A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label The Kingdom of God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Kingdom of God. Show all posts

March 8, 2021

Do You Identify As The Ekklesia Or The Church? It Makes A Difference!

Do you know the difference between the Ekklesia and the Church? Can you tell the difference? About two years ago I heard a teaching by Pastor Dutch Sheets that put into words what my spirit has been discerning for some time, but was struggling to put into perspective. He was able to clarify the two ways that the Body of Christ operates... as both a Family and a Kingdom government. 

For example, as the Family of God, the Church sees Jesus as the Good Shepherd, the Bridegroom, and the First-born Heir (as the Son of God). In God's Kingdom government, Jesus is King, Lord, and Master. In our Church Families, we are part of Jesus's flock. According to God's Kingdom government on earth, we are the Lord's army. In the Church Family, we are healers and have rights and privileges. In the Kingdom government, we have responsibilities to be destroyers by tearing down strongholds and principalities. As the Church, we are to grow the Family of God until Jesus comes again. As the Ekklesia, we are to grow and extend God's Kingdom and its culture until Jesus returns. As the Family, we worship. As the Ekklesia, we govern. Starting to get the picture?

For awhile now, I have discerned that we have been operating solely as the Family of God [in our capacity as the Church]. It is past time that we mature and grow into our responsibilities as the Ekklesia. All we have to do is look at the state of our nation and the world to understand that God doesn't want [or need] a Church that is willing to compromise with the world. Look at where that's gotten us! The Church has remained fairly silent about ungodly strongholds of abortion, gay marriage, child trafficking, racism, human slavery, corrupt politicians and governments, etc. Oh, we speak up within the four walls of our buildings, but we have little effect on the morality of our culture outside our four walls. Take a look at our nation's laws... do they show the fruit of the Church's representation of Heaven's laws?

I believe that in this age and season, God wants [and needs] an Ekklesia that is taking down strongholds in the spiritual realms and reclaiming territory from Satan's kingdom of darkness on the earth. Since the Book of Acts, the Church has been given great power and authority to act on behalf of God's Kingdom. But to be honest, they don't know they've been entrusted with doing the works Jesus did to destroy the works of the devil. Far too many pastors and teachers don't train or equip their flocks to battle in the spirit, which is where Satan does most of his work! In recent centuries, the knowledge of the Church's power and authority has been eliminated from their identity; they no longer know how to walk in it. Instead they minister to each other, and Satan keeps the Family of God satisfied in the building, and ineffective in the world. Meanwhile the souls outside the building are spiritually dying.

I want to be clear ... God isn't finished with His Family! But He wants His children to change the atmosphere in their homes, their towns, their schools, their nations, and the world. He wants them to be willing to speak prophecy of His promises in the Bible to the dying, the hurt and the wounded. He wants them to do prophetic acts as representatives of the Kingdom of God on earth. The Church should look like the Church did in the First Century -- healing the sick; raising the dead; declaring prophecy over government leaders; baptizing and making disciples; carrying the Gospels of Salvation and the Kingdom to the far corners of the earth. 

The Church [as Family] should know the powerful tool of prophecy and understand how it works in the spiritual realms, because it can have a profound effect upon the works of the devil. But I'm not even sure we know what a prophetic act is or how it works. A prophetic word is when the Holy Spirit enables one to hear directly from God and you receive a message that is to be spoken to an individual, or a congregation, or even a nation and the world. The key is to discern that what you are hearing is actually from the Holy Spirit. And that requires a maturity that comes from experience with the Holy Spirit and being filled with Him. When that rightly discerned word is spoken, it actually opens up a portal over a region so that God can see His word manifested -- in His timing and His sovereignty.

Thankfully, I believe the Ekklesia is beginning to grow and mature into its identity and function [to see God's justice done on the earth]. We are beginning to show the Family of God that He is more than Love, Mercy and Grace (as powerful as those attributes are in their own right). But, as His Word tells us, God's cup of wrath will one day soon be filled up and He will tell Jesus to mount up on His white horse and dispense His Righteous Judgment upon the earth's wicked and evil. At that time the Church will have finished its mandate to reproduce and grow the Family of God; the number of those who will receive Jesus as King has been reached. It will be time to bring the fullness of the restoration of God's Kingdom on earth that He began in Genesis. Mankind will step into its dominion role and the Kingdom will truly "come on earth, as it is in Heaven". We will see reformation come upon the earth, as we leave the Church age behind, and enter the age of the Millennial Kingdom. That transformation and reformation is beginning now. 

That's why it's important to know how you identify yourself. Because I will tell you that Satan and the citizens of his kingdom of darkness will not easily give up the reign they have enjoyed these thousands of years. And frankly, as the Family, the Church is not equipped to defeat him or his minions. How can they expect to, if they are not walking in their power and authority? But the Good News is that, as we are growing into our identity as the Ekklesia, we are beginning to come together as powerful cohesive groups. And it is amazing to see what a remnant can do when they are equipped with 1) God's Divine strategies; 2) the weapons of our warfare [the shield of faith, the sword of the Spirit, the prophetic word of how to bring down strongholds, and the authority to call on the Heavenly Host to assist us, among others]; and 3) the keys to the Kingdom [forgiveness, prayer, fasting, binding/loosing, etc]. 

But perhaps the most powerful thing we, as the Ekklesia, have going for us is our righteous zeal -- our tireless devotion and determination to see the cause of Jesus and His Kingdom firmly and irrevocably established on the earth. That my brothers and sisters, should be the heart of both the Church and the Ekklesia. But the Church has not taken the necessary risks to see the Kingdom established. Instead, they have reconciled and compromised with the world. Their 501(C)3 status has kept them largely on the sidelines as our families, schools, and nation have abandoned Godly principles. Yes, Jesus is our Savior, the Lamb of God, and our Advocate. But it is time we see Him in His identity as the Lord, King, and Judge of the earth. I honor the Church and all it has accomplished throughout time. But I am excited to welcome the remnant within its walls that sees the truth of the Gospel of the Kingdom and is willing to become the Ekklesia. The world will not welcome us, and our mission will be arduous and not without conflict. But may our faithfulness and fortitude (courage in the midst of pain and adversity) usher in the glorious return of the King of Heaven and Earth!

Isaiah 40:10      Look, the Sovereign Lord comes as a victorious warrior; His military power establishes His rule. Look, His reward is with Him; His prize goes before Him.

