The Kingdom and Civil Government of God
Understanding our Place in the Kingdom of Heaven, in God’s Civil Government during the History of the World, and in the Age to Come
by Kerry Lee Morgan
UNDERSTANDING THE KINGDOMS OF HEAVEN IN WORLD HISTORY
We have thus far have noted that the kingdoms of the earth do not belong to the devil. We’ve established that the kingdoms of the earth belong to God and He will do with them what He will and when He will. We have also learned that He has decided to establish a millennial kingdom on the earth at some point in the future and has promised His son, Jesus the Christ, the right to sit on the throne of that kingdom as the legal heir of King David to govern the nation of Israel during that time. We have also learned that Jesus will govern all the other nations of the earth during that period and those who are believers in Jesus Christ in this life and shall reign with him over the nations during this period of history. We also observed that during history, God gave the government of the kingdoms of the earth to Nebuchadnezzar and to Cyrus for certain purposes during their lifetimes.
We now turn to a chronological survey of the various manifestations of the kingdoms of heaven including the millennial civil government under the authority of Jesus. This is important because it shows that God’s historical purpose has always been to govern as a King. This is true before the world, during the period of the history of the world, and after the world we know ceases. Thus, the Kingdom of Heaven is not a new or novel theme. It was not new or novel to Jesus when he spoke of it during his ministry. It should not be new or novel to any of us if we know God and understand how He looks at these matters.
Starting before the beginning of time, we learn that God is enthroned as the King of His Heavenly Kingdom. That Kingdom has no known beginning. “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Psalm 90:2. “Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.” Psalm 93:2. Similarly, scripture is clear that the kingdom of God in Heaven has no end. “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.” Daniel 4:3.
So, what does this kingdom of God in Heaven look like? Here is a description of the nature of that Kingdom of Heaven. The Psalmist tells us that “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 word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion.” Psalm 103:19-22. What is being described here? The Psalm describes a system of government which in its structure is very similar to any other monarchy. God is the King. He rules over all. He has workers in the kingdom to do his will throughout his realm. Of course, corruption, graft, kickbacks, insider trading, and taxation are all missing.
Thus, the kingdom of God in heaven is God’s throne in the heavens, from the beginning and will last until the end of time as we know it. From heaven He rules over all as the sovereign Creator. At this very moment He is governing the heavens and administering his civil government. Yet, is that all He does? Has God ever administered a civil government on the earth at any time?
Though not technically a Kingdom on the earth, the fact that God was present on the earth in the Garden of Eden deserves an honorable mention. As God walked in the Garden and talked with Adam and Eve, He gave them instructions and rules to live by. When those rules were broken He conducted an investigation, determined guilt, and imposed punishment. These are important elements of the civil government of God in the Garden and reflect Kingly rule and governmental functions with regard to His creation and creatures. Genesis does not refer to the Garden as God’s throne so the analogy is not complete, but the Garden as a place where God dwelled among mankind on the face of the earth deserves our acknowledgment.
It is also worth noting and will become more significant when we get to the last Kingdom of Heaven on the new Earth in the New Jerusalem, that in several important ways, God returns to the garden theme. For instance, the Garden of Eden had the tree of life. Genesis 2:9 states: “And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” So too, the New Jerusalem will likewise have “the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Revelation 22:2.
The key point, however, is that God was dwelling with His creation on the earth in the Garden. Genesis 3:8 declares God’s presence: “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” He was not walking in heaven. He was on the earth. God left the Garden after that. He visited the earth on other occasions we know of such as when He sealed Noah in the Ark and shut the door. As we have also mentioned, He visited the tower Nimrod was building on the plain of Shinar before He confused the language of mankind. But these visits established no Kingdom or civil government on earth.
Later on well after the Garden, He will choose to dwell with the People of Israel. He will also govern the nations in the millennium through His Son nearer the end of our present earthy history. After that millennial period He will dwell with His people both Jew and Gentile in the New Jerusalem on the new Earth. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” Revelation 21:3. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. The first real earthy Kingdom of God involved the Hebrews during their travels and later to the Israelites as a nation in the land He first promised to Abraham.
This form of God’s kingdom the Kingdom of Heaven on earth in Israel, is distinguished from the Kingdom of God in Heaven that was previously discussed. The Kingdom of God on earth in Israel began when the ancient Hebrews consented with God that He would be their God and they would be His people. Exodus 19:5-8 reveals how this nation and its civil government were inaugurated. God said: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel. So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, All that the Lord has spoken we will do.’ And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord.” The people accepted God’s offer to be their king pursuant to a compact of civil government.
