Friday, December 26, 2008

The Kingdom of God Part 1 - Des Walter

Kingdom of God Part 1

The word "gospel" means good news, and this is the message we are to take to all the peoples of the earth. We are living in a day when there is very little "good" news. Our TV screens are filled with violence and crime, and the world news only makes one depressed. Health-wise we find new diseases afflicting man with all sorts of maladies. We begin to wonder if there is any such thing as good news in this world.
The church has compounded the problem by spreading a "gospel" which carries as much "bad" news as good. This is the gospel of salvation, which says that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and if we will put our trust in Him, He will forgive our sins and takes us to heaven when we die. However, when it comes down to the out-working of this "good news," there is precious little that makes a lot of difference between those who accept this gospel and those who do not. At least that is as far as life here on earth is concerned.
People "converted" under this gospel, continue to live in bondage to sin, and are subject to all the ills and misfortunes that are common to man. It would seem the greatest benefit is not available during this lifetime at all, but only after death and it would be open to question just how much actual "good" news is contained in this "gospel." The conclusion we must come to is that something was left out, or forgotten in the message of this particular gospel.
As we turn back to the scriptures we notice that when Jesus began His preaching ministry, it was with a declaration of the gospel of the Kingdom of God. He said, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent ye and believe the gospel." Now before we can explore this Kingdom gospel, let us look at the teaching upon which the gospel of salvation is based. The popular theology behind the gospel of salvation is built upon the premise that man is born a sinner as a result of Adam’s transgression. It is because this is the foundation teaching of the evangelicals that sin becomes the focus of the gospel they preach. Then it automatically follows that the good news must center on dealing with that sin, and receiving forgiveness. No mention is made of the fact that man has lost his God given status of dominion, and become a slave, nor are we given any true remedy for the situation.
In this study we will discover:
· Who man really is from God’s point of view?
· What dominion involves?
· Did God expect that man would exercise that dominion?
· How is this dominion to function in our lives today?
What is Man?
The Psalmist said, "What is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou visitest him? For thou has made him a little lower than Elohim and crowned him with glory and honor, and made him to have dominion over the works of thy hands, and put all things under his feet," Psalm 8. This is the view that David had of man by revelation of the Spirit of God. Now let us go back to the very beginning where we see man as he comes from the hand of the Creator.
"And God said let us make man in our image and after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, the cattle and over all the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them. And God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth’ ....... And God saw everything that he had made and behold, it was very good," Gen. 1:26-31.
The answer to our question as to what man is has been complicated by the theological concepts of our day. In view of this, we must clarify the question just a little further by focusing our attention on man as he was created by God, and not what he became during the course of history. These two aspects must remain separate if we are to arrive at the truth. Most Bible teachers only see man from the point of view of his failure in the Garden of Eden, while ignoring what he was by creation. No one would consider any automobile that had been abused and damaged, to be a true representation of that particular make of car. So to say man is a sinner surely does not truly represent man as he came from the hand of God!
If we are honest in our quest to discover "what is man" we must go back to the beginning for only then will we discover the truth. Now in order to help us understand the truth, we must look at two scriptures and see by the Spirit their relationship. The first one is found in Genesis 1:26-27, which details the creation of man. He is declared to be the image and the likeness of God, and given dominion over all the works of His hands.
Let us note carefully what is recorded concerning this man in Genesis 1. He is actually brought forth in the likeness (that is the resemblance or comparison) and image (this word means, "to shade," a phantom or illusion) of God. It is necessary to challenge the many and varied concepts of God that exist today among God’s people. It is commonly believed that God is corporeal or has a "body" like ours.
Many Christians imagine God in the form of a man sitting somewhere up in the sky, controlling everything that goes on in this world. However, John tells us clearly that "God is Spirit, and those that worship Him must do so in spirit and truth."
