Door of Faith – Lesson Seven

God’s Kingdom Within His People


God’s story in the Bible is about His purpose for creating mankind to be His children in His eternal kingdom.  As Peter said, “We do not follow cleverly invented stories.”  II Pet. 1:16.  “But men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”  II Pet. 1:21.  In this context, the Bible is the word of God (II Tim. 3:16, 17).  God’s stories in the Old Testament are about how He maintained His kingdom in people who had faith in His covenants (Gen. 2:15-17; 22:16-18; Isa. 61:8; Luke 17:20, 21; Gal. 3:15-18; Heb. 8:6-12).  These stories help Christians understand how the new covenant is the fulfillment of the “Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Luke 24:44.

God foreknew the “in Christ” realm He arranged through Jesus Christ for those who hear, believe and accept by faith His new covenant.  Foreknowledge has been translated from the Greek word, proginosko, a verb pertaining to divine knowledge (Vines Greek Dictionary).  It means “to know before.”  God’s foreknowledge is what the Apostle Paul preached about the kingdom of God in Ephesus.  See Acts 19:8 and Eph. 1:3-14.  The “in Christ” realm was in the mind of God “before the creation of the world.”  V. 4.  This spiritual realm is the sphere of God’s rule through Jesus Christ; therefore, God’s kingdom.  It is the dimension of God’s kingdom Jesus Christ will turn back to God (I Cor. 15:24).   Satan’s kingdom is in the other realm, the world of mature people with the capacity of knowing good and evil (John 18:36; I John 2:15-17).

God’s rule in the hearts of Christians identifies the presence of the kingdom of God.  Where God’s will is being done, is where He rules.  His “foreknowledge” was the power source for developing what is called, “in Christ,” in the New Testament.  The purpose for fixing this realm in “the last days of time” is so His will could be accepted in Christians’ minds and hearts.  God’s kingdom, by the power and grace of Christ’s kingdom, resides in the individual members of the church.  God’s presence is manifested by His Holy Spirit.

God’s will is to have children in His eternal kingdom and He has the power to control His will to make happen what He decided to know.  It may not happen in every human being because developing children requires a personal choice on her or his part.  It will happen in a remnant of people on earth because God has the patience to wait for as long as it takes.  God Almighty is loving and patient.

Jesus Christ determined in His mind to do the will of God, His Father (John 12:49, 50; Matt. 26:42).  He did it while on earth and He is still doing it as our king and priest.  Human beings have the endowment of the “will to act.”  A person’s will functions between what is in his or her mind and their behavior (I Cor. 7:37).  We have been created in the likeness of God.  Our will can be controlled to function like His will.  Christians who have self-control over what is in our minds do God’s will.  Individual Bible study, personal belief and trusting God’s word is our faith.  Mature Christians have the mind of Christ; therefore, our personal goal is to do God’s will (I Cor. 2:16).  “If you know He is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of Him.”  I John 2:29.  “Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor anyone who does not love his brother.”  I John 3:10.

Observing the foregoing theology will be the criterion for developing the hypothesis in this lesson about the presence of “God’s Kingdom within His People.”


We will need to be aware of the interaction of the following persons and theologies to detect the presence of God’s kingdom in people in His Old Testament narratives:

1.  The presence of Almighty God will be in the story.  He will be seeking to accomplish “His own purpose” by grace.  See II Tim. 1:9.

2.  The “living beings,” created by God Almighty with spirits in His likeness in male or female bodies, will be in the scene seeking satisfaction for their innate needs (Gen. 1:27; 2:7; Gal. 3:28).

3.  The inside/out spiritual growth process, according to Jesus’ declaration, “The kingdom of God is within you,” must be manifested on some level in the living beings.  Luke 17:21; Mark 4:26-29; Acts 20:25; I Cor. 3:7-9.

4.  Satan’s power to cause people to break God’s covenants will be present as the opposition.  I Chron. 21:1.

The kingdom of God can be found in stories in the Bible where we find the first three entities functioning in harmony to produce life in people on the level Jesus Christ taught and lived (John 3:21).  The kingdom of God did not come into an individual Israelite during the Levitical Priesthood as it has in Christians because we have all spiritual blessings “in Christ.”  The time had not fully come for the Messiah; consequently, God could not have His kingdom life in His children with “full rights.”  Gal. 4:1-7.  Since His plan was to add children to His eternal kingdom, the kingdom culture had to be present in His children on some level.

