What is the
Kingdom of God?
By Garner Ted Armstrong [printer-friendly] [pdf format]
Some years ago, a popular love song included the phrase "This is the Kingdom of Heaven..." The lyrics poetically described a romance between a young couple. and, so far as the songwriter was concerned, the "experience" of "falling in love" constituted "the Kingdom of Heaven."
John the Baptist was described by Jesus Christ as a prophet who came in the "power and spirit of Elijah," and who was a forerunner, preparing the way for Jesus Christ.
Matthew says "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! For this is He that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight" (Matthew 3: 1-3).
After John was cast into prison, Jesus began to preach "...and to say, Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 4: 17).
Describing the calling of Jesus' disciples and the beginning of His ministry, Matthew wrote, "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" (Matthew 4:23).
Of the synoptic gospels, only Matthew refers to the Kingdom message as "the Kingdom of Heaven," while the others refer to it as "the Kingdom of God."
Luke wrote, "Then He called His twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. And He sent them to preach the Kingdom of God, and to heal the sick" (Luke 9:1, 2).
Actually, the two phrases are interchangeable – they mean the same thing.
It is obvious that the expression used by Matthew "the Kingdom of Heaven" no more connotes the location of the Kingdom than does the expression used by the other three gospel writers, reporting the same words, "the Kingdom of God," designate that the Kingdom is "in" God!
It is the Kingdom which is spiritual as opposed to physical, divine as opposed to human, a Kingdom which derives from God, from His heavenly seat of authority in heaven, and which will RULE all nations with a rod of iron!
Jesus Christ said He was coming again – and described the conditions on this earth during the reign of His Kingdom! Yet, professing Christian teachers have taken the powerful, dynamic message of Christ – called the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD – and turned it into a mumbo-jumbo of confusing, "spiritual-sounding" double-talk; a message about Jesus Christ, instead of the message HE BROUGHT!
They make it a "hidden" kingdom; something vague, nebulous; something that is perhaps "here, now."
But Jesus Christ did not come to preach a gospel of a mysterious, "invisible" metaphorical "kingdom" in order to get across a message which would encourage overcoming, financial success, peace of mind, accomplishment, or material gain. His gospel was both a witness and a warning, a part of its message cutting asunder, piercing the heart, causing violent outrage in the hearts of recalcitrant sinners, and bringing about deep and broken-hearted repentance among those who would receive it as little children.
Is the Kingdom "Here...Now"?
In 1982. television evangelist Pat Robertson, collaborating with Bob Sloshser, were published by Bantam books with their best seller The Secret Kingdom. While there is much in the book that is good principles applicable to everyday life, principles concerning financial success, peace of mind, goal setting, positive living – nevertheless, the subtle inference one gleans, not the least of all from the title itself, is that Robertson espouses the notion that the Kingdom of God is something which is "here, now" in some mysterious and invisible way.
Robertson seriously errs when he says, "Each of the gospel writers said it similarly. 'The time has come,' Jesus declared in essence. 'The Kingdom is here, and I have come to open it to you and show you how it works' " (The Secret Kingdom, Robertson, page 36).
Robertson continued, "Many of us are now discovering this central purpose of our Lord, perceiving that the Kingdom of God, though invisible, is right now nonetheless real, nonetheless powerful.... Yes, the Kingdom of God is here – now. And the message of the Bible is that we can and should look from this visible world, which is finite, into the invisible world, which is infinite....We should do more than look, however, if we believe the scriptures. We should enter. We should reach from the visible into the invisible and bring that secret Kingdom into the visible through its principles – principles that can be adopted at this moment."
To be sure, Robertson speaks of the millennium, and of the eventual moment when the Kingdom of God will become "visible." Yet, one is urged to believe that Jesus, in proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom of God, was teaching that the Kingdom was already on this earth, merely invisible. Robertson even goes so far as to allege that Jesus said, "Reach into the invisible and apply it to the visible," which of course, Jesus never said at all.
Is the Kingdom of God "here – now"? And can you enter into it? Robertson says you can. The Bible says you can't.
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption!" (1 Corinthians 15:50).
For centuries, blinded men have led the spiritually blind down the primrose path of deception, preaching that the Kingdom of God is here, now.
For centuries, the so-called "holy" Roman Empire, following the days of supposedly converted sun-worshiper Constantine, was viewed as the "Kingdom of God" on earth. The official Roman Catholic doctrine, as set forth in the Catholic Encyclopedia, weaves a subtle. skillfully-written theme from various scriptural inferences that the kingdom is the Catholic Church.