Now if God is Spirit then He has no discernible form or body. Therefore man, who was created in His likeness and image must be spirit, and so there is no mention in the account in Genesis 1:26-27, of any "human" body. I am emphasizing this in order to contrast this man with the man in Genesis 2:7. In this account we find God forming (Hebrew-Yatsar, which means to mold as a potter), man out of the dust of the earth. This "forming" involved using material that already existed and that is the earth. Let us notice that there is no mention here of the likeness and image of God. The reason is clear, because this man, formed of the dust becomes not a spirit, but a living soul, functioning in a body. The image and likeness of God can only relate to that which is Spirit.
When this man was "formed" it required another act on the part of God before this man could begin to live. The scripture declares God breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives and man became a living soul. This statement differentiates between these two men and makes them distinct. Many Bible teachers suggest that these two accounts should be regarded as one, describing the same event from different angles. But this can only bring confusion and destroys the truth concerning what is man! The question is to ascertain what is man’s intrinsic being, and not what he may appear to be from humanities point of view. Whatever man was in "the beginning" is what he is today, regardless of what may transpire through the years. None of the changes we observe in man are permanent, for we hear the voice of God declaring to the whole world,
"Behold I make all things new." Revelation 21:4.
Not I will make all new things, as many Bible teachers teach, but a return to the freshness of the original. For this reason we must know what that "original" man was, and according to Genesis 1:26-27, he was in true spirit form as he came from the hand of the Creator. What then do we understand about the man formed of the dust of the ground with a corporeal body? As we bow before the wisdom of the Almighty, we understand that, "as far as the heavens are above the earth so far are My thoughts above your thoughts and My ways above your ways, saith the Lord."
This then poses the question, is man essentially a spirit being, or is he a human being? Or to put it another way, is man simply a body made from the dust of the earth? Which idea do you think is more correct? If we are just flesh and blood then when we die we simply go back to the dust from whence we came, and that is the end. If we are really spirit, then perhaps the body counts for nothing and we should ignore it, for it is of no consequence. Personally, I do not believe any of these answers are correct, although each one has a good number of followers today.
This is what I believe to be the truth. Because God is Spirit He does not have any "form" in terms of what we can see with our eyes, therefore He is invisible. When God created the heavens and the earth He dispersed Himself throughout all of creation. He is the life in all-living forms, for He is the only source and the sustainer of all life, as scripture declares, "in Him we live and move and have our being." But of course you could look at creation forever and probably never see God, for He is invisible. So out of all creation God chose to make something very special through which He could reveal Himself. That "something" was not a tree, animal or bird, but God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and image."
This special creature, which He called man was to be like no other form of creation. The account of this act of creation is stated in very simple terms for us to understand, but to man has added a good measure of his own imagination, which has robbed this amazing episode of its divine uniqueness. This man came forth exactly as God spoke him into existence. This mystical being was not an angel but was called man. We need to be quickened by the Holy Spirit to see the history of this One through the scriptures but it is all there for those with eyes to see. John said of this One, "In the beginning was the Word." This was the Word spoken by Almighty God in the beginning when He said, "Let us make man."
Now the Greek word used here for "word" is logos, and is full of meaning in this context. It does not refer to the spoken word as such, but includes the thought and the intention that lay behind that word. In other words the logos that came forth in the beginning was not just a word spoken by God, but included with itself the very expression of the heart, mind, will and purpose of God Himself! No wonder it is said that He was created in the likeness and image of God. Now let us look further into what John has to say about this One, "In the beginning was the Word (Logos) and the Word was with God and (for all intent and purposes) He was God."
We need to ponder these words having removed our shoes, for the very ground upon which we stand is holy. It becomes very clear that whatever God was before creation, and wherever He dwelt, at this point a change took place whereby God took up residence in a creature of His own creation called man. But this is not, all for we are told this "man" is both male and female, and two basic directions were given to him. The first is to "be fruitful and multiply" and replenish the earth, and the second is to "have dominion over all the works of God’s hands," or over all creation!
When we face the truth without the interference of our carnal mind, it shines with all the splendor of the noonday sun. Here is the truth, God has become an integral part of His creation in a creature, which is the very pinnacle of everything that was made. The Word, the Logos, from which the whole earth is to be populated, and through this One is to be exercised a dominion over the whole of creation. Just think of it beloved, for this is the wisdom of God! Now wonder David asked the question, "What is man that Thou art mindful of him?"
