The Kingdom of Heaven
The Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus and John the Baptist both declared: “Repent for The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matt 3:2, Matt 4:17, Mark 1:15)
They said it is not far but it is near, within reach. This is the plain meaning of the expression “is at hand”. As we will see in this article, God’s Kingdom is right there within our grasp if we will only see it. I pray that through reading this, this writing will bring understanding and illuminate the wonderful message of The Gospel of the Kingdom.
The Kingdom of Heaven
The Kingdom of God or synonymously The Kingdom of Heaven is everywhere God is willingly trusted, obeyed, loved and respected for who He is. Wherever He is willingly and lovingly submitted to as the sovereign head is His Kingdom!
His “Kingdom come” means that where previously He was not honoured, a change in heart has come: this in a word is “repentance” – humble submission and yielding has come. During this time, it is a willing submission He seeks – true “worshippers”. People with such hearts are who our Heavenly Father is longing for.
We are to pray for this daily not just for ourselves but for all mankind. In the prayer Jesus taught us, it follows that we are to pray for His Kingdom to come because the ability to come to the place of understanding where we can see the need for change of heart requires special grace from above.
Matt 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4 “Our Father in Heaven… Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
The means God uses to bring hearts to align with Him is rather unexpected and upside-down from the ways of mankind:- a baby in a manger, His death on a cross. His humility and serving people by washing their dirty feet. His suggestion we turn the other cheek and do good to those who hurt us. These are all indications of the kind of love and paradigm shift that exists in this glorious Kingdom.
The Kingdom of God seems so controversial, so unappealing that it tends to offend our belief in strength and our human nature of survival. We can now appreciate why Jesus said:
John 3:3 (AMPC) … I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.
God is Love. God Governs His Kingdom with Powerful Love
The underlying basis for His Kingdom is that God is Love. He is nothing other than perfect, complete, and flawless love. He is the ultimate expression of pure love. In Him is nothing contrary. He is the absolute definition of love. Trustworthy love. Dependable love. Love that can never fail. The language of 1 Cor 13 explaining love is literally “Love that will never give up”. Our Father’s love will always come through and will persevere in all situations. Our God and Father never gives up, for He IS Love. To know Him is to know His love. To experientially know Him and His love is exactly what Jesus told us eternal life is.
John 17:3 (NKJV) And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
1 John 4:18-19 (NKJV) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.  We love Him because He first loved us.
When God rules as King it is always for our benefit and the benefit of all. God will never do anything contrary to His nature. Our participation with His will and honouring Him is what entering His Kingdom looks like. Entering the Kingdom means that we yield to Him in trust. Trusting Him means looking to Him, believing in and accepting His perfect ability to govern. It means we give up any and all self-reliance and look to Him as the omniscient and perfect sovereign that He is. More than that, we are given eyes to see Him as He is: He is our Father. Our perfect, loving and wonderful Father.
Mark 10:15 (NKJV) Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
God is Trustworthy
All through the Old Testament we see those periods when Israel rebelled, turning their backs against God and His ways. The results were disastrous for them every time. There was nothing gained and much lost through each and every act of rebellion. Yet we repeatedly saw these cycles replayed like a broken record. Each time the people repented; God raised up judges who realigned the hearts of the wayward people back to Him. Blessing and peace followed each time the nation was humbly submitted under God’s perfect rule.
Whenever our Perfect Heavenly Father requires anything, it is always for the best. We can rest assured that even if His request appears contrary to our point of view, it will ultimately produce far more than we could ever imagine. Take for example when the destitute widow of Zarephath heard the word of God from Elijah and followed through with corresponding action. In response to putting faith into action – faith simply being God’s word of command – she received an incredible outcome.
1 Kings 17:15-16 (AMPC) She did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days.  The jar of meal was not spent nor did the bottle of oil fail, according to the word which the Lord spoke through Elijah.
When the rich young ruler heard Jesus’ words of instruction these words were likewise undoubtedly for his benefit. However this man’s trust was not in God. We see from his actions that he did not have understanding to see past his self-reliance. He could not “see the Kingdom” and because of this spiritual blindness, his trust in God was surpassed by his trust in mammon (money). This left him unable to yield, and he continued down the path of self-preserving human behaviour.
