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When you learn to listen to Jesus and read the Gospels within the context of the time sequencing of each event, you can see that the kingdom which Jesus showed the most concern for is the Kingdom of God.

When Nicodemus, a Pharisee, sought Jesus out at night, the Lord did not speak to him about the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel nor did He speak of the Kingdom of Heaven, but rather, He declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.”  And after the resurrection, Luke recorded that Jesus appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of God.  And yet when they met together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”  At no time in the recorded ministry of Jesus did He ever say that He was here to restore the kingdom to Israel.  The only thing He said about Israel was this:  “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

As much as many in the Jerusalem lineage hold dearly to the Kingdom of Israel, the truth is that the existence of the Kingdom of Israel, even through the lineage of David, is an aberration that was not in God’s plan for Israel, and as usual, is one of many that men have introduced into the plans of God.  When they said to Samuel, “Give us a king to lead us,” it displeased Samuel.  And the Lord told him, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their King.  As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking Me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.”  As such, the ‘Kingdom of Israel’ that the Israelites are so fond of, and many ‘Christians’ are so fond of also, is a sign and a remnant of the ultimate rebellion of Israel against the sovereignty of God on Earth when they rejected Him as their King.  You see, the Israelites said to Samuel, “…appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”  The Israelites wanted to be just like the other nations, but that could never be and should never be had they listened to Moses who said to them, “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God.  The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the Earth to be His people, His treasured possession.”

However, not only did they pander after false gods, but they wanted to appoint their own king.  As such, they, in truth, rejected both the temple and the palace of God within them.  When Saul was appointed king and Solomon finished his palace, that palace was the sign of their rebellion against the kingly authority of God as long as it stood.  Even though king David was promised by God that he would never fail to have someone sit upon the throne of Israel as his descendant because of his relationship with God, the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel was never ever on Jesus’ agenda, but rather, its restoration would be a byproduct of the institution of the Kingdom of God on Earth when Christ would reign on Earth as the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  Then would Israel have a king of David’s descent sit upon the throne.

The genealogy of Jesus… as Luke wrote:  He was the Son, so it was thought, of Joseph… but the truth is that Jesus was never the Son of Joseph.  Jesus was and is and always will be the Son of God and not the Son of David… which is why it was written by David… and why Jesus said in the temple courts, “How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the Son of David?  David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:  ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I put Your enemies under Your feet.” ‘  David himself calls Him ‘Lord.’  How then can He be his Son?”  The truth is, in the flesh, Jesus is not the Son of David, but rather, the King of David, so that truly Jesus is the King of kings, even of David.

Just as God chose Israel out of all the nations to be His holy people, so God chose the twelve as apostles for Jesus, and then from all the peoples God draws the ones He has chosen to Jesus, as Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…” and it is Jesus who chooses to baptise with the Holy Spirit those who are drawn to Him so that they may be born again to see the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom of Heaven is for all who “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near,” as John preached, that is, for all who listen to those sent by the Father, having repented of their sins and die to go to the Kingdom of Heaven.  However, they are not drawn to Jesus to be baptised with the Holy Spirit and with fire to be born again for the Kingdom of God.  They are those who believe in universal salvation.  Indeed, there are Scriptures to support it and salvation is and can be universal, as Peter has written:  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  The patience and want of which are testified to by God Himself, Therefore wait for 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—all My fierce anger.  The whole world will be consumed by the fire of My jealous anger.  Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the Name of the Lord and serve Him shoulder to shoulder.”

However, as those of you who have learnt to listen to Jesus now know, Jesus did not come just to save the world so that all who believe would not be condemned.  He came also to reveal the Father to His disciples, especially those who would become His brothers, and also to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth, for He has said, “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.” 

It is only in passing as it were that Jesus made mentioned of the Kingdom of Heaven for those who would believe the message of John the Baptist, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near,” when He taught about the Kingdom of Heaven… about who would possess it… those who are poor in spirit and those who are persecuted because of righteousness… what it takes to be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven or least in the Kingdom of Heaven… and what the Kingdom of Heaven is like through the parables of the sower, of the weeds, of the mustard seed, of the yeast, of the hidden treasure, of the pearl, and of the net.  To Peter He only gave the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.  When asked, He showed the disciples what it takes to be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven and the need to change:  “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”  The other things Jesus taught about the Kingdom of Heaven you can read in the Gospel of Matthew, the only Gospel that makes mention of the Kingdom of Heaven with some mention of the Kingdom of God.   

However, Jesus said something which, for those of us who appreciate what He has said, shows you how highly Jesus values the Kingdom of Heaven relative to the Kingdom of God:  “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”  We all know Jesus, in teaching His disciples to eat His flesh and drink His blood in John 6.53, has Himself taught something that breaks the Law at Leviticus 17.  As such, Jesus has made Himself to be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven by His own words.  What does that mean?

It means this:  That just as the Kingdom of Israel was not on Jesus’ agenda, neither does He hold the place of the Kingdom of Heaven in as high a regard as the Kingdom of God.  Why is that?  Just as the Kingdom of Israel is almost an abomination in God’s eyes because it is the sign of their rejection of God’s Kingship over them, so too, the Kingdom of Heaven filled with the souls of men and women and children is a sign and a reminder of the rebellion of Adam.  For men were not created by God to die and as such, never created to be in the Kingdom of Heaven in spirit, but to populate the Earth in the flesh so that the Kingdom of God could come on Earth as it is in Heaven.  Even though the Kingdom of Heaven is part of the Empire of God, its overall value in the eyes of God is not as high as the Kingdom of God, which is why Jesus did not hesitate to become the least in the Kingdom of Heaven first by leading His disciples to break the Levitical Law in the eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood.

