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Last update: 7.1.2011

Translated Vladimír Gunda

November 2009


Part Five - The Kingdom of God


,,Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." (Mt 21:43:00)


At this point it is appropriate to deal with a serious objection - Scripture speaks of the God's kingdom, or even the kingdom of heaven. How can this be reconciled with the statement that all authority in the Kingdom of God will be taken up by people? Isn't the kingdom of heaven in heaven? Does the Bible set a precedent for such assumption of power?

Here we encounter the problem of contemporary biblical terminology. Each culture creates its own way of expressing ideas. Even cultures and communities developing side by side create their own different vocabulary. Several millennia divide us from the terminology of biblical times. In order to ascertain what exactly the writers then meant under the term God's kingdom or heavenly kingdom, we must find out in what sense this term was generally used. Let's have a look at one interesting case.


Inheritance of JHVH (Jahve, Jehova) - precedent for transfer of power

In Deuteronomy and in Psalms there appears an inconspicuous term - Jacob/Israel is the lot of his inheritance (KJV). (De 32:9; Ps 33:12) In Part three we discussed the term inheritance from the legal point of view - transfer of property with all rights and obligations of the original owner. It is logical that this transfer is meaningful only when the heir can take advantage of such rights and is able to carry out his obligations. Therefore wise ancestors ensure that their heir takes over the inherited property only when he reaches adulthood.

So we face a really serious fact - Yahweh is heir!

So what does this imply:

1.    This fact contributes to the assumption that even Yahweh, in the astronomical scale, is subject to forward development.

2.    He must have his ancestors (ancestor) - that is, someone He received the inheritance from. No doubt, the Biblical report reflects a principle, which is understandable for us mortal humans, because these ancestors are obviously not dead.

3.    This is the precedent we require- it reveals the principle of transfer of power - among celestial spheres as well.


Just as Yahweh (1st heaven) could obtain authority (on a hereditary basis) over Israel from his predecessor and thus become their only God, so anointed (spiritually mature and responsible) Christians can obtain authority over the Earth and thus also become God. (Ex 7:1; Joh 10:34,35; God=powerful)

Note : This is a vanguard of coming free power at the Earth level - at the level of our, in some way "zero", heaven. In Bible, heaven is sometimes a synonym of government authority. (La 2:1; Jer 4:23; Isa 34:2-5; Re 21:1-3) Figuratively, to be in heaven can mean to have authority: "... And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus ..." (Eph 2:6 KJV) This synonym logically originates from the time of ancient theocracies, where the influence of heavenly powers, so to speak, was palpable.


What then is the Kingdom of God?

In the days of Christ, the Kingdom of God, or, if you like, the kingdom of heaven, was a very real topic. John the Baptist began to preach its coming. (Mt 3:1,2) Jesus Christ continued in his work. These are known facts, but their meaning is often blurred. Fortunately, evangelists maintained one statement that provides a very visual explanation:

"And so I tell you," added Jesus, "the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce the proper fruits." (Mt 21:43 KJV)

What does this statement tell us:

1.    The Jews already had God's Kingdom, the kingdom of heaven (on Earth of course), but they had to lose it.

2.    This kingdom had to be given to someone else who would meet its criteria (simultaneously there is no reason to believe that the Kingdom of God should be elsewhere than on Earth).

3.    If any government is to be legally declared as God's government, it must meet the stipulated criteria (the fruit of God's spirit) or to pursue them seriously.

4.    People (Jews), although they tried, failed to meet these criteria.


Note : Today, this principle can be compared to that of newly created states. Such a new state is legally recognized by other states as a sovereign state after it meets the required criteria or if there is real hope that it will meet them, and if the newly established state reaches its power lawfully. So also the Kingdom of God - but it has other, more serious criteria.

The question - 'What is the Kingdom of God? can be answered that it is a system of government meeting the criteria established by God (heaven), pursuing God's objectives.


The Kingdom of God and the apostles

Did listeners of Jesus and John truly understand the term 'the Kingdom of God' in this way? There is no doubt about it: "While the people were listening to this, Jesus continued and told them a parable. He was now almost at Jerusalem, and they supposed that the Kingdom of God was just about to appear." (Lu 19:11 GNB)

Jews, including Apostles, envisaged under the term 'God's (heavenly) kingdom' the political power of Messiah which will defeats Rome, and will even dominate the entire world. This is a historical fact. (e.g. J. Flavius, The Jewish War)

Even after Jesus' resurrection the Apostles could not get rid of this idea: "When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?" (Ac 1:6, GNB) If God's heavenly kingdom should not be in heaven (this idea came into existence much later - it was developed by mystics and its spreading was due to waiting fatigue - unfulfilled expectations), what is the mistake of the Apostles?



