THE TWO KINGDOMS
"Now the Lord is the Spirit."
A kingdom is a rule - it is the dominion of a king. When we talk about the kingdom of God, we are actually talking about the rule of God.
Jesus is the Mediator between God and man. When He was on earth, people could see and hear Him, but they did not understand His message; not even His chosen twelve understood the kingdom of God at work in the man Jesus Christ. This lack of understanding caused the crucifixion of Jesus. This proved that His mediation did not take root at that time.
As we mentioned, the scriptures speak of two kingdoms. If there are two kingdoms, it follows that the authority of each must be limited. If there is a kingdom of darkness and a kingdom of God, is God's rule limited? Is He still sovereign? If He is, how is His sovereignty exercised? Of course God is sovereign, and His sovereignty is exercised by bringing ALL things into subjection to Himself. The rule of God is at work in the scriptures. God has a purpose which is being accomplished and which will be accomplished. He is accomplishing the redemption of people who have subjected themselves to another rule.
For many years Israel had been prepared through the law and the prophets for the coming of the Messiah. Then He appeared in the man Jesus Christ. Even though the Israelites were a prepared people, ready to be delivered from the fruit of human nature and to be transferred into a new spiritual nature, they found His teachings hard to understand. Israel thought it was in the kingdom of God and fulfilling its rule and being obedient to it. However, they were not! Jesus was the Word of God made flesh and the exact image of the invisible Father; He was the Redeemer, redeeming man out of the rule he was under - which was man's natural thinking. Yet Jesus was rejected in Israel because their idea of rule and kingdom was quite contrary to that which was evident in the testimony of Jesus Christ!
In Matt. 21 Jesus told a parable to show that Israel had rejected all that had been sent by God, whether they were prophets or His own Son. They basically rejected the bearing of real fruit in the kingdom of God - the fruit of righteousness. So the kingdom of God was taken from them and given to a nation bearing the fruit thereof. There is a big difference between the kingdom Jesus was representing and the kingdom of the world, which was operating in the nation of Israel. The scriptures teach that
Jesus is the Messiah. The name of Jesus was given to the physical Jesus, and it was His identification with Adam. However, in Him, Adam ends. He is the last Adam, and He is the firstborn of a new creation and the firstborn out of death. But all this is dependent on a rule. The rule that had been operating in mankind was death, because everything was temporal, everybody died, and everything was separated from God. They believed this separation was reality, for when Jesus Christ called God His Father and said that He and the Father are one, He was accused of blasphemy! His union with God was rejected. People obviously did not understand what union with God was; they did not understand oneness with the Father.
"The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
The Holy Spirit was taken from the kingdom of Israel because they were not producing the fruit of the Holy Spirit; they were producing only fleshly things, the things that are in the carnal mind. These produce a separation from God.
Now the kingdom of God was among them in the law, in the prophets, and in the letter. This was all external, working through the natural man. But the external coming of the kingdom was not the true purpose, the true realization of the kingdom; His kingdom is an internal one! Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, came as the Spirit of truth to bring us into truth, because we were in error. The Bible itself is actually an external testimony because it first comes to us in the carnal mind. It is a testimony to us in the fact that we should walk in the newness of life and not in the oldness of the letter. (John 7) This means we are not to walk in the carnal mind, but in obedience to what the Spirit is saying.
God's rule and God's kingdom passed through many stages of redemption in the Old Testament. All the patriarchs from Adam to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, to David and the prophets, were all stages of redemption that consummated in Christ who is the sum of all things.
How did this external rule come into being? Adam's disobedience brought a disruption of God's rule (God's kingdom or God's world) in the hearts of people. (Gen. 3)
I believe that the casting down of God's kingdom is the root cause of all the evil that happens to man. The natural carnal mind is death, and it is the last enemy that will be abolished. (1 Cor. 15:26) It is interesting to note that people are very concerned about physical death, while they seem to be oblivious to the fact that the real death is in the carnal natural mind. Believers are not to be controlled by it, for it is death. Those who are proud of their knowledge will operate in their own interpretation of God and the Bible; they will not see the difference between the new and the old covenant. The old covenant has already passed away; the new covenant, introduced by Jesus Christ, IS Jesus Christ. Unless we see the difference between these covenants, we will be caught up in teaching knowledge - and there is no end to that. If we retain the natural concepts of God and Christ common to man, we may experience forgiveness, but we are still the problem. We can try to deepen and heighten knowledge, but it will never lead us to the knowledge of truth - the spiritual realization in the Spirit.
"For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
His testimony came forth as the Messiah. The Messiah is the anointing, and Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophecy of the promised anointed One. The Holy Spirit of God spoke the words of the Father to Jesus Christ. Jesus testified of this when He said,
The Gospel of Mark begins with,
"The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, `Look, here it is!' or, `There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst'."
