This is a continuation of my series on the problem of evil in the world, how to understand it and remain faithful to God no matter what happens to us. This section deals with what the Bible teaches about the Kingdom of God. Links to the previous blogs: The problem of evil in the world, part 1. God’s attributes Having hard times and suffering is normal. Or, You need more faith to suffer than to experience miracles (2nd part of “The problem of evil in the world” series) The error of blaming God (3rd part of “The problem of evil in the world” series)
The Lord’s Prayer. Almost all of us know how it starts out. “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed by the Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” As a model prayer, it starts out with praise, first stating the amazing fact that God is our heavenly father, and praying that He will be treated with the utmost respect, that no one treat Him, nor His name, in an unpraiseworthy manner. It reminds us of the fourth commandment: “Do not blaspheme/misuse/disrespect God’s name,” but in the positive vein. We live to bring honor to Him by what we say and what we do, or don’t say or do. The last thing we want is for Rom 2:24 to be true of us: No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
What follows in the Lord’s prayer is a combination of praise and supplication: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This sounds beautiful, but may be a little deeper than we have previously thought. These two supplications are closely tied together, a couplet, two phrases which cover the same basic meaning. Psalms is filled with these type of restatements, common in Hebrew poetry, a poetry style something akin to using rhyming in English. So the meaning is that the realization or equivalent of God’s Kingdom coming to earth would be for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
This encapsulates the idea of the two major aspects of the Kingdom of God, God’s will being done here on earth, as it is in heaven. In fact, each time we find Kingdom of God, we could replace it, in some form or another, with “God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven” and come up with the same meaning. Kingdom of God also involves the idea of people submitting to God’s authority, His reign over them. So, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you” can be understood as: “Seek more than anything to submit to God and do His will (and promote that His will be done) here on earth as it is in heaven, which includes living and promoting His righteous ways, and He will provide for you in all the aforementioned ways.”
Kingdom of God, as used in the New Testament, contrary to what many people think, is almost always referring, not to heaven itself, but to people under God’s authority, under His reign, submitting to Him and doing His will in this world. It can be understood as God’s people, God’s servants, God’s army, or even His “special forces” under His authority, under His direction, under His guidance and protection. “Thy Kingdom come” is God’s kingdom actualized in the hearts of people, slowly changing the world through these servants doing His will, empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit, expanding His kingdom here on earth, through His power.
But we also know that His Kingdom finds its perfect fulfillment in heaven. It is heaven, as we have seen, where His will is always being done. There are a number of verses in the New Testament that refer to the Kingdom of God in heaven. For example, when all of Jesus’ followers will be eating together in the Kingdom of God, or as Jesus says in Matthew 26:29: “Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
While God’s will is always done in His Kingdom in heaven, His Kingdom here on earth is, through the work of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, in the process of expanding. God has one kingdom. It has eternally existed in heaven and He is moving so it will be more of a reality here on earth. Jesusꞌ miracles herald and confirm this new Kingdom arriving here on earth, as does His teaching. The point of several of His parables is that the Kingdom of God began small here on earth and is growing, as in the parable of the mustard seed, from Mark 4:30-32: Jesus said: “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.” Using the language I have proposed so far, we can restate the verse this way: “How can I describe God’s reigning over people and His will being done on earth as it is in heaven. What story can I use to describe it. It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all the seeds we plant (first only Jesus, and then later Jesus “planting” the disciples, who begin doing God’s will), but it becomes the largest of all the garden plants (by the Holy Spirit more and more people began doing His will); it grows long and birds can made their nests it its shade.” The book of Acts relates how His kingdom here on earth grew even more. More and more “kingdom people”, led by the Holy Spirit, were doing His will here on earth.
Praying, “Thy will be done” implies that God’s will is, for the most part, not being done here on earth as it is in heaven. An honest look at our own lives will reveal that we do not always follow God’s will, and even a cursory look at the world reveals that many people do not follow God’s will. A lot of bad things are happening. So much so that many question God, His power and His love, even His very existence.
So what does “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done” fully entail and why should we pray for that? Isn’t God already the king of this world?
Throughout His ministry Jesus contrasted the kingdom of God with the kingdom of this world and it is within this context that we can get a fuller understanding of His Kingdom. In fact the book of Matthew uses the phrase “Kingdom of heaven” instead of Kingdom of God with this contrast in mind. (It is also possible that Matthew also used heaven out of respect, not wanting to over-use the word God.)