The establishment of the Kingdom of God is first and last on the agenda of Jesus Christ, which is why He spoke of it first to Nicodemus in John 3 and spoke of it last in Acts 1.  And the fact that the disciples then asked Him about the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel shows how far we are from the thoughts of God.  Jesus’ thoughts are on the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth, which is why when He taught us to pray, He said, “…Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven,” and He specifically spoke of the coming of the Kingdom of God with the Holy Spirit.  More importantly, whereas you have to die to see the Kingdom of Heaven, He said, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God come with power.”

Now, against those who hold to universal salvation are those who believe only certain predestined ones are chosen by God for salvation, men like Calvin.  The inaccuracy of these great men of God in their various theosophy and doctrines stems from this truth:  They were taught by men who only heard about the Kingdom of God from Jesus, but never saw the fullness of the Kingdom of God, because they did not go to Galilee on resurrection morning.

Indeed, as Paul wrote:  In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will… which gives rise to the ‘predestination’ camp of theologians verses the ‘universalist’ camp.  The truth is this:  All who repent are allowed to enter the Kingdom of Heaven just as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did… and Noah too.  However, to be of the Kingdom of God, you have to be drawn by God to Jesus.  Jesus has to choose to baptise you… as He said to the eleven, “Have I not chosen you, the twelve?” and then promised them the baptism of the Holy Spirit, “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit,” the first night He came to eat with them when they failed to go to Galilee.  The plan then was that a few days from resurrection morning, there would be another opportunity for the Holy Spirit to be baptised into them at Jerusalem if only they waited.  It was a promise of a few days after resurrection morning, not a few days before Pentecost Day.  As it is, ‘a few’ speaks of less than 10, so it cannot be a few days after the ascension, but a few days after the resurrection that Acts 1.5 was referring to. 

As such, you have to be drawn by the Father and you have to be chosen by Jesus to be baptised with the Holy Spirit so that you may be born again to see and enter the Kingdom of God.  Those who hold erroneously to ‘exclusivity’ and ‘predestination’ doctrines are correct in part, but inaccurate in the precision of the execution of their faith.  As Jesus said to the woman in Samaria, “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know…” so it is men who speak of kingdoms they do not know, but we speak of what we know.  This ignorance will continue despite our efforts.  That is why Jesus has warned that many will call Him, “Lord, Lord,” to gain entry to the Kingdom of Heaven, but cannot even though they have prophesied, done miracles and driven out demons in His Name.  You see, not only do they not know Jesus as well as they should, but they do not even know which kingdom they belong to.  But not so with you, for not only has the Father drawn you to Jesus and Jesus has baptised you with the Holy Spirit to give you the new truth, but from those who are born again, the Holy Spirit has elected you for this time, just as He set aside Barnabas and Paul for His work. 

Your very existence as the elect of the Holy Spirit, the Lord, is the very mercy and grace of God manifested in these final days before Jesus’ arrival.  These “…days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again.  If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive.  But for the sake of the elect, whom He has chosen, He has shortened them.”  Shortened so that those who are worthy of the millennium can live and survive and like the Israelites of old, come through these days of great distress and experience the right hand of God doing wonders, signs and miracles delivering them.  As Moses was to Israel, so the elect will be to the world.

So then, when you next say, “…Thy kingdom come…” realise you are in truth saying to your Father who is in Heaven that His kingdom should come.  And if God is your Father in Heaven, then you are a brother of Jesus Christ and you are one who did take up that invitation through Mary Magdalene, “Go instead to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’ “  You are by faith then one who has gone to the Mount of Transfiguration and has been shown the glory of God in Jesus Christ and His kingdom.  And now by that faith, the very Kingdom of God that is in you will come forth with your earnest, unceasing practice of His words. 

Do not be offended.  So you believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that—and shudder.  So if you believe as the twelve tribes of Israel did, then at least shudder at the mention of His Name, for even demons do that, and do not be proud of your religion or your prophet!  So you hold to the repentance of sins and baptism of water.  Good… for the Kingdom of Heaven awaits you.  If you consider the most important of all the commandments is:  “To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  Good… for Jesus said, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”  If you say, “But I too have the Holy Spirit,” good for you, but so does every man, woman and child on the Earth now, for the Holy Spirit was poured out on all flesh…  all flesh after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

No, the real question is not whether you believe and therefore are saved… but the real question is:  What are you doing with the salvation that has come in Jesus’ Name?  Do you hunger and thirst for His righteousness rather than yours, for only then will you be filled?  What you do with your salvation will determine whether Jesus will choose you from those the Father has drawn to Him, and what you do with the new life that comes from being born again will determine whether the Holy Spirit will elect you.  If all you have planned for God in your thoughts is for you to go to Heaven, then to Heaven you will go, perhaps to stay there for the millennium or to return for the millennium.  But if your plan is to stay alive by the power of God until He finally arrives, then the Holy Spirit may add you to the ranks of His elect for the work that He has… and that is to finish the preparations for the Kingdom of God’s coronation of its King – the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, Heir and Son of Adam, whom God had first ordained to rule upon the Earth.

We are born again to be kings, yes… but not yet, for the King has not yet been enthroned in Jerusalem as He is in Heaven.  So for now we are here as members of the Lord’s elect and we have a work to do.  So let us work in the knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven and of the Kingdom of God that are ours, even as the secret of the Kingdom of God has been given to us. 

Righteous Father, Thy kingdom come on Earth.  Amen.

John wrote 1900 years ago:  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  No, John, you have seen Him and He appeared to you as He has always been and will be, with His face shining like the sun in the glory of the Father.  So that if you can accept this, accept this from one who has seen the glory of God with his own eyes and touched it with his own hands:  Dear brothers, now we are sons of God and what we will be is being made known.  We know that when He arrives, we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye and we shall be like Him and see Him as He is.

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