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Kingdom (932) (basileia from basileus = a sovereign, king, monarch) denotes sovereignty, royal power, dominion. Basileia can also refer to the territory or people over whom a king rules (See "Three Basic Meanings" below). At the outset it should be noted that the Kingdom of Heaven/God is both simple and complex and has been the subject of many non-Biblical interpretations (this summary makes no attempt to review these interpretations). It is as simple as the truth that wherever the King (God/Jesus) rules and reigns, there the kingdom is present! It is complex in that a number of references to Kingdom of God/Heaven have prophetic (eschatological) overtones, so it has a present and future aspect. It is also complex in the sense that the Kingdom of God/Heaven is described in both testaments from Genesis to Revelation (See Tony Garland's interesting related summary of Genesis and Revelation as Bookends). It follows that any attempt to give a Biblical definition of kingdom will be woefully lacking. So as you read these notes on the definition of basileia, understand that this is only a summary --indeed, it will take all eternity to comprehend God's Kingdom, a Kingdom which will endure forever and ever! Amen! BASILEIA: THREE BASIC MEANINGS There are three basic meanings of basileia (realize however that there is some overlap in the meanings in a number of passages) (1) The power exercised by a king, the act of ruling - kingship, royal rule, reign (Acts 1.6, Lxx = 15.28" class="scriptRef">1Ki 15:28, 20:31, Esther 3:6, Lk 19:12, 15, Rev 17:12, 17, 18-note. Lk 1:33, 22:29, 23:42). Basileia means kingdom and is used most often in the NT to describe God's (Christ's) rule and reign, a rule and reign which in turn most often described by the phrases kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God. Although some scholars attempt to differentiate these terms, it is more reasonable (as discerned from the context) to consider these two phrase as synonyms. Kingdom of heaven is found only in the Gospel of Matthew (32 times) and Kingdom of God is used in the other Gospels (66 times including 4 times in Matthew), 6 times in Acts, and 8 times by Paul. Most observers conclude that Kingdom of Heaven is used by Matthew whose Gospel was addressed primarily to a first century Jewish audience that for the most part would not (and still do not, especially the orthodox) vocalize the Name "God". Jesus' began His ministry proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom (See Tony Garland's discussion - The Arrival of God’s Kingdom) by which, if one receives it and believes it, gains entrance into the Kingdom of God/Heaven, which is simply another way of saying one is "saved" by grace through faith (Jn 3:3, 5, Mt 18:3). Where there is a kingdom, by definition there is a king who reigns over that kingdom, and it follows that when one enters the Kingdom of God/Heaven by believing, Jesus becomes their King. (Is Jesus King on the throne of your heart dear reader?) The reign of the King of kings (Rev 19:15-note) is the realm of His dominion and can speak of the people over which He rules (believers in this present age - see Col 1:13-note) or the land over which He will reign (in "the age to come" [Mk 10:30, Lk 18:29, 30, cp "end of the age" Mt 24:3-note] - referring to the next "age," the future Millennial Kingdom of Christ - see Rev 20:6-note). Thus we see that from the standpoint of time (temporally), the Kingdom has both a "now" and a "then" aspect. In other words the Kingdom of our Lord has a present spiritual aspect and a future physical aspect. So when one encounters the word basileia, one must examine the context to determine whether kingdom refers to the spiritual, now aspect, the future, physical aspect or sometimes both. Thus one can see how the definitions (#1) and (#3) sometimes overlap. TIMING OF THE KINGDOM Notice also that Jesus claimed that "If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you." (Mt 12:28) Jesus the One prophesied to be King on David's throne (See the Word of God through Nathan to King David = 2Sa 7:12, 13, 14, 15, 16-fulfilled in part in Solomon but completely fulfilled only in Jesus the Messiah, greater Son of David, Mt 1:1) was in hearer's midst and His exercising of supernatural power was clear evidence that the promised King had come (albeit as discussed the Jews failed to recognize and accept Messiah's rule). Remember also the principle that where the King was present, His Kingdom was also present, independent of whether the Jews recognized His rule or not! In Luke 17:21 Jesus declared "Behold, the Kingdom of God is in your midst" (In one sense it was because Jesus was the rightful Heir to the throne of David and where the King is present, so is His Kingdom!) In another reference to the timing of the Kingdom, Jesus said "the Kingdom of God is at hand (Gk = eggizo = in context near in time - Mk 1:15, cp Mt 3:2, 4:17, Lk 10:11) In summary, basileia or kingdom in many NT uses can have a temporal component (see more discussion below by W. E. Vine on the past, present and future aspects) as well as a spiritual and/or physical component depending on the context. In Revelation 1:6 and Rev 5:10, "the redeemed are referred to as a kingdom, because they are the people over whom God reigns, and also because they will share His glorious reign. There are of the sphere of salvation—those over whom Christ rules—as well as its future millennial and eternal glory. Only those who “receive the kingdom of God like a child” (Mark 10:15) or accept God’s rule here and now, enter into the realm of its blessings in the future. (2) Basileia can sometimes refer to the land, the realm or the territory over which a king rules. (Mt 4.8, Mt 12:25, 26, 24:7, Mk 3:24, 6:23, 13:8, Lk 11:17, 18, 21:10) (3) As discussed under #1 basileia or kingdom can refer to the spiritual rule of God in the hearts of people now (Ro 14.17) and ultimately to be fulfilled in the Messianic reign of Christ on earth reign, kingdom (Lk 1.33). Detzler notes that... The Greek word for king in the New Testament is basileus, and the word for kingdom is basileia. These are reflected in such English words as the man's name Basil, and in the term basilica (which literally means an assembly hall or royal hall). (New Testament Words in Today's Language) NASB Topical index... The biblical words for kingdom primarily signify the abstract idea of kingly authority or reign (kingship, e.g., 1 Sa 14:47; 1Ki 2:12. However, since a reign necessarily creates a realm over which it is exercised, the terms are also used for that realm (kingdom, e.g., Mt 4:8; 8:11). They are used both for secular earthly kingdoms and the kingdom related to God and Christ. Although the expression “kingdom of God” is not used in the OT, the idea of the reign of God and His kingdom is frequent (e.g., Ps 22:28; 145:13; Da 2:44). KINGDOM OF GOD/HEAVEN: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE SPIRITUAL, PHYSICAL Vanhoozer offers some helpful summary thoughts on the kingdom writing that... When asked when the kingdom of God is coming, Jesus replies that it is already “among you” (Lk 17:21) the Last Supper he looked forward to drinking new wine with his disciples “in the kingdom of God” (Mk 14:25). This tension between the now and the not yet is illustrated by the traditional form of the Lord’s Prayer, which bids us pray “Your kingdom come” and yet concludes with the declaration “Yours is the kingdom." (Mt 6:10-note, Mt 6:13-note) In a series of parables in Mark 4 and Matthew 13, Jesus explains more about the “mystery of the kingdom of God” (Mk 4:11KJV). It is not visible to all, but only to those with God-given eyes to see. It is like seed