From the beginning of creation, God put in place a support system for maintaining His kingdom in living beings so Jesus Christ can bring many sons to glory (Heb. 2:10; Rev. 3:21).  One, His support for this system contained the covenant of marriage to provide a physical family in which each potential child for God would be born (Isa. 43:6, 7).  Two, planet earth was prepared for the life-long needs of the physical body of each person (Psa. 8:1-9).  Three, since mankind became aware of good and evil and mature people became responsible for choosing good over evil, God’s grace was provided (Gen. 6:8; Rom. 12:21).  Four, because the spirit of living beings came from God, He provided the law of life for the spirit of man (Gen. 26:5; Rom. 8:2).  James may have had these and other support systems in mind when he said, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  Jas. 1:17.

Since the presence of God’s kingdom on earth is found in His people, we are aware of the problem of making a true declaration of its presence in other people.  This task demands a judgment call.  God can make this determination, but we can only hypothesize based on His information in the Old Testament stories.  Our hypothesis must be based on content revealed in the narratives where we find: One, the presence of God; two, peace by His grace; three, a living being in whom the will of God is being practiced (Matt. 7:24).

The Garden of Eden was an exception in regard to grace.  God was there and Adam and Eve were practicing God’s will; that is, until Satan persuaded them to become self-willed in relation to the covenant.  God had encouraged Adam to make self-willed choices.  Adam named each living creature according to his will (Gen. 2:19).   Eve could pick fruit and eat from “any tree in the garden” she chose, except one (Gen. 2:15-17).  The Garden of Eden environment was good for the way God made living beings both physically and spiritually.  It was good for God and for mankind according to His purpose in creation.  It was not developed for people with the evil desires that accompany their sin (Jas. 1:13-15; II Pet. 2:19).   God blocked the entrance because of the sin of mankind (Gen. 3:24).

God had provided for the innate needs He created in both Adam, the male, and Eve, the female; for their physical and social security; sexual relationship with one another; personal achievement and glory.  “You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”  Psa. 8:5.  It was literally heaven on earth.  A dimension of the kingdom of God was in Adam and Eve.  God provided all the arrangements based on why and how He created people.  Carefully read the first three chapters of Genesis with all four of the foregoing points in mind.  God was maintaining the life of His kingdom in Adam and Eve and Satan was there as the adversary.

The rest of God’s story began in Genesis, Chapter Four.  It is about mankind’s status in His kingdom with the presence of God’s grace.  Satan achieved his goal; mankind had fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).  Mature people have the capability of “knowing good and evil” and we are being held responsible by God and our consciences, to choose good over evil.  An atheist must deal with his or her conscience and its relation to their behavior as it aligns with their long list of what they believe is good and evil.  This happens to them because the capability of “knowing good and evil” is being passed on “in Adam.”  See Acts 17:26; Jas. 4:17.

Christians cannot think of God separate from His kingdom; therefore, we cannot think about our life in His kingdom unless the life of His kingdom is in us.  This principle is set forth in I John 4:11-17.  Life in the Garden was a love affair between God and two living beings.  God has worked to recover this love affair with mankind from the day it was “broken up” by Satan (John 3:16).  When we find situations in the Old Testament where God was truly loved because people had faith He was caring for their needs, we will surely find His kingdom.

Children love their parents because they try to provide for all but one of their innate needs.  When men and women mature and seek satisfaction for their sexual need, God’s people get married to the opposite sex.  People love those who they believe will help them find satisfaction for their innate needs.  We will love God when we believe “Every good and perfect gift is from above.”  Good means beneficial and perfect means complete.  God’s gifts are the result of Christians’ obedience to His laws of nature and His “perfect law that gives freedom” to develop our spirits like Jesus (Jas. 2:12).  Personal faith in God’s gifts is why a Christian loves God.

The different priesthoods ordained by God provided grace to keep His people free from Satan’s power of spiritual death through sin.  While searching for the presence of God’s kingdom in the Old Testament, we will want to keep our studies of the Melchizedek Priesthood in mind.  The historical and spiritual situations brought to light in the previous three studies make the reality of the kingdom of God among mankind plausible.  In other words, Christians who have trouble opening their “door of faith” into the kingdom of God need to move through the Old Testament stories with God to learn how He worked for His purpose with patience and love until the time was right to send His Son.  Jesus taught His disciples to pray the kingdom would come into their minds and hearts.  They, and other people, would know the kingdom had come into their lives by observing the fruit of their behavior (Matt. 7:18, 24).

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  Matt. 6:9-13

The “will” is the essence of what happens between what has been decided in an individual’s mind and their behavior.  When a person has the strength to control his or her will, what they planned to do in their mind, they will do (I Cor. 7:37).  As we may attest, this does not always work out for people.  However, when God decides something in His mind, He has the power to see it happen.  His power will be manifested in the arrangements He makes for people, so that what He decided can happen in them.

