THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND

[Part 1 in our series on the "Gospel of the Kingdom"]

August 2, 2007
By: S.R. Shearer

"And this GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

- Matt. 24:14

INTRODUCTION

Several years ago I first broached the subject of the "Gospel of the Kingdom;" shortly thereafter I was viciously attacked by many people who said that in differentiating between the "Gospel of Salvation" and the "Gospel of the Kingdom" I was preaching a lie. Naturally enough, the attack was led by my two principle antagonists, Hymenaeus and Alexander; but many others VERY CLOSE to me joined in the attack, if not in so many words, then by their silent disapproval. Several weeks later I replied to my critics in a second article entitled "The Good News of the Coming Kingdom;" I wrote then:

I was utterly shocked recently by some who apparently had no idea what I meant when I spoke of the "Gospel of the Kingdom" … and who were mystified when I talked of it as something distinct and separate from the "Gospel of Salvation." Many people acted as if I had made this up out of thin air - even some who are closely and very positively associated with the ministry.

This is extremely unfortunate because there is nothing more important today than this specific Gospel, and that is so because of the presence on this earth at this time in history of an entity - the American New World Order System - that falsely claims to represent Christ on earth.

Such claims can only be a "turn-off" to the poor of the world who see the American New World Order System and the church that justifies it as frauds. The fact is, most of the poor in the world today see Christianity as a rich, white man's religion having NOTHING to do with them. Sadly, Islam is more a religion of the poor than is Christianity. What do the poor of the world want to do with a religion that justifies the very system - i.e., the American New World Order System - that oppresses and brutalizes them? [We urge you to read our article, "A Woman Riding A Beast Going Forth Conquering and to Conquer" for insight as to how this partnership between the rich of the world and Christianity works.]

GOD'S ANSWER TO THIS DECEPTION

The "Gospel of the Kingdom" is God's answer to this deception. It has been calculated to rip away the mask of piety that the religious FRAUDS who wickedly justify this system hide behind - for example, Christian leaders like D. James Kennedy, Charles Stanley and John Hagee - while at the same time revealing the evil, avaricious "money-grubbing" that's really at the heart of the American Empire, and that animates ALL those associated with it. [Please see "The Superman Theology of the International Christian Embassy's Feast of Tabernacles" for a discussion of the theology and eschatology that animates people like John Hagee.]

Once these frauds - and the system they excuse - are exposed for what they actually are, then the poor can see Christianity for what it really is: God's way of salvation for them, and see Christ for whom He really was (is) - a POOR carpenter who said of Himself:

"... Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." (Luke 9:58) -

A Man who rather than placating the rich (as the leaders of today's church so shamefully do), said of them,

"... Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a (sewing) needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matt. 19:23-24) [Please see our article, "The Rich Have Seized Control of the Church."]

THE FACT OF THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

The FACT of the "Gospel of the Kingdom" - it's reality in Scripture - is NOT something dreamed up by me; it is a reality that is taught at most fundamental Bible schools and seminaries throughout the country - for example Multnomah School of the Bible and Dallas Theological Seminary. Without meaning to offend those who have been perplexed by my rather unoriginal teaching on it, all I can say to them is what Jesus said to Nicodemus:

"... Art thou a master (or a teacher) of Israel, and knowest not these things?" (John 3:10)

These are, unfortunately, the kind of people about whom Paul said have not advanced beyond the rudiments of the faith:

"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again ... THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF THE ORACLES OF GOD; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." (Heb. 5:12)

GETTING BEYOND THE
RUDIMENTS OF THE FAITH

Brothers and sisters, if we are to get anywhere with God, we must get beyond the rudiments of the faith (what Paul calls here "the first principles of the oracles of God"), especially if we are to play any kind of meaningful role in the "end of days." We must go further; we must get to the "strong meat" of the Word - and that's certainly true of all those who want to associate themselves with Antipas. The "Gospel of the Kingdom" is that "strong meat" about which Paul talked - and knowledge of it does not come by means of osmosis or by inhaling it out of thin air, but by HARD and DILIGENT study. The Bible says:

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (interpreting) the word of truth." (2 Tim. 2:15)

So let us get down to this "strong meat," and to do that, let us use a reference guide that is universally accepted by "old-line evangelicals:" the Scofield Reference Bible. Concerning the differing gospels spoken of in the Bible, Scofield writes:

"The word 'gospel' means GOOD NEWS. As used in the New Testament, the word deals with different aspects of divine revelation."