"In the mouth of Christ," the article says, "the 'kingdom' means not so much a goal to be attained or a place – though those meanings are by no means excluded; cf. Matthew, verse 3; XI, 2, etc – it is rather a tone of mind (Luke XVII. 20-21), it stands for an influence which must permeate men's minds if they would be one with Him and attain to His ideals; cf, Luke, IX, 55. It is only by realizing these shades of meaning that we can do justice to the parables of the kingdom with their endless variety" (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VIII, page 646-647, emphasis mine).
After admitting the Kingdom of God means a goal – something in the future to be ultimately attained; the writer of the article then asserts "it is rather a TONE OF MIND." But isn't that just so much "double-talk"? What is the Kingdom of God? It is a goal – a quest set before us toward which we daily press – the goal of entering into a completely different realm; a different civilization; higher order; different form of government; a realm governed by God, who will RULE over all nations on this earth with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:26; 3:21) for one thousand years (Revelation 20:4) on this earth (Revelation 5: 10), or is it a MIND SET?
The Catholic Encyclopedia says, "The Kingdom of God means, then the ruling of God in our hearts; it means those principles which separate us from the kingdom of the world and the devil; it means the benign sway of grace; it means the Church, as that divine institution whereby we may make sure of attaining the spirit of Christ and so win that ultimate Kingdom of God where He reigns without end in "the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God" (Vol. VIII, page 647, emphasis mine).
"That ultimate kingdom" to which the writer of the article referred IS the Kingdom of God – the ONLY Kingdom of God – which Jesus preached! By no means is the Kingdom of God "set up in the hearts of men," and by no means does Christ's gospel lead you to believe that "by men of good will working together everywhere, the Kingdom of God will be set up."
Notice the scriptural reference in the first quotation from the Catholic Encyclopedia, Luke 17:20. Turn to this passage, and read it for yourself.
"And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the Kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you."
It is puzzling how so many scholars over such an incredible reach of history could be so utterly obtuse as to persist in the complete misunderstanding of this verse, lift it out of its proper context, and attempt to imply that Jesus was stating the Kingdom of God is some "spiritual" something or other; some "better feeling," or "rapturous grace" within the human heart, rather than what He plainly said it was!
When understanding any scripture, especially a seemingly ambiguous or difficult one, you need to ask "who, what, where, when, why, and how'?"
Look at the context! It was the Pharisees who "demanded" that Jesus tell them when this Kingdom of which He constantly spoke should come!
And who were the Pharisees? They were the ones of whom Jesus said, "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!...you blind guides...you fools and blind...ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell [hades, meaning the grave]" (Matthew 23:13-33).
These are the same Pharisees of whom Jesus said, "You hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, this people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men!" (Matthew 15:7, 9).
He then said, referring to the same group, "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone, they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." These are the same Pharisees who plotted Jesus ' death from the time of the miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus!
Notice! "Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we'? For this man doeth many miracles. If we let Him thus alone all men will believe on Him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: But being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth they took council together for to put Him to death!" (John 11:45-53).
As the "right-wing" religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees "sat in Moses' seat," and constituted a powerful, pervasive authority over the private lives of many in the Jewish populace. Judea was a Roman province, occupied by the Roman Empire. Following the pattern of the ancient Persian satrapies, the Romans set up puppet governments where possible, allowing the greatest measure of self-determination or semi-autonomy within certain bounds, as a guarantee against social unrest, mass disturbances, or sudden coups. The social and religious customs were dominated by the Sanhedrin, the high priest (the priests in the temple were Sadducees) and the Pharisees. Certain infractions of the Mosaic code could actually bring about a stoning, in which the Romans would not interfere.
The Pharisees were plotting continually how to trap Jesus in His words; to propose some "trick question" to Him which would cause Him to commit some alleged "infraction" of the law and result in His death by stoning.
John records, "Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where He were, he should shew it, that they might take Him!" (John 11:57). This was just prior to the final Passover, and Jesus' ultimate crucifixion!
Now do you see?
To whom did Jesus say, "The Kingdom is within you"? He said it to hate-filled, murder-plotting PHARISEES! Was Jesus saying the Kingdom of God was "within" the hearts of the same individuals He called hypocrites, vipers, fools, blind guides, deceivers, and who He knew were busily plotting His murder?
Actually, the word "within" should better be rendered "among." It is the same word used by John when he wrote of what John the Baptist said to the Pharisees: "John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not..." (John 1:26). The reference, of course, was to Jesus Christ!
