All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.

September 6, 2008

The

Kingdom

Part 1



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2008 by Merle E. Koepke

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Introduction



In Daniel it was prophesied that in the days of the Roman captivity God would set up His Kingdom here on earth. Daniel 2:44 says,, "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." This interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream was a prophetic word of the time when the Kingdom of God would come. There were four kingdoms spoken of, the Babylonian, the Persian, the Greek, and the Roman. By this we know that the kingdom of God would come during the Roman captivity.

Some have been looking for the kingdom of God to come when Jesus comes a second time (called the second coming of Jesus). These could find themselves in great err, similar to the Jews who were looking for the Messiah to come while Jesus was already here teaching in their Synagogues and going about healing the sick, casting out devils, raising the dead, and setting the captives free. Many of the Jews at that time, did not understand the prophetic message of Daniel 2:44. They were still looking for the Messiah to come, while He was already among them.

It is important that Christians recognize "the Kingdom of God" which came following Jesus' death and resurrection. Many have not discerned the time and the seasons which Jesus told them about. Many have misunderstood certain statements made by Jesus, such as in Luke 22:16, where Jesus said to His disciples, "For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Then again, in Luke 22:18 Jesus said, "For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come."

If those who are still looking for the Kingdom to come would have checked their Scriptures they would have noticed in Luke 24:42,43, the same day that Jesus arose again from the dead it says, "And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb...And he took it, and did eat before them." In Acts 10:41 it says, "Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead." This tells us that Jesus ate and drank with certain witnesses during the forty days following His death and resurrection. The same day that Jesus arose again from the dead, the Gospel of John tells us, "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you....And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost" (John 20:21,22). Therefore, the Holy Spirit came the same day that Jesus arose again from the dead. These disciples were born again when Jesus breathed upon them and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." Following that, forty days later these same disciples received the power to become witnesses unto Jesus when they were filled and baptized in the Holy Spirit on Pentecost day (Acts 2:4).

The kingdom of God is already here on earth. We must enter into the kingdom of God to do the works that God has called us to do, which are the same works that Jesus did before He died and arose again from the dead (John 14:12).

In Zechariah 4:6 it was prophesied, "...This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." The works that are done in the kingdom of God are done by the anointing of the Holy Spirit within those who are born again.

There were many prophecies throughout the Old Testament speaking of the time in which we are living today. These prophecies were speaking of "the kingdom of God" which would come here on earth.

Jesus taught a lot about the coming of the kingdom of God. In Matthew 4:17 it says, "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." In Matthew's Gospel it is called "the kingdom of heaven." In the Gospel of Mark, it tells us of the same time that Matthew spoke of. It says, "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,...And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:14,15).

The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God are the same kingdom. It is speaking of the God of heaven setting up His kingdom to reign here on earth the same as it reigns in heaven (Dan. 2:44) In Matthew 6:10 Jesus referred to this in what is commonly called "The LORD's Prayer."

The words "kingdom of God" could be more correctly translated into English by calling it "the reign of God." Young's Literal Translation of the Bible says in Matthew 6:10, "Thy reign come: Thy will come to pass, as in heaven also on the earth."

Notice also, it is not called "the kingdom of Jesus," but rather, "the kingdom of God," even though Jesus is the King of the Kingdom of God. Here on earth it is called "the kingdom of God." When Christians understand why it is called "the kingdom of God" rather then "the kingdom of Jesus," then they will know how to enter into the kingdom of God with the power and the anointing to do the works that Jesus did.

Jesus Christ is reigning in His kingdom here on earth today. His is reigning through the anointing of the Holy Spirit who is in control of all the anointings within the body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 it tells us of nine special anointings, which are "the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, the gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues." There are also the anointings of "the Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Evangelist, and Pastor" (these five are commonly called the fivefold ministry gifts) (Eph. 4:11). These are only a few of the many anointings of the Holy Spirit which are given to everyone "as the Holy Spirit wills." All of these anointings operate as the Holy Spirit wills.

Once Christians understand the work of the Holy Spirit, then they can operate in the body of Christ according to the will of God, rather than the will of man.

Let me give an example of the kingdom of God here on earth. A brother in the LORD, told of how he got started in the full-time ministry. At about the age of thirty, he and his wife made a decision, he had to answer the call of God on his life. He quit his job and partitioned off a small room in a building they had rented to hold church services.

That small room he used as his "prayer closet." Every day he spent at least eight hours praying in the Spirit. He said, if he could work eight hours a day for the world, he could spend eight hours a day working for the LORD, praying in the Spirit.

