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The Contest for the Kingdom

...from God To His Own Begotten Son

Ed Corley

 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Psalm 2:8

LET US HOLD this information intact as we continue on in our study of God’s Covenant Promise to His beloved Son. As the Final Day comes on, all people of the earth will consolidate under one of two dominions, either the rule of God’s Kingdom under the Head of Christ Jesus, or the rule of the kingdom of darkness and the head of the anti-Christ.

THAT MORNING as the sun rose, a light was burning in my soul. Something had laid hold on me, even though there were some things I could not yet understand in the Revelation passage to which I felt directed. I could see for certain the Word in Ps 2:7-9 was Gods promise to the Lord Jesus. Rev 2:26,27 confirmed this. I could also see the Lord Jesus was giving to those who overcome the same authority His Father gave Him. What was beyond my grasp was how the people who inherit the Kingdom with Him will be made ready for their high calling.

I soon saw Rev 5:9,10. It begins laying out the answer. It tells of a company who will reign on the earth with the Lord. They have been redeemed by His blood. This matter is so important, we’ll come back to it. There is no person who has any hope of attaining that position of overcomer, or of ruling with the Lord Jesus, who has not come by the blood of His Redemption. And how often we have made mention of it! -- they will come out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation—Rev 5:9.

When the Lord began sending us anew to the nations, we went to some remote places where candidates for God’s Government Service seemed little likely to be found. I remember teaching Pastors and workers from two of the most troubled and deprived nations on earth. The Holy Spirit anointed me to tell them of the Kingdom of God. We used mainly what Jesus taught in Mt 13, but with the foundation for the teaching reaching into Ps 2.

We noted Mt 13:19 where we find Jesus teaching that the Word of the Kingdom is to be planted in the hearts of believers and cared for as a tender plant prone to perish. We then took note in Mt 13:38 that other seeds are to be planted, thrown to the wind, as it were. They are the children of the Kingdom, sown in the field which is the world, with a fierce stamina worked in them to overcome in tribulation. A Spirit of Revelation came on that group gathered for teaching. We dared tell them the Kingdom of Christ is coming in all the earth and is ready to begin its work now—in us. It became clear that before the Kingdom spreads through all nations, its rule will have begun in the hearts of God’s people everywhere.

SOMETHING CAME TO BIRTH in those dear people. One young Pastor came to me saying, "When you spoke of the Word of the Kingdom, something entered me right here." He pointed to his heart. He wrote time and again asking us to come back. Three years later, he met me at a small airport in his country. Again, he pointed to his heart and said the same thing, adding, "I am your son."

Being with those people was necessary for me to see that the Holy Spirit is ready—powerfully ready—to extend the Government of Christ even into the dark and lowly places of the earth.

Another time, as I was lowering my head to enter a humble building where Gospel workers had gathered from two other troubled nations, the Lord spoke to me, "Tell them the secrets of My Kingdom as revealed in Ephesians." I went in to sit on a little chair they had provided while I waited to speak. I said to the Lord, "What secrets?"

In an instant the Book of Ephesians opened. I saw how the secret of the POWER of God’s Kingdom is revealed in Eph 1:1-3:21. It lies in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. I saw that the secret of the RIGHTEOUSNESS of His Kingdom is revealed in Eph 4:1-6:9. It is in the new man we put on in Christ Jesus. And I saw how the secret of the AUTHORITY of His Kingdom is laid out in Eph 6:10-24. It is a spiritual authority, greater than all the authority of all earth’s rulers combined with the powers behind them. An unveiling of truth began pouring over us. Just this hour I received a letter from one of the Pastors who was there. He told how what happened then, nearly two decades ago, changed his life.

The release of the power, the righteousness and the authority of God’s Kingdom has already come for even the most remote—and in some ways, the most deprived—people to know. Before the end, the Gospel of the Kingdom, that is the "good news" of the Kingdom, will go everywhere (Mt 24:14). Nothing will be so important as its proclamation.

WE WILL LOOK FURTHER at our New Testament connections as we proceed. But now we go to the beginning of Ps 2 to take it verse by verse as it appears in the King James Version of the Scriptures.

Psalm 2—Part One. The LEADERS of the Nations speak, rejecting the rule of Christ.

1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His Anointed ("His Christ"), saying,
3 Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us.

