Few Chosen, A Kingdom Come
Jesus used a particular phrase to describe Kingdom of God: "Many are called, but few chosen." These famous words have been used across the Christian world to prove the doctrine of eternal torment. It doesn't sound much like good news does it? Not too promising that "many are called and few are chosen?" Yet, Jesus Christ, Paul, Peter, John, Stephen and many others went around doing good and preaching the "Gospel (good news) of The Kingdom" (Matthew 4:23). But, could this really be good news for the whole world?
What does that mean to be chosen? What is God's purpose for the chosen? According to the pulpit, the good news can seem more like a condemning threat, than the liberating power the angels proclaimed: "good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." (Luke 2:10) Hellfire sermons across the world, throughout the ages, have kindled more fear than great joy. Was that God's plan, to send His son to be murdered for the sins of the world, so that only few could make it?
In this article, we will Scripturally examine:
- What the Kingdom of God is
- How God created it through Jesus Christ's death and resurrection
- Why only few inherit the kingdom and who those inheritors are
- The great purpose of the kingdom ( how God will use it to subdue the rest of world)
What the Kingdom is (it's Greek to us)
First we must understand what the Kingdom really is, and to do so it makes sense to heed how Jesus defined it:Luke 17:21
Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."
In most bible translations, the Greek word entos is translated as within. But, the New Living Translation (NLT) and the NASB translate it as among you and in your midst respectively. They all mean the same thing. In the Greek language, when used in union with a plural noun, entos means among or in the midst of. So, in this scripture, we see entos used with a plural form of you, a crowd of Pharisees. "The Kingdom of God is among you" is the accurate translation. Consider this example: if you have many black marbles, and you add one white marble, you now have one white marble within the black ones.
Certainly, the Kingdom of God was not within the hearts of the same Pharisees who Christ also called hypocrites and vipers. Jesus was confirming that the kingdom is not in outer-space or beyond the big blue sky. Jesus Christ was among them, and soon He would be living in his followers. It is by His spirit alone that the Kingdom exists, because the kingdom consists of a people who, because of the Holy Spirit, are in the world but not of the world.
He was declaring that the meek, the poor, and those who hungered and thirsted after righteousness, them who the religious teachers disdained, were among them ready to be made into a majestic people. Blessed are they, as Christ said, for they shall inherit the earth. And it was them - the despised - who would be risen up that they may inherit the earth. This is what Christ and John the Baptist meant when they said "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand." (Mark 1:15, Matthew 3:1-2) When something is "at hand," it is close and immediate. The kingdom was at their doorstep.
And, as we will see in scripture, some qualities of the Kingdom are as follows: It can be added to and grow. It can be entered into. Some people can be barred from it both now, and in the ages to come, and how one behaves is directly related to that (Galatians 5:21, Ephesians 5:5). It consists of a royal priesthood living in the earth (1 Peter 2:9). It is not a physical state, but is a family of believers bound by the Spirit, bearing its fruit (Romans 14:17-19).
The Kingdom is the Bride
Take a look at a Biblical fact regarding the Kingdom
of God: Jesus' followers are married (one with) Jesus Christ by the
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
So, we may understand Christ and His followers are like a husband and his bride. According to God, marriage is oneness with another person, to be united with them. The Holy Spirit unites us to God, and through that we are one with Him. Scripture testifies:1 Corinthians 6:7
But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 1 Corinthians 11:1-2
I hope you will be patient with me as I keep on talking like a fool. Please bear with me. I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. For I promised you as a pure to one husband, Christ.Romans 7:4
Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
A Royal Marriage
Bearing in mind that we are espoused as one to Christ by Spirit, and we are the bride of Christ by virtue of this union, let's take a look at some parables pertaining to this Kingdom that Christ was about to establish through His imminent death and resurrection:
And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: "The kingdom of heaven (The Sons of God - Ephesians 2:6) is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding."' But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
"But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
"For many are called, but few are chosen."
Do you think it is a coincidence that Christ's church is married to Christ as His bride, who are a royal priesthood, who are one with him by Spirit, and that Christ parallels the kingdom to a wedding in which God has called many, yet few are chosen? Of course not. The parables are about the kingdom, and the kingdom is among us right now.
