Inheriting the Kingdom of God

Who shall inherit and who shall not inherit the Kingdom of God?
This question and its answer are the core subject of this discussion.

When we discuss the topic, let us keep few things in our mind about the kingdom of God.
Kingdom of God is not a democratic kingdom; it is the rule of a King who is the only authority in the Kingdom.
He is the only one King and He has no misters to discuss the rule of the Kingdom.
He is the creator and sustainer of the Kingdom.
His Will and His values are the laws of the Kingdom.
Thus the King is the Kingdom and the Kingdom is the King.
The Kingdom of God is not a political nation now.
It is not earthly. In John 18:36 Jesus said answering Pilate: "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."  (NKJV)
Many manifestations of the Kingdom has occurred during the human history at different times.
But in future, after the creation of the new heaven and new earth, the Kingdom will be established in a renewed earth.
Though we are not sure of the nature of the new earth, the Kingdom of God will have a kind of geographical area at that time.

But now it does not have a geographical area.
The Kingdom of God now is the “reign” of the Kingdom.
That is why Jesus asked us to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.”
(Matthew 6:10 - NKJV)
Wherever God reigns now, it is the Kingdom of God.

As a response to another video, I have received a comment saying that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are one and the same thing in two different names.
Here, please understand that opinions differ among theologians about it.
Of course there are a group of theologians who believe that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are one. At the same time there are another respectable group who believe that they are two different concepts.
Theologians of our era prefer to see the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God as two distinguishable areas.
I support the later view. Why? Let me explain:

As we said before Jesus taught his disciples to pray “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 - NKJV)
Heaven is already there in the spiritual realm and it is the dwelling place of God.
And here Jesus is teaching to pray for the Kingdom of Heaven to come to the earth and God’s will to be done on earth.
That means the Kingdom of heaven and the earth are two different area.
It is clearer in the following verse from Matthew 5: 34 & 35.
"But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. (NKJV)
When Jesus started His ministry He announced the arrival of the kingdom.
Since a spiritual kingdom in heaven already existed, Jesus was offering another kingdom.
This is a Kingdom that will be restored on the earth.
In Luke 17:21, Jesus affirms that the Kingdom of God is within us.
The Kingdom of Heaven as the dwelling place of God cannot be within us at the same time.
So there must be some difference between the abode of God and the kingdom rule in us.
And in Revelation 21 we see the new heaven and the new earth on which the New Jerusalem is placed.
And we read in verse 3 that the New Jerusalem will be the “tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them.”
We understand that God comes down to the new earth and to the New Jerusalem established on it.

Theologians explain that Matthew used the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” 32 times in his gospel because he was addressing a Jewish audience.
It was a common practice among the Jews not to refer to God directly by using His name, so they used heaven.
But the fact the Matthew also used Kingdom of God for 5 times, gives space to the concept that Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God are two different areas.

After examining all these arguments, we feel that Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God are one and two different areas at the same time.
Kingdom of Heaven is the dwelling place of God and Kingdom of God is the dwelling place of humans where God will live with them.
Kingdom of God will be established eternally in the new heaven and new earth.

As we said before, the Kingdom is the reign of God rather than a geographical area.
In this sense, where ever the reign of God and the will of God are done, it is His Kingdom.
All these areas are one and the same.

Let me tell you one more word concerning this part of the discussion.
Our belief that the Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God are one and the same or as two different area, do not affect our salvation and eternal life.
So let us not spend much time for heated arguments on this.
But when we speak of inheriting the Kingdom, we should make some difference between them.
I believe that no humans, even after salvation can inherit Heaven, because it is the dwelling place of God.
Psalms 115:16 says, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S; But the earth He has given to the children of men.”  (NKJV)

So let us conclude this topic stating that there are some difference in the area of the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God, but in essence they are one and the same by the reign of God.

Everlasting Kingdom

Kingdom of God, I believe will be restored in the new heaven and earth referred to in Revelation 21.
There are some who argue that the restoration of the Kingdom of God will happen during the millennial rule of Christ on this present earth.
There are some others who argue that the Kingdom of Heaven is the millennial rule for 1000 years.
I strongly disagree with them by referring to the prophecy of Daniel proclaimed while he was interpreting the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar.
In Daniel 2: 44 we read, "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.  (NKJV).