April 25, 2020

Through A Kingdom Lens: Rediscovering What The Church Lost

     I am proud to announce that my new book, Through A Kingdom Lens: Rediscovering What The Church Lost has finally been published, and is now available on Amazon. I want you to know that it is uncomfortable for me to promote this book for my own benefit. It has always been my purpose to write it to encourage those people (both Believers and non-Believers, alike) who have struggled with knowing their purpose in life.
     So, why does someone like me, just an ordinary follower of Christ, decide to write a book about the Kingdom of God? I will tell you that I am no Bible scholar. I have no religious titles attached to my name and hold no theological degrees. The simple explanation is that I was made to write for the Lord. It delights Him when I use the gift He has given me. In 2008 I received a prompting from the Holy Spirit to write this blog for Him. And now He has given me a new assignment. And with this commandment, comes my intense desire for the Body of Christ to understand the Kingdom of God from His perspective. In fact, it is essential and necessary that we see it, understand it, preach it, enter it, expand it, and establish it!
     I will admit that it has been a long personal journey for me to grasp the significance of the Kingdom in my life. I have spent many hours in deep study of God’s Word. I have engaged in exhaustive dialogues with other Kingdom-seekers, as we try to come to terms with the revelation that “the Church” has failed to equip the saints in this matter. But most of all, I have listened to the Holy Spirit’s counsel and guidance as He continues to teach me the truth of what Scripture says about the Kingdom of God.
     This book represents all that I have learned to date. I do not think the information I bring you is infallible; nor do I think it is complete. I am still on the path of revelation and knowledge about the Kingdom of God. But the impetus for this book does come from a place of deep yearning to share what I have learned because I believe it is of critical importance to the Body of Christ.
    I wrote it with the intention of encouraging all those who have wondered about the "deeper" things of their existence and their relationship with Jesus, just as I have throughout my life. It has not been a question of my faith, but rather a desire to feed that hunger inside of me for "more" than what I received from my Church's doctrine. From the moment I realized I had unanswered questions, I wasn't going to be satisfied until I received the answer from God.
     My questions began with this very important one ... What is the difference between the Gospel of Salvation and the Gospel of the Kingdom? What is the Kingdom of God, and what does it have to do with me? What do being "Born Again" and "Renewing my mind" really mean? How am I supposed to interpret Salvation, Grace, Repentance, Inheritance, and Justice in relation to the Kingdom? How do Religion and Spiritual Warfare intersect with the Kingdom? And, here is the real struggle I had ... why aren't these questions being addressed by the Shepherds of the Church, who are supposed to
"equip and train us to come together in unity of the faith and the knowledge of Jesus Christ", so that we might mature into the fullness of Christ. The problem was, I was discerning that there was knowledge of Jesus that I was missing... and I was hungry for it; I could not hope to come to the full measure of being like Christ until I received and understand all of Him!
     And, please know, that this is not an attempt to bash "The Church". It is simply a realization that, as I began to dive into Scripture for answers, that our Church and denominational doctrines didn't always accurately represent what the Word said -- or at the least, that our doctrines were based on a single verse, rather than on the context of an entire chapter or Book!
     Mind you, I have had faithful and Godly men and women in the Church who have instructed me to the best of their abilities. But I was surprised to discover that some of these teachings didn't match up with the Spirit of the Word. I don't blame them, and came to the understanding that these teachings were the result of distorted interpretations that have come down to the Church through the centuries. But now God was uncovering His Truth as He lit up the Scriptures like I'd never seen them before!
     Next, He sent people to give me a prophetic word about how He wanted me to share what He was revealing. In the middle of a small prayer group, a Pastor stopped and looked at me, and said, "You are going to write a book for God". It was that simple, yet profound. Nearly a year later, I was commenting to a very dear friend and mentor that every time I wrote about Kingdom on this blog, or walked it out, the devil make it clear he wasn't pleased. Her response? "Then I guess you better write a book!" So, I could no longer ignore God's promptings, and now you see the fruit of my labor.
     So, I hope you will read this little book with the goal of beginning your own journey into studying the Kingdom of God. Do not accept my opinions as the final word on the subject. You will find that I am forthcoming about the authors and teachers who helped me to unravel and clarify my theology. But I always took their teachings back to Scripture and let the Holy Spirit fine-tune my thinking. If nothing else, I hope that your consideration of my analysis will prompt you to do the same and begin your own study and research.
     I promise you, it will be worth your while. Because I now know, in my heart and my spirit, why we pray, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. And I want to share what I have learned from the Father with you. I pray that you will be as blessed by this book as much as I was in the process of writing it. Enjoy!

Here is the link to the book on Amazon: www.amzn.com/1734916133

Proverbs 2:3-5     Yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

February 19, 2020

The Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

     Today, I want to revisit a post that I wrote over six years ago, in which I quoted Matthew 25:29:30 ...  For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is part of the Parable of the Talents, in which a wealthy man goes on a journey, entrusting his property to his servants; assigning various degrees of authority to them. When he returns, he settles up with these servants according to how they have prospered him. 
     Discerning minds understand that this is a parable representing Jesus, who on His Second Coming will reward those who have been good custodians of His Kingdom. [NOTE: Different translations use different designations for those left to steward the Kingdom; they are called "worthless slaves" (New American Standard translation); "good-for-nothing servants" (Passion Translation); "useless servant (New Living Translation); and "unprofitable servant" (King James Version).] Elsewhere, I have found them referred to as "bond-servants", which closely resembles the use of the word "slave". In fact, the Apostle Paul refers to himself as a bond-servant and slave to Christ in more than one translation of Romans 1:1. So, I think we can agree that this term is appropriate in the sense that we have been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus, and are dependent upon Him for every facet of our existence.

      But I want to get past these differences in terminology and focus on the phrase "weeping and gnashing of teeth". This continues to be a controversial and confusing topic to modern Christians. We can understand from the entirety of the Parable that Jesus will be pleased with the profit of those servants who have increased what He left them. And what exactly was it that He put them in charge of? The advancement of His Kingdom and dominion on the earth! I will admit that six years ago when I first wrote about this topic, I limited His "estate" to the Gospel of Salvation and the Good News of His redeeming death, burial, and resurrection. But by the Grace of God, it has been revealed to me that this was just the entry point -- the gate, if you will -- to His Kingdom territory. He intends for each of us to go beyond sharing the Salvation message and actually add to His territory. And for those who don't ... well, this is where it gets uncomfortable.
     The Church has long implied that "weeping and gnashing of teeth" point to Hell.  In fact, if you Google outer darkness and weeping and gnashing of teeth, and click on "Images", you will see countless depictions of people writhing and burning in the fiery pits of hell.  I DO NOT believe that this is what Jesus is conveying in this particular passage. 
     To help prove my point, I would like to offer you an expanded Greek translation of these verses.  Unlike the standard Authorized Greek translation of 1611, or the American Revised Greek version of 1901, this expanded translation by Kenneth Wuest follows the Greek order of words in the sentences, which I think gives us a more accurate and clearer interpretation of what Jesus actually said. This expanded translation reads as follows:  

