My journey began several years ago when a sweet young lady came to my door and wanted to share some Scripture with me. Of course, I allowed her to do so. For about a year she would come and share a scripture about every 2-3 months and give me some reading material. Sometimes she had a ‘trainee’ with her. One day she turned to a passage in Daniel (I tried to look up the specific one but there are 53 references to the kingdom in Daniel and I really don’t remember which one). She read about the kingdom and asked my opinion. I told her I believed there is a kingdom of God’s believers on earth that are called to win as many into the kingdom of believers as they can before the Lord returns to take us to the heavenly kingdom. She did not agree with that. She only believes there is a heavenly kingdom.
After she left, that got me to thinking. I did a long study on the kingdom and how it IS here on earth and how there is a heavenly kingdom we will go to when we die (or Jesus comes back). The next time she returned, I was armed with scripture. It just so happens that my house was clean the day she and her trainee stopped by. I invited them in and we sat on the couch and all opened our Bibles. I shared with them my scriptures. She shared with me her scriptures. After a short while when I decided this was going no where, I said, “You know, we probably should agree to disagree. Whether you believe your interpretation or I believe what I have found, neither is a ‘bad’ view to hold. Neither is denying God or against his teaching. And, believing that a kingdom of believers is here on earth is not a bad concept, it is just different than your concept.” Well, they really didn't like that, but they were nice about it and the sweet lady expressed that it was really refreshing to actually have someone talk to them and not brush them off. It was nice to know someone took the time to study the scriptures.
After that, she did come back several more times but we did not talk about the kingdom any more. What I found to be most interesting came after the visit I had with her about the kingdom. Two older men came to my house. They were obviously from the same church as the sweet lady. It seemed they were ‘checking up’ on me because of something she had told them. God was with me that day!! They asked me questions and I talked with them on the front porch for a short while. At one point in our conversation, I made a comment (I really don’t remember what it was, but it was about my understanding of some scripture we were discussing.) You know that long pause you get when someone is digesting something you said? Well, they paused and stared at me. One finally nodded in agreement with a look on his face like, “I never thought of that before.” I credit God for putting the words in my mouth for that situation and for giving me the opportunity to nicely debate others who have a zest for scripture, too. I like debating. I learn a lot.
Anyway, I have always been fascinated by the whole ‘kingdom’ concept ever since these encounters. So, I started researching the “The kingdom of heaven is like…” passages in Matthew. Each week I will share one of those with you. And my interpretation is that there has to be a kingdom on earth fighting good and evil. There is also a kingdom in the heavenly realm fighting good and evil. But, Heaven, I think, is were there is no evil and no tears and all is at peace with us worshiping God constantly.
Next week, I will start with Matthew 13:24-30 “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.”