THE KINGDOM OF GOD COMES TO EARTH
The holiness of the Lord, Who is our God and Father of all, is beyond the understanding and experience of many people of this world. We cannot possibly imagine how holy and righteous God is. Not only is the Lord holy and righteous, beyond our understanding and experience; His kingdom is also holy and righteous, for it is the realm of His dominion. The Lord will reveal Himself to us as the Holy One, if He has not already done so, including all He is to us concerning our life in this world. When He does, we will understand Him and His kingdom to a greater degree. He said through the prophet Isaiah, “Thus saith the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel... I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King” (Is. 43:14 & 15). Here, in these two verses, our Father said He would reveal Himself to us in greater fullness, as we should know Him in our earthly walk with Him.
These verses (Is. 43:10) show that we will know our Father as our Redeemer, as the holy One of Israel, as the Lord our holy One, as the creator of Israel, and as our King. Throughout our lifetime in this world, we will know our God in every one of these revelations and manifestations of Himself. With each revelation of Him to us we will know our God and Father of all in a greater and more complete way. To know our Father is to know, experience and understand Him in all the many manifestations of Himself. To “know” Him, from the Hebrew, is to ascertain Him by seeing Him. And in knowing Him, by the Spirit, we will know and understand His kingdom in a greater way as well. As God is holy and righteous, so also is His kingdom. Thus, the kingdom of God is a very holy and righteous realm, beyond what we have known or experienced in this world. To enter or inherit that holy and righteous Kingdom, we must be changed from this corruptible and mortal realm to the incorruptible and immortal Life of Christ.
The kingdom of God is all that God is! It is the realm of God’s holy and righteous dominion! It is also impossible to separate God from His kingdom! Therefore, whether we say the kingdom of God is coming to the earth or God is coming to the earth, we are saying the same thing. And we should also know that God, Christ, and the Spirit, or the Father, the Son, and the holy Spirit, are all ONE. May the blessed holy Spirit give us the wisdom and the understanding to see the unity and the oneness of God! The holy Spirit is the anointing of the Father, while Christ is the image of the Father (2 Co. 4:4 & Col. 1:15). And He Who is the image of the Father is within us to bring us to that same image and likeness. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (Jo. 10:30). Therefore, Christ and the Father are inseparable! The Godhead, with three manifestations or personalities, are ONE in and with the kingdom of God! The coming of the kingdom of God to the earth is also the coming of the Lord, or the appearing of Christ. And when He comes, it is also the coming of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is all that God is, for He cannot be separated from His kingdom. God and His kingdom are truly One!
During His ministry here on earth Jesus frequently spoke to His disciples and to others about “His kingdom.” On one such occasion, the Pharisees demanded to know when the kingdom of God should come. Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, Lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Lu. 17:20-21). The Kingdom within His people was the first phase of the kingdom of God that came to the earth. We might ask, how did the kingdom of God get within the disciples? The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, which came into the hearts and lives of the followers of Christ by the coming of the Lord within them; it all took place in the Spirit and by the Spirit! Christ is within us as the Seed of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is within us, for Christ came to dwell within us!
The Apostle Paul used different terminology, but he said the same thing Jesus did. Paul declared, by the Spirit, that the glory of the mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Therefore, whether we say Christ is within us, or the kingdom of God is within us, we are saying the very same thing! The kingdom of God, in its/His first coming to the earth, was imparted to us, or was planted as a Seed within us, when Christ came to dwell within us, by the Spirit. The Christ within us is the Seed of the kingdom of God. He also is within us as the throne of the Kingdom of God, for the divine purpose of ruling our lives and bringing us into alignment with His sovereign will and His holy, Kingdom purposes. And He who is within us also is the Seed of the fullness of the resurrection Life of Christ. By the power of the growing and increasing Seed of Christ within us, we shall attain to the fullness of the Life of Christ and also to the fullness of the eternal glories of the kingdom of our Father.
Jesus also said, “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (Jo. 14:20). This sounds like a very complex yet illustrious union! It is Christ in the Father, we in Christ, and Christ and the Father in us! And what a glorious and marvelous union this is! Jesus said, “at that day,” we would know this great truth. And “that day,” was undoubtedly the day He sent the holy Spirit to dwell within us, which was the day of Pentecost. He also said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (Jo. 14:18). And He did come to “us” all at Pentecost, while the disciples were assembled in the upper room. Jesus also said, “Abide in me, and I in you” (Jo. 15:4).
