Christianity's Continuing

Crises Mode

 

Jesus, the anointed one, the promised Messiah of the Old Testament, came to set up His kingdom, and He did do just that.

Unfortunately, there has been a repeating assault against the reality of His Kingdom by the majority of those who say they are Christians.

Very soon after the display of the absolute reigning power of Jesus there arose a doctrinal disputation against this fact from the remnant of the Jews who survived the destruction of the mosaic system.

Jesus was seen from one end of the world to the other in the destruction of Jerusalem and the later final end of the nation of Israel which  happened in the early part of the 2nd century.

(That nation ceased to exist and was never to be rebuilt, other then in rebellion to God's Word. Their house was to forever be desolate and it still is today.)

It seems that the arguments against the fact that Jesus was the Messiah eventually produced unwarranted questions among the members of the Christian Community. They actually began to slip back into the philosophy of the pre Christian era. This was the mistaken views held by those upon whom Christ personally had pronounced a soon coming judgment.

Jesus made it quite clear just what His kingdom was and where, but this information appears to have gone over the heads of all who were influenced by the mistaken expectations of the unbelieving Jews. These Jews were looking for an earthly king and a resulting world wide, unrealistic, earthly utopia. They had taken the symbolic apocalyptic language of the prophets literally.

Jesus spoke of a kingdom that was then present. He also told how only those who were born from above could see it. Then He added that only those who went on to be born of water and by the breath of God; would not only see it, but could, also enter into it. (Two essentials acts, both dependant on hearing.)

John 3:2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." 3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" 5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." 9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?" 10 Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 "Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? (NKJ)

In speaking with this Jewish teacher Jesus asked why he, (Nicodemus), did not know these things. By going back in this same book we find other Jewish teachers who seemed to know something of what Jesus was pointing to here.

John 1:19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ." 21 And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" And he answered, "No." 22 Then they said to him, "Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?" 23 He said: "I am 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Make straight the way of the Lord," 'as the prophet Isaiah said." 24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?" (NKJ)

There has been an assault against the fact that baptism was integral to Christ's ministry, just as it was inseparable from the doctrine and activities of the early Church. The representative act of ceremonial washing, as per the OT, was carried over into the process of becoming a follower of Christ; hence only those who were inspired by the spirit of Christ's words and followed through with obedience unto baptism, and went on to emulate him, were ever able to both see and enter His kingdom.

Note: these thoughts are supported by the context of the following verses. (Remember - Jesus was baptized.)

John 6:57 "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.

6:60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?"

6:63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (NKJ)

It is the preaching of the Gospel and the hearing of it and obedience to it that enables one to both see and enter The Kingdom Of Jesus, the Messiah.

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (NKJ)

Baptism only saves one after the fact of their having faith. However, by noting the association of baptism with the Gospel, it becomes evident that it was essential. Some take Paul's words out of context and teach that baptism has nothing to do with the Gospel. That is not what Paul was speaking to. He was dealing with those who associated some special attachment to those who had baptized them.

1 Cor 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. (NKJ)

I have gone into this so as to point to the means of entering The Kingdom of Jesus the anointed one. The breath of God, (most often referred to as the Holy Spirit, as if it is a personal entity of the Godhead), is present and active whenever the Word of God is being breathed into/through, and out of, the mouths of God's followers.

The kingdom was clearly presented in the preaching of the Gospel in the New Testament. 

It was also preached as being present or so near that some who were hearing Christ speak then would actually live to see both Him and His kingdom coming in power and in glory, etc.

 

Matt 3:22 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

Matt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Matt 10:77 "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'

Mark 1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

Matt 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

Matt 5:33 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matt 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matt 5:19 "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matt 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matt 12:26 "If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 "And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Matt 16:19 "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Matt 16:28 "Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

For a kingdom to taken from a people they had to have had it to began with. For a people to refuse to enter and to also stop others from going in, that kingdom had to have been present.

 

Matt 21:43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.

Matt 23:13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

Mark 1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

Mark 9:11 And He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power." (NKJ)

In this short article we can see that the kingdom did come.

In refusing to see this, and by teaching otherwise, the curse of the last chapter of the book of Revelation comes into play.

Because of this the Church has failed to build, or to be in the construction mode, and has instead relied on a crisis mode as a means of propagating, (for them) a yet to arrive kingdom. 

Note: since the time when "dispensationalism" first became more accepted we have had two major world wars. Read the last chapter of Revelations over and over.

Ministers have relied on revivals of prayer and the resulting repentance of the Church. However, this is also based on a crisis type of presentation. There have been good but short lived results. Until both Jesus and His Kingdom are presented as being here and until Christian leaders teach so as to build character, through enticing people into loving and living the word of God, they will be subjected to reoccurring crises and never enabled, in a consistent sense, to see Christ and His kingdom here in the now.

Meanwhile, the most popular presentation of the Gospel is tinged with a frantic and fanatical element that is produced by the Churches inability to believe that Jesus did return as per his own words. In addition, they have failed to note that both he and His Father have been ruling and reigning in this earth through the Church, and that they do reside in their temple which is the body of the believers, both individually and corporately. These truths when accepted will produce lasting peace. Constant world wide peace?  Not necessarily. But a prevailing in heart peace.

Vern Manson Tuesday, July 31, 2001 /  January 26, 2003

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