Mark 10:21-22 (AMPC) And Jesus, looking upon him, loved him, and He said to him, You lack one thing; go and sell all you have and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come [and] accompany Me [walking the same road that I walk].  At that saying the man’s countenance fell and was gloomy, and he went away grieved and sorrowing, for he was holding great possessions.
The Kingdom of God – which is the government of God within us – is simply that we completely trust and are led by The King. It is an INTERNAL Kingdom as Jesus explains.
Luke 17:21 (NKJV) nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
This internal governance must not just end there but indeed it must lead to external expression and manifestation. Yes, it is an INTERNAL Kingdom yet there is a corporate expression through God’s loyal and faithful sons. It is a Kingdom composed of God’s ecclesia – ones who are called out to bear the Name of the King. Ones who put on display the message of the cross for the whole world to see – experientially.
Luke 6:46 (AMPC) Why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and do not [practice] what I tell you?
James 2:18 (NKJV) But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Romans 8:14 (AMPC) For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Batteries are included so don’t rely on your own strength
Whatever our Father requires from us, He makes freely available by His grace – truly we can come boldly to His Throne of Grace and ask for whatever we need in our walk as we follow Him willingly. We don’t receive only if we don’t ask with the right motives. So in trust we can ask and receive whatever we need in relation to being the obedient sons of His Kingdom. We will knock and the door will be opened. More than any material thing, we must ask for this one thing above all: We must ask for the most perfect relationship possible with Him as our Heavenly Father – ask Him to let this mind be in you which was in His Son Christ Jesus.
Philippians 2:5 (NKJV) Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
In this passage in Philippians we see that when Jesus came He exhibited these traits. He was:
Humble and lowly of heart
Had a servant nature
He was not grasping for position or reputation
He was completely obedient to the Father, nothing was too much to ask.
He was yielded completely even to the ultimate act of obedience which was His death on the cross
Truly He took up His cross of humility and submission to the Father long before He was nailed to the cross at Calvary. This insight helps us understand what He meant when He said we are to take up our cross daily and follow Him! (Matt 16:24)
Jesus showed us what the most perfect relationship anyone can have with the Father looks like. These passages of scripture illustrate Jesus’ relationship as the Perfect Son and the very mind and nature we are to have. Take particular note of the phrases in bold type:
Hebrews 12:2 (AMPC) Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 1:1-2 (AMPC) IN MANY separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets,  [But] in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order].
Galatians 1:16 (NKJV) to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him [by living as Him, by Him – Christ in us]
Matthew 11:29 (NKJV) Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Here it is – this is what we must learn from Him!
Matthew 18:4 (NKJV) Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
John 5:19 (NASB) Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
John 5:30 (NASB) “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
Now is not the time to be trying to invent what is right and wrong. It is not even about us trying to do things for God. No – it is about us connecting with our Father through Christ who is in us so that He can direct our steps and live out through our lives in all the fullness that He lived out. As He lives through us with His mighty Spirit power in us we can’t help but demonstrate a life that looks very much like His!
Christ in Us – the power to follow Him and live out His nature
Jesus explains how we too must willingly walk out our love for our Father. Our lives are the very book being written as a living testimony. Jesus the Living Word of God is becoming flesh in us! All that He is, is being written into our hearts – the living tablets of flesh that we are. (2 Cor 3:3)
CHRIST IN US is the hope of glory says Paul in Col 1:27.
Working out our salvation in fear and trembling is Paul’s description of what it means to be a disciple following Jesus. Christ is our Salvation and He is NOW IN US, empowering us to be changed into His workmanship.
Philippians 2:12-13 AMPC Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). (13) [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.
These passages in Matthew 10:38, Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23 and Luke 14:27 all say the same message:
“If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].
Whoever does not carry his own cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow after Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me] cannot be My disciple.
We now must follow Him who is now LIVING IN US!
