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The Kingdom of God part 2


PLAN OF THE AGES KINGDOM OF GOD PRAISE & WORSHIP HISTORY MISCELLANEOUS


  THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Part 2

THE REALM OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

             There are many strange ideas around about the difference between the terms “Kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of Heaven”.  Carnal-minded men have long tried to make a distinction between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven, as though they were two separate kingdoms.  Our Lord’s instructions upon sending out the twelve were, according to Matthew, “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat. 10:7).  According to Luke, “He sent them forth to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick” (Lk. 9:2).  Certainly Jesus did not preach two conflicting messages at the same time!  Surely He was not announcing two separate and distinct kingdoms and declaring them both to be at hand!  These, and many other passages, show the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven are one and the same.  Yet there is a difference!  For, you see, heaven is a REALM and God is a PERSON.  The Kingdom has its origin in the REALM OF HEAVEN, and in the PERSON OF GOD.  The term “Kingdom of Heaven” denotes from whence (from what place, location, realm or dimension) the Kingdom proceeds, whereas the term “Kingdom of God” reveals from whom (from what person or being) the Kingdom originates.  When we consider these two items, place and person, it immediately follows that as to REALM the Kingdom is out of the heavenlies, but as to PERSON the Kingdom comes from God.  It is called the Kingdom OF God because it is from and by God.  He is the Instigator and Head of the Kingdom.  It is called the Kingdom OF Heaven because it has its inception in heaven the invisible realm of Spirit.

In this message we shall consider the meaning, magnitude and magnificence of the realm of the Kingdom of Heaven.  The gospel of the Kingdom is not the good news that we shall go to some far-off heaven somewhere and live forever in an external paradise.  As extraordinarily marvelous as that would be, God has something for us far, far better than this!  Going to a place called heaven is not what Jesus had in mind when He proclaimed the Kingdom of Heaven.  The religious tradition concerning “going to heaven” is so strong that it distorts people’s ability to perceive and understand what is written in the Word of God.  When we emphasize the concept of going to heaven to live forever, the gospel of the Kingdom becomes incoherent.  Preachers are always making the foolish statement, “Except a man be born again he cannot get to heaven.”  THAT’S NOT WHAT JESUS SAID!  It is an absurd perversion of the word of our Lord.  Jesus wasn’t talking about going anywhere He plainly said that unless a man is born again by the Spirit of God he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.

             Oh!  Why do men play with the Word of God?  Why do they twist, change, mis-quote, mis-represent, and distort the good news of the Kingdom?  Is it not the incredible darkness of the carnal mind and the ignorant foolishness of religion?  I tell you today that the gospel of the Kingdom of God has absolutely nothing to do with dying and going to heaven it has everything to do with the rule of God coming into this earth.  Redemption is not a change of location it is a transformation of the state of being.  The Father’s desire is not that we leave the world behind someday to “fly away” to our mansion in the sky.  His desire is for us to leave the world behind right now and press forward each day deeper and deeper into the depths of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

             I once read the story about Thomas Huxley.  He was a devoted disciple of Darwin, the famous biologist, teacher, and author.  Huxley staunchly defended the theory of evolution.  An avowed humanist, he was bold and convincing as he traveled widely giving his lectures, which were a series of blistering attacks on Christianity, and especially what he called, “The alleged resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.”  One day, having finished a series of public assaults against Biblical truth, Huxley was in a hurry to catch his train to the next city.  He took one of Dublin’s famous horsedrawn taxis and settled back with his eyes closed to rest himself for a few minutes.  He assumed the driver had been told the destination by the hotel doorman, so all he said as he got in the cab was, “Hurry, I’m almost late.  Drive as fast as you can.”  The horses lurched forward and galloped across Dublin at break-neck speed.  After they had gone some distance Huxley glanced out of the window only to realize that they were going west, away from the morning sun, not toward it.  They were not headed toward the train station but were actually getting farther and farther away from it.  The scholar leaned forward and shouted to the driver, “Do you know where you’re going?”  Without looking back or slacking the pace the driver yelled a classic line.  It was not meant to be humorous, nor is it when you think about the truth it contains.  “No, your Honor,” the driver shouted back, “but I’m going as fast as I can!”

             That story is more than a story.  It is the graphic illustration of the whole church world today.  All think they are on their way to heaven and they are going just as fast as they can to get there.  Great speed, much commotion, a rapid pace but a journey to nowhere!  They have eternal life, alright, and they are headed somewhere, but not where they think.  The planet with the golden streets, the mansions, the harps, the white night gowns, the fluttering wings all the visible, external things their hopes are fastened upon DO NOT EXIST.  And they are traveling at break-neck speed in the wrong direction away from all the glorious and eternal reality those things represent! 

            One of the beautiful symbolisms given us in the book of Revelation is the Holy City “coming down from God out of heaven” (Rev. 21:2).  When John said that this city comes down from God out of heaven, he wasn’t talking about coming down past Mercury, Jupiter and Mars.  He meant not that it would settle down over the mount of Olives or any other geographical location. In the Bible a city represents a government, and the “holy” city is a righteous government.  It is not a man-made government.  It doesn’t have a “Democratic,” “Republican,” “Reform,” “Labor,” or “Conservative” party.  It emanates from God, out of the celestial or spiritual realm, and is established on earth through a heavenly people.  May the blessed spirit of revelation grant us the clarity to see that this city shall never rule until it has in all truth become the “holy” city, prepared, adorned, and “made ready.”  She comes down from heaven.  Her origin is divine, her nature, her character, is heavenly “out of heaven from God.”  One is reminded of the scripture, “As IS the heavenly,  such are they also THAT ARE heavenly...we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (I Cor. 15:48-49). 

