BEGINNING OF THE KINGDOM
We are all sailing the sea of life.
All are mariners, spiritual voyagers.
We might profitably use the following illustration.
Tom Smith and John Jones both presumably own sailing vessels.
They agree to race to a certain point in the Pacific Ocean one hundred
miles due west from Los Angeles harbor. The
first few hours out all goes well. Fair
and constant winds enable them to keep their course at a steady rate of speed.
But then foul winds are encountered, and a storm drives them far off
their course and separates them from each other. The following morning breaks with each one alone on a vast
ocean on which there are no roadsigns and no mileposts. There is nothing as far as the eye can see but blue water.
Somewhere on that ocean is a spot which is exactly one hundred miles due
west from Los Angeles harbor. But
in which direction is it? Both
boats have lost their bearings. They
know not how far they have sailed, nor in which direction.
In other words, they have no knowledge of where they are.
So, until they take their bearings, and learn their exact positions, it
is positively impossible for them to know in which direction or how far away
their destination is. They might be
one hundred miles from it, or it might be only five miles distant.
And so, until they learn exactly where they are now, it is impossible for
them to know what the next mile will be.
Each and every son of Adam is a navigator on the sea of life. And the voyage upon which we all embarked at birth is one for
which none of us was fully prepared or equipped; we were thrust out upon a
tempestuous sea, there to maneuver our tiny bark to another shore.
Winds, tides, and currents swept us out to sea, and carried us on alone.
Humanity, at present, is divided into a thousand fragments both
individually and collectively. We
are fragmented, separated — LOST! But I
have good news for you, my friend — it is possible to discover
exactly where we are now — and how to get back on course to that bright and beckoning
harbor ahead — for our heavenly Father has sent One to search for us and
SHOW THE WAY!
PERSONIFIED THE KINGDOM
We have centered the Kingdom around the King.
And that is truth that is off-center unless we understand what it is that
makes Him King. Jesus didn’t
preach Himself as King — He ran from it! He
preached the Kingdom, in His magnificent parables He defines the Kingdom, He
tells us what the Kingdom is like; and in the Sermon on the Mount He enunciates
the great principles or laws of the Kingdom.
In this world there are various kingdoms — the animal kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, and the mineral kingdom.
Each of these kingdoms is a sphere of existence, a plane of being.
Yet none of these kingdoms has a KING!
Each kingdom has certain inherent characteristics and specific
manifestations. Each is part of a
“kind,” a “realm,” a “domain,” — that is what makes them a kingdom.
“King” is from the old Anglo-Saxon word “cynn” pronounced
“kin.” Our modern word
“kin” is from the same root denoting kindred, kinfolk, kinship, kinsmen,
kind, people, race. King actually
meant “one of noble birth,” one who was born or came out of, and thus was
the “kin” of, nobility. It
didn’t mean that he was the ruler, but that he was from that “class,” the
class of those who had power and wealth. The
king was simply one who bore the characteristics of that order.
If the animal kingdom, or the vegetable kingdom, or the mineral kingdom
should have a king it would be one of that order par excellence, beyond comparison, the one whose every
characteristic is in full splendor, the perfect specimen, the representative
one, the epitome of all the order is.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
Can we not see by this that Jesus Christ is THE KING of God’s Kingdom
just because He is the One who came and exhibited the full splendor, majesty,
power and glory of the realm of God intended for man.
He came as the man par excellence,
the One of greatest excellence, the representative One, beyond comparison, the
perfect specimen, the epitome of all man was ordained of God to
be. In His very person He
defined for fallen and sinful men a NEW KINGDOM, a new sphere of existence, a
new plane of being, a new dimension of consciousness — the kingdom of men in the image and likeness of God!
More than a century ago Johann Blumhardt wrote, “True
man is missing...False men with a false spirit, with false desires and false
aims, think that they are real men. The
false man is the world’s undoing. True
man is still missing until Jesus comes and does away with the false man.
Yet now we do have the fortune to know that there is One in whom the
world is God’s again, in whom all that is created is again placed into the
light of the first creation. This
One is Jesus. Jesus, the Son of man, is more real than any other man, more
childlike than all other children. He
lives among men, and He is the Kingdom of God.
He does not make it, or bring
it; He is the Kingdom! Why?
Because He is God and man. When
God created the world He founded His Kingdom on earth.
The earth was His Kingdom. And
who was to reign, to rule, and to care for it as His representative?
Man. God’s Kingdom was in paradise through man.
God’s Kingdom is on earth through one upright man, no matter what men
are like otherwise. One True Man — and God’s Kingdom is
There is one image that is perfect: the blessed Son of God, the visible
manifestation of the Father, the only one who has ever walked upon this planet
who sums up the totality of DIVINE HUMANITY.
He is the only whole, united, balanced, UNFRAGMENTED MAN! In Jesus Christ a Man stepped forth who came from God without
any lack, so that in Him was expressed the fullness of the image of God in man.
Jesus is man as he was created in Genesis 1:26.
He is man in the image and likeness of God.
