The Kingdom of God

 

NOTE:  The Kingdom of God and miracles, signs, and wonders have a "divine connection."  We can't understand either of those subjects  without understanding that connection.  Along with studying this teaching, please study our other teaching on this website entitled "Miracles, Signs, and Wonders."

 

Matthew 6: 33:

          “Seek God’s Kingdom first—aim right at it and focus on it your entire life—and then all your necessities will be provided for you by God.”            

 

Psalm 145: 11 – 15:

“God, all You have created praises You, and your people always bless You, speaking about the glory of your Kingdom and of your power; they want everyone to know about your mighty acts and the glorious majesty of your Kingdoma limitless, boundless Kingdom enduring beyond time and space!”

 

Matthew 6: 10:

“God, we pray your Kingdom will come so that your plans and purposes will be carried out on earth as they are in Heaven.”

 

The Kingdom of God is an important subject throughout the Bible, with 137 references to that Kingdom in the New Testament alone. By means of his Church which Jesus is “growing,” the Kingdom of God has been spreading worldwide ever since Jesus was here 2,000 years ago. Do you remember the old advertisements for Sherwin Williams paint? It pictured their paint flowing down all directions from the North Pole, “covering” the entire earth. That’s somewhat of a picture of how the Kingdom of God is being spread by Jesus’ Church until it covers the entire earth.

Yes, the Kingdom of God has been spreading throughout the earth for 2,000 + years, and will fully cover the earth when Jesus returns as King of the Kingdom of God!  This teaching is about the spread of Jesus’ Kingdom on earth.

 

Bi-Locational!

 

            Can we be in two places at once. Yes! How? I’ll tell you later on. But first I want you to ponder a few questions: What’s your vision for your life? What’s your purpose in life? What’s your mission? What are your life’s goals? Why are you here on planet earth? Why are you alive?

    

Mark Twain said: “There are two important days in each of our lives: the day we were born, and the day we found out why.” Have YOU found out why you were born? Did you know that the majority of all adults in the entire world don’t have a clue about why they’re here or where they’re going . . . in terms of goals and plans for their lives and their futures here on earth? 

    

Sadly, that includes people who say they are believers in Jesus and the Bible. Of all people, those who believe in the Bible and in Jesus should have clear plans and purposes for their futures on earth, but far too many don’t have such plans.  

    

Here’s something God says about your life and future: 

 

                                “I know what I’m doing [in your life]. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not to abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I’m listening. When you come looking for Me, you’ll find Me.”

    

                In this teaching, I’ll be sharing with you some of God’s overall plans and purposes for your life; He really does have plans for your life—to give your life meaning, purpose, and hope. Those plans are clearly revealed in the Bible . . . if you’re interested in learning about them.      Contrary to the opinions of many, the Bible is not an old outmoded, antiquated book that has no relevance to our lives in the 21st century. Yes, it’s an old book, but its relevance is that God has been using it to change and transform lives in every generation for thousands of years . . . if people will accept it at face value, read it, and ask God to use it to transform them.

 

What on Earth is God Doing?

 

                Here’s a brief reference in the Old Testament portion of the Bible—the Book of Proverbs; one version puts it this way: “If people don’t know what God is doing, they perish.” Another reads like this: “When people don’t have a revelation from God about their lives, they revert to anarchy and become totally self-centered self-delusional, and self-absorbed.”

 

                Still another version of the Bible states: “If you can’t see what God is doing, you’ll stumble all over; but when you pay attention to what He reveals, you will be greatly blessed.”

    

I hope you’re one of those who believe in God, have invited Jesus into your life, who reads and studies your Bible . . . and know why you’re here and where you’re going. I hope you’re one of those who know God’s Spirit permanently lives inside you in your human spirit and empowers you to transform your life from within. I hope you ask the Holy Spirit regularly and consistently to assist you to make positive changes in your life.

 

The Humanist Prayer

 

                Have you ever seen the following prayer? Probably not, because I wrote it a number of years ago for a friend who was a humanist. Who is a humanist?   Someone   who   believes there is no God, we are mere products of evolution, and humans are their own gods.  I won’t bother you with the curious circumstances that caused me to write “The Humanist Prayer.” That would take far too much space, but I understand it has been prayed by thousands of humanists over the years since I wrote it; every now and then I even see it written in a humanist publication:

    

“Our fathers on earth—Darwin, Hawking, and Dawkins—    

     We hallow your names.

Wise and wonderful are you.

   There is no God, no kingdom of heaven.

We humans are evolving to usher in

     The ‘Age of Humanity’ on earth.

We don’t need forgiveness for sin,

     Nor are we tempted,

     For sin is a figment of the imagination.

Deliver us from religion

     And a relationship with God,

For we humans are gods, believing only in evolution and ourselves.

     We build our own earthly ‘kingdoms,’

And have all power. We are glorious gods!

     Forever and ever.        Amen”

 

Millions Pray, “Thy Kingdom Come.”

 

     Contrast and compare that prayer with “The Lord’s Prayer” millions of believers in Jesus pray regularly:

 

“Our heavenly Father,

     We hallow your Name.

We pray your Kingdom will come,

so that your plans and purposes

will be carried out on earth

as they are in Heaven.

     Give us what we need each day.

Forgive us our sins

   As we forgive those who sin against us.

Do not lead us into temptation,

     And deliver us from evil.

For the Kingdom is yours . . .

     And all power and all glory!

Forever and ever.            Amen”

 

                Which of those two prayers do you pray? Oh, I don’t necessarily mean the words, but which of those two prayers is best exemplified in your daily life? Which of them best “fits” how you live and how you behave in your day-to-day life? In one way or another, you are living one of those prayers. One says God is King; the other says humanity is king. The two prayers are mutually exclusive.

