It is said that those who fail to study history are bound to ever repeat it. In this saying it is implied that it is the mistakes, errors and tragedies of the past that will be repeated by those who are ignorant of what has already transpired. Yet I think man’s problem is far more serious than one of merely needing to be apprised of what has happened in the past, for many people have heard the events of the past told to them repeatedly and they still stumble in the same way that men and women did ages ago.
In this day in which many are anticipating the soon return of Christ, and where there is a growing and vocal group who are proclaiming that the “Third Day” since Christ is upon us and we are about to enter into the “Kingdom Age,” it would be good to look back at the last time that Christ appeared and learn some lessons that might keep myriads of saints from repeating the errors of a Jewish religious system that failed to recognize the time of their visitation.
It is very evident as one considers the record of the gospels that the Jewish religious system and its leaders were looking for the Messiah to appear in a manner that was quite different from His actual coming. In fact, their expectations were so far off that when the Messiah stood before them and fulfilled a myriad of prophecies, they refused to recognize and acknowledge Him for who He truly was. Instead, they set themselves as the enemies of the One they proclaimed to be looking for, and they were the chief advocates of His murder at the hands of the Romans upon the cross at Calvary.
I am convinced that the majority of those in the Christian religious system of this day, along with her leaders, are also looking for Christ to appear imminently in a manner that is quite contrary to His actual appearing. Like the Jews of old, many who appear to be the most zealous and vocal followers of Christ will actually find themselves resisting Christ in His appearance and calling for the death of those within whom Yahshua is being revealed.
It has been my sad observation that even those who are calling themselves “God chasers,” and who are leaders in the prophetic and apostolic movements of this hour, are actually chasing after a misguided image of Christ that is as erroneous as that which the Jews were anticipating 2,000 years ago when they were expecting the soon appearing of a military leader who would free them from the yoke of Rome and establish the physical throne of David once more. It does appear that history is set to repeat itself in a most tragic manner, and this writing is offered as a wake-up call to those who have ears to hear.
The theories, predictions and teachings about Christ’s soon appearing are everywhere in this day. Many speak of a militant church that will grow stronger and stronger until all the nations are brought under the rule of Christ. Some speak of the return of apostolic power witnessed in signs and wonders and miracles that will astound the world and usher in a last great harvest. Many envision themselves, their church, and their followers as being at the vanguard of this great work that will lead to the thousand year rule of Christ commonly known as the Millennium. A common thread in all of these depictions is that the Kingdom of God will come in such a way that it will be outwardly visible to all.
In this day where conflicts are raging throughout the world, some are even saying things that advocate the ushering in of the Kingdom of God through physical conflict. Some well known church leaders have made statements that have declared that God needs America, or Britain, or some other nations to stand up against the Satanic forces of this world and to bring forth the desire of God to establish a world ruled by justice, and righteousness. These have have forgotten the words of Christ:
Yahshua answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Yahshua answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Yes, Yahshua is a King and He has a Kingdom, but His Kingdom is not of this world, nor will it be ushered in through the carnal means that the rulers of this world employ to establish their authority. Tanks and guns and bombs will not be the instruments used to establish the Kingdom of God.
Consider the situation the Jews found themselves in 2,000 years ago. Judea had been conquered by the Roman armies and was forced to abide under the government of Rome. The Jews were looking for a physical kingdom to be established, for the throne of David to be exalted once more, and for a ruler to arise from their midst who would break the power of Rome and establish a physical kingdom under the rulership of Yahweh God, with the Jews being His chosen instruments to rule the nations. The Jews were looking for a Messiah to come who would establish His kingdom through force of arms.
Many of the Jews knew the Scriptures and there were a large number at the time of Christ who understood that the time was right for Messiah to come forth. Yet their image of the Messiah, and their understanding of the Kingdom He would establish, were deeply flawed, so much so that they rejected the Messiah when He made His appearance. The saints today are about to make the same grave error.
What is the manner of the Kingdom over which Yahshua rules? The Scriptures share the following:
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say,’See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
The Kingdom of God and of His Christ is a spiritual kingdom. It is the rule and government of God established in the hearts of men and women. What vanity it is to think that planes and bombs and guns will be instruments to establish such a kingdom.
II Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one)…
The second book I wrote was called “SABBATH,” and I consider it to be one of the most vital messages for this time. It was originally subtitled “What the Seventh Day Since Adam Holds for the Creation.” The seventh day since Adam is the same as the third day since Christ, and it is this third day that many teachers and prophets and saints are speaking about in this day. Some are declaring that the church has already entered into this third day, and some say we are on the cusp of entering in. Yet few have truly discerned what this day holds for the saints.
The predominant message that I am hearing and reading from those who speak of the third day is one of a kingdom coming with signs that can be outwardly observed, such as that which arise from the renewal and release of apostolic power. Many of these same saints scorn and spurn the message of the disciple’s cross and of submitting to the government and authority of God in their lives. Yet the Kingdom of God is defined by His authority and government being acknowledged and submitted unto. No saint that despises the government of God will be granted apostolic power.
The Spirit of God has led me to write much about government, authority and submission, for such things are the issues that those who would enter the Kingdom of God must understand and conform themselves unto. Few have ears to hear, however. There are myriads of men and women who are chasing after outward signs, after prophecies, and miracles, and exciting experiences, thinking that these things are evidences of the Kingdom. Many say they are chasing after God when they are merely chasing after illusory experiences that are a substitute for the rule of God in their own hearts. Christ is very plain that these things are not evidence of one being in the Kingdom of God.
“Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me you who practice lawlessness.’”
Are these not the things that many are chasing after today, thinking that they are evidences of the Kingdom of God? Yet Christ reveals who those are who truly enter into the Kingdom. It is those who do “the will of My Father who is in heaven.” Those who submit to the rule of God in their lives will enter the kingdom. Those who have willingly accepted the governmental order of God for their lives will enter the Kingdom. This governmental order is listed in Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians, a church that was also emphasizing outward manifestations and neglecting the true matters of the Kingdom.
I Corinthians 11:3
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.
As we look at the life of Yahshua we see what it means for Him to have God as His head. Yahshua stated:
“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
So Yahshua said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father commanded Me.”
“For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.”
Yahshua demonstrated that the Kingdom of God consists of yielding to the government of God in all things. The Kingdom of God is a place where the initiative of Christ is subjected to the will of the Father. It is a place where Christ performs no action and speaks no word other than that which the Father commands Him. The Kingdom of God is a place where the initiative of man ends, and man lives only to do the will of Christ. It is a place where the initiative of woman is subjected to the will of man. Thus, if Christ is doing the Father’s will, man is doing Christ’s will, and woman is doing man’s will, all will ultimately be doing the will of the Father and the Kingdom of God will be established on earth.
How difficult these things are to receive. Like the Jews of old, the saints of this age would much prefer a kingdom that comes with outward observation and that does not require an inward overthrow of their natural life. How much more desirable it is to the soul of men and women to immerse themselves in the pursuit of outward spirituality, signs, prophecies and spiritual experience, than it is to die to self that the Kingdom of God might be established within.
The kingdom of God does not come with outward observation, but it does come at great cost and only after a great battle has been waged. This battle is not conducted with guns and knives, but with the spirit man rising up to conquer the flesh, with the soul of man submitting to the spirit within.
Then Yahshua said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Now those who belong to Yahshua the Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Those who are proclaiming that the saints have entered the third day since Christ, need realize that it is also the seventh day since Adam (man) was created, and the seventh day is the Sabbath day. The author of Hebrews defines the Sabbath in this way:
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
You have only entered the third day/seventh day (Sabbath) when you have ceased from your own works. This is what Yahshua declared when He said “I can do nothing of My own initiative. I only do the will of the Father.” Many are deceiving themselves in thinking that the evidence of entering into this day is that apostolic signs and wonders are being observed, that prophecies are being given, or some other manifestation is attesting to the fact that the Kingdom of God is present. Yet there is but one true sign that one has entered into the Sabbath rest of God. The person has come to an end of their own initiative, their own works, their own soulish ways, and they have surrendered to the government of God. One enters the third day/seventh day only through the cross.
“The Kingdom of God is within you.” Do not run here and there because someone has said “Here is Christ,” or “There is Christ.” The Kingdom of God is not at this seminar, or this gathering, or this spiritual retreat. The Kingdom of God is within you. Have you entered the sabbath rest of God where you have ceased from your own works? Have you counted the cost and embraced the cross? Have you died to your own will, plans, agenda and initiative that you might embrace the will of another, even that of your head?
Submission and dying to self are not as attractive and appealing to the natural man as spiritual gifts. The invitation to “come and die” is not as alluring as the call to “come and frolic in the river of spiritual signs and wonders,” yet only those who heed the call to come and die will enter into life. Consider how many churches and ministers are offering seminars on prophecy, spiritual gifts and other associated matters. Then consider how many are inviting the saints to come and learn about headship and divine government, authority and submission, of taking up the disciple’s cross and presenting themselves as a living sacrifice to God.
Like the Jews 2,000 years ago, the church desires that which will satisfy THEIR desire. The Jews wanted a conqueror to free them from Rome and to give them authority and power. Yet God knew they needed to be freed from much more. They needed to be freed from the tyranny of self that they might live for another. Likewise, the church has embraced visions and doctrines of a soon coming King who will bestow upon them great power and authority and who will place all their enemies under their feet. Yet they have not discerned that only those who have died to their own soulish desire, those who have abandoned all personal initiative, those who have ceased from their own labors and ways, can be entrusted with divine power.
There will be a firstfruits company that will be ready when Christ comes to appear IN His saints. Most of the body of Christ will be looking elsewhere for an external coming of the Lord and they will miss His appearing. Like the Jews of old they will fail to recognize the time of their visitation. Yet a remnant will be ready.
II Thessalonians 1:10
when He comes to be glorified IN His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed…
There is a hidden kingdom that is established in the hearts of men and women. The work of this kingdom is not flashy, but it is very profound. There are those who formerly lived to fulfill their own soulish desires and fleshly lusts, and they have had their darkened lives overturned and the Kingdom of God established within. Christ will come to shine forth in glory in these prepared ones. While multitudes of professing saints are looking elsewhere for the appearing of Christ, He will appear IN those who have allowed the work of the cross to prepare them.
“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of Yahweh has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but Yahweh will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
The day approaches. Let us heed the words of the apostle:
Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them…
The Father desires to establish His kingdom within you. Will you allow Him to perform this hidden work?