that germinates in some soil but not in others (Mk 4:3-8), like a seed growing secretly away from human observation (Mk 4:26, 27, 28, 29), like the tiny mustard seed that is now so small as to be unnoticed but will one day be a great tree (Mk 4:30, 31, 32), like the tiny pinch of yeast that will gradually penetrate the whole lump of dough (Mt 13:33). So God has already established His rule in the coming of Jesus, yet it still has to work itself out to its full potential. In the meantime (the Kingdom of God/Heaven) remains a secret, a paradox, rejected by some, but for others the one great treasure for which they will sell all they have (Mt 13:44, 45, 46). (Ed: This truth begs the question dear reader - have you received the great treasure of salvation by placing your faith in Jesus, the King of kings?) (Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible - Kevin J. Vanhoozer or Logos) W E Vine summarizes the past, present and future aspects of the Kingdom of God/Heaven as well as alluding to the spiritual and physical aspects of the Kingdom (this discussion has some repetition) ... The Kingdom of God is the sphere of God’s rule (Ps 22:28; 145:13; Da 4:25; Lk 1:52; Ro 13:1, 2) Since, however, this earth is the scene of universal rebellion against God (Lk 4:5, 6; 1Jn 5:19) the Kingdom of God is the sphere in which, at any given time, His rule is acknowledged. (Ed: Spiritual aspect) God has not relinquished His sovereignty in the face of rebellion, demoniac and human, but has declared His purpose to establish it (Da 2:44-note; Da 7:14-note; 5.24-1Cor.15.25" class="scriptRef">1Cor 15:24, 25). In the meantime, seeking willing obedience, God gave His law to a nation (Israel) and appointed kings (Saul, David, Solomon, etc) to administer His Kingdom over Israel (1Chr 28:5). Israel, however, though declaring still a nominal allegiance (Ed: To Jehovah as their true King, Whom they in effect rejected when they ask for human kings like the pagan nations - 1Sa 8:7, 10:19, 12:12, but even before their rejection, Jacob had prophesied that the true King, Messiah from the lineage of the tribe of Judah, would one day come and all peoples would obey Him - Genesis 49:10 where "scepter" symbolizes kingship and "Shiloh" means something like "Rest Giver" = Messiah, cp parallel prophecy in Nu 24:17 where Messiah = a "Star" and a "Scepter") shared in the common rebellion (e.g., Isa 1:2-4-note) and, after they had rejected the Son of God (Ed: The rightful Heir to the Throne of David was openly rejected by the Jews as their King [Jn 19:15b, compare Jn 1:11, 12, 13, Mt 21:33-43]; See Tony Garland's summary on Presentation and Rejection of Messiah) and Stages in Rejection of Jesus), and were “cast away,” (see Ro 11:1KJV-note, Ro 11:2KJV-note) (Ed: The Jews were temporarily set aside "until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in" to the Kingdom - Ro 11:15KJV-note, Ro 11:20-note, Ro 11:25-note. After the fulness comes in the future, "The Deliverer [King Jesus] will return [Second Coming] and "remove ungodliness from Jacob." [Ro 11:26-note, see Zech 13:8,9 in parallel with Zech 12:10] at which time these spiritually regenerate Jews will enter into the Kingdom of God/Heaven, which at that time will be the beginning of Messiah's Millennial Kingdom!). Henceforth God calls upon men everywhere, without distinction of race or nationality, to submit voluntarily to His rule (Ed: That is, to believe in Christ and thus to enter the Kingdom of God, Jn 3:3, 5, cp Mt 19:23, 24). Thus the Kingdom is said to be ‘in mystery’ now (Mk 4:11 - This refers to the "spiritual" aspect of the Kingdom of God/Heaven), that is, it does not come within the range of the natural powers of observation (Lk 17:20), but is spiritually discerned, (Ed: More accurately "it is spiritually entered" in Jn 3:3 and spiritually discerned in 1Co 2:14). When, hereafter, God asserts His rule universally, then the Kingdom will be in glory, that is, it will be manifest to all (Ed: Here Vine is alluding to the future aspect of the Kingdom of God/Heaven, that time when Messiah rules as King of kings over the entire earth, which will be filled with His glory and over all the people who live on the earth at that time, the time of His glorious 1000 Year reign - click to read the description of His coming Kingdom) (Mt 25:31-34; Php 2:9-11; 2Ti 4:1, 2Ti 4:18) Thus, speaking generally, references to the Kingdom fall into two classes, the first, in which it is viewed as present and involving suffering for those who enter it, 2Th. 1:5; the second, in which it is viewed as future and is associated with reward (Mt 25:34), and glory (Mt 13:43, Acts 14:22). (Ed: Others have referred to the temporal aspects of the kingdom of God as "already" [present] and "not yet" [future] dimensions of the kingdom of God implying that God's divine power is at work in the present and is also a process that is moving toward its future fulfillment or completion.) WHERE THE KING IS, THERE IS THE KINGDOM The fundamental principle of the Kingdom is declared in the words of the Lord spoken in the midst of a company of Pharisees, “the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you,” Luke 17:21, that is, where the King is, there is the Kingdom. Thus at the present time and so far as this earth is concerned, where the King is and where His rule is acknowledged, is, first, in the heart of the individual believer (Acts 4:19; Eph 3:17-note; 5" class="scriptRef">1Pet 3:15-note) and then in the churches of God (1Cor 12:3, 5, 11; 14:37; cp. Col 1:27-note). Now, the King and His rule being refused, those who enter the Kingdom of God are brought into conflict with all who disown its allegiance, as well as with the desire for ease, and the dislike of suffering and unpopularity, natural to all. On the other hand, subjects of the Kingdom are the objects of the care of God, (Mt 6:33-note), and of the rejected King, (Heb. 13:5-note). Entrance into the Kingdom of God is by the new birth (Mt 18:3; Jn 3:5), for nothing that a man may be by nature or can attain to by any form of self–culture, avails in the spiritual realm. And as the new nature, received in the new birth, is made evident by obedience, it is further said that only such as do the will of God shall enter into His Kingdom (Mt 7:21-note), where, however, the context shows that the reference is to the future (Ed: That is the Kingdom has both present and future components) (2Pe 1:10, 11-note. 1Cor 6:9, 10; Gal 5:21-note; Eph. 5:5-note)...Concerning the present, a man is of the Kingdom of God as not shown in the punctilious observance of ordinances, which are external and material, but in the deeper matters of the heart, which are spiritual and essential, viz., ‘righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit" (See Ro 14:17-note) (Online reference) Basileia - 162x in 154v - Observe that most uses occur in the Gospels. Mt 3:2; 4:8, 17, 23" class="scriptRef">23; 5:3, 10, 19-Matt.5.20" class="scriptRef">19, 20; 6:10, 33" class="scriptRef">33; 21" class="scriptRef">7:21; 8:11, 12; 9:35; 10:7; 11:11, 12; 12:25, 26, 28" class="scriptRef">28; 13:11, 19, 24, 31, 33, 38, 41, 43-Matt.13.45" class="scriptRef">43, 44, 45, 47, 52; 16:19, 28; 18:1, 3, 4, 23; 19:12, 14" class="scriptRef">14, 23, 24; 20:1, 21; 21:31, 43; 22:2; 23:13; 24:7, 14; 25:1, 34; 26:29; Mk 1:15; 3:24; 4:11, 26, 30; 6:23; 9:1, 47; 10:14f, 23, 24, 25; 11:10; 12:34; 13:8; 14:25; 15:43; Lk 1:33; 4:5, 43; 20" class="scriptRef">20" class="scriptRef">6:20; 7:28; 8:1, 10; 9:2, 11" class="scriptRef">11, 27, 60, 62; 10:9, 11; 11:2, 17f, 20; 31-Luke.12.32" class="scriptRef">12:31, 32; 18" class="scriptRef">13:18, 20, 29" class="scriptRef">28, 29; 15" class="scriptRef">14:15; 16:16; 17:20, 21; 18:16, 17, 24, 25, 29; 