Our Hope for Immortality, Christ’s Return, and the “Strong Delusion”

Turn on the news and what do you see? Suicide bombings, children slaughtered, ethnic cleansing, civil wars, domestic violence–the results of hatred at every turn. The “perilous times” that the apostle Paul wrote about are upon us. The Savior said as much. “In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” And He promised that we could overcome also.

But what constitutes this overcoming the world? How did He overcome the world? We will find the answer in the power of His resurrection. This power spearheads the ultimate victory that He promised His followers. “You shall overcome also.”

You shall become like Me, He is promising. You shall walk with Me and be like Me in My immortal state. You shall receive an immortal spiritual body just like mine. John confirms this. “When He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man who has this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3: 2-3). Our hope is to be like Him–immortal.

Let’s savor these words a moment. “When He shall appear, we shall be like Him.” Christ is immortal, and so will we be when He shall appear. So when will that be?

When will Christ appear?

Christ Himself said that He will appear upon His return to earth “immediately after the tribulation of those days” (Matt. 24: 29). Which tribulation? It will be “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever shall be” (24: 21). It will be so destructive that God will have to intervene and stop it before all mankind is wiped out. “But for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (v. 22). God’s precious elect, His sons and daughters, will evidently be in danger, for He cuts the tribulation short to spare them from collateral destruction.

Furthermore, during this great tribulation period, deception and delusion will permeate the earth through the teachings of the false Christs and false prophets. They will be so convincing that it will almost deceive God’s elect, who are obviously still here on earth. For they could not be deceived by Satan if they were already with God in heaven. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matt. 24: 24.

This is the environment of Christ’s return to earth. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven…and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send his angels…and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds…

It is a time of “great tribulation” in the earth. Christ returns at the end of this tribulation. In fact, His presence brings peace and tranquility to the earth.

And when He shall appear at this time, then “we shall be like Him.” His Spirit will be living in us fully. And this is our hope. We shall receive immortality and become just like Him–right here on earth. Not in the sky by and by. No. Right here. How can I be sure of that? Because He has promised in His word that He is coming back to earth, the same way He left earth!

Our hope is to receive immortality, thus escaping a certain physical death that stalks humans on this earth.

Our hope of everlasting life

Paul admonished the church of the Thessalonians to have this very hope of receiving a new immortal body. He mentions that if you are sorrowful because of brethren who have died, you are acting like you have no hope (I Thess. 4: 13). Hope of what? He speaks of Christ dying and rising from the dead. The same power that raised Him from the dead will give the dead in Christ a new body when He comes back to earth. Those who die or “sleep” in Jesus (Yahshua), “God will bring with Him” (v. 14).

God will be bringing with Him His saints who have died before His return to earth. Where will He be bringing them from? And to where? The answer is found in verse 16: He “shall descend from heaven with a shout.” He is coming from heaven to this earth, and the dead in Christ will be coming with Him.

Those of us who do not die before His return will not precede the Christians that have died. “We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep” (v. 15). Precede them in what? Those of the elect who are still alive at His return will not go before the dead in Christ in getting their immortal, spiritual body (See I Cor. 15: 23). They will get theirs first, then we will receive our immortal bodies, and we will join them, “caught up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (v. 17).

Rapture doctrine erroneously based on one verse

The rapture doctrine has been built upon one major verse: I Thessalonians 4: 17. Of course, “rapture” is not in the scriptures. A closer study of this passage reveals events quite differently than what those waiting for the “rapture” envision. They imagine that they will be conveniently whisked away from the “time of trouble,” the great tribulation period, that shall ravage the earth at the time of His return. They base this primarily on one verse.

But let us dig deep into it and see what it really says. First, He is coming back to this earth. When He gets into the atmosphere of this planet, the dead in Christ will receive a new immortal, spiritual body, rising up to meet Him.  Those of us who are still living will join them “in the clouds…in the air.”

So there is a “catching away,” a rising up into our atmosphere. “Clouds” and “air” are components of the very atmosphere that we mortals breathe as we stand here on earth. The dead in Christ will join Him upon His return, and then those alive in Him will be changed and “caught up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ in the air.” Our change, when “this mortal shall put on immortality,” shall take place in the very atmosphere that we now breathe.