     ... for to the one who has shall be given, and he shall be furnished with a superfluity, 
and he who does not have, even that which he has shall be taken from him. 
And the good-for-nothing slave, throw [him] out into the darkness; that which is outside.
There, in that place, there shall be lamentation and the gnashing of teeth.
      We must remember that Jesus is speaking to the Disciples, the first members of His Church -- and the servants that He is talking about in the Parable are His own servants; those that belong to Him (Believers).  The talents (or the money) represented the stewardship of the Kingdom that we, as Believers and Kingdom Citizens, are given in His absence. Just like the servants, we can decide what we will do with that special privilege. The reward of each servant did not depend on the fact that they possessed the talents, but what they did with them.  Hence, our reward, when our Master returns, does not rest upon His gift of salvation, which all Believers possess, but with what we have done for His Kingdom in His absence! 
     At this point, we must recognize that Jesus is ultimately talking about how He will reward Believers when He returns and sets up His Millennial Kingdom.  In Revelation 20:6, we are told that there is an inheritance to be gained in this Millennial Kingdom, when we "will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years."  IT IS IMPORTANT that you understand that ALL Believers will gain entry into the Millennial Kingdom, but I do not believe that all will be given roles of authority and "rule or reign" with Him.  That mandate will be given only to those who have shown they can produce fruit for Him and His Kingdom.
      So what does Jesus mean when He says to throw the "good-for-nothing" slave into the outer darkness?  In John 8:12, Jesus says "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  When we are in the presence of Jesus -- when we are closest to Him -- we are in His light.  Here, He is saying, "Whoever follows me -- whoever takes up my Cross and spreads my Kingdom Gospel Message -- will have the light of eternal life."  When we accept our salvation through faith in Jesus, we gain entry into His Kingdom (see John 3:1-5). And when He inaugurates the Millennial Kingdom, there will be degrees of rewards, depending on how we stewarded the Kingdom while He was away, and the fruit we produced from our efforts. Being in the nearness of His light is one of the privileges of having done well for Him. All true Believers will enter the Millennial Kingdom, but Jesus makes it very plain who will be allowed to co-reign with Him.  Matthew 25:23 says it all: "His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord."  
     Then He turns around, and in verse 30, pronounces the reward on the unfruitful servant.  This servant is in the Kingdom; he is in the presence of the returning Master.  But his failure to do anything to increase the Master's Kingdom has resulted in him being unable to rule and reign with Christ and he will not be within that inner circle of light that surrounds the King of Kings. REMEMBER, John 3:18 tells us that "Whoever believes in Him is not condemned."  Condemned equals hell. This servant is not condemned; he is just cast into the outer reaches of the Millennium Kingdom, or the darkness outside of Jesus's presence. He has gained entry, but no inheritance of authority or rulership. 
    As to weeping and gnashing of teeth, this refers to profound regret, or the deep remorse of a man who was an unfaithful servant.  Can you not picture yourself grieving if you arrive in the Millennial Kingdom and realize that you didn't do all you could to advance the Kingdom Message? That you perhaps shared the Salvation message, but didn't go further in your Kingdom mandate to continue the work of Jesus to heal the broken-hearted or set the captives free?  Imagine this: you're in the Kingdom, but assigned to the outer edges (away from Christ's light) because what you were given was taken away and given to others who bore more fruit than you... doesn't that perfectly describe the state of the unprofitable servant in the Parable of the Talents? 
     So I hope that this discussion might have given you a new perspective on this wise Parable. As always, I urge you to do your own study and be like the Bereans of Acts 17:11, receive the Word with readiness, and search the Scriptures to see if these things be so. Jesus desires that all of us be like the two servants who took their stewardship and responsibilities seriously; He wants to reward us when He returns. May the Holy Spirit guide you in walking in your Kingdom identity, accomplishing great things for the Kingdom of God, and receiving your reward and inheritance in the fulfillment of the Kingdom to come.
Psalm 16:5-6    Lord, I have chosen You alone as my inheritance. You are my prize, my pleasure, and my portion.
I leave my destiny and its timing in Your hands. Your pleasant path leads me to pleasant places. I’m overwhelmed by the privileges that come with following You, for You have given me the best! 

January 30, 2020

John the Baptist, the Spirit of Elijah, and the Kingdom of Heaven

     I'm going to attempt to share a deeper understanding I just gained about Matthew 11:11-15. It is a passage that is quite often quoted and mentioned in Biblical exegesis, but never adequately explained for my understanding. And in my conversations with fellow Christians, I find that many of them are struggling with its relevance, too. So, not that I see myself as a Scriptural expert, but after spending a bit of time diving in, I'd like to give it a shot, because it is vitally important to our understanding of the Kingdom of God. Here is the passage:

