It happened again: I had a stack of notes, made over several weeks, ready for this month’s article then got a clear understanding in my spirit that I needed/we need to focus on Kingdom vs. religion. That adhering to any man-made religion will never equate to correctly living as an occupant of God’s Kingdom, as rightfully expected by the King of kings. Here in the USA, the mindset of being a subject under a king is unfamiliar, even anathema, to us, all things considered. Therefore, zealous loyalty, fealty, and obligation to obey commands required of the king’s subjects is as well. Glynn Adams correctly wrote in “Repent, Change Our Religious Ways,” found in Links at the end: “Jesus did not come to earth to start a religion called Christianity. He came to bring us a kingdom government and for His followers to influence this earth by doing the will of God on earth as it is done in heaven.”
I took as confirmation that I’d heard God correctly, a reminder to include a certain teaching I already knew about—Dr. Michael Lake’s “Understanding the Kingdom, Parts 1-46,” provided in Links, and all additional supporting information I was then sent or directed to (mostly sent), such as Adams’ article quoted from above. Each Link at the end supports emphasis on God’s Kingdom over man’s religious practices and traditions. These articles and videos showing up so quickly after the topic changed, seems, to me at least, evidence God is speaking to others’ hearts and spirits about this as well. I sincerely pray Almighty God will inspire you to check out one or more of the Links. And, always take everything to the LORD for confirmation.
Why amped-up emphasize on Kingdom now? If you don’t recall this final scene, I invite you to watch the first 3 minutes of this 6-minute clip: (857) The Terminator 1984 There’s a storm coming HD Clip 23 23 – YouTube
There IS a storm coming. And I don’t refer to the hurricanes currently brewing as I write this in the last days of August. Anyone familiar with storms knows there’s always the intro the storm makes into an area: Wind comes in gusts that increase in intensity, whistling across windows, rattling screens; light dims as the sky fills with clouds that go pewter then charcoal in hue, sometimes blocking the sun completely so it is dark as a no-moon midnight even at high noon. Unsecured items outside blow over or away. Well-spaced raindrops begin to fall, gradually diminishing in size but increasing in number. Temperature decreases. For certain locations, storm surge may be a threat. Or tornadoes. We’re at the beginning stages of each of these, and all of them combined, in these days—spiritually, culturally, financially, and every other way there is. Spiritual-weather warfare of the supernatural kind. The kind many know nothing about and some don’t want to think about.
In both the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament books, Almighty God told us what’s coming in the latter days, and why. He also created a shelter—a Goshen—for those who have repented and call Yeshua/Jesus LORD, Savior, King. That shelter is made more sturdy and sure the more we walk in His Kingdom ways (See Psalm 91). Question: Do you know how to do that, walk in Kingdom? Are you sure? Maybe some reassessment is needed right about now—by everyone who calls themselves Christian or Messianic.
“…the number of those that profess Christ is greater than the number of those that [are] truly close with Christ…. Most men are good Christians in the verdict of their own opinion; but you know the law alloweth no man to be a witness in his own case, because their affection usually overreacheth conscience, and self-love deceiveth truth for its own interest.” — Matthew Mead, The Almost Christian Discovered … and the scariest book I’ve ever started to read. I mean that. I got it several years back, started to read it, and was shaken by what I read. I put it on the bookshelf but have it out now, and ask Holy Spirit to guide me and give me discernment about this book. Too many professing Christians believe deceiving doctrines—doctrines of Balaam—like hyper-grace (a hideous lie), or that adhering to religious doctrine or tradition, or worse—progressive Christianity—is okay, even if it clashes with or is an incorrect division of the Word or cited by God in His Word as an abomination.
If I wanted to find a book that represents the heaviness in my spirit about how contemporary Christians and Jews each approach their relationship with God—or the absence of a relationship, I could not find a better representation than The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs. He’s a talented writer and a caring person but . . .
