The Kingdom of Elohim — An Ignored Subject in the Church

 If you were to ask the average Christian do define the term “the kingdom of God” or “the kingdom of heaven,” how would they respond? Maybe they would say something like, It is going to heaven when you die. Or maybe it is the church or Christianity as a whole at work on this earth. More likely it is some nebulous, pie-in-the-sky  concept that has little or no basis in reality at all. All of these answers would be missing the mark as to how the Bible defines this most overlooked subject in Christianity.

To be sure, the kingdom of heaven or Elohim is a major, not to be underestimated, missing element in the preaching of the gospel message in the mainstream Christian church and, I suspect, most so-called Hebrews roots or Messianic congregations as well. This is in spite of the fact that Yeshua preached it and commanded his disciples to do so as well. This is also despite the fact the Gospels succinctly define the message that John the Baptist, of Yeshua and his disciples all preached as “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Not only do few churches teach about repentance of sin or Torahlessness, but fewer still teach about the kingdom of heaven. Or is it the other way around?

This gross failure and blatant overlooking of a key aspect of the gospel message by most Bible teachers is punctuated by the fact that the kingdom of Elohim is the fourth most mentioned subject from Yeshua’s lips during his ministry (144 references in the Gospels of Matthew and John alone). The only other subjects that Yeshua mention more frequently were himself (316 references), his Father (184 references), the hypocritical religionists of his day (e.g., the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees et al with 177 references) followed by the kingdom of Elohim or heaven. In the Gospel of Matthew alone, “the kingdom of heaven” is mentioned 33 times. In the New Testament, “the kingdom of God” is mentioned 69 times. Obviously, Yeshua and the apostolic writers considered the kingdom of Elohim to be an important topic, and maybe our understanding of Scripture and our destiny would be enriched to do the same.

Since the Gospel writers juxtaposed the two subjects of repentance and the kingdom of heaven, it is worth noting that the Bible is clear about an important truth: Without repentance of sin, one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven or Elohim. There is zero place for sin in the presence of a holy or set-apart (in Heb. kadosh), totally pure and sinless Elohim, for, as we read in the Bible, without holiness, no one will see Elohim (Heb 12:14).

Before delving into the subject of the kingdom of Elohim or heaven, let’s briefly note some other subjects that the modern church is more likely to teach about instead and then hold that up against the template of the actual words of Yeshua. 

During his ministry, Yeshua preached on about 136 topics. The following list contains a number of topics that the church preaches on a lot compared to the number times Yeshua talked about them:

  • Prophecy – 1 time
  • The rapture or the resurrection of the dead – 1 time
  • Grace – 1 time
  • Money – 3 times
  • Material blessings – 4 times
  • Forgiveness – 24 times
  • Heaven –10 times
  • Hell – 17 times
  • Salvation – 27 times
  • Sexuality – 2 times
  • Sickness (physical) – 1 time
  • The soul –1 time
  • Some subjects Yeshua never discussed include:
  • Self-esteem
  • Retirement
  • Sex, Sexual pleasure and fulfillment
  • Racism, Diversity, Inclusion (or “wokeness”)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Self-fulfillment
  • Personal happiness
  • Social welfare
  • Politics
  • The economy
  • You fill in the blank as to the favorite subject of your local church pastor. It is likely it is not on the list of Yeshua topics!

Why is it vital to our spiritual orientation and mindset to learn about and then embrace the concept of the kingdom of Elohim that is coming to this earth from heaven? Because the establishment of the kingdom of Elohim starts with you and me. Yeshua declared that it actually starts within each person—in their heart and mind (Luke 17:21). He brought the kingdom of heaven down with him to the earth, deposited a bit of its territory in each of us and then commissioned us to go forth and to expand that kingdom one life at a time as we are salt and light to the world, and as we share or preach the good news of that kingdom everywhere. Are you fulfilling your role to be an emissary or ambassador for the kingdom of Elohim? If so, how?

The Scriptures have many things to say about the kingdom of Elohim that we need to learn about and that affect us directly. Let’s briefly explore some of the ramifications of  this subject.

The Kingdom of Elohim Was a Main Theme of Yeshua’s Ministry and the Gospel Message

Spreading the good news of the kingdom of heaven or Elohim was the central theme of the gospel message.