That is the true man. Man
today is lost. He knows not from
whence he came, he knows not what manner of man he is, he knows not where he is,
nor where he is going. He is lost
in his separation from God and from the godhood that is his in the likeness and
image of God. Jesus Christ is the
One who shows us just where we are — and opens up the way for our return into the Kingdom of
God. In order to know the power of
the Kingdom of Heaven, the anchor of hope must be cast beyond the veil of this
carnal, dying realm into the Shekinah into which Jesus has passed before us, as
by faith we are led to prove for ourselves and demonstrate for those about the
authority of the SPIRIT OF LIFE WITHIN over the law of sin and death in the
This is exactly what the Lord Jesus taught and demonstrated so
wonderfully through His sonship ministry. He
spoke the words of compassion and power into the souls of all marred creatures
and called them beloved children of God. He
didn’t call them sinners, or condemn them.
He saw them as they were meant to be, as they are in the eyes of the
heavenly Father. That was the value
of their lives. He healed their
diseases, forgave their sins, raised their dead and lifted them up from the mire
and defilement and set them on the pathway to holiness and restoration to their
lost estate that they might live again as sons and daughters of the Most High.
The great Italian sculptor, Benvenuto Cellini, told of receiving a block
of marble with one flaw. Because of
this flaw, no artist would submit a design — except one. In the public square of Florence a fence was built around
that piece of marble, and a little shack was erected for the artist.
For two years the sculptor labored.
Then on a certain day a vast multitude of the citizens of Florence
assembled in the public square; the fence was torn down, and the shack was taken
away. At this unveiling all of
Florence beheld the result and marveled. Since
then Italy and all the world have marveled at Michelangelo’s “David”.
I have seen it with my own eyes in the museum in Florence, and there are
no words to describe its magnificence. In
that block of marble was a statue, others did not see it, but Michelangelo did.
And, precious friend of mine, in that lump of clay which is you, the
almighty Father sees an image too — the
image of Jesus Christ! And God is
working unceasingly and tirelessly to form the image of His Son in you.
No truth has come with more soul-gripping force and power to the elect of
the Lord than the beautiful hope of sonship to God.
Well indeed may we yield ourselves into the hands of heaven’s skilled
sculptor that HE may form His Son in us. All
it takes is to chip away that portion that
conceals the image. The
image is there if only it can be uncovered, brought forth out of our innermost
being. The outer veil of the carnal mind and the obscurity of the
flesh are all that the sculptor must chip away in order to reveal the image of
God within. It is for sonship that
the whole creation groans in a sort of universal travail while it eagerly waits
to see the glorious sight of God’s sons coming into their own (Rom. 8:22-23).
It is the Son in the sons — the revelation of Jesus
Christ! There is coming a day when
all the glories of the Son of God will be revealed and manifested in the sons of
God. With a heart of understanding
and a spirit bright with the hope of God’s eternal purpose the apostle penned
these meaningful words: “...it pleased God, who separated me from my
mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to REVEAL (apokalupto: to uncover,
unveil) HIS SON IN ME” (Gal.
George Hawtin once wrote: “Did you ever stand in awe and marvel at the
work of the great artists on earth? Perhaps
expressions failed and words became inadequate as you gazed with wonder at the
faces of the presidents carved in the heights of Mt. Rushmore.
Wonderful as these things are, it must be that, ere the sculptor placed
his chisel upon the stone to chip it away, he beheld in the uncut rock the very
image of that which he by toil and skill would bring into being.
Thus it was that God, the mighty architect of the universe, beholding in
His own Spirit the glorious image of things to come, set the forces of His own
will in motion to bring forth with unerring exactness the image of His pleasure
in the very likeness of Himself. God
with omniscient wisdom planned with unerring and immutable accuracy every blow
of the hammer that would in the end bring forth from the uncut rock a race of
sons in the image of Himself.”
What was fully manifested and seen in Jesus is potential in every man.
Something of that same divine spirit that was expressed in Him in all
fullness is also in us. Something of the same divine likeness in which we were
created is hidden in all men.
Concealed and corroded by sin the resemblance is not evident save to the
penetrating search of love, but there is something of God-life in every man.
Our spirit must indeed be quickened by His Spirit before it can be made
evident and recognized. To be
“dead” does not mean to be non-existent, but to be unresponsive
to the realm of spiritual life. The
body in the casket is not non-existent, otherwise there would be no point in
attending the viewing. But it is
certainly unresponsive to the world about it!
This is what Paul meant when he wrote: “And you hath He quickened, who were
dead in trespasses and sins. Wherein
in time past ye walked (dead men walked!)
according to the course of this world...among
whom we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh,
fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the
children of wrath, even as others. But
God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when
we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; and hath raised us up together,
and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus...for we are His
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before
ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:1-6,10).
It has been said that in Jesus Christ the divine and the human meet, but
this is also true of everyone of us. He
is the true humanity who is the Son of
God. It is not that He is
super-human, but that we are sub-human. But
inasmuch as we are human at all we are akin to Him.
The first man and the second man are both man. The first Adam and
the last Adam are both Adam.
Those in the first man are in part what the second man is in perfection.