The power to live like Jesus is itself a gift and this in a word is what we call “SALVATION” and why Paul throughout his epistles refers to “CHRIST IN US”. The word of God testifies that we cannot even see our need for our Father until that day dawns on us when we receive Jesus’ Spirit – CHRIST – and His Holy Spirit power gives us open eyes to see Him standing there with outstretched arms!
John 6:44 (NKJV) No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Galatians 4:6-7 (AMPC) And because you [really] are [His] sons, God has sent the [Holy] Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba (Father)! Father!  Therefore, you are no longer a slave (bond servant) but a son; and if a son, then [it follows that you are] an heir by the aid of God, through Christ.
Jesus has come into us by His Holy Spirit – He has not left us orphans but has come to us to bring us back into the same sonship relationship with the Father that He has: “Eternal Life” as defined in John 17:3. His Spirit is The Helper and His mission is to guide us into all Truth so that in all truth these words would be more than just words:
1 John 4:17 (NKJV) … because as He is, so are we in this world.
John 17:21-23 (NKJV) that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
We are being led and guided by the Great and Good Shepherd – Jesus! For it is Jesus who is the personified Truth and the Life that we are being led by and conformed into. Being led by and conformed into His likeness is what it is to be His disciple. He is the great and wise master Builder… He is building us! (Eph 2:22, 1 Pet 2:5)
Sons and heirs
Being a son and heir of God is a profound and humbling reality.
All that our Father is and all that our Father has – He desires to share with His sons who are in actuality the body of His Son – The Body of Christ. Only through being made alive by the same Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead can we be made alive to see this great truth! Only by seeing this can we begin to comprehend why Paul would say:
Romans 8:18 (NKJV) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Ephesians 1:3-5 (NKJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
Romans 8:29-30 (NKJV) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
When a man becomes a father, he is not diminished by his children, but enriched, increased, and expanded. If his children grow up with nobility and accomplishment, he is proud and delighted. His children make him greater than he ever was before. Sonship is the Father’s delight, the culmination and climax of His ages-long plan and purpose. God is electrified with anticipation to see His sons with skill and maturity visibly revealing the invisible things of His eternal power and Godhead to creation. This is the message of sonship revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sonship is the singular objective of God, and the sole purpose of Christ is the formation of His body. The members of His Body are the principle players in the awesome plan of God for all the wonderful ages to come.
The Significance of the Feasts
Out of the three main feasts of Israel – the Feast of the Passover, the Feast of Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles – only the first two have seen their fulfilment in church history. Christ’s death which took away the sins of the world was typified in the Passover feast. This feast was instituted millennia ago by God through Moses. It was a type and shadow that looked to Jesus – the spotless Lamb that was slain to bring us out of slavery to sin.
Like the grain of wheat mentioned in this following passage, Jesus gave His life not just to take away our sins but to produce a harvest – a harvest of MANY SONS reproduced in His likeness.
John 12:24 (NKJV) Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.
The Feast of Pentecost is the feast of the first fruits. Indeed on this wonderful day an earnest of the Spirit was poured out upon those believers waiting in the upper room. They went about in power and outworked a ministry that had never been seen before or since. The apostles filled with boldness and authority stepped onto the stage of history in Jerusalem and over 3,000 people came to repentance in one day. There was no need for advertising or promotion for God Himself was in charge.
However how wonderful this day was it was but a taster – an earnest, a down payment, a first fruit. A deposit or down payment guarantees a future complete transaction. A first fruit is a sign of a coming harvest to be redeemed or harvested in full.
Romans 8:23 (NKJV) Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
The Feast of Tabernacles is the feast of the FULL HARVEST. The nation celebrated the feast at the time when the entirety of their crops were ripe and harvested. This feast bears unparalleled significance to our day and age. In relation to the spiritual day of Pentecost, the feast of Tabernacles in our time and hour means The Spirit given in the fullest measure. This feast is a type and shadow of the Day of the Lord when the fullness of God is seen and experienced through His dwelling in Christ’s many-membered Body. Other descriptions which speak of this include the terms 1,000 years and the Seven Spirits of God – which is the full spectrum and dimension of God manifested in The Body of Christ, ruling with Christ – Remember the word “Christ” refers to the totality of His Body: A Body with many members.