Daniel was not talking of the already existing Kingdom of heaven which is the dwelling place of God.
Daniel prophesied and said that in the last days of the history of this world, God will set up a new Kingdom.
This Kingdom will not be destroyed and it shall remain forever.
Psalms 145: 13 also says: “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.”  (NKJV)
The millennial rule of Christ on this earth is for a limited period of 1000 years.
Though 1000 years is a long period, it is not ever lasting.
But the Kingdom of God is an everlasting Kingdom.

The meaning of Inheriting

Let us conclude our introductory remarks here and go into our main topic for discussion: Who will and who will not inherit the Kingdom of God?

In 1 Corinthians 6: 9 & 10 Apostle Paul says that “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. The Greek word for “inherit” is kleronomeo. The word means in English to inherit or to be an heir.
Inheriting is obtaining something from someone after their death.
The word also means to receive by genetic transmission.
The word inherit contains the idea of ownership by obtaining a property or quality from an ancestor.
In Romans 8: 16 & 17, Paul says that: “we are children of God” and hence we are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ”.
Since we are joint heirs with Christ, we cannot inherit anything without Him. And only children of God inherit the kingdom.
So inheriting means, we are going to share the ownership of the Kingdom of God as children of God and joint heirs of Christ.
As inheritors, we shall share the authority of God as His kings and priests in the Kingdom.

Salvation and inheritance

Now we shall discuss another question.
Is there any relation between salvation and the Kingdom of God?
This question and answer to it is very important for our present discussion.

Let me start this section of the discussion by telling you plainly that salvation is not inheriting the Kingdom of God.
Salvation is not the Kingdom of God.
But they are closely related to each other that one cannot happen without the other.
And if one happens, the other also has happens.
Without salvation we cannot inherit the kingdom of God and salvation cannot aloof from the Kingdom of God.

Salvation is the new birth by which we enter into the kingdom of God.
As we said already, Kingdom of God is the reign of God in our life and salvation occurs only if we willingly submit our life to Jesus.
When we proclaim that Jesus is the Lord of our life, we are surrendering our rule over our life to God’s rule.
When, “you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10: 9 - NKJV)
We are to completely relinquish our own rule, sovereignty, and kingdom, over to Jesus Christ.
He becomes our Lord.

There is no salvation without the complete surrender to Jesus.
By definition, salvation is the relinquishment of self-ownership.
The Bible says, "You are not your own. You are bought with a price." (1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20)
Through the new birth we leave our old life at the Cross of Jesus, and are born again into the kingdom of God.
We are now citizens under His sovereignty, realm, and rule.

The new birth is the one time, once for all event of our salvation.
By this extra ordinary experience we are born into the kingdom of God.
We are born into a new realm, new kingdom and into a new status. And the life there after is a learning and transforming process to live according to the values of the Kingdom.

Salvation is a package never sold loose.
In Isaiah 53 the prophet is giving a list of blessings that are attached to salvation.
Salvation is a bouquet of blessings that are never offered separate.
It contains salvation from sin and its bondage; salvation from the kingdom of satan and salvation from sickness, evil bondages and poverty.
The package of salvation includes peace that transcendent all human understanding, a Christ like transformation, eternal life, an inheritance to the Kingdom of God and rewards according to our treasure in the Kingdom.
This is not a complete list of the blessings that salvation contains. There are many more blessings in it.

So we cannot be saved without the blessings attached to it.
Since a born again person has no authority over himself, Christ takes the full authority over his life.
Christ removes that is unfit in him for the Kingdom and adds that is fit for the Kingdom.
After we are born again, everything is Christ and we are nothing.
Thus salvation is entering into the Lordship of Christ and the Kingdom of God.
Salvation and Kingdom of God are not one and the same thing, but they are inseparable in experience.
No Israelite can live in Egypt after declaring freedom from slavery by partaking the paschal lamb.
Freedom is to move forward and pass the threshold of slavery.
Freedom is to inherit the Promised Land.
Salvation is a threshold through which you leave the old sinful life and enter into the Kingdom of God.

