What is this Kingdom?

What exactly is this Kingdom of Heaven?  The Kingdom of Heaven is not a religion, because it does not exclude other faiths.  It is not a way of life, because it is the only true Life. It is not a philosophy, since it is not one view of life but Life itself.  It is not a secular movement, because it recognizes God.  It is not a sign of rebellion against the status quo, since it is not based on anger or resistance, but on surrendering, simplifying, and service.

In Matthew 5, Jesus started to teach about what I consider the introduction of his central theme, how to live “the life” that God intended us to live, called the Kingdom of Heaven: the Life that is lived in Heaven.  And Jesus was reminding us that this is the life that we are to live while still on earth (as it is in Heaven, which Jesus also reminded us during the Lord’s prayer).  What is this life all about?  Jesus started describing the key points of this Kingdom of Heaven.  First he started saying “Blessed are the poor in spirit, because theirs in the Kingdom of Heaven”, meaning that we are supposed to be humble in order to start practicing this life.  Then he continues to list the rest of the characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven:  “Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted”.  What do you supposed that means?  Don’t try to be tough, don’t try to “pretend” that things are alright when they are not, but accept the suffering and pain that this life sometimes brings, and cry.  Because if you cry, “you will be comforted”, which may mean that crying itself helps us to feel better, as a coping mechanism, plus others will know that we are suffering and give us support.  Jesus was all about helping one another, especially when we are in pain.  This intoductory teaching or sermon continues with Jesus saying “blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.  Don’t be violent, but gentle, and this will help you reach what God promised for you.  Then He continues with saying “blessed those who hunger for righteousness, for they will receive it”.  Jesus was stressing on the importance of striving for treating each other as people are supposed to be treated; with fairness and honesty. Treat everyone the same, and if you do this, you will be treated the same way.  Jesus continues with being merciful, in order to receive mercy.  In other words, forgive others and have compassion.  Have a pure heart, meaning don’t harbor hatred and envy.    If you have a heart free from all those thoughts and feelings that poison us, then we will experience the heart of God.  Then Jesus stresses on being peacemakers, in other words, try to ammend any dispute or conflict, so that we can be known as sons of God.  Jesus also reminds us of that we will suffer on this earth for advocating for righteousness, for treating everyone the same, but we will be practicing the Kingdom of Heaven.  We are blessed even if others criticize and lie about us when we practice this life, because the reward that we will receive in Heaven is great.    Be humble, mourn,  be meek, strive for righteousness (fairness), be merciful, harbor no hatred, and work for peace; these  are the characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Everything else Jesus said is based on this central teaching.  This is the core of his message. But in order to practice this, we must die to our selfish ways.

Pride exalts us to a level higher than where we actually are, humility is allowing ourselves to be who we really are.  Self-sufficiency isolates and compartmentalizes us, dependence unites us (Psalm 133:1).  Control keeps us unsatisfied, surrender allows us to rest  peacefully (Psalm 46:10) .  Ambition implies a goal and reaching a goal requires strategy and planning for the future, simplicity allows us to clear our minds from wanting to live in the future and simply live in the present (Matthew 6:34).  We don’t “need” to define ourselves anymore, we simply live. We don’t need to claim that we “own” anything (not even the bodies we live in), because we then acknowledge we belong to something higher (Galatians 2:20,Haggai 2:8, Deuteronomy 10:14).  We are owned by something greater. We must give up everything, without reservation, in order to gain the true Life. (Luke 17:33)  So we must Surrender, then simplify, and then we are able to live the Kingdom of God by Serving.

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13 responses to “What is this Kingdom?

  • Zoë

    Hey, I just wanted to say thanks for giving me the address to your blog. It’s like a breath of fresh air – you have a way of putting things that is easy to understand. I know my blog can come across a little irreverent and like I’m questioning a little too much sometimes, but at the core my faith is strong. God bless, and I’ll be stopping by often!

  • Cindy Holman

    Your blog is very refreshing as you tell it like it is! I look forward to reading more from you and am adding you to my blogroll! Thanks so much for finding me! Blessings!

  • Mark Ketchum

    Just curious… what do you mean by, “it is not a religion because it does not exclude other faiths…” ?

    • Noel

      Glad you asked. My understanding of religion is an organized system that follows a specific doctrine or belief about spirituality in an attempt to give meaning to life, such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, etc. which most of the time claim that it is exclusive, or the one and only path to the Truth/God/Salvation etc. The Kingdom of Heaven surpasses all of that. Thank your for visiting.

      • Mark Ketchum

        Let me get this straight… you believe that other religions also have a path to God… that Jesus is not the only way?

      • Noel

        Hello Mark, this is my current thought about this: we are limited beings who are yet to understand all about God. The few things we do understand, for instance, is that we should love each other as ourselves. Like James 1:27 says “religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Jesus also said that the greatest commandment is to love others as the self (Mt. 22). There are no easy answers to your question, or any question. Loving others unconditionally is what I know for sure to be the “true religion” or path to God. We are still growing. Thank you.

