30. The Kingdom of Heaven

   
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30. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

I. Concepts of the Kingdom
II. Jesus' Teaching about the Kingdom
III. Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man
IV. Keys of the Kingdom
V. The New and Living Way
VI. The Father's Will
VI. The Religion of Jesus
VIII. The New Commandment

30. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

I. CONCEPTS OF THE KINGDOM

1. Proposition. The Hebrew scriptures presented the kingdom of heaven as a present reality and as a future hope.

"In connection with the recital of Jesus' sermon it should be noted that throughout the Hebrew scriptures there was a dual concept of the kingdom of heaven. The prophets presented the kingdom of God as:

1. A present reality; and as

2. A future hope — when the kingdom would be realized in fullness upon the appearance of the Messiah. This is the kingdom concept which John the Baptist taught.

From the very first Jesus and the apostles taught both of these concepts. There were two other ideas of the kingdom which should be borne in mind:

3. The later Jewish concept of a world-wide and transcendental kingdom of supernatural origin and miraculous inauguration.

4. The Persian teachings portraying the establishment of a divine kingdom as the achievement of the triumph of good over evil at the end of the world." (1858.3) 170:1.1

2. Proposition. The kingdom concept came to embrace four groups of ideas.

"Just before the advent of Jesus on earth, the Jews combined and confused all of these ideas of the kingdom into their apocalyptic concept of the Messiah's coming to establish the age of the Jewish triumph, the eternal age of God's supreme rule on earth, the new world, the era in which all mankind would worship Yahweh. In choosing to utilize this concept of the kingdom of heaven, Jesus elected to appropriate the most vital and culminating heritage of both the Jewish and Persian religions.

"The kingdom of heaven, as it has been understood and misunderstood down through the centuries of the Christian era, embraced four distinct groups of ideas:

"1. The concept of the Jews.

"2. The concept of the Persians.

"3. The personal-experience concept of Jesus — 'the kingdom of heaven within you.'

"4. The composite and confused concepts which the founders and promulgators of Christianity have sought to impress upon the world.”(1858.9) 170:1.2

3. Proposition. The age-long confusion regarding the kingdom was due to three factors.

"Centuries of confusion regarding the meaning of the term "kingdom of heaven" have been due to three factors:

"1. The confusion occasioned by observing the idea of the "kingdom" as it passed through the various progressive phases of its recasting by Jesus and his apostles.

"2. The confusion which was inevitably associated with the transplantation of early Christianity from a Jewish to a gentile soil.

"3. The confusion which was inherent in the fact that Christianity became a religion which was organized about the central idea of Jesus' person; the gospel of the kingdom became more and more a religion about him." (1859.7) 170:1.14


1. Proposition. Acceptance of the kingdom, Jesus declared, would bring seven rich endowments of life and liberty.

"The Master made it clear that the kingdom of heaven must begin with, and be centered in, the dual concept of the truth of the fatherhood of God and the correlated fact of the brotherhood of man. The acceptance of such a teaching, Jesus declared, would liberate man from the age-long bondage of animal fear and at the same time enrich human living with the following endowments of the new life of spiritual liberty:

"1. The possession of new courage and augmented spiritual power. The gospel of the kingdom was to set man free and inspire him to dare to hope for eternal life.

"2. The gospel carried a message of new confidence and true consolation for all men, even for the poor.

"3. It was in itself a new standard of moral values, a new ethical yardstick wherewith to measure human conduct. It portrayed the ideal of a resultant new order of human society.

"4. It taught the pre-eminence of the spiritual compared with the material; it glorified spiritual realities and exalted superhuman ideals.

"5. This new gospel held up spiritual attainment as the true goal of living. Human life received a new endowment of moral value and divine dignity.

"6. Jesus taught that eternal realities were the result (reward) of righteous earthly striving. Man's mortal sojourn on earth acquired new meanings consequent upon the recognition of a noble destiny.

"7. The new gospel affirmed that human salvation is the revelation of a far-reaching divine purpose to be fulfilled and realized in the future destiny of the endless service of the salvaged sons of God." (1859.11) 170:2.2

2. Proposition. Though Jesus presented varying aspects of the kingdom, his last word always was: “The kingdom is within you."

