It is now the second article in our series on the "TRIBULATION SAINTS." Our first article dealt primarily with this gospel and its relevance for today; specifically as an antidote to the claims of the American New World Order System. Very obviously, then, all those who genuinely desire to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom must renounce any connection that they might have with the American New World Order System. After all, how is it possible to preach the "good news" of the Kingdom of God when one refuses to renounce his own connection to that Kingdom's great enemy, the American Empire? It's not possible! [Please see Chapter XII of the New Antipas Papers, "In Search of Babylon."] [PRESS HERE]
Finally, we dwelt at length on the necessity for all those who wish to act as heralds of the coming Kingdom of Christ to DISENTANGLE themselves COMPLETELY from the "AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE." 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)
In this connection, there must be a willingness - and not only a willingness, but an ability - to OBEY God without question: when Jesus says "COME," one must be willing (and able) to lay aside EVERYTHING and COME. No questions asked, no hesitation countenanced. Such was the case when Jesus called His disciples:
"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, REPENT: FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.
"And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
"And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
"And they STRAIGHTWAY left their nets, and followed him.
"And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
"And they IMMEDIATELY left the ship and their father, and followed him.
"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM ..." (Matthew 4:17-23)
There was no hesitation here; no saying to Jesus - as those FALSE disciples said to Him in Luke 9:57-62 - "I will follow thee, but first suffer me first to go and bury my father;" and again "I will follow thee, but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house." No! Simon (Peter) and Andrew, as well as both James and John, IMMEDIATELY and without hesitation left their loved ones and their "RESPONSIBILITIES" insofar as this life on earth was concerned and followed Jesus - NO QUESTIONS ASKED. Jesus COMMANDED, and they OBEYED.
And so now at last we come to the "meat" of the Gospel of the Kingdom - and in doing so, it is absolutely essential that we grasp this one point: THE CONCEPTS THAT WE ARE EXAMINING HERE ARE "KINGDOM CONCEPTS." THEY ARE, AS A RESULT, SOCIETAL CONCEPTS MORE THAN THEY ARE CONCEPTS THAT PERTAIN TO US AS INDIVIDUALS. This isn't to say that the concepts that are contained in the "Sermon on the Mount" and in the Beatitudes have no relevance to us as individuals and cannot be understood on that level, but it is to say that - in the first instance - they must be understood on a KINGDOM level.
I repeat: The "Kingdom of Heaven" is being introduced here. We are dealing with concepts and principles that pertain to the "Kingdom of Heaven;" we are not dealing with issues that pertain to personal holiness per se, as most Christians have been led to believe. People who ignore this reality, and teach others to do so are -
"... blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." (Matthew 23:24) - PEOPLE WHO EMPHASIZE PERSONAL HOLINESS, BUT IGNORE RIGHTEOUSNESS ON A SOCIETAL BASIS.
These are those about whom the Bible says -
"The god of this world hath blinded ... them ..." (2 Cor. 4:4)
They are those who cloak their societal sins behind a façade of personal piety; the kind of people who -
"... make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
"Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
"Even so YE ALSO OUTWARDLY APPEAR RIGHTEOUS UNTO MEN, BUT WITHIN YE ARE FULL OF HYPOCRISY AND INIQUITY." (Matthew 23:25-28)
We begin first with those who are the coming Kingdoms promised RECIPIENTS.