We also are the temple of God, for “the Spirit of God dwelleth in you” (1 Co. 3:16). And Paul told us that “God is in you of a truth” (1 Co. 14:25). Paul also said there is “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:6). And John declared, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him” (1 Jo. 2:27). If indeed the anointing of God is within us, should He not be the One to teach us the truth of God, and not our old Adamic mind or some other person?
Christ is within us and so also is the Father, the holy Spirit and the kingdom of God. God is within us and so also is the throne of His kingdom, to bring us to the fullness of Himself. All that God has done, by His Spirit, still exists in the realm of the Spirit. All that God is is within us now as a Seed, which is the Seed of Christ, and is becoming a great “tree.” Eventually, all that God and His kingdom is shall be within us in glorious and complete fullness, to transform us into His full image and likeness. Now, we are also able to see our union with God and His kingdom by the power of the indwelling Spirit!
The Kingdom of Christ and His Comings or Appearings
By the comings or the appearings of the Lord, the kingdom of God comes to the earth. And His kingdom comes to the earth in phases or in parts. With each coming of the Lord, another phase or another part of the kingdom of God also comes to the earth. And each of His comings or appearings also has a different and unique function to perform. When Jesus first came to the earth, He brought the kingdom-in-your-heart phase of the kingdom of God with Him. The kingdom of God was then planted as a Seed within the hearts of His people. And Christ is the Seed out of whom the Life of God and of His kingdom shall come forth from within us to be manifested before all. Now, another phase, or the next part, of the kingdom of God has come to the earth by an appearing of Christ; and we believe this phase to be the throne realm of His kingdom. With this next phase of the Kingdom has come the throne of the Lord to introduce the rule and reign of Christ over all nations. The things of God and His kingdom are not the same now as they were a decade or so ago. A new order has come to the earth, which is the next, higher order of the kingdom of God on earth. And may our blessed Lord change us all that we might be conformed to the new order of the kingdom of God, as it is now in this world!
On one occasion, Jesus told His disciples to go get a colt
and bring it to Him. If anyone asked them why they wanted that colt, He told
His disciples to tell them that the Lord needed that colt. When the colt was
brought to Jesus, He sat upon it and rode triumphantly into Jerusalem while
the multitudes followed Him, crying out, “Hosanna to the Son of David:
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest”
(Mt. 21:9). The Bible tells us that all this was done to fulfill the prophecy
of Zechariah, which says, “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King
cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass”
(Mt. 21:5, Is. 62:11, Zech. 9:9).
Zechariah’s actual prophecy has more to it: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zech. 9:9). Zechariah’s message is specifically directed to the daughter of Zion, which we believe to be the elect of God of this hour. Christ shall come or appear to the elect remnant as their King. He is just, or righteous and fair, and He brings salvation with Him when He comes. Our King, the Lord Jesus Christ, also is lowly; He came in a lowly manner, riding on a simple little beast of burden. The word, “lowly,” means to be humble, lowly, needy and poor (from Strong’s Concordance). Our reigning King is not only lowly Himself, but He comes or appears to those also who are lowly, humble and needy, and who are poor in spirit.
That our King comes or appears, bringing salvation with Him, is undoubtedly the most important feature of His coming. At His first coming as our King to bring salvation, Jesus provided the primary or the elementary salvation to those chosen to receive Him. But there is another coming of the Lord unto His people with salvation and as their King when Christ will come or appear, this time bringing with Him the full salvation of the Lord to His elect and chosen ones. He will appear in the Spirit to those who love His appearing. The writer to the Hebrews announced that coming of the Lord with this prophetic word: “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time (unto salvation), not to bear sin, but to bring (full) salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Heb. 9:27-28, NIV).
Christ is coming or will appear a second time unto salvation, not to deal with sin this second time, but to bring full salvation to those who are waiting and believing for His appearing. It is this scripture, perhaps more than any other, upon which the theologians have based their questionable doctrine of the second coming of Christ. There are two comings or appearings of Christ unto salvation only! But there have been many other comings or appearings of Christ, more than these two that deal only with salvation! And we have every reason to believe that there are a few more comings or appearings of Christ yet to come. The first coming of Jesus unto salvation was His coming for the specific purpose of providing salvation for every man, by dying for the sins of the world. His “second” coming unto salvation, or His appearing unto salvation the second time, has the specific, divine purpose of bringing full salvation - the ultimate salvation, which is the resurrection Life of Christ - to those who are waiting for Him and who love His appearing.