If you want to know what man is here is your answer, as well as the will and desire of God concerning him. This is the crowning glory of all creation, for as he came forth on the sixth day, God declared it was very good! The zenith had been reached and all that was needed now was for God to sanctify creation, or set it apart in all its pristine glory, and enter into His rest or Sabbath. The final outcome of all creation will be according to the plan and purpose of God established in the beginning, regardless of what issues that may arise along the way.
There are several more thoughts that we must explore here regarding this man created in the likeness and image of God. The first is to discover his identity today. Again we turn to John who declares,
"The Word became flesh."
Now we begin to understand the difference between the man in Genesis 1:26-27, and the man in Genesis 2:7. Here in the beginning is the birthing of a spiritual and a human society, both of which come out of the same root. For the spiritual man this account contains the treasures, which are ours behind the veil of our natural intelligence and the heavenly realities of life for us. The words written here are simply a vehicle to convey to us the hidden mysteries of the Almighty, if we would only look beyond their outward form into the mind of the spirit that they contain.
If we would unravel the mystery of these two men we must start at the very beginning. Thus we read, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Following this announcement little is said about the heavens, but the focus is on the earth, which is declared to be "without form and void." If we only see these words in their natural application, we will miss the true import of their message as they relate to us. If God is merely referring to the physical earth then the whole passage has very little relevance to you and I today. But as the Spirit quickens our mind, we see the earth as being the earth man in Genesis 2:7. The whole passage is actually a commentary on the course the man of the earth took, and God’s restoration plan. Let us look at scripture to see if this idea can be substantiated. The prophet Jeremiah used these very words concerning Judah in chapter 4:23, where he says,
"I beheld the earth and lo it was without form and void, and the heavens they held no light .... I beheld the mountains and lo they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly ..... the fruitful place has become a wilderness and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord ..... the whole land shall be desolate yet will I not make a full end."
This whole chapter is the cry of the prophet for Israel, but Judah in particular. Isaiah uses very similar words in chapter 45, especially verses 4-13, regarding Jacob. So the prophets saw earthly man down through the ages as the "earth" which was without form and void. Now we know this situation did not exist at creation, so it must refer to an event that took place after man came into being. It is in chapter three of Genesis that the story unfolds of that catastrophe which turned the "earth man" from a habitation of God into an empty desolation. The garden fades to be replaced by a wilderness, with this man now existing as a separate identity from God. He had become a "hu-man."
Sad and tragic as this whole episode is, remember the end is assured, for the purpose of God established in the beginning by divine decree cannot be broken. For this reason the Spirit of God inspired Moses to record for us the process in Genesis 1, by which this calamity was reversed for the earth man, until he finds himself again the dwelling place of God and Father’s house, and fulfilling the role given by God. Beloved, we desperately need the Holy Spirit to lift the veil on our understanding, particularly with regards to Moses’ writings. Paul says, "When the heart of natural or earthly Israel shall turn to the Lord, then the veil will be lifted."
Now we must return to John’s revelation where he states that, "the Word became flesh and dwelt (or took up residence) among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father," John 1:14. Who was he referring to? It was the Word made flesh, with a body of flesh and blood just the same as ours today, and born of a woman. This one was called Jesus the Christ. Now Jesus is the name of the man who was born of Mary in Bethlehem, but Christ means "the anointing" or manifestation of God. Now here is the mystery of God entering our human society. With spiritual vision we can see both of the men in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, combined together as Immanuel which means "God with us." In this "man" we see humanity and divinity united, as God becomes integrated into humanity.
This Christ was the One who existed before the incident recorded in Genesis 3, when man partook of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. This is referred to by the Apostle Paul as "the disruption." He also records that we were, "chosen in Him before the disruption that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love," Ephesians 1:4. So, God’s choosing of us was not affected by Adam’s sin. What we were then in Christ is still exactly what we are now at this very moment.