It is clear that this intended “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” had a King. That King was God himself. I Samuel 8:4-7 affirms this from God’s own lips. “Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.’ But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, Give us a king to judge us.’ And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.'”
Likewise, this kingdom of God on earth in Israel has its throne in a physical place on the earth, not in heaven. We know from Matthew 5:34 that God’s eternal throne is in Heaven for Matthew refers to it as the “throne of God” in heaven. But we are talking about another throne. This is the throne of God in ancient Israel. God was the King of Israel from the start. He appeared to Moses and gave instructions first from his mountain in a dark cloud. Exodus 3:1: 18:5; 24:13. This was followed by God appearing as a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. Exodus 13:1
Soon thereafter in their wanderings, a tent was erected by Moses to help the people seek God. Exodus 33:7 declares that: “Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.” This wasn’t like City Hall where everybody wandered in and out at will. It was more structured. But the key point is that within the tent of meeting, there was a special place or room called a tabernacle. This is where the spirit of God resided. Exodus 40:34 declares of this place, that after Moses arranged the interior of the tent and tabernacle as per God’s instructions (the original interior designer) and after Moses put the final cover on the tent, then “the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” You can bet God’s spirit was in that physical place on the earth itself.
This was not some vague mystical experience practiced by the people. This was not smoke and mirrors or some priestly hallucination. This was a real manifestation of God’s Spirit dwelling on earth, in a physical structure. That structure was repeatedly erected, taken down and moved and re-erected on the People’s travels to the land He had promised to Abraham. God or at least his Spirit was dwelling among Jews and Gentiles, citizens and foreigners living in the land. God’s Spirit was there as the King of Israel, the Supreme Legislative body and lawgiver, and as Supreme Judge of the people, both citizen as well as the 153,600 resident alien living in the land by the time of Solomon. This was no invisible Kingdom or King. It was real. It wasn’t “in my heart.” The people saw the smoke (thus the misused phrase “holy smokes”), the dense cloud, the pillar of fire, and the glory of the Lord entering the tabernacle.
Don’t skip over this fact about aliens and foreigners living in Israel. It shows God always considered that mankind should have access to Him and that He desired to live among mankind. See Acts 17:26-27. “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.”
After the rejection of God by the people as their national King as recorded in 1 Samuel 8, Saul, David, then Solomon served in that capacity subject to God’s law and to varying degrees the other prohibitions listed in Deuteronomy 17. God promised that King David’s heirs would sit on this earthly throne and in the future. King Solomon testified to this when he said in 2 Chronicles 6:10: “Now the Lord has fulfilled his promise that he made. For I have risen in the place of David my father and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and I have built the house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.” The Queen of Sheba even recognized this fact. She says in 1 Kings 10:9: “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness.” This was a physical place on earth. You could travel there and see it all. The people did just that, travelling there from all parts of the earth during Solomon’s reign.
Finally, a temple was built by Solomon from whence God gave further direction regarding the governance of Israel. Solomon built the temple (and a palace for himself too). The Temple included a “Most Holy Place” similar to the tabernacle in the tent that God also covered with a dark cloud and filled in the same way as He did with the Tent of Meeting.
When the building and furnishing of the Temple were completed, it was all dedicated. At the dedication, “the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” 2 Chronicles 5:13-14. Solomon asked: “But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built!” 2 Chronicles 6:18-20. God did not abandon his throne in Heaven. His spirit and glory were on the earth in that place. The locations of the tabernacle and holy place were not thrones in the traditional sense, but they were places from which God’s Spirit governed on earth.
This is the account of the Kingdom of God on earth in Israel as it became manifested on the earth by the free consent of the Israelite people. It was a Kingdom on earth, governed by the Spirit of God as King, directly at first and then though human Kings later on, who were sometimes obedient but after Solomon mostly disobedient to God and His covenant and law. It had a physical seat of government in clouds, pillars, tabernacles and eventually a Temple with a holy room in Jerusalem.
God’s civil government also had laws God enacted regarding holiness. It had God’s civil laws and punishments for Israel. It had laws based on the laws of nature which existed from the beginning of the human race and governed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and also after the worldwide flood during Noah’s days. These laws all together constituted the “law of the land.” This particular civil government had a beginning in earthly time. It also had an end in time when the Babylonian and Assyrian captivity was enforced, though not a permanent end of the nation of Israel as we shall see. The Kingdom of Heaven in Israel is not to be confused with the Kingdom of Heaven in Heaven. Nor is the Kingdom of Heaven in Israel to be confused with the Kingdom of Heaven during the millennium or the age to come.
