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“Don’t you know Me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?”

Moses said in Psalm 90.12:  Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. It does not take a wise man to know that even if you live to a hundred years, you only have 36,500 days or so, and that is not a very large number.  The acknowledgement of the scarcity of time and therefore its value is the first step to a heart of wisdom.

The second step is to have the wisdom to use the time available wisely.  Solomon was tolerated and permitted to indulge in all his senses for pleasure and learning that he might be the prime example of how not to use our time.  The wisest and richest man of the world in his time – at 666 tonnes of gold per year as his income, that’s about USD20 billion a year in income – spent his life to come to this conclusion:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

So if you can begin from what his life concluded then you are starting already as the wisest and richest person of your time – to fear God enough to keep His command to listen to Jesus and to fear Jesus enough to listen and keep His commands.  To go to Bethsaida immediately when He tells you is wisdom and time well spent, instead of wasting half the night fighting against the wind in the middle of the lake going nowhere until He comes to you in such an unexpected way and appearance that you think you are seeing a spectre, a ghost!  Not Casper the friendly ghost… but a sight that made seasoned fishermen frightened.

To spend a lifetime believing Jesus without coming to know Him is a life wasted, like Solomon’s was a life wasted.  The peace and prosperity that his father David left him could have been used to further the Kingdom of Israel and to extend its gospel to the other nations so that they too could give up their burdensome religions of having to worship a multitude of gods that are not God, but to join in with Israel and worship the God of gods who is One.

Now this is the gospel of Israel as Moses pronounced:  Hear O Israel:  The Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. That is good news – good news because the Oneness of Israel’s God allowed true devotion because, for the Israelites, their love was not split among many gods and goddesses as with the religions of the surrounding lands, but could be concentrated and focussed… so focussed that truly they were set apart for one God only, which is true holiness.  The religious systems of demons which surrounded Israel in its time, by definition, bestowed no holiness on their people, for their worship, love and devotion were split amongst many gods.

Instead, Solomon, son of David, took the blessings prepared for him and spread himself amongst the gods of the nations from where his wives and concubines came, and lost his means of holiness completely.  Solomon… truly an opportunity wasted; and his trait was passed on to his descendant, James the Younger, to listening and practising the words of Moses as well as the words of Jesus.  Again, this splitting of our absolute commitment with all our heart, soul, might and mind to God’s one command to the disciples of Jesus meant we lost our means of true holiness, that is, being set aside for Christ and Christ alone.  And even though we have the semblance of religious piety, which we substitute for true holiness, we are no longer holy unto Jesus only, for we have drunk His blood and eaten His flesh yet try to practise the Law.  In truth, James the Younger reduced us to hypocrisy.  Little wonder that Paul who understood this better than any of the apostles would write boldly for us, for the record in Galatians:  When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.  Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles.  But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.  The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. And what was that hypocrisy?  Trying to live like a Jew, when he was already cut off from the Jews by the blood of Jesus he had drunk.

As such, even though you may master the ability to lengthen and shorten time so that for you a thousand years is like a day and a day is also like a thousand years, it is still all a waste of your life and time if you do not use it all to come to know Jesus.  Eternal life that does not produce the knowing of God and Jesus in a believer is not eternal life… merely immortality.  To achieve immortality without eternal life is as meaningless as a pearl merchant who spent his life buying and selling pearls only to sell everything to buy a pearl of great worth, if that had not been his original purpose.  Immortality without coming to know God is meaningless… to live forever without knowing the One who gave you life and who gave you forever has no purpose.

The merchant who sells everything he has to possess the pearl of great worth has no purpose if his ambition was to be a prosperous merchant, for the moment he did that he stopped being who he purposed to be.  No, the parable of the merchant contains a deeper meaning, elect, which reveals the secret of the proper use of your time and your life… even your eternal life and your forever afters.

Indeed, the moment the merchant sold all he had to possess the pearl, he ended his life as a merchant, for he would no longer buy and sell nor have the means to live, unless the purpose of his being a merchant in the first place was so that he could have the means to look for fine pearls and then to buy the finest one he could find and then possess it.  So then, the merchant that the Kingdom of Heaven is like only makes sense if there is an ulterior motive to the Kingdom of Heaven.

