Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Sudden Nature of God's Kingdom

Have you ever noticed the sudden nature of God's kingdom?  Things happen so suddenly!  In other words, they occur in an unexpected manner without preparation. So I thought it would be good to look at that in the Word together with you, because it's very encouraging and edifying.

God Suddenly Speaks
First of all, the Lord speaks suddenly.

Suddenly the LORD said to Moses and Aaron and to Miriam, ‘You three come out to the tent of meeting.’ So the three of them came out.” (Num 12:4)

"Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.' While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, 'This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!' When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified." (Mat 17:1-6)

God Acts Suddenly
Not only does God speak suddenly, but He also acts suddenly.

"I declared the former things long ago And they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.” (Isa 48:3)

Suddenly the fingers of a man's hand emerged and began writing opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace, and the king saw the back of the hand that did the writing.” (Dan 5:5)

“And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” (Act 2:2)

“As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;” (Act 9:3; cf. 22:6)

“And suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened.” (Act 16:26)

"And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea." (Act 8:38-40)

Temple Restored Suddenly
When the people of Israel rebuilt the temple after their exile, it was restored suddenly, because God's hand was with them in it. “Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had prepared for the people, because the thing came about suddenly.” (2Ch 29:36)

Calamity Comes Upon the Wicked Suddenly
I think it's also worthwhile to note how calamity also come suddenly upon the wicked.

"Why do the wicked still live, Continue on, also become very powerful? …They spend their days in prosperity, And suddenly they go down to Sheol [Hell].” (Job 21:7,13)

“I myself have seen a fool taking root, but suddenly his house was cursed.” (Job 5:3, NIV)

“But God will shoot them with his arrows; they will suddenly be struck down.” (Psa 64:7, NIV)

“How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!” (Ps 73:19, NIV)

“Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.” (Pro 29:1, NIV)

“A worthless person, a wicked man, Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth, Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, Who points with his fingers; Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, Who spreads strife. Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.”  (Pro 6:12-15)

“My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those who are given to change, For their calamity will rise suddenly, And who knows the ruin that comes from both of them?” (Pro 24:21-22)

“Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them.” (Ecc 9:12)

“But the multitude of your enemies will become like fine dust, And the multitude of the ruthless ones like the chaff which blows away; And it will happen instantly, suddenly.” (Isa 29:5)

“Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, ‘Since you have rejected this word And have put your trust in oppression and guile, and have relied on them, Therefore this iniquity will be to you Like a breach about to fall, A bulge in a high wall, Whose collapse comes suddenly in an instant…’” (Isa 30:12-13)

"But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day: Loss of children and widowhood. They will come on you in full measure In spite of your many sorceries, In spite of the great power of your spells.” (Isa 47:9)

"But evil will come on you Which you will not know how to charm away; And disaster will fall on you For which you cannot atone; And destruction about which you do not know Will come on you suddenly.” (Isa 47:11)

"Will not your creditors rise up suddenly, And those who collect from you awaken? Indeed, you will become plunder for them.” (Hab 2:7)

“Disaster on disaster is proclaimed, For the whole land is devastated; Suddenly my tents are devastated, My curtains in an instant.” (Jer 4:20)

“O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth And roll in ashes; Mourn as for an only son, A lamentation most bitter. For suddenly the destroyer Will come upon us.” (Jer 6:26)

"Their widows will be more numerous before Me Than the sand of the seas; I will bring against them, against the mother of a young man, A destroyer at noonday; I will suddenly bring down on her Anguish and dismay.” (Jer 15:8)

“May an outcry be heard from their houses, When You suddenly bring raiders upon them; For they have dug a pit to capture me And hidden snares for my feet.” (Jer 18:22)

Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; Wail over her! Bring balm for her pain; Perhaps she may be healed.” (Jer 51:8)

“While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.” (1Th 5:3)

The fact that calamities come so suddenly upon the wicked should be a deterrent against wickedness among God's people. It should put the fear of the Lord into our hearts, so that we avoid joining in with the wicked in their deeds and avoid friendship with the world.