There will be air and clouds there. The Greek manuscripts are clear on this. Now take note of the next line in v. 17: “And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This   part of the passage is never quoted. We will join up with Him in our atmosphere rising in our new spiritual bodies from the earth, and then we will come right back down onto terra firma! We will come back down to earth after that short ride because He is immediately coming back to earth. And we are coming back down to earth with Him, for we shall “ever be with Him.”

This is our hope–to be eternally with Christ

We will forever be with Him at this time–all of His people down through the ages and those of His who are alive when He returns. That is our hope! The first step that He will take will be right here on earth.

Paul continues to explain to the Thessalonians about how Christ’s return will be “as a thief in the night” to those who walk in darkness. “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” Those in spiritual darkness will not know when He is coming back, but the elect will know and not be overtaken. “You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness’ (I Thess. 5: 2-9).

God’s children will be changed into immortals and will not be taken in the “sudden destruction” coming upon all those in darkness. Paul says that at the time of end, the world system will be trying to induce an artificial man-made peace throughout the globe. They will say that everything is fine now. “Peace and safety” will be the talk of the land, but real peace will not reside in the hearts of the earth’s inhabitants. In reality, a godless darkness will cover the land.

Yet, this earth in all of its end time spiritual darkness will be the stage for man’s greatest disaster and greatest triumph. The New World Order and its enforced peace will crumble under the onslaught of God’s missiles, His heavenly bodies that will literally crash down onto this earth, wiping out whole civilizations. It will be a “time of trouble” never seen before on earth.

Rising out of the ashes

But, rising out of the wasteland will come striding God’s chosen ones, His elect, His sons and daughters, His ambassadors–the princes and princesses of God’s kingdom. They will have God fully formed in them. Nothing will harm them, for they are from another dimension–a heavenly one that has transcended earthly matter. They will no longer be of this earth. They will have been “changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.”

This at once terrible and glorious day will come on the world as “a thief in the night.” Darkness will envelop the land, literally and spiritually. But, as Paul exhorts, you are “the children of light…we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (I Th 5: 4-5). The very fact that we have the Spirit within us, will make us where we can see the “thief” who operates out in the night of the world system. God’s elect will know. We will know by the signs of the times, for we will be “sober, armed with the armor of God, “the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.” This “hope of salvation” is the hope of our deliverance  from the dusty tombs of our mortal earthy existence. This “hope of salvation” is the looking forward to us receiving our new spiritual body at His coming–whether we be dead or alive upon His return.

At the end of this present age, the earth, totally immersed in the evil world system, will be a crucible of wrath, bathed in fire and blood. Yet this earth’s most painful travail will with supreme irony give birth to the sons and daughters of the great Father Yahweh. They will be the first immortals to take up residence on this earth since Christ Himself did for 40 days after His resurrection. They will have His Spirit fully residing within, and they “will build the old waste places” (Isa. 61: 1-4). Paul and the Thessalonians looked forward to this day, our day. In fact, their spirit still looks forward to the day of Christ’s return, which will fulfill our hope–our hope for immortality.

 

 

 

 

 

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The True Gospel of Christ–The Kingdom of God

An earth free from corruption and cruelty, free from addiction and selfishness, free from hunger and desperation, free from greedy leaders who cast the poor in chains of lies and deceit, free from husbands and wives betraying those who love them the most, free from brokenhearted children thrown by the wayside by selfish parents, free from the evil that pillages every soul on the face of the earth–this is the promise God has made to those who love Him. And He will make it happen when He ushers in His kingdom that will fill the whole earth. This is the good news; this is the gospel of the kingdom of God.

There are many “gospels” out there, many different takes on what the “good news” of Christ is all about. Yet there is only one real gospel.

We must get it right. For the apostle Paul says that anybody who preaches a different gospel, “let him be accursed” (Gal. 1: 9). That is a serious warning to us that we better get it right.

To know for sure, we must verify through the scriptures what we have been taught. Excuses won’t be accepted when we stand before the Judge. “Well, that’s what they taught me in Sunday school.” And He will say, “Why didn’t you prove it out by study and prayer.

What the Scriptures Say

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1: 14; Matt. 4: 23). Which gospel? The good news concerning the kingdom of God.

Some say that being “born again” is the gospel. It is important, but only the first step. For, “except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

The gospel is much bigger than our personal salvation. It encompasses the whole earth. Man’s rule of himself is a hopeless mess, full of cruelty and sin. Just turn on the news and glimpse the killings, thefts, and wars. The real good news is that Christ is coming back to establish His government. Since He is the king, it will be a kingdom.