THE GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM

In other words, there are various aspects of the "divine revelation" that the Bible vouchsafes to man. The "good news" of salvation, of course, is paramount; but there are other aspects of the "divine revelation" that go beyond the matter of salvation and are also a part of the "good news" of the Word of God.

One is the "good news" of the kingdom [i.e., the "GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM" (Matt. 24:14)] which foretells the coming kingdom of Christ that will entail social justice and equity between and among all men; and still another is what the Bible calls the "ETERNAL GOSPEL" (Rev. 14:6) which forecasts the destruction of "Babylon the Great," the kingdom of Satan which antichrist will set up in the "end of days" in opposition to the coming kingdom of Christ.

Finally, of course, there is what the Bible calls a "DIFFERENT GOSPEL" (2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6) which is NOT "good news" at all, but a perversion of the "good news" of the Bible. We are warned by Paul against it and all its "SEDUCTIVE" forms which are at war with God's "Plan and Purpose in the Ages."

THE GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION

Obviously, then, when the Bible speaks of "good news" it has more in mind than the "Gospel of Salvation." No doubt, the "Gospel of Salvation" is paramount, for without it, one cannot even think about what the Bible has in store for those who are called according to His purpose, especially as that purpose relates to the Kingdom of God. Concerning the "GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION," Scofield writes:

"Absolutely essential to man's salvation is the GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD [SALVATION] (Rom. 2:16). This is the good news that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world, that He was raised from the dead on account of our justification, and that by Him all who believe are justified from ALL things. It is described as the Gospel 'of God' (Rom 1:1) because it originates in His love; 'of Christ' (2 Cor. 10:14) because it flows from His sacrifice, and because He is the object of faith; 'of the grace of God' (Acts 20:24) because it saves those whom the law curses; 'of the glory of Christ' (2 Cor. 4:4; cp. I Tim. 1:11) because it concerns Him who is in the glory and who is bringing many sons to glory (Heb. 2:10); 'of your salvation' (Eph. 1:13) because it is 'the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes' (Rom. 1:16); and 'of peace' (Eph. 6:15) because through Christ it makes peace between the believing sinner and God, and makes inward peace possible."

A KINGDOM GROUNDED IN SOCIAL JUSTICE

But once more, this is merely the "milk of the Word" - or, as Paul puts it, the "first principles of the oracles of God." We must push on beyond this to God's Plan and Purpose in the "Latter Days" as expressed in (1) The "good news" of the coming kingdom of Christ and (2) the "good news" relating to the destruction of Babylon the Great, i.e., the American New World Order System. [Please see our article on Babylon the Great, "In Search of Babylon: What Do the Scriptures Say?"]

This is what Scofield believes as well; he writes:

"Another aspect of the good news is the 'GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM' (Matt. 4:23), i.e. the GOOD NEWS THAT GOD PURPOSES TO SET UP ON EARTH THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST ..."

Scofield continues:

"The good news of this kingdom was announced by the Old Testament prophets (Is. 9:6-7), by Christ in His first coming (Matt. 9:35) AND WILL BE PROCLAIMED DURING THE ... TRIBULATION." [Note carefully for future reference when Scofield says this Gospel will be proclaimed: during the TRIBULATION period.]

The kingdom being proclaimed here will be a kingdom grounded in social justice for ALL mankind, a world of equity where men are not divided up between the "owners of capital" on the one hand and "labor" on the other hand, and where men and women are not divided up on the basis of their race or even their gender (Gal. 3:28); where the rich do not oppress the poor; where every man has equal access to God; where privileges cannot be bought by the wealthy; where there are no death squads, no poverty, no torture, no hunger, no disease, and no room for oppressors of any kind. [Please see our article, "Capitalism and Christianity;" please also see "The Marxist Paradigm."]

