Grace & Truth Chapel
131 Fardale Avenue ~ Mahwah, New Jersey
Phone 201-327-6226 ~ E-mail

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"The Kingdom of God and Heaven" (posted January 7, 2015)

   "It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven...."
   Then He said to them, "Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old."
   - Matthew 13:11, 52

In this Kingdom, already formed upon the earth, there is no visible king. It never was so before, nor will ever be so again--thousands and millions of subjects, but no visible king! With David, Solomon, Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, Alexander, or Caesar, there was not this mystery. The king was present. But now, no king of this kingdom is seen or present, yet multitudes on the earth profess to be subject to Him [although some only use His name and do not truly follow Him]. The Kingdom in its present form embraces this whole class.

What is the difference between the expressions “kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven?” The expression “kingdom of God” gives us the idea of the Person whose rule is recognized; “the kingdom of heaven,” the place whence the rule comes. In Canada [in the 1930s], if we ask them whose rule they recognize, one day they might say the rule of King George; that is the person whose rule is recognized. The next day they might say that it was the rule of England; that would be the place from which the rule came.

Only in Matthew's gospel do we get the expression “kingdom of heaven.” And there it always shows the earth, that is, people on earth, recognizing the rule coming from the heavens. In the Gospel of Luke, where we get parables similar to those in Matthew, it is simply this change from place to Person: "the kingdom of God". In Matthew, it is the place from which the rule comes; in Luke, it is the Person whose rule is recognized.

There is another expression of the kingdom in Romans 14:17-18: "The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men."

The truth embodied in this passage is individual and moral. Wherever a child of God walks in true subjection to God, the moral characteristics of his life are given here. He will not be a man characterized by little bickerings and differences such as this chapter describes--disagreements about meats and drinks. Rather, the ennobling characteristics of the kingdom of God will be expressed in him: righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Such a life is a miniature illustration of these features of the kingdom of God. Persons of such spirit are not contentiously occupied with trifles. Their hearts and lives are governed by God Himself. This is God’s kingdom in the individual; the moral and practical rule of God in man’s soul.

This is a line of ministry we should keep more to the front, especially in our day, when the principles of righteousness are largely being given up. For, be it observed, the principle of righteousness is first in the kingdom of God.

Albert E. Booth

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