The Importance of the Kingdom To Believers

Seek-First-The-Kingdom-Of-God-And-His-RighteousnessHubby John and I originally published this article May 26, 2014 at our joint blog, The Coming Kingdom.   We’ve found that it is quite an eye-opener for most Christians to learn that what scripture teaches about the Kingdom and what the church has passed down about it are pretty different things!  The lesson we learned: Stop relying on teachers and allow the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to lead as the Scriptures speak for themselves

Heaven and the Kingdom of Heaven are NOT the same thing

Eastern Gate Golden Gate
The Eastern Gate in Jerusalem, through which Messiah will enter when He claims His Throne.

That statement flies in the face of what the modern church teaches.  If you accept what we present here, it will mean a fundamental shift in your perception of your role and destiny as a believer.  Thankfully the shift will be a rewarding one!  We hope you will read on and allow us to explain.

As the Word says, ‘To answer before listening — that is folly and shame… (Prov 18:13, NIV)

Definition of Heaven

Those who believe in Heaven agree that it is the dwelling place of YHVH, a spirit Being (John 4:24), and of His angels, who are also spirit beings. (Ps 104:4)  We are not told where Heaven is located, but the Scriptures give us the impression that it is upward and outward from Earth (Gen 28:12, John 1:51, etc.).  Since it is an eternal realm, existing outside of time, it probably occupies a completely different dimension than that of the physical universe.

Significantly, in the King James Version of the Tanakh (OT), “heaven” (Heb שָׁמַיִם shamayim, Strong’s H8064) is referred to more than 400 times, and in every instance the word is referring to (a) our earthly atmosphere; (b) the region we call ‘outer space;’ or (c) the dwelling place of YHVH and His angels.  There is not a single passage that mentions this realm as a dwelling place for Man.

When a few men seem to be taken into this realm, it is clear that they are out of their element.  The fact that some men may have been taken into this realm does indeed indicate that believers may have access to Heaven – probably for the purpose of worshipping and ministering before the Throne (as in Rev 7:15 and Zec 3:7) – but there is no indication that we will dwell there, whereas there is abundant indication that we will dwell in the physical plane.

In the New Covenant Scriptures (the NT), the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) (Strong’s G3772) is translated asHeaven’.  Once again, the meaning assigned to the word is that of the physical realm (the vaulted expanse of the sky with all things visible in it) or the dwelling place of YHVH (where God dwells and other heavenly beings)[1]

Many readers will object, “But we will be spirits, too, so of course we will dwell in a spiritual realm!”   We discuss that concept momentarily – we beg your patience.

The Kingdom of Heaven

The Kingdom of Heaven is also known as the Kingdom of YHVH, the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Israel.  We might better translate the Hebrew phrase as “The Kingdom Established by Heaven” or “The Kingdom Belonging to Heaven.” The Kingdom of Heaven is the physical place where human beings who love and serve YHVH live and dwell. Presently, the Kingdom exists in the hearts of its citizens – the followers of Y’shua – who dwell on this planet.  When Y’shua returns, He will physically establish the Kingdom in its governmental fullness and power here on Earth. [2]

The highest heavens belong to YHVH, but the earth he has given to man.  (Psalm 115:16, NIV)

For this is what YHVH says – he who created the heavens, he is Elohim; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited – he says, “I am YHVH, and there is no other.”  (Isaiah 45:18, NIV)

Ought ye not to know that YHVH Elohim of Israel gave the Kingdom over to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt? … And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of YHVH in the hand of the sons of David….  (2 Chronicles 13:5, 8)

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 [nations] shall serve and obey him.  (Daniel 7:27)

Entering the Kingdom

As we examine the Scriptures, we find that when we acknowledge Y’shua as Savior and King, we become part of a long string of exciting events:

  • We are made citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven in this life.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves  (Col 1:13 NIV)

  • We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live righteously in preparation for the full and eternal Kingdom.

That the righteousness of the law [Torah] might be fulfilled [Greek: pleroo, performed] in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  (Rom 8:4)

  • At Messiah’s return, the faithful dead will be raised from their graves (notice that they are not in Heaven), and then all believers will be given regenerated bodies.

