Friday, December 26, 2008

The Kingdom of God Part 3 - Les Walter

Kingdom of God Part 3


The subject of the Kingdom of God is most important for us to understand, because it provides the very basis upon which we are to live life today. Jesus told us to "seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."

In this study we are going to look at the Kingdom in more detail and discover the practical aspects of the pathway by which we enter. Much of the teaching concerning the Kingdom is based upon traditional theology, most of which is simply the product of the minds of men. It is commonly accepted that the Kingdom of God is something that will be established after what is termed the "second coming of Christ." The concept is, that Christ will then set up His Kingdom in the city of Jerusalem and from there will ultimately rule the world with a "rod of iron."

To understand God’s Kingdom we must first realize that it is not literal! Jesus Himself declared that it would not come by observation or in other words it is not visible to the natural eye. So anyone who is looking for a literal kingdom on the earth with a man enthroned as king, will be disappointed. The natural mind of man cannot conceive anything that is not literal or visible, and for this reason Jesus told the disciples that the world would not be able to receive the Holy Spirit because they could not see Him.

The only theologian who is qualified to teach us, concerning the things that be of God, is the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Truth. Jesus declared that when the holy spirit is come He will "lead you into all truth." So both the writer and the reader must bow to the divine teacher who alone knows the deep things of God.

Now we recognize that everyone who seeks to teach the word of God needs the anointing of the Holy Spirit to do so, but, how many of us understand that the hearer also needs the anointing of the Spirit before they can know those things that be of God? Apart from the Spirit of God we will never understand spiritual things. It matters not whether one has a university degree or is illiterate, because apart from the Holy Spirit we will remain ignorant of truth. So to hear what the Lord would say to us let us all bow before Him.

Because the Kingdom of God is not a literal kingdom, does not mean that there is no physical evidence of its function in this world. Paul said the Kingdom is not "meat and drink," both of which are physical, "but righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Ghost," which are non-tangible, and yet their effect can be seen. We will first go back to the "beginning" in our search to discover the truth about the Kingdom of God.

The Beginning

The Bible begins with the words, "In the beginning." Our natural minds can go no further for eternity is not a "human" concept since we are locked into the limitation we call time, where everything has a beginning and an end. However, we know that at this point in which God created the heavens and the earth, He already existed. There is no other power or authority for He is the "subjector" of all. I believe it would be reasonable to say that the Kingdom of God was not a created thing as such, but is the function of God in His capacity as God.

It was "in the beginning" that the question of authority arose, because God decided to declare Himself through creation, all of which existed within Himself. To this the scriptures agree when Paul says God has manifested the "invisible things of Himself" through the creation of the world, so that He would be known by mankind who is also a part of that creation. Among those "invisible things of Himself" that He wanted to make known was His power and divinity.

It was in man, the highest form of creation, that God placed the "invisible things of Himself" on display. First of all man was created in the "likeness and image" of God so that something of the divine representation was incorporated into his being. Also, dominion was given to man over all the works of God’s hands. I do not believe that we have given sufficient thought to these facts and their effect upon us today. So let us look at the divine intention concerning man in Genesis chapter one.

The word "dominion" has to do with rule as it would apply to any king, and this first man was given expressly, dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, over the cattle or four-footed beasts, over every creeping thing, and over all the earth. This comprehensive mandate was the charge given to the man, who was created in the likeness and image of God.

However this was not the total responsibility given to man, for we read God also said to him be "fruitful and multiply and replenish or fill the earth and subdue it." After this his dominion is extended to include "every living thing that moveth on the earth." Finally a direction is given concerning the provision of food for all living souls on the earth, which was to be the green herb of the field.

In all of this discussion about the man created in the likeness and image of God, we must conclude that the dominion or "rule" given to him is in some way connected to the Kingdom of God spoken about in the scriptures. It is not surprising therefore that when Jesus Christ came into the world He said that the Kingdom is within you, since He was the Word that was in the beginning, now made flesh. Jesus Christ Himself was the true expression of that Kingdom, because it is through Him that God would manifest His power and divinity, so that it could be known throughout all the earth.

We must ask the question, why the divine rule or Kingdom of God is not evident in society today, if man was given this dominion in the beginning? We have chaos among the animal kingdom as the strong kill the weak, and the same with the birds and the fish. Death and suffering abound on every hand. Then within the world of humanity we have sickness, suffering and death, besides the evil that man inflicts on his fellow man in war, murder, rape and other evils too numerous to mention. What has happened to this "intention" of the Creator that man should have dominion over all the works of His hands, controlling all of creation out of the "divinity," that was expressed in him as God’s likeness and image? If we are honest we would have to admit that today man is probably more of the problem than any part of the answer.

