Part 2 Paul’s Progression from a Pharisee
The Bright Light from Heaven
Paul was a Pharisee from the beginning. The Pharisees challenged Christ before they ordered His arrest and death. They challenged Him because He was King of a coming kingdom called “The Kingdom of God at hand.” The apostates who controlled the replica on earth called Jerusalem thought it was important to God, and thought of Christ and His Jerusalem as being preposterous as shown here.
Luke 20.20 Now when Christ was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The Kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Showing us that the things within supercede the things without; the carnally visual that are exchanged for the invisible, that also precede and supersede all of the created order.
The carnal copies were for instructive purposes only. To make visible the invisible to the human mind the things that pertain to the Spirit. As God said to Moses, “See that you make them according to the pattern I showed you on the Mount.” God was showing that there was an invisible original in which the physical was patterned after. As Hebrews says, “copies of the Heavenly.” (Hebrews 9.23+) Christ was speaking of His home of the pre-created realm, the place that we are called to participate in now as “The Kingdom prepared from the beginning” before time in eternity, the forever place that never changes or fades, that is forever new. Our stuff gets old, His does not.
During the time in which Paul was a Pharisee, he was looking for a coming kingdom using carnal observations when Christ sought him out. The verse above applied to Paul as well. He still had that view in Thessalonians when he tried to explain Christ’s coming with observable events saying “for that Day will not come unless…” Then Paul goes on to describe observable events because he still had some Pharisee in him.
After that Paul rightly asserts “whom the Lord (through assorted events) will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” which saying is true, however the brightness of Christ’s coming is not an event, but another encounter from Christ, being the same brightness that Paul encountered on the road to Damascus, who told Paul to “testify of the things I have shown you, and of the things I have yet to show you”. Paul had yet to understand this. Christ is not experienced through a series of planetary events of catastrophes, but a series of revelations and bright lights from heaven like Paul’s first encounter saying “who are you Lord”. Christ is the Word of God, coupled with the Breath of God, that enlightened Paul.
So too for us because it is “with the breath of His mouth, and the Brightness of His coming that we defeat all of our obstacles too. It is by God’s Spirit and God’s word, with His special visitations to us that we can follow Paul who said that ” for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him” so that we could follow him, to learn from his mistakes so we wouldn’t have to go through the same hardships. This is why “no other foundation can be laid then the foundation of the apostles and the prophets with Christ our Chief cornerstone”. We can stand on their works without having to re-experience the same hardships and lessons. This is why Christ said “greater works shall you do (than Me) because I go to
the Father. And it is because He went to the Father, and we recon our old person buried with Him, to now recon to be alive with Him through the operation of faith to fulfill Paul’s pleading for us to be reconciled to the Father. Our works are now a Heavenly sort.
This is why we are called overcomers. The carnally concrete things of creation have no hold on those of a Heavenly sort called the Elect who are living stones described by John in his Revelation of the light that He experienced that also came to him in the same fashion as Paul’s who said ” Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel”.
Showing how and what we are apart of now, of something that is not time sensitive. It is not through a series of events to be carnally simulated, but a succession of “bright lights from Heaven”. Like Paul encountered “of the things you have seen, and if what I will yet show you” as spoken of by the Lord.
Paul had to have known the Lord to be qualified to be an apostle and he did, but not untill the encounter on the road to Damascus. And because he saw Christ in His pre-incarnate condition, he actually knew Christ better than those who were stuck on the man He was on earth before the cross. This is why Paul said “we once knew Christ according to the flesh, but from now on we don’t look at Him like that anymore. And for this reason we no longer regard anyone according to the flesh because God made Him who knew no sin, to become our sin, for us to become His righteousness”. We have to learn to see God in ourselves and others that identify with “the bright light” as being “living stones” whose according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel”. He who the Son sets free are truly free? Put on your Heavenly attire and proudly walk among the stones of fire here at His throne.
As the writer of Hebrews put it “Let us therefore go boldly to the Throneroom of grace. And from Paul “let this mind be in you that was is Christ who being in the form of a man, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. This is the gift you don’t deserve on human merit, but taking God at His word, that we are joint heirs of the things in Christ.
Let us not despise our birthright like Esau who for one morsal of stupid thinking caused his ejection. As Paul said “I strive to lay hold of why Christ laid hold of me”. Like Joseph and the robe of many colors. We too are a patchwork of what we have collected and assembled in the spirit of our mind to be Royalty of another Kingdom that comes down of God from Heaven whose first appearance is a blinding light but takes on more definition through successive encounters.
When God opened His mouth, what came forth was His Word and His Spirit with the specific task of taking us to the Father. This is why Paul pleaded for us to be reconciled to the Father. The Word said “follow me to where I am”. Who also said “the Holy Spirit will come and tell you all things”. “The Holy Spirit will take what is mine and manifest it to you”. To break down the things of God into portions you are able to appropriate. When your special test comes, you should be ready. To do what? To duplicate what Christ did and overcome one enemy after another through the word and working of faith, by applying God’s word, through your mouth, at the behest of the Holy Spirit coupled with the oxygen in your lungs so that you too overcome each challenge with the Breath of His mouth and the Brightness of His coming with your lips.
Christ said “up till now you have asked for nothing in My name (because you ask for carnal things). Ask and your joy will be complete. But you must ask in faith without doubting, for a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let not that man think ha shall receive anything from the Lord”. But those of us who waver not at the promises of God speak to the mountainous obstacles in our life “be thou moved into the sea and it shall be done for you. Some of us did that. We moved Mt Sinai, Satan Sin and death squarely at the cross where they hang limp and dead, and affirm the words Paul learned later in his development from Colossians that11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
If you can learn to understand and appropriate these sayings from Paul, you can sidestep a lot of his personal struggles and sufferings and move into perfection as explained with these words from Colossians as well, that we “became ministers according to the stewardship from God which was given to us for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to us, His saints. 27 To us God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope and focus of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ” in the here and now before your physical departure. This is the reason you are a sojourner on earth.
This is how “The Kingdom of God is at hand” even now! Amen