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 shall be changed.  (1Cor 15:52)

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air [we don’t come with Him from Heaven] and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

And ye shall know that I am YHVH, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I YHVH have spoken it, and performed it, saith YHVH. (Ezek 37:13-14)

  • The dead were raised once before, at Y’shua’s death – they too rose from their graves; they did not descend from Heaven. (Matt 27:50-53)
  • The Kingdom will initially be established on this planet by Y’shua at His Second Coming.

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Messiah; and he shall reign for ever and ever.  (Rev 11:15)

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 [nations] shall serve and obey him (Dan 7:27)

  • Y’shua’s disciples will live and reign with Him!

But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.  (Dan 7:18)

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Messiah, and shall reign with him a thousand years.  (Rev 20:6)

  • The Kingdom will be eternally established on the New Earth (after the final Judgment) where believers will dwell eternally as resurrected and uncorrupted physical beings!

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from 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.  (Rev 21:1-3)

Enter into the REAL Kingdom of Heaven!

The scriptures are clear that first we begin living as citizens of The Kingdom in this life.  Obviously the full Kingdom will not be physically established until Y’shua returns, but citizenship in the Kingdom is available to all now, along with the privileges and responsibilities normally entailed in citizenship.

… the kingdom of God is preached [announced], and every man presseth into it.  (Y’shua speaking, Luke 16:16b)

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you  (Luke 17:21)

Our job as Kingdom citizens living in ‘this present world’ is to represent our King.  We are not to concern ourselves with the issues of this world system, but rather we are to prepare ourselves for our Master’s coming, while searching out and ministering to other potential Kingdom citizens.  In many ways we are an occupying army, holding the fort until the Conquering King arrives and fully establishes His Government. [3]

Now then we are ambassadors for Messiah, as though God did beseech you by us… (2 Corinthians 5:20)

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, … ye were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel [not citizens of the Kingdom of Israel/Kingdom of God], and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Messiah Y’shua ye who sometimes [at one time] were far off [from Israel/the Kingdom] are made nigh [brought into] [Israel/the Kingdom] by the blood of Messiah.  (Ephesians 2:11-13)

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves: (Colossians 1:13, NIV)

See also 1John 2:15, Romans 8:19, etc.

There is spiritual LIFE in the Kingdom!

The scriptures are also clear that once we have gratefully accepted the redemption provided by Messiah’s death and resurrection, we are still trapped within sinful flesh.   But YHVH has provided a means to defeat the flesh!  We are empowered by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of being able to walk (in this present life) in ‘the Way of Righteousness’ (Torah) in spirit and in truth and in love: [4]

For Messiah also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened [made alive] by the Spirit:  (1 Peter 3:18)

That the righteousness of the law [Torah] might be fulfilled [Grk: pleroo, performed] in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  (Romans 8:4) (See also Romans 8:10)

[Y’shua speaking] —  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in Truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  (John 4:23)

Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law [Torah] is the Truth Psalm 119:142

So what DOES happen when we die?

We have given the subject of death some study in response to questions from friends. Though we see that there is plenty of room for debate on the subject, we believe that the scriptures present a strong case for a period of spiritual ‘sleep’ or unconsciousness that we call ‘death.’  (This is also the view that has been traditionally held by the Jews).  It appears that believers are awakened out of that sleep upon Y’shua’s return:

And ye shall know that I am YHVH, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I YHVH have spoken it, and performed it, saith YHVH.  (Ezekiel 37:13-14)

For Adonai himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Messiah the firstfruits; afterward they that are Messiah’s at his coming (1 Corinthians 15:22-23)

See also 1 Thessalonians 4:14, John 11:11, 1 Thess 5:10, etc.

His Resurrected Body!

One way we know that we will not be ‘spirit beings’ is because Y’shua has already demonstrated to us the kind of bodies we will have.  When He was resurrected, He made a point of showing us that He was a physical being who ate and could be touched, yet with new “supernatural” powers, such as being able to walk through walls. (John 20) YHVH is restoring all things: Believers will be restored to the original Edenic condition!

What about everybody else?