In the same chapter, where it is clear Jesus Christ is that member of the Godhead who did the creating, John wrote, "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
Think about it. Jesus Christ of Nazareth was the advance emissary of the Kingdom of God! He came to this earth to qualify for future rulership, to qualify to be KING of kings, and Lord of lords, ruling over the entire earth for one thousand years during His millennial reign.
He was like an ambassador, representing the Kingdom of God on this earth! He was not truly a "citizen" of any earthly governments; He swore no allegiance to any earthly king, though He preached obedience to whatever laws of man did not directly contradict the higher laws of God.
As such, Jesus was like a citizen of a higher and a different kingdom.
Read the rest of the context of His statement to those murder-plotting Pharisees.
"And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the Kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within [among] you. And He said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day. But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah so shall" it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto Him, Where, Lord? And He said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together" (Luke 17:20-37).
I have included here the entire passage so that you may refer back to it in your leisure. Notice Jesus said He would be "as the lightning," clearly visible, seen by all and that the day of His coming would be as tumultuous and as catastrophic as was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the destruction of all mankind at the flood!
For years, many have pondered His seemingly ambiguous and puzzling statement "Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together," not understanding this obvious statement in its correct context.
What He was impressing upon His audience was the fact that when Jesus Christ comes back to this earth in all the power and glory of God the Father it will be at the climax of the great DAY OF THE LORD, following the outpouring of the Great Tribulation, the seven trumpet plagues, and the seven last plagues!
It will be the single greatest, most earth-shaking, tumultuous, calamitous, catastrophic event from the time of creation till that moment!
How ludicrous it would appear for some individual at this day and time to deceive Christians by saying, "Christ is over here-in this nation, hiding in a cave," or "Christ came last night, and He is hiding out in a cave in Jordan," or some other foolish, lying statement.
Jesus was saying to His disciples, paraphrased, "There is no need for you, who are my true followers, my own disciples, to worry about some other person, some 'third party,' coming to you, and informing you that I, the Son of man, have arrived back on earth! For," He might have said, "YOU WILL BE THE VERY FIRST TO KNOW!''
The analogy He drew is plain, if you look at it.
If a farmer had lost a cow, and he went abroad into the grasslands in search of his lost animal, and he saw a group of eagles or other carrion-eaters slowly circling in the distance, where would he look for the body of the cow?
Obviously, he would not turn his back on the circling eagles, crows, magpies or vultures, but would go immediately to that spot, knowing that the cow had probably died, and that the carrion-eaters were clearly marking the spot!
Jesus spoke this parable or analogy to enforce the point with His disciples that wherever the "body" is (in this case, the CHURCH!) there will the "eagles" (in this case Jesus Christ at His return!) be gathered together!
In other words, Christ is coming for His own – He is not coming "in secret," and any true worshipper of Jesus Christ, any member of His true Church, will have no need of "being informed" by others that Christ has arrived!
The second coming of Jesus Christ will be a vastly tumultuous, calamitous event, beheld by the whole world! John wrote, "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: And He shall RULE THEM with a rod of iron; and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (Revelation 19:11-16).
John wrote, "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM..." (Revelation 1:7).
There you have the real meaning of Christ's statement to the Pharisees that the "Kingdom of God cometh not with 'observation'." You now understand what He really meant when He said the Kingdom of God is "among" you – meaning that He as the advance representative of that Kingdom evinced its power and glory, its love and compassion, its mercy and great kindness, as well as its rule and authority.
In another sense, because Jesus Christ was completely filled with the Holy Spirit of God, and the very presence of God the Father was powerfully indwelling within Him, Jesus could speak of Himself as being virtually a member of the Kingdom of God, in much the same way that the apostle Paul wrote that we, when we are converted and have God's Holy Spirit within us have our "citizenship" in heaven! (Philippians 3:20).
By no stretch of the imagination was Jesus ripping out whole chapters, books and segments of the Bible, including all of the many detailed descriptions in the major and minor prophets of the Kingdom of God, and His own lucid and graphic prophecies of the Kingdom of God by saying that the Kingdom was somehow "within" the blackened, evil, murder-plotting "hearts" of the Pharisees!
Is the Kingdom the Church?
There are those who "spiritualize" the Kingdom of God into the
church, drawing on metaphor, analogies and subtle inferences from
The simplest way to disprove such theories is to see what the Bible says about the church.
Christ said, "And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter [Greek; Petros, a pebble, or small stone], and upon this ROCK [Greek; Petra, meaning a craggy cliff, monolithic rock, a mountain of stone] I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH; and the gates of hell [Greek; hades, meaning the grave] shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16: 18).
