WHERE IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?
By Jack Tanner
The 12 disciples during the time of Jesus’ ministry on earth as well as those following them have wondered about the various kingdoms. Jesus instructed his disciples before sending them out, to preach one message, “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” (Matt.10:7).
It seems that the disciples were confused and thought that Jesus had come to set up an earthly kingdom such as during the time of King David. They argued among themselves in an attempt to jockey for the best positions of honor when Jesus would set up His kingdom. This mind set seemed to prevail even though Jesus told them His kingdom was not of this world.
Jesus gave many parables about the kingdom of heaven. Matthew chapter 13 has many of these parables. It is interesting to see that He likened the kingdom of heaven to activities that the disciples were acquainted with in everyday life. He begins by comparing the kingdom of heaven to a sower that when out to sow, and later on about the man that sowed good seed in his field, but reaped tares along with his wheat crop. He gives the parable of comparing the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed, explaining the potential of one small seed that is planted in his kingdom.
He continued by elaborating on the power of leaven which further emphasized that smallness is not a liability as long as it is allowed to grow and invade the whole lump. The parable of the hidden treasure compares the kingdom of heaven to a priceless treasure hid in the field. Jesus did not point out that He was the hidden treasure and that to be in His kingdom one must completely sell out to buy into the kingdom’s greater riches. The parable of the pearl of great price further emphasizes the value of God’s kingdom.
Jesus then gives the parable of the net cast out into the sea. In other words, the net or truth must be preached to all people. Some will accept the truth and go on to be an asset in the kingdom while others will think lightly of the message. Their own actions lead to their destruction.
Where was Jesus’ kingdom while he was on earth? This may seem to be a simplistic statement: LOCATE THE KING AND YOU WILL FIND HIS KINGDOM. Where ever the King is, there is His kingdom. While Jesus was on earth His kingdom was the people to whom He ministered His Word. Each of the parables reflect their part in the kingdom of heaven. His kingdom was being established although the disciples did not realize it. Jesus still invests in people!
When Jesus ascended into heaven, where was His kingdom? His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom that is not defined by worldly standards. Jesus commanded His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. 120 people were the first ones filled with His spirit. Each filled vessel continued His ministry on earth. Their bodies were His temple, their spiritual life depended on the King.. Many are still looking for an earthly kingdom that God will set up on earth. That will some day come, but today His kingdom is in the lives of His saints.
When Jesus is revealed as the true Messiah, He will sit in His temple as their King on earth. The Kingdom of God will again be established through the lives of the Jewish believers. When we get to heaven we will see the King, and He will not be foreign to us. We have long experienced His leading, and witnessed His involvement in the lives of His believers. Look to the true church and witness His power and glory as reflected in the lives of His saints. You will then see God’s kingdom on earth.
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