Here then is the picture that unfolds to us as the Holy Spirit turns on the light of divine understanding. There are two streams of man recorded in Genesis, both from the same stock. The one with all the glory of the likeness and image of God was given dominion over all the works of God’s hands. The other man, fitted with a body of dust and made a living soul, begins life elevated over creation, but divided within himself so that Spirit (the God aspect of man) and the soul (the earthly aspect of man), functioned independently of each other. This is represented in Genesis as the separation of the woman (the soul) from the man (the spirit). He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying.
Man, who has borne the image of the earthy, has been sustained by the breath of lives (plural), which God breathed into him. This life functions in the man of the earth through the various channels of the soul, such as the emotional life, physical life, etc. The pure essence of the life of God is Sprit and was forfeited through death, by Adam. Life on the Adamic level has limitations, both as to its duration as well as its quality. It also requires food, water and air in order for it to be sustained. In comparison the life of God or spiritual life needs nothing to sustain it, for it is eternal and can never be destroyed or terminated.
In the Adamic man, the soul broke its allegiance with the Spirit and began to function independently, thus lowering him into the realm of earth from whence he came. God’s divine order is that the Spirit is Lord, and not the soul, whose only task is to manifest and "birth" an expression of what the spirit is. The true spirit man was a perfect expression of the image and likeness of God Himself. The man of the earth found his expression through the faculty of soul, which had prostituted itself to the flesh, thus the image was that of earthliness containing but a dim outline of spiritual reality. The ages have conditioned man to live in the realm of appearance, and to consider what can be seen with natural perception to be reality, so that the unseen world of the spirit now seems like a fantasy, when in fact the reverse is true.
It has been necessary for us to look deeply into man and his origin because of the ignorance and confusion that has been foisted on the Christian church by carnal men, who are limited by their natural understanding. But our goal is to come to a true understanding of the Kingdom of God, so we will continue on to that end.
What is Dominion?
The word dominion is very closely connected with the king and ruling. It would seem from scripture that Nimrod, who was a direct descendant of Noah’s son Ham, established the first dominion in opposition to God. This is recorded in Genesis 10:10, and it is interesting that it was called Babylon or confusion. The authority system set up by Nimrod has continued to create confusion in society right up to this day. The reason why is not difficult to understand.
God’s authority system is God!
Before we can ever understand the Kingdom of God, we must discover the truth about God’s authority, and how it operates. Nothing in man’s authority system functions in the same way, so there is really no comparison. In our discussion on the creation of man, we found that God invested Himself in man, in order that He might become intelligible to humanity. Because of this, God’s authority was not delegated to man, but functioned out of God Himself, who constituted an integral part of man. This means that when God gave dominion to man over all the works of His hands, He did not sit up in some "heaven" dictating orders to this man, which he in turn was to act upon. No, God exercised His authority from within man himself.
This puts the authority of God into a new dimension. But you may say that everything any man does then, must be God, including the disobedience of Adam in the garden. He who has ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit is saying. The overt form of Babylon was established by Nimrod, and continues unto this day, but the birthing of Babylon, took place in the Garden of Eden, in the heart and mind of this creature God made as His dwelling place. What happened in the garden has to do with God’s authority. Any departure from God’s designated authority system automatically becomes Babylon, or confusion. So speaking from within the man Adam, God says, "do not reach out for a knowledge outside the scope of what is in Me, because if you do, you as a being, will be thrown into awful confusion, which will result in you denying who I am and where I am." This is true because God is God and no one and nothing can take His place. Yet if God is allowed to be God within man, that man becomes Immanuel, which is "God with us."
If that does not cause you to worship Him that sits upon the throne, perhaps you may need to check your pulse! Let me explain further. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents for every one of us a knowledge realm that is outside of God. Comparison should never ever enter into our contemplation of God. He is incomparable! If you speak about good and evil you have introduced a human comparison system, upon which mankind bases all his concepts and makes his decisions. If my eye is single and all I can see is God, then I do not need any comparison system. In other words I do not need to consider God and ...... for there is nothing else!