 

                In order to “fit in” to the culture and society they live in, many believers in Jesus and the Bible attempt to reconcile humanism with being a believer in Jesus. It doesn’t work. Never has. Never will. In fact, if you’re a follower of Jesus attempting to blend in and be a humanist, too, you’ll mess up your life in a major way. You’ll be double-minded and unstable in all you do.

 

               Unfortunately, that’s often the case with some Jesus believers who have careers in all levels of public education and those in the “helping” professions.   I was a teacher in public school systems for a number of years; believe me, I know what I’m writing about attempting to blend and reconcile belief in the Bible with belief in humanism. They’re oil and water; they don’t mix . . . .

    

Notice both those prayers mention desiring a “kingdom” to come. Which kingdom are you praying and hoping will come to earth? God’s Kingdom . . . or a kingdom created by humans? Which of the two types of kingdoms are you hoping will be in your future?

        

Kings and Kingdoms

 

                Throughout most of human history, most kings (and queens, too) have held absolute power over their subjects, many times believing they ruled by “divine right” (or by the right of some “higher power”).

 

                Kings were in total, complete control of everything in their kingdoms . . . much like some dictators are today. Some historical kings were “good” and benevolent, some were “bad” and evil, doing whatever they pleased. With a nod of their head, they could take lives or save lives. If a king’s subjects ever had to enter the king’s throne room, they often had to bow or lay face down on the floor in abject humility before the king. In some instances, to look directly at the king was punishable by death.

    

That was what some ancient kings and kingdoms were like. That being the case, why would any reasonable person ever want to pray for King Jesus to return and usher in God’s long-awaited Kingdom of peace?

 

                Modern kings (and queens) are generally mere figureheads, with real political power vested in prime ministers, parliaments, and the like. Most of us living today have very little understanding of what it was like in the past to live under kings, queens, and other types of monarchs.

 

                Okay, let’s back up for a few minutes. If God really is the one true and living God (He is!) with all the attributes and characteristics we generally ascribe to God, one of those attributes is God is King—or Ruler, or Monarch—over all He has created. But God is not at all like many of those ancient, human kings. There is one basic character trait that defines God: God is altogether good and absolutely everything He does is good. (Psalm 119: 68) That understanding of what God is like—altogether good!—motivates everything I do and teach.

 

                Moreover, the Bible clearly teaches God is love. He loves every human equally and simultaneously from where He is “headquartered” in eternity.

    

Whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not, God is your King! He’s ultimately in charge. He’s the “Boss.” He can do anything He wants to do with our lives. We don’t vote for Him, we don’t get to choose whether or not we want Him to be King of our lives.

    

But . . . God is not like most of those human kings of the past. He is good. He is love. He is full of grace. He is a benevolent King. He is always working behind the scenes of our lives for our ultimate good . . . as only God can do!

    

God’s kingship began before the creation of all things, and has “touched down” upon earth from time to time throughout human history; unfortunately, most of the times God has offered his Kingdom to humans, they have rejected his kingship. Why? We humans want our own way. We want to be in charge of our own lives. We are self-centered and self-absorbed and don’t want anyone—especially God!—“interfering” with our lives.

 

Jesus and the Kingdom of God

 

                Jesus spoke and taught much about the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven). He was born as King over all, and He remains King over all. When Jesus returned to heaven after having been raised from the dead, He sat down at the right hand of Father God’s throne. From there, He now reigns as King over the spreading Kingdom of God on earth.

    

Jesus’ Kingdom reign over us will fully begin when Jesus returns to earth to rule and reign for all the ages of time and in eternity—with his royal throne headquartered in the New Jerusalem on a freshly restored earth.  If we don’t accept his Kingship in our lives now, we will! He will exercise his royal dominion throughout the entire universe by means of redeemed, resurrected humans (that’s you and me!) who are presently in “training for reigning” and in “schooling for ruling.” Yes, you will someday reign as a lesser king under the King of kings and Lord of lords!

    

By the way, when the Bible teaches what I have just written, the word “king” as it applies to humans is not gender-specific. In Jesus, there is no male nor female; both genders will be kings.

    

I know this is beginning to read like some far-fetched, fanciful science fiction. I understand that . . . but it’s true. Jesus will return to earth as King to usher in the long-awaited Kingdom of God on earth. Please understand clearly: I am not predicting when Jesus will return. There’s been enough of that foolishness the past 150 years or so. I am merely writing that the Bible clearly teaches Jesus will return to earth to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, headquartered in the New Jerusalem in the land of Israel. When Jesus will return is known only by God!

 

                “Grace and peace to you from the One who is, who always was, and who is coming . . . from Jesus, the faithful witness. He is first among all who will be raised from death. He is the ruler of all the kings of the earth. He is the One who loves us and has made us free from our sins with his blood sacrifice. He has made us his kingdom and priests who serve God his Father. To Jesus be glory and power for all time and eternity! Look, Jesus is coming with the clouds! Everyone will see Him . . . .”                                                        --From Revelation 1, paraphrased

 

Two Kingdoms

 

          I’ve just returned home from a funeral of a friend with whom I served in the Army National Guard. The funeral blended Roman Catholic tradition with that of Native American Lakota Sioux tradition. It was a beautiful and meaningful funeral, a great way of honoring my friend’s  life.At the funeral, I was reminded once again about how often many Bible-based funerals mention the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven.   That Kingdom is a major theme of the entire Bible.

 

     Earlier, I wrote that we can be in two places at once. Here’s how. Common sense tells us that if we are alive—having been born here on planet earth—we can only be in one place at one time. And most of us are citizens of only one nation. But we have another “sense”—the inner faith-sense given to us by God—that informs us we are also citizens of another “place.” 

    

      What place might that be? It’s the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom God. If we have been born again spiritually and are believers in Jesus, the Bible teaches our “citizenship is in Heaven.” In Jesus, we have dual citizenship.