  • Mark Ketchum

    I agree with you… although I question your thought process on “loving others unconditionally is what I know for sure to be the true religion or path to God.” I believe the true path to God is through Jesus… which of course involves loving others unconditionally, but there are other things involved as well… such as loving God with all your heart, mind, and soul.

    But my question to whether Jesus is the only way to God remains unanswered by you. The reason I ask this is because this question separates us from the world. Like you quoted above regarding perfect religion… “and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” If all religions and paths lead to God then how is the world stained?

    The world is stained in sin… we are to keep apart from that… and the only way to do this is via the Truth. And either Truth is absolute or it is gray… and if it is absolute, then when Thomas asked Jesus how to get to where He was going, and Jesus replied, ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” he was pretty specific. He didn’t say that He was “a” way, “a” truth, “a” life… and that “some” don’t come to the Father except through me… He said “the”, and “no one”… very specific.

    The big question is this… why would Jesus need to come down here and die for our sins if other paths lead to God? I mean He did say that we must believe in Him to have eternal life… or does that mean only Christians must believe in Him… Muslims and others don’t have to?

    I’m sorry to ask this, but I have never comprehended belief like this… it takes what the Gospels say to be true and reinterpret almost everything Jesus said, to make it true… I hope you can shed more light on why you believe this way, because Universalism does not make sense to me.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me…

    In Christ,
    Mark

    • Noel

      Mark,
      I think we are on accord here. Loving God is the primary thing to do in this Kingdom, but how exactly do we do this? By genuinely loving others…. Jesus taught us how to do this with his example. In John 13:34, He said “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you” If all religions lead to God (which I am not concluding is true) it would not mean that the world is not stained, some people still do not truly follow any religion. I believe this world is stained because we live selfish lifestyles, including those who claim to be “saved”. Sorry I cannot specifically answer your question about Jesus being the only way to God, if I attempt to do this, I would be getting ahead of myself. Unlike some Christians who think they have God completely figured out, or atheists who think they know God is not real, I cannot make such a bold conclusion yet. Maybe someday I will, but not today. I used to also refer to John 14:6 to prove that Jesus is the only way. I appreciate you reminding about how specific Jesus was about this. I also remember how specific Jesus was about loving our enemies, turning the other cheek, loving Him more than our own families, and equalizing hate with murder. How often do we really follow these commandments? I believe I must be careful not to prematurely think I have the answer (1 Corinthians 10:12). Peace.

      • Mark Ketchum

        All people follow some sort of religion… but they all be false gods if not the one true God. Even those that you deem to not follow a religion, worship self and follow the religion of atheism. Worship of self is just as bad as worship of Allah, Thor, Zeus, etc… if it is not the God of the Bible, come to earth in the flesh as Jesus, then it is not God and is not a path that leads anywhere other than death.

        And I don’t believe your argument regarding loving each other has anything to do with more than one path leads to the Father. True love is telling the truth… true love is admonishment… true love is discipline… true love is cutting through the lies… true love is recognizing that if somebody is heading some place that is horrible, you tell them. True love is not tolerance… is not passive.

        We do not have God all figured out… to believe so would be ignorant. But we do have the information that God gives us in Scripture, and to say we can’t know enough of Him to point us in the right direction… toward Jesus… means that our infinite God doesn’t know how to make Himself known… and I believe He does.

        In Christ,
        Mark

      • Noel

        Mark, I agree when you say everyone worships something, either the self, science, etc. but not necessarily as organized as a religion per se. Although discipline can certainly be done out of true love, I struggle with the idea that God’s love also involves eternal punishment. His grace is supposed to be unlimited, beyond what we can comprehend. I also believe God can make himself known. It is us, human, who fail to understand Him by not being sensitive enough to his calling. Peace.

      • Mark Ketchum

        I, too, struggled with eternal hell for a long time… kept me in unbelief for quite a while. But I came to the knowledge that God’s love dos not involve eternal punishment… but salvation… our sin and disobedience is what condemns us… not God. We were born for hell in our depraved state and because God loved us so much, He sent His Son to take our place… but He won’t force us… we must choose. So it is not God that sends us to hell, but rather God who offers us a way out of where we are already heading.

        Also, if God can make Himself known, but our human minds keep us from understanding Him… then God cannot make Himself known. If God can make Himself known to us, then He can make Himself known to us, despite our human minds. Is not God powerful enough to overcome His own creation’s limitations? I believe God can make Himself known to bacteria… enough so that bacteria can comprehend Him completely if God so wishes.

  • hifzan shafiee

    I think your thinking is almost same as mine, the only different is only our faith.

    http://hifzanshafiee.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/to-believe/

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