"By Christians everywhere working together to bring about world peace, tolerance and brotherly love, the Kingdom of God may at last be established in the hearts of men.” Have you ever heard people speak that way about the Kingdom of God? I certainly have!
Perhaps you have heard others say something like, “The Kingdom of God is the N._______ Church [you can fill in the blank yourself with the denomination]. The Church is the Pearl of Great Price. Do what ever you have to do, make whatever sacrifice necessary, but enter the N._______ Church for it is the Kingdom of heaven.”
Or perhaps: “The Kingdom of God is within you. When you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour the Kingdom of God comes into your heart.”
From still others you may have heard, “Accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour so when you die you can enter God’s Kingdom in heaven and dwell with Him forever in the heavenly mansions.”
I have heard clergymen and sincere believers say all of these things about the Kingdom of God from the pulpit, in print, over the airwaves, and in conversations. Yet, these views are all very different. They cannot all be right. Are any of them right? Why is there so much confusion about something as important as the Kingdom of God?
Why indeed? Because most Christians have rejected — or perhaps never really heard of — the Gospel that Jesus actually proclaimed, they had to replace it with something else. They had to invent another “gospel,” which is really a counterfeit gospel (Galatians 1:6-8; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
We have heard the Kingdom of God spoken of merely as “something within you,” reducing it to an ethereal, unreal nothing. Others have misrepresented the "Church" as the Kingdom of God. We have heard the “social gospel” about world peace, tolerance and the brotherhood of man. And we have heard about dying and going to a Kingdom in heaven (Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom in Heaven are very different things!). “Of” denotes ownership while “in” denotes location.
When we reject the message that Jesus proclaimed and replace it with a message about the messenger, we make void the Word of God and replace it with human ideas, which means another gospel and ultimately another Jesus. Having done so, we cannot understand what God is trying to communicate to us or what the mission of Jesus really is, and we become blind and deaf to His message. We have eyes, but we cannot see, and we have ears but we cannot hear. Why? Because we are looking at the Scriptures through the prism of our own preconceived ideas, our own theological programing, and we only see what we expect to see.
Some twenty-six centuries ago God revealed some amazing truths about the coming Kingdom of God on earth to one of His holy prophets. Jesus himself spoke about this prophet. God not only explained to the prophet what the coming Kingdom of God really is, but gave him a timeline as to when it would come. From the time of that prophet some 2,600 years ago, God revealed that there would be seven eras, with the seventh being the Kingdom of God on earth.
What is really amazing and exciting is that five of the seven eras outlined by the prophet have been fully completed, and the sixth era has nearly been completed, leaving us at the door of the seventh and final era — the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth.
The Scriptures are so clear on this, and history so corroborates this prophecy, that there will be no doubt in your mind after you are shown it in the Scriptures. Twenty-six hundred years of history going down to our day that reads like a history textbook.
This Sunday’s sermon is one that you will not want to miss! Bring your Bible and come ready to learn. God knows the end from the beginning and, “Surely the LORD God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
What you learn on Sunday will open your eyes, build your faith, and comfort you in the midst of a world seemingly spinning out of control. It will give you confidence in your faith: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
Don’t miss this message! Sunday Services are at 9:00 AM. Invite your family and friends to come and learn this amazing truth from the Holy Scriptures. It just may change their lives. Everyone is invited and visitors are always welcome. I hope to see you on October 25!
THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED RADIO BROADCAST — What did the early Christians Believe About the Kingdom of God?
Most Christians do not even know that there will be a Kingdom of God on earth. They have never heard of it although it is a constant theme throughout the Bible. When pressed about the concept of the Kingdom of God they “spiritualize” it away by saying that it is something within your heart, or they say it is the “Church.” Which “Church”? Well, the denomination they belong to of course! There is so much confusion out there. It is literally a Babylon of conflicting ideas.
Yet, the Kingdom of God is not a peripheral issue. It’s not a minor point of doctrine. It’s not merely adiaphora. The Kingdom of God is central to the message of the Bible. It is the Gospel, the Good News! If we get it wrong, we are going to misunderstand nearly everything else in Scripture.
A question that we all need to ask is, What was the hope of the early Christians? Dying and going to heaven, or the resurrection and the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth? These two beliefs could not be more different!
In this week’s broadcast of The Faith Once Delivered — What is the Kingdom of God?, Part 7 — we are going to tackle this question. We are going to look at what early Christian writer after early Christian writer had to say about the hope of Christians. We are going to be quoting from writers who lived in the century or so following the death of the apostle John, the longest living of the twelve.
