KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God. . . "
THE HEAVENS DECLARE
LEO THE LION
We come now to the twelfth and final Sign in our study of the Zodiac God's Bible in the sky. The last Sign is LEO THE LION. Kenneth Fleming has well said in his book GOD'S VOICE IN THE STARS: "The great drama of the universe started with the sign of Virgo, and in Leo we reach the last scene of the last act. In the Zodiac we have come full circle, for the tail of the Lion touches the head of Virgo, the correct place to start and end in the interpretation of the twelve signs. This fact was, we believe, the chief purpose of the great Sphinx of Egypt, which was the head of a woman and the tail of a lion. We have pointed out previously that the beginning point of prophecy in the first book of the Bible concerns the woman and her Seed, which would destroy the seed of the serpent. The sign of Virgo clearly showed this. The ending point in Biblical prophecy, in the last book of Scripture, describes the Seed of the woman as 'the Lion of the tribe of Judah...who has prevailed (Rev. 5:5). Thus the start and finish of the Zodiac coincide with the start and finish of the prophetic story of the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the Word of God" end quote.
How glorious it is to see that in the night sky this picture is portrayed for all the world to see the old, old story which is ever new; that story which is wondrously portrayed, not only in the Zodiacal figures and in their names, but even in the intricacies of the detailed names of all the ancient stars in these constellations. These are pictures that go back beyond the recorded history of men to the very God who flung the stars from His fingertips... who sprinkled them across the sky... who numbered and named them all... and who painted for us in the galleries of the dome of the heavens, the glorious plan of God for the ages. How wondrous He is! I am well aware that when we embarked on this unknown journey through the Zodiac almost four years ago, many were skeptical of any involvement with the Signs of the heavens for all they had heard of them were the perversions of the carnal mind and pagan religion, namely, astrology. I do not hesitate to tell you that the vast majority of astrologers and those who adhere to astrology have changed the truth of God into a lie and worship and serve the creation more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Rom. 1:25). The carnal mind is the great deceiver who has deceived people into trusting in the Sign rather than the thing God has signified by the Sign the revelation of Jesus Christ. But after examining all the Signs under the searchlight of the scriptures and divine wisdom, can there be any doubt in our minds but that God intended the constellations to bear a message?
As you examine the drawings of the ancient star charts, and observe how each and every scene corresponds precisely with all the major themes of scripture and God's great plan of the ages, can you doubt that the original purpose was to proclaim the ultimate triumph of the Son of God in the conflict of the ages? As you read the ancient names of the stars, beginning with Virgo, the Virgin, and learn of "the Seed" and "the Branch" revealed in these names, and compare scripture with scripture where these names are found, are you not convinced that the very names of the stars in the Signs of the Zodiac preach the Gospel? As you behold the strong man restraining the serpent while crushing the perverse scorpion, are you not transported right into the heart of God's wonderful plan of redemption? Either these remarkable Signs from antiquity were designed by the wisdom and purpose of our great Creator and Redeemer or they are the most colossal and astounding coincidence in the universe! Surely the child of God must stand in awe before the sovereign and almighty Father who has declared the history of creation and redemption in the stars along the path of the sun before He ever placed man upon this planet! Ours is not a Creator who has had to solve His problems with man or satan moment by moment, as though He were caught by surprise. No! Ours is a God who is omniscient and omnipotent and who reigneth, despite worldly evidences to the contrary. He planned it all, ordained it all, and has declared the end from the beginning, and ordered it so, and nowhere in all the reaches of infinity is this more beautifully illustrated than in the SIGNS OF THE HEAVENS!
LEO - THE LION
The name of this constellation, Leo, The Lion, means virtually the same, whether you look at it in Arabic, Hebrew, Coptic, or Syriac. It means He that rends, that tears asunder. The lion is a noble, majestic and kingly creature, strong and courageous, fearing nothing, and so fierce and powerful that no other animal can stand before him. Mankind from the dawn of history was impressed by what he saw and knew of this awesome and terrible beast and so awarded it the title of "king of beasts." Dr. Seiss has described the lion: "It scarcely has an equal in physical strength, which is further combined with extraordinary quickness and agility. Ordained to feed on flesh, it is fitted for the work of capture and destruction, and is supplied with the most powerful physical machinery conceivable for the purpose. It can easily kill and drag away a buffalo, and it can crush the skull of a horse or break the backbone of an ox with one stroke of its paw. Its claws can cut four inches in depth at a single grasp. It has great ivory teeth capable of crunching a bullock's bones. The fall of its fore paw in striking is estimated to be equal to twenty-five pounds in weight, whilst it is able to handle itself with all the nimbleness of a cat, to whose family the lion belongs. The possession of such powers, with its instincts for blood, renders this animal wonderfully daring, bold, and self-confident, and the great terror of men and beasts in the vicinity of its haunts. When the lion is assailed and thoroughly aroused, and lifts himself up in proud contemplation of his foes, though banded in troops around him, his composed, majestic, and defiant mien is described as noble and magnificent beyond conception; whilst the terribleness of his growl and the thunder of his roar contribute to make the picture almost superhumanly impressive" end quote.