"At different times and in varying circumstances it appears that Jesus may have presented numerous concepts of the "kingdom" in his public teachings, but to his apostles he always taught the kingdom as embracing man's personal experience in relation to his fellows on earth and to the Father in heaven. Concerning the kingdom, his last word always was, 'The kingdom is within you.' "
(1859.6) 170:1.13

3. Proposition. Jesus never gave a precise definition of the kingdom, but he did suggest five epochs.

"Jesus never gave a precise definition of the kingdom. At one time he would discourse on one phase of the kingdom, and at another time he would discuss a different aspect of the brotherhood of God's reign in the hearts of men. In the course of this Sabbath afternoon's sermon Jesus noted no less than five phases, or epochs, of the kingdom, and they were:

"1. The personal and inward experience of the spiritual life of the fellowship of the individual believer with God the Father.

"2. The enlarging brotherhood of gospel believers, the social aspects of the enhanced morals and quickened ethics resulting from the reign of God's spirit in the hearts of individual believers.

"3. The supermortal brotherhood of invisible spiritual beings which prevails on earth and in heaven, the superhuman kingdom of God.

"4. The prospect of the more perfect fulfillment of the will of God, the advance toward the dawn of a new social order in connection with improved spiritual living — the next age of man.

"5. The kingdom in its fullness, the future spiritual age of light and life on earth.” (1862.9) 170:4.1

4. Proposition. The Master presented five cardinal features of the gospel of the kingdom.

"The Master on this occasion placed emphasis on the following five points as representing the cardinal features of the gospel of the kingdom:

"1. The pre-eminence of the individual.

"2. The will as the determining factor in man's experience.

"3. Spiritual fellowship with God the Father.

"4. The supreme satisfactions of the loving service of man.

"5. The transcendency of the spiritual over the material in human personality." (1863.6) 170:4.8

5. Proposition. The faith-sons of the kingdom have eternal life wherewith to ascend the universes and find God on Paradise.

" 'And now you should give ear to my words lest you again make the mistake of hearing my teaching with the mind while in your hearts you fail to comprehend the meaning. From the beginning of my sojourn as one of you, I taught you that my one purpose was to reveal my Father in heaven to his children on earth. I have lived the God-revealing bestowal that you might experience the God-knowing career. I have revealed God as your Father in heaven; I have revealed you as the sons of God on earth. It is a fact that God loves you, his sons. By faith in my word this fact becomes an eternal and living truth in your hearts. When, by living faith, you become divinely God-conscious, you are then born of the spirit as children of light and life, even the eternal life wherewith you shall ascend the universe of universes and attain the experience of finding God the Father on Paradise.' " (2052.3) 193:0.3

6. Proposition. The gospel of the kingdom is: The reality of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. The gospel is concerned with the love of the Father and the service of his children.

" 'I admonish you ever to remember that your mission among men is to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom — the reality of the fatherhood of God and the truth of the sonship of man. Proclaim the whole truth of the good news, not just a part of the saving gospel. Your message is not changed by my resurrection experience. Sonship with God, by faith, is still the saving truth of the gospel of the kingdom. You are to go forth preaching the love of God and the service of man. That which the world needs most to know is: Men are the sons of God, and through faith they can actually realize, and daily experience, this ennobling truth. My bestowal should help all men to know that they are the children of God, but such knowledge will not suffice if they fail personally to faith-grasp the saving truth that they are the living spirit sons of the eternal Father. The gospel of the kingdom is concerned with the love of the Father and the service of his children on earth." (2052.4) 193:0.4


1. Proposition. The brotherhood of man, being universal, discloses not only qualities of the each relationship, but also qualities of the whole.

"This very love of God for the individual brings into being the divine family of all individuals, the universal brotherhood of the freewill children of the Paradise Father. And this brotherhood, being universal, is a relationship of the whole. Brotherhood, when universal, discloses not the each relationship, but the all relationship. Brotherhood is a reality of the total and therefore discloses qualities of the whole in contradistinction to qualities of the part." (138.5) 12:7.10

2. Proposition. Brotherhood means that the part profits or suffers in measure with the whole.

"Brotherhood constitutes a fact of relationship between every personality in universal existence. No person can escape the benefits or the penalties that may come as a result of relationship to other persons. The part profits or suffers in measure with the whole." (138.6) 12:7.11

3. Proposition. Always must God first find man that man may later find God.

"Mortal consciousness proceeds from the fact, to the meaning, and then to the value. Creator consciousness proceeds from the thought-value, through the word-meaning, to the fact of action. Always must God act to break the deadlock of the unqualified unity inherent in existential infinity. Always must Deity provide the pattern universe, the perfect personalities, the original truth, beauty, and goodness for which all subdeity creations strive. Always must God first find man that man may later find God. Always must there be a Universal Father before there can ever be universal sonship and consequent universal brotherhood." (1299.3) 118:5.3