Around the year 160 CE, Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho wrote, “I and every other completely orthodox Christian feel certain that there will be a resurrection of the flesh, followed by a thousand years in the rebuilt, embellished, and enlarged city of Jerusalem, as was announced by the prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah, and others.”
At the time of Justin Martyr (100-165 CE), an important early Christian writer who was of the generation that immediately followed the apostle John, he “and every other completely orthodox Christian” was a Millenarian, a Chiliast, believing in a literal Kingdom of God on earth with King Jesus ruling for a thousand years from Jerusalem. This was the universal belief of all orthodox Christians in the generations that followed the apostles. The early Christians were Premillennialists. Premillennialism was the eschatology of the faith once delivered in the first century (Jude 3). There is no doubt about that. None.
Yet the post-Constantine Roman State Church condemned historic Premillennialism as a Jewish heresy, and most Christians are Amillennialists (meaning no millennium) rather than Premillennialists today.
You can learn all about it in this week’s broadcast, as well as what can be done to recover and restore “the faith once delivered” in the first century (Jude 3).
The Faith Once Delivered Radio Broadcast can be heard Saturday at 9:30 AM and Sunday at 9:30 PM (Central Time) on KCRO Radio, 660 AM in Omaha, and 106.7 FM in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Not in eastern Nebraska or western Iowa? No problem! You can hearThe Faith Once Delivered radio broadcast live over the Internet. Just go to the KCRO website and click Listen Live:
Our series, What is the Kingdom of God? goes into great detail as to what the Kingdom of God is, and what it is not. The series consists of eight 30 minute episodes. Episode 7 will be broadcast this week on KCRO Radio.
If you have missed any of the earlier episodes, you can listen to them all as podcasts absolutely free. The series begins with episode 50, and runs through episode 57. If you want to really learn what the Bible says about the Kingdom of God, and what the early christians really believed about the Kingdom, then this is the series for you.
Don’t be misled by the un-Scriptural and anti-Scriptural counterfeit eschatology foisted on Christians over the centuries by the Roman State Church under Constantine and his successors. You need to know what the Kingdom of God really is!
All 57 of our radio broadcasts are archived for your use. You can listen to the series, What is the Kingdom of God?, or any of our broadcasts here:
ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD OF JESUS LOST?
The vast majority of “conservative,” “traditional” or “orthodox” Christians today agree that they are. For liberal “Christians” on the other hand, it isn’t even an issue because they do not see Jesus as the way, the truth and the life, but merely a way, a truth and a life.
Just this morning I saw an article on Facebook, posted by a nationally known Eastern Orthodox clergyman on his parish website titled,
What Happens to Those Who Have Never Heard of Jesus?
That clergyman’s answer to the question is found in the first two sentences of the article:
“What happens to those who have never heard of Jesus? Will God condemn people to hell for not believing in someone they have never heard of? First, people are not condemned to hell for not believing in Jesus whom they have never heard of. Rather they are already condemned because of their sin.”
You can read the entire article here:
If you are like me, you are asking yourself how anyone could believe that God is like that? We are all sinners, but those who have never heard of Jesus are just out of luck and are going to hell. It may be too bad that they were born in the wrong place or at the wrong time, but off they go to the inferno to be tormented for ever and ever.
But it gets even worse. Many self-professed Christians also think that those who believe in Jesus and faithfully seek to follow him, but do not belong to the right denomination (their particular denomination of course!) are lost.
Do you believe such things? I never have! Such views, and millions hold them, make God a moral monster and drives many from considering who Jesus is and the Gospel he proclaimed.
Hundreds of millions, possibly billions of people throughout history have never heard of Jesus, never seen a New Testament, and never heard the Gospel. That is a fact of history. In addition, Satan has deceived the whole world (Revelation 12:9), and blinded the people “lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
While people do not have to be deceived or blinded, the devil and his angels are very powerful and have tremendous influence. They have super human minds, much superior to ours. How culpable is a blind man for not getting anything out of a book? Are the deceived and blinded really incorrigible rebells against God, or are they victims of Satan’s deceit and wrath who need to be rescued and made whole?
Is God a neutral judge letting “the chips fall where they will,” no matter the human wreckage, pain and suffering; or does He truly desire that all may turn from sin, and inherit eternal life, while preserving us as free moral agents? Does He really love each of us as though there were only one of us? Or is such talk mere platitudes? Is God really the embodiment of love? Would God condemn people for what they could not have known? Is God’s sense of justice, compassion and mercy less than ours? If He truly is a loving Father, how far will He go to save us?
