The gospel of the kingdom is the hope of the future of this world

Our high calling is to stand for the truth of God’s sovereignty amidst those who have not recognized him as king.

Our high calling is to stand for the truth of God’s sovereignty amidst those who have not recognized him as king.

1 Corinthians 15:50 – What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption.

The kingdom of God will only be established on this earth as he rules and reigns in our hearts; this is a spiritual process, not a political one. There is no army that will rise up to fight against the armies of the world to establish a kingdom for God and his Messiah; Yeshua made this abundantly clear.

John 18:36 – “My kingdom is not of this world,” said Yeshua. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

There is an ongoing revolution, to be sure, but it is not one that is accomplished with the weapons of this world, but with the Word and Spirit of God.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 – For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Messiah.

As hearts are captured for him, the resulting repentant fruits of forgiveness, good deeds, and compassion continue to spread in concentric rings outward from the believers into the void of darkness around each one of them until they overlap in waves of rejoicing and glorifying the God of the universe. When this is accomplished, then the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of God and his Messiah.

Revelation 11:15 – The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.

In one sense, this is already accomplished because it is a foregone conclusion according to the immutability of God’s counsel in his Word. In another sense, it is still being accomplished within each generation as believers continue to spread the message of the kingdom.

The gospel, or the good news we have to share, is of the kingdom of God, not of personal salvation.

  • Mark 1:14-15 – After John was arrested, Yeshua went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news! “
  • Luke 4:43 – But he said to them, “It is necessary for me to proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because I was sent for this purpose.”
  • Luke 8:1 – Afterward he was traveling from one town and village to another, preaching and telling the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,
  • Luke 16:16 – “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is urgently invited to enter it.
  • Acts 8:12 – But when they believed Philip, as he proclaimed the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Yeshua Messiah, both men and women were baptized.

We have the emphasis on the wrong aspect of what God intends for human existence if we focus on the personal over the collective enlarging of the kingdom of God. We have been taught for so many decades and centuries that the gospel is about us and our personal salvation, when in reality it is all about God and his kingdom. God ruling over all of the kingdoms of the earth is an inevitable conclusion that just hasn’t come to full fruition yet in this reality because we have sidelined the main purpose of God with our preoccupation with our own selfish needs and desires. Certainly, the promise of God through Messiah is eternal life in him, but that’s only because believers will be living within the parameters and fulfillment of obedience in his kingdom. The kingdom is the primary objective, not individual salvation.

This is why the world struggles now: not because it is nearing an ending but because things are not as they are supposed to be. Stress is induced when what is meant to happen does not occur. This unrealized potential is the cause of all conflict, as individuals refuse to recognize the sovereignty of the God of the universe. When the kingdom is not the focus, there is no urgency or motivation to obey the king.

Having the focus on individual salvation causes a silo effect, where believers retreat into pockets of safety and shelter from the raging storms around us. We receive what we hoped for and pray that God accomplishes his will in the lives of others, but we want him to do so by using someone else. But the heroes of the faith did not act in this way; they recognized their independent salvation was only a means for others to profit by, and they stood for the truth of the kingdom in every aspect of their lives. This caused friction among the unrepentant, who took out their anger on the faithful, wounding and killing them to rid the world of their conscientious stand for the truth.

We need to stand for the truth for the sake of others.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 – First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Yes, God desires all men to be saved, but this only occurs as they come to the knowledge of the truth, the other part of that verse. The truth of God is that he already reigns over all in the spiritual realm, and he is choosing to only rule over the physical realm when all will willingly come to him in repentance and understanding.

Isaiah 45:22-23 – “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’

We need to pick up the banner, not the banner of some cause du jour, the latest meme-worthy event circulating through social media, but the banner of THE cause of causes: standing for the King and his kingdom amidst a generation of darkness.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6, 8 – For you are all children of light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness. So then, let us not sleep, like the rest, but let us stay awake and be self-controlled. … But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled and put on the armor of faith and love, and a helmet of the hope of salvation.
  • Philippians 2:13, 15-16 – “For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose. … so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life…”

This is the fulfillment of the kingdom of God on the earth. This is the end-goal of all Scripture and teaching within the Bible. This is how God chooses to reign over all those whom he has created. As the spiritual kingdom is established in the hearts of his people, it spreads throughout the earth until the physical kingdoms of the world are subservient to the King, and he is all in all, in both the spiritual and the physical realms. Let us hold firmly to the Word of life and be the lights of the kingdom to every generation. This is the restoration of all things, and our unwavering motivation providing hope for all time in the future to come.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Hypocrisy is defiant and leads to unforgiveness

We can only forgive when we faithfully assess ourselves in light of God’s word.