Very obviously, such a kingdom would be TOTALLY at variance to the world we now live in and with the American New World Order System that now prevails on the earth - especially the kind of world we described in our recent article, "The Horror of John Dimitri Negroponte and Everything He Represents." [Please see that article plus our article, "Algeria: A Study of the Dreadful, Two-Tiered Economic System the U.S. Is Promoting Among Its Muslim Client-States."]

A world based on social justice where the rich do not oppress the poor? A world where there are no John Dimitri Negropontes, no Liamine Zerouals and no Augusto Pinochets? This, of course, is something much more than the "good news" of salvation, because while the "good news" of salvation promises redemption to the INDIVIDUAL, it does not promise to "make over" the world per se, and this is evidenced by the fact that from Pentecost until now there has been NO social justice and NO equity between and among men; tyranny and oppression have continued to flourish; and sickness, poverty and hunger have continued to wreak their horrible work on mankind.

This is NOT to take anything away from the "good news" of salvation; but very plainly social justice and social equity have yet to be established on the earth, which the coming Kingdom of Christ is calculated to accomplish.

THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS "AT HAND"

The "Gospel of the Kingdom" announces the "good news" that the Kingdom of Christ is close "at hand." This, of course, is not the first time that the Kingdom has been announced to be close "at hand." It was announced the first time 2,000 years ago when the angels proclaimed it to the shepherds "in the field" at the time of Christ's birth in Luke 2:10-11):

"And she (i.e., Mary) brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, WHICH SHALL BE TO ALL people.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:7-8, 10-11)

Shortly after - and in conjunction with what the angels declared to the shepherds - the Kingdom was announced to be "at hand" by John the Baptist, then by Christ Himself, and finally by the Twelve.

BUT THE KINGDOM WAS REJECTED BY THE JEWS in fulfillment of the Scripture that -

"... they (i.e., Israel) without us (i.e., the church) should not be made perfect." (Heb. 11:40) [Please see Chapter VI of the New Antipas Papers, "The Distinction Between Israel and the Church."]

THE KINGDOM IS AGAIN "AT HAND"

Now, after an interval of some 2,000 years, the Kingdom is once again "at hand!" The so-called "church age" is all but past, and the Jews - once dispersed over the whole earth because of the rejection of their king - have now been re-gathered again to their land. Everything is ready! - and God is raising up a people to proclaim that the Kingdom is again "AT HAND." [Please see Part 4 of chapter VIII of the New Antipas Papers, "The Two Witnesses."]

Concomitant with the proclamation of the "Gospel of the Kingdom" - and in conjunction with it - the "Eternal Gospel" will also be proclaimed. Specifically, Scofield says:

"The 'Eternal Gospel' (Rev. 14:6) is described as the announcement of divine judgment upon the wicked (specifically, Babylon the Great) ... It is good news for the suffering believers as it heralds their coming deliverance and reward (cp., v. 12). In view of this those who 'live on the earth' are exhorted to fear God and worship Him (v. 7)."

THE TRIBULATION SAINTS

Now note carefully here: while Scofield says that the "Gospel of the Kingdom" is again "at hand" - he does not believe that the church will be commissioned to announce it. Why? - because, according to Scofield, the church will be gone as a result of the rapture. Instead, he says that this commission will be given over to a special caste of pseudo-Christians he calls "Tribulation Saints." They are evidently not part of the church (because the church is gone), nor are they part of Israel. They're just there - suspended somewhere between "hither and thither." This, of course, is the NONSENSE dispensed by Tim LaHaye's series of books on the Tribulation and the rapture.

But there is no need to do such injury to the integrity of our understanding of the church by leaving some who call on His name suspended outside its blessed borders when one dismisses the pre-tribulation rapture of the church for the foolishness it is. Once one discards this teaching, the problem is solved; the lunacy dissolves that Scofield and others created when they allowed their imaginations to conceive a "special class" of Christians who are not part of the church. [We URGE you to read Chapter VII of the New Antipas Papers, "The Great Escape: Misconceptions Concerning the Rapture;" also Chapter VIII of the New Antipas Papers, "Tribulation and Judgment."]