 

      Now we’re going to get into what some of you might consider sort of hyper-spiritual fantasy, or even science fiction. In various places, the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is “seated” in heaven at the right hand of Father God. We know that’s not literal because God is an unbodied spiritual Being and cannot be confined to one place; God is allwhere and allwhen. He cannot literally be “seated” anywhere in any one place. However, Jesus in his resurrected bodily form can be “seated” next to God.

 

      When the infinite God communicates with us finite humans by means of the Bible, He is compelled to put some enigmatic spiritual matters into human languages and concepts we can understand to some extent. Jesus being seated at God’s right hand is one of those concepts which is spiritually enigmatic or “mysterious.” It is not mysterious in the sense of a detective mystery, merely something difficult to understand except by our faith-sense.

 

      But . . . keep in mind because something is spiritual does not mean it isn’t real! Actually, spiritual realities are more real than this material, tangible world we live in. So . . . Jesus is seated at God’s right hand. Here’s the seemingly science fiction part: “In” or “through” our relationship with Jesus, we, too, are seated with Him in heaven. The Bible teaches that as an eternal fact. However, it’s not a fact we can clearly understand with our five senses and with our human thought processes—only with our “faith-sense.”

 

     That’s why we are bi-locational. We are here on earth . . . and we are simultaneously seated with Jesus in heaven. I don’t understand that, but the Bible teaches it and I believe it to be true—with my inner faith-sense, not with my “outer” five senses. How about you: are there some things you believe but don’t necessarily understand? 

So What?

 

     There is a heaven. There is a Kingdom of God. They are very real. If we die before Jesus returns to establish his long-awaited Kingdom on earth, we will literally go there to be with Him until we come back to earth with Him when He returns to earth. Meanwhile, because we are citizens of heaven, we are God’s ambassadors here on earth to tell people Good News (the Gospel) about Jesus and his coming Kingdom.  Ambassadors represent their home nation to the other nation where they are sent. We are spiritual beings sent here to represent the Kingdom of Heaven and its King, Jesus. How well are you representing Jesus and his Kingdom? Are you a good ambassador?

 

     We are not human beings sent here to have a temporary spiritual experience. We are spirit beings sent here to have a temporary human experience as ambassadors and witnesses to all the good things God has done for humanity through Jesus.

 

   So many of us think that if we allowed God to be King of our lives, He would somehow mess up our own plans and purposes for our lives. You do see how foolish that kind of thinking is, don’t you—that God who created us and knows everything about us would mess up our lives?

 

Touch Down!

 

     When has God’s Kingdom touched down on planet earth and humans have rejected Him? Long ago in a garden named Eden. Once during the time of Moses. Again during the time of Samuel in the Bible. When Jesus was here on earth the first time. Many other times, too. We humans have rejected God’s Kingship every time He has offered it to us. Of course, the one time He offered his Kingdom to us in person, we crucified Him, feeling that would get Him out of our lives once and for all.  Surprise! Surprise! Three days after He was killed, God’s Spirit brought Jesus back to life, he later returned to Heaven, and He is now in the process of getting ready to return to permanently establish his Kingdom here on earth, headquartered in the New Jerusalem in the ancient land of Israel.

 

Miracles, Signs, and Wonders!

 

     My thesis for one of my Masters degrees was about God’s Kingdom touching down on earth at various times in the past. Each time it has done so, it has always been accompanied by miracles, signs, and wonders . . . as evidence that his Kingdom was “near.”

    

      When God’s ambassadors and witnesses clearly proclaim King Jesus and his coming Kingdom, miracles, signs, and wonders follow their proclamation as evidence of the reality of that Kingdom. If no miracles, signs, and wonders are occurring in the lives of individual believers in Jesus and in Jesus’ churches, then they are not faithfully proclaiming the presence of the King and his Kingdom!

 

     What are miracles, signs, and wonders? They are God-caused events beyond all bounds of logic and reason, defying comprehension, explanation, and experience—for the main purpose of God drawing people to Himself through Jesus.

 

     Are you a believer in Jesus? Are you being a witness about God’s salvation and healing through Jesus? Is your church proclaiming the Good News about the coming Kingdom of God?     If so, you should regularly and consistently be experiencing miracles, signs, and wonders in your own life, and in the life of your church! If not, check out who or what you and your church are really representing as ambassadors.

 

     Are you proclaiming a mere religion or churchianity? Or are you being a witness to others in your day-to-day life about the reality of God in your life by the presence of his Spirit living in you? Are you sharing with others a religion or a relationship?

 

     Religious stuff really saddens and grieves God. Religious stuff renders his power-full Presence null and void in terms of his personal presence with and in us. Religious stuff “turns off” people who are watching you to see if you have something real in your life. Religious stuff renders God’s Word—the Bible—powerless and ineffective to those who resist God using it to transform their lives.

 

     Jesus stated to the religious leaders of his day: “your dead, manmade traditions make the Word of God null and void, ineffective, and powerless—resulting in theobabble, pointless philosophical and metaphysical confusion, and aimless wanderings of the mind.”

  

     God wants to have a flourishing, growing relationship with you, not for you to have mere “dead” religion.

 

     If we who claim to be believers in Jesus and followers of Him are not green and growing, then we are ripe and rotting! The evidence of a green and growing relationship with God through Jesus is that miracles, signs, and wonders occur regularly and consistently in your day-to-day life. Those are “proof” that we are bi-locational.

 

     NOTE: Another teaching on this web site is entitled “Miracles, Signs, and Wonders.” I recommend you study it along with this teaching to get a more complete picture of the relationship between the Kingdom of God and the occurrences of miracles, signs, and wonders.

 

What Is the Kingdom of God?

