A Prayer
of Jesus
I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise
and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will


What, exactly, is the Kingdom of God?


The kingdom of God is essentially the same as the kingdom of a man except that God is the king. His Son, Jesus, is actively ruling as the Father's sub regent.  The kingdom of Henry VIII of France is an example.  It consists of the territory and the persons within the territory who do the will of the king.  A king rules when the persons do his will. When Jesus instructed his disciples on prayer, he told them to ask:

[10] Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

God ruled in heaven, but he did not rule over the earth.  God's will was not being done by men on the earth, and therefore God was not king over the earth.

Kingship over men operates at two levels.  Men appear, to men, to rule over men in such a kingdom as that of Henry VIII, but the human king is, on another level, subject to a spirit as the ultimate ruler.  So there is the apparent rule of a human king or other ruler, and the ultimate rule of the spirit operating from behind the scene.  The power behind the throne is always spiritual.

Satan was the ruling spirit when Jesus issued the above prayer instruction. Satan's will was therefore being done on earth, not God's.  Satan is essentially a rebel spirit whose will was to maintain his power over the race of men on earth so as to keep men from doing the will of the Father. He did this by keeping them in bondage to the fear of death.  Jesus acknowledged Satan's rule when, during the wilderness temptations, Satan offered him the kingship of all the nations of the earth and Jesus did not deny it:

[8] Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them;
[9] and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."
[10] Then Jesus said to him, Begone, Satan! for it is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.

The birth of Jesus, God's Son, constituted an invasion into enemy territory.  King Herod was Satan's sub regent at that time, and as soon as he heard that there might be such an invader in his domain, he took immediate steps to oppose the invasion by killing the infant.  The infant escaped only because God's messengers, the angels, warned Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary and the child.  Jesus survived to adulthood through becoming incognito in the realm of the enemy and by means of subversive intrusions by the messengers of God to warn and instruct the appropriate parties.

God created the heavens and the earth for the purpose of procreating children for his Glory and his will is done only when this purpose is being fulfilled.  So Jesus was accustomed to instruct his disciples to do certain things for the specific purpose:

[44] But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
[45] so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven;

The Father admits into his family in heaven only those who love him and desire from the heart to do his will in all things as necessary to maintain the purity of heaven.  It is therefore essential that candidates first have their being outside of heaven, that they be persons of free will, that they be informed of their options and that they freely choose to become his children and go to him in heaven.

Remember that the sole purpose of the creation -- of the earth and of humans -- is to the end that humans choose freely to go to the Father.  The fear of death prevented them from doing that, therefore Satan actively ruled through fear of death.  It follows that, if the will and purpose of God was to be realized, this bond of Satan over men, the fear of death, must be broken.  Jesus, a man, having declared the Truth to men concerning their options, attacked Satan at his source of power by freely choosing to die fearlessly against all the influences that Satan inspired so as to prevent it.  This occurred on the earth and was the premier performance of the will of the Father on the earth.  All authority on earth then passed from Satan to Jesus; the latter also receiving the great reward of authority in heaven.  I have described this in Jesus: the Rock of Offense, in the chapter, "The Victory."

Jesus was careful to inform us of the fact of the transfer of power with some of his last words prior to his ascension to the Father in heaven:

[18] All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Jesus is now actively ruling, and he rules to the end that we overcome the fear of death through him and freely choose to take up our crosses and follow him to the Father, which is the Father's will. He defined this choice in its simplest terms by his Great Principle.  To accomplish this end, he maintains the administration of the earth such as to maintain the race of men and protect their free will, so that the option of going to the Father, and the Truth of how to get there, remains alive and open in the world for all who choose to follow him. 

Jesus the king now permits the continued function of Satan but within limits.  He does not permit Satan to destroy the race, the Word of Truth or the free will of men, to incurably blind us to our options, or to prevent the preaching of the Word in the world.

Only those who are of the Truth can see the active rule of Jesus the King in such events as the outcome of WW2, which was typical of the times Jesus has utilized servants among men to accomplish the terrible work of restraining Satan.  I have emphasized that he uses servants to indicate that he does not use the sons of the Father  in this way because they are not of the world.  The continued function of Satan is necessary to providing the options necessary to free will.  If Satan were totally demolished, men would likely be free to pursue the dream of a peaceful paradise on earth, which attraction would bond them to the earth and restore the fear of death as separating them from their earthly paradise. So Jesus instructs us where to put our valuables:

[19] Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal,
[20] but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.
[21] For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The human desire for a perfect society on earth that men often define as the coming kingdom of God is, ironically, the essence of evil, being the desire to have, on earth, what God purposes for men to have in heaven.  Such things are easily learned by listening to Jesus, who said very carefully and clearly,

[36] Jesus answered, My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.

Again, the king rules from behind the scenes because, if all could see his Glory, they would reach out to grasp it as self exalting and self gratifying persons rather than as persons who, because they love the Father, choose to want to go to him in faith.  Thus, this ruling from behind the scenes, together with the continued activity of Satan in the world, combine to preserve the options essential to free will, with the desired result that we who choose to do so are able to reach out in faith to follow Jesus to the Father as his loving and submissive children.

Another way to state this is to say that the king, our Lord, rules actively in his kingdom on earth to maintain the visibility of evil and the presence of the Light in the world, that whoever will may see the Light and freely choose to love the Father and gladly go to the Father when the hour has come.  The Word is the Light.

[3] Jesus answered him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is begotten from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Note: John 3:3 and 3:7 are the author's translations.  These differ from the RSV only in the expression "begotten from above" that replaces "born anew' in the RSV.  "Born anew" does not represent the fullness of what Jesus is stating here, and does not correspond to the literal translation of the Greek, anothen (a()nwqen).

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