The above parables are not being fulfilled in the future exclusively, but also today as not all people come to the wedding to be united with Christ by the Spirit. For example, knowing these parables to be spiritual allegories, what might this illustrate: "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready." Does God put down slavery to a carnal instinct when we enter into union with Jesus Christ? Isn't the beast within us brought into reign as we die to sin in this kingdom today? Or are we always anticipating the future to put down carnality, to consider ourselves dead to sin? (Romans 6:11, Romans 8:6)
Again, what is it that makes us wedded to Christ? Remember His promise?John 14:17-20
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
By Spirit, we are united with the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). Christ is IN us, and he is IN the Father. It is what makes us the bride of Christ. Those who do not have unity, who do not believe in Christ, or follow His words to love their brothers and sisters, are in the outer darkness. So is it any wonder that Christ said that many are called and few are chosen? Just take a look around at the world today.
In Peter we see this: But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
And in John: But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:11)
Paul: For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Colossians 1:13)
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8)
The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Romans 13:12)
The King in Shackles ("crucify him")
The Pharisees were interrogating Christ about the kingdom because they - like all Israelites - were eagerly anticipating a Messiah. They were waiting for the manifestation of the Holy One who would emancipate them from Roman rule and make Israel a great nation, and a dominating kingdom on earth. So, here emerges this famous prophet raised in Nazareth, called Jesus, who can heal the sick, restore sight to the blind, even raise the dead. He was a man of impressive ability and spirit. His admirers were so sizable the Pharisees later had to bribe Judas to betray Him - because the people frightened them.Matthew 21:8-10
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna in the highest!" When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?"
This is commonly called Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem when he reached the City as their king having worked such astonishing physical miracles before their very eyes. This is the same Jerusalem mob who just days later turned on Him:Matthew 27:22-25
"What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify him!"
"Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!"
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man's blood," he said. "It is your responsibility!" All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!"
What happened? Why did the citizens of Jerusalem encounter Jesus with such joy and exaltation, only later to call for His crucifixion? This was surely a king who could command the weather, heal the sick, and even raise the dead. Here He was, now powerless to deliver himself from death? This was the king the crowds thought they had in Jesus, the great messiah? In reality, Jesus was not doing what they assumed he would do, He was not setting up His kingdom in a way they believed He would.
The kingdom Christ was about to assemble - that He symbolized in parables before this fundamental moment - would indeed come, but it would be by His Spirit within His followers. Christ was about to give His life, but the Israelites did not understand this. To them, the man who called himself king stood before them in shackles, deserted and meek. They had no idea that what was arising before their eyes was indeed the birth of a new kingdom, but an empire not of this world, not pinpointed on a map. No doubt, the kingdom was, and is, at hand right now according to the Spirit that unites both Jew and Gentile, and man and woman in the Body of Christ.
Take careful note, however, that while the Kingdom of God is in the earth today, it does not yet appear in its full glory. Please observe the difference:
What does scripture teach
1) Jesus Christ's followers are called His Bride, in that:
2) They are made one, through the Spirit, with the King's Son (Matt 22:1-14). Therefore,
3) They are the kingdom of God. And,
4) Those who believe and are faithful are called Sons of God (and daughters too), so that
5) Through the Spirit, Christ may live in us, and do good through us, and that not of our own power (Philippians 2:13).
6) Eventual separation must come when when the Lord judges this Kingdom from within, to root out those who practice evil (Matt 7:21-23, Matt 18:21-35, Matt 24:24-51). You may be surprised at how many admonitions from Christ throughout the New Testament are leveled against "wicked servants." In the end, while many are called, only few are chosen.
7) The small kingdom to remain, stripped clean of "wicked servants," is like a small pearl consisting of followers who love Jesus and follow His commands. They abandon wickedness, practicing forgiveness, humility long-suffering, patience and gentleness and all the fruits of the spirit: a priceless kingdom. (Matt 13:45-46)
What does this mean for creation as a whole? Are we to conclude that Jesus Christ was beaten, humiliated, spit upon, and ultimately murdered so only a handful of people could be saved? Is God's intent, in refining the Kingdom this way, to ultimately consign his remaining creation to infinite torture and ultimate failure? Will God forgive His enemies? Just what is the purpose of this Kingdom? Out of the many, what are "the few" chosen for?
If "many are called and few are chosen,"
what do we make of parables like this:
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches." Matthew 13:33
Another parable He spoke to them: "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened."