Matthew 7:1-2 – “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. “For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use.”

Many times, this verse has been used to prevent anyone from being judged for anything they do. Even if the person is doing something that is incorrect by God’s standards, they claim this verse as a type of “home base” in a game of tag and say, “Remember, you can’t judge me because Yeshua said not to judge.”

However, the intent of this verse was not to eliminate all legitimate judgment, but to prevent hypocritical judgment when doing the same thing that one may be accusing another of doing. Most people stop at verse one and don’t include the conclusion of Yeshua’s thought in verse two.

The apostle Paul had the same perspective on hypocritical judgment.

Romans 2:1-3 – “Therefore, every one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. Do you really think ​– ​anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same ​– ​that you will escape God’s judgment?”

Hypocrisy is a critical factor in unforgiveness, because it is defiant and proud. Hypocrisy maintains one’s own integrity while chastising someone else for the same thing. In these situations, the hypocritical person cannot see past the “log” in their eye, yet tries to remove splinters out of another’s eye. Why is this?

When we are judgmental and hypocritical, we become so focused on looking for error in others that we begin to lose sight of our own performance. This is why we are encouraged to constantly evaluate ourselves in light of God’s word to ensure we haven’t gone off track in our own walk.

1 Timothy 4:7 – …train yourself in godliness.
1 Timothy 5:22 – …don’t share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
2 Timothy 2:15 – Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.
Titus 2:7 – …Make yourself an example of good works with integrity and dignity in your teaching.
2 Corinthians 13:5 – Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. …
James 1:21-22 – Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
1 Peter 2:1 – Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander.

All of these examples point to the same conclusion: we should have humility in our relations with each other based on our self evaluation according to God’s standards. Hypocrisy may be proud, but forgiveness is based on humility and allowing to be wronged for the sake of unity with others.

Philippians 2:3 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.
1 Peter 5:5-6 – … All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time…

When we review our own lives in light of God’s word, we find we have little room to stand in condemnation of others. The good news is that the same forgiveness is available to all, and our humility with each other should be a uniting factor among all of us.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Did Yeshua teach pacifism?

All interests are subservient to the eternal interests of the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 5:39 – But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

The concept of forgiveness runs strong within the teachings of Yeshua. In order to not retaliate to aggressive behavior or a personal affront requires a measure of self-control and maturity to allow the insult, and sometimes injury, to pass.

But to what extent does the Bible teach that should believers remain non-retaliatory? Should a father protect his family from home intruders? Should a believer be engaged with a national military conflict? These are difficult questions because the Bible speaks to many different types of situations and has been used to support many different positions on this topic.

Even though I am a veteran of the American military, as I have grown in my biblical understanding over the years, I have gravitated toward a more pacifistic stance. From a philosophical standpoint, the idea of believers serving in opposing military forces would mean that believers are essentially killing other believers for the sake of their respective national interest. This would mean that the national interest has taken precedence over the universal spiritual kingdom of God. Under any other circumstance, believers would not be pitted against each other in a fight to the death.

In fairness, though, I must also admit that the passage quoted above about turning the other cheek is contextually about personal responsibility, and is not an absolute morality standard. If we believe love is the primary response for believers, we must remember that Yeshua also taught that the greatest love for others is self-sacrifice. Yeshua used the example of the good shepherd who is willing to lay down his life for the sheep; however, as King David was famous for, that was typically in protecting the sheep from the wild animals, not other humans.

But is that self-sacrifice to be exhibited in acts of aggression toward others? Is it morally defensible from the Bible to kill a human aggressor in order to save others?

1 John 3:16 – By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

Once again, John is not setting up a universal morality standard here, as the context of this passage is in ensuring that believers are diligent in providing for one another’s physical needs. In that sense, we should put the interests of others above ourselves.

1 John 3:15, 17-18 – Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. … But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Paul reiterates this point, as well.

Philippians 2:3-4 – Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

If I was to land upon a more definitive position regarding what might be called biblical messianic pacifism within the Kingdom of God, I would offer the following: in personal quarrels, forgive and do not retaliate. When faced with endangerment of others not able to protect themselves, placing oneself as a non-lethal protector and defender is justifiable and honorable.

Some may argue that God is not against war, as he commanded the Israelites to kill and essentially exterminate the Canaanites. But we must remember the campaign against Canaan was God’s judgment upon those nations for their detestable idolatrous practices, and was not primarily about Israel’s interests. Moses made this abundantly clear as he spoke to the Israelites before they crossed the Jordan to take the land.

