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What is the kingdom of heaven?

A kingdom is a place ruled by a king. It is where a king’s dominion (or authority) is in effect. The kingdom of heaven is wherever God is king.

Mt 6:10 'Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.'

In the kingdom of heaven, God’s will is done – immediately, completely and joyfully. In heaven, that is what it means to have God as king. Can you imagine God telling the archangel Michael to do something, and Michael responding with a "I’ll do it later," or Michael doing just part of the task, or sulking while he does it? Neither can I!

On earth, when we do God’s will in the way it is done in heaven then we bring the kingdom of God to the earth.

There are a whole bunch of Christians who spend a lot of time praying for God’s kingdom to come, but then they go about attempting to build God’s kingdom in their own way, and not in God’s way. If you want to bring God’s to earth you must not just do God’s will on earth, but you must do it in God’s way – the way that it is done in heaven – you must do it when and how God says it must be done.

When God told Moses to build the tabernacle we read time and again that Moses built it exactly as God commanded. Nowhere else in the Bible do we see that phrase repeated so many times! What is the message there? It is that God wants us to build His dwelling place (which today is the church) exactly as He commanded.

The kingdom of heaven doesn’t have to be a physical location. If God is king in your life then the kingdom of heaven is in you.

Lk 17:20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!’ or, 'There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst."

From Lk 17:20 we see that the kingdom of God is not a necessarily a location but can also be a state of existence. When a person lives for God instead of himself, he is in the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God is in him. In Lk 17:20, Jesus, who was in the midst of the Pharisees, lived for God, and so He could accurately say that the kingdom of God was in their midst.

There are different senses in which the Bible talks about the kingdom of heaven. In one sense, the kingdom of heaven always existed. In another sense, the kingdom of heaven is yet to come. In a third sense, the kingdom of heaven has already come. We explore these different senses in more detail below.


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