The Greek word for church is Ekklezia, which is better rendered "assembly" or "group."
Today, the word "church" in the English language has become corrupted. Most think of a "church" as either a national or international organizational hierarchy (like the Catholic "Church"); as a denomination, (like the "Methodists"), or as a building ("That is my church over there on the corner").
One might say, "I will see you in church today," meaning they will meet inside a building called a "church."
But the Bible was not written in English – it was written in Hebrew. Greek . and Aramaic. The Greek word, Ekklezia which Jesus used. no more means "building" than the word "typewriter" means "airplane"! There is simply no connection between the two!
Christ meant He would establish His group of specially-called and chosen disciples (who would become the original apostles), empower them with the Holy Spirit, and that "assembly" of individuals would represent, collectively, the church!
Christ is the HEAD of His true church. "...and gave Him to he the HEAD over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:22, 23).
Paul went on to say, ''Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners. but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God: and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:20, 21).
Both 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 represent the church as analogous to a body, or a building, having various members and parts.
The Church of God (its authorized name, used more often to describe the church than any other) is that group of converted, called-out ones who are committed to perform the WORK of God on this earth; that of fulfilling Christ's great, two-fold commission.
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all rations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [margin; 'age'], Amen" (Matthew 28:19, 20).
The commission to the church is to preach the Gospel OF THE KINGDOM!
The church is NOT the Kingdom – it is the spiritual organism, made up of individual human beings who may, from time to time, be organized, humanly, to perform the work of the church – and the church is commissioned to preach the advance good news (and warning) contained in the gospel!
And what is that Gospel?
It is the "glad tidings," or "happy announcement" of the coming KINGDOM OF GOD! The church is NOT THE KINGDOM, it is the organism responsible for ANNOUNCING the coming Kingdom!
Christ told His disciples, following His resurrection, "...that repentance and remission of sins should be preached..." IN HIS NAME among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem! (Luke 24:47).
He prophesied, "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" (Matthew 24:14).
In a sense, the church is a type of the Kingdom; a microcosm. But it is NOT THE KINGDOM! The church does not "rule them with a rod of iron!" or smash governments of hostile, God-rejecting nations like shards of broken pottery! (See Revelation 2:26, 27.)
The church is called OUT of this world (John 15:18, 19; 1 John 2:15-17), and told NOT to partake of its Babylonish sins (Revelation 18:4). It is not "ruling" or holding sway over governments IN this world!
Contrary to the belief of those who like to justify a church organization structured as a vast, rich, powerful, worldly hierarchy, Jesus Christ spoke of His true Church as a "little flock" of persecuted, rejected, despised people – not having great, worldly pomp and splendor, NOT accepted by this world's leaders!
Christ predicted His true servants would be DRAGGED before kings. emperors, dictators, prime ministers, presidents and various heads of state – NOT WELCOMED WITH A RED CARPET!
"Behold, I send you [THE CHURCH] forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues, and ye shall be brought [manacled, under arrest] before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when-they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be HATED OF ALL MEN for MY NAME'S SAKE, but he that endureth to the end [of his life, if need be], shall be saved" (Matthew 10: 16-22).
Christ never intended His true church to have concourse with world leaders; to become respected, receiving accolades and approval from governments! He said, "If they have hated me, they wil1 hate you!"
It is a terrible PERVERSION of scripture to suggest the church is the KINGDOM OF GOD on earth. It is NOT. The church is the instrument in the hands of God to ANNOUNCE the coming Kingdom – it is described as a small, weak, sometimes scattered group, not rich in this world's goods, yet rich in faith, doing the WORK OF GOD!
Daniel's Vision – Christ, the ROCK
Centuries before Christ, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon saw a vision
which only God's prophet Daniel could interpret. You read of it in
Daniel's second chapter.
Following Daniel's rehearsal of exactly what the king had dreamed (without first being told – God revealed the secret to Daniel), Daniel gave the king the interpretation: "Thou, 0 king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath He given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potter's clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure" (Daniel 2:37-45).
Dozens of biblical, archeological, and historical references corroborate the truth of this inspired interpretation.
It is commonly understood by biblical scholars and historians that the vision of the great image seen by Nebuchadnezzar was nothing more than a graphic depiction of the four great world-ruling Gentile kingdoms which would supersede one another, culminating in the Roman Empire, which would in turn have several "resurrections" down through history until the time of the end.
It is impossible to misunderstand verses 44 and 45!
Clearly, when Daniel said, "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom... [and] it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall STAND FOREVER," it is obvious this prophecy culminates in the establishment of the KINGDOM OF GOD on earth!