The Good News is that the Bible paints a very different picture than the article that I saw this morning does. The “wrong time, wrong place, guess you are just out of luck” theology that so many hold is utterly unScriptural and is an affront to God. God is not a moral monster, a neutral judge, or some heavenly Sargent Joe Friday that just wants the facts ma’am. He will go to great lengths, really any length, to save us, while respecting our free moral agency to reject both Him and His gift of eternal life.
The Holy Scriptures are clear that while the antichrist, the false prophet, the incorrigibly wicked, and the open enemies of Christ will be slain at his Coming, and Satan will be chained for a thousand years so he cannot tempt the nations any longer, the nations will live on into the Millennial Kingdom. The dead in Christ will be raised, those alive in him changed, and we will reign with him as kings and priests — meaning that we will be governing the nations under King Messiah as kings, and teaching the nations as priests.
But is the generation that is alive when Christ returns the “lucky generation,” leaving all those of past generations who have never heard of Jesus, seen a New Testament or heard the Gospel, or who were deceived and blinded by the evil one, simply out of luck? Not at all!
Revelation chapter 20 speaks of three resurrections. The first is of those in Christ when he comes. The second, at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, is of those who have never had a real opportunity to accept or reject the Gospel before. Hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, will be resurrected at this time. The books of the Bible will be opened to them as will the Book of Life, and they will be taught the Word of God and will finally have an opportunity to choose God, to choose life. The Prophet Isaiah seems to say that this period will last about 100 years.
All this has nothing to do with giving people a “second chance.” Instead, it is all about ensuring that everyone has an opportunity, “a first chance,” to hear God’s Word, encounter the risen Messiah, believe the Gospel, and be saved. No one ever will be lost because of circumstances. Except for the truly incorrigible, God does not see sin as something to be punished, but as wounds to be healed.
Every person who was ever conceived in their mothers womb will have an opportunity either in this life or in the Millennial Kingdom to hear the Word of God and accept it or reject it. Will everyone be saved? Sadly no. Free will remains — and free will is a great gift from God.
Many reject God through incorrigible sin or sinful indifference in this life, and the same will be true in the Millennial Kingdom. When Satan and his angels are released at the end of the thousand years to test the nations many people will be shown to be merely “cultural Christians” without real love for God or for neighbor. The Bible says that those who turn to follow Satan will be in “number as the sand of the sea” (Revelation 20:8).
Then, finally, comes the General Resurrection and the Last Judgement. The devil and his angels, unrepentant sinners, sin and death are no more. The Millennial Kingdom gives way to the eternal Kingdom of God as we see in Revelation chapters 21 and 22. Paradise Lost in Genesis chapters 1, 2 and 3, becomes Paradise Restored in Revelation chapters 21 and 22. The scarlet thread of redemption that runs through the Bible from Genesis 3:15 to the end of the Book of Revelation is all about redeeming what was lost — Eden, Paradise with its intimacy with God — and restoring it.
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son (Revelation 21:1-7).
Want to learn more about the three resurrections of Revelation chapter 20? Just go to our broadcast archives and listen to Episode 55 of The Faith Once Delivered, — What is the Kingdom of God?, Part 6.
FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK
New posts are made on the Holy Cross Parish Facebook page regularly. We hope that you will visit our Facebook page and check back with it often. Better yet, visit our Facebook page and become a Follower. That way you will not miss a single post!
You can access the Holy Cross Parish Facebook page here:
OUR MISSION AT HOLY CROSS
At Holy Cross parish we are committed to proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, teaching the faith which was once delivered in the first century (Jude 3), and preparing a people for the coming of the Lord.
If a “traditional” belief does not go back to the first century it cannot be apostolic and is instead a tradition of men. The faith was not once delivered in the 16th, the 11th, or even the 4th century, but in the 1st century. We have much to learn, and some things to unlearn. Come and join us. Everyone is welcome.
Maranatha — O Lord Come!
EVERYONE IS INVITED AND VISITORS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME!
Holy Cross is a teaching congregation. We take Bible study seriously and are a congregation of intentional disciples. Where else can you find such constant, and in-depth teaching from the pulpit, over the airwaves, on social media, in print, and by email? Believe me, it is rare. Holy Cross is very special!
If you want to be fed with spiritual food rather than milk, and want to grow in grace, in your understanding of the Holy Scriptures, in your faith in God, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah — then Holy Cross is the congregation you have been looking for.
I hope that you will accept my personal invitation to join us this Sunday morning at 9:00 AM for Morning Prayer and a Sermon. Morning Prayer or Shacharit is our morning Service. It has its roots in the synagogue Services of Jesus’ time. It is an ancient and beautiful Service of Psalms, Canticles, two Scripture readings, a sermon, and prayer. Bring your Bible with you and be ready to learn!
We are a faithful and friendly congregation, and we have a place for you!