All other deceased people will be called out of their ‘sleep’ at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment, after the thousand years of the Millennial Kingdom:

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished…  Rev 20:5

When we are awakened by the trumpet call of the angels, it will seem to us as though we have been brought into the Savior’s presence immediately upon death, because we will have had no consciousness of the passing of time. [5]  This would agree with Paul’s words when he speaks of being “absent from the body and …present with the Lord.” (2Cor 5:8)

However, we are not didactic on this subject: Y’shua Himself told the story of the dead (but apparently conscious) man in Hades (Luke 16:20-31).  When Y’shua was on the cross He said that the thief would join Him ‘in paradise’ that same day (Luke 23:43) (though we should keep in mind that YHVH’s days are not the same as our days).  Also, in Matt 22:31-32, Y’shua refers to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as being alive, although this could be understood to mean that they are alive but ‘sleeping.’

It seems undeniable that there is much regarding the state of ‘death’ that is not currently clear to Man.  It is our peace and comfort to know that Y’shua is in control of this matter, and that whatever the process of death and resurrection actually is, we can depend on Him to manage it righteously and justly!

Then comes the Resurrection!

Thankfully, Scripture is plain that all believers who bear the seal of the Holy Spirit are physically raised to meet Messiah “at the last trumpet” (1 Cor 15:52), being simultaneously regenerated (given new and sinless flesh like that enjoyed by Adam at creation), and that they will live in this regenerated flesh on planet Earth during the Millennial Kingdom.  Subsequently, they will live in the new earth/universe for eternity, as citizens of the Eternal Kingdom of YHVH, over which Y’shua rules as King.  [6]

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 shall be changed.  (1 Corinthians 15:52)

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (1 Corinthians 15:53, paraphrasing Isaiah 25:8)

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Messiah, and shall reign with him a thousand years.  (Revelation 20:6)

This First Resurrection will occur when Messiah returns.  His people will “meet Him in the air” {notice we don’t descend with Him]  [7]  and will battle at His side against the enemy’s forces, which will be totally defeated by Messiah.  Afterwards, Messiah will establish His Throne in Jerusalem and begin His Millennial Reign.  This is all explained in Messiah’s Revelation as given to the apostle John and is also referred to by Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah and the other prophets. (Ex: Rev, Chapters 17-19)

The SON OF DAVID will rule forever!

When the New Testament Jewish believers referred to the Kingdom, they had the biblical perception of an earthly kingdom ruled over by Messiah, who was The Son of David and heir to David’s throne.

Ought ye not to know that YHVH Elohim of Israel gave the Kingdom over to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt? … And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of YHVH in the hand of the sons of David….  2 Chronicles 13: 5, 8

And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?  Matthew 12:23

And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna [save us!] to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; [8] Hosanna in the highest.  Matthew 21:9

Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.  Mark 11:10

So the last trump sounds, Y’shua returns, His disciples (dead and alive) meet Him in the air, and we all join in the final battle in which the enemy is defeated. [9]  Following that, the earthly Millennial Kingdom is established.

There is no indication from Scripture that we will dwell in Heaven.  Our place is in the physical realm.

Some thoughts concerning the Millennial Kingdom:

So now we will consider the Millennial Kingdom that we WILL dwell in.  It may not be the pretty picture we are allowed to imagine in the church:

  • The planet will be devastated from YHVH’s judgment and war (Armageddon):

Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings. Micah 7:13

And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. Rev 16: 18-20

And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven [destruction of people, animals and plant life] Rev 18:21

  •  There will be survivors who are neither “saved” (loyal to Y’shua) nor even regenerated;

And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. Rev 9:20-21

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, YHVH of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, YHVH of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.  Zechariah 14:16-17

  • There WILL be rebellion demonstrated toward Y’shua (and His disciples) at least at the end of the Millennial Reign.

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. Rev 20:7-8

And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, YHVH of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.  Zechariah 14:17

Messiah (and His people) will have a lot to deal with. This is why scripture warns us four times that Messiah will ‘rule with a rod of iron– the job will be long and hard and there will be opposition.  (See Psalm 2:9, Revelation 2:27, 12:5 and Rev 19:15.)

