Understanding the Kingdom Part 5

So, as we seek revelation from the Holy Spirit what can potentially happen in our lives? What is within us that can grow or be awakened? What can we learn from lives of others? I remember one time listening to a message from John Paul Jackson and he said after his teaching someone came up and asked what bible he was reading. He responded by saying he used the New King James. The response was something like this, “I don’t mean that, I read the bible and never see the things you see.” It really isn’t about the version we use, though I personally believe that to be quite important, it is about the open heart with which we read. Things that are obvious to some are hidden to others, yet there they are in plain view.

Let me illustrate with a couple of examples. First look at the passages below.

19  Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, Ephesians 2:19-20 (NKJV)

3  how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4  by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5  which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: Ephesians 3:3-5 (NKJV)

In these verses Paul gives us some things that identify the timeframe he is referencing. He tells us that the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets and those in other ages or eras did not understand what has now been revealed to Jesus apostles and prophets. The ‘now’ in this context is written in the middle of the first century AD but what Paul is referring to is the time since the birth of the church, the current age. The common teaching in most evangelical circles is that when Paul wrote this he was saying that the church is built upon Old Testament prophets and New Testament Apostles. The problem with that teaching is that while one can choose to believe it, they cannot choose to believe it based upon the plain teaching of scripture. Contextually the only thing Paul can be referring to is New Testament apostles and prophets.

While what I have just written has no significant implications for our salvation, it does have significant implications for how we apply scripture to our lives. Another example is a well known radio personality who is a Christian apologist (one who speaks in defense of their faith). He says some good things but not only has a blind spot regarding God’s end time purposes for ethnic Israel, he is actively opposed to God’s end time purposes for Israel. I wonder how he cannot see and recognize that the only way he can hold to what he believes is to not ‘see’ numerous significant and plain scriptures. This is not a matter of the application of a single scripture. It means the removal of Romans chapters 9-11, Zechariah chapters 12-14, Jeremiah 31 and numerous other scripture references along with a denial of church and secular history. I have contacted this ministry to seek clarification on their position but the only response I received was an offer to sell me products that outline their position and a request for a donation.

What is my point in all of this? Most of us can have a new bible and the only thing it will cost us is some time and perseverance in seeking His heart. We need to ask the Holy Spirit for fresh eyes to see from His perspective and know with His heart. Remember, He hides things not from us but for us! His delight is to teach us, as Jesus said.

 13  However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. John 16:13 (NKJV)

There are many things He is waiting and will delight to reveal to a seeking heart. However, if we think we already know our heart is not in a position to receive. I determined many years ago, a couple of decades actually, to hold most of my theology loosely. That may seem like a strange statement but beyond core things like the need for salvation and to be born again, most statements of faith are more statements of convictions, often passed down convictions. Many of my own positions have not changed significantly over the years but I have taken the time to consider whether many of them are wrong and have researched teachings with opposite or different positions because I want to know the truth. When I do this my searching is not to find fault and look for holes in their position, rather it is to find out if I am missing something or misapplying some scripture. Are their holes in my position? I want the answer to that question and He wants to tell me. I just need to come without veils over my heart and mind.

18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

2 thoughts on “Understanding the Kingdom Part 5”

  1. As usual I enjoyed your commentary. You mentioned that you do believe that versions of scripture are important and I note that you quote from the New King James Version. Am I correct in thinking that that is your version of choice? If so have you discussed this in another commentary? I am curious to know your thoughts on this. I use several translations but usually the NIV. Thanks again Randy for your faithfulness.

    1. The NIV is very readable, however my focus is on accuracy. I find the NKJV and NASB most faithfully render the original languages in English. There are textual issues I won’t address but my caution with NIV is accuracy. A simple eg. Neh. 1:5. The NIV has Nehemiah praying and referring to Yahweh’s ‘covenant of love.’ In Hebrew it accurately translates as ‘covenant and mercy’ or ‘covenant and lovingkindness.’ In Nehemiah’s day people could approach Yahweh because they had a covenant with Him (Israel) or on the basis of His mercy. He had no ‘covenant of love,’ which implies He loves because He has agreed to, rather the covenants He made flowed from His love. There are other examples but this captures my translation preference. I want to know what the scriptures have to say not someone’s opinion.

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