THE FORERUNNER OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
"In those days, John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.' This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, 'The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.'" [Mt. 3:1-3, NRSV]
There are some who believe that the Kingdom of God has arrived in Heaven. There are others who believe that it will come when Jesus physically returns to reign for a thousand years on earth. Still others believe that the Kingdom of God is inherited by simply having faith in Jesus Christ. Is the Kingdom of God truly that easy to inherit? Which of these beliefs are biblically sound?
My brothers and sisters, children of God, this paper will review most of the New Testament references to the "Kingdom of God". It will teach you to understand the teachings of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
THE PROMISED KINGDOM OF GOD
In the Old Testament, many references are found to the Lord's promise of His coming Kingdom. [2 Sam. 7:12-3, 7:16; 1 Kgs 9:5; 1 Chr. 17:11-2, 17:14, 22:10; Dan. 4:3, 4:34, 7:18, 7:27]
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not the God of the dead, but the God of the living, [Mt. 22:32] promised to Abraham, "And in your descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed." [Acts. 3:25; Gal. 3:8] To Abraham and his One Seed was the promise of the Spirit made, that his blessing might be received by all through faith in Jesus. [Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:14, 16]
Those who belong to Christ are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise, because they have followed in the faith of he who is the spiritual father of all Christians. [Mal. 2:15; Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:19] The spiritual children of Abraham, the children of the godly seed of Jesus, born anew of God, [1 Jn. 3:9, 5:18] of imperishable seed, [1 Pet. 1:23] are those who will truly inherit the eternal Kingdom of God.
CHRIST REVEALED THE KINGDOM OF GOD
"After John the Baptist was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.'" [Mk. 1:14-5]
Jesus stated that He must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other cities also, for He was sent by the Heavenly Father for this purpose. [Lk. 4:43] "Jesus, accompanied by the twelve disciples, went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness." [Mt. 9:35; Lk. 8:1]
He also sent out His twelve disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal, giving them power and authority over all demons and to cure all diseases. [Lk. 9:1-2]
Wherever Jesus went, when the crowds found out about it, they followed Him, and He welcomed them. He spoke to them about the Kingdom of God, healing those who needed to be cured. [Lk. 9:11]
Jesus's work of proclaiming the Kingdom of God did not end while He was on earth. After His suffering, death and Resurrection, He presented himself alive to His disciples by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the Kingdom of God. [Acts 1:3]
"While staying with His disciples, Jesus ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father." [Acts 1:4] The disciples were told to wait a few days to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD WAS AT HAND
When Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, He healed all manner of disease among the people. He told the people to repent for the Kingdom of God was at hand. [Mt. 3:2, 4:17, 4:23]
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
What was this Kingdom of God that Jesus was talking about? Jesus said, "The Lord our God is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. Then, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." [Mk. 12:29-31] To the scribe who understood these words, Jesus told him that he was not far from the Kingdom of God. [Mk. 12:34]
When asked who was the greatest in the Kingdom of God, Jesus answered, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in My name welcomes Me." [Mt. 18:1-3]
"The Kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." [Rom. 14:17]
Seeking further knowledge about the Kingdom of God, the followers of Jesus frequently asked Him to tell them what it was like. [Mk. 4:30; Lk. 13:18, 20]
Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to a man who sowed seed in his field and while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. [Mt. 13:24-5] This parallels the Holy Catholic Church that was founded by Jesus. Its field is the whole world. The good seed is the spiritual children of God within the Holy Church. [Mt. 13:38] Satan plants deceivers among the people to mislead God's children from the truth. [Mt. 13:39] These deceivers will be gathered by the angels [Mt. 13:39] and burned where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth [Mt. 13:42] prior to the gathering of the spiritual children of God who will rejoice in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.
The Kingdom of God is like someone who scatters the seed on the ground. While he sleeps and rises night and day, the seed sprouts and grows and he does not know how. [Mk. 4:26] This represents the spiritual growth of the children of God within the Holy Catholic Church. They persevere through all their worldly obstacles. As no one can predict the movement of the wind, no one can predict how the Holy Spirit will sanctify God's children.
The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. [Mt. 13:31-2] Equally, the Holy Catholic Church, the Body of Christ, was founded by Jesus Christ of the Divine seed of God. Its origin was as a mustard seed, invisible to the eyes of those who lived in other nations. Since its institution, the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church has grown beyond the imagination of all, its branches stretching worldwide, allowing all the spiritual children of God of all ages, races and nations to find rest in the Lord Jesus.