To really understand the situation we need to allow the scriptures to provide us with the answer, rather than asking some theologian to give us his views on the matter. We will begin the search by looking into the scriptures themselves and allowing the Holy Spirit to enlighten us as to what they have to say.

The Disruption

There are three verses we may consider in the New Testament in order to begin our search, and I will quote them for you so you will be familiar with the scriptures concerned:

"That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet saying, I will open my mouth in parables, and utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world," Matt 13:35.

"According as he hath chosen us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world," Ephesians 1:4.

"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, (the beast) whose names are not written in the book of the life of the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world," Revelation 13:8.

The word "foundation" occurs in each of these verses and the casual reader would assume that this refers to the time when God laid the foundation of the heavens and the earth. We must always bear in mind that the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit because they can only be spiritually discerned. However the Greek word used here for foundation, is the word "katabole" and means "the casting down." For this reason some translations use the word "disruption" to better express the true meaning.

The next question is, to what does this "casting down" or "disruption," refer to? Because it is the focal point of the three scriptures quoted, it becomes obvious that it has reference to the time when Adam rebelled against the rule of God and partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. At that moment the rule or authority of God was cast down and disrupted, and in its place another rule or authority based upon the knowledge of good and evil took its place. Adam rejected the fact that the dominion given to man in Genesis 1:26, only operated through a divine union between God and the man He created.

John in his gospel correctly identifies the man created in God’s likeness and image as "the Word." He was in the beginning with God and was God. In the Greek language he is called the "Logos" which is not simply a word, but also contains the whole thought and intention that was in the mind of the one who spoke the word. So we can see that as the Logos, man was the total expression of what God is. In this sense we can say He was God.

However when the Word became flesh, He could declare God to be His Father from whence He came, which made Him the Son of God. The religious leaders of that day could not comprehend what Jesus was saying when He said, "I and my Father are one." They considered the statement to be blasphemy so tried to kill Him, because to them He was making Himself God.

Now I have said all that to let you see that God the Creator, and the man He created were in fact one. So when the man was given dominion over all the works of God’s hands, it was in the context of the union which existed between the two. However in the Garden of Eden, Adam obviously believed the lie of the enemy that there was a place and position beyond that which was invested in man through creation. All he had to do to achieve it was to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and he would be God in his own right.

The man Adam considered the knowledge he gained from the forbidden tree gave him sovereignty over his own life, separate from His Creator. In his rebellion man adopted a separate identity from God. Instead of being the "express image of His person," he saw himself as something formed from the dust of the ground, and would one day return to that same dust.

This is what disrupted the dominion or authority of God, which is called the Kingdom of God. This dominion was now replaced by a spurious authority, which was based upon good and evil. From that moment there was a disruption concerning God’s authority over the man He created. This is the disruption that cast the world into spiritual chaos. From that moment the Kingdom of God no longer functioned in man’s world until God’s only begotten Son became flesh, and declared to the groaning creation that the Kingdom of God had come!

Let us go another step in the pursuit of truth and say that because this "new" knowledge of good and evil, which governs the life of every man in Adam, was not placed there by the true God. There was created in his own mind another "God," which was simply a figment of his imagination. This "God" became responsible to dispense the "new authority" in everything that involved the life of man, especially in relation to good and evil. This is the one referred to as the God of this world, about which we will have more to say later. This now results in a total reversal of reality, because the man now becomes "God," and so has the power to create someone in his likeness and image, and to this one he gives dominion over mankind.

Here is the birth of the kingdom of darkness, which is set in opposition to the Kingdom of God. Now we need to understand that in spiritual terms darkness refers to "ignorance of God," and so everyone who lives in that kingdom "created" in the mind or consciousness of fallen Adam, does not know God. Light, which has the power to dispel the darkness is the knowledge of God, referred to in John 17:3 as eternal life.

So when Jesus Christ the Word came into the world, it was said of him, "He was in the world and the world was made by him, but the world knew him not." He had been replaced by another consciousness, and was not recognized as representing the authority controlling the circumstances of humanity. The reason being that He did not represent the "God" they were conscious of, because they were dominated by an "alien power."

The transition to this complete domination was achieved as soon as Adam believed he was a separate entity from God. Up to that point nothing could have dominated man, because his consciousness declared from within "I and My Father are One." No external proof of this fact was possible or necessary, but to contradict this truth, Adam had to abandon his consciousness as the Word or Logos established in him at creation, and function out of a new consciousness established by natural sight, in the world of appearance. Therefore, he now lived out of the knowledge of good and evil, which is based upon a comparison system. Adam decided now he was something different to, and separate from God. His "new" knowledge declared what he now believed to be truth, and that he was naked! The question God asked of him is full of meaning, "Who told you?" To put it bluntly, the question really asked, "what is your authority for making such a declaration because it is not authorized by God your Creator?"

