Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. (Psalm 2:1-5).

God's Spiritual Kingdom

David is not speaking about himself or some other man in his day and time, but he is prophesying about the Lord and His Kingdom. More than any other Bible doctrine, the kingdom of God is the most confusing. When we are confused about the kingdom of God, then we can't rightly divide many other scriptural truths. Because of that, our world as a whole is in a chaotic condition.

False hopes have been presented to the minds of the people, and there are millions who are waiting for ships that will never come in. One of those ships that will never come in is the millennial dawn. I don't speak disrespectfully of any man or teacher, but I am trying to speak the Word of God positively and definitely. The millennial doctrine is a misapplication and misunderstanding of the kingdom of God as the Bible teaches it.

I believe many fail to see the kingdom as a spiritual kingdom which is set up in the hearts and lives of men and women. Jesus plainly taught that the only way you could enter the kingdom was through the door of the new birth. The new birth does not put you in anything temporal or material. The new birth is a spiritual birth, and it puts you into a spiritual kingdom where Jesus Christ is the King who rules over the lives of the people. I believe too many fail to see how Christ's power is inacted or carried out in their lives, or in Christian life.

I believe there was confusion among the disciples for quite a while. When Jesus calmed the raging sea and told it to be still with His Word, they began to ask, "What manner of man is this, that even the elements obey His Word?" He then chided them for not having faith. He expected them to believe that He had power over the elements, over life, aver death, and over all things. He expected them to believe that He was the Creator of all things, that all things were created by Him and for Him.

They found it hard, almost impossible, to believe, even though He showed them miracle after miracle. Instead of their faith increasing, their doubts increased. They had more faith when they first started to follow Him than they did after they had followed Him awhile. The more that He failed to use His power against His enemies to preserve His own life, the more doubt built up within them.

To them, His claim of power didn't seem to be supported by the circumstances. They were bound by the flesh. They were expecting an exertion of fleshly power, earthly power, but all the time, Jesus was talking to them in a spiritual manner. Despite the contrary circumstances, Jesus Christ is Lord. When I make the statement that His claims of power didn't line up with the circumstances, the situation is much the same today. When we boil it down, we have one good reason why people don't accept the kingdom of God as a spiritual kingdom: they are still looking for an exertion of fleshly, temporal powers.

The Convincer

The condition of mankind today presents an ugly picture. Just about all we hear on the news and read in the newspaper is poverty, war, graft, corruption in government, and moral anarchy. Christians are confronted with staggering burdens. Who is it that lives close to God in this day and time who doesn't have heavy burdens to bear? They are here. They are real, heartbreaking circumstances.

Right in the midst of these dark hours, the devil, if you are not careful, will insert a thought in your mind, "If Christ has all power, and if He is reigning now as the preacher says, why doesn't He change some of these things.

That is the same thought that lodged in the minds of those disciples. He would tell them that He had all power over life and death, but He would turn right around and let men slap Him, spit in His face, and misuse Him. The converting power of the Holy Spirit that changes the heart and life had never worked on them. So they listened about Christ's power in one ear, and then looked out the other way and saw how He refused to show forth material and temperal power. Because of it, doubts wound within them about whether or not He was truly the Messiah.

They were with Him the day that the crowd came to get Him and saw how powerless He was, supposedly, in their eyes. As they led Him away, they mistreated Him, and finally took Him and nailed Him to a cross. To the disciples, that was the end. Doubts overtook them to the place that every one of them fled and left Him alone.

We need to learn a lesson here of why they could not believe in Him. Christ's power was gloriously demonstrated the day He arose. He had told them to meet Him on a mountain in Galilee, but unbelief had scattered them to the four winds. When He finally got them together, the first thing He said was, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28:18). Jesus had one answer for all their doubts, fears, and misunderstandings. His answer to every one of them was to wait until they received the Holy Ghost. Jesus: "...when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth...he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you" (John 16:13-14).

As old-fashioned as that message is, it is still the need of the hour today. The Holy Ghost can do more with a man in half an hour of time than all the men can do, with their schools and teachings and ideas, in years of time. He is a convincer. Thank God, when He is come, He will convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, and He will convince the saints of truth. Brother, when the Holy Ghost convinces you of truth, you don't need any man to affirm it. When the Holy Ghost works a convincing action of truth in your heart and life, you'll know that it is truth, no matter how many in the religious world rise up against you. He is a revealer; He is the Spirit of truth.

The Spirit Brought Fulfillment

Now they received the Holy Spirit just as He told them, and you know what happened. Peter and John were going up to the temple when they met the lame man. Peter said, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk" (Acts 3:6). The man who was lame from birth leaped and shouted and praised God. Well, it stirred the rulers, so they got Peter and John and put them in jail. The first message they preached put them in jail.