For months he was faithful to spend at least eight hours a day, praying in the Spirit. Everything you can imagine came against his mind. Every thing you can think of concerning what he should be doing to provide for his family came at him. The thoughts in his mind were constantly coming against him as he was continuing to pray eight hours a day.

At times, things did not look good in the natural. There was no food in the house, no money to pay the bills, etc. Yet, he kept his commitment to pray in the Spirit eight hours a day.

After some months of every day praying in the Spirit, God begin to show His faithfulness. People would stop by the house and give them groceries and things they needed to live on. As he continued his praying, months and months went by and it seemed as though it was of no avail. Nothing was happening, except he was just continuing to pray in the Spirit.

Then one day, a woman whom he knew came and invited him to attend a meeting of her denomination. Now, her denomination didn't believe in speaking in tongues, but it would be a chance for him to get out of the prayer closet for a short time. He decided he would go to the meetings.

While at the meeting, he sat in the back of the room. He had gotten to the meeting a little late, and did not notice the elderly woman sitting next to him came in using a crutch to walk with. During the meeting, he looked over toward the elderly woman sitting next to him, and it was as though he had x-ray vision. He saw, as it were her hip socket, it had a dark substance around the ball joint, extending three or four inches down the leg.

As he saw this, he started to pray, "O God, O God, what is this? Do You want me to pray for this woman? What in the world do You want me to do?" God did not respond. After a while he said to the woman, "Ma'am, you have trouble with your hip!" She turned and looked at him, and all of a sudden the word "arthritis" came out of his mouth. Then he said, "it's arthritis in your hip!" She said, "that's what the doctor tells me, young man!" Excited, he said, "God wants to heal you. Ma'am, may I pray for you?" Thinking "he must mean when he gets home," she said to him, "Yes, you may pray for me!" As soon as she said that he leaped out of his chair, laid hands upon her and prayed. The LORD healed her instantly, and she leaped up shouting and praising the LORD for what God had done. The whole assembly got up in wonder. They had never seen a miracle and healing like that in their church.

Following that meeting, people were healed, and baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. The LORD opened up this brother's ministry that day. He has been flowing in the gifts of the Spirit ever since; healing and miracles happen wherever he goes.

The kingdom of God has come to earth to destroy the works of the devil. Sickness and disease are not from God. They are works of the devil. In 1 John 3:8 it says, "...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." Jesus is the King of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is still working in the body of Christ, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit to destroy the works of the devil.

The Kingdom

Part 1



Genesis 1:1 says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (NKJV). This creation of the heavens and the earth are spoken of in Proverbs, 8:22-31, where it explains that God the Father first created the earth while His Son (Jesus Christ) was with Him beholding all that the Father was doing. Proverbs 8:30 says, "Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him." In John 17:5 Jesus spoke to the Father of the glory He had with the Father before this world was created.

The world that now is, was created by Jesus, the Son of God. John 1:3 says, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." Colossians 1:16 says, "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him."

In John 5:20, Jesus said, "For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel." In John 3:35, Jesus said, "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand." In John 5:22, Jesus said, "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son."

From Genesis through Revelation the Bible is written that we might know the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is written that we might have eternal life in Christ Jesus and be forever with God in eternity.

Christians need to know and understand the Scriptures. Jesus said in John 5:39, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." The word "scripture" comes from the word "script," which means "a hand written document." Another commonly used word that comes from the word "script" is "manuscript." The Scriptures are a manuscript, given to us by God that we might know "in detail" God's plan for this creation, and also God's plan for our lives individually. The Scriptures contain all that is necessary for Christians to know the complete plan of God for their lives.

To understand the kingdom of God, we must also understand what took place before the kingdom of God came. All throughout the Old Testament we see the prophecies concerning the coming of the kingdom of God.

First we see the coming of Jesus Christ into this world to redeem man from the works of the devil unto God. In Genesis 3:15 it says, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." This is a prophecy, telling us how that Jesus would come into this world, as a man, "born of a woman" to redeem mankind from sin and death.

In Genesis 49:10 Jacob prophesied, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." Jacob prophesied that the Law would come, and remain until Jesus came and fulfilled the Law for the children of Israel. He also prophesied that Jesus would not come from the tribe of Levi (in which Moses and Aaron were from), but from the tribe of Judah, where King David came from. Jesus would not come as a Priest after the order of Aaron, but after the priesthood which was already establish with Melchisedec at the time of Abraham (Gen. 4:18).

