To receive the Kingdom of God:
But He [Jesus] said to them, I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other cities also. For this reason, I have been sent. (Luk 4:43)
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Mat 6:33)
Mar 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said to them: Allow the little children to come to me! Don’t forbid them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever doesn’t receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never get into it at all.
Matthew says the same, but with more emphasis:
Mat 18:3-4 .. Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. Then he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.
A child believes his parents without questioning what he is told. Adults are more hesitant and demand proof. This is, to my understanding, what this means: pure faith to God’s word without having to be present to witness his miracles.
Jhn 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word, and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. – John must mean that by believing, man receives a certain promise of eternal life. The Bible tells that the chosen ones are judged while living and will not face the judgment with the rest of the world. The judgment even includes the harsh teaching of how God reprimands his chosen ones.
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things we hope for, the certainty of things we cannot see. 2 Cor 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.
Jas 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Jesus went around the country preaching the Kingdom of God. He did not emphasize himself, but the future Kingdom of God. Luk 4:43 But he [Jeesus] said to them: I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other cities also. For this reason, I have been sent.
Mat 6:31 Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed? 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.
– What does Mathew mean by “all these things will be added to you”? People often have shortcomings in their daily lives. People worry about their livelihoods. Where will they find the strength to think about how to enter into God’s kingdom if there is no money for food or rent or for the education of children? Mathew, however, aims to assure that God will take care of this life’s daily needs if we have first demonstrate our willingness to obey God’s will.
1 Cor 15:50 Brothers, this is what I mean: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and what decays cannot inherit what does not decay.
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this corruptible will have put on incorruption, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen: Death is swallowed up in victory.
Jhn 3:3 Jesus replied to him: Truly, truly I tell you, unless a person is born from above [or born again] he cannot see the kingdom of God 4 Nicodemus said to him: How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered: Truly, truly I tell you, unless a person is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. – If you are born again, or born from above, what is born is spirit. In the world to come after resurrection such a person will change into a spirit body.
1 The 4:13 But we don’t want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who have fallen asleep, so that you don’t grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, 17 then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever.
Jhn 14:3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also. – Jesus ascended into heaven, but said he would return to earth. This being the case, how would it be possible that those resurrected would rise to heaven and Jesus would come to earth?
Two common criminals were crucified together with Jesus. One of them said to Him: Luk 23:42 He said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom. The thief must have heard Jesus preach of the kingdom of God (or heaven) and understood it to come later and not “today”. This is why he asked Jesus to remember him when the kingdom comes in time. He also was waiting for the kingdom to come on earth and was not appealing to go with Jesus to heaven. “Today” Jesus did not go to any paradise; he died and was put into the grave. “Today” the thief had no possibility to go to paradise.
The widely accepted translation:
Luk 23:43 says: And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in Paradise. To many scholars and to my mind as well this is wrong. The correct translation is this: Truly I say to you today, you shall be with me in Paradise. The explanation to this may be that at the times of the original text no punctuation was used. Later on, the punctuation has been added to support the belief of heaven as the final reward to the believers. So the comma was added, but in the wrong place. NENT translated traditionally: 43 “And he said to him, Amen I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in: Paradise”. Once again, it can be asked where did NENT’s translator Ivan Panin found the information that the comma should be placed in front of the word today? To my understanding, the placing the commas cannot affect the numeric calculation of the Greek text, so it would have been more correct to leave the comma out than to cause an incorrect meaning in the translation by inserting the comma. On the other hand, one must understand that at that time, it was extremely difficult to present a translation that differed from the mainstream.
Who Can Get to the Kingdom of God?
Who can enter the kingdom of God? Is it easy or difficult to access? If it is hard, there should not be any pagans, only righteous believers. If there are any others aside from the righteous who are not the resurrected saints, it most likely cannot be the Kingdom of God. Mainly this reflection concerns the Millennium Kingdom, and especially its early stages. The Bible tells how God’s word is spread in faraway lands. Isaiah says:
Isa 66:16 For by fire will Yahweh execute judgment, and by his sword, on all flesh; and the slain of Yahweh shall be many. 18 For I know their works and their thoughts: the time comes, that I will gather all nations and languages; and they shall come, and shall see my glory.
19 I will set a sign among them, and I will send such as escape of them to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the isles afar off, who have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations.
In the day of the Lord’s wrath, many are killed. Some, the survivors, will, however, survive on earth. Are they already in the kingdom? On the other hand, when Christ has come to rule with the saints it is obviously a matter of governing the kingdom – sometimes even with a “rod of iron”. Some of the subjects of the kingdom may well be survivors of the Day of the Lord’s Wrath. Instead of speaking of the concept of the kingdom of God it might be better to talk about the kingdom of Christ or the Millennial Kingdom of Peace. Kingdom does not mean only the heavenly governing, although it is clear, that a kingdom must have an administration. The Millennial Kingdom includes in the beginning people who have not even heard of Christ and his kingdom, but gradually the gospel will be brought into everyone’s attention.
1 Cor 15:50 Now I say this, brothers that flesh and blood can’t inherit the Kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. — I repeat: flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.
Jhn 3:3 writes: “Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The survivors of the Day of Lord’s Wrath will remain in the Millennial Kingdom. There are two types of survivors: those who came to believe in the last moment, but also those who have never even heard of Jesus or God (see Isa 66:19). The number of these people is few compared to the grand population of the world of seven billion at present. Most of mankind has been destroyed.