Christ prayed in His famous model prayer, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” God’s will in heaven is that His kingdom come to rid this earth of evil and establish His righteous rule over all. That’s the good news.

The prophet Daniel speaks of God’s kingdom and the splash it will make when it comes. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had a dream and his spirit “was troubled to know the dream,” for He had forgotten it. None of his soothsayers could tell him it, but God revealed it to Daniel.

He told Nebuchadnezzar that he had seen in the dream a great image of a man with a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet of iron mixed with clay. And he saw “till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet…and brake them to pieces…and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”

The interpretation followed. The different sections of the image were kingdoms in history that would stride forth upon the earth–powerful kingdoms that at the end of the age would be struck down by the stone kingdom, the soon coming kingdom of God.

When will it come? “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed, and the kingdom shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2: 1-44).

It Is Coming

The kingdom of God is coming to fill the whole earth with its righteousness, peace , and joy. This is the good news, the gospel proclaimed in the gospels and in the prophets. This is it. This is what they spoke about all the time.

What was on Christ’s mind during the 40 days He spent with His disciples after His resurrection from the dead? Christ spoke to them “of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1: 3).

Forty days! The kingdom of God was such an important subject that the greatest teacher who ever lived spoke to His followers exclusively about it for forty miraculous days! He was telling them, You have got to wait here in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes down upon you, and you will receive power to be my witnesses (Acts 1: 8).

Witnesses of what? You are going to get the power you need to tell the people of this earth about the kingdom of God–what it is, when it is coming, who will be the King, how it will be established, who will be the citizens of this new heavenly government, where it will be established…

Brothers and sisters, Christ gives us power for one purpose–to bear witness that He is the King of God’s kingdom and that He is coming back soon to take back this earth, which is His rightful inheritance! Those of us who do this will rule with Him. Those who will not have Him rule over them in the Kingdom of God will come to a bad end.

Did the disciples take heed to what the risen Christ taught them those forty days about His kingship and kingdom? Did they receive power to be His witnesses, that they had seen the resurrected Christ and had talked to Him about His plans for His return to be that stone that would crush the evil kingdoms of the world?

Yes, they did and became powerful witnesses for the King. Peter at Pentecost tells people to repent of their sins and be converted to the King and His cause, for the King Jesus Christ (Yahshua) shall remain in heaven until the things spoken by the prophets of old be restored and fulfilled (Acts 3: 19-21). That would include the prophecy that Daniel the prophet gave about the “stone kingdom” coming in there in chapter 2.

The evangelist Philip preached “the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 8: 12). The very last act that is recorded in the book of the Acts of the Apostles has Paul “preaching the kingdom of God” (28: 31). And we know that they were preaching the gospel.

The kingdom of God is coming. And it’s coming to fill the whole earth with His righteousness, peace and joy. This is the good news proclaimed in the four “gospels” and in all the prophets.

The Father’s heavenly government is coming fully to earth, and it shall smash into pieces all of man’s governments. It is the stone kingdom that the holy watchers saw coming to earth that crushed the world’s newly minted one world government.

To those of us who have been called and chosen, this is good news. To those who love this present world system, this coming literal government of God is bad news. But be it “good news” or “bad news,” it is coming.

The First Thing We Are to Seek

Christ is showing us that we should have this truth about the kingdom in our minds when communicating with our Father. We are to have this grand and glorious vision of the earth free from corruption and cruelty, free from addiction and selfishness, free from hunger and desperation, free from greedy leaders who cast the poor in chains of lies and deceit, free from husbands and wives betraying those who love them the most, free from brokenhearted children thrown by the wayside by selfish parents, free from the evil that pillages every soul on the face of the earth–this is the good news; this is the gospel of the kingdom of God.

This is the good news that will fill the earth when Christ comes back and sits down on the throne of our invisible Father. And His sons and daughters will be sitting alongside Him there, awaiting orders to be dispatched out into the ravished earth to rebuild and restore what the satanic forces wasted.

This is the very first thing we should seek for in God. He says, Seek and ye shall find. Seek what? “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and everything else will be added to you.

This wonderful vision of His government actually coming to earth along with its 1,000 years of peace with the Prince of Peace in charge–this is what we are to seek for. This is the gospel; this is the good news.   Kenneth Wayne Hancock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Purge Out the Old Leaven–In Order to Become the Sons of God

We have become the princes and princesses of God the King by our new spiritual birth.  However, we are in training to assume royal duties with Him upon His return to earth.

