The Keys To The Kingdom of Heaven – Part 12

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The Keys To The Kingdom of Heaven
Part 12 – Who Is The Lord’s Christ?

Act 4:26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

Rev 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Introduction

In Luke 17:20-21 we are told “… the kingdom of God is within you”. In Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 we are told that we are given the keys to that kingdom, and that with those keys we can bind on earth what has been bound in heaven, and we can loose on earth what has been loosed in heaven.

Now let’s notice what we are told about our entry into this very same ‘kingdom’ in the epistle of 2 Peter:

2Pe 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Verses 2 and 3 twice tell us, in no uncertain terms, that the “grace and peace” we enjoy is “through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” All things that pertain to life and godliness [have been] given unto us… through the knowledge of Him”. It is “Through the knowledge of Him… great and precious promises… are given unto us, [and] by these… great and precious promises [we are made to] be partakers of [His] divine nature”.

Can anyone imagine that the promise of being given the keys to the kingdom of heaven would not be among these “great and precious promises”? It would be inconceivable that such a great promise would not be a major part of “the knowledge of Him” to which Peter is referring. But lest there be any doubt that the very keys which give us entrance into the kingdom of heaven “through the knowledge of Him” are the very thing Peter is speaking of by twice using the phrase “through the knowledge of God… through the knowledge of Him”, notice this verse right here in this same chapter:

2Pe 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

There it is in very clear language. Our entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is “through the knowledge of Him”, through having His mind, which is the same mind His Father has. That is the power of the keys to the kingdom of heaven within us. Knowing God and His Son is life eternal…:

Luk 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

So who is Jesus of Nazareth?

If “life eternal… is… knowing God and Jesus Christ”, then that is surely one of he keys to the kingdom of heaven within us. Knowing all we can about who Jesus Christ is now becomes a matter of life and death because Christ tells us this:

Mat 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Christ goes on to make perfectly clear just how central to our salvation He is:

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Contrary to what Oprah Winfrey and many others will try to convince you, Christ did not say “I know the way”, rather His doctrine is “I AM the way.” That is the very message of this series on the keys to the kingdom of heaven within us. Christ and His words, His doctrine, a doctrine which reveals Himself to us because he has made it very clear:

Joh 10:2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
Joh 10:3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
Joh 10:4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
Joh 10:5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

The person whose voice the sheep know and hear and follow is the person who “enters in by the door”. Who is this ‘door’? The door is Christ Himself, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth is not bashful about telling us who He is:

Joh 10:6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
Joh 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
Joh 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
Joh 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Twice Christ tells us that He is the door, and He also tells us:

Joh 10:2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

‘Entering by the door’ symbolizes strict fidelity to the doctrine of Christ, who is the door. Anyone who is flippant about the doctrine of Christ has not yet entered by the Door, which is Christ and His doctrine. That person does not yet “know His voice”, because Christ speaks only the words of His Father and is uncompromising in doing so:

Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

Joh 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Finally, Christ tells us that, not only is he the door to the sheep fold, He also tells us this:

Joh 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Joh 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

But now let’s notice what Christ, who is both the door of the sheepfold and the shepherd of the sheep, tells us about who those in whom He dwells:

Mat 10:40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Luk 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

Christ declares that if we are his disciples indeed (Joh 8:30-31), that anyone who receives us is actually receiving Him, and anyone who hears us is actually hearing Him.

Joh 8:30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Does being received as Christ and being heard as Christ and being a disciple indeed make us shepherds of His flock? It certainly does. Christ Himself has told us:

Joh 10:2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

This brings us to our next key to the kingdom of heaven, which is the key which reveals who we are as both His sheep and as the shepherd of His sheep.

Who are we in Christ?

We will let Christ himself answer that question. Here is who He says we are if indeed we are abiding in His word:

Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Christ is “the King”, and “the King” says what is done to us is actually being done to Him. Does that make us just like Christ Himself? The answer to that question is that in many more ways than most of us have ever known, yes, we are just like Christ, to the point that He Himself makes this statement about who He considers us to be as His disciples who “continue in His word”:

Act 22:8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

This is Christ speaking, and it is He who says “I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting“. Identifying that closely with His disciples is repeated in 1 John:

1Jn 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1Jn 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

“As He is, so are we in this world” means far more than anyone who believes in the lie of substitutionary atonement believes it means. Substitutionary atonement teaches that we are not at all like Christ because He did everything for us, and we are nothing like the Christ who had to die on the cross. We certainly are not like him to that degree. That is the false, damning doctrine of substitutionary atonement.

