Episode:Jesus—Inaugurator of the Kingdom of Heaven (Part 1)
Jesus was aware of the confusion which existed in the minds of his apostles and disciples regarding the meaning and significance of the terms “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God.” Therefore the Master sought to clarify his teachings during an intensive training one Sabbath afternoon in March of A.D. 30. However, the apostles were unable to grasp the real meaning of the Master’s utterances, resulting in centuries of confusion regarding the nature of the kingdom.
Summary by Kermit
This paper is a composite of material from a Sabbath sermon delivered by Jesus late in his public ministry, less than a month prior to his crucifixion. It embraced a full and complete discussion of the kingdom of heaven. The midwayer authors amplified the content of this sermon by adding numerous statements made by Jesus on previous occasions as well as remarks made only to the apostles later the same day. Certain comments are also included dealing with the kingdom idea as it played out in relation to the later Christian church.
Because this paper was “constructed” as it were as opposed to the more familiar narratives found elsewhere in part IV, it contains many enumerated lists and bullet point outlines of the various components of the kingdom of heaven concepts that were extant at that time and as they developed through out the history of the Christian church.
1. Concepts of the Kingdom
Hebrew scriptures presented two main ideas of the kingdom, both of which Jesus taught.
- As a present reality
- As a future hope-to be realized in fullness upon the appearance of the Messiah. This is what John the Baptist taught.
Concepts also at play during that time were:
- The Jewish concept of a world-wide kingdom of supernatural origin and miraculous inauguration.
- The Persian teachings of the end of world triumph of good over evil.
Down through the ages of the Christian era the kingdom of heaven has been understood and misunderstood within four distinct groups of ideas.
- Jewish concepts
- Persian concepts
- Jesus' personal experience concept—the kingdom of heaven of within you.
- The confused composite concepts which Christianity has presented to the world.
Most important to remember is that Jesus, in his teachings to his apostles always taught the kingdom as embracing the personal experience of the individual in relation to his fellows to his Father in heaven. His last word concerning the kingdom was, “The kingdom is within you.”
Jesus very early in his public ministry presented a clear statement of what he meant by the term Kingdom of Heaven, which we will examine at the end of this evening's broadcast. As his ministry went forward he found that he had to recast these kingdom ideas, which has contributed to the confusion which exists today concerning the term. These adjustments of Jesus illustrate the adaptive nature of experiential deity in contrast with existential deity, and present a challenge to many of his present day followers.
2. Jesus' Concept of the Kingdom
We enjoyed an in depth discussion of the meanings of terminology used by the revelators. Here, Jesus makes clear that the kingdom of heaven must begin with the TRUTH of the fatherhood of God and the correlated FACT of the brotherhood of man. While in Paper 194 we encounter the phrase:
The gospel of the kingdom is: the fact of the fatherhood of God, coupled with the resultant truth of the sonship-brotherhood of men.
In exploring this reciprocal phrase between the TRUTH and the FACTS of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, we see the differences in approaching the full understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven from a bottom up or SPIRITUAL approach, versus the top down or COSMIC approach. The Master recognized that the top down approach with TRUTH first, moving down to FACT is asking a lot of people, when the natural approach is FACT to TRUTH. The 5th ER is the challenge to strike step with the cosmos in a top down perspective rather than to just take a purely SPIRITUAL approach of bottom up.
Jesus attempted to translate the concept of the kingdom of heaven into the ideal of the idea of doing the will of God. His attempts to induce his followers to abandon use of the term kingdom of God in favor of the more practical equivalent, the will of God.
As with many of our deep discussions on this broadcast, I strongly recommend reviewing the archive broadcast of this show.
3. In Relation to Righteousness
We do enter the kingdom as a child, but here we are challenged to become adults of God. The archive of the discussion that ensued should also be listened to for a very deep journey involving righteousness, the levels of meaning, and engagement of the gospel in its full COSMIC sense.