What is the 'Kingdom Of Heaven'?
Jerusalem at sunrise.
The Gospels use the phrase the Kingdom of God (or the similar-meaning Kingdom of Heaven) extensively. It has many meanings depending on its context. In Jesus’ parables, it often describes the system of divine government. He explains how to become its member and how to benefit from it in this life and in the next. He declared that he was inviting people to the profound spiritual feast of the Kingdom of Heaven, but that the members of higher society were too busy with their lives to partake of it. This, he said, afforded the space for the poor and the meek to dine at this great spiritual banquet. He likens those who will not make sacrifices to attend the divine banquet laid on by the prophets, with salt that no longer seasons. This he says is unfit for the dunghill, i.e. unusable even as compost—worse than rubbish.
Jesus divides people into three categories when a genuine prophet appears. The first are those who are too busy with their lives and will not take the trouble to investigate—they are unfit even as compost. The second are those that reject the prophet and whose opposition and persecution serve as compost, i.e. it fertilises the divine movement and helps it to grow through publicity. The third are those who investigate and use righteous (i.e. fair and reasonable) judgment to assess whether God sent the message and the messenger. This last group, the believers, enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus taught that every Jew had access to the Kingdom of God through righteousness, i.e. abiding by God’s Law that would take the form of paradise in the hereafter. Of the Gospels, only Matthew and Mark mention the Gospel of the Kingdom, but Matthew, Mark and Luke all use Gospel on its own. Surprisingly, John’s Gospel contains neither Gospel nor Gospel of the Kingdom, suggesting, as we show later in the series, that it was never intended as a Gospel.
Paul uses the terms Gospel, Gospel of God, of Christ and of his son and My Gospel. The Gospel to which he was referring however was not Jesus’ Gospel of the Kingdom, based on abiding by divine law. It was his Gospel that he was masquerading as that of Jesus.
Another meaning of the term used by Jesus was paradise in the hereafter, which was one of his main themes:
Luk 14:15 KJV ...when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said… Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
A third meaning is highlighted in Jesus’ Lord’s Prayer—bringing the Kingdom of God/Heaven on earth as it is in heaven:
Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done
As it is in heaven
Jesus taught his followers to pray for the Kingdom of Heaven to come onto the Earth. Evidently, Jesus himself did not implement it on earth. The will of God evidently refers to implementing His Will, i.e. His Law. This is the Law that Paul called a curse, confirming that the Kingdom of Heaven was certainly not Paul’s Christianity. Jesus’ parable of the King and His Prince’s Wedding details this Kingdom of God/Heaven coming through the advent of one after Jesus—whom he likened to God’s Prince and heir.
Jesus prophesied that because the Jews rejected him based on ridiculous arguments, an apocalypse would follow. This gave a sense of urgency to his message that is palpable. He cursed the religious establishment and the generation that rejected him, whilst instructing his disciples to save as many as possible.
However, he taught that their salvation was not to be through belief in Paul’s cross-doctrines of Atonement and Resurrection conjured some twenty-five years later, but by accepting that God sent him and by following his teachings:
Jhn 11:41-42 NLT Jesus looked… to heaven and said, "Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me."
Jhn 17:21 KJV That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Jesus’ parables of the Vineyard and the King and His Prince’s Wedding contain details of the apocalypses accompanying Jesus that would befall the Jewish nation, (First Jewish–Roman War 66–73 CE and the Bar Kokhba Revolt 132–135 CE). However, the most cataclysmic event for the Jewish establishment that Jesus prophesied was the supersession of the Mosaic order by a New Universal Spiritual World Order. Jesus prophesied that God would take the Kingdom of God from the Jews despite them considering it their personal preserve.
Jesus: ‘the Finisher’ of the Mosaic Dispensation
Jesus claimed to fulfil the Mosaic Law in the sense that he would be the last Israelite prophet before divine sovereignty was transferred to another people. Jesus completed Moses’ dispensation, but did not begin anything new. That was for the Universal Sovereign whose advent metaphorically was God’s Advent. Paul knew this doctrine of Jesus and it gave him the perfect opportunity to deify Jesus as the literal son of God, and to claim that Jesus was the Universal Sovereign. In later books, we show how he toyed with the notion of claiming that office for himself!
Thus Paul was the foremost in human history to mislead humanity away from God by making Jesus a partner with Him. In doing so, he emphatically contradicted what Jesus called the first great commandment—something Paul never quoted even once:
Mark 12:28-29 NKJV 28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving] that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Luk 14:16-24, 33-35 KJV Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. …33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 5:19 KJV Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:20 KJV For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
[In the above quote, Jesus speaks of a fundamental point that worldly Kingdom follows after the attainment of the spiritual Kingdom]
Mat 23:13 KJV But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. [Kingdom of God means righteousness]
Mat 7:21 KJV Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father...in heaven.
Mat 21:31 KJV...Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
Mat 4:23 KJ And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. Mat 9:35 KJV And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
Mat 24:14 KJV And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Mar 1:14-15 KJV Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God,- 15And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel.
Mat 21:43 KJV …say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
The Lord's Prayer (traditional): Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, Forever and ever.
Judaism contains similar prayers.
Is the following different from any Old Testament prophet? Did Jesus demand they accept his blood sacrifice, crucifixion, atonement/resurrection to achieve salvation? Mat 11:16-20, 23-24 WEB 16 “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces, who call to their companions17 and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you didn’t dance. We mourned for you, and you didn’t lament.’ 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 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!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”20 Then he began to denounce the cities in which most of his mighty works had been done, because they didn’t repent. ..23 You, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, you will go down to Hades. For if the mighty works had been done in Sodom which were done in you, it would have remained until today. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, on the day of judgment, than for you.”
Mar 16:16 KJV He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Luk 8:12 KJV Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. Jhn 5:34 KJV But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.
Jhn 5:38 KJV And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Jhn 6:29 KJV Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.