Jesus had told them, "...ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me..." (Acts 1:8). Well, here they were; the lame man was healed, and the people thought Peter had healed him. Peter had to preach a message and let them know that he had not healed him, but the same Jesus whom they had killed was the one who had performed this miracle.

We can find the fulfillment of the second Psalm in Acts 4:23-25: "And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is [That was what Jesus had been trying to tell them, but they could never understand it before. The Holy Ghost is a mind straightener]: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?"

We read in Psalm 110:2 that Christ would reign right in the midst of His enemies. In the second Psalm, David prophesied that when He was reigning that kings would rise up [Herod was the king]; that leaders would rise up [The leaders of the Jews were the rulers]; that the Gentiles would rise up [The Roman soldiers were the Gentiles]; and the people would be stirred against the Anointed One [Jesus has been made the Anointed One.]

The disciples had it all straight. Their prayer led them right from the realization that God was Creator to the revelation of His divine Word. They didn't have the New Testament, because it wasn't written yet. They couldn't read in the first chapter of Ephesians that when God raised Christ from the dead, He set Him at His own right hand, far above all principalities and power and every name that is named. The very thing that the Psalmist had prophesied was taking place.

Now they attributed the suffering, not to Christ's lack of power, but to the fact that that power resulted in conflict. Mark it down, wherever you see the church, the kingdom of God, with power, you will see a conflict going on; and whenever the conflict ceases, you will see a church that has lost its power. Don't be deceived, my friend. One of the spirits which has gone out today tries to cause us to so change this Gospel and make it so pleasing that an unbelieving religious world and the world of sin will pat us on the back.

The world is at enmity with God. Even the religious world as a whole is at enmity with God. All you have to do is get down to the straight truths of God's Word and operate under the power of the Holy Spirit, and the conflict will begin. Those disciples took courage; they knew that Christ was reigning. How did they know? The Psalmist said that when He reigns, the rulers, kings, and religious folks will rise up.

God's Foreordained Counsel

Why do the heathen rage? I'll make it a little more "polite", why does the unbelieving world, even in religion, rage? It began when Jesus first appeared. He wasn't very old when Herod the Great put out a decree to kill all male babies under two years old. The Jews, His own people, sought to kill Him, time and time again. They finally succeeded with the Crucifixion.

They thought when they crucified Him that they had broken God's plan and purpose, but they were just carrying out the counsel that God determined before the foundation of the world. God had prophesied of the very Crucifixion and the outgrowth of it. In their darkness, they thought thay were breaking the counsel of God, but they were merely carrying it out.

We are way up here in 2008, and the counsel of God still stands. Man today is raging against the purpose and counsel of God. They are fighting against the counsels of God, but mark it down, the counsels of God will stand. This is what caused the church to take courage. Everything happens according to the counsel of God. Our concern should be to line up with God, be square with God, and get close to God. Men and devils cannot change that which God has foreordained to come to pass. Oh, no, God didn't say that it had to be Herod; neither did He say that it had to be Judas. He prophesied that there would be a son of perdition, but Judas made it by his own decision, by his own will and choice.

God also has predestinated and ordained a day of judgment, a right hand and a left hand, and the crowd on the left hand is going to be much bigger than the crowd on the right hand. He does not determine who goes to which place; that is up to your own will and choice. Brother, God's foreordaining does not overstep your will and choice. There is a fine line between the two, but what God has said will come to pass.

People who don't understand truth can't think anything about a reign until Jesus comes back to earth, but the Bible lets us know that His feet will never touch mother earth again. He will appear one of these days in the clouds, and we will be raised to meet Him in the air and so will we ever be with the Lord.

The Body of Christ

The second reason people don't see the kingdom is because they fail to see that His kingdom and reign is carried out by His Apostles, by His followers. That is why the Chruch is called the body of Christ, a body of believers here in Christ's stead, men and women who have been saved, delivered from sin, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Christ has moved into them by the Holy Spirit, and that body of believers make up the body of Christ, the church.

The work of the kingdom of God is being carried on today by Christ, but not working through a fleshly body. He has a spiritual body, the church. He will never have a fleshly body again. The only earthy body He has is the churcyh, the body of Christ. Every prophecy of the Lord concerning His kingdom and the furtherance of it in these last days is being carried out today by the people of God. They are ruling with a rod of iron, the Word of God, that cannot be bent or broken.

