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 Little Known Fact about the Kingdom of Heaven

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Join date : 2010-09-30
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PostSubject: Little Known Fact about the Kingdom of Heaven   Little Known Fact about the Kingdom of Heaven EmptyMon Sep 22, 2014 8:04 pm

As mentioned before, I intend on writing up a huge summary of eschatology. But until then I'd like to share this small essay I wrote in my Religion class which reveals a little known fact about the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven is often misunderstood to readers of the bible. (I know my quotes sound superficial, but I had to quote 2 textbooks as part of the assignment):

For my “Any Topic” essay, I would like to share from my personal studies, my view of the Kingdom of Heaven. I have been studying Christianity for many years, so I am aware of most alternative views. My view comes straight from the bible. I believe that by analyzing the scriptures carefully and meticulously; and directed by the Holy Spirit that others would come to the same conclusions. I postulate that the reason why my view is not renowned is because most scriptures are analyzed by people on a generic level without a true focus on context and wording. Also, I observed many interpreters of Scripture assume that the bible does not mean what it really says so they give an alternative meaning to what it actually says. To keep this as short of an essay as possible, I am going to attempt to write as succinctly as I can.

The common view of Heaven is well known. The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary says that “…J. Dwight Pentecost correctly says, ‘Thus all the redeemed of the ages who enter this city may do so by resurrection. The city thus becomes the abode of all the resurrected saints who enter it at the time of their resurrection” (546). My essay challenges this well established view of the Kingdom city of Heaven. To state my position: the Kingdom of Heaven is not open to all Christians. While salvation is by faith alone, to have access to the Kingdom of Heaven, consists of works added onto one’s salvation. Therefore all Christians escape Hell through faith alone in Christ and are bound for Heaven, but not all Christians will have access to the Kingdom of Heaven. The confusion is when interpreters relate the Kingdom of Heaven to all of Heaven itself.

The Kingdom of Heaven resides within Heaven. One can think of the Kingdom of Heaven as similar to saying “the Capital of the United States,” where the emphasis is on the word “of.” The Capital of the United States does not represent all of the United States, but rather, just a particular place within the United States. Revelation 21:2 calls this city, “the New Jerusalem.” It is technically the Capital City of Heaven. The size is about a third of the United States wide and high, thus, there will be many levels to the city. One can ascend to the next level up in one’s newly resurrected body just as Jesus resurrected and ascended to Heaven at will. Our new bodies will resemble Jesus’ resurrected body. 1 Corinthians 15:49 says, “And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.”

Many passages are misinterpreted as a Christian losing one’s salvation based on works or lack of; or, salvation by works based on certain Kingdom of Heaven passages. For example, Galatian 6:19-21 reads as follows: “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft; hatred, discord, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy…I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” From this passage, many falsely interpret that one can lose one’s salvation by committing these acts, or that one has to work to not commit these acts to secure one’s salvation. This passage is not talking about salvation. It is not talking about Heaven either. It specifically says and is talking about the Kingdom of Heaven that resides within Heaven, which is the Kingdom City. Access to the Kingdom City is a reward for righteous living, hence the word “inherit.”

Jesus repeats in Revelation chapters 2-3 that the overcomer is rewarded to the Tree of Life (which is located within the New Jerusalem City—see Revelation 22); or that the overcomer has the right to rule with Him in the Heavenly City. Not all will be rulers. Not all will be equal in Heaven. One Scripture that proves not all will be equal in Heaven is Matthew 5:19, which states, “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Not all will be equal even within the Kingdom City. Revelation 21:27 says that not everyone will have access to this Heavenly Capital City: “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” This is one of the passages that Christian readers brush off and don’t want to accept what it says, so they change the meaning. They change the meaning saying, ‘Since Jesus took away all of our sins then it must mean that it refers to every Christian because He made all Christians pure.’ That sounds nice, but that is not what the verse says. Note that it says those who do what is shameful will not have access into the city—that has nothing to do with faith.

Now many obscure passages should make more sense. In Jesus’ sermon on the mount He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…Blessed are the meek , for they will inherit the [New] earth…[and] Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is not saying that we must be meek to be saved for eternal life. He is saying that we must be meek to inherit access to the Kingdom of Heaven. Revelation 2:7 Jesus says, “To him who overcomes I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God [inside the Kingdom city—see Revelation 22].” He is not saying you have to be an overcomer to be saved. He is saying that only the overcomers will be able to enter the Kingdom City to have access to the fruit of the Tree of Life. In Revelation, those outside the Kingdom City will be given the leaves of the Tree of Life for healing. Jesus’ ruling representatives will have access in and out of the city to bring these leaves to the nations outside the city. But they will not be able to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life. Only those who are allowed inside the Kingdom City will have the right to eat its fruit. Adam and Eve never ate from the Tree of Life. They had a choice between the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and they chose to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and lost their right to eat from the Tree of Life, which is why God kicked them out of the Garden of Eden and posted an angel with a flaming sword at the gate to keep them from coming back into the garden.

In summary, our textbook correctly says that the “[Kingdom of God] is not to be equated with Heaven” (112) though they did not properly explain what Heaven or the Kingdom entails. The Kingdom is explained by the bible in Revelation 21 and 22. It says that there will be an angel posted at each of the 12 gates and the 12 gates will always be open. Why will there always be angels posted at the gates to the city?—for the same reason an angel with a flaming sword was posted at the gate to the Garden of Eden in Genesis, which was to keep Adam and Eve outside the Garden so that they will not have access to the Tree of Life which they forsook the right to eat from. The Tree of Life would have locked them into their eternal sinful states had they eaten from that tree without the blood of Jesus purifying them—so God was doing them a favor. There will be that same Tree of Life in the Kingdom City of Heaven. Outside of the gates, Revelation 22:15 says are the “dogs, those who [rebel against God]”; which are Christians, because all sinners were thrown into the Lake of Eternal Fire and are not on the scene in Revelation chapters 21 and 22. Revelation 21:24 says that the rulers, those who have been put in a position to rule with Jesus will be able to go in and out of the gates of the city and they will be the light of the nations, which are those people who are not allowed inside the city; they will also give those people the leaves of the Tree of Life for healing (Revelation 22:2) but they will not be allowed to eat of the fruit. The fruit is a reward (and access to the Kingdom) is a reward for obedient Saints; and, not for non-obedient Saints, it will also be kept from those who were saved from the Tribulation period (except for the 144,000 Jews that God chose to save) lest they are overcomers.

Works Cited:
Marrill F. Unger, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary. Chicago: Moody, 1957; 1988.

Cory, Catherine A. and Hollerich, Michael J. The Christian Theological Tradition 3rd Edition. New Jersey: Pearson, Prentice Hall, 2009. 112.

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