The Kingdom of Heaven in Israel is simply a description of the kingdom of God at that time upon the face of the earth in its particular form, for a particular people, for a particular purpose and during a particular period of time. Its purpose was to establish a kingdom of priests and create a holy nation on earth. That purpose was not fulfilled but that was its purpose. Nor was that purpose fulfilled by the coming of Jesus or the establishment of his church. It will be fulfilled one day in the Kingdom of Heaven during its millennial manifestation on earth. Revelation 5:9-10 declares that God’s kingdom of priests shall reign upon the earth. “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
On the other hand, the nation of Israel’s purpose was to be a nation under God on the earth in which God governed through His civil government according to His laws by the consent of the people. Israel’s national purpose was not spiritual salvation. If you try to read that into God’s purpose, it will distort your whole understanding of what God is actually doing. Moreover, its laws were not established so that the people may through obedience thereby enter into a millennial Kingdom. Nor was its purpose to save the Israelites so they could enter into the new heaven and new earth.
Securing entrance into those kingdoms for Israelites and all other peoples of the nations during this time was not a function of citizenship in Israel, nor by being a resident alien in Israel, nor by being a son of Abraham, nor by being a Jew or Gentile. Entering these future kingdoms is accomplished by means of a person’s righteousness in the eyes of God, not because of their birth as Jews, citizenship in the kingdom of Israel, having Abraham as their father, or observance of the laws of Moses. It is God who determines the criteria of what constitutes righteousness and at a minimum includes those who actually believed in God’s existence and seek him out, though he is not far from each of us. Acts 17:26-27.
The key difference between ancient Israel and all other nations in history, as kingdoms are concerned, is that in Israel, God was king. (1 Samuel 8:7). He ruled directly as King from Moses until Samuel. Thereafter, God retained the exclusive right to choose Israel’s kings, which after King Saul were David and his male descendants. Technically, God’s throne was in heaven, but beginning with David, Israel’s throne was the throne of David. And David and his heirs were the representatives of God on earth. 2 Chronicles 6:5-6; Psalms 89:3-4.
Thus, since ancient Israel was a kingdom with its own civil government, and God was sovereign over the nation in a unique way, a way in which He has not been sovereign over any other nation, Israel was the first true manifestation of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
Let us now turn to the Kingdom of Heaven on earth intended by God to govern all of the nations during the millennial period. This is what Scripture refers to as the Kingdom of God. Luke 21:31 refers to the Kingdom of God as something to come. “So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” Luke 22:16 and 18 indicates that Jesus will be there and he will not eat food or drink wine “until the kingdom of God comes.” When will it come? Jesus was asked: “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” Acts 1:6-7. The short answer is, we don’t know.
Let us examine that millennial kingdom in a little more detail. The millennial period, is an extremely important time.
Perhaps the first question is when will the millennial kingdom be inaugurated? Jesus answers this question by declaring that only God knows the time. Though there will be signs which preexist this period of time, the exact date is not known, and cannot be known. If anyone says to you that they know the date, rest assured they don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. We do know, however, that the millennial kingdom will last approximately 1,000 years give or take a few at the end at which time the devil and his minions will be set free for a final war against Jesus and the saints.
Let us inquire who will be present on the face of the earth in the millennial kingdom. To answer this question we first need to know who dies and who survives the tribulation period which takes place before the battle at Armageddon which itself begins the Millennial Kingdom. These survivors will be normal human beings. They may technically be citizens of their own governments and nations but this will not account for much in the Kingdom of Heaven which God will establish on the earth during the millennial period. We are talking about those who have not yet received their new resurrected body, and in fact may never receive it, depending on their conduct and confession during their life. For them, their eternal status will be determined at the great white throne judgment where they will be judged worthy of eternal life or face perpetual death in the lake of fire.
It is difficult to say how many people will be alive at that time those that have survived the tribulation, that short period of time occurring immediately before the second coming of Christ. How many survivors of that time will remain? Of course, we don’t know the exact number, but Scripture does tell us what will happen to the population of the earth during the tribulation. As such we may be able to determine a range for the number of people who may survive the tribulation and be present when the battle of Armageddon actually takes place.
For instance, the current population of the world is about 7.8 billion human beings. Assume for the sake of discussion that none of them are believers in Jesus Christ and none of them are regarded by God as righteous. Just assume this so that we can do the math for illustrative purposes. This assumption of course will tend to overestimate the number of people remaining but it illustrates a more salient point as will become apparent shortly. One of the first major genocides during the tribulation occurs when the last two horsemen of the apocalypse, “Death” and his companion “The Grave” “were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill them with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals.” Revelation 6:7-8.