 

     I haven’t yet defined the Kingdom of God. It’s now time for me to do that. In the Old Testament portion of the Bible (before the time of Jesus), the word “kingdom” is translated into English from a number of Hebrew words. The Old Testament was written mostly in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew words are mostly abstract nouns carrying the ideas of God’s reign, sovereignty, dominion, the sphere of His rule, and royal power.

 

     In the New Testament portion of the Bible about Jesus’ life and ministry and for about 35 years after his death, resurrection, and return to heaven, the word “kingdom” is translated from only one Greek word (Greek being the language in which most of the New Testament was written). The Greek word has the exact meaning of the Hebrew words . . . with some additional meanings: the King’s loving presence among humans, God’s rule of love, God’s active reign in the world, the realm of God’s salvation of all humankind.

 

     Such words mean God is King over all the earth. They mean God has established a relationship with us through Jesus. They mean God’s Kingdom is real both in Heaven and in our lives. God’s Kingdom is both a present reality and yet it will fully come to earth in the future. God’s Kingdom now prevails in Heaven and will someday prevail on earth when Jesus returns. God’s Kingdom is here, but it’s not fully here yet. It’s now. It’s future. It’s a real Kingdom with a real King of whom we are his subjects.

 

How Big Is God?

 

     There’s an old gospel song that goes something like this: “God is ‘big’ enough to rule the mighty universe, yet ‘small’ enough to live within our hearts.” Does the King of the universe—Jesus—live in you right now, today, in his unbodied form of the Holy Spirit? If not, why not? Why are you waiting to invite Him into your life as your Savior and King? Jesus is knocking loudly and clearly at the “door” of your inner life. All you need to do is open the door and invite Him into your life. When He comes in, He fuses, coalesces, and welds together with your human spirit and you two become one spirit for all the ages of time and in eternity.

    

      What legitimate reason could you possibly have for not inviting Him to take up permanent residence in your life?! When He comes into your life, He then sits down on the “throne” of your life and begins to work out his all-good plans and purposes for you. He’ll then help you transform your life day by day until the very day you die and fully enter his Kingdom.

    

      The Bible states: “When you invite Jesus into your life, you become an entirely new creation. You will never be the same again. Your old life will go. You will begin an entirely new life!”

 

      “Now it’s time to change your mind! Turn to face God so He can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send Jesus back to earth [to establish his Kingdom]. For the time being He must remain out of sight in Heaven until everything is restored to order again just the way God, through the preaching of his ancient prophets, said it would be.”    --Acts 3: 19 – 21, the Bible, paraphrased

    

      Something to think about: “I am one of God’s kings in ‘training for reigning’ and in ‘schooling for ruling’!”  

 

Deadly Fungi!

 

                No, I’m not referring to a new 3-D science fiction movie in which horrible, giant alien fungi attack planet earth. But it is about fungi. Did you know that common household yeast (a form of fungi) is referred to many times in the Bible? It’s called “leaven,” an older word for yeast.

 

     Jesus referred to leaven in some of his teachings. For example, on one occasion He warned his followers, “Beware of the contaminating yeast of the religious leaders.”

 

                What did Jesus mean? He was cautioning his disciples—and us!—to beware of the thinking patterns of some of those types of religious people. Don’t develop their negative mindsets. Don’t adopt their destructive worldviews. Don’t have “stinkin’ thinkin’” as some religious leaders do. But Jesus did not mention yeast only in a negative context. On another occasion He said to his followers, “God’s Kingdom is like yeast that a baker works into the dough so the bread can rise and be tasty and nourishing.”

 

Kingdom Yeast

 

                  What did Jesus mean by that statement? He meant that the Kingdom of God will spread and permeate our lives just like yeast spreads and permeates bread so it becomes tasty and nourishing. whenever you’ve prayed the so-called “Lord’s Prayer,” each time you’ve prayed that prayer you have prayed “Thy Kingdom come . . .” I want to be sure you know what you’re asking God when you pray “Thy Kingdom come.” The Kingdom of God is a major theme throughout the entire Bible. God wants to “grow” and spread his Kingdom in our lives just as yeast grows and spreads in bread before it’s baked.

 

                How does God’s Kingdom grow and spread in our lives? Here’s how:  We must renew and change our minds, thinking patterns, and attitudes—empowered by the Holy Spirit who lives inside us!

 

Changes in Our Thinking

 

                1 Corinthians 15: 51 and 52 teach about the Great Change coming when King Jesus will return to earth to usher in his Kingdom:

 

                   “Pay attention! I am telling you a previously hidden truth. We will not all sleep in death, but we shall all be changed—in an atomic second, in less time than it takes to blink. A trumpet will blast and we will be raised from the dead, free from decay. Yes, we shall be changed and transformed.”

 

                That will be our final change as mortals (when we will be changed from mortals to immortals), but it will not really be our final change, because we will continue to change for many years to come after that event . . . and then beyond those years when we enter into our eternal state of being.

 

                In the meantime, God wants us to continue to change, grow, and develop in this mortal life before we die or before Jesus returns—whichever occurs first. Most changes that need to occur in our lives during this mortal journey are changes in our minds, attitudes, and thought patterns so we see life more and more from the point of view of citizens of Jesus’ Kingdom. Our “stinkin’ thinkin’” needs to be radically changed.

 

                We need to think more and more like Jesus thinks. We need to develop “the mind of Jesus” as the Bible puts it. We need to see our lives as God sees them through Jesus. The one area of our thoughts that really needs to change is our thinking about religion. As mentioned earlier, we need to beware of the contaminating yeast of religious thinking and begin to think the way a citizen of God’s Kingdom thinks.

 

How Do We Change? 

 

                How do we learn to think as God thinks? How do we learn to view life as God views it? How do we learn to think like Jesus thinks, “putting on the mind of Jesus” as the Bible states?

