Promises and Loyalty
Because the New Testament talks so much about the resurrection and the Kingdom of God as a hope and reason for living according to Gods Way, we need to know something about this Kingdom besides its being Our Father in Heaven's nation or Kingdom. Jesus says that the Kingdom of Gods value is beyond anything ever existent on Earth. It is the perfect government, as well. People apparently have given their lives for this Kingdom.
Luke 4:43 But He said to them, I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.
Rom. 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
1Cor. 4:20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.
Matt. 19:16 ¶ And someone came to Him and said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?
Matt. 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My names sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.
John 3:16 ¶ For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
Reasons People Elect for Being in the Kingdom of God
To those who are goal oriented, the Kingdom of God gives people the reason for doing all that pertains to the Kingdom. These people set their sights on this goal like the farmer steering his tractor toward the end of the farm so his furrows will be straight, or the pilot who plots his course and flies each leg of his journey exactly, so he gets to his destination airport on route and on time. Not everyone is goal oriented, but for those who are, Our Father in Heaven sets the city on a shining hill out there for them to aim at with all their might and being.
Titus 1:2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,
Some people rely on logic as their orientation and Our Father in Heaven gives these types good reasons for being in the Kingdom of God. It makes sense that Our Father in Heaven would have His own laws and Kingdom different from those of the world because the world derives its system of beliefs originally from the master deceiver, Satan. So logic dictates that the One who created the universe and made all the physical laws would be capable of making laws for the good of people. Abraham saw the stars of the sky and reasoned that the God who created all that could make His promises come true. It's only logical.
1Tim. 1:15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.
1Tim. 1:16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.
1Tim. 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, in-visible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
A few are intuitive in their approach to thinking and apprehending the world around them. We would say these people jump to conclusions. Actually, these people just leave out all the steps the logical people must have. They go from point a to point z without all the other dots in between. Later, they will fill in the steps if others need it, but they really don't bother unless they have to. Here Our Father in Heaven gives them the starting point and the end result, which fits in exactly with their thinking. They go from the creation and its being good to, therefore, all God does is good. They go from Gods forming man in His image to the conclusion that some will live up to that standard, like Jesus and eventually those who are his. Sometimes jumping to conclusions is the only way to think, and Our Father in Heaven allows for that way of mind to find its way in His Way.
1Pet. 1:8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
Finally, most people apprehend the world around them from an emotional perspective. They feel and sense things that others need to examine logically or intuitively. And unlike the goal oriented, they need to understand the me in the meantime. They are naturally empathetic and relate on the level of emotions. Our Father in Heaven understands these people and shows His Way and Will in terms they understand, from the heart.
John 14:1 Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
Acts 8:37 [And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.]
Rom. 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
So Our Father in Heaven provides each person a way to appreciate His Kingdom. And, unlike most nations of the world, the Kingdom of God is a family affair where the Father rules through, at first, His Son. And all the people in the Kingdom of God are His adopted children from the time they are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. In effect, believers are part of the God-Family even though they cannot as yet live in that far country, not far in distance but in time. As aliens in a foreign land, they have dual citizenship both in the country they reside in as well as the better citizenship in the Kingdom of God.
Rom. 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, Abba! Father!
Gal. 4:6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba! Father!
Life in the Kingdom of God
In America, the ruling class has certain negative connotations because elitism grates against the concept of all men created equal. Naturally, not all people have equal abilities but are equal before the law and have equality of opportunity. Just as Americans choose their lawmakers and executives who run the mechanics of governing, believers choose Our Father in Heaven to be their Ruler, with the accent on their because they opt to immigrate from their Old World run by Satans minions to a New World ruled by God and take the oath of citizenship in the Kingdom of God by baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit, of course.
Josh. 24:15 If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
But, so what is there to do in this brave new world? Believers get to be part of the ruling class. All right, this ruling class is more like nepotism, which also has a negative connotation, but in this case has to do with being part of Our Father in Heavens family who also help to govern the new nation under Jesus. Aside from Jesus telling the Apostles they will rule the twelve tribes of Israel, we know little of how the Kingdom of God will be run. Perhaps some of the laws of Israel found in the Torah will continue into the new land, but the Bible doesnt really say. Obviously, the Government will not be run as inefficiently as all of todays governments, and obviously it wont be a bureaucratic nightmare, which we have to deal with, but no one, except a natural bureaucrat could really get manage.
There will be rain in due season, a fruitful growing season, a plethora of animals for food and clothing, an absence of disease and illnesses for the most part, and plenty of feastings and friendly gatherings. Gone will be all the traditional holidays and Sunday worshipping, and in their place will be Gods Holy Days and the blessed Sabbath rest on the seventh day. But what do we do in this brave new world?
Rev. 22:2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Is. 65:25 The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpents food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain, says the LORD.
The main thing about the Kingdom of God is that Earth and all that is on it must reclaim the rest they never had during the six thousand years of Satans rule on the planet. Still there will be things to do, places to go to, and people to see. The planet will provide probably without great input from people, but there will still be some things to do without breaking the Sabbath rest.
