The Gospel of Matthew #24

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This entry is part 24 of 40 in the series The Gospel of Matthew

What is the Kingdom of Heaven like? Is it a great city with jeweled foundations and streets of gold; a marvelous city with gates made from a single pearl; a land with a river of pure water running through it, lined with fruit trees; a land of milk and honey where we will never grow old? Or is the Kingdom of Heaven a time of Christ’s rule over the world for 1,000 years—when he breaks the nations with a rod of iron and establishes a time of peace and harmony on the earth? Or is the Kingdom of Heaven the church—here and now?

I think you might be surprised if you stood outside a church on Sunday morning and began to ask people this question: What is the Kingdom of Heaven like? I think you’d be surprised at the variety of answers you would receive. Some people are so used to arguing the case for their particular doctrine of the Kingdom of Heaven that they haven’t really given a lot of thought to what Jesus and the Bible might say on the subject.

The expression Kingdom of Heaven or it’s synonym Kingdom of God is not used in only one sense in the Bible. Bear in mind that the word translated kingdom really represents a reign or rule. The word kingdom means more than that and suggests a complex, structured government whereas the simple rule of one God over one man is the Kingdom of God in that sense—the rule of God. And in the sense that a man is filled with and ruled by the Holy Spirit, one could say that the Kingdom of Heaven was within him. But no matter what interpretation you place on the Kingdom of Heaven you are going to run into a passage of scripture that does not follow it. So, what we want to do is ask Jesus the question we started with: What is the Kingdom of Heaven like? His answer will not fit any of the stereotypes of the Kingdom with which we are so familiar. We’ll find his answer in the form of a parable—a riddle, if you will—in Matthew 13.

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Ronald L. Dart

Ronald L. Dart (1934–2016) — People around the world have come to appreciate his easy style, non-combative approach to explaining the Bible, and the personal, almost one-on-one method of explaining what’s going on in the world in the light of the Bible. After retiring from teaching and church administration in 1995 he started Christian Educational Ministries and the Born to Win radio program.

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