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The purpose of the Kingdom of Israel was to establish a nation that would be a forerunner of what the Kingdom of God would be like.  The Kingdom of Israel was not the ultimate plan of God in His dreams of empires, but merely the first of a prototype, a model of what He was going to bring forth through Jesus Christ and His church.  Everything, from the promise of Israel to Abraham to Israel’s formation and its journeys, its rebellion and its demise, was a figurative representation of how the Kingdom of God would be formed.

Just as Jesus was promised to Satan to come through Eve to crush his head, so Israel came by fulfilment of a promise that would crush a major nation belonging to those aligned with Satan, Egypt, in their worship of false gods.  Just as Israel was delivered miraculously by the power of God through one man without charge or cost to Israel, so all who will form the Kingdom of God are delivered from the power of sin and death through one Man, Jesus Christ, by the power of God without loss or charge to those who are invited into the Kingdom of God.  For no disciple chooses Jesus Christ, but it is Jesus Christ who chooses us.  And as God spoke to Israel from the mountain in Sinai, and to Moses and the elders on top of that mountain, so likewise, when those who were the first generation of the Kingdom of God were ready, they were to be spoken to from the top of a mountain, with some even spending 40 days on top of that mountain with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The pattern of the establishment of the Kingdom of God was foreshadowed through Israel.  (Just as Israel would be a kingdom of irresistible power and unheard of prosperity, so it would be for the Kingdom of God.)

That is why it is written of its practices:  Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.  And of the religious services of Israel, it is written:  They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in Heaven.  And of its laws, it is written:  The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves.

The law and the practice, the worship and the sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin given to Israel were all a foretaste of what was to come through Jesus Christ.  As it came through Moses for Israel, so it would come through Jesus Christ for the Kingdom of God.

Unfortunately, that which was planned for Israel was never made manifest.  From the beginning, the Israelites grumbled and were ready to turn away from God and go their own way.  From the waters of the Red Sea to the worship of the golden calf to the rebellion at Canaan, Israel’s behaviour ensured that which God had planned for Israel, so that the world would have a foretaste of the Kingdom of God that would come through Jesus Christ, never happened.  No more than what happened for the disciples.  We have been exactly the same, ever ready to grumble and turn away from where the Lord would have us go (Capernaum instead of Bethsaida), not doing what Jesus told us to do (staying at home instead of going to Galilee, appointed Matthias without waiting for the Holy Spirit, instead of waiting for the Holy Spirit), and behaving like fearful men instead of love filled men, and so on.

The test is long and the parallels are many.  Just as Israel had moments of light and relief when their kings actually did what God said through Moses to do, so the church and the world were treated with flashes of what the Kingdom of God would be like through a few individuals who did what God said through Jesus Christ.  So, just as the world never saw what God intended to use Israel for in history, so likewise, the current history we know of Europe, the Middle East and the Mediterranean would have been very different.  And so the world has never seen the church of Jesus Christ that was intended to bring forth the Kingdom of God in them and through them.

Now, because the eleven never took the church to the place where it was able to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth, looking at the history of their acts and the heritage of their acts will never show you what the Kingdom of God was meant to be on this Earth… even before the King arrives.

You see, Israel was never to have had a king as such, but they demanded that God give them a man to be king over them, just like all the nations of the world around them.  Israel was to be governed by judges and prophets with God dwelling in their midst as their King… until Jesus arrives in the flesh to be the King.  Having God dwell in their midst in a tent and not a temple was a very early glimpse of how God would dwell with His people in New Jerusalem where there is no temple, but God Himself is the Temple.  The tabernacle was necessary because Jesus had not yet come.  The Ark of the Covenant was in a way the representation of the very Person of Christ and His body.  In His heart would be the law of God as the tablets were in the Ark.  The manna in the Ark was to represent the Bread of Life that is Jesus, and Aaron’s rod a representation of the choice of God.  The external furnishings of gold and wood, the Mercy Seat and the voice of God speaking above the Mercy Seat… that piece of furniture called the Ark of the Covenant was the representation of who and what Jesus is to be in their midst when He would usher in the New Covenant to replace the other and render it once and for all… obsolete.