11 Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

     Let's unravel this verse-by-verse, shall we? First of all, the Bible is establishing that John the Baptist is a human being, just like you and me; born of a woman. Secondly, we need to understand that John is the last prophet who came with a message that the Messiah would one day come. He is great because he is the prophet that was allowed to see that prophecy fulfilled. But he dies before Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection [which pays for our sins and makes way for us receive eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven]. 
   So, then how could one who is least in the Kingdom be greater than John? We, who are the recipients of Christ's sacrifice are greater because we get to receive the benefits of His Coming, which are Salvation, which in turn grants us the right to enter the Kingdom of Heaven [see John 3:1-5]. We are more privileged than even John the Baptist!
     What does it mean that the Kingdom of Heaven "suffers violence from the days of John, and that violent men take it by force"? To suffer violence means the Kingdom of Heaven was being pressed into by men forcing their way in; because up to now, Satan has been the dark ruler of this world and the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and men did not have access to, or a way, to enter into the Kingdom. And remember, Jesus castigates the Pharisees for not entering, nor allowing others to enter. (Matthew 23:13). 
     But from the moment John stepped onto the world scene until now, the realm of Heaven's kingdom is bursting forth and passionate people are taking hold of its power. The prophets and the Old Testament prophesied about the coming Messiah and His authority and power to deliver men and the world, and now here is John in the New Testament seeing those prophecies come to fruition.
     Then, here is the real stickler for most Christians: And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. Here's my take on this verse ... Got created us all as spirits, and each spirit is eventually assigned to a host body to live out its appointed days, after which the spirit returns to its "home" with the Father. Think "one spirit to one body; one life resulting in one death". But Elijah did not die a human death! He was taken up to Heaven before his body could die, so God receives his spirit back and can send it to John to help him carry out God's purpose for that spirit. [NOTE: spirits can't reside in bodies that die and then come back in another body -- that would constitute reincarnation]. 
     So, think of it like this: The "spirit of Elijah" is an anointing of the Spirit of God that works in a person in the same manner it did in the first Elijah. It is a spirit that is against worshiping false gods  (as Elijah came against Ahab and Jezebel). It is a spirit that brings about the restoration of God's Truth and turns the hearts of God's people back to Him and a true faith. 
     This is a word [for us] as spoken by the prophet Malachi: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.  In the Last Days, there must be a prophet anointed, just as John the Baptist was, with the spirit of Elijah to turn the hearts of believers (both Christians and Jews) to welcome the returning Christ. The traditions of men must be rejected! 
     The Word must be restored to its purity: Those who worship God must worship Him in Spirit and Truth (John 4:24). In the past, God revealed Himself through a prophet. Now, He reveals Himself through Spirit, and His Spirit will be revealed through the spirit of Elijah in the Last Days. The last anointing of the Elijah spirit will be the final witness to both Jew and Christian (Revelation 11?). Jews must receive the message of the Jewish Apostles in the Early Church, recognize Jesus as their Messiah, recognize the final Elijah's message and be sealed into the Kingdom of God. Likewise, the Modern Church must turn away from their rituals, traditions, and denominational doctrines and turn to the living God of the Bible! I pray that all those with ears to hear, will hear loud and clear!

January 1, 2020

Will 2020 Usher In the End of This Evil Age?

      I wasn't going to write anything about the New Year, but my spirit kept getting nudged to acknowledge it. So I will give you this short message that I hear the Lord telling me to share. For the past several months there have been an abundance of prophecies for the year 2020; most proclaiming revival and a new era of bold faith. I certainly hope these prophetic words are true! And then yesterday, a powerful prophetic word was spoken over mine and Mark's ministry. It was actually overwhelming, but came at a time when, to be honest, I was feeling a little discouraged. But I don't want to make this post about us. I will tell anyone who will listen that we are no one special. We do not hold ourselves higher than anyone else who has a heart to be obedient to the Lord and walk in His commandments.
     That being said, it is time that the rest of Christendom join us in the ministry of spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom. I hear more and more people waking up to the realization that evil is real and increasing. It is no longer hidden, but out in the open, and taunting all that is good. It is so apparent in every aspect of our culture -- entertainment, politics, government, technology and the internet, etc. While I can appreciate the prophetic word that is prevalent these days -- the prediction that a holy fire will spread through the ranks of Christians and a resurgence in faith will extend across the land -- I am praying that the fulfillment of our responsibilities to the Kingdom will be a part of that renaissance.
     So my message this New Year's Day, 2020, is really very simple. We need to walk in the hope of Jesus's own prophetic word in Matthew 24:14: Yet through it all, this joyful assurance of the realm of heaven’s kingdom will be proclaimed all over the world, providing every nation with a demonstration of the reality of God. And after this the end of this age will arrive. 
     It is my prayer that this prophesied revival includes more than just growing numbers of people coming to Salvation. It is my prayer that the Church moves beyond their Salvation experience and proclaims that the Kingdom of God has come to the earth and they will not only provide every person with a demonstration of the reality of God, but help them experience His power in every life. I want the Body of Christ to be true disciples of Jesus; transforming lives and doing the works of the Father, as Jesus commanded. I want the world to witness sickness, demons, unclean spirits, and yes, even death all defeated, in the mighty Name of Jesus! That is a real demonstration that God is real! When we learn to walk in our purpose, power, and identity, THEN the end of this age [of darkness and evil] will happen and the complete fulfillment of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth will arrive with the appearance of our Lord on the clouds! 
     Will 2020 be the beginning of the end of Satan's dominion on the earth? We will see. But Mark and I are not waiting for the world to get on board.  The two of us are going to keep on the path the Lord has appointed us, inviting every one to join us in the Kingdom, believing that we are sowing for a harvest that we may not ever see.  And we are trusting that our efforts for the Kingdom will resonate with other followers of Jesus until together, we become a wave of Kingdom righteousness that sweeps the nations and makes way for the King to return. So Happy New Year! And please join me in making 2020 count for the Kingdom!

