In order to enter the Kingdom of God upon Christ’s return we must live in the Kingdom of Heaven until that time. The Kingdom of Heaven consists of those who are called by the Lord’s name during this era of man’s tenure on earth. The Kingdom of Heaven is the true Church of God–those who hear His Truth, believe and obey it. This kingdom began in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. However, they failed to remain in that kingdom. Satan destroyed the First Church of Eden using one three-letter word–“not.” Adam and Eve’s second son, Abel, resisted Satan’s attacks, picked up the torch of holiness and carried it, which created hated and resentment by the other person in the Kingdom of Heaven–his brother Cain, who killed him in a fit of jealousy over his (Abel’s) relationship with God. As Abel showed us, a One-to-one relationship with the Almighty–membership in the Church of God–is earned by believing and obeying His Words during this life. Membership in the Body of Christ shows that one has been converted. Continuing in a converted state–walking as Christ walked (1 Jn. 2:6)–until the end of earthly life earns the believer salvation, rebirth and citizenship in the Kingdom of God forever (Mat. 10:22).
At this point it is necessary to identify two groups of people who are called by God’s name. The vast majority of such people are self-called, meaning that they, not God, call themselves His people. Having designating themselves “Christians,” they religiously perform the religious rituals that constitute “church life.” Amazingly, this “life” varies depending on which “Christian group”–denomination–with which one affiliates. What is commonly called “the church” is divided into two major bodies: Catholic and Protestant. These groups differ only in the trappings of their religious beliefs and observances. At heart, they are one in the same. The mother whore (Catholicism) gave birth to hundreds of harlot daughters (Protestants)–Revelation 17:1-5. However, the religious umbilical was never severed. As a result, many of the beliefs, customs and rituals of the mother are religiously practiced by her daughters. These two whore systems are separate in name only. Together they constitute the “church” that, though claiming to be God’s people, refuse to believe and obey His Word–the Holy Bible. It is belief of and obedience to that Word that determines one’s relationship with Him.
The second group called by God’s name consists of a minutely “few” true believers who obey God’s Holy Scriptures. He describes this group in a variety of ways. He calls them His “remnant,” His “Little Flock,” His “saints,” and His “Very Elect.” He also describes them as a “kingdom of priests, a holy nation.” However, He also reveals that not everyone in His church belongs to Him. Recall that Judas, who had the same ministry as the other eleven disciples (Acts 1:16,17,21), proved to be a money-craving thief (Jn. 12:6). Truly “All that glitters is not gold.” “Fool’s gold” and “zirconium” look like real gold and diamonds to the casual observer. Only those schooled in precious metals can tell the difference. The same is true in the Church of God. Not everyone called a saint is a true saint. Only those who truly know their God and His Word can tell the difference. And this knowledge comes only through divine revelation from God Himself. Some people are so outwardly holy that they fool everyone around them. This included the “most holy” among us. NO ONE, NOT EVEN GOD’S VERY ELECT, ARE IMMUNE FROM THE WILES OF SATAN. God tells us this through the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 4:17,18 where we are warned that judgment of “us”–the Very Elect–is always on-going in the House (Church) of God (the Body of Christ). Note it–God is judging even the most holy and righteous within His church. Peter continues: “And if God is judging ‘us’–the Very Elect– what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” Notice that those being judged (“us”) obey the gospel of God. Peter continues: “And if the righteous (Very Elect–“us”) scarcely (barely) be saved, what will happen to ungodly sinners (in the Church of God)?” He needed not ask what would happen to the ungodly sinners outside the church. HERE PETER WAS REFERRING TO UNGODLY SINNERS WITHIN THE CHURCH OF GOD who were pretending to obey Him. Through divine revelation Peter knew who they were and was warning them to get right with God. He was also warning the Very Elect to not let their guard down. Jesus warns us about those who would come in His name who would deceive many of His people, even some of the Very Elect (Mat. 24:24). God warns: “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). L.J.