As with the Gospel of Salvation, we - the members of today's church - are the ones to whom these commissions have been entrusted, IF SO BE WE CAREFULLY GUARD OURSELVES AGAINST THE SEDUCTION OF THE "GREAT DECEPTION" AND APOSTASY ("FALLING AWAY") OF THE "END OF DAYS."

THE LORD IS COMING AGAIN

Listen to me dear brothers and sisters in the Lord. The Lord is "coming again" and we have been commissioned to proclaim His coming, the setting up of His Kingdom, and the destruction of "Babylon the Great" and all those who have allied themselves with her - AND WE HAD BETTER BE ABOUT DOING IT. Jesus said,

"Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

"Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods." (Matt. 24:46-47)

But those like C. Peter Wagner, D. James Kennedy, Charles Stanley et. al. who have forgotten what true Christianity is all about, and who have partnered with the rich of the world (and by doing so have portrayed Christianity as a rich man's religion) will not fare very well at His appearing. Jesus said of them,

"The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

"And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt. 24:50-51)

Now I don't know exactly what the Lord means when He says that He will "cut asunder" such people and "appoint them a portion with the hypocrites" (i.e., people who say one thing, but do another - who falsely represent what Christianity is really all about) where "... there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth," but I don't want to find out. And one must bear in mind here that Jesus is talking about His servants - people who claim to be "born-again." These are not words one would want to be cavalier about.

And so the warning goes out: Those who ally themselves with Babylon the Great (i.e., the American New World Order System) - either actively or passively, no matter - will pay a HORRIBLE price when the Lord returns. And how does a Christian get himself into such a mess? - by neglecting the physicality of Babylon, and the danger that that physicality presents.

PICKING UP WHERE JOHN THE BAPTIST LEFT OFF

So what do we have here? Precisely this: After 2,000 years we find ourselves as the "People of God" back in the EXACT place where John the Baptist found himself as he announced the "THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND." We have been commissioned by God to pick up where John left off.

We begin with Chapter Three of the Book of Matthew:

"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

"And saying, Repent ye: for the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.

"For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

"AND THE SAME JOHN HAD HIS RAIMENT OF CAMEL'S HAIR, AND A LEATHERN GIRDLE ABOUT HIS LOINS; AND HIS MEAT WAS LOCUSTS AND WILD HONEY.

"Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

"And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

"BUT WHEN HE SAW MANY OF THE PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES COME TO HIS BAPTISM, HE SAID UNTO THEM, O GENERATION OF VIPERS, WHO HATH WARNED YOU TO FLEE FROM THE WRATH TO COME?" (Matthew 3:1-7)

LAYING ASIDE THE "AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE"

"And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey:" Obviously, John was not encumbered with the "affairs of this life" (2 Timothy 2:4) - AND THIS MUST BE SO FOR ANYONE WHO DARES TO WALK IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JOHN as a herald of the coming Kingdom of Heaven (verse 27), the same John about whom Jesus said:

"What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?

"But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts." [NOTE: One would do well to recognize what is being said here: Those who "live delicately" (e.g.., who live in "fine" homes, drive "fine" cars, array themselves in "fine" clothes, etc.) are EXCLUDED as heralds of the coming Kingdom.]

"But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.

"This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

"FOR I SAY UNTO YOU, AMONG THOSE THAT ARE BORN OF WOMEN THERE IS NOT A GREATER PROPHET THAN JOHN THE BAPTIST …" (Luke 7:24-28)

The question before us now is, What was John doing to prepare the people for the coming of the "Kingdom of Heaven?" - HE WAS BAPTIZING THEM AND SAYING,

"REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND."

BAPTISM: DYING TO ALL THE CLAIMS (GOOD
AND BAD) THAT THE WORLD HAS ON YOU

Baptism symbolizes death and burial: Specifically, that we are DEAD to the world (both the "good" things of the world and the "bad"). The world can parade itself over our grave, but we will not (indeed, we cannot) respond to its demands - both those demands which one would think of as characterizing "good" behavior, and those demands that one would think of as characterizing "bad" behavior. While that may offend many, it's nonetheless the truth. The world must not have any demands on us if we are to be a "good soldier" of Jesus Christ, and follow in the footsteps of John. The Bible says:

"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." (2 Timothy 2:4)

You must understand something here: There's no differentiating here between the "affairs of this life" as they pertain to what we are in the habit of calling the "responsible affairs of this life" as opposed to those things that we consider "the irresponsible things of this life." 