And it is God’s will that we inherit the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said: "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
 (Luke 12:32 - NKJV)
Those who are hesitating to enter into the Kingdom is refusing to cross the threshold of salvation.

The final separation

When we say that the saved will inherit the kingdom of God, we are saying that all human beings on earth are not going to inherit the kingdom.
That means, there are two different sects of people before God – those who inherit the Kingdom and those who will not inherit the kingdom.
But there are few Christians who believe that even the unsaved will be accommodated in the eternity.
So let us discuss this topic briefly.

Now what is eternity?
We human beings cannot understand anything that is beyond space and time or matter and time.
Our very existence is related to matter and time. We live on matter and live in time.
We cannot fully comprehend eternity however we try to explain.
Though eternity is not a time, we can understand it only in relation to time.

So let me explain eternity connecting it with time.
Eternity is not a space or area, it is time. To say more, eternity is the timeless time.
Eternity is a period of time which has no beginning or end and no past or future.
In eternity we are not spending days, weeks, months or years; we are always living in ‘today’.
In eternity there is only “now”; only present.
And we spend the eternity in the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is an everlasting Kingdom. There we will enjoy continuous progressive revelations about God which He Himself will reveal to us. It is the joy of eternity.

Can every humans enter into the eternity, is the question?
Let us look into the scripture for an answer.

John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus. He prophesied of Jesus as followed:

Luke 3:17 "His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire."  (NKJV)

As an answer to the thoughts of the people gathered around him, whether John is Christ or not, John the Baptist spoke of Jesus Christ who comes after him.
John testified that Jesus will baptize them with Holy Spirit and fire.
Jesus has the winnowing fan in his hand.
The purpose of the winnowing fan is to separate wheat and chaff.
Jesus will gather wheat into His barn and will burn chaff with unquenchable fire.
John is clearly speaking about the final separation of the saints and the wicked.

Jesus at many occasions spoke about the final separation.
In Matthew 25 while Jesus spoke about the final judgment, He said in verse 34, "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. 
And in verse 41, Jesus continued: "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels”.  (NKJV)
This is unmistakably about the final separation of those who inherit the Kingdom of God and those who are punished in the everlasting fire.

In Matthew 7 Jesus speaks about the tragic fate of self-assuming preachers and prophets.
They claimed, “'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?”
But the answer from Jesus to them is really tragic: "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (23 - NKJV)

The parables known as the parable of the wedding feast, the parable of ten virgins and many others speak about the separation of two sects of people.
Separation is a truth that we are going to face during the day of the final judgment.
No humans can escape from it. All humans are not going to inherit the Kingdom of God.

Who shall inherit the Kingdom?

So far we have been discussing some topics in connection with our main message.
We have discussed about the Kingdom of God, salvation and inheritance, what is meant by inheritance and the final separation.
Kingdom of God is a real kingdom that is already inaugurated by Jesus and is waiting to be fulfilled in future.
Salvation is the threshold to the Kingdom of God. Though they are two different experiences, they cannot stand separate.
Inheritance is ownership as joint heirs with Christ.
Final separation is a truth that we are going to face in the day of final judgment.

Some Christians mistakenly believe that there are different categories of citizens in the Kingdom of God.
They think that there will be few people who will inherit the kingdom and there will be another majority who will live in the kingdom as ordinary citizens without any inheritance.
But the truth is that there are no different categories of citizens in the Kingdom of God.
As it is said in 1 Peter 2:9, all citizens of the kingdom are “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (NKJV)
Psalm 82: 1 says “God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods.”
Again Psalm 82: 6 says, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High.”
We have to understand these verses together. All who are in the kingdom of God are royal priests and gods.
It is a kingdom of kings. So there are no second grade citizens in the Kingdom.