The Apostle Paul wrote giving advice to Timothy and others about the need for a faithful ministry. He also told of the appearing of Christ and His kingdom, suggesting that the coming of the Lord was also the coming of His kingdom. He wrote of the purpose of His coming, when he said, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge.” Then Paul charged them to preach the pure Gospel. He then wrote this about the end of his life in this world: “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:1 & 8, NIV).
Do you long for the appearing of the Lord to change you? Are you waiting for Him, earnestly desiring His appearing in you, that you might be transformed in your body and raised to the fullness of new Life in Christ? Are you groaning and travailing within, longing to see Him as He is, that you might become all that He is? Is it your spiritual passion to recover all spiritual truth along with all the divine faculties that were lost in Adam? Is your heart firmly set on becoming a manifest son of God, which will break the curse of sin and death, deliver the creation and restore it to its appointed place of glory, righteousness and life in His kingdom? If you can answer each of these questions in the affirmative, you are undoubtedly one of those who shall see and receive Christ when He appears, to become all that He is!
When Jesus stood before Pilate, being accused of the Jews, Pilate asked Him “what have you done? Jesus answered, My kingdom (kingship, royal power) belongs not to this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My followers would have been fighting to keep Me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, My kingdom is not from [this world] - has no such origin or source” (John 18:35-36, Amplified). Three times in this one verse, Jesus made a point of declaring the Kingdom of God as being “My kingdom.” It was indeed His Kingdom, for the Father had given it to Him. He earned the right to possess the Kingdom of God by His sufferings and His death on the cross, which transformed Him, and by becoming a humble servant, who would serve the blessings and benefits of the Kingdom of God to all mankind. And He told us to be the same type of servant in His Kingdom!
When the disciples tried to discern who among them was the one who would betray Jesus, they began to strive among themselves, wondering also who would be the greatest. But Jesus answered them, and said, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship (rule) over them; and they that exercise authority (control) upon them are called benefactors (or, philanthropists). But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve” (Lu. 22:25-26). The world today is full of lords and rulers who love to rule over the people in order to control them. Even some of the world’s philanthropists today, whether through private or public organizations in this world, exercise some form of control over the people they are trying to help. The real truth is, most all forms of worldly and religious help comes with controls over the people. But it is not to be so in the Kingdom of God! The real, honest and true servants in the Kingdom of God will serve the people spiritual benefits and blessings without exercising control over them and without compromising the truth or the principles of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus set forth the principles of true, Kingdom servant-hood, when He told His disciples that when they went into a city they should, “heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you” (Lu. 10:9). That is the service of a true servant of the Lord in the Kingdom of God. But before we do that in a legalistic sense, we should first determine that it is the Father’s will to heal those sick people. If it is His will to heal those people, we will hear His voice telling us to do it. And unless Father tells us to do it, we should not try to do it. If He does authorize us to heal those sick people, it is a transgression for any of His servants to merely offer the sick a “band-aid,” or some other form of natural help, for their illness. Kingdom servants will serve the people Kingdom food, Kingdom benefits and Kingdom blessings, according to their Father’s will, and they will do nothing less than that! When the time comes, they will be fully empowered of their Father to do that Kingdom work!
Then, Jesus spoke directly to His disciples, to those who had gone through His trials with Him. He said to them, “You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Lu. 22:28-30, NIV). The Emphatic Diaglott gives verse 29 as, “And I covenant for you, even as my Father has covenanted for me, a Kingdom.” The words covenant or covenanted seem to be more powerful words, giving us greater assurance of God’s promises fulfilled and of His faithfulness to give us an inheritance in His pure, holy and righteous Kingdom. The Kingdom of God then becomes as much our Kingdom as it is His Kingdom. With this understanding of our inheritance, we will be more diligent and faithful about the matters pertaining to our wonderful and glorious Kingdom, which also is the Kingdom of Christ and of the Father, and also concerning the increase of that Kingdom in all the earth.