And this is the image we are called to contemplate in John's vision describing the character and majesty of Christ in connection with the loosing of the seals of the scroll and the clearing of our earth from all enemies and usurpers: "And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof" (Rev. 5:5). It is the king of beasts in the jungle who typically represents the King of kings in His triumph over all things. The book of Revelation contains the revelation of the majestic inheritance of God, which seemed to have been forfeited by the sin of man forever and which is sealed up and withheld from man throughout the ages. Stacy Wood has said of this: "The word sealed in this passage is from a Greek word that in one of its meanings corresponds to our English word 'foreclosure.' Thus, the phrase 'sealed with seven seals' may be rendered 'foreclosed with seven insignias.' This book was bought, then sealed up or foreclosed upon, and set up on a shelf. It is my conviction that this book is us mankind. We were foreclosed on by our forefather Adam. Adam sold humanity for nothing. He brought us to naught. We were 'sealed up,' living without the knowledge of, or relationship to, the God who visits us in the Garden. Being sealed, John looks and wonders that there is no one in heaven or earth that can break the foreclosure no one who can break the seals and look into the book. The prophet begins to weep. He is sad that no one can get into the reality of what life is. The next scene reveals an angel, a messenger, a word out of the heavens that addresses the prophet John, proclaiming that there is One. Weep no more! There is a Lamb in the midst of the throne, and this Lamb is a Lion, and HE is worthy to break the seals, HE is worthy to reverse the foreclosure, HE is worthy to redeem or buy back that which was foreclosed upon, HE is worthy to open the book, HE is worthy to pierce into and reveal the true value of man's life! The seven seals represent the fullness of the foreclosure upon us, and God is breaking every area of this foreclosure upon our lives. He is dealing either with that which is negative in our life that has prevented us from seeing the Christ, or the Christ being seen in us Or He is dealing and accentuating the positive of the Christ-life within that we may become free to follow, express and reveal HIM" end quote.
The One who is able to accomplish so mighty a work within us is the LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH. And the Lion of the tribe of Judah is CHRIST THE KING! When the dying Jacob blessed his sons, he prophesied to his son Judah that he would be a lion, whom his brethren should praise, whose hand should be in the neck of his enemies, and before whom his brethren should bow down (Gen. 49:88). What he spoke to Judah indicated the warlike and victorious energy which was afterward demonstrated in that tribe. In Judah's illustrious descendant, David, the lion nature was strikingly exhibited, and his boast in the Lord was, "I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again until they were consumed. I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For Thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me. I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets" (Ps. 18:37-42). While David penned these inspired words out of his own experience, they are also a messianic prophecy looking forward to a still mightier King "who sprang out of Judah" as David's lineal descendant and heir, who at once is David's Lord and David's son, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the Root and the offspring of David. The Lion is a Lamb for He conquers not by brute force but by the power of His poured out life. The wonder of it is that THIS LION- LAMB IS WITHIN US! The worthy One is within! When you begin laying hold upon the worthy One within you, the One within you begins unsealing the book within. Out of that unsealing comes the triumph of the Christ in every dimension of our lives. He makes war against every false and fleshly thing that there might be the revelation of Jesus Christ in us. There will be the expression of what is true in us (the Christ within) coming forth into manifestation in our outer realm. It is not a nature that ignores the corruption of our outer man it is a nature that is capable of dealing with the corruption of that outer man that the Spirit be revealed. Oh that our eyes might be opened to behold HIM! HE is the most powerful, terrible, courageous, bold, daring, self-confident, composed and majestic Lion of all! HE is worthy to open the book, to fulfill in Himself all the requirements, and now to fulfill IN US all the reality of our redemption. In absolute power and strength He shall reign until every enemy in us is destroyed and the Christ is fully and forever formed in us, formed from the inner to the outer the image of God.
We first meet Jesus the Saviour as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. But at length He takes on the character of the Lion within us to tear away the flesh of our carnal nature and crush every bone of our resistance to the rule of His Kingdom of righteousness. The Lamb is our Saviour the Lion is our King! Kingship is the highest, and most respected and powerful position in a kingdom. In ancient times the king was supreme and his word was law. Life and death were in the words of a king. Kings are not in great demand these days. In most of our western countries, kings no longer rule. We've fought for democracy government of the people, by the people, and for the people, as Abraham Lincoln said. Yet we're not really free or truly happy. Now we talk of creeping socialism. The nasty kings of the past have turned into the nasty "big governments" of today. Thus it is almost surprising when we hear the Bible say that true joy and blessing is found, not in democracy, but with a King in charge!
The kings have had their day, it is said, but there is one King whose day is shining brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. "Behold, thy King cometh," the Old Testament declares (Zech. 9:9). Time and again in the Word of God we find prophecies of a glorious and universal Kingdom ruled by a great and eternal King. So well was this understood in the time of Christ that even John the Baptist, after introducing our Lord to His public ministry, asked, "Art Thou He that should come? or look we for another?" (Lk. 7:19). The promised King did appear, but His own people wouldn't receive Him. One of the most profound and awe-inspiring statements of all scripture was penned by the apostle John: "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God" (Jn. 1:11-12). Isaiah paints a picture of people from all over the world coming together like tidal waves of water. And where are they flowing? Right up to heaven and the throne of the Lord God. "Teach us your ways! Give us your laws! Reign over us!" they cry. These people have learned that when they rule their own lives, they end up with a world full of hatred, violence, sin, perversion, strife and death. Only when they get off their little thrones and let the great King of the universe reign is there peace and joy and righteousness.
As we now move out of the "church age" on into the "kingdom age" God must purge, purify, and update our conversation. Vocabulary is perhaps the most odious garbage we bring with us from the old order into the new. We have all obtained along the way of our walk in God a religious vocabulary. As God moves us from glory to glory and realm to realm we find again and again in our speech antiquated words and terms that were never godly, spiritual, or biblical in the first place. Ever since we have awakened to come out of religious Babylon we have labored under false concepts of God and a phony vocabulary by which we continue to speak the language of Babylon. But, praise God, by the spirit of wisdom and revelation God is giving us a whole new terminology that corresponds to the truth of His Kingdom and the reality of His Life in this new day. It is a new vocabulary the language of the Kingdom of God.