From these parables it seems as though the Kingdom will blossom to a considerable size. Other parables characterize the kingdom as a treasure that when discovered, a man buys the whole field to have it. What is going on here? How can the kingdom be a collected few, yet also grow to a great size?The key is that, though all parables illustrate the Kingdom, they do not all illustrate the same aspect of it at the same time. To understand this, let's take a look at how God will use this now small and priceless Kingdom. In this way, we can discover how these parables fit together to illustrate the perfection and glory of God's plan.
God and His Word
Most Christians would agree that God is powerful. Most would agree that God is all knowing. Most would agree that God is able to fulfill his promises. Most would agree that God's words are true and cannot be broken. Most would agree that God is rich in compassion. Most would agree with that, but deep inside, due to the doctrines they were taught as children, do they really believe it with all their hearts?Isaiah 55:7-11
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
As the scripture says, if the unrighteous turn from their ways "let him return to the Lord and He will have mercy." But what happens if the wicked do not return to the Lord? Does God have a problem? Obviously God wants to pardon the wicked, but the condition attached, (let him forsake his way) seems to limit God to an unfulfilled desire. But as we see God "devises means so that his banished ones are not expelled from Him." (2 Samuel 14:14)
That is why God has a Word in order to accomplish a purpose. This is the standard: let the wicked forsake his way to receive pardon. But, God cannot be stumped; knowing that the wicked are as lost sheep, unable to return of their own will due to sin, God created a Shepherd to go out and find them.
Therefore, "as the rain comes down and does not return but waters
the earth," so also, God claims, his Word "SHALL accomplish what God pleases; and it SHALL prosper in the thing
it was sent for." This is God's own promise and sending his
Word forth, is something God did not fail to do:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
This Word, this living Word, is God's own Son Jesus Christ. God sent his Word forth, made flesh, into the world. Here is the "thing whereto God sent it" here is what the Word will "not return to God void but shall prosper" unto:1 John 4:14
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Rom 5:18
Therefore as by the offense of one judgment (because of Adam) came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (because of Jesus) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Jo 2:1-2
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 1Timothy 4:10
For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe. These are the facts: 1) God sent his Word to be the savior of the whole world. 2) In the same manner that judgment came upon all men due to one man Adam, so also the free gift came upon the same lot, all men. 3) God desires all men to be saved. 3) He sent his word to be a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, not just our own sins, and 4) Jesus is the savior of all men, especially (ie not exclusively, but especially) those that believe. Those are the scriptural facts and I am just repeating them to you.
Now let us return to God's own statement: "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall NOT return unto me void, but it SHALL accomplish that which I please, and it SHALL prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
The question is, do you believe that? Do you believe that the living Word will return to God void in saving all that God meant for him to save? Will Jesus Christ return void to his Father without prospering in the thing He was sent for, saving everyone that God wants saved? If your answer is "no," your issue is with God. If your answer is "yes" congratulations, you agree with Him.
Inheriting the Kingdom of God
As Paul said to Timothy: "Jesus Christ is the savior of all men, especially those who believe." Typically you will hear some verbal acrobatics from certain people, who will twist that statement into saying that Jesus is not the savior of anyone who does not believe. They do turn those wheels don't they? There are two groups of people in the world those who do not believe, and those who do. Jesus is the savior of both groups, as he is the savior all men as it clearly states. However, what about the "especially" part? Is there something reserved special for those who believe?
The scripture is clear about something very important. Yes, the Word was sent by His Father, to save the world. The scripture also says "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God" (John 1:12). Not everyone received him, obviously, because some killed him. God is giving whoever receives Jesus Christ the power to be "Sons of God."
Before moving on, let's get one thing straight: not everyone will inherit
the kingdom of God (In Greek: basileus Theos, or the "reign
of God") and not everyone has been given the power to become
Sons of God. This is "especially" for believers, and only
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (basileus Theos).Ephesians 5:5
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
It cannot get more clear than that. If someone says that everyone will inherit the kingdom of God, they are wrong. The reign of God is only inherited by Sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Those who have faith in Him, according to scripture, are called Sons of God. Inheritances are given to children, to followers, those who are born of the Spirit. From this faith flows the fruit of the Spirit as it is given by the Lord: patience, inner peace and strength, self control, and (take a deep breath) love for one's enemies.
As we know some people do not have faith (without which nothing pleases God) and do not produce the fruit of the Spirit, we therefore know that some will have no inheritance in God's reign. In fact, Jesus was quite clear that only few people would inherit the Kingdom and that He will only give reign to them who overcome:1 John 5:5
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? Revelation 3:21
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Revelation 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. 2 Timothy 2:12
If we suffer, we shall also reign (sumbasileuo - from basileus) with him.
