What is the difference between Heaven and the Kingdom of God?
I understand the difficulty that many people struggle with on issues like this. Before I became a Christian, it seemed to me that the idea of God living in someone was a blasphemy (try and engage a muslim about such and you'll see what I mean). But my whole life changed when I actually experienced for myself what it means to have the Spirit of God living in me.
Of course, there is a difference in Biblical expressions regarding our relationship with God, when properly understood in their contexts. The verses you cited are examples of "fellowship", however, and the ones I gave earlier refer to "residency" of the Spirit of God in believers. When studied in their contexts, it is not difficult to see.
Let me give you another example of contextual meanings of words in the NT using the term "baptism". We know that it has at least 4 different meanings:
[list][list][li]suffering - "But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" [Luke 12:50]"[/li][/list][/list]
[list][list][li]water baptism - "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." [Mark 1:4]"[/li][/list][/list]
[list][list][li]Spirit baptism - "I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost." [Mark 1:8]"[/li][/list][/list]
[list][list][li]members of the Body - "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." [1 Corinthians 12:13]"[/li][/list][/list]
As is clear above, the common denominator is the concept of baptism, and that word has several connotations and not just a linear idea.
So it is with the word "dwelling" - one can understand when it refers to mutual fellowship that believers have with the Lord (as in the examples you gave in your reply). However, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer is quite a different matter altogether and refers to the Spirit taking residency and living within the believer! There is no going round this very fact, and I'll just quote the references again to demonstrate the point of this meaning:
[list][list][li]Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? [1 Corinthians 3:16]"[/li][/list][/list]
[list][list][li]What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? [1 Corinthians 6:19]"[/li][/list][/list]
[list][list][li]That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. [2 Timothy 1:14]"[/li][/list][/list]
There is no other way to understand this fact that the Holy Spirit clearly says that He dwells within the believer. This is not metaphorical language, but a divine statement of fact.
Thanks for your reply.
If you take those verses (the verses that you posted) literally, then what do you make of this verse: John
"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him."
(New American standard Bible)
"Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them."
(Gods words Translation Bible)
"He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him."
(King James Version)
If you believe that God literalily lives in the believers, then do you also believe that believers literally live in God? You know that they don't. Lets take you for example: You are a believer right? Do you literally live in God? I know that the answer is no because you literally live in London.
If some believers literally live on earth(London, Nigeria, USA, and etc) does it means that the verse above is false? NO! The verse can only be true when you consider the expression "live in me" to be a metaphorical expression.
To Live in Christ, God or the Holy Spirit is to allow the words of Christ to becoming living within you, i.e. to base your whole life in the sense of His words. To stay with the word irrespective of the situation, to express it with every fiber of your being, to express it in your actions, words and dead.
By expressing the word of Christ with all your being, you express Christ too. Because His words and Him are inseparable, i.e His words is the TRUTH so is Him. Christ is the TRUTH and the words that He gave mankind is also the TRUTH. Thus figuratively speaking, He gave mankind Himself or a part of Himself. To allow this word into your heart and practice it is to live in Christ, and also to let live Him in you.
In summery: God, Jesus(Christ), and the Holy Spirit cannot live inside every believer. No human being irrespective of his belief can carry a part of God literally within him. This is like saying that believers are part Gods. NO!
Man can only carry the words of Christ living within him. Christ's words are really living!
By Living in the words of Jesus, you figuratively live in Jesus; and by carring his words living within you(conviction), you figuratively have Jesus living in you.
It is true that God is omnipresent. Omnipresence means that God is accessible or reachable from any where. God is reachable from earth, even from hell. Anybody can reach God through a pure prayer. But this does not mean that God is literally on earth and on hell. Like I said earlier, the whole universe cannot carry God, indeed the earth will simply incinerate in God's presence.
But His power and His will is every where in His creation, in this also lies His omnipresence. Nothing can escape His will, It guides and controls all things. Even the laws of nature are expressions of His will. Every power belong to Him. Only Him can produce power, and this power reaches everywhere in creation. Every creature is welcome to use this power, but each creature bears the responsibility for what he(the creature) does with the power. On this power do all creatures depend. This power can be found literally everywhere. You use it everyday, and you see it everyday, i.e you see the application of it.
The Bible is a spiritual book filled with figurative, pictorial, and metaphorical language. He who tries to take it literilly is bound to make mistakes. Only the spirit can sense the Truth that is in some passages of the Bible, an intellectual interpretation of the Bible is totally wrong. The intellect cannot sense what is spiritual.
Thanks and remain blessed!