With the appearing of Jesus Christ, the first Adam ended. According to 1 Cor. 15:47-49 both men are images - one bears an earthy image of God and the other a heavenly one. Jesus Christ was the express image of God. Adam was not the express image of God; in the Genesis 2 and 3 account Adam was not called the image of God, nor was he called that in the rest of the Old Testament. Adam was an earthy image - it was from creation, from the mind of the flesh. The image of God comes from the first man, the spiritually created man who we find in Genesis 1. Of him it is said, "Let us make man in the image of God - male and female..." This man was not made to cultivate the earth, but to have dominion. However in Gen. 2 we see another image coming - one to cultivate the earth.
It is through Jesus that we get discernment in the realm of error and truth, and the images, rules and concepts, which they produce, for He is the Spirit of truth. The anointing brought Jesus out of the law. The kingdom of God did not come to Him visibly; it came in the realm of His inner sense of being (of who He was in God) and He became conscious of the things of the Spirit. He received spiritual information and it gave Him a new consciousness. The kingdom of God, though unseen by natural eyes, operated in Jesus Christ while He was on this earth. If people had really known Jesus was God, they would have submitted to Him; but because they did not know Him, they killed Him. God's rule in Israel had been disrupted, and the rule of this world in them was so strong that the leaders of Israel wanted to crucify Him. They were operating in the Adamic man, and he cannot conceive the things of the Spirit.
When Adam sinned he accepted another rule - the rule of Satan. This developed another consciousness in him. In Adam we have the Adamic consciousness of natural humanity. Since Adam had the mind of the flesh he was not immortal. It says that Adam was an earthy image and Christ a heavenly one.
"In Adam all die."
Since natural humanity is in the death realm, we need to be made alive. Christ is a quickening Spirit, and this is the kingdom that is expressed in Jesus Christ. He comes and awakens or quickens us. He gives us a mind which receives spiritual realities; His coming ushers out the natural "realities" - just as light ushers out darkness. Jesus obeyed the law, and did not cause any disturbance nor problems during the first 30 years of His life. He was not persecuted at that time because He was not identifying with the truth that is in the spiritual kingdom of God. But immediately after the anointing, when He became an expression of the Messiah, rejection and persecution came His way.
Truth has the power to replace the error in Adam. Truth cannot be attained by studying and dissecting the scriptures, nor by studying the Greek, and by fasting and praying, etc. The presence of the Christ in us brings us truth. This is the anointing which brings us the spiritual realization beyond the letter, the flesh, and the temporal - the things that are seen through the natural eye. So truth has the power to replace the bondage of false beliefs!
Truth brings about change! Once the rule of our life is changed from the mortal concepts of the natural mind to the immortal concepts of the spiritual mind which was in Christ Jesus, we will function in the mind of Christ. We have been living in a mortal man who has no immortality. If Adam would have had immortality he would not have died. Our old humanity was crucified together with Christ. In other words, Adam ended when Christ came.
How could Adam end when Christ came? Adam could not refer to our fleshly body - for how could it be crucified with Christ? It refers to our sense of being; the mistaken identity of who God is and who we are, was crucified with Christ. We had a false premise of life; we thought it was external. We thought God was not united with us, that we were separated from Him and operating outside of the union we have with the mind of God or the mind of Christ. This is death! The truth is that we have come into a union of life in Christ in a spiritual conception and realization.
It is not hard for us to believe that the physical body is mortal, because we are surrounded by death; the daily newspapers proclaim it in their obituaries. Some people thought they had received a revelation that the flesh is going to exist forever - but they died too. The mind has to mind something. The carnal natural mind minds the flesh; the mind of Christ minds the Spirit!
Everything has to be perceived by the spirit. Humanity thinks it is originating knowledge, but actually knowledge is just being presented to it. Everything was made by God in the beginning. Medical discoveries are also in the realm of mortality; they all have a beginning and end. Only those things which come through the Spirit are immortal. The mind that is only in union with creation, but not with the Creator, is dead. Jesus Christ is a quickening Spirit; when He comes He quickens us, He makes us alive to spiritual realization. This makes a big difference!
Christ was crucified because of the truth that was operating in Him. Today you may not be crucified, you may not have a knife stuck into your body, you may not be hung nor shot, but you may be put to death by people separating themselves from the realization and knowledge that is in you. Death is separation. If you are testifying to the understanding given you by the Spirit of life, the Spirit of Christ, people will actually separate themselves from you. By doing this, they are separating themselves from God - and this spells death.
In Genesis 3 we read about the beast of the field. The beast's mind was impregnated into Adam and he received a delusion of death.
