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The Kingdom of God part 4


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


  THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Part 4

BIRTHED INTO THE KINGDOM

            “When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). 

            This is the last resurrection appearance of Jesus before His ascension.  At this time Jesus discussed with His disciples the coming of the Holy Spirit and gave them instructions about waiting in Jerusalem.  He gave them some idea of what would accompany their experience of receiving the Holy Ghost.  They would receive power.  During His three and a half years of ministry, Jesus attempted to turn the minds and hearts of the disciples to spiritual things, and graduate them from constant expectation of external and natural happenings.  The earthly kingship idea of Messiah was prominent among the Jews.  They expected that when Messiah came he would defeat Israel’s oppressors and immediately go to Jerusalem and sit on David’s throne.  The people would inaugurate him as king of Israel, and Israel would soon become the one world kingdom.  They had good reasons for believing this idea, because they believed the prophets of the Old Testament. 

            Jesus tried to overcome their concept that the restoration of the kingdom was to be a literal affair.  He tried to transfer their vision from the literal to the spiritual.  He tried to make them see something other than a visible kingdom.  He kept proclaiming that there was an invisible Kingdom of the heavenlies wherein is found life and reality.  It was natural for them, however, to look for a literal, restored kingdom in the earthlies, for with their natural minds that is how they perceived the promises of the prophets of old.  Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other prophets had left an impression upon the people of Israel that the Messiah for whom they looked was going to come and establish a literal kingdom of a visible government in the earth. 

            For example, turn to Isaiah, chapter nine, and read.  Do so as though you were an Israelite looking for Messiah, as though your nation had been overthrown by the foreign armies of Babylon, Assyria, or Rome.  You are in subjection to a foreign power, and you are listening to your prophets prophesy.  They are proclaiming that because Israel sinned, because they kept not the law of the Lord, because they went a whoring after other gods and did abomination before the Lord, God sent the foreign government to destroy their land and their holy city and temple, and carry them away into captivity.  Suppose yourself sitting among the Israelites, listening to Isaiah prophesy, weeping because your nation had sinned and God had brought the judgment of your enemies upon you.  You long for the time when you can go back and see Jerusalem’s walls erected again, and the temple of Yahweh glittering once more in its glory upon mount Moriah. 

            Put yourself in the position of one of those citizens of Israel listening to the Word of God coming to them from their prophet, gazing at Jerusalem in rubble, under the hand and dominion of a foreign, heathen government.  Just imagine yourself listening to the prophet speaking to you the words recorded in Isaiah chapter nine.  “For unto us (Israelites) a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice from henceforth even for ever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:6-7).  This is the Word of God through the prophet, to the people of Israel.  If you can, place yourself back there listening, as a people whose land, government and throne have just been devastated by foreign armies.  Now God promises you a king, a Messiah.  He promises that when he comes he is going to re-establish the throne of David, which to them was a very natural and literal throne in a physical and visible city on earth.  This Messiah will restore the kingdom to Israel and bring in an age of peace and blessing.  He is going to sit on David’s throne and kingdom to rule it, to establish it in judgment and justice.  You are now bursting with the bright hope of the glorious kingdom of David!  And you  have a promise from the prophet Isaiah that it is going to come to pass.  And the scene is repeated again and again through the prophets Jeremiah, Daniel, Zachariah, Ezra, and others. 

            The Jews in the days of Jesus were still looking for the Messiah that Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Ezra, Haggai and Malachi had promised.  Each one  of those prophets gave them the idea that this Messiah, when he came, would be a temporal, external, visible king.  A king that would militarily defeat their enemies, go up to Jerusalem and ascend mount Zion, rebuild the palace as well as the temple and the walls, and sit again on the throne of David re-established there.  Putting oneself in their place before Jesus came, one can understand that with their natural minds they had real reason to believe that this earthly kingdom would come to pass.  Their prophets had made it clear that this was what they could expect. 

            The Jews could not see the spiritual reality to which the prophetic utterance pointed since they did not have spiritual insight.  They could see only with their literal, individual, human approach and perspective.  They could see only the promise of the visible kingdom they supposed the prophets were prophesying about.  It seems that this was still in the mind of the old prophet Simeon when Jesus was brought into the temple in Jerusalem as a babe.  Even the words of the aged prophetess Anna and the angel, if taken in the letter of the Word context, reflect the hope of a literal kingdom established in Israel, in Palestine.  Thus one can see and understand why the disciples, also, in spite of Jesus trying to transfer their hope from that which is natural to that which is spiritual, from an earthly Kingdom of God to a spiritual Kingdom, held tenaciously to the visible, temporal idea.  You can understand why they, not being quickened by the Spirit, and without spiritual  perception, could still be in expectation of a literal kingdom established upon the earth. 