Heaven and hell are right here, on earth. It is what we make it. I think when a person dies their spirit remains on earth until Jesus comes
Unless a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. John 3:3. The Kingdom of God in not a place. its more like God's sovereignty. Read Matt 12:28
What you wrote above is a popular Christian belief and interpretation which I disagree with. The Holy Spirit is the third person in the trinity. Just as Jesus was part of God, the Holy Spirit is also a part of God. The Holy Spirit is a person just like Jesus. It is impossible for any creature to have a part of the creator within him. Therefore it is impossible for the Holy Spirit to be inside a human being. Saying that believers have the Holy Spirit inside them is blasphemy, it is like saying that the believers are God! God cannot be inside a human being, that will make that human being God. What makes us humans is the human spirit dwelling within us. This human spirit cannot become the Holy Spirit or carry the Holy Spirit withing it, because the Holy Spirit is God, or a part of God.
What believers(children of God) can have within them or in their Spirit is the Power of the Holy Spirit and not the Holy Spirit itself. This is only logical considering that you cannot have another person dwelling in you. You cannot have my dwelling in you but you can have my power or you can work with my power. If you agree that the Holy Spirit is a person and not just a force like the JW claim then you must agree that you cannot have another person dwelling within you at the same time with your spirit. If in the case of possesion, the possessor first pushes away your spirit before posesing your body. But the Holy Spirit cannot posses people because possesion is evil and God cannot do evil.
It is the power of the Holy Spirit that the apostles received on Pentecost and not the Holy Spirit Itself.
If you read John 16:13 carfully you will see that Jesus was talking about a person to come and not just the power that the apostles received on the Pentecost day.
I repeat: What dwells inside every man on earth is the human Spirit(the Breath of God) which originated from the kingdom of God and which is a part of the Kingdom of God.
Hence Christ said to the pharisees:
" The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17, 20 and 21).
Remember the pharisees are not believers, but yet the kingdom of God is within them. The kingdom of God is within every man, but only few listen to it. i have already explained this in my earlier post.
I wish to throw more light in the above, especially the bold parts:
What I mean in the above is that everybody on earth carries within him the spirit which originates from the kingdom of God, and which carries the ability to recognise the will of God hardwired in it.
This spirit speaks to us through our conscience and our intuitive perception. If we listen to the voice of the spirit in us (the conscience) it will lead us back to Paradise whence our spirits originated. The spirit being from Paradise, naturally strives towards Paradise.
On earth, our outermost covering(the physical body) is made up of earthly material substance and can never rise above the earth. Thus the incleanation of our physical body remains earth bound. The physical body speaks to us through our intellect, which is earthbound like the physical body, and which is only inclined to earthly things. The intellect is the product of the activity of our brain which a part of the physical body and therefore physical. The intellect is given to use in order to aid us to work on earth, it is earthly and it's field of activity is the earth or the physical world. When used to judge physical things one achieves success, i.e. the intellect is necessary for scientific works, all of which are earthly(physical).-- cars, computer, telephones and etc. Thus when it comes to earthly(physical) things, the intellect is indispensable.
But when it comes to spiritual things the conscience is indispensable. Obedience to the laws of God is a prerequisite for a spirit to return to paradise. And the recognition of the Laws of God is an ability that lies in our spirit, which speaks to us through our conscience not in our intellect.
Thus the right way to live is to put your conscience above all else, above your intellect. The intellect's priority is earthly benefits, while the spirit is priority our spiritual benefit. The intellect can never do the work of the spirit, the intelect can never lead us back to God.
Therefore one who completely closes himself from the admonition of his conscience and listens only to his intellect cuts himself away from recognising God and His will. Overtime such a person will lose the ability to recognize the voice of his conscience which never stops admonishing him, such person hears and uses only his intellect. Such a person places his intellect above his conscience, and overtime he will not be able to recognize any thing spiritual any more. Such a person serves only darkness. This is the road to darkness, to hell.
On the other hand one who puts his conscience above all will soon recognize the will of God. And by listening to the voice of his spirit, he soon will become spiritual and his spiritual perceptive abilities will become stronger and he will feel the nearness of God. Eventhough he is still on earth. Such a person will never be an atheist, because he perceives the power of God, out of which everything was created.
Therefore we carry both the road to darkness and Light with us on earth. Putting our intellect, which belongs to the physical world above our conscience will lead us to hell. This is the road to darkness. The road to materialism, lack of compassion, inhumanity, lasciviousness and wickedness. Since the intellect cannever lead us above the earth.
But putting our conscience above all, is the road to the light, i.e to Paradise. It is the road to compassion, kindness, Love, humanity, peacefullness and righteousness. All these are qualities of the spirit. Such a person truly worships God, because only in the activity of the spirit is God worshiped.
This how we carry both heaven and hell in us.
Thanks for your reply. Here are my answers:
In view of what I had already stated in my earlier post, the answer is simple. I had already stated that in heaven only the kingdom of God reigns supreme. Whatever is from heaven(paradise) is from the kingdom of God, or whatever is from heaven is part of the kingdom of God.