Daniel explains: "Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, [from a supernatural source] and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the kings what shall come to pass hereafter;..." (Daniel 2:45).
Jesus Christ is the symbolic STONE.
Notice! "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual ROCK that followed them: and that ROCK was Christ!" (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).
Jesus Christ Himself is the ROCK or the "stone that was cut out without hands" which smashes the future United States of Europe represented by the ten toes of the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar.
Zerubbahel was a type of Christ. The name meant "One who is born in Babylon," and Zerubbabel was used, together with Ezra and Nehemiah, to effect the return of the captured Jews from their long captivity in Babylon, and to set about to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. The book of Zechariah contains many analogies relating to the establishment of God's Church, and to the setting up of the Kingdom of God on this earth in the future. Notice, "Who art thou. O great mountain? [a symbol for a great nation] before Zerubbabel [a type of Christ] thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it" (Zechariah 4:7).
Here, Christ is called the headstone of the temple, which is a type of the church.
Christ referred to Himself as the ROCK on which His true Church would be built! (Matthew 16:18). The entire 32nd chapter of Deuteronomy refers to Jesus Christ continually. "He is the ROCK, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He...then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the ROCK of his salvation...of the ROCK that begat thee thou are unmindful..." (Deuteronomy 32:4-18).
When the archangel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus Christ to Mary, he said, "Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His KINGDOM there shall be no end" (Luke 1:30-33).
Many times in scripture Jesus Christ is portrayed as a great ROCK. Read 2 Samuel 22:2, Psalms 27:5, 31:3, and Isaiah 8:14.
Now, notice the time setting of the prophecies concerning the four world-ruling Gentile kingdoms. For this, go to Daniel's seventh chapter. In the first seven verses, you see four great beasts, the lion representing ancient Babylon, the bear representing the Medo/Persian empire, the leopard representing the Greco/Macedo-nian empire under Alexander, and the four heads (verse 6) of the leopard representing Ptolemy Soter of Egypt, Antipater of Macedonia, Laomedon of Syria, and Seleucus Nicator of Babylon; the four generals who carved up Alexander's empire prior to his burial.
In the seventh verse is a picture of the emergence of the Roman empire, with its ten horns.
That these horns are not the same as the ten horns of the 17th chapter of Revelation is clear from verse 8, which places them successively, and not contemporaneously, showing that the "little horn" (the Vatican) causes three of the first horns to be "plucked up by the roots" (verse 8) which was the overthrowing, over a lengthy period of time, of the Ostrogoths, Vandals, and the Heruli from northern Italian provinces and the city of Rome.
That the "little horn" representing the papacy with its "eyes like the eyes of a man, and the mouth speaking great things," (verse 8) prevails UNTIL the time of the second coming of Christ is made clear by verse 9: "I beheld till the thrones were cast down [exactly analogous to the smashing of the toes of the image in the second chapter by the rock "cut out without hands"] and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set and the books were open" (Daniel 7:10, 11).
Notice how many times in this seventh chapter various prophetic references to the final Gentile kingdom, the last resurrection of the Roman Empire culminates in the second coming of Christ, and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on this earth!
You have already read of one such proof in verses 9 and 10.
Now, notice "I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven [see 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Matthew 24:30, 31; Revelation 1:7], and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a KINGDOM, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." There you have the second time in this same chapter in which the vision concerning the great successive Gentile world-ruling kingdoms in the second coming of Christ, the absolution of these Gentile powers, and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth!
Notice the third example: "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings [remember that king and kingdom are used synonymously], which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even for ever and ever" (Daniel 7:17, 18).
Now. notice the fourth example: "And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them: UNTIL the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the Kingdom" (Daniel 7:20-22).
The fifth example is found in verse 27, "And the kingdom and dominion. and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven. shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and all dominions [worldly governments] shall serve and obey Him!" (Daniel 7:27).
Now. turn to and read Zechariah 14. Read the whole chapter, paying particular attention to the first few verses, verse 9, and verses 12 through 19!
Plainly, this refers to the second coming of Christ, the beginning of the RULE of the Kingdom of God on earth, and the establishment of the first annual observance of the Feast of Tabernacles!
You Can INHERIT the Kingdom
Notice that the Kingdom of God is something we inherit. Jesus
Christ of Nazareth has already inherited the Kingdom of His Father;
and, like a multibillionaire benefactor, has written His will,
designating each one of us as potential inheritors of His vast,
unlimited estates – called the Kingdom of God!
Notice how Paul explains it, "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father" (Romans 8:15).