One must be reborn. Reborn are those who have had part of the first resurrection; 1) those resurrected dead in Christ and 2) those resurrected living and deemed worthy. These two groups are changed in an instant and given spiritual bodies and they will be raptured to meet Jesus in the clouds.
Jesus Christ is the firstborn of the dead like Rev 1:5 says: and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood;
After the firstborn, there will be other sons of God (or children of God); the saints of the first resurrection, and the so-called great multitude and the converts during the time of the Millennial Kingdom. The Bible says that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. We know that Jesus was both in spirit and in flesh and blood. He could appear suddenly, as he did for example, to the apostles and had them feel the wounds in his hands.
Mar 16:12 After this, he appeared in a different form to two disciples as they were walking into the country. Luk 24: As they said these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, Peace be to you. Jhn 20:26 … After eight days again his disciples were inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being locked, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace be to you.” 20:27 Then he said to Thomas: Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Take your hand, and put it into my side. Stop doubting, but believe.
When the Bible says that the resurrected are like Jesus, it is obvious, that they can be in both forms in the kingdom, in the form of spirit and in the flesh. Man will become angel-like spirits in resurrection.
What is the meaning of being born from “water and Spirit?” Many think that born from water means baptism while others think that ‘water’ refers to the natural birth of man. Rebirth is, in the word of the NT, a significant event, whereas, natural birth of human from mother’s womb, albeit ‘water’, happens to every human being, both to a sinner and to a believer wanting to become God’s child. However, I do believe, that Jesus meant the word of God. The word of God is the water of life that Christ offers free of charge.
Jhn 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.
1 Pet 3:21 says of the significance and meaning of baptism:
This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you – not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, – Baptism itself does not mean salvation. Salvation comes from the faith in the word of God, the water of life.
Although a believer is a kind of reborn in spirit, the final rebirth in spirit happens in resurrection or in the last judgment. Those who died in the faith of Christ and those who live at the time of the second coming of Jesus, experience the alteration in a split of a second and thus both groups thus are born in spirit. They are born in the spirit body; the bible says:
What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. (Jhn 3:6.)
The Bible clearly states that there is no self-evident entrance to the Kingdom of God; Mat 7:21 Not everyone who keeps saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will get into the Kingdom of heaven, but only the person who keeps doing the will of my Father in heaven.
Another point is the statement of how hard it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. It may be asked with justification, how those who are dead now (the worthless of the first resurrection) may rise from death and be transferred to the kingdom of God without fulfilling the previously stated rule of meeting God’s will? According to the Bible God does not operate in a way that everyone would necessarily understand His words and acted upon His will. This is said in the Bible: 2 Cor 4 Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in those who perish; 4 in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them. – Numerous people live “according to the course of this world guided by the king of this world” and are headed for damnation.
At the end of times, 2 The 2:11-12 even says that: For this reason, God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie. 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
”Those who have not believed the truth” means those, members of the Christian churches, who have heard the gospel but have not believed it. According to a study in Spring 2015, only a small number of participants of the study believed in God of the Bible. According to the biblical prophecy in the last days, people want to listen to the teachers whose lessons “tickle their ears”. People want to hear such a teacher who assures that “everyone gets to heaven”. Jhn 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. – Those in spirit pray God in spirit and truth. However, not all people search for the truth, but rather want to hear teaching that responds to their own wishes.
1 Tim 5:24 says: The sins of some people are obvious, going ahead of them to judgment. The sins of others follow them there. – Earlier, that is, at the second coming of Jesus, many will get judgment. Some get a good judgment and will participate in the first resurrection of the saints of Christ, others are judged to damnation. Later, after the Millennial Kingdom of ruling of Christ, the so-called resurrection of damnation judges those who lived during the Millennial Kingdom. A hundred years are given to each to prove their willingness to serve God. Isa 65:20 KJV “but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed”.
2 Pet 2:9 the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment; – The godless die during the great tribulation or during the day of the Lord and remain in death waiting for the final judgment.
Mat 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. – Not everyone will enter the Kingdom of God according to Mat 7:21; only those who will do the will of God.
Jesus himself describes how difficult it is to enter the Kingdom in Mat 19:
23-24 Then Jesus said to his disciples: Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to get into the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into the kingdom of God.
How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it. (Mat 7:14)
Peter, as well, spoke of the same difficulty when he said: and if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? (1 Pet 4:18)
Mat 5:20: For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. – Here it is described how entrance into the Kingdom has its preconditions.
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him one thousand years. (Rev 20:6)
What about the millions and billions of people who have died during the many centuries and are lying in their graves? When will they resurrect? Those dead, who died in Christ, were already resurrected (first resurrection) but what about the others, those who had not perhaps even heard of Jesus and of salvation through faith, what will happen to them?
Some have adopted such a doctrine that the dead will gain resurrection to the Millennial Kingdom. According to one version they each have one hundred years to repent and believe the gospel. This seems to be based on Isa 65:20: There shall be no more there an infant of days, nor an old man who has not filled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, and the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed. – Here can be concluded surely that a person in the Millennial Kingdom has been given one hundred years to repent and believe the gospel. Here is nothing to say that those people – or other people of the kingdom – would be resurrected. I do not regard this opinion possible on the basis of what the Bible teaches of the second death.