This is not what a lot of Christians signed up for, but it is the reality of what we will face as the faithful servants of Messiah. Are we prepared?

Our comfort and encouragement is that the faithful get to rule and reign with our Wonderful Messiah, and they will eventually find themselves living in unity in a new earth, surrounded by those of like mind and under the benevolent rulership of Messiah! Now THAT is worth working toward!!!

So where did the idea of “going to Heaven” come from??

“Going to Heaven” is a pagan (Greek) concept (i.e., ‘spirits dwelling in spiritual realms’) that was prevalent in the early centuries of the church, and which found its way into the church along with Easter bunnies and similar pagan nonsense.

In pagan Greek thought, the flesh was already in its intended state, and therefore irredeemable.  The idea of resurrected flesh was even repugnant – the Humanistic Greek goal was to be released from the flesh. This idea, combined with a weak understanding of the Kingdom, meant that converted pagans had a hard time understanding or accepting that their flesh would be raised incorruptible. (1Cor 15:52)  Instead, they imagined themselves being resurrected as spirit beings – what we call ‘angels.’

Of course, spirits live in a spiritual realm, so it was ‘natural’ for the pagan converts to begin identifying the Christian religion’s spiritual realm (Heaven) as their ultimate destination.  This belief persisted and was not discouraged during the many centuries of the Catholic Church’s leadership.   By a process called syncretism [10], this pagan doctrine was incorporated into “Christianity,” and this errant heritage remains with us today.   Modern-day western Christians, too, imagine the Kingdom of (i.e, belonging to) Heaven to be Heaven itself, but as we have seen, this is simply not true.

What did the first Christians believe about the Kingdom?

In the First Century, the disciples fully expected to live in an earthly Kingdom ruled from Israel, which is why they asked Y’shua if He was ready to restore the Kingdom to Israel.  He did not correct their understanding!  He simply told them that it was not for them to know the time that the Kingdom would be returned to Israel!  (Acts 1:6-7)

When the disciples spoke and wrote of the Kingdom that was to be ‘restored to Israel, they referred to it as “the Kingdom of God,” “God’s Kingdom” (Luke 22:17-18) or “the Kingdom of Heaven,” with ‘God’ and ‘Heaven’ being used as a ‘code words’ for YHVH.   (They were not allowed to publicly use His actual Name). [11]  They could not even safely talk or write about “The Kingdom of Israel,” another scriptural name for the Kingdom, because that had political implications that could get them in trouble with the Roman authorities.  Nevertheless, calling it the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven is accurate: It IS God’s Kingdom, because He established it, and it IS Heaven’s Kingdom, because it is accountable to Heavenly authority!

For our conversation [Grk: politeuma – government; the administration of civil affairs or of a commonwealth] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Master Y’shua Messiah… (Phil 3:20)

As time passed, incoming Gentile church leadership drew away from teaching things “Jewish” [for political and financial reasons which we have neither time nor space to discuss here].   Study of Torah and the Tanakh (Old Testament) declined.  New Gentile converts were deficient in their understanding of the biblical (OT) teachings, especially teaching having to do with the Kingdom (which appears to have been ‘spiritualized’ in an attempt to forestall Roman governmental hostility).

These Gentile converts, looking through their own cultural lenses [11], read and heard this phrase “the Kingdom of Heaven” with their ancient pagan understanding regarding the afterlife (i.e., ‘spirits dwelling in spiritual realms’) and made the connection that they would become spirits and enter Heaven.

BACK TO THE BEGINNING

YHVH, praise His Name, plans to restore our flesh to its original sinless condition!  From His perspective, our flesh was created to be beautiful – a wonderful machine designed for His use and glory! (Now we see why the enemy has worked so hard to convince us that we should desire to be free of the flesh. He always stands in opposition to the Truth.)

YHVH designed our flesh to live on the physical plane in a physical world for the purpose of accomplishing physical tasks – just as Adam and Hawah (Eve) were originally created to do.  He has promised to “restore all things,” and that is exactly what He is in the process of doing! (Matt 17:11)  Praise Him!

The Kingdom of Heaven has come to us!