From the time of the disruption mankind has not lived in the real world, but has suffered under a delusion, and the tyranny of the "god" of good and evil known as the "god of this world."

This "god" blesses those who do good and punishes those who do evil. He functions according to an external law, without mercy, declaring, "The soul that sinneth it shall die." He also is responsible for everything that happens on the planet. He controls the weather, including the cyclones, tornadoes and earthquakes, which kill thousands. He holds the power of life and death over all mankind, and is responsible for the starving millions in the world. He sanctions war, even though the law states "thou shalt not kill," and takes sides in the conflict by assisting those he considers are more righteous.

He tells us to pray but seems very arbitrary in his response to our cries for help, for sometimes he seems to say yes and delivers us and other times allows us to be destroyed. It appears that he makes us sick, so that we can become better Christians through suffering.

He uses our negative circumstances as punishment for our disobedience, in order to bring us back into line. If we tithe to the church he will grant us prosperity but if we don’t, he brings poverty upon us. If we love him we will go to heaven when we die, but if not he banishes us to hell. He blesses those who are Christians, but has no regard for the heathen, or those who do not trust in him. Finally, if we do not respond correctly to him, he has the power to throw us into an eternal, burning hell, where we will suffer forever and ever.

This is the "God" which has evolved through the Adamic consciousness, under whose authority we have chosen to live. However the fact is that this "God" is not part of reality at all, and actually does not even exist. But you say, he does exist, because he exercises his authority over my life. So what is the answer? The answer is, this "God" is not reality, but exists only in the carnal mind of man! Now you can have a god, but you cannot make a god, however you can make an idol. Now do not be fooled by thinking an idol must have some form and shape, because you can make an idol in your mind and then call it "God." Then where is its source of power? The answer is the same as in all cases of idolatry, you give it the power.

The Adam consciousness has formed its own God, which is really an idol because it has no reality. This "God" in contrast to the true God, forms man out of the dust of the earth, which had already been created, because he had no power to do otherwise.

The result is that now this man formed of the dust of the earth becomes a living soul, and so are all his offspring. They are born in his (Adam’s) likeness and image and are subject to the law of sin and death. From this scenario it can be seen that Adam, through disobedience did not live under the authority of the Kingdom of God, but under the dominion of darkness, which is death.

Instead of God being his Father, He had now become Adam’s enemy from whom he must hide. Adam’s disobedience had cost him his union with a loving God and Father, and the abundance of Father’s House. His life consisted of "tilling the ground" from which his needs must now be met. But being cursed, it yielded a bountiful harvest of thorns and thistles, but with little produce, and the price of his existence is now reckoned in sweat and tears.

So to sum up this section, we have discovered the rule or Kingdom of God was disrupted by Adam when he sought for equality with God on his own terms through the knowledge of good and evil. As a result Adam cut himself off from the benefits of divine supply and divine authority, and accepted responsibility for himself. Now Adam served the creation (earth) as the source of his supply and life, becoming a "tiller of the ground." Instead of living as a Son of God with dominion over everything God made, he became a slave to that which was created, including the serpent. This is a picture of the disruption of the Kingdom of God.

The whole concept of the Kingdom of God was now so totally outside the understanding of man, that to introduce it required much more than some literal statement. For this reason God sent his original, only begotten Son into the world to demonstrate the Kingdom in all its glorious reality. This One was no "tiller of the ground" nor did He look to the earth for His life or supply. He declared His origin was out of God in heaven from whence He came.

He fed five thousand people without tilling the ground, through the inexhaustible supply from heaven. He brought water out of a rock for Israel in the wilderness, and supplied "manna" to sustain them for forty years in a desert where nothing would grow. He walked on water and stilled the storm, showing His power over creation. Thus the Kingdom of God functioned before the eyes of the people.

Finally when on trial for his very life, instead of fear He declared, "No man takes my life, for I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it up again." He demonstrated no fear of death at all when He raised Lazarus who had been dead four days.

Behold the King

After thirty years living in relative obscurity, Jesus came to the river Jordan and is baptized of John to fulfill all righteousness. The heavens opened and a voice said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." What is the purpose for such a declaration, are not all men the offspring of God? (Acts 17:28-29)

You may be surprised to know God only had one son, and for that reason He is called the only begotten Son. Since the disruption, man considers he came from the dust and is going back to the dust. He has a beginning and therefore he has an end. To correct this false sense of identity, God sent His only begotten Son, created out of Himself, the proto-type and original man, into this world.

