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Shutting The Kingdom of Heaven In People's Faces

John Collins01/03/2013Our study of the "Evening Light" now goes to Matthew 3, the beginning of the tie between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and salvation's plan to the Gospel of the Kingdom.

The word "Gospel" simply translated means "Good News."  Today, we teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the Good News that God sent His Son Jesus Christ down to earth, He lived the perfect life, was crucified for our sins, conquered death and hell, and rose again on the third day so that we can rise with him.  If we look closely, however, there are multiple parts to the "Gospel" that all fit together like a fine-tuned clock.  One of these is the "Gospel of the Kingdom," the Good News that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

John the Baptist had a purpose:  to announce the coming Messiah.  But if we look closely, we find that he did not go forward proclaiming that "The Christ" was coming, he was proclaiming that the "Kingdom of Heaven" is coming.  John was proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom.

John was announcing the coming of the "Stone not made with hands" that king Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream from Daniel 2.  The stone that would obliterate the kingdoms of "Mystery Babylon" described in both Daniel and in the book of Revelation.  Jesus was the "Chief Cornerstone," the "Stone that the Builders Rejected."  Jesus was the foundation to the kingdom.

Just as described in Revelation 11, John says this: "His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

John is describing exactly what Daniel, Isaiah, Zechariah, and John the Revelator were describing: the cleansing of Jerusalem to prepare for the coming Kingdom.  God is going to burn Jerusalem, cleanse it from all unrighteousness to make it holy, and set up His throne on Mount Zion.  The significant part of this is that John the Baptist had read the prophets of old, but had not read Revelation to confirm his statement: it was his own prophecy.

Going forward to Matthew 6, Jesus starts proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom also:  "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Though closely tied to the Gospel of Salvation, Jesus is telling us that the good that we do stores treasures in the coming Kingdom of Heaven that John proclaimed.  The coming was at hand; the Chief Cornerstone was walking among them.  Now was the time that they should begin preparing for their new home!

Cult leaders proclaiming their "Evening Light" ministries falsely claim that their "message" is the final message required before the "Kingdom of Heaven."  Tied to dispensationalism, they teach that a "little light" was given throughout the "seven church ages", and at the "evening time," their "light' will prepare the Bride of Christ for the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Body of Christ is part of the Kingdom of Heaven, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the spiritual things you do.  You can heal others in the name of Christ, you can give prophecy that change hearts from sin to righteousness, and you can be an evangelist travelling the world preaching the Gospel, but it does not mean one single thing.  If your motives and objectives are not focused on Jesus Christ, then your work is dedicated to the kingdom of this world and not the Kingdom of Heaven.  Jesus says in Matthew 7, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

If we examine the words of Jesus closely, however, we find that John the Baptist proclaimed what was already needed before the Kingdom of Heaven was established.  Then, when Jesus came, He proclaimed the same.  But, Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven that is at hand more fully, and that Kingdom has already been established long before the "evening light" when vultures are feeding upon the dead flesh of those destroyed at Armageddon. 

Jesus says in Matthew 12: "But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."  

If we notice the first part of His statement, the Spirit that would come WAS the beginning of the Kingdom of Heaven!  Christ knew that after Salvation's Plan had been fulfilled, the Holy Spirit would come upon the Body of Christ, and the building of the Kingdom of Heaven would commence.  

After giving the "Parable of the Two Sons" in Matthew 21, Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.  For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him.  And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him."

Jesus knew that many of the despised and rejected of the world, though the vilest of sinners, would accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ and receive their salvation.  He knew that the Holy Spirit would come upon them, and they would be part of the Kingdom of Heaven that was soon to come.

The Pharisees had become so fully consumed by the words of the Mosaic Law that they did not realize they were breaking every single law within their hearts.  They had strayed from the reason the Law was given; they had became self-righteous and condemning of others.  Though they taught the Law, they were not producing the fruit that God wanted, because they did not have the Love of God in their hearts.  

Later in Matthew 21, Jesus reminded them of the importance of producing fruit.  Announcing Himself as the Chief Cornerstone to the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus asked them: "Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?', 'Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.'"

The many false prophets that have risen throughout the past several hundred years have twisted the Gospel.  Some proclaim parts of the Gospel, but they do not proclaim the entire Gospel that the Bible instructs us to proclaim -- essentially doing exactly what Paul spoke so violently against.  They preach a "different gospel."

Matthew 24 tells us that the "Gospel of the Kingdom" is the one that must reach all of the nations, and once it does, the end will come.  Jesus says, "And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."  

Cult leaders and false prophets preach a portion of the Gospel, but there is one thing that most of them have in common:  They either do not preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, or they twist the Gospel of the Kingdom to confuse the Bride of Christ.  Over time, these false teachings have influenced even the true mainstream Bible-believing Christians, because their false doctrines have twisted the scriptures.

William Branham taught the Gospel of Salvation along with a "gospel of healing."  Any member of his following will tell you that he was a "vindicated prophet of God" because he had healing in his ministry.  The Zionists, followers of John Alexander Dowie, teach the same "healing gospel" that Branham learned from Dowie's followers that he associated with, but they do focus on the Gospel of the Kingdom.  ...just not the one from the Bible.  Zionists believe that Zion, Illinois, is the location of the new "holy city."  Throughout time, we can identify every false prophet's teaching with portions of the Gospel, but not the entire Gospel that we are to proclaim.

Jesus says it best in Matthew 23: "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in."

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Have we been taught any of the Gospel of the Kingdom?  Have we been taught specific portions of the Gospel of Jesus Christ without being taught the entire Gospel?  Have we been deceived by replacing those parts with the "gospel of healing" or some other gospel?  Do our missionaries go forth proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom as Jesus instructed, or do they proclaim a "different gospel?"  Have our leaders shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces?