42. A Dwelling Of God

Mike Parsons 

In Daniel chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream that Jesus would come in the time of the Roman Empire to set up a kingdom which would continue to grow, and would overcome all other kingdoms. Daniel 7:18 tells us that … the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to comeWe are those saints, and the kingdom is ours to possess.

… the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom (Dan 7:22).

No end

We will possess it for ever, and for all ages to come. It is not going to be another group of people, it is going to be God’s people, His saints, the church, who will possess that kingdom and be involved in continuing to expand it. Even after Jesus returns, and we go into the age to come, the kingdom will go on increasing. There will be no end of the increase of His government. It will not end when Jesus returns and there are a new heavens and a new earth. There is a whole universe, multiverses maybe, into which that kingdom will expand, and ‘the saints of the Highest One’ are going to be instrumental in that.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this’(Isa 9:6-7).

If the government rests on Jesus’ shoulders, who are the shoulders? We are His body, and His shoulders are part of His body.

Above

… He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Eph 1:20-23).

So Jesus is above everything. This is a New Testament scripture now, saying the same things about Jesus’ rule, His kingdom. Look at the last few words there again, ‘the church … His body … fills all’. The expansion of the kingdom is going to come through Jesus’ body, the church.

The early church was made up originally of Jewish people. Then Peter had a vision which led him to preach to Cornelius and his family, who were not Jewish but got saved and became part of the church, and in Acts 15 at the Council of Jerusalem James talks about the Tabernacle of David being restored, meaning that the gospel is going out to the whole earth.

Stone

That is why Paul writes to the mostly non-Jewish believers in Ephesus, So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Eph 2:19-22).

Here again we see that Stone which was ‘cut out without hands’ in Daniel 2. You can say He is the foundation stone too, because the foundation which the apostles and prophets laid was none other than Jesus (this passage is not saying that the apostles and prophets are the foundation, but that the church is built on the foundation which they laid). We are the temple now, a ‘holy temple in the Lord’, and – this is the most wonderful part – ‘a dwelling of God in the Spirit’.

We know He dwells in us individually, but this passage is saying that He dwells in us corporately. We are beginning to experience this, that when we come together we are a dwelling of God in the Spirit, and His Presence manifests among us – that is what the glory of God is all about.

Soundtrack: Dave Fitzgerald (feat Jenn Johnson) We Are An Ark live at Bethel Church via YouTube

Heart/universe image courtesy of finemayer via Pixabay.

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41. The Kingdom of God is Filling the Earth

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott 

The Kingdom of God is filling the earth.

You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth Daniel 2:34-35 .

Daniel is interpreting the dream the king has had, in which he has seen a statue representing four empires: Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. In the time of the Roman Empire, a stone was to be cut out. That stone is Jesus and the mountain is His kingdom, which will fill the whole earth:

In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever (Daniel 2:44).

So God is setting up a kingdom which will not fail. It explicitly tells us that it is not going to be left for another people. It is going to overcome all the other kingdoms. These are truths that the enemy has fought hard to keep from us, because if we really get hold of them we will no longer be sitting around saying, ‘Jesus, come and rescue us’. Instead we will be saying, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, empower us to play our part in seeing this victory, the kingdom of God filling the earth’.

Here is another passage about the same kingdom:

I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.

And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed’
(Daniel 7:13-14).

Now, is this all just pie in the sky? Let me give you some facts and figures about how the kingdom is advancing. Let’s look at what God has done since 120 people in an upper room were empowered by the Holy Spirit and fire, spilled out onto the street and eventually into the whole world.

  • In AD100, there were 360 non-Christians for every true believer, a ratio of 360:1. Today, the ratio is less than 7:1. That means that the kingdom of God is filling the earth. It really is.
  • No Christian was officially allowed to live in Nepal until 1960. Now there is a church in every one of the 75 districts of Nepal with estimates of over half a million believers in that nation.
  • Every day, 20,000 Africans come to Christ. Africa was 3% Christian in 1900 but today it is over 50% Christian.That is a whole continent where more than half the people are Christians.
  • In 1900 Korea had no Protestant church and the country was deemed impossible to penetrate. Today Korea is 30% Christian with 7000 churches in Seoul alone (and several of those churches have over 1,000,000 members each).
  • Every day 50,000 people in countries served by Asia Access come to Christ.
  • There are currently 60-80 million Christians in China with up to 25,000 converts a day. That is thought to be a very conservative estimate indeed. The church there is growing fast, under persecution.
  • 35,000 conversions occur in Latin America  daily

If only 1 out of every 6 believers reproduced themselves one time each year, that is if just one in six of us made a single disciple each year (and one in six of those did the same), the entire world would be reached for Christ in 8 years! That is even without a massive outpouring, even without the River of Life being released into the earth as we believe it will be.

Jesus said the kingdom was going to be like leaven spreading through the dough. He also said it would be like a little seed that grows into a massive tree.

Make no mistake about it. We are winning. The kingdom of God is filling the earth. We belong to that kingdom, and that kingdom belongs to us.

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