Kingdom: What will be our place in Christ’s Kingdom?
In the first book, the first chapter, and the first verse of the Bible we have an important principle that is often glossed over. Let’s look at what it says.
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. [Emphasis added]
I know most people wouldn’t pick up on it, but that verse right there introduces the fact that God has had two programs in mind even before the time of the creation. The first involved Earth, but the second involves Heaven. Israel was never promised a home IN Heaven, but a home OF or FROM Heaven. From the beginning to the end of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry He kept speaking of an earthly kingdom that was “at hand.”
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [Emphasis added]
Even earlier, John the Baptist spoke of it being near in coming.
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [Emphasis added]
Then the apostles were commissioned to proclaim this message.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. [Emphasis added]
The disciples had even been told to pray for its coming.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: 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. [Emphasis added]
Then one aspect after another is revealed about this coming kingdom for Israel.
—They needed to sell all their possessions and give the money to the poor [Matthew 19:16-22].
—All their material needs would be met in the kingdom [Matthew 6:33].
—“Religion” could keep them out of the kingdom [Matthew 23:13].
—Some would be kept from entering this glorious kingdom [Matthew 13:41].
—Only those doing the will of the Father would enter [Matthew 7:21].
—Signs and wonders would occur right before its coming [Matthew 24:9-44].
But did this earthly kingdom come as promised? Obviously, the apostles didn’t think so! Look what they were asking right before Christ left this Earth to ascend back into Heaven.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Then please notice His answer.
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
But He did tell them the day would come when the promised kingdom would be proclaimed and eventually established. He just didn’t say exactly when.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. [Emphasis added]
Was this fulfilled? No, it was not! Will it be fulfilled? Yes, it will! It was not fulfilled because even after Christ’s resurrection Israel continued in a state of unbelief and rejection. Despite all the evidence Jesus had presented as proof of His identity as the promised Messiah, they refused to accept Him. Yes, some did accept Him, but most did not. It was after the stoning of Stephen [Acts 7] that God interrupted the prophetic program, saved Saul of Tarsus [Acts 9] to become Paul, and dispensed through him formerly unknown information about this period of history of which we are a part today.
1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery [MUSTERION = secret]; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; [Emphasis added]
These “unsearchable riches” are the riches of truth you can’t even find a trace of in the “Old Testament” including the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: [Emphasis added]
A very important part of this revelation was the fact that this new people of God would have an eternal home IN Heaven. It would not be on Earth as it would be for Israel, but in Heaven.
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [Emphasis added]
There’s absolutely nothing in this verse about a “conversation” as we use the word today. This is one of many places where it is essential to know something about the original language text to understand what is being said. The word translated “conversation” in the King James Version is the Greek word POLITEUMA [where we get the word politics]. It means citizenship. As we all know this word has nothing to do with a conversation. Apart from the Greek text or another translation, one would never be able to figure out what that verse is telling us. It is here that we find that as believers of our time who’ve been made a part of this which is called the Body of Christ, our home for eternity is Heaven, not a restored or new Earth.
It is to do with this term kingdom that so many people end up confused. The term kingdom is used in Scripture for God’s people living on a new Earth as well as for those who are going to live in Heaven. Please notice Luke’s use of the word in his writing of the book of Acts in relation to Paul’s ministry.
30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,
31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. [Emphasis added]
Here are some things from Paul’s teachings concerning this coming kingdom.
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. [Emphasis added]
I Corinthians 6:9-10
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous [speaking of unbelievers who practice these things] shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. [Emphasis added]
There’s more on this in Paul’s other writings.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. [Emphasis added]
What we must realize is that God’s “kingdom” is not confined to only an earthly kingdom. There are two distinct realms of God’s kingdom. One is earthly and one is heavenly. Together these two which are separate and different make up the overall kingdom of God.
5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. [Emphasis added]
People suffer because of the consequences of such sins. By applying the Word of God, faithful believers are delivered from these things.
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: [Emphasis added]
As members of God’s kingdom, we have been exhorted to not live like unbelievers.
I Thessalonians 2:11-13
11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. [Emphasis added]
As members of the Body of Christ we shall all be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ in accordance with our works as we enter His eternal kingdom.
II Timothy 4:1
1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing [at the time of the Rapture] and his kingdom; [Emphasis added]
We can be comforted by knowing that He will deliver us through the times of opposition we have to face in serving Him.
II Timothy 4:17-18
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. [Emphasis added]
Our future as believers is glorious. That’s how it will be for all those who have a part in this overall kingdom, whether it be earthly or heavenly. And just think, none of us will have done anything to make us worthy of it. It all comes to us by grace through faith. What God set forth as the manner one’s faith was to be expressed differs, but it is still only faith that God honors.
Some specifics about what the earthly kingdom will be like have been given. But what things will be like in the heavenly kingdom are given only in vague generalities. We know it’s going to be good, but the details have not been provided. So often people read passages of Scripture that speak of attributes in the coming earthly kingdom and mistakenly think it’s referring to Heaven. To make the right analysis of whatever passage you’re addressing, context is of primary importance. But just know that you will find only generalities about what Heaven will be like. And all those things are given only in Paul’s epistles.
In what are you placing your faith today to be a part of God’s glorious kingdom? If you’ve put it in what Jesus Christ accomplished through His death, burial, and resurrection, you have a lot to look forward to enjoying forever. Only by believing in what He accomplished can this be provided for you.
II Corinthians 5:21
21 For he hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Therefore, why not put your faith in Him now! You have nothing of real value to lose, but a whole lot to gain.