            The primary reason for Peter turning away from the Lord, denying Him, and the other disciples scattering into the night, was because the Messiah they had followed for more than three years was not fulfilling what they thought Isaiah and the prophets said he would do.  He was not conquering Rome.  He was not seizing power.   He was not becoming  king.  They became confused.  They supposed that this Man was supposed to take David’s throne in Jerusalem.  Instead of taking David’s throne, He is letting Pilate sentence Him to death upon a cross.  All the disciples trusted in the words of the prophets and cherished  the hope of the restored kingdom of Israel.  The disciples were confused and frustrated because they had no spiritual perception yet.  They had been born of the flesh, but not born of the Spirit.  They had been born of man, but not born of God.  They had been birthed from the earth, but not birthed from above.  They could understand natural words with natural minds, but were unable to understand spiritual words with spiritual minds.  They, like Nicodemus, could understand earthly things, but had no understanding of heavenly things

            What is the Kingdom of God?  It is a goal a quest set before us toward which we daily press the goal of entering into a completely different realm; a different civilization; a higher order; different form of government;  a realm governed by God.  The Kingdom is a heavenly thing, for it is the Kingdom of Heaven, the subject of God’s heavenly counsels.  The Old Testament prophecies made known His earthly counsels.  They concerned natural men, physical nations, geographical locations, carnal warfare, territorial conquests, literal thrones, outward rituals and ceremonies, national laws, temples of stone and gold and cedar wood, animal sacrifices, priestly vestments, feast days, etc., etc.  This is of great importance, showing how completely the Kingdom lies beyond the outer world.  It has a different origin; it is revealed at a different time; it cherishes a different hope; it is entered by a different birth; it belongs to a different sphere.  After the glowing commendation of the faith, inheritance, and exploits of the Old Testament saints and heroes, in Hebrews chapter 11 we are distinctly told that all these “received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that without us they should not be made perfect.”  Does not our Lord tell us that “among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he”?  The Kingdom of Heaven is the spiritual realm of which Christ is the Head and King.  The true Church is the metropolis of the Kingdom, the sons of God are the throne, the center of order and government in the Kingdom.

             George Hawtin wrote of this realm: “May the blessed Holy Spirit open the eyes of our understanding that we may see that beyond the veil of flesh is the realm of God.  There men and women, having passed through the binding, blinding veil of the flesh, pass out into the open sunlight of God’s precious revelation.  There they begin to see things as He sees them and to understand them as He understands them.  In that realm beyond the veil of our human flesh we come to know God as He knows us.  Here we begin to walk no longer in the light of the sun and the moon, or in the light of the natural mind, but we now walk in the light of the Shekinah, the light of the Holy Spirit, who has come forth from the Father into the world to dwell, not with men, but in them.  The way we once thought of God and understood the things that belong to His realm becomes foreign to us.  Then we thought that God was such an one as ourselves, but now we see His purpose is to make us like Him. 

             “Beyond the realm of the flesh we walk, not only in a new realm, but in an entirely new mind.  It is the mind of Christ.  Here in this heavenly realm we begin to think as God thinks, to see as He sees, to comprehend as He comprehends, and to desire as He desires.  Here we become citizens of a new world, a new country, even an heavenly country.  Here old things are passing away and all things become new.  We cannot have a renewed mind while we live and walk after the desires of the flesh and the carnal mind.  That is where the prosperity doctrine has led millions astray.  They have set their affections not on things above, but on possessing the things of the earth, and unbeknown to themselves, while they demand everything that appeals to the natural man, their desires for the treasures of the Spirit begin to fade away. 