John’s statement is simply "the Word was made flesh." In this, Father was refuting the lie that man’s was created out of the earth, thus locking him into the kingdom of darkness. He was saying to the whole universe, that man today is ignorant of his true origin and identity, declaring this One standing before them to be God’s original man and prototype created in His likeness and image.

Jesus Himself confounded the anthropologists by declaring that He came from heaven or realm of the Spirit, and not from Adam or the dust, and that He would return back from whence He came. He claimed God as His Father when He said, "if you have seen me, you have seen the Father." He stated that His life was not limited by any physical birth, and that He existed before Abraham. He claimed a union of complete oneness with the Father. He referred to Himself as the Son of Man, by which he meant that He was the son of that man created in the beginning in the "likeness and image of God."

When questioning the disciples concerning who they thought He was, Peter declared, "Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God." Jesus confirmed the truth of that statement saying it came as a revelation from His Father. This meant that He was also Messiah of the Old Testament, as well as Christ of the New. The testimony of John recorded in his gospel, chapter 1: "In the beginning was the Word (or Logos), and the word was with God, and the Word was God, the same was in the beginning with God." Here the apostle identifies Him as the one created in the "likeness and image of God" in the beginning.

Thus the declaration of the gospel, which came by Jesus Christ, was: "The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the Gospel."

The Greek word for "time" used here has nothing to do with the clock or calendar, but a time set by God, a time of divine appointment. This particular time is related to the establishing of the Kingdom of God in the man Jesus. You will notice that the announcement of the Kingdom was not given until he was thirty years old, and after the declaration of His Sonship at the river Jordan, which was followed by the temptation in the wilderness. All this was required before the "time" could be fulfilled for the Kingdom to find its expression.

Many Christians have been taught that Jesus was Himself God and not a man, because it is written in the Nicene Creed. If this were to be so, then tell me what was the point of the temptation in the wilderness, because if He was God He could not have failed? No beloved, Jesus was a man otherwise the gospel has no relevance to mortal man today. So let’s look for a moment at the two issues that brought about the time being fulfilled.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam lost sight of his true identity as a Son of God, believing the lie that he had come from the dust. Since that time man has had no sense of his spiritual origin in God, but considers he was born and that he will die. Jesus was born of a virgin whose name was Mary, conceived by the Holy Ghost. So as a man there was no reason for him to believe anything different about his identity other than that he was born. Of course I am sure Mary told him about the visit of the angels and the problem she had with Joseph wanting to put her away.

How then did Jesus discover his real identity? We are told in Luke 4:16 that it was his custom to go into the synagogue where he had access to the Old Testament scrolls. On one occasion after he had qualified to enter the Kingdom of God, he chose a scripture to read to the people as a personal testimony. This is what it says:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, and hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty them that are bruised, and preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Isaiah 61:11-2, and Luke 4:18.

Jesus then announced, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." In other words he understood that those scriptures spoke of Himself. After His death, burial and resurrection, we find him walking with two of the discouraged and disillusioned disciples who had believed that Jesus was the promised one who should redeem Israel, but now were full of doubts because they had just witnessed his death. They were still grieving three days later when Jesus caught up with them and said,

"O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the Prophets had spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?" Luke 24:25-26.

Beloved, Jesus did not have the New Testament as we have, yet he discovered his identity through the voice of the prophets. The truth is that the Messiah of the Old Testament is the Christ of the New. So whatever is spoken of Him in the Old, is applicable to all who are in Christ. Jesus understood these things which formed the basis of His own identity.

But now comes the testing just as it came to Adam. Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness immediately after His anointing as Messiah, the second man and the last Adam, who is the Christ. The stage is not of His choosing, but is set for Him. There is no physical food and nothing grows in the wilderness. So a great strain is put upon his physical being to prove if His origin is God or the dust. The body now raises its voice to be satisfied, fearing death, but no effort is made to satisfy its craving.

The word "tempted" means tried or put to the test, and the Greek actually means, "to pierce through, so as to test." The testing covered the same three areas in which Adam was tested. The Apostle John speaks of these three areas as being, the things that are "in the world" and "not of the Father," 1 John 2:16.

· The lust of the flesh
· The lust of the eyes
· The pride of life

Tradition has declared that there were three temptations, but nowhere is this affirmed in scripture, for it appears that the tests were repeated in another order, as we compare the different accounts.

"If Thou art the Son of God" or more exactly, "If thou art Son of God," for there is no article with "Son." The devil is alluding to the words the Father spoke to Jesus at his baptism, "This is my Son, the Beloved." He challenges this statement just as did the "serpent" in the Garden when he said, "Hath God said?" The test is to see if these words were simply knowledge, or had become his established consciousness. In other words did Jesus just assume the condition of Sonship to be true with the natural mind? The tempter deftly called on Jesus to exercise his power as Son of God to appease his hunger, and thus prove to himself that he really was what the Father called him.

