Jesus came to tell the world about Heaven, how to get there, and how to thrive there and not start a new religion.
36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36)
God appointed Jesus His kingdom – heaven. And He is authorized to appoint similar kingdoms to the faithful:
28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.
29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;
30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” (Luke 22:28-31)
The adversary will seek to deter the faithful from obtaining their kingdoms as we see here with Peter. It has been said it is best to “Begin with the end in mind.” Or in other words, “What is the end goal for mankind?” God has told the “end from the beginning,” which is, we have a soul, and we exist after we die. We will go to one of two places and serve one of two gods – our creator in heaven, or the evil one in hell. This is what Jesus taught.
With this view in mind, all references to “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God” can be understood to mean “heaven” and not a religion, or any earthly kingdom. This page will clarify these points.
John was the first to use the expression “kingdom of heaven”:
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Mat 3:2)
He was acknowledging the “King of Heaven” (Dan.4:37). If its king was here, then that meant heaven itself was there. In truth, the kingdom IS “at hand” for everyone – the minute they die, which could happen at any time.
Gospel of Heaven
Jesus taught what prepares a person for the world to come – heaven. That environment is controlled by certain factors which He addresses all throughout His teachings.
23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (Mat. 4:23)
“The Gospel of the Kingdom” could rightly be translated “The Gospel of Heaven” by substituting the word “heaven” for “kingdom” to help readers understand the purpose of His teachings. The New Life Version translates it similarly:
2 He said, Be sorry for your sins and turn from them! The holy nation of heaven is near. (Mat.3:2 NLV)
A similar difference can be demonstrated with the words “gospel” and “Good News.” The word “gospel” is interpreted by some to mean a distinct religion. The word “Good News” on the other hand implies a “message.” The following verse and translation is inline with the view that Jesus did not setup a religion, but rather shared wonderful information about heaven:
23 Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. (Mat.4:23 NLT,NLV,NIV,NRSV,YLT,DBYe,AMP,HCSB; Mat.9:35)
An example of a very important teaching He gave about heaven was when He answered the question “Who is the greatest in heaven?”
1 At that time the followers came to Jesus. They said, Who is the greatest in the holy nation of heaven?
2 Jesus took a little child and put him among them.
3 He said, For sure, I tell you, unless you have a change of heart and become like a little child, you will not get into the holy nation of heaven.
4 Whoever is without pride as this little child is the greatest in the holy nation of heaven. (Matthew 18:1-4 NLV)
Proclaim -v- Preach
The differences between “proclaim” and “preach” are significant. The one supports the preposition that Jesus came to establish a religion which needed to be “proclaimed” (i.e. a proclamation) and the other that He had information, messages, i.e. Good News about a place called heaven, how to get there, and thrive there:
2 He sent them to preach about the holy nation of God and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:2 NLV)
2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:2 NIV)
State & Place
The Holy Nation of God (i.e. heaven) is as much a state of being as it is a place. It’s not possible for an unholy person to enter a holy place.
17 For the holy nation of God is not food and drink. It is being right with God. It is peace and joy given by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17 NLV)
17 For The Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but the righteousness and the peace and the joy in The Spirit of Holiness. (Romans 14:17 Aramaic Plain English)
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6)
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:21)
5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Eph. 5:5)
12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. (1Ths. 2:12)
15 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (2Ths. 1:5)
We have all been born with a soul and with the spirit of God within us, for this reason it can rightly be said that the Kingdom of Heaven is also “within us”:
21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:21)
Which should not be interpreted as meaning it’s the only place where the Kingdom of Heaven exists!
The Kingdom of Heaven is not a place for those unwilling to submit to the Lordship of Jesus:
11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. (Luke 19)
The words of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John make it clear that His mission was to teach about Heaven and what a person needs to do to get there, and thrive there. He did not start a church, or establish a new religion. Churches today are not a true representation of Jesus or what He taught. Heaven is heart based, churches are ego based.