The whole purpose of our lives is to become human in the sense in which
He was human; to be changed into the same likeness from one glorious conversion
to another, even by the Lord who is the Spirit — PERFECT MANHOOD. Christ
is to grow up in us, and the whole process of life is one in which “He must
increase, but I must decrease.” Paul
said it so well, “It pleased God to reveal HIS SON in me,” which precisely
describes the life of sonship, for the Son of God is the PERFECT MAN IN GOD’S
IMAGE. It is as the Spirit of
Christ becomes manifest within us that we approach nearer and nearer to the true
humanity as it was seen in Jesus, “till we all come to a perfect
manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph.
4:13). His possession of our lives
will grow, until we are fully “strengthened with power by His Spirit in the inward humanity,” being “filled with all the fullness of God”
Now, the best way to promote an idea is to wrap it up in a personality.
The Maytag repairman is an example.
Always sitting with nothing to do, he personifies the idea that Maytag
washers never break down. That is
what God did in Jesus Christ. He
wrapped up all His nature, character, glory, grace, wisdom, knowledge, love, and
power in a man and stood Him up in the earth.
This man was God’s Idea —
Word! And Jesus Christ is the ideal
of all mankind, the second man, the last Adam, the example and pattern and
proto-type of God’s will and purpose for all men. What Jesus is is
what God meant when He said in that long ago beginning, “Let us make man in
our image, and after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26).
That is GOD’S IDEA!
That is GOD’S WORD! That
is the glory and majesty of man AS HE WAS INTENDED TO BE!
The people of God today have no greater need than the need to know the
power and glory of CHRIST WITHIN. CHRIST
is the image of God, the scripture says. I
know these words may seem to be incredible, but they are truth — the
very first mention of the “image of God” is applied, not to Jesus Christ,
but to our forefather ADAM (Gen. 1:26). As
we consider the wonderful advent of man created “in the image of God” we can
only conclude that this is a spiritual man
brought forth out of the very spirit-substance of God Almighty, and bearing His
own divine nature, character, power and attributes.
The image of God is the nature of God reproduced in man.
Thus, man is the true image of God.
And Jesus Christ is the image of God because He is the true man, man as
he was meant to be. Jesus revealed
to “lost” men their true origin, heritage and destiny.
He came to show man what man really is, was intended to be, and through
redemption (buying back to the original) shall be — THE IMAGE OF GOD.
Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first
and the last, man as he was and man as he shall be.
In Jesus Christ you see man as he was in the beginning and as he ever
shall be world without end — THE
IMAGE OF GOD. Of Him it is written,
“He is the expression of the glory of God — the Light-being,
the out-raying of the divine — and He is the perfect imprint
and very image of God’s nature”
(Heb. 1:3, Amplified). Christ, and
humanity in Christ, is like a ray of light that comes from the sun — man,
the extension of God, emanates God.
When the Lord lowered man into this gross material realm man possessed,
by the spirit, the divine potential to overcome the flesh, sanctify it,
transform it, preserve it, infusing it with the qualities of life — holiness
and incorruption. Jesus, the last
Adam, the Ideal Man, came and demonstrated for us this very principle.
This potential in man to rule the natural by the spirit is shed forth in
Jesus’ mighty works — by
His healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, casting out devils, forgiving sins,
doing miracles, and raising the dead — He transcended by
His life, words, and actions all the so-called laws of the material, mortal
realm. The great significance of
Jesus’ mighty works will never ring clear in our spirits until we understand
that He did not perform as a unique, different, higher kind of man — all
His wonderful works were the example and teaching of what is NORMAL FOR MAN IN
HIS TRUE STATE AS THE IMAGE OF GOD. As
the last Adam Jesus demonstrated all that the first Adam lost — mankind’s
heritage as the sons and daughters of the Most High. Little wonder, then, that He confidently and joyfully
proclaimed to His disciples, “The works that I do shall ye do also; and greater works than these shall ye do” (Jn. 14:12).
By His resurrection Jesus proved the spirit within to be OMNIPOTENT,
all-conquering, all-sufficient. He
met and mastered death itself by the law of the spirit of life.
He took no drugs to fight infection or inflammation.
He did not depend upon health food or pure air or vitamins or herbs to
renew depleted energies. He did not require the skill of a surgeon to heal the torn
palms and bind up the wounded side and nail pierced feet, that He might use
those hands to remove the napkin and the grave clothes, so that He might walk as
before. Jesus vanquished every
material obstacle, overcame every law of matter, and stepped forth from His
gloomy grave, crowned with the glory of a sublime success, and everlasting
victory — the role-model for each and every man and woman of Adam’s race!
Jesus’ victory over sin, sickness, pain, limitation, death and the
grave was for the enlightenment of all men and the salvation of the whole world.
Paul writes, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God
by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved BY HIS
LIFE (within)” (Rom. 5:10). Glory
be to God and peace to the fainting hearts!
Christ hath rolled away the stone from the door of human hope and faith,
through the revelation and demonstration of Life in God, the life resident in
the SPIRITUAL MAN. Halleluyah!