            “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:2-5).  My beloved, John saw the city descending down from God to earth.  He did not see us going out into space somewhere.  God is going to perfect His elect right here upon earth with a divine life that comes out of God from heaven, and they are going to reign upon the earth.  “Suddenly there came from heaven the sound of a rushing mighty wind...and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.”  Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men!  And He shall dwell with them!  God is coming to dwell with mankind.  That is the power and the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.   

            Yet millions of Christians vainly imagine that they are going to a city up in the sky to live there with Jesus forever and ever.  Multitudes believe that somehow they will escape “The Great Tribulation” by being “raptured,” snatched up to heaven.  The testimony of scripture is just the opposite of man’s childish superstitions.  God has always come to man.  In the sacred mists of long ago Eden the Lord God came down and walked and talked with Adam.  In another place we find that the Lord appeared on the plains of Mamre and walked and talked with our father Abraham.  God came down on mount Sinai in flaming fire and smoke before the face of the whole assembled nation of Israel, and gave them His law.  God instructed Moses to build the tabernacle in the wilderness so that He could have a dwelling place in the midst of our Israelite forefathers.  Long centuries later “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14).  John saw the city descending from God, and it is descending from God.  With every message of God that is preached, the Holy City is coming down to earth.  With every person that is born from above, thus becoming a citizen of that city, it is coming down to earth.  With every person who receives the anointing of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, the Holy City is coming down to earth.  With every member of God’s elect who grows up another step into perfection, into the image and likeness of the Holy One, the Holy City is coming down to earth.  With every revelation that comes to us from the Spirit of God and that takes us onward into the perfect fulfillment of God’s great plan and purpose in our lives, the Holy City is descending to earth.  As the principles of the Kingdom of God righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost are established in our lives, the Holy City is coming down from God out of heaven.  When the nature and character of our heavenly Father are formed in us, and His precious mind rules our hearts, the Holy City is descending to earth.  With every victory over sin and sickness, over limitation, darkness and death, the Holy City is descending to earth.  Beloved, it will continue descending with the development of the body of Christ into its full stature.  It will descend and descend until the prayer that Jesus taught  for sons is fulfilled: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

             In an article some time ago Terry and Tykie Crisp wrote, “Why is it that this Great City is coming DOWN OUT of heaven?  It’s because of the burdened appeal of creation!  Beloved, there is coming a GLORIOUS CHURCH in these last days, a church which has been caught up to the highest heaven, to the very throne of God...but who, because of the spirit of sonship in their hearts, will not be able to ignore the groaning of the prisoners!  They will come down from the heavenlies in High Priestly attire, bearing their gem-studded breastplate, which is the burden of mankind upon their hearts...with deliverance, with power, and with authority, to set the captives free!  Imagine, if you will, a church  so virtuous and bright that the nations of the world will walk in the light thereof, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory and honor to it, submitting themselves to her authority, and seeking wisdom from her mouth!”   end quote.

             This great city, the heavenly Jerusalem that started coming down on the day of Pentecost, shall continue to come down from God out of heaven.  That is, it shall continue to descend from out of the divine consciousness and life of the Lord into the receptivity and consciousness and experience of His people on earth.  It shall persist until all that dwell upon the earth shall walk in its light and enter in through its gates.  Then shall the whole earth be filled with the glory and the knowledge of the Lord.  Even now the new heavens THE NEW MIND AND SPIRIT are descending into our hearts, our nature, creating within us a new earth for the tabernacling of God.  Every thing that God sends down out of heaven is infinitely good and glorious.  Two thousand years ago He sent Jesus as His best gift, and all the world has been blessed by that gift.  When He brings heaven down to us we know that He is bringing His best.  Every good and ever perfect gift cometh down from above.  A king once gave a diamond to one of his friends, and the friend said, “Sire, this is too great a gift for me to receive.”  But the king answered, “It is not too great a gift for a king to give.”  In like manner, if the full manifestation of the life and glory of God in you, His elect, seems beyond what you deserve or are capable of, remember! it is NOT TOO MUCH FOR GOD TO GIVE AND DO! 

            According to the beloved John everything on earth IS going to be transformed.  He speaks of a new heaven and a new earth.  He speaks of all things made new.  At present heaven and earth are quite separate states of existence, but in the new City of God which John beheld in spirit they are no longer two, but one.  It is my conviction that the veil between seen and unseen is a very flimsy one, and that this seemingly solid matter that forms our prison-house is not so very solid after all.  Probably it is nothing more than our own thought exercised upon a very limited plane, a darkened perception.  It is quite conceivable that we might wake up, as it were, from a sleep, and realize that there never has been a material and a spiritual, but that we have all the time been living at the very center of reality, only we did not know it.  If men were only endowed sufficiently with the spirit of wisdom and revelation, and ready for the change, the veil between heaven and earth would be taken away, the heavens would be opened, and the two would be seen as one, as it was with the servant of Elisha that day in Dothan when he saw the armies of heaven upon the mountains of Israel.  This is what John means by the city coming down; it is heaven taking possession of earth and absorbing it into itself.  That is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth! 