19:11, 12, 15; 21:10, 31; 22:16, 18, 29, 30; 23:42, 51; Jn 3:3, 5; 18:36 Acts 1:3, 6; 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31; Pauline epistles - Ro 14:17; 1Cor 4:20; 6:9, 10; 15:24, 50; Gal 5:21; Eph 5:5; Col 1:13; 4:11; 1Th 2:12; 2Th 1:5; 2Ti 4:1, 18; Other uses - Heb 1:8; 11:33; 12:28; Jas 2:5; 2 Pet 1:11; Rev 1:6, 9; 5:10; 11:15; 12:10; 16:10; 17:12, 17, 18. Basileia - Used 43" class="scriptRef">37.13" class="scriptRef">13" class="scriptRef">13.34.8" class="scriptRef">8" class="scriptRef">8" class="scriptRef">8.17.7" class="scriptRef">7" class="scriptRef">7 times in the non-apocryphal Septuagint: 10" class="scriptRef">10" class="scriptRef">10.10" class="scriptRef">Ge 10:10; 11" class="scriptRef">11.17" class="scriptRef">17.14" class="scriptRef">14.1" class="scriptRef">14:1; 18.9" class="scriptRef">9.37.20" class="scriptRef">20" class="scriptRef">20.9" class="scriptRef">20:9; 21" class="scriptRef">21" class="scriptRef">21.16" class="scriptRef">16" class="scriptRef">16.8" class="scriptRef">8" class="scriptRef">18" class="scriptRef">Nu 21:18; 12.24" class="scriptRef">24.7" class="scriptRef">24:7; 32:33; Deut 3:4, 10, 13, 21; 28" class="scriptRef">28.25" class="scriptRef">28:25; Josh 11:10; 13:12, 21, 27" class="scriptRef">27" class="scriptRef">27, 30f; 16" class="scriptRef">1Sa 10:16, 18; 11:14; 23" class="scriptRef">23" class="scriptRef">13:13f; 15" class="scriptRef">15.28" class="scriptRef">15:28; 31" class="scriptRef">20:31; 24:20; 28:17; 2 Sam 3:10, 28; 5:12; 7:12, 16; 26" class="scriptRef">26" class="scriptRef">26" class="scriptRef">26" class="scriptRef">12:26; 16:3, 8; 19.19" class="scriptRef">19.9" class="scriptRef">19:9; 1Kgs 1:46; 2:12, 15, 22" class="scriptRef">22, 35" class="scriptRef">35; 4:20; 9:5; 10:20; 11:11, 13f, 31, 34f; 12:21, 24, 26; 16:28; 18:10; 2Kgs 11:1; 14:5; 19:15, 19; 24:12; 25:1, 27; 1 Chr 4:23; 10:14; 11:10; 12:23; 14:2; 16:20; 17:11, 14; 22:10; 26:31; 28:5, 7; 29:30; 2 Chr 1:1; 2:1, 12; 3:2; 7:18; 8:6, 9; 9:19; 11:1, 17; 12:1f, 8; 13:1, 5, 8; 15:10, 19; 16:1, 12f; 17:5, 7, 10; 20:6, 29f; 21:3ff; 22:9f; 23:20; 25:3; 26:21; 29:3, 19, 21; 32:15; 33:13; 34:3, 8; 35:19; 36.20" class="scriptRef">36:20, 22f; Ezra 1:1f; 4:5f, 24; 6:15; 7:1, 13, 23; 8:1; Neh 9:22, 35; 12:22; Esther1:4, 19f, 22; 2:3, 16, 18; 3:6ff, 13; 4:11, 13; 5:1, 3, 11; 7:2; 8:5, 12f; 9:4, 16, 20; 10:1ff; Ps 22:28; 45:6; 46:6; 68:32; 79:6; 102:22; 103:19; 105:13; 135:11; 145:11ff; Eccl 4:14; Isa 1:1; 7:8; 9:7; 17:3; 23:17; 37:16, 20; 47:5; 62:3; Jer 1:2, 10, 15; 15:4; 18:7, 9; 24:9; 25:26; 27:8; 28:8; 34:17; 51:27, 59; 52:4; Ezek 17:13f; 37:22; Dan 1:1, 3, 20f; 2:1, 37, 39ff, 44; 3:30; 4:1, 3f, 17f, 25ff, 29ff, 34, 36; 5:7, 11, 16, 18, 20f, 26, 28f, 31; 6:1, 3f, 7, 26, 28; 7:14, 17f, 22ff, 27; 8:1, 23; 9:1f, 26; 10:13; 11:2, 4ff, 9, 17, 20f; Hos 1:4; Amos 6:2; 7:13; 9:8; Obad 1:21; Mic 4:8; Nah 3:5. Here are a few OT uses of basileia... Psalm 22:28-note For the kingdom (basileia) is the LORD'S And He rules over the nations. Psalm 45:6-note Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom (basileia) Psalm 68:32-note Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth, Sing praises to the Lord, Selah. Psalm 79:6-note Pour out Your wrath upon the nations which do not know You, And upon the kingdoms (basileia) which do not call upon Your name. Psalm 145:11, 12-note They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom (basileia) And talk of Your power; 12 To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom. Psalm 145:13-note Your kingdom (basileia) is an everlasting kingdom (basileia) , And Your dominion endures throughout all generations. Isaiah 37:20 "Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, LORD, are God." (Ed: And all God's people say "Amen!") Daniel 2:44-note "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. Comment: When the Stone (Da 2:34, 35-note) strikes the statue representative of the major world empires that have interacted throughout history with Israel, God will remove all vestiges of Gentile world powers and replace them with the Kingdom of Messiah (Millennial Kingdom; see also Overview of Doctrine of Millennium including various views), eg see Why Must there be a Millennial Kingdom?) followed by the New Heavens and the New Earth. Below are a selected uses of basileia in the New Testament... Repent, (present imperative = see related noun metanoia) for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Mt 3:2) Comment: The first NT use of basileia is very instructive for it defines how an unbeliever gains entrance into the Kingdom of heaven (which most agree is synonymous with the phrase "kingdom of God" used in the other Gospels). There is a major attack on the Gospel today which states that repentance is not part of the work of the Spirit in bringing about salvation. To be sure repentance, representing a change of mind leading to a change of conduct, does not arise from within man apart from a work of God, Who grants repentance as an act of mercy (see Acts 3:26 [turning from ~ "repentance", cp Jer 18:11, 23:14, 24:7, 35:15, 36:3, Ezek 18:23, Jonah 3:10], Acts 5:31, Acts 11:18, Acts 26:20, 2Co 7:10, Ro 2:4-note, 2Ti 2:25-note). From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 4:17) Comment: Jesus message is identical to John the Baptist's message in Mt 3:2. Jesus later emphasized "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:32) Clearly Jesus preached repentance and before He departed, He charged His apostles to also preach repentance (Luke 24:47). In short, repentance is an intrinsic aspect of genuine, Biblical conversion and the modern church does great harm by not teaching this truth. (for much more discussion of this important truth see H A Ironside's booklet entitled "Except Ye Repent") Woe to those who teach that repentance is not to be preached as part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! KJV Bible Commentary: Jesus, as the Messiah, is not calling on His listeners to prepare for the coming of the kingdom but rather announces that the kingdom is here. In a very real sense the first coming of the King is an honest, straightforward presentation of the kingdom promised by the Old Testament prophets to the people of Israel. Thus, we find unusual miracles attending Jesus’ presentation of this kingdom: incurable diseases and incomprehensible afflictions are cured by the power of His touch and His word. The kingdom blessings promised in Isaiah 35:5–6 to be fulfilled in a future kingdom, here become the credentials of the King in His first coming. Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel (euaggelion = Good News) of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. (Mt 4:23, cp Mt 9:35) Comment: This is the first mention of "gospel" in the NT. It is significant that this beginning of the gospel looks forward to the future kingdom when Christ will finally be acknowledged as King of kings (see Php 2:9, 10, 11-note, Rev 1:7-note). Compare this with the final mention of "gospel" (Rev 14:6,7-note), which looks back to the creation. The gospel or good news of Christ thus embraces all aspects--past, present, future--of His great work, from creation to consummation. And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe (both present imperative) in the Gospel.” (Mk 1:14-15) BKC: This concept (kingdom of God/kingdom of Heaven) was familiar to the Jews of Jesus’ day. In light of Old Testament prophecy (cf. 2Sa 7:8-17; Isa 11:1-9; 24:23; Jer. 23:4-6; Micah 4:6-7; Zech 9:9-10; 14:9) they were expecting a future Messianic (Davidic) Kingdom to be established on earth (cf. Mt 20:21; Mk 10:37; 11:10; 12:35-37; 15:43; Lk 1:31-33; 2:25, 38; Acts 1:6). So Jesus did not have to arouse interest in His message. His hearers naturally understood His reference to the kingdom of God to be the long-awaited Messianic Kingdom predicted in the Old Testament. (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victorh) Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:10-note) Comment: The kingdom of heaven is the glorious promised prize - in the present and in the future! No crown without a cross! Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:19-note) MacArthur Comments: The consequence of practicing or teaching disobedience of any of God’s Word is to be called least in the kingdom of heaven (Jas 2:10). Determining rank in the kingdom of heaven is entirely God’s prerogative (cf. Mt 20:23), and Jesus declares that He will hold those in lowest esteem who hold His Word in low esteem. There is no impunity for believers who disobey, discredit, or belittle God’s law (see 2Co 5:10-note). That Jesus does not refer to loss of salvation is clear from the fact that, though offenders will be called least, they will still be in the kingdom of heaven. The positive result is that whoever keeps and teaches God’s Word, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (MacArthur, J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word) For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:20-note) Comment: God does not "grade on a curve" (meaning all grades are relative to the best score in the class) but demands perfect (100%) righteousness, found only in Christ Jesus and only credited to the spiritual account of those who believe in Christ "the Lord our righteousness" (Jer 23:5,6 1Cor 1:30, 2Co 5:21-note, Php 3:9-note). Notice that the phrase "enter the kingdom of heaven" is tantamount to conversion or salvation (cp Jn 3:5, 6) Thy kingdom come (a command). Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Mt 6:10-note) Comment: The phrase Thy kingdom come refers to the eschatological nature of this prayer. Notice that the kingdom is to be prayed for, implying that it has not already arrived. The kingdom represents the full and effective reign of God through the mediatorial office of the Messiah. The disciples were not to think of their own convenience as their foremost expression in prayer, but the full and quick realization of the effective rule of God on earth in the hearts of men. That rule is realized through the regenerating process of the new birth in the lives of individuals. It will reach its pinnacle when the last enemy (sin and death, 1Cor 15:24-28) has been destroyed at the Lord’s return. (Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. The Nelson Study Bible: NKJV. Nashville: Thomas Nelson) Hagner comments: This refers to the eschatological rule of God (cf. Harner) expected and longed for by the Jewish people (cf. the central petition of the Qaddish, above v 9). It involves the consummation of God’s purposes in history, the fulfillment of the prophetic pictures of future bliss (cf. Acts 1:6). (Word Biblical Commentary: Matthew 1-13) Hermeneia Commentary: The eschatological interpretation of the prayer has its strongest pillar. In Jewish prayers one frequently praises and prays for God’s reign. Indeed, it is amazing how often God’s future reign is the object of petitions by the rabbis, for whom ordinarily the present aspect of God’s rule is more likely to be in the foreground. Barclay Newman: The reference is to the final establishment of God’s reign on earth. (The United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series - Matthew or Logos) Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does (present tense = as one's lifestyle) the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. (Mt 7:21) Comment: Jesus is not saying "doing" works gets us into heaven. He is saying that one who does works (direction, not perfection) in keeping with the will of God demonstrates by those works that he or she is a genuine new creature in Christ. We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, but the faith that genuinely saves is not alone but brings forth fruit in keeping with repentance. I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mt 8:11, 12) Comment: In this passage clearly kingdom refers to a future (eschatological) event. Jesus has just commended the great faith of the Roman centurion, a Gentile, who came seeking healing for his servant. The "children of the kingdom," in this instance, refers to UNREPENTANT JEWS who thought that their ancestry automatically entitled them to the kingdom of God (see John 8:31-59). In reality, however, these were false children of the kingdom (Mt 7:21-23; 13:38; Lk 13:22-30). Those who come "from the east and west" are Gentiles who exercise personal faith in Jesus Christ. The Jews thought that they were assured of special favor by God, but the Lord reminded them that they could be "last" in the kingdom of God while those who thought themselves "last," such as publicans and prostitutes, would be "first" if they exercised faith in Him (Mt 21:31). Furthermore, the UNREPENTANT JEWS would be "cast out" because of their hypocritical claim that they were the children and followers of Abraham. Abraham was the father of the faithful, and although these men were physical descendants, they were not part of the family of faith. KJV Commentary: Here Christ is referring to the gathering in of the Gentiles through the preaching of the Gospel, culminating in their final gathering at the time of His Second Coming....The children of the kingdom, refers to those to whom the kingdom really belongs. The natural claim to that kingdom had been given to the Jews. Their reception of Christ as Messiah could potentially have brought in the kingdom, that had been promised by the Old Testament prophets. However, their eventual rejection of the Messiah caused the postponement of a literal kingdom on earth. (Before Jesus spoke the parable of the soils, He explained to His disciples the reason He was beginning to speak in parables) And He answered and said to them (the disciples, Mt 13:10), "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted....19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. (Mt 13:11,19) Comment: Note that the "language" of the Kingdom is supernatural speak! It cannot be understood by human intellect alone but must be spiritually discerned (see 1Cor 2:7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 - strictly speaking this post-Pentecost verse refers to the indwelling Spirit which had not yet been given to the disciples but is today present in all Christ followers). Notice also that while Jesus' word of the kingdom is a "mystery" (musterion) to those who have not been granted understanding (e.g., the "natural man" of 1Cor 2:14), it is also a "mystery" which is revealed to those who will enter or who have entered into the Kingdom of heaven/God (those who are saved or who are being saved, for it is "revealed through the Spirit" [1Cor 2:10]). The "Word of the kingdom" the seed and is the word of God which in context is another way of saying the Gospel, the Good News which one believes and by which one is saved and gains entrance into the Kingdom of God/Heaven. He (Jesus) presented another parable to them (His disciples), saying, “The kingdom of heaven (as discussed this is a Jewish phrase and is equivalent to the "kingdom of God" used in Gospels other than Matthew) is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; 32 and this is smaller than all other seeds; but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants, and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.” (Mt 13:31, 32) Comment: This parable shows us that the kingdom is both present and future. Today it is with us in seed form, but someday it will be in full bloom. Today the kingdom is significant only to the believers, but then it will encompass the whole earth and all that are in it. And He said to her (see Mt 20:20), "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left." (Mt 20:21) Comment: In this context, it is clear that the mother of James and John understood Jesus' kingdom to have a future fulfillment and that Jesus would sit on His throne as ruler over His Kingdom (The Millennial Reign of Messiah). 