In Adam all die, because through him we have all received the consciousness of natural things. This is not the consciousness of the Spirit. That is why THAT man has to be put to death by the coming of the new man - his darkness is put away by the coming of light. Adam has his union with the creation because God formed him out of the existing creation, then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and he became a living soul - not a life-giving spirit. So the union Adam has in his sense of being is with creation and not with the Creator. This union with creation is one that is in separation from God - it's not a union with God. This is the realm of death.
Through Satan's craftiness, deceitfulness and desire to rule, he managed to subject Adam; but he could not subject Jesus! When Jesus was anointed with the Spirit of truth, it made Him the Messiah and He emerged as the Redeemer. Christ was always with God, He was always a Redeemer, but to come into our humanity He took on forms - the body of flesh, the law and the anointing. These were things that could be seen and witnessed to. After His experience at the Jordan, Jesus became the spiritual testimony of immortality in the earth.
From the Old Testament we receive the idea that God is mainly a God who inflicts punishment on the disobedient, e.g., an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. It was retribution, war, hatred and death! Many evil things were attributed to God because He punished people by opening up the earth thus destroying many; by sending plagues and conquering armies, and having people kill one another.
This idea of God was very different from the one Jesus portrayed, and yet He is the express image of the invisible God! Who was this Man - the Prince of Peace who was meek and lowly of heart? What made Him the exact image of the invisible God? Since Jesus was the express image of God, why do we still have so many distorted images of God? It is because we do not understand God's redemptive nature and processes! Jesus said,
We know that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their sins. It is in Christ that we can understand it, appropriate it, and live with it. It is all IN Christ. If it would be BY Christ, we would still have to receive or appropriate it before it could become ours. But it is the Christ in us, because Christ IS that Word; God was in that Word of the Holy Spirit, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their sins. Jesus said, "I did not come to condemn the world." He does not have anything against anybody, does He? God is not holding us to our sins. This is what we are to believe! Those who do not believe are already judged for their unbelief.
The penalty for sin is not hell, but death! Death is separation from God!
The image of God that is in Christ Jesus comes to us by the Holy Spirit who enlightens us. He brings us the realization that we are free from sin because God is not imputing sins to us. The message that comes to us in the Spirit is that Christ Jesus represents the one true God. Christ did not exhibit any of the wrath and fighting that is found in the Old Testament where God was working through the natural man. His manifestation could only come in the way the carnal mind could perceive and interpret it. People were dying because they were operating in death; they were worshiping their own idea of God. Jesus pinpointed this by saying that they did not know God. God's Word was not in them: if they knew God, they would know Jesus.
Whom are we worshiping? Paul said that previously we had been serving gods that were not God. Are we also worshiping gods who are not God? The consciousness of the Israelites did not contain a true concept of God! Jesus Christ proved that their whole concept of God was wrong! They thought He was a God of wrath, one
When Jesus Christ becomes our Lord, He gives us a whole new concept of God, self, and immortality. A death has taken place in our consciousness and we have been born anew. No longer are we in the Adamic man. We may be babes in our new life and may not fully understand what has taken place, yet we have the foundation for growing and living, and for discerning and rejecting wrong concepts. Our carnal thinking, our sin consciousness and our natural sense of being are constantly being rejected and replaced by a new realm of truth. The old is ushered out by the new understanding of God that is brought to us by the Spirit of truth. This is the way redemption works.
The kingdoms of this world are being made subject to Christ. He HAS overcome the world and He has already turned this over to the Father. This did not involve a big battle.
I believe that John 16 gives us the best description of the coming of the Christ - the second coming if you will - in the coming of the Holy Spirit. That is the true second coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Those who are honest with themselves and God will see that a lot of things people cling to in their natural conceptions, are enemies to the truth that is in Jesus Christ! This stubbornness of the ego, the "I," the self that wants to save its sense of being has to go! The self even wants to be enhanced by God that it may appear pleasing to God and to others. Self-rule causes us to think that our carnal nature is to be redeemed; it keeps us from understanding that we are being redeemed out of what we were. The natural conceptions of the carnal mind actually defy the Christ; they stop us from receiving the lordship of Christ's rule in the kingdom of God.
It is sadly evident that the main emphasis of most of religious Christianity is the same as the religions of the world. Its emphasis is upon making itself better and getting something from God. It wants to be redeemed without being changed, and wants to keep its many erroneous ideas or concepts of God. This does not bring us into a union with God; it separates humanity from God. Separation is death! People do not understand that death to that whole self is necessary before the new life, the new Christ, the new man, the new concept of God can emerge!
The kingdom of God is actually an invisible realm. Nobody has ever seen the Christ (who is the anointing or Messiah). When you are anointed, you are an anointed one.
God bless you. Consider what I say and may the Lord give you understanding. Amen.