            “After enumerating his abundance of natural things and natural gifts, talents and accomplishments, all of which belong to this realm of flesh and blood, the apostle Paul declared that he counted them all on the level of dung, and that is exactly what they are.  Men and women who glory in the natural and the abundance of earthly things will be found sleeping when the trumpet sounds.  Our Father in heaven has made provision for us whereby we may live above the world as true citizens of the heavenly realm.  In this realm of the Spirit we have a new heart and a new mind.  We have new eyes to see the invisible, new ears to hear the inaudible.  Here in this world we communicate only with words that are spoken, but those of us who have walked at all in the Spirit have found that the Spirit of God speaks to us very definitely without the use of spoken or written words so that we know what He said and what His rebukes and instructions were.  In this realm beyond the veil of the flesh, in this heavenly country and new citizenship, we begin to know His voice as we never knew it from the far off country of the flesh.  It is a new realm, a new era, a new country and a new citizenship.  Those who walk here have a new attitude.  This is the realm of life eternal, and I am convinced that neither life nor death nor principality nor power nor things present nor things to come can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”   end quote.

             Hannah Hurnard relates the transformation that came to her life at the discovery of this higher reality.  “Little by little everything in my circumstances altered.  It was as though I had really moved into another country a heavenly one, where I was surrounded by things that I found more delightful than anything that I had experienced in the past.  Even more wonderful than that, I actually began to feel as though there were angels and heavenly beings coming and going all the time, and, for a very matter-of-fact and practical person like myself, this was a most wonderful and awesome experience.  All sorts of spiritual influences and inspirations were given to me which seemed to ‘open the eyes of my understanding’, so that I seemed to have been born into a new world and universe altogether, or to have escaped from the prison-house world of what my physical senses could perceive, into a vast and glorious world perceivable only through newly developing spiritual senses.  Not through psychic senses, which enable people to see what is going on naturally elsewhere in the world, or what is going to happen in the future, but through spiritual understanding of truths which had been hidden to me until then and which now began to reveal a world of REALITIES and experiences and contact with higher powers, such as I had never before envisaged”   end quote. 

THE NEW BIRTH

             Let us go back some two millenniums to the venerable city of the great King.  It is night.  A citizen is stealing along the street furtively, keeping to the shadows.  Having gained admission into the house where a certain itinerant teacher is staying, the visitor says to Him, “Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him.”  It was really a brave and daring thing for this night visitor to do.  On the one hand, he was a distinguished citizen, an ecclesiastical authority among the Jews, a member of the renowned Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of Israel.  On the other hand, the teacher whom he had come to consult, although famous for certain healings and teachings, was only an untitled rabbi from Nazareth in provincial Galilee.   

            The first words of the new teacher are, however, astounding.  The words spoken by Jesus to Nicodemus are freighted with divine significance, for in that interview the Lord revealed foundation truths concerning the Kingdom of God.  Instead of deferentially receiving him, Jesus said to him, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  What an unexpected, stunning affront to this exemplary Pharisee, this honorable member of the Sanhedrin, this professional expert in Israel!  The Kingdom of God was a term with which he had been familiar since childhood.  He believed that by virtue of his own birthright as a Jew he was already a member of that Kingdom.  And now this itinerant carpenter-teacher from despised Nazareth dares tell this distinguished Pharisee in his very face that unless he is born again, born from above, he will not ever see the Kingdom of God!  Astounded and confused, he asks, defensively, “How can a man be born when he is old?  Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”  But the new rabbi, in no way offended by his visitor’s stupid question, proceeds to repeat, with increasing detail and emphasis, the terms of entrance into the Kingdom of God.  “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”   

            Imagine the unborn twins Jack and Jill debating whether there is life after the womb.  Their small, dark world has been unusually active lately, and both Jack and Jill realize that their days in the womb are numbered.  But while Jill argues that there is much more to existence than their life in the womb, Jack refuses to believe in something he has never seen.  Then suddenly their world begins to collapse.  They feel a tug, intense pressure.  There is pain for the first time ever.  Jack holds on; Jill slips.  Her head is pushed harder and harder into a dark tunnel.  There is pain, more pressure.  It’s happening, thinks Jack, this is the end.  And while he holds on for dear life, he sees a piercing light and hears Jill’s final cry.  Then silence.  But while Jack weeps for his sister, Jill lies safely in the arms of her mother.  She has been welcomed into a new family and a whole new world a world of dazzling light, vast distances, and great opportunities.  And Jill wishes she could tell Jack that there is indeed life beyond the womb and that it’s better than anything imaginable.  But she can’t; Jack will have to see for himself.  IT IS BIRTH THAT BRINGS THE NEW IDENTITY AND THE NEW WORLD. 

