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Thursday, April 26 2012
The Church In The Kingdom Of God
Studies in this series:
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
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)
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)
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.