December 30, 2019

The Religious Police vs Kingdom Citizens

     Oh, boy, I'm sure that this post will not win friends or influence people, but I feel it is time to take a stand. So here goes ... I am seeing a growing chasm between Christians; namely those in the camp I will call Reformers and those in the Kingdom camp. And I have to say that the rhetoric from the Reformer camp is getting uglier and more divisive. The articles on one of their more prominent websites, pulpitandpen.org, show me that they have designated themselves as the heresy police of Christianity. They decide who is a "real Christian" and who is not; often using Scripture sporadically, broadly, and frequently out of context. Furthermore, they categorize anyone who is Kingdom-minded as members of the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation).
     I will admit that I do not align myself with the NAR either, as I have discerned many of their adherents seem to be chasing prophetic gifts and titles. However, just because I am not so inclined, it does not mean that I condemn them or give individual pastors and teachers no credibility. I will leave the final judgment of their fruitfulness up to the Lord. As long as I see fruit from a group or movement, I join my husband in deciding to "eat the meat and spit out the bones" -- agree with what I see as fruit-bearing activity, and disregard areas that my spirit challenges. Not so, the Pulpit and Pen crowd.
     Their latest tirade is against Bethel Church and their attempt to resurrect a two-year-old child of one of their members through prayer. Here is some of what they wrote in an article entitled, Bethel 'Dead Raising Team' Fails To Save 2-Year Old:  "Of course, Bethel Church does not have the power to raise the dead. This is not the Apostolic age, and there are no Apostles or prophets (because we have the written word of God, (Hebrews 1:1-2). Some will look at this article and think it is cruel. Compare it to the actions of Jenn Johnson [worship leader and preacher at Bethel], publicly calling for this poor baby girl to be raised from the dead, giving her parents false hope and immeasurable pain instead of being content in 2 Corinthians 5:8, that for this child to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Instead of giving hope in the coming resurrection, they sell false promises. They are wicked, and Jenn Johnson should shut her evil mouth."
     WOW! Is that showing the love of Christ from one Christian to another? Is this the image of Christians that "the Church" wants to show the world? Or do these people more accurately resemble the religious Pharisees of the Bible? To be honest with you, it doesn't surprise me that this condemning language came from this website, one of the most outspoken of the Reformers. They have a history of defaming women who dare to declare themselves representatives of the Lord.
     Another of their articles titled, Are Women-Only Gatherings Biblical? Thoughts from John Bunyan, reads [in part] like this: "Essentially  [Bunyan's] argument is that prayer is – at its heart – doctrinal. Corporate, public prayer should contain doctrine and teach doctrine." The writer of the article [who is also the publisher of Pulpit & Pen] goes on to quote many of John Bunyan's opinions on the subject, but let me give you the condensed version as I surmised it ... Prayer is a serious business with doctrine at its center, and "there's no way to teach doctrine without authority". But look how they define who is entitled to walk in authority: "in a godly church where doctrine is closely checked and the pasture dutifully guarded, the calling of studies or prayer meeting or conferences – and their oversight – belong to the men commissioned for the office of pastor" ... therefore, it should not be led by whom the Holy Spirit calls the “weaker vessel.”
      So, it should not be surprising that Jenn Johnson, being a woman in what they see as an unbiblical position of preacher, should be their latest target. But I have a few things to say about both these articles. First, in regards to Bethel's attempt to resurrect a child who had tragically passed away, our Lord commissioned us to do just that! In Matthew 10:7-8, Jesus tells the Disciples, And as you go, preach this message: ‘Heaven’s kingdom realm is accessible, close enough to touch.’  You must continually bring healing to lepers and to those who are sick, and make it your habit to break off the demonic presence from people, and raise the dead back to life. Freely you have received the power of the kingdom, so freely release it to others.
     Now, I know the Reformers will say those instructions were given only to the Twelve Disciples and not to us. NOWHERE does Scripture say that! That is man-made doctrine called Cessationism. In fact, in what is called The Great Commission in Matthew 28, Jesus tells the Disciples, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 
     Follow this with His declaration in Luke 10:19,  Now you understand that I have imparted to you all my authority to trample over his kingdom. You will trample upon every demon before you and overcome every power Satan possesses. Absolutely nothing will be able to harm you as you walk in this authority. Follow that with John 14:12, which says, Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.
     Just connect the dots! Disciples of all nations were to be taught to do what Jesus commanded the Twelve, and raising the dead was specifically commanded. Furthermore, He says that He has imparted ALL His authority and those who believe in Him will do the works that He did. Guess what? Raising the dead was part of the works he did to defeat the devil, along with casting out demons and healing the physically and spiritually sick. So I'm just a little tired of the ugly and slanderous language towards Christians who are seeking to follow not only Jesus's model, but His specific commandments.
    Secondly, the attacks on women as not being qualified to speak for Christ is also not biblically sound. And to quote the writings of a non-biblical source (John Bunyon) as truth is a little hypocritical, don't you think? And the writer/publisher shows his disingenuous intent when he asks at the end of the article, “Why? Why do we feel like women-only gatherings are obligatory or essential to our spiritual growth?” As a woman, I have never stated that I felt women's Bible studies were either obligatory or essential -- anymore than I think men's Bible studies are. As a matter of fact, I'm for any group of people who wish to gather together in search of Scripture's truth. 
     What I find burdensome and troublesome are self-appointed arbiters of what Christianity is supposed to look like. God inspired Scripture as His Holy Word. But when men decide they can re-interpret it according to their man-made doctrine, then differences of opinion are going to arise. Those differences are not inherently heretical. (Think "eat the meat and spit out the bones" -- as long as your spirit discerns there is nothing anti-Christ in the presentation). But Jesus never called for a religion. He commanded us to do what He did. He never said "Adopt this doctrine". And the Bible Study Tools website says "Doctrine is scriptural teaching on theological truths." But whose truths? Jesus's or John Bunyon or Pulpit & Pen or Jenn Johnson? It seems to me that it's important, as a follower of Jesus, to determine whose teachings line up with His. 
     And to call fellow believer's heretics or tell them to shut their evil mouths doesn't line up with Jesus's heart. And I just have to say that in the end, it all comes back to the fruit. Both camps are Saved and love Jesus. But only one camp is going to inherit the Kingdom. In Matthew 7, Jesus warns of pretenders ... Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the realm of heaven’s kingdom. It is only those who persist in doing the will of my heavenly Father. On the day of judgment many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, don’t you remember us? Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we cast out demons and do many miracles for the sake of your name?’ But I will have to say to them, ‘Go away from me, you lawless rebels! I’ve never been joined to you! ... Everyone who hears my teaching and applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakable foundation... But everyone who hears my teaching and does not apply it to his life can be compared to a foolish man who built his house on sand..."
     The Kingdom of God on earth is built on the foundation of those who followed Jesus and did what He did, which was the will of the Father. Before we condemn each other for being heretical, perhaps we should see if they are following Jesus's teachings -- not John Bunyon's; not John Calvin's; not Bill Johnson's; not mine, nor any man or woman's personal doctrine. Jesus is the model and we are clearly instructed to follow His teachings! 

Matthew 25:34     "Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." 