In another parable, Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened. [Mt. 13:33] Equally, the Holy Catholic Church has risen and continues to rise as yeast mixed with flour until it will come to its fulfillment on its last day. The growth of the Holy Catholic Church is manifested through the Three Presences of the Holy Trinity, the grace of God, the love of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Kingdom of God is also compared to a king who wished to settle account with his slaves. Christians are slaves of Christ, having been freed to now belong to the Lord. [1 Cor. 7:22] They have been bought with a price. [1 Cor. 7:23] Those who do not live according to the spiritual law of God will give account on the day of Judgment. [Mt. 12:36] As the Lord Jesus has shown mercy towards all His children, He expects them to show mercy towards others. [Mt. 18:33-5]
The Kingdom of Heaven is compared to the landowner who went out and hired labourers during different hours of the day, paying them all the same wage. This represents the freedom of God to do as He chooses with what belongs to Him, assuring some souls their salvation early in life, others later in life.
The Kingdom of God is like the wise bridesmaid who took their lamp with them to meet the bridegroom. They had oil to light their lamps when the bridegroom arrived. Those who walk in the light of God, shine in the light of God. When the day of Judgment comes upon them, the brightness of their spiritual wisdom will shine, identifying them as belonging to the Lord.
Finally, the Kingdom of God is compared to the man who goes on a journey, summons his slaves and entrusted his property to them. [Mt. 25:14] When he returns, he finds that some appreciated the spiritual gifts that they had received from the Holy Spirit, sharing them for the benefit of the whole Body of Christ. Others were indifferent, allowing their spiritual gifts to remain dormant. Those who have more will be given to them. The dormant ones will be cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [Mt. 25:29-30]
THE LOCATION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
When the Pharisees inquired about the Kingdom of God, Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is not something that can be observed; nor will they say, "Look here it is!" or "There it is!" For in fact, the Kingdom of God is among you. [Lk. 17:20-1] [Note: Some Bible translations say "within you."
When questioned by Pilate as to where His Kingdom was, Jesus said, "My Kingdom is not from this world. If My Kingdom were from this world, My followers would be fighting to keep Me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, My Kingdom is not from here." [Jn. 18:36]
It is very important for Christians to realize from the two previous passages that the Kingdom of God is not physical in nature. It is an invisible, spiritual Kingdom, among [within] the people.
BEING CALLED INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD
All are called to participate in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is like a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. [Mt. 22:2] This equals the Heavenly Father giving a wedding banquet for His Son Jesus Christ, the Church being the bride. As many were indifferent to the king's invitation to participate in the wedding banquet, today, many are unworthy of God's grace, refusing to attend the celebration of the Holy Mass in the Body of Christ to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist as the Bread of eternal life for the glory of the Heavenly Father. They shall all be destroyed. Those who recognize the grace of God, joyfully participate in the Kingdom of God, in the celebration of the Holy Mass. Many are called, but few are chosen [Mt. 22:14] because they are blind to the truth.
Through the Sacrament of Baptism, a believer becomes a child of God, having received a new heart and a new spirit. Through the gift of the human spirit, he worships God in spirit during the celebration of the Holy Mass. His human spirit truly stands in the Sacred Presence of Jesus, partaking in the great Feast in the honour of the Lord Jesus.
Those who are called, are urged, encouraged and plead to lead a life worthy of God who calls them into His own Kingdom and glory. [1 Thes. 2:12]
The goal of every sincere Christian should be to deserve the Heavenly Kingdom by the grace of God. The Lord will stand by him and give him strength so that through him, the Christian, the message of the Heavenly Kingdom might be fully proclaimed so all can hear it. The Lord will rescue him from every evil attack and save him for His Heavenly Kingdom. [2 Tim. 4:16-8]
The Bible teaches that there is a special calling for those who choose the celibate life for the sake of the Kingdom of God. This is not something that everyone can understand. "There are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can." [Mt. 19:12]
In the above passage, the words of Jesus are not associated with castration. Since the beginning of Christianity, the early Church has understood Jesus' words to imply the choosing of the celibate life to serve God towards the growth and glory of the Kingdom of Heaven.
This call has been answered millions of times in the history of the Holy Catholic Church by those who have chosen the religious life, serving the Lord in true love. They served the poor of the world by satisfying their basic needs of education, health care, spiritual teachings, etc... All of those who have seriously answered this call, have found the Kingdom of God.
THE ARRIVAL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
When will the Kingdom of God come? Since the time of Jesus, some expected the Kingdom of God to suddenly appear. [Lk. 19:11] Dealing with this issue, Jesus said, "But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the Kingdom of God has come to you." [Lk. 11:20; Mt. 12:28] What was Jesus implying? Was He saying that the Kingdom of God was already here or that it would soon be here?
Jesus answered that question in the Gospel of Mark, "Truly, I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come with power." [Mk. 9:1] These words are found again in Matthew 16:28 and Luke 9:27.