If God has full reign over this world, why did Jesus say He came to “establish” and “set up” the Kingdom of God? In each of these blogs I have emphasized that in order to understand why this world has so many problems and bad things happening, we need to understand what is going on in the background, what the apostle John refers as a contrast between things above and things below, a contrast between God’s way, His Kingdom and will as opposed to the ways, will and kingdom of this world. Kingdom of God, Part 1 video from facebook
The apostle Paul also makes a clear distinction between the power/kingdom of God and the power of Satan/darkness/this world/ when he states the mission God has given him in Acts 26:18: “to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.” In Colossians 1:13 he states: “For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son.”
Paul then describes in more detail the battle we face in Ephesians. First he says this in 2:1-4: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.” Then in 6:12: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Understanding that the Bible describes the world in this way is basic to knowing why, since Genesis 3, it does not call the world the Kingdom of God. God is King and He is all powerful, but there is another force, a darkness, Satan, who has been given certain rights and authority because of sin, and who is exerting an evil influence over this world. We see the will of the world, of Satan, being done too many times as opposed to the will of God.
The passage of Scripture which makes this most clear is found in Luke 4:5-8: The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”
Notice the deal the devil tries to make with Jesus. First he shows Him “all the kingdoms of the world,” then he says “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” According to this, the devil has been given the authority over all the kingdoms of the world, and he can give them to anyone he chooses. But isn’t God the one with the authority over all the kingdoms of the world? Not according to this. The devil does not seem to be lying to Jesus since if he were lying, Jesus would know it and it would not be much of a temptation.
But the good news is that there is a “new” kingdom coming to town. It has always been in heaven, but here on earth the devil has taken significant control as many people are under his authority and doing his will. But Jesus is now on the scene and confronts the devil, saying, “‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'” Jesus has come so people will no longer “worship” and serve the devil, but will worship and serve the one true God, do His will, serve His Kingdom, be His people. Jesus is here to rescue people, to turn them “from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.” Early on here in Luke Jesus informs the devil that his time of mostly unfettered rule over people is short.
Scripture clearly reveals to us that the devil has vast authority and power in this world, which needs to be destroyed. 2 Cor. 4:4 says this about him: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Three times in Jesus’ final teaching to the disciples in the Gospel of John He calls the devil “the prince of this world”: “Judgment will come because the prince of this world has already been judged.” (John 16:11). I John 5:19 is another powerful verse about the devil: “We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.” There are many more verses along this line, but I will share more about them in a later blog.
Since this world is given over to sin, the devil has a just right to do what he wants with this world. He has justly taken hold over many things in this world. The world is under the kingdom of the devil. Many people are doing his will, whether they realize it or not.
The Bible equates being “of” the world as being under the devil’s authority, in his kingdom, which is opposed to being part of this new kingdom of God Jesus started. Yet while Bible paints a picture of the world as being in opposition to God, let us be clear that this is not a cosmic struggle between too equal powers. God is all powerful, but He limits Himself because of His justice, so when the devil has a just claim over someone or something….
God is still God and He is working mightily in the world, yet Scripture makes it clear that the vast majority of the world remains under the kingdom of the devil, and as such, remains under his authority and power, and under his powerful delusion, for he is the father of lies.
The Good News is that Jesus came to undermine the authority of the devil, so more and more people will “worship the Lord God and serve him only.” John 12:31 says: “The time of judgment for the world has come, when the prince of this world will be cast out.” Col. 2:20a: “You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world.”
So through what Jesus did on the cross, we have victory. Since we are still in the world, we will still be greatly affected by the sin all around us, suffer and even die, but let us be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world. We have power from above, as Paul states in Phil. 3:10: “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death….”
For those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord and are new creations, we are in the world but not “of” the world. We have that resurrection power. As people of God’s kingdom we are under His authority, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, our hearts are set on the things of God, of heaven, and not on the desires of this world. We seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, doing His will, and truly lack nothing. We have hope, we have peace, we have joy, we know without a doubt that God loves us unconditionally, He is with us and will never leave us, He is good all the time and we can deal with any circumstance through Jesus who gives us strength. We have spiritual gifts and the privilege to be used by Him to influence and change the place in the world where He has placed us. To do our part to propagate His will being done here on earth as it is in heaven. So we pray and do our part for His Kingdom to come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
It is obviously clear to us that “this world is not heaven.” We live in a fallen world. While we are to live a life promoting Godꞌs will on earth as it is in heaven, that true realization of His Will will not ultimately come until we get to heaven. I John 3:2 tells us: “Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.” We set ourselves up for disillusionment if we think that our life here on this earth should be only wildflowers and butterflies. Jesus tells us clearly what to expect in this world, in John 16:33: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
We cry (but not as those who have no hope), we may get discouraged, be “out of it” for a while in the middle of a very difficult situation, we can even question why (we are human!), but no matter what happens, let us not let it shake our faith and hope in God. As Paul says in Phil. 4:13: “I can do (put up with, endure through) all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
We must never forget the fact that we are in spiritual warfare. We will face a lot of spiritual and “worldly” opposition as we seek to advance the Kingdom of God and serve Him wholeheartedly in our life. Satan will oppose us as he tries to maintain his hold on his kingdom in this world. He is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
But since he is a vanquished foe, let us not grow weary nor be discouraged. Let us put on the full armor of God to defend us against his fiery darts, so that after the battle we may be able to stand firm. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, it is against these powerful spiritual forces in the heavenly realms that can only be defeated through the power of God living in us. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Eph. 6:13-18)
“For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.” (1 Cor. 4:20)
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the One who enables us to first become God’s kingdom people, then gives us the power to live out our lives as Kingdom people, doing God’s will.
