Meaning of Life: Kingdom of God
Daniel chapter 2 shows how God will replace the great empires of the world with His own Kingdom. There are several references to "Kingdom of God " in Scripture.
The Kingdom of God in the Book of Daniel
In fact it will "break in pieces" and "consume" previous kingdoms, and "stand for ever".
36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
Daniel 7, reitterates the message that God's Kingdom will be everlasting.
13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed....
We get an indication from Revelation 19 about what Daniel was referring to, when he wrote in chapter 2 that God's Kingdom shall "break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms".
11 ¶ And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS....
19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
The Kingdom of God in the Book of Zechariah
Zechariah adds further background about the return of the Messiah to impose His rule over the nations of the earth with a rod of iron, when they gather to beseige Jerusalem.
1 ¶ Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
Subsequently verse 9 tells us that following this Christ becomes "king over all the earth".
9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
At the same time as Messiah defeats the armies besieging Jerusalem and establishes His Kingdom on earth and the saints and prophets are rewarded.
The Kingdom of God in the Book of Revelation
15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Daniel 7 reminds us that the Kindom shall be given to the saints; which, in the beginning of each of Paul's epistles, he explains are the members of the churches to which he was writing.
27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
Kingdom of God - Synonomous with Immortality
In Mark 10 we see that the kingdom of God is implicitly synonomous with "inheriting" eternal life or immortality.
13 Then they brought young children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." 16 And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them. 17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" 18 So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and your mother.' " 20 And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth." 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26 And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, "Who then can be saved?" 27 But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."
The Inheritance of God's Heirs is His Kingdom
The kindom of God is the inheritance of the heirs of God as these scriptures show:
1 Corinthians 6:9
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, NKJV
1 Corinthians 6:10
10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. NKJV
1 Corinthians 15:50
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. NKJV
21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. NKJV
That said, it is necessary to be "counted worthy" to receive the inheritance.
2 Thessalonians 1:5
5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; NKJV
Certainly its not something that is an inheritance purely on the basis of lineage/descendency, because of the necessity to "bear (good) fruits" (Galatians 5:22)
43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. NKJV
28 ...A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.' 29 "He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,' but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said to Him, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.
Christ's focus when He preached the gospel (which means "good news") was very demonstrably about the kingdom of God, as the following scriptures show:
14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
1 Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, NKJV
43 but He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent." NKJV
2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. NKJV
11 But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing. NKJV
60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God." NKJV
3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. NKJV
And furthermore Christ taught that "seeking" the kingdom should be our highest priority.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. NKJV
As you'd expect, the apostles preached the same thing.
12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. NKJV
22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." NKJV
8 And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. NKJV
25 And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. NKJV
23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. NKJV
31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him. NKJV
Despite preaching the gospel of the kingdom, Jesus showed that it largely remained a mystery to those outside of his close disciples.
11 And He said to them, "To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, NKJV
Contrary to popular belief , it seems clear that it was not Jesus' purpose that everyone should comprehend the subject fully at that time.
10 And He said, "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that
'Seeing they may not see,
And hearing they may not understand.'
Some argue that the kingdom is "in our hearts" or is a church organisation, but scripture teaches that even after his crucifixion, Christ's disciples were still "waiting for the kingdom of God".
43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. NKJV
Indeed even whilst he was alive, Christ taught His disciples that the kingdom of God hadn't yet arrived, otherwise what would have been the point in making the statement:
25 Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." NKJV
More obviously in the model prayer Jesus taught us to pray:
So He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
...so presumably it hadn't, (at least in its entirety).
In fact Jesus was careful to manage the potential misconceptions of His disciples about when the kingdom of God would "appear".
11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. NKJV
So, it clearly wouldn't appear immediately, so how could they know when it was near? Christ explained some of the signs in the Olivet prophecy which was given in part in Luke 21 where it says:
31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. NKJV
The sort of things which would happen before the kingdom of God arrives are mentioned earlier in the same chapter in Luke 21:20-28 and in the parallel accounts recorded in Matthew 24:3-31 and Mark 13:. There are clearly some very observable signs, just as those similarly recorded in Revelation, Joel 2 and Zechariah 14.
If the kingdom of God was primarily an earthly kingdom during the first century, its inconceivable that John the Baptist wouldn't have been part of it, yet Christ said:
28 "For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." NKJV
So clearly the kingdom of God wasn't primarily a physical institution in the first century, as Christ Himself explained to Pontius Pilate:
36 ... "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.
That said of course; Christ did say:
27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God."
...but in the very next verse the Bible explains how this was fulfilled by relating the details of what has become known as "the transfiguration":
28 Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. 30 And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him.
Why Moses and Elijah might have something to do with kingdom of God is explained by what the Bible calls the resurrection of the dead or more correctly the resurrections of the dead. Christ mentioned a little more about this in Luke 13:
18 Then He said, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches." 20 And again He said, "To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened." 22 And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Then one said to Him, "Lord, are there few who are saved?" And He said to them, 24 Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,' 26 then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.' 27 But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.' 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. 29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last."
Some say that Luke 10 impies that the kingdom has already come...
8 Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. 9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' 10 But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.'
However, arguably His disciples were representatitives of God's kingdom not unlike ambassadors (Ephesians 6:20, 2 Corinthians 5:20), so in a sense when Christ or His disciples preached, their audience was that much nearer to the Kingdom of God. This explaination is consistent with how Christ described His work.
20 But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. NKJV
Probably the scripture on the subject of God's kingdom which appears to be least consistent with the rest in this way though is Luke 17:20.
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." NKJV
The reference to "the kingdom of God is within you" is easiest to explain first. Other translations translate this as "the kingdom of God is in your midst".
20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, "Look, here it is!' or, "There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst."
20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, 'Lo, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."
Indeed although they clearly didn't recognise it, (which is arguably why it wasn't "observable"), the King of the kingdom of God was in their midst at that very moment.
Furthermore Christ through His Spirit, has been living in (Galatians 2:20 and Ephesians 3:17-17) the called (John 6:44) sons of God particularly (but not exclusively e.g. Psalms 52:10-11) since the Feast of Pentecost which followed the crucifixion (Acts 2).
So in a sense, Christ/Messiah (the King of the kingdom of God) lives in the heirs of God in advance of the observable arrival of the Kingdom in a physical sense.
However, we discussed earlier that given the Olivet prophecy (Matthew 24/Luke 21/Mark 13) and other prohecies about the return of Christ in Joel 2, Zechariah 14, Revelation as well as other apocalyptic prophecies, the return of Christ to establish His Kingdom will indeed be observable.
Does Galatians really mean the Mosaic law (the written Torah) is " done away" especially if, in the predominantly Jewish New Testament church, no fuss was recorded about it, yet in Acts only one small and predictable change about the circumcision of gentile proselytes caused massive turmoil.
Go back to the start of Judianity or learn more about the Meaning of Life: Immortality ?
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