While being investigated, Jesus answered Pilate's question whether he was the king of the Jews or not, somewhat mysteriously at first sight:

"...My kingdom is not of this world: ... is my kingdom not from hence." or "My kingdom does not belong to this world... No, my kingdom does not belong here!" (Joh 18:36 KJV, GNB)

Isn't the statement about the establishment of the political power of God's kingdom in conflict with this statement of Jesus?

Some critics reproached the Christians (arguing with this statement) for seizing political power. These reproaches suggest that such critics failed to understand the actual situation. How should Jesus explain [1] to Pilate briefly and clearly:

1.    That his kingdom will gain political power (according to the precedent of the 1st covenant) no sooner than in about 400 years (Ac 7:6,7) and so this kingdom will relate neither to Pilate nor to ten generations of his descendants?

2.    That this kingdom will not conquer the world by sword, but by spirit (Zep 4:6; ideology and its preaching), which was -in terms of the strategy then, and therefore in the eyes of Pilate also- a completely absurd and ridiculous notion which Pilate would not believe?

3.    That his kingdom will not in any way threaten the power of the then Rome? That is what the Romans feared the most.

4.    That Jesus was not so much the expected leader of the uprising against the Romans?


Jesus responded to Pilate's question very briefly - my kingdom (covering the whole planet) is not of this (current pagan) world. How come?


The Kingdom of God and the world

According to the exact wording of the text, Jesus was in reality speaking about the source of power of the Kingdom (which is evident when comparing different translations). Every rule needs authorization in order for to be carried out. At that time, people (world) were not yet vested with power that would justify their governing in the Kingdom of God. By then only heaven had this power, which offered to carry out this project. From a legal point of view this kingdom could not have been gained by force, as the Jews imagined (God imposes nothing on people), but only by voluntary acceptance of the attributes of the kingdom's power (in some way a "velvet revolution"), what eventually happened.

Christians have to convince the world by their preaching and example. Pilate probably understood the legal aspect of the problem - he considered Jesus' answer as satisfactory (Pilate was a very shrewd diplomat).

Jesus also openly said that if the project of the Kingdom of God would receive support [2] , and the kingdom thus became its part (to the intent the same as Jewish was), Christians could not continue to remain pacifists, but would have to defend the interests of the kingdom even with the sword.

"... If my kingdom belonged to this world, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. ..." (Joh 18:36, GNB)


The rise of the Kingdom of God

Christ's pacifism is usually understood unrealistically. While war is the greatest evil which exists, Christ did not condemn the principle of war, because in some cases it really might be inevitable. True morality must not be "toothless".

The need for the sword (Lu 22:36-38) has become very actual at the time when the power of this kingdom was already legally recognized by the people (all nations joined Christianity willingly) and at the time it was seriously threatened by military raids by Huns, Tartars or the Islamic Army bringing competitive ideology. And this threat is a live issue up to this day.

Christ came with a revolutionary idea - you can fight evil, and very effectively, by passive resistance. (Mt 5:39) This tactic can be very effective and impressive; proven by Mahatma Gandhi in India's liberation.

By this tactic Christians eventually "conquered" and subdued Rome under the "leadership" of Christ. Due to the then usual tactics, neither Jews nor the apostles could really count on something like that; their misconception of how God's kingdom will come stemmed there from. The Jews would not accept the idea that they would reach their kingdom in this "cowardly" way [3] .

Therefore, Jesus had to leave the apostles in their fallacy, and this is the root of the constant fumbling in the case of God's kingdom.

So they only received detailed instructions and a model on how to behave without being explicitly told by Jesus that this was exactly the way they could attain their desired kingdom. (Joh 16:12; compare with Ac 1:6-8)


The Kingdom of God as the prospect

Jesus expressed a very important characteristic of this kingdom in the following statement: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you..." (Mt 6:33)

Christ did not anticipate that the new nation, of which the kingdom had been passed (Christians) on, would immediately reach all the necessary, specific characteristics of the respective kingdom. To build up a functional and efficient system of power (kingdom, state), especially according to the strict criteria of the Kingdom of God, is laborious and time- consuming work. Christ therefore gave Christians this instruction, that they should emphasize justice and thus strive (by today's terminology) for the creation of a state that will respect the rule of law. An important characteristic of the Kingdom of God is development, particularly in the area of law.