It is important to be aware of a very significant general principle: From the beginning, YHVH has always come to Man, rather than inviting Man to join Him:

  • He created Adam and Eve as physical beings in a physical world, and He came to them, walking with Adam in the Garden. (Gen 1)
  • He came to Noah. (Gen 5 & 6)
  • He came to Abraham. (Gen 11, 12 etc)
  • He came to Moses. (Exodus)
  • His Presence came to dwell in the Mishkan (tent of meeting) in the camp of the Israelites.

And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.  Exodus 29:43

  • His Presence came to dwell in the Holy of Holies in the Temple.

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking YHVH; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised YHVH, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of YHVH; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of YHVH had filled the house of Elohim.  2 Chronicles 5:13-14

  • He came to dwell among us in the form of Y’shua.

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

  • Y’shua expects the Kingdom to be here on earth:

Thy kingdom come: Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Matthew 6:10

  • We are told that He will dwell with us in the Eternal Kingdom.

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 21:3

  • We are repeatedly told that the New Jerusalem will descend OUT of Heaven to dwell here on Earth.

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.  (Messiah speaking, Revelation 3:12)

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  Revelation 21:2

And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.   Revelation 21:1

  • The prophets repeatedly tell us that Messiah will rule from Jerusalem.

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of YHVH, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law [Heb: Torah], and the word of YHVH from Jerusalem Isaiah 2:3-4

But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of YHVH [Mount Zion] shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.  Micah 4:1

At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of YHVH; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of YHVH, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart Jeremiah 3:17

See also Isaiah 27:13, Isaiah 24:23, Joel 2:32, Joel 3:16-17, Micah 4:8, Zechariah 8:8 and many others.

  • We are told that we will dwell in the land (which in Scripture always means the Land of Israel), and that we will go up to Jerusalem to worship. (Isa 2:3)  In other words, although people will live all over the planet, YHVH’s government will be in the Land of Israel, with headquarters in Jerusalem.

And David my servant [aka Messiah] shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David [aka Messiah] shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I YHVH do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.  Ezekiel 37:24-28

For YHVH will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers [Gentiles] shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.  Isaiah 14:1  (Note that the House of Jacob does not cleave to the Gentiles….)

See also Isaiah 2:3, Jeremiah 7:7, Jer 33:15-16, Ezekiel 37:22, Ezek 20:40, Ezek 37:13-14, Dan 7:13-14, Dan 7:27, etc.

  • We are also told that after the Millennial Kingdom, YHVH will create a new earth (Rev 21:1), for which there would be no purpose except that we will be dwelling on it!

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. Isaiah 65:17

For this is what YHVH says – he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited – he says, “I am YHVH, and there is no other.”  Isaiah 45:18, NIV

Y’shua answered, My kingdom is not of this world: [13] if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. John 18:36

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from 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, [14] and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  Revelation 21:1-3

  • It is clear that although the Kingdom has been announced [and is currently active] here on earth, it will be fully established when Y’shua returns.

But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto youMatthew 12:28

And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.  Luke 10:9

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  1 Corinthians 15:24

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Messiah: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  Revelation 12:10

Perhaps we have overwhelmed you with so many verses, yet these are just a very small sample of the verses having to do with Y’shua’s Kingdom!  Our hope is that you will take the time to look for more on your own.  This subject is of crucial importance to believers.

So what is the difference between the Kingdom of Heaven and Heaven itself? 
The Kingdom IS the Gospel!

The church has been teaching for generations that ‘The Gospel’ is ‘The Good News of Salvation,’ but this is not what Y’shua taught!  Y’shua spent three years teaching the Good News of the arrival of the long-promised Kingdom of YHVH, and instructed His disciples to go out and preach (Greek: εὐαγγελίζω [euaggelizō]: proclaim; announce) that same good news:

As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’   Matthew 10:7, NIV

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached [euaggelizō: proclaimed] in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.    Matthew 24:14

And he [Y’shua] said unto them, I must preach [euaggelizō: announce] the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.  Luke 4:43

Y’shua said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach [euaggelizō: proclaim] the kingdom of God.  Luke 9:60

From that time Y’shua began to preach [euaggelizō: proclaim], and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Matthew 4:17

And Y’shua 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.  Matthew 9:35

There are plenty more verses of this type. [15]  All of this ‘gospel preaching’ (announcing the Good News of the Kingdom) was done before Y’shua’s atoning death and resurrection and before the apostles even understood the meaning of Y’shua’s coming death and resurrection!