The Kingdom that began as God’s Kingdom (Ps. 45:6), became Christ’s Kingdom through a spiritual transformation, as a result of the trials and sufferings He endured! But it will become our Kingdom, by right of inheritance and through the tests and trials of the sufferings of Christ, when we are transformed into His image and likeness. It is through “much tribulation” that we shall enter the Kingdom (Acts 14:22)! The kingdom of God is a spiritual Kingdom! The disobedient, the sinful and the unrighteous shall not inherit His Kingdom (1 Co. 6:9-10, Ga. 5:21). Neither shall flesh and blood inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Co. 15:50). Those who have not been transformed into His glorious image and likeness continue to have the sinful, Adamic nature within them; they shall have no part in the holy Kingdom of the Father. To inherit His Kingdom, the Adamic nature and mind must be entirely removed from us, and it surely shall be, by His Spirit (as in Mt. 24:39-44). His is a spiritual Kingdom, which only the fully spiritual shall inherit! And the Lord’s covenant with us assures us that we shall surely inherit His Kingdom when we are transformed. On that glad Day, the King will then say to us, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt. 25:34).
The Kingdom of Christ and the “Sheep” and the “Goats”
Before Jesus said what He did in the verse above, He separated the sheep from the goats, placing the sheep at His right hand and the goats on His left. The sheep at His right hand were given their inheritance in the Kingdom of God. Jesus said the reason He gave it to them was because they had given Him food when He was hungry, drink when He was thirsty, lodging when He had none, and had clothed Him and visited Him when He was sick or in prison. Those “sheep” or believers, who were obedient and faithful followers of Christ, then asked the Lord when they did all these things to Him and for Him. Jesus replied, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these MY BRETHREN, ye have done it unto me” (Mt. 25:40). Jesus also explained very clearly just who His “brethren” were. He said, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Mt. 12:50).
Those who do the will of God on earth are the true “sheep.” They are those who have Christ within them and who do His perfect will on earth; they are His “brother,” His “sister,” and His “mother.” These are the “brethren” to whom Jesus referred. Jesus also described who His brethren were, when He said, “My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it” (Lu. 8:21). And it is these “brethren,” whom we seek to serve at this time. Our service does not consist of literal, earthly substance that feeds and clothes the natural man. It is the spiritual sustenance we provide for His “brethren” that Jesus was referring to; it is Kingdom food that we must share with His brethren, which will make the difference in the Kingdom of God. If we will minister to and serve the spiritual needs of those who are in Christ and who do only His perfect will on earth, it is as if we are ministering to and serving Christ Himself! We are thereby serving or ministering to the “sheep,” not the “goats.” And there is a big difference!
The “sheep” in the Kingdom of God are not the average Christian, nor are they the people of this world who may be in desperate need. The true “sheep” are Christ’s brethren; they are those who are His and who do only and always the will of their Father on earth. The word “brethren” comes from the Greek word, “adephos,” meaning a brother. That Greek word is taken from another, “a” or “Alpha,” meaning the first. Christ is the first; He is the “Alpha,” the beginning of all things. The word, “Alpha,” is also used here to show a sense of union with Christ. Christ is within His “sheep”; and His “sheep” are ONE with Him. And they serve Him and His Kingdom purposes in all the earth. Because Christ is within them as the Seed of Life in the Kingdom of God, those “sheep” are becoming all that He is. The “goats,” on the other hand, still serve and work according to the carnal will and ways of man; they serve the flesh-man, or old Adam and “his” many needs, not the Christ-man, or the man of the Spirit. And those “goats” are motivated mainly by the Adamic nature and mind within them, not by the wisdom of the mind of the Spirit of the Lord.
To the “goats,” or to those at His left hand, Jesus said, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mt. 25:41). It is not actual people who are destroyed in this age-lasting fire, it is old, sinful Adam, the man of the flesh, including the Adamic nature and mind within those people, that is to be destroyed in that fire. The Adamic nature and mind within them made them the “goats” that they are. They were not among those who were called to be judged of the Lord before the general judgment (as in 1 Co. 11:31-32), so those “goats” were not prepared to see the Lord when He appeared. Consequently, they made all their decisions with their carnal, “goat” minds and not by the wisdom of the mind of Christ. The “goats” could not remain in the presence of the Lord due to the carnality within them, so the Lord sent them out from His presence. May we be among those who have been called and chosen of our Father to be among His “brethren,” who are His faithful and beloved “sheep!” And this is the Day when the “sheep” and the “goats” are being separated!