            The world is to be won for God; there is to be a transformed society of men on earth; in the end earth will become heaven.  Death will be abolished, and sin and sorrow will flee away.  When John used the language of Isaiah about the city needing no light of the sun he meant it in even a grander way.  Henceforth God in Christ is to be the light of every man’s life, all the nations are to walk in that light, and love and brotherhood be all in all.  But he makes a bold stroke at this point by departing from the Old Testament dream of the Jerusalem Temple.  He says that God Himself will be the Temple, and men shall worship Him in spirit and in truth.  Looking back, as it were, upon the desecration and destruction which had fallen upon the temple that was formerly the pride and the glory of Israel, he says in effect: Well, let it go!  At the best it was only a beautiful symbol for a still more beautiful reality.  Nothing is lost by the ruin of that which was built by hands.  God Himself is our Temple God in Christ!  We need no other.  The whole earth is full of His glory, and in Him we live and move and have our being.  By destroying the outward it throws us back upon the inward; it removes the local and temporary to fix our gaze upon the universal and eternal. 

            Some of us surely have noticed the beautifully significant picture of God’s purposes given us in those glorious and divine events that transpired at Sinai, the mountain of God, when Moses and the children of Israel came face to face with God there.  Until this moment encounters between Yahweh and men had always taken place on an individual basis.  But now there was a dramatic change the private and individual revelation is transformed into a  public and corporate one.  An entire nation, from sage to servant, witnesses Mount Sinai engulfed in smoke, God descending in fire, the mountain quaking to the rising crescendo of the shofar (ram’s horn), and the Voice giving the law the Constitution of God’s chosen nation on earth. 

            A magnificent event, yet in the midst of this cosmic marriage, something else of strange and great significance is taking place.  The whole story is found in Exodus, chapter nineteen.  First, “God descended on mount Sinai, and God called Moses to the mountain peak” (Ex. 19:20).  Once Moses begins to ascend, God tells him to “go back down” (Ex. 19:21) and warn the people not to cross the boundary.  Moses replies that they “cannot climb mount Sinai.  You already warned them to set a barrier around the foot of the mountain and not to cross it, for whoever touches the mountain will die.”  Again, God says to Moses, “Go down.  You can then come back up along with Aaron.  But the priests and the rest of the people must not violate the boundary” (Ex. 19:24).  As soon as Moses descends, God begins the Ten Commandments: “I am the Lord thy God...” 

            Why was this momentous occasion marked by so many directions, instructions, warnings?  Had God forgotten that He had already commanded Moses to tell the people not to approach the mountain?  Why must Moses point out to God what God certainly knows?  This scene is not merely a logistical account of where everyone God, Moses, Aaron, the priests and the nation were positioned on that historic occasion.  It depicts a divine tension between the idea of “ascending” and “descending.”  Moses seemed to think that the highest spiritual experience is achieved by turning one’s back on the world, forsaking wife, children, friends, job, responsibilities, recreation, and all the mundane things of life, and ascending into a high plane in the Spirit alone.  But God is saying that His way of merging and becoming one with creation, has an altogether different focus.  The task of sonship is not to escape the world and ascend into the heights of God in some mystical experience, but to bring God down, to redeem the world, change humanity, and transform creation, to suffuse spirituality into every aspect of its existence.  Before Moses ever “ascended” into the glory of God, God first “descended” on mount Sinai before the faces of all the people.  Then further, He sent down His law His nature into their midst.  Had Moses merely gone up the mountain had God not also descended the laws he brought down would have been more suited for the mountain peaks and the seekers who climb them in search for God.  But at Sinai the entire nation saw the almighty Yahweh descend into the world of His creation.  And that very day the Lord said, “Ye shall be unto me an holy nation, and a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS.”  Ah, when God and man meet and are brought into union, there is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth! 

            Do you want to know where the glory of God can be found?  God came down in Christ Jesus and tabernacled among mankind and men beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  And now God has descended again in the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven.  The Kingdom OF Heaven is not the Kingdom IN Heaven.  The prayer Jesus taught us to pray is not, “Come, take us away up to heaven to live with You,” but “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”  It is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and in earth.  No man can ascend into the world of God until first God descends into his world.  The descending and ascending bring glorious UNION between God and man.  It is there that we know oneness with Him and receive His law, His government in our hearts!

THE KINGDOM OF “HEAVEN” 

            The Kingdom of Heaven is the Kingdom of, or out of heaven.  There is perhaps no subject in the Bible about which there is such shallow thinking, such dullness of understanding, and so many distorted notions, as the subject of heaven.  Where is heaven?  What is heaven?  Is it a place?  Is it a planet?  Is it a galaxy?  Is it beyond the stars?  Is it a condition of life?  Is it a different dimension of living?  If our very Father is in heaven, then we ought to know something about heaven, for it is the source of our life, the realm of our origin.  We know this because the Father who begat us dwells in heaven; therefore we are out of heaven and from heaven.  If He is our Father and heaven is His natural environment, His habitat, we should understand what that realm is really like. 

            By saying God is in heaven, Jesus does not mean to localize or locate God.  He is not telling us of a place where God is and where God lives apart from any other place in the universe.  If that were the case then there would be no God anywhere outside of that place called heaven.  Those who think of heaven as a place, usually think of Him as being very distant.  Somehow we have gotten the idea that heaven is a long way off.  This error has crept into many songs sung by the church world.  In the Pentecostal Church where I was raised as a boy two of the favorite songs were “When We All Get To Heaven” and “Won’t It Be Wonderful There.”  Another with which many who read these lines will be familiar says, “There is a happy land, far, far, away.”  And even in that popular hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross,” we sing, “He will call me some day to that home far away...”  How did we get that conception? Certainly not from Jesus or the apostles!  When Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, He said, “No man hath ascended up into heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (Jn. 3:13).  That is, Jesus claimed that while He was sitting and talking with this rabbi, He Himself was actually in heaven.  This means, of course, that heaven is here and now. 