Here are a few verses which demonstrate to what extent we are “as He is”:

Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5 For if we have been planted together the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him [aorist tense], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Rom 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Then in verse 11 we are given these words:

Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Is Paul telling us to actually count ourselves to be dead with Christ on the cross? Yes, that is his very point because, as he said in verse 14:

Rom 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

And then in Galatians 2 He comes right out and tells us:

Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Gal 2:20 and Rom 12:1 reveal who we are and why we are called the Lord’s Christ:

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

All sacrifices must be presented to God at the altar, and the altar is the Old Testament symbol of the cross. What we are being told is to place ourselves on the cross with Christ if we count ourselves to be His, and if He has given us the faith to “die daily” with Him, “be crucified” with Him and “present [our] bodies [to Him as] a living sacrifice.”

Galatians 2:20 and Romans 12:1 in the Old Testament

All the symbolism of the New Testament is taken from the Old Testament, and as we have stated, the sacrifice of the cross is symbolized by the altar in the Old Testament. After the law was given by Moses, every sacrifice offered was required to be offered on the brazen altar before the tabernacle of Moses. Later when the temple of Solomon was built in Jerusalem every sacrifice still had to be sacrificed upon the brazen altar before the temple of God. The life of every animal offered to God had to be slain at the altar that was before the temple. That is the source of the symbolism of Galatians 2:20 and Romans 12:1. Every offering sacrificed was required to be slain and offered there at the altar before the temple except for two very special offerings. Both are sin offerings to bear the sins of the people, but both of these offerings were to be “presented alive before the Lord”. The first is the scapegoat offering for the sins of the people, and the second is the living bird which was to be “let go in the field”. Christ is every sacrifice and those who teach that the scapegoat is Satan will simply have to repent of not knowing who Christ and His Christ are.

Lev 16:7 And he [Aaron, the high priest] shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Lev 16:8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
Lev 16:9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.
Lev 16:10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.

The Lord’s goat is first offered for the sins of the people to make an atonement for their sins and to cleanse the tabernacle of God:

Lev 16:15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat:
Lev 16:16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

There is a great revelation right here before our eyes if we can see it. The holy place is unclean “because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel”. But the blood of the Lord’s goat “makes an atonement” for the uncleanness of the holy place “because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel”. What else “makes an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgression in all their sins?” We just read it in verse 10:

Lev 16:10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him [with the Lord’s goat, with Christ], and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.

That is just how far this “as He is, so are we in this world” goes. That is just how much “as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it unto me” goes. That is why Christ said “I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting”. The scapegoat is the “living sacrifice” of Rom 12:1, and it is “with Him”, with Christ, that the atonement for the people is made by the sacrifice of the scapegoat “with Him”.

So if we are the Lord’s Christ, His scapegoat, we are very special to Him. No better than anyone else, but still chosen by Him and of Him and not of anything we have done to be in that blessed and holy first resurrection to judge this world throughout the thousand-year reign of Christ to be followed by continued judgment of angels in the lake of fire.

Those who resent hearing that there are some who are special to God need to consider these verses of scripture which are packed full of that message:

Heb 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. [So what of those who are not carried about with different and strange doctrine”?]
Heb 13:10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. [There is a vital connection between verse 9 and verse 10.]
Heb 13:11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
Heb 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
Heb 13:13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. [Those who are given to do so are special to Christ. They are “His Christ”]
Heb 13:14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
Heb 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Here we are commanded to be grateful for who we are given to be.

