Home Sweet Home

Blog #59 June 02, 2023

Matthew 6:11 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven.

Growing in God, I have many times wondered just exactly what this Kingdom of God is or what it will be. Is Christ the Kingdom? Is it a place or is it another name for heaven. Christ in our verse from Matthew infers that the Kingdom is a place here on earth where people live. In His ministry again Christ infers that this Kingdom is as real as you or I and has the ability to be touched, weighed, and measured. In fact, He used common recognizable objects (good seed, a mustard seed, leaven, a pearl of great price) to help us understand what the Kingdom is and how it could be compatible with this world if we will only allow it to be. The Inspired Version of the Bible (to the LDS it is known as the Joseph Smith Translation) tells of the Prophet Enoch gathering together a people that God called Zion. 

Genesis 7:23 And the Lord called his people, Zion, because they were of one heart and of one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there were no poor among them.

The vast majority of the Christian world centers their hope on what is termed "The Rapture" when Christ will return and gather His faithful to Him.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first;
4:17 Then they who are alive, shall be caught up together into the clouds with them who remain, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we be ever with the Lord.

My belief is that our covenant labor calls for us to allow the God to lead us to a new way to live and inspire others to do the same. Our concerted effort to grow in oneness with God will allow us to grow closer with one another allowing us to become a community of believers living in accordance with God's laws. In that, we will be here to welcome Christ as our leader. He will then guide us as we reach out and offer God's Kingdom to the world. In short, instead of Christ doing this for us, we must humble ourselves to God's Holy Spirit and in that way labor as one for the Kingdom, now.  

Genesis 7:70 And righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine own elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare; an holy city, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion; a New Jerusalem.
Semantics and the application of these words to our interpretation of Christ's teachings separate us. The churches of the world believe that we will live our lives day to day as many churches and many people. At the return of Christ, we will all be gathered together and become Christ Church ready to reach out to the world with laws, rituals, and traditions. I contend that Christ is working through His believers that they might gather, become an organized body of people schooled and practiced in the ways of the Kingdom. Laws, rituals, and traditions were the beginning of this body, but a close and abiding fellowship with God through His Holy Spirit has shown us how to establish the righteousness of God in our hearts allowing the very lives we live together to become a testimony of God at work in the world of man. Now we must go forward toward that Kingdom 

Hebrews 6:1-3
6:1 Therefore not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.
6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
6:3 And we will go on unto perfection if God permit.

With the Spirit alive in our hearts, we have the opportunity and the wherewithal to become a people of one heart and one mind sharing the ways of the Kingdom one with another. This is the testimony Christ brought. This is the testimony that God wants the world to see. 

I am convinced that in the time between Adam and Christ someone tried and failed in the righteousness they sought. In frustration they probably thought, "If I could just see somebody do it, I know I could do it myself". In answer to that need God has given us many virtuous people that the world might have a testimony of a life lived in the ways of God. In fact He gave us Christ who is the epitome of one living righteously. But, God seeks a righteous people that the world might aspire to be more and draw together as one for the sake of righteousness. He seeks to give them a righteous gathering of people that a family, a congregation, a community, or a nation might recognize as something they too can become. In fact He tells us of just such a situation.

Micah 4:2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Whatever the belief and however it will come about believers all agree that Christ will rule the earth for a period of 1,000 years. What will it be like in that Kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven?

DC 26:2e-2g
26:2e for the hour is nigh, and the day soon at hand, when the earth is ripe; and all the proud, and they that do wickedly, shall be as stubble, and I will burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth;
26:2f for the hour is nigh, and that which was spoken by mine apostles must be fulfilled; for as they spoke, so shall it come to pass;
26:2g for I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.

Many picture the Kingdom as a society based in agriculture, much like most of developing Europe during the Middle Ages or early America. Others picture it as a society with advanced technology that has solved all the world's great problems and live peacefully reaching out for the stars and conquering the universe. I posed the question to God about His Kingdom and he answered me with a vision in three parts that showed me humanity living in the Kingdom of God in a rural setting, a small community, and what we term as a metropolis. 

The rural setting:
I remember walking along a fence until I found a stile, which is a ladder-like construct built into a fence-line that allows one to climb up and over a fence without damaging the fence itself. Climbing over I found myself in a rich meadow filled with cattle. I noticed women with strange hats tending the cattle. The hats were a white piece of cloth that was folded and worn on the top of the head. The folds were allowed to extend beyond to the side of the head projecting forward. They were reminiscent of the hat worn by Sally Fields in a TV program from my youth called the "Flying Nun". My first thought, "Huh, I guess there will be Catholics in Zion". Days later I finally realized that the women I was seeing had been a part of the Dutch dairy farms for centuries. They are called "Milk Maids" and wore the hats in a display of oneness offering both comfort and security to the stock they were tending.  
As I walked I noticed the overall condition of the meadow. It was filled with good quality thick fescue with just the right amount of clover. Around the edges there were an assortment of fruit trees. 