"Command that these stones become loaves," (each stone a loaf). It was all so simple, obvious and easy. It would satisfy the hunger of Christ and was quite within his power. But herein lies the test, for to do so would place the truth on trial making it dependent upon his ability to demonstrate its reality. Beloved here is where most of us have failed the test. To each one of us comes the voice of the tempter, as truth is revealed to us saying, "prove it to me and I will believe you," but if you cannot prove it, then you must admit that it is not true.

To accept this premise is to doubt the word of God, and so cannot be classed as faith. You see the Father’s statement of Jesus’ true identity as Son of God remains forever truth, without any physical or mental proof. As soon as we try to prove what God says to be true, we enter into doubt, which chains us to the kingdom of darkness. The reply to the request of the tempter was simply another statement of truth, without entering into any argument.

The "proof" of your real identity in Christ is not your ability to heal the sick, or raise the dead, but that inner voice of the Spirit within you crying ABBA Father. From the moment you see the heaven’s opened (the realm of Spirit) and hear Father’s voice declaring your sonship, you can do whatever you see your Father doing, and you can say whatever you hear your Father saying, but nothing more, regardless of the circumstances involved. This is the limitation of true sonship that so many refuse to accept.

Because this is such an important issue I feel that we must pursue the question of sonship further. The Apostle Paul covers the basis of sonship in his epistle to the Galatians, and I will quote the verses for you.

"If you be Christ’s then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Now I say the heir as long as he is a child does not differ from a servant, though he be lord of all. For he is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the Father. So we also when we were children were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His son made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that are under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons God has sent forth the spirit of His Son into our hearts crying ABBA, Father."

Now let us define the words Paul used in order to better understand their implications for us today. The word heir refers to being Abraham’s seed, and if you are in Christ then you qualify as an heir of God

This is a most wonderful truth and many rejoice in it. However Paul now proceeds to qualify this truth by saying, if that heir is but a child then he is not entitled to the inheritance. What does he mean by a child? This word in the Greek refers to an infant who has not yet learned to communicate.

Paul is saying the child is one who is too young to speak, which means in the spiritual metaphor, one who is unlearned and immature. These are reckoned in the same category as a common slave in regard to the inheritance, even though in a legal sense he may be Lord of that inheritance.

Because this "heir" is a child, he is subject to tutors and governors, so who are these educators? In the Spiritual realm these "tutors" represent primarily the Holy Spirit, who is the divine teacher appointed by the Father, but also includes those who are led by the Spirit in preaching and teaching. The training was not for a specific time, but was at the discretion of the Father, or to relate it to the scripture, until the time appointed of the Father.

During this time of tutoring,, the child is said to be in bondage, under the elements of the cosmos. This involves the natural laws of the universe, as well as the laws of governments and the standards of society, etc. We are subject to pain and suffering, sickness and death, besides fear and deprivation, amongst other things.

However in the Jewish home, the children were not sent out to school, for their education but their "tutors" were arranged by their father. They were responsible for instilling into the children not just their general education, but also the very character of their father, because the boys were expected to be able to represent him in any given situation by the time they graduated. This is a beautiful picture of our "training" under the Holy Spirit’s tuition, building into us not just Bible knowledge, but the very character and nature of our heavenly Father.

The "graduation" is called in our English Bible an adoption, however this term is confusing. No one can be "adopted" into God’s "family" as we would understand the term today. One must be born into the family of God to qualify as a son.

So what does the apostle mean concerning this adoption? In the Jewish family, this graduation was a time of great celebration. The child now trained in the ways of his father, is placed in the family and declared to be a responsible son with all the rights and privileges of family, and he is able to act on his father’s behalf. For Jesus this took place after he came out of the waters of baptism in the Jordan River. It was then the heavens opened and the Father spoke and said, "This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!"

The tutor had done an excellent job, but His work was to be put to the ultimate test. Jesus was at that moment declared to be Son of God, and from that moment He represented the Father, and His ministry began. Later Peter declared of this event, "God anointed Jesus with the Holy Ghost and with power," (dunimus), the divine power of God. Let it be known beloved that no one receives what Jesus was given that day, until they have been also placed or declared to be a Son of God.

What then shall be the evidence that such a declaration has been made by the "voice" of the Spirit within? God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying ABBA….Father. This is the cry that arises out of the very consciousness of our being…. Father. This name declares the most intimate relationship man can have with God. But this cry does not emanate from the natural mind, nor is it simply a term memorized from a verse in the Bible, but is generated by the Spirit of God out of the "depths" of a man’s consciousness, declaring "I and My Father are One!"