When we hear the dynamic message of the Kingdom of God; the gospel, which includes a demand that we repent (Matthew 4: 17), and when we are convicted by Christ's powerful message, we are commanded to be baptized, and then we are to receive, through the laying on of hands, the Holy Spirit! (Acts 2:38; 9: 17).
The Holy Spirit of God is given to those who obey God! (Acts 5:32).
When we receive the Spirit of God we are begotten with "the firstfruits of the Spirit" (Romans 8:23), but we are not yet BORN of God! We are heirs, not yet inheritors!
The New Testament comprises a legal document, as conveyed by its very name, the "New Testament," or the new WILL!
The Old Testament or old will was a covenant between Almighty God and the physical nation Israel, based upon material rewards for obedience in the letter of the law.
The new will, or New Testament is a document spelling out the terms and conditions by which we may become heirs of God – candidates to be drafted into His soon-coming Kingdom.
It is made quite clear we cannot EARN salvation, that salvation is from God's free, loving GRACE, and can never be "earned" by anything we can do! (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Yet, the apostle Paul asked, "...shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" He then said, "God forbid! How shall we, that are dead to sin live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk [live] in newness of life. For if we have been planted [a symbol of the death, burial and resurrection of the old self – baptism] together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection!" (Romans 6:2-5).
And what is sin? Sin is the transgression of God's law (1 John 3:4) as set forth in the Ten Commandments, and magnified by Jesus Christ in the sermon on the mount, and by His entire life and teaching.
Remember, Peter said repent, and be baptized and you shall receive the Holy Spirit! (Acts 2:38).
But repentance, baptism and the receiving of God's Holy Spirit do not put you into the Kingdom of God! For you are yet flesh! Remember, the Bible clearly says, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the KINGDOM OF GOD!" (1 Corinthians 15:50).
Notice how Paul explains it, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God: And if children, then HEIRS, heirs of God, and JOINT-HEIRS with Christ!" (Romans 8: 17).
Yes, heirs – not yet inheritors! Paul goes on to explain in the eighth chapter of Romans how the entire creation "waits for the manifestation of the sons of God..." and how we now have but the "firstfruits of the spirit" (verse 23) but that we have not yet inherited the Kingdom of God!
Notice! "Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep [die – become completely oblivious, unconscious in the grave] but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and WE [we who are alive and remain – we who are among the living at the time of the second coming of Christ which is announced by the last trump!] SHALL BE CHANGED." (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52).
Do you see? The Holy Word of God tells you very plainly that before you can enter into the Kingdom of God, you must be changed from human to spirit; from mortal to immortal; from decaying, earthly flesh to eternal, spirit life!
Jesus Christ is called "the firstfruits of them that slept!" (1 Corinthians 15:20).
He is called "the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29). Notice the order plainly stated in your Bible; "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be [in the future] made alive! But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits: afterward [and not one second before!] they that are Christ's AT HIS COMING!" (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).
What is a "Kingdom"?
In common, everyday usage, we speak of "the human kingdom." "the
animal kingdom," "the plant kingdom," or other various kingdoms
referring to various species, phyla, genera, or "kinds" of life! When one
speaks of "The kingdom of Great Britain" one knows immediately it is the
nation of Great Britain, located in the British Isles, with its
capital at London, with a prime minister and a parliament consisting of
the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and, at least in titular
office, commanding great love and respect among the British people, Queen
When Almighty God is first "introduced" to humankind in the book of Genesis it is through the "creation hymn" in the first chapter.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." The word for "God" is Elohim, which is a word with a plural ending (the singular would be Eloah just as in the case of Seraph (one seraph) or seraphim; two seraphs or more).
The proof is not only in the meaning of the Hebrew word, but evident in the context. "And God [Elohim – MORE than one person] said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26).
There is an important scripture in the New Testament which begins even prior to the account in Genesis the first chapter. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were MADE by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He [John] was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness to that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. HE CAME UNTO HIS OWN. AND HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God; even to them that believe on His name:" (John 1:1-12).
Of whom is this speaking'?
Can there be the remotest shadow of doubt in your mind'?
Obviously, this is speaking of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who "was in the world" and who "came unto His own" and gives them power to become "the sons of God" that believe on His name!"
And what does this tell you?
It tells you, conclusively, unequivocally that Jesus Christ of the New Testament IS THE GOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT!
Notice! "And the Word was MADE FLESH and dwelt among us..." (John 1:14). Compare this with Hebrews, the first chapter. "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [a] Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds: Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:1-3).