How important it is for us to see things, especially this prophetic, scriptural story, in the Spirit and by the Spirit, rather than carnally and literally. It is the Christ within other elect sons that we are called to “feed,” “clothe” and minister to, not the outward man of the flesh. Some of the “sheep” we are called to minister to may be in prison, that is, their souls may be imprisoned within the Babylonish church system, or in other realms of man’s bondage. If God has called them to sonship fulfilled and they are in bondage to man’s systems, we may visit them and minister to them by the Spirit as the Lord leads, thus delivering them from that bondage and other bondages as well. Others may be spiritually “sick” and in need of help. Our calling is to serve them and minister to those “sheep,” bringing healing balm to their spirits and souls, preparing them to be released from all their bondages.
Most any worldly person can care for the needs of man according to the flesh. Even the “goats” can care for the needy of this world. The world has its benefactors, or philanthropists, who do good work on the carnal, natural level, which is the realm of the flesh. But that is not our calling! Our calling is to minister to the spiritual man, to the Christ within. It takes a “sheep,” or a truly spiritual person, to minister to and serve the needs of the “sheep,” or to those who are in Christ. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “Truly, I tell you, in as far as you did it to one of the least [in the estimation of men] of these MY BRETHREN, you did it to me. [Pro. 19:17]” (Mt. 25:40, Amplified).
You may remember that Jesus appeared to His disciples a few times after His resurrection. The third time He appeared to them, some of the disciples including Peter were out in a boat fishing. Jesus stood on the shore and asked them if they had caught anything. They admitted that they had not caught one fish. So Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. When they did, their nets were full of fish. Then, Jesus invited them to come and eat. He had prepared a wonderful meal for them on the shore.
After they had eaten, Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs” (Jo. 21:15). Twice more, Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep (see Jo. 21:1- 17). There is great spiritual and eternal value in feeding His “sheep,” which are those believers who love the Lord and who do only and always His perfect will on earth. When we feed the Master’s sheep, we are doing something that has eternal value in the Kingdom of God. We are not working after the flesh to serve the flesh, but we are serving and ministering to the spiritual man, in the Spirit and by the Spirit.
It is very important now for us to feed His sheep, as Peter was called to do! We may be very near the hour of the manifestation of the sons of God. And nothing is more important now than feeding the small but maturing flock of the Lord! Feeding the Lord’s “sheep” now is very important and has greater eternal value than anything else we might do. Feeding His sheep, in obedience to the leading of the Spirit, will cause them to grow spiritually to full maturity, thus preparing them to see Christ when He appears and become all that He is. The appearing of Christ is nigh at hand; we sense “that He is near, at the very doors” (Mt. 24:33, Amplified). Therefore, we should make it a point to feed and encourage the Lord’s true “sheep,” those who are His and who obey His every Word, for the coming of the Lord in the glory of His Kingdom may be very near.
Feeding His “Sheep” the True Bread
In the prayer of the Kingdom, or the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, He told us to ask the Father, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Mt. 6:11). Some would interpret this to mean literal bread, our daily bread. But when we understand this with the wisdom of the mind of Christ we will interpret this prayer as referring to spiritual bread, the Bread of God, which we also need every day. When we ask our Father for that Bread, we know He will not give us a stone (Mt. 7:9-11). And we will readily acknowledge the truth of Jesus’ words, when He said, “Man shall not live by (natural) bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4). The true Bread is that pure, heavenly Word that comes from the wise and spiritual “mouth” of the Lord. There is no bread any where that is purer, more meaningful and of greater eternal, spiritual value than the true, heavenly Bread, the Bread of God. Heavenly Bread is the “true bread”; it is “he which cometh down from heaven” (Jo. 6:31-32); it is the “one bread,” “the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Co. 5:8, 10:17). It is this Bread that we must have daily; it is the true Bread that we may receive from Him Who has come down from heaven to dwell within us! And it is also this Bread which “giveth life unto the world” (Jo. 6:33).