What should we be doing to get ready for this great responsibility?  We are admonished to “purge out the old leaven that the lump may be holy” (I Corinthians 5:7).

Leaven?  What does that mean?  Look.  Christ is the “bread of life.”  We have received His Spirit, and it is “no longer I that lives but Christ that lives in me.”  Therefore, we as His body are the “bread of life,” too, because of His presence within us.  But we come into this new life with some old concepts about God and the affairs of this world system that must be gotten rid of.  We have carried over in our thinking old doctrines, beliefs, traditions, and concepts.

Unleavened bread is “sincerity and truth” (I Cor. 5:8).  So, “leaven” must be insincerity and falsehoods.  Christ Himself told us to “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1).  Yes, “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.”  The Pharisees were the religious leaders, and Herod was the political leader back in that day.  They are symbols of religious and political leaders today.  “There is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  So, Christ is telling us to beware of them in our day, too.

To “purge out” the old leaven, we must be brutally honest with ourselves and “examine ourselves.”  We must be open to new truth; if we are not open, then we must believe that we have all truth already.  And if we think that way, then it will be very difficult for the Spirit to “guide us into all truth.”

No one except Him can help us get ready to rule with Him.  It is our responsibility to study and search out true concepts and get rid of false concepts about Him and His plan and purpose.  Like the “Reverend Mr. Black” said in song, “You gotta walk that lonesome valley; you gotta walk it by yourself.  Nobody else can walk it for you.  You gotta walk it by yourself.”

We must rid our minds of false religious and political concepts and take on the “mind of Christ” in order to “make our calling and election sure” as His princes and princesses.

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The Commandment of God We Never Obey

We Christians endeavor to obey what God tells us to do or not do. He says, Do not steal, we don’t steal. We really do try to obey His commands, admonishments, and exhortations.

But there’s one commandment we seldom if ever obey. Very few of us even know about it. And it is this: “Ask Me about My sons, the work of My hands” (Isa. 45: 11). The Spirit of God is speaking through the prophet Isaiah, telling us to ask Him about what He is doing, how He occupies Himself. He is commanding those who sincerely seek Him to literally ask Him about His work.

The work of God’s hands is what He does to forge us into His family of sons and daughters. It is His everyday toil and vocation. And He wants us to inquire of Him concerning what He is doing. It is so important to Him that He is commanding us to ask Him about the work of His hands.

Making Sons

And that work is making sons–sons of the King, the princes and princesses in His Kingdom of God. His children are His heirs, His royal offspring who will rule with Christ the King during His 1,000 year reign here on earth.

God is a worker. He is depicted in the scriptures as a workman working with His hands. He is a “wise master builder” who has laid the foundation of His house. He is the Potter sitting at the wheel, working the clay (us) into vessels of honor or dishonor. He is the Sower of seed; He is the husbandman that labors in His vineyard.

Ask Me About My Sons

Okay, Father. I will ask You. God, what about your sons? What about your work, the work of your hands? Are they the same offspring that the apostle Paul speaks of in Romans 8, where he speaks of “the glory which shall be revealed in us” (v. 18)? Are your sons that entity that the whole creation is waiting for (v. 19)? Are they the “joint-heirs with Christ” (v. 17)? Wait a minute. That’s us, isn’t it? Us Christians? Are Your sons the “remnant according to the election of grace”? Are they the 100 fold fruit bearing over-comers in our end time generation who will do the “greater works”?

I believe that the answer is yes to all of these questions. His sons and daughters are the election, His chosen ones. He says that they will “go on to perfection” in full spiritual maturity, being just like our example Jesus Christ (Yahshua the Anointed One).

With God we can do this; we can walk this higher walk. “And nothing shall be impossible to him that believes.” We are “more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (8: 37).

But we must pray for eye salve that we may see, for “blindness in part is happened to Israel [not the Israeli nation, but rather the "lost sheep of the House of Israel]. Only a small remnant can see right now the plan of God in how He is molding and shaping His offspring. It is this remnant who are the called and chosen and eventually will be glorified (Romans 8-28-33). They will not hollowly display God’s physical image in this world, but they will manifest His glorious presence. This is what any good prince or princess would do–to bear witness to the righteous and holy sovereign reign of their wonderful Father the King.