WHY OUR "EXPERIMENT" IN CANADA FAILED

IT IS PRECISELY HERE THAT ANTIPAS FAILED IN ITS "EXPERIMENT" IN CANADA: IT'S INABILITY TO FIND ENOUGH CHRISTIANS WILLING TO LAY ASIDE THE "RESPONSIBILITIES" OF THIS LIFE IN ORDER TO ACT AS HERALDS OF THE COMING KINGDOM.  I had anxiously anticipated the difficulty of finding such people early on - a fact which led me to write an article in November 2002 entitled "Coaxing Christians out of Their Hiding Places." It was a call to those I felt God had deeply touched with the message of Antipas to lay aside the "responsibilities of this life" and join us in Canada so that we could all work together to make the message of Antipas come alive. [Please see our articles, "A Plan of Action for Antipas Ministries" and "Re-Thinking Our Mission: How Shall We Organize to Resist?"]

In "Coaxing Christians out of Their Hiding Places" I related the sacrifices the early Zionists were forced to make in re-establishing themselves in Israel; in that essay I touched upon the story of David Ben Gurion, one of the founders of the modern nation of Israel and its first prime minister, and his wife Paula - a story I knew would appall most of my readers and cause them to repudiate Ben Gurion's "hardness of heart."  Nonetheless, the story related the kind of hardship and sacrifice all those who wish to involve themselves in a "great cause" must embrace. I repeat that story now to relate to you what the Apostle Paul was talking about in his letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:4):

DAVID AND PAULA BEN GURION

Finally, and perhaps most difficult of all, those who desire to … [disentangle themselves from the American New World Order System and the church that justifies that system] - like the Jews who emigrated to Palestine a hundred years ago - be prepared to not only sacrifice themselves, but also their families to the CAUSE. Again, take Ben Gurion: On a fund-raising trip to America in 1918, Ben Gurion married a young nurse, Paula, in New York whom he had met in a small "LOVERS OF ZION" meeting he had attended in the Lower East Side. Soon afterward he abandoned her almost penniless and in the sixth month of her pregnancy in order to return to the Holy Land and defend the Jewish settlements there which were coming under increasing attack from the Turks.

While most people would probably be stunned by the seeming callousness and indifference of Ben Gurion toward his wife, Paula kept "soldiering on;" she continued to faithfully attend her twice weekly LOVERS OF ZION meeting, and did the best she could on the pennies that Ben Gurion was able to send back to her from Palestine. A number of extraordinary letters written by Ben Gurion to Paula during this time reflect Ben Gurion's "strange" mixture of tenderness and cruel will-power. The letters throw a fascinating light on the motivations of the small group of Zionist leaders who at that time were exiled or preparing for new action in Palestine. They also supply an unusual insight into the character of a man so totally obsessed by his dream that anything merely human became sheer trivia outside of its assimilation into the CAUSE.

In one letter written shortly after leaving his pregnant wife to her own devices, Ben Gurion commiserates a bit sheepishly with her over the "immense difficulties" and the "great suffering" he has caused her. He assures Paula that he left her not because he did not love her enough:

"I loved you even before I married you, and you know it, even though I never told you. My love for you has since grown ... you are my saint, the suffering angel hovering over me unseen."

Next he compliments her on her courage:

"What you did is infinitely greater than anything which I and others are doing and your sacrifice is so great that sometimes I want to take off my hat to you and bow down deep ... I did what I had to do, for your sake too, and I assure you, my dear Paula, that a time will come - and it is not far away - when you will share this feeling and you will understand.

