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Thursday, April 26 2012

The Church In The Kingdom Of God

Studies in this series:

1. The Church In The Garden 2. The Church In The Wilderness 3. The Church Today
4. The Church In The End Time 5. The Church In The Kingdom Of God 6. The Church: Mission Accomplished

The true Biblical meaning of "church" is the people (see Can You See The Church?) who have freely chosen to live according to God's Way (see The Way To Salvation: Step 1), from the time that they have been enabled to do so by the Holy Spirit.

Light

"8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us [see Works Means Obedience and The Yoke Of Freedom], who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his [see Is Your Religion Your Religion? and Antichristians]. 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Romans 8:4-11 KJV)

The "quicken your mortal bodies" will happen on the day of Christ's return when the first resurrection will occur ('This is the first resurrection" see below). Those, of the church, alive that day (see The Church Today and The Church In The End Time) will also be "quickened" to spirit in the same way, with the same result - they will be changed as the dead are resurrected (that event has been misunderstood to be a "rapture" - a fantasy doctrine invented by a small, obscure sect in the 1800s, but which gained great popularity in the modern day from those who capitalized on it with their glittering books and videos; see The Raptures).

"4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God [see The Feast Of Trumpets Prophecy]: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 KJV)

"It shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD"

But notice that is the first resurrection. All of the rest of the dead will be resurrected a thousand years later, in the second resurrection. As well, not everyone alive on the day of Christ's return will be converted, true Christians - the true church has always composed only a very small percentage of humanity. All of the rest of humanity alive that day will be physical humans (as we will read) when the Messiah begins the Kingdom of God on Earth.

Crossing The Jordan River

"20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.

This is the first resurrection. 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4-6 KJV)

What about those millions of humans who will be living in the Kingdom of God when it begins? What will they then be doing?

Answer: they will be doing what those of the first resurrection had been doing before Christ's return - to learn to obey God, and then choose to do it.

The purpose, and definition of "church" are those who "come out of the world" and obey God - so that salvation may be granted to them (see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners). Those of the first resurrection, the church through all of time up to the day of Christ's return, will have accomplished that - they will then have nothing to be "called out" from. The "church" will then be those who come to repentance after Christ's return, as described in the famous "swords into plowshares" verses (see below). They will thereafter be granted salvation, just like those of the first resurrection, if, like those of the first resurrection, they repent and obey the LORD. They will have it much easier than those in the first resurrection because Satan will have been put away, and Christ will be ruling the Earth i.e. "20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season" (Revelation 20:1-3 KJV).

"4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.

4:2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem [see What Does Word of God Mean To You? and Appearances Of The LORD God]. 4:3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4:4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it." (Micah 4:1-4 KJV)

Everyone on Earth will then be observing the one and only true Christian Sabbath - the seventh day (see also Why Observe The True Sabbath?)

"66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 66:23 KJV)

Notice how the Scriptures plainly describe the physical humans who will be potential subjects in the Kingdom of God (just like those of the first resurrection had been before Christ's return) after Christ's return. They will be, in effect, probationary aliens living amidst those who have been granted salvation in the first resurrection. Notice also what will happen to those who choose to be rebels and reject the offer of salvation for themselves.

Earth

"14:8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.

14:9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

14:10 All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses. 14:11 And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

14:12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. 14:13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. 14:14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. 14:15 And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.

14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 14:17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 14:18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 14:19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

14:20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD house shall be like the bowls before the altar. 14:21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts." (Zechariah 14:8-21 KJV)

"Living waters" will flow from the Throne of the LORD in Jerusalem - both literal water, and the Holy Spirit, for the benefit of the church then.

The Jordan River

"47:1 Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. 47:2 Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.

47:3 And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. 47:4 Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. 47:5 Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. 47:6 And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this?

Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. 47:7 Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. 47:8 Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. 47:9 And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. 47:10 And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. 47:11 But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. 47:12 And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine." (Ezekiel 47:1-12 KJV)

Those of the first resurrection, the "first fruits," will serve the Messiah as teachers and administrators of His Kingdom - and to the church that will then exist in repentant humanity.

"5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:9-10 KJV)

"30:20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." (Isaiah 30:20-21 KJV)

So too, the physical resurrection at the end of the 1,000 years ("But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" quoted above) will bring billions of people, who lived prior to Christ's return, but were not called to repentance earlier, to then get their first chance for salvation. The famous "dry bones" prophecy of Israel will also happen to billions of people of all nations (see The Eighth Day: What Does It Mean?).

"37:11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 37:13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 37:14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD." (Ezekiel 37:11-14 KJV)

Fact Finder: Will the true meaning of "Zion" be fulfilled after the return of the Messiah?
See A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism and A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace


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This Day In History, April 26

1452: Leonardo da Vinci, Italian painter, engineer, sculptor and architect, was born. His paintings include "Mona Lisa" and "Last Supper."

1514: Copernicus made his first observations of "Saturn" (a pagan name that scientists gave to the planet).

1607: The English established a colony at Cape Henry, Virginia.

1654: Jews were expelled from Brazil.

1807: Russia and Prussia signed the Convention at Bartenstein, forming an alliance to force France out of the German states.

1812: Alfred Krupp, German armaments manufacturer, was born. He perfected the technique of casting steel and went on to supply weapons to at least 46 countries.

1828: Russia declared war on Turkey (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) to support Greece's battle for independence.

1865: John Wilkes Booth, 27, the accused assassin of Abraham Lincoln, died in a shootout with Federal authorities 11 days after Lincoln died.

1923: Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II) married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon ("The Queen Mother") in Westminster Abbey.

1937: German fighters sent by Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) to help fascist General Francisco Franco overthrow the communist Popular Front destroyed the undefended Basque town of Guernica, killing 1,000 and injuring 900.

1942: An explosion in a coal mine killed 1,549 in Manchuria.

1945: Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, leader of France's Vichy regime that collaborated with the Nazi invaders during the Second World War, was arrested on treason charges.

1964: Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.

1971: 15" of rain fell in 24 hours in the Bahia district of Brazil.

1982: The Falklands War between Britain and Argentina ended.

1986: The worst nuclear accident in history (up to that time; the 2011 earthquake-caused nuclear power plants disaster in Japan exceeded it) occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, just north of Kiev. A fire caused by an explosion in one of the plant's 4 reactors released a cloud of radioactivity that was blown over Europe by shifting winds. Within 2 weeks, winds in the upper atmosphere had carried dust from the explosion completely around the world. At least 31 people died as a direct result of the accident.



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