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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Sixty-Fourth (Two Kingdoms)

How are you doing this week? If you haven't noticed yet (which I'm not sure how you haven't!), there is a sorting, or separating that's happening not just in our nation but in the world. I'm not saying that it's the sheep and goats separation of the coming of Jesus (Matthew 25:31-33, 13:41-43). I am saying that it's a precursor to that, however.

The sorting that is coming has to do with the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2, 5:6, Colossians 3:6) and the children of Yehovah (Matthew 5:9, Luke 20:36, John 11:52, Romans 8:16, 21, 9:8, Galatians 3:26, 1 John 3:10, 5:2), and the best way to describe the difference is the standards of the kingdoms to which each group of children adhere to. The children of disobedience adhere to the standards of the kingdom of the world. The one in which Satan has been given authority (Ephesians 2:2). The children of Yehovah adhere to the standards of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The question is, what standards are you living to? What standards are those that call themselves Christians living to? Are we operating in truth? Are we operating with compassion? Are we being uncompromising with Yehovah's and Yeshuah's standards?

We know that Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6), but are we maintaining truth in all we do? When you look at the world, and the workings of Satan from the beginning in the Garden of Eden, you see that truth is no longer truth. Truth, according to the world, is whatever is true to an individual. George Orwell said, "The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world." Despite living from 1903 - 1950, he very accurately wrote about what we're living right now in his book 1984, and this quote is indicative of the fact that this fading he spoke of started before most of us were born. A commonly used phrase: "The ends justify the means," suggests that lying is even accepted as long as in the end people agree that the outcome was good.

This concept of living in truth in all that we do is pretty simple and straightforward. God hates liars (Proverbs 6:16-17, 12:22, Revelation 21:8), no matter what the situation is in which they lie. Depending on the version of scripture you read, you'll also find that swindlers, or extortioners, will not inherit the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:10). So, those that lie, or "stretch the truth," in order to get something from someone, usually money, will not inherit God's Kingdom, either. And this should be no surprise, right? He tells us that getting treasures by lying is a fleeting fantasy for those who seek death (Proverbs 21:6). And Jesus told us not to store up treasures on earth (Matthew 6:19-21), so we shouldn't even be focused on getting them in the first place.

When you think about it, this swindling and extorting leads nicely into our next question: are we operating with compassion? I think if there's one word that's attributed to Jesus the most, it's compassion (Matthew 9:36, 14:14, 15:32, 18:27, 20:34). But being compassionate doesn't just mean being upright in business dealings, selling, bartering, etc. It means caring for those in need, those that are hurt, those that are lonely, those that are weak, those that are oppressed, those that cannot fight for themselves. The goats in the sheep and goats sorting are those that fail to do any of these when God brings them to those people. The sheep are those that do them because of the compassion they feel in their heart, not because it looks good, philanthropic, to the world.

The last question we're asking ourselves is if we're being uncompromising with Yehovah's standards. This may seem like an odd question to ask, or idea to focus on, but I believe a lot of the reason we're in the place we're at in our nation today is a result of Christians not standing up enough and pushing back against things that go against God's standards. Jesus definitely set the example for this when He spoke against the Pharisees and when He healed on the Sabbath, which was contrary to man-made requirements at the time. Compassion interleaves very nicely with this aspect, as His healing was motivated by it!

So what do you stand for? The standards of the Kingdom of Heaven, where Jesus rules? Are you humble (Matthew 18:4)? Is your motivation to store up treasures on earth or in Heaven? You may have read or heard about Jesus' parable involving the camel and the eye of the needle (Matthew 19:20-26). Some speculate that the eye of the needle was some small gate in the wall of the city. I was in that "some" group until recently. It's easy to accept because we try to apply our own assumptions to Jesus' words, but there's no evidence this tiny gate actually existed. And when you think about it, doesn't it make more sense that it would be a camel and an actual eye of a needle?

What's the point of this parable? The point is it's impossible! Jesus even tells us it's about the impossible (Matthew 19:26). Is His point that the camel can get in as long as he gets rid of all the stuff on its back? Or as long as man can get rid of the stuff he's carrying he can make it into the kingdom? No! The point is you need Yehovah!

But Jesus tells his disciples this parable after a rich young man came and asked what he needed to do to have eternal life, so we need to look at it in this context. The disciples ask, out of amazement, who can be saved, because they see the rich Pharisees and their supposed righteousness. The response is those who are with God, but the next question is how does that work? There's the spiritual aspect of grace, where God saves us despite our sins and worldly possessions. But there's also the natural aspect: the working of God's Holy Spirit in our heart makes us realize the worthlessness of what the world calls worth. When we truly are led by the Holy Spirit, we no longer desire to create some pile of money or possessions here on earth. We no longer seek to be envied of men based on the money in our bank account, the size of our house, the amount of real estate we own, the size of our business, etc. We take what the Lord gives us, as He takes care of us, and use it for His will.

I have written about the parable of the talents before (Matthew 25:14-30), but I was led to something new as I went through it again. This parable is about using what God gives you wisely, right? Being good stewards? Another, to whom much is given much will be required (Luke 12:48). When I wrote last, I stated that a talent was worth a lot, but what I failed to realize was that this was actually a means of money exchange. Yes, it was worth about 100 lbs of silver or 200 lbs of gold, but the point was the weight was used to convert between currency. The number of talents was weight of the goods he gave to each servant, but two things that stuck out to me was the fact that it was a weight and that it was used as a method of exchange.

In this parable, the man traveling to the far country is Jesus and the servants are us. This "weight" He gives us is the knowledge of the truth, and we are to use it to exchange our corruption for incorruption, our death in sin to life in Him, and to spread it to others so they can do the same! It just amazes me every time all the layers in scripture!

So live in truth and compassion, uncompromising to God's standards. And use that weight He gives you! Live in the Kingdom of Heaven!

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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