The Jews had to learn, and people today need to learn, that God's purpose through Christ is carried out by His people. After our Lord ascended to the throne of universal rule, great efforts began to unseat Him. The conflict kept right on going. How did they move to unseat Him? Brother, the same power that raged against Him when He walked here on the earth was still raging. It raged in martyrdom. In the early days, sixty million Christians were killed. Why? -- They wanted to unseat Christ and overthrow the kingdom of God. To their surprise, however, they didn't unseat Him; they gave Him a better seat. Every time they killed one Christian, more would take a stand for Christ.

The great comflict going on in the world today is due to the same basic objective. Why is morality going lower? Why is there such animosity against truth? Brother, we see the efforts of men and devils trying to transverse the purpose of God, or the kingdom of God.

We want to get right up where we're living. You are going to find out which side you are on. There is no middle ground; you are either for Him or against Him. The same conflict of the ages is still going on. Jesus gave us understanding before He left that if we are truly His followers, then the world will hate us because it hated Him. There was a time when the world didn't hate you because you belonged to the world, but when He saved you and took you out of the world, the world started a conflict against you.

Whether it was Christ walking here on the earth in sandals, or whether He walks about sitting on the throne of your heart, the devil and the powers of evil are out to unseat Him. There is one thing that the devil doesn't like, that is for you to be under Christ's control, for you to live as the Bible says to live. The world will go along today with every kind of religion imaginable. You can start any kind of church you want, but when you stand firmly on God's Word and lay out the rule of God against sin, they will hate you just as they hated Jesus.

It is the conflict of the ages. Armageddon is a spiritual battle, a battle of right against wrong. It has been going on ever since the Garden of Eden. It has come to several heated stages, and according to the Revelation, we are leading up to a heated stage now. Why? Because the people who love God are going to get closer to God, and they are going to stand more squarely for truth. The people who don't love God are going to become more worldly, and it's going to bring greater conflict. The battle lines are being drawn.

Rebellion Is Futile

Let's consider Psalm 2:3, "Let us break their bands asunder..." People out in the world wonder what has happened to our world. What has happened to America? "Breaking the bands" means to make moves to destroy the law by which God holds civilization together. Civilization is slipping away because powers are out to break the bands and overstep the rules that God ordained back in eternity. When God drew up the law book for man to live by, He did it so he could be happy and respect Him

There are those who are out to break those bands. They let you know that they're not going to live by God's law. Leaders and rulers are still raging against God. They raged against God as Creator. They are working to destroy the laws of true science by twisting them to accomodate their devilish evolution theory. When you put the eyeglass or truth down against it, you find they are twisting true science to make room for their devilish teaching of evolution.

What causes men to rage so against God? Sin in the heart stirs up human pride, and human pride doesn't want to bend a knee to anybody, not even God. You don't see any of those fellows bowing their heads, thanking God for their daily bread. There is a raging going on against God. Humanistic educators fearlessly attack those who would cling to the doctrines of the Bible. It is right in our schools. It is on every level. Some of the little elementary children have to fight this thing. They are not even allowed to pray in school because that it talking to God, and that is against the theory of evolution, against the idea of humanism.

Why do the heathen, the unbelieveing world rage? They don't like the bands that God puts on them. They are raging against God's law and order of marriage. Corruptible, ungodly, filthy lust rages against God's law of marriage, and against all God's law of governing sexuality. God didn't put those bands on us to make it hard for us; they were given to regulate life. God knows more about life than you or I will ever know. He is the author of life; He is the giver of life; He is the sustainer of life. Stay in the bonds of these bands, and you will find happiness and contentment.

All they can do is rage. They cannot unseat the Ruler; neither can they change the law. We read in 1 Peter 1: 24-25a: "For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever." David said "For ever, O Lord, they word is settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89). You can kick in the air, rage and fuss, but when you get all calmed down, God's Word will punch you right in the nose. God will get in the final blow. Man can violate the law, but it remains in force. The law doesn't get broken, but the man does.

Man's rebellion today is futile. You are going to do what God tells you to do. You are going to die when He tells you to die. You are going to go to hell when He tells you to go. You are going to abide by God's Word sooner or later. All your raging is in vain. You are going to end up obeying the Word of God.


The apostles did not question Christ's power when He did not keep them from persecution. No where did they pray, "Lord, don't let the rulers get us again." They did not question His power. When He didn't keep them from persecution, the persecution and the raging of the heathen were proof of His reign. It was proof that He was reigning. When He reigns, the wicked are going to rise up. There is going to be a conflict.

Let's read Acts 4:24-25: "And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?"

This company of people never quivered or wavered. What made them like that? First of all, they were that way because of their conviction that they had a living Lord at God's right hand. They definitely knew that Christ was in control. The second reason they could stand and not waver was because they knew they possessed a mighty Spirit, the very Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit.