Note the words of scripture, "In the beginning God!" It does not say in the beginning there was God and good and evil, or God and evil. No, there was only God, and nowhere do I find where evil came into being as a part of God’s creation. God is omniscient, and as such knows all things. Therefore if He dwelt in man there is no reason for that man to reach out for any knowledge outside of God, for it could only be death to him. There is no "good and evil" in God, and neither does God think in terms of "good and evil" or function in our lives on the basis of "good and evil," it is totally foreign to Him.
In our world knowledge is power and nations are manipulated by men who use their knowledge, which is kept from the masses in order to achieve their own ends. In what is called Adam’s temptation in the Garden of Eden, man used his mental capacity to explore the possibility of gaining knowledge, which he thought God was withholding from him in order to subjugate him. Because of the brilliance of his mind, Adam was able to tap into this new concept of good and evil, which he assumed would actually constitute him as God. But that knowledge introduced death into his being, because instead of everything being God, now it was "living or dead," "good or evil," or "love and hate."
Six times in the New Testament the Apostle Paul states that, "Everything is out of God," and that is an indisputable fact. But man believes there are realities outside of God, such as sickness, evil, and death to name just a few. Now because of God’s authority structure from within a man, all these things, which we have added to God are given power by us to exercise authority in our lives, which they do because we have convinced ourselves like Adam that they must be all part of God. Although the Bible declares God is love, we declare God loves, but He also hates. He is just, but also burns people in hell forever. Therefore the knowledge of God in man is totally distorted because for us He is no longer omniscient or having all knowledge. We have a knowledge that goes beyond God, because we have the power to discern between good and evil, a comparison or distinction by which means we believe we can rise to divinity, even though it does not exist in reality.
It has been necessary to divert a little in our discussion on dominion, because we must grasp the very basis of God’s authority if we are to enter into a true realization of the Kingdom of God. God’s dominion functions out of Himself as He dwells within man. When He is enthroned within us in reality and in the truth of His being, His dominion or authority, functions out of what God is, and that is love plus nothing! He is our Maker, our Life, our Sustainer, our All, or everything that He is.
But if like Adam we embrace a knowledge that is outside of the I AM, we give that knowledge power and so create our own monsters that enslave us and force us to serve them. They have names like fear, sickness, and death to name but a few, none of these are found in God and are beyond the scope of His omniscience. It is not God that makes us sick or causes us to die, etc., it is the monsters we have created in our own mind by embracing knowledge that is outside of God.
Many Christians rely upon imagination as their guide when it comes to understanding how God functions today and the process of His authority. There is a common perception that God is a "man" up in the sky, sitting in a room or place called heaven from where He dispenses judgment on every infringement of the Ten Commandments committed by mankind. He listens to all our prayers and grants some, but ignores others, while determining what each one deserves on the basis of right and wrong. Most are convinced that God functions out of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, blessing us if we are good and judging us if we are evil. Just think how ridiculous such a notion is, if God functioned out of that same tree Adam was told not to touch.
The question is how does God dispense His authority in this world today? To answer the question we must go back to "the beginning" and see how God established His authority over all creation.
Where is God’s Throne?
If you asked that question of most Christians what would be their answer? I can tell you that they believe God rules from a throne set in some ethereal "heaven" which is the product of man’s imagination. You maybe surprised to know that God established His dominion in man according to Genesis 1:28. "God blessed them and said unto them, be fruitful and replenish the earth and rule over it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowls of the air, and over every creeping thing that creepeth on the earth."
Our main problem is that we picture man as separate from God, an independent being. But as we have seen in our study this is not so, for the likeness and image of God within man is God Himself. The outer form or body does not detract from, nor add to what God is. Many Christians believe that in some abstract way, when they received the Holy Spirit, they received power, which was placed under their control, but this is not true. Jesus Christ set the record straight when the Jews tried to kill Him, because He said that God was His Father, which they considered meant that He was equal with God.
