Friday Morning Manna
January 10, 2020
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” So, what is it?
That’s in John 8: 36. It is a solemn thing to die but a much more solemn thing to be alive in these times in which we live in for the people identified in prophecy as “they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” and “have the Spirit of prophecy, which is the testimony of Jesus.”Rev. 14: 12; 19: 10.
“Everything in the world is in agitation. The signs of the times are ominous. Coming events cast their shadows before. The Spirit of God is withdrawing from the earth, and calamity follows calamity by sea and by land. There are tempests, earthquakes, fires, floods, murders of every grade. Who can read the future? Where is security? There is assurance in nothing that is human or earthly. Rapidly are men ranging themselves under the banner they have chosen. Restlessly are they waiting and watching the movements of their leaders
. There are those who are waiting and watching and working for our Lord’s appearing [are you among them?]. Another class is falling into line under the generalship of the first great apostate . . . The crisis is stealing gradually upon us.”- DA 636.
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches” (Rev.2: 7, 11, 17, 29; 3: 6, 13, 22). Now, let the prophets who wrote more for our time than theirs, tell us what we are witnessing now, what they mean, and what they portend:
1. God has a controversy with the nations: “A noise will come to the ends of the earth—for the Lord has controversy with the nations; He will plead His case before all flesh, He will give those who are wicked to the sword, says the Lord of hosts. “Behold, disaster shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the farthest parts of the earth.” Jer. 25: 31, 32, NKJV.
2. The Lord has a complaint (controversy) with His people (ancient and spiritual and modern Israel): “Hear, O you mountains, the Lord’s complaint, and you strong foundations of the earth; for the Lord has a complaint against His people. And He will contend with Israel.” Micah 6: 2.
3. The Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land: “Hear the word of the Lord . . . for the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land. There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing stealing and committing adultery, they all break restraint, with bloodshed after bloodshed (“and blood toucheth blood,’ KJV).” Hosea 4: 1, 2.
I never expected to see the day when the “beast with lamblike horns” would be actually gradually transforming before our very eyes into what prophecy revealed it would be at the end of its evolution: “one speaking like a dragon.” See Revelation chapter 13!
Do you know why it is even more critical now, in the face of the rapidly deteriorating condition of the nation, the world and mankind in general—with everyone now instantly updated on the rapidly-unfolding developments locally, nationally and globally, courtesy of the information explosion of the digital age affording us with online news and social media, etc.—to better understand the nature that Christ partook of in the incarnation? That is, in relation to knowing what the kingdom of God is, in contrast to the kingdoms and governments of the nations of the world?
It is not only for our own sake and salvation–that is selfish–but for the sake of the larger good of uplifting society and mankind, even for temporal reasons and temporarily, in preparation for the accelerating approach of the final events in the closing hours of earth’s probation prophesied in Revelation, which, inspiration warns, will be “rapid ones” heralding Christ second advent.
This is because there really is no other solution—no matter how hard the greatest minds of mortals with the noblest intentions, purest motives and greatest education of the earth have tried, are still desperately trying and will continue to do—to achieve the impossible utopian dream of their own man-made version of “peace on earth, goodwill towards men.” It is but a gigantic mirage. Until they give up all “the wisdom of man which is foolishness to God” and humbly seek God’s wisdom and His divine solution, embodied in the gospel—His own spiritual kingdom on fallen earth defined as the kingdom of grace and righteousness, not yet the kingdom of glory–which is totally unlike the kingdoms and governments of the earth, they will labor in vain till all the seas run dry and all return to the dust from which we all come from.
Lest we forget. “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, See this is new? In has already been in ancient times before us.” Eccl. 1: 9, 10, NKJV.
The Bible reveals the true philosophy of history and prophecy. – “In the annals of human history, the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, appear as dependent upon the will and prowess of man. The shaping of events seems, to a great degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice. But in the Word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, behind, above, and through all the play and counter-play of human interests and power and passions, the agencies of the all-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will. The Bible reveals the true philosophy of history.” – E. G. White, Education, p. 173.
