Kingdom of God
way of conceptualizing and relating to the divine
Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are terms referring to concepts of the kingship of God which appear in all Abrahamic religions; the notion of God's kingship is recorded in the Hebrew Bible, which refers to "his kingdom". The terms "Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of Heaven" begin to be used in recorded statements of Jesus; the Quran uses the term "Kingdom of the heavens", and Bahá'í writings use the term "kingdom of God."
- Kingdom of Heaven redirects here; for the 2005 film, see Kingdom of Heaven (film)
- A young man who had been troubling society with impalpable doctrines of a new civilization which he called "the Kingdom of Heaven" had been put out of the way; and I can imagine that believer in material power murmuring as he went homeward, "it will all blow over now." Yes. The wind from the Kingdom of Heaven has blown over the world, and shall blow for centuries yet.
- Æ, in The Economics of Ireland and the Policy of the British Government (1921), p. 23
- If the body yields to the claims of the spirit as it should, it is instrumental in bringing down the kingdom of heaven on earth. It becomes a vehicle for the release of divine life, and when it subserves this purpose it might aptly be called the temple of God on earth.
- By finding the kingdom of God within himself, and by the study of the laws of his own being, the mystic becomes proficient in the laws which govern the universe, of which he is a part. The occultist recognises the kingdom of God in nature or the system, and regards himself as a small part of that greater whole, and therefore, governed by the same laws.
- Alice Bailey, in Letters on Occult Meditation, p. 147, (1922)
- Oh, the air is sultry and pregnant with lightning.
And therefore we call to our deluded brothers: Repent, repent, the Kingdom of the Lord is at hand!
- Mikhail Bakunin, in "The Reaction in Germany" (1842)
- If I did not believe that our work was done in the faith and hope that at some day, it may be a million years hence, the Kingdom of God will spread over the whole world, I would have no hope, I could do no work, and I would give my office over this morning to anyone who would take it.
- Stanley Baldwin, Speech to the British and Foreign Bible Society (2 May 1928); published in This Torch of Freedom (1935), pp. 92 - 93
- The Kingdom of God comes by way of a listening heart.
- Pope Benedict XVI in his book Jesus of Nazareth, cited in The Watchtower, 3/1, 2011.
- The religious truth of anarchism consists in this, that power over man is bound up with sin and evil, that a state of perfection is a state where there is no power of man over man, that is to say, anarchy. The Kingdom of God is freedom and the absence of such power... the Kingdom of God is anarchy.
- Nikolai Berdyaev, Slavery and Freedom (1939), p. 147
- The Gospel is concerned with the kingdom of God and only with the kingdom of God. The kingdom cannot, therefore, be equated with any human archy, be that archy left wing or right wing, liberal or conservative, revolutionary or anti-revolutionary, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant. The Archy of God is intent on reconciling adversaries instead of creating them.
- David Alan Black, Christian Archy (2009), p. 5
- Right now, especially in the Middle East, things are shaping up quite nicely to blow us all to kingdom come. Except that no kingdom is going to come because this is the kingdom, it has already come and we are already living the dream. Religion knows this but it doesn't want us to know it because then it would no longer have any reason to exist. So instead, it seeks to position itself between us and our experience; a self-appointed filter, a parasite.
- Pat Condell Absolute certainty (May 13, 2007; from Youtube).
- Every new cosmic cycle — we are entering a new one now, the Age of Aquarius — brings into the world a teacher. People like Hercules and Hermes, Rama, Mithra, Vyasa, Zoroaster, Confucius, Krishna, Shankaracharya, the Buddha, the Christ, Mohammed — these are all Masters who have come from the same spiritual centre of the planet, called the Spiritual, or Esoteric, Hierarchy, which is made up of the Masters and Their initiates and disciples of various degrees. It is also known as the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Souls... Christians are waiting for the Kingdom of God to descend on the earth when we are good enough to receive it. Actually it has always been here, behind the scenes, made up of those men and women who have fitted Themselves, through the expansion of Their consciousness...and therefore the demonstration of Their divinity... Christ, through Jesus, said the Kingdom of Heaven is within you. Don't look outside or up to heaven. It is within you. And indeed it is, as consciousness. If you have that consciousness, you are in the Kingdom of God.
- Benjamin Creme Maitreya's Mission Vol. III, p. 348 (1997)
- This is by the decree of watchers, and the request is by the word of the holy ones, so that people living may know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that he gives it to whomever he wants, and he sets up over it even the lowliest of men.
- And to him there were given rulership, honor, and a kingdom, that the peoples, nations, and language groups should all serve him. His rulership is an everlasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom will not be destroyed.