            The easiest way to understand heaven is to realize that it is where God lives.  The question follows: Where is God?  Is He on a planet thirteen trillion light years beyond the farthest star?  Or, is He everywhere, omnipresent?  The Psalmist David posed this intriguing question: “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thine hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me” (Ps. 139:7-10).  Is there some point out in the universe where you can draw a line and say, “God comes to this point.  Beyond here God does not exist.  If you cross this line you will leave the presence of God.”  Ah, the scriptures testify that God is before all things, all things were made by Him, He upholds all things, He fills all things, and He is greater than all things.   

            It is abundantly clear that wherever there are things, there you will find God.  Is there any place where there are no things?  If there is, man has never found it.  There is no scientific evidence that such a place exists.  As far as man can see with his telescopes, including the new and most powerful Hubble telescope, there is no end to the universe.  Man is unable to find the outer perimeter of the cosmos.  The galaxies and the swirling nebulae stretch out into infinity.  Since God both created all things in Himself, and fills all things with Himself, it is an absolute certainty that to find the end of creation would be to discover the limit of God.  God is infinite, unlimited, boundless, unending and inexhaustible.  The creation is co-extensive with the Creator, therefore, there is no end to the cosmos for there is no end to God.  Certainly that answers the question of the Psalmist, “Whither shall I flee from Thy presence?” 

            Will you agree with me that everything everywhere is made up of things that are visible and things that are invisible?  And is it not true that visible things never remain the same but are always changing, and that invisible things always remain the same and never change?  “The things which are seen are TEMPORAL,” says the Lord, “and the things which are not seen are ETERNAL.”  This is the wisdom of God in a mystery.  But it should be clear that the realm of the unseen is the realm of the INVISIBLE GOD!  That which you cannot see is called Creator, Origin, Source, Cause.  That which you can see is called creation, effect, form, matter, things. 

            The wonderful attribute of omnipresence is one of the foremost parts of God’s glory.  God’s omnipresence that is to say, God’s presence everywhere and wholly everywhere is rooted in the fact that He upholds all things and fills all things and is higher than all heavens.  That is the testimony of scripture.  God’s presence is with all His creatures of all kinds, and in all places of His dominion.  Give strength, then, to your understanding, and give wings to your imagination, and give holy fear to your heart, as we try to enter upon those great matters “which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man...but God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.”    When you try to do it, you cannot limit the presence of God to any one place on earth, or in heaven: no, nor to all places on earth and in heaven, taken together.  Place, precinct, locality, situation when you attempt it, you soon find how absolutely impossible it is to limit and restrict God in that way.  Heaven and earth, time and eternity, all worship their Maker in these adoring words, and say: “Behold the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain Thee: how much less this house which we have builded.”  And then, if anything could add to the awe and the wonder of all that, it would be this other all-transcending truth that He who is everywhere is also wholly everywhere.  Now that the almighty Father is wholly, and is continually, with every one of us in all the completeness, and in all the totality, of His Godhead what an absolutely staggering thought is that!   

            In the early 1600’s the Christian mystic, Jacob Boehme, wrote:  “If you want to know about Heaven and what Heaven is and where it is, you do not need to cast your thoughts many thousands of miles off, for that place, that heaven thousands of miles away, is not your Heaven.  The true Heaven is not a created place but an uncreated place, and it is not found in a particular place but everywhere, even in the very place where you are standing and going.  For when your spirit within you is able to penetrate inward through and beyond your own flesh and life, and is able to catch hold of the innermost moving of God, then you are clearly in Heaven.  Moreover, if your eyes were but opened, you should see God everywhere in His Heaven, for Heaven is found everywhere.  For instance, when Stephen saw Heaven open, and the Lord Jesus at the right hand of God, his spirit did not suddenly transport itself  into outer space, but rather Stephen’s spirit had moved inward, within, into the innermost place where Heaven is found everywhere, for God fills all things.  So you must realize that this world with all of its physical properties is in union with the vast vistas of the heavenly spaces above the earth.  There is only one Heart, one Being, one Will, one God, All in all.” 

            I know that these words seem to be incredible but they are truth.  I point you today, dear child of God, to another world, spiritual in content, which lies beyond the immediate grasp of the physical senses.  It is a world that exists within and beyond our physical existence, with its own structure, modes of behavior, patterns of communications, knowledge, wisdom and power.  It sees without being seen.  This spiritual realm bears the same relation to the sensible world as the Creator does to the creation, as the spirit does to the body.  This realm is heaven.  Heaven is not a place, not a geographical or astral location it is a sphere or realm of reality.  It is a dimension of life.  It is a level of God-consciousness.  It is the invisible realm of Spirit that transcends this gross material realm.  It is as omnipresent as God is omnipresent.  It is co-existent and co-extensive with the physical universe, but on a different level of reality and being.  It is the dimension of spirit reality, of being where God is all that He is.  Heaven is also the realm in which God is revealed by the Spirit.  Heaven is the realm in which God is known by the Spirit.  Heaven is the realm in which God can be touched in the Spirit.  Heaven is the realm in which God can be experienced in the Spirit.  Heaven is everywhere.  Heaven is closer to you than the air that you breathe, closer even than the blood that courses through your veins. 

            Let all who read these lines clearly understand that God’s heaven is not the inexhaustible universe of stars and suns and planets and swirling nebulae.  Heaven has nothing whatever to do with the time-space continuum or matter in any form.  The true heaven is beyond it all, above it all, before it all, yet in it all.  Heaven is that high and holy and invisible realm of SPIRIT, the pure and divine and eternal and incorruptible realm of GOD HIMSELF, which existed before ever a star or a planet appeared.  Heaven, therefore, can only be entered BY THAT WHICH IS SPIRIT.  Is that not why Jesus spoke of heavenly things to Nicodemus and said, “Except a man be born again, except a man be born from above, except a man be born of the Spirit, he can neither see nor enter into the Kingdom of God.”   