Their belief expressed itself in their prayer. When they began to pray, they laid hold on the creative omnipotent power of God who made Heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is. They passed from the omnipotent creative power of God to the divine recognition of His written revelation. This will help us as the church today. God is not going to keep you out of a lot of persecution and problems.

It is not only necessary to pray to God, but we also must do as they did; they turned to the written revelation of His Word. Right here was where the church began to learn the innermost meaning of the Old Testament. You have the innermost meaning of the Old Testament when you find Christ there. Every type through the Old Testament was antityped in Christ. He is the antitype of the temple, the sacrifice, the lamb, the priest, and the high priest. Until you find Christ in the Old Testament, you haven't found the truth that God implanted there.

Let's read Acts 4:29-31: "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed [Here was God's answer. He answered by giving them a fresh infusion of God's Spirit], the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness."

Our boldness comes through the Holy Sirit. If the Holy Spirit doesn't anoint you to preach to the place that it convinces the world, they wouldn't believe if one were raised from the dead right in front of them. If the Holy Ghost can't convince a man, no sign that God would work in front of him would convince him. God's answer was not mighty signs and miracles, but a fresh infusion of His Spirit.

When they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, they spake the Word of God with boldness. It didn't take signs and wonders to bring boldness; it just took an up-to-date infusion of God's Holy Spirit. There is a great lesson to be learned, and God help us to learn it. Our greatest need today is the same as it was then, for the Word of God to be spoken with boldness.

In order to speak it with boldness you have to live it. Jesus became the author of eternal salvation, and He only gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. If you don't obey the Word and walk in it, you are never going to receive the infusion of God's Holy Spirit into your life which will give you the boldness you need to face the conflict today. It's not time to let up; this is time to speak up. I am not talking about harshness or misusing somebody. That's not boldness; sometimes that's smallness.

The Godly Suffer Persecution

The first lesson to be learned is that Christ's power is not diminished by the increase of rebellion against Him We are learning that right in this lesson. Because there is an increase of rebellion against us as the people of God, and it looks like the enemy has been turned loose against us, the devil is going to try to insert the thought, "If Christ's kingdom is supreme and if He is ruling, why doesn't He do something about this?"

The increase of rebellion against you is never a sign that Christ's power is diminishing. He didn't use His power to escape temptation. This flesh doesn't like to go through suffering, temptation, and trial. That's why thousands will flock to the false teachers who say that if you get right with God, you will never be sick again. They teach that you can rebuke sickness and trial. Brother, that is a fleshly doctrine. On the other hand, the Bible teaches, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). The more you boldly speak up for God, the more conflict you are going to call for from the enemy.

Christ didn't use His power to escape temptation, suffering, or death. Why should we expect Him to use it to keep us from facing such problems? We are going to face sickness, persecution, and tribulation. If Jesus tarries, we are going to die just as other people die. Jesus did not use His power to keep Himself from it, and He's not going to use His power to keep us from it altogether.

If you will look back of every move which God makes, you will see that it is made for the furtherance of His kingdom. If He can get glory out of you going through that persecution, then you are going to go through it. If He can further His kingdom by bringing you through a great trial, He will take you through a great trial. If He can further His kingdom more by keeping you out of it, He will keep you out of it. His purpose is the thing that is being carried out.

Why is suffering necessary? Suffering is one of God's means for perfecting His people and bringing them to Himself. Many Scriptures tell of where Christ suffered, and we are to follow in His steps. Hebrews 5:8-9 tells us: "Though he were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them the obey him." He was made perfect through suffering. He learned obedience in a greater way through suffering. Can you and I find an easier way of being made complete or perfect in Christ than through suffering? It's in God's plan.

Submit to Christ

Today, there's a worldwide conflict, and Christ is the center of it. Because He is Lord, perfect, holy, and absolutely good, all evil in the world rises against Him. When you and I give our lives to Him, we as His servants move to the state of holiness. When we work every day toward perfection, we, too, become targets of this evil world. We ought to welcome the privilege of engaging in such conflict.

On the other hand, it is an everlasting shame, and maybe ultimate perdition, to see those who would be members of the church seeking pleasure, self-gratification, and the life of least resistance, when they should be seeking with all their heart the kingdom of God and all His righteousness. The true church is praying for boldness to speak for Christ, not to be released from obligation to serve Him. This shows you when people are cooling off and losing out: they want free from responsibility and obligation. They want to break His bands.

To be a real Christian today, we must submit to Christ with faith in His power to accomplish His purpose. You who are having a struggle to get victory over the habits of life must get to the place where you settle it, with faith in Christ, that He can accomplish the purpose.