However, because the eleven themselves asked, “Lord, are You at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” they never really understood the significance of these words of Jesus when He said to the pharisees in their presence, “The Kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the Kingdom of God is within you.”

It is painfully apparent now for us that the eleven asked the Lord about the restoration of the obsolete when for three years the Lord was training them to bring forth the new.  Even when He sent them out, it was to preach the Good News that “The Kingdom of Heaven is near” and to drive out demons as a sign that the Kingdom of God had come upon them also (that is, the eleven).  Nowhere, not once did Jesus speak of the restoration of Israel… for the Kingdom of Israel as it was from Saul through to Jehoiachin was never meant to have been… never meant to have existed in God’s original plan for Jesus Christ… but came into existence because of the demands of men.  If you search through the epistles, you will find it is recorded that only Phillip was credited with speaking of the Kingdom of God… and Paul… but neither Peter nor John spoke of it or called it by its proper name – the Kingdom of God.

Their focus on the church was not that it would be the instrument to bring forth the Kingdom of God, but rather, as one that would restore the kingdom to Israel.  Hence their increasing tolerance of all things Jewish, especially for men who were zealous for the law in the Jerusalem church.  They turned the emphasis of the work of the church from one that would establish the Kingdom of God on Earth to that of a new religion, a different religion that would take men back to God through death, rather than a kingdom that would bring God to men through life.  The church setting up a religion called Christianity is as divergent from God’s plans as Israel asking for God to give them a king to rule over them.  But that is what has happened. 

Since the power of the Holy Spirit is for the witnessing of Jesus Christ for the establishment of the Kingdom of God, the Christian church and its manifold religion has been devoid of true miraculous power.  In the same way that the Kingdom of Israel had to fight most of its wars conventionally, so the Christian church has had to use conventional means to propagate its message and maintain its existence… with men preaching as all other men do, setting up a hierarchy through conversions, whether by free choice or by force of the local populace, who are then ruled and taxed to support the institutions, and all opposition is crushed conventionally by exile, expulsion, torture and death.

What every other religion ever did, the Christian religion did also, only on a bigger scale, all in the Name of God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit set Barnabas and Saul aside in Acts 13.2 to correct the drift of the church, and when that was also unsuccessful because of Barnabas’ split with Paul… He used Paul to leave a seed that would one day yield the harvest… just as Jesus described the Kingdom of God in the Parable of the Growing Seed, “This is what the Kingdom of God is like.  A man scatters seed on the ground.  Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.  All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.  As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

The Kingdom of God, the word of the Kingdom of God, has been sown, and what is sought at the harvest is not the stalk, the leaves or even the husks… but the grain that is the exact replica of the seed sown.  So what the Lord is looking for is the Kingdom of God on Earth, and everything else, anything else, will be discarded.  The buildings, the denominations, the history of the Christian church, everything, even men who say to Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” who prophesied in His Name, drove out demons in His Name and did miracles in His Name will be discarded if they have not preached the Kingdom of Heaven and manifested the Kingdom of God!

You see… Jesus said to the eleven (twelve), “…preach this message:  ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is near.'”  The Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power, so we do not preach the Kingdom of God as much as we manifest the Kingdom of God by healing the sick, driving out demons, while we preach “The Kingdom of Heaven is near.”  Those who manifested power without utilizing it to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth, but rather, to establish a ministry, a church or even a denomination or their own kingdom, will find themselves in an unenviable position before the Lord.  As Paul has constantly spoken of the Kingdom of God in his epistles… the kingdom that Jesus spent the 40 days after the resurrection speaking about – the kingdom the eleven were to have seen for themselves had they gone to Galilee on resurrection morning – so now that seed has grown and the head has born the grain and harvest has come.  First the tares will be taken out… those sons of Satan, those descendants of men who do not have in mind the things of God but of men, and then the sons of the kingdom will be gathered up to join the Lord in the clouds to return for His millennial reign.