This is what our Father is working on–us, His elect, His chosen ones. That is what He is all about–us. We are the work of His hands, His workmanship. And He wants us to ask Him about His sons.      Kenneth Wayne Hancock

[For more on how He works on us and makes us His sons and daughters, go here:   http://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/believing-the-resurrection-in-us-how-the-holy-spirit-comes-down-into-us/%5D

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Passover and Unleavened Bread–How to Spiritually Keep the Feasts

A reader once asked, “Exodus 12: 14-15 says that the feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread are a  memorial for all generations. A memorial is a yearly observance, something done from year to year. Also, Yahshua [Jesus] kept the Feasts all throughout the New Testament, leaving us an example, thus He came to “magnify the law not to destroy it. Should we not then keep the feasts?”

A brilliant question yielded this reply. Yes, the feasts of Yahweh are to be kept by us. No doubt about it. How? is the question. Paul explains how under the new covenant. There is a spiritual truth to be extracted from the feasts.

The Spirit of Christ through Paul said that the feasts are a shadow of the heavenly reality. The priests in the book of Exodus administered the seven feasts of God. But they were only serving a copy and shadow of the heavenly reality. All of those gifts offered by them and the sacrifices and the feasts are but a pattern and not the reality.

Here is the Spirit of God expounding on this: “There are priests that offer gifts according to the law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary,” a “pattern” shown Moses on the mount Sinai (Heb. 8: 5; Col. 2: 16-17). So if the Passover and Unleavened Bread feasts are a copy, shadow, and a pattern, then how do we keep the the real heavenly feasts?

These two feasts are mentioned by Paul. “Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (I Cor. 5: 7-8).

We His children are the lump of unleavened dough that goes through the furnace of trials in order to be baked into the bread of life. He in us is the bread of life. To keep this feast, we are to spiritually get rid of any malice and wickedness out of our thinking. Replace it with sincerity and truth. Without this, no amount of eating leavenless earthly flatbread will avail anything with God. He is calling for our hearts to be pure and not puffed up with false knowledge.

In this same passage we see the New Covenant Feast of Passover. Christ, the Lamb of God, takes the place of the literal animal as seen in Exodus. He is, of course, our spiritual Passover Lamb. We keep this feast when we know and believe that all of our evilness and malice, which is our old sin nature, died when He died on the cross. For He as the old scapegoat had our sins transferred upon Himself. We keep the feast when we surrender to this truth and give up our old lives. And when He was raised from the dead, we also are raised to walk in a newness of life (Romans 6: 1-12). This is the Spirit of Christ coming into our hearts and changing us.

And then the feast of unleavened bread in the new covenant is when we get rid of the insincerity and false concepts about Him and walk in truth. The very fact that the Spirit mentioned “the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” and the leaven of “malice and wickedness” should signal to us that the feasts are spiritual [For more on this: http://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/feasts-new-moons-sabbaths-mere-shadows-of-christ-in-us/ ]

The generation in the wilderness was under the cloud, the aforementioned “shadow.” Christ our Passover had not yet come. So they were to keep the feasts as outlined by Moses. There are millions of people who diligently keep the Passover, for instance, but do not believe in Jesus Christ (Yahshua) of Nazareth. They are not keeping in truth the feast of Passover, for they have rejected Him, the true Passover Lamb.

Yahshua before His crucifixion kept the feasts as authorized by the law of Moses, for that was the age in which He walked upon the earth. That is changed. All of the book of Hebrews explains this conversion from old covenant and testament to new covenant.

God was speaking to the blind and disobedient generation in Ex. 12, not the “chosen generation,” which is the remnant, the elect, those with a new heart.      Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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“Seek First the Kingdom of God,” the Government of the Invisible Spirit

The phrase “kingdom of God” has been used so much by so many people from so many different religious backgrounds that its real meaning may have been lost.  Heretofore, most  have understood the phrase to mean “God’s kingdom,” or the kingdom that belongs to Him.  And this is true, it does belong to Him and His children.  However, there is another way to look at that phrase, and that is “the kingdom of the Spirit.”

It says in John 4 that “God is Spirit.”  Therefore, “kingdom of God” can be construed as “kingdom of Spirit.”  Or, in other words, it means a form of order and government headed by a Sovereign entity that is comprised of Spirit.  The Master did say that “the flesh profits nothing; it is the spirit that makes alive.”  “All is vanity,” in other words, except the invisible spiritual things.

