THE WELCOME CEREMONY. If the testimony of many hymns and choruses is to be believed, then Jesus is due to receive a warm welcome on His return. In American terminology, He will be given a “ticker-tape parade”. In Britain He will be received as on a day of Royal Coronation, with flag-waving, and cheering, as He descends from the clouds with thousands of angels in His train.
But will “The Crowning Day” really be like that? Does the Lord intend to come in such manner, to receive the admiration of His people? A moment’s reflection should be sufficient to dismiss such ideas as totally out of keeping with the Divine Character. The image is born of human typology, how we as humans behave towards Royalty and VIPs. Well, not everybody, but most of us.
A NECESSARY CORRECTIVE. In this brief paper we shall take a look at a few very important facts, in order to present an alternative picture of what the beginning of the Kingdom of God will be like. It may take some by surprise.
SPIRIT, AND SOUL. When Adam was first created, God was enthroned in his spirit. He received all his leading and direction from God. He looked to God as his creator and his provider, his director and his inspirer. There was no thought of taking things into his own hands.
At the time of the fall, Adam in effect took the throne from his spirit and placed it in his soul.
But God would not sit on this throne. He would only take His seat in man’s SPIRIT, not in his SOUL. Hence He departed from Adam. The Divine Life left him, and he became a creature subject to death. Whilst God lived within him, he would livefor ever, because God is immortal. But without the presence of God in his spirit, he became subject to death, even if that death was still a long way off.
The soul is the seat of self-consciousness, where SELF sits on the throne. That is why God will not share the throne. The spirit is the seat of God-consciousness, and only here will He sit. After King David’s lapse from right living, he cried out to God, saying, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a RIGHT SPIRIT within me.” (Ps.51:10) He never asked for his soul to be cleaned, mended, or renewed, because he knew that his sins had flowed from SELF-ENTHRONEMENT in his soul.
THE KINGDOM WITHIN. Jesus said to the crowds on one occasion, “The Kingdom of God comes not by observation, nor will they say “It’s here!” or “It’s there!”, because the Kingdom of God is INSIDE YOU.” (Luke 17:20-21) Here is the crux of the matter. There will be no street ceremonies, no flag waving, no heralds running here and there, saying, “It’s here! Come and see!” Why? Because the Kingdom is INSIDE man, not for external observation. What does this mean? What will the Kingdom be like if this is true? How shall we know that it has come?
WHO RULES? God is looking for a re-instatement of His position in man’s spirit. He says to us in effect, “You cannot live without Me. If you try to run your own life, and satisfy your own desires, it will all end in death. The only way in which you can enjoy life with Me is to give me back the reins of government. My government is not oppressive, but gently and firmly persuasive, because I made you, and I alone know what is best for you. But I have given you the power of choice, and I want you to choose that which is right.”
All of us are born with Adam’s legacy to self-rule. The throne has remained in the human soul ever since the fall, and God does not live there. But to each and every person who is enlightened to this fact, and who desires with a whole heart to be under God’s government, can enter a NEW RELATIONSHIP with God. A right spirit is granted, and God begins to dwell there once again.
However, this is not the end of the process, and it is important to see why. The majority in the evangelical world speak about two parties, the Christians and the Non-Christians. But this is in essence an artificial distinction. To accept Christ into one’s life is just a beginning, and there is a distinct possibility of God being subsequently dethroned. We have seen young people “accept Christ” and be baptised, only to re-instate their own kingdom firmly in their souls within a short time. God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. He who sows to the flesh, will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Gal.6:7-8)
Paul said to the Galatians (3:3), “Are you so foolish? having begun in the spirit, are you now made perfect in the flesh?” A GRADUAL REPLACEMENT God is looking for an initial commitment to Him, a “conversion” experience, but He wants far more than that. He wants there to be a steadily growing Kingdom of God within. At our conversion we see the need for salvation and a state of “new management”. But our hearts are very deceptive. We have no idea just how much we still hold the reins. The Lord gradually engineers our circumstances to show us who is in control. Therefore there should be a gradual replacement, whereby self-will is exchanged for God-reliance. Jesus said that of Himself He was able to do nothing. His total reliance was on His Father and the Divine Direction He received. But don’t misunderstand. Jesus CHOSE to go that way. He allowed His Father complete control of His life, not as a puppet, but as One who was utterly convinced of the Right Way.
THE RULE OF ANTICHRIST. Antichrist is said to rule in the Temple of God, saying that he is God. What does this mean? It means that there are Christians who are all for God’s ways, but struggle to retain their own rulership of their lives. Satan sits enthroned in man’s flesh, in other words the soul of man that is not subject to God, but subject to human desire. All those who thus retain self-dominion are collectively the antichrist. Satan’s kingdom is equally “inside” man as God’s kingdom. These facts need careful pondering by us all.
THE MANIFESTATION OF GOD’S SONS. God’s sons are those who have, through many trials and testings, allowed God to take His rightful place in their spirits. They began with but a small reliance on God, but grew to allow Him something approaching total control. These are the ones whom God will ask to rule the coming world with Him, and under Him, in the Millennium.