Did you catch that? He that overcomes will be given power over the nations! He that overcomes will reign with the Lord over the nations of the earth! IF Christ's followers suffer, take comfort, they shall also reign. Now that we have come to understand that not everyone will inherit this reign - let us discover how Jesus will use this kingdom of followers "to prosper" in the thing Jesus "was sent for." Let us discover exactly what this reign will accomplish among the nations, among the whole world. Let us discover how Jesus is the savior of ALL MEN, especially them that believe.
Chosen For? The Prize: A "High Calling"
Let's take a look at just what God's plan for His
precious Kingdom will be, for those who are faithful to Him. Paul spoke
about a prize he hoped to receive:
I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
What is this prize? Is it a cash sum? Is it carnal gain? And, why is it so necessary to believe in, and be faithful to Jesus Christ, to receive it?Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Colossians 3:24
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 1 Corinthians 9:18
What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. Philippians 3:13-15
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Notice: The "high calling" is the prize. The prize, the reward, the inheritance, is the "high calling." The prize is not a new gold harp on cloud nine. It is not the biggest new mansion next door to Jesus. It is a high calling. And it lies not in these present wicked times, but is something Paul "pressed toward the mark" for in the glory of the coming ages. It is this high calling that Paul waits so eagerly for with great expectation and hope for the future. Notice how the apostles were of one mind about just what that high calling is:1 John 3:1
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Romans 8:18-24
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 1 Peter 4:13
Instead, be very glad--because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world. 1 Corinthians 6:2-3
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Don't you realize that we will judge angels?
Now, that is indeed a high calling. Inheriting the reign of God means to doing the work of God on the earth, not to sit back and twiddle our thumbs in Heaven where every carnal whim of man is satisfied, while billions of people are tortured mercilessly. We see here that the very purpose of the small kingdom chosen by God (the Sons of God) is expressly this: to be revealed to all creation and to judge it, so that it may be delivered into glorious freedom from corruption! The kingdom's objective is to do a work for the Lord, to receive creation into their glorious liberty from death and outer darkness.
Look again at what Paul says in Romans 8:18-24
"Us" = Sons of God, who are not yet revealed - which are a chosen few - given power and glory through Christ.
"The Creation" = All else who, through judgment, shall be delivered from bondage into the glorious liberty of the children of God, when it is revealed to them just who these Sons of God are.
We see here an excited apostle looking to the outcome, to a time when God reveals His glory in the saints, and engages His kingdom to set creation free. Paul recognized that God's judgment leads to good fruit. He knew that God's children would not simply stand by in Heaven staring without compassion while billions of helpless souls suffered endlessly, or were mercilessly exterminated forever.
A Few Good "Poimen"
Paul recognized that the future would be a revelation of his Lord's fiery justice, perfect love, temperance, persistence, and ultimate forgiveness through Christ and His body. To him, as with the other apostles, this was good news worth suffering, enduring and dying for, that through the separation, and division, and judgment not one soul would be irreclaimable.
This rule, received by "the overcomer" the one who is faithful to Christ is very important to the world. In fact, if it was not for the inheritors of God's reign, the world would not be eventually saved. This is because God has chosen them to be the vessel by through which he works. With a rod of iron they will break the nations.
Are you ready for an amazing truth? God is raising up the few that He chooses, for an awesome purpose. Take a look at the words below as defined by Strong's Dictionary:
Of uncertain affinity; a shepherd (literally or figuratively): - shepherd, pastor.
From G4166; to tend as a shepherd (or figuratively superviser): - feed (cattle), rule.
And how it is employed:Act 20:28
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed (poimaino) the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. John 21:16
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jona, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed (poimaino) my sheep. Ephesians 4:11
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, PASTORS (poimen) and teachers;
Many Christians are already aware of the duties given to the church's pastors. A pastor's duty is to feed and nurture Christ's followers as a shepherd would. In fact, the word "pastor" comes from the Greek word "poimen" which means "shepherd." And interestingly, the English word "pastor" itself has Latin roots in the word "pasture" which makes perfect sense as a pasture is where shepherds do their work. That's their office. But this pastoring, this nurturing and feeding duty, to the Body of Christ is actually training for an even bigger more awesome "high calling":Revelation 2:26-27
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I (Jesus) give power over the nations: And he shall rule (POIMANO) 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.
