So the obvious question is; "Has the Kingdom come? Is it already here?"
Well for centuries Christians have continued to pray 'the Lord's Prayer.' If His kingdom has already come, then why would we still be asking for it to come? If your son at the dinner table asks you to pass the bread, and you give it to him, does he continue asking for it? Certainly not. So, really, has the Kingdom come? Well if you are still asking for it, then you have your answer. It has not come here to you. Is God's will being done in your life just like it is in Heaven? If it was, would Christians still be so anxious to 'get out of here' and 'go to Heaven'?
Let's consider this prayer, that He taught His disciples, more closely. He did not say "Pray like this; 'Bring Your Kingdom, Do Your will on earth as it is in Heaven.'" No, rather pray this way; "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." What's the difference? Well in the first, we would be asking God to do this; "God, bring Your Kingdom, God do your will here." God has already done His part, completely. Jesus said on the cross "It is finished." The way that God's will is done on earth, is when we, His children do what He has commanded, His will. It is now our job to do His will on earth, as it is done in heaven.
Now let us consider the gospel that Paul preached all the way to the very last verse in Acts.
Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.
Just a few verses earlier, after Paul had been taken to Rome in chains, it says he spoke to the Jews there:
So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.
Before we examine what Paul preached, consider what we are told here in this verse. "He explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening." Now what I have in quotes here is just twenty-seven words. But it says that Paul 'explained and testified' from morning till evening. Needless to say, Luke, the writer of the book of Acts did not include what Paul spoke for perhaps twelve or more hours. So are we out of luck? Will we never know?
The Bible is a big book, many dedicated Christians make a practice of reading the Bible through in a year. My parents, in the years after they were retired, made this a part of their day. They would sit together in their easy-chairs and take turns reading aloud their portion for each day. They did so for several years in their old age. The Bible has a lot in it. I have heard it reported that George Meuller had a practice of reading the Bible through four times in a year. So if he may be considered the record holder, that means it took him three months to read the entire Bible. Now consider what John says in his gospel account:
And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
Imagine trying to read all that!
There is a teaching, all too common among Christians, that this verse;
But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
(1 Corinthians 13:10)
They say that 'that which is perfect' is the completed Bible. And since we now have the complete Bible, we no longer need the gifts of the Spirit that Paul was saying would be done away.
Can you imagine Paul saying "Oh yes, those twenty seven words in the last chapter of the Book of Acts where Luke told about me explaining and testifying from morning till evening, that's all they need." How crazy!
What does the Bible itself say about what we need and what is 'complete.'
Jesus told the religious leaders of His day:
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
There is only one place to get the fullness of the message of the Kingdom. It is the Lord Himself. "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3:17)
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
(1 John 2:27)
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
So all the things that Jesus said and did, which, if written, perhaps the world could not contain, they are all in the mind of the Spirit. If we have the Spirit, we have access to them all.
So is the Bible of no value in understanding the gospel of the Kingdom of God? Oh, no; it is of great value. But without the Spirit giving us the understanding as we read, we cannot get it. No man can ever take the place of what the Spirit will teach you. But the scriptures (the Bible) is of great value. Let the Holy Spirit guide our understanding of it.
As Peter says:
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
(2 Peter 1:19-21)
So the same Holy Spirit who gave us the scriptures is the only one qualified to give us understanding of them.
And even Peter testified concerning Paul in the same letter:
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory both now and forever.
(2 Peter 3:14-18)
Peter ends his second letter with this commendation of Paul, and 'all his epistles' (all his letters).
Jesus said to Peter:
Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 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.”
So at the beginning Peter was given the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. And it is Peter at the end of his last letter who commends us to Paul, and all his letters. Peter who spoke of the scriptures (the Bible) as 'a light that shines in a dark place' now directs our attention to the writings of Paul, and says 'which you do well to heed.'
Now we will consider the writings of Paul, and we will learn a great deal about what the Kingdom is, and how it comes, and how to enter it.
Copyright © 2019 - 2023 by Harvey Block
(2019/11/29 rev 2023/11/01) on Greatest-News.Net