- Daniel 7:14 (NWT)
- If you want to know what it means to be happy, look at a flower, a bird, a child; they are perfect images of the kingdom. For they live from moment to moment in the eternal now with no past and no future. So they are spared the guilt and anxiety that so torment human beings and they are full of the sheer joy of living, taking delight not so much in persons or things as in life itself. As long as your happiness is caused or sustained by something or someone outside of you, you are still in the land of the dead. The day you are happy for no reason whatsoever, the day you find yourself taking delight in everything and in nothing, you will know that you have found the land of unending joy called the kingdom.
- Anthony de Mello, in The Way to Love : The Last Meditations of Anthony de Mello (1995)
- To find the kingdom is the easiest thing in the world but also the most difficult. Easy because it is all around you and within you, and all you have to do is reach out and take possession of it. Difficult because if you wish to possess the kingdom you may possess nothing else.
- Anthony de Mello, in The Way to Love : The Last Meditations of Anthony de Mello (1995)
- To pass through the door that leads to God's kingdom, we must go down on our knees.
- Catherine Doherty, Soul of My Soul : Coming to the Heart of Prayer (2006)
- One has a feeling that one has a kind of home in this timeless community of human beings that strive for truth. … I have always believed that Jesus meant by the Kingdom of God the small group scattered all through time of intellectually and ethically valuable people.
- Albert Einstein, as quoted in Einstein's God — Albert Einstein's Quest as a Scientist and as a Jew to Replace a Forsaken God (1997) by Robert N. Goldman, p. 98
- The kingdom of God which is within us consists in our willing whatever God wills, always, in every thing, and without reservation; and thus His kingdom comes; for His will is then done as it is in heaven, since we will nothing but what is dictated by His sovereign pleasure.
- François Fénelon, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers P. 269. (1895)
- The human heart desires joy. We all desire joy, every family, every people aspires to happiness. But what is the joy that the Christian is called to live out and bear witness to? It is the joy that comes from the closeness of God, from his presence in our life. From the moment Jesus entered into history, with his birth in Bethlehem, humanity received the seed of the Kingdom of God, like the soil receives the seed, the promise of a future harvest.
- The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds.
- Gaudium et Spes, composed during the Second Vatican Council, promulgated by Pope John XXIII (7 December 1965), Preface
- I think if God is dead he laughed himself to death.
Because, you see, we live in Eden. Genesis has got it all wrong — we never left the Garden.
Look about you. This is paradise. It's hard to find, I'll grant you, but it is here. Under our feet, beneath the surface, all around us is everything we want. The earth is shining under the soot. We are all fools.
- James Goldman, in They Might Be Giants (1961)
- What is this liberty that must lie in the hearts of men and women? It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will; it is not the freedom to do as one likes. That is the denial of liberty and leads straight to its overthrow. A society in which men recognize no check on their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few — as we have learned to our sorrow.
What then is the spirit of liberty? I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded; the spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, near two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned, but has never quite forgotten; that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest.
- Learned Hand, equating the spirit of Liberty with the essence of the Kingdom of God, in "The Spirit of Liberty", a speech at "I Am an American Day" ceremony, Central Park, New York City (21 May 1944)
- The kingdom of God must be built upon the foundation, not of institutions, but of individuals in whom God dwells and who are glad to live for their fellow men.
- Adolf von Harnack and Wilhelm Herrmann, “The evangelical social mission in the light of the history of the church,” (1894) Essays on the Social Gospel, G. M. Craik, trans. (1907), vol. 20, p. 15
- The time for the kingdom may be far off, but the task is plain: to retain our share in God in spite of peril and contempt. There is a war to wage against the vulgar, the glorification of the absurd, a war that is incessant, universal. Loyal to the presence of the ultimate in the common, we may be able to make it clear that man is more than man, that in doing the finite he may perceive the infinite.
- Abraham Joshua Heschel, in "The Meaning of Jewish Existence" in The Torch (1950)
- If those who lead you say, "See, the Kingdom is in the sky," then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, "It is in the sea," then the fish will precede you. Rather, the Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.
- Jesus, as quoted in Gospel of Thomas : Saying 3
- His disciples said to Him, "When will the Kingdom come?"
Jesus said, "It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying 'Here it is' or 'There it is.' Rather, the Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it."
- As quoted in Gospel of Thomas : Saying 113
- Keep on, then, seeking first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you. So never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Each day has enough of its own troubles.
- It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.
- Have no fear, little flock, for your Father has approved of giving you the Kingdom.
- And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
- Jesus, as quoted in Gospel of Luke 17:21
- We must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.