            Let every man know for a certainty that carnal eyes cannot pierce the invisible realm of Spirit.  The Russian astronauts returned from space and said, “We have been up there, we have looked around, we didn’t find or see God.”  Of course not!  Natural minds know nothing of that realm, for we perceive only those physical things recognizable by the physical senses.  Natural ears are unable to hear that which is spoken in the realm of the spirit, for spirit vibrates on a frequency higher than and superior to the low vibrations of matter.  Heaven is all around us, in us, through us, but we must be raised out of our natural consciousness in order to touch it.  But the dimension of heaven is ten thousand times ten thousand MORE REAL than this gross material realm to which our mortal form has been subjected. 

            Heaven is our Father’s native realm, and the realm in which the sons of God shouted for joy in that blessed day when they were chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world.  Heaven is our Father’s natural environment.  It is His home and habitat.  Heaven is heaven by virtue of the fact that His presence, nature, power, wisdom and glory make it such.  If God dwells in me, then heaven is within me, for He is my Father “in heaven.”  When teaching His disciples that magnificent prayer called The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus was not thinking of a distant Being in some remote area of the universe.  He was referring to One whose existence was the very essence of His life.  What was true of Jesus Christ as He lived in Palestine twenty centuries ago, is equally true of all sons and daughters of God today.  Our Father is in heaven and also in our hearts.  The word “also,” however, is superfluous GOD IS OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IN OUR HEARTS!  That is the truth of the matter.  To know this is to know a new and deeper dimension to life.  To know the presence and person of God our Father within is to experience heaven in the here and now, to be in heaven.  But even more than that, we will cede our lives now as the residence and habitation of the Most High.  We will know ourselves to be the home of our heavenly Father, the base of His operation, just as Jesus did.  “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works” (Jn. 14:10).  The Father who dwelled in Jesus is the Father  in heaven.  Thus, we and heaven are one.  To say that God is in heaven and also in my heart, and to then separate between the two, is to entirely miss the mark.  Once God’s DOMINION has been established by the Spirit in any human heart, the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven is accomplished in that life.  Heaven rules there!  That is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.  And the Kingdom of Heaven, my beloved, is at hand! 

FROM REALM TO REALM 

            The only life you know is the life that you have lived, and it’s the world to which you are accustomed.  But there are worlds within worlds.  Oh, sure, we have only one Earth.  But in that one Earth are many countries and many different terrains, climates, cultures, languages, religions, and kinds of people.  If you go into just one apartment building, how many different worlds are there within that building?  There are drug worlds.  There are child and spousal abuse worlds.  There are suicidal worlds.  But there are also believing worlds, righteous worlds, and loving worlds. 

            On a late night some years ago I turned on the television.  Johnny Carson was chitchatting with a “show-biz” guest.  Suddenly the thought flashed through my mind, Who else, pray tell, but a “show-biz” person could Johnny interview?  Who else was of any importance or interest to the viewing public?  Johnny, I realized, must have only IMPORTANT people CELEBRITIESon the show.  Show business is his world, and he could not be expected to “descend to a lower level.”  An actor or entertainer is in THE ONLY world that counts!  All others are beneath him.  Show business people have their own journals and publications, just like other worlds.  They speak their own language, have their own terminology, totally incomprehensible to an outsider.  They are all knowledgeable about their own world and its personalities, though they may or may not know much or anything outside their all-important world.  The same is true, of course, of all other fields the sciences, medicine, the arts, car racers, body-builders, investors and thousands of other “worlds.”  I began to think about how many different worlds exist within this world on the planet Earth.  And even smaller subworlds within those worlds.  We speak of the Free World in contrast to the Communist World, the World of Islam, the Third World and many others. 

            I want to tell you about another world very close to you which some who read these lines may never have even visited, let alone lived in it.  It is my world.  It’s a beautiful world!  It’s a wonderful world!  It’s a vibrant world!  It’s a victorious world!  It’s a glorious world!  IT’S THE WORLD OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN ON EARTH. Natural minds discern the natural.  Spiritual minds discern the things of the Spirit.  Natural minds cannot discern the things of the Spirit because they each belong to distinctly different realms.  “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14).  For natural minds to comprehend the spiritual is equally as impossible as for a creature of the animal kingdom to comprehend things human.   

            By instinct, beavers build dams.  But all these dams follow the same pattern.  The beaver cannot think out some new, different pattern and make some new and different thing.  Ants may form anthills; gophers, snakes and rodents dig holes; birds build nests.  But they always follow the same pattern.  There is no originality, no thinking and designing of a new idea, no new construction.  The beavers’ dams, the ants’ hills, the gophers’, snakes’ and rodents’ holes, the birds’ nests are all made purely by instinct.  A test was made with weaver birds.  For five successive generations, weaver birds were kept in a place with no nest-building material available to them.  The fifth generation had never seen a nest.  But when nest-building materials were made accessible, that fifth generation immediately made nests just like weaver birds have always made nests.   

