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God's Kingdom


There is one phrase which seems to sum up the very essence of the link between the Gospels and The Revelation, and that is the phrase I have used as the title for this article.

Sadly, there is a feeling amongst many professing Christians that what is contained in The Revelation is just mysterious and confusing symbolisms about topics that are too difficult to understand and not at all important to everyday Christians.  Yet, when you observe just how much the term "kingdom of God" or "kingdom of heaven" is used in the gospels, and how much that summarises what is taught in The Revelation, it becomes apparent that The Revelation is vital to the life of every practicing Christian, especially at this point in human history.

In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus calls on his followers to pray over and over again, each time we come before God, that his kingdom may come.  This attitude is fundamental to our relationship with God.  In the teachings and parables of Jesus, you find one phrase coming up over and over:  "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto..."  and he goes on from there to give clue after clue about what this great kingdom should mean to all those who wish to be his followers.  Growth in our understanding of this mysterious kingdom is also obviously essential to our Christian walk.

I have previously pointed out that the full name of the final book of the Bible is "The Revelation of Jesus Christ."  But "Jesus Christ" is more than just a name.  When you study Bible prophecy, you find that it says a lot about kings and kingdoms, and one of the observations we have made is that kings and the kingdoms over which they rule are often used interchangeably.  A "horn" on a "beast", for example, may be referred to as a "king", but it may also be referred to as a "kingdom".  And so, the "revelation of Jesus Christ" may be a revelation which makes us appreciate more who Jesus Christ is, but it may also be the ultimate revelation which Jesus Christ brings, that is, a revelation of his kingdom.  And the greatest paradox is that these are not two different things, but they are one and the same.  Let me try to explain.

This mysterious thing Jesus called "the kingdom of heaven" is not a kingdom that comes with observation; it is not "of this world"; it is not ruled by carnal weapons; in fact, by human political standards, it is not a kingdom at all.  Instead, it is a relationship between the human race and our Creator.  It consists of attitudes and spiritual forces at work in the lives of those who are humble, loving, and sincere in their faith toward God.  All of these forces come from the Spirit of the One who Created us, which, in some mysterious way, is also the Spirit of the One who died on the cross in Israel some 2,000 years ago.  In other words, God's kingdom IS the Spirit of Jesus.  The kingdom of heaven is the REVELATION of Jesus.  The kingdom of heaven is what Jesus came to demonstrate, at the same time that it is something yet to come when he returns.

This on-going relationship and revelation between the Creator and His Creation is why The Revelation is, to me, so important in gaining a fuller understanding of all that Jesus said and did in the Gospels.  The work is still going on, and it is leading to a fuller revelation of God's will than the human race has yet experienced.

The "Seventy Weeks" prophecy in the book of Daniel is a significant part of that progressive revelation of God's kingdom, as it shows that "God's people" evolved from the physical descendants of Israel (Jacob), to those individuals everywhere who have a humble, teachable spirit toward God, to a final coming together of all those sincere individuals in the final seven years of earth's history just before Jesus returns.  This amazing picture of God's kingdom transcends all of our efforts to bring about world peace through manmade religions, human governments and even through human protests against those governments.

There is a real kingdom coming, but it is so far above and beyond anything that human efforts have ever been able to achieve, that we will need a powerful spiritual transformation before we will be able to even begin to comprehend it.  As Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Unless a person is born again, they cannot even see the kingdom of heaven."  This transformation is the highest calling of every living soul on this planet.
That kingdom is "at hand".  It is closer now (of course!) than it has ever been before, and so we need to be "born again" now more than ever before, to be ready for it.

Forget about religious organisations.  Forget about formal ordinations and theological training.  Forget about various political ideologies and agendas.  Forget about everything except your relationship with the Lord of the Universe and the coming kingdom to which he alone holds the keys.  Prepare ye the way for that great Day of the Lord!  That is the call of God to each of us today.  And to respond to that call, we need to open our hearts and minds to the truths of The Revelation... the events that are most significant in these "last days", such as the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, the institution of a worldwide "mark" in the right hand or the forehead, without which people will not be able to buy or sell, and the rise of a world leader who will appear to be bringing world peace.  All of these events point to something far greater that will come AFTER them according to The Revelation.  The genuine preceded the counterfeits, but it's ultimate fulfillment will come after God has used the deceptions of the Antichrist to sift the hearts of all mankind.

God's kingdom is coming, Friends.  God's kingdom is coming!  We need to be prepared, in heart and mind and soul.  Religious counterfeits are nearing their ultimate end, and political substitutes are approaching their diabolical consummation.  We are about to head into the times of greatest trouble ever to come upon the earth.  Deception is going to be widespread and devilishly clever.  Only a broken heart before God will protect any of us from becoming a part of that great deception.  We each need to fall on our faces before God and cry out for his protection and covering... that we might be totally yielded to his will and open to his kingdom, which will reign only in the hearts of those who are prepared to give up all and become like little children before him.
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