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." (Luke 17:20, 21) For He (God the Father) delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col 1:13-note) Comment: Unbelievers are in the domain of darkness, this present world system ruled by the devil who is over "the kingdoms (basileia) of the world...for it has been handed over to" him (Luke 4:5-6, 1Jn 5:19). All who place their faith in Christ are immediately transferred (aorist tense, in context = past completed act) from the kingdom of the devil to the Kingdom of the Deliverer (Jesus). The Kingdom of Heaven/God is the sphere in which God and Jesus are acknowledged as King. In this sense the Kingdom has a spiritual aspect, a present physical aspect, and a future eternal aspect (beginning with the millennium, cf Mt 25:31,34), all of course depending on the context of the passage in which basileia is found (see discussion below). Paul is careful to remind us that the Kingdom of Heaven/God is not in observance of ordinances, external and material, but in the deeper matters of the heart, which are spiritual and essential (Ro 14:17-note) And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah - see prophecy of His Kingdom to come in Ps 2:1,2, 7, 8, 9-see detailed notes by Tony Garland, see also Rev 2:7-note); and He will reign forever and ever." (Revelation 11:15-note) Comment: This declaration occurs at the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet which chronologically is at the midpoint of the last 7 years known as Daniel's Seventieth Week (see Da 9:27-note). This period is often called "The Tribulation" but in fact that name is never applied specifically in Scripture to the entire seven year period. Jesus used the term Great Tribulation (Mt 24:21, cp Rev 7:13-note, Rev 7:14-note) which is the last 3.5 years of that 7 year period, during which the Antichrist assumes his rule (See Jesus' clear warning of the inception of this horrible time - Mt 24:15 = an event which all the world, especially Jews, would be able to identify!) and reign of terror which is directed especially at the Jews (Zech 13:8, 9), which is why it is also called by Jeremiah "the time of Jacob's Trouble" (Jer 30:7,8,9) and by Daniel "the time of great distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued." (Da 12:1-note, compare Da 12:10-note) Careful observation of the events of the Revelation reveals that Seventh Trumpet is also the Third Woe, the time when "the mystery of God is finished" (Rev 10:7-note) That mystery (which is no longer a "mystery" but is revealed) is the full revelation of the consummation of God’s plan (Rev 11:15, Rev 11:17-note), a plan which the OT prophets foresaw, but never in its fullness as has been revealed in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (Jerome Smith): This seventh trumpet is the last of this series of seven, but not the last absolutely, and is not to be confused with the “last trump” of 1Cor 15:52. Chronologically, the trumpet of Mt 24:31 must follow this seventh trumpet of Revelation, for it occurs after the Tribulation, at the open manifestation of Christ’s Second Advent (Mt 24:30), which in the book of Revelation is recorded in 19.11-Rev.19.16" class="scriptRef">Rev 19:11-16, which is after the time expressed here. In the book of Revelation the seventh trumpet is never called “last” (Rev. 1:11, 17; 2:8, 19; 15:1. 21:9; 22:13). Stephen Charnock: The throne of God outlives the dissolution of the world. MacArthur: The use of the singular term kingdom of the world instead of the plural “kingdoms” introduces an important truth. All of the world’s diverse national, political, social, cultural, linguistic, and religious groups are in reality one kingdom under one king. That king is known in Scripture by many names and titles, including the accuser (Rev. 12:10+), the adversary (1 Pet. 5:8), Beelzebul (Mt. 12:24), Belial (2Cor 6:15), the dragon (Rev. 12:3, 7, 9), the “evil one” (Jn 17:15), the god of this world (2Cor 4:4), the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2), the roaring lion (1Pe 5:8), the ruler of the demons (Mark 3:22), the ruler of this world (John 12:31), the serpent of old (Rev. 12:9+; 20:2), the tempter (1Th 3:5), and, most commonly, the devil (Mt 4:1) and Satan (1Ti 5:15). (Macarthur J. Revelation 1-11. and Revelation 12-22. Mood Excellent conservative commentary) He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Rev 1:6-note, compare similar truth in Rev 5:10-note) Comment: All who believe live in the sphere of God’s rule, a kingdom entered by faith in Jesus Christ. Tony Garland: Whether we are to be “kings and priests” or “a kingdom [of] priests,” it is clear that believers will co-rule with Christ during His coming earthly reign (Rev 20:4-6). This future reign will not come to pass until after Antichrist has his time on the world stage and a judgment is made in favor of the saints (Da 7:18, 25-27). Both now and in the future, our function is primarily priestly. That is, we are to minister to God. Here we run into an extremely important distinction which has not been adequately appreciated among many who lead God’s people. Our primary responsibility is to minister to God and not to men. Our focus is to be God-ward rather than man-ward. We are to “offer up spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ” (1Pe 2:5). As we take care to minister to God, He will minister to men through us. Robert Thomas: Though believers are currently viewed as a royal priesthood (1Pe. 2:5, 9; cf. Ex. 19:6), this is only preliminary to the fullness of the way they will function alongside Christ in the Millennial Kingdom. Then (after the 1000 year reign of Christ in His millennial kingdom) comes the end, when He (Christ) delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He (Christ) has abolished all rule and all authority and power. (1Co 15:24) Comment: Rev 20:7-9 (see notes 20:27, 20:8, 20:10) which represents the final insurrection against God at the end of the 1000 year reign and is the time when Christ will abolish "all rule and authority and power" that is opposed to God. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Eph 5:5) Comment: Paul teaches here and in parallel passages (1Cor 6:9,10, Gal 5:21) that the one who practices sin as their general lifestyle is not saved and has no inheritance in the future kingdom. BDAG writes that these three parallel passages "show that for Paul the kingdom is essentially future, since Christians await the complete victory of the spirit over the flesh." Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose (the language of "election") the poor of this world to be rich in faith (cp Mt 5:3) and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? (James 2:5) MacArthur: Here James intends the kingdom in its present sense of the sphere of salvation—those over whom Christ rules—as well as its future millennial and eternal glory. Rene Pache has an interesting analysis of the progression of the Kingdom of God throughout Scripture. Pache writes that... The progression of the “kingdom of God” is gradually revealed. What is this kingdom in principle if it is not the sphere where God reigns? In the Scriptures we can trace for it seven distinct steps: 1. Paradise...(Ge 1:31) 2. The theocracy of Israel... 