Did you know Jesus was "broken to shivers" by his Father? And as Jesus was "broken to shivers" by His Father, the nations will be "broken to shivers" by Christ's followers. The Father gave the rod to the Good Shepherd (Jesus) to guide and break his "few chosen" into humility. Jesus then gives this shepherd's rod to those overcomers, that they may break the nations.
The word "poimano" means to rule...but as a shepherd rules over a flock, a shepherd who feeds them. The duty of "poimano" given to the church (in pastoring the Body of Christ) is the same "poimano" given to the overcomer over the nations.
Did you realize that God is choosing very few people, who have been faithful to the end, to inherit His reign for the purpose of becoming PASTORS to the entire world? Just as God chooses shepherds (pastors) in the Body of Christ, God is will be using the Kingdom through His Son to be SHEPHERDS under Christ over all Creation who are groaning to be "delivered into the glorious freedom of the Children of God." Remember: "the saints shall judge the world." They will do that with the purpose to break them all down, so they can receive the food of humility.
This scripture is saying this: the overcomer shall shepherd/feed/rule/pastor the nations with a rod of iron.
There it is in the Bible, but when have you ever heard it preached? Think about why most people become Christians. There are wide varieties of reasons. The most prevalent, most popular, and most utilized reason is to escape torment. It is enough for most people to just narrowly escape God's judgment by entering the church, so they can wipe their brow, breath a sigh of relief, go to Heaven, and be happy as clams. Because of such false, watered-down doctrines like that, many people are completely unaware of the real weight and magnitude in the responsibility God gives to them that overcome. The FEW CHOSEN are called to have power over the nations, to break them down with a rod of iron.
They are called to be Jesus Christ's instruments of judgment and healing as the Spirit operates though the body of Christ.1 Corinthians 12:5-6
And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
It is God that works to administer to others, by working His power through His collective body, the head of which is Jesus Himself, by the anointing of the Spirit. We must understand that Jesus does all things through His body. Where the head goes, so goes the body. Jesus is the head, and His followers are His body. He is the vine, and they are the branches. He is the operator; His saints are His operatives. Jesus will judge the world.
Will His body be with Him when He does it? Of course, because as Paul said, the saints will judge the world, and Jesus will judge the world. He will do it through them. Every gift and power Jesus has, He freely gives to them. As the Peter said, the radiating glory of God will be displayed to the world; this will happen from within (because "Christ in us is the hope of glory" - Col 1:27), and through the saints. When that happens, through judgment, when all creation will be "delivered into the glorious liberty of the children of God," who will they be delivered into? Jesus Christ! Because HE is ONE with HIS BODY.
Subjected to the Kingdom of God
As the Bible has established, few will inherit the reign of God. They that inherit will do so by faith. But, when Jesus Christ is revealed to all creation through the Sons of God, it will not be a matter of faith, but sight. Who, then, will be subjected to the kingdom when the Lord appears with His brothers and sisters to judge the world? Ask yourself this: how many knees will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord? Take a look at what must be when that time comes:1 Corinthians 15:24-28
Then comes the end, when (Jesus) delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For "He has put all things under His feet."But when He says "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him (The Father) is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to (Jesus), then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
The Greek word hupotasso (Strong's G5293) appears six times in the original Greek text between verse 24 & 28 alone! That's alot of hupotassos! Do you think such driving consistency warrants our attention? Among other places, this word is translated in the Bible as: "put under," "subdued unto," "put all things under (his feet)," and "subject."
Here is the definition of hupotasso according to Strong's Concordant:
To subordinate; reflexively to obey: - be under obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto."
The word "hupotasso" appears within 32 verses of the Bible and it is never, not even once, translated to mean anything other than being placed under obedience to greater will. In this case it refers to the wills of God's enemies becoming conformed - being placed under obedience - to His will. In other words, Paul's bold statement above is declaring God's plan to put all His enemies under His rule and kingdom, not to torture them in a terrorist hellhole of pagan mythology.
Paul gives us a glimpse at the very end, after Jesus has come for His followers (His body will appear with him in glory revealed to creation - Colossians 3:4). But praise be unto the Lord, it is not the same result evangelized today in churches around the world. Now it is time for Jesus to deliver the Kingdom to His Father in Heaven. But, does the Savior of the world mean to deliver a thin few to His Father, only a tiny harvest through His enormous sacrifice? Of course not! Haven't you heard the good news? God sent His Son to be the savior of the whole world!
