and witnesses to my spirit about the things shortly to come to pass.  How beautiful it is when the Father pulls back some of the veil and shows us these things!  To see the ministry of the sons and daughters of God coming into their own, being clothed with the glory of God, and delivering creation from the bondage of sin and death is wonderful to behold.  I will never forget the robe which He revealed, and how it was part of my being, and covered and protected all of my being.  Ah, the sons and daughters with the mind of Christ shall lack nothing!”    end quote.

POWER WITHOUT RIGHTEOUSNESS

“I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right” (Isa. 45:19).  God is righteous.  That means He is always right.  He is never wrong.  That is what righteousness is it is rightness.  God is always right in everything He says and does.  He never makes a mistake.  He cannot be wrong because He is absolute righteousness.  God’s rightness is not based on a set of laws or a code of ethics, but is rooted within His very nature.  He acts out of divine wisdom, infinite knowledge and understanding, unbounded goodness and unconditional love.  Righteousness is right attitude, right desire, right motive, right living, right actions, a total rightness in all things according to God’s standard and as the expression of God’s nature.  The sons of God are called, set apart, taught, processed and transformed to be like Him in all of our ways that, precious friend of mine, is righteousness!  This is the righteousness that we hunger and thirst after!  This is the righteousness that we now seek!  This is the righteousness by which the sons of God shall judge the world!  When you receive the spirit of sonship you receive the right spirit, or Holy Spirit, and you are destined to right being and right doing; you are destined to righteousness.  Christ is the right spirit, the spirit of righteousness.  What a goal God has set before us!  What a calling!

Righteousness is the first and foremost stone in the foundation of God’s Kingdom.  We can only qualify to rule and reign with Christ in His Kingdom as we thoroughly understand and gladly embrace the great truth that “the throne is established by righteousness” (Prov. 16:12).  “Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom” (Heb. 1:8). The Kingdom of God is a glorious Kingdom of righteousness!  The righteousness of the Kingdom is now being wrought in the personalities of all those blessed sons of God who shall share the throne of His heavenly dominion.  The Psalmist assures us, “The Lord shall endure for ever: He hath prepared His throne for judgment.  And He shall judge the world in righteousness, He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness” (Ps. 9:7-8).  The deepest cry of every son of God is, “Give the king Thy judgments, O  God, and Thy righteousness unto the king’s son.  He shall judge Thy people with righteousness, and Thy poor with judgment.  The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness” (Ps. 72:1-3).

 Only with the mind of the Spirit may we imagine a world ruled by a government such as is prophesied in the ninety-sixth Psalm: “Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: He shall judge the people righteously.  Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof.  Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the forest rejoice before the Lord: for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth” (Ps. 96:10-13).  God shall indeed judge the whole world in righteousness, and this He shall do through His sonship company.  It is of this many-membered Christ, God’s glorious Christ, Head and body, that the prophet speaks when he says, “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him...and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth...and righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins” (Isa. 11:2-5).

Many well-known ministers have gone down the tubes during the last fifty years because the righteousness of the Kingdom of God was never fulfilled in their deepest hearts.  They were great preachers, spell-binding orators, magnificent pulpiteers, had powerful gifts of God operating in their lives, with charisma dripping off  their fingertips.  Hundreds and thousands would come to hear them when they showed up.  But their word wasn’t trustworthy; you couldn’t depend on them.  They would not live within their means, nor pay their honest debts. They glibly asked their followers for thousands of dollars in donations and willingly resorted to every sordid trick and sob story to persuade people to give more and more money.  They bilked widows of their life-savings, and then left behind a disgraceful trail of unpaid bills and questionable dealings.  Some were caught in bed with another man’s wife, or ran off with the organist, deserting their own wife and children.  Some divorced and remarried again and again.  I remember one preacher who, every time he came to town, had a different wife!  Now, don’t misunderstand my words.  I am not criticizing any brother or sister who has been divorced and remarried.  I am talking about men who are merely womanizers hiding behind a mask of pretended spirituality.  Others were caught with prostitutes or in homosexual acts.  Others sank into the filth of free love, wife-swapping, and group sex in the name of the Lord!  One died in a hotel room of acute alcoholism.  Even the mighty evangelist whose signs, wonders, and miracle exploits shook the country of Argentina, and whose vision of the sonship ministry remains unparalleled to this day, finally ended his life as an alcoholic, only remembering through his booze the glory days of the past.  Another became obsessed with weird and strange doctrines and illusions of grandeur.  He founded a cult and built a tabernacle with a golden throne surrounded by the twenty-four elders.  Another went to jail for arson.   And, of course, the whole world knows about Jimmy Jones and the Jonestown tragedy!  Others had violent tempers, lying tongues, deceptive methods, kingdom-building spirit, and egos inflated with pride.  What an apt description Peter gives of men who have gifts and power without righteousness: “...having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: which have forsaken the right ways, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (II Pet. 2:14-15).  What shame and reproach these bring on the Kingdom of God by their unholy actions!

 From time to time I meet these folk who call themselves sons of God.  They can discern what God is doing in this hour, they see beautiful revelation truths.  They can thrill your heart with the message they preach.   They understand the deep mysteries of the Kingdom of God.  But somehow the anointing has never gotten down into their feet!  They cannot walk in what they see.  They see it, they talk it, but they can’t walk it.  Their personal lives are a disaster area.  There is a weakness in their ability to follow in the footsteps of the firstborn Son who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace, wisdom and strength. They cannot walk out the wisdom, nature, power or will of God on the earth plane.  They can talk about being overcomers and rattle on endlessly about the victorious life, sonship, kingship and priesthood, ruling and reigning, but they cannot demonstrate a life of victory under pressure or in the nitty-gritty of everyday living.  Their head knowledge is powerful, but their walk is weak and a reproach to the Kingdom of God. What a disgrace it is to have people who can preach the sonship message, teach the glories of the third day, the third feast, the Melchizedek Order and the Kingdom of God, who know the scriptures well, have beautiful revelations, and ability to influence people with the truth and yet cannot WALK IT OUT!