Note : Please note that Christians, unlike Jews, were not given any state-forming regulation (Act).

Christians should be able to form such an Act, rules governing the administration of their dominion, by themselves [4] and they should do so continuously - that is, adapt it to their level of development and improve it continuously. From this fact follows that Christians got more freedom. To be free is more difficult than to be a "slave". Freedom = human rights + responsibilities.

The promised kingdom was finally set up in the fifth century, when Rome - "slave driver" of the Christian nation - fell under the invasions of Germanic tribes - Vandals, Markomans, Visigoths, Franks and others. However, at that time, Christian teaching had a prevailing ideological influence. Christians gradually took over all political power over the territory of the defeated empire and created the so-called "Holy Roman Empire".

Thus the Kingdom of God preached by John the Baptist and Jesus Christ did not have a mystical but very real character. By events in the 5th c., searching for the kingdom, as already mentioned, should not have stopped. What the result of this search was can be judged by each person himself - historical information on this subject is generally known.

The right to control the functioning of the Christian world had to be taken away totally from the new age church as punishment. (Turn of the 19th and 20th c.) However, the situation is not hopeless. While Christ predicted that most Christians would follow the wide (unsuccessful) road, a part of Christians would persist, continuing to seek, and would follow the narrow (successful) road. (Mt 7:13, 14) They are only a minority, but will assure that this "kingdom" - unlike the Jewish - "shall not be left to other people". (Da 2:44) [5]

Here it is evident that the kingdom of God was given to people - rather more - as perspective. Just as in the case of free will. Human rights, resulting from free will, are one of the fundamental attributes of this kingdom, further it is "whatsoever...are true, ...honest, ...of good report...". (Php 4:8)


Education for the Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God, preached by Jesus, was more successful than the Jewish kingdom, but did also not fully achieve the required objectives such as law enforcement and expansion of its influence throughout the world. Therefore another kingdom will be established on the basis of a new, already 3rd covenant - as will be explained in other chapters.

This kingdom, as promised, will achieve its goal (1Co 15:24-28), but it will take only a "mere" thousand years, because according to plan, [6] the human race unfortunately has no more time. (Re 20:4-6) Therefore it will be a very difficult time, hardly comparable with the conception of blessedness and happiness according to Christian tradition.

It is obvious that all great things are given to people only as a prospect. This is almost literally expressed also by the Apostle Paul when speaking about the Jewish law: "The Jewish Law is not a full and faithful model of the real things; it is only a faint outline of the good things to come." (Heb 10:1 GNB, see also KJV)

Just as parents give their children toys - cars for boys, dolls for girls, to teach them respect for these toys and to teach them to treat the toys carefully, just so our heavenly Father offers us, humans, in a spiritual sense, often something like "toys" - models of future values. This is to make us nurture our relationship with them, to help us acquire the necessary experience and to prepare us for meeting their true reality.

We will see that more such models were given to people. Our whole history, and the outlook for the future as well, confirm the fact that there is nothing else than a permanent way forward. We had and will have to acquire all values by our own efforts. But definitely with help.



God personally can neither manage nor judge the people - he had to colonize them first. In many places the Bible promises handover of the rule to people, and even the right to pass judgement. For men have even to judge inhabitants of the 1st heaven (1Co 6:2,3), logically those who are guilty with regard to the Earth. (Jude 6) This perspective falls exclusively within human powers.

[1] To avoid suspicion of the intention to deceive him and eventually was not accused unjustly. It was the investigation of a political prisoner!

[2] The texts of the type John 15:19, Jas 4:4, the world not knowing God of the Bible - pagan or atheistic world, is meant. Nowadays at the time of divided Christianity, these texts are again very topical. Rather in the spirit of Ex 23:2.

[3] Jews looked up to their glorious past and leaders like Moses, Joshua, Gideon and King David. They were willing to die, but only in the field of honour and glory - in the fight, which is understandable. Dying without resistance, as a lamb was generally regarded as a disgrace and demotivating. The cult of martyrdom associated with honour and glory took root later.

[4] The goal of searching is to find the searched item - God's kingdom, its righteousness, and of course, other attributes of that kingdom.

[5] As will be explained in Part 10, biblical prophecies usually have several parallel fulfilments. The first fulfilment of this text was setting up God's Kingdom of the 2nd covenant.

[6] The seventh day of creation in which we have been living now has its time limit.


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