John 3:3, 5-6: Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.” In other words: You cannot become part of God’s kingdom (submitting to Him and doing His will) unless the Holy Spirit transforms you into a new person. I assure you that no one will submit to God’s authority and do His will on earth as it is in heaven unless they are not just born of water (naturally) but also born anew by the Holy Spirit. For humans can only produce human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual (God breathed, God-inspired, God-led, God-changed) life.
Jesus later goes on to say a lot of things the Holy Spirit does to guide and empower us to be His people in this world:
John 14:16-17a: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” John 15:26: “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.” John 16:13-14: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me….” Matthew 10:19: “When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
Then in Acts (also known as the Acts of the Holy Spirit), we see the Spirit moving in the lives of the Apostles confirming the truth of the Gospel and the growing of the Kingdom of God. In Acts 2, during the Passover feast, when up to a million Jewish people from all over were present, the Holy Spirit enabled the apostles to speak in over 15 different languages, as Acts 2:11 says, “we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” As a result of them hearing the message in their own language, and the incredible impact that had, thousands of people came to know Jesus and many went back to their homes with a message in their own languages direct from the Holy Spirit. As a result, the Kingdom of God began growing and expanding exponentially. See my post about Acts 2 here.
Quite a few times in Acts it says the disciples were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit as they guided in the founding of a Spirit-led, growing group of believers there in Jerusalem. They spoke His words to the authorities, Stephen was filled with the Spirit as he spoke of God’s plan from the beginning, the Spirit spoke to Peter that Gentiles need to receive the Gospel, and there are many other instances in Acts of the Spirit leading as the apostles preach, preform miracles by the Spirit’s power and set up guidelines for the emerging church. A beautiful example is how the Spirit guided Paul, in Acts 20:22-24: “Now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
In Paul’s letters he teaches how essential the Spirit is in the lives of God’s people: Rom 5:5: “For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 8:2: “And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:5: “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.” Romans.14:17: “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” 1 Cor. 4:20: “For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by Gods power.”
I could list many more verses talking about the Holy Spirit, but it is clear that He is the one who changes us and empowers us to live as God wants us to live, to be His Kingdom people in this world. Kingdom of God, Part 2 video from Facebook.
To give yet a fuller understanding concerning what the Bible teaches about the Kingdom of God, let me finish up by looking at a series of Scriptures. There are over 100 verses (with quite a few parallel passages) talking about different aspects of the Kingdom of God. I will attempt here to highlight the different aspects which are crucial to understanding its meaning. For one or two in each category, I will also share how the verse(s) are worded in Mixtec (BT=backtranslation). It was the challenge of working with the Mixtec people to translate Scripture into their Mixtec language which led to much of my thinking about this subject, seeing Scripture anew through the eyes of another language. I will also restate a few using the Kingdom of God equivalent, submission to God and His will being done on earth as it is in heaven. These will be indicated by using an *.
Jesus as personification of the arrival of the Kingdom, it is “near”
Luke 17:20-21: One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.”
Mixtec BT: Jesus said: “No one can see with their eyes how God is reigning over His people. No one can say that it is here nor say that it is there, for God is already reigning in the hearts of His people.”
Mat. 10:7: Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.
*Go and announce that the time when God’s will is more and more being done on earth as it is in heaven (and more and more people are submitting to Him) is near.
Mat. 12:28, Mat. 3:2-3, Mark 1:15, Mark 12:34, Luke 10:9-11, John 18:36
Ways to enter the Kingdom, those who are “of” the Kingdom
Mark 10:14-15: When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
Mixtec BT: Allow those children to come to me. Do not hinder them, for the people who trust in Father God like these children trust in their fathers, these type of people are those who are under the authority of God. Truly I say to you that whoever does not allow God to reign over them like these children allow their fathers to reign over them, they are not submitting to God’s reign.