In Luke 4:18 the primary recipients of the "Kingdom of Heaven" are announced to be the POOR of this earth - the "sons and daughters," so to speak, of Chad, the Congo, Sierra Leone, Guatemala, Brazil, Vietnam,, etc. - the people who have been so RUTHLESSLY and BRUTALLY oppressed by the American New World Order System. [Please see our article, "Christians in Africa Awake! America and the American Church Are Not Your Friends." (PRESS HERE)]
These are the people about whom Jesus said:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, BECAUSE HE HATH ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL [OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN] TO THE POOR ..." (Luke 4:18)
This is substantiated in Luke 6:20 where Jesus says,
"Blessed be ye poor: FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN." (Luke 6:20)
This same verse is rendered "Blessed are the poor in spirit: FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN" in Matthew 5:3 - "poor in spirit" being but the natural outcome of the condition of poverty, WHICH IN THIS LIFE IS ALMOST ALWAYS THE RESULT OF THE OPPRESSION OF THE RICH OVER THE POOR. [Please see our article, "The Third World as a Model of the New World Order" (PRESS HERE); please also see "The Congo and American Greed" (PRESS HERE) and "Lee Kyang; The Rich and the Poor, America and God." (PRESS HERE)]
It is these - the poor in spirit, those whose spirits have been broken by the wicked oppression of the rich - that Christ AS KING is coming to save; those who have been crushed by the mind-numbing, back-breaking labor imposed upon them by America's multinational corporations; those who make Nike shoes, Liz Claiborne clothes and Gucci handbags for the "DAUGHTERS OF BABYLON" for pennies a day in sweatshops scattered across the globe; those who labor in the copper mines of Chile for Annacondia Copper and the banana plantations of Chiquita Brand in Guatemala for barely enough money to rent a tin shack and put food on the table for one more day; those who have been chased off their farms in Mexico by Cargil and Archer-Daniels-Midland, and forced to migrate surreptitiously to the United States to work as "Illegals" picking tomatoes in plantation farms in the United States run by these very same corporations; those Iraqis and Afghanis who have been robbed by Exxon-Mobile, Haliburton, Shell Oil, etc. of their patrimony, and on and on and on.
Now it's imperative that one should take note of the way in which the Kingdom of Heaven stands in utter juxtaposition to the kingdom of this world - and we can begin to see this in the way the Bible distinguishes the position of the rich against the poor insofar as Christ's coming kingdom is concerned. Again, Jesus said:
"Blessed be ye poor: FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN." (Luke 6:20)
But while the Bible says that Christ will "... fill the hungry with good things" when He comes again (Luke 1:53a) -
"... the rich he will send empty away." (Luke 1:53b)
There is to be no room in the coming Kingdom for the rich of the world - and so much so is this the case, that the rich are warned -
"Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
"Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep (Luke 6:24-25)
Jesus wasn't kidding around when He said:
"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." (Matthew 19:24)
Indeed, so putrid and contemptible is the condition of the rich vis a vis the poor in the eyes of God, that the Apostle James went to great length to warn the early church against the rich in their midst:
"For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
"And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
"Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
"Hearken, my beloved brethren, HATH NOT GOD CHOSEN THE POOR OF THIS WORLD rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
"But ye have despised the poor. DO NOT RICH MEN OPPRESS YOU ...?
"Do not they [i.e., the RICH] BLASPHEME THAT WORTHY NAME BY WHICH YE ARE CALLED?" (James 2:2-7)
That's heavy! - and so much so that the words of this great apostle are enough to take one's breath away. All this, however, is "forgotten history" to today's American church and the purveyors of the so-called "Green Gospel" - Bennie Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, D. James Kennedy, etc. - the list is endless.
AND SO NOW WE BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN - AND WE DO SO BY CONTRASTING THE CHARACTER OF THOSE WHO INHABIT THE ONE KINGDOM AS OPPOSED TO THOSE WHO INHABIT THE OTHER. FOR EXAMPLE, WE SEE IN THE "FIRST BLESSED" (BEATITUDE) THAT THE POOR ARE TO BE INCLUDED, BUT THE RICH ARE TO BE EXCLUDED.
IT'S IN THIS WAY THAT WE CAN COME TO A "KINGDOM UNDERSTANDING" AS TO THE REST OF THE BEATITUDES - BUT, AGAIN, ONE MUST BEAR IN MIND THAT WE ARE DEALING HERE, IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, WITH SOCIETAL ISSUES RATHER THAN WITH PERSONAL OR INDIVIDUAL ISSUES:
"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." (Matthew 5:4-12)
"Blessed are they that mourn" ; - mourn for what? - not so much over their individual sins and their individual condition, but over the condition of the world, and, specifically, the poor and dispossessed of this earth. They are in AGONY with regard to this matter - and they are willing to sacrifice themselves and their personal happiness in order to alleviate the condition of the "wretched of the earth." "Bleeding Heart Liberals" - that's the name most evangelical Christians give to such people. But those who say such things are like the kind of so-called Christians about whom James the Apostle wrote:
"If ... [you see someone] naked, and destitute of daily food,
"And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?" (James 2:15-16)
And it's very easy to tell the difference between the fake and the real here: the first refuse to take any real action with regard to the poor in their midst; the second group are those who take action; the kind of people who - when they saw the destitution of the early church - sold their lands and houses -
"... and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
"And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
"And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The SON OF CONSOLATION), a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
"Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
These are the ones the Bible says will be "comforted" when the Kingdom of Christ comes.