 

               The first change people need to make in their lives is to be born spiritually (born2), to become entirely new people because they invite Jesus to take up permanent residence in their lives. That change into a new person—into a newly created immortal being—automatically sets in motion a lifelong process of change, growth, and development.

 

     You became a brand-new creation—a “changeling” when you were born2—and will spend the remainder of y0ur mortal journey here on earth being changed and transformed back into God’s clear image as seen in Jesus. When we invite Jesus into our lives, He enters us in his “unbodied form” of the Holy Spirit, takes up permanent residence within our spirits, and then begins the lifelong process of helping us change our thinking, attitudes, and behavior.

 

                How does all that happen? It’s so simple millions of people overlook it . . . believing it’s just too simple. We learn God’s thoughts in the Bible. The Bible is God’s written revelation of Himself to humankind. It contains enough of God’s thoughts, attitudes, and behavior so we can learn from Him and change. The Bible is not a religious book. It is not a textbook. It’s simply what God wants us to know in order to change our thoughts and attitudes to be more and more like his thoughts and attitudes.

 

                By reading, studying, and applying the Bible to our lives, we change more and more from contaminated religious thinking to life-changing God thinking. That’s how the good “yeast” of the Kingdom of God grows and expands in our lives. That’s how God’s good, LIFEgiving, nourishing, wholesome yeast spreads in our lives, replacing the contaminating yeast of religious thinking.

 

                Dear reader, being a believer in Jesus is not a religion; it’s a relationship with the one, true and living God through Jesus!

 

                Many people have just enough of a dosage of religion to inoculate them against having a relationship with God!

 

               That’s why Bible reading and study is so vitally important for our lives . . . for our entire lives. God didn’t give us the Bible merely to inform us, but so the Holy Spirit living inside us can use it to help us transform our lives from the inside out.

 

                 The Bible is not merely printed words on paper, but it’s a “living book” God uses day by day in your life to transform you and restore you back into his clear image. “Living words” leap off the printed pages of the Bible, enter you, and then become real and life-transforming inside you. Yes, the Bible is LIFEgiving and full of power; it leaps off the printed pages and steps into your day-to-day world right where you live, work, or go to school. 

The Kingdom of God is . . .

 

                Here’s what another reference in the Bible states the Kingdom of God is like:

 

                                “The important things about the Kingdom of God are living right with God, having God’s overwhelming peace, and abundant joy in your day-to-day lives.”

 

                The Kingdom of God is not about external things. It consists of inner, spiritual realities such as right living in thought and action, peace that seeks harmony among people, and a deep, deep joy that can come only from the Holy Spirit within us. If we understand the spiritual realities of Jesus’ Kingdom, we won’t choose external things that briefly satisfy our self-centeredness. As stated earlier, the essence of sin is to live a self-centered, self-absorbed life instead of a Jesus-filled life.

 

From Darkness to Light

 

                There’s another aspect of Kingdom thinking and Kingdom living that is not addressed very often by those who teach the Bible. Essentially, we live in a “kingdom of darkness,” ruled over by a dark being with various names and titles: Satan, the destroyer, the devil, Beelzebub, the adversary, the Prince of the power of the air, the tempter, etc.

 

                Satan’s dark powers were completely defeated by Jesus when He died on the cross, but Satan still has some residual powers that we “allow” him by default to exercise in our lives. He’s a defeated foe, but he is still allowed to work in our lives to the extent we relinquish power and authority to him.

 

                The Bible makes it abundantly clear that when we invite Jesus into our lives, at that instant we are transferred by the power of God from the kingdom of darkness into God’s Kingdom of Light. We instantly go from being spiritually blind to “seeing the Light.” We go from stumbling around in the dark to seeing clearly how God is working out his plans and purposes for our lives.

 

                My question is this: Have you invited Jesus to come and take up permanent residence in your life? Have you been born2? If not, why not? What’s keeping you from inviting Jesus into your life? If you have invited Him into your life, what is He doing now . . . today . . . this very moment to transform you more and more into God’s clear image?

 

                Each dark place in our lives has God in it, working behind the scenes, orchestrating events that ultimately result in our good. God promised He will never leave nor forsake his “children of light,” no matter how deep we sink into darkness or how heavy the burdens we are asked to bear . . . nor how dark the darkness. And there is purpose in that darkness, some plan God is working out for our good. We recognize the light better for having been in the dark.

 

God-Caused Events

 

            Once again: Do you remember the definition of miracles, signs, and wonders?: They are God-caused events beyond all bounds of human logic and reason, defying our comprehension, experience, and expectation . . . for the purpose of God drawing people to Himself through Jesus.

 

                Those sorts of events should be occurring regularly and consistently in your day-to-day life and in the life of your church. If they are not, you may still be living in the kingdom of darkness instead of in God’s Kingdom of Light. I’m not judging you or your relationship with God; that’s between you and God. But you might need a spiritual “checkup” if such events are not happening in your life regularly and consistently.

 

                As I stated earlier, historically whenever and wherever the Kingdom of God has “touched down” on earth among humans, such miracles, signs, and wonders have consistently occurred.      Has the Kingdom of God touched down in your life? Are you and your church experiencing signs, wonders, and miracles regularly and consistently?

 

                There’s a little “throne” on the inside—at the center—of each of our lives. Who is seated on that throne . . . you or Jesus? Who is in control of your life . . . you or Jesus? We must each make a quality decision to have God rule and reign on that inner throne . . . instead of our sin-full, self-centered, self-absorbed “self.” Each of us must learn to live in a continual state of changing mental awareness where we see life and reality more and more as God sees them, and think more and more like God thinks by continually changing our minds and attitudes, thus keeping God in control, keeping Him seated on the inner throne of our lives.