            A human life begins at the moment of conception, but at that point in time it is not truly a person, it bears little resemblance to the man or woman it will one day become.  At the time of conception the embryo looks more like a fish than a human being.  Many important changes take place as the child develops in the womb over the gestation period of nine months.  The formation period ends with the onset of childbirth.  When the baby is ready, a change in the chemistry of the mother’s body causes the contractions that bring the birth to begin.  Continual and intensifying contractions finally thrust the baby out into a new world.  The attending physician cuts the umbilical cord and severs the connection between mother and child.  The infant’s lusty cries broadcast the news of a new person arriving in the world.  Think of the great changes that must take place in the infant at the moment of birth.  In an instant, after hours of struggle, from a liquid environment, he is now surrounded by air.  From total darkness, he is now flooded with light.  From a world of confinement and silence, he is now brought into a world of freedom and communication.  He must begin to breathe immediately.  No longer will he get nourishment from his mother’s blood; he must begin to eat.  There is everything to learn, and the learning starts immediately and never ends.  It is exciting, thrilling! 

            In the great and wonderful plan of God, the birth experience determines a human being, for it is by birth that the previously unborn fetus takes on its identity as an independently living, breathing, human being.  Can we not see that identity begins with birth?  The nature of our birth, and its reality, determines who we will become.  Our pedigree and genealogy is of utmost importance.  Your life is a unique creation of God.  You are a special creature in all of God’s vast universe.  It is at birth that the certificate is issued whereby the child is registered as a citizen of his or her country and the  world.  It is at birth that a name is given to the child, establishing for all of his life his individual identity.  In like manner, the birth experience determines the identity of a son of God who possesses the life of Christ.  Jesus did not tell Nicodemus, “Ye must be conceived again,” although there is truth in that, too.  He said, “Ye must be born again.”  It is a mystery to us all, but the fact remains that God has ordained that a wonderful transformation takes place by birth.  It is at birth that the child is given the “breath of life” thus becoming a “living soul.”  All through the Bible birth was the event that established the identity of  the child and his or her position in the family as a son or a daughter.  Inheritance, protection under the law, legal matters of all kinds, and pedigree were all reckoned from birth.  Conception determined none of these things under the law only birth.  How wonderful and significant are the blessings and benefits that accrue by birth! 

            `What a mighty transformation there must be in a man’s life, in his nature, in his character, in his state of being, in his desires, in his attitudes, in his behavior, in his understanding, in his goals and objectives before he can truly say, “I am not of the world.  I have a new birth.  I am born into another Kingdom.  I belong to another King.  I am in the midst of the world with all its crookedness and sin and sorrow and limitation and pain and death, but I do not belong to it.”  I wonder if you can get that.   

            We hear of the new birth and we think we understand it.  Faintly we hear the truths of sonship and imagine we are already sons of God.  We have seen through a glass darkly, but face to face we behold all things as they are.  The mists that have hung like shrouds upon the distant majestic peaks are fleeing away before the rising sun of righteousness that we may know as we are known.  In the true and eloquent words of another: “Believers of all ages have sold themselves woefully short on all the great promises of God.  We have been content to say that every believer was born again and needed but to wait until some distant day when he would fly away to heaven either by death or by rapture.  I remember seeing this sign vividly portrayed by the public highway: Except a man be born again, he CANNOT GO TO HEAVEN.  That statement, I fear, has been the sum and substance of Christian belief, but we have missed the true meaning of the truth given to Nicodemus so long ago.  To be born from above is to be BORN FROM A HIGHER REALM.  Spirit is higher than flesh even though both should grow together in one body.  To be born of the flesh is one thing, for there you are born into a NATURAL REALM capable only of partaking of NATURAL THINGS.  But to be BORN OF THE SPIRIT is to be born into a new and higher realm where the ETERNAL THINGS are CLEARLY SEEN before us even as natural things are seen by the natural man.  Without birth from above it is IMPOSSIBLE to see the kingdom of God, for natural men have not been given the power to see spiritual things. 

