Meditations: SOTM3 Matt 5:2 (2)
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matt 5:2-3 (ESV)
Continuing on from yesterday’s meditation, it is worth meditating at more length on what sort of Kingdom the King came to teach and lead us into.
We see a very clear description of this in a the book of Luke, in an account of a similar preaching event:
And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. 18 As well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.
Here in the book of Luke we see the 3 clear features of the inner fullness of His Kingdom:
- A different and righteous way of life that He teaches (and which is only possible, but easy and the “new natural”, when the King dwells and reigns in our heart, filling us with His Presence of light and love and life)
- Freedom from sickness
- Freedom from demonic torment (depression, suicidalness, schizophrenia, addictions, mental illness, etc)
What we must do here is put aside for a moment our very finite, minute, personal, subjective perspective, and rather step back into an eternal and cosmic perspective. We must see in our mind’s eye before the foundation of the world the Son of God, our Jealous Bridegroom, Almighty Creator, Glorious and shining with brilliance at His Father’s right hand looking forward in time to a world after the fall of Adam and Eve, in total darkness – total lostness, no concept of truth, totally bound by immanent experience, no concept of God’s true nature and His infinite love and goodness and kindness and desire for us to be with Him, in total bondage to satan’s deceiving desires which doom us to eternal torment and bind us in this life to torment through sickness, deceiving desires unfulfilled, fear, anxiety, sadness, and all sort’s of infirmities of body and mind and soul – and on His throne, crushed in heart by the brokenness and suffering of a people precious to Him, seeing in “the field” of that dark world a “precious but hidden treasure” (Matt 13:44) which is His bride, His collective people, and saying “I will go and purchase her, I will redeem her, I will give everything for her, I will rescue her, I will bring her up here where I am to rule and reign with me as my beloved bride forever. I will do it. I will deliver her from this present darkness. I will pay the price. I will have her. I will die for her and I will free from her bondage with the ransom of my blood”.
See, He did not merely come to “save us” in the sense of some ticket to heaven when we die. He sees our present darkness, our present bondage, and He came to redeem us from a kingdom of total and utter gloom and despair and carry us into His Kingdom of intimacy with Himself, the Lord of all light and life and love, and carry us through this present age – where the kingdom of darkness overlaps the Kingdom of Jesus Christ until all time is fulfilled and the kingdom of darkness is utterly destroyed, leaving only His reign of glory – in joy. And in this present period of overlap of these 2 Kingdoms called “the last days”, He came to make sure His People enter fully into His Kingdom and live in wholeness under His glorious and gracious reign – Him literally dwelling in our hearts – through faith and hope and love, until at last we enter the outward fullness.
There is an inner fullness before that outward fullness arrives. And because this is so important for us to get – that we are not simply “forgiven” and left to sit out the miserable darkness until we die, but rather actually expatriated into a different Kingdom, a different realm altogether (He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins – Col 1:13-14), one of wholeness – it is worth seeing that scripture always teaches this. It always teaches a change in Kingdom, resulting in this 3-fold change in our lives. It never teaches mere forgiveness. When it refers to forgiveness on it’s own, it always means in reference to coming under the reign of King Jesus, and that always implies entering His Kingdom. So scripture always teaches a new Kingdom, a new realm, a new experience of gracious Kingship, and associated with that, a new experience of wholeness of being.
We see it all over scripture. It is prophesied of in the Old Testament. Isaiah teaches about the Anointed King bringing healing / wholeness instead of bondage to the demonic curse of sickness, a spirit of joyful celebration and praise instead of mourning, and a life of righteousness from a new heart within.
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
Isaiah 61:1-4 (ESV)
Similarly, in Isaiah 53 we see the same 3 elements prophesied
4 Surely he has borne our (1) sicknesses and diseases [proper translation of original Hebrew] and carried our (2) griefs and sorrows [proper translation of original Hebrew]; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that (3) brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:4-6 (ESV)
By His stripes we are healed. Of what? (1) Sickness and disease; (2) emotional torment; and (3) eternal enmity with / separation from God (eternal torment)
Then we see these scriptures fulfilled in the Lord’s ministry, demonstrating these 3 are all an inheritance IN THIS LIFE, not in the life to come, because His Kingdom begins for us here IN THIS LIFE. In Matthew Ch 4 we saw He began His ministry with these cornerstone activities:
1) Bringing righteousness – He went around preaching “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 4:17)
2) Healing and
3) delivering of demonic oppression: “he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.” (v23)
And of course we have already looked at the verse in Luke ch 6:17-19, which teaches the same thing:
That is our ultimate reality in this life. There are at present 2 kingdoms in this world, right here and right now.
Kingdom 1: ruled by the prince of this world – this is a kingdom of darkness, of torment, destruction and death
Kingdom 2: Ruled by the Son of God, the King of Israel, the seed of David, the prophesied Messiah, the King of Righteousness, the blessed Lord Jesus – this is a Kingdom of light, of peace, wholeness and prosperity* and life (*: of increasing wellbeing, not of riches!)
He came to lead us from kingdom 1, into His Kingdom.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins –
We can choose, if we wish, to reject Him, to ignore Him, to postpone Him, to live under the precepts and principles of this present world. But we must realise to whom we are loyal: to the prince of this world, who’s principles they are, who’s fruits are torment, destruction, death, and ultimately, an eternal state of living death, conscious separation from God and life, yet forever unable to end conscious awareness of total and growing misery.
Alternatively, we can choose the Kingdom of heaven by choosing the King of heaven, Jesus, and say yes to His passionate pursuit of us, His people. And we can enter fully into this Kingdom of wholeness in body, soul, and spirit – into healing from sickness and disease, emotional torment, and the eternal wrath of Almighty God for despising His free gift of salvation into His glorious Kingdom of light under the reign of His Son, and instead accepting bondage to the prince of this world, that eternal enemy of God and harbinger of destruction.
Therefore, the most merciful thing for God Almighty to do is not bring peace in a world ruled by the eternal darkness of the devil, but rather bring His people into a new Kingdom, and then when all who will have chosen His Kingdom, bring this present world to an end.
Therefore, He says “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”, by which He is saying: come to me, come under the shelter of my wings, become eternally dependent on and loyal to me as King, come into my care, come and KNOW me by my Spirit within you, which is eternal life. Receive me and My Kingdom, My eternal reign of justice and righteousness.
Therefore, when the Lord Jesus teaches us to pray He begins with “Our Father in Heaven, glorify Your name (reveal the truth of Who You are) ; Your Kingdom come”. All of our prayers are ultimately answered in these 2 things: Knowing Him as Father and Almighty God, and entering His Kingdom of wholeness and prosperity. That is the beginning and end of all prayer. The rest is detail (which we should pray; but within the context of desiring to live in a greater fullness of His Kingdom). It is also the answer to all prayer. And that is why many prayers are not answered – because too often we pray wanting to remain living in the kingdom of darkness with the benefits of the Kingdom of light. Those prayers will not be answered. Prayers that are answered are prayers to enter His Kingdom and receive the benefits of being under His reign.
And that provides the context for the beatitudes to follow…
Original date of work: 6 Jan 2011
By: J Goldberg