            Humans are of a higher order than beavers.  Beavers may see men, and may observe their movements, yet there is no common ground of knowledge.  Just because a beaver can build a wonderful  dam of logs, branches, stones and mud in the creek, you would never give him a contract to build a hydro-electric dam of concrete and steel on a mighty river.  You may take the beaver to the river and let him observe how men build dams of concrete and steel, yet the beaver has no comprehension of what it sees.  It discerns only things pertaining to its own realm.  It has positively no understanding of the ways of man, or of the meaning of his movements, or words, or habits.  Likewise, heavenly beings are of a higher order than are mere humans.  They belong to a higher realm, another world.  There is no common ground of knowledge.  Therefore natural men are totally incapable of comprehending that which pertains to that higher order.  And so until men are quickened by God’s Spirit, until they are born again, born from above, born of the Spirit, and made alive to the realm of the Kingdom of Heaven, and are translated into it, it is impossible for them to have any understanding, either of God, or His ways, or of His realm. 

            Jesus is the example par excellence of a man living and walking in the realm of the Kingdom of Heaven.  He came to earth and walked among men in their realm, but at the same time He walked in the Kingdom of Heaven realm.  He was a spiritual and heavenly man who walked among men.  He had dominion over them.  They planted their smartest lawyers and most learned theologians in the crowd and tried to trip Jesus up He made fools of them.  They tried to throw Him over a cliff and destroy Him He just walked through their midst and went His way.  Never man spake as this heavenly man spake.  Never man lived as this man lived.  Never man did the mighty works that He did.  He lived on earth, but He came from a higher world and lived by the laws of that higher world.  And He made that heavenly world available to you and me.  That is what Jesus was talking about when He went about preaching the Kingdom of God and declaring, “The time is fulfilled; and the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand: repent and believe the good news!” (Mk. 1:15).   

            The Kingdom life we have received is given from heaven, and is heavenly.  It is a life that reaches heaven.  Once we obtain this life, we have fellowship with heaven and are joined to heaven.  Our citizenship is in heaven.  Our life-style is heavenly.  Our thoughts and desires are heavenly, and we dwell in heaven.  Although according to outward conditions we still live on earth, yet according to the inner life we are in heaven.  We are a heavenly people, the heavenly man.  The situation is just like the Lord’s during His time on earth.  He said that though He “descended out of heaven,” He was still “in heaven” (Jn. 3:13).  He walked in the conscious awareness of both realms, but His reality was in heaven.  He was the embodiment and personification of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.  Mature sonship is the power and the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven in manifestation. 

            The following words by T. Austin-Sparks are so very pertinent to our present thought.  “There were these things about Jesus, so that when you met Him on the surface, face to face, as a man, it was just impossible to feel that you had met everything, that that was all.  There are some people whom you meet and that is all.  You meet them, pass the time of day or have a few words with them, and then you part, and that is all.  They came and they went, and there was no more to it than that.  It was never so with the Lord Jesus.  If you had met Him, you would have immediately met something more than the ordinary, but you would also be left with the consciousness That is not all; there is something very much more there than I have seen or touched.  He implies a vast amount more than I have been able to recognize or grasp.  That Man has a lot more behind Him than is on the face of things.  He did not put all His goods in the shop window, so to speak: you were conscious of something there of a vast and profound fullness and depth, and that left a mighty impress. 

            “There was behind Christ another world of resources that He could draw upon,  an extra world of knowledge that was available to Him, an extra world of relationships, heavenly relationships: with the Father, yes, and with other intelligences, celestial intelligences.  What a big world He had behind Him to draw upon in this life down here, in its vicissitudes, its difficulties, its trials, its adversities, when He was alone and no one could help Him.  Even those who would want to seek to help Him could not, for they could not minister out of that other world.  He was alone here.  Without the resources of this world, He had another world to draw upon, a wonderful other world of resource.   

            “Oh, how much more real that must be to all sons of God in our consciousness!  Here I have come to the end of my resources, here I am right up in a corner, here I am, not knowing, so far as this world is concerned, which way to turn; but I have another world to draw upon, a very real world, and that other world can come right into my situation.  And it is just as we are living out from heaven, out from our extra, our plus, world, that things will partake of the character of the eternal, and that into this life will come the imperishable, the incorruptible.  God is always seeking to have it like that.  That is why He allows the problems and the impasses, to teach the sons of God that this is not all.  There is another world of resource, all so infinitely in advance of what is seen. 

            “Looking at the Lord Jesus, speaking as men speak, we could say that that Man was governed by different standards,  by different conceptions, by different ideas, from anything in this world.  He did not act just as people usually act here.  His conduct was different from the usual conduct of people, from the established and accepted order of things, of how it is done, and how people think it ought to be done.  No He did not belong to that realm at all.  He could not be involved in this world’s system of ideas and procedure and conduct at all.  He would just not allow Himself to be roped into that order.  He had another world with an altogether different set of conceptions, and He acted according to them and was governed by them, and that made Him so strange amongst us.  The Lord Jesus was a foreigner to this set-up, this whole order of things.  He belonged to another world, and He had that other world’s conceptions.  There was a great difference about Him.  They just could not keep Him in, they just could not make Him conform, they just could not understand Him at all! 

            “It was those very heavenly standards and conceptions and ideas that were the incorruptible things.  This world’s ways of going on what do they lead to?  They lead to corruption.  At their fullest, highest, greatest, they lead to corruption.  Never, never was that more apparent than in our own day.  The whole world is sinking into an infernal morass of corruption.  But His ideas did not work out that way.  You and I we have come to know something of the Lord, something of the Lord’s standards, the Lord’s ways, the Lord’s conception of heavenly things, and we know quite well that this is not corruption, this is LIFE AND INCORRUPTION.  We are rejoicing because we have come to know the Lord; but what have we come to know?  Something from outside of this world altogether, something different. 