Deuteronomy 9:5-6 – “Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations Yahweh your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that Yahweh swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Know, therefore, that Yahweh your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people.”

God’s use of Israel in war was a measure of physical judgment upon the Canaanites that was a metaphorical baseline within the over-arching biblical narrative: God’s enemies would be vanquished and his universal kingdom would be established in their place. However, to presume any war fought today is a righteous and holy war against idolatrous barbarians because of their wickedness and rebellion against God would require mental gymnastics beyond the scope of reason.

How we apply Yeshua’s admonition to turn the other cheek may lead us to differing conclusions regarding personal defense and national interests. But we must remember that even national interests are subservient to the eternal interests of the Kingdom of God. Doing what is biblically “correct” in any situation requires a holistic view of the entire Bible, not just cherry-picking proof-texts to support a personal or public agenda.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Set apart and saved for his purpose

Destiny is a powerful encouragement.

Philippians 2:12-13 – Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work down to finality your own [collective] salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.

As Paul is writing to the congregation at Philippi, he emphasizes their need to be actively engaged in their salvation, but to do so with “fear and trembling.” The idea is that their salvation is so precious and valuable, they should not toy with the idea of who they have been called to be, they should not regard their privileged position as something to be treated lightly. Their mission was to be positive examples of God’s mercy and grace to an entire generation.

Philippians 2:14-16 – Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…

This was a fulfillment of their destiny, the purpose that God had set them apart for from the very beginning. This was the same message Paul and Barnabas shared in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch with the assembled Jews in that place.

Acts 13:47 – For so Yahweh has commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light for the nations, that you may bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth.'”

This excerpt is from the passage in Isaiah which illustrates the place that God has always set apart for his people.

Isaiah 49:6 – he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved [protected, guarded] ones of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Their salvation was a guarding by God, a protection of them through their trials because he had a larger purpose for them. They were set apart (holy) and protected (saved) for God’s purpose of reaching out to the world through them.

Isaiah 60:1-3 – Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.

All of this rich context from their history demonstrated how this “working out of their salvation” in that first-century generation was a demonstration of God working through them, setting them apart for the very specific purpose that they would be a “light to the nations.” This is why they were to participate in it “with fear and trembling.” The reason the early believers in Messiah were so effective in their generation was because God himself was working among them and through them to bring about the culmination of his plan from the beginning.

As believers in Messiah today, we are inheritors of this legacy of being set apart (holy) and protected (saved) for the same purpose: that God’s glory may be seen throughout the earth. We are saved not just for our own benefit but for his glory! Salvation is not about us, it’s about God! Let us participate with the same sense of fear and trembling, a reverence and awe for our called-out destiny that we may fulfill it faithfully and successfully in every generation for him.



If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvR_aNEyA7WEZJtF4B8fZ6g

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Purity of heart through the Word of God

If we are to remain holy and blameless, we need to remain steadfast in the faith which has been handed down to this generation.

Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Purity of heart is what sets believers apart, what makes them holy. Purity and blamelessness are characteristics of a life that has been changed and influenced by the power of God’s presence and his Word.

Ephesians 5:25-27 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Messiah loved the congregation and gave himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the congregation to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.

Psalm 24:3-6 – Who may ascend the mountain of Yahweh? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not appealed to what is false, and who has not sworn deceitfully. He will receive blessing from Yahweh, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who inquire of him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Seeking the face of the God of Jacob and inquiring of his Word; these are the characteristics of the congregation of the Messiah, the ekklesia, or the assembly of called-out ones. The congregation of the Messiah was the example for all those who would come to faith through their testimony and witness. They were set apart through the Word of God, and through the sacrificial example of the Messiah.

Colossians 1:21-23 – Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds expressed in your evil actions. But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him ​– ​ if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a servant of it.

If we are to remain holy and blameless, we need to remain steadfast in the faith which has been handed down to this generation. God’s Word is maligned in the marketplace of ideas in which we live, but its timeless truths stand forever. Just as the apostle Paul became a servant of the good news of God, we also demonstrate its power when we live obediently by its dictates, when we show the world that we are inherently different through the Word that has changed our hearts. Our loving actions toward one another are the distinction that can illustrate the truth of God’s Word to a world in desperate need of stability and hope.

Philippians 2:14-16 – Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life…


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvR_aNEyA7WEZJtF4B8fZ6g

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.