            “The realm of the new birth is the realm of sonship.  It is the realm where Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived and moved and had His being.  Not that He was born again, for He had never sinned nor died and needed not the regeneration of ordinary men.  But He lived and moved  in the REALM OF SONSHIP full and complete.  He lived and moved  in the REALM OF THE KINGDOM and opened up the way for us to enter in.  As Moses led Israel to Kadesh Barnea where they could actually see the promised land but through unbelief turned back to the wilderness, so Jesus led the whole world to a sort of spiritual Kadesh Barnea where the glory of the Kingdom came into full view only to be lost sight of in a spiritual wilderness in which we have wandered for almost two thousand years.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived in a realm above and beyond ordinary men, for while we have lived as sons of men, He lived as the Son of God.  While we have been from beneath, He was from above.  While our kingdoms have been of the earth, He was not from hence.  While this is undeniably true to any honest man, yet, praise be to the eternal purpose of God, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became the Son of man that we who were born sons of men might become sons of God”   end quote. 

            Regeneration, new birth, sons of God these are all terms with which most Christians are familiar.  The beautiful analogy is accepted by everyone.  But all this means to the average Christian is that he conjures up the nice spiritual feeling of thinking of himself “as if” he were a “real” Son of God, as Jesus was and is.  The average Christian has absolutely no idea of the transcendental implications  of this new birth into the family of God.  Most think of being a child of God as sort of an “honorary” title conferred on them by an indulgent God who accepts them as “little adopted human children” to whom He plans to give as their reward for accepting His gift of eternal life a beautiful park, a celestial playground called “heaven.”  This heaven is designed for them to enjoy for eternity, playing, loafing, running, shouting, rejoicing, visiting, playing harps, waving palm branches, and doing whatever other harmless and sinless thing their hearts may desire.

            But let us understand what it really means to actually be BORN into the very family of GOD.  I prefer to turn the phrase “the family of God” around, in order to better grasp its significance.  Instead of saying that we are born into the family of God, it is just as correct to say that we are born into the GOD FAMILY!  I may say, by way of illustration, that I was by natural birth born into the family of Eby.  But this also means that I was born into the EBY FAMILY.  It is merely two ways of stating the same fact.  I am of the EBY KIND.  I AM EBY.  Not only are men born into the family of God, they are born into the GOD FAMILY the family that is God.  Not only are we birthed into the Kingdom of God, we are birthed into the GOD KINGDOM the Kingdom which is God.  We are of the GOD KIND.  And startling as it may be, this GOD KINGDOM, or GOD FAMILY, is the ELOHIM of the scriptures!  And to be born into THIS FAMILY means that we have the potential to become ALL THAT HE IS! 

            The new birth is nothing less than the birth of a God-being, the birth of a Christ-creature, who becomes “Christ IN YOU the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).  There is no new birth outside of the actual birthing of an actual Spirit Being who becomes the “inner man,” the new “me.”  It is my spirit quickened by His Spirit, God birthing of His own divine life into me thus making me alive from the dead, a new creature on the Celestial Plane.  So many Christians glibly talk about a born again “experience,” or a “change of heart,” being wholly ignorant as to what must transpire to effect this change, to implement this reality.  Our Lord said, “Ye must be BORN,” not now of the flesh, but of the Spirit.  Religionists, both then and now, are incapable of grasping this greatest of all truths and its astounding implications.  And so they fail to understand that as a woman gives birth to a son, bringing an actual child into the world as a living, breathing personality with an individual identity, nature, mind and will, so does GOD GIVE BIRTH, delivering out of His own loins the offspring of Himself, of His own kind, of the divine nature, of the GOD SPECIES, to grow up into the fullness of His own divine Being.   

            This is exactly what the apostle John was explaining when he wrote, “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.  But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on His name, which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  This is a divine reality, but is also a parable, illustration or analogy.  It is the picture of a babe, who has been conceived, developed in the darkness of a womb until the fullness of time, and then born into the light of the world.  The members of its body are fully developed.  A matured child is born into the world, the exact replica of its parents.  That is the parable.  Whenever the word “born” is used it presupposes the whole analogy of conception, months of waiting for the life to develop, and the final thrust of the new being into a new world.  The new birth is nothing less than the birth of an actual divine, heavenly Being, a son of the Father, who is as ageless and deathless as is his immortal Parent, differing only in development and rank. 