Christians might ask, “How does a study of the Melchizedek and Levitical Priesthoods follow the sequential steps presented in the first four lessons?”  Why is it important for Christians to understand the covenants God made with His “children of promise?”  Please review the topics of the previous lessons.  God’s story did not start in the New Testament.  It started in God’s mind before He created the world.  Christians became “children of promise” through God’s covenants with Abraham, who lived during the Melchizedek Priesthood.  God’s story is an “on-going” story.  Christians need to understand the function of these two priesthoods before we will be able to properly read the New Testament; especially, the letter called “Hebrews.”  The Hebrew writer assumed the recipients of his letter understood God’s reason for ordaining both priesthoods.

Christians must understand the letter to the Hebrews to believe and place our faith in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ.  We cannot properly read Hebrews unless we know what the recipients knew.  This is an exegetical principle for reading all the New Testament letters.  A Christian who does not have faith in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ cannot approach God.  Therefore, our faith that comes from believing God ordained the Melchizedek and Levitical Priesthoods is a vital step in understanding and having faith in Jesus Christ’s Priesthood:  Its law of life; Jesus as our advocate; our High Priest’s use of His own blood for our atoning sacrifice and the promise of life in fellowship with God (Heb. 8:10-12).

The Hebrew writer gave us a reliable source of data for beginning our search for God’s kingdom before the Christ came to fully describe for mankind the kingdom of God and the life thereof (Luke 4:43; I John 1:1-4).  Chapter Eleven is the Holy Spirit’s list of people who had faith in God’s covenants and His power to fulfill what He promised.  Their faith was manifest in their behavior of righteousness.  At the same time, they were being graced with a gift of righteousness from God; not because they did it exactly right, but because of their faith in the covenants.  They could know what was good and evil because God revealed His will to them in His covenants.  The covenants also included the ways and means for the satisfaction of their innate needs.  Since His covenants were a revelation of His will, the kingdom of God principles of life were in the covenants.

For  instance, Abel’s behavior was the result of his faith in the covenant God offered him and his brother (Heb. 11:4).  The covenant offered a way for the brothers to have fellowship with God.  This fellowship would have provided a condition for God’s rule in their hearts and minds.  Abel was obedient to his faith; therefore, he received God’s grace and had peace with God (Rom. 5:1).  The result was he could hope to share in God’s glory as a child of God (Rom. 5:2).  This would allow the process of developing the life of the kingdom of God in him (Rom. 5:3, 4).  Cain rejected God’s covenant and separated himself from God.  We cannot separate God and His kingdom.  We understand Abel did not have a sacrifice that would allow him the fellowship of God’s Holy Spirit at the time; however, this too, was in the mind of God before He created the world (I Pet. 1:18-21).  Abel received “what had been promised,” sonship in God’s kingdom, together with faithful Christians because Jesus Christ subjected His will to His Father’s will (Heb. 9:15; 11:39, 40).  The life of the kingdom of God was in Jesus and He was in the kingdom.  This is why He could preach the kingdom.  We cannot effectively preach and teach what is not in us about the spiritual realm.

“Enoch, the seventh from Adam,” walked with God and avoided the suffering that often accompanies physical death (Gen. 5:24; Jude 14).  Enoch’s faith pleased God and He took the “self,” called Enoch, out of his body before it mal-functioned (Heb. 11:5, 6; I Cor. 15:50).  We have witnessed faith in the action of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses in our previous studies (Heb. 11:7-28).  We will apply the principle for identifying God’s kingdom in these men of faith, personally, and in those who were influenced by God’s work through them.

Noah “walked with God.”  Gen.  6:9.  “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.”  Heb. 11:7.  Please note this narrative was set in a family context.  Everything relates to family in our study of God’s kingdom for mankind.   God had decided it would not be possible for Him to have children in His kingdom from a world full of people with corrupted minds who lived in a society “full of violence.”  Gen. 6:11.  Noah was counted as a righteous man based on his proven faith in God’s covenants; therefore, he was a preacher of righteousness (II Pet. 2:5).  Noah practiced righteousness with the people God “put to an end.”  Gen. 6:9; 13; I John 3:7, 8.  He preached and practiced the substance of that which he had faith (Heb. 11:1).  He walked his talk.