The first verse is a question David asked when a scene of rebellion flashed before him. He was a Seer, a kind of Prophet who could see things the natural eye could not see, and then speak of them. He could see from heaven’s point of view to bring into the earth the Word of what he saw. A Word brought from heaven may carry with it a ruling power to release the will of God in the earth. From the heavens, not bound to limitations of time as we are, may be revealed what is a future thing for us "earthlings."

What David saw and laid out began with an angry movement among the nations. The outrage came because something was taking command of governments everywhere. It called for a summit meeting to end all summit meetings. Three words in the first verse need close attention. They are: heathen, rage and imagine.

Who are the heathen? We are accustomed to calling them the uncivilized people living in all kinds of darkness. The word in the Original is goyím. It is a Hebrew word quite clearly meaning "nations"—all the nations outside of Israel. This is amazing. We’re going to find in this Psalm, based on the Covenant God made with David, that this One Whom God declares is His Own begotten Son will receive the heathen, apparently all of them, for His inheritance.

The earth’s six-billion-plus population is divided into over 230 nations, ranging in size from huge China with one-fifth of the world’s people to tiny Liechtenstein, with a population about the size of a small town. In a widespread movement described in this Psalm, they join in an end-of-the-age movement to put down the rule of Christ’s Kingdom on earth.

The Word of Ps 2 reaches into the New Testament at this point. There the Greek word for nation is éthnos from which comes our English word "ethnic," terribly used nowadays in the term "ethnic cleansing." The word basically means "a number of people living together who share a common culture and heritage." It is sometimes translated Gentiles when the reference is to people other than Israel, although Israel is itself part of the total of the nations.

The word éthnos occurs in the New Testament 164 times. This would make it a Book for the Nations. It offers hope for them no government under man can offer. We find the word 15 times in Matthew, 44 times in Acts, 29 times in Romans, 10 times in Galatians, 22 times in Revelation—to list a few. We will look at this last Book to see the amazing last-days unfolding of God’s plan for the nations.

The desire of the Lord Jesus was toward the nations. His last Word, recorded in Mt 28:18,19, was, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach ALL NATIONS.... The word teach here is from the Greek matheteúo. It means "to train as a disciple." The impact of what He said was, "Go and bring on the nations the same disciplines I brought on you." What a charge!

THE BOOK OF REVELATION UNFOLDS how the promise of Ps 2 will find fulfillment. In this final Book are twelve statements pertaining to the triumph of God’s Kingdom set over against the rebellion of the evil one as he competes for governing power among the nations. Seeing these statements, we learn how the Government of the Lord and His Anointed (Ps 2:2) will prevail over the forces that have sought to impose their rule against Christ’s rule.

We have already taken note of some of these, but we see them again in their place.

1) The Lord Jesus gives the overcomers the same promise His Father gave Him regarding THE NATIONS.

Rev 2:26,27—And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over THE NATIONS: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father.

We have already seen how this reference to the nations relates to the promise of Ps 2. But there is something more to note in the word rule, from the Greek poimáno. It means "to tend a flock as a shepherd." It is a gentle word describing the work of those who cherish and guide the people under their care. It is kin to the word poímen, pastor, in Eph 4:11. An amazing thing! Whoever prevails in conflict with the world, the flesh and the devil, and lives out of the Finished Work of the Lord Jesus, will become part of a company ruling the nations like shepherds tending sheep. Oh, what we have to learn here!

That the nations are ruled with a rod of iron is significant. This word rod is from rábdo and means "a shepherd’s staff." Being of iron, it is inflexible, unbending, stern and demanding. Yet, it is in the hands of those who have the tender hearts of shepherds. Whereas, we have become accustomed to living in the age of grace with its flexibility and forgiveness, the age of the Kingdom will have righteousness as its earmark. The tender shepherds who rule will do so with an unyielding stance typified by a staff of iron.

2) A company of people redeemed out of EVERY NATION will reign with Christ.

Rev 5:9,10—And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the Book, and to open the seals thereof for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy Blood out of EVERY kindred, and tongue, and people, and NATION: and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Part of this should read, "You have redeemed us to God and have made us a kingdom, and priests." This confirms what we have maintained for some time that the purpose of the Redemption is governmental. Col 1:13 makes a clear statement regarding this: God has delivered us from the power of darkness ("the authority of the darkness"), and hath translated ("has transferred") us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.