"Blessed are the meek" - those who have been humbled by the haughty arrogance of today's brand of American Christianity - the kind that says that if you are not rich, it's your fault; the kind of Christianity that has -
"... respect to him that weareth ... [beautiful clothes], and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool." (James 2:3)
The Bible says those who have been humbled in this manner are precisely those who will inherit the earth when Christ comes again.
"Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness" - those who hunger and thirst to see SOCIAL equity established in this earth shall see their dreams for social justice come try when Christ comes again. Sadly, however, like those who mourn in the Second Beatitude, I must report to you that there are more "Bleeding Heart Liberals" who fit into this category than there are evangelical Christians - evangelical Christians who have "bought into the LIE" that says we must fashion our Christianity to fit the condition to which we were born. If we were born into wealth, we should not feel guilty about it; and if and when we come into contact with the poor of this world, we have no real PERSONAL obligation insofar as their condition is concerned - after all, "God is sovereign, isn't he."
The Bible says that those who hunger and thirst to see SOCIAL justice established in this world SHALL SEE GOD.
"Blessed are the merciful" - those who see the people whom the world condemns - gays and lesbians, liberal Jews, those in prison, the "Hollywood crowd," those who are unlike others, etc., in other words, all those who are HATED by today's American Christianity - and who do not condemn them; who pattern their lives after the example of the "Good Samaritan:"
"And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
"And by chance there came down a certain priest [analogous to the "good Christian" of today] that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
"And likewise a Levite [again, analogous to the "good Christian" of today], when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
"But a certain Samaritan [Analogous to someone from the "gay and lesbian community, or a "Bleeding Heart Liberal"], as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
"And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
"And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
"Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
"And he said, HE THAT SHEWED MERCY ON HIM. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise." (Luke 10:30-37)
The Bible says that shall obtain mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart" - those in whom there is no guile, no "double-dealing," no hypocrisy. These are those who stand on principle and do not shirk those principles for "personal gain" - people like Schindler in Schindler's List, Wallenstein who saved the Jews of Hungary, etc. - people who were unremarkable in their personal piety, but who risked their lives to save others when there was nothing for them to gain in the endeavor; people like Martin Luther King who sacrificed himself not only for the downtrodden of the black community, but for the poor of the country as a whole - and who was assassinated by the rich for his effort; a man that most evangelical Christians never tired of HATING for his personal shortcomings when he was alive, but who now honor him when he is dead. These are those kind of people about whom Jesus said:
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye BUILD THE TOMBS OF THE PROPHETS, AND GARNISH [DECORATE] THE SEPULCHERS OF THE RIGHTEOUS,
"AND SAY, IF WE HAD BEEN IN THE DAYS OF OUR FATHERS, WE WOULD HAVE NOT BEEN PARTAKERS WITH THEM IN THE BLOOD OF THE PROPHETS.
"Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
"Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
"Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, HOW CAN YE ESCAPE THE DAMNATION OF HELL?" (Matthew 23:29-33)
The Bible says that they shall see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers" - the Desmond Tutus of this world, those people whom the Christians of today never tire of condemning as naïve. Those who condemn Tutu and people like him are precisely those who embrace war as a rational policy; people who embrace the wretched, non-Christian belief in a "Just War;" advocates of the American Imperium such as Henry Blackaby who told Agape Press that -
"Those who oppose the war to liberate Iraq need to read God's Word. There is no question that the current war to liberate Iraq is a 'just'."
OR Chuck Colson who argued for a less restrictive understanding of Just War theory in the face of the terrorist threat. Remarkably, Colson writes that,
"Out of love of neighbor, Christians can and should support a preemptive strike [against Iraq]."
OR D. James Kennedy who said that church leaders opposed to the war -
"Always take the position of blaming America first for everything - and everybody else is right. Why any churchman would choose to support that rather than to support our own president, I don't know. I think that some of them are doing it for purely political reasons, and [because] they have a very strong liberal bias - and George W. Bush is their favorite target. Anything he does, I think, in their eyes would be wrong."
OR" pastor John MacArthur who said,
"I don't think we're starting a war. I think a war [has] already started. The only question is what are we going to [do with] a war that has already started."
