John 3:3-6 – Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “How can anyone be born when he is old? ” Nicodemus asked him. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born? ” Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. “Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit.
In this famous passage of Scripture, we find Yeshua instructing Nicodemus, a Jewish ruler, in the meaning of the kingdom of God. With all of the modern emphasis on being born again or born from above as the defining measure of eternal salvation, in reality, the concept of being born from above is that of spiritual birth into the kingdom of God.
The apostle Paul also recognized and conveyed this truth in almost the same fashion:
1 Corinthians 15:50 – I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
The perishable (this flesh) cannot inherit a spiritual reality. Only the spiritual reality is undying and eternal; everything we can see, all kingdoms and rulerships on this earth, pass away.
2 Corinthians 4:18 – as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
We, however, are not receiving or inheriting a kingdom in this world. No, our kingdom and citizenship in another place.
Hebrews 12:22, 27-28 – Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering, … This expression, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what is not shaken might remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe…
The kingdom cannot be shaken because it is not of this physical creation.
Yeshua clearly lays out that God’s kingdom, the kingdom of which has been given to him, is a spiritual kingdom, not a natural one.
John 18:36-37 – “My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”
“You are a king then? ” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
Yeshua made it clear that the kingdom of God would not be an observable one with the eyes, someplace that you could see or visit in the flesh. Even then, the kingdom of God was already beginning to become evident during the ministry of Messiah:
Luke 17:20-21 – Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable; “no one will say, ‘See here! ‘ or ‘There! ‘ For you see, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
This was because people were becoming born again and beginning to populate this spiritual kingdom at that time.
Luke 16:16 – “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.
There has never been a design for the spiritual kingdom of God to become its own physical representation in this reality, but for the outworking of the principles of this spiritual kingdom to be worked out through the societies and kingdoms of this world.
Revelation 11:15-17 – The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.
The twenty-four elders, who were seated before God on their thrones, fell facedown and worshiped God, saying, We give you thanks, Lord God, the Almighty, who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.
As we yield to the rulership of the God of the Bible and his Messiah, we live in the outworking of his kingdom in this reality, establishing his rule and reign within the kingdom of this world. This what born again people do, because they draw their life from there. This is who we are as believers in Messiah.
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