The kingdom of God is that moral and spiritual kingdom which our wonderful heavenly father is setting up in this fallen world. The members of that kingdom are each and everyone of us who have given our hearts to his son Jesus Christ.
We can learn a great deal about the Kingdom of heaven by looking at the parables of Jesus, several of which are recorded in the Gospel of Matthew—the wheat and the weeds, the hidden treasure, the pearl, the net, and the mustard seed.
One of my favorites is the man who found the treasure in the field and sold all he had to buy the field. The Christian life is much like that. The truths of God’s kingdom are completely hidden from the world that doesn’t know Christ. Until we accept him, until we give our hearts to him who gave his life for the sins of the world, our eyes are darkened and we cannot see the truth of God’s love and God‘s kingdom. It is like a hidden treasure.
When we find that treasure we are willing to give up everything for it, like the man in the parable who sold all he had to buy the field. What greater thing can we give than our hearts and our lives?
When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, our eyes are opened to see the treasure, the beautiful Jesus. When we see the worth of who he is and what he has done for us, we surrender our hearts to him and with our hearts, all that we are and hope to be. We become part of God’s kingdom.
There is much to know about the Kingdom of heaven: so much that you could write a book about it. In fact, someone did write a book on the kingdom of God—it’s called the Bible! The story of the kingdom begins in the book of Genesis and concludes at the end of the book of Revelations.
There are a couple themes on the kingdom that have become clear to me as I’ve prayed (and studied) the Lord’s prayer. Probably the most important is understanding the difference between the Kingdom of God in our hearts and the future Kingdom of Heaven.
THE PRESENT KINGDOM
When Jesus came to earth, he often talked about the kingdom being near, or that it was at hand. In these statements, I believe that what he was referring to the fact that he had come as the promised Messiah, foretold by the prophets.
With his coming, he brought a whole new way for people to be made right with God. In the Old Testament, the blood of sacrificed animals was required for the forgiveness of sins. Christ came as the perfect lamb, the one who would pay the debt for the sin of mankind, once and for all. This was the beginning of a new covenant between God and man. The old covenant of the law would no longer be the way for man to be made right with God. The new way, made possible by Christ, was for man to be saved by the grace of God, “through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2: 8-9)
For the first time, man could be born again and filled with the holy spirit. Under the old covenant of the law, the holy spirit only came upon priests, kings, and prophets, or someone anointed for a special time or purpose. Under the new covenant—the holy spirit is promised to “all the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:39)
With this new covenant Jesus brought, the Kingdom of God—like a mustard seed—began to grow in the hearts of the men and women who sat under his teaching. After he ascended to heaven, they continued to preach the gospel, and with the preaching of the gospel, that same seed has been planted in hearts throughout the centuries and around the world, growing like a mustard plant.
When we pray for his kingdom to come, part of what we are praying for is the spread of his gospel—that the truth of who Jesus is would spread and that more and more people around the world would come to know him and be part of his kingdom.
THE FUTURE KINGDOM
This is where things start to get even more exciting. If knowing Christ as Lord and Savior here on this earth was all there ever was, it would still be worth it, but this earth is just the first chapter.
What lies ahead of us is immense and amazing, but before we can understand the future, we have to go back to the very beginning. The first two chapters of Genesis describe the creation of a perfect world. Why then, you may ask, are things in this world so out of whack?
One of the main reasons is that God created man with free will. He didn’t want robots who would mindlessly do his bidding. He seeks people who love him and want to be part of his family.
In the very beginning, he placed a tree in the garden of Eden and told the man and woman that they should not eat the tree’s fruit. That was a test. They had a choice. As we all know, they failed the test.
When Adam and Eve chose to eat from the tree, like the opening of Pandora’s box, a world of evil was unleashed. Thankfully, God didn’t give up on them, but immediately promised the coming of a Savior—Jesus Christ—who would pay the price for our sin by giving up his own life. With his resurrection, he demonstrated his power over death and became King of kings and Lord of lords.
Satan was a deceiver then and is a deceiver now. Jesus said, “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10). While Satan continues tempting men and women, God allows us to exercise our free will until the end of days, when Jesus Christ will return in power and glory. At that time, there will be a cataclysmic change. Satan will be cast down and the Kingdom of Heaven will descend to earth.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. (Revelation 21: 1-4)
When we pray that God’s Kingdom will come, we are praying for that time in the future, when all things will be restored and made perfect. We are told in Revelation 21 that the holy city, the new Jerusalem, will come down out of heaven from God, brilliant—like a precious jewel. The foundations of that great city will be precious gems of jasper, sapphire, agate, emerald, onyx, ruby, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, turquoise, jacinth, and amethyst. The city will not need a light, for the glory of God and the Lamb will be its light. The treasure that was hidden in a field will be hidden no longer, but will fill the earth with the glory of God.
THY KINGDOM COME
When Jesus comes again, there will be no death, pain, or sorrow—only love, freedom, beauty, perfection, and glory.
When we pray “thy kingdom come,” we are praying that he would come back soon to establish his kingdom on earth.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
(King James Version)
More on the Kingdom
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36)
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. (Hebrews 12:28)
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)
About Michelle Landsverk
I am passionate about the Word of God and believe wholeheartedly in the authenticity of scripture. I also believe that the Bible isn’t written in a secret code; God designed it to be read, understood, and lived out by everyday people. I gave my heart to Jesus when I was a child and strive everyday to live a life in which I “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.” Micah 6:8