4. Proposition. Said Jesus: "I send you forth, not to love the souls of men, but to love men."

" 'Peace be upon you. For a full week have I tarried that I might appear again when you were all present to hear once more the commission to go into all the world and preach this gospel of the kingdom. Again I tell you: As the Father sent me into the world, so send I you. As I have revealed the Father, so shall you reveal the divine love, not merely with words, but in your daily living. I send you forth, not to love the souls of men, but rather to love men. You are not merely to proclaim the joys of heaven but also to exhibit in your daily experience these spirit realities of the divine life since you already have eternal life, as the gift of God, through faith. When you have faith, when power from on high, the Spirit of Truth, has come upon you, you will not hide your light here behind closed doors; you will make known the love and the mercy of God to all mankind. Through fear you now flee from the facts of a disagreeable experience, but when you shall have been baptized with the Spirit of Truth, you will bravely and joyously go forth to meet the new experiences of proclaiming the good news of eternal life in the kingdom of God.' " (2043.1) 191:5.3

5. Proposition. Our mission to the world is founded on the fact of Jesus' life and the truth of our sonship with God.

" 'You may tarry here and in Galilee for a short season while you recover from the shock of the transition from the false security of the authority of traditionalism to the new order of the authority of facts, truth, and faith in the supreme realities of living experience. Your mission to the world is founded on the fact that I lived a God-revealing life among you; on the truth that you and all other men are the sons of God; and it shall consist in the life which you will live among men — the actual and living experience of loving men and serving them, even as I have loved and served you. Let faith reveal your light to the world; let the revelation of truth open the eyes blinded by tradition; let your loving service effectually destroy the prejudice engendered by ignorance. By so drawing close to your fellow men in understanding sympathy and with unselfish devotion, you will lead them into a saving knowledge of the Father's love.' " (2043.1) 191:5.3

6. Proposition. The Jews exalted goodness, the Greeks beauty, the Hindus devotion, the ascetics reverence, the Romans loyalty, but Jesus requires a life of loving service.

" 'The Jews have extolled goodness; the Greeks have exalted beauty; the Hindus preach devotion; the far-away ascetics teach reverence; the Romans demand loyalty; but I require of my disciples life, even a life of loving service for your brothers in the flesh.' " (2043.1) 191:5.3


1. Proposition. The keys of the kingdom are: sincerity - and more sincerity.

"The keys of the kingdom of heaven are: sincerity, more sincerity, and more sincerity. All men have these keys. Men use them — advance in spirit status — by decisions, by more decisions, and by more decisions. The highest moral choice is the choice of the highest possible value, and always — in any sphere, in all of them — this is to choose to do the will of God. If man thus chooses, he is great, though he be the humblest citizen of Jerusem or even the least of mortals on Urantia." (435.7) 39:4.14

2. Proposition. In choosing to find God, man exercises a superfinite choice.

"Volition, the act of choosing, must function within the universe frame which has actualized in response to higher and prior choosing. The entire range of human will is strictly finite-limited except in one particular: When man chooses to find God and to be like him, such a choice is superfinite; only eternity can disclose whether this choice is also superabsonite." (1300.3) 118:6.7

3. Proposition. Jesus taught a double concept of the kingdom - one in this world, the other in heaven.

"On this afternoon the Master distinctly taught a new concept of the double nature of the kingdom in that he portrayed the following two phases:

" 'First. The kingdom of God in this world, the supreme desire to do the will of God, the unselfish love of man which yields the good fruits of improved ethical and moral conduct.

" 'Second. The kingdom of God in heaven, the goal of mortal believers, the estate wherein the love for God is perfected, and wherein the will of God is done more divinely.' " (1860.12) 170:2.17

4. Proposition. Jesus taught two essentials for entering the kingdom - sincere faith and truth hunger.

"Jesus taught that, by faith, the believer enters the kingdom now. In the various discourses he taught that two things are essential to faith-entrance into the kingdom:

"1. Faith, sincerity. To come as a little child, to receive the bestowal of sonship as a gift; to submit to the doing of the Father's will without questioning and in the full confidence and genuine trustfulness of the Father's wisdom; to come into the kingdom free from prejudice and preconception; to be open-minded and teachable like an unspoiled child.