Therefore, Jesus came as the King of kings after the order established with King David (2 Sam. 12-16). He also came as the High Priest after the order of Melchisedec (Heb. 7:15-17).

A King rules with power and authority over all within His domain. A Priest presents gifts and sacrifices unto God for the sins and iniquities of His people.

In all of God's creation, how did we get to where we are today? If you will notice in Isaiah 40:3 it was prophesied, "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." In Malachi 4:5 it was prophesied, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD." This was speaking of John the Baptist who came to prepare the way for the LORD. John the Baptist was the forerunner of the coming of Jesus Christ, to restore all things unto God.

John the Baptist did the will of God that was planned for him from the foundation of the world. He did everything God had planned for him. He did it exactly according to the Scriptures.

When John the Baptist finished what he was called to do, he left this earth and went to heaven to be with God forever. We may not agree with how John the Baptist died, but that is not our position to pass judgement upon what Herod did. It is our purpose to do the will of God and let God be the judge.

Before Jesus began to do what He came to do, John the Baptist introduced Jesus to His disciples. In John 1:29 it says, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Jesus came to take away the sin of the world.

After John was put into prison, Jesus began to do what He was sent to do. There are multitudes of things that Jesus came to do. In Luke 4:18,19, Jesus read from the book of Isaiah, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,...To preach the acceptable year of the Lord." In doing so, Acts 10:38 says, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."

It would take the whole Bible to tell of everything Jesus came to do. But what is important to see at this time is what Jesus was doing, while He was doing what He came to do. That is, as John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Jesus to come. Jesus came to prepare the way for the Holy Spirit to come.

After John the Baptist's work was done, he left this earth and went to heaven to be with God the Father forever. His work was done and he was received up into heaven by God. John was gone, but Jesus was here on earth to do the will of God the Father.

While Jesus was here on earth, He did the will of God the Father, according to all that was spoken of Him in the Scriptures. While Jesus was here on earth He was preparing the way for the Holy Spirit to come. In Jesus' last days before He died and arose again from the dead He spoke of the Holy Spirit coming to do the will of God here on earth. In John16:7-11, Jesus said, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you....And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:...Of sin, because they believe not on me;...Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;...Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."

In the beginning of Jesus' ministry He spoke many times of the Holy Spirit, saying such things as "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15). Even on the day that Jesus was crucified, it says, "And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:...For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come" (Luke 22:17.18).

Jesus had been with His disciples for three and one-half years, yet the kingdom of God still had not come. The Kingdom of God could not come until Jesus was glorified through His death and resurrection.

If Christians have not seen this before, they need to see and understand this now, "the kingdom of God" is "the reign of God the Holy Spirit" here on earth as it is in heaven. The Holy Spirit could not come until Jesus paid the price and became the firstborn from the dead (Rom. 8:29, Col. 1:15.18).

Christians are children of God, born again in Christ Jesus. No one could become born again in Christ Jesus until Jesus Himself was born again from the dead (this is speaking of physical death, not spiritual death).

The Holy Spirit could not be given until Jesus was glorified. This is spoken of in John 7:38,39, where it says, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water....(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"

Before the Holy Spirit could be given, Jesus had to be glorified through His death and resurrection, and then go to be with the Father in heaven. Therefore, the Holy Spirit could not begin to do the work He came to do until Jesus had prepared the way for the kingdom of God to come.

Just as John the Baptist had to leave this earth and go to be with God the Father before Jesus could do what God the Father had sent Him to do, Jesus also had to leave this earth and go to be with God the Father, before the Holy Spirit could come to do the works of God, which He came to do. The "kingdom of God" could not come until Jesus completed what He came to do. Once Jesus' work was done, the Holy Spirit could come to do the works of God here on earth.

Just as John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus to come and do what God had planned for Him to do, Jesus prepared the way for the Holy Spirit to come and do what God had planned for Him to do. Today, the Holy Spirit is at work doing what He came to do.

Just as John the Baptist and Jesus were preparing the way for the next move of God, the Holy Spirit is also preparing the way for the second coming of the LORD (Isa. 11 & 12; Acts 1:9-11). In all that the Holy Spirit is doing, He is also preparing the way for Christians to enter into eternity in heaven. There are many Christians already in heaven. There are many more who will be in heaven when Jesus returns in His second coming. Therefore, today, while the Holy Spirit is doing what He came to do, He is also preparing the way for what is still yet to come.

This is very important for Christians to understand. There is a great lack of knowledge within the churches today of this very important work of the Holy Spirit here on earth.

