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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Thirty-Ninth (Kingdom of Heaven)

I hope you had a great week! This week I'm going to talk about something I was definitely led to. I apologize if what I discovered was already understood by you, but it was something I could never figure out until now. So please bear with me!

The "Kingdom of Heaven" was always something I could never wrap my brain around. I mean, how can the Kingdom of Heaven be "at hand" and yet not be here even for thousands of years since Jesus spoke those words? How can someone enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21), but it also be like a man (Matthew 13:24), a mustard seed (Matthew 13:31), or a net (Matthew 13:47)?

I searched scripture for all references to the Kingdom of Heaven (all in Matthew, by the way), even tried to figure out a delineation between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God. But I could never align all the verses into one picture. Until I got help :)

The reason I know I was helped is because this came to me in the most roundabout way that it most definitely was not from my own brain! It started out with a search of the word preach, to find that the two Greek words translated to preach are more accurately translated to proclaim and evangelize. Through that search, it came that I should look for the word pastor. Only one verse uses that word (Jeremiah 17:16), and in it Jeremiah says he didn't stop being a pastor (shepherd) for Yehovah. Of course, I immediately thought of Jesus as our shepherd, but through a website talking about the difference between the two Greek words used for "preach" found Jeremiah 33:19-21.

As I read these verses, the thought came to my mind that Jesus is King, even today! He reigns from heaven, and we, believers in Him, are His subjects in this Kingdom of Heaven. We're like guerrillas behind enemy lines, in the enemy's camp, and our mission is to strengthen each other and break Satan's hold on as many people as Yehovah guides us to. This world is under Satan's control, for now, and we don't serve him like the rest of the world does (without even knowing it, for the most part).

So what about Jeremiah 33:19-21? Well, if you didn't know already the covenant of verse 21 is impossible to verify in its fulfillment today because the descendants of David cannot be determined today. Records of ancestry to him were either lost or destroyed over time, so the last person we know is of his lineage is Jesus. But Yehovah is very clear in verse 20 that the covenant will never be broken...unless you can stop the day and night from happening as He directed!

So what does that mean? Yes, Jesus will come back to earth to rule as King when Satan is bound and no longer controls it. But remember, there is also Heaven, to which Jesus rose. And what makes a King a King? He sets laws and passes judgments and all His subjects follow His decrees...sounds a lot like what Jesus did and what His followers do even while He's not on earth! The only difference being the judgment part will happen at the end and not in situ.

But none of this alleviates any confusion about how the term "Kingdom of Heaven" is. So let's take a look at Matthew 3:2, at the words "is at hand." The Greek word for this is eggizo, which means "to bring near," or "to come near to." So really, John the Baptist is saying, "the Kingdom of Heaven has come near." And this is where things get interesting.

The word used for kingdom is basileia, and the first definition/usage of this word is to mean "royal power, kingship, dominion, rule!" Not a physical place, or the general idea of a kingdom on earth with territories and such. So, John the Baptist is actually saying the kingship, or royal power, of heaven has come near. And that's Jesus!

Knowing this, we can take a look at all references to the Kingdom of Heaven and they make a lot more sense. In some cases, the verses are referring to the place which has yet to come (Matthew 5:3, 5:10, 5:19, 5:20, 7:21, 8:11, 11:11, 18:1, 18:3, 18:4, 19:14, 19:23). In other cases, the verses are referring to Jesus Himself or His power (Matthew 3:2, 4:17, 10:7, 13:24, 13:45, 16:19, 18:23, 20:1, 22:2, 25:14). And in the others, the verses are referring to the idea of Jesus' kingdom (Matthew 11:12, 13:11, 13:31, 13:33, 13:44, 13:47, 13:52, 19:12, 23:13, 25:1).

I hope that all makes sense, and if you have any questions or other thoughts feel free to reach out. We hope you have a wonderful week! Shabbat Shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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