The Kingdom

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying,
‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’ ”  Mark 1:14-15 (KJB)

John the Baptist preached the message too;  preparing the way for the Messiah. I have thought for years on the topic of “the kingdom”, “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven” and wondered, “What is the difference?” or even, “Is there any difference.

I have finally come to a conclusion of the matter of the kingdom. The terms are synonymous referring to the same thought. If you disagree that is fine. We can still be brothers in Christ and disagree.

We must realize that the people of God – Israel – had for years turned their back upon God. They were “Looking for the kingdom of God” but completely missing it; especially the religious leaders; and then, along comes the prophet John, and he is preaching, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” Matthew 3:2. It is not that the kingdom had suddenly appeared, but that it had always been present and at hand.

With the coming of Jesus and His message He says the same thing as John. Now that Jesus is here the kingdom has took on Personhood, and He is the Son of God, God the Son; the God-Man and praise God He Himself is here.

Just some things for musing; The gospels of Mark, Luke and John call it the “Kingdom of God”. Matthew is the only gospel which calls it “The kingdom of heaven”.

What is the kingdom, the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God?

The kingdom or kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God is referring to all that is under the sovereign, superintending hand of Almighty God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. So, we must conclude that even evil, evil deeds, and evil people are also superintended by His mighty hands and Omniscient mind. He does not do evil; neither does He approve it; He does set its limits and says to it when it reaches its limit “This far and no farther”. Think of where God cut off the evil acts of the Pharaoh during the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. According to John Baptist and Jesus the kingdom is at hand.

There is however, the Kingdom coming with Jesus Christ ruling and reigning over the world sitting on His throne in the City of Jerusalem; and His kingdom and rule will be forever.

You can be with Him in that kingdom by submitting to Him, His cross confessing your sins, that He died for you, was buried, and He rose again.  Repent – turn your back to sin. Call on His name. He will hear and He will save you to be with Him through all eternity.

 

GOD is All-Knowledge

The prophet is sharing his call from God with us as we look at the rest of chapter one. Our verses today will just be verses four and five. I want to keep these articles relatively short. They are usually the ones which will be read, if most people are like me in that respect.

“Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, ‘Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4-5 (KJV)

While Jeremiah was serving as a priest with his family it surely grieved his heart to see the wickedness in the land. Many times this is the way God moves and works in calling men to serve as pastors, preachers, teachers, and other works. He places a burden upon the heart, and you go and grow in that as you hear the Lord and see Him work you just find yourself enjoying what He has called you to do.

The Lord had this planned for the prophet from the time the world was established. One of the things that the man of God needs to know and realize about God is that He is Omniscient, and that simply means that He is AllKnowing. There is nothing that God, the Creator of all that is, does not know. Someone has asked the question, “Is there anything God can learn?” Well the answer to that, if God is AllKnowing, is NO! Because He already knows everything there is to know.

That means He is never surprised by events, “accidents”, incidents, storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, car wrecks, bombs exploding, or wars. You could put just about anything in there that you could think of.

God knew Jeremiah before he was conceived in the womb, and you could say, it was God who gave the seed that caused Jeremiah to be. There is a good thing we can see from this and that is that none of us are an accident. God made us to be.

These verses are often used by those who are pro-life, which I am, to show that there is human life in the womb of the mother, concerning the baby. It is not just a blob of tissue, a mass which has invaded the body of the woman. It is a special, ordained by God, individual for whom He has plans; whether the woman does or not. I guess her plans; the woman getting an abortion; are extinction.

The prophet is “Sanctified” which is set apart to be clean, appointed, prepared to do a task, and that task as we shall see is to proclaim the word of the LORD to God’s people of Judah, and to the nations.

He is “Ordained” by God to proclaim the message God puts in his mouth, and upon his lips. He is to speak what God tells him to speak, and not withhold one word. That is the work of the prophet of God. Speak the word of God and do it with all one’s strength, and then the strength of God.

God knows you. He knew you before you were conceived. Yield your life to Him.  When you are saved through the cross of Jesus Christ you are also sanctified, set apart, for God’s glory and praise.  God has called you to do His will.