            How wonderful are these things!  They are far beyond our expression or the ability of the most eloquent to describe!  It is a marvelous fact that the very life of God is communicated to the believing heart via the new birth.  But what is the life of God?  It is the content of God and God Himself.  All that is in God and all that God Himself is are in the life of God.  All the fullness of the Godhead is hidden in the life of God.  The nature of God is contained in the life of God, and His wisdom, knowledge, will, power, and glory.  Every facet of what God is and can do, is included in the life of God.  With any kind of living thing, all that it is rests within its life.  All of its capabilities and functions issue out of its life, and all of its outward activities and expressions originate from its life.  It is that kind of living thing because it has that kind of life.  Its being rests in its life.  God is the supreme living Being, and all that He is, of course, is in His life.  All that He is whether truth, holiness, light or love is derived from His life.  All His expressions whether goodness, righteousness, mercy or forgiveness are derived from His life.  All His divine capabilities, powers and actions are inherent in His life.  The reason that He is such a glorious and powerful God is that He has such a glorious and powerful life.  Hence, His being God rests in His life.  And all that is in the life is transmitted through the seed of that life and reproduced in the offspring of that life.  Think of it! 

            I am impressed to share the following from the writings of the late Douglas Wilson.  “Not long ago we were reading from chapter twelve of Hebrews concerning the true sons and the bastard.  We had often meditated on the fact that the child known as a bastard could in no wise help or change the circumstances of his birth.  We knew well there was a stigma attached to the child, under the Old Testament especially.  We were never quite able to reconcile all that we were told concerning such children, until just recently the Lord put a thought in our minds that settled the whole question.  We quote now from Hebrews 12:5-10.  ‘And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh to you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him; for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement whereof all (sons) are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection to the father of spirits and live?  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He FOR OUR PROFIT, that we MIGHT BE PARTAKERS OF HIS HOLINESS.’ 

            “In the above quotation we find two kinds of sons.  At least in one sense of the word they are sons.  There is the son that receives chastening of the Lord, and there is the bastard son that does not.  In one sense of the word, the bastard, or as some translations put it, the spurious son, is as much a son as the true son.  It can make no difference whether the spurious son knows who his father is or not, HE HAS ONE, just the same as the legitimate son.  In some cases it is the very same father.  We have come to see there is something in this and related passages that we need to understand.  Let us first examine some reasons why children are brought into the world.  We must remember always that the child itself has absolutely nothing to say about being brought into this life.  It has nothing to say about its color, nationality, place of birth, sex, or anything else.  We may say that at least some of these things are determined by the laws of nature, but we would rather say they are determined by the laws of God working ALL things according to the counsel of His own will, and that applies to all people. 

            “The first and basic reason for the birth of children is for the preservation and increase of humanity.  Humanity has no other way of perpetuating itself except through the birth of children.  Whatever other reasons there may be, and there are several, they will all rest upon this basic one, the inherent instinct for self-preservation in humans.  The savage in the jungle, or the highly educated and refined person in the highest strata of society, must return to this basic principle in order to perpetuate himself and the rest of the human race. 

            “We suppose that the greatest natural reason for bringing children into the world is because they are desired and wanted for themselves.  The love of husband and wife, combined with the father and mother nature, is designed and given to humanity to cause them to want and desire to bring children into being, simply because they DO LOVE AND DESIRE THEM.  The principal desire in the lives of parents is to have a family, to provide well for that family, and to see that each member of that family is initiated into his or her life with the best possible preparation and advantage that the family can provide.  Some children are very fortunate and blessed, for they enter into a loving family circle and have parents who desire the best for them.  The atmosphere is conducive to the best development of the children, and in that love and care there runs the vein of discipline, wisely administered to cause the children to develop into the kind of men and women that are a credit to the community, the nation, and the world. 

            “Another group of children are brought into the world through ignorance.  Many of these children are unwanted and the care they receive is minimal.  Sometimes they are abandoned or given away.  In one segment of this class we find those who are born into this world only because of the sexual desire of the parents, often unmarried, and these children are unplanned for and unwanted.  These are illegitimate children, humanly speaking, the children without a true father and often deserted by the mother.  Some of them are resented or even hated and they become the shame of the family into which they are born.  The stigma of their illegitimate birth follows them continually.  These children are the victims of the uncontrolled passions of their parents and these are children that are born entirely WITHOUT A PURPOSE.  These children are often looked down upon by society and yet, they CAN IN NO WISE HELP THEIR CONDITION OR THEIR BIRTH. 

