11. The Kingdom Of God
One of the fundamental teachings of Jesus was about the Kingdom of heaven, also called the Kingdom of God. Right from the start of His ministry, Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17).
What and Where is the Kingdom of Heaven?
Jesus often used parables (stories of everyday life) as illustrations to explain eternal truths. Jesus wanted to be understood by even the simplest people. In Matthew 13:1-52 we read one of His sermons about the kingdom of heaven that consists of seven parables. Read them in your Bible.
Have you read them? If not, read them first.
You will have noted the following facts about the kingdom of heaven:
1. It is not “a pie in the sky when you die” (only a future place in eternity). The kingdom of heaven begins here on earth, wherever the King rules.
2. It is constantly under attack by an enemy, the devil (verse 19, 25, 39).
3. It is growing from a most insignificant beginning (verse 31-33).
4. There are “weeds” among the “wheat”. We do not always have enough insight to distinguish between true believers and hypocrites, but on the Day of Judgement they will be separated (verse 40-43, 49-50).
5. The kingdom of heaven is like “hidden treasure,” which does not fall into our lap. It needs searching for, perhaps digging (verse 44).
6. The one who finds the kingdom of heaven is willing to give up everything he has to obtain it (verse 44, 46). (See also Matthew 6:33; Mark 9:47).
7. One needs to hear, understand and accept the message of the kingdom (verse 23). It is clear that the kingdom of heaven, also called the kingdom of God, is different from earthly kingdoms. Jesus says,
“The kingdom of God does not come visibly . . . because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21).
The coming of the kingdom does not come with outward show. It happens within the “heart,” the innermost part of man. Rituals and external washing can never produce a clean heart. Read Matthew 15:10-20. People tend to do good deeds in order to be seen by others. Jesus explains that such deeds are worthless (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21).
Although the kingdom of heaven operates here and now, it is an everlasting kingdom, and will come fully at the return of Jesus (Daniel 7:13-14). In this way the prophecies of Isaiah 9:6-7 and Jeremiah 23:5-6 will be finally fulfilled in Christ. This eternal kingdom was promised to Noah, Abraham, Moses an David (e.g. Psalm 89:3-4, 27-29, 35-37). The final coming of the kingdom will be opposed by the antichrist, but in vain (Daniel 7: 25-28; Revelation 20:10).
At the day of the judgement Jesus will say to those who chose to accept His pardon, and whose life style changes accordingly,
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take our inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).
All this makes it quite clear that the eternal King of the eternal kingdom promised to David is none other than Jesus the Messiah.
The King of the Kingdom
Jesus never made a display of His power and kingship. He introduced a totally different concept of spiritual leadership.
Read Matthew 20:25-28.
In John 13:1-15 we read how He demonstrated this principle in an unforgettable way, by washing the feet of His disciples. He, to whom all glory and honour belongs, chose to serve because of his love for mankind, a kind of love of which we know so little (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
The King Introduces Himself
Jesus proved His authority and trustworthiness by the many signs he provided and by the prophecies He fulfilled. Let us get to know Him better.
Write next to each Scripture reference what Jesus calls Himself:
These statements leave only one of three possibilities:
It should be obvious by now that only the last can be true. But that, however, bears eternal consequences for every man, and that includes you!
Thus Jesus, according to the revelation of God, is not just another one in a long line of prophets (although he was a prophet also). But He is revealed to be the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 9:11-16). One day every knee will have to bow before Him, lovingly or in despair (Philippians 2:5-11).
Test Yourself No. 11
Write down whether the following statements are true or false. Compare your answers.
|< Back||Index||Next >|