The Urantia Book -- Part IV. The Life And
Teachings Of Jesus
PAPER 170: Section 2.
Jesus' Concept Of The Kingdom
The Master made it clear that the kingdom of heaven must begin with, and be
centered in, the dual concept of the truth of the fatherhood of God and the
correlated fact of the brotherhood of man. The acceptance of such a teaching,
Jesus declared, would liberate man from the agelong bondage of animal fear and
at the same time enrich human living with the following endowments of the new
life of spiritual liberty:
1. The possession of new courage and augmented spiritual power. The gospel
of the kingdom was to set man free and inspire him to dare to hope for eternal
2. The gospel carried a message of new confidence and true consolation for
all men, even for the poor.
3. It was in itself a new standard of moral values, a new ethical yardstick
wherewith to measure human conduct. It portrayed the ideal of a resultant
new order of human society.
4. It taught the pre-eminence of the spiritual compared with the material;
it glorified spiritual realities and exalted superhuman ideals.
5. This new gospel held up spiritual attainment as the true goal of living.
Human life received a new endowment of moral value and divine dignity.
6. Jesus taught that eternal realities were the result (reward) of righteous
earthly striving. Man's mortal sojourn on earth acquired new meanings consequent
upon the recognition of a noble destiny.
7. The new gospel affirmed that human salvation is the revelation of a far-reaching
divine purpose to be fulfilled and realized in the future destiny of the endless
service of the salvaged sons of God.
These teachings cover the expanded idea of the kingdom which was taught by
Jesus. This great concept was hardly embraced in the elementary and confused
kingdom teachings of John the Baptist.
The apostles were unable to grasp the real meaning of the Master's utterances
regarding the kingdom. The subsequent distortion of Jesus' teachings, as they
are recorded in the New Testament, is because the concept of the gospel writers
was colored by the belief that Jesus was then absent from the world for only
a short time; that he would soon return to establish the kingdom in power
and glory -- just such an idea as they held while he was with them in the
flesh. But Jesus did not connect the establishment of the kingdom with the
idea of his return to this world. That centuries have passed with no signs
of the appearance of the "New Age" is in no way out of harmony with Jesus'
The great effort embodied in this sermon was the attempt to translate the
concept of the kingdom of heaven into the ideal of the idea of doing the will
of God. Long had the Master taught his followers to pray: "Your kingdom come;
your will be done"; and at this time he earnestly sought to induce them to
abandon the use of the term kingdom of God in favor of the more practical
equivalent, the will of God. But he did not succeed.
Jesus desired to substitute for the idea of the kingdom, king, and subjects,
the concept of the heavenly family, the heavenly Father, and the liberated
sons of God engaged in joyful and voluntary service for their fellow men and
in the sublime and intelligent worship of God the Father.
Up to this time the apostles had acquired a double viewpoint of the kingdom;
they regarded it as:
- A matter of personal experience then present in the hearts of true believers,
- A question of racial or world phenomena; that the kingdom was in the future,
something to look forward to.
They looked upon the coming of the kingdom in the hearts of men as a gradual
development, like the leaven in the dough or like the growing of the mustard
seed. They believed that the coming of the kingdom in the racial or world sense
would be both sudden and spectacular. Jesus never tired of telling them that
the kingdom of heaven was their personal experience of realizing the higher
qualities of spiritual living; that these realities of the spirit experience
are progressively translated to new and higher levels of divine certainty and
On this afternoon the Master distinctly taught a new concept of the double nature
of the kingdom in that he portrayed the following two phases:
"First. The kingdom of God in this world, the supreme desire to do the will
of God, the unselfish love of man which yields the good fruits of improved ethical
and moral conduct.
"Second. The kingdom of God in heaven, the goal of mortal believers, the estate
wherein the love for God is perfected, and wherein the will of God is done more
Jesus taught that, by faith, the believer enters the kingdom now. In
the various discourses he taught that two things are essential to
into the kingdom:
- Faith, sincerity. To come as a little child, to receive the bestowal
of sonship as a gift; to submit to the doing of the Father's will without
questioning and in the full confidence and genuine trustfulness of the Father's
wisdom; to come into the kingdom free from prejudice and preconception;
open-minded and teachable like an unspoiled child.
- Truth hunger. The thirst for righteousness, a change of mind, the
acquirement of the motive to be like God and to find God.
Jesus taught that sin is not the child of a defective nature
but rather the offspring of a knowing mind dominated by an
Regarding sin, he taught that God has forgiven; that we make such forgiveness
personally available by the act of forgiving our fellows. When you forgive your
brother in the flesh, you thereby create the capacity in your own soul for the
reception of the reality of God's forgiveness of your own misdeeds.
By the time the Apostle John began to write the story of Jesus' life and teachings,
the early Christians had experienced so much trouble with the
idea as a breeder of persecution that they had largely abandoned the use of
the term. John talks much about the "eternal life." Jesus often spoke of it
as the "kingdom of life." He also frequently referred to "the kingdom of God
within you." He once spoke of such an experience as "family fellowship with
God the Father." Jesus sought to substitute many terms for the kingdom but always
without success. Among others, he used: the family of God, the Father's will,
the friends of God, the fellowship of believers, the brotherhood of man, the
Father's fold, the children of God, the fellowship of the faithful, the Father's
service, and the liberated sons of God.
But he could not escape the use of the kingdom idea. It was more than fifty
years later, not until after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies,
that this concept of the kingdom began to change into the cult of eternal life
as its social and institutional aspects were taken over by the rapidly expanding
and crystallizing Christian church.