For you, the elect… the history of the Christian church is the story of the start and establishment of a religion that was not in the original plan of God.  The epistles of Paul are the letters of an apostle struggling to establish churches that would birth the new kingdom and not a new religion.  Paul’s teachings have some value for they speak of what could have been and what should have been – the Kingdom of God that has yet to be birthed by the church of Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. 

For as Paul wrote:  The Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; is not a matter of talk but of power; the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God (God forsaking)… nor swindlers; nor flesh and blood; nor those who are immoral; and is the kingdom that Jesus hands over to the Father.  It is not a kingdom of religious righteousness devoid of sin and wrong doing only.  No, it is also a kingdom of power, not of talk, but above all else… it is in the Holy Spirit, not without the Holy Spirit.

How can any Christian religion that seeks to ignore the gifts of the Holy Spirit manifesting in their midst, or legislate them out of their congregations with their rules and doctrines, ever hope to have the Kingdom of God in their midst?  Such people are deluding themselves.  No, it is the disciples of Jesus Christ who have come out of the Christian religion and now listen to Jesus to practise His words under the supervision of the Holy Spirit, who will prepare the way for the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ by manifesting the Kingdom of God and its power through joy, peace and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.  So as the Lord said, “Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues…”

Since the Christian religion can give us no hint or clue of what the Kingdom of God should be, we have to turn to that first prototype of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Israel, and see what the Kingdom of God would have been like.  If only the eleven did go to the Mount of Transfiguration on resurrection morning, or if at least they had listened to Jesus when He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of God… listened well enough not to have asked, “Lord, are You at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” but asked instead, “Lord, how can we finish the preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom to all nations as a testimony so the end can come quickly when we are so few?”

Had they asked such a question, you would see the purpose of the Lord’s reply, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.”  Jesus only ever spoke of the coming of the Kingdom of God, never about Israel, so He never replied their question but gave an answer, which those whose minds and hearts are set on the things of God and not of men can understand.  For when the eleven asked about the kingdom restored to Israel, they were speaking of what men had in mind, not what God had in mind.

Had that been understood, they would not have come out of the upper room of Acts 2 preaching about Jesus being made Lord and Christ to all Israel… “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this:  God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ,” but rather, they would have understood the parables of the tenants of the vineyard and the man who would be made king, and warned Israel, not assured Israel, because you have killed the Son of God, so now the Kingdom of God has come in your midst.  A kingdom that would first demonstrate its power in mercy and forgiveness by healing all and saving those who repent and believe as the Gospel is preached as a testimony.  But when that testimony is completed in its preaching, it will be a kingdom that will demonstrate its power by taking vengeance against those who refused to repent of killing the King’s Son, just as Jesus had warned them, “He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”

And since the Son they killed lives, what will He do when He is made King and returns?  As He said, “But those enemies of Mine who did not want Me to be King over them—bring them here and kill them in front of Me.”  The time of harvest has come… the kernel is ready, so the power is restored, and men and women everywhere will be called, chosen and elected to be in the Holy Spirit as He dispenses His power once more… so that God who is merciful, compassionate and gracious will unleash a flood of miracles and healings unheard of that men might believe and repent.  But when this Gospel of the kingdom is completed in its preaching as a testimony, the end will come.  Then all who have not believed and repented even when they saw the miracles will be taken out of the way, and anyone who usurped the power to oppose the return of the King will be killed when the King arrives.

So elect, open your eyes and see what should have been and what should not be, and with the double edged sword of the Spirit, separate what is holy from what is common until the whole Earth is prepared for the King’s arrival.  He is coming with thousands upon thousands of His holy ones to judge the ungodly for all their ungodliness, and His reward is with Him.  So repent and live!

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