Kingdom of God According to Jesus
In this article, I focus on Jesus’ statements about the kingdom of God. I do not include the statements made by other New Testament figures such as Paul. With this, I want to show there is a big nuance difference in how Jesus spoke about the kingdom and how Paul spoke about it. In my blogs, I mostly restrain from personal opinions or interpretations therefore I will mainly only sum up texts for you to make the links.
The Kingdom of God
The word Kingdom (in Greek: βασιλεία Basileia ) appears 162 times in the New Testament and most of these uses relate to either Basileia tou Theou (βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ) i.e. the Kingdom of God or to Basileia tōn Ouranōn (Βασιλεία τῶν Ουρανῶν) i.e. Kingdom of Heaven in the Synoptic Gospels. The term “Kingdom of God” does not appear in the Old Testament, although “his Kingdom” and “your Kingdom” are used in some cases when referring to God. The Christian/second temple Jewish characterization of the relationship between God and humanity involves the notion of the “Kingship of God”, whose origins go back to the Old Testament, and may be seen as a consequence of the creation of the world by God.
Issue of Wealth
To enter the kingdom one must let go of wealth and big attachments.
- [Mark 10:23] And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
- [Matthew 19:24] Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
- [Matthew 19:23] And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.
- [Matthew 19:21] Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”. When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Issue of the Ego
To enter the kingdom one has to let go of the ego, being the least, removed from all ego-driven activities. Like a child with a small ego or as tax collectors, prostitutes who are the lowest of society.
- [Mark 10:15] Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
- [Luke 18:17] Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
- [Matthew 18:3] “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
- [Matthew 19:14] But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
- [Mark 9:35–37] “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
- [Matthew 5:3] “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- [Matthew 11:11–12] Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.
- [Matthew 21:31] Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.
The issue of keeping sin:
It is a narrow path, a narrow door because the standard way of joy and pleasure will be easier.
- [Luke 13:24] “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
- [Matthew 7:21] “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
- [Mark 9:47]: And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into gehenna (Matthew 5:29, Matthew 5:30, Matthew 18:9, Mark 9:43, Mark 9:45, Luke 12:5 speak of the eyes, foods, ears)
The kingdom is At Hand
Clearly, Jesus said the kingdom would be here soon, it is at hand.
- [Mark 1:14–15] Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
- [Matthew 3:2] “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
- [Matthew 4:17] From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
- [Luke 10:9] Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
- [Matthew 12:28] But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
- [Matthew 6:10, Luke 11:2] ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
- [Matthew 25:34] “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
How to be
One has to be refreshed, reborn in the spirit.
- [Matthew 5:10] Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- [John 3:5] Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
- [John 3:3] Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
It is given, ‘knock and you will be opened, search and you will find, ask and you will be given. It is even the ‘Father’ his Good pleasure to give to all.
- [Luke 12:32] “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
- [Matthew 6:31–33] Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
What it is like
- [Matthew 13:33, Luke 13:20–21] “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”
- [John 18:36] Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
- [Matthew 13:44] The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. A man found it, and he concealed it. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44).
- [Matthew 13:45–46] “45 Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. ” (Matthew 13:45–46).
- [Matthew 13:52] “52And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of Heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure both what is new and what is old.’” (Matthew 13:52).
- [Matthew 13:31–32] “31Jesus put another parable before them. He said, ‘The kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32It is the smallest of all seeds, but it grows larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree. The birds of the air can come and make nests in its branches.’” (Matthew 13:31–32).
- [Mark 4:26–29] 26 And Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is like a man scattering seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows — he knows not how. 28 The earth, by itself, produces first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once the man puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.’” (Mark 4:26–29).
- [Matthew 13:47–50] ‘Again’, said Jesus, ‘The kingdom of Heaven is like a net that fisher-folk threw into the sea. The net gathered all sorts of fish. 48 When the net was full, the fisher-folk drew it ashore. They sat down and sorted the good fish into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and cast the evil into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:47–50).
Interesting views on when it will be, there are both references to when the whole world has heard it, and it being already within, among us.
- [Matthew 16:28, Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27] “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
- [Matthew 24:14]: This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
- [Luke 17:20–21] Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is withing you.”
- [Matthew 26:29] But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
- [Luke 9:2] And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.
- [Luke 4:43] But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.”
- [Luke 16:16] “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.
- [Matthew 16:19] I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
- [Matthew 5:19–20] Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
The beatitudes speak in a very simple manner who will be blessed, and inherit the kingdom.
- 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
- 4. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
- 5. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the Earth.
- 6. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
- 7. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8.
- Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
- 9. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
- 10. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
- 11. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
- 12. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
- 20. Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
- 21. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
- Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
- 22. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
According to Paul, access to the kingdom is truly accepting Jesus as personal savior, being justified by faith alone, and putting Jesus forward as the only gateway to being saved (please find the textual references your self, I could quote 2 pages of references but I’m too lazy).
According to Jesus, to inherit the kingdom be like: a child (Mark 10:15, Like 18:17, Matt 19:14, Mat 18:3, Mark 9:35), be poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3), be the last, weak (Matthew 21:3). Repent of all sin (Mark 1:14–15, Matt 3:2, let go of the ego, let go of attachments (Matt 4:17), keep the commandments (Matt 5:19–20), be reborn, renewed, in water and in spirit (John 3:3, 3:5) and have the faith of mustard.
He says: “Blessed Are the poor in spirit, who mourn, the meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted because of righteousness, the insulted once. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in (the kingdom of) heaven!”
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9).