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“I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.  You should not be surprised at My saying, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

When Jesus first preached, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near,” He was picking up the baton, if you like, from where John the Baptist had been preaching.  For it was John the Baptist who first preached, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near,” with a baptism of water, to which John testified, “I baptise you with water for repentance.”  A baptism, which Paul confirmed when he told disciples of John who had never heard of the Holy Spirit, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.”  The Kingdom of Heaven is not the Kingdom of God and neither is it the Kingdom of Israel.

Those who are born Jews and/or are circumcised in the flesh are citizens of the Kingdom of Israel if they are converted to the Law of Moses, like Nicolas of Antioch who was a convert to Judaism.  They should not be allowed to put their faith in Jesus if they still want to hold on to the observance of the Law as part of their righteousness for their own sake.  For then they would be guilty of hypocrisy—holding onto the Law for their righteousness whilst putting their faith in One who preached heresy as far as the Law of Moses was concerned, when He taught His disciples to eat His flesh and drink His blood.  For their own sake, it is best that those who are zealous for the Law of Moses observe the entire Law and have nothing to do with Jesus Christ.  At least, that way they are under the blessings and rewards of the Law of Moses and not under the woes of hypocrisy.  If they still insist to put their faith in Christ, then it should be made clear to them that they need to renounce all observance of the Law for their righteousness, but only that they may still uphold the Law for those still under the Law.  Dual citizenship is not possible for those who want to restore the Kingdom of Israel and remain in the Kingdom of Israel.

The Kingdom of Heaven shares the Parable of the Sower with the Kingdom of God, so that in both Kingdoms, the word of God is sown.  In the Kingdom of Heaven, it is the word of repentance, repentance in preparation for the harvest, for it is the Kingdom of Heaven that has the harvest of the sons of the devil removed from it, and they are thrown in the fiery furnace, whereas the Kingdom of God has no such harvest, only a harvest of the word sown.

The Kingdom of Heaven is also the Kingdom that Jesus said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force.”  “And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the Kingdom of Heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men siege it by force.”   The violence suffered in the Kingdom of Heaven through violent men taking hold of it is the violence perpetrated by those who preach their own religion independently of what God has said through Jesus Christ.  It is a violence testified to by history from the warring popes to the prophetic religions through to the crusades, men willing to kill to enter Heaven.  The Kingdom of Heaven is not a kingdom of miraculous power, but rather, a kingdom that is sought and laid hold of by violent men who want to dictate to God and to men who owns Heaven and who are entitled to enter it.  Their rules and belief systems are enforced by the way of violent men, those who kill to get their own way.  It is the kingdom for which people will kill, and it is the kingdom where death remains the doorway to enter into, not Christ.  That is why Jesus preached, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

Thus, those who are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven in this world live a life of various forms of repentance, be it weekly confession of sins to a human confessor, or annual pilgrimages and fasts to cleanse themselves of last year’s sins.  And since Israel had lost possession of the Ark of the Covenant to complete the enactment of the atonement of their sins, John the Baptist was sent with baptism in water as a substitute for them that they too might enter Heaven through death.  The entirety of their religious system is based on living one’s life preparing for death to enter Heaven.  So that, for them, death is not an enemy to be defeated, but rather, a gateway, a process, to access Heaven.  For them, the gate is not Christ Jesus, but rather the gate of entry to Heaven is death.  And so it is for all religions that preach repentance as a preparation for Heaven.

The Kingdom of God alone is the Kingdom of Power, the power of the Holy Spirit.  It announces its presence; that is, you know that you have come upon the Kingdom of God, or rather, it has come upon you by a demonstration of power, which includes miracles, signs and wonders, beginning with the driving out of demons (denizens of the Kingdom of Heaven who are the sons of Satan).  For Jesus said, “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”

Entry into the Kingdom of God demands repentance as well as belief, that is, faith.  No faith is needed for the Kingdom of Heaven, only repentance, which is why those who preach entry into the Kingdom of Heaven all have their religions based on external works of piety and holiness, based on observance of rules upon rules that say do this and don’t do that.  For them, there are taboos and forbidden things, as well as rituals and superstitions.  Compare that to those who are in the Kingdom of God, for whom everything is permissible, just that not everything is beneficial.