Today we hear much about the need for "revival." Preachers sometimes say that they went to a certain church and "preached a revival." Multitudes of believers are praying and interceding for revival. Some teach that there is yet to be a great world-wide revival in the last days. But I do not hesitate to tell you that when I hear someone say, "Lord, send a revival," my spirit cringes within me. Hearing that is like eating little green apples. "Lord, send a revival!" we plead. Indeed revive what? If God energized what we have now we would merely have the biggest and most powerful BABYLON that ever existed! Every revival in history has eventually produced another monstrous form of Babylon. What do you mean "revive" this? Let us not labor under the delusion that somehow God is about to refresh, revive, restore, quicken, and refashion the old ecclesiastical structures so that the new thing He is doing can be accommodated in some old wine-skin that has been rejuvenated with "kingdom" oil. Oh, no! God is not in the business of either reviving, blessing, restoring or remodeling Babylon He is calling His sheep that are scattered in the mountains, calling His elect ones by name, and there is a response. A new sense of hearing is coming to those called to sonship and a new day arises from their hearts not the old cry, "Lord, send a revival," but the cry of this day has become, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven!" I can assure you, and I believe that I have the Spirit of God when I say it, that there will never be another revival. The day of revival, like the days of kings, has passed away. The next thing on the agenda is not another revival it is the manifestation of the sons of God. It is the manifestation of the Kingdom of God in power and glory. God is about to shake the world, and the desire of all nations shall come. Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in this day as the peoples of all the earth are swept into the Kingdom of God. This is not revival this is the KINGDOM OF GOD!
The following words from the pen of George Warnock are truly words of wisdom and revelation. "A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. All kingdoms recognize this, and any division that appears in a kingdom is certainly cause for immediate alarm; and I think this has much to do with the fear that seems to be mounting higher and higher in the ecclesiastical realms... that some of God's people are getting to be just a little to free. The fact is that God has been bringing division into the midst of the kingdoms since the day kingdoms began... for the simple reason that God has an everlasting kingdom in mind, and any kingdom that does not give way to the everlasting kingdom is doomed to failure. It is not difficult to recognize this when it concerns the kingdoms of this world, but as Christians we find it difficult at times to recognize that God often brings divisions into the ranks of the ecclesiastical kingdoms. They are not called kingdoms, of course... we use different names, more religious names... like Pentecostal, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian... and we just stop here for lack of space and time. But God has one Kingdom in mind, even The Kingdom of His dear Son.' The heirs of this Kingdom have for the most part been scattered throughout the other kingdoms... but God's plan is for one fold, and one Shepherd.' This is what the ministries are for... to gather together the scattered sheep of God" end quote.
In praying for revival we develop a revivalistic mentality which contradicts the purposes of God for this Day. When one examines revivals historically, he finds that when you live in the revival mentality you are like a person who gets "high" on a drug you soon need another "fix". Revivals throughout history are recurrent activity activity that returns from time to time. Revivals are those kinds of divine intervention which bring about awakening, followed by spiritual declension and apostasy. It is a vicious, never-ending cycle. Awake, asleep. Awake, asleep. Alive, dead. Alive, dead. Delivered, bound. Delivered, bound. Refreshed, sluggish. Refreshed, sluggish. Filled, empty. Filled, empty. Revivals are oscillating in nature, swinging back and forth between two extremes. Furthermore, revivals are occasional and variable. They occur now and then. In and out, up and down, here and there, now and then, back and forth, awake and asleep do you feel yourself getting motion sickness? In the 1800's there was a revival called "The Great Awakening. As someone has pointed out, unfortunately it was followed by "The Great Asleepening." We don't need another Great Awakening so that we can have another Great Asleepening so that we can have another Great Awakening... What the world needs in this hour is not another revival. No revival has brought the ultimate triumph of God's Kingdom. No revival has brought the universal defeat of sin, sorrow, sickness, limitation and death. No revival has brought an end to war, strife, hatred, corruption, fear, tyranny, pain, hunger, or any of the other problems and curses that blight mankind. Our prayer should be, "Lord, don 't send another revival!" Our prayer should be as our Lord taught us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come!" I am not a revivalist. I am a Kingdomite! I am a son of the Kingdom, an announcer of the Kingdom, a proclaimer of the Kingdom, an ambassador of the Kingdom of God. A Kingdomite is the opposite of a revivalist. Instead of advocating and praying for a move of God that returns from time to time, the Kingdom Ambassador views the presence and rule of God as perpetual, constant, progressive never vacillating and never retrogressing. Our God is abiding and progressing from glory to glory, from realm to realm, from age to age not sleeping and awaking. The Kingdom sons are builders who build a place for God to inhabit permanently not a resort for Him to visit occasionally. I want to be a builder! Jesus said, "We will come and make our abode with him." What God desires in this hour is a place to stay, a temple to dwell in, a throne to sit upon, a nature to be formed in, a Kingdom to rule from.
The focus of the New Testament is upon Christ and His Kingdom not revivals. You don't read about revivals in any of the writings of the apostles. The word revival does not appear in the dictionary of Kingdom terminology. So far as New Testament economy is concerned, revival is an unscriptural and extra-biblical concept. You won't find the idea anywhere! Jesus didn't promise revivals. The apostles never taught or exhorted or gave any instructions about revivals. Amazing, isn't it, how much of the language of Babylon we still speak over here on Kingdom territory! When John the Baptist announced the Messiah's approach two thousand years ago, every thing concurred to give weight to his testimony. Guided by the signs of the times, and by the chronological predictions of the prophets, expectation was everywhere awake for the first sound of Messiah's footsteps. From all parts of the country they flocked to the man of God, who cried alone in the wilderness, "Repent ye! for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand; prepare ye the way of the Lord; make His paths straight." With profound and breathless attention the motley group listened to the exciting tidings; and harsh as were his words, rougher though some of his speeches were than the camel hair garment which he wore, they gladly received them and were baptized by him in Jordan, confessing their sins. Presently the Lord Himself appears upon the stage; and John the Baptist, having dutifully fulfilled his role as the herald of the Messiah, retired and was little more heard of. Thus heralded, the Lord's ministry opened with every advantage; and vast crowds followed Him, as they had John, "trusting that it was HE who was to redeem Israel saving them from their enemies, and from the hand of all that hated them.