"2. Truth hunger. The thirst for righteousness, a change of mind, the acquirement of the motive to be like God and to find God." (1861.2) 170:2.20

THE BIBLE - FAITH

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Heb 11:1

”Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me." John 14:1

"But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” John 1:12

”For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of your doing, it is the gift of God.” Eph 2:8

"Looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith." Heb 12:2



1. Proposition. Jesus established the new and living way - he was the truth in the knowledge of which men shall be free.

”The bestowal Son lives and dies for the spiritual uplift of the mortal races of a world. He establishes the 'new and living way'; his life is an incarnation of Paradise truth in mortal flesh, that very truth — even the Spirit of Truth — in the knowledge of which men shall be free." (596.1) 52:5.4

2. Proposition. On Urantia the new and living way means that mortals may again proceed directly to the mansion worlds after death.

"On Urantia the establishment of this 'new and living way' was a matter of fact as well as of truth. The isolation of Urantia in the Lucifer rebellion had suspended the procedure whereby mortals can pass, upon death, directly to the shores of the mansion worlds. Before the days of Christ Michael on Urantia all souls slept on until the dispensational or special millennial resurrections. Even Moses was not permitted to go over to the other side until the occasion of a special resurrection, the fallen Planetary Prince, Caligastia, contesting such a deliverance. But ever since the day of Pentecost, Urantia mortals again may proceed directly to the morontia spheres." (596.2) 52:5.5

3. Proposition. “Through much tribulation that man ...would enter into the "kingdom." Jesus passed the great test of civilized man: To have power and refuse to use it for selfish purposes.

”Jesus chose to establish the kingdom of heaven in the hearts of mankind by natural, ordinary, difficult, and trying methods, just such procedures as his earth children must subsequently follow in their work of enlarging and extending that heavenly kingdom. For well did the Son of Man know that it would be 'through much tribulation that many of the children of all ages would enter into the kingdom.' Jesus was now passing through the great test of civilized man, to have power and steadfastly refuse to use it for purely selfish or personal purposes." (1521.1) 136:8.6

4. Proposition. The insight of love generates the craving for truth, beauty, and goodness - and man is glorified in their embrace.

”Some men's lives are too great and noble to descend to the low level of being merely successful. The animal must adapt itself to the environment, but the religious man transcends his environment and in this way escapes the limitations of the present material world through this insight of divine love. This concept of love generates in the soul of man that superanimal effort to find truth, beauty, and goodness; and when he does find them, he is glorified in their embrace; he is consumed with the desire to live them, to do righteousness.” (2096.8) 196:3.32


1. Proposition. There are two techniques of choosing the Father's will:

a. Negative - not my will but yours.

b. Positive - I will that yours be done.

"This choosing of the Father's will is the spiritual finding of the spirit Father by mortal man, even though an age must pass before the creature son may actually stand in the factual presence of God on Paradise. This choosing does not so much consist in the negation of creature will — 'Not my will but yours be done' — as it consists in the creature's positive affirmation: 'It is my will that your will be done.' And if this choice is made, sooner or later will the God-choosing son find inner union (fusion) with the indwelling God fragment, while this same perfecting son will find supreme personality satisfaction in the worship communion of the personality of man and the personality of his Maker, two personalities whose creative attributes have eternally joined in self-willed mutuality of expression — the birth of another eternal partnership of the will of man and the will of God." (1221.7) 111:5.6

2. Proposition. God the Supreme is becoming the highest finite manifestation of the total will of God.

"To the extent that we do the will of God in whatever universe station we may have our existence, in that measure the almighty potential of the Supreme becomes one step more actual. The will of God is the purpose of the First Source and Center as it is potentialized in the three Absolutes, personalized in the Eternal Son, conjoined for universe action in the Infinite Spirit, and eternalized in the everlasting patterns of Paradise. And God the Supreme is becoming the highest finite manifestation of the total will of God." (1278.1) 117:0.1


1. Proposition. The religion of Jesus provided finality of salvation, since it provided the seven major essentials.

"The teachings of Jesus constituted the first Urantian religion which so fully embraced a harmonious co-ordination of knowledge, wisdom, faith, truth, and love as completely and simultaneously to provide temporal tranquillity, intellectual certainty, moral enlightenment, philosophic stability, ethical sensitivity, God-consciousness, and the positive assurance of personal survival. The faith of Jesus pointed the way to finality of human salvation, to the ultimate of mortal universe attainment, since it provided for:

"1. Salvation from material fetters in the personal realization of sonship with God, who is spirit.