The arrival of the Kingdom of Israel is announced with daily blood sacrifices and genocidal wars with the wiping out of nations. 

The arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven is announced with repentance preached by men of violence who enforce their perspective of repentance with death.  Both kingdoms bring death and destruction to those who oppose them, and put those who accept them under a religious system.

The arrival of the Kingdom of God is announced with the removal of the sons of Satan (demons driven out), followed by power to heal their victims, and water and food to keep them alive.  It is the Kingdom of Life, and life abundant, where even the dead are raised, even after they have been killed or buried for more than four days.  It is the kingdom that overturns the ways of the Kingdom of Israel—Jesus raising the dead young man and Lazarus, as well as the Kingdom of Heaven, destroying its taboos and rules as well as its treasured reward.  For in the Kingdom of God, the dead are raised so that those who have died are removed from Hell and even Heaven to be brought back to the land of the living on Earth.  As God promised Israel, “Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the grave will not stand.” 

Thus, those who thought that through death they would find peace and enter Heaven will find that their plans can be disrupted by the power of the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom of God at full power will annul men’s covenant with death, so that during those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.  For the Kingdom of God, death is not a doorway to Heaven, but a defeated enemy that is put to use for the purpose of the kingdom.  In the Kingdom of God, no one dies, for it is the Kingdom of God that gives life.  Death comes to those who are in the Kingdom of God because it is time for them to rest until they are resurrected for the millennial reign of Christ.

But others will not see death at all because the Kingdom of God has come upon them with power.  Jesus said to the crowd and His disciples, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God come with power.”  And indeed, not one of the apostles died before they saw the power of the Kingdom of God, beginning with the transfiguration of Christ to His resurrection, ascension, and their own transient ministry of power in the first century.  But they all died or were killed.  Why?

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death.”  Now, what is the keeping of His word?  It is not hearing, it is not believing, it is not practising, or even having His word abide in you.  The keeping of another person’s word, for Jesus said, “If anyone keeps My word,” is to fulfil that person’s word on their behalf in their absence.  Here is an example:  Suppose one of you promises to loan a person some money, but when the borrower comes, you are away.  However, your servant or friend is there, and he finds out what you have promised.  So, instead of waiting for you to return, your friend or servant gives the borrower the promised loan on your behalf.  In this way, your servant or friend has kept your word, that is, he has proved your word to be true.

Anyone who helps Jesus keep His word by proving the word of Jesus to be true on His behalf in His absence, “will never see death.”  However, if you do not keep the word of Jesus, you may see death, even if you have heard and believe His word and even practised it.

Jesus said, “Not everyone who calls Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven,” and, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”  Those in Matthew 7:21 said, “‘Lord, Lord,’ did we not prophesy in Your Name…?’”  Nowhere, nowhere did Jesus tell us to prophesy, but we are to testify and to preach, for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.  Had they said, “Lord, Lord, we have testified and preached in Your Name,” that would have been a totally different situation.  Woe to those who prophesy in His Name, yet do not hold to the testimony of Jesus and keep His word until He returns.

Thus, the keepers of the words of Jesus are not monastic orders who put the Bible under lock and key, but rather, those who are able to fulfil the words of Jesus on His behalf, in His absence.  Thus, the Kingdom of God, which Jesus said would come upon men with demons cast out by the Spirit of God, can only come, truly come, if the power of God to do what Jesus has been doing is present for those who claim to be of the Kingdom of God.

No one, no one enters the Kingdom of God, except as Jesus said, “unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”  No one who will not repent can enter the Kingdom of God.  However, ones who repent, but are not baptised by Jesus with fire and the Holy Spirit, have not completed their entry into the Kingdom of God but are merely people who have entered the Kingdom of Heaven, that is, they are born again only of water, but not of the Spirit.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit by Jesus, as distinct from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh by the Father, is confirmed not just by tongues, but rather by the manifestation of power so that demons are driven out, the sick are healed and that which Jesus has been doing is also done, as well as even the greater things.  And if anyone claims that they are keeping the words of Jesus, then they must be able to at least drive out demons, speak in tongues and heal the sick with the laying on of their hands, for that is what Jesus promised to those to whom His Gospel is preached.  “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will accompany those who believe…” 

So those who come seeking healing and deliverance from demons must leave satisfied because they are healed and delivered.  The important thing is this – they who seek what Jesus promised must leave satisfied, and it has nothing to do with whether they are prepared to be believers of Jesus or want to be His disciples.  The nine made this mistake when they could not drive the demon out of the boy at the foot of the Mount of Transfiguration, and started arguing with the crowd and the teachers of the Law.  A theological discussion or argument about the merits of differing belief systems has never helped those who are desperately seeking healing or freedom from demon oppression.  Either you can do it or you cannot—it is stand and deliver or else sit down and be silent! 

