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Just as there were two kingdoms in Israel because of sin and wickedness and worst of all, prostitution to false gods by Solomon, so it should not surprise anyone that there are two kingdoms under God now – the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God.

To make it clearer that there are two separate kingdoms just as Israel was separate from Judah even though both were to worship God at the temple in Jerusalem, so the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are separate even though both are to worship God through Jesus Christ.  You may or may not have noticed that the condition of entry into the Kingdom of Heaven is very different from the condition of entry to the Kingdom of God. 

Jesus said to His disciples, “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.”  It takes righteousness to enter the Kingdom of Heaven… a righteousness that can come either by fulfilment of the entire law or a righteousness that comes by faith.  Pharisees seek to achieve righteousness by fulfilment of the law whereas God gives righteousness as a credit through faith, first to Abraham who believed God and now to all who believe that God has sent His Son, Jesus Christ. 

The reality is that the probability of anyone being able to achieve righteousness through fulfilment of the law is so low that no one should count on it.  However, if God Himself through Jesus Christ fulfils the law, then if there is anyone who could do it, it has to be Jesus Christ… the miraculous Man.  As He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them,” as well as save the world and reveal the Father to the disciples.  All part of a work package the Father had sent Him to do… a work program that He finished and so He was able to say from the cross at Calvary, “It is finished.” 

Now, whether you believe or not is up to you.  However, anyone who believes that Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law, saved the world and revealed the Father will by that same faith have credited to him the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the salvation of Jesus Christ and the knowledge of Jesus Christ about His Father as the apostle wrote:  …the righteousness that comes by faith.  Any reader of the gospels will see that it is a righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law… a righteousness sufficient to gain entry to the Kingdom of Heaven.

But entry to the Kingdom of God requires more than righteousness.  It requires a person to be born again of the Spirit as Jesus told Nicodemus, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again (or born from above).  …  I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”  This new truth came only through Jesus Christ, for until Jesus came, no one else was able to baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

For Abraham, the token of his covenant with God that he bore on his body was the circumcision, and likewise it was for all the descendants of Isaac.  However, through Jesus Christ, the deposit, the token guaranteeing the covenant is the baptism with the Holy Spirit by Jesus, as God told John the Baptist, “The Man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”

It is the will of anyone to choose to repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The message is preached and the response of faith is up to the hearer, not the preacher.  However, the decision as to who is baptised with the Holy Spirit is up to the Lord and not the hearer or the preacher as the Lord demonstrated to Peter with Cornelius in Acts 10.  Cornelius was the believer and hearer and Peter was the preacher, but before Peter could tell Cornelius about the Holy Spirit, the Lord baptised Cornelius’ household with the Holy Spirit and While Peter was still speaking… the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  If you read Acts 10.39-43, Peter made no mention of the Holy Spirit at all.

Therefore, anyone who repents and believes in Jesus Christ can choose to enter the Kingdom of Heaven on the basis of his faith in Jesus’ righteousness, and as such the righteousness is a gift and not a work of his own.  Those who are confident of their own abilities to fulfill the law for themselves can choose to enter the Kingdom of Heaven by their own righteousness.  Righteousness of some form is needed for entry to the Kingdom of Heaven, the quality and quantity of which must exceed that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law.  And if a man is not under the law like Abraham, then faith in God alone is sufficient to credit him with the righteousness to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

However, no one can enter the Kingdom of God by his choice, but may only enter by the choice of Jesus Christ, for it is Jesus Christ who baptises with the Holy Spirit so that a person may be born again of the Spirit, for Spirit begets spirit.  So from here on, be aware of your citizenship and learn to value it. 

Just as the citizens of Judah valued the fact that the temple of God was in their kingdom and the citizens of the kingdom of Israel had to cross their borders in order to worship God, so likewise understand that the baptism of the Holy Spirit by Jesus Christ is done so that the believers may be born again to enter the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of Heaven.

Paul taught us that the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power, and not just a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Jesus came talking, eating and drinking as well as demonstrating power and giving out joy, peace and righteousness through faith in Him.  Anyone who believes in Him would not be condemned… that was the message, the words, the talking that He offered. 

The Kingdom of Heaven is only a matter of talk, that is, it is a matter of Jesus talking and people hearing the message and responding with more talk through their repentance and confession of faith.  No works at all are required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven as demonstrated by the thief on the cross who could only talk but do nothing else, yet Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.”  The thief died that day and left his body to go to paradise with Jesus.  Heaven can only be accessed by death even for those who believe unless God chooses to make an exception and sends a fiery chariot.  Even Moses had to die first and then went to Heaven.

And since the Kingdom of Heaven is all about talking and listening, there is no need for power to do the work.  Just as the thief whose hands were nailed to the cross needed only to confess with his mouth and believe in his heart to be saved, so then the Kingdom of Heaven has no need for power.

