The kingdoms of the world are external kingdoms ruled by external laws or self-governed ideas motivated by a human spirit that knows there is something good beyond what can be seen. That good thing can even be perceived to be what is good in one’s own eyes. The external voices of law and creation only invoke the internal human spirit, the human conscience, to seek to know God. It starts with the question, who is God? That question can only be answered when one finds a connection with Holy Spirit in their own spirit within. He makes us come alive! When this happens, the question is answered. God is the One who makes me come alive! He gives me life!
Jesus did not come to change the kingdoms of the world by external influences. He came to transform the kingdoms of the world by the force of an internal kingdom that is greater than the external kingdoms of men. That kingdom is the kingdom of heaven. It is a kingdom where Jesus is both Lord and Christ of the hearts and minds of men. It changes things from the inside out and writes a higher law than all other laws upon men’s hearts and minds. That law is a revelation of love that inspires life-giving thinking and life-giving actions that demonstrate love. It is the place that proves Jesus is Lord, because our desires are changed from within. We become empowered to desire what God desires. It is not based upon a knowledge of good or a knowledge of evil. It is based upon a knowing of the One who is good. It is based upon a connected and growing intimate relationship with the One who gives life, gives breath, and gives life-giving things in all situations of life. This is the testimony of the kingdom of heaven empowering mankind to live for the well-being of others. This is not a political stand for socialism or capitalism. Jesus lived in a day of Roman rule, but He never externally protested the unjust schemes of greedy rulers or greedy people in the systems of Roman society. If you read history, you will find that there were plenty of injustice issues going on in the Roman empire. Jesus wasn’t interested in taking a stand for justice amidst an unjust worldly society. He came to His own, those who professed to know God, so that He could also go by His Spirit to those who did not know God. Jesus didn’t come to people who could not receive Him, He came to people of a Torah (law) / tabernacle society.
Matthew 15:24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
John 1:1 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
He sent His disciples to the same while He was alive:
Matthew 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
The message of the kingdom of heaven is at hand was to those who viewed the kingdom of Israel as the way unto salvation. That which was true was now in the face of that which had only been a shadow of the good thing to come (Heb. 10:1). The people that Jesus came to was the Jewish society that already knew the Law. Jesus didn’t talk to them about things they already knew, He came to bring them a way of governing their lives that they had never known. The law had clearly revealed to them their needs and their failures. The Jewish people didn’t need Jesus to tell them what to do or how to act. They already knew that. They needed Jesus to expose their hearts to a new and living way.
God had plenty to say to the Gentiles as well. These were the peoples and nations that did not know what to do or how to act. God’s arm of salvation would come to the Gentile world with the writings of Paul, a man who knew the law fully, but now would be a man of mercy and grace to those who had previously only been governed by the human conscience. God extended the arm of salvation to the Gentiles through Paul as a testimony of resurrection life found in the tribe of Benjamin. Israel, the patriarch, had prophesied that the ‘last day’ of Benjamin would bring the blessings of the kingdom of heaven to the nations of the world. The completion of the tribe of Benjamin would prove to be life to those bound in darkness and they too would become sons and daughters of God’s right hand – His hand of resurrection life and grace (Benjamin means, son of the right hand).
Genesis 49:1 And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days:
Genesis 49:27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; In the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.”
Saul of Tarsus, a Benjamite, became Paul the apostle in Christ. He was a ravenous wolf, one who persecuted the church, that when he was born again brought light to those who had been previously been bound to darkness. Those held in bondage would be freed from death and their would be a dividing of the spoil among the nations. The writings of Paul addresses different things than the testimony of Jesus the man sent to the people of Law. His writings were still the words of the Holy Spirit to people who had no idea how to think or what to do. His writings were not a return to law, but a challenge to formerly ignorant people in receiving the true ways of God. We cannot merely look at the writings of the four written accounts of what we call the gospel and ignore the writings of Paul and think we have a full perspective of truth.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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