September 29, 2019

The Feast of Trumpets & The Kingdom of God

     The Feast of Trumpets begins this evening at sundown and continues until Tuesday, October 1st at sundown. As happens every year, I receive more revelation of the significance of the Lord's Feasts for the Body of Christ. Biblically, not much is mentioned about this Fall Feast. Levitcus 23:24-25 and Numbers 29:1 are the primary references.
     Historically, it was a blowing of trumpets as a reminder of the coming National Day of Cleansing. The Israelites performed daily animal sacrifices in which the animal's blood was brought into the Holy Place for sprinkling against the veil and upon the horns of the altar of incense. This served to symbolically transfer into the sanctuary the sins which had been paid for (by the death of the animal). There the sins remained [for a whole year] until the Day of Atonement, when the sanctuary was cleansed of the accumulated sins of the people.
      The blood of the sacrificial animals served as a substitute for the Sinner who offended God.  But this blood offered for repenting sinners defiled the sanctuary, because it was used to symbolically carry their sins into the sanctuary where they were kept until the Day of Atonement.  God’s Sanctuary needed to be CLEANSED on the Day of Atonement.  Imagine the smell of all that accumulated blood upon the altar for a full year!
      The Feast of Trumpets was a blowing of the shofar to remind the people that it was 10 days until the Day of Atonement. These 10 days make up the Jewish High Holy Days. The Jews believe that God writes every person’s words, deeds, and thoughts on their personal pages in His Book of Life, which He opens and examines on the Day of Atonement. If good deeds outnumbered sinful ones for the year, that person’s name will be inscribed in the book for another year. Here, you can see the temporary pardoning of sins.
      So between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement (known as the Ten Days of Repentance) people can repent of their sins and do good deeds to increase their chances of being inscribed in the Book of Life. The Feast of Trumpets is a call to examine your life because it will be judged. But here’s the interesting part from the Jewish perspective: the people never lost their conviction that their sins would be pardoned. They believed that the sacrifice of the blood would be a pardon for their sins.
     Now, let's look at the significance for us Kingdom citizens... 1 Thessalonians 4:16  says, For the Lord Himself will appear with the declaration of victory, the shout of an archangel, and the trumpet blast of God. He will descend from the heavenly realm and command those who are dead in Christ to rise first. So, some Feast of Trumpets [in the future] could be the day that the Lord comes back on the clouds!! 
     In Matthew 24:3, the Disciples ask Jesus, "What will be the sign of Your coming, and the end of the age"? 1 Thessalonians tells us He will come declaring victory, and archangels will be shouting and the shofars will be blown. But remember, there is a condition that must be met before He returns and it is revealed in Matthew 24:14 -- And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
     But the end of what? The end of the age and, subsequently, the end of Satan's kingdom on earth? Satan's rule will certainly end when Christ's Second Coming occurs. But I want you to also remember that Jesus said in John 12:31 that [with His first appearance], "Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world [Satan] be cast out." 
     So, how does this all tie into a Kingdom perspective on the Feast of Trumpets? Consider this:
The Feast of Trumpets and the ten days until the Day of Atonement could be the Bema Seat of Judgment as seen in 2 Corinthians 5:6-10: So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.
     But I want to make it very clear, the Bema Seat Judgment DOES NOT DETERMINE SALVATION! We cannot do anything to receive our Salvation. It is a gift based on our faith in Jesus as our Redeemer. These are Christians who have been "Born Again" and entered into the Kingdom of God on earth as His ambassadors (John 3:1-5). They will stand before the Lord at His return to hear what is written in His Book of Life; everything we have done in this life for the Kingdom of God as a redeemed child… it will be just like the Jews on their ancient Day of Atonement at the Temple.  We will hear every word said, every deed done, and Jesus will see what we have built for Him upon the foundation of our Salvation, which He paid for.
      The significance for us as Christians and Kingdom citizens -- people who are saved by grace through our faith in Jesus as our Savior, and entered into our purpose of taking back dominion of the earth for the Kingdom of God – is that we are to contemplate how we have served Him and have lived our lives as Christians. It is a time of remembering and of repentance; both in the sense of atonement for any sins we have committed, and a time for renewing our minds to all that Jesus has done -- delivering us into eternal life and re-establishing His Father's Kingdom on earth, along with our dominion (power and authority). BUT, just like the ancient Israelites, we live with the certainty that our sins are forgiven and we are pardoned… that the blood of Jesus covers our sin and we stand blameless. In addition, we look forward to the day that our King will reign on the earth and crush our Enemy under His feet.
     So, as we experience the Feast of Trumpets in 2019, let us be mindful of the coming day when our Lord returns. How glorious will that day be! Let us understand that we will stand before the Lord as He examines our lives. Have we built upon the Rock with gold, silver and precious stones—those things that last for eternity—or with wood, hay, and stubble which will be burned up? This is not a time of condemnation, but rather, a time of rewards. It's where we will receive crowns based on how faithfully we have served Him and the Kingdom of God. It will be a time of great rejoicing as we stand in the presence of our Creator and King. Let us spend these next 48 hours in solemn remembrance, humble gratitude, and expectant hope. Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Revelation 11:15    Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.”