The Greek expression "express image" is Karakter from which our English word "character" derives. It means "engraving – the figure stamped; exact copy, representation!" Moffatt renders it "stamped with God's own character."
Believe it or not, Christ, that member of the dual family of God who became a human, born of the virgin Mary, is the PERSON of the godhead who did the creating!
That's right! Jesus Christ of the New Testament, in His life with the Father from eternity, was that member of the divine family of beings called "God (Elohim) who did the speaking (your Bible says He was the Word!) and who said "let there be light!"
For generations, millions have assumed through the false teaching of many of the so-called Christian churches that the God of the Old Testament was a harsh, unloving, angry and vengeful God, wreaking terrible vengeance upon those who incurred His wrath.
They assume that Jesus Christ came along, virtually usurping His Father's authority, overthrowing of the harsh, judgmental laws of the Old Testament, and substituting a newer, gentler, easier set of "laws" (which many people read as "suggestions") in the "New Testament."
Nothing could be further from the truth!
Notice that Almighty God created TWO of everything! There is duality throughout the creation, and duality throughout the plan of God.
Almighty God created two sexes, two human beings dissimilar only in their reproductive organs; yet similar in dozens and dozens of other ways!
We all have two eyes, two ears, two hands, two legs, two feet, etc., etc.
There are two poles, the north and the south; two "polarities" so far as electricity is concerned, positive and negative. Throughout the animal and the plant kingdom, one sees this pattern of duality portrayed.
There is type and antitype, a first and a second fulfillment of biblical prophecy. There is the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Paul spoke of "the first man Adam" and the "second man Adam," contrasting the original man, created by the hands of God, and Jesus Christ who was born of God by a resurrection from the dead.
Almighty God, as Elohim, represents a divine, spirit FAMILY of beings!
The human family is the microcosm of the Kingdom of God! Almighty God is the "inventor" of marriage, the author of the family!
He is the one who "invented" procreation, the limited creative ability of we human beings to "replenish the earth," by reproducing after our own kind.
The family is also a microcosm of the Church (Ephesians 5:22-32) and is a divinely-appointed unit of human beings, in and through which Almighty God intends we learn lessons vital to being brought into His Kingdom – His spiritual family!
It is because of this family relationship that God chooses to reveal Himself as our Father, and to whom Jesus said we should pray, "Our Father which art in heaven..." (Matthew 6:9-15). Jesus Christ is portrayed as our elder Brother, and people within the Church are called "brothers and sisters." We are all, collectively, called the "children of God," or "sons of God." Clearly, all of these are family terms! Spiritually, the Church is referred to as "Jerusalem which is above...which is the mother of us all" (Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 12:22).
What you see from this is that Almighty God is a FAMILY of divine beings; the Father and the Son. We may be begotten of Almighty God by His Holy Spirit, and eventually BORN of God either by an instantaneous change (1 Corinthians 15:50-52), if we are among those living at the second coming of Christ, or else born of God by a resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:23, 52).
Even as God started the whole of the human race – now approaching FIVE BILLION individuals – with but two original parents, so Almighty God is reproducing after His own kind – reproducing after the GOD KIND through a process called repentance. begettal, and salvation.
The Kingdom of God, then, has at its helm the divine, ruling family of the Father and the Son; it is the divine FAMILY OF GOD, into which we may be born!
The Kingdom of God Will Rule On This Earth!
Dozens of scriptures in the Bible absolutely prove that Jesus Christ
of Nazareth is coming back to this literal, physical earth!
Notice but a few; "...ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven!" (Acts 1:11).
"For as the lightning cometh out of the east. and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be...then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they [human dwellers on this earth! J shall SEE the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (Matthew 24:27-31).
As Christians, we are warned "Watch ye therefore for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh!" (Matthew 25:13).
In John's visions of the Day of the Lord and the second coming of Christ, he wrote, "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls [Greek: psuche. meaning lives] of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands: and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years" (Revelation 20:4).
In vision, John saw the very heavenly throne of God the Father and Jesus Christ coming down to this earth!
Notice! "And 1 John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down form God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God" (Revelation 21:1-3).
Emulating the praise of the saints of God, the four living creatures and twenty-four elders before the throne of God "...sung a new song, saying thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests [a "KINGDOM," margin] and WE SHALL REIGN ON THE EARTH!" (Revelation 5:9, 10).
Jesus Christ is coming again to this literal, physical earth! And where will He be? ON THE EARTH! Notice! "Behold the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; [this depicts the battle of Armageddon at the end of the day of the Lord, just prior to the seven last plagues!] ...then shall the Eternal go forth, and fight against those nations, ...and His feet shall stand IN THAT DAY upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east..." (Zechariah 14:1-4).
