The more and more I study the scriptures the less and less I find myself looking for Christ to set up a physical kingdom on this earth. But the more and more I read the writings of other Christians, even those who claim to have “come out of Babylon”, the more I see of this same looking forward to a physical kingdom, a kingdom to be set up on this earth, in which the spiritually mature (“the elect”) will come forth in “the first resurrection” and “rule and reign with Christ for a thousand years”.
How is it that those of us who know that the Jews did not recognize their Messiah because they were looking for an earthly king to rule over an earthly kingdom, who believe that Jesus Christ IS THE MESSIAH and that HE IS, even now, RULING AS KING over a SPIRITUAL Kingdom (WITHIN)… are (not unlike the Jews, but very much like them) still looking for a physical kingdom to be established on this earth, just as are the Jews?
I have read the wonderful writings of so many brothers and sisters in Christ who believe, as I do, in the salvation of all men and nearly every one of them is looking for a physical kingdom in which to rule and reign with Christ during “the millennium”. They look forward to coming forth in “the first resurrection” and speak of the judgment which is to follow “the second resurrection” at the end of “the millennium” – though they are not counting the resurrection of Jesus when it comes to “the first resurrection” and nowhere in the entirety of scripture can one find the words “the second resurrection”. Not that I do not understand, as I was once looking for the same. But no more!
There is so much that I see differently now from when I first came to believe in the salvation of all men that I have to ask myself: “What makes me think that I am the one who is seeing these things correctly, especially when so many others are in agreement and I am in the minority?” But then I, like they, are also in the minority when it comes to believing God for the salvation “of the world” and not just for a small or limited portion of it. So what does truth have to do with the number of people who might (or might not) believe something? Especially when “many are called but few are chosen” and “few there be that find” the straight gate and the narrow way that leads to life?
So while I may think that those who disagree with me have not gone “far enough” to understand spiritual truths, they might think I have gone “too far” and am looking at things “too spiritually”. And, indeed, I am not unfamiliar with the accusation. I have even been accused of “Gnosticism” – though I do not know what it is they think I have in common with the Gnostics.
Truly, even those accused of “heresy” themselves by Orthodoxy can be quick to throw that same accusation around themselves when they come up against those with whom they disagree, even their fellow Unorthodox Christians. I guess you can be “too Unorthodox!!” And though I suppose you can be (anything is possible), how does one go about reconciling the differences that they have with others while still being true to the Lord? For we ALL believe as we do because we believe that our beliefs are founded in the Truth, don’t we? I sure hope so!!
Granted, there are some who rely on the teaching of others rather than searching these things out for themselves, but what happens when that is not the case at all? What happens when we think we have “left Babylon” only to find ourselves disagreeing with others, who claim to have done the same, over different things? Not just arguing over the doctrine of “eternal torment” but over what and where the Kingdom of God is? What (or Who) the resurrection of the dead is? Even over the number of resurrections there will be? Over what is meant to be understood “spiritually” and what is meant to be taken “literally”? How do we deal with all of these differences… when we are all claiming to be “spiritually minded” and we all believe that we are hearing from the Lord and being lead by the Spirit?
Surely we cannot deny that the Lord will answer a prophet according to the many idols of his heart and even send us strong delusion that we might believe a lie, but the existence of those differences do not, in and of themselves, prove “strong delusion” or even the existence of “idols”, do they? And even if they do how are we to know “who is the one with the idol(s)”?
We can also not deny that many claiming to hear from the Lord or to have a word from the Lord have not actually heard from the Lord at all. So how are we to know the difference, except by the power of the Holy Spirit? And once we have heard from the Lord do we not recognize His voice and know when He is speaking and when He is not? Perhaps not always, but I do believe that the more we hear from the Lord the better we are able to discern His voice and differentiate it from all other voices. We may also know when He is being silent and we are being required to “wait on the Lord”. Let us then wait!
But how then should we handle our differences? If I feel the Lord is telling me one thing and someone else feels the Lord is telling them something different, what am I to do? What should any of us do? Should we doubt them? Should we doubt ourselves? Perhaps we are both wrong, all wrong? And what if we are the only one standing on the side of the argument on which we stand! Then what?
Some may think that the answer to this question is easy… if you are the only one who sees something – or if very few others see as you do – it is most likely you who is not standing in the truth. But, while I think that is certainly possible, I don’t necessarily think that it is always going to be the case. And should we not being willing to stand on the truth, even if we stand alone? For, if we are standing on the Truth are we ever really standing alone?
Are you willing to stand up for what you believe, even if your only witness is Him who cannot be seen standing with you? I am!
That being said, my initial answer to my question was actually going to be: “This is a hard question to answer.” But as soon as I typed those words I knew they were not true; that, for me, there could be only one answer: “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” And as soon as those words came to me I immediately thought of the title of a movie that I saw some time back: “Though none go with me”.
I knew of the hymn but thought it was base on a passage of scripture (and maybe it is) but I could not find it. But in searching for it, I came across this blog. It mentions not only the movie but the book on which the movie was based. It contains a brief excerpt from the book and it is worth reading – even as the blog itself is worth reading. As it is so true… that we do not always know what we are getting ourselves into when we pray for a deeper relationship with the Lord. Nor do we know how or when He will answer that prayer or what it might mean to us in the way of our suffering with Christ… nor that it might mean that we will have to say: “Though none go with me, still I will follow!”
So while I venture to always have an open mind, I know that neither I nor any of us will ever be convinced of an error apart from the Lord revealing that error to us. And I’d rather stand firm in an error that I believe is the truth, something that came from the Lord, than to go around always doubting myself or being unsure of what I believe or what I should believe or why. I have seen people like that and I think that must be what it means to be “lukewarm”.
So while I will ALWAYS recognize that “I could be wrong” (as I have been wrong about MANY things in the past and do not claim to now have “all truth” just because I have let those “many” things go) I will also ALWAYS place my trust in God rather than man. And unless or until God tells me that I am seeing amiss and opens my eyes and ears to a new/different understanding, I am going to stand firm in that which I currently believe. (And this correction may come though other men, so please no one think I am saying otherwise…. I have gotten many a revelation through the body of Christ… and sometimes the person through whom it comes doesn’t even know it and can’t even see it themselves, but still it is given – because it comes from God through the Spirit.)
I don’t believe that God shines the Light of Truth on us all at once. How could He? How could we survive that? That is why we must grow and mature… starting out as babes, seeking the sincere milk of the word… until we are able to partake of solid food… and eventually the meat that has been prepared for us… which is provided “in due season”.
So, to those who might not see things as I do, I say: Let’s not let our differences cause us to forget that we are all a part of the same body, the body of Christ. Let us not allow our differences to cause division in the body. Let not the eye say to the hand “I have no need of you”. Let us always remember that we should not be “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is”.
Let us continue to “reason together” until “we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
All Blessings in Christ!