            “Now let us look at the group we are most concerned with.  In this last group we want to consider those children who ARE BORN FOR A PURPOSE.  Their birth is not in any sense “accidental.”  The conception and birth are the result of planning by the parents to bring a child into the world to accomplish a certain purpose.  There is the knowledge of a need, a work that must be done, and the child is deliberately brought into the world to do that specific thing.  Even before the birth, the child may be given by the parent over to that work, as Samuel was given to the Lord by Hannah, and all efforts are made to bring that child to the very highest capabilities to accomplish this purpose.  THIS IS A CHILD BORN FOR A PURPOSE and trained for it.  SUCH HAVE BEEN THE KINGS OF NATIONS AND THE PRIESTS OF THE ORDER OF AARON.  Such ones stand out from others and their lives are different than the lives of their fellows.  Some know from their early childhood that they are destined for a major role in the life of this world.  These are children BORN FOR A PURPOSE even in the flesh. 

            “But let us see something about the CHILDREN OF GOD.  How loosely we have used that term!  Any church member or religious person calls himself a child of God.  Yet we can observe that there is ABSOLUTELY NO SPIRITUAL PURPOSE IN THEIR LIVES.  We find multitudes of religious children, brought forth in one manner or another, filling the churches, but we can discern no spiritual purpose or destiny in their lives.  They believe they are saved from hell and the devil and someday will fly away to heaven, but now they have nothing to do but go to church, obey the church rules, and wait for the coming of the Lord.  And in heaven they will have nothing to do, no responsibility, no constructive ministry, no outreach to creation, just eternity to dance, sing and shout an eternal ‘party’.  Yet these have no conception of eternity, nor yet of the great plans and wonderful purposes of God for His creation.  They are children BORN ENTIRELY WITHOUT A PURPOSE, or in the language of this article, they are bastard children. 

            “These children cannot help their condition, neither can they do anything about it.  The church system that was responsible for bringing them forth, took no forethought as to why they would bring these children into being.  In all probability it was to increase the population of the church and benefit the church budget.  But for the most part they ‘just happened.’  What we missed in the past, but are now beginning to see, is that the true child of God IS A CHILD BORN FOR A PURPOSE, and trained to the highest degree of ability to fulfill that purpose.  We emphasize again that even the bastard has a father, but he is a child born without a ‘father purpose.’  He is just brought into the world to make out the best he can.  He receives no chastening (training) for any specific purpose, but just grows up into whatever may come his way.  But behold the wonder, the thrill, the glory, the expectancy of a CHILD BORN TO FULFILL A PURPOSE!  A true son, fulfilling the purpose of the Father’s heart in the great work that is yet to be done throughout the ages to come. 

            “We think of Jesus the Christ in this particular.  Surely none will deny that JESUS WAS A SON BORN FOR A PURPOSE.  He was the Lamb of God SLAIN FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.  He came to fulfill the words of all the holy prophets who prophesied of His coming.  He came to reveal the glory of the Father to the world.  He gave Himself by the eternal  Spirit to fulfill the purpose of God in the work of redemption and recreation of the world.  God has a plan.  He always has had a plan, even from before the beginning.  And just as God had a Lamb, a Firstborn, a Forerunner, a Captain of our salvation, from the beginning, BORN FOR THE PURPOSE of fulfilling His mission on our behalf, so does God have other sons BORN FOR THE PURPOSE OF GOD  in their mission and work.  Just as Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered, so do all the other sons learn obedience by the same means, for there is a world to come that will be under the jurisdiction of those sons as Kings and Priests, and they must be trained.

             “Now we can begin to see this passage about bastards and sons in a far different light than ever before.  Now we see the bastard, not as one condemned forever from the presence of God, but simply as one BORN WITHOUT A PURPOSE, yet one who in due time will be cared for by those sons BORN FOR A PURPOSE.  Surely this makes a division  in God’s people, it elevates some above the rest, but is that not how it is in all the world and in all of nature?  ALL CANNOT BE KINGS AND PRIESTS, anymore than all in our nation can be President or in the government.  But there does rest upon the Kings and Priests a great and awesome responsibility, and for that responsibility the sons MUST BE CHASTENED, having already been BORN FOR A PURPOSE.  Please keep always in mind that this chastening is training for the place prepared for the son”   end quote.

 CITIZENSHIP IN THE KINGDOM

             It is almost impossible to imagine what it would mean to be a man without a native land or home, destined to wander from place to place throughout life with neither rights nor privileges of citizenship.  Sir Walter Scott alludes to the lonely frustration of such a predicament in the immortal words of his Lay of the Last Minstrel:

                                                         “Breathes there the man with soul so dead,

                                                          Who never to himself hath said,

                                                          This is my own, my native land!