 

                                “God rescued us from the dead-end alleys and dark dungeons of life. He’s set us up in the Kingdom of the Son He loves so much, the Son who lifted us up out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating. After God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, He seated Jesus at his right hand in the heavens, far above all other beings throughout the universe. And we are seated with Jesus, right there next to Father God.”                                                                                                 --paraphrased from various biblical references  

 

To Think About:

  

 

               “Daily, I want to live and experience a sure and certain KingdomDream rather than a far lesser, transitory, and elusive worlddream—especially the dream of many believers in Jesus who simply want to die someday and then go to a far-off heaven in the ‘sweet bye and bye.’”

 

Where’re We Headed?

 

     Were you one of those high school or college students who hated history, feeling it was boring and useless to learn? Not me! I love history, but I understand many people don’t think history is important. Would it help you to think of it a little differently if you thought of history as “His-story”? That’s really what history is: the way God works among all humans to cause all his good plans and purposes for us to come to pass.

 

     Some of the ways God works in our lives are very clear; some are not so clear because He often works behind the scenes in our lives. He is often standing in the shadows working out all things for our good. Yes, all of human history is His-story. The Bible is His-story. I’ve read hundreds of history books. I love His-story as related in the Bible. I’ve loved books all my life, but the Bible is the only book that loves me back!

     

Differing Views of History

 

                I don’t know if you know this, but many other cultures and societies don’t view and perceive history as we do in the western world. We view history as linear: as having a beginning and moving through time to an ending. Other cultures view history as cyclical—as history happening over and over and over. Still other cultures view history in other ways. Is there a “correct” way to view history? I really don’t know. But I do know the Bible relates history as linear—as having a beginning and an ending, with the passage of time in between.

 

     In the beginning, God . . .

     In between, God . . .

     In the end, God . . .

 

                If we are believers in the Bible, we understand that God created all things “in the beginning.” If we are believers in the Bible, we understand all of the “between” times are about God and his ways and works among humans. If we are believers in the Bible we understand God will be there at the end of mortal human history . . . and beyond that in the state of being called Eternity.

 

    

Let’s Wrap It Up!

 

     As I’ve written and taught numerous times since I began teaching the Bible and related subjects many years ago, every topic or subject in the Bible has at least one place where it is summarized or encapsulated. If I were to ask you to get your Bible right now and turn to the end of it, you would most likely turn to the last chapter of the Book of the Revelation.

 

                If you did, you’d be wrong! Revelation chapter 22 is the end of the format of the Bible, but the actual end of events among mortal humans is recorded in chapter 15 of one of the letters (books) Paul wrote to Jesus believers of his day in the city of Corinth in Greece: 1 Corinthians 15: 24 – 28. That’s the real “end” of the Bible.

 

Preview of “Coming Attractions”

 

                Now I’m going to amplify and paraphrase that reference along with some related biblical references and see if we can make some clearer sense about Jesus’ return to establish his long-awaited Kingdom.

 

                “First, people will hear a great shout accompanied by the loud blast of a trumpet heard around the world . . . loud enough to wake the dead. Then Jesus will return in the clouds over Jerusalem, from where He left earth 2,000+ years ago and ascended to heaven.

 

               As He returns in the clouds, the bodies of all believers in Jesus who have died will erupt from their burial (or cremation) places and swiftly rise to meet Jesus in the air. Right behind them will rise those Jesus believers who are living at the time He returns. After they rendezvous with Jesus in the air, they will be instantly transformed from mortal humans to immortal humans and return with him to earth to assist Him in establishing his Kingdom.

 

    They will finally be whole and complete, their bodies, minds, and spirits fully integrated, blending and working together in perfect harmony and balance.

 

                Jesus will then spend 1,000 years [maybe many more] establishing his Kingdom until it has spread throughout the entire earth, with his headquarters in Jerusalem, Israel. During those 1,000 years, Jesus will take over control of all the human systems on earth: political, economic, educational, military, social, etc. . . . until He finally has complete authority over all the earth.

 

                 Then will come the end (the final consummation) when Jesus will turn over to the Father his fully established worldwide Kingdom. When Jesus turns over his Kingdom to the Father, He will have finally conquered the last enemy of all humans: Death. When that occurs, time shall end and be subsumed into a state of being called Eternity where God has always existed and always will.

 

                Then God will be All in all, Everything to everyone!”

 

     

Present Truth

 

                You might ask: “Bill, is that the whole story? Have you got it right?” Good questions. I really don’t know. I’m a finite human being with very limited understanding writing about infinite, unlimited matters. Do I have all the answers? No! Do I know precisely how it’s all going to come together when Jesus returns? No!

 

                Being human, we can only understand matters based on our current level of understanding and state of awareness. I’m merely sharing with you what I presently understand what the Bible teaches about Jesus’ return to establish his Kingdom.

 

                I always try to stay open to anything new and different God wants to teach me from the Bible. I never try to put God in a little religious “box” of my own understanding. He’s much “bigger” than that . . . or He wouldn’t be God! Don’t believe anyone who tries to tell you he or she has all God’s plans and purposes for humankind’s future all figured out and wrapped up in a neat little box . . . especially if they start giving future dates when things will happen!

     

That’s especially true of various religious television personalities who cause you to feel they have it all figured out . . . and if you’ll send a donation, they’ll reveal to you precisely where you fit into God’s scheme of things. Don’t be so foolish! Don’t be so naïve!

 

Our Role in Jesus’ Kingdom

 

                What, if anything, should we be doing in the meantime before we die or before Jesus returns? Is his return just going to happen automatically without us doing anything about it? Yes . . . and No! Each time someone hears the Good News about what God has done for them through Jesus and then invites Jesus into his or her life, Jesus comes into their life in his “unbodied form” of the Holy Spirit and permanently occupies the “inner throne” of their life. In an instant of time—an atomic moment!—they are born2.

