ENTERING THE KINGDOM
What is the Kingdom?
Most Christians assume that since they are born-again that they are already in the Kingdom of God. This is true but only to a very limited degree, because Paul in speaking to disciples who were already born-again was encouraging them to enter the Kingdom.
Colossians 1:13 (KJV): Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Acts 14:21-22 (KJV): And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Acts 14:21-22 (NIV): They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
These scriptures reveal that even though we enter into the Kingdom of God to some degree when we are born-again we must remain true to the faith and go through many hardships to enter into the Kingdom in its fullness.
To understand this we must know what God means by the Kingdom:
Matthew 13:33 (KJV): Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
1Thes 5:23 (KJV): And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In this parable in Matt 13:33, the Lord Jesus reveals to us that the Kingdom is like leaven or yeast that a woman hides in three measures of meal or bread until the whole is leavened or caused to rise by the yeast.
Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 interprets the meaning of this parable to us: the nature of God implanted into our spirits in the new birth is hidden by the satanic nature in the soul and the body. That is why Paul says in Galatians 5:16:
Galatians 5:16-17 (NIV): So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
This is the everyday experience of most Christians over 70% of the time especially in the ‘little foxes’ (Song of Solomon 2:15) of omission in prayer and the Word that spoil the vine or the fruit of the spirit in our lives.
To enter the Kingdom of God means to experience the total occupation in spirit, soul and body by the divine nature.
What we have when we are just born-again is an occupation of the divine nature in the spirit, and as we grow a partial occupation in the soul and soul body.
It is instructive to observe that according to the Holy Spirit, through Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 above, this total occupation is to take place on this side of heaven and maintained or preserved until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So entering the Kingdom in this context is not some thing we will experience in heaven or at the resurrection it is some thing we are to enter into in this life.
How to Enter the Kingdom
The Holy Spirit, through Paul, tells us that we enter the Kingdom or this experience of the total occupation by the divine nature of spirit, soul and body, through much tribulation.
One may ask why is it this way? It is because the satanic nature in our souls and bodies is intrinsically stubborn and rebellious and it is only tribulation and affliction that can cause it to submit to God’s will.
Psalms 119:67 (KJV): Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
Psalms 119:71 (KJV):
It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
Leveticus 26:18-19 (KJV): And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:
Because of this, to enter the Kingdom, Christians must have the keys of the Kingdom: which are personal revelation knowledge of the Kingdom.
What are the Keys of the Kingdom?
Matthew 16:13-19 (KJV): When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
In this portion of scripture, Jesus shows us that the rock on which the Church is to be built is personal revelation knowledge. Furthermore the Lord tells us that this revelation will give us the keys of the Kingdom. This is further confirmed in;
Luke 11:52 (KJV): Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
This will ensure that as the floods of tribulation arise, as you attempt to enter the Kingdom, your Christian life will be built on the rock and not on sand and thus will not collapse under pressure.
Matthew 7:21-29 (KJV): Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.