Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What is the Kingdom of God ?

"...bringing the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven"

There's a lot of talk like this going on today. Talk about making this earth a better place. To fight against mean governments. To fight pollution and slavery, all forms of social oppression and bad big businesses. To redeem the culture. Terms and slogans are used like: Revolution! A New Reformation. Be a renegade for God! Fight for Social Justice, the Environment, Poverty.

Many of these ideas, all of which seem to be noble causes, are being called "...bringing the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven". But the discerning believer in Christ must always ask: "Are these the things God called us to do? Are they biblical causes? Is this the Great Commission?

If you are being told that fighting for these causes is "bringing the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven" then I suggest that this is a false teaching. It is a distortion of the Great Commission. One would have a hard time showing where Jesus or even the disciples equated these causes to the kingdom of God.

1. What concerns me the most is that an incorrect teaching of the kingdom of God is dangerous, perhaps even to the point of your eternal salvation! Matthew 13:19 has some serious words about a misunderstanding of the Kingdom of God (heaven). It says that not understanding what it is could allow for the evil one to come and snatch away what is sown in your heart. Later verses talk about not having the word planted in your heart as leading to one who is never really saved. Read Matthew 13:18-23. The one who is the true, lasting follower of Christ is the one who hears the word and understands it. All others fall away and were never really saved.

2. Secondly, what I'd like to know is where in the bible is there talk of us as Christ's followers, to be the ones that will bring the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven"? The bringing of God's kingdom is to be an act of the Holy Spirit, NOT an act of man.

It sounds like the statement in question was taken from the Lord's Prayer. If so, then we should look more closely at what Jesus actually said in this prayer. The Lord's Prayer reads: "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10). Here Jesus is not specifically teaching about the kingdom of God. He's showing the disciples how to pray.

Also, the part "on earth as it is in heaven" is about the kingdom of God in the sense of God's will being done on earth as it is in heaven. And what is God's will? God's will for mankind is that all come to repentance that none would perish as we are told in 2 Peter 3:9. "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

3. Lastly, talk of the kingdom of God (heaven) in the New Testament is almost always linked to repentance and salvation. "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Matt. 3:2, Mark 1:15).

Jesus said in John 18:36 that his kingdom is not of this world but form another place. "Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place." If the Kingdom of God were of earth, if it were some kind of cause we as believers were to strive for, then Jesus maybe would have encouraged his servants to fight and resist.

Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:20, 21 says "Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."

Many Jews back then believed that the kingdom of God was to be an earthly thing. They believed that the Messiah would bring it to liberate them from Roman oppression. But Jesus' kingdom was one of repentance and salvation. Romans 14:17 reminds us again that the kingdom is not of earth but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,"

When seeking the kingdom of God, your aim should be righteousness and all these other things that you need will be taken care of. Matthew 6:33: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."



Blogger Renee said...


This focus on "saving the planet" and making earth the kingdom has done one clear thing...taken the focus OFF of the true saving Gospel of Jesus Christ and onto man and how he (man) can make things better and paly god).

I often discuss with scoial gosepl groupies what happens if the person they feeds today dies tonight and they did not share the Gospel in the Gospel int he process of "helping". A common answer is, "They see Christ in my actions". Then I ask, "Which Christ"? Mohammed teaches to take care of the poor and hungry, Buddha feeds the hungry, all false gods feed the poor and hungry... so which Christ do they think they see. For some reason this does not get across, and in the flesh I don;t udnerstand why but scripture tells us why.

Thanks for an excellent post.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Gordon Cloud said...

Good post. I think perhaps many of these you speak of have a gross misunderstanding of the nature and timing of the kingdom.

Our focus is supposed to be on the Great Commission. Jesus will straighten out the creation when He rules in Jerusalem.

3:41 PM  

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