The following excerpts from the inspired pen of the same author, based on the Bible, clearly explains what America’s religious and political leaders and their respective followers and supporters need to understand today, especially those who assiduously assert to be Christians and want to legislate morality, as well as those who are taking the prophecies and interpreting them literally, not prophetically, thus misapplying and distorting the truth which results in confusion. Now this from The Desire of Ages, pp. 509, 510. See Luke 17: 20-22. (emphasis mine):
“The kingdom of God comes not with outward show. The gospel of the grace of God, with its spirit of self-abnegation
[opposite of self-promotion]
, can never be in harmony with the spirit of the world. The two principles are antagonistic. ‘The natural man receiveth not the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.’ 1 Cor. 2: 14.
“But today in the religious world there are multitudes who, as they believe, are working for the establishment of the kingdom of Christ as an earthly and temporal dominion. They desire to make our Lord the ruler of the kingdoms of this world, the ruler in its courts and camps, its halls, its palaces and market places. They expect Him to rule through legal enactments, enforced by human authority. Since Christ is not now here in person, they themselves will undertake to act in His stead, to execute the laws of His kingdom.
“The establishment of such a kingdom is what the Jews desired in the days of Christ. They would have received Jesus, had He been willing to establish a temporal dominion, to enforce what they regarded as the laws of God [“anti-abortion,” “anti-gay,” etc.], and to make them expositors of His will and the agents of His authority. But He said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ John 18: 36. He would not accept the earthly throne.
Christ attempted no civil reforms, was not a political activist, much less a Marxist or socialist “revolutionary;” never was a “rebel with a cause.”
If Jesus Christ were physically here today in America, as He walked the streets in Palestine two thousand years ago, we wouldn’t hear Him publicly condemning all those considered the nation’s “greatest enemies” such as North Korea, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Araabia, Yemen (in that loose order); “ISIS” or “ISIL,” “Al Shabbab,” or any of the non-state organizations classified as “Terrorists” such as ISIS, Al Shabbab, etc. Nor would we ever hear Him advocating for “regime changes.”
Not that He does not care or is indifferent to the crying needs of suffering mankind. He condescended from His throne of glory, incarnated into our human flesh-and-blood nature, and died the ignominious death of the cross in order to ransom fallen man from eternal death! In fact, He cares infinitely more than all that the greatest humanitarian agencies and efforts combined globally among civic and religious organizations have done, are doing, or ever can do. It’s because the solution is not found in any of man’s greatest concepts of kingdoms and governments but the divine power indwelling and working within the hearts of man, both leaders and followers! Which is why He declared to the people in His time, “Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17: 21. Apostle Paul excitedly exclaimed when he finally got it: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1: 26, 27.
“The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand were crying abuses,–extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty . Yet the Savior attempted no civil reforms. He attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or the administration of those in power. He who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of man, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart. [The renewed heart and mind under the new covenant. Eze. 36: 25, 26; Heb. 8:10
The implantation of Christ’s nature in fallen humanity through the indwelling and infilling of the Holy Spirit
What nature?The flesh-blood human nature He incarnated into, was tempted in with all the temptations by which we all have and are tempted with yet without sinning because He did not yield, not even in imagination or thought. This is Christ’s nature that must be implanted in anyone and everyone who desires to enter the kingdom of grace and righteousness of God on earth, here and now, in preparation to entering and inheriting His kingdom of glory and inheriting the gift of everlasting life which He brings with Him as “His rewards according as our works shall be.”
“Not by the decisions of courts or councils or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit. ‘As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ John 1: 12, 13. Here is the only power that can work the uplifting of mankind. And the human agency for the accomplishment of this work is the teaching and practicing of the Word of God. [This is what “eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ” means. John 6].
“When the apostle Paul began his ministry in Corinth, that populous, wealthy, and wicked city, polluted by the nameless vices of heathenism, he said, ‘I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.’ 1 Cor. 2: 2. Writing afterward to some of those who had been corrupted by the foulest sins, he could say, ‘But ye were washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.’ ‘I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ.’ 1 Cor. 6:11; 1: 4.
“NOW, as in Christ’s day, the work of God’s kingdom lies not with those who are clamoring for recognition and support by earthly rulers and human laws, but with those who are declaring to the people in His name those spiritual truths that will work in the receivers the experience of Paul: ‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’ Gal. 2: 20. Then they will labor as did Paul for the benefit of man [not for themselves, any political party, any religion, any other agenda]. He said, ‘Now we are AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.’ 2 Cor. 5: 20.” (end quote)
(To be continued next week)