Israel was looking for the Messiah to come and deliver them from ROME! They looked for Him to come with the glamour and pomp and power of an earthly Potentate, with the flashing of swords and the snapping heels of His army, to deliver them from their enemies and from the hands of all who oppressed them. They wanted a glorious, wealthy kingdom with prestige and honor for themselves. The prophets had plainly declared that a Deliverer would come out of Zion. There could be no mistake about that, but their unregenerate hearts did not understand that the first work of the great Redeemer would be to deliver them from the curse of their sins and to transform their wicked hearts by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which deliverance could only be accomplished by the shedding of His precious blood and the renewing of the Holy Ghost within them. What value would it have been had the Saviour come only to deliver them from the power and authority of Rome if there was to be no change in their hearts? God's Word is full of accounts of His mighty acts of deliverance on their behalf, but no sooner were they delivered from their enemies than they utterly corrupted themselves and forsook the Lord.
The corruption of the human heart is incredible beyond words to express and it would have been completely useless had the Lord sent His Son to be the deliverer of His people from enemies without while leaving the enemies within unchallenged and undestroyed. The men of Israel could have believed in Jesus as their Saviour from the Romans. As their Saviour from their carnal hearts and fleshly natures they could not believe in Him, for they loved their sins. The King of heaven came to offer them a share in His Kingdom; but they were not poor in spirit, and the Kingdom of Heaven was not for them. Gladly would they have inherited the earth; but they were not meek, and the earth was for the humble children of the perfect Father. The whole problem with Israel as a nation in the days of Christ was that they were unconverted. There was no birth from above. There was no new heart and no new spirit placed within by which men are transformed into new creatures and conformed into the image of God. They wanted the Christ to come and rule from without over their outward enemies, but they had no desire for Him to march triumphantly into their inner life to deliver them from the kings of corruption and idolatry that ruled upon the throne of their hearts. They wanted deliverance from ROME, but were uninterested in the cleansing of their OWN DOMAIN.
The same crowd is all about us today. They want deliverance from the government, from persecution, from communism, from the antichrist, from the tribulation, from problems and troubles, from taxation, from crime and violence, from vast political conspiracies they imagine are steadily pushing the world into a nightmare of godlessness and tyranny. But I do not hesitate to tell you that none of these are the problem. The most powerful kings that rule in the world today are those that rule between your ears and between your rib-cage and it is only as the Kingdom of God takes its rightful place in our inner lives, that these kings are subdued and brought to naught. In the soul-realm we have the dominant king of self-will, which has usurped control and ridden roughshod over the ways of God. There are religious kings of static creeds and dogmas, traditions and commandments of men. There are kings of passion bringing the dominion of the flesh. Emotions which usurp unholy sway over people. There are kings of ruling thoughts and imaginations which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. But, praise God! there is a King who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the prophetic symbol of righteous conquest and dominion. I have heard the patter of the paws of the Lion of the tribe of Judah stalking through the corridors of my soul as He has marched into my land conquering and to conquer, bringing all into submission to Him.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on an ass it pointed forth to a time when the presence of the King and His Lordship would be conveyed into our midst by the Spirit. There is something that is radically missing from most Christian's lives, and from most Churches, and that is a true sense of His Lordship. We sing, "He is Lord," but we have no conception of the full weight and significance of that word He is Lord. If you want to know what He does in the city, what He comes there for, then meditate deeply upon the joyful and impressive shout of the multitude on that long ago day. "Hosanna: blessed is the KING OF ISRAEL that cometh in the name of the Lord!" There is no way to hear the message of the King and the principles that put that message into operation in the home, in the church, on the job, at school there is no way to hear that message and remain the same. There is no way you can come into contact with the King and not change! It is my deep conviction that His presence and His power and His ministry and His authority is being set in the midst of His elect, under His dealing hand, within that blessed company that has received the call to sonship.
Most people are Christians because they want to go to heaven and escape hell. If all the preachers one day called a press conference and announced to the church world, "We have discovered that there is no heaven or hell," how many would stay in the church after that? How many would any longer abstain from worldliness and fleshly lusts? Most of the people would ask, "Why are we coming then?" They were coming for heaven, not because JESUS IS LORD AND EVERYBODY MUST SUBMIT TO HIM. And why is He Lord? Because all His ways are righteous (right) altogether. In the hour in which we live the vast majority of Christians are more miserable than most other people in the world. They are only enduring this life in order to eventually get to heaven where they imagine they will spend the next billion trillion years or so singing, strumming harps, and dancing. I am quite sure that if such people would admit the truth, they would admit that even a thousand years of singing, shouting, playing harp music while dancing about in white robes would become very boring, to say the least. The fact is most of these people can't endure five hours in a meeting even if the glory is falling all around! Most of them start examining their watches about noon on Sunday morning and their minds have already escaped to the upcoming dinner or the Sunday afternoon ball game on T.V! The problem is that their theology leaves them with nothing constructive to do and all eternity to do it in! They know nothing about the KINGDOM OF GOD. A kingdom denotes rulership and advancement of all kinds. It means WORK and RESPONSIBILITY and a place of ministry and authority to bless.