Jesus gave many signs as to the time of the arrival of the Kingdom of God on earth. He foretold the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem. [Mt. 24:1-2, 15-28; Mk. 13:1-2, 14-23; Lk. 21:5- 6, 20-4] That happened about 64 A.D..
Jesus foretold that some would claim to be the Messiah [Mt. 24:5] and He predicted the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place as was spoken by the prophet Daniel. [Mt. 24:15] History tells us that about 40 A.D., the mad Emperor Caligula had ordered a sacrilegious desecration of the Temple in Jerusalem by the erection of an idol to himself in the very Holy of Holies. Acts 12:20-3 also tells us that Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great, died in 44 A.D. when he was struck by an angel of God for his pride when the people acclaimed him as a god.
Jesus foretold of famines. [Mt. 24:7] The famine during the reign of Claudius has been confirmed through remaining historical records of those days. It took place around year 44, a decade after the crucifixion of Jesus. The life of St. Paul that is thoroughly covered in the New Testament clearly tells us about the famine. St. Paul was collecting money from the believers to deliver to Jerusalem as a result of the predictions that were given to early Christians through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus foretold many other things that also came to past. He predicted the coming of persecution, [Mt. 24:3-14; Mk. 13:3-13; Lk. 21:7-19] this confirmed by the persecution of the early Church. He foretold the signs of the Coming of the Son of Man, [Mt. 24:29-31; Mk. 13:24-7; Lk. 21:25-8] this confirmed by His Resurrection.
Using the fig tree as an example, [Mt. 24:32-5; Mk. 13:28-31; Lk. 21:29-31], Jesus gave a specific time frame as to when the Kingdom of God would arrive.
Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place." [Mt. 24:34-5; Mk. 13:30-1; Lk. 21:32-3] The key words here are "this generation." Contrary to what many proclaim today, saying that all the previous mentioned Biblical signs of the end of time apply to today, the Kingdom of God arrived before the passing away of the generation that was living at the time of Christ. That was 2,000 years ago, when the Kingdom of God arrived.
As sad as it is to say once more, misled Catholics and non- Catholics alike are using Chapter 24 of the Gospel of Matthew as the signs of the end of time to support their falsehood of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to physically reign on earth for a thousand years. They deliberately omit the Bible verses in Matthew 24:34-5, Mark 13:30-1 and Luke 21:32-3. They reject the Divine Words of Jesus as being the truth. They have placed themselves above the Almighty Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.
Such deception, the deliberate omission of the last spoken Words of Jesus in the given signs, even embraces alleged private messages received from Our Lady of Fatima, these messages being freely distributed throughout the Holy Catholic Church as being authentic.
Then, Jesus said, "Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth." [Lk. 21:34-5] When the Kingdom of God will arrive, it will touch everyone who lives on the entire face of the earth. Surely, if such is the case, everyone must have heard of it by now! And they have heard of it! And they have been touched by the Kingdom of God, through the new birth that is manifested in the Sacrament of Baptism!
To narrow down the time of the coming of the Kingdom of God, Jesus said to learn from the fig tree. "As soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates." [Lk. 21: 29-31; Mt. 24:32-3; Mk. 13:28-9] The Kingdom of God was no longer years away but rather as close as the Summer season when the fig tree will put forth its leaves. The Gospels of Matthew and Mark state "HE IS NEAR" while the Gospel of Luke states that "THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NEAR", at the very gates. That means that the Son of Man and His Kingdom was to arrive at that time, in the days of Jesus.
The signs that were given before the end of "this generation" were the things that followed the death of Christ. When carefully reviewing the entire content of Chapter 24 from the Gospel of Matthew, it reveals that the Son of Man, Jesus Himself, already came as in the days of Noah and few were aware of it, being blinded by their worldly ways. [Mt. 24:36-9]
As was previously said and needs to be taught to the misled Catholics, this truth is supported by the fact that the destruction of the Temple happened in year 64 A.D. [Mt. 24:1-2] The first signs refer to the persecution of the early Christians. [Mt. 24:3- 12] Matthew 24:13-5 refers to the growth of the Church. The destruction of the worldly Jerusalem also happened around 70 A.D. [Mt. 24:15-21] A few survived the invasion and were taken as prisoners. [Mt. 24:22] Then followed deception, the anti-christs of the early Christian Church who were preaching false teachings, etc... [Mt. 24:23-28]
WHEN THE KINGDOM OF GOD BEGAN
Let us look at the following Bible passages. "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near." [Mt. 3:2] "From the time Jesus began to proclaim, 'Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.'" [Mt.4:17] "As you go, proclaim the good news, 'The Kingdom of Heaven has come near.'" [Mt. 10:7] "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.'" [Mt. 26:18] "Then He came to the disciples and said to them, 'Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand." [Mt. 26:45-6]
In each of the above passages, we see the meaning of the words "has come near" and "at hand." These words are not symbolic of something one hundred or one thousand years away but rather of something just about to happen.