We never hear Y’shua telling us to preach the “gospel of salvation.

In fact, that term is found in scripture only once, in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. (Eph 1:13)   Salvation was not the subject of Messiah’s message –

His message was the joyful news of the establishment of His Kingdom, and the need for people to repent and become fit citizens for that Kingdom!

If you search the New Testament scriptures, you will not find Y’shua teaching much about His atoning death and resurrection, with the exception of a few brief and cryptic mentions of it just prior to His death. [16]   He does not elaborate upon it at all.

Why?

After much study and prayer on this subject, we have come to the inescapable conclusion that Y’shua’s main purpose in coming was to establish the Kingdom for which His Father had been longing since before Creation, not solely ‘to save sinners,’ per se.  [17]

Theft in the Garden

When Man sinned (rebelled) in the Garden, we literally stole YHVH’s Kingdom from the Creator by handing our God-granted dominion over to the enemy.  This did not take YHVH by surprise! In anticipation of that terrible day, it has always been YHVH’s Eternal Plan to return His Creation to its original purpose – a Kingdom that would love, honor, and serve HIM.

The Plan of Redemption is not so much about our salvation as it is about the re-establishment of YHVH’s Kingship.  It’s about us serving YHVH.

It is not about us – it is all about YHVH!!!

We often hear it said, “Y’shua loves you so much that if you were the only person on earth, He would have died for you.”   This is very true, because of Y’shua’s great Love, but a more accurate statement would be:

Y’shua loves the Father so much that if you were the only person on the planet, He would have died for you so that there could be at least one person to live in the Father’s Kingdom and give Him the love and honor and glory He deserves!

In other words, the Good News is not that we can be saved, but that The Kingdom of YHVH has been established for the honor and glory of the Father, and that we have been invited and empowered to live in that Kingdom!

If we truly love the Father, this is the best news in all of history!  To love means to place the welfare of another above our own. (1 Cor 13:4-8)  If we love the Father, as Y’shua loves Him, then the only thing that should be important to us is that His desire should be satisfied.  We should welcome any opportunity that allows us to bring His righteous desire to fruition.  Salvation is not an end in itself. Salvation is a tool that enables us to enter YHVH’s presence, making His desire for fellowship a reality, and bringing Him glory and honor!

So why is the Kingdom important to believers?

The Kingdom is important to us because we were created to be citizens of the Kingdom of YHVH!  We were created for the purpose of living in fellowship with the King of Kings in His Kingdom!  We are missing the point of salvation if we do not begin living as citizens of His Kingdom in this life, while preparing for our work in the Millennial Kingdom.

We are so grateful to Y’shua, Who brought us the Good News of the establishment of His Kingdom, and Who has given Himself as the sacrifice for our sin so that we can be citizens of the Kingdom!  He has even given us the gift of the Holy Spirit, Who seals us unto redemption, and Who gives us the power to live righteously in this life, as we prepare ourselves to be Y’shua’s spotless Bride.

We, the authors, are learning to live as citizens of the Kingdom, and what joy it is to live according to the statutes of that Kingdom (The Way of Righteousness aka Torah) rather than by the standards of this polluted world’s system!

One day soon, those who ‘obey the commandments of YHVH and have the testimony of Y’shua Messiah’ (Rev 12:17) will welcome our Betrothed, our Messiah, back to this planet.  We will be His Helpmeet to assist Him in the restoration of all things!   We will enjoy eternal citizenship in the Perfect Kingdom of The King of Kings!  Praise Him!  Even so, come, Adon Y’shua!

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the Water of Life freely.  Rev 22:17


© John and Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog and The Coming Kingdom Blog, 2014.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Lamb’s Servant Blog and The Coming Kingdom Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to John and Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog and The Coming Kingdom Blog, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


FOOTNOTES

[1]  Strong’s G3772

[2]  He will initially rule what is called the Millennial Kingdom, on this present planet. At the end of the Millennial Reign, we are told that He will destroy the present planet and create a new atmosphere and a new earth – possibly even a new universe.