OR Charles Stanley when he defended the so-called "War on Terror" by saying -
"Throughout Scripture there is evidence that God favors war for divine reasons and sometimes uses it to accomplish His will. He has also given governments and their citizens very specific responsibilities in regards to this matter. How can we justify the protests and marches against war? I understand that, in America, for example, we have a right to express our different opinions. However, there comes a time when our personal opinion is not a priority. The only reason we have the freedom to protest in this country is because thousands were willing to die for that liberty in the past."
Sadly, evangelical Christians dismiss people like Tutu, and embrace Stanley, MacArthur, Kennedy, Colson and Blackaby.
But it's the Desmond Tutus of this world whom the Bible says will be called the children of God, not people such as Colson, Stanley, etc.
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake;"
"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." Now, come on! - be honest here; is that what's happening to you? Are you really being persecuted today for righteousness' sake? Are people really reviling you and saying all manner of evil against you FALESLY for the Lord's sake? Is that really what's happening to you? - or are you like that sister who wrote me several years ago to say -
"Our faith is strong and true. We may not be doing all we can to testify in the streets now, but I sense our time has not arrived yet. At this point, not many will listen and we will be branded as insane. The time will come, however, when many people will be hungry for what we have to say and they will listen, and the Lord will use us in a mighty way."
What an unbelievable "cop-out." These are those who refuse to get off their "fat asses" and do anything with regard to the coming Kingdom on a "MEANINGFUL" basis; people who think that by talking with others of like mind about prophecy in the safety of their own living rooms or behind a computer screen is being obedient to the "heavenly calling," OR is tantamount to preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom." It's not. Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to American Christians is like trying to pull the rich into the Kingdom of Heaven." But that's pretty much impossible. The Bible says that -
"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." (Matthew 19:24)
OR do you doubt the word of the Lord on this matter? Go to the Third World if you really want your efforts in this regard to count for something. Go to the poor! These are the people who are longing to see the Kingdom of Heaven manifested on earth; who can honestly say when they pray:
"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10)
Not the rich! They're full now! They have their sh-- together in this life! They're not really longing for the coming Kingdom; they're happy with things as they are now. Isn't that the condition with most Christians who are in any way POSITIVELY connected to the American New World Order System. These are those Christians about whom Jesus said:
"Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art WRETCHED, and MISERABLE, and POOR, and BLIND, and NAKED." (Revelation 3:17)
But for those who see their condition, AND ARE WILLING TO DO SOMETHING MEANINGFUL ABOUT IT by taking the Gospel of the Kingdom to its rightful recipients - specifically, the poor of this world - the Bible says, "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven."
Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, don't you see the great danger you are in by allowing yourselves - directly or indirectly, actively or passively - to be connected to the American New World Order System FOR ANY REASON! The very real fact of the matter is, you are allowing yourselves to remain connected to the ENEMY OF GOD, the very system that persecutes and ravages the poor of the earth; a proud and pompous empire of GREED and HATE. It is not good enough for you to conduct your life on a moral and pious basis under these circumstances. THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT and the BEATITUDES are not individual matters per se, but are SOCIETAL matters - KINGDOM MATTERS.
Some will say, of course, that I am emphasizing works over faith here; that it isn't our works that count, but our faith - that is to say, the condition of our "hidden man" - that counts; that I am preaching a kind of "social gospel" rather than a gospel of personal repentance. But personal repentance is NOTHING if there is no outcome that cannot be manifested on a SOCIETAL basis so that the world can see. Again, the Bible says:
"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
"If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
"And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
"Even so FAITH, IF IT HATH NOT WORKS, IS DEAD, being alone.
"Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I WILL SHEW THEE MY FAITH BY MY WORKS.
"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
"But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
"Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
"Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
"And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
"Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
"Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD also." (James 2:14-26)
BROTHERS AND SISTERS, THERE IS A GREAT SEPARATION THAT IS OCCURRING TODAY, AND THAT SEPARATION HAS VERY LITTLE TO DO WITH OUR OWN PERSONAL PIETY, AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH HOW WE RELATE TO ONE OF THESE TWO KINGDOMS:
AND YOU SHOULD REMEMBER HERE - IT'S NOT WHAT WE SAY, BUT WHAT WE DO WITH REGARD TO THIS MATTER THAT WILL COUNT.
God bless you all,
P.S. Remember the Word of God:
"IF WE HAVE SOWN UNTO YOU SPIRITUAL THINGS, IS IT A GREAT THING IF WE SHALL REAP YOUR CARNAL (MATERIAL) THINGS?" (1 Cor. 9:11)