When we say “the Kingdom of God” or “the kingdom of heaven”, what exactly do we mean?
John the Baptist had one message, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Jesus unequivocally repeated this same message at the beginning of His ministry (Matthew 4:17). However, throughout the teaching ministry of Jesus, He went about telling people about the Kingdom of God, both in parables and instruction of scriptures.
The phrase “kingdom of heaven” can be used interchangeably with the Kingdom of God as we see in Matthew 19:23-24.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.(Matthew 19:23-24)
So we see that we can take the two to mean the same thing. However, when Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God, was he referring to a place? Was he pointing the people’s attention to the dwelling place of God? What exactly did he mean by the kingdom of God?
What is the Kingdom of God?
If you carry out a patient study of the gospel according to Matthew, you’ll discover at least fifty (50) times in which Jesus referred to the kingdom of God (heaven). In most of those instances, he wasn’t addressing the kingdom in the context of a place, but rather, a system.
The kingdom of God simply refers to the system of operation of God. Inasmuch as we do believe that Heaven is a spiritual place where the throne of God is and the inheritance of the saints, we also know that the kingdom of heaven refers to the system of Heaven’s operation.
The Kingdom of God refers to how things work in Heaven. So when Jesus preached the Kingdom, he simply revealed to us the system of our new hope and inheritance. A system he was most familiar with, as Heaven was his dwelling place before he came to the earth.
Above everything Jesus preached was the kingdom of God. The message of the Kingdom was of paramount importance. He preached a different system of operation, a system governed by laws far above the molecular laws of the earth. The system Jesus preached was something considered absurd and most times blasphemy by those that heard it. However, no matter how angry they were at the message of Jesus, they could not doubt the proofs that came with the message.
A Kingdom with Proofs
Jesus not only preached the kingdom in principles, He demonstrated the Kingdom in power. With authority, he showed that the system of operation he spoke about didn’t need the permission of natural laws, nor the cooperation of natural elements to function.
This system considered a dead man to be asleep. A system that considered roaring waves nothing of significance. He demonstrated a system that turned seas into highways. A system that had no regard for medical reports, but would transform the worst of cases into brand new situations: Blinded eyes popped open, deafness melted away, blood-flow dried up, and leprosy vanished, paralysis stood at the command of this system.
There were no research documents to back this system neither were there laboratory experiments carried out to decipher the workings of this system. It was indeed superior to anything man could logically explain, and scientifically accommodate. Yet Jesus, with all authority, preached and manifested this system – the Kingdom of God… (to be continued)