The Turning Heart

What is going on in the world?  Or as one author has written, What in the World is Going On?

There are many people around the world living in fear of where world leaders are leading us; and maybe there should be some fear.  However, those who are in Christ can know that He is involved in the affairs of this world, and her leaders; and that ultimately His will is going to be done and evil will be judged and righteousness shall reign.

The writer of Proverbs has written,

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.”  Proverbs 21:1 (KJV)

There are a lot of things about this that the human mind cannot comprehend, because we are finite beings – meaning our thinking is limited to what we see, hear, taste, touch and smell; and that is twisted due to our evil hearts.  To believe that there is God who is intervening in our business, directing our steps, even our thoughts is indeed “thought provoking”.

There is evidence in Scripture of God turning kings hearts, and even using their evil toward accomplishing His will.  I read this morning in my daily reading of the Pharoah in Egypt who hardened his heart against Moses and the Word of the LORD, and God was using that hard heart to direct His will in the land of Egypt (Exodus 5 – 7).  Also in my studies of Isaiah I have seen where over 100 years before he was even born the prophet Isaiah names; by the Omniscience of God; the name of the king of Persia who would give the people of Israel the freedom to return to Jerusalem, and rebuild the temple; and his name was Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28-45:4).

The heart of every President of the United States of America is in the hands of the Lord, and He will direct it in the direction He has planned for the U.S. of A. and for the world and the rest of the  leaders too; including the leader of Iran; however you spell his name.

As a young man on the family farm we had an irrigation system.  It was used in the hot, dry Summer to keep the grass growing and green so the cows would keep producing milk.  With the power of the propane powered engine we moved water from the Creek through the pump, through the lines and into the turbine powered irrigation machine which pulled itself across the pasture blasting out a stream of water about 1 and 1 half  to two inches, and covering an area about two hundred feet in diameter.  We were directing the flow of the water to accomplish what we wanted to do.

We see this done every day in our homes.  We have water lines which comes from an underground supply of water, is pumped into a tank and then directed to your home.  You control it with a faucet inside your home or business.

Is it not amazing that God even directs the heart of kings in such a fashion to accomplish His purposes and His will for His own glory?  Find rest and peace in Christ today; knowing that He will be exalted, evil will one day be dealt with, and that God’s will is being done; even when we cannot see it, touch it, taste it, smell it, or hear it.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Destruction Of Evil

I have heard the question asked so many times, “If there is a god, and if this god is good, why does he allow evil?”  I guess I have even asked that question or one similar.  There are many questions that need to asked along with this:  Is God all powerful?  Is God all knowing?  Is God all present?  Is God unchanging?  Is God a god of love and mercy?  If you answer all of those from a Biblical perspective then you can answer the question of evil.

Let’s look at part of the prayer of the Psalmist and his concern about evil.

A prayer of the Psalmist.

“Break Thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till Thou find none.”  Psalm 10:15 (KJV).

One of the first things that comes to my mind as I read this is a question.  “Who are the wicked?”  To be extremely accurate about it, that would mean me, you, all of us.  Because God is holy, righteous, and just, and He cannot look upon iniquity, ie. evil.  Then He must rid the world of us.

I want to assure you that He has broken the arm of the wicked.  The arm of the wicked was broken when sin was put to death with Jesus on the cross.  “Boy, it sure doesn’t seem like it.  Look at what’s happening in the world, and in my life”.  Be assured that all sin has been paid for.

The way God has dealt with my evil and yours is by judging it on His Son Jesus Christ.  He paid the debt for our sin.  Ultimately there will be no more sin.  It will one day reach a height, and plunge into the eternity of nothingness.

When Jesus comes into our hearts to live, abide, and stay evil is banished.  You are no more evil.  That begs another question.  “Then, who are the evil?”  All those who reject the free gift of grace in Christ Jesus.

One day, and it may be soon Jesus will come and all evil will be eternally put away.  Even the lamb and the lion will roam together, and without threat to the lamb.  The small child will be able to play over the den of the serpent without any fear (See Isaiah 11).  There will be no more ruthless rulers in the world.  Jesus will rule in the hearts and lives of people the world wide.

-Tim A. Blankenship