Then note the result, "Wherefore you are no more a servant or slave but a son, and if a son then an heir of God through Christ," Gal 4:7. Hallelujah! Just think about it for a moment, for here we see some of the issues concerning the reality of the Kingdom of God which apply equally to us today.

In contrast to the testing of Jesus, we have all witnessed how charismatic preachers to establish their credibility in the eyes of the people have used the "gifts" of the spirit. Their "charisma" that put them among the stars did not come from true sonship, but from proving their ability before the people. To be able to lay people out on the floor, called "being slain in the spirit," is high on the priority list of those seeking notoriety. If the technique is failing, a gentle push is perfectly admissible.

The miracles Jesus did were not exhibitions before crowds of people, and in many cases he told those who were blessed not to tell anyone. Jesus saw many in his day who were sick, but he never healed them! Why, because his sonship demanded absolute obedience to the Father’s will, just as it will in your life and mine. The King in the Kingdom of God has all authority, and the sons only live to do the will of the Father.

He did not have to prove anything to anyone. In other words, He was not Son of God because He healed the sick or raised the dead, but He healed the sick and raised the dead because He heard the voice of God, and believed what the voice said in declaring His true identity.

When asked to prove His sonship Jesus simply replied, "It is written" i.e. it stands written and is still in force. Each time, Jesus did not quote the "voice of God" which only applies to those who have ears to hear, but appealed to that which was "written," to repel the subtle temptation of the devil. Here it is in Deut. 8:3 from the Septuagint. "Bread is a mere detail in man’s dependence upon God." Our life depends upon "every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," which is established in us as truth requiring no other proof than that God said it.

In the "temptation" our Lord endured, we can see a parallel to the history of Israel. Before the children of Israel could enter the Promised Land, they had to endure the journey through the wilderness. In Deut. 8, Moses is speaking about that "journey" from Egypt, which represented the land of bondage and suffering, to the land of Canaan which was known as the Promised Land.

Moses states "they were led by the Lord God for forty years in the wilderness, to prove them and to know what was in their heart," and whether they would submit to the authority or dominion of God. So the forty years represent a time of testing with these three things in view. The land of Canaan represents for us the Kingdom of God, with Israel a type of the believer who seeks release from domination by a "Pharaoh" who has enslaved us. So we can view the story as a parable representing our struggle to enter into the rest of God.

One of the greatest tragedies of our time is that man’s theology has removed the struggle and testing from this reality and presented to humanity a "quick fix" gospel. It says, "Give your heart to Jesus and believe He died for your sins, and you will be born again, and then you will go to heaven when you die." Such thinking has nothing to do with the reality of entering into the Kingdom of God. Many can testify that as they face defeat and despair in their life, "their gospel" proved to be more like quicksand than a rock bringing safety and deliverance.

After 6000 years of human history living in the world of darkness, the eyes of man will obviously take some time to adjust to the light of God. The search for God as reality will consume your entire life, and the struggle involved will demand all your energy, because when you have found Him, your mortal life will be consumed, thus releasing the spirit that recognizes God as Father.

Now having seen the importance of this time of testing let us continue, for the scripture says, "They that search for Me with their whole heart shall find Me."

The wilderness "testing" was primarily to see if Israel could really trust God implicitly. After leaving Egypt by a miracle, they came to the Red Sea and could see no way of escape from the pursuing enemy, so they murmered and complained to Moses, who represented God to them. Even Moses lacked confidence at that moment despite having had personal contact with the "I AM that I AM." But this is a lesson which is designed to build Israel’s confidence in I AM. So Moses is told to hold out his rod over the sea which became dry land, and the people were able to cross over on the path provided. Finally, when the Egyptians tried to follow, God returned the waters and the might of Egypt was broken so as not to trouble Israel again on their journey.

This should have satisfied every heart that God would take care of them, however they are soon crying out for bread, not in confidence that "I AM" was the source of all supply, but in frustration. However God remains faithful and will not allow us to be tested above that we are able, for that would simply destroy us and prove nothing. So God ends this test by supplying manna sufficient for their needs, having proved to them that they do not trust Him.

The story goes from one issue to the next, the people now complain they have no water, and the fear of death that stalked them in Egypt continues to manifest even now. No water to them means death, and the presence of the I AM in the cloud did not influence their thinking at all. Yes beloved, God was in the cloud by day and in the fire by night, but the knowledge of God was not in their consciousness, so they lived as those who knew not God!

Again the test is not prolonged, but only long enough for them to be aware of their thoughts and actions. God provides water out of a rock, which is a type of Christ. It is so easy for us to consider Israel and their gross failure, but consider this for a moment. Today we have a revelation of Christ far beyond what was revealed to Israel, and know that He dwells within us, yet beloved how do we fare in the circumstances of our life when in need, or faced with seemingly impossible situations? Can we trust the "I AM" any more than did Israel?