As a former Gentile now grafted onto the Vine of and through Yeshua/Jesus’ completed work on the cross and Resurrection, when I discover a truly Messianic Jew, I come close to the sin of coveting: Their connection to their heritage; the way dots between the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament books connect in a more complete way for them because of their studies from youth than happens for most Gentile converts; their understanding of the culture during the time of Yeshua/Jesus, which is so far beyond what a Gentile convert gets, if we get any such information without doing our own research.
Sadness also envelopes me when I see someone of Jewish heritage who has only a surface-level attachment to being Jewish. It’s the same, however, when I come across any Christian claimants who have no genuine relationship with God, or they have one but it stopped at a certain maturation point sometime back, akin to the difference between staying in the kiddie pool vs. gradually graduating to the regulation pool, and then the ocean. I promise I say all of this in humility and hesitantly add I feel I’ve moved into the regulation pool, maybe still only ankle-deep on one of the steps leading into the shallow end, yet eyes fixed on the deep end. Only God’s grace will get me there. Same regarding the ocean. Not one of us is meant to do any of this on our own. We need Him for all of it. His grace is sufficient to get us there, but we must ask Him for His help—mean it—and then do what He requires of us, trusting Him in all things.
Back to the book. It was painful to read and provided evidence of what the Word tells us about grace vs. works. Jacobs wondered if striving to adhere to the 613 commandments would lead him to connect with God, as he, a Jew was raised in a secular family. He approached this with a “maybe if I fake it till I make it” mindset, rather than a genuine hunger and thirst for Yahweh Elohim (FYI: There is NO faking with God). Jacobs ends up proving and representing the confusion that exists when it comes to what always-man-made religion ultimately offers: factions, inconsistencies, and disagreements, which can only result in a shallow, more worldly centered experience of Almighty God and our LORD Yeshua/Jesus.
The book contains an accurate demonstration of the Apostasy of the Church, the great falling away Yeshua/Jesus spoke of. Or there’s the misunderstanding that relationship with our God is an emotion-filled one rather than a spirit-filled one: Jacobs searched for a feeling rather than to be filled with Holy Spirit. Too many of us look for, as Dr. Lake calls it, Holy-Spirit goosebumps or to “feel” certain emotions deeply, which is not the same as being Spirit-filled at all. By no means am I saying relationship with God is emotionless—far from it. But the deception most of us are in is so great, we don’t recognize that we swim in it. God told us in Philippians 2:12 to work out our deliverance with fear and trembling. He wasn’t speaking metaphorically.
I spoke to my LORD often while reading Jacobs’ book. At times I yelled in utter frustration. At times I said aloud, “I know of two people you could have interviewed and gotten things right rather than wrong, received clarification rather than confusion!” (One a Hebraic Christian/Dr. Michael Lake, one a Messianic Rabbi/Darryl Weinberg, both scholarly researchers – See “The Red Mark on God’s Forehead” link provided at the end). At times I wept in genuine sadness over the deception the Adversary has wielded so well, with few Shepherds of God to stop him. We are in a sorry state spiritually and most have absolutely no clue this is fact or the danger that exists because of this. Nor do most respond favorably to any attempt to inform and or edify about this. We walk in Hosea 4:6 and don’t realize it.
With hesitation comes my suggestion to consider reading Jacob’s book. I hesitate because of this: Are you certain that no matter how long you’ve called yourself religious/Christian/Messianic/saved that you’d recognize any or all of the errors throughout? I also offer this: Jacobs’ candidness about his experiences may cause you to look through a different lens at yourself as well as others: I did. There is value in that. But if you don’t know what you see when you look at it, you may swap certain deceptions for others. This book also serves as a reminder of how graciously longsuffering with us Almighty God is. My prayer is that God planted a seed in Jacobs (and his readers). And when God plants a seed . . . Disclaimer: I did learn something important, found in his footnotes: mazal tov is not a good thing for a Kingdom subject to say, as it references fate being in the stars rather than in YHWH’s hands; astrology is considered an abomination by God.