To us it is given on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but to suffer with Him and to bear His reproach with Him, and yes, even to make atonement for the uncleanness of the holy place because of the sins of the people of Israel:

Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

If we are suffering for His sake, who else, according to the sum of His word, are we suffering for and atoning for:

Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of [Greek: ‘the Christ’, (REV, YLT, ACV)] Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

Our suffering is “in [our] flesh for His body’s sake, which is the church”. With Him we bear His reproach and with Him we make atonement for the uncleanness of the holy place…

Lev 16:20 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:
Lev 16:21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:
Lev 16:22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

When verse 20 says, “And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar”, this is speaking of “the Lord’s goat”, meaning the work of Christ Himself. The work of the scapegoat is based upon and subsequent to the work of “the Lord’s goat”. Yet it is also true that the Lord’s goat is not all that is required to “bear… the iniquities of the children of Israel and all their transgressions in all of their sins.” Those sins and iniquities and transgressions are put upon the head of the scapegoat, and the scapegoat “bears upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited… in the wilderness”. That is an incredible key to the kingdom of heaven. That is knowing God and His son in a very intimate way. That is the living sacrifice which we are “with [Christ] for the atonement of the people”.

The law of the cleansing of the leper reveals this same Truth in the offering of one bird by death and the offering of the second bird by being released “into the open field”.

Lev 14:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Lev 14:2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:
Lev 14:3 And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;
Lev 14:4 Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
Lev 14:5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:
Lev 14:6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:
Lev 14:7 And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.

We will not analyze all the symbols of the law of the leper, except to point out that the leprosy symbolizes the incurable “law of sin which is in our members” (Rom 7:23), against which we have no defenses. “The living bird” again typifies the “living sacrifice” of this verse of scripture:

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

This whole process is repeated for leprosy which is determined to be in a house:

Lev 14:48 And if the priest shall come in, and look upon it, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plaistered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed.
Lev 14:49 And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
Lev 14:50 And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water:
Lev 14:51 And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times:
Lev 14:52 And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet:
Lev 14:53 But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean.
Lev 14:54 This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall,
Lev 14:55 And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house,
Lev 14:56 And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot:
Lev 14:57 To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.

The scapegoat and the living bird are both symbols of “the Lord’s Christ” for this reason:

Act 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Because God has made Christ to be “both Lord and Christ”, when we see the title ‘the Lord’ in the New Testament, we need to remember that God has made Christ to be the Lord.

The Greek title ‘Christ’ means ‘anointed one’. Christ is ‘the anointed one’ of His Father. But are not we also ‘anointed’ of God? The answer is, yes, we are:

2Co 1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;

We miss what is being said when that verse is translated into English. What is being said here is ‘Now He which establishes us with you in The Christ, and has Christ-ed us, is God’. So God the Father has made us to be the Christ of Christ, and Christ has sent us to do what His Father sent Him to do, which is to ‘with Him atone for the sins of the people’.

Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but [God sent His Son into the world] that the world through him might be saved.

The who are we in Christ whom God has also made Lord? Three times in the New Testament we are called “His Christ”.

Act 4:26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

Rev 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

After telling us at the beginning of His ministry that His Father had sent Him, “that the world through Him might be saved”, Christ then tells us this at the end of His ministry:

Joh 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

That is who we are in Christ. We are called “a living bird”, which is an essential part of the cleansing of the leper. We are called the scapegoat, which as a living sacrifice is an essential part of the cleansing of the temple of God because of all the sins of His people. We are called ‘a living sacrifice’. We are called the Lord’s Christ, and we are called saviors:

Oba 1:21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.

Knowing who is being spoken of when we read the words ‘the Christ’ in scripture is one more key to the kingdom of heaven within us. We are given this key which tells us that we must be on the cross with Him if we are given to unlock the door to the Lord’s sheepfold or to His kingdom.

There is no end to the keys to the kingdom of God, because each key reveals to us more about the knowledge of God and His Son, and coming to know them is an inexhaustible endeavor as is symbolized by the limitless physical heavens. That being so, this will be our concluding study on this Keys To The Kingdom of Heaven series.

Each and every key to the kingdom of heaven is a gift from God, which reveals more of the mind of God to those to whom those keys are given. Truly we have been given “exceeding great and precious promises”:

2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

[If you have not read the rest of this 12-part series, it begins here]

[Further information on how the disciples and apostles viewed the scriptures can be read here.]

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