However, for the Kingdom of God, it is a very different matter because the Kingdom of God comes by the Holy Spirit as Jesus said, “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”  Jesus did not just drive out demons with a word… He drove them out with a word that is backed by the power of the Spirit of God… a word that unleashed the power of God.  The power of God that comes from the Holy Spirit is the power to do miracles, signs and wonders.  Jesus did miracles, signs and wonders.  Signs did not accompany Jesus as He ministered, for it was not the Holy Spirit confirming the message, but rather, it was Jesus confirming His own message.

In case you are confused because believers have the signs of driving out demons and healing the sick accompanying them, do not be confused, but see the word… Jesus said, “And these signs will accompany those who believe…”  They are signs that accompany them as they preach everywhere… and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it.  Again I remind you, it was the Lord doing the healing and driving out the demons by His power for them as they preached.  Believers can speak in a new language, yes, but speaking the new languages is not like being able to do the miracles.  Again, it is just talking.  Most who enter the Kingdom of Heaven will never speak in tongues, but then, most who do enter the Kingdom of Heaven rarely go out to preach to all creation and creatures.

Because of the anomaly of the way the church was started without the eleven going to Galilee on resurrection morning as commanded, there exists now in the kingdom a creature who is a believer, who is born again, able to speak in tongues yet cannot heal or drive out demons himself, but the Holy Spirit will work with him to heal and drive out demons to confirm His word.  You see, the anomaly of a believer with signs accompanying is the result of the glitch caused by the eleven who did not believe the women to go to Galilee and the three who did not believe Jesus enough to tell the others what they saw in Galilee on the mountain when Jesus transfigured.

There is no mention, no mention by Peter or John of Jesus’ transfiguration.  Even John’s gospel makes no mention of it.  You would have thought the only one of the three to have written an approved gospel would have given the most detailed account of the transfiguration, but he did not or he was not inspired to by the Holy Spirit or he was not permitted to.  God knows, but the fact is this, John made no mention of the transfiguration.

As such, if by now you are thinking this demarcation of the citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven and the citizens of the Kingdom of God does not stand the test of Scriptures… think again.  Jesus spoke of the conditions of entry for the Kingdom of God to Nicodemus before He spoke of the conditions of entry to the Kingdom of Heaven to the disciples in Galilee.  As such, Jesus spoke first of the Kingdom of God and spoke last of the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom of Heaven was something He mentioned in passing.  Clearly, if the eleven obeyed and went to the mountain on resurrection morning, the anomaly of believers being able to speak in tongues but having people healed by laying their hands and driving out demons being done for them by the Holy Spirit would never have existed.

It is because the revelation of the Kingdom of God was not complete that Jesus could only speak to them about it during the 40 days post resurrection and not show them that you have this stunted creature – a believer yet born again, being able to speak in tongues but unable to heal the sick or drive out demons himself, who needs the Holy Spirit to do it for him.

The truth is Mark 16.17-18 is an anomaly, a compromise, the result of the failure of the eleven to go to Galilee.

However, had they gone to Galilee, had they seen the Kingdom of God even as they were being taught on that mountain, just like Moses saw the glory of God even as the commandments were being written and spoken, then the anomaly of Mark 16 would not exist.  A person would either remain in the kingdom of darkness to await their condemnation if he does not believe the gospel or be delivered from the kingdom of darkness by his faith.  And from those who believe, the Lord would choose those He would give the new birth to by giving them the baptism of the Holy Spirit with its accompanying evidence of speaking in tongues and not just any tongues, but the power of the Holy Spirit to testify for Jesus by doing the things that Jesus had been doing and even the greater things.

The real plan would have been born again sons of the Kingdom of God supplied with power by the Holy Spirit and educated and trained by the Holy Spirit to do what Jesus has been doing and then even the greater things.  It would not be the Holy Spirit having to do it for them, no, for when does a king toil the fields for his citizens?  It is always the king who provides the land for the people to work.  So likewise, it would have been the Holy Spirit providing the power for the disciples to do the work so that truly He is the King of the Kingdom of God on Earth until Jesus arrives.

Once you can see the anomaly caused by the disobedience and disbelief on resurrection morning, the difference between the two kingdoms becomes very clear.  So then, know which kingdom you belong to… the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God.  And do not be like those who can do miracles, prophesy and drive out demons and yet seek to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  No wonder Jesus said to them, “…I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from Me, you evildoers!’ “  Anyone who can prophesy, do miracles and drive out demons in Jesus’ Name has no business seeking to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, for they already are born again into the Kingdom of God.

So now it is time to begin the harvest of the sons of the Kingdom of Heaven so that the sons of the Kingdom of God can prepare the field that is the world for the millennial harvest of the Kingdom of Christ when He will come and reign with His kings and lords, and those of us who are beheaded for the sake of our testimony and His word and those of us who remain alive until He arrives will join Him.

So then, is it the church we want to be waiting for Him when He comes or is it the Kingdom of God we want to be waiting to greet our King and our Lord as He returns to us in the flesh?  And the Kingdom of God will become the Kingdom of Christ for the glory of the Father, for this was His plan for Jesus from the beginning.

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