Now let me give a list of people who will inherit the kingdom of God.
I agree that God is the final authority of deciding whether a person will inherit the kingdom or not.
At the same time, God has graciously revealed to us the values that will be used as a canon by Him for the final separation.
God has revealed to us even a list of people who will inherit the kingdom.
And since it is God’s words, we have no freedom to doubt or redefine it.
Redefining words is the job of a lawyer that he does in a legal court.
Redefining God’s words is not within the authority of humans. So let us believe what scripture says.

One day Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, came to Jesus to have a discussion on the kingdom.
Jesus told him that unless a person is ‘born again’ he cannot see the kingdom of God.
This conversation is the background for the famous scripture, John 3:16: “"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (NKJV)
Here we get the first answer to the question about inheriting the kingdom.
Whoever believes and submit their life to the Lordship of Jesus will be ‘born again’ and they shall inherit the kingdom of God.
John 3: 18 further reveals this truth: "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  (NKJV)
The verse says that there are someone who is “condemned already”.
It simply means that all humans, because of sin are condemned to eternal death.
But God loved us so that He gave His only begotten son as a sacrificial lamb for the atonement of our sins.
Those who believes in this truth will be saved.
The condemnation of some human beings is not a new thing that will occur in the last judgment day, but it is already sentenced.
Ezekiel 18:4 says "The soul who sins shall die.”  (NKJV)
All human beings born from Adam is sentenced for death.
Adam did not have any children before he committed sin; and so there are no humans who are above the punishment for sins.
The good news is that, by His Grace towards us, God has decided to save all those who believe in Jesus.
And the Bible is clear that all humans who live on this earth will not believe in Jesus; all will not be saved. That means all will not inherit the kingdom of God.

John 14: 6 says, “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  (NKJV)

John 3:36 says, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (NKJV)

God is not behaving cruel to sentence a good number of people to hell, rather God is full of justice, grace and love that He gave his only begotten son as the way, truth and life for humans.
So, only those who are born again, by grace and through faith in Jesus Christ will inherit the Kingdom.

I know that presenting a complete list of people who will inherit the kingdom of God is impossible.
So let me quote only some scripture regarding this.
In Luke 22: 28 & 29 Jesus offers the Kingdom to his disciples on the basis that they stayed with Him in His trials.
Jesus said: "But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me”  (NKJV)

Matthew 5 is a part of the Sermon on the Mount, which is the manifesto of the kingdom.
Here Jesus presents a list of people who will inherit the Kingdom of God.
Verse 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Verse 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
The earth in this verse is not the earth that we live now, it is the new heaven and the new earth created in the last days, after the Great White throne Judgment.
Verse 10 says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (NKJV)

This list may go long; so let me make a shift to those who will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In Matthew 5: 20 we read, "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (NKJV)
Pharisee were religious people of the time who stood for strict observance of the law to every letter of it. They have their own interpretations and explanations as to how to obey the laws in the practical life.
But Jesus is demanding a better righteousness from the people for inheriting the Kingdom.
The whole Sermon on the Mount is an exhortation to shift our attention from the law giver to the heart of the law giver.
Jesus is exhorting us to have His mindset. In Philippians 2: 5 we read, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”. (NKJV)

1 Corinthians 6:9 & 10 says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”  (NKJV)

Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth is the first epistle which spoke about those who will not inherit the kingdom.
Since this epistle is written to a church, the meaning intended is very important.
Paul is not telling that anybody who has committed sins listed in this verse will be excluded from the Kingdom.
In verse 11 Paul says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (NKJV)
So Paul’s letter is a warning to the church not to continue in the sins that they were doing before their salvation.
Sins are sure to disinherit us from the kingdom.

In Galatians 5: 19 - 21 says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  (NKJV)

Ephesians 5: 5 says, “For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”  (NKJV)

None of the above verses need further explanation. And I have no intention to redefine God’s Words to suit my personal perspective.
And we cannot read all Bible verses regarding this topic within a limited time.
So let me conclude this study by quoting two or three more scripture passages.

Revelation 21: 7 & 8 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."  (NKJV)

Revelation 20: 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (NKJV)

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