What caught my attention most was the attitude and demeanor of those tending to the cattle. They were polite to the point of being friendly to a stranger walking though their field. Without a question asked they treated me like my presence was not only acceptable, it was welcome. I spent a brief time viewing the farm and was impressed by how clean it was. Nothing there was new. In fact the house and barns looked to be anywhere from thirty to fifty years old, but none of them were worn out. Each building, every piece of machinery, the stock, the orchards and gardens, and even the ground itself were all both well used and well cared for. It was there my first vision ended.

Suburban setting:
As I stepped out from behind a tree I was welcomed with the site of storybook small town America. If not Main Street it was a main thoroughfare filled with all manner of small business. I saw an appliance store that did repair work, a meat market, and other recognizable small "mom and pop" businesses. The community itself reflected a small-town bearing because it was late in the evening and the only places open were food or drink vendors and the theater. The marque announced a show but I have no idea whether it was a movie house or a stage for live performance, but it must have been worth seeing because there was a line at the door.  

The street itself was well lighted with wide sidewalks and on street parking for the five or six block business district. I was a couple of blocks up the hill from downtown and the road was reduced to one lane each way with a planted greenbelt in the middle. The green belt sported several well-tended trees, flowerbeds, and a fountain. I looked across the street and saw a small berm. Over the top of the hill I saw lights and heard the sounds of a small crowd. So I headed there. 

Crossing the Main Street I met with several people. Again I was faced with several people who though unknown to me acted as if I was neither uncommon nor threatening. They were friendly, accommodating, and interested in me. None acted afraid or even suspicious of who I was or why I was there. They introduced themselves and made me one of the people and part of the conversation. I got the distinct impression that they were trying to share with me the happiness and satisfaction that defined their lives. All in all it was a comfortable engaging situation, and thoroughly enjoyable.  

The urban setting:
This was the shortest of my three experiences, but it quickly clarified the testimony God was giving me. I opened an all glass door and looked out upon a city complete with wide sidewalks, wide streets, tall buildings in every direction, and people. People were everywhere, but no one was alone. There were pairs and groups, but no one was in a hurry. The hustle and bustle so commonly associated with urban "anywhere" was not present in the obviously large and prosperous city. Had I not been exposed by the first two settings I might have been overwhelmed by the shear number of people greeting me and making an effort to include me in their day. I have never before and will probably never again feel so safe, secure, and welcomed on any city street in this world. Even the traffic in the street offered none of the competitive attitudes so prevalent on the city streets of the world. It was both awesome and wonderful. Then it was over. 

I mulled over all I had seen for days afterward and through the Spirit God finally helped me understand. The Kingdom of God is not a place; it is a people and the oneness of their hearts. He had been trying to tell me this forever, and I finally got it.

Genesis 7:23 And the Lord called his people, Zion, because they were of one heart and of one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there were no poor among them.

Grasp if you will all that He was giving me. The Kingdom for all practical purposes will look to be just another place in the world. It is the people that live there that will be different. They will care for others, not just those known to them, but everyone else, too. What if this attitude defined you effort every day of your life.

Mosiah 9:40 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life:

Can you imagine living in a world where there are no strangers? What would it be like if the face you didn't recognize was just a friend you hadn't been introduced too, yet? What if you loved where you lived? What if you strived for perfection in all you did, just because you wanted to do it better? What if the ways of the Kingdom delighted you more than anything in the world?

Psalms 37:3-4
37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
37:5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Psalms 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delighteth in his way.

God's testimony to me changed all I believed about my effort for the Kingdom. It is here today if we will but allow God to teach us to see it, know it, and utilize all that it offers. I am convinced that Christ with His ministry gave us the Kingdom on earth. It is our labor to nurture it and cause it to grow in this world. Christ wants to come back and see the fruits of His labor alive and active in the world. That is our labor.

Genesis 9:22-23
9:22 And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy;
9:23 And the general assembly of the church of the firstborn shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant, which I made with thy father Enoch.
The Kingdom we want is a place where the people say to each other, "Hi, how are you; we're glad you're here. And..............they will really mean it. What's keeping us from doing this today?

Think about it..........Embrace it.

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