Jesus also told His disciples that when they prepare a dinner or a supper, they should not call only their friends, or their family members, or their rich neighbors, but they should call the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind. Jesus said those people could not repay them for their generosity, but that they would be repaid or “recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” When one of them who was eating with them heard Him say this, Jesus said to him, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God” (see Lu. 14:12-15). While Jesus used the poor, the lame and the blind for this example, it is clear to those who are spiritual, or to the spiritually minded, that He was really referring to that spiritual Bread, which is the Bread of God. The Bread of God is spiritual Bread; it is the only bread that can be “eaten” in the Kingdom of God, for His Kingdom is a spiritual Kingdom!
There is something spiritually inspiring and illuminating about eating natural bread in a spiritual “atmosphere” or “environment,” especially when it has to do with Christ and His Kingdom. You may remember that on one occasion, after Jesus had risen from the grave, He was walking with two of His disciples to Emmaus. Jesus had been with those two disciples most of the day, but they did not know it was Him. When they arrived at Emmaus later in the day, they asked Jesus to stay with them in their home, which He did for a while. As they were eating, Jesus took some bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to the disciples. And then we read, “their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight” (Lu. 24:28-31).
There are some spiritual principles for us to see and understand
in this literal event that took place between those two disciples and the resurrected
and transformed Christ of God. To see this story with our natural understanding,
we might think it was the result of eating natural bread that the eyes of the
disciples were opened, enabling them to see Christ as He was then in His transformed
state. Yet, we also know that natural events and circumstances cannot possibly
open a person’s spiritual eyes, making it possible for them to see in
the Spirit. Perhaps there was a connection between the disciple’s spiritual
understanding and the breaking of bread by Jesus that enabled them to see Him
as He was then, and not as He was when He was a man of flesh and blood before
His death and resurrection. But only the Spirit of God can open a person’s
spiritual eyes or ears, making it possible for them to see Him as He is, and
to hear and receive His precious Word of truth and life.
This wonderful story began with two of the disciples of Jesus talking among themselves while they walked on the road to Emmaus. “And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him” (Lu. 24:15-16). While Jesus walked and talked with those two disciples on the road to Emmaus, “their eyes were holden that they should not know him.” The NIV translation gives this portion as, “but they were kept from recognizing him.” We may not like to think of our Father as being this way, but the truth is, He gives spiritual understanding to some (Mt. 13:11), but from others He withholds the precious light and wisdom of His Spirit until another time appointed of the Father (Ro. 11:8).
God is the One Who decides if and when someone should be enlightened by the Spirit. If He does not give someone spiritual eyes and ears, they are blind and deaf to the truths of God. But that spiritual blindness and deafness is not due to any fault of their own. God alone takes the responsibility for withholding the Light of His truth from some. By Him, the eyes and ears of His elect and chosen ones are opened to see and understand in the Spirit (see Is. 50:4-5, 10, Mt. 13:11-12)! By Him also, the eyes and ears of many other people are “holden,” or they are kept in spiritual darkness, until the time appointed of the Father when they shall be given eyes to see and ears to hear.
Obviously, the Lord had a wise purpose in withholding the Light and the revelation of the Spirit from those two disciples, at least for a while. While Jesus walked and talked with those two, He was withholding the revelation of Who He was from them. Their natural eyes and understanding assumed that this man, Who was the Christ of God, was a “stranger in Jerusalem,” who was not aware of the sad events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus. So it is in this Day! Some today seem to lack the revelation of the Spirit (Ro. 11:8), which would allow them to see and understand things in this new Day, as they really are in the Spirit. Some do not understand, by the Spirit, that this new Day is the holy Sabbath of the Lord, when the salvation of the Lord shall come forth and His righteousness shall be revealed (Is. 56:1-2 & 66:23). This Day is the Sabbath of all sabbaths (He. 4:3-11); it is the Day when we are called to cease doing our own works, to do only His will and “ride upon the high places of the earth” (Is. 58:13-14).
Some do not understand, by the Spirit, that God has a new order for His elect to walk in this new Day, which includes the new precepts, statutes and principles of the kingdom of God on earth (as in Neh. 9:14, Mt. 5:3-12). Those who are spiritually blind will stagnate in their blindness, assuming there is nothing more now for us all other than the old, dead, church order, while God keeps marching on! They are spiritually standing at the door of the Kingdom; they neither go in themselves, nor do they allow others who are entering to go in (Mt. 23:13). But God has moved on, beyond Pentecost, beyond the in-part realm and beyond the dead church order, and He invites us to join Him!
