BTC Phase 3: Lesson 3
Read the story of Two Kingdoms, the Kingdom of Heaven & the Kingdom of God, where we are now and where we are headed.
Defining Kingdoms: We hear the term “Kingdom” tossed about the Body of Christ quite often; but what is this in reference to? Or you may have wondered, “What is the difference between the various Kingdoms mentioned, such as the “Kingdom of Heaven” and the “Kingdom of God?” Where are these Kingdoms; and if we are priests and kings, what do we reign over?
“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:10 (KJV)
Location, location, location: “The “Kingdom of God” is said to be on the inside of us. So, does this mean that “The Church being built on the Rock by Christ” is the Kingdom of God since it is on the inside of us as well?” Sort of…or in the very least you could say that these two are intimately connected.
“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21 (KJV)
Let’s explore the different teachings about the use of the term “Kingdom” and its relationship to “The Church on the Rock.”
The Kingdom of Heaven, a Spiritual Womb: We will start first with a word about the Kingdom of Heaven, which is considered to be our place of growth and development and from where we undergo our “wilderness experiences” (growth experiences or Baptism with Fire).
The Net: The Kingdom of Heaven is also known as “The Net” or it is sometimes referred to as a “womb or incubation place” which supports our spiritual growth as we “mature in Christ.” Thus you see many references to this growth process in Scripture, such as with the parable from Matthew 13:31-32 (KJV):
“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”
The Kingdom of God, the Ultimate Goal: However you describe it, The Kingdom of Heaven is “where” we find ourselves, right here on earth, after we “join” the Body of Christ. However, as we develop into “being or becoming the Church” and as we grow spiritually, the goal is to become the living embodiment of the Spirit or a member of…the Kingdom of God.
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:5-6 (KJV)
Scripture tells us that in the Kingdom of Heaven, we find the “good fish” and the “bad fish,” as well as the “wheat” alongside of the “tares”; yet there are none of these as part of the Kingdom of God where by Grace, souls have transition beyond those conditions.
Mercy and Grace, the foundation for spiritual transformation: When “Water” is mentioned in the Bible, this usually points to “Mercy” whereas the term “Holy Spirit” or “Righteousness” references the healing and transforming power of the Grace of God living within us (Greater He). We also know then, that Mercy and Grace become the foundation stones for true spiritual growth….”unto salvation” (full transformation or transfiguration of the soul.)
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:10 (KJV)
The Process “Unto Salvation”: So, in other words, first, we enter the Kingdom of Heaven through the Cross of Mercy and Forgiveness as commemorated with our water Baptism. This receiving of Mercy allows us to have “good-standing” with God so we can be considered fit vessels for the Seed of the Holy Spirit as commemorated by the second element of Baptism (receiving of the Spirit). Then, these two elements, Mercy (forgiveness) & Grace (Spirit) work together within us, helping us over time to become “spiritual in nature.” Growth experiences related to the transformational process are represented in the third element of Baptism, that being “Fire.”
Hence, those who have learned to walk in Mercy while holding to Grace will find themselves to be members of the Kingdom of God, which is more like a state of consciousness rather than a specific place.
The Purpose of the Process: You could say that we enter the Kingdom of Heaven in order to become the Church (Kingdom of God.) You could also say that the purpose of “going to church” (gathering place) is to support one another towards “Becoming the Church.”
Kingdom of God, a State of Grace & a Place: So, by considering the steps involved in the “process of transformation,” we can see that the definition of the Kingdom of God is not just a “place we would go to,” but “The Kingdom of God” actually references the fully transformed and transfigured condition & consciousness of the soul, having come to abide in complete union with the Living Spirit of God.
The Bible also tells us that via our submitted relationship with Christ we will abide with Him now and forever. So, though the Kingdom of God reflects a state of consciousness, we discover too, that as we embrace a life of Mercy & Grace, we are already with Him now and forever, suggesting a place as well as a “state of Grace.” with Him.
The Purpose for Entering the Net: Well, having said all that about the Kingdom of God, we know that we certainly have a lot of very important “soul work” to undergo in order to “finish the race (course)” as the Bible says, which becomes our purpose for having entered the “Net.”
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24 (KJV)
Teach, Baptize and Teach: Thus, Jesus instructed us at the end of Matthew to “teach, baptize (identify with Jesus), and teach more” so that not only would we “enter” into the Kingdom of Heaven (process unto salvation,) but that we would fulfill the purpose for having entered, that we might “finish the race” and finish lawfully, as led by the Spirit of God. Let’s look at Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV):
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Kings and Priests in the Kingdom: As members of the “Kingdom,” what do we “rule over?” Scripture tells us that “We hold the keys”:
“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 (KJV)
Yet, what we “reign over” would not include people or even things, but over our choice to turn away from the habits/ways/wiles of the old nature and embrace the spiritual nature (Mercy & Grace), thereby choosing spiritually-based responses to life’s events that reflect that relationship with the Spirit of God.
“Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” John 20:23 (KJV)
Kingdom Consciousness & Holding the Keys: As we love and forgive on earth, this frees the mercy of God toward us! Hmmm. There is much more to come in our studies about the importance of Mercy & Grace in this “process unto salvation” as well as the responsibility we have in “holding the keys”; but today we celebrate a deeper understanding of what the two Kingdoms mean (Kingdom of Heaven & Kingdom of God) and the purpose for each Kingdom. We also can rejoice and give thanks to God for the marvelous process of soul transformation of which we are now a part.
May God bless and guide you on your journey from Kingdom to Kingdom.
“Kingdom Consciousness” by Ann M. Wolf © 2016, All rights reserved.