 The one who preaches and teaches, but does not partake of what he gives forth, who testifies to one thing and lives another, has little or no influence when he attempts to share with others the life of Christ.  None judge our relationship with God by our knowledge of the Bible, by our revelations, experiences, or our testimonies.  The Christ life must be walked out in our lives, manifested in our daily walk in the home, on our block, at the job, and before those who see us the most.

 In the wonderful Song of Solomon the Shulamite’s beloved says to her, “How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter!” (S. of S. 7:1).  The word for feet is in the Hebrew PAAMAH meaning not only feet but also steps or footsteps.  It comes from the word PAAM which means “to impel or agitate; to move.”  Ferrar Fenton translates, “How fine your steps are in your slippers!”  Goodspeed renders, “How beautiful are your steps in sandals, O rapturous maiden!”  Another translation says, “How beautiful your steps have become in your sandals, O willing daughter!”  “Steps” indicate action which is taking place. It is not a matter of the beauty of her feet, but of her steps, or her walk.  This is the beauty of her action and her movement.  Praise God, He is beautifying the steps of His chosen ones as He enables them more and more to walk out in the external realm the living word that He has planted deep within the inner man.  It requires the quickening and sanctifying power of HIS LIFE WITHIN, and the enduement of the Holy Spirit in the mind of Christ to enable us to BE OUR MESSAGE, our whole life surrendered to manifest that message, a state of being that proclaims the truth as we walk whether we ever utter a word or not.  We praise God for the teaching and preaching of the word of the Kingdom by faithful ministries, this is an aspect of God’s working, but remember, dear ones, God must not only anoint our ear to hear and our mouth to speak, but He must anoint our feet to so walk out the life of the Kingdom that every action, every deed, every expression, all that we are becomes a declaration of HIM, manifesting HIM, revealing HIM.

Ah, the problem has been that throughout long ages men have sought the power of the Kingdom of God apart from the righteousness of the Kingdom.  Jesus revealed something of the mighty power of the Kingdom of God when He commissioned His disciples with this authoritative word: “As ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” (Mat. 10:7-8).  Men have asked for, and have graciously received, an anointing of that Kingdom power, and have gone forth to do exploits in His name, but in the great majority of cases they neither asked nor sought for, nor did they receive, the corresponding righteousness of the Kingdom.  To possess power without righteousness is a blueprint for tragedy!  It means that men will do the works of God, but cannot live the life of God.  They possess authority without character.  Such will honor God for a season with their mighty works, but just as sure as the pig will return to his wallowing, and the dog to his vomit, just that certain is it that these will ultimately corrupt the power they have received, bringing shame and reproach upon the name of the Lord by their unrighteous conduct.  The only way to get rid of the external purulence is to clean up the internal corruption.  “A new heart also will I put within you.”

 Let us now take heed to the exhortation of Jesus, the pattern Son.  “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mat. 6:33).  Seek until you find and put on the righteousness of the Kingdom!  Pursue it relentlessly.  Make it your top priority.  Settle for nothing less.  That is the pathway to sonship!  That is the route to the throne!  In the “gift” realm you can receive a measure of power without righteousness.  A gift is a gift and is given because of the goodness of the giver, not because of the worthiness of the recipient.  There are no special requirements laid upon those who receive gifts, for it is the Spirit Himself who divides to every man severally as He wills.  One does not have to qualify in order to receive a gift from God.  The great Giver distributes according to His own purpose.  That dispensation of power is free, by pure grace.  But the sonship that God is raising up in the earth in this hour, to set creation free, is not of the gift realm!  Learn this, oh man, and you will know the law of the Kingdom.  Sons of God will not and cannot receive the omnipotence of God apart from the righteousness of God.  Should the kings and priests of God’s Kingdom receive unlimited power without absolute righteousness, the Kingdom of God would soon shipwreck upon the shoals of carnality and Self, as has every spiritual move of God from the days of Adam in Eden until now!  The pattern Son who came in the fullness of Divine Life was also pure, undefiled, harmless, sinless, and not of this world.

 The righteousness of the Kingdom is neither a moral standard nor a code of ethics.  God’s righteousness is JESUS CHRIST.  Apart from the inworking of His holy nature and His beautiful character all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags and putrefying sores.  Christ is made unto us righteousness (I Cor. 1:30) and we are made the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor. 5:21).  When we talk about the righteousness of the Kingdom of God, we have to explain what kind of righteousness we are talking about.  There are two kinds of righteousness set forth in the scriptures that pertain to believers.  The first kind is imputed righteousness.  The second kind is imparted righteousness.  They are not the same!

 “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness...he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was well able to perform.  Therefore it was imputed unto him for righteousness.  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Rom. 4:3,20-24).  So by believing in Yahweh who raised our Lord from the dead we have righteousness imputed unto us.  It is wonderful to have our sins forgiven and not imputed against us any more, and to have the righteousness of God reckoned to us by faith!  But having righteousness imputed to us doesn’t MAKE US RIGHTEOUS.  We are only counted as righteous for His sake.  We can have His righteousness imputed to us and still be very unrighteous in our nature, thoughts and actions, doing many things wrong, and few things right.

God loves all His little children unto whom He has imputed the righteousness of Christ by faith.  And they are His no matter how they are living today.  But He doesn’t want to leave us in this unrighteous state!  He wants to make us righteous!