Trials and Hardships May Come Suddenly
However, being righteous does not mean your life will be free from sudden trials or hardships. Quite the contrary. Suffering is a normal part of our walk with God.  Just look at Job:

“While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, ‘Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!’” (Job 1:18-19, NIV)

Likewise, the disciples encountered their share of sudden trials, even while the Lord was right there with them. “Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.” (Mt 8:24, NIV)

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation." (1Pe 4:12-13)

“For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?” (1Pe 4:17-18)

Sin Happens Suddenly
In light of what Peter said about judgment beginning with the house of God in the form of fiery trials coming upon us to test us, we should avoid sin in all its many forms. Otherwise, if you are not careful, it can happen suddenly.

“With her many persuasions she entices him; With her flattering lips she seduces him. Suddenly he follows her As an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool, Until an arrow pierces through his liver; As a bird hastens to the snare, So he does not know that it will cost him his life.” (Pro 7:21-23).

That why we should pray that we will not be led into temptation, which is something the enemy desires to do in our lives. 

Evil spirits Manifest and Attack Suddenly
Just as sin happens suddenly, it's also true that evil spirits manifest and attack suddenly.

“They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear.” (Ps 64:4, NIV)

“And a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth; and only with difficulty does it leave him, mauling him as it leaves.” (Luk 9:39)

We battle not against flesh and blood, but against evil at many levels of the kingdom of darkness. For every sin, there is a demon by that same name.  And when you commit a sin, you open yourself up to being a pathway for the devil.

The devil and his demons are determined to take mankind down to hell. Therefore, be on your guard. Be vigilant. Peter wrote, "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world." (1Pe 5:8-9)

Holy Angels Appear and Disappear Suddenly
If you are walking in the light as Jesus Christ is in the light, then you can be encouraged by the fact that you have a host of unseen, angelic forces around you protecting you. Those who are with us are more than those who are with the enemy. They usually don't appear, but when they do, it usually happens suddenly.

"Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, 'Alas, my master! What shall we do?' So he answered, 'Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' Then Elisha prayed and said, 'O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' And the LORD opened the servant's eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." (2Ki 6:15-17)
When the Lord took Elijah from Elisha, it happened suddenly that a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared. “As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.” (2 Ki 2:11, NIV)

“And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.” (Luk 2:9)

“And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’" (Luk 2:13-14)

“While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living One among the dead?’” (Luk 24:4-5)

“Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me…” (Ac 10:30, NIV)

“And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and woke him up, saying, "Get up quickly." And his chains fell off his hands.” (Act 12:7)

“They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.” (Ac 12:10, NIV)

“They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them." (Act 1:10, NIV)

It was rather suddenly that an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, when the apostles were heading back to Jerusalem from Samaria. He was instructed to go in a different direction.

"So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans. But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, 'Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.' (This is a desert road.)" (Act 8:25-26)

Visions and Revelations May End Suddenly
On the Mount of Transfiguration that I mentioned already, the disciples saw Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus enveloped by a white cloud. Then just as suddenly as it began, it ended when Elijah and Moses disappeared. “Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.” (Mk 9:8, NIV).  That's the nature of visions and revelations the Lord gives to His people. They can end suddenly, like being disconnected from a phone call.

The Lord Appears Suddenly
Even more wonderful than angels appearing suddenly is the fact that the Lord Himself can appear suddenly to anyone at any time, and He still does so today. “Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.” (Mt 28:9, NIV).

While I have not yet had that privilege, I know others who have, and hope to one day see Him myself.

The Lord Will Come Suddenly
Lastly, I want to remind you that the Lord is coming right away.  He is coming quickly.  And when it happens, it will be suddenly.

"’Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,’" says the LORD of hosts.” (Mal 3:1)

"And he said to me, 'These words are faithful and true'; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. 'And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.'" (Rev 22:6-7)

"Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;” (Luk 21:34)

"Therefore, be on the alert--for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning-- in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. "What I say to you I say to all, 'Be on the alert!'" (Mar 13:35-37)

The sudden nature of God's kingdom requires that we remain on the alert.  Let us be found watching.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, where noted. The "Jesus' Shining Face" and "Daddy and His Guardian Angel" illustrations (which have both been retouched electronically), as well as "Thou Art Worthy", were made by my seventeen-year old daughter, C.V. Lacroix. You can find more of her lovely, inspired artwork at A Brush with Life.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, please also read The Kingdom of God as Revealed to James Agboola, Angelic Escape from Terrorist Assassins, Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, The Link Between Two Realms, and The Secret Kingdom.  You may access the Main Directory for The Kingdom of God is Like This, and you may also my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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