- Religion and Philosophy
My Kingdom is not of this World
Entering a Kingdom that is not of this world.
The Kingdom of God is one of the least explained subjects in most churches we see today. That does not mean the Kingdom of God is never mentioned, but I am saying that it is never explained. In my much younger years when I attended "church" I may have heard the pastor mention the Kingdom of God about four or maybe five times during the 2 1/2 years I attended church. The subject of the Kingdom of God was seldom brought up. Yet the pastor had often times mentioned Jesus or Christ or Jesus Christ. Most often the subjects he had talked about was how "christians" where to act or why Jesus Christ came to this world to take our sins and die on the cross.The subject of our Salvation was never far from the lips of our pastor who seem to think this was the main reason Jesus came to earth in the first place. Other subjects were taught just like the subjects that are taught in churches we see and hear about today. However the subject of the Kingdom of God (Heaven) was never the main subject of any sermon. although the Kingdom of God may have been quoted in verses when reading a parable and so on. But again the main focus of a study or sermon by the pastor was never on the Kingdom of God (Heaven). I didn't realize back then (almost 40 years ago) just how much emphasis Jesus placed on the Kingdom of God (heaven) during His entire ministry. Which I might add that my pastor, of many years ago, never bothered to mention in any of his sermons.
It was only in the past 10 years or so and by much personal study of the bible that I began to realize many things regarding the Kingdom of God (heaven). And why Jesus Christ was sent to us by our Father in heaven. And what follows are the things I learned of which I believe to be the answer of how we as believers enter a Heavenly Kingdom that is not of this world and who Jesus Christ is as King.
First, it must be said that every spoken word of Jesus Christ was commanded by God in heaven. Jesus said the following in John 12:49 (NKJV) which states: 49 "For I have not spoken on My own authority but the Father who sent Me gave Me a COMMAND what I should say and what I should speak."
He also said in John 7:16 (NKJV) which states: 16 Jesus answered and said to them; "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me."
What these two verses are saying is that Jesus Christ's entire ministry and what was taught by Him during His ministry was commanded of Him by the Father in Heaven. This is very important to note. Jesus Christ was to spread the gospel of the Kingdom of God in a manner that would only be understood by a few but heard by many. And it is for this reason only that twelve disciple were initially choesen to follow Jesus Christ throughout His entire ministry. And why Jesus often taught in parables. Parables which contained many secerets of the Kingdom of Heaven and what it is like. A Kingdom different than others and not of this world right from the very begining.
The authority Jesus had as King.
While on this earth and thoughout His ministry all things where placed into the hands of Jesus Christ by our Father in heaven. This means Jesus Christ was a King of the Kingdom of Heaven from the very begining of His ministry. Which is revealed in John 3:35 (NKJV) which states: 35 The Father loves the Son, and HAS given ALL things into HIS hand.
This verse clearly states that ALL things were placed into Jesus hands. Jesus was the direct representative of the Kingdom of Heaven while on this earth. All things were given into His hands. Everything Jesus spoke, the good works that He did, raising the dead and healing the sick were all proof of His authority as a King of the Kingdom of heaven. This can be proven by a number of parables revealed by Jesus. And His greatest responsibility was to teach those who would become citizen of a Heavenly Kingdom. But first they must learn to enter the Kingdom that not of this world.
The very begining of Jesus Christ ministry started like this in Matthew 4:17 (NKJV) 17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say; " Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
Jesus states in Luke 4:43 (NKJV) 43 But He said to them; " I MUST preach the Kingdom of God to other cities also, FOR THIS REASON I WAS SENT."
These two verses revealed two important points. Frist, the begining of this ministry was focused on the gospel of the Kingdom of God and second, it was the main purpose of why He was sent to earth by the Father in heaven. In other words the main purpose of the Father sending Jesus Christ to earth was to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
I am only going to try and explain the meaning of one Kingdom related parable that is mentioned by Jesus Christ. But for the record there are a least 13 parables directly related to the Kingdom that I would hope you will locate and study for yourselves. This parable is commonly known as the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. But many seem take the parable out of context not realizing it is a discription of the Kingdom of Heaven. The parable that I am referring to is found in Matthew 13:24-30(NJV):
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The Kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed a good seed in his field; 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a corp, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servents of the owner came and said to him. Sir did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares. 28 He said to them An enemy has done this. The servents said to him do you want us then to go and gather them up? 29 But He said, No lest while you gather them up tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, first gather togather the tares and bind them in bundles to burn, but gather the wheat into my barn."