To further understand the coming of the Kingdom of God, it is necessary to look at other passages. In Matthew, we read, "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." [Mt. 11:12]
Who is the violent one who took the Kingdom of Heaven by force? It is Satan! "There was a war that broke out in Heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in Heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world - he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." [Rev. 12:7-9]
Then arrived the Kingdom of God! "Now have come the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah, for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God." [Rev. 12:10] "When the seventy returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!' Jesus said to them, 'I watched Satan fall from Heaven like a flash of lightning.'" [Lk. 10:17-8]
The fall of Satan from Heaven was the beginning of the establishment of the Kingdom of God in Heaven. The Archangel Michael prepared the way for Christ's Kingdom in Heaven and on earth. Christ was raised from the dead, the Firstfruit of many to follow in His Kingdom. [1 Cor. 15:20]
"They, (the Christian martyrs) have conquered Satan by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death." [Rev. 12:11] The Kingdom of God came on earth through the faithful martyrs of the early Catholic Church who gave their blood to conquer the deception of Satan, placing Christ as the Ruler of this world.
This truth is affirmed daily throughout the world by the Christians who repeat the words of Jesus that are taught in the Lord' Prayer. "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." [Mt. 6:10] Christ is the King who rules His Kingdom in Heaven and on earth. He will reign until He has put His enemies under His feet. "Then comes the end," (the complete end of the physical world as we know it.) "when He will hand over the Kingdom to God the Father, after He has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet." [1 Cor. 15:24-5]
The following passage clearly teaches that Christ's Kingdom is in Heaven and on earth. "The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His Kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, obedient to His spoken word. Bless the Lord, all His hosts, His ministers that do His will. Bless the Lord, all His works, in all places of His dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul." [Ps. 103:19-22] The last quote mentions the hosts of Heaven and the priests of the Holy Catholic Church on earth as ministers, those who answered their religious calling and all the faithful Catholics who obey and serve the Lord Jesus.
Some may insist that a passage in the Gospel of Mark refers to a catastrophe yet to come in the end time. "But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken." [Mk. 13:24-25]
Let us examine that passage. "But in those days, after the suffering" refers to the time frame around the suffering and death of Christ. "The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light" refers to the darkness over the land at the time of crucifixion. [See Mt. 27:45] At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. [Mt. 27:51-4]
The stars falling from Heaven refers to the fall of Satan and his followers. "His tail swept down a third of the stars of Heaven and threw them to the earth." [Rev. 12:4] Angels are frequently referred to as "stars" in the Bible. The shaking of the power in the Heavens refers to the battle between the Archangel Michael and Satan. [See Rev. 12:7-9 above.] From these passages in the Gospel of Mark, it is truthfully concluded that this reference was to the time of Christ and not to a future event yet to come.
The Bible holds many truths that cannot be learned unless Catholics read the Bible on a daily basis while seeking to grow in the knowledge and understanding of the truth.
THE RULER OF THE EARTHLY KINGDOM OF GOD
Earlier, it was stated that Christ must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. [1 Cor. 15:24-5] Before ascending to His Heavenly Kingdom, Christ appointed a representative on earth as head of His Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the One and Only Body of Christ. The appointed spiritual leader was the Apostle Peter.
Jesus said, "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven." [Mt. 16:18-9]
Today, the present spiritual leader of the One and Only Body of Christ is the elected Pope, the direct successor of Saint Peter, he having been appointed by Jesus Christ Himself to lead the Holy Mother Church.
When Jesus said, "on this rock I will build My Church," He was saying "in My Most Holy Name, I will build My Church through you." Where is this supported in the Bible? It is in the numerous Bible passages that refer to the Lord as the Rock. [Ps. 18:2, 31:3, 61:2, 61:2, 61:6, 71:3, 89:26, 92:15, 94:22; 1 Cor. 10:4]
The previously mentioned passages in the Gospel of Matthew clearly teach that those who have separated themselves from the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church that is in direct succession with Peter, will be judged by God according to the mercy that is shown to them by the Holy Mother Church under Pope John- Paul II who is the one and only true spiritual leader of the Body of Christ. What the Holy Mother Church binds on earth, will be bound in Heaven. Those who reject the authority of the Pope as the representative of Christ, are literally rejecting the authority of Christ Himself.