- The kingdom of the father is like a certain woman. She took a little leaven, concealed it in some dough, and made it into large loaves. Let him who has ears hear.
- Jesus, in Gospel of Thomas : Saying 96
- Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
- Jesus, in the Gospel of Matthew 4:17 (KJV)
- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
- Jesus, in the Gospel of Matthew 5:1–12 (NIV); often referred to as "The Beatitudes" this is the start of "The Sermon on the Mount".
- When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
- If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
- This is why I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits.
- And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
- John of Patmos, in Revelation 11:15 (KJV)
- Variant translation:
- 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 Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever.
- And war broke out in heaven: Mi′cha·el and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
- "Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!"
- John of Patmos, in the Book of Revelation also known as the Apocalypse 12:7-12
- You can never enter the kingdom of God with hardness against any one, for God is love, and if you love God you will love one another.
- Ann Lee, as quoted in The Communistic Societies of the United States (1875) by Charles Nordhoff
- It is the duty of the Christian to submit to the human government in its office and work and to seek its destruction only by spreading the religion of Christ and so converting men from service to the earthly government to service to the heavenly one, and so, too, by removing the necessity for its existence and work. No violence, no sword, no bitterness or wrath can he use. The spread of the peaceful principles of the Savior, will draw men out of the kingdoms of earth into the kingdom of God.
- David Lipscomb, in Civil Government : Its Origin, Mission, and Destiny (1889), p. 87
- The "Kingdom of Heaven" is a condition of the heart — not something that comes "upon the earth" or "after death".
- Friedrich Nietzsche, in The Antichrist (1888), § 34
- The "kingdom of God" is not something one waits for; it has no yesterday or tomorrow, it does not come "in a thousand years" — it is an experience within a heart; it is everywhere, it is nowhere...
- Friedrich Nietzsche, in The Antichrist (1888), § 34
- Christ is called the righteous & by his righteousness we are saved & except our righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees we shall not enter into the kingdome of heaven. Righteousness is the religion of the kingdom of heaven & even the property of God himself towards man. Righteousness & Love are inseparable for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
- Many Christians have been misled for centuries about the nature of God’s kingdom by the well-known mistranslation of Luke 17:21: “The kingdom of God is within you.” Today all serious scholars and translators would agree that the test should read: “The kingdom of God is among you or in your midst.” The Greek word entos can means “within” or “among.”
- Albert Nolan, Jesus Before Christianity: The Gospel of Liberation (1976), p. 46
- The kingdom of God, like any other kingdom, cannot be within a man; it is something within which a man can live.
- Albert Nolan, Jesus Before Christianity: The Gospel of Liberation (1976), p. 47
- The much quoted text, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36) does not mean that the kingdom is not, or will not be, in this world or on this earth. ... When Jesus and his disciples are said to be in the world but not of the world, the meaning is clear enough. Although they live in the world they are not worldly, they do not subscribe to the present values and standards of the world. ... The values of the kingdom [of God] are different from, and opposed to, the values of this world. There is no reason for thinking that it means the kingdom will float in the air somewhere above the earth or that it will be an abstract entity without any tangible social and political structure.
- Albert Nolan, Jesus Before Christianity: The Gospel of Liberation (1976), p. 48
- Jesus … is the final priest who makes all priesthood obsolete – not merely the performance of ritual sacrifice, but the office, pomp and circumstance of priestly authority and hierarchy itself. Instead of deferring to any caste of religious hierarchs, followers of the Way are thus now summoned to collectively be a "royal priesthood," a "chosen race" or "holy nation" built not upon offices of any kind but upon transferred allegiance to God's in-breaking "kingdom."
- Ronald E. Osborn, Anarchy and Apocalypse : Essays on Faith, Violence, and Theodicy (2010), p. 35
- To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; He creates what he wills. He gives to whom He wills female (children), and He gives to whom He wills males. Or He makes them (both) males and females, and He renders whom He wills barren. Indeed, He is Knowing and Competent.
- Quran 42:49 - 42:50
- The essential purpose of Christianity was to transform human society into the kingdom of God by regenerating all human relations and reconstituting them in accordance with the will of God.
- Walter Rauschenbusch, Christianity and the Social Crisis (1907)
- Jesus knew — knew — that we're carrying the Kingdom of Heaven around with us, inside, where we're all too goddam stupid and sentimental and unimaginative to look? You have to be a son of God to know that kind of stuff.
- J. D. Salinger, in Zooey (1957)
- I never wish to be more charitable than Christ. I find it written: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
- Charles Spurgeon, as quoted in The Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 490
- Therefore, seeing that we are to receive a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us continue to receive undeserved kindness, through which we may acceptably offer God sacred service with godly fear and awe.