He wants results, and He does not fail. That is why God's Kingdom of followers will become poimen/pastors with rods of iron to BREAK THE NATIONS INTO CONFORMITY to the Son of God. So, when the end comes, Jesus Christ will demolish all rule, authority, and dominion of men. Few inherit God's reign, but all people will be made subordinates to Him by that reign, so that God will be all in all at the moment the Son hands the kingdom to His Father. What does a broken down subordinate do? He obeys without resistance.
What happens when an enemy becomes subjected to a king? He becomes a subject! He becomes a subject of His Kingdom! The former enemy becomes conformed to the will of Jesus Christ (submitted to God), and is accordingly liberated from sin and death! This is exactly how, as the scripture declares, the last enemy - death - will be destroyed! And, after Jesus has put all His enemies under His command, He then hands the Kingdom over to God. When this is executed, with His commission achieved as God ordained, the Son, who had been given all authority in heaven and earth to put all things under His feet, subjects Himself to His Father. The result according to the scripture? God is all in all!
The very purpose of all this subduing and subjecting is so that Jesus may hand over the fullness of creation so that God may have a perfect increase, that His plan may fulfill His purpose. Jesus Christ is revealed as the One who was reliable to subdue all things to Himself and that His sacrifice was outright triumphant without loss. Yes, the gospel is good news. The Bible declares it, but who believes?
What is the extraordinary product of Jesus judging the world with His kingdom of a few chosen to serve? It is all creation being delivered out of corruption into their glorious liberty, and we see the Kingdom burgeoning from the slightness of a mustard seed (few chosen), to the magnitude of a giant all in all tree. We see death destroyed. Is death separation from God? Destroyed. Done away with. We see Jesus - who died to bring salvation to all who believe - fashioning a kingdom of precious soldiers who walk according to His will and model. Then, we see Christ dispatching His soldiers by delivering rest of the world out of corruption through them. What an undeserved gift. We see a Lord who has overcome the world! The eternal torment doctrine doesn't have a semblance of "good news" to it, considering a radiant hope like that.
Paul compared the Christian walk according to the Spirit to a marathon race (2 Timothy 4:6-8), something through which we endure both hardship and joy to reach the goal. Christ's final victory might be compared to the Super Bowl Championship. His victory - in accomplishing the purpose of the cross to be the savior of the world - will be so overwhelming to His opponents, so decisive, so awe-inspiring, so massive, it will be downright embarrassing.
As the old saying goes, to the victor go the spoils. And lost human beings are Jesus Christ's prize. As Abraham Lincoln once said: Do I not destroy my enemies when I make friends with them? Make no mistake about this: the victory is not accomplished by men, but in Jesus Christ. Men either serve Him in His victory, or if they oppose, their opposition will be put down soon enough. Either way, Jesus will emerge the victor over all things. He is the Lamb who has overcome the world. It happened on the cross and will be made manifest to all men in due time.
The moment the Messiah sacrificed Himself for the world, that was it. It was finished. Nothing can stop Jesus; nothing can contain or sway Him. His followers are not attempting to make Jesus Christ victorious. They are seeking to share in the victory that He already secured. They want to be used by the Lord in those powerful ages to come. That is what it means to wear a crown and to be Lord, savior, and heir of all things through the power of the blood by which He purchased the world.
And, that is how Jesus is "the savior of all men, especially them that believe."
The Hope Of The Powerful Ages To Come
The time is coming, and may the Lord touch the church - which teaches the world to believe an otherwise self-evident disharmony, that (1) God is all-powerful Love, and (2) that He also will torture people forever and ultimately abandon his creation for justice to be done! Why? Because He is backed into a corner? The mighty and supreme God has His hands tied on this one, right? Unfortunately, too many in the church would rather perform mental acrobatics to make sense out of a clear contradiction to what they know in their deepest hearts to be untrue, rather than risk dissfavor with their peers, or admit they may have been misled.
The mere suggestion flares tempers, even if they realize, and would openly admit, they would much rather believe what you may now see. So, they remain content to teach another Jesus, one who will allow human failure to overcome His sacrifice, a savior who is satisfied by unending torture. And with that message they torture eachother. Then again, it would follow that such teachings would be more paletable to those who hate their own enemies. If so, Christ's victory would mean their loss.