What was the purpose of saving you? Paul said in Romans, Chapter 8, that the purpose of saving you was to conform you to the image of His Son, to bring you to the level of righteousness and holiness that His Son had. Who is going to do it? You have to take faith and then allow His purpose to be carried out in your life.

God has purposed that if you confess and forsake sin, that He will not only forgive you, but He also has purposed that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Take faith in His purpose, my friend. If you will lose your life to Jesus, He will give it back to you with interest. I turned in an old sinful garment and an old sinful life, and He gave me a pure and clean white life, a new life, a Christian life. That is the best trade in the world.

When God calls you to leave the security promised by the corporate powers of this world to follow Him, He is trying to teach you that He is the only real security. All other security has failed at one time or another, but Jesus never fails. He wants you to leave the would-be securities of this time world and put yourself in real security. When He calls you to sacrifice the world's esteem and honor and humble yourself before Him, He has power to exalt you far above the world's exaltation.

Christ's patience with His enemies is no sign of His weakness, but rather a sign of His power. A person with total power doesn't react with alarm at every hand raised against him. The longer he waits patiently before destroying the rebel, the greater his power. The power of God and the power of Christ in His kingdom is being manifested while His longsuffering waits, day after day, and lets the rebels rise against Him.

A Day of Vindication

Mark it down, though, some are going to tkae Him too far one of these days, He will rise up in His wrath and displeasure. We don't know the fullness of His wrath. He is stirred with the sinner every day, but we who have been saved have been transferred over under the love of God and are living under the love of God. We don't know the fullness of His wrath.

Who knows the fulness of His wrath? --The one who rebels and rages against Him until death comes against him, or the world comes to an end. When God rises up in the height of His wrath and displeasure, they will know the fulness of God's wrath. It is not just wrath; it is eternal wrath. It will last forever. There is a day of complete vindication coming.

You may question, "If Christ is reigning now, why doesn't He change things? If He is reigning now, why doesn't He put the devil where he belongs?" The devil was created for a purpose, God put before us good and evil. He made us creatures of choice. If the creature were bound, if there were no devil, there would be no way for us to show our love to God. There will be a day when God puts him where he belongs. It's necessary for the powers of evil to work for the conflict to go on, but there will be a closing day. There will come a day of complete vindication.

Christ repeatedly told His disciples that He would be killed and be in the grave three days. The conquest of death was imminent; when the time came, it could not be postponed. He rose from the dead. In Acts 2:24 we read, "...it was not possible that he should be holden of it [death]," God had said three days, and when the three days were up, death could not possibly hold Him a bit longer.

In Acts 17:31, just in the same way, Paul tells us that God has appointed a day of judgment, and He has appointed the One who will judge. This day will not be delayed or postponed. When the day of God appears, when God says, "It is enough," all who have risen against Him will feel His power and suffer the punishment which they now seek to belie.

Live According to His Purpose

In the meantime, there is no place for extra anxiety among Christ's people. We are to labor, watch, and pray. Stay on the narrow way. When you came through the strait gate, there was only one road on which to walk--the narrow road. The strait gate puts you right on the narrow road. Stay on the narrow road; fight the good fight of faith.

Count it all joy when you suffer diverse temptations. Why? There is no other way to have your faith tempered, but to go through the trial, be tested and proven. It will bring you the experience where you can pray for your enemies, bless them that persecute you, and return good for evil, knowing that the judgment of evildoers is out ahead.

Why do you want to bless them that persecute you? Friend, when people persecute you and misuse you, and you know that they are guilty, stop a little bit and consider the awful judgment that they are going to face. It will put you on your knees, praying for them. We must go about our business, realizing that the power is Christ's and that He is committed to our eternal well-being.

We can live every day if we want according to Romans 8:28. We can know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose. This is what held the morning church. The purpose of God was being carried out. When we live according to His purpose, no matter what befalls us, we can be blessed with the thought that it is working for our spiritual good.

No matter how much you rise up or rebel against God, the day will come when God will laugh at you. What a terrible thing to think upon, that God would laugh at you. Do you know why He is going to laugh at you? --Because you laughed at Him, at His Word, and His ordained plan. Mark it down, there is a law of sowing and reaping.

Friend, we are in a battle. The powers of evil are raging, and they will be raging worse. It is going to come right down to every one of us. It is going to be a proven fact whether we have the goods or not, because it is going to take the goods to stand. In the past, you may have been able to follow the crowd, but the devil is stirred to the degree that he is going to make you individually run up your flag or take it down. We are either going to commit ourselves to God, get a fresh infusion of His Spirit in our lives where we can speak with boldness, or we are going to keep still and lose out.

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