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place—what are mere mortals, that you concern yourself with them; humans, that you watch over them with such care?” Psalm 8:3-5 CJB
Religion is indeed the problem. Kingdom is the solution. Religion is man-made and man-centered. Kingdom is not only God-centered but God-ordained. Religion is confusion. Kingdom is Divine Order from Almighty God. We don’t see much of this Divine Order in the world, in our communities, our homes, our lives, or even churches. I look around and my spirit is heavy—not just for those who have no desire for God, but for those of us who call ourselves Christians or Messianic. There is no solid agreement about so many things, even among those who’ve been involved with the Church and Bible study for years. Example: Too many have made “the Rapture” an idol. Friendships and churches have split over this topic, when what Jesus commanded was that we focus on His Great Commission, His Kingdom, and how to represent Him as His Light in growing darkness. That’s only one of a multitude of examples. Imagine the letters those first Apostles might write to most of the churches in existence these days—the non-persecuted churches, that is—especially James or Jude, Yeshua/Jesus’ half-brothers. They would be scathing messages, and deserved.
Here’s some tough-love from one of Glynn Adams’ articles provided in Links: “Today, our institutional churches and especially the mega churches are essentially a nursery for overgrown spiritual babes. It habituates God’s people into being passive receivers. It stunts their spiritual growth and development and keeps them in spiritual infancy. But there is something even worse. When the Holy Spirit leaves a disobedient pastor or church, they are so organized they can keep on having church and don’t even know the Spirit has left them!! Watchman Nee, after touring America [sic] Churches, was asked what he thought about the American Church. He replied, ‘I am amazed how much Americans can accomplish without God!!!!’”
I ask you to pay attention to this Scripture passage because I have a question for you after you read it: “Moreover, understand this: in the acharit-hayamin [latter days] will come trying times. People will be self-loving, money-loving, proud, arrogant, insulting, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, uncontrolled, brutal, hateful of good, traitorous, headstrong, swollen with conceit, loving pleasure rather than God, as they retain the outer form of religion but deny its power. Stay away from these people!” – 2 Timothy 3:1-5 CJB.
We all think of one or more people when we read such things as that scripture: People we know and people in politics. Who did you think of? Did your thoughts of them cause you to miss who God is speaking about and to? His CHURCH: “They retain the outer form of religion but deny its power.” He’s talking to us. How many Christians and or Messianic Jews, including yourself, do you know who exhibit the power of Almighty God and authority given by Yeshua/Jesus in their lives (or you in yours)? I praise God that I know several people who do, but I’m not as yet operating in it; I still barely understand it, and only thanks to people like Dr. Lake and his ilk, am I beginning to grasp some of it. Do you see what I mean? We are missing something vital. And there IS a storm coming. We’re in the beginning stages. Perhaps, even further along than we know.
What have you been taught about God’s Kingdom and how to walk in it according to Him and not religious doctrine? Dr. Michael Lake said, “The whole problem is, once I start understanding the place of the commandments of God within the Kingdom, all my excuses go out the window, and I’ve got to give up my own kingdoms.” Again, an excellent start to discovering what you may not know about God’s Kingdom, but need to know, is through Dr. Lake’s exceptional teaching found in his “Understanding the Kingdom – Parts 1-46,” provided in the links at the end. You won’t be bored.
Dr. Lake also started the Kingdom Paradigm series. The first book is The Kingdom Priesthood: Preparing and Equipping the Remnant Priesthood for the Last Days. Among the amazing content is this fact: A wrong translation has caused Christians to confuse and misunderstand what God said—God did NOT say we are to be kings and priests. He said we are to be a Kingdom of priests. Very Big Difference, yes? The second book, now available, is, The Kingdom Warrior: Full-Spectrum Spiritual Warfare Part 1: Biblical Clearing and Maintaining Your Spiritual Perimeter. Answer honestly: How proficient are you in spiritual warfare? How much do you know about that? How well does/do your church leader(s) train you in this? When was the last time your pastor spoke about it?