The lesson we can learn from this is when we fail to keep and deliver on the word of Jesus, we should humble ourselves and wait for Jesus’ arrival instead of arguing.  How different it would have been had Jesus come to them and found them fasting and praying and even weeping because they had not been able to do what Jesus told them they would do, instead of a man from the crowd answering Jesus, “Teacher, I brought You my son,” when Jesus asked, “What are you arguing with them about?”  Would it not have been far better that they were the ones who told Jesus, “That man brought his son, but we could not drive out the demon.  Sorry, Lord.”  Had they said that, perhaps they would have been spared these words of Jesus, “O unbelieving generation,” and also He said, “perverse,” because not only were they arguing, but they made Jesus out to be a liar!  It is bad enough that we are unable to keep Jesus’ words on His behalf whilst He is away, but what is perverse is that we make Jesus out to be a liar and blame everyone else, including God, for it. 

Thus, citizenship in the Kingdom of God is for those who are born of water, and through the Holy Spirit, have a spirit birthed by the Holy Spirit.  And if your spirit is birthed by the Holy Spirit, then you have a spirit of truth, power, counsel, understanding, knowledge, wisdom, fear of the Lord, revelation, grace, life, holiness and glory.  You will have a spirit that seeks to fellowship with the Holy Spirit as the Father of your spirit, and a spirit that seeks to do what the Holy Spirit is doing—that is, a spirit that seeks to teach all things, seeks to remind others and yourself what Jesus said, seeks to guide all into the truth, convicts of the sin of unbelief in Jesus and the righteousness of Jesus because He is at the right hand of the Father, a spirit that tells people what is yet to come as far as Jesus is concerned, that is, His soon and imminent return, as well as a spirit that seeks to bring glory to Jesus and a spirit that seeks power to testify for Jesus.

You do not bring glory to Jesus by making Him out to be a liar, or by contradicting His words, or by replacing His words with someone else’s words like James the Younger did.  Indeed, you do not have a born again spirit if you:

·       do not seek to remind everyone of the words of Jesus;

·       do not guide people into the truth of Jesus (compare this with those who were teaching people in the church of Thyatira about Satan’s so-called deep secrets);

·       convict people of sins, but not of the sin of unbelief in Jesus;

·       convict people of a righteousness not based on Jesus’ presence at God’s right hand, where you no longer see Him;

·       cannot tell people what you have heard from Jesus, and warn people of what is to come, according to Jesus;

·       do not seek to make known what belongs to Jesus;

·       And above all else, you have no power to confirm your witness of Jesus.  A powerless witness of Jesus still makes Jesus out to be a liar, for He said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses…” 

A spirit that is birthed by the Holy Spirit as well as being repentant, such a spirit believes and trusts God, and serves the Father and Son as the Holy Spirit trusts and believes in the Father and Son so that He does not speak on His own, having no agenda of His own to glorify Himself, but at all times has only an agenda to safe guard the reputation of His Friends, the Father and the Son.  Thus, when the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them,” that work is not a work that glorifies the Holy Spirit, but a work that ensures Jesus is glorified.

Thus, a person who is zealous for the Levitical Law and that the Law of Moses is adhered to, and sins as defined by those laws are punished, is not a citizen of the Kingdom of God, but the Kingdom of Israel.  Such a person is seeking the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel, something the eleven still had foremost in their hearts, even after Jesus had spent forty days with them, giving convincing proof that He was alive and spoke about the Kingdom of God to them.  Yet they still asked Jesus, “Lord, are You at this time going to restore the Kingdom of Israel?”  Jesus was not sent to restore the Kingdom of Israel, but to establish the Kingdom of God here on Earth, a kingdom that does not come visibly, but a kingdom that is within the hearts of disciples, which manifests its presence through the thoughts of their hearts and the overflow of their hearts out of their mouths with such power that a finger is sufficient to drive out demons.  Such a person remains condemned to the yoke of the Law, which no one except Jesus was able to fulfil.

