Uncovering what God's kingdom is, how it works and who benefits
What part of the gospel did Jesus most focus on teaching? For many of us the answer would be simple: Jesus taught love; love one another as he and God love us. While this is a beautiful and profound answer, it is surprisingly incorrect. Jesus focused probably three times more on teaching about the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. As a matter of fact, he taught about the kingdom more than he taught about anything else. Amazing and true! Now, if Jesus was so laser-beam focused on this topic, it is probably smart for us to know what he was talking about. By the way, Jesus described it in several seemingly contradicting ways.
So, what, where and when is this kingdom?
Jesus described this in many vastly different ways. First, he said that he was the kingdom, and it was here when he walked the earth about 2,000 years ago. That makes some sense because he IS its centerpiece. Where he goes, the kingdom would follow. Jesus also said it was within his followers. This one is not as easy to grasp, because it's not really a place, but rather a state of mind. Jesus then said it was something to be looked for. We can all recite the Lord’s prayer, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.." Wait a minute – how can it be IN you and yet we pray for it to come? How can it be a state of mind and also be described as a place?
Is it on earth? In heaven? Within us all?
MANY Old Testament prophecies describe it as an operational government here on earth. Yet, Jesus told his followers they would be with him in the kingdom in heaven. So, which is it? Could it be all of these things? How would that all work? This all becomes understandable when it is perceived as coming and existing in phases. When you think about this step-by-step approach, it really does make perfect sense. God’s entire plan has always worked on a gradual approach. For example, the allowance of sin to enter with the first man Adam, to the 12 sons of Israel who would become a favored nation, to the 2,000-year calling of the true gospel church. All step-by-step and in perfect alignment with God’s plan. Why would the kingdom be different?
Check out our July 16, 2018 podcast, “Where is the Kingdom Jesus Told Us to Pray for?” and follow along with us as we put this in order. The bottom line is this: The kingdom that Jesus preached is REAL and life-changing for all of humanity. It is both in the heavens with God AND will be a physical earthly place as well. It will house both the faithful followers of Jesus AND the redeemed and reconciled people of this world. Thy kingdom come!
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