- His disciples said to Him, "When will the Kingdom come?"
- Jesus said, "It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying 'Here it is' or 'There it is.' Rather, the Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it."
- Gospel of Thomas 113
- The only significance of life consists in helping to establish the kingdom of God; and this can be done only by means of the acknowledgment and profession of the truth by each one of us.
- Leo Tolstoy, in The Kingdom of God is Within You (1894), Ch. 12
- Variant translation: The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity by contributing to the establishment of the kingdom of God, which can only be done by the recognition and profession of the truth by every man.
- The man who persisted in calling himself the "son of God" — he later acknowledged that he had many brothers — was demanding nothing less than that the military ruler of all England should forthwith disavow all violence and all coercion, make Christ's law of love the supreme law of the land, and substitute the mild dictates of the Sermon on the Mount for the Instrument of Government by which he ruled. In a word, Fox would have him make England a kind of pilot project for the Kingdom of Heaven. Fox was a revolutionary. He had no patience with the relativities and compromises of political life. His testimony was an uncompromising testimony for the radical Christian ethic of love and non-violence, and he would apply it in the arena of politics as in every other sphere of life. It is not recorded that Cromwell took his advice. Neither is it recorded that Fox ever receded an inch from his radical perfectionism.
- Frederick B. Tolles, in his address "Quakerism and Politics" (9 November 1956)
- All that is real in me is God; all that is real in God is I. The gulf between God and me is thus bridged. Thus by knowing God, we find that the kingdom of heaven is within us.
- Swami Vivekananda, in Pearls of Wisdom edited by the Ramakrishna Mission
- This doctrine of the Kingdom of Heaven, which was the main teaching of Jesus, and which plays so small a part in the Christian creeds, is certainly one of the most revolutionary doctrines that ever stirred and changed human thought. It is small wonder if, the world of that time failed to grasp its full significance, and recoiled in dismay from even a half apprehension of its tremendous challenges to the established habits and institutions of mankind. It is small wonder if the hesitating convert and disciple presently went back to the old familiar ideas of temple and altar, of fierce deity and propitiatory observance, of consecrated priest and magic blessing, and these things being attended to reverted then to the dear old habitual life of hates and profits and competition and pride. For the doctrine of the Kingdom of Heaven, as Jesus seems to have preached it, was no less than a bold and uncompromising demand for a complete change and cleansing of the life of our struggling race, an utter cleansing, without and within. To the gospels the reader must go for all that is preserved of this tremendous teaching; here we are only concerned with the jar of its impact upon established ideas.
The Jews were persuaded that God, the one God of the whole world, was a righteous god, but they also thought of him as a trading god who had made a bargain with their Father Abraham about them, a very good bargain indeed for them, to bring them at last to predominance in the earth. With dismay and anger they heard Jesus sweeping away their dear securities. God, he taught, was no bargainer; there were no chosen people and no favourites in the Kingdom of Heaven. God was the loving father of all life, as incapable of showing favour as the universal sun. And all men were brothers — sinners alike and beloved sons alike of this divine father. In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus cast scorn upon that natural tendency we all obey, to glorify our own people and to minimize the righteousness of other creeds and other races. In the parable of the labourers he thrust aside the obstinate claim of the Jews to have a sort of first mortgage upon God. All whom God takes into the kingdom, he taught, God serves alike; there is no distinction in his treatment, because there is no measure to his bounty. From all, moreover, as the parable of the buried talent witnesses, and as the incident of the widow's mite enforces, he demands the utmost. There are no privileges, no rebates, and no excuses in the Kingdom of Heaven.
- H. G. Wells, in The Outline of History (1920), Ch. 28
- It was not merely a moral and a social revolution that Jesus proclaimed; it is clear from a score of indications that his teaching had a political bent of the plainest sort. It is true that he said his kingdom was not of this world, that it was in the hearts of men and not upon a throne; but it is equally clear that wherever and in what measure his kingdom was set up in the hearts of men, the outer world would be in that measure revolutionized and made new.
Whatever else the deafness and blindness of his hearers may have missed in his utterances, it is plain that they did not miss his resolve to revolutionize the world.
- H. G. Wells, in The Outline of History (1920), Ch. 28
- Dear God I've heard your name from teachers, family and friends, you made the universe and so will live on when it ends. Everyone I know admits they’ve never seen your face, they’re not sure where you live and have no map to the place.
- Dawud Wharnsby, in "Dear God", in A Picnic of Poems in Allah's Green Garden (2011)