Christ is the great King of kings and Lord of lords. The Lord our God is the King, and His Kingdom rules over ALL. And praise His name, He is even now bringing forth in the earth a KINGDOM PEOPLE the firstfruits of His redemption who are discovering His Lordship over all of their lives. When all hell assails us, when the power of death all around crowds in upon us, when the pressures of this world would frustrate and vex and suffocate us, when our own passions and emotions and self-will would drown us in a sea of carnality and ungodliness, then HE STANDS UP WITHIN AS KING in Kingly authority. When the world, and our own flesh, would tear us apart and smash our lives and our hope of sonship upon the rocks, HE IS THERE, the still small Voice, the deep inner Consciousness that all is well; that He, the Lord of glory is with us still, and all is secure in His loving hands, for He ordained our path and made provision for the hour. He is Himself the provision, the indwelling Christ, the anointing, the authority inherent in the spirit moving in our lives. Thank God, in every situation and circumstance of life HE IS PRESENT TO SUBDUE ALL THINGS unto Himself, thus reigning as King over our domain. As surely as we are God's Israel, so certain is it that He is enthroned within our hearts upon the throne of His father David, and upon His Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice from henceforth even forever. Blessed be the KING! It is HE that is revealed in the Sign of LEO, THE LION!
On August 10, 1945, the surrender of Japan brought World War II to an end. After an atomic bomb was dropped on each of the Japanese industrial cities of Hiroshima and Nagasake, Japan had had enough. The nation sued for peace through the Swiss government, stating that the terms of the Potsdam ultimatum would be acceptable if Japan's political structure could be preserved. On August 11, the United States transmitted a reply stating: "From the moment of surrender the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, who shall take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate the surrender terms." On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito of Japan made a dramatic broadcast, announcing the surrender to his people. It was unconditional surrender subject to the victor's dictates. Unconditional surrender a complete capitulation signaling the end of hostilities, a total release of all rights, claims and privileges. It was this type of surrender that concluded the greatest war in human history. And, precious friend of mine, it is exactly this type of surrender that God demands of each and every subject of His Kingdom! Do you realize what God requires of us? Complete capitulation the end of all our hostilities toward God's authority and way of life total release of all rights and claims to our former, self-serving ways and carnal ambitions absolute acceptance of all God's terms. However, instead of captivity and an uncertain future, which result from surrender in human wars, our surrender to God produces life and blessing and glory forevermore! And not only that but a place of authority and power with Him in His Kingdom over all!
The story is told of a king who was famous for His abhorrence of waste so it was quite surprising when he came into the room where his aides were assembled carrying a breathtakingly beautiful pearl in his hand. Showing it to the first of his aides, he asked, "What do you think this pearl is worth?" "Oh, many trunks full of gold, your majesty," he replied. The king said, "Smash it." "It would be an insult to the king to destroy such a beautiful pearl," replied the aide. The king turned to a second man and showed him the pearl. "How much do you think this pearl is worth?" he asked. "One cannot put a price tag on such a beautiful pearl as this," replied the second man. "Smash it," said the king. "Such senseless destruction is unthinkable," replied the aide. The king turned to a third man. He was a humble laborer who, in return for a kindness he had shown the king, had been invited to live in the palace. "What do you think this pearl is worth?" he asked the man. "More than all the gold I have ever seen in my entire life," he replied. "Smash it," said the king. Without a moment's hesitation, this man took the pearl to where there were two large rocks and in an instant, reduced the pearl to a thimbleful of useless dust. "The man is mad," cried the others in the room. Holding up his hand to quiet the murmurs, the laborer said: "Which is of greater value; a beautiful pearl or obedience to the king's command?" The king responded by elevating the aide to be his right-hand minister with authority over all his treasuries, possessions and estates subservient to no one but the king himself. This, my beloved, is the obedience of sonship! Such obedience is the stepping-stone to the throne!
Jesus Christ our Lord is the great King of kings and Lord of lords. There are some whom I have heard from time to time speak of Christ as Prophet, Priest, and soon- coming King as if to deny by this that the Christ has any Kingdom at all at the present time. Such ignorant statements always leave me cold. What could be farther from the teachings of God's Word, which teaches that Christ already rules and reigns over His Kingdom and that we are already citizens of that Kingdom? We are told in Colossians that He "hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son." Already it has taken place, already we are in that Kingdom, already Christ has a Kingdom and is its King. The word "kingdom" comes from the two terms "king" and "dominion" king's dominion. It exists wherever the dominion of the Christ rules and holds sway over the hearts of men. Christ is the great King right now, ruling all things for the well-being of His subjects and bringing absolute perfection and completion to His plans which He ordained before the foundation of the world. He is the King of the ages and invincible. He shall yet arise in power and glory and majesty in His completed and perfected body the manifested sons of God and reveal Himself as the great conquering King, bringing deliverance to the whole creation, reconciling all unto Himself, and then shall all know the glory of His Kingdom as every tongue confesses and every knee bows and all in that day declare that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD Yahweh of hosts, the Lord of glory, the King of the universe!
When the Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God should come, He answered them, "The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation..." That is, the Kingdom of God does not come with outward show, with external pomp, being outwardly observed by all, "neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you" (Lk. 17:20-21), or as the Diaglott gives it, "God's Royal Majesty is among you." The wonderful and rich truth the Lord presented here is that "the Kingdom of God is within you." He was telling us that the King is among His people, or more personally and intimately, Jesus was revealing, "THE KING IS WITHIN YOU, and if anyone says to you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not" (Mat. 24:33). He then states that false prophets and false Christs should arise, and we have seen this come to pass in our day as others have seen it in their day. False prophets and false anointed ones will attempt to tell us that Christ may be here or there, or that He is coming in 1988 or 1998; but we know they are deluded, for Christ, the King, IS WITHIN US.