Are you as close to God as you want to be? Do you even want to be? Were you raised to do a particular religion “right” or raised to grow your relationship with the One Who created you, Who is also your King, your Lord, your Bridegroom, and the Commander of God’s Army—to which you are now enlisted (did someone forget to tell you that as well)? Do you understand the difference between Kingdom and religion, and why that difference is important to you? Yeshua/Jesus chastised the Pharisees for choosing their traditions over the Word of God—their “religion” over His Kingdom ways. What do you imagine His opinion is of how most churches are operating today, especially in the USA? The first two links below (from Glynn Adams) are excellent, thought-provoking articles about this very thing.
God is our Shelter. The only true Shelter in any storm or battle. There’s a storm coming. “Seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” — Matthew 6:33 CJB
How close should you be to Almighty God in a storm? More important: How close should you seek to be with Him prior to any storm? How close do you stand with someone you share an umbrella with in a storm? What’s a good start toward this closeness with God? “Let everyone who claims he belongs to the Lord stand apart from wrongdoing.” – 2 Timothy 2:19 CJB
Glynn Adams writes in “The Wrath of God is At Our Door,” (provided below): “As a watchman of God, I have been moved, not to indignation, but compassion to give my most urgent warning to those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ in America. The wrath of God is at the door in America because those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ have become disobedient, apathetic, asleep, and lukewarm. But our most dangerous position is we have deceptively declared ourselves godly and righteous when the world can clearly see that the followers of Jesus Christ in America are not salt and light but are an ineffective religious institution operating in ungodliness and unrighteousness.”
And in “Repent, Change Our Religious Ways,” Adams writes: “Virtually all our major practices came to us within 50 years of the Emperor Constantine of Rome (AD 124) or within 50 years of the beginning of the Reformation (AD 1517). For years, no one has questioned our failing religion system. After you read this article, I hope you have a crisis of conscience, for you will know the pagan and non-biblical origins of all we do today in our church services!!!
“But there is a greater tragedy here. We take the New Testament and twist it, making the New Testament endorse what we do today. This mindset – which is universal – is common to both layman and clergy …. this mindset has – and is – corrupting and destroying the church that Jesus wants to build!!! We are left where many are questioning how our faith is practiced today because our pastors don’t seem to understand and have absolutely no idea how our faith should really be practiced!!”
There’s a storm coming. Will you stand with and for Yeshua/Jesus – or with the fallen world? “Who will champion my cause against the wicked? Who will stand up for me against evildoers?” – Psalm 94:16 CJB
May God cause us to seek and understand His Kingdom ways and write His ways upon our hearts so that our thoughts, words, and actions please Him and serve Him according to His will, not ours. “But you, when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, don’t babble on and on like the pagans, who think God will hear them better if they talk a lot. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows what you need before you ask him. You, therefore, pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven! May your Name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us the food we need today. Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us. And do not lead us into hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One. For kingship, power and glory are yours forever. Amen.’ For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will not forgive yours.” — Matthew 6:6-15 CJB
Why did I include the above prayer? Consider how angry and divided many strive to make us each day, all day. It isn’t Almighty God doing this. We must be careful who we follow, and not be unaware. Read Ephesians 6. May God bless and keep you and those you love, and guide you in all your ways.
*Quintessential Teaching, 1-46! (868) Understanding Kingdom 1 – YouTube
*The Reformation Continues – Part 1 – Kingdom Intelligence Briefing / Description: The reformation did not stop with the early reformers. The Holy Spirit has been laboring to bring the Body of Christ to maturity and wholeness. However, we must work with the Holy Spirit to maintain balance and ensure that the truths that He has reestablished in the past remain today.