Jun 30

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What is the nature of the kingdom of Christ? Without a moment’s thought, it can be said that the nature of the kingdom of Christ is spiritual and not worldly. Jesus made this very clear, when speaking to Pilate: “My kingdom is not (The Greek, ou, the absolutely negative, frw) of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). The kingdom of Christ, as Paul wrote: “For we wrestle not (The Greek, ou, the absolutely negative, frw) against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). With these two negative statements, the subject of the nature of the kingdom of Christ is settled; as in established! It is spiritual!
So, what does this have to do with our subject? It has everything to do with the nature of the kingdom of Christ, in how it must be examined; how it is to be looked at! You see, the kingdom is within you: the faithful child of God. Jesus said: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). If the kingdom is within us, and it is, just where is it in us? Is it in our foot, the hand; no, it is in the heart! By way of it’s nature, the kingdom of Christ, could not be anywhere else! Jeremiah wrote, which is quoted in the letter to the Hebrew Christians: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 8: 10-12). Notice, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts!” Thus, with the law so goes the kingdom of Christ! To help with our understanding of this matter, looking at America, is it a land or a people? As the nature of America, it is both; but with the spiritual nature of the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom must be within the heart/mind of each of us!
Nevertheless, it will help us to view the kingdom of Christ in a physical manner, only to see it in her spiritual nature. The apostle Paul did this very thing: “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him” (1 Cor. 12:14-18). Therefore, it is within the bonds of inspiration to us physical things to better understand the spiritual. With this in mind, we shall go about understanding the spiritual nature of the kingdom of Christ through physical things.
It is important that we have some conception of how the kingdom of Christ works! If we can view the kingdom as a series of small villages, which are autonomous, meaning each is under local leadership, who are called “elders,” “pastors,” “bishops” and “overseers;” the term “elders” referring to age and wisdom; the word “bishops” is an incorrect translation, as it should be translated “overseers.” It is the Greek word, “episkopos” and means: “1) an overseer 1a) a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly, any curator, guardian or superintendent” (Thayer). Also, the word “pastors” should have been translated “shepherds,” being the Greek “poimen” as Thayer gives this: “1) a herdsman, especially a shepherd.” The word does not refer to preachers as it so often is used today! These “shepherds” watch out for the “sheep,” as the “eternal purpose” of God is being done; as Paul wrote: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10-11). It must be noted that the words: elders, shepherds, and overseers, are used in the plural, meaning that no “village” is every overseen by one man!
These leaders are not without qualifications. Most of these qualifications are found in 1 Timothy, as Paul wrote: “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work” (1 Tim. 3:1), then, he continues with the qualities of the men who are to serve. Space will not allow a study of each qualification here.
With this before us, we are prepared to take up the workings of the kingdom of Christ, which will be done in the upcoming articles. However, allow me to ask: When you think of the kingdom of Christ, just what is her first work? This question shall be answered in the next article.

Frank R. Williams

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