HOW THE KINGDOM OF GOD CAME ON EARTH
How does the believer enter the Kingdom of God on earth? Jesus answered that question. "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born from above." "No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit." [Jn. 3:3-6]
To be born again means to receive the new creation, the new spirit of the Holy Spirit. [Rom. 6:4; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Jas. 4:5] That is what it means to be reborn. God actually creates a new mind and a new spirit inside the newly baptized person. [Jn. 3:3, 5, 7] The person is truly not the same anymore, his spiritual creation having been changed.
(To fully appreciate God's gift of the new creation, it is suggested that you read the text of the Catholic Doors Ministry Bible course, "Baptism in the Catholic Church")
The Sacrament of Baptism in the Catholic Church is a necessity to enter the Kingdom of God. Those who believed Philip who was proclaiming the good news about the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ, were baptized. [Acts 8:12]
Through the Sacrament of Baptism, God rescues the Christian from the power of darkness and transfers him into the Kingdom of His beloved Son in whom the Christian finds his redemption and the forgiveness of sin. [Col. 1:13-4] Please read this passage! You are "transferred" into the Kingdom of His beloved Son!
Through the Sacrament of Baptism, Christians come to the Lord as a living stone, chosen and precious in God's sight like living stones. They let themselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. [1 Pet. 2:4-5] They become God's Kingdom of priests, the common priesthood and a holy nation. [Ex. 19:6]
Not all those who are baptized and enter God's Kingdom on earth will be entitled to remain in God's Heavenly Kingdom. Those who are baptized must live their faith in love, hope and charity. Jesus said, "The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will collect out of His Kingdom all causes of sin and all evil-doers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire..." [Mt. 13:41-2] "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!" [Mt. 13:43]
Notice the words that Jesus said, "They will collect out of His Kingdom." This is a warning to all those who are baptized and believe that they are saved without a necessity to have a living faith in Christ as sincere and active Christian. They will be removed from the Kingdom of God on earth, the furnace of fire awaiting them!
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
To fully appreciate how the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is the physical, spiritual and Mystical Kingdom of God on earth, it is necessary to review a passage in the Book of Revelation. "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." [Rev. 21:1-3]
When God's servant John "saw the new Heaven", he was making reference to the victory in the Heavenly Kingdom of God where Christ became the Firstborn of many to follow. Michael had won the battle against Satan who was cast to earth so Christ could begin His Heavenly rule. The new Heavenly Kingdom became the home of the righteous children of God who died in Christ, those souls entering the Heavenly Kingdom of God after Christ had entered as the Firstborn.
The "new earth" that John refers to is the spiritual transformation that started on earth through the Holy Roman Catholic Church, its members being reborn in spirit of the seed of God through the Sacrament of Baptism. Through the blood of the martyr of the Catholic Church, the spiritual earthly Church began its spiritual growth.
"The first Heaven passed away" as the dwelling home of God that was previously limited to the angels. Satan was cast out of Heaven. The door was now open to the children of God, the spirits of the souls that had died on earth and qualified to inherit eternal life. These souls and spirits could not enter God's Kingdom, the new Heaven, until such time as Christ had resurrected and had been placed on the Throne by the Heavenly Father as the Firstfruit of many to follow.
"The first earth" had passed away because through the Blood of Christ, Satan lost his control over humanity. A new earth was being created through the Holy Catholic Church and its members of invisible spirits, the common priesthood, those who will inherit eternal life. Prior to the ministry of Christ, none (with the exception of the Virgin Mary who was born Immaculate) had received the new birth through Baptism, the new spirit that would assure them eternal life.
"The holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" is referred to in its developmental stage in Luke 24:33, 47, 52; Acts 1:4, 8, 12, The formation of the new city, the New Jerusalem began when Christ resurrected and appeared to the believers in Jerusalem. It was the beginning of the growth of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Christ came down from God and gave the Holy Spirit to His followers on the day of Pentecost. At that day, in that little room upstairs in Jerusalem, began the new spiritual holy city of God, the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem is the spiritual Church, the bride of Christ, adorned for Christ.
Revelation 21:3 concludes by saying, "See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God. They will be His peoples, and God Himself will be with them."
The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Rome had its beginning in Jerusalem. While Jerusalem is the spiritual seat of the Kingdom of God, its physical seat in found in Rome where the Holy Mother Church holds the keys to the Kingdom of God.
Then, Revelation 21:4 states, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more, mourning and crying and pain will be no more. For the first things have passed away." Indeed, those who have been born again, having received their newly created spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism, now have eternal life. At physical death, the consciousness of their souls will continue to live through their inherited gift of the human spirit. Their human spirit will never die, mourn, cry or endure pain, Christ having wiped away the tears from their eyes. Those who have been baptized in the Holy Roman Catholic Church and who have received the gift of the new spirit, know that the first things have truly passed away! They are walking in the newness of Christ.