3. The Kingdom announced by the prophets... (1Sa 7:8; Isa. 11:1-16) 4. The Kingdom offered and rejected in the Gospels... (Mt 4:17; Lk 17:21;10:9-11) 5. The Kingdom hidden in the heart... (Jn 3:3-5; Col 1:13) 6. The thousand year reign... (Rev. 20:1-10+) 7. The eternal Kingdom in heaven... (2Ti 4:18; 2Pe 1:10-11). (The Inspiration & Authority of Scripture (Salem, WI: Sheffield Publishing Company, 1969), 106) Other resources: Kingdom of God • Kingdom Of God (Of Heaven), The • Kingdom of Heaven The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the poor in spirit. Because they don’t deserve it, God gives it to them as a free gift! They are heirs of the “kingdom of heaven”, which is a kingdom of grace here and now and a kingdom of glory and grace in the hereafter. Alexander Maclaren writes that The ‘kingdom of heaven’ is the rule of God through Christ. It is present wherever wills bow to Him. It is future, as to complete realization, in the heaven from which it comes, and to which, like its King, it belongs even while on earth. Obviously, its subjects can only be those who feel their dependence, and in poverty of spirit have cast off self-will and self-reliance. ‘Theirs is the kingdom’ does not mean ‘they shall rule,’ but ‘of them shall be its subjects.’ True, they shall rule in the perfected form of it; but the first, and in a real sense the only, blessedness is to obey God; and that blessedness can only come when we have learned poverty of spirit, because we see ourselves as in need of all things. (entire sermon) D Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains the kingdom of heaven by noting that.. You will find certain people saying that there is a difference between the 'kingdom of heaven' and the 'kingdom of God'; but my difficulty is to know what the difference is. Why does Matthew talk about the kingdom of heaven rather than the kingdom of God? Surely the answer is that he was writing primarily for the Jews, and to the Jews, and his chief object, perhaps, was to correct the Jewish conception of the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven. They had got into this materialistic way of looking at the kingdom; they were thinking of it politically and in a military sense, and our Lord's whole object here is to show that His kingdom is primarily a spiritual one. In other words He says to them, 'You must not think of this kingdom primarily as anything earthly. It is a kingdom in the heavens, which is certainly going to affect the earth in many different ways, but it is essentially spiritual. It belongs to the heavenly rather than to the earthly and human sphere.' What is this kingdom, then? It means, in its essence, Christ's rule or the sphere and realm in which He is reigning. It can be considered in three ways as follows. Many times when He was here in the days of His flesh our Lord said that the kingdom of heaven was already present. Wherever He was present and exercising authority, the kingdom of heaven was there. You remember how on one occasion, when they charged Him with casting out devils by the power of Beelzebub, He showed them the utter folly of that, and then went on to say, 'If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you' (Matt 12:28). Here is the kingdom of God. His authority, His reign was actually in practice. Then there is His phrase when He said to the Pharisees, 'the kingdom of God is within you, or, 'the kingdom of God is among you' ("is in your midst" Luke 17:21). It was as though He were saying, 'It is being manifested in your midst. Don't say "look here" or "look there". Get rid of this materialistic view. I am here amongst you; I am doing things. It is here.' Wherever the reign of Christ is being manifested, the kingdom of God is there. And when He sent out His disciples to preach, He told them to tell the cities which received them not, 'Be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.' (Luke 10:9, 11, cf Luke 19:11, 21:31) It means that; but it also means that the kingdom of God is present at this moment in all who are true believers...In writing to the Colossians he gives thanks to the Father 'who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son' (Col 1:13-note). The 'kingdom of his dear Son' is 'the kingdom of God, it is 'the kingdom of heaven', it is this new kingdom into which we have entered. Or, again, in his letter to the Philippians he says, 'Our conversation is in heaven,' or, `Our citizenship is in heaven.' We are here on earth, we obey the powers that be, we live our lives in this way. Yes; but 'our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we wait for a Saviour' (Php 3:20-note). We who recognize Christ as our Lord, and in whose lives He is reigning and ruling at this moment, are in the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of heaven is in us. We have been translated into the 'kingdom of his dear Son'; we have become a 'kingdom of priests. (cf 1Pe 2:9-10-notes 1 Peter 2:9; 2:10, Revelation 1:6, 5:10) The third and last way of looking at the kingdom is this. There is a sense in which it is yet to come. It has come; it is coming; it is to come. It was here when He was exercising authority; it is here in us now; and yet it is to come. It will come when this rule and reign of Christ will be established over the whole world even in a physical and material sense (The Millennial Kingdom). The day is coming when the kingdoms of this world will have become 'the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ (Rev 11:15), when... Jesus shall reign where’er the sun Does his successive journeys run; His kingdom stretch from shore to shore, Till moons shall wax and wane no more. (Play Isaac Watt's precious hymn - Jesus Shall Reign sing it out unto the Lord) It will then have come, completely and entirely, and everything will be under His dominion and sway. Evil and Satan will be entirely removed; there will be `new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness' (2Pe 3:13-note), and then the kingdom of heaven will have come in that material way. The spiritual and the material will become one in a sense, and all things will be subject to His sway, that 'at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father' (Php 2:10,11 -note). (Lloyd-Jones, D. M. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount) (Bolding added) .A T Robertson wrote that... “The kingdom of heaven” here means the reign of God in the heart and life. This is the summum bonum and is what matters most. (Word Pictures in the New Testament) MacArthur observes that what Jesus declared in this opening beatitude... was shocking; it was unexpected and unacceptable. It was inconceivable to them (the primarily Jewish audience) that, as God’s (chosen) people, they had anything to do to inherit God’s kingdom but simply wait for and accept it. The Messiah was their Messiah, the King was their King, the Savior was their Savior, the promise was their promise. Every Jew was destined for the kingdom, and every Gentile was excluded, except for a token handful of proselytes. That was the common Jewish thinking of the day, which John totally shattered. (MacArthur, J: Romans 1-8. Moody) Pritchard goes on to add... God wants rejects for His family. He wants rejects who see their failure and run to Him for help. To the spiritually bankrupt, Jesus opens the door of the Kingdom and says, “Come right in. This place was made for you.” That explains why this is the first Beatitude. In giving this simple truth, Jesus has shown us the way of salvation. Blessed as the poor in the spirit, for they shall be saved. But cursed are the proud, for they shall be condemned. The world says, Blessed are the strong, for they shall rule the earth. Blessed are the mighty, for they shall rise to power. Blessed are the rich, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the influential, for they shall be favored. Blessed are the popular, for they shall be loved. Blessed are the gifted, for they shall be followed. Blessed are the beautiful, for they shall be admired. Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It is no mistake that “poor in spirit” comes first. This is the first and fundamental quality of the spiritual life. This is where discipleship begins. This is the key that unlocks the door of heaven. (Matthew 5:1-3 The Making of a Disciple) (Bolding added) See also related discussion on the Kingdom of Heaven a phrase which is found 32x in 31 verses in the NAS - Mt 3:2; 4:17; 5:3, 10, 19f; 7:21; 8:11; 10:7; 11:11f; 13:11, 24, 31, 33, 44f, 47, 52; 16:19; 18:1, 3f, 23" class="scriptRef">23; 19:12, 14, 23; 20:1; 22:2; 23:13; 25:1) Kingdom of God - is found 66x in 55v in the NAS - Mt 12:28; 19:24; 31" class="scriptRef">21:31, 43; Mark 1:15; 11" class="scriptRef">11" class="scriptRef">4:11, 26, 30; 9:1, 47; 10.14-Mark.10.52" class="scriptRef">10:14f, 23ff; 12:34; 14:25; 15:43; Luke 4:43; 20" class="scriptRef">6:20; 7:28; 8:1, 10; 9:2, 11, 27, 60, 62; 10:9, 11; 11:20; 18" class="scriptRef">13:18, 20, 28f; 14:15; 16:16; 17:20f; 18:16f, 24f, 29; 19:11; 21:31; 22:16, 18; 23:51; John 3:3, 5; Acts 1:3; 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 28:23, 31; Ro 14:17; 1 Cor 4:20; 6:9f; 15:50; Gal 5:21; Col 4:11; 2 Th 1:5. ><>><>><> Real Riches... An artist searching for a man to model as the prodigal son saw a beggar in the street and asked him to come to his studio and pose for him, promising to pay him. At the appointed time the man appeared, neatly shaven and all dressed up. "Who are you?" asked the artist. "I am the beggar," answered the man. "I thought I'd get cleaned up before I got painted." "I can't use you as you are now," said the artist, and dismissed him. All who come to Jesus for salvation must come just as they are. Simple trust in Christ—with no claim of their own merits—that's what God is looking for. This attitude is also a key to growth in grace and a life of useful service. After we are saved, we may begin to think that we must clean ourselves up in order to prove ourselves worthy. Although we must "work out" our own salvation, pride and conceit blind us to the truth that it is God who works in us "both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Phil 2:12-note; Phil 2:12-note). Paul put it like this: "He who glories, let him glory in the LORD" (1 Cor. 1:31). Our part is to yield to His working in us. Continued spiritual progress requires that we honestly recognize our continual spiritual poverty. Although we are saved once and for all, we must maintain that basic sense of need that prompted our initial response to Jesus in order for God's Spirit to remain in control. God can use only those who rely on Him and maintain a prodigal posture throughout all of life. —D. J. De Haan. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved) To be rich in God is better than to be rich in goods. ><>><>><> Pleasing God On a scale of 1 to 10, how would we rate the condition of our spiritual life? Even though we may desire to please the Lord, our efforts are so inadequate, our motives often selfish, our faithfulness questionable. No matter how much we do, we fall so far short! Perhaps these thoughts will encourage you: First, remember how God sees us. Because of Christ's work on the cross, we are completely forgiven and perfect in His sight. But then there's our present love-trust relationship with Christ. Perhaps we see ourselves as a meager "1." We can still please God, though, if our attitude is right. He knows we're not capable of perfect performance, but He expects the right attitude of heart. Jesus didn't say, "Blessed are those who achieve their potential and never make a mistake." He said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, . . . those who mourn, . . . the meek." We may have just made a mess of our life, and there may be painful consequences to pay, but we can still please the Lord if we repent and humbly confess our sin. Because we are in Christ, we are always a "perfect 10." And that should motivate us whenever we get discouraged over our slow spiritual growth. --M R De Haan II No condemnation now I dread; I am my Lord's and He is mine! Alive in Him, my living Head, And clothed in righteousness divine. --Wesley On God's grading scale, we all rate zero without the Perfect One. ><>><>><> F B Meyer on THE KEY TO THE KINGDOM "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."--Matt. 5:3. HAD Salome and her sons remembered this beatitude, they would never have asked Christ to make them sit, one on His right, and the other on His left in His kingdom. They would have seen that it was not for Christ to give thrones by an act of His royal prerogative, but that places of power were conditioned by the preparation of heart in those who aspired to hold them. The throne is given to those for whom it is prepared; but they must previously have been prepared, and the preparation of heart involves the poverty in spirit from which the golden ladder of beatitudes climbs upward to blessedness. Earthly thrones are generally built with steps up to them; the remarkable thing about the thrones of the eternal kingdom is that the steps are all down to them. We must descend if we would reign, stoop if we would rise, gird ourselves to wash the feet of the disciples as a common slave in order to share the royalty of our Divine Master. F. B. Meyer. Blessed Are Ye. ><>><>><> F B Meyer on THE PASSIVE SIDE OF THE BLESSED LIFE (Matt. 5:1-12.) Let us study our Lord's ideal of character with the prayer that He would graciously repeat it in us, and that He would be in us that which He commends; for it is only as He gives us Himself in all the fulness of His perfected manhood that we can apprehend that for which we were apprehended, and be that which He desires. Do you realize this, my reader? Have you made room for Him, and are you allowing Him to possess you wholly, till He becomes in very deed your life? The vine must abide in the branch, or these fruits will be impossible. "Apart from Him, nothing." To be poor in spirit is to be vacant of self and waiting for God. To have no confidence in the flesh; to be emptied of self-reliance to be conscious of absolute insufficiency; to be thankfully dependent on the life-energy of the living God, that is poverty of spirit; and it has been characteristic of some of the noblest, richest, most glorious natures, that have ever trodden the shores of Time. Happy are they who are conscious of a poverty which only the Divine indwelling can change into wealth, and who are willing to confess that they would rather be in hell and have God, than in heaven and not have Him. It is, indeed, remarkable that some of the most richly dowered in mental and moral wealth have been most eager to confess that they were nothing, babes in the world of being, children picking up stones on the shores of boundless oceans, scholars on the lowest form of the school, to whom mature growth and knowledge seemed as yet indefinitely distant. The way to become poor in spirit is to realize that thou hast no power of thine own by which to bless and help others, and to open thy whole being to the incoming and through-flowing of the wealth of the ever-blessed God. It was thus that the Master Himself lived and wrought. Though He was rich in all the Divine plenitude of His Divine nature, "He became poor," "and emptied Himself." In other words, He determined not to speak His own words, follow His own scheme and plan, or work His mighty works in His own might, but became the channel and instrument through which His Father spoke, wrought, and reconciled the world unto Himself. 