What is the Kingdom of God?
The Bible talks a lot about what the Kingdom of God is like, and even says a little about what the Kingdom is. We know that after the Earth is destroyed, a new Earth and God will bring His throne to the Earth. Called the New Jerusalem and other names, it will be the size of half the United States, from the Mississippi to the Atlantic and from Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. We know that God through Jesus will rule the Kingdom of God and it will never end. Let us see what the Kingdom of God is like and what it is.
To Sowing Good Seed
Planting seeds is a metaphor for Gods Word finding a home in the mind of a believer, that is, a person with Gods decoder who can understand His meaning. Of course, in Jesus time, information technology was two millennia away, and he used metaphors of the time, while now we understand how God communicates.
Luke 8:11 ¶ Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.
Parable is the Greek for a metaphor, which is also Greek:
Parabole; from 3846; a placing beside, a comparison:
Or, a story from Strong's: 3850. Parabole, par-ab-ol-ay´; from 3846; a similitude (parable), i.e. (symbolic) fictitious narrative (of common life conveying a moral), apothegm or adage.
Middle English methaphor, from Old French metaphore, from Latin metaphora, from Greek, transference, metaphor, from metapherein, to transfer : meta-, meta- + pherein, to carry; see bher.
What has being able to decode Gods information have to do with the Kingdom of God? In language each person speaks four languages: his idiolect, his own personal language known to none but himself; his familiolect, the language spoken by those in a discrete family; his dialect, the language spoken in his neighborhood or section of a country; and, formal language, the language used for formal occasions such as meeting with important persons or speaking before a group in a kind of platform language.
To a Mustard Seed
Aside from the condiment, a mustard seed is apparently a tiny seed which when planted becomes a rather large bush or tree. Even city folks can understand that seeds grow into plants and trees. So we can assume that the Kingdom of God starts small and becomes very big. Yet, Jesus does not tell us what it is that the Kingdom of God is except that it has to be planted as a concept in a persons mind which being of higher level than any other concepts or languages ascends to the dominant position of thought and language and controls all other aspects of language. So once God communicates to a person, the concepts, thoughts and ideas continue to take over all the thinking of the individual. On the other hand, Gods presentation of the Kingdom of God may also envelop greater and greater numbers of people. Which, or both, is not clear. And we are no closer to understanding the Kingdom of God beyond the fact that God through Jesus will rule people in the kingdom in place of Satan as it was in the beginning before people selected the demon over God as their religious and political ruler.
Matt. 13:31 ¶ He presented another parable to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field;
Matt. 13:32 and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.
To Leaven or Yeast
Here yeast shows how Gods Word about the Kingdom of God permeates a persons mind like yeast. This illustration gives graphic example to any one who has seen how dough rises rapidly when yeast is added to the mixture. And, as said above the Language of God takes over the persons mind entirely.
Matt. 13:33 ¶ He spoke another parable to them, The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.
To Something Valuable
People, who understand the intrinsic value of the Kingdom of God, value it more highly than all else, except loyalty to God. And, God wants to have many people become citizens in His Kingdom because being in the kingdom and having eternal life are most valuable but not in the way a person might think.
Matt. 13:44 ¶ The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Matt. 13:45 ¶ Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls,
Matt. 13:46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
To a Net
While net fishing is somewhat frowned upon by certain groups, its metaphor teaches important things about the Kingdom of God that its message attracts many minds but not all minds are attuned to the meaning in its fullest. The person learning a language like math may be able to do things with the skill like balance a check book, or not, and figure out some simple calculations but never understand the concepts of numbers and their relationship to each other and the physical universe much less the square root of negative one, that is, imaginary numbers, or a lying down eight as the infinity symbol. So it is with the Kingdom of God: people can talk about what the Bible says but end up by believing they are going to heaven instead of being resurrected or worshipping on Sunday instead of the Seventh Day, the Sabbath. These have all the trappings of religiosity, but miss the major messages God revealed. These misguided or deliberately disobedient will be thrown aside like rotten fish.
Matt. 13:47 ¶ Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind;
Matt. 13:48 and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.
Matt. 13:49 So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous,
Matt. 13:50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matt. 13:51 ¶ Have you understood all these things? They *said to Him, Yes.
Matt. 13:52 And Jesus said to them, Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.
The Apostles said they understood the parables of the Kingdom of God, and probably did, but these parables leave the paramount message hidden to the ones missing the point.
Matt. 13:43 Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
A Forgiving King
This servant owed the king some money but apparently did not have the means to pay; so the king forgave him what he owed. But, the servant did the opposite of the king in that he settled accounts with those who owed him by imprisoning those who could not pay. When the king found out, he did to the servant as the servant did to the others.