We are never told how long Adam lived in that wonderful Garden where the
glory of God was revealed through him in dominion and blessing to creation, but
that glorious reign of wonder and peace under the direction of a son in the
image of God was but a dim figure of the day when a whole company of sons in
God’s image would reign in splendor over all things in all realms throughout
all worlds and all things in heaven and in earth would be gathered together into
union with God in His life and purpose. Our
Lord Jesus Christ is the first and Head of this glorious company, and as
typified and shadowed by the first man Adam He is the connecting link between God and creation — the
revelation of the invisible Father to the visible worlds.
A God who is unseen and unknown, or who is only the product of inferences
from creation, or providence, or the mysteries of history, or the wonders of my
own inner life, the creature of logic or reflection, is very powerless to sway
and influence men or to affect creation. The
limitations of our physical faculties and the boundlessness of our hearts both
cry out for a God that is nearer to us than that, whom we can see and love and
know. The whole world wants the
making visible of Divinity as its deepest desire.
Christ meets this need. How
can you make wisdom visible? How
can a creature see love or purity? How
do I see your spirit? By the expression and deeds of your body! And the only way by which God can come near enough to the
natural creation to be a constant power of eternal life and light and love is by
creation seeing Him at work in a man who is His image and revelation.
Christ’s whole life is the making visible of the invisible God.
He is the manifestation to the world
of the unseen Father. Jesus Christ
in all His words and in all His works is the perfect instrument of the heavenly
Father, so that His words are God’s words, and His works are God’s works; so
that, when He speaks, His gentle wisdom, His loving sympathy, His melting
tenderness, His authoritative commands, His prophetic threatenings, are the
speech of God, and that when He acts, whether it be by miracle, by wonder, by
transforming grace, by creative energy, what we see is God working before our
eyes as we never see Him in any other creature or thing anywhere in the whole
E. Stanley Jones said of this Man who is the revelation of God to
creation, “He did not argue that life was a growth and character an attainment
‘grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.’
He did not speculate on why temptation should be in this world —
He met it, and after forty
days’ struggle with it in the wilderness He conquered, and ‘returned in the
power of the Spirit to Galilee.’ He
did not discourse of the dignity of labor — He worked at a
carpenter’s bench and His hands were hard with the toil of making yokes and
plows, and this forever makes the toil of the hands honorable.
As He came among men He did not try to prove the existence of God —
He brought Him. He lived in
God, and men looking upon His face could not find it within themselves to doubt
God. He did not argue about whether
or not there was a resurrection, for the Pharisees believed there was and the
Sadducees believed there wasn’t — He raised the
“He did not teach in a didactic way about the worth of children —
put His hands upon them and blessed them, and setting one in their midst said,
‘Of such is the kingdom of God.’ He
did not argue that God answers prayer — He prayed,
sometimes all night, and in the morning ‘the power of the Lord was present to
heal.’ He did not teach in the
schoolroom manner the necessity of humility — He girded Himself with a towel
and kneeled down and washed His disciples’ feet.
He did not discuss the question of the worth of personality — He
loved and served all men from the least to the greatest.
He did not discourse on the ‘equality’ of men — He went to the poor and the outcast and ate with them.
He did not try to prove how pain and sorrow in the universe could be
compatible with the love of God — He
took on Himself at the cross everything that spoke against the love of God, and
through that pain and tragedy and sin showed the very love of God.
He did not discourse on how the weakest human material can be changed and
empowered to change the world — He
called to Him a set of weak men, ignorant
and temperamental Galilean fishermen, transformed them and sent them out to
begin the mightiest movement for uplift and redemption the world has ever seen.
“He wrote no books — only once are we told that He wrote and that was in the
sand — but He wrote upon the hearts and consciences of people
about Him and it has become the world’s most precious writing.
He did not paint a Utopia, far off and unrealizable — He announced that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, and
is ‘at hand’ and can be realized here and now.
He did not discourse on the beauty of love — He
loved. We do not find Him arguing
that the spiritual life should conquer matter — He walked on water
and fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes. He did not argue the possibility of sinlessness— He
presented Himself and said, ‘Which of you convinceth me of sin?’
He did not merely ask men to turn the other cheek when smitten on the
one, to go the second mile when compelled to go one, to give the cloak also when
sued at the law and the coat was taken away, to love our enemies and to bless
them — He Himself did
these very things, and in the agony of the cruel torture of the cross He prayed
for His enemies, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’
“He did not merely tell us that death may be conquered — He rose
from the dead, and lo, the tomb now glows with light.
Many teachers of the world have tried to explain everything — they
have changed little or nothing. Jesus
explained little and changed everything. Many
teachers have tried to diagnose the disease of humanity — Jesus
cures it. Many philosophers
speculate on how evil entered the world — Jesus presents Himself as the
way by which it shall leave” —
The grand fact is that this Jesus of Nazareth, by the sheer force of His
personality, has so impressed Himself upon mankind, and upon human history, and
upon principalities and powers in the heavens, and upon spirits in the darkest
underworld, and continues to impress Himself, that the only adequate description
we can give of Him is EMMANUEL — God with us; that in the Man Jesus dwelt and dwells the fullness of
the Godhead, under bodily conditions. In
Him all we can ever know of the invisible Creator becomes
concrete, and therefore becomes powerful to save.