 

                That’s how the future Kingdom of God is established in our lives NOW in the real, day-to-day world in which we each live. That’s how we become bi-locational. As I’ve previously stated, Jesus is not only preparing a place for each of us in his coming Kingdom, He is also preparing us for that place!

 

                Jesus said when the Good News about his coming Kingdom is proclaimed to all 7,000 people groups on this planet, then He will return to establish his Kingdom.

 

                Meanwhile, we are the ones who should be proclaiming that Good News to others . . . at home, in our towns, cities, regions, in our states or provinces, in our nations, and around the world. That’s our principal job; everything else is secondary, no matter who we are or where we are. When we tell that Good News to others, God empowers us from within to be bold and courageous in being his witnesses about all the good things He has done for all humanity through Jesus.

 

                Yes, our principal task is to be God’s witnesses about all the great and good things God has done for us in and through Jesus.

 

 

 Let’s ‘Do the Stuff’

 

               A few years ago, a man invited Jesus into his life, was born2, and began attending a church. As he sat in the pews of the church each Sunday morning for a few weeks, he became very perplexed. You see, he had begun reading his Bible and learning all about God’s signs, wonders, and miracles in the life of the early church 2,000 years ago. A few weeks after he had invited Jesus into his life and began reading the Bible, he made an appointment with his new Pastor.

 

    As they talked during the appointment, that new believer in Jesus asked the Pastor: “When do we do the stuff?” The Pastor asked what he meant by that question. The young man replied, “I’ve been reading my Bible. In the Bible all sorts of signs, wonders, and miracles happened in the lives of the early believers in Jesus.

 

                Why do we just come to church, sit in neat little rows, sing a few songs, and listen to you talk? When do we do what Jesus told us to do about telling others the Good News? When do we have signs, wonders and miracles in our lives instead of just coming to church once a week? When do we do the stuff?”

 

                How would you answer that young man’s question about doing the stuff? Are you seeing miracles, signs, and wonders occur in your life and in the life of your church? If not, why not? When are you and your church going to begin doing the stuff? Miracles, signs, and wonders should be occurring regularly and consistently in your life and in the life of your church . . . if you are faithfully telling others the Good News about Jesus and his Kingdom.

 

                As I wrote earlier, this is what miracles, signs, and wonders are: They are God-caused events beyond all bounds of human reason and logic, defying comprehension, experience, and expectations . . . for the purpose of God drawing people to Himself through Jesus!

 

                Why are we even here if those are not occurring regularly and consistently in our lives and in our churches? What good are we doing ourselves or anyone else if we’re just “doing religious church stuff” and not “doing the real stuff?” As for me, I don’t want to make buttprints in the sands of time; I want to make footprints in the sands of time! And the sands of time are sinking all too quickly.

 

Being Instead of Doing

 

                In the Bible, the word “witness” is never a verb; it is always a noun. The Bible never tells us to go out and witness (verb) to other people about Jesus’ Kingdom. Instead, we simply are witnesses (noun). God simply wants other people to see Jesus in us . . . wrapped in our skin. If Jesus can be seen clearly wrapped in our skin, then people will be drawn to God through Jesus in a natural, free-flowing and spontaneous manner, without a lot of grunting, groaning, and scheming by us to go out and witness to other people . . . using the latest “witnessing techniques.”

    

Relax! Quit working so hard at witnessing . . . and just be a witness. When that happens, God’s Kingdom realities are displayed in your life and God will draw people to Himself through Jesus . . . with signs, wonders, and miracles occurring!

 

“When He returns to earth, Jesus will ‘touch down’ on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. He’ll take over running the world, ruling from the ancient throne of his forefather, King David. He’ll put his Kingdom on a firm footing and keep it going with fair dealing and right living. His ruling authority will never cease to grow and expand until He finally turns it over to God who will then be All in all, Everything to everyone!”                                                                                                                                                           --paraphrased from various biblical references

 

      To Think About:

 

                               “While Jesus is preparing a place for me in his Kingdom, He is also preparing me for that place.”

 

 Enter Here 

    

          Jesus taught many truths about the Kingdom of God during the last three and a half years of his life while He was here on earth 2,000 years ago. One important truth He taught about the Kingdom of God was that it was still to come in the future, yet, it was already here because He—the Kingdom’s King—was here.

 

What is “Born Again”?

 

                Another important matter He taught was that a person cannot enter the Kingdom of God (then, now, or in the future) unless a person is born2. Have you been born2? I didn’t ask if you are religious. Or if you belong to a church. Or, if you’ve been baptized. Or confirmed. Or read the Bible. Or live a good life. Or whether or not you’ve kept the ten commandments.

 

                Those are not the correct questions to ask. The correct questions are: “Have you been born the second time? Have you been born spiritually? If you get those questions answered correctly, then many other questions you might have will often be answered automatically as a result of being born2.

     

                Here’s what happens when you are born2: Inside you at your core is your human spirit—not your soul, not your body. It’s that inner component of you that “connects” with God. It’s where two worlds intersect. When you ask Jesus to come into your life, in an atomic moment He comes into your life in his “unbodied form” of the Holy Spirit, causes your spirit to come alive, and you two instantly become one spirit permanently and forever: you are born2.

 

               It is where the incomprehensively vast and “large” God self-reduces Himself to become indescribably small so He can “fit” inside your spirit. Infinite God merges with finite you. He who is beyond the universe is self-reduced to a pinpoint of intense light within you . . . and the King of all creation becomes King of your inner universe. You become an entirely new person, beginning a brand-new life with God through Jesus.

 

                Jesus comes into your spirit and sits down on the inner throne of your life . . . where your “self” had previously been enthroned. Recently, one person described to me what happened when she was born2: “Something that had been ‘dead’ inside me wakened. Like the early morning shadows of consciousness that reveal faint images, I instantly began to have a new inner awareness—an inner knowing—of things I had not known before.”