Now we are closer to understanding what the Kingdom of God is about: forgiving those who do bad things to us. The servant had the legal right to imprison those who owed him, but his heart was full of vengeance instead of forgiveness like the kings. Therefore, the Kingdom of God has people who choose to forgive instead of exacting justified retribution.
Matt. 18:32 Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt be-cause you pleaded with me.
Matt. 18:33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?
Matt. 18:34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.
Matt. 18:35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.
An Agribusiness Man
This wine grower needed workers to labor in his vineyard and went to the village nearby to hire them. Whatever the task was, the grower went back to the village several times to get enough workers to finish the work. His last group worked a short time compared to the rest of the crew, but the grower paid them the same as he contracted the others for. Since there were no unions then, the long time workers complained that these others put in almost no time for the same amount of money. The grower re-minded the workers what they agreed to and wondered why they disliked his generosity. Thus, Jesus tells us it is not how long people work for the Kingdom of God, but whether they do or not. All who apprehend the Kingdom of God with intensity have obtained it, not only those who tarry for a long time.
Matt. 20:10 When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.
Matt. 20:11 When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner,
Matt. 20:12 saying, These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have
the burden and the scorching heat of the day.
Matt. 20:13 But he answered and said to one of them, Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius.?
Matt. 20:14 Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.
Matt. 20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?
Matt. 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.
With the parable of the prodigal son, we begin to comprehend the significant nature of the Kingdom of God. Everyone knows the story of how the son wanted his inheritance immediately, which the father reluctantly gave him, but he pilfered away his fortune and became destitute. Deciding to return home and face his father, he, instead received a great welcome. However, the other son, who remained faithful to his father, complained that he did not get a welcome much less a feast like the profligate son. In a similar vein as the agribusiness man, the father told his loyal son how much he appreciated him and would also give his entire wealth to, but, at the same time, he explained that the other son was lost and now found, which is a cause to celebrate, is it not so?
The Kingdom of God is relationships: father to son and adopted children, eldest son to other children, and siblings to siblings.
Unlike all other kinds of governments, the Kingdom of God is a family affair rather than king to subjects, prime ministers to citizens, presidents to citizens where those in charge have little or personal relationship with those he is in charge of. But Our Father in Heaven, who knows us all too well, is in charge of us, and Jesus the older brother acts in locus parentis.
And what kind of Father is Our Father in Heaven? The best! His mixture of love and discipline, challenge and steadfastness, and independence and dependence provide the harmony and motivation for His children to succeed in being productive members of the family. Instead of being concerned about what the Kingdom of God is like, perhaps we ought to be interested in how the children interact with Our Father in Heaven. It begins with our prayer life, that is, how we pray using a combination of reverence as demonstrated in Jesus outline in the Our Father, praise and glorification as exemplified by the Psalms, and venturing into the far country by freely expressing our inner most fears and hopes by talking to Our Father in Heaven in tongues, where we let go of our self-importance and self-centeredness and allow the power at work within to take control of us.
How much more can we say about our relationship with Our Father in Heaven? When we live our lives, we demonstrate the class and character resembling and representing Our Father in Heaven. As caring as God is for Earthlings, we similarly act in a manner worthy of the name, Children of God and brothers and sisters to Jesus.
Matt. 6:9 ¶ Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven,Hallowed be Your name.
Matt. 6:10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Matt. 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
Matt. 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Matt. 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
This son of Our Father in Heaven had a singleness of purpose, which is to fulfill His will. The thrust of Our Father in Heaven's will was to make Himself a family starting with His Son, His only begotten Son, whereas the rest of us are adopted into the family. As a son who loves his Father and wants to do His Will, he desires that all his potential siblings do His Fathers Will as well. Its a family thing. Its a relationship thing.
Matt. 26:39 ¶ And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.
John 6:40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.
Jesus went about Israel doing good and acting more the servant than the Lord. He liked parties and a bit of wine. But his favorite activity was being Lord of the Sabbath where he could heal, preach, teach and give glory to Our Father in Heaven. But after his crucifixion and death, he laid down his staff and picked up the sword to lead the angels in battle against the evil on Earth, while at the same time lead his siblings to freedom and eternal life.
Matt. 9:6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sinsthen He *said to the paralytic, Get up, pick up your bed and go home.
Matt. 11:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.
Matt. 12:8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.
Matt. 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.
Most of all Jesus set the example for his brothers and sisters to follow. His love for people can never be doubted for he gave his life that others may be saved from the ravages of sin and death. And, his brothers and sisters would keep him company in the Kingdom of God and even rule with him.
Matt. 19:28 And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the re- generation when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
What exciting times the Kingdom of God will be, where we shall associate with Our Father in Heaven, Jesus and all the patriarchs and saints of the past. Whatever else the kingdom may be like, having an intense personal relationship with Our Father in Heaven who created the universe and intervened in our lives, for our entire lives, makes the Kingdom of God a perfect place for a human being.