Mat. 13:52: Then he added, “Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.”
*Every teacher of religious law who submits to God’s rule in their life, doing His will on earth as it is in heaven, is like a homeowner….
Jn. 3:5-6: Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.”
*I assure you that now one will submit to God’s authority and do His will on earth as it is in heaven unless they are not just born of water (naturally) but also born anew by the Spirit. For humans can only produce human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual(God breathed, God-inspired, God-led, God-changed) life.
Mat. 5:3, Mat. 5:10, Mat. 6:13, Mt. 7:21, Mat. 13:37-38, Luke 13:24, John. 3:3
People who will find it hard to become part of the Kingdom (to submit to God’s rule in their lives)
Mat. 19:23-24: Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
Mixtec BT: Truly I say to you that it is very hard for a rich person to enter/submit to the authority of God. I repeat that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter/submit to God’s authority.
Mat. 21:31: Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.”
*I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will submit to God’s authority and do His will before anyone of you will.
Mat. 5:20, Mat. 22:2-3, Mat. 23:13
The Kingdom is of extreme value and deserves our all
Luke 18:29-30: “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”
Mixtec BT: Truly I say to you that whoever leaves their house, brothers, sisters, wife, father or mother o children because they want more people to submit to God’s reign over them….
Mat. 13:44-46: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.”
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!”
*Becoming someone whom God reigns over and is thus able to do His will is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field.
Again, becoming someone whom God reigns over and is thus able to do His will is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls.
Mat. 6:33, Mat. 19:12, Mark 9:60-62, Rev. 1:9
Being great in the Kingdom of God
Mat. 11:11: “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!”
Mixtec BT: Truly I say unto you that John, the one who baptizes people, is greater than all other men born of a woman. But the least of those who submit to God’s reign over them is greater than John.
Mat. 5:19: “So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
*So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least among the people whom God reigns over to do His will. But anyone who obeys God’s law and teaches them will be called great among those whom God reigns over, who are doing His will.
Parables on different aspects of the Kingdom of God.
The following 8 examples illustrate aspects of the way God reigns over the people who submit to Him, how He deals with those who submit to Him, how more and more people are submitting to Him, of how He is accomplishing His will on earth as it is in heaven)
1. The Kingdom is growing and affecting its surroundings
Mat. 13:31-32: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.“
Mat. 13:33: Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”
2. Devil’s opposition to the Kingdom
Mat. 13:19: “The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.”
Mat. 13:24-26: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.”
Mat. 13:38-39: “The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil.”
3. Forgiving one another:
Mat. 18:23ff: “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him.”
4. Shows grace to all who come:
Mat. 20:1ff: “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.”
5. We need to be prepared to receive it:
Mat 25:1ff: “Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.”
6. It deserves our best:
Mat. 24:14ff: “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone.”
Mat. 25:34ff: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry…..”
7. It is growing in ways we do not understand or sometimes even perceive:
Mark 4:26ff: Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground.”
8. Different responses to the teaching about the Kingdom/Good News
Mat. 13:3ff: He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds.”
Peter as a leader among people who have submitted to God’s reigning over them
Mat. 16:19: “And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
Kingdom given to those who believe, not just because you are a descendant of Abraham (God’s wants to reign over the people of Israel, but now is opening the door so that Gentiles can also submit to His eternal reign. This is the point of Romans 9)
Mat. 21:43: “I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit.”
Mat. 22:2ff: “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son.”
Some Jewish people were waiting for it
Mk. 15:43: “Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.)”
Once Jesus is risen, the Kingdom of God and the Good News about Jesus is practically synonymous
Acts 8:12 “But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.”
Acts 19:8: Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God.
Acts 28:23: “So a time was set, and on that day a large number of people came to Paul’s lodging. He explained and testified about the Kingdom of God and tried to persuade them about Jesus from the Scriptures. Using the law of Moses and the books of the prophets, he spoke to them from morning until evening.”
Rom. 14:17: “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
1 Cor. 4:20: “For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by Gods power.”
Kingdom of God in heaven (the place where God’s perfect will is being done)
Mat. 8:11-12: “And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Mat. 26:29: “Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
Lk. 22:28-30 “You have stayed with me in my time of trial. And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right to eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Lk.23:42-43: Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
2 Tim. 4:1: “I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom:”
2 Tim. 4:18: “Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.”
2 Pt. 1:11: “Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
“Inheriting” the Kingdom of God (Indicates becoming part of the ones who submit to God’s reign over their lives, which of courses extends into heaven)
1 Cor. 6:9-10: “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.”
1 Cor. 15:50: “What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.”
Gal. 5:21: “envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
Eph. 5:5: “You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.”