And if all this has been effected by one
son of God revealing the Father to creation, what, I ask, shall be the result
when A VAST COMPANY OF SONS SHALL BE BROUGHT TO RULE AND REIGN in His glorious
image and likeness over all the earth and throughout the vastnesses of infinity
What an Eden of God’s glory it shall be when judgment is given TO THE
SAINTS of the Most High, when all the OVERCOMERS out of all the ages SIT WITH
THE CHRIST OF GOD IN HIS THRONE even as He overcame and is set down with His
Father in His throne; when SAVIOURS shall come up on MOUNT ZION to judge the house of Esau (flesh) and the
Kingdom shall be the Lord’s (Obadiah 21).
Then shall the earth be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the
waters cover the sea. Then shall
all things in heaven and in earth be gathered together into one in Christ.
Then shall God be All-in-all.
The firstborn Son said, “Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son,
that Thy Son also may glorify Thee. I
have glorified Thee on the earth: and now, O Father, glorify Thou me with thine
own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (Jn.
17:1-5). To “glorify” God means
that man’s total expression of life would emit the very presence and
effulgence of God. An illustration
of what it means to glorify God can be seen in the simple incandescent light
bulb. Screw it into the socket and
the invisible electrons flowing through it are transformed into the light and
heat energy that causes the halo of light.
The bulb is glorifying the invisible electricity making it visible and
beneficent to mankind. The sons of
God are thus ordained to glorify the Father, emitting His presence, revealing
His character, manifesting in a visible way His invisible reality.
I have shared the following story once before, not so very long ago, but
am constrained to share it again. John
Wesley, it is recorded, was one day preaching in a rough neighborhood of London,
where raucous and vulgar sensualities were in command, when two ruffians
appeared at the edge of the crowd. “Who
is this preacher?” they asked, roughly. “What right has he to come here spoiling our fun?
We’ll show him!” A moment or two later, each with a stone in hand, they began
elbowing their belligerent way through the throng. But just when they were ready to “let fly” at Wesley’s
face, he began talking about the power of Christ to change the lives of sinful
men. In that instant something
dramatic happened. Even as he was
speaking a serene beauty, a celestial glow spread over his face. The two men, obviously quite overcome by this unusual
radiance of glory, stood there momentarily, their arms poised in mid-air.
Then one turned to the other, and said, “He ain’t a man, Bill; he
ain’t a man.” Their arms came
down. The stones dropped from their
hands. As Wesley continued to
preach, the altered expressions on their countenances spoke of the softness that
had stolen into their hearts. The
sermon over, Mr. Wesley began making his way through the crowd.
The path that the people respectfully opened for him brought him within
arms length of where these tough boys were standing.
One of them, almost tenderly, reached out and touched the evangelist’s
coat. At that, Mr. Wesley paused,
placed his hands on the heads of the lads, and said, “God bless you, my
boys!” As he passed on, one of
the ruffians turned to the other, and said, “He is
a man, Bill; he is a man. He’s
a man like God!” This is the
heritage of the people of the Lord.
Kings are not in great demand these days.
When we think of kings, we imagine powerful rulers who meddle in
people’s lives. They require huge
sums of money to keep their expensive homes and palaces running.
And they have the nasty habit of requiring us to do things we don’t
really want to do. Most of the
nations of the world have discarded the rule of kings.
They prefer either democracy or communism, with governmental systems
involving congresses, parliaments, presidents and prime ministers.
The order of kingship has almost disappeared, but the people are no
better off and no more satisfied with their present governments than they were
with their kings. Most are not
really free nor truly happy. Now,
in the United States we talk of creeping socialism.
The nasty kings of the past have turned into nasty “big government.”
The world stays in a state of constant turmoil and confusion, with
revolutions, riots, wars, carnage, hostage situations, political prisoners,
violation of human rights, persecution, economic failures, gangs, drugs, moral
breakdown, hi-jackings, crime, racism, poverty, fear and hatred everywhere.
There is no doubt about it — the kings of this world have failed, and it is abundantly
evident that the governments which have taken their places are quite
unsatisfactory. And it is just this
very condition that cries out for a new world order. It is surprising to many to hear the Bible say that true joy
is found, not in democracy and freedom, but with a king in charge! Even in the
world many hold the opinion that the only thing that can save the world from
utter chaos and destruction is some great SUPERMAN, one who would be wise
enough, good enough, and strong enough to create an entirely new order for the
nations of mankind, and have the power to put his plans into effect and enforce
his edicts. Convince the world that
such a ruler is at hand and he would probably be universally acclaimed!
I have news for you — there will indeed arise such a ruler.
He has, in fact, already come into the world, but only a few have been
aware of His presence. Only a small
number of people, out of earth’s teeming billions, now truly know Him or have
experienced the genius of His rule. Two
millenniums ago a man walked the dusty pathways of the land of Israel whom His
disciples and followers believed was destined to be the world ruler that all the
prophets of ancient times had foretold. This
man was raised as a boy in the town of Nazareth in Galilee of the Gentiles.
