Christ’s Gospel was about the coming Kingdom of God, which He commissioned His Church to continue preaching until His return!
Every Bible student should know this, if they really study and believe the Bible, but what exactly does the title mean? Can or does this have any kind of parallel with the ultimate purpose of human life? Is a small group of individuals about to be born into the Spirit realm as part of the “Kingdom of God” and is that even possible? Please use your Bible as you go through this article and prove what the Scriptures reveal for yourself.
Dan 2:44 tells us; “And in the days of these kings (End time prophecy—just ahead.) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” In this end time frame that we have now come into, with the Kingdom of God ever more near than when many were first called, (majority in the COG called in the 20th century) it is very important that we hold fast what we have been given, (Rev.3:11) while learning even more and proving that out to be truth, so we can help newer members as they come along!
(We cannot be deceived along with the rest of the world into thinking the kingdom is already here in the form of some large world circling organization or that it is established in the hearts of men. No one is truly born again at this time, except Christ, who in the human form was begotten. (John 1:14) So all who have been called and chosen are in this begotten stage and could be considered in embryo.)
There are those in this present (COG) era of Laodicea who do not take that precious knowledge of truth serious enough, or at least water it down with compromises, deliberately or in ignorance, and possibly may be causing you to stumble. However, it does appear that many still do not know WHAT the kingdom of God IS—exactly—though wanting to and therefore may not be learning all that we need to be focused on, concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God. For example, how important is preaching the Gospel to you personally? How involved do you think YOU should be in getting that truth out to the world today? Is it to be publicly proclaimed by a voice “lifted up” (Isa.58:1) or just written about by the COG today? Many no longer follow the pattern inspired to be set by HWA and others make excuses for not putting any real effort into it. The zealous will be using any and all means at their disposal and still look for new ways because it is the message that announces the coming birth of a Spiritual kingdom! Notice what Christ said about this kind of commitment and diligence, in Mark 8:34-35 (Note this in your bibles, as this is key to a true convert.) V.34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (I will be using the NKJ, plus the RSV where noted.)
(Salvation is a process that will lead to eternal life for those who would be committed to it and follow Him, but it is not granted just by acknowledging Christ as the Son of God or just being in a COG group somewhere. These verses clearly show Christ expects some effort, endurance and dedication on our part. Notice;) V.35 "For whoever desires to save his life (Physically) will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. (Ch.10:29-30, repeats this and gives more details and saying they will have eternal life.) Note V.38, presenting the other side of the coin; "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words (Think about this now) in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." (Christ’s return has not yet taken place—so there is still work to do for the COG in preparing to be in the kingdom. Public proclamation of the Gospel is the first priority of it.) Rom 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, (hopefully that will apply to you and me) by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
However, through course of time all human beings are subject to grow old and wear down both in mind and body, before death takes its toll, in the natural sense. Even those called and chosen as members of the COG today, having the Holy Spirit in them for many years, have to keep it stirred up by use, (2Tim.1:6-7) or we can and will also forget things once learned and can become compromising and lukewarm when following some present day ministers. We have to stay fresh in “trunk of the tree” doctrines to be solidly clinging to the truths of God. Some today are wrongfully blending Scripture or blurring lines between subjects and getting others confused. We have to be keeping the right perspective given in & from Scripture, not unwittingly letting down to the point that we put trust and confidence in man or organizations of men instead of God and His word. Many under HWA succumbed to this lax-ness from time to time, just being indoctrinated and actually brainwashed by whatever the church taught and many more brethren still do that today in their respective organizations, thus the COG continues to splinter or fragment into various factions. They never really prove things out for themselves, with this approach, just following others or perhaps even their own ideas in connection to SOME points of Scripture. Some did not ever recognize the human errors in past teaching because they were not diligent to search for truth nor would the many ever question if the authority over them was in error on some points; only the few who trusted God did this. Now why am I telling you this and what does that have to do with the title? The Bible explains its “mysteries” or hidden truths to an open Spirit led mind.
Christ came to set the kingdom of God, from the human realm and their intended purpose in motion, by initiating its Spiritual embryonic stage or phase, as Adam had failed to do. Christ came as the 2nd Adam and succeeded, as the “only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14) who was later born from the dead by resurrection, (1Cor.15:20 & Col.1:18) setting the example and showing that we can follow.
(Now of course that means proper preparation and planning of the parents before growth in the womb begins on the human level—not immediately begotten then born—there is the growth period from being begotten to an embryo on into a fetus and then coming to full term for birth. That is a good analogy for the Spiritual. By using the term “embryonic” in the case of the true COG, it means a Kingdom in process of growth, clearly not yet born. That will take place at the return of Christ.)
So let us get more focused on the big picture by going back to the beginning of it all for man—by turning to the book of Genesis and V.26-28. We need to be reminded, from time to time that in V.26, we read; Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion (Rule) over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Now we learn from this passage that these two God beings as symbolic “parents”, (Actually creators) found identified in John 1:1-2, intended man to reproduce, having lots of children through the union of one man and one woman. (God created the marriage union, Matt.19:4-6)
However, God created them in the physical but after the God kind and to eventually become God, but they were only flesh at that time. God was setting out to reproduce Himself and planned for mankind to have eternal life, the very purpose of their creation— the tree of life was there to initiate that Spiritual relationship and to “beget” or impregnate, which had to begin by man’s choosing.
We read that they were to have dominion or to rule. The dictionary for the word dominion gives; “authority, control, power of command over, as well as other things. Genesis 1:26 from Adam Clarke Commentary-- [And let them have dominion] says “Hence we see that the dominion was not the image. God created man (in His own image) capable of governing the world, and when fitted for the office, he fixed (or would fix, as it should say) him in it.” Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words shows this for God’s created intention for MAN- “From the outset he occupied an exalted position over the rest of the earthly creation and was promised (or intended to have) an even higher position (which is eternal life) if he obeyed God:”
So he was not created neutral to make or plot his own course, but for a specific purpose right from the beginning and to remain in the purpose for his creation, he would have to choose the tree of life. Now we can go to Gen 2:8-9, which gives more detail to go with chapter one; “The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. (Before Eve was actually created and still in the sixth day) 9 And out of the ground the LORD God (had) made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Dropping down to V.16-17, we read “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, (here is another specific command) for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Adam and Eve would have been used to restore the Government of God to this earth, simply by their submission to those commands from God and that was the purpose God had created them for. They were intended to begin the EMBRYONIC stage of the KINGDOM of GOD, eventually becoming Spirit beings from the human realm! The tree of life would have impregnated them with the Holy Spirit and begun the process. HWA, many years ago said the COG was the “kingdom of God in embryo”, which I believe from all of my study into the word of God for nearly 40 years and seeing the intended purpose of God for humanity, he was correct! Of course, for those who truly understand the Bible and agree with its truths, the Gospel message and the doctrinal subject of “born again”, taught by Christ and the NT—are in fact a very correct way of explaining what the purpose of man is. Adam failed to choose life however, then later on Israel as a nation also failed the same choice. Jesus Christ came as the second Adam and succeeded; God & Christ now are building the 2nd Eve which is the COG—to become the Bride of the 2nd Adam, Jesus Christ! Christ, His ministry, the apostolic era—the time of the early apostles and what we find in the New Testament—was where this embryonic kingdom began, because the first Adam failed. Christ said “I will build my Church” and actually started to lay the ground work for this first stage, so to speak, while being the God of the OT and then coming in the flesh. It was not yet built, as Christ was the beginning or seed—first of first fruits—chief corner stone—the “second Adam” as is explained in Scripture! So what we see there in the creation of man was only the beginning, and just as an embryo quickly begins to grow and becomes a fetus, at approx. 10 weeks in the womb, so was the embryonic kingdom or Family of God from the human realm to be. Adams sin may have created a detour, but God foresaw the potential of that in advance and planned for it. However that does not change the purpose intended for man in the beginning, as Adam COULD HAVE chosen the tree of life first and been used to restore the Government of God on earth!
