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
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?
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.