The Kingdom of Heaven. The place where God dwells.
The mystery beyond our imagination.
Before time and space were even a reality, the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven was eternally existing.
The setting for the eternal presence of God the Father, the Son and the Spirit.
Have you ever tried to explain something wonderful to someone who has never experienced anything like what you are trying to explain?
When we lived in West Africa, our home was 7 degrees North of the equator, just south of the Sahara Dessert! It was hot! Occasionally the temperatures dropped into the frigid 70's, but rarely. When it did though, you could walk through town and see people in parkas and beanies! They had no ability to truly understand or imagine a cold climate where snow and ice are cover the earth for half the year. Winter, though a reality, was almost inconceivable. My kids and I would try to explain the beauty of falling snow; the way it glitters in the sunlight. We tried to explain the process of building a snowman, or laying in the snow to make snow-angels. We tried to connect it with something they did understand. "It's like the world is a freezer." They believed us, but couldn't fully comprehend it.
Likewise, we struggle to understand Heaven! Jesus spent much of His time teaching us about the Kingdom of Heaven through His words and His life.
The Kingdom of Heaven is what it is because God is there.
The realities of Heaven are reflections of the realities of God. When Jesus entered the realm of humanity, He left home to step into time and space. He entered the world He had created for humanity, but He retained His nature; the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven. He brought with Him the essence of Heaven. Every word, action, thought, habit, purpose, reaction; everything about Him demonstrated Heaven. That is why when He began teaching He said,
"Repent, because the Kingdom of Heaven is here." Matthew 4:17.
Jesus was telling the people to pay attention, everything He did and said was going to help them understand a place they could hardly imagine. And, this place will one day be our home, if we follow Him. How wonderful to learn about the place that will be our eternal and wonderful home!
Jesus did not only tell them that the Kingdom of Heaven was near, He told them to pray to the Father,
"Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10.
I used to think this was a plea for God to commence the events leading to the re-creation of the world. Though that is true, I believe it is incomplete. Having spent the last year studying the book of Matthew, I have come to understand that Jesus was showing us with His own life that the realities of the Kingdom of Heaven can pierce the darkness of this world and be the realities of our own lives. When we learn what Jesus was communicating to us about Heaven and pay attention to how He applied them to His own life, we can follow His example. We can literally bring the realities of the Kingdom of Heaven to our little part of the World.
It has been thrilling to realize that this is part of the reason Jesus came, lived and taught. He was bringing us understanding and ways to experience the kingdom of Heaven right now!
Beginning this new year, I am returning to the beginning of Matthew to review and dig even deeper into Jesus' teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven.
What is it like?
How does is work?
How do its citizens live?
How can I begin enjoying these realities right now?
How can I share them with the people around me?
Follow along in the coming months and I will share with you what I am learning about the Kingdom of Heaven! If you haven't yet decided which part of the Bible you want to study this year, dive into Matthew with me. Let's explore together what our future home is like, and how we can begin enjoying it today!
You can purchase my entire Personal Reflection Journal pages to keep you diving into God's Word, recording what He teaches you and keeping it organized so that you can return to the lessons again and again in the future. But, this portion is my gift to you! If you want to do your own study of the Kingdom of Heaven, download this worksheet to keep your notes on.