The existence of the Kingdom of Heaven in itself is not so that men and women are born on Earth so that they would die to go to Heaven if they believed… but rather, it is the means to an end first, as the business of the merchant was merely a means to an end.  The Kingdom of Heaven is merely the means by which the good seed, the sons of the Kingdom, can be sown into the field, the world, to produce a harvest… but a harvest of what?  A harvest for the Kingdom of Heaven?  That would be like the merchant running his business just to remain a merchant.  No… the Kingdom of Heaven is “like a merchant looking for fine pearls.” As such, the Kingdom of Heaven is not after a harvest of the sons of the Kingdom of Heaven, but rather, a harvest for the Kingdom of God… those who are of great worth like the pearls.   That is, those who are not only fit for Heaven but are fit for the Kingdom of God, to be resurrected first to join with the Lord for His reign on Earth… not for His reign in Heaven.  No one but God reigns in Heaven… for there is only one throne on which is seated the King; all others are merely elders and not kings.

It is when the Lord returns that He returns as the King of kings and those who return with Him get to also reign with Him on Earth, not in Heaven. As I have said before and I will say it again… Heaven is a refugee camp for the sons of man, for man was never created to die in the first place.  As such, living in Heaven as a spirit separated from our flesh is never, was never, and will never be the plan of God for the sons of man.  Saints in Heaven are but a temporary state of inconvenience… a state that ends with the resurrections, first for the martyrs and then for the rest.

The Kingdom of Heaven is merely the means to bring forth the Kingdom of God… and that bringing forth is here on Earth… just as the business of the merchant is merely the means to buy the pearl of great worth.

Now refine this parable and bring it up to the level of the Kingdom of God… then one can say the Kingdom of God is like a merchant looking for the pearl.  However, to ensure that he knew what a fine pearl truly is, he became a pearl merchant.  He became an expert in what he was looking for, buying and selling pearls so that he would acquire all there is to know about pearls and their worth, so that when a pearl of truly great worth was before him, he would know and recognise it and then sell all he had to acquire it.  As such, being a pearl merchant was merely His way of ensuring that He knew what a pearl of great worth truly is before he bought it.

In the same way, God sent Jesus in the flesh to live amongst us as a Man and as His Son, and had Him walk with us, live with us, endure and experience all that we would, gathering to Himself those who would not bear fruit with Him and those who would be truly fruitful… like a pearl merchant buying and selling thousands of pearls of all worths until H/he knew what a pearl of great worth really is.  The Son of God became the Son of Man completely so that, amongst the sons of men, God would know those who are worthy to be sons of God as well.

So, those who will not devote their time for the sole (holy) purpose to come to know all there is to know of God as the Father are not capable of becoming one and ones who can be the fullness of the stature of Christ, the only begotten Son, Christ who alone so knows the Father that He is One with the Father, so that whoever sees Him sees the Father, whoever knows Him knows the Father.

That is why those who by faith lost their heads for the sake of Him and His gospel will be raised at the first resurrection, for they had proven themselves as they laid down their lives for the sake of the One and His words that they believed and knew.  The proof of that desire to know more came in the forsaking of their life, like the merchant who sold everything to acquire the pearl.  Their entry into Heaven was not a temporary sojourn of inconvenience, but rather, a temporary transition during which their education of knowledge of Him and His words continued, so that they would return with Him to reign on this Earth as His kings, His lords – His deputies.

Likewise, then those who are sons of the Kingdom of Heaven, who spend their days on Earth looking forward to their return to Heaven, rather than seeing this as a means to go from the Kingdom of Heaven to the Kingdom of God, will be harvested and returned to the Kingdom of Heaven at the end of the age, like pearls that a merchant examined but did not buy, they are returned to the storeroom.  However, those who are alive now, to whom the command to listen to Him has been restored, who use this ‘short’ time to come to know all there is to know of God through His Son so that they might enter His Kingdom now… will be like pearls that the Merchant (who became a pearl Merchant Himself) bought and takes with Him, for whatever He has in mind for Himself.  Such is the privilege availed to all who use their time wisely, so that unlike Philip to whom Jesus said, “Don’t you know Me, even after I have been among you such a long time?” the Lord can say to them, “How do you know Me, even thought I have been with you only a short time?” even as He greets them in the clouds.  From their lips should come this reply:  “The Holy Spirit, whom You sent… He taught us about You so that we would know You.”  Truly then, it is election vindicated and time well spent by the Holy Spirit!

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