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When God wants us to understand something important, He tells us in plain language, but He also illustrates it in a variety of ways. The Old Testament is full of stories that illustrate New Testament truths and prophesy of things to come.
The Kingdom of God is said to be a Stone (Dan. 2:34) to show its ability to crush the Babylonian image from its feet to its head. It is also a Nation, for it is pictured in the house of Israel. In Rev. 21:2, it is pictured as a Bride and as a City.
Jesus spoke many Kingdom parables to reveal the Kingdom to those with ears to hear. The parables not only revealed, but also hid these same truths from those who did not really have ears to hear (Matt. 13:13-16). In fact, it is clear from the prophecy which Jesus quoted from Isaiah that the majority of the people He was addressing each day had an interest in the things of the Kingdom, but did not really have ears to hear.
Jesus then told a parable of the sower to illustrate this. In verse 19 He began to explain it this way: "When any one hears the word of the KINGDOM, and does not understand it. . . ." It was a Kingdom parable, which many did not understand. Most Christians today hear about the Church, but very little of the Kingdom. Other groups use the term "Kingdom" but do not really understand it.
When I was young, I heard a minister say in private, "It takes about ten years for a person to really understand the Kingdom." I did not believe him at the time, because I did not really grasp the concept of the Kingdom myself--though I thought I did. We all think we do. But the fact is, we are all continually learning about the Kingdom. Just when I think I must have "arrived," I find that there is still more to learn and to clarify.
When Jesus said in Luke 17:20 and 21 that the Kingdom does not come with observation, because it is within you, there are many different explanations to this. Some say it is in heaven, not on earth. Others say it is purely internal and not external. Others say it means the Kingdom is AMONG you, or in your midst, because Jesus is the Kingdom and He was standing in their midst. These are all very different explanations, and all of them have a measure of truth.
In my view, the Kingdom indeed originates in heaven, rather than on earth. The earth was created to extend the "boundaries" of the Kingdom and manifest it in a new medium--physical matter, and specifically in the bodies of men and women. In other words, the Kingdom has its origin in heaven, but it manifests in the earth. We see this basic truth everywhere in Scripture, from the events at Mount Sinai to the incarnation of Jesus Christ at Bethlehem and His transfiguration in Matthew 17:2.
We see it again at Pentecost in Acts 2, much like at Mount Sinai, for both events occurred on the same day but in different years. In every miracle, we see a manifestation of the Kingdom in earth. And finally, Jesus' prayer will indeed be answered (Matt. 6:10), "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven."
The Kingdom is not simply located in heaven. It is COMING to earth. The earth has a purpose for creation. That purpose is to manifest His glory and that of His Kingdom. This is why Rev. 5:10 says,
"And Thou hast made them to be a Kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."
I will never forget the day that a pastor's wife suddenly got a confused look on her face and asked aloud, "Are we going to spend eternity in heaven or on earth?" I knew that she had heard many times since childhood about living in heaven and walking on streets of gold. I also knew that she often heard prophecy preachers talk about the Millennium and how Christ would rule on earth. That one moment of truth caught up to her, and she realized that both destinies could not be true, for they were contradictory.
The fact is, our heavenly reward is found in Matt. 5:5: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit THE EARTH."
The earth is our inheritance--not heaven. His glory will cover THE EARTH as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14). Of course, the overcomers will not be limited to this earthly plane, as we are today. As Melchizedek priests, they will have the authority to minister to God in heaven and to men on earth, merely by "changing clothes" (Ez. 44:16-19), as I have shown in early studies.
So it is an earthly Kingdom with a heavenly origin. The "coming" shows progression, rather than a static location. It is in the process of manifesting on earth. This is pictured in two ways. First, it is pictured as coming from heaven, or from above, as we see in Rev. 21:2, "And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God."
Secondly, the Kingdom is pictured as manifesting from within you, even as a child is brought to birth. If the Kingdom of God is within you, as Jesus said, and if the Kingdom is coming to earth, as Jesus prayed, then it stands to reason that the Kingdom is coming from a hidden place within you and emerging into the open for all to see it and feel its effects.
Paul spoke of the Gospel of the Kingdom in terms of pregnancy and child birth in Gal. 4:19, "My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you." When Paul wrote in Col. 1:27 about the "mystery" (secret or hidden thing), he spoke of "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
When you were justified by faith, the Spirit of God impregnated you with a "holy seed" that is Christ in you, the hope of glory. At that point, you were "expecting" a child to be born. Hope means expectation. Unless that child is deliberately aborted or starved to death by spiritual junk food, he is now growing within you. You are the mother, whether you are male or female, for there is no male or female in the spirit.
That holy seed in you has an immaculate conception. It is not fathered by Adamic seed, but heavenly seed. It is Christ in you. It has a heavenly Father and an earthly mother. It cannot sin, for we read in a literal rendering of 1 John 3:9, "Every one having been begotten by God does not sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been begotten by God."
You, the "mother," are not begotten. It is your spiritual child that is begotten by the Father. That holy seed in you cannot sin, because it has a heavenly Father. But that holy seed is as much YOU as it is God. Like any child, it is the product of both father and mother. Thus, that holy seed in you is THE REAL YOU, for it is what you are becoming--the body of Christ.
Hence, when Paul speaks of the conflict between this holy seed and the Adamic flesh, he writes in Rom. 7:17, "So now longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me."
Paul recognized that this holy seed in him was THE REAL PAUL. He calls it "I." It is the "inner man" (7:22) in Paul. He identified with that inner man and refused to be called the son of the fleshly Adam. When Paul sinned or fell short, it was the Adamic man that was sinning--not Christ in him and not the real Paul. So it is with us.
That holy seed in you is the Kingdom within you. It will not remain there. It will be born in due time. It will manifest in the earth. The Kingdom will emerge from heaven within to the earth outside the spiritual womb.
Your Adamic flesh can only die. But you are becoming a New Creation. You are becoming your spiritual child that claims God as its Father. That is your true identity, and when brought to full birth, this holy seed is destined to reign with Christ on the earth until all things have been put under His feet.