There is so much more to this story and some of it is revealed in the Gospel. Christ said in Matt.28:18 that all authority had been GIVEN Him, when He again became a Spirit member of the Family. I hope we can begin to grasp this. Luke 17:21, as it is recorded properly in the revised standard version (RSV) says; “the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."—Christ was saying in affect, “a member of the Royal (GOD) Family is present”. The Kingdom of God as Christ preached though has not yet arrived! The kingdom of God can still be considered an embryonic kingdom which is the time frame the internal workings of this new body are still being developed. God started over with Noah, wiping out all the rest of Adams children. Abraham came through Shem, from righteous Noah who did obey, and Christ came through the “seed” of this father of the faithful, conquering Satan and setting the perfect example. Turning to 1 Cor.15:45-46 (RSV) V.45 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual.” Note verse 49 ”Just as we (mankind) have borne the image of the man of dust, we (Christians) shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” V.50 I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”
Jesus Christ Himself had to first set the stage of living without sin or lay down the pattern for all others to follow, then be BORN AGAIN by resurrection from the dead to become the first acceptable Spirit born Son of God from the human realm! Now God, the God realm (Family) could begin the growth of the Spiritual embryo that would become the second or Spiritual Eve. (Just as the first Eve was taken from Adams body & shed blood, so is the Spiritual Eve being built through the body & shed blood of Christ.) Each and every member of the body to become a part of the bride of Christ goes through the same process—which parallels our human growth during the embryonic stage, all the way to birth. Jesus Christ and the early COG, all those faithful and now the dead in Christ went through this Spiritual embryonic stage to become the children of God; that has now grown through time into the fetus stage going on through the gestation period, very close now to the point of parturition, or birth. We each one begin the same way; being first called of God then repenting and being baptized, then begotten by the Holy Spirit from the Father, which joins with our spirit and the embryonic stage of another God being begins. (There are various analogies one can see when studying into the Word of God—but we must be careful and not get outside the realm of what Scripture reveals, and in order to be “rightly dividing the Word of truth”. Failure on this has gotten many off the right path and into heresy and many have fallen away.)
The collective COG however is considered one Spiritual body, as many passages relate. We each one have to grow Spiritually to maturity (read Eph.4:11-16—RSV)—by analogy we move from the embryonic stage into the fetus stage—growing all the while in the COG who is also by analogy or symbolism, our mother. (Gal.4:26 & Phil.3:20-21) It is symbolic of the womb where we are protected. We are told in Rev.3:11 to hold fast and not let anyone take our crown (our slated place of Royalty) and in Rev.3:19 we are told to be zealous and repent if we have let down. We can be over-comers and pillars in the temple—to sit with Christ on His throne and to rule as part of the Royal family, with Him. If we let down and don’t repent, we will lose out on being a first fruit and maybe even eternal life. Heb. 5:11-14 (RSV) says; “About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. (This is very similar to the 5 foolish virgins not having prepared enough oil, and the “quenching of the Spirit” that Paul spoke of.) 12 “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God's word. You need milk, not solid food; (if we are in this condition—we cannot digest the spiritual meat—even though Satan has convinced many that they are.) 13 for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, (Those truly making themselves ready by striving to GROW UP in Christ) for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.”
Never give up any aspect of the truth that you have solidly proven or yield to those who would compromise it enough to try and lead you astray, and there is that danger in this last era! Those who are considered the “LUKEWARM” of Laodicea and do not repent cannot be IN the Spiritual Body as a first fruit, without that repentance! The first fruits are few today and are still learning to be loving, participating and clinging to the truth of Scripture and the Gospel message Christ preached. These things the new convert lets the Spirit lead them to is moving them through the embryonic stage into the fetus stage where we can all finally be born again as members of the already existing Kingdom or Family of God, when Christ returns or as we endure to the end of this physical life. We are a part of the embryonic Kingdom, if still in the faith and being led by the Holy Spirit! (Prepared by the editor for TCOGMSO)