"I did not want to give you a small, cheap, SECULAR kind of happiness. I prepared for you the great sacred human joy achieved through SUFFERING AND PAIN. To the greatest joy of my life, I have become convinced that you were born for such happiness ... to SUFFER TOGETHER with me for a great cause and you deserve that I bow my head before you. Therefore I love you so dearly ... I know you were not ready for the suffering and hard test ... but I know you well enough to be certain that you will carry this heavy burden. Dolorous (i.e., mournful) and in tears you will arise to the high mountains from which one sees vistas of a New World, a world of gladness and light, shinning in the glow of an eternally young ideal of supreme happiness and glorious existence, a world only few will be privileged to enter, for only rich souls and deep hearts are permitted entry there. I know that your soul is rich and your heart great enough for the superb world and the superb life that I want to prepare for you."

Wow! - only a dreamer could write such a letter! To anyone else, it would seem to be nothing more than the product of a thoroughly self-absorbed, totally IRRESPONSIBLE, and completely reckless "Utopian" who should be stood up against a wall and shot for his thoughtlessness toward his wife and unborn child. Amos Elon writes:

"Such sentiments - although perhaps less elitist in spirit - were shared ... by many pioneers: disdain for 'small, cheap, SECULAR' kinds of happiness; a desire to mount high peaks of chiliastic faith, to open glorious vistas of a 'new superb life' in a new, vaguely autonomous Jewish community in Palestine, based on a Messianic blend of Zionism and socialism. The Messianic sentiments became even more pronounced ... (as the years went on)."

WHAT IT TAKES TO BUILD THE KINGDOM OF GOD

To most Christians in America, the seeming callousness with which Ben Gurion and his peers at the "cutting edge" of what was happening in the Holy Land treated their families and "secular responsibilities" is beyond comprehension. Still, it's EXACTLY this kind of zeal and dedication that it takes to build a revolution, rather than just dream about one from the safety of one's living room. And whether one is prepared to understand it or not, it is PRECISELY this kind of dedication that it takes to build the Kingdom of God.

BUILDING THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOT SOMETHING ONE DOES WHEN ONE HAS THE TIME FOR IT, AND WHEN "OTHER DUTIES" DO NOT IMPINGE ON ONE'S TIME! It takes TOTAL dedication, and to think otherwise is not only naive, but absurd - even asinine. The Kingdom of God CANNOT be built on the cheap! The Bible says:

"And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

"And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; BUT THE SON OF MAN HATH NO WHERE TO LAY HIS HEAD.

"And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

"Jesus said unto him, LET THE DEAD BURY THE DEAD: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

"And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

"And Jesus said unto him, NO MAN, HAVING PUT HIS HAND TO THE PLOW, AND LOOKING BACK, IS FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD. (Luke 9:57-62)

And, again, Jesus said:

"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is NOT worthy of me." (Matt. 10:37)

In other words, if you put the welfare of your loved ones - even your wives and husbands, your fathers and mothers, your sons and daughters - before Christ, you are NOT worthy of Christ! Now that's pretty heavy! Still, that's what Jesus says! If you have a problem with this, your argument is with God, not with me. The Bible continues:

"After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

"Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest." (Luke 10:1-2)

Now, the sequence of these sayings here is EXTREMELY important! How so? Well, put simply, what Jesus is very PLAINLY saying is that unless one is willing to SACRIFICE - as Ben Gurion put it - one's "secular" happiness and indeed one's "secular" RESPONSIBILITIES - even for such "secular" necessities as a descent home, clothing (Luke 9:58), and taking care of one's family (Luke 9:59-51) - one cannot have a part in the "work of the Kingdom." And this is so much the case that ONLY AFTER warning His disciples of this harsh reality, did He choose the "Seventy" and send them out "into every city and place" with the words, "The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest." (Luke 10:1-2) Plainly, Jesus wanted His disciples to fully understand what being His disciple was all about.

AND THIS IS THE CASE TODAY FOR THOSE WHO DESIRE
TO PICK UP WHERE JOHN THE BAPTIST LEFT OFF

Again, this is what Paul was talking about in his letter to Timothy:

"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." (2 Timothy 2:4)

And it's precisely this - the responsibilities of this life - that John the Baptist, in anticipation of the coming Kingdom, was calling on those who were being baptized by him to renounce.  That's what "REPENT" means: "TURN AWAY FROM" - specifically, to turn away from the "AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE" as John had so plainly done. [Please see The New Antipas Papers, Part 3 of Chapter VIII, "The World."]