Man caries a part of heaven within him, this is the spirit in everyman. Our physical bodies came from the earth, while our spirits came from above, from heaven or from God. Even in the bible this fact is mentioned, although pictorially. In Genesis we read :
"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7)
The breath of life which God breathed into the nostrils of man is the spirit in man. This breath is from God or from the kingdom of God, thus this breath is a part of the kingdom of God.
Therefore everybody carries within him a part of the kingdom of God; and this part of the kingdom of God in us speaks to us. This is this spirit in us that speaks to us through our conscience. Everybody knows that his conscience is always in accord with the laws of God, i.e. the ten commandments. I will give examples:
If you are about to steal, your conscience will warn you against it.
If you are about to commite adultery, your conscience will warn you against it.
If you are about to lie against your neighbor, your conscience will warn you against it.
Thus one who listens and obeys his conscience will never sin. Such a person not only carries the kingdom within him, but also is in the kingdom. But through the incitements of Lucifer, most people no longer listen to their conscience. Most people today only listen to voice of their flesh, i.e. the physical body which speaks through the intelect, lust, and earthly desires.
Therefore everybody carries both the kingdom of God(The breath of God or the Spirit) within him as well as everybody carries darkness and the road to hell(physical or canarl desires) within him. But only those that listen and obey the conscience, i.e. only those that listens to the kingdom of God within them are also in the kingdom. They have made the Lord God their King or the king of their lives.
I will give an analogy:
Every Nigerian knows the laws of Nigeria, but only those that obey this law can be called good citizens.
Everybody carries the laws of God within him(or the ability to recognise the WILL OF God), but only those who obey them or make use of them can be called children of God, only those are in the kingdom of God.
I hope this helps. I go into futher details if needed.
The point however is not simply on definitions, especially so because most English dictionaries are inadequate to enunciate Biblical terms contextually and substantially.
It seems huxley's concerns were more about the sphere of the Kingdom:
What many people are wondering about is the true meaning and import of the kingdom being "within" the believer as contrasted with the idea that we are in it, as in the quote:
I've heard this kind of argument several times, and it would help (perhaps) to try and point out what precisely the enquirer seeks to understand. In simple terms, what huxley might've seemed to highlight could be summarized in another question:
[list][list]Is the kingdom within you. . . or. . . are you in the kingdom?[/list][/list]
The Bible gives both sides of the meaning throughout the New Testament. Only when people see this can they understand what Luke 17 was pointing to.
@ poster the answer to your question is simple:
Here is the dictionary's definition of Kingdom
5. the spiritual sovereignty of God or Christ. 6. the domain over which the spiritual sovereignty of God or Christ extends, whether in heaven or on earth.
(dictionary.com definition 5 and 6)
Here is dictionary's definition of heaven
1. the abode of God, the angels, and the spirits of the righteous after death; the place or state of existence of the blessed after the mortal life.
2. (initial capital letter) Often, Heavens. the celestial powers; God.
3. a metonym for God (used in expressions of emphasis, surprise, etc.): For heaven's sake!
donnie is right. Kingdom of God is just the sovereignty, rulership of God. People on earth who obeys the laws of God are in the kingdom of God. In heaven which is the realms above the earth, realms like paradise and the divine realm, there the kingdom of God reigns supreme.
One on earth who lives a life that is God pleasing in already in the kingdom of God, eventhough he is still physically on earth. Just as an American embassy in the Nigerian soil is part of American government and not part of Nigeria. Eventhough this embassy is physically in Nigeria, it is still part of America or an extenstion of the American government.
At the moment there are basically two kingdoms on earth: the kingdom of God (God pleasing people) and the kingdom of darkness(disobedience to God).
In the future, after the purification of the earth, only the kingdom of God will remain. Then the disobedient ones will no longer be on earth, all the state laws and all the government of the earth will be fashioned in accord with God's will. Then the earth will also totally be a kingdom of God like the heavens. then their will be no more diseases, evil, and wickedness on earth. Then the earth will be like the garden of Eden, just as God intended it to be in the first place. Just as the earth was in the beginning, before man made it bad by removing himself from the kingdom of God.
Heaven is a place.
Kingdom is sovereignty, dominance, or rulership of a king.
Kingdom of God is sovereignty, dominance, or rulership of God.
Kingdom of God on earth is the sovereignty, dominance or rulership of God on earth.
20And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
22And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
[table][tr][td]The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
[/td][td]behold, the kingdom of God is within you.[/td][/tr][/table]
Can any of Jesus's pronouncements be so confusing and misleading as the above statement. In fact, all of Luke 17 is one of the most confused of jesus' s supposed speechs.
One is included in the other. Heaven is a geographical location in the kingdom of God which has members in heaven and on earth. Those who believe therefore are citizens of heaven. Even though they live here on earth (physically), they also live in and function from the kingdom of God.
Isnt it marvelous that this same kingdom of God resides within every believer in Christ?
However, the extent to which he/she influences his/her world with what he/she has within is a function of revelation knowledge.
. . . Thy kingdom come oh Lord.