KINGS AND PRIESTS
Do not for one moment suppose that because we sometimes speak of the Kingdom age that we mean by that that there is no Kingdom of God on earth until some future day. The Kingdom is a glorious, present, and eternal reality and has been since Jesus brought it into the earth by the authority of His Spirit. It is a wonderful fact that during this present age God is forming His body of King-Priests to reign with Him in His Kingdom. There are two errors among the Lord's people respecting the Kingdom. One error says that the Kingdom is still future it is coming, but not here today. The second error says that since the Kingdom is here, a present reality, all things will continue the same generation after generation, age after age, the Kingdom and the world will continue to co-exist, with those who are quickened and enlightened walking in the Kingdom, and the world continuing to abide in darkness and bondage to sin and death. The truth is that since the Kingdom has come and is here it must ever progress and expand until it consumes (takes into itself) ALL OTHER KINGDOMS. Some contend that there will never be the ultimate triumph of Christ's Kingdom over all but that is not the revelation of God's Word. HIS KINGDOM WILL CONSUME ALL OTHER KINGDOMS, HE MUST PUT DOWN ALL RULE AND ALL AUTHORITY, HE MUST PUT ALL ENEMIES UNDER HIS FEET, HE MUST GATHER ALL THINGS TOGETHER IN ONE INTO CHRIST, AND GOD MUST BECOME ALL IN ALL. That, my friend, is the testimony of scripture! God has a plan of "ages" in which to accomplish His grand purpose. There is this age, the age to come, and the ages to come all set forth in the scriptures. This age is for the development of the church which is His body. In the glorious age that lies before us the Kingdom shall be extended and expanded beyond the church over all nations until the scripture is fulfilled, "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain (kingdom) of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains (kingdoms), and it shall be exalted above the hills (smaller kingdoms); and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. For all the peoples do now walk in the name of their god, but shall walk in the name of Yahwey our Elohim for ever and ever" (Zech. 4:15).
In that day there shall be no more godless, atheistic nations; no more pagan nations whose people bow before false gods; no more radical, Christ-hating Islamic nations; no more affluent, pleasure-mad, crime-ridden, self-seeking nations who have forgotten God; for the word is sure: "Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him" (Ps. 72:11). Again, "Let the people praise Thee, O God; let ALL the people praise Thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for Thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Let the people praise Thee, O God; let ALL the people praise Thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him" (Ps. 67:3-7). "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's: and He is the governor among the nations" (Ps. 22:27-28). "And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father" (Rev. 2:26-27).
It is a great mystery, but it is a grand fact of truth nevertheless that Christ first reigns IN us that He may consequently reign THROUGH us. "Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, INHERIT THE KINGDOM prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Mat. 25:34). "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD" (I Cor. 6:9-10). "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD..." (I Cor. 15:50).
The word "kingdom" indicates the richness of the heritage of the saints. It is no petty estate, no happy corner in obscurity. I heard a good man say he should be content with a cabin in the corner of gloryland or a spot just inside the gate. I shall not be! The Lord says we shall inherit a KINGDOM. We could not be satisfied to inherit less, because less than that would not suit our character. "He hath made us kings and priests unto God" (Rev. 5:10) and we must reign for ever and ever, or be as wretched as deposed monarchs. A king without a kingdom is an unhappy and unfulfilled man. If I were a poor servant, a servant's quarters would be a boon, for it would correspond with my condition and degree; but if I am made a son of God, and heir of God and joint-heir with Jesus; if I am made a priest and a king, I must have a kingdom, or I shall not have attained to a position equal to my nature. He who makes us kings gives unto us a Kingdom to fit the nature which He hath bestowed upon us.
Beloved, do strive after, more and more, that which the Spirit of God will give you, a KINGLY HEART; do not be among those who are satisfied with the miserable nature of ordinary humanity or the childish hopes of the babes in Christ who throng to the churches which are merely nurseries for the birthing, care and educating of babes and which then stifle and threaten to suffocate the life out of these little ones with their own static creeds, lifeless traditions, and infantile programs. They eagerly look for mansions and harps and golden streets and wings and white nightgowns in that glory world above, unable to comprehend that such glittering diadems
are only nursery toys to God's true kings; the true riches are ETERNAL SPIRITUAL REALITIES; the true treasury wealth looks down upon the stars. Do not sell yourself short, ye sons of the Most High! Get a kingly heart ask the King of kings to give it to you, and beg of Him a royal spirit. Act royally on earth towards your Lord, and for His sake towards all men. Go about the world not as mean men in spirit and action, nor yet in false humility as paupers and beggars, but as kings and priests of a race superior to the dirt-scrappers who are on their knees, crawling in the mud after fleeting earthly riches and transitory worldly fame. What incredible loss shall be suffered by those who imagine that financial prosperity in this life is the sign of great faith, blessing, and spirituality!