0 soul of man, there is no other course for thee and me! Not to draw up the water with which to quench men's thirst from the depths of our own souls, but to be channels through which the river of God may flow, as the water of faraway lakes is brought to the myriads of our great cities. To confess that thou art nothing, but that Christ is all; to know that thou canst do nothing effective to bless men, but that Christ can, and will, do it by thee, that is the secret of this poverty of spirit which unlocks the treasures of the kingdom of heaven. Many ancient authorities place meekness next, and it seems the natural order, for the soul that realizes its own nothingness and helplessness is likely to be meek. The meek are so occupied with their desire that God's grace should pass through them to their fellows that they are prepared to sink all considerations of their own standing and position so long as nothing may interfere with the effect for which they long. Their only thought is to carry their point, to bless men who do not want to be blessed, to vanquish hate by love, and rebellion by loving-kindness and tender mercy. They cannot afford, therefore, to be always standing on their own dignity and defending their own rights. These are willingly cast into the furnace to augment the flame, that the obdurate metal may be fused. "Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things; but all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace through the thanksgiving of many may abound to the glory of God." The way to become meek is to be absorbingly taken up with the love of Christ for me. Be lowly before God, allowing His love to enter and fill thy heart, and thou wilt find it easy to be meek towards man. Thy pride will be driven out by the expulsive power of the new affection. Thou wilt be prepared to accept flouts and sneers, if only thou canst bless and help others; even as God who answers not the blasphemous and hard things that are said against Him, but continues to send His rain and cause His sun to shine to bring men back in penitence to His heart. It would be a great mistake, however, to suppose that the meek are cowardly, deficient in strength of purpose or force of will: they are among the strongest and most strenuous of men. But they are strong in patience and strenuous in seeking the salvation of others. Let the cause of righteousness, justice, or truth be in question, none are so unbending or stalwart as they. Of the wrongs done to themselves they are disposed to take no count, but they dare not refrain from bearing witness, both by speech and act, whenever the sacred majesty of truth is assailed and in danger of being trampled under foot. It is natural that the meek should become those that mourn. They feel keenly the evil of sin and the sanctity of sorrow; like Him who sighed as He touched the tongue of the dumb, groaned as lie came to the grave of His friend, and wept as He beheld the city. Of all mourners, Jeremiah is one of the most plaintive. There is no lyric on the page of history to be compared with the Book of Lamentations: "Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water." "Mine eye poureth down and ceaseth not." "Mine eye affecteth my soul." When we turn from the sin of the world, the woes of men, the high-handed wrong of the great, and the abject poverty, sorrow, and anguish of heart of the oppressed, to the sin of our own hearts, the broken ideals, the frustrated purposes, the perpetual contrast between what we would be and what we are, surely our tears must have more salt in them, and cut deeper courses in their flow. There surely is no need to show the way for mourning such as this. Look above thee and see the Christ stand, so pure, so chaste, so glorious in the light in which He arrays Himself as with a garment, and thou wilt abhor thyself and repent in the dust. Look around thee, and try to estimate the weight of a world's apostasy, the deluge of tears, the hurricane of sighs, that mount up to heaven. "Ah, it's a sair world, my masters!" But the mourners are not content to shed tears only, they hunger and thirst after righteousness. St. Augustine says that they hunger and thirst after the Righteous One, " Jesus Christ the Righteous." They were made for Him, and will never be satisfied until they attain to the fruition of all their hopes, to know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. Without doubt such is their supreme desire, and as included in this they hunger and thirst for the ultimate triumph of righteousness in their own hearts and in the world of men. Every moan of pain, every consciousness of failure, every temporary triumph of reactionary and destructive forces, elicits the more urgent and persistent prayer, "Thy Kingdom come." The personal coming of the Lord is desired not primarily because the Bride desires the Bridegroom, but because the subject longs for the triumph of that Kingdom which is righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Ghost. This aspiration is noble. Some hungers are ignoble, despicable, and base. But this is shared in by God Himself, whose Spirit longs with inexpressible desire to bring to an end the present condition of things in the vindication and manifestation of His sons. The angels, as they behold the evil and pain of our earth; the champion of the rights of men, who wrestles with the hydra-headed and protean evil of his age; the wronged womanhood of the harem and the street; the dumb creation groaning and travailing with enormous and cruel wrongs, all join in this blessed hunger and thirst, the aspiration which amounts to a sure and certain hope that cannot be ashamed. Thou needest not be taught this, for thou hast often felt it. Amid the violet light of a dying summer's day, when soft and lovely music, songs without words, is filling the entranced and listening air, when some heroic stand for liberty is drowned and quenched in blood, when the white robes of the soul have been stained and polluted by some recent fall, then the soul hungers with an intolerable pain, and thirsts, as the wounded hart for water-brooks, that righteousness should set up its blessed and all-conquering reign. F. B. Meyer. The Directory of the Devout Life The 49 NT uses of Makarios... Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Matthew 5:8 " "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:10 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:11 "Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Matthew 11:6 "And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me." Matthew 13:16 "But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 24:46 "Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Luke 1:45 "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord." Luke 6:20 And turning His gaze on His disciples, He began to say, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Luke 6:21 "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Luke 6:22 "Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and cast insults at you, and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Luke 7:23 "And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me." Luke 10:23 And turning to the disciples, He said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, Luke 11:27 And it came about while He said these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice, and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts at which You nursed." 28 But He said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it." Luke 12:37 "Blessed are those slaves whom the master shall find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait

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