BY Ken Blue
No doubt, the greatest blight on the church and its members, is the inability to rightly divide the Word of God. Sadly, many pastors have never figured that out, or they fear the wrath of the brethren, should they depart from the traditions of their fathers, or peers.
The three books in Scripture, that Christians have the most difficulty with are, Matthew, Acts, and Hebrews. The two reasons for the problems are, Christians have been taught for centuries that everything from Matthew, through Revelation is written to and about the church. Secondly, they fail to comprehend that Matthew, Acts, and Hebrews are transition books.
The purpose of this article is to consider one or two aspects of the Sermon on the Mount in light of what we have said about right division. We will not do as most interpreters, and force this book into the church of this dispensation. Although, I have some respect for the Scofield Bible, and Clarence Larkin’s, Dispensational Truth, they fall into the same trap. They spiritualize, when necessary, in order to fit the sermon into church doctrine.
If one cannot understand the difference between the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God, and the present Body of Christ, which is the Church, he will forever be confused. First, the Kingdom of Heaven is the literal, physical, and earthly kingdom promised throughout the Scriptures to Israel. The Kingdom of God is spiritual, and in the heart. The reason the nation of Israel forfeited the Kingdom of Heaven, was because of their refusal to bring forth works “meet for repentance. (Matt. 3:8). Now, one may have the Kingdom of God without the Kingdom of Heaven, but, none will have the Kingdom of Heaven without first receiving the Kingdom of God. The Church is a different matter entirely, and we see no need to address it now.
“3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:3-12.
There are nine Beatitudes here. They are requirements and blessings for those who would enter the Kingdom of Heaven, if they obey them. Since Israel did not possess any of these, they forfeited the Kingdom of Heaven. There will be a remnant of Israel, in the Tribulation, who will repent, and obey the requirements of this sermon.
“Poor in spirit,” is not speaking of anyone in this dispensation. The promise is not “heaven,” but, the Kingdom of Heaven. Examples are: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15. “For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” Isaiah 66:2.
Several prophecies describe this scene by the remnant prior to the Second Advent. “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” Jeremiah 31:9. “In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.” Jeremiah 50:4.
The reader can see that these verses will include much in the sermon that will be required of Israel to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” These are “The poor in spirit.”
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.