What Christendom in general cannot comprehend is that the Christ does not rule alone but through a many-membered body. Man in God's image, man in Christ at the right hand of God, is God's government in the Kingdom of God. I have met men who professed that they had no desire, no ambition whatever to rule and reign with Christ. It is enough, say they, to know that we are saved by grace and shall make heaven at last. In fact, I have been greatly criticized and abused by some for my hope of inheriting the Kingdom of God and sitting with Christ upon the throne of universal dominion. In the eyes of these accusers I am vain, conceited, self-righteous, presumptuous, heretical and power-mad, suffering delusions of grandeur because I cherish the beautiful hope of sonship and rulership in the Kingdom of God. But I do not hesitate to tell you that Christ Himself has graciously bidden us to overcome and share with Him in His authority over the nations and all things. He would both be King IN US and exercise His regal power THROUGH US. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne" (Rev. 3:21). Such reward to His faithful followers is merely the tangible expression of the approval of God, and we may no more deny Him the pleasure of expressing that approval than we may renounce it once it is conferred. HE WHO DESPISES A THRONE DESPISES HIM WHO CONFERS THE THRONE. It was one of our Lord's rebukes to the Pharisees "The glory that cometh only from God YE SEEK NOT" (Jn. 4:44).
As one has written, "God is exceedingly rich. He is like a successful business man who has an enormous amount of capital. God has a business in this universe, and His vast wealth is His capital. We do not realize how many billions, countless billions, He has. All of this capital is simply HIMSELF, and with it He intends to 'manufacture HIMSELF in mass production. God HIMSELF is the Businessman, the Capital, and the Product. His intention is to dispense Himself to many people in mass production. Therefore, God requires such a divine arrangement, a divine management, a divine dispensation in order to bring Himself into humanity." Praise His name! As His kings and priests upon His throne the elect sons of God are the governmental arrangement by which and through which God dispenses Himself into His creation. What an opportunity to change things! What an occasion to bless and heal and lift and transform the world! It would be a crime against humanity, my beloved brethren, to carelessly neglect and thus despise, as Esau despised his birthright, the position of responsibility and opportunity to bless and restore creation proffered to us by the illustrious King of kings and Lord of lords! It would be a mean and despicable crime against humanity to settle for a cabin in the corner of gloryland!
"Ask of Me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for THY POSSESSION," says the Messianic Psalm. Christ conquered, and He is conquering, and He is to conquer. I claim this earth for God, for He made it. I claim this earth for God, for the earth is the Lord's. The sea is his, and He made it. His hands formed the dry land. His power pushed up every mountain, and His fingers scooped out every valley. By His wisdom all things were established. I claim everything that comes out of the bowels of the earth for God, for "the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" and "all the gold and the silver is His." I claim every man in El Paso, and in Miami, and in New York and in Hong Kong, and in Beijing, and in Moscow, and in Baghdad and in the whole wide world for God, for "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" and "it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves." I am not willing to wickedly cede even one thing or one person to the devil, as do some, for the Christ came to reconcile all things and He is the Saviour of all men.
I proclaim to you, as the minister of God, that the body of Christ is here in this world for the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Our destiny is something more than being a little group of people waiting to die and go to heaven. The body of the Christ IS the Kingdom of God in this world and its King-Priests must reign until all things are under His feet. I can never be satisfied, the heart of God can never be satisfied, until I see the Kingdom of God in every heart, the Kingdom of God in the home (how the nations need this!), the Kingdom of God in the workshop, the Kingdom of God between employers and employees, the Kingdom of God governing the civic affairs of the city and county, the Kingdom of God in the government of the state, the Kingdom of God ruling in every nation and every land. I proclaim the Kingdom of God, and I tell you that God has sent salvation not primarily to save us from hell, but to save us from the kingdom of men, and of devils. The rule of men will never meet the needs of men. The rule of men will never please God. The rule of men will never deliver the world from hate and war and sin and death. And the great truth is that Christ came to be the Saviour of the world! The foolish statement that you so often quote: "That government of the people is to be by the people and for the people" is a fallacy that must be destroyed. The government of the people is NOT to be by the people that is just the problem the people are wicked at heart! The government of the people is to be BY GOD and FOR GOD. Not by the people and for the people, but government of the people by the great God who made them, and came and died for them, and they are to live for Him. The government of God is not an external government of laws and bureaucracies and armies and guns, but the internal rule of His Spirit as He sits enthroned upon the throne of men's hearts. Transformed into the image of Christ, indwelt by the mind of Christ, filled with the attributes of Christ, men need NO EXTERNAL FORCE to manipulate, control, direct, or govern them. "The Kingdom of God is within you" (Lk. 17:21).
Because all the earth is His God is raising up a Kingly Priesthood to reign in mighty spirit power and authority over the earth, not to be little human dictators, or an external kingdom of laws and systems headquartered in Jerusalem or Washington, but with an outflow of life and light and love, touching God with one hand, and humanity with the other, bringing the two together, that God may indwell men by His Spirit and live and rule in them in power and glory. The kingly nature in us is not to dominate over men's lives, but to deal with and break the power of selfhood and rebellion and sin and the devil that men may be reconciled to God. Kings have power and authority, priests reconcile in mercy and love. But once the reconciliation has taken place, and Christ is enthroned, we deliver men up to God, even the Father, that GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL. That is the principle of the Kingdom. We rule only to subdue men to God then GOD RULES IN THEM. He rules first THROUGH US, that He may rule finally IN THEM. The manifestation of the sons of God for which all creation is in travail is nothing more nor less than the full manifestation of God's fully developed and empowered body of KING-PRIESTS AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK. In this age the Holy Spirit is forming and equipping that body. In the next age that body shall be given power and authority over all nations and all things. In the ages yet to come the Kingdom shall be expanded from realm to realm, from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high, for of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.
