- everlasting blissful happiness and peace on earth
- heaven after death / afterlife
- a metaphorical way to describe that righteousness would be made on earth by the power of the holy spirit, and that Jesus' parables give a sample and foreshadow of what the real Kingdom of God on earth will be like; in order to achieve the Kingdom of God, one must obey his commandments as well as continue the covenants given to Israel before Jesus.
The Kingdom of God or Heaven literally means the Realm where God dwells.
The Kingdom of God may be divided into two types based on it's establishment.
1. At the First coming of Jesus Christ
When Jesus came to earth as a humble man to suffer and die for us, He's goal was to bring down the Kingdom of God, which was also His role as the promised Messiah. But at His first coming, the Kingdom of God was not to be established physically on earth, which was the expectation of the Jews. Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God in the hearts of men. Jesus was preparing the people for the coming kingdom, which was to be established soon after He finished His work on the cross. John the Baptist was proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was near.
Matthew 3:1-2 (NIV) In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Jesus started explaining to the people what the Kingdom of God is. He used metaphors like the sower, mustard seed, hidden treasure, weeds, yeast and fishing net (see Matthew 13). But until it was established from the day of Pentecost, which was the beginning of the Church era, it was not fully understood. Therefore, this Church era is the first establishment of Kingdom of God and it's dominion is in the hearts of mankind.
Matthew 13:23 (NIV) But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Here, Jesus said that the Kingdom of God can start from a single person, which can yield many other believers. Peter was the first man to preach the Gospel on the Day of Pentecost and 3000 people were baptized that day. And the apostles went on to preach everywhere and the number of Christians kept on growing and growing.
2. At the Second coming of Jesus Christ
Jesus will come again with all His glory and power to establish His kingdom physically on earth forever. This present world is in the hands of Satan but when Jesus comes, Satan will be defeated and the eternal physical Kingdom of God will be established on earth forever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 19:11-20 (NIV)
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords. Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
One is in the Kingdom of God when, as Jesus said, "I and the Father will make our abode[tabernacle] within you."
He said "keep my words."
Which I understand to mean " don't change from what I have taught you to do, and don't mislead people about what I have taught."
The difficulty for people who try to understand Jesus's training by the reading of the the NT, is that so little of what he taught was released to the public. Of the 2,000 + hours of training He gave to the disciples, we got less than 2 hours of His words in the NT. In the Gospel of Mark who, it was said by the Church historians, recorded everything that Peter told him about Jesus "leaving nothing out and adding nothing," we find only 18 minutes of Jesus's sayings were released to the public by the Church in the NT writings. Obviously Mark knew a lot more than that. John said that there weren't enough books in the world to contain what Jesus showed them. So you are at a severe disadvantage if all you know about His training is taken from the English NT. There are some 27 miles of shelving in the Vatican Library about what Jesus taught. There are enough books in English now, for anyone to delve deeper. I have dozens of books from the 2nd through 5th. cents. written by His disciples who explain what He taught.
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Mar 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
Mat 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Below are listed some of the parables about the Kingdom of God and Heaven. It is clear in all of these that the Master was referring to the work of the Church on the earth bringing people into relationships with God through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is especially clear in Luke 17 and Mark 9. When teaching on the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus always preached it as something which would happen later rather than during his ministry on the earth. The Lord will return one day and physically establish the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth until then the Kingdom of Heaven exists in our hearts and is expressed through our lives.
Mat 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Mat 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Mat 13:46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Mat 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Mat 13:48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
Mat 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, Mat 22:3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Mat 22:4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. Mat 22:5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: Mat 22:6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. Mat 22:7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Mat 22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Mat 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. Mat 22:10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. Mat 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: Mat 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Mat 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.