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Chapter 22 - Kingdom of God
In Luke 17:20-21, where He speaks of “the kingdom of God”—this kingdom realm that we live in—Jesus didn’t call it “the kingdom.” He called it “the realm” and I like it much better; Many of our translators are using the word “realm” now, and they should, because our word “kingdom” has these connotations of bugles, banners, horses, chariots, and thrones. He isn’t talking about that. He is talking about a vast realm of spiritual reality. All spiritual reality is in this one realm called the kingdom of the Spirit, which is the new realm into which we are birthed. We have to live in this realm, just the same as in the world into which we are born. We have to learn to adjust ourselves to it.
When He introduces us into this kingdom, He introduces us to a vast realm. In that realm He has angels, paradise, and all that world; a domain; a kingdom over which God rules; over which there is jurisdiction and purpose. In creation, God said man should reign or rule over a great domain. In that kingdom are various kingdoms—mineral, animal, vegetable.
When He made a man, He made a vast new realm consisting of the human concept of life. He made us human beings with capacities and potentials that we don’t know anything about. God was to be glorified in this vast field or realm. The realm remained after man became a sinner, but there was no King; no authority that the realm was designed for. That kingdom, without a King, waited for a King. This realm is in every heart, waiting for the King to come in to possess it. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “The kingdom of God is resting within you.” He seeks to possess that kingdom, and He longs to get power over it. It is waiting for Him to possess.
Scofield calls the kingdom, “salvation” which is wrong. God brings a spiritual thing in. He is enthroned in our hearts. We enter this spiritual kingdom through a new birth. He is reclaiming that kingdom every time He comes into a heart. “He came to seek and save that which was lost.”—His redemption not only includes man, but all creation. This Whole universe, because of sin, has to be redeemed. On the cross, the blood touched the earth first; “Cursed be the ground.” That is the first thing that was brought under judgment.
“Unless you are born of the Spirit, you cannot see (understand) the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12) “Taking the kingdom of heaven by violence” means stress, and suffering on our part in order to possess this realm into which He has birthed us. We have great joy and all that, but that is sort of a sideline. To me, the life of the Spirit is, in a sense, the most tragic thing I can get into. It’s the opposite of what 1 think it is. It takes all my struggle, power, and strength to possess it.
When God told the Children of Israel to go into Canaan, He said, “I have given it to you.” In a little while He said also, “Go in to possess it.” This was a potential term. They were not qualified yet to possess it. The land was full of giants, and walled cities, which required a struggle for its possession.
I never have known more about the power of the devil than when I got the baptism. It was then that I found I couldn’t make possession in there (Canaan) without a terrific struggle. “Whatsoever your foot (faith) possesses,” that is yours. Possessing your land is Truth, which becomes personalized. “He will not suffer thy foot to be moved.” (Psa. 121:3) We have to get into the realm of God through many a trouble. The Children of Israel got into the land by a gift, but they didn’t get possession of that land except by force. It is grasped by force.
“. . . We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22b) Through great distress, trouble, and suffering, we enter the kingdom, this realm of spiritual reality and living. That kingdom is entered through much tribulation, trouble and discipline. Why? Because that is necessary to release you and me from the bondages which would hinder and wreck the lovely design and objective that God has for your life and for mine. God’s objective for man is to glorify Him and to give Him pleasure. How will one person glorify God? By bearing a cross which is almost impossible to share. How will another? By bearing that suffering with Him, which nobody knows but that one and the Lord. In the end he will see he has glorified God.
“Though He slay me,” yet God’s grace is holding me; the Holy Spirit is holding me. “Though He slay me,” yet will I hold on to Him, and move with Him. Life, if you want to know, is the most tragic thing; at least I found it so. You can love the will of God, but you can’t always enjoy everything that is in the will of God. No, it says, “Jesus ENDURED” things. He endured how? “For the joy that was set before Him.” He endured this life, the cross, and all for what? “For the JOY that was set BEFORE Him;” not the joy which He experienced.
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