The Redemption through Christ’s blood is not just to obtain for us a home in heaven. It is to bring us from the administrative hold of darkness and sin into the glory and light of heaven’s dominion. Submitting to this new government, an inner thing, is a step toward our becoming qualified to rule with Christ.

And here is this amazing thing. We emphasize it over and over—and yet, over again. The Redemption through the Blood of Jesus shall have laid hold on some from every family, language, and culture group in every nation before the great and final Day of the Lord. Let us expect this. To have a Kingdom with fair representation for all, under the Governance of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must expect the selection will come from this widespread field. Let me remind you again, that if the Covenant Word that came through David was sufficient to break the stronghold of death when it held the Lord Jesus, then there is sufficient power and authority in the same Covenant to bring forth this great company to which Rev 5:9,10 points.

3) A celebration of praise from the company redeemed out of the peoples of ALL NATIONS will arise to God and to the Lamb.

Rev 7:9,10—After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of ALL NATIONS, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the Throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb.

We learn something wonderful from verses 13 and 14 that follow on in this chapter. The question comes, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? The answer comes, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

The term great tribulation is from the Greek tés thlipseos tés megáles. It comes across as "the tribulation, the great one." Out of this time of unprecedented pressure and trial from the camp of the evil one, foretold by Jesus in Mt 24:21, comes a people ready to reign. Satan hopes vainly to wipe out the results of the Redemption and the authority of Christ’s Kingdom. His actions serve instead to help purify those who share with Christ in His Kingdom.

4) At the last trump the Lord Jesus Himself will descend to take His place openly among THE NATIONS. They will greet Him with anger.

Rev 11:15-18a—And the seventh angel sounded: and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and hast reigned. And THE NATIONS were angry…

Note well the statement regarding the kingdoms of this world becoming the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ. All powers of government come under the Lord and His Anointed—Ps 2:2. All conniving, planning and resistance, from man or devil, cannot prevent Christ taking His earthly Throne. This is the vain thing the people of Ps 2:1 imagine they can pull off. We’ve seen the rage of the heathen in Ps 2:1.

5) The govermnent of ALL NATIONS belongs to one called a Man Child.

Rev 12:5—And she brought forth a Man Child Who was to rule ALL NATIONS with a rod of iron: and her Child was caught up unto God, and to His Throne.

Many interpretations evolve from this chapter 12. With rich symbolism, it waits for our full understanding. But, some things are clear. The government of one called a Man Child will extend over the nations. And, a satanic force portrayed as a great red dragon will oppose His rule. This is parallel with Ps 2.

6) Before the Lord takes His final dominion, the government of THE NATIONS—for a limited time—will come under the dominion of one called the beast.

Rev 13:7—And it was given unto him (the beast of verses 1-6) to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over ALL kindreds, and tongues, and NATIONS.

The beast who makes war with the saints and overcomes them is described in the previous six verses—Rev 13:1-6. Note verse 5 . . .and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

This is a three-and-a-half-year period at the end of the age when anti-Christ oppression will become more intense than ever it has been. Both verses 5 and 7 tell us power was given unto him. Here, power is from the Greek exousia. It means political jurisdiction, allowed him by God. The beast can only move in accordance with the overruling authority of God. Knowing this will be a strength to those who face his wrath. His time will be limited to the three and one half years prophetically laid out by both Daniel and John, respectively the Old Testament and the New Testament Seers who saw the last days. They each described these years in details that earth waits to see unfold. Are they not close upon us? Many believe they are. We want our understanding and commitment to be clear and sure for that time.

7) In the mercy of God, as the beast takes up his limited authority in the earth, the Everlasting Gospel will go to EVERY NATION.

Rev 14:6—And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the Everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to EVERY NATION, and kindred, and tongue, and people...

A powerful Word follows in verse 7 laying out the content of the Everlasting Gospel. It is

(1) fear God, and
(2) give glory to Him: for the hour of His judgment is come: and
(3) worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

In content, this is similar to the last part of Ps 2. Apparently, the coming of the heavenly messenger brings the release of a new and powerful ministry out among the nations. With it comes the extension of God’s grace in a final offer. But, it will come in a day when opposition to the Gospel is fierce.

Let us yield to this grace now, lest we be found in company with them who oppose the rule of Christ. For in the great day of the wrath of the Lamb, none shall be able to stand—Rev 6:17—but for His grace.

It is a vain thing to imagine any way of escape from Him. Take note of the word every in Isa 45:23 and Rom 14:11.

 

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