            “The Holy Spirit coming down from heaven has not come just to make us successful in this world, not just to prosper our carnal ventures here, not to be used by us to realize the thing in which we are interested and to further those plans of ours.  He has not come down from heaven for anything like that.  He has come down to reconstitute us as heavenly people and bring heaven into man’s world.  That is His whole work, the reconstituting of our whole being according to heaven’s ideas.  That is what He is getting at in His work in our lives, His dealings with us, His ways with us.  He is after getting us to turn everything to heavenly account, to make us according to heaven’s pattern.  He is after the incorruptible   end quote. 

THE LAWS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN 

            The unseen world of the Kingdom of Heaven is available to men on earth today by faith.  Let me give yet another illustration.  Radio is a method of sending out sounds for long distances by the use of electricity.  The radio waves are sent out from a tower.  The waves travel out in all directions and they are everywhere.  That is why you can travel down the highway at 80 miles an hour and clearly pick up the signal at all times.  But you must have a receiver!  A radio receiver is usually called a radio set or just a radio.  One of its parts is the antenna.  The radio waves in the air strike the antenna and are carried into the set.  Of course, the air is full of radio waves broadcast by different stations.  The place where you sit as you read these lines is literally filled with radio waves.  Music, voices, and noises of various kinds are all around you, passing through the walls, and even your body.  Do you feel them?  Can you hear them?  Do you see them?  No but they are there, they are all there, co-extensive with every visible thing, occupying the very same space!  Yet each wave exists in a different “world” entirely.  They are on different frequencies.  Therefore they don’t interfere with each other, they don’t mix and become all scrambled up.  They are not in the same world.           

            That is what I mean by a “realm” or “dimension.”  It is like a frequency.  It can occupy the same space and yet be another world altogether.  That’s how God can be in heaven and in the room where you are sitting and in your heart at the same time.  He is simply on a different frequency, in a different dimension or realm, but occupying the same space.  Heaven has nothing to do with a “place,” either here or beyond the stars.  Heaven is a REALM OF REALITY, a DIMENSION OF LIFE.  It is as omnipresent as God is omnipresent, as omnipresent as the universe is omnipresent  it is where He dwells.   

            In order to hear the radio sounds that are in the air you must turn on your receiver.  But you want to select only one of these wave lengths.  For that purpose the receiver has a tuner.  As you turn the dial, at each position a different frequency will flow into the condenser and then be translated into sound heard by your ear.  The radio waves exist as it were in a different “dimension” than the things you naturally see, feel and hear; but they are right there, nevertheless, and can be heard if you are able to “tune in” to them.  In like manner, the Kingdom of Heaven is all around you and right within you IF ONLY YOU CAN TUNE IN TO IT!  That is what Jesus meant when He said repeatedly, “He that hath an ear, let him hear!”  The spiritual ear is the “tuner” of the New Creation Man! 

            The definition “three dimensional” is used to express a law of physics which mathematically proves the length, height and depth of the universe.  All physical things have these three dimensions of height, length and depth a bead, a book, a house, a mountain, a planet, a star, or a universe.  And yet the three are ONE!  If you have an ice-cube, the height of the cube occupies the same space as its depth or its length.  They are not three separate “places” within the cube, but three “dimensions” or realities occupying the same space.   

            A book called Flatland, by Dr. Abbott, attempts to show how there is above us and about us other powers which we little realize.  In that very clever, small volume, Dr. Abbott uses a keen analogy.  He tells of “Flatland” where there was neither up nor down.  Everything moved in two dimensions only.  Various geometrical forms of matter, as triangles, squares, octagons, points, and lines represented the soldiers, wives, politicians, and various groups of personalities in that flat land.  The author appeals that if someone from another dimension world were to reach into the kitchen of Flatland and lift out a cook stove it would be an unexplainable catastrophe to the people of two dimensions length and breadth.  They could not look up or down, and so the removal of the stove  would be a mystery too deep for their limited lives.  Now, suppose the same power would put the cook stove back in answer to their prayers.  That would be a profound “miracle” to them.  But to the person of the higher dimension it would be very simple and not miraculous at all! 

            Since God exists in a world of other dimensions, then heaven is closer than religionists would like to think!  It is all around us, yet we have no way of knowing it unless we are able to “tune in” to its frequency.  And it operates upon laws that pertain to that other world, laws which the carnal mind can never comprehend, but laws just as true and precise as the laws of the physical world.  When God operates in our world by those higher laws we call it a “miracle,” but in that world it is natural.  What to God is normal and elementary is to man mysterious, miraculous and inexplicable.  The ability to move into another dimension and back again in spirit, soul, and body, was demonstrated by Jesus when He moved in and out of closed rooms without having to use a door, and when He moved through crowds without being seen.  All of His signs, wonders and miracles were but acts performed according to the spiritual laws of the spiritual world.  To one living in that world there is nothing “miraculous” about it it is normal!  The Kingdom of Heaven is a miracle realm: for it is the dwelling place and operation sphere of the Lord God Almighty.  It is how and where He works.  It is a super-natural realm, that is, above and beyond what to us is natural.  The supernatural element pertains to all He does.  Therefore, when He wants something done without the supernatural in it, He employs someone of the carnal, natural plane to do it! 

