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KINGDOM

Will the Apostle Peter be the doorkeeper in heaven, since Jesus said to him: "I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven?" (`Matt. 24:19`.)

<ANSWER>--The "Kingdom" in this Scripture represents those who become true followers of Jesus. "Keys" are a symbol of power to open. To the Apostle Peter was delegated the privilege and authority of first opening the message and work of the Gospel to the Jews, and later to the Gentiles. He did the opening work of the New Dispensation, first to the Jews at Pentecost, at which time as we read, "Peter stood up with the eleven"; he took the initiative, he opened the Gospel invitation to the Jews and the other Apostles followed him. There he used one key. More than three years later he used the other key to open the message of the Kingdom of heaven to the Gentiles when the Lord sent him to preach the Gospel to Cornelius who was the first Gentile to accept the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore the first to become a member of the Kingdom of heaven class. Thus we see that the Apostle Peter long ago used the keys referred to in this Scripture. There will be no occasion ever to use them again. Those who reach heaven will not pass through literal doors.

What did Jesus mean when He declared, "There hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist; notwithstanding, he that is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he?"--`Matt. 11:11`. (I.B.S.)

<ANSWER>--To understand this statement of the Master it is necessary to remember the clearly marked distinction between the different "Ages." John was the last of the Prophets and belonged to the dispensation which was closing. The Apostles and other followers of Jesus, on the contrary, belonged to the New Dispensation, which Jesus was inaugurating. The Gospel call is a call to participate in the Kingdom of God--Messiah's Kingdom. Our Lord Jesus is to be the Great King of the World during that Millennial Age; and the Heavenly Father purposes to select from among men a "little flock" to be our Lord's associates in the work of uplifting and blessing the world of mankind. The first to be accepted into this Kingdom condition received the holy spirit at Pentecost. Since then, all who similarly consecrate and are similarly begotten of the holy spirit are accepted as of the same class, namely, as members of the Kingdom class. If faithful through the trials and testings of the present life, these shall be "kings and priests unto God" and unto Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years for the uplifting and blessing of mankind. (`Rev. 1:6`;`Rev. 20:4`.) The least one in this class will have a higher station than John the Baptist or any of the Prophets of the preceding dispensation; for all these will be spirit beings on the spirit plane. On the contrary, while John, with all the faithful of the past, will have great blessings, yet, since they will be on the earthly plane, their blessings will be restitution blessings to human perfection, etc.

Can you explain the Savior's words to Nicodemus--"Except a man be born of water, and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God?" `John 3:5`. (Pharisee.)

<ANSWER>--The Jewish nation was a consecrated nation, a covenant people. They were all baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud when they left Egypt. God accepted them in Moses, the mediator of their covenant at Mt. Sinai but, at the time Jesus was speaking, they had forgotten their covenant, some were openly living as publicans and sinners, and many others were self-righteous hypocrites. John's ministry, therefore, was repentance and baptism for the remission of sins--a return to God and to a recognition of the repentance and reformation of heart and life. Nicodemus was a Jew, and no Jew could become a follower of the Lord Jesus and enter into the kingdom, until first of all he had experienced this reformation and had been baptized, "born of water," in addition to this there must be the begetting of the spirit, and then in the resurrection, the birth to the spirit nature--"born of the spirit." Only those who experience this complete reformation of heart and mind, and who are "changed" in the resurrection, will ever enter into the kingdom of God.

"Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom." `Matt. 26:28`. Does this idea that some living at that time would continue to live on until the Lord's second advent? (C.W.)

<ANSWER>--The word "Kingdom" properly rendered is royal majesty. Continuing the narrative on down into the next chapter, it is stated that six days afterwards, the Lord took Peter, James and John and went apart from the rest of the disciples, up into a high mountain, and was there transfigured before them. His face was gloriously illuminated and became as resplendent as the sun, while His raiment was white as the light. The royal majesty of the Lord's appearance, together with the "vision" of Moses and Elijah, and the bright cloud over-shadowing all, formed an overwhelming arrangement of light and glory. The Apostle Peter afterwards, in writing of this glorious scene, declared that they were eyewitnesses of the majesty (royal majesty) of the Lord Jesus, and that they also heard the voice of the Heavenly Father coming from the excellent glory. (`2 Peter 1:16-18`.) In this way `Matt. 16:28`, was fulfilled.

Will you please explain `Matt. 11:12` -- "And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force?" (T.C.W.)

<ANSWER>--This is a prophecy relating to the Church, the Kingdom class, the Kingdom of Heaven in its embryotic state. It has been remarkably fulfilled in the history of the true Church of Christ from the days of John to the present. The "violent," those of the Ishmael and Esau disposition, have always bitterly opposed and persecuted the Lord's true people, and apparently, have triumphed over the Kingdom of Heaven. Many Scriptures teach that this would be the condition of affairs in the world until the time would come when the Lord Jesus, at His second coming, would take unto Himself His great power and authority and establish His own righteous rule in the earth, overthrowing Satan's Empire and setting up the Kingdom of Heaven. The Apostle admonishes the Lord's people to be subject to the powers that be (`Rom. 13:1-7`) the worldly governments and dominions, but the time would come when these would be turned over to the Lord Jesus and His joint-heirs, and on the ruins of the old, selfish, evil, kingdoms and governments, God's Kingdom would be established, never to be removed.

I am trying to do the best I know how; will not this entitle me to an entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven? (M.E.W)

<ANSWER>--If you do to the very best of your ability you will get a great lesson as to your inability to do perfectly. Then, realizing that God, cannot approve that which is imperfect and self-condemned, you will he ready to pray, "God be merciful to me a sinner." (`Luke 18:13`) Then the Lord will reveal to you the fact that there is only one door of salvation--Christ. Then, still desiring peace with God, you will seek Christ and be found in Him. The most God asks of anybody is that he do the best he can. We all need a Savior, for the reason, as St. Paul declares, "Ye cannot do the things that ye would." (`Gal. 5:17`) We cannot do perfectly because we are imperfect; we are imperfect because we were born in sin and "shapen in iniquity." (`Psa. 51:5`) The Jews, who were under the Law Covenant, tried to justify themselves before God by what they did, but wholly failed. In discussing this question the Apostle points out that the only hope for deliverance is through Christ Jesus, who as the great Deliverer will come and turn away ungodliness from them. (`Rom. 7:18-25`)

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