Kingdom of Heaven

As stated on Q Sunday, February 3, 2013, I'll be blogging about many of the questions handed in that day or sent through email or text.  SO, in keeping with that, here's a couple of questions from someone that coem from the Sermon on the Mount.

Q:  "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven."  What does the Kingdom of Heaven refer to?

A:  A common way the phrase "kingdom of heaven" is understood is that is an observant Jew's way of phrasing "kingdom of God".  You might know that the name of God is held as profoundly sacred by Jews.  Matthew is considered the most "Jewish" of the gospels--constructed with five primary dialogue, correlating to the five books of the Law, the most numerous quotations of the Old Testament, and other features that seem aimed to reach an audience that understands the Old Testament and Hebrew.

"Kingdom of Heaven" is the same idea as "Kingdom of God" refers to God's redemptive rule that comes to the earth in the person of Jesus.  For the one who is "poor in spirit", finding Jesus is the best news--the kingdom of heaven--God's redemptive reign--belongs to such a person, with all its attendant blessings.

I love how New Testament theologian and Fuller Theological Seminary professor George Eldon Ladd wrote about it:  

“Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of God is the announcement by word and deed that God is acting and manifesting dynamically his redemptive will in history. God is seeking out sinners; he is inviting them to enter into the messianic blessing; he is demanding of them a favorable response to his gracious offer. God has again spoken. A new prophet has appeared, indeed one who is more than a prophet, one who bring to people the very blessings he promises.”

Q:  "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."  What does the earth mean? 

A:  Ruthless, greedy and aggressive people seem to be the ones who rule over the earth now and hoard all its treasures.  This is a way that Jesus is promising to patient, gentle people that the order of things will be turned upside down by his kingdom and way of doing things.  If you're meek now and feel like you have little, cheer up, the meek will inherit the earth!  

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