We are admonished that we should seek first this invisible spirit kingdom.  Also, the only true worship of the Father is in spirit and in truth.  It is not any old spirit worship, but it must be spiritual and truthful. It won’t be anything remotely having to do with earthly natural things.

True worship is an invisible connection between our spirit in the human heart and the Eternal Creator Spirit.  It is the connection you cannot see.  You cannot legislate it, tax it, build fine buildings in order to coax true worship into your midst.  It is an invisible agreement between the Creator and His special spiritual creation, Adam.  “The true worshipers must worship the Father in spirit and in truth.”  They must find out the truth about His invisible Spirit reign within, for “the kingdom of God (Spirit) is within you.”

It is a realm of the heart, an inner sanctum full of true thoughts about the true nature of things.  “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.”  You can’t see it with your fleshly eyes.  It is not of this earth.  Consequently, when we look out over this earth, anything we see, be it ever so religious, cannot be or have anything to do with the kingdom of Spirit (God).

“Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights.”  The kingdom of God is a dimension and realm that our five senses don’t pick up on.  It is not of this earth.  It must first be believed on, and then it will begin to manifest itself to the understanding of our hearts.  We will never see it first with our earthly eyes and then believe.  Faith must be exercised—believing having not yet seen with the fleshly eyes.  The kingdom of God is a government of God, who is Spirit, and who rules in our hearts by His very essence, which is spirit.      Kenneth Wayne Hancock        {For more on this topic see this earlier article  http://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/not-of-this-earth/ and the one dated 3/17/08 }

 

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The Apostles’ Doctrine–The Curriculum of God’s Teachers

      Teachers of God will expound His way, while false prophets and false teachers lie to the flock of God.  The true teachers are gifts to mankind from God (Ephesians 4: 11).  They are precious and very few in number.  If we seek, we will find one, and we will hold them dear.

     But how can we tell the true from the false?  The true teachers will have a grasp of the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42).  They will know how to explain in detail how one repents, how faith works in us receiving a new heart.  In short, they will have true knowledge of the “principles of the doctrine of Christ” (Hebrews 6: 1-2).

Yet they will also know that one must leave those first principles in order to “go on unto perfection.” The Spirit that is within them will “lead us into all truth.”  They will know that it is Christ in them who actually is the real Teacher.

Many in “church circles” talk about wanting the same life as the early church in the book of The Acts of the Apostles.  They see the miracles and wonders performed and long for that same divine power to hold sway on the earth today.  They want, however, to circumvent the procedure used in those enlightened days right after Christ’s resurrection.  They want to accept Christ, be baptized, and then they want to set the world on fire with God’s power.

Before the miracles come from God, prerequisites must be done. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles” (Acts 2:42-43).  Here you see the progression of things: the doctrine, fellowship, breaking bread, prayers, fear of God, and then came the wonders and signs.

“We Don’t Want Doctrine–Just Jesus”

It was the apostles’ doctrine that the early converts stayed in.   They did those teachings.  For “doctrine” is translated from the Greek word didaskalia, which means “teaching; that which is taught.”  Beware of those who will say, “We don’t want doctrine, we just want Jesus!”  If they could only realize that the Savior Himself was referred to as a “Didaskalos,” meaning “Teacher, Master.”  The same root word!  People who say, “We don’t want doctrine” are really saying they do not want the real Christ and what He taught.

The true teachers of God will teach true repentance from sin in one’s life and how faith works to give us a new heart and new spirit that pleases God in not sinning against Him.  And this is just the first principles “of the doctrine of Christ” (Hebrews 6: 1-2).

This is not a new thing that I write about.  Read it for yourself in Martin Luther’s writings*; in the sermons of John Wesley (  http://wesley.nnu.edu/john_wesley/sermons/040.htm ), founder of the Methodist Church; from Andrew Murray, 19th Century Scottish Missionary and author ( http://www.victoryoversin.com/murray/like/lc24.htm ); or in my books (http://www.yahwehisthesavior.com/sonsintro.htm ).

So, turn away from anyone who doesn’t teach the apostles’ doctrine, that says that you cannot be a righteous son or daughter of God.  Don’t believe them.  They will try to drag you down into the same spiritual slop that they are stuck in.  Find yourself a true teacher and study out the apostles’ doctrine, for those are the teachings of Christ.      Kenneth Wayne Hancock

* “Sermon on Three-fold Righteousness” at  http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/web/3formsrt.html

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