As I write this, this dispensation is yet to be seen, yet to be revealed [gr: apokalupt?] and yet to be manifested in God’s many sons (Rom 8:19).
Revelation 21:3 “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Colossians 2:8-10 (NKJV) Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;  and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Now receive The Word and become pregnant with Him so that the totally of Christ Jesus can be reproduced in you: We by the power of His Spirit and Word are being made the perfect tabernacle of God so that the fullness of the Godhead in Christ – not only dwells in us but lives through us in bodily form. Now receive this word and do not doubt it. Like the woman in Revelation 12, who is clothed with the sun and gives birth to the male child who is immediately ready to rule. You are the bride of Christ and you are clothed with the Son of God – you are clothed with the SON – CHRIST!
2 Peter 1:3-4 (NKJV) as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,  by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Ephesians 3:19 (NKJV) to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 4:13 (NKJV) till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Luke 1:38 (NKJV) Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Revelation 12:1-5 (NKJV) Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.  Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.  And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.  His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.  She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.
We the church are called to be that woman. Clothed with the glory of Christ, and the moon or the reflected light of religion under our feet. Christ in us is the Man-child – and our Father is saying now is our time. Our Father has declared it. You have been BORN FROM ABOVE in your inner man. We must let His imperishable Seed grow up and come up unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Himself and with His throne-authority He will rule everything about us.
Ephesians 3:16 (NKJV) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
Ask, seek knock – all that the Father Has pertaining to life and godliness is yours – He has prepared a table, will you come in and not despise His great love and calling?
Respond and REPENT. Yield to Him – Christ Jesus, in humble submission. He will build His Church, His bride, His city – His people who are His body and the gates of hell will not overcome us. His word is sure and must accomplish what He has already foreseen and foretold. He is the vine, you are the branches. The very life of Christ is what you need to grow into His stature.
Your union with Christ is what makes this all possible. He is the door. He is the Way.
Think on Him – Think on Jesus – continually. Don’t let a moment go by where you are not in fellowship with Him. To me this is the basis of ABIDING. The abiding life of Christ is when you are continually aware of Him living in you. He has come to us and is knocking on the door of our hearts and minds. Will you continually allow Him to govern these areas? He is the King and the Prince of Peace:
Matthew 11:29 (NKJV) Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Such good news is not just for one day in heaven over the hilltop when everything will be ok. No! – His Kingdom is fully practical and to be experienced in the here and now. All creation is groaning and in travail as we read in Romans 8:22 – awaiting for us to come into what our Father has predestined for us! You only need to watch the news for one minute to know that this world is in desperate need. Yes there is a process to “work out our salvation” whereby we follow Christ and take up our cross. But like for Jesus, there is a joy set before us – we endure the cross and the shame of being misunderstood or persecuted because yes we love our Father and we love our neighbor as ourselves.
John 15:13 (NKJV) Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Allow the very nature of the Son to be formed in you and you will willingly count the cost to be His disciple. Allow His very nature of Love to be expressed through you. He is building and forming you to be the very habitation – the tabernacle of God – the very reproduction of Himself.
The next great feast on our spiritual calendar is the Feast of Tabernacles – where the many membered Body of Christ will have come unto the full stature of the One who has made us.
Revelation 5:9-10 (NKJV) And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,  And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
Revelation 21:15 (NKJV) And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.
Remember He is faithful. What he has begun, He is faithful to complete.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NKJV) He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
Revelation 19:11-16 (NKJV) Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.  His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.  He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.  Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
We are called to be His disciples, which in all actuality simply means for us to be disciples of His great Love.
1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NKJV) remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,
1 Cor 13:13 FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE – the greatest of these IS LOVE!
Remember we love because He first loved us – freely we have received, so freely let us now give of that wonderful treasure living in us. Christ in us – He is the hope of the world.
by Barry Vayler – September 2022