It's only when we see ourselves as dead to the "affairs of this life" that we can become "ALIVE" to the "Kingdom of Heaven. I say again, no one can act as a herald of the "Kingdom of Heaven" - that is to say, NO ONE CAN PREACH THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM - if he still has an attachment to this world. That's exactly why John told the Pharisees and the Sadducees who came to his baptism:

"O generation of vipers (poisonous snakes), who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (Matthew 3:7)

John knew that the Pharisees and the Sadducees were deeply connected to the world system of man and the religious establishment that justified that system - and that until they RENOUNCED their connection to that system and the religion that justified it, they could have NOTHING to do with the "Kingdom of Heaven."

And he went on to say to them:

"Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." (Matthew 3:9)

YOU ARE NOT INDISPENSABLE TO GOD

Now that's heavy! - especially when one considers how many Christians today are in danger of falling prey to the portent of this verse.

Dear Christian, whoever you are, YOU ARE NOT INDISPENSABLE TO GOD. If you are unwilling to pick up where John the Baptist left off as a Herald of God's Coming Kingdom, "God is able of these stones to raise up children unto … [this cause]." (Matthew 3:9)  In connection to this, Jesus told the following story:

"Then said he [Christ] unto him [his disciple], A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:

"And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

"And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.

"And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.

"And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

"So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

"And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.

"And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

"For I say unto you, that NONE OF THOSE MEN WHICH WERE BIDDEN SHALL TASTE OF MY SUPPER." (Luke 14:16-24)

A  RUTHLESS SAYING

I tell you the truth, SUCH IS THE CASE OF ALL THOSE WHO WERE ASKED TO COME TO CANADA, BUT WHO FOUND AN EXCUSE NOT TO DO SO.

This is a RUTHLESS saying, but it is nonetheless the truth.

Indeed, it's a truth so stark and bare that by proclaiming it I have "succeeded," if I can use that word, in driving almost EVERYONE of those who were with Antipas prior to our "experiment" in Canada to renounce the ministry - and so much so THAT THE GIVING TO THE MINISTRY HAS ALL BUT DRIED UP.

The very real fact of the matter is, the giving to the ministry now amounts to less than $500 dollars a month, which is about $2,000 a month short of what it takes to minimally keep the ministry alive - and all this despite the fact that we have more readers now than ever before. How much longer we will be able to keep the ministry afloat under such circumstances is anyone's guess.

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth when I say I would rather speak the truth and see the ministry fail, than keep it alive by COMPROMISING the Word of God and in doing so eliciting by "milk and honey" the money we can't get by the TRUTH of God's Word..

IT'S VERY POSSIBLE FOR US TO FAIL - BUT BETTER
THAT THAN TO COMPROMISE THE WORD OF GOD

There are many, of course, who would say that if we failed in Canada - which we, no doubt did - and if we fail now, that proves that God was (is) not with us. But that's foolishness. The Bible says:

"The Lord is not … willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

"God is not willing THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH …" - that's what the Bible says. But very obviously, many have (and will) perish. To believe otherwise is to contradict the testimony of the Word of God. It gives people who refuse to obey God an excuse to say - "Everything will work out in the end." But that's not necessarily the case at all.

Still, God is merciful - and so it is that my word to those who failed us in Canada is to REPENT; to REPENT not only of your wrongdoing insofar as Canada was concerned, but to REPENT yourselves of this world - to TURN AWAY FROM IT - both the "good" and the "bad" of it.  John said:

"And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire …" (Matthew 3:10-11)

Are you ready to be baptized by the Holy Spirit with fire? - God is calling: Let those who are willing to receive such a baptism set aside the cares of this life and answer the call to be a Herald of the coming Kingdom!

More on the Gospel of the Kingdom next time.

God bless you all,

S.R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries

 

We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR HELP BECAUSE WE DO NOT "LINK" WITH OTHER SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN" WEBSITES which are, for the most part, "in the tank" insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned - a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners in the abject poverty that American corporations have imposed on the peoples and nations the American military machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles, "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order," Inside the American New World Order System" and "The American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago."]

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