June 10, 2019

The Ekklesia and The Kingdom: A Fuller Understanding

     In the last post, I began a discussion on the topic of Christ's Ekklesia; the body of Believers He charged with storming the gates of Hades. He promised to give His Ekklesia the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, which would grant them the authority to both forbid and declare according to the lawful standards of His Father's Kingdom -- all with the purpose of doing His Father's will to make earth like Heaven.
     I want to further expound on this topic by delving into the hermeneutics [interpretations of words] of Matthew 16:17-19, the source of this topic of conversation. And I want to make the argument that we must look at it in a 1st Century context, not a 21st Century one. As I have previously explained, all of our English translations of the Bible quote Jesus as saying, "On this rock I will build my church". Even the Aramaic translation uses the word "church", although it gives a detailed notation that the Greek word for "church" is "ekklesia"; even noting that it means "a legislative assembly".
     So, can we agree that Jesus was never casual about the words He used? In fact, Jesus, Himself, tells us in John 12:49, For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has Himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. We know the Father was intentional in having Jesus use the word Ekklesia and not the word Church, which in Greek, meant a gathering; a congregation; an assembly. There was a purpose to the Ekklesia and it was "to govern; to legislate; to rule". And the people to whom Jesus spoke this would have understood that concept.
    Jesus tells us in Matthew 4:4 that we are to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Since Jesus only spoke what the Father told Him, we must take seriously His use of the word "Ekklesia". You see, there is power in this word to identify our role and purpose in the earth. Words have specific meanings, and sadly the English language is not as specific as others. As Christians we cannot afford to be casual with our understanding of Jesus's words. He did not say He would be the bedrock foundation upon which He would build His "church". The word "Church" comes from the Greek word kyriake, or kyriakon, meaning "gathering place, assembly". Jesus was very deliberate in using the word ekklesia, because He knew what its specific meaning was: ek, meaning "out of", and klesis, meaning "a calling".
     I like what author Dean Briggs says in his book, Ekklesia Rising:The Authority of Christ in Communities of Contending Prayer: "[Jesus] could have told Peter He would build His family, His bride, temple, army or kingdom.... or He could have used the word synagogue, which they would have clearly understood as the meeting place where they gathered in regards to their religion". But He wasn't talking about religion. He was talking about government! So He used a word [Ekklesia} that they clearly understood in terms of both the Hebrew and Greek significance. 
     From the Greek perspective, it was a governmental assembly having authority in determining the affairs of their cities and territories, depending on their citizenship. All qualified persons were summoned together for a purpose and expected to participate. From the Hebrew perspective, Jesus's use of that word Ekklesia would have told the hearers that they were a summoned people, assembling together to receive God's heavenly kingdom government on the earth, and to act upon it. I also love how Ed Silvoso, author of Ekklesia: Rediscovering God's Instrument For Global Transformation, explains Jesus's use of Ekklesia: "[The objective of Jesus's use of this word] was the transformation of people and society, rather than acting as a transfer station for saved souls bound for heaven".
     Jesus intends for us to be part of an Ekklesia; agents of His kingdom government to transform earth back to the model of the Garden of Eden, where God's Laws reigned supreme, and man knew nothing of Death. The Jews that Jesus spoke to would have recognized Ekklesia from their history: "the ekklesia in the wilderness", led by Moses, the Law-giver. It was an ekklesia that first assembled around Mount Sinai to receive the Law of God; and from thenceforth, they formed a covenental identity with YHWH.
     Now Jesus comes speaking of an ekklesia that He will build; one that identifies with Him as the Son of YHWH, and receives His commission to carry His rulership into all the earth as part of a covenental community. When He spoke of a Kingdom, they understood that term -- throughout their history they had been governed by Israelite kings, and were now subjected to the rulership of the kingdom of Rome. But here is Jesus, talking about a greater kingdom that is taking over the earth, and a governing assembly of His followers that will transform cities, nations, and the world! 
     But let's go a step further and look at the next sentence after He declares He will build His ekklesia. Jesus says, and the gates of Hades will not be able to overpower it! Once again, the people would have understood the "legislative" connotation of that word "gates". Courts of justice were held at the city gates in the ancient world. Prophets also stood in the gates and delivered their divine messages. Gates were also symbols of the strength or vulnerability of a city. Whoever controlled the gates of a fortress, city, or stronghold ruled that territory.
     Jesus never stopped preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom during His ministry. He continually encouraged the people to change their way of thinking [Repent!] because the Kingdom of God had arrived -- there is a new kingdom come; with a new way of ruling; and He intends on establishing a legislative body of those called [believing in Him] to defeat the gates [ruling power] of the one who has ruled with the power of Death. Furthermore, He is giving us the key of authority to open or close [loose or bind] God's heavenly principles on the earth, thereby offering Jesus as the gate [or doorway] into the kingdom of God. Jesus perfectly models for us God's design to establish His people in His place under His rule.
     Make no mistake, only Jesus has the authority to allow or disallow someone to enter the kingdom of God. But we have the authority -- and yes, the responsibility -- to point everyone to Jesus! I believe that the world needs [and in truth, is looking for] an authentic ekklesia, not a church. They desperately need the government of the Prince of Peace to be established, bringing order out of disorder, and His light into the darkness of this world. And Jesus has called us to be the ruling agents of this transformation. If we are honest with ourselves, what we have established in our Churches has not done what Jesus intended. The earth does not look like heaven. In fact, the "gates" [ruling power] of Satan are fighting back whenever and wherever the ekklesia makes strides to transform any territory.
     For example, the state of Georgia, which just passed a strict anti-abortion law, is now under attack. Bloomberg.com reports that the state's film production industry is now bigger than Hollywood's, but now Netflix, Disney, WarnerMedia, AMC Networks, NBC Universal and CBS Corp. and its Showtime subsidiary, have all threatened to pull their business from Georgia unless the law banning abortion after six weeks is overturned by the courts. This is a clear example of the legislative influence of the Kingdom of God battling against the gates of Hades. An owner of one of the biggest companies, Pinewood Studios Atlanta, is Dan Cathey, the chief executive of Chick-fil-A and outspoken social conservative whose Southern Baptist church opposes all abortions. Who will prevail? 
     One thing is for certain .... the kingdom of God is going to be attacked by the kingdom of Satan. He knows that we are growing in our new identity as the ekklesia, rather than simply being the church. We must continue to spread Jesus's Gospel of the Kingdom, bringing peace, joy, salvation, righteousness, justice, grace and all of God's attributes through our authority as citizens of heaven. We must continue to establish ourselves in our gates as the ruling body on earth, and must not relinquish our authority or function in any arena of society or the nation. As Jesus reminded Peter, we must be setting our minds on the things of God, not on the things of man. Jesus IS coming in His Kingdom! The question is, will He find you and I acting as a member of a church, or the tip of the spear, contending for the rulership of Christ in our territory? Let us take our ekklesial identity and assignment seriously.

Joel 2:15-16     Blow a trumpet in Zion [warning of impending judgment], dedicate a fast [as a day of restraint and humility], call a solemn ekklesia. Gather the people, sanctify the ekklesia, assemble the elders, gather the children and the nursing infants. Let the bridegroom come out of His room and the bride out of her bridal chamber. [No one is excused from the ekklesia.]


June 3, 2019

My Theory On How We Got So Far Off Track

     What I am about to present to you is my own theory, gleaned from many hours and days and months of contemplating Scripture and the history of the Bible and the Christian faith. It is by no means my intention to declare it definitive or authoritative. But I hope it will make you analyze your own theology and seek revelation from the Holy Spirit. I believe it is time that all Christians examine their faith to discern if there isn't more about our God that we should know. I also believe He is bigger than ever we've been taught in our denominations, and it pleases Him when we seek more of Him.

     As I have proposed in the previous post, it is my opinion that somehow the Gospel of Salvation has displaced the Gospel of the Kingdom as the primary reason Jesus came to earth as the Son of God. And I want to make it very clear that I am NOT saying that the message of Salvation is invalid! It is of paramount importance to every Believer on earth. In fact, it is a central tenet of our faith, and our entrance point into the Kingdom here on earth.
     In 1 Timothy 6:12, Scripture says, Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. That confession is that Jesus is the Son of God; He died on the Cross to pay for our sins, rose on the third day and ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. The Bible is very clear -- if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).
     That's where a lot of Christians stop. They have received salvation and eternal life and they're good to go. That's why Jesus came, they tell themselves, and if we, as the Church, can convert the pagans among us to faith in Jesus Christ, then we are good Christians. Problem is, that's not what Jesus told us to do. His first explicit command is to "Seek the Kingdom, first". And His Commission to all who call themselves His followers is this: Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16: 15-18). 
     This leaves me with two questions ... the first is this, which Gospel? For nearly 1700 years, the Church has believed it is the Gospel of Salvation. But Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom everywhere He went, and only spoke about being born again (Saved) once in private to a religious leader. And He told that leader that unless he was Saved, he would never enter the Kingdom of God. Salvation was a prerequisite to the real reward of faith in Him... entrance into the Kingdom.
     The second question centers around the validity of these verses in Mark. If one denies that they are inspired Scripture (as many do), then one is most likely among those Christians who disavow that we should be displaying the signs and wonders that Jesus modeled, which He did to show us that the way of life in Heaven's Kingdom was now available on earth. Furthermore, if this Scripture is declared invalid, then it is easy to also disclaim Jesus's declaration that the signs and wonders would "accompany those who believe." 