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matt 3:1–2)

From that time Yeshua began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt 4:17)

These twelve Yeshua sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matt 10:5–7)

To further emphasize the importance of the kingdom of Elohim in the mind of the Messiah, in the Lord’s prayer, for example, at the top of the list of prayer point after honoring the Father’s name, Yeshua instructed us to pray that the kingdom of Elohim would come:

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread… (Matt 6:9–11)

Moreover, many of Yeshua’s parables were about the kingdom of Elohim. In fact, Yeshua declared that the purpose of his parables was to reveal the mystery of the kingdom of Elohim, and not make the gospel message plain to everyone.

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” (Matt 13:10–13, emphasis added)

Here is a list of parables and analogies where Yeshua teaches on various aspects of the kingdom of Elohim:

  • The Parable of the Weeds (Matt 13)
  • The Parable of the Sower (Matt 13)
  • The Parable of the Hidden Treasures (Matt 13)
  • The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value (Matt 13)
  • The Parable of the Net (Matt 13)
  • The Analogy of New and Old Treasures (Matt 13)
  • The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matt 18)
  • The Analogy of the Eunuchs (Matt 19)
  • The Analogy of Little Children (Matt 19)
  • The Camel Going Through the Eye of the Needle (Matt 19)
  • The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matt 20)
  • The Parable of the Two Sons (Matt 21)
  • The Parable of the Tenants (Matt 21)
  • The Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matt 22)
  • The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt 25)
  • The Parable of the Talents (Matt 25)
  • The Analogy of the Sheep and Goats (Matt 25)
  • The Parable of the Seed Growing (Mark 4)
  • The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mark 4)
  • The Parable of the Leaven (Luke 13)
  • The Narrow Door Analogy (Luke 13)

Again, the subject of the kingdom of Elohim was a major component of Yeshua’s ministry. So why doesn’t the Christian church spend more time teaching on this subject? Good question. Is there a good excuse for this dereliction of duty—for not following Yeshua’s clear command? 

What Yeshua Taught About the Kingdom of Elohim

Let’s explore further what Yeshua taught about the this most important subject that directly affects you and me and our eternal destiny. 

Yeshua taught that being in the kingdom of Elohim should to be the first priority of every one of his disciples.

But seek first the kingdom of Elohim and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matt 6:33)

The kingdom of Elohim is a mystery that is only revealed to the disciples of Yeshua, the elect called out ones. This message is so exclusive that even the modern mainstream church largely ignores it. When was the last time you heard a message on this subject in your church?

And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of Elohim; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that ‘SEEING THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND HEARING THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND; LEST THEY SHOULD TURN, AND THEIR SINS BE FORGIVEN THEM.’” (Mark 4:11–12)

Then Yeshua revealed an amazing truth that runs counter to everything that society (and most Bible teachers in the church) teach us about how to attain greatness. He declared that greatness in the kingdom of heaven corresponds to one’s observance of YHVH’s Torah-law (Matt 5:19). For sure this truth is almost never taught in most churches. When was the last time you heard a sermon on that verse? Never! From this statement of Yeshua, we learn that being in the kingdom of Elohim has basic requirements and that there are levels of rewards or greatness in the kingdom of Elohim and in the afterlife. Within Elohim’s kingdom there are levels of rewards and placement from the least to the greatest. All the church teaches is that when you die you either go to heaven or hell, and that’s about it. End of discussion. Even this paltry and lacking explanation pertaining to the afterlife is a twist on the truth, but we will save that topic for another time.

Sadly, not everyone will be in the kingdom of heaven, even among those who claim to be Christian. To this point, Yeshua clearly taught, 

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matt 7:21–23)

Yeshua gives additional insights on the subject of the kingdom of Elohim in his Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matt 25:1–13). This parable teaches us that all the virgins were “saved” and were now part of the kingdom; however, not all the virgins were permitted to go to the next level in the kingdom. That is, not all were permitted to be participants in the marriage of the Lamb of Elohim. Just because one is espoused or engaged to “marry” the Messiah does not mean that they will meet the qualifications to be his bride. Every redeemed believer is given the chance, but not all are properly preparing themselves for the lofty role of being the Messiah’s spiritual bride as the foolish virgins found out.

What the Apostolic Writers Taught About the Kingdom of Elohim

Now let’s explore what the apostolic writers taught about the kindom of Elohim that his progressively coming down from heaven and is expanding little-by-little one life at a time as Yeshua describes in his parables about the mustard seed grows into a mighty plant or tiny bit of leaven in that expands to take over the whole batch of bread.

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