Today, Nazareth is a noisy city, with a population of about 200,000.
But in Jesus’ day, Nazareth was a small town on a ridge. That does not mean that it was an isolated village, because
it was located on one of the primary trade routes connecting the empires of
Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Rome, Assyria, and Babylonia. Day and night foreigners marched the highway and brought
their life-styles into the streets of Nazareth.
As a boy and as a young man Jesus gazed upon the occupying Roman
soldiers, sailors, merchant men, and the trade caravans that brought goods from
far-off lands. He saw harlots,
zealots, rebels, philosophers, thieves, and priests and priestesses of the pagan
religions. The people who passed by
His tiny town of Nazareth brought news of events from great cities around the
vast Roman Empire. The town
provided a young man with a window to the world.
Jesus did not grow up behind a window of obscurity, but saw face to face
in all its stark reality all the world had to offer — its best and its
worst. He saw the flowers that
bloomed on the hillside in the spring, and the majesty and solitude of the green
Galilean mountains. But He also saw
the sensual lust and crudeness of the surrounding cultures.
He felt the Roman’s hate of His people.
He saw violence, sin, death and destruction.
He saw drunkenness, revelry, debauchery, and heard every filthy gutter
word in the languages of His day. Childhood
impressions leave an indelible impact on any evolving mind, and it was no
exception with Jesus. With all the
negative faces and fears to which He was exposed, He could have grown up to
become a negative reactionary, a wild, ruthless, militant revolutionary.
But with the aid of His heavenly Father the view He had of life as it
really is was a part of the preparation necessary for His sonship ministry and
the kingship to follow.
Jesus was the only man alive who not only saw life as it really is —
He saw God as He really is!
And there you have the perfect catalyst for the Kingdom of God!
Out of His relationship with His Father grew a mighty faith that the
power of God in man could change the course of history and bring redemption and
restoration to the fallen race. Jesus
saw fabulous possibilities in the worst person.
He saw fantastic potential in the most unlikely personality.
He saw the triumph of the spirit. He
saw victory over sin, sorrow, limitation, fear, bondage and death.
As the Kingdom was raised up in His own life He saw that the roadways
carrying merchant men out of Nazareth, and the highways that brought conquering
armies in, could be used to carry the gospel of peace, joy, righteousness, love,
power and hope to the whole world.
When Jesus stepped forth in Galilee proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom
of God He had no formal education, He had no list of academic credentials.
He could claim no politicians as His friends.
Never had He courted or dined with power people in industry, commerce,
politics, the military or religion. He
couldn’t have been a name dropper if His life depended upon it. He had no
organization and no supporters. He
was a total unknown. He had no
money and no natural means. He had
no name recognition anywhere. Even
after thousands flocked to Him and multitudes sat at His feet, He founded no
movement, He had no army, He never enforced His will on the people.
He didn’t exalt himself or live apart in isolation, or in splendor and
luxury. He was known only for His
kindness, His gentleness, His approachability, His unconditional love, His
unmitigated mercy, His unfailing goodness, His surpassing wisdom, His spiritual
power and His wonderful compassion. He
loved everybody and was merciful and sympathetic even to the most wretched
sinner. He healed the sick,
cleansed the lepers, caused the blind to see out of obscurity and the lame to
leap as an hart, raised the dead to life again, and cast out the devils with His
Have you ever wondered why in Jesus’ day there seemed to be so many
people who were crippled or blind or deaf or terminally ill?
It is because Galilee is part of a massive volcanic fault line,
stretching from Syria through the Jordan River valley, across the Red Sea, all
the way down to Lake Victoria in Africa. Beneath
this fault, fissures of molten lava heat the springs around the Sea of Galilee.
People traveled great distances because they believed they could be
healed by the water and minerals in the hot springs.
Astute investors built cities near these pools and erected beautiful
marble bathhouses with inlaid mosaic. Businessmen
and physicians charged high fees for the ill to sit in these baths. I do not doubt for one moment that that is one of the reasons
God selected Galilee as the location for Jesus’ sonship ministry.
The hurting, the sick and the dying were there, Christ was always finding
a hurt and healing it, showing how they could overcome all things and turn their
scars into stars. One of the most revealing observations made concerning Him
states, “How God anointed Jesus of
Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and
healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him” (Acts
But the world was too evil to appreciate so noble a character.
He was hated and despised by those in authority, and charges were brought
against Him. One of the charges was of sedition — that
He claimed to be a king. He was
brought before the Roman governor, Pilate, for trial, and was questioned.
“Art thou a king?” He was asked, to which He replied, “To this end
was I born, and for this cause came I into the world” (Jn. 18:37).
This confession became His death warrant — for the angry rulers of Judea who wanted Him put to death
chanted, “We have no king but Caesar!”
In the night madness Pilate finally realized he could do no more to save
this man’s life, so he permitted a crown of thorns to be pressed upon His
brow, and showing Him to the mob, he cried, “Behold your king!”