 

                I ask again: Have you been born2? If not, why not? What’s keeping you from inviting Jesus into your life?

 

Tiny Seeds

 

                Another important truth Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God is that it began as tiny as a small mustard seed, but will keep growing until it someday fills the entire earth and universe.   Jesus said: “God’s Kingdom is like a tiny mustard seed a farmer plants. It is quite small as seeds go, but in the course of years it grows into a huge mustard plant, . . .” The expansion of that Kingdom is virtually infinite and unlimited . . . but we humans are finite and limited. So, what I have shared with you in this teaching has been only the smallest “tip of the iceberg,” so to speak.

 

                 It is humanly impossible to know all there is to know—and write all that could be written—about the ever-growing Kingdom of God.  I’ve written this before; I’ll write it again: If you’ve ever prayed the so-called “Lord’s Prayer,” you have prayed for King Jesus to return to earth to establish his Kingdom. In the meantime, ever since Jesus left here to return to Heaven 2,000 years ago, his Kingdom has been growing and expanding here on earth by means of Jesus’ Church—his living “Body”—of which you are automatically a member if you are a believer in Jesus and have been born2.

    

                         You may ask: “Bill, is that really true? Has the Kingdom of God really been growing here on earth for 2,000 years?” Let me answer such questions by simply sharing with you some often overlooked facts. Overlooked especially by such notable, end-time television personalities as John Hagee, Jack Van Impe, Hal Lindsey, Perry Stone, and others who propagate “gloom and doom,” pessimistic views of humanity’s future.

 

                We need to develop Bible-based, positive, “Kingdomviews” instead of such limited, negative worldviews. Let’s look at some facts instead of some fanciful fiction concocted to evoke fear in the minds of people. For example, in the then known world, by the end of the first century 1 in 35 people claimed to be believers in Jesus. 2,000 years later—NOW!—1 in 7 people on planet earth claim to be believers in Jesus! That’s growth, that’s expansion, that’s God’s victorious Kingdom spreading across our planet through Jesus’ living Body, the Church.

    

                Each time someone becomes a believer in Jesus and is born2, they become a new citizen of the Kingdom of God. Some reliable researchers estimate that around the world 200,000+ people become new believers in Jesus each day! Jesus’ Kingdom is growing and expanding daily on planet earth. There is no power in hell, on earth, or in heaven that can hold back the relentless, inexorable growth of Jesus’ Kingdom.

 

                 Are YOU part of Jesus’ victorious, growing Church . . . or are you a victim of fear and despair—hopeless about the future? It really boils down to who and what you choose to believe—about Jesus, about God, about a victorious future full of hope and joy. YOU can choose to be either a victim or a victor.

     

                I seldom recommend books, but to catch a brief glimpse of a victorious future, I recommend a small paperpack book entitled Victorious Eschatology by Harold E Eberle and Martin Trench. The best place to purchase a copy is on amazon.com.

 

    

Inauguration of the King

 

                Previously I mentioned the Kingdom of God has “touched down” on our planet at various times throughout history, culminating at the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus—and then his return to heaven. When Jesus returned to heaven and “sat down” on the right side of Father God’s throne, that’s when the Kingdom of God was finally and fully inaugurated.

 

               Here’s an example of what I mean. The Queen of England had all sorts of elaborate ceremonies on the day of her inauguration and coronation, but when she finally sat down on her throne that day, at that instant she legally became Queen. Yes, when she sat down on her throne, at that exact moment in time, that’s when she officially became the Queen of England.

    

                That’s what happened when Jesus sat down at the right side of God’s throne: at that exact moment, He was crowned King of the Kingdom of God. And He’s been reigning as High King of God’s Kingdom ever since that time 2,000 years ago.

 

Jesus’ First Official Act

 

                His first official act as King was to send the Holy Spirit to live permanently within his expectant followers so He could empower them to begin to proclaim to the world Jesus’ full and finished salvation and God’s coming Kingdom by means of growing and spreading the Church, Jesus living Body on earth.

 

               The Church was commissioned to do all that Jesus began to do and teach . . . and more. And the Church has been doing that very successfully since that day 2,000 years ago when Jesus began to pour out his Holy Spirit upon all humankind. Where the Church goes, the Kingdom of God is established in the earth.

 

                That very first day when the Holy Spirit was poured out on Jesus’ waiting followers, God added 3,000 born2 people to the Church . . . and He’s been adding people every day since—for more than 2,000 years! Of course, when I write “Church” and “Body of Jesus” I’m writing about all believers in Jesus around the world . . . not about church buildings and denominations. The Church is a living organism, not a building, not an organization!

 

                The great modern “theologian,” Willie Nelson, knows about the Kingdom of God. One of his most famous songs goes something like this: “Oh, they tell me of a King in his beauty there. And they tell me that my eyes shall behold where He sits on his throne that is whiter than snow . . . in that lovely land of unclouded day!”

 

                                God raised Jesus from death and set Him on the throne in deep Heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but for all the ages of time and in the eternal state. He’s in charge of it all, has the final word about everything. At the center of this all, Jesus rules the Church. The Church, you see is not peripheral to the world, the world is peripheral to the Church. The Church is Jesus’ Body, in which He speaks and acts, by which He fills everything with his presence.”                                                                                                                         --Ephesians 1: 20 – 23, paraphrased

 

                To Think About:  

 

                                  “Don’t become too impressed with yourself. One wrapped up in oneself makes a very small bundle. When scientists finally discover the center of the universe, you may be very disappointed you are not it!”

 

Matthew 6: 33:

 

                “Seek God’s Kingdom first—aim right at it and focus on it your entire life—and then all your necessities will be provided for you by God.”                                            

 

Bill Boylan

Life Enrichment Services, Inc.

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Updated and Revised January 2019

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