This parable is later explained in more detail by Jesus in Matthew 13:37-43 which I will get to in a moment but frist I would like to highlight some enteresting points that is often times over looked by most people who read this parable. The point is this, the begining of the parable begins with the following words: The Kingdom of heaven is like........ My question here is why is this part over looked? This parable is COMPARING the Kingdom of heaven. This parable is telling us what the Kingdom of heaven is like. Then we come to another point which is the context of this parable. Understanding what this parable means. When Jesus gave this parable to the disciples they did not understand it's meaning or context. So Jesus revealed the meaning in detail in Matthew 13:37-42 (NKJV) 37 He answered them and said to them, He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the GOOD seeds are the sons of the KINGDOM, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in fire, so will it be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will will send out His angels, and they will gather out of HIS Kingdom all things that offened and those who practice lawlessness. 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 THEN the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their FATHER. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Here is what Jesus is saying. In this parable Jesus is the Son of Man (King) the seeds are the sons of the Kingdom (citizens), the Tares are the sons of the wicked one (those who are OF the world), the end of the age (is the harvest) The Son of Man (King) will send out angels to gather out of HIS Kingdom all thing that offened (sons of the wicked one) at the end of the age. Once completed the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father's Kingdom.
Clearly the Kingdom is the main subject of this parable. It is the wheat (sons of the Kingdom) and tares (sons of the wicked one), but also the Son of Man (King) and the wicked one who are the players here. But we must remember what was said earlier. " The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hands." So at the begining of Jesus Christ's ministry He began sowen seeds of the Kingdom by means of His disciples. They are the first Sons of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Entering the Kingdom.
Jesus Christ said the following in Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) 33 "But seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
So what does this mean to seek first the Kingdom? Well I think the best answer to this question is found a few verses later in Matthew 7:7 (NKJV) which states: 7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.
The most important thing anyone can do is study the words of Jesus Christ. His main focus of His ministry throughout the four gospels of Matthew, Mark Luke and John is the Kingdom of God. If you seek it you will find it. If you knock Jesus Christ will open the door for the Holy Spirit to guide you in your studies. This is what Jesus was focused on when He taught His disciples. Once they began to understand the Kingdom concept He sent His disciples out in two's to preach the Kingdom message as noted in Matthew 10: :7-8 (NKJV) which states:7 "And as you go out preaching; saying, "The Kingdom of God is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." And it should be noted that His disciple did exaactly as they were commanded to do.
What must not be left out is the fact that you can not enter the Kingdom of God without the baptism of water and Spirit. Without the baptism of the Spirit, it is NOT possible to enter the Kingdom of God. This is clearly stated by Jesus in John 3:5 (NKJV) which states: 7 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly I say to you unless you are born of water and Spirit, he CANNOT enter the Kingdom of God."
In the world but not of the world.
At no time during His His life time and ministry was Jesus OF the world. The reason for this is simple. He represented the Kingdom of God. Yes, He was in the world but as a representative of God's Kingdom He was not OF this world. By the time Jesus reached the end of His ministry His disciple were also not OF this world. Many might ask How could this be that the disciples where not of the world. This is proven in a number of verses in a few chapters in the Book of John. Please note that in each of these verses Jesus is talking about His disciples:
In John 15:19 (NKJV) states: 19 "If you were of the world the world would love it's own. Yet, because you are NOT of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
In one of the final prayer to the Father in heaven at the end of His ministry the following was also in His prayer:
John 17:6 (NKJV) states: 6 I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of this world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word."
John 17:14-16 (NKJV) states: 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not OF the world; just as I am not OF the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out OF the world but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not OF the world, just as I am not OF the world.
These verses I just mentioned are important to note because it explains in part what Jesus had said when He stood before the Roman governer named Pilate, hours before Jesus death on the cross. The Jews had Jesus arrested and brought Him to Pilate to be crucified. As Jesus stood before Pilate He asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews. Jesus answered Pilate's initial question. Pilate then asked Jesus what He had done. Jesus answer is discribed in John 18:36 (NKJV) which states: 36 Jesus answered; "My Kingdom is not OF this world. if my Kingdom were OF this world My servents would fight, so that I would not be delievered to the Jews; but NOW My Kingdom is not from here.
So what does this verse mean. I'm sure some may argue the context of this verse. But I will lay it out as I understand it to mean.
First, Jesus Christ is saying He is a King. Second, His Kingdom is not OF this world. It's a heavenly Kingdom. Third, If His servent were OF the world they would fight to prevent being handed to the Jews. Who are the servents Jesus is referring to in this verse? He is talking about His disciples. His disciple are not Of the world and therefore would not fight. And here is the most important part. Jesus had said; But NOW My Kingdom is not from here. What He was saying is this. But NOW My citizens (disciples) of My Kingdom are not from here. In other words the Sons of His Kingdom are not from here. They are part of a heavenly Kingdom just like Jesus Christ.
It is not possible here to cover the entire teachings of Jesus Christ regarding the Kingdom of God (heaven). And I hope to write more on this subject. My hope is that those who do read this will take it upon themselves to study more on this subject of the Kingdom which was the main focus of Jesus ministry. I will end this with something Jesus said which is found in Luke 17: 20-21 (NKJV) which states: 20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, " The Kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, See here! or See there! For indeed the kingdom of God is within you."