THE SACRAMENT OF THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST
At the Lord's Supper, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God." [Mt. 26:29; Mk. 14:25; Lk. 22:18] He repeated the same words regarding eating food again. [Lk. 22:16]
In Luke 24:30, we read that after His resurrection, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to His followers. Again, in Jn. 21:15, we read that Jesus had breakfast with the disciples. These passages clearly reveal to us that the Kingdom of God has arrived. Jesus was once more drinking and eating in His Kingdom, with the first members of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that is His earthly Kingdom.
Today, how can Catholics share a meal with the Lord Jesus? It is by receiving the Most Holy Eucharist during the celebration of the Holy Mass. Jesus said, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." [Jn. 6:53] It is insufficient to be baptized and to be reborn! One must now live his faith by participating in the Most Holy Eucharist that is the Body and Blood of Christ. [Mt. 26:26-30; Mk. 14:22-6; Lk. 22:14-23; 1 Cor. 11:23-6] Without the Holy Eucharist, one has no life in him. He is dead! His human spirit cannot maintain the righteousness that is necessary to inherit eternal life!
By receiving the Most Holy Eucharist during the celebration of the Holy Mass, the soul and spirit of the Catholic believer who is a member of the common priesthood in the Kingdom of God, receives the necessary life that assures the continued preservation of his soul in righteousness. This is necessary to guaranteed the individual Catholic's right to the eternal Kingdom of God in Heaven through his newly created spirit.
All Catholics have truly tasted at one time or another the Kingdom of God with the fullness of its joy and peace. One such moment was during the Christmas season. While participating in the Christmas Mass, surrounded by the echo of holy songs, the spirits of the Catholics were spiritually uplifted. In their midst, they truly tasted the spiritual atmosphere that is found in the Kingdom of God on earth.
That spiritual elevation was reached because, days ahead, they had prepared themselves for that special event. If Catholics were to prepare themselves daily throughout the year to partake in the Kingdom of God on earth, they would experience the ongoing joys of Christmas Day. Such joy would come from participating in the celebration of the Holy Mass at which time they are receiving the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, sharing in the Lord's Supper with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
THE CONDITIONS TO SHARE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Every Catholic should search his soul and ask himself if he is meeting the conditions to sit at the table within the Kingdom of Heaven on earth with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There will be gnashing of teeth when some see all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and they themselves are thrown out. [Mt. 8:11; Lk. 13:28]
Let us consider some of the conditions that are necessary to qualify for the Kingdom of God. Among those born of women on earth, there are none greater than John the Baptist. Yet, the less important person, the humble one, is greater than John the Baptist in the Kingdom of Heaven. [Mt. 11:11; Lk. 7:28]
The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who have a heart like little children who are innocent. [Mt. 19:14; Mk. 10:14, Lk. 18:16- 7] Innocent children have true love, freely sharing with others. They do not discriminate. They show compassion for the persecuted, reaching out to the poor and the sick. That is what life is like in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Childhood acts of love are present everywhere.
Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." [Mk. 10:15] The sincere Christian must wholeheartedly welcome what the Heavenly Father allows to come his way, even the earthly trials that serve to purify the soul, these being the assurance of an eternal reward.
The Kingdom of God belongs to those who are poor in spirit, [Mt. 5:3] those whose spirit hungers for the spiritual, finding no true happiness in this world. It belongs to the poor, [Lk. 6:20] those who are persecuted for righteousness. [Lk. 5:10]
Catholics who have experienced the rebirth of the spirit in Christ are Divinely called and obligated to take a stand for righteousness. For the Kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power. [1 Cor. 4:20] "For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God's sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified." [Rom. 2:13] "For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved." [Rom. 10:10] "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" "But not all have obeyed the good news." [Rom. 10:15-6] Not all will stand up and be counted as faithful Catholics by living their faith in Christ and correcting others who have fallen from the true faith.