Beginning with 7.8 billion persons alive and assuming the tribulation began today, the death of 1/4th of the population would be about 2.0 billion people. “Death” and “the Grave” are aptly named. Their slaughter would reduce the population of the world to 5.8 billion people. For example and illustrative purposes only, the population of China is 1.4 billion. The population of India is 1.3 billion. The population of the United States is 331 million. If half of China and half of India’s population, and all of the United States’ populations were put to death, that would be about 2 billion people. Can you grasp the cataclysmic nature of this event?
The next major catastrophic loss of life will occur when the sixth angel is commanded to release the four demons bound at the Euphrates River. These demonic beings held in captivity will be turned loose to kill one-third of all the remaining people on earth. John testified that he even heard the size of their army, which was 200 million mounted troops. Revelation 9:14-16. This could mean human beings constituting a military force, or 200 million demonic beings who will actually do all the killing of one third of the people the earth. Either way, the annihilation of one third of 5.8 billion people or about 2 billion people, leaves 3.8 billion people remaining. Though the percentages are different, i.e. one fourth and now one third, as the math turns out, the same number of people that are killed each time is about 2 billion people.
Returning to our population charts for illustrative purposes, 4 billion people translates into the total annihilation of the entire populations of China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Nigeria and Bangladesh, the top eight populations of the earth. Of course, the death will be spread out over the face of the earth and not just in these countries. But think about your own nation with every one out of two persons dead and you get a sense of proportions.
How does the disciple John describe this remaining number of people after decimations of the population? Will they be good people like your next-door neighbor? He says in Revelation 9:20-21 that “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” You make think God is harsh in his judgments, but not even those who remain deserve better.
There are three more seal judgments, six more trumpets, and all seven bowl judgments yet to come. None are good news to the rest of mankind. During these events the earth will be devastated by earthquakes, hail and all matter of environmental cataclysmic events. Cities will be reduced to rubble. Agricultural will be destroyed. Infrastructure will be damaged if not destroyed. The quality of life as we know it will no longer exist. During these times many more people will perish. We are not told exactly how many. But we are told that only near the end will people repent and acknowledge the authority of God. Jesus also said that if he did not come back and shorten the tribulation period, that all flesh would die. The death of all flesh is reminiscent of Noah’s flood. Matthew 24:22. In this case it would mean 3.8 billion people. Fortunately, Jesus promised to come back before every human being on the earth is killed or dies.
While we do not know when the millennial kingdom will begin, we do know it will begin at the end of the tribulation period when Jesus appears in the heavens as the King of Kings. We also know that he will call unto him at that time his followers both dead and living. We know that he will appear upon the face of the earth among its nations, and in northern part of Israel to face the armies of the nations of the world. We know that he will defeat them in battle with relative simplicity with the sword of his mouth. We know that he will then set up or establish his worldwide government in the city of Jerusalem. We know that he will govern the reconstituted nation of Israel in its land originally promised by God to Abraham and his descendants. The land will be divided into 12 equal divisions more or less, one parcel for each of the 12 tribes of Israel including Judah. We know that Jesus will govern that nation by right already granted as the son of David and the King of Israel. We know that he will govern the remainder of the nations of the earth and all their kingdoms, though we do not know how that consent will be obtained or under what exact circumstances.
We do know that the people, who remain alive, certainly a small percentage of the original population, will be weary of death and the worldwide destruction of their cities, agriculture, commerce, and way of life. Isaiah 24:3 says the earth will be emptied, and Isaiah 24:6 says few men will be left. They will also be tired of sexual immorality, sorcery, worshiping of demons and will be ready to repent.
We also know that the people whom Jesus has given new immortal and resurrected bodies of flesh and bone will serve in his government in various parts of the world and as his public servants. Perhaps they will also serve in the private sector to rebuild the world and the nations according to the law and commands of Jesus. This is speculative. Some will serve in the government of Christ in Israel according to the laws of Moses. That workforce may be constituted entirely of Jewish believers and the righteous Jews according to God. This too is speculative.
The resurrected bodies of all such persons will be incorruptible and do the will of God in the administration of business, governments and of the courts and in the other public works which Jesus undertakes. They will not be bribed. They will not be corrupted or corruptible. They will administer the law with equality and justice. Marriage and the family will remain for the un-resurrected living on the earth-those who survive the tribulation and battle of Armageddon and who are born during the millennium. The dominion mandates given to Adam and then repeated to Noah will also remain in effect and apply to them.
In looking at the Scripture to understand who can get into the Kingdom of Heaven or is eligible to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, we find several interesting statements. First, we find that it is hard to get into the Kingdom of Heaven if one is rich. Matthew 19:23-24. While it may be hard, it is not impossible but Jesus stresses that it is hard. The reason that it is hard is that money tends to refocus one’s thoughts away from the things of the kingdom. This is not a universal rule but it is something which is a tendency. Jesus makes note of it. But being rich is not the only distraction in this world.