Something Greater than the Kingdom of God
If people live solely for the rewards of the Kingdom of God, they will have missed the whole point of being a part of the Kingdom.
Abraham received the great promise that his progeny would be like the stars of the sky. He hung onto that belief and trusted that God would fulfill His promise for twenty-five years. He had many adventures: he went to Egypt and almost lost his wife to the king there and what would happen to the promise then; he almost lost his nephew Lot to the cataclysm, but managed to convince the angels to spare him; and he tried to get a son through Sarahs servant, which would have missed the point. Finally, Sarah conceived and bore Isaac through whom all the promises would come. So Abraham had it made; his descendants would be like the stars in the sky. Well, Abraham had a lesson, perhaps, to learn about Gods promises, which, while a surety, have a secondary importance.
God told Abraham to sacrifice this son he longed for and through whom, you know, the promises must come. Now, Abraham made an instant decision: whether to obey God and sacrifice Isaac or let Isaac live and gain the promise. He chose to obey God.
Moses was destined to be the ruler of the tribes of Israel, and he was already Pharaohs favorite son, though not genetically which the Pharaoh didnt know at the time, who would rule Egypt after his death. So what happened? Moses struck down an Egyptian guard and escaped into the desert to avoid being executed. Well, Moses arrived at a mountainous land where he languished for forty years, forty years. God didnt give him a chance to choose, He just sent him into exile. How was he going to lead the Israelites as he aged and became eighty years old?
Then God comes to him and tells him to lead Israel out of Egypt to the land of promise, promised to Abraham. Well, Moses tries, at this point, to get out of the job, but God would hear none of it and even got somewhat perturbed. After all that went on before him, Abrahams testings, Isaacs twins, Jacobs tribulations, Israels four hundred years of slavery, Moses says leave me alone, for he can only talk to sheep which he had been doing for forty years.
Finally, Moses relents with the help of his brother and goes to Pharaoh to get him to set his people free. Finally, when all the plagues are finished, and Israel is heading for the Promised Land, they come to the Red Sea trapped because Pharaoh troops are on the way. But, God halts the army, opens the Red Sea, and lets Israel escape.
But, the Israelites refuse to enter the Promised Land because of their distrust of God. It would seem that the faith of the patriarchs would be for nothing, for these elders refused to believe. God would not let them enter; for forty years He let them wander the desert wasteland. It would seem as what almost happened to Abraham and Isaac, God would apparently end His promise. But, after all the adults died, then God brought their children into the Promised Land.
We are beginning to see a picture here. The desire for the promises of God does not seem to instill in people what God wants. Promises, promises! God gives them, and we need them, but there is the law of reversed effect that must precede all the promises.
Let us take Jesus. The New Testament promise went beyond Abrahams and Israels because now the promise became eternal life in the new Promised Land, the Kingdom of God. And who would rule that Kingdom under God? Jesus would. For three and a half years Jesus went about fulfilling prophecy, healing, working miracles and, most importantly, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Abruptly, the future king is killed. At least, God stayed the hand of Abraham from killing Isaac, but He allowed His only begotten Son to die at the hands of evil men. So, no king, no Kingdom it would seem that all was lost. What was given was taken away, or so it seemed. All those relying on the promises are again disappointed. For three long days and nights, the promises hung in a nether land until the resurrection. After that the promises were fulfilled. But, what happened?
Something more important was going on: the law of reversed effect and more. What is this law? You remember. Cast your bread on the water. Give up your life to gain life. And, Jesus had to show something very important to God and himself. He had to show perfect loyalty to God and die doing it. He had to first be loyal and give up his life, certainly for our sins, but also give up, by dying, his throne because a dead man cannot reign. He was sure that God would resurrect him just as Abraham was sure God would resurrect Isaac if he sacrificed him. But there was no corroboration that God would, except His Word fostered by the results of who He is: the creation. Gods Son and His People said, in effect, they would give up everything to be loyal to God. Promises are important, but loyalty to God is beyond all else.
Eccl. 11:1 ¶ Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.
Deut. 15:10 You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.
Luke 9:24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.
Luke 17:33 Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
Matt. 10:39 He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.
If a person needs miracles and promises to have faith in God, they are missing the point. Suppose there were no eternal life, and of course there is, but suppose, wouldnt being loyal to Our Father in Heaven be enough to be faithfully righteous and obedient? Who or what else would you prefer to be loyal to? Whatever else you may select, he or it is a far lesser thing or being than God. What could be greater than dying for the God in heaven? What could be greater than living a life of faithful obedience for the God in heaven?
Prov. 21:21 He who pursues righteousness and loyalty
Finds life, righteousness and honor.
Hos. 6:4 ¶ What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, O Judah?
For your loyalty is like a morning cloud
And like the dew which goes away early.
Hos. 6:6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
1Cor. 15:58 ¶ Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
Our Father in Heaven has good and important reasons to give us great promises because among other things it grows out of His love and desire to give and give to those who are loyal to Him. While the promises are out there for loyal believers to strive for, Our Father in Heaven knows that our loyalty to Him is the most important part of our character and nothing must stand in the way of that loyalty even the promises.