Joseph of Arimathea, the respected member of the council, shined in his faith when He boldly asked Pilate for the body of Christ. [MK. 15:43; Lk. 23:51]
Loving God is required to inherit the Kingdom of God. "Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the Kingdom that He has promised to those who love him?" [Jas. 2:5]
The Kingdom of God is answering one's call to serve the Lord. "Be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you." [2 Pet. 1:10-1]
Two thousand years ago, Jesus commanded that those who want to follow Him, must go and preach the good news, saying that the Kingdom of Heaven has come near. [Mt. 10:7] His followers obeyed this command. [Acts 19:8, 28:23, 31] Having proclaimed the good news to other, they strengthened the souls of other Christians, encouraging them to continue in the faith, teaching, "It is through many persecutions that we must enter the Kingdom of God." [Acts. 14:22]
The loyal perseverance and faith that the Catholic receives from God during all his persecution and the afflictions that he is enduring are evidence of the righteous judgment of God. It is intended to make him worthy of the Kingdom of God for which he suffers alongside with other Catholics. [2 Thes. 1:4-5] Over and above this, the co-workers for the Kingdom of God are a comfort to one another. [Col. 4:11]
Jesus said not to worry about the worldly needs of foods, drink and clothing. The Heavenly Father knows what those needs are. "Strive first for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all those needs will be given to you as well." [Mt. 6:33] Here, Jesus states in a parable that the spiritual needs of the Catholic shall be provided here on earth. He speaks of the spiritual food and the living water that the spiritually wise shall be provided with so they can shine like the brightness of the sky. Those who lead many to righteousness, they will shine like stars forever and ever. [Dan. 12:3]
Jesus said that those who breaks one of the least of the commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and teaches them to other, he will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. [Mt. 5:19]
Jesus emphasized the need to have a strong faith. It is easier for tax collectors and prostitutes to go into the Kingdom of God ahead of others because they believe. Some, even after seeing the signs of God, have not change their minds, nor believed the words of the Lord. [Mt. 21:33]
To those who live righteously, the King will say to them who are on His right, "Come, you are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." [Mt. 25:34]
THOSE WHO WILL NOT QUALIFY FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Not all will be on the right. Some will be on the left. To those on the left, He will say, "You that are accursed, depart from Me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." [Mt. 25:41]
What have these souls done to be called accursed? Prior to the coming of John the Baptist, the Laws of Moses and the prophets were sent to teach the way to God. Since then, the good news of the Kingdom of God has been proclaimed. Now, everyone tries to enter it by force. It is easier for Heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of God's Laws to be dropped. [Lk. 16:16-7]
The Kingdom of God will be denied to those who interfere with the sanctification of others. These are the hypocrites who cross the sea and land to make new converts. Having arrived abroad, they make the converts children of hell twice as bad as themselves by not practicing what they preach. [Mt. 23:13-5]
"Not everyone who says to Jesus, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of the Father in Heaven." On that day, many will say to Jesus that they prophesied in His Name, cast out demons in His Name and did many deeds of power in His Name. To them, He will declare, "I never knew you; go away from Me, you evildoers." [Mt. 7:21--3]
Unless the righteousness of the believers exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, the believer will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. [Mt. 5:20] The scribes who defined the laws had become like the Pharisees who's hearts were ruled by traditional beliefs in the law, leaving no room for mercy. They criticized Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, maintaining the laws while failing to see Divine acts of love that surpassed the laws.
Wrongdoers will not inherit the Kingdom of God. "Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, (users of abusive language) robbers - none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God." [1 Cor. 6:9-10]
Nor will those who enjoy the works of the flesh enter the Kingdom of God. "The works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, actions, envy, drunkenness, carousing and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do these things will not inherit the Kingdom of God." [Gal. 5:19-21] "Be assured of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God." [Eph. 5:5]
Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God." [Mt. 19:23-4; Mk. 10:23-5; Lk. 18:24-5]
The Lord Jesus also said, "If your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched." [Mk. 9:47]
When Jesus spoke of letting the dead bury their dead, to go and preach the Kingdom of God, He was speaking of those who are spiritually dead. [Lk. 9:60] The spiritually dead are as unmarked graves on which people walk without realizing it. [Lk. 11:44] The spiritually dead do not want to change. They love their sinful ways. It is more valuable to give one's time to helping the sincere to grow in the Lord Jesus [Lk. 10:7-9] than to waste one's time on those who hear but do not act. They are blind and deaf to the truth. Their vision is limited to this world, having no concern for eternal life.
"No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God." [Lk. 9:62] Those who will inherit the Kingdom of God are those who know the meaning of self-sacrifice. It is those who will not regret having given their lives to obey and serve the Lord in accordance to the will of the Heavenly Father.
"There is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life." [Lk. 18:29-30] They will be spiritually blessed in the present invisible Kingdom of God on earth that is entered through the Sacraments of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is them who will inherit the eternal Kingdom of God after their physical death.
Based on these conditions, many feel that it is impossible to inherit the Kingdom of God. To this, Jesus answered, "For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible." [Mt. 19:26] Repent now, recognizing and appreciating the sacrifice of the Lamb of God and the Lord will open your eyes to His Kingdom.
At that time, in the presence of God, Jesus will judge the living and the dead when He will appear with His Heavenly Kingdom. [2 Tim. 4:1] Those who remain indifferent to their salvation are being judged now by Jesus in the presence of God. His Kingdom is here now. The Good Shepherd knows His children and they know Him.