Let us also note that after many miracles and divine interventions, there was a whole generation that perished in that wilderness. They failed the test and so disqualified themselves from entering the "Kingdom of God." Make sure you understand what we are saying here, it was a whole generation!! Who are these who fail the test? Can they be identified? Paul tells us that all "these things are recorded as examples," which we need to consider as how they relate to us today.

The generation who are not qualified to enter into the Kingdom of God are the offspring of Adam, the man of rebellion who came from the dust, and is governed by good and evil. Not one of his offspring will ever enter into the Kingdom of God. You may ask concerning these, whether they will be saved or lost? My answer is, the Kingdom of God has little to do with some future destiny, but concerns a state of being which we can enter and enjoy today.

The Kingdom of God is a realm in which Christ reigns supreme without opposition, being the sole source of all supply and having all authority so that there is nothing that offends. There the lion sleeps peacefully beside the lamb. There will be no night, for the lamb the nature of God is the light thereof. Love, light and life control, and have dominion over everything.

Paul tells us that in Adam everyone dies because they are dust. But in Christ everyone lives, because God is their Father and He has no beginning and no end. So beloved check your origin, for those whose generation is traced back to Adam do not qualify to enter into the Kingdom of God. These will die in the struggles of life being overcome by death, having never been delivered from its power. Leaving Egypt is not a guarantee of entering the Kingdom.

The final miracle that took Israel into the Land of Promise was the crossing of Jordan. Jordan, which represents death, was the final barrier between Israel and Canaan, or the Kingdom of God. Remember beloved, flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, for it is from the earth, and so has an end and must be left behind.

Death Swallowed Up In Victory

Much of our theology is very confused concerning death, but the Holy Spirit is revealing the secrets of Life to us today. There is an existence, which the Bible calls death, and there is an existence, which it calls life. (See Rev 3:1, Matt 8:22, John 5:25.) From our human perspective we see life simply as the opposite of death, and death as the absence of life. You may be surprised to know that from God’s point of view death, and life are really two levels of existence.

This is easy to understand for in nature there are many levels of existence. Man has life and can move and think and reason and know God who is invisible. Animals have life and can move and express themselves being souls even as man, but are limited in intelligence, etc. Plants and trees have life but cannot move and their expression is limited even more. Then we could go on into even lower forms of microscopic life, all of which are alive nevertheless.

From God’s point of view man can "live" on only one of two levels. One is the earthly level where the realities are all within the realm of appearance, and is governed by the knowledge of good an evil. This earthly level of living is called death in the Bible. On this "level" our consciousness is devoid of a true knowledge of God, so that our life is the result of being born, i.e. we are flesh and blood. We look back to Adam as the one from whom we have come. We can be happy and kind and experience love, but also hate and be tormented by fears, sickness, suffering and death. On this level the only knowledge of God we have is through the natural mind, and is based upon verses in the Bible. As earth bound creatures the reality of God never touches our consciousness so we can never know Him!

This is the "flesh and blood" man whose level of consciousness functions and operates on an earth level, breathing the natural oxygen of this earth’s atmosphere in order to sustain life. This one lives life as a separate entity from God, believing they are responsible for their own life, and also for their own needs. This is the "flesh and blood" that cannot inherit the Kingdom of God for the "atmosphere" there, does not sustain such a life!

However, there is another higher level or realm in which we may live, and this is the realm of Spirit, which incorporates the invisible world. This realm is not discernible by the natural flesh and blood man, nor can it be seen with natural sight. For this very reason Jesus told Nicodemus, "You must be born from above, or you cannot see the Kingdom of God," because it cannot be seen with natural eyes.

To be born from above involves a new consciousness based upon a new origin and source of life. It is commonly referred to as being born again, but with little understanding of its true implications. The true experience is far more dynamic than asking Jesus into our heart and believing that He died for our sins! Nicodemus, representing the carnal mind tried to grasp the import of the words in terms of natural birth, but Jesus was speaking of spiritual things of which the natural is but a parable.

The Parable in Nature

To be born from above is not so strange a statement, for this same thing functions in nature everyday. The life in the soil is absorbed by the plant through its roots, and so is swallowed up into a higher form of life (from above), the life of the plant. Now the plant life is eaten by the cow lifting it up yet higher on the scale of life to become animal life. Finally, the cow produced by the life in the soil, plus the life of the plant, now becomes steak, which is eaten or "swallowed up" to become a still higher (from above) form of life as man. Now in the same way God is saying that this mortal life of flesh and blood must put on immortality. How can this bea? By being "swallowed up," or incorporated into God.

Jesus called it being born from above, which is God, the source and origin of all life in the universe. Only then has life reached its peak, having discovered the Father of all. Paul says, "As we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."