But they shouted back, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”
It is interesting to observe Pontius Pilate’s perception of Jesus of
Nazareth. Jesus informed Pilate
that He is indeed a king. Pilate
was an officer of the Roman Empire. He
appeared to know little of the Hebrew prophets.
He was seeing only the carpenter’s son who stood before him. Pilate’s conception of a king was defined by Caesar and
Herod. A king is a person of
supreme authority over a nation. A
king lives in a palace and is attended by a variety of lesser authorities and
powers. The king should be a person
of integrity, knowledge, wisdom and personal magnetism.
Pilate “sized up” this
man before him and he discerned the character and nobility of a king.
Pilate was not talking “religious” talk.
He weighed his words in the light of his professional perception of a
king when he wrote the title and nailed it to the cross: JESUS OF NAZARETH THE
KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified Jesus, but He told His disciples that He would
rise again. And He did.
He arose the conquering Christ and from that day to this He has been
patiently, consistently, and methodically forming and establishing His Kingdom
in the earth, in the hearts and lives of His elect.
And it shall yet triumph over all!
There is yet to be a revelation of His person and power in an
unprecedented measure before the face of all nations.
The fullness of God’s glory was once manifested in the firstborn Son of
God, and it shall ultimately be manifested in all His “many brethren.”
This night of sin and death and darkness is stormy, but the light of His
presence and the power of His Kingdom will soon become
manifest, and the sorrows of earth will give way to the brightness of the
new day of deliverance and release for all mankind.
All peoples shall yet bow before Him in this
Day, and all nations shall obey Him and serve Him.
Thus it is written and thus shall it be. This One is GOD’S KING.
You see, my beloved, God’s
government is a KINGDOM — not
a democracy, not a military government, nor any other form of government.
God has not raised up Jesus to be president
or prime minister or military
dictator. God is not forming
His sons into a company of congressmen,
senators, parliamentarians, cabinet
members, or secretaries of departments
of government. No!
Jesus has been anointed KING and He “has made us unto our God KINGS AND
PRIESTS, and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:10).
This is the power and glory of the Kingdom of God!
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came
with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him
near before him. And there was
given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and
languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which
shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the
kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of
the most High, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Dan. 7:13-14,27).
“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found
favour with God. And, behold, thou
shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name
JESUS. He shall be great, and shall
be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the
throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever;
and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk. 1:30-33).
“For unto us 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 with justice from henceforth even for ever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:6-7).
Ah, yes, Jesus has real power — “power over all
flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as the Father has given
Him” (Jn. 17:2). Other men spoke
and their words died with their echo: Jesus spoke and His words shook the world.
Other men died martyr deaths and were not long remembered; He died and
His cross now stands against every skyline.
He is the True King, the Real Man. He
has power — like
dawn’s banners, like the unseen constraint of tides, like a fragrance, like
great music, like buried seed, like that spirit in history which litters time
with the debris of proud empires and wills that “the meek shall inherit the
The gospel that we have in the Bible is the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
The gospel that presents Jesus as King, as Lord, as First One, as the
Maximum Authority. Jesus taught us
to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”
What does this mean? I am
the king of my life; I am seated on the throne; I make the decisions; I glory in
the fact that I do it “my way.” But
when the Lord Jesus comes I must abdicate my throne and let Him sit on the
throne. Now everything must be done
HIS WAY. The testimony of those who
are really in the Kingdom of God is all the same: “Till I met the Lord Jesus,
I was the commander of my life. Since
I met Him, He commands.”
Most people are Christians because they want to escape hell and go to
heaven. If all the preachers and
teachers one day called a press
conference and told their people, “We have discovered that there is no heaven
or hell,” how many would stay in the church after that?
Most of the people would ask, “Why are we coming then?”
They were coming for heaven, not because JESUS IS LORD AND EVERYBODY MUST
SUBMIT TO HIM. You see, they have missed the idea of the Kingdom altogether.
In the hour in which we live the vast majority of Christians are more
miserable than most other people in the world.
They are only enduring this life in order to eventually get to heaven
where they imagine they will spend the next billion trillion years or so
singing, playing harps, shouting, and dancing over the hill tops of glory.
I am quite sure that if such people would admit the truth, they would
admit that even a thousand years of singing, shouting, playing harp music and
dancing about in white robes would become quite monotonous and very boring, to
say the least. I find that most of
these people can’t endure five hours
in a church meeting even if the glory is falling all around!
Most of them start watching their watches about noon on Sunday morning!
The problem is that their theology leaves them with
nothing constructive to do and all eternity to do it in!
They know nothing about the KINGDOM OF GOD.
A kingdom denotes rulership and advancement of all kinds.
It means WORK and RESPONSIBILITY and a place of ministry and power to
bless. God has a purpose and a
great plan for this earth and for the whole vast universe.
His Kingdom purposes have nothing to do with dancing on the streets of
gold — they have everything to do with redemption, restoration,
and creation involving the earth and all the boundless endnesses of infinity! This
is the power and glory of the Kingdom of God!
Then there are those who are Christians for a fire escape out of hell,
not because Jesus is King and they truly hunger and thirst after the
righteousness, peace and joy of His Kingdom.