     So what is the grounds for most of our Bible translations noting that "Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include Mark 16:9–20." This argument is based on the fact that Mark 16:9-20 are not in two of the oldest and best preserved complete manuscripts of the New Testament. These are Codex Sinaiticus (Manuscript Aleph) and Codex Vaticanus (Manuscript B). Here is some interesting information that I uncovered about these two aged manuscripts: Codex Vaticanus (Manuscript B) was copied in 350 A.D. and is missing Revelation, Hebrews 11:14 to the end of Hebrews, and 1 & 2 Timothy. (Yet these omissions don't seem to bother Christians as much as the omission of Mark 16:9-20. Why not?) It has been in the Vatican library since 1481.
     Codex Sinaiticus, dated 375 A.D., was discovered in 1859 by Bible archaeologist Constantin von Tischendorf, while staying at St. Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai in Egypt. There he observed a monk starting a fire with pieces of parchment from a box. On closer inspection he found in the box a bound copy of the New Testament. It looked very old to him and he asked if he could look at it. He spent all night reading it by candle light. It does not include Mark 16:9-20, but a discerning person must ask what part of the manuscript had the monk already destroyed in the fire? 
     And here's the thing that intrigues me: of the over 600 Greek manuscripts that contain the 16th chapter of Mark, only 3 do not have verses 9-20, and it is included in 5 other prominently accepted manuscripts from the 425-550 A.D. time period. So could there have been an agenda to discourage the belief among Christians that they had access to the power of the Kingdom of God that was exhibited and modeled by Jesus, the Apostles, and the early disciples of the Church? To whose benefit would it have been to promote the Gospel of Salvation [mentioned only 11 times in the Four Gospels] as the primary message of Jesus, but dispel the 120 times He talked about entering the Kingdom of God as His mission?
     Of course the obvious answer is Satan. Since he wrested the dominion of the earth away from Adam and Eve, he would have a vested interest in not seeing that dominion restored, wouldn't he? And, just like our Father in Heaven, Satan loves to work through men. But his agenda is to distort the Word of God.

    Does history show us where that could have happened? It is difficult to pinpoint the exact date when the distortion of the Gospel began, because from the very beginning of what I would call "Christian theology", there has never been a consensus regarding the beliefs and practices of our faith. Even Peter and Paul had disagreements! My research has shown me at least four distinct categories of Christianity in the first century after Christ's death: Catholic Christianity, Gnostic Christianity, Arian Christianity, and Homoousion Christianity. Take the time to do your own research and see how Satan managed to distort and warp God's plan from the beginning of the Church.
     But I submit to you [my theory] that a key factor in Jesus' message [that He came to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom] being supplanted with a message that He came to bring us salvation happened in 325 A.D. at the First Council of Nicaea. This was a Council of Christian bishops who were charged with settling the issue of Jesus Christ's divine nature as the Son of God, and His relationship to God, the Father. This resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed, with the intent to define a unity of beliefs throughout Christendom. This Creed has influenced all major Christian denominational doctrines for the last 1700 years. And this is how it reads:

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. AMEN. 

      Can you see that the Nicene Creed restates Jesus's own words that the Gospel of the Kingdom is why He has come, and instead, declares that salvation was the reason? And can you see that the Nicene Creed projects the Kingdom into the future at His Second Coming, and to the life of the world "to come" -- not that it is available NOW? And I find it interesting that Mark 16:9-20 doesn't appear in the two Greek manuscripts copied most recently after the Nicene Creed was written. Could it be that those verses, which speak of our power and authority to cast out demons, heal the sick, and crush the power of the Enemy, challenged the Nicene Creed's assertion that it was our salvation that was the reason Jesus came to earth? Can you see how that would render the Church powerless to help make earth like Heaven, where there is no sickness or pain or torment?

     Could it be that from that moment in history until now, Scripture has been misinterpreted and manipulated by translators and theologians [through the influence of Satan on their thinking] to keep the Church from taking back dominion of the earth for God? Can you receive that the Gospel of the Kingdom is the good news of God's government on the earth through the appearance of Jesus Christ? It is the good news that God governs out of His realm, which is [for now] dimensionally separated from the earth, but that He intends to govern the earth now through us; to interact with us in order to transform the planet to His will and in accordance with the faith and belief of His people -- exactly the great commission Mark 16:9-20 gives us.
     This is certainly not an agenda that bodes well for the fallen angel Lucifer. He actually likes things just as they have been since the Fall in the Garden. He is the ruler of this earth [as Jesus stated in John 12:31] and he knows if we ever get our priorities right, his kingdom will be defeated by a greater Kingdom; the Kingdom of our God. So perhaps we should reconsider what we preach in our church buildings and what message our missionaries and evangelists take to the world. 
     By all means, let us bring salvation to non-believers, because it is essential to God's plan of redemption. But let us show them that salvation is the key that unlocks the door [which is Jesus], and gives them entrance to His Kingdom on earth, and is the starting point of the important part they play in spreading that Gospel and seeing Him return to bring the completion of the Kingdom. Remember: He said, And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. He is waiting for us to share the good news that earth was made to reflect Heaven in all its ways. He is not coming back until that is accomplished! And that is what ALL the parables are about! Every one of them begins with, The kingdom of Heaven is like... He came to restore us to our original design in Genesis One: to be like God in all our ways and to govern the earth like He governs in Heaven. 
     But when Adam and Eve messed it up, Jesus had to come to, first, save us from the death that the new ruler of the earth (Satan) delights in [and which we deserve]; and once we confess our faith in Him [and not the world], then He had to show us how to walk in the power and authority we were given when God first created man, which would inevitably, cause us to begin taking back dominion.
     You may not agree with my theory, and that's okay by me. But I hope I have encouraged you to search the Scriptures yourself and to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and revelation. Neither take my word for it, nor dismiss my theory without searching the Bible. And please do not rely on centuries old doctrine to form your personal theology without doing your own due diligence. Peruse the doctrine yourselves; compare to Scripture; and then seek the Lord in Truth and Spirit. The timing of His return and the fate of the world depends on us getting this right.

Mark 1:15        His message was this: “At last the fulfillment of the age has come! It is time for the realm of God’s kingdom to be experienced in its fullness! Turn your lives back to God and put your trust in the hope-filled gospel!”