It is most important to understand that the lifting of life from one level to the next must of necessity involve a death. The seed must die or it will abide alone! The plant must die as it is stripped from its source of life before it can be lifted into a higher realm in the animal kingdom. Likewise the animal must die before it can be incorporated into a higher life in man. In the same way man must die to his mortality and be severed from that which had been his source of life in the earth. The reason is clear, for God alone becomes the only source of that life which was given to man created in His own likeness and image.

I have shared these things to show you that we cannot enter the Kingdom without passing through death to that flesh and blood man, and severing the very life-line that perpetuates his mortality. Death must be allowed to complete its work in us by destroying our earth consciousness, our sense of separation from God, the concept of our nakedness, and our fear of impending doom. It is an established principle in God that life comes out of death and it is called resurrection.

Because our natural concept of death concerns being placed in a coffin and buried in the cemetery, the question is, how can we pass through death and not be totally destroyed? For this reason we have the history of Israel recorded for us, which to the natural mind is just that, history. However to those enlightened by the Holy Spirit the veil is removed to reveal spiritual truth for us today. Let us look at the details of Israel’s crossing over the Jordan River.

The Lord told Israel they were to keep their eyes on the Ark of God, which represented the presence of God. We have no such physical representation of God today, but the Messiah of the Old Testament, who is also the Christ of the New, He became flesh and tabernacled among us. So we must look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith.

The priests were ordered to carry the ark down into the river Jordan, which represented death. But please notice that as soon as the feet of the priests touched the water, the river (death) stopped flowing. Just think about it! Now that was simply the type, but the reality is that when Christ (the Ark) died and was buried the power of death was interrupted and broken forever. Then on the third day Christ arose triumphant and the cry went up, "O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?"

Notice that for Israel the ark remained in the river until every last one had passed over into Canaan! That speaks volumes to us concerning the work of the cross of Christ. But what is the application for us today?

The river of death is a stream that flows through a generation of people, just as a particular "gene" is transferred from parent to child. The source of that river is Adam, who disobeyed the command of God by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The result for Adam was that "in dying you will die," and so sin and death were passed upon all men. Death is in the "genes" of everyone born of Adam, so even a little innocent baby is subject to death.

How then can this "river" of death be stopped seeing it flows through a whole generation of people? The answer is simple, the whole generation of Adam must die.

How can this be done without destroying the whole of humanity? Paul tells us that the man Adam was "a figure of him that was to come," Romans 5:14. That one was Jesus Christ, the last Adam. We must be very clear as to who died upon the cross, because there has been much confusion over this matter. It is generally taught that it was the Son of God who died, but of course it would be an impossibilty for God’s Son to die, because he came out of God who is eternal.

The truth is that God made Him (Jesus Christ) to be "something," 2 Cor 5:21. What was it He was made to be? The answer is he was made to be the last Adam. For what reason did God make Him to be the last Adam? It should be very obvious that if man’s mortality results from a problem with our generation from Adam, that he (Adam) the source of our mortality should be put to death. As a direct result of his (Adam’s) death, mankind has now been freed from the power of that river of death.

I am speaking here to those who have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to His people. Remember Adam was a figure or a type of the One who was to come, who was Jesus, the Christ of God. Because Christ was the the reality of the "figure" represented in the garden as Adam, He must also contain within Himself all of humanity, so therefore His death as the last Adam was our death!

Paul understood these things for his testimony was, "I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Paul believed he was a direct participant in the cross of Christ (Ephesians 1:4), and that Christ’s death was his death, so Paul no longer had any connection with Adam. Paul’s identity is now established in Christ instead of Adam, so he can say, "It is Christ that lives in me and is my life, and death cannot touch that life." Paul’s testimony is now ours and we can say with Jesus, "I am He that liveth and was dead and now I am alive forever more and within me, are the keys of death and the grave."

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life," so if He dwells in you, you have the resurrection and the life, which is eternal. Thus the "Jordan" (death) has ceased to flow for those who believe, and the presence of the living Christ will remain until every man has passed from death to life. Then of course death, the very river itself will be no more, being replaced by the River of Life, which will never run dry. The last vestige of the Adam man who was just a figure or shadow of Him who was to come, will then have been eliminated and replaced by Christ the reality.
Thus, the final test before entering into the Kingdom of God is to know as a spiritual reality your Adam identity is dead. Therefore the generation, or river of death is no more, and our true Father waits to welcome us home. Like the prodigal son we are greeted by Father, with a kiss, ring, shoes and a robe, saying-
"For this my son was dead, and is alive again, he was lost and is found," and another son has through much tribulation, entered the Kingdom of God!

Des Walter

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