I've been sharing how the Bible is an Oriental book written by Orientals, and how we in the west (Occidentals) so often miss key points a verse is trying to make, or pull a scripture completely out of context to make it say something unintended.
The west is largely governed by elected officials, while Jesus is repeatedly described as a King, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Even if a nation has a king or queen today, they are submitted to parliaments and elected bodies in a legislative branch. The few modern absolute kings in the nations today could be described as dictators or despots, as their absolute rule with no accountability leads to the oppression of their subjects. So we don't have any modern examples of a good and kindly king, let alone the culture of a true kingdom in which the citizens benefit from the benevolent nature of a good king.
The kingdom of God
We lightly throw around the term 'kingdom of God' but have nothing in our minds to define and describe what that means. So let's start with ancient Israel, when God came out of the realm of the Spirit to meet with Moses on the Mount, 'face to face as a man speaks to a friend' (Exodus 33:11).
(For the sake of clearing up religious tradition: Many are confused how the Lord and Moses could talk 'face to face' in v11 while 9 verses later in Exodus 33: 20 it says, 'No man shall see my face, and live'. John's gospel in 1: 18 says no man has seen God at any time and in 6: 46 Jesus said 'Not that any man has seen the Father, except He who is of the Father, He has seen Him.' The context is talking about no man in the natural has seen or can see the Father. If you are in the Spirit, you can see His face and live. That is the difference between Exodus 33: 11 and v20.
In the flesh no man can see His face for the glory and power would destroy our earth-bodies. When we are there in heaven spirit and soul, or when we receive our heavenly-created bodies, we can see His face. Today, if one is in the Spirit, such a one can see His face. Thus in Exodus 33:11 Moses saw Him face to face as a man speaks to a friend as he was in the Spirit, but later in the natural in 20 he had to have his eyes covered.
The Father is seen by many when they were in the Spirit: Moses and the other 73 men in Exodus 24: 7-11, Ezekiel in chapter 1, Daniel saw Him as the 'Ancient of Days' with 'the Son of Man' in chapter 7: 9-13, and the apostle John describes Him in the whole of Revelation 4, to whom chapter 5: 7 says, the Lamb that had been slain but is now alive, came and took the book out of His right hand and began to open the seals - which is the rest of The Revelation.
Therefore if you hear someone say they went to heaven which would be in the Spirit, but couldn't see the Father's face, then run from that testimony for it is a lie or embellished or colored through their own religious traditions and lack of understanding and therefore will have inaccuracies, at least in part. In the Spirit one can see His face and live. In the natural it is not possible to do so and live.)
A kingdom has its own rules, its own culture, and its all about its king
We are told in Hebrews 8:5 that Moses saw the plans for the tabernacle and all its furnishings, being told 'see that you make it according to the pattern shown to you on the mountain.' Moses had an exact set of plans that he had seen in the Spirit with the Lord of how the Lord wanted everything built.
Among the plans God gave him was how He wanted the Ark of the Covenant, His throne and the place of His presence, to be carried. Even as late as King David some 400 years later, he knew Him as 'the one who lives between the cherubs.' (II Samuel 6: 2)
In Exodus 25:9 we have the actual command from the Lord to build it according to the plan shown to him on the mountain, and among the first things He said in this passage was to build the Ark with 4 rings, one on each corner, through which poles slide, and by which the priests can put the poles on their shoulders and carry the Ark wherever Israel was wandering.
The fact the Ark of the Covenant, the place of God's presence, was to be carried on a 'litter' borne upon the priest's shoulders is completely consistent with kings of the day. In ancient during that same time in history, in Egypt, India and China, that is exactly how kings were carried. In India a statue of the god Krishna was carried about in the same way. It was so common, even in Europe, that by the year 675AD the Roman church had to make a command NOT to carry Bishops on a litter. (Third Council of Braga, 675AD)
I find it amazing we still have that concept today in some charismatic churches, in which the (so called) pastor or 'bishop' or 'apostle' has his coat and Bible carried by a lesser person, and there is even a video from 2016 of a Nigerian pastor held high by others as he sits in his chair and preaches. I wonder what part of 'for I am meek and lowly in heart, learn of me' they don't understand? The level of the lack of revelation of the Lord in our churches today is astounding and shameful.
But the fact the Lord gave instructions to carry the Ark of the Covenant with His presence on the shoulders of the priests is completely consistent with rulers of the day. The ancient Israelites understood the concept of a king, and that God is King of all.
Let us carry this understanding that Jesus is the King of kings, the Lord of lords forward to our time. He said in Luke 17: 21, 'Behold, the kingdom of God is within you!'. Paul said we have a mystery, 'which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.' (Colossians 1: 27)
Internally then, we have the absolute King in our spirit. But we live in an earth-body in a fallen world, so there is continual push and pull between the absolute King in us who we want to serve perfectly, carried within a flesh created from the fallen earth and which wants to go the way of the world. That give and take is life-long.
But we can learn to let the absolute King in us dominate us from within, which will change our thinking which then causes us to change what we allow our body to do or not do. In our hearts we carry the Lord in a litter above all, worshipped and adored as He should be, King of kings and Lord of lords. Our lives are spent making what is in our heart a reality in our thoughts and actions. That is normal Christianity. That is the discipleship process.
We are comforted by the words of the amazing apostle Paul, author of about 2/3 of the NT:
"I don’t mean that I am exactly what God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and make it mine. That’s what Christ Jesus wants me to do. It is the reason he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven." (Easy to Read Version, ERV)
More about Jesus the Oriental King next week...until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at email@example.com