[3]  Some additional references are: Mar 9:1, Luke 9:27, 1Pe 2:9, Mat 12:28, Ex 19:6, Rom 14:17, 1Pet 4:2, Gal 2:20, Titus 2:12

[4]  Some additional references are: 1Pe 1:2, Eph 1:13, Eph 2:18, 2Cr 1:22, 1Cr 3:16, 1Cr 6:11, Rom 8:9, 1Jo 3:24, Jam 2:26, 1Cr 2:12, Hab 2:4, Gal 5:16, Rom 8:26-27

[5]   Did YHVH perhaps give us the nightly experience of sleep as a sort of ‘taste of death’ in order to comfort and encourage us that we will wake up yet once more, even after death?

[6]  Some additional references are: Rev 21:3, Jer 3:17, Eph 1:13, etc.

[7]  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air [we don’t come with Him from Heaven] and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

[8]  See Psalm 118:26

[9]  If you are thinking, “What about the Rapture?” that is another topic altogether. Please see our article THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION OF MESSIAH Y’SHUA. (Not yet published but being worked on.)

[10]  Syncretism: the union (or attempted fusion) of different systems of thought or belief (especially in religion or philosophy) (online dictionary at www.Audioenglish.net)  To its credit, the Catholic church is honest and forthright about its participation in syncretism.

[11]  Supposedly they could not talk or write about “The Kingdom of YHVH” because their religious leaders had made it a law punishable by death not to pronounce the name of YHVH.  However, there is considerable scriptural, Talmudic, archeological and secular evidence that the Name of YHVH was being pronounced aloud during Y’shua’s time. For example, we know for certain that the name was pronounced during temple worship, and there are records of rabbis (100 years after Y’shua’s ministry!) being killed by the ROMANS for pronouncing the Name during their teaching of scripture.  (The Romans were attempting to eradicate Judaism because they associated the religion with rebellion and ‘atheism.’)

[12]  For a discussion of the Gentile understanding of afterlife, please see WHERE DID THE CHURCH’S CONCEPT OF “GOING TO HEAVEN” COME FROM? (not yet published but available upon request)

[13]  Y’shua spoke truly when He said that His kingdom “is not of this world” (John 18:36) – not only is His Kingdom completely alien to this world’s system, but ultimately this planetary world will be destroyed and a new earth will be created, which will be the location for His Eternal Kingdom.

[14]  It is quite possible that the ‘holy city…adorned as a bride’ is the Body of Believers themselves.   We see definite scriptural indication that believers will have access to Heaven, which would explain why they would be ‘coming down out of Heaven,’ but the point here is that the believers ARE coming down and that YHVH’s Presence will be dwelling with them on the planet.

[15]   A few additional references are: Mat 8:11, Mat 24:14, Mar 1:14, Luke 4:43, Luke 8:1, Luke 9:2, Luke 9:11, Luke 10:11, Luke 11:20, Luke 17:20-21, Luke 21:31, Luke 22:16, 1Th 2:12, Hbr 12:28

[16]  Matt 12:40, Matt 17:9, Matt 17:22-23, Matt 20:17-19, etc.

[17]   For a more comprehensive discussion of Messiah’s purpose in coming to earth, see our article, WHY DID Y’SHUA COME TO PLANET EARTH?

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “The Importance of the Kingdom To Believers”

  1. Another excellent article full of truth! I’m glad I waited until I had time to read it carefully. Among many great thoughts, here’s one that really jumped out at me:
    “Salvation is not an end in itself. Salvation is a tool that enables us to enter YHVH’s presence, making His desire for fellowship a reality, and bringing Him glory and honor!”
    If we can get our hearts and minds around that truth, then we will be well on the way to living as He designed – not for ourselves, but for His purposes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen, Al!! It really is all about HIM, for which I am truly grateful – if salvation was all about us (“He saves us because He loves us”), that would make US the ‘gods,’ which would make things pretty weird pretty fast. 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s