However, look at the answer He gave to them, "The Son can do nothing of himself only what He sees the Father do." He also said to Philip, "Do you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak, I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me, He does the work." So we are left in no doubt that God’s authority is not delegated to man to function independently, as many Christians believe.
Jesus summed up this interaction between God and man when He said, "At that day (when I have returned to my Father), you will know I am in my Father and ye are in Me and I am in you." It was Paul who said, "Great is the mystery of godliness, for God was manifest in the flesh." Today we are taken up totally with the form or outer man, and so do not recognize who it is that dwells within, for that is where we find God.
In creation, God has manifested Himself in every living creature. We may look at a tree and know God is in that tree. Some who have not been enlightened have bowed down and worshipped the tree as God. But the tree, the outer form, is not God, but the life that dwells within it. Man is that special creation in which God not only dwells as the life, but by reason of his being can actually manifest God, so that His presence becomes visible to mankind by demonstration. Thus the power and authority of God is able to be expressed through man, but not independent of God.
Adam’s Sin
The question may be asked, "How can man fulfill the role given to him at creation when Adam failed the test and was cast out of the garden?" The question suggests that God’s plan had failed, and so God had to make some alternative arrangements. Such is the darkness that has invaded the mind of men today. God has never failed in anything He has done, in fact the truth is God cannot fail! The Kingdom of God is a reality today despite Adam’s sin. Not one word spoken at creation has had to be changed, for the word of the Lord stands sure. Let us look at the wisdom of God declared through creation.
We saw in our previous discussion, that man came from the hand of the Creator as a perfect expression of what God had in His mind, in declaring His likeness and image. This one was the Word or Logos, which is the total expression of all that was in the heart and mind of God concerning man. Through the enlightenment or revelation Paul received by the Spirit, he saw this one as Christ, which comes from the Greek word Christos, which means, "anointing." Now it is important that we understand what this anointing is and its purpose.
The anointing is that which takes the invisible God and brings Him into manifestation in the visible world. Christ is not the name of a person, but simply means anointing. It was the anointing that enabled Jesus to perform the miracles, all of which was a manifestation of God.
As we follow this One who is Christ or the Logos through time, we find Paul declaring that we are chosen in Christ before the disruption of the world. Now in the King James version, the word "disruption" is changed to "foundation," but the Greek word used here means "to cast down." When did the "disruption" of the world take place, and what was it? The disruption refers to the casting down of the earth-man in the garden, from a divine state of consciousness to an earth consciousness. This is referred to in Genesis 1 as the "earth" (man), being without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep (or consciousness).
Now in the light of these facts, let us think again about what Paul says, that we were chosen in Christ (the Logos), before the disruption of the world. So our being chosen has absolutely nothing to do with what happened in the Garden of Eden. Just think about it!
A people living thousands of years after the episode in the Garden of Eden are told God chose them in Christ before sin or evil entered into the world. Beloved, do you realize what this means? You and I were chosen in the perfection of Christ or the Logos as He came from the hand of the Creator!! As God see us there is not even the slightest taint of sin upon us when He chose us!
This throws new light upon the words of the Apostle Paul when he says, "If any man be in Christ he is a new creation!" This means we are new in the sense of the freshness and perfection of that creation called "man" who was the Word or Logos, and He came straight from the Creator’s hand. Every word that was said to the first man applies to us today, and what happened in the garden has made no difference.
The proof of this is perfectly evident in the coming of "the Word" to dwell on earth in a human body of flesh and blood. Of Him it is said, that He "knew no sin." He is the prototype of man preserved in all His pristine glory, ready to be revealed as our own true identity, when God speaks within us, "Let there be light."
For the earthly man in the garden, we see a different path that is based upon a desire to achieve the "likeness and image" of God, not as an act of creation, but through the pathways of knowledge. This man by the activity of his brilliant mind explored a knowledge which is not part of God, which he was deliberately told would result in the complete devastation of his being, and be known as death. The life of man is circumscribed by God, and totally limited by what God is. If we try to go beyond the knowledge that is in God, we walk out of the life that is God, like a man walking out of the very air that we breathe.