We could go back a little in history and see this important revelation of the Scriptures. Adam came to prepare the way for natural man to begin the process of God's eternal plan for mankind.

Adam is the "first Adam" (man) to walk upon this earth. Adam's body was formed of the dust of the ground, and by the breath of the LORD God man became "a living soul." (Gen. 2:7). Mankind in the beginning was earthly (of this earth) (1 Cor. 15:45-48).

In contrast to this, Jesus is the Second Adam (man) to walk upon this earth. Jesus was not "created" to be the Second Adam. Jesus always was from the beginning with the Father in heaven. Jesus came down from heaven to become the Second Adam. The Second Adam is "spiritual" (in the Spirit). The comparison of the first Adam and the Second Adam is explained in detail in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49.

Mankind was first born of the flesh into this world. Then those who will enter into heaven with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are born again of the Word and the Spirit (1 Peter 1:23, John 3:6). Unless a person is born again, they cannot enter into heaven for all eternity. Therefore Jesus said in John 3:7, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."

Jesus came down from heaven and took upon Himself the form of man in the flesh, to redeem those who were born of the flesh. Through Jesus' death and resurrection He made it possible for man to become a new creature in Christ and inherit eternity in heaven (1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Cor. 5:17 ). Once Jesus (as a man) died in the flesh and arose again from the dead, it was then possible for the Holy Spirit to come and set up "the Kingdom of God" here on earth.

Setting up the Kingdom of God here on earth had one major purpose in God's plan for this earth. That is to prepare mankind to enter into eternity in heaven with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Only those who are born again can enter into the Kingdom of God. Jesus said in John 3:5, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Christians must be born again before they can enter into the Kingdom of God. This also means, they must be born again before they can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, where God dwells. Today, the Holy Spirit is doing what He came to do. God reigns in heaven, and the Holy Spirit is here today preparing Christians to enter into the reign of God in heaven.

Right now, we are living in the time of the kingdom of God, where the Holy Spirit is doing the works of God here on earth. The Holy Spirit came in Acts, Chapter Two, to empower Christians to do the works that Jesus did, and even greater works then Jesus did (John 14:12).

The complete Bible is a witness unto Jesus. It reveals Jesus from Genesis through Revelation. Now, Christians are also to be witnesses unto Jesus, revealing Jesus to the world, with signs and wonders by the anointing of the Holy Spirit within them. Jesus said in Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." This power to be witnesses unto Jesus comes with the baptism in the Holy Spirit (with the evidence of speaking in tongues) which Jesus said all who believe should receive. In Mark 16:17 Jesus said, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues." In John 7:38 Jesus said, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Here Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit bringing the Word of God out of our spirit which is in our belly.

In Luke 17:21, Jesus was telling others that the kingdom of God will operate from within us, from our spirit which is in our belly. Jesus said, "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

If you want to enter into the kingdom of God here on earth, Jesus said, "you must be born again" (John 3:7). To become born again it is simple. God makes everything simple that anyone can receive from God. All a person needs to do is to become born again is to receive Jesus Christ as their LORD and Savior. In John 1:12,13 it tells us about Jesus and His accepting anyone who would receive Him. It says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:...who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (NKJV).

Whosoever will receive Jesus as their LORD and Savior will be accepted into the family of God and become children of God, born again of the Spirit. When a person receives Jesus as LORD He receives them into the family of God, and the Holy Spirit causes a new birth within them. They become born again from above and heaven becomes their home.

It is that simple. Just ask the LORD to come into your life and become your LORD and Savior and He will. Jesus will receive all who come to Him and receive Him.

From your heart, pray: "LORD Jesus, forgive me of all my sins and cleanse me in Your precious blood. Receive me as I receive You as my LORD and Savior. I will live for you all the days of my life. Thank You Jesus for giving me eternal life. Amen."

Once you have received Jesus as your LORD and Savior, live the rest of your life here on earth, serving Him in everything you do.

It is important also that you receive the power of the Holy Spirit to be a witness unto Jesus in everything you do. This power is received when you are baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues (Acts 1:4,5,8; 2:4).

Simply, ask the Father to baptize you in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Then receive the Baptism and start speaking as the Holy Spirit gives you the utterance.

Just pray from your heart: "Father, I ask You to baptize me in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. I thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit in my life. Amen." Now, start speaking as the Holy Spirit gives you the utterance. Continue to pray in the Spirit daily, to build up your faith (Jude 1:20).

For more information get the book "THE KINGDOM," by Merle E. Koepke. All books are free by downloading them from our Web sites at: www.handsforjesus.cc and www.handsforjesus.org.