Likewise then, a person who is zealous about repentance to ensure a place in Heaven is not a citizen of the Kingdom of God.  His zealousness may even cause him to be violent as he seeks to lay claim and take hold of the Kingdom of Heaven.  For such people, killing unbelievers as proof of their faith and zeal is not beyond them.  However, for all their violence, the power of their violence lays within the weapons of warfare of this world.  They wage war as the world does, and their repentance, like the waters that only cleanse the outside, can be just as shallow.  Heaven may be their kingdom, but it is not a kingdom that endures.  The Kingdom of Heaven is no more enduring than the Kingdoms of the Earth, for Jesus said, “Heaven and Earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.”  And John wrote:  Then I saw a new Heaven and a new Earth, for the first Heaven and the first Earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 

Even the citizens of Heaven will still have to face the judgement of the Great White Throne, for only, only the citizens of the Kingdom of God are spared that Day of Judgement.  The Day of Judgement is when God’s kingdom, that is, those who are seated on the throne of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, will judge all other kingdoms.  For God said, “Therefore wait Me for the day I will stand up to testify.  I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out My wrath on them…”  And only those who are seated on the throne of Jesus will escape judgement, for God cannot judge His Son again.  For on the cross at Calvary, God already poured out His judgement on Jesus when He made Him who was without sin to be the sin offering for us.  And the Holy Spirit has already cast His decision, His judgement, by raising Him from the dead by His power, declaring Him to be the Son of God forever, so innocent, so righteous, death could not keep Him, for the wages of sin is death. 

In the same way, neither can those who are found not only in Him, but seated upon the throne of Jesus, be judged, for Jesus has already been judged.  And who sits on the throne of Jesus?  “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”  Who can sit on the throne of a kingdom, except he who is worthy of the kingdom.  Would you let the citizen of another kingdom sit on the throne of your kingdom?  Never!  Then, citizens of Israel and Earth and the Kingdom of Heaven cannot sit on that throne, but only the citizens of the Kingdom of God, especially those citizens whose zeal and loyalty to the kingdom is like the loyalty and zeal of the Firstborn Son of the kingdom.

For Christ did not come to establish His own kingdom but the Kingdom of God as the Son of God, and to retrieve the Kingdom of Adam as the Son of Man.  So, He will reward those whose loyalty and zeal for His work and His Father’s house were such that they either laid down their lives for Him and His Gospel, that is, the word of God, or fought on until He arrived.  These He will reward to be citizens, no, judges, lords and kings of His kingdom on Earth as He finishes the work in the Millennium, raising up the harvest of souls for God that God is seeking.  In those 1000 years, the kings and lords of Jesus will be taught, trained and perfected in how to reign, rule and judge, so that on Judgement Day, they will even judge angels, the natural citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.

So then, to establish a kingdom, you need to define who the citizens of that kingdom should be and also to define the entry into that kingdom.

·       To enter the Kingdom of Man, you need to be born, but you are born into slavery to Satan and sin.

·       To enter the Kingdom of Israel, you must be circumcised in the flesh.

·       To enter the Kingdom of Heaven, you must:

1.     repent,

2.     With a righteousness that surpasses the Pharisees.  “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

3.     Do the will of God who is in Heaven.  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father, who is in Heaven.”

4.     You must change and become like little children.  “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

5.     Entry is hard for a rich man to do.  “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

 

·       To enter the Kingdom of God, you must:

1.     Receive it like a little child.  “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

2.     Be born again of water and the Spirit.  “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”

3.     If you are a rich man, it will take a miracle, but with God nothing is impossible.  “I tell you the truth, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.  With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Welcome then to the Kingdom of God, the kingdom of power, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, as well as of eating and drinking and talking.  A kingdom so wonderful that Jesus said, “It is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into Hell.”  For in the Kingdom of God, the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the lepers are cleansed and the dead are raised, and there is Good News for the poor.

So, by their power will you know them, which Kingdom do they come from. 

And the Law of the Kingdom of God?  “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.  Listen to Him!– where Jesus is the Law.

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