The Gospel is not one of confusion, darkness, or contradiction. No matter how much we try to twist logic with silver-tongued wording, it will never make sense to say that God loves sinners, and that He will also torture them forever. This is common sense stuff. The eternal torment doctrine is rank cynicism to the highest degree. It is not gospel truth, nor is it a revelation of love. Yet, the church is completely sold on it. They are sold on their traditions. According to (1 John 3) love is an action, not a feeling. John says "Let us not say we love eachother, let us show it by our actions. It is by our actions we know we are living in the truth."
Now, if a man were to torture another man with fire to death, for hours, would he be loving or hating his enemy by his actions? According to our own laws, he would go to death row or be imprisoned for life. But, the very traits we certainly abhor in ourselves (like torture or mass extermination of human beings) we without question credit to God, because we are historically taught it is the only way to comprehend scripture.
Doesn't loving an enemy mean doing good to them and for them?
Isn't that what the Bible teaches?
Yet, ff God has created a fiery torture chamber, and is standing by, allowing people to wander haplessly into it trapping them there for eternity as they beg for mercy, is God hating or loving his enemies by action? The scripture proves that God loves his enemies. Yet, what theologians envision and what they preach does not change reality: God is a redeemer. Does love fail? Does God fail? No.
He does not fail. He is able to accomplish anything He wishes
according to His purpose. Through judgment, He will subdue His
enemies and draw them to Himself and His love. When all knees bow and
all tongues confess Christ to be Lord, He will be their Lord! Christ
will make them into servants. They will become his subjects. He is a
powerful Lord and the church slanders Him with their false, defeatist
creeds from man's depraved imagination.
And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Here is how we (and from Who we) receive the power to fulfill the commission given to the Sons of God:Philippians 3:20-21
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject all things to himself. Ephesians 1:18-23
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Colossians 1:13-20
He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities, all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Luke 19:10
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. John 12:32
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. John 3:17
God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. I Tim. 4:9-10
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, Who is the savior of all men, especially of those that believe. Roman 3:3-4
For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar.Isaiah 26:9
When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. Jeremiah 30:24
See what a scorching wind has gone out from the Lord, a sweeping whirlwind. It whirls round the heads of the wicked; the Lord's anger is not to be turned aside, until he has finished and achieved his heart's desire. In days to come you will understand. Lamentations 3:32-33
But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. Isaiah 46:9-10
I am God, there is no other, I am God, and there is no one like me; I reveal the end from the beginning, from ancient times I reveal what is to be: I say, "My purpose shall take effect, I will accomplish all that I please." Philippians 2:10-11
At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Psalm 18:30
The way of God is perfect.
If you would like to see more scripture pertaining
to the good news of the Kingdom of God please read "A
Time of Realization." Be blessed and God be with you, bringing
peace in every moment of your life.
1 Corinthians 9:26-27
So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. 2 Timothy 2:5-7
Follow the Lord's rules for doing his work, just as an athlete either follows the rules or is disqualified and wins no prize. Hardworking farmers are the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will give you understanding in all these things.
If we are of Him we are turning from sin and running for the prize. This inherited prize of reigning with, and serving Jesus Christ in full glory the coming ages, may be attained by anyone who has faith in Jesus Christ and obeys His word. The first step is simply wanting the prize, desiring the word of God as a priceless gift, and sharing in fruit of our labor: the full harvest of mankind into our glorious liberty.
As Christ said: "blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled." Righteousness is the fruit of the Spirit: patience, gentleness, purity, being slow to anger and bounteous in mercy, and turning away from carnality. Simply desire these things and they will be given to you freely in great abundance by Christ in you. Why will God remove wicked servants from his own Kingdom so that only few are chosen? Because those who do not bear fruit are not suited for the work ahead.
The Kingdom is indeed at hand, and it is indeed among us. And, there
is a kingdom to come: that which is our inheritance. That kingdom is
not composed of wicked servants for they will have been removed. So,
we run with confidence, humility, and joy pressing forward to
the mark of the high calling of God. We are not required to be flawless,
but faithful, not perfect, but loving and mature. We must simply have
faith that the mountains within us can be moved, and if we believe,
then the Lord will give us all that we ask for in spades and more so
when our time comes, we may echo Paul's words:
As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me--the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return.
May God bless you and keep your heart in peace. Amen.