By contrast, James 2:5 states that being rich in faith is a critical virtue for getting into the kingdom. Being rich in faith is the opposite of being arrogant and prideful. It’s hard to get into the kingdom if one is arrogant and prideful, as humility appears to also be an essential character quality of citizenship. Jesus says that the prostitutes and tax collectors could enter the kingdom before the Pharisees. He was critical of their arrogance and their unteachable legalistic spirit. Matthew 5, verses 3 and 10, state that the poor in spirit will be in the Kingdom of Heaven and those who are righteous will be in the kingdom even though persecuted for that reason in this world.
Another example of who are eligible to enter the kingdom, are those who do the will of God, not merely talk about it. In 1 Corinthians 4:20 Paul says that the Kingdom of Heaven is a matter of power, not talk. Thus, those that enter the Kingdom of Heaven are those that bear fruit in this life. Apparently knowing and practicing the greatest commandments to love God and love your neighbor is also an important prelude to entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Mark 12:33-34. Of course, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and become a citizen of the kingdom, one must be born again (John 3:3), or whom God regards as righteous such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets. Luke 13:28. Those who are born again or whom God regards as righteous and in turn produce fruit in keeping with that spiritual rebirth will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 21:43.
The Scriptures are also clear when it describes who cannot inherit the kingdom and those who simply cannot enter the kingdom. First, those who do good works in the name of God are not guaranteed admission thereby. “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” Matthew 722. But Jesus said to them: “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
This seems odd because they did all these great things in the name of God, but Jesus says “I never knew you” and that what was done was lawlessness. We may speculate they prophesied falsely. Perhaps they cast out demons by the name of the prince of demons. Perhaps they did many mighty works in the name of God, but the works were merely works of darkness claiming to be works of light. The point is that simply saying “I did this for God” is not enough. God will examine what was done and whether it was done from righteousness or from unrighteousness. We must also be mindful that the key is Jesus knowing you and not the other way around. The wise do not leave this to games of chance and circumstance.
So merely doing great things in this world and even claiming to do them on behalf of God, is not enough to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Workers of evil are ineligible for citizenship. In addition, Jesus said that our righteousness must be greater than the fake righteousness of the Pharisees and the scribes, i.e., the clergy and lawyers of his day. Jesus said: “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:19-20.
This sort of teaching does not sit well in the church today, fixated as it is on God’s “grace” at the expense of teaching God’s law. We can only speculate how this modern teaching will be regarded by God when he identifies those who are least in the kingdom because they relaxed the least of His commandments and taught others (their congregations) to do likewise every Sunday for their entire ministry. Rather than pointing to the scribes as an example, Jesus said that one must enter the kingdom as a little child. That is to say with straightforward humility that is not hemmed in with exceptions and calculated philosophical defenses and understandings. Those who humble themselves like a child are the greatest. Those who teach others to discount God’s law are the least. Matthew 18:3-4. This is not a simple “child-like faith” we are talking about. It is a robust faith that produces good fruit that is required.
The Scripture makes a distinction between those who are eligible to inherit the kingdom and those who enter the kingdom. Those who cannot inherit the kingdom are the unrighteous. But in this life the unrighteous have a chance to change and become righteous. They are then eligible to inherit the kingdom and may in fact inherit the kingdom, if they are born again and bear fruit, or if never hearing the gospel of Christ, are regarded by God as righteous. It is also quite clear that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven and that one must be born again as previously noted. 1 Corinthians 15:50.
Moreover, certain specific misconduct also renders people ineligible to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Specifically people who engage in unrighteousness and includes those who are sexually immoral, those who are idolaters, the adulterer, the male homosexual, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, those who revile others, swindlers and those who participate in orgies. God says these acts will make one ineligible to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. 1 Corinthians 6:10. Ephesians 5:5 also states that those who are covetous have no inheritance in the kingdom. Those who turn from this type of conduct, however, become eligible to inherit provided they meet the other criteria as previously noted.
This is why conduct in this life is so important. Certain conduct makes one ineligible to even inherit the kingdom, while righteous conduct keeps the door open to the possibility of entrance. It 9 is instructive.”touched upon the implications of this verse for modern church practice. t God’ who are least in the kningdom.is actually very simple when you think about it. Those who enter through the door into the kingdom are those who are born again and do the will of God rather than merely talking about it. They are the humble who supplement their faith with righteous conduct and bear fruit. 2 Peter 1:5-11. This is why we should “make every effort to supplement our faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”