The Believer’s Spiritual Blindness Only Temporary
But the lack of the revelation and the insight of the Spirit in the lives of those two disciples continued only until they reached their destination at the end of the day. They continued with their carnal, natural understanding until the Spirit of God, the same Spirit of the Father that was walking with them all the way, opened their eyes, allowing them to see Christ as He really was. When Jesus broke bread and gave it to them, just as He had done so many times before His crucifixion and resurrection, their eyes were opened and the Spirit revealed to them just Who this Man was. Then they saw Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God; and as their Lord and Master, Who had suffered and died at the hands of cruel men, and was crucified on the cross; but Who rose triumphantly, overcoming sin, death, hell and the grave for every man.
So also shall it be for every person who now suffers from a lack of spiritual revelation and insight into the things of God. The Lord alone shall open the eyes of the spiritually blind (Ps. 146:8). Isaiah, the anointed prophet of God, declared, “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness” (Is. 29:18). This anointed Word is obviously speaking of restoring the spiritual blindness and deafness of those who suffered that lack, and has nothing to do with literal blindness and deafness. When spiritual hearing is restored to those deaf, they shall indeed hear the words of “the book.” And there are many books.
One of those “books” may be the scriptures or the Bible, which is a closed book to those who cannot see or hear by the Spirit (see Ex. 4:11). Then there is the book of the record of our lives, (Ex. 32:32-33); the “book of the Lord,” (Is. 34:16); “the book of life,” (Rev. 3:5); a book sealed with seven seals, (Rev. 5:1); and “the Lamb’s book of life,” (Rev. 21:27), as well as many other books mentioned in the Bible. And I believe we shall be given true, spiritual wisdom and understanding to know what is contained in every one of those “books,” when our blindness in part is healed (Ro. 11:25), and we are able to see in the Spirit as God would have us see. There is a Day coming when all this shall be fulfilled, and this may be that Day!
To those who are spiritually blind now, and who know not that God has revealed the new, Kingdom path for us to take at this time, the Lord said, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Is. 42:16, NIV, see also Is. 46:3-11). What a wonderful promise that is for all the spiritually blind among us, who know not that the new kingdom Day has begun and that there is a new path for us to take now, in the Spirit and by the Spirit!
The Lord has a firstfruits company in the earth at this time; they are a spiritual people, who have eyes to see and ears to hear. They shall lead the spiritually blind and the spiritually lame into the kingdom of God, as it is now in the earth. They shall be eyes to the blind and feet to the lame (Job 29:15). And when the Son rises and the morning of this new, Kingdom Day dawns “the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert” (Is. 35:5-6).
The True, Spiritual “Drink” for His “Sheep”
Jesus spoke of dividing or separating the “sheep” from the “goats,” by placing the “sheep” on His right hand and the “goats” on His left. To the “goats,” or to those on His left hand, Jesus said, “Depart from me.” Then He sent them away from His presence into age-lasting fire (He. 12:2 9), where they would be purged and cleansed of their carnal mind and nature. But to the “sheep,” or those on His right hand, Jesus said, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” The reason the “sheep” inherited the Kingdom, according to Jesus, was because they fed Him when He was hungry, gave Him a drink when He was thirsty, gave Him lodging and clothing, and visited Him when He was sick and in prison. Jesus also told them that they fed Him, gave Him drink, clothed Him and visited Him whenever they did it “unto one of the least of these MY BRETHREN.” And His “brethren” are those who do the will of the Father, and who hear the Word of God and do it!
Our high calling then, is to feed, give to drink, clothe, house and visit those who are IN CHRIST, and who do only and always the will of their Father in heaven. The drink to be given to His “sheep” or to His “brethren,” consists of spiritual drink, not literal or natural drink. The mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus. They worshiped Jesus and asked a favor of Him. When Jesus asked her what that favor was, the mother of the sons of Zebedee replied, “grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” When they told Jesus they were able to drink of that cup, He replied, “Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give” (Mt. 20:20-23).