THE RULER OF THE ETERNAL KINGDOM OF GOD
"Dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations. [Ps. 22:28] This is affirmed in the Lord's Prayer, "For the Kingdom and the power and the glory are Yours forever. Amen." [Mt. 6:13]
In the same prayer, Catholics pray daily that the Kingdom of God will come in their heart on earth as it is in Heaven. [Mt. 6:10; Lk. 11:2] They pray that the Lord will open their eyes so they can perceive the present invisible Kingdom that has been growing since the foundation of the Holy Roman Catholic Church through Christ.
The Throne of the Son will be forever and ever and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His Kingdom. [Ps. 45:6; Heb. 1:8] "He is the living God, enduring forever. His Kingdom shall never be destroyed, and His dominion has no end." [Dan. 6:26] "To Him was given dominion and glory and Kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him." [Dan. 7:14]
"All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord, and all Your faithful shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your Kingdom, and tell of Your power, to make known to all people Your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of Your Kingdom. Your Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations." [Ps. 145:10-13]
THE END OF THE WORLD
When shall the end of the world come? It will be when the end of the Kingdom of God has been fulfilled to its end on earth! When Jesus spoke of the end to come in Matthew 24:14, He said it would be when the good news of the Kingdom will have been proclaimed throughout the world as a testimony to all the nations.
Many feel that since the Bible is presently translated in thousands of languages and available worldwide, over and above the symbolic signs of worldwide natural disasters that they see around them, the end is near. In response to this belief, can it be said that the good news of the Kingdom of God is presently being proclaimed throughout the world?
The world has yet to begin to preach the true Kingdom of God as it is being taught in the Bible. While many are waiting for a physical Kingdom to come on earth, they have failed to hear to words of the Lord Jesus, that His Kingdom on earth is invisible. It consists of those who are reborn, having received the new creation, the new spirit of the common priesthood. Only those souls will qualify as children of God to inherit the eternal Kingdom of Heaven if they persist in their living faith.
Those who persist to the end, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, will be raised imperishable and they will be changed. [1 Cor. 15:52] "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable." [1 Cor. 15:50]
WHY SOME HAVE NOT PERCEIVED THE TRUTH ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Why have some not perceived the truth about the worldly Kingdom of God? It is because they have perceived the truth as they want to perceive the truth, to satisfy their physical needs rather than their spiritual needs.
Did Jesus not say, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away." [Mt. 13:11-2; Mk. 4:11; Lk. 8:10] Those who are blind, walking in the darkness, will lose all what they possess on earth. Those who are spiritually enlightened, will grow in the grace of the Lord for the truth shall guide them towards eternal life.
"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys the field." [Mt. 13:44] Those who are spiritually enlightened, turn their lives over to the Lord Jesus, for they know that nothing in this world can be measured to the eternal life that awaits them.
"The Kingdom of God is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. On finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it." [Mt. 13:45] The Christian who has discovered the love, joy and peace, power and providence of the Lord Jesus, knows that no other worldly treasure can surpass His gracious blessings and awesomeness.
"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind. When it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad." [Mt. 13:47-8] The Heavenly Father has called all the citizens of the world to be reborn in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. But not all appreciate this gift. Some have received it and remained indifferent to it. When the Heavenly net draws those who have been reborn, they will be sorted according to the actions of their free will.
It is no wonder that Jesus said to strive for the Kingdom of God and everything else will be given to you. [Lk. 12:31]
How long must the world remain blind, refusing to believe that the Kingdom of God is here, having arrived in the days of the early Church? The first Catholic martyrs were among the first living members of the Kingdom of God on earth. Those who are blind will continue to be blind as in the days of Noah. [Mt. 24:37-9]
How many times must it be said that "the Kingdom of God has come near" you? [Lk. 10:10-1] "You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light." [Rom. 13:11-2]
Those who have received the Sacrament of Baptism by the grace of the Heavenly Father, have entered the Kingdom of God on earth through the new birth of their human spirit in Christ and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit who preserves them from the evil one.
Since you have received a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, you should give thanks, offering to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe. [Heb. 12:28]
To close, I would like you to reflect on the following deception of premillennialism. Many believed that year 2,000 was the year when Christ would return to reign because it was the year that would start the new millennium. Was it? Was the year 2,000 based on the date of the birth or the death of Christ? If it was based on the birth of Christ, Jesus was born about 4 B.C. As such, the new millennium began in 1996. If it was based on the death of Jesus, that being around 29 A.D., then there is another 29 years to wait. The speculations regarding year 2,000 were nothing but numerology, the study of the occult meanings of numbers. The soul that walks in FATE is not walking in FAITH.