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Saturday, July 6, 2019

7-6-2019          Thy Kingdom Come
The book of Revelation has always been a confusing book to me.  For a long time I assumed the city in Revelation chapter 22 was in eternal existence, but Father said take a look at Matthew Chapter six.  Whatever else may be implied, or be true, Revelation chapter 22 and Mathew chapter 6 refer to how we can live in God’s love – here, now, today, in this world.

Rev. 22:14-15  In the city but outside

Blessed are they who do His (God’s) commandments for then they have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city.
For outside are dogs, sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters and whoever loves to and does lie.

I read this passage in revelations before and was always confused.  I always assumed they were talking about the New Jerusalem (eternal) and always wondered how evil could be lurking right out the city gates.  I mean, either we were in eternity with God or, those who rejected Him, in the eternal lake of fire (Matt. 6:24).

But, Father coupled this, for me, with:

Matt. 6:10       Your kingdom come, you will be done on earth as it is in heaven

What Father has truly impressed upon me, over the past couple of years, is what these words actually involve.

Then Father brought in three other passages that He wanted me to connect with these first two:

Psalm 46:1      God is our refuge, our strength, a very present help in trouble
                        Our safety is in God who strengthens us to endure whatever may befall us and He helps us now, not just in the future, but NOW!
Matt. 6:33       Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.

As Christians, we should always seek the kingdom of God first.  That is put God first in whatever we are doing.  Our occupations, families, strength to get through things that beset us, which path to take, who can or should be in our life.  How deep do we want to go?  Maybe even what we eat and wear.  Seeking God isn’t a sign of weakness, but rather wisdom because we desire to do that which pleases Him.  Seeking God doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process.  Yes, there are times we need to deeply seek His presence and humble ourselves before Him.  Other times a simple “which shirt (blouse) should I wear (a thought to ourselves) or what to fix for dinner will suffice.  Father does give us direction in ALL things.  We just have to seek, ask, then listen.

John 17:14-18             Jesus speaking to Father

I have given them Your Word and the world has hated them because they are not of this world, even as I am not of this world.

I don’t pray that You take them out of the world, but rather keep them from evil.
They are not of this world, even as I am not of this world.
Sanctify them through Your truth.  Your Word is truth.  You have sent Me into the world and likewise, I am sending them into the world.

You have sent Me into the world and in the same manner I have sent them into the world.
Most have an understanding that this means we follow Christ and not the ways of the world around us.  This is true.  Jesus also tells us that we cannot serve two masters.  We will love one and hate the other or obey one and disagree with the other.  We can’t serve God and the world (Matt. 6:24)!

But then Father showed me that the imagery in the book of Revelation wasn’t necessarily a depiction of eternal Jerusalem but of spiritual Jerusalem, a depiction of our relationship with Father and this world - today.  We can live in God’s protection (in the city) but there are times we need to go out into the world to share His Word (outside the city).

Jesus asked Father not to take us out of the world through salvation, literally, but He did ask Him to keep us in this world and protect us from evil (John 17:13-20).

In the natural, we are physically in the world but, because of our faith, we operate in the kingdom of God, protected by Him so we can do His work.  We are not ‘of this world” but we are “in this world” to do Father’s will, to testify of eternal fellowship with Father, through Jesus Christ, which we obtain through confession and repentance of our sin.

Being in the world, we have to function in the world.  Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father (supposed), was a carpenter (Mark 6:3).  His “real” Father(God) is love (1 John 4:7-8, Matt. 12:50). 

As a boy, Jesus trained to be a carpenter, to function in the world, but He was also in training to present God’s love to the world.  So when He became a man, about thirty (Luke 3:23), He did just that.  He brought God’s love into the world at its greatest level for its greatest impact.
The bible doesn’t say whether Jesus worked as a carpenter, or not, once He started His three year plus ministry (leading to the cross) but we can be sure that’s exactly what He did until then.  Jesus was born into this world and had to live in this world, just as we do (Gal. 4:4-5).  Even once Jesus started His ministry, He stayed in this world until He completed His task, “It is finished” (John 20:30). Only when Father called Him home, did Jesus leave this world (Acts 1:9-11).

Likewise, we are born into this world, but we all have earthly fathers.  We have to learn to work and survive in this world.  Hopefully, not only learning a trade with which to support ourselves, we are also learning a task to which our Heavenly Father has called us.  A task, which once we are ready, we can go out and serve our heavenly Father (in His timing) – as Jesus did.  Now, we are not likely to be taken up out of this world as Jesus was (Acts 1:9-11), but we would live a full life until our ‘natural’ death.  Welllllll.  Unless Jesus comes back before then (Mark 13:32, Matt. 24:1-51, 1 Corinth. 15:51-58). 

A fresh understanding of Revelation 22 is that even though we live (by obedience) in God’s kingdom, by (if you will) in a protective bubble, we still operate in the evil world around us.
What Father has called us to do should also be our ‘occupation’, how we support ourselves as God opens the door.  Nonetheless, whatsoever we do, we do as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23-24) and as we do, we find that what we do for the Lord becomes whatsoever we do.

Yet, the kingdom of God is my refuge.  As I yield and live my life for the Father, through Jesus, I have truly entered into God’s kingdom.  If I live in God’s kingdom, He protects me (Job 1:8-10).  And if I, and all Christians, are living in God’s kingdom, His kingdom is indeed come on earth, into this world.  Even though we are in the world, we are no of it.  We do His will in this life.  Ergo, His kingdom come, his is being done on earth as it is in heaven.
Yet, all this depends upon our relationship with our heavenly Father.  The closer we walk with the Lord, in our realm (in this world), the more of God’s kingdom becomes apparent on planet earth.


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