I do not believe that it is an understatement when I say there are untold
millions of Christian believers who have no true love for God, no intimate
relationship with Jesus, no vital union with the Lord, but are going through the
motions of serving Him out of fear of going to hell, as a slave in fear of a
tyrant! If such persons had the
fear of hell removed from them it is obvious that they would promptly tell God
to go to hell and then proceed to drown themselves in devilish pleasures and
fleshly pursuits. If the wages of
sin were removed, they would immediately go out and live it up in the world,
serving both the flesh and the devil. That
is where their hearts are now, but they cannot risk hell, so they “serve”
the Lord. Such have no love for God
at all, their eyes have never beheld the King in His beauty, they have never
seen the Lord high and lifted up with His train filling the temple, their hearts
have never been touched by the altogether loveliness of the all-glorious Lord
and King of the universe, their heart-strings have never been touched by the
beautiful melody of the KINGDOM OF
Jesus is the great King of kings and Lord of lords.
He is not the soon coming King
as the citizens of Babylon are trained to say, denying by the very words that
Christ has any Kingdom on earth at this present time. Such ignorant statements always leave me cold.
What could be further from the truth, which teaches us that Christ now
sits with His Father in His throne and that all power is given unto Him in
heaven and in earth. We are already citizens of that Kingdom and have been
translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear son.
Already it has taken place, already Christ has a Kingdom and is its King.
From the barrenness of Patmos the beloved apostle John wrote that he was
our brother, and companion in tribulation, and in
the Kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:9).
Christ is the great King right now, ruling all things for the well-being
of His subjects and bringing absolute perfection and completion to His plans
which He ordained before the foundation of the world.
He is the King of the ages
and invincible. He shall yet arise
in power and glory in His completed and perfected body — the
MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD — revealing
Himself as the great conquering King, bringing deliverance to every man and all
creation, reconciling all things unto Himself, on earth and throughout all the
unbounded heavens. Every son is
finding his place in this Day and the hour of manifestation is nigh at hand.
Not long ago we received these words from the pen of Paul Mueller.
“The kingdom of God is the only hope for the world!
May God give us all a vision of Christ the King and Lord of all.
He is high and lifted up, far above all other powers. His train, or the skirts of His priestly garment, fills this
temple, which we are. His train or
priestly robe covers, protects, enables and empowers us with His royal,
priestly, Melchizedek authority. Jesus
Christ is the Head, and we are the body. His
robe of royal, priestly authority and power covers the entire body, which we
are, making us one in Him (Ps. 133). He
rules from His throne in the realm of Spirit.
God grant that we shall see Christ in His ascended glory, seated on His
throne and ruling in all the earth, and we with Him.
When we see Him, we shall indeed cease from man.
Then we will stop regarding man and esteeming him as the hope of the
world. The truth is, we also are
the hope of the world, for we are hidden in Christ, who is the King and Lord of
all. We are becoming one with Him
and are being made a kingdom of kings and priests unto God and His Father (Rev.
1:6). A vision of this Christ and
His glorious, all encompassing kingdom will deliver us from looking to man.
Then we will put all our hope and trust in Him who reigns in life
George Wylie wrote a precious word about the reverence of the sons for
the Son, the esteem of the kings for the King, and the devotion of the lords to the Lord.
“It is a marvelous thing to belong to the family of God.
I’m so glad I belong to the God family, that God is my Father, and that
we, the sons of God, have such a wonderful elder brother.
But just because He is one of the family, and we are one in Him,
doesn’t mean we should treat Him as just another member.
Let us never forget that He is Lord, and that our Father is God.
‘But to us there is but one God and He is our Father, of whom are all
things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we
by Him’ (I Cor. 8:6).
“When the last king of England died, the family was gathered around his
bedside waiting. As soon as the
king had breathed his last breath, and it was evident he was gone, the first
thing the Queen did was to turn to her eldest son, bow before him, and say,
‘Your Majesty.’ He was her son,
but he was now more than that; he was her king.
And as her king she gave him the reverence and respect due to his
position. She didn’t say, ‘My
son Edward, you are now king.’ No,
she addressed him with respect in reverence to his position, bowed in submission
to him, and said, ‘Your Majesty.’ What
she was really meaning was, ‘My King.’
“The rest of the family did the same; they bowed to their brother, as Joseph’s brothers bowed to him in Egypt, and also said, ‘Your majesty.’ I suppose up until this time they treated him as a brother; they likely played with him, argued with him, and perhaps sometimes fought with him. No longer! From now on he would not be treated as just a brother, but as a king — their king! We have a wonderful Father and He is God and Creator of the universe, the upholder of all things; and we have a wonderful brother, and He is the Head of all principalities and powers, the King of kings and Lord of lords. He has all power in heaven and in earth. His name is above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. Before His majesty every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. All realms and all worlds and all dominions and all nations and all men shall worship and adore Him and pledge their eternal allegiance to Him. He is Lord of all. Next to our Father He holds the highest position in the universe; so let us reverence them and their names in humility and undying devotion and exaltation” — end quote. Amen and amen!
To be continued... J. PRESTON EBY