            We should not have to try and convince anyone that there is a spirit dimension and there is a matter dimension.  The inspired apostle states it this way: “The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  The Kingdom of Heaven refers to a vast realm of spiritual reality.  All spiritual reality emanates from this one realm of the Kingdom of the Spirit, even before Jesus opened this realm to all men. As one has written: “What do we find in the Bible?  A continuous record of happenings that we call supernatural, which cannot be fitted into our interpretations of normal cause and effect.  Abraham and Sarah have a child when respectively an hundred, and ninety years old; Joseph accurately foretells through dreams; Moses brings plagues on Egypt, crosses the Red Sea on dry land, gets water from a rock and daily manna; Joshua crosses the Jordan, and brings down the walls of Jericho, and stops the sun for a day; Elijah stops and then brings the rain; Elisha makes an axehead swim; Daniel spends a night among hungry lions; the three young men walk in the fiery furnace and come out without even the smell of smoke on them.  Jesus was continually doing things beyond natural explanation, bringing calm in a storm, walking on water and thus counteracting gravity, feeding five thousand with five loaves, healing all kinds of diseases, and raising the dead.  Paul and the apostles saw prison doors open, chains fall off, the dead raised up.  Do we not recognize that here are happenings which are products of another dimension, the spirit dimension, and altogether beyond the scope of human thinking and action?” 

            No law of nature can be broken, but any law may be superseded by a higher law.  Lower laws may always be overruled by higher laws.  Such overruling occurs when we walk in the spiritual order of the Kingdom of Heaven.  So-called miracles are not really miracles at all, any more than the airplane that defies the law of gravity and flies through the sky is a miracle.  It is simply that the law of aero-dynamics supersedes and transcends the law of gravity.  Miracles are simply VERY NATURAL ACTIVITIES ACCORDING TO A HIGHER LAW.  When one is sick and the illness has not responded to medical treatment, if we then minister out of the power of the Kingdom of Heaven and the person is healed, no natural law has been violated.  A new and higher law has been demonstrated the law of the Kingdom.  Jesus came and demonstrated this realm in an unprecedented measure and proclaimed its accessibility to all men.  The manifested sons of God shall manifest out of this Kingdom Realm  to bring deliverance to all creation.  We have experienced its power and its glory by measure, but the day of fullness is wonderfully nigh at hand and the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of God.  That is the Word of the Lord to this generation.  The Day is dawning! 

            Scattered among earth’s billions is a special species of people.  They are in the world but not of it.  These have known from the beginning that they were different.  They have gone through the motions, tried to be a good Christian, held every office in the church and tried to live the way they were told.  But in the midst of all the effort to belong, there has always been something that kept this people from blending in with the majority.  There has been an emptiness and a knowing deep inside that this was not the reason they were here.  There has always been something that separated them from all the external forms of religion they have passed through.  This, precious friend of mine, is the day of RECOGNITION!  This is your day of knowing and understanding where you came from and where you have been in order to arrive where you are right now, and where you are going.  Something deep within has cried out, “I didn’t come into this world just to get saved from hell.”  Deep has called unto deep and you knew you were born for a purpose.  You knew that you were here by divine appointment.  You knew there was something greater, more glorious, and  transcendental in God.  You knew you were born to unveil God’s great plan, will, purpose, wisdom, nature, power and glory in the earth! 

            While writing this message a sermon tape arrived in the mail from Bob Torango in Dickson, Tennessee.  It was precious to hear that he was speaking of these same realities.  At one point he said, “Moses had to wake up to who he was.  Moses thought he was Pharaoh’s son.  He thought he was an Egyptian.  He had no idea that his mother had put him in an ark and floated him down the river.  He had no idea who he was until he met up with his kindred.  In that experience he found his true citizenship.  He discovered that he was nothing more than a resident of Egypt.  God revealed to him that he was a free-born Hebrew.  He was not a Hebrew by pledge he had been birthed into that reality.  And today the Spirit of God makes clear to God’s elect that we are not of that Jerusalem that is below, but we are citizens of that Jerusalem that is above, which is the mother of us all.  God is re-introducing us to who we really are.  Instead of so many titles He is awakening us to what kind of blood-life flows through our veins.  It is not the life of man, but the very life of God that is invested in us.  And armed with this knowledge we are becoming less and less identified with the outer man and more and more identified with the inner man. 

            “I have a friend in Oklahoma who has a Green Card.  I never knew that Chris wasn’t an American.  He acts like an American, he talks like an American, he looks like an American.  He doesn’t speak Slavic or any other language.  He speaks perfect English.  And yet I just found out that my friend isn’t an American.  He’s still a citizen of England.  He has a Green Card.  Amazing!  To think that someone I have been around so long isn’t even a citizen of our country.  You know, there are a lot of people in the world like that.  There are a lot of people praising, singing, clapping, worshipping, paying tithes, working; they have ministries, they are blessing people, but they haven’t yet  become citizens of the HEAVENLY KINGDOM.  The churches are filled with people who don’t know what country they belong to.  They are expecting a deposed, exiled King to come back from outer space and rescue them.  They are waiting to be evacuated from planet Earth.  But for those of us who are citizens of the Kingdom of God, OUR KING IS IN ZION and we are the Zion of the Holy one of Israel (Isa. 60:14)”   end quote.  

            From the time when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God first shouted for joy, rhythm and rapture have rolled upward and onward through all the boundless and endless spiritual universe as the sweet expression of the mind and will of almighty God.  This spiritual universe, this Kingdom of Heaven, is the home and heritage of every son of God.  He belongs to it, and it belongs to him.  He is in it, and it is in him.  He holds himself in harmony with it, and it fills his spirit with its songs.  He apprehends its truth, enjoys its beauties, expresses its love, utilizes its power and partakes of its holiness.  There is no place in it where he may not feel at home no place where he has not a right to be; for it has been the Father’s good pleasure to give him the Kingdom.  His life is not measured by years, but by its possibilities and expansiveness.  Divinity and eternity are born within him.  This is the power and the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven!

 To be continued...                                                                                           J. PRESTON EBY

 

                                                       

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