When Adam touched the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thinking that this knowledge had within it the power to make him "as God," he had stepped out of life and out of God. Carnal man has majored on Adam’s disobedience considering that it was because of his breaking God’s law that God Himself passed the judgment of death upon him. This completely misses the truth that only in God is their life. So the scriptures declare, "In God we live and move and have our being." But it is just as true that if we move beyond what God is, we are dead! Good and evil are not in God, for they refer to comparison, and there is nothing in this entire universe to which we can compare God. He is incomparable. However, you may say, "Surely God is good?" But the very question itself is declaring a further question, which is "Good, compared to what?"
The majesty of God is declared in the name God gave to Moses. He said, "I AM THAT I AM!" There is no comparison, no additions, and nothing to be omitted. I AM. Now when we go beyond that we run out of air to breathe, and we die, just as Adam did. The incredible thing today is that many churches and preachers are encouraging people to live by that same tree, by substituting a code of living based on good and evil, instead of the righteousness of God in Christ. In this concept we arrive at a form of behavior, which is regarded as good, having shunned all that which is considered evil. The result is man has established his own righteousness on the basis of his ability to discern between good and evil, considering this to be the righteousness, which is of God.
The world in which we live today has an insatiable quest for knowledge. There is a "knowledge explosion" in every facet of learning. Children are being taught today what was not known when I was a child. The church has followed the trend, with Bible study, the most popular meeting in the program. Bible teachers are in great demand, expounding their latest doctrine, which most times are simply the product of the carnal mind.
Like Adam, man has gone beyond what is God, while believing that he is still in God, by his doctrines, choices and actions. This is exactly the same form of rebellion in which Adam engaged, and it produces the same results. Thus in this condition, man is outside the Kingdom of God, for he has not submitted himself to God, and so is dead.
However, we must bear in mind that there is really no life outside of God at all. Whatever life is yet functioning in them is based upon the soul of man and operates through the soulish attributes in man. The knowledge of God is covered by the darkness of their heart. As a result of this there is no "dominion" operating through them, so they are literally slaves to sin and death. How then can man enjoy the dominion that he is declared to have in creation?
Paul tells us, "That in the dispensation of the fullness of times, He might gather together in one all things in the Christ, both of which are in heaven (the realm of the Spirit), and on the earth, even in Him." How can this be possible? The answer is in Christ.
Paul declares that, "We were chosen in Christ!" This Christ we discovered is the Word or Logos, who was the pure Spirit man in the likeness and image of God, and to whom was given dominion. So when He came into this world, born of a woman, He came from heaven, and not from the earth. But the wonder of the man Christ Jesus is that He had a body of flesh and blood just the same as ours. Yet whilst he was man in the true sense of the word, He could say, "I and my Father are one!" So in Jesus Christ, God combined these two, the "earthly" as far as the body or form was concerned, yet He was Christ, the anointing, which has the power to bring the invisible God into manifestation.
It is declared of Him that He was the first born of many brethren. These "brethren," all part of the same family, are all born from above, or the realm of heaven. In contrast are those who see themselves as born of Adam or the realm of earth. Therefore those who see themselves as generated from the seed of Adam believe an illusion, which is birthed in man through the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There is no true God to be found within the knowledge of good and evil.
When Jesus began to preach to the people of His day, He told them to repent! What did he mean, confess all your sins and ask for forgiveness? No, repentance is a change of mind, a new direction, based upon new thinking, which allows us to be renewed in our minds by the Spirit of God to see our reality in Christ. Then He continued by saying that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. He was both the herald and the teacher concerning the Kingdom.
Contrary to many modern preachers, Jesus did not refer to the Kingdom in earthly terms, nor did He indicate that it was something for a future time. However, He did declare the mystery of the kingdom when He said it was within you. Just think about it! This personal aspect of the kingdom will be the subject of the next set of notes, but in the meantime allow the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your understanding as you come to Him as a little child, for such is the Kingdom of God.

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