God is not setting up His throne in us, just to make us kings. But He is establishing His throne in us "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God" He is making us kings in order that He shall now be able to appear and manifest Himself in the midst of the kings as THE KING OF ALL THE KINGS. The world will never know Him as the King of kings until there are kings among whom He can stand and reveal Himself as King of kings. The world will never know Him as Lord of lords, until there are lords among whom He can stand and reveal Himself as THE LORD OF ALL THE LORDS. Why is God bringing many sons to glory? That in the midst of all Jesus Christ might appear as the pre-eminent One, THE SON among the sons. As long as we remain children, He cannot appear as the Son in the midst of children. How are you going to have a Son that is preeminent among a group of babies? That is no preeminence at all, that gives Him no eminence whatsoever, it gives Him no honor. You cannot say, "He is the first-begotten, the first-born among many babies!" He must be first among equals. That is what "King of kings" and "Lord of lords" means. As God brings us into maturity, and brings many sons to glory, He appears as the pre-eminent One, as the first-born among MANY BRETHREN. Why does God want us to grow up into the fullness of sonship? So that the Son of God can be revealed in all His glory, wisdom, virtue, and power in and through the sons. Do not think you will be puffed up in pride or use the power for your self-interest when you become a king. That is what the childish ministries in the gift-realm do today. We need to know that we can never conquer with Christ until we have been conquered by Him. We will never reign with Christ until we are REIGNED OVER BY HIM! I want to tell you that that is a life-changing concept, yet, some who read these lines have never even begun to touch the hem of its garment. Our Captain, our King, has WON the victory! He has conquered sin! He has conquered death! He has conquered hell! And, praise God, He is conquering US! And now, we partake of His victory.
"Well," you say, "why does He not appear as King of kings?" Because most of us are beggars. "Oh, God, please bless us; Lord, do this, do that; give us this, give us that." And if He appeared as King of beggars, we would be ashamed before Him. In all our poverty, in all our need, in all our self-pity, in all our limitation, foolishness and carnality, should suddenly the Majesty of the heaven, the blessed and only Potentate appear, why right away we would fall with our faces in the dust in shame before Him. But if we are standing as kings in the presence of God, reigning in life, undefeated and victorious, overcomers and conquerors in all things, rejoicing in His throne in our hearts, then we welcome the King of kings in the midst of the kings.
"Who shall stand when He appeareth?" I tell you in truth that it is those who have been MADE ONE IN HIM in that in which He is appearing. Those are able to stand tall with Him when HE appears. God is teaching us the way of overcoming, the reality of His authority and Lordship. Why is He establishing that authority and that Lordship in the hearts of His people? Because He is the Lord and the Head of the body, the church. Of course you will never know His Lordship, except by the Holy Spirit: "No man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." The Lordship of Jesus Christ must be set up in our hearts, where His will becomes our delight. Why does He want us to come into lordship and authority? So He can appear in the midst as THE LORD OF THE LORDS! If we are not lords, He cannot come as Lord of lords. He is not Lord of slaves. He is Lord of lords. As long as we remain down on some spiritual plane below this calling, even though He is greater than we, He has to condescend and limit His manifestation in and through us to the level we are on. What condescension! To what a level He condescends every Sunday as He appears in the churches, to confirm His Word in the spiritual baby food fed the people, and to appear in the midst of candles and altars and choirs and robes and man-made orders and there He meets and touches and blesses men on that level. Don't say He is not there! for He is. He appears in the midst of WHAT WE ARE IN HIM. He comes as El Shaddai, the breasted One, bearing the milk of the Word in the midst of all the babes in Christ. And that is the only form He can appear to those on that level. They never behold the King in all of His beauty. But as the Church of the Firstborn rises into the heavenlies to occupy the place God has ordained for it, in the place of glory, then Christ can be revealed in greater glory, in greater majesty, and in greater might.
Do we love His appearing? Do we want God to make us a people for Himself, so that in whatever form He desires to appear, He can appear in the midst? The inspired apostle John has taught us that when HE APPEARS, WE MUST BE LIKE HIM. It says, "We shall be like Him," but it also means, "We must be like Him." Can we not see that if we are not like Him in the way He wishes to appear, He cannot appear in that form? We are the body, the vehicle, the expression and manifestation of the Christ. Because we are His body, whenever He manifests Himself, He will manifest Himself in the form of that body, in whatever form the body is. Among the saved He appears as Saviour. Have you not noticed that the only manifestation of the Christ through saved people is salvation? Go to any church on any corner where all the people have experienced of Christ is the gift of salvation, forgiveness of sins, and what will they be preaching and ministering? Why, salvation, of course! And how does the Christ appear there in the midst? As Saviour! And as nothing more. But go among people who have found Him as Healer, and in what form does He appear in the midst? Why, as the Healer! Among those baptized in the Spirit, He appears as the Anointed and the Anointer, the baptizer in the Holy Ghost, and His anointings are manifest in power and glory.
If He must appear as Saviour, He must appear among saviours. If He must appear as Deliverer, He must appear among deliverers. If He appears as the Chief Cornerstone, He must appear among living stones. If He appears as the Son of God, He must appear among many brethren conformed to His image. If He comes as Lord, He must be Lord among other lords. If He comes as King, He must be King among other kings. If He is going to be revealed as God, He must be revealed among the gods (Ps. 82:2,6). And if ever creation is to see and know Him as the great High Priest of the heavens, He must be revealed among the priests.
"Who shall stand when He appeareth?" When He appears as King, only the kings can stand with Him, everybody else has to fall before Him. When He appears as Lord, only the lords are able to stand with Him, the rest will bow before His appearing. When He appears as Judge, only the judges (I Cor. 6:2; Dan. 7:22) can stand with Him, all the rest will cringe before Him. And when He appears as High Priest, only the priests, those elect saints born of a priestly heart, possessed of a priestly nature, are able to stand with Him. HE is the Head of the body the body of the Priest, the Judge, the Lord and the King. Hallelujah to LEO, THE LION THE KING OF GLORY!
To be continued...
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