There is indeed a “cup,” or a “drink” for all to drink who shall reign with Christ in the glory of His kingdom. It is not literal drink, but it is the “cup” of the Lord, which includes the sufferings of Christ. It also includes the baptism with which Jesus was baptized (see Jo. 18:11). Many of us already know about that “drink,” and that “cup” of the Lord, and have tasted of its bittersweet “waters” of preparation. For those who are approaching the maturity of sonship fulfilled, there is no more of that kind of “cup” or “drink” left to partake of. We have drunk of it to the full, and are “drinking” of another “cup” now. We are “drinking” of the blood of Christ and are also “eating” the Bread of His flesh, in the Spirit and by the Spirit.
The true “sheep” are those on His right hand who shall rule and reign with Christ. They are eating the Bread of God, which is His flesh, and are also drinking of His “cup,” which is the blood of Christ. Of course, this is a reference to spiritually eating and spiritually drinking, for how else can we “eat” the flesh of Christ and “drink” the blood of Christ? Only by the Spirit can we partake of the “flesh” of Christ and the “blood” of Christ! Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him” (Jo. 6:53-56).
This is one of those deep mysteries of God and of His Spirit! But it becomes much clearer when we consider all that the flesh of Christ and the blood of Christ symbolizes or represents, in the Spirit. When we speak of the flesh and the blood OF CHRIST, we are referring to that which is spiritual, for Christ is the anointing; Christ is the Spirit of the living God! Eating His flesh includes partaking of His nature. We also know “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). Therefore, blood represents life; it is true, spiritual Life to us when we partake of the blood of Christ, in the Spirit and by the Spirit. And how do we partake of the blood of Christ? By drinking of His Life-imparting holy Spirit! It is to “drink” of the Spirit, from the depths of His Spirit to the depths of the Spirit of Christ within us! That is true Life indeed!
To drink of the blood of Christ and eat of His flesh, in the Spirit and by the Spirit, we will have to cease living and moving in the old, religious mind-set of the church system and all the carnal things of it! We will have to cease thinking in terms of outward, religious things, and begin to think in more spiritual terms of God and His Kingdom! We will have to cease meeting with people and partaking of man’s mind, and will have to learn to meet with God in His heavenly temple (as in He. 10:25), to receive the wisdom of His mind, by His Spirit! We will have to cease seeing Jesus in the flesh, and will have to see Christ as He is, in the Spirit and by the Spirit. Yet, only true, maturing sons of God will be able to do this, for God has prepared them and trained them to see and hear IN THE SPIRIT! Father is giving them His mind, His wisdom, His faith, His knowledge, His understanding, and His Spirit in greater fullness! And, in due time, they shall receive the very fullness of His Life, which is the everlasting Life of the Father!
Those who are appointed of the Father to become manifest sons of God and to be transformed in their bodies, are a spiritual people. They see and hear in the Spirit! And they understand, by that same Spirit, what it means to eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood. They know that this is a spiritual, symbolic reference to spiritually eating and spiritually drinking of all that Christ is, in the Spirit and by the Spirit. Only by the Spirit can we understand this truth to partake of its wonders and be transformed. Jesus said: “Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever" (Jo. 6:57-58, NIV).
After Jesus said this, many of His followers, those who followed Him only for the loaves that filled their bellies (Jo. 6:26-27), said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" (Jo. 6:60, NIV). It certainly is a “hard teaching” to understand for those who are living according to the dictates of the carnal mind. Many today are accustomed to going to meetings to get what truth they have, rather than “eating” and “drinking” of Christ, by the Spirit. Babylon has trained Christendom in the ways of the flesh! But God is calling us to abandon Babylon and all her corrupt ways, to learn the way of the Spirit of God! It is only as we hear the Spirit speak within that we shall become manifest sons of God!
Our Father has a holy remnant in the earth during this most
glorious of all hours, when the kingdom of God is coming to the earth in greater
fullness, and with greater glory, power and authority. They are “seeing”
Him in the Spirit and by the Spirit, and are hearing all He has to say to us
in this glorious new kingdom Day! They are spiritually “eating”
the Bread of God, and are spiritually “drinking” the blood of Christ!
Jesus said, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal
life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jo. 6:54). May we “eat”
and “drink” of Him to the full, by the Spirit, that we might receive
that eternal Life, and become all He is and as He is in this world! Then the
world will be changed by the transforming power of the Kingdom of God! And may
His Kingdom continue to come!
Paul and Emily Mueller
P O BOX 25055, PORTLAND, OR 97298-0055