"2. Salvation from intellectual bondage: man shall know the truth, and the truth shall set him free.

"3. Salvation from spiritual blindness, the human realization of the fraternity of mortal beings and the morontian awareness of the brotherhood of all universe creatures; the service-discovery of spiritual reality and the ministry-revelation of the goodness of spirit values.

"4. Salvation from incompleteness of self through the attainment of the spirit levels of the universe and through the eventual realization of the harmony of Havona and the perfection of Paradise.

"5. Salvation from self, deliverance from the limitations of self-consciousness through the attainment of the cosmic levels of the Supreme mind and by co-ordination with the attainments of all other self-conscious beings.

"6. Salvation from time, the achievement of an eternal life of unending progression in God-recognition and God-service.

"7. Salvation from the finite, the perfected oneness with Deity in and through the Supreme by which the creature attempts the transcendental discovery of the Ultimate on the postfinaliter levels of the absonite." (1112.4) 101:6.8

2. Proposition. Jesus' teachings finally divested religion of superstition, magic, mythology, and dogmatism.

"The magical and mythological parentage of natural religion does not invalidate the reality and truth of the later revelational religions and the consummate saving gospel of the religion of Jesus. Jesus' life and teachings finally divested religion of the superstitions of magic, the illusions of mythology, and the bondage of traditional dogmatism. But this early magic and mythology very effectively prepared the way for later and superior religion by assuming the existence and reality of supermaterial values and beings." (1141.2) 103:9.4

3. Proposition. The common people heard him gladly.

"The common people heard Jesus gladly, and they will again respond to the presentation of his sincere human life of consecrated religious motivation if such truths shall again be proclaimed to the world. The people heard him gladly because he was one of them, an unpretentious layman; the world's greatest religious teacher was indeed a layman." (2090.5) 196:1.4

4. Proposition. Jesus did not share Paul's pessimistic view of humankind. He saw most men as weak rather than wicked.

"Jesus led men to feel at home in the world; he delivered them from the slavery of taboo and taught them that the world was not fundamentally evil. He did not long to escape from his earthly life; he mastered a technique of acceptably doing the Father's will while in the flesh. He attained an idealistic religious life in the very midst of a realistic world. Jesus did not share Paul's pessimistic view of humankind. The Master looked upon men as the sons of God and foresaw a magnificent and eternal future for those who chose survival. He was not a moral skeptic; he viewed man positively, not negatively. He saw most men as weak rather than wicked, more distraught than depraved. But no matter what their status, they were all God's children and his brethren." (2093.3) 196:2.9

5. Proposition. Jesus warned his followers about the danger of changing the gospel into a religion about him.

"Jesus endeavored to make clear to his apostles the difference between his teachings and his life among them and the teachings which might subsequently spring up about him. Said Jesus: 'My kingdom and the gospel related thereto shall be the burden of your message. Be not sidetracked into preaching about me and about my teachings. Proclaim the gospel of the kingdom and portray my revelation of the Father in heaven but do not be misled into the bypaths of creating legends and building up a cult having to do with beliefs and teachings about my beliefs and teachings.' But again they did not understand why he thus spoke, and no man dared to ask why he so taught them." (1543.1) 138:6.3

6. Proposition. Peter began the subtle process of changing the religion of Jesus into a new religion about Jesus.

"And so, under the vigorous leadership of Peter and ere the Master ascended to the Father, his well-meaning representatives began that subtle process of gradually and certainly changing the religion of Jesus into a new and modified form of religion about Jesus." (2051.5) 192:4.8


1. Proposition. Jesus' new commandment was: Love one another as I have loved you.

" 'When I give you this new commandment, I do not place any new burden upon your souls; rather do I bring you new joy and make it possible for you to experience new pleasure in knowing the delights of the bestowal of your heart's affection upon your fellow men. I am about to experience the supreme joy, even though enduring outward sorrow, in the bestowal of my affection upon you and your fellow mortals.

" 'When I invite you to love one another, even as I have loved you, I hold up before you the supreme measure of true affection, for greater love can no man have than this: that he will lay down his life for his friends. And you are my friends; you will continue to be my friends if you are but willing to do what I have taught you. You have called me Master, but I do not call you servants. If you will only love one another as I am loving you, you shall be my friends, and I will ever speak to you of that which the Father reveals to me.' " (1944.5) 180:1.2

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