God provided for Noah’s needs and each of his families’ individual inherent needs.  They had security and social acceptance as an earthly family that included God’s fellowship.  Each person had their own spouse for the satisfaction of their need for a primary relationship and for their sexual needs.  They achieved what they were told to do, “just as God commanded.”  Gen. 6:22.  Because God was pleased they enjoyed temporary satisfaction for their spiritual needs of honor and glory plus hope for eternal satisfaction of these same needs after they were no longer mortal beings (Rom. 2:7, 10).  Christians’ hope for eternal satisfaction for our innate needs is why we love God, our Father, Jesus Christ and the fellowship we have with the Holy Spirit (II Cor. 13:14).

God had arranged a program that would offer Noah and his family satisfaction for all their inherent needs.  They had faith in His arrangement.  For their faith, God counted them as righteous while they learned to overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21).  Numerically, Satan was the winner in the story of the flood, but this was not the plot in this narrative.  It was about God keeping a remnant of mankind for children in His kingdom (Rom. 9:27).  We can conclude the kingdom of God was in Noah and his family because they did the will of God.  They did God’s will because the life Jesus revealed while on earth was in them.  Jesus lived God’s will on earth for mankind to witness (Heb. 5:7-10).  This is the law of life for the spirits of human beings.  It is the law in God’s new and final covenant (Heb. 8:10).

We recognized how the four entities stated at the beginning of this lesson were present in the story of Noah.  They were also present in God’s story about Abraham and his offspring.  God Almighty applied His power over kings and nature for their spiritual and physical development (Gen. 12:17; 14:17; 19:24; 26:6-11; 50:7, 19-21).  In each of their lives and their families God arranged for their physical needs (Gen. 13:2; 24:66; 26:12-15; 30:41-43; 46:26, 27; 47:5, 6).  The Melchizedek Priesthood was functioning; however, we have the history of only one interaction.  In this “individual narrative” Abraham approached God for a blessing through this priest (Gen. 14:18).  We may assume the Melchizedek Priesthood functioned for “the children of promise” from Adam to Moses (Heb. 7:3, 4).  Since Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph were all listed among the faithful; we can also assume they were covenant keepers (Gen. 17:8, 9).  Their faith in God’s covenant was credited to them as righteousness (Gen. 15:6).  They had fellowship with God in His kingdom.  Esau, Jacob’s brother, missed this blessing because he could not bring himself to repent of selling his birthright (Heb. 12:16, 17).

The only people who will not perish; that is, go to hell, are people in God’s kingdom (Mark 9:47, 48).  Children living on earth who have not matured are in God’s kingdom.  Mature people lose their citizenship when they sin.  After the Christ came people could be redeemed by being born again (John 1:12, 13).   The Israelites did not have the blessing of a new spiritual birth; however, God worked to save them by their faith in the covenants through the Levitical Priesthood.  The Law could not save them but their faith in God’s covenants was precious for them and pleasing to God.

It is easy to get caught up in the story of the Old Testament and lose track of how God was seeking to maintain some level of “His will being done in people.”  This is where we can always find His kingdom.  God’s will was done by the people who had faith in God Almighty’s power to serve them for the purpose and manner in which He had created them.  All these people in God’s story in the Old Testament were seeking to find satisfaction for their God-given needs.

We need to see how in each major event God was careful to arrange for their innate needs.  People who had faith in what He arranged became God’s “children of promise.”  They lived in hope.  This gave them power to “seek, knock and find” ways to live and be happy (Matt. 7:7, 8).  This is the way the kingdom of God was in them.  They could stay free of Satan’s program by their faith in God’s covenants.  Because they had to deal with learning what was good and how to avoid evil they required God’s grace continually.  He counted them as if they were righteous people because of their faith in His covenants.  His covenants also included the sacrifice of the blood of certain animals under the Levitical Priesthood.  We need to see the kingdom of God in the people of the Old Testament; however, it was not seen in the physical kingdom of Israel.  The Hebrew writer assured us the will of God had been done satisfactorily by a few people who lived by faith.  The Apostle Paul assured us many Israelites had the kingdom of God in them, but still only a remnant of the “sand of the sea count” from Abraham’s offspring were saved out of Satan’s dark dominion (Rom. 9:27; 11:1-7).

Christians who have a clear understanding of what was in God’s mind “before the beginning of time” are in the right frame of mind to see God maintain a presence of His kingdom in His people in the Old Testament story.  Christians who have a clear view of God’s kingdom in the Old Testament will be in the right frame of mind to hear Jesus preach the kingdom of God (Matt. 4:17).  This is one of the main reasons the Christ came to earth (Luke 4:43).  It is of little value to preach about Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of mankind until people are willing to accept the new covenant in their repentance.  God’s message was clear:

Luke 3:7, 8.         John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.  The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’

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