                                                          Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d,

                                                          As home his footsteps he hath turn’d,

                                                          From wandering on a foreign strand!”

             If this depicts the worth of the country a man claims for his own, I know of nothing more wonderful than discovering one’s citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Pride of citizenship in a nation is wholly justifiable under the administration of men.  With the Roman Empire, everyone living in territory controlled by Rome was considered part of  “the Roman Empire,” whether they were a slave or a citizen.  But only free-born men were naturally citizens.  It was a cherished thing to be a citizen of Rome.  The apostle Paul sometimes used his Roman citizenship as a badge of credibility and power (Acts 22:25-29).  But how much more glorious it is to find citizenship in the everlasting and incorruptible Kingdom of God!  The name of the man who has been born of God, appears therefore, in the census of the heavenlies.  His home or citizenship is in heaven, even though he lives outwardly upon the earth. 

            There is at this present time a Kingdom scattered abroad over all the face of the earth; mixed and mingled  among the peoples of all the kingdoms of the world: a people who are separate and apart from all the other kingdoms.  They are not recognized by the world as a kingdom, they have no formal consulates in Rome, London, Paris or Moscow and no ambassador at the United Nations.  They have no boundary lines separating their territory from any of the other nations of the world, and they do not have a visible king as some other nations have.  They are the Kingdom of God on earth, scattered all over the earth among all the peoples of the world.  God calls them, “A chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (I Pet. 2:9). 

            They are a people who have been drawn out of the other nations of the world, redeemed by the blood of Jesus out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation and filled with the divine nature and Holy Spirit of God.  These have been born again, giving them a new identity, a new life, a new allegiance, a new hope, a new destiny, and a new heritage.  They are citizens of a new land, a heavenly country, and their King lives and rules within their hearts and minds and bodies.  The world does not know them as a nation, for it cannot see their birth certificate, their true manhood, their land or their King.  Wherever they are in this world they are strangers and pilgrims in a strange land.  They were once citizens of the nations of the world, but being now born of God they have a new parentage and have been translated out of the kingdom of the darkness of this world into the Kingdom of the Son of God.  They were one time in the flesh, without Christ, alienated from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, and without God or hope in the world.   

            So we have today a great and glorious Nation a Nation of Kings and Priests unto God, scattered abroad over all the whole earth, in and among the nations of the earth, in and among the kingdoms of the world, but not any part of those kingdoms.  While they are maintaining their separation from the world, they are growing up into Christ, so that when He shall appear, they shall be like Him and come into their full inheritance.  They are constantly being changed, and as time goes on, they shall put off more and more of the things of the old world they have left, until they become matured sons of God in the Kingdom of their Father.  But they are strategically placed among all the peoples and kindreds and tongues and nations for a divine purpose there shall be a conquest of all these territories until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord,  and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and forever!  God will give the nations to His sons as their inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth as their possession and they shall rule them with a rod of iron (Ps. 2:7-9).  The stage is now being set for this glorious victory, and all nations shall come and worship before the Lord.  The Lord shall be King over all the earth and all kindreds shall serve Him.  His throne shall be manifested through His sons and His authority shall be over all.  The Holy Spirit has witnessed through all His holy prophets in every city and every place throughout the past generation that THE TIME IS AT HAND.  The sons of God are ready to be manifested, the purpose for which the body of the Christ has been so meticulously prepared is ready to be revealed before the face of all nations, and God will do His strange new work to deliver creation from the bondage of corruption, from the tyranny of sin and sorrow and pain and death.   

            Ah, beloved, do you not sense in the depths of your ransomed spirit a sense of divine destiny that you were indeed BORN FOR A PURPOSE?  Have you heard the sound of the trumpet thundering out the message: YE SHALL BE UNTO ME A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS!  God doesn’t need Kings and Priests in heaven, although that is the realm from whence they rule.  HE NEEDS KINGS AND PRIESTS ON EARTH.  “And they shall reign over the earth” (Rev. 5:10).  The nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of this divine government (Rev. 21:24).  Truly we have received the call to sonship, to kingship, to priesthood, and the plan of God overwhelms my spirit and my soul rejoices in His unfailing purpose!  WE HAVE BEEN BORN FOR THIS!

             To be continued...                                                                                           J. PRESTON EBY

                                                       

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