What constitutes one of the greatest possible promises Christ. ever made to you, as an individual'?
Surely you cannot surpass the promise made through John in the book of Revelation, when Christ said, "And he that over-cometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall RULE them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my father" (Revelation 2:26, 27).
Jesus Christ was predicted to inherit "...the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of HIS KINGDOM there shall be no end!" (Luke 1:32, 33). David was promised that he would never fail of his progeny to sit on the throne of David which was established forever on this earth! Speaking of the removal of that throne from Palestine to the British Isles, and the eventual inheritance of that same throne at His second coming, Jesus Christ prophesied, "Thus says the Lord Eternal: Remove the diadem [a symbol of kingly office!] and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low [a type of Jesus Christ who came as a meek, lowly and humble Savior] and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more [overturned! J until HE COME WHOSE RIGHT IT IS; and I will give it Him!" (Ezekiel 21:25-27).
Remember, you read that the very throne of God will be on this earth!
Now, notice what Jesus promises: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne" (Revelation 3:21).
There you have it!
The Kingdom of God is the divine, ruling family of God, a family into which we must be born!
How vastly different; how enormously more meaningful, how much GREATER is the real truth of the gospel of the Kingdom of God than the false gospel proclaimed by many professing Christian organizations today! Millions upon millions are simply deceived (Revelation 12:9). They hear a message about the person of Jesus Christ: they hear about Him as a dead Christ hanging on a cross, or the "little Lord Jesus away in the manger," and learn to sing childhood songs such as Yes, Jesus Loves Me, and are taught to love, and adore "the Lord."
They assume that the gospel is the story told over and over again at Christmastime about the birth of Jesus Christ, about His life, His ministry and His death. But they also believe in the purely PAGAN doctrines of the "immortality of the soul," and the pagan myth of an "ever-burning hell."
To millions the world represents nothing so much as a "soul factory." They assume each one of us has an "immortal soul" within us from the time of birth. Millions assume it is as if an automatic "switch" were set at the 'moment of our birth, which pronounces us GUILTY for some sin Adam committed!
Because of this "original sin" that switch points down to hell fire at the time of our death! Millions of professing Christians are taught that they are predestined to "go to hell" when they die! They see portrayed the desperate attempts of evangelists to "save" as many of these "souls" as they can! Not only do they hear of missionary efforts in the third-world countries abroad, and all around the world, but "home missions" aimed at our own populace of English-speaking peoples, and, frequently, one hears an impassioned evangelist stirring up to fever pitch the loyal and faithful in his congregation to give more in this desperate attempt to "save souls" from hell!
Lurid descriptions and accounts are given of the sufferings and torments of those who are in "hell."
But your Bible says, "the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years are finished!" (Revelation 20:5), and plainly says there is coming a one hundred year period during which those who never had a chance for salvation (which may well include some of your own loved ones, deceased relatives and family members!) will RECEIVE THAT CHANCE!
Read the entire 20th chapter of Revelation! Toward the end of that chapter you will see described the "Great White Throne Judgment" and how a great, latter-day resurrection of countless hundreds of millions of human beings will take place!
By that time, the Kingdom of God will have been in place on this earth for one thousand years!
By that time, Almighty God, now at the helm of a vastly enlarged family of divine beings will have produced on this earth literal UTOPIA! It will be a world of plenty, harmony, happiness, peace, abundance and JOY!
Your loved ones. perhaps your own children, a beloved mate, someone you loved very deeply and very dearly will be brought forth at that day into a glittering, dazzling, beautiful world, and, if God is calling you now, YOU WILL BE THERE able to participate in the resurrection of that loved one, able to teach that beloved individual the TRUTH Almighty God is showing you now!
How vastly DIFFERENT; how fantastically GREATER is the truth of Almighty God when compared to pagan fables!
Somehow, Almighty God is allowing you to learn some of His priceless truth!
Is your mind open to receive it? Have you carefully looked up and researched even scripture you read in this booklet'?
If you have, then you know you are believing in the truth of your own Bible, and not the cleverly-spoken words of some human leader who is trying to deceive, or "make merchandise" of those who he hopes will become "his followers"!
Surely. every one of us has a great purpose in our human lives! There is a purpose for your life! Isn't it about time you were busily fulfilling that purpose?
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This publication is intended to be used as a personal study tool. Please know it is not wise to take any man's word for anything, so prove all things for yourself from the pages of your own Bible.
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