Welcome to the Kingdom of Heaven

Kingdom Here or Hereafter?

Hello Friends,

The big topic today is the Kingdom of Heaven, also called the Kingdom of God, which has been established now for over 2,000 years. We're uncovering some incredible Kingdom information that the enemy has kept locked up.

The problem today is that many of us are like the Pharisees of Jesus' day. We tend to base our faith on things that we can see. Yet Hebrews 11:1 says that "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things NOT seen."

And this "not seeing" is the problem. When Jesus was asked when He was going to establish the Kingdom, He said that the Kingdom does not come with observation. "The kingdom of God cometh not with waiting for" (Luke 17:20). That means the Kingdom is not an optically perceived event.

In the next verse Jesus says, "For behold, the Kingdom of God is within you." Even so, many people have been taught to look for a future physical kingdom here on planet earth with Jesus Christ sitting on the throne, ruling the world from Jerusalem. But is this the Truth?

Today we are uncovering something that is one of the best-kept secrets of Christianity.

What are we to do? The path before us is strewn with half-truths and deceptions. How can we possibly see a Kingdom that can't be seen? Jesus said, "No one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. (John 3:3)

That is the key. We cannot be merely born of the flesh. We must also be born of the Spirit. Through this new birth of the Spirit, we enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. So put your faith and hope in God and purify yourself by obeying the truth (1 Peter 21,22).

The Kingdom of Heaven is the crucial starting point in this race for the incorruptible crown. Jesus tells us that the number one priority in our lives is to seek the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 6:33).

The Kingdom of Heaven . . .
Is it Here or Hereafter?

No, we're not talking about some paradise after the graveyard. The Kingdom of Heaven is not a place or a location. It is not some place we run to. We can't drive there.

The Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21). It is God's government ruling your heart and mind.

Inside you is a law that governs your actions. Either you are governed by Satan and His world system or you are governed by Christ and His Kingdom. Who claims you as one of theirs? Whom do you fear? Who has your allegiance? Whom do you obey?

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Romans 6:16

What is the current status of the Kingdom of Heaven? Why aren't more people talking about it?

Let's examine the scriptures to see if this "Kingdom of Heaven" truly exists. Did it really occur? Is there a series of events that took place that proves the Kingdom is actually here?

Handing Over the Kingdom

Jesus begins His ministry saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" Matthew 3:2. "Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness" (Matthew 9:35). Throughout the gospels, there are many instances of Jesus speaking in parables to describe the nature and character of His Kingdom. Eventually Jesus quits talking in parables.

At the Last Supper, just prior to His crucifixion, Jesus speaks candidly. He is talking to a particular group of people - the ones who have stood with Him during His temptations. Jesus is about to die. He is handing over His Kingdom to the disciples. His words to the apostles form His Last Will and Testament.

At Luke 22:24, we find His faithful ones arguing about who is going to be the greatest in this new government. Who is going to be the top dog? Who is going to have the most power and influence?

"Hey, I'm better than you are."

"No, I'm the most qualified."

Jesus interrupts their quarreling and says, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship . . . and they that exercise authority . . . are called benefactors." (verse 25)

Jesus is talking about the governments of the world where men with the most power dominate other men. And the oppressed ones think their overlords are benefactors and protectors.

"But you shall not be like them." (verse 26)

Jesus has new plans for His government. Men will not be lording over other men. Those who desire the top seats in His government are to be like those who serve:

"Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who leads like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines? But I am among you as the One who serves. You are the ones who have stood by Me in My trials." (verses 26-28)

Then He hands the Kingdom over to the apostles:

"And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me." Luke 22:29

Did you hear that? He conferred His father's government on us. We are citizens of Heaven.

The baton has been passed to our Founding Fathers, the eleven apostles. We now have a country. We are no longer strangers and pilgrims. We are fellow citizens with the saints. We are people born from above, not from below.

Now Our Lord's prayer begins to be fulfilled. "Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." His Kingdom has come and continues to come in the hearts and minds of those who receive Him.

In modern government terms, the Lord's Supper is actually the Constitutional Convention where our Father's government was bestowed upon the apostles. Our Constitution is the Greatest Commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40).

Our revised statutes are the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). At this Last Supper event, the Kingdom or government of God was conferred from Heaven to earth. The Kingdom of Heaven is now unlocked for all who believe.

He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His dear Son, who forgives our sins and sets us free. (Colossians 1:13,14)

Earlier, Jesus had given the keys of the Kingdom to Peter (Matthew 16:19) and now He is formally handing over the Kingdom itself to the apostles. Now they have both the keys and the "house."

It seems clear when these passages are read that Jesus has delegated His Father's Kingdom to His faithful apostles. But then along come the theologians that want to cut up and dissect the plain word of God.

The theologians argue, "Jesus wasn't making that claim. The Kingdom is still coming - sometime in the future."

Let's see what passages substantiate the handing over of the Kingdom.

Kingdom Arrives

Let's go back a little in Luke. At Chapter 22, verse 14, Jesus is sitting down at the Last Supper with the twelve apostles and He is saying unto them, "With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I say unto you, I will not anymore eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come" (verses 14-18).

Here Jesus states that the Kingdom is coming and that certain events will take place when the Kingdom has arrived. Jesus says he will not eat or drink anymore until the Kingdom comes. Now let's search the scriptures.

Go to Acts, Chapter 10, verses 39-41. We are going to be looking at a "flashback." In these verses the apostles are talking about an earlier event, after Jesus rose from the dead, but before He ascended into the clouds. Peter says:

We are witnesses to all that He did, both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And although they put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree, God raised Him up on the third day and caused Him to be seen— not by all the people, but by the witnesses God had chosen beforehand, by us who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead.

Here we see Jesus' prediction at the Last Supper being fulfilled. Jesus said that the kingdom will come when He eats and drinks again with His apostles (Luke 22:16,18). Now at Acts, Chapter 10, the apostles are bearing witness that they did eat and drink with Jesus.

From these events, it is clear that Jesus conferred the Kingdom upon the apostles and that they bore witness that the Kingdom truly arrived.

This is the Good News. The evidence is in. These are not parables. This is clear speech. The Kingdom is here. We have that same Kingdom. It has never vanished. It is an everlasting kingdom.

What do we do about this Good News? Repent, that is, change your mind. Stop living to please yourself. Start seeking to please God. Dig into the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to see what God expects of us. A good place to start is the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew, Chapters 5-7. This is Christ's most concise instructions on how He wants us to live.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Don't take the detours. Stay on that strait and narrow path and prove all things. Hold fast to that which is good. Race for that incorruptible crown. Though the way be lonely and painful, the rewards are great. You are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28). It's not just for the hereafter, but for today, tomorrow, and forever.

In this life, if you haven't found the Kingdom of God here and now, you will never find it in the hereafter.

Wake up and repent. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.