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Matthew 6:33 (KJV): But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

What exactly is Gods Kingdom and his righteousness?

  • Helps to think in modern language His government, dominion or rulership – Nihil Sine Deo Jul 26 at 1:02
  • @Ruminator Your edit implies the plural and so understands the kingdom and righteousness as distinct. I would think the application of Granville Sharp's rule means they are intended to be understood as "is" which is to say different parts which are equal. – Revelation Lad Jul 31 at 17:44
  • @RevelationLad Sorry, I didn't quite understand what you are talking about. Please clarify. Thanks. – Ruminator Jul 31 at 18:52
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Seek first...then...

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33) [ESV]

The Kingdom of God is certainly a Kingdom in which God reigns supreme; as Creator, all creation is part of His Kingdom and one would expect His will to be done throughout. However, it is clear this ideal, or perfect state is not yet present:

...“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come... (Matthew 6:9)

Therefore, the instruction to "seek first...then...", like the prayer for the Kingdom to come and the will to be done, indicate there is a present component to the Kingdom of God which may be obtained, despite the "imperfect" conditions within the Kingdom. In other words, in this context, Jesus is not giving instruction to seek the perfection which is future; rather He is saying there are aspects of what is to come which may be found in the present.

The Kingdom of God
In Romans, Paul states what constitutes the Kingdom of God:

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:7)

Thus, at the present, there is a heavenly and earthly aspect to the Kingdom of God. The earthly is made up of the people who are in the Holy Spirit (i.e. have be reborn as children of God) and are following His guidance so as to have His righteousness, peace, and joy. Stated another way, on earth, the Kingdom of God is an outward manifestation of righteousness, peace, and joy which comes from living by the Holy Spirit.

His Righteousness

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)

The Cambridge commentary gives this summary for the righteousness of God:

Romans 3:26 appears to supply the key to this meaning: the “righteousness of God” is something which is reached, or received, “through faith in Jesus Christ;” and it is “declared” in such a way as to shew Him “just, yet justifying.” On the whole it is most consistent with most passages to explain it of the “righteousness imputed by God” to the believer.

Romans 3:26 in context:

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3)

The complete significance of the "righteousness of God" can lead to a complex discussion, but there is a simplicity to the instruction to "seek His righteousness." This is something to do in the present time, that is to say, now on earth. Hence, the full nature of God's righteousness may be future, but by faith in redemption that is in Christ Jesus, it may be found in the present.

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God's kingdom is a kingdom in which God is supreme. His purposes, his will, his initiatives, his honour and his glory are all supreme.

No earthly kingdom has ever attained to this. King David said at the end of his life :

The Spirit of the Lord spake by me and his word was in my tongue ... the God of Israel said "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God ... and as the light of the morning the sun riseth, a morning without clouds, as the tender grass out of the earth by clear shining after rain".

Although my house be not so with God ; yet hath he made an everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure. II Samuel 23: 3 -5 KJV.

David admitted that the house of David had not attained to what was needed in a kingdom of God, yet he knew that God had made an everlasting covenant and God, himself, would bring in such a kingdom.

The second Psalm shows what God would do to bring in such a kingdom :

Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion ... Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Psalm 2:6,7.

Without redemption, without sin-bearing, without sacrifice, without death, without bloodshed - there could never be a kingdom in which God would reign, properly, in the willing heart, over men.

There is but one King of kings. There is but one Lord of Lords.

Only with his incarnation - in another humanity than that of Adam - can the kingdom be established.

He was offered all the kingdoms of the world - and the glory of them - in a moment of time by the one who, lawfully, possessed them all - having brought mankind into subjection to law and sin and death, Matthew 4:8.

Jesus refused it all. For only through sacrificial offering, through sin-bearing, through death and resurrection could there ever be a kingdom of God established in righteousness.

Only through justification by faith could the citizens of such a kingdom be righteous in God's sight and be worthy to be a part of God's heritage.

Therefore, saith Jesus, seek ye first the kingdom of God (as he sought it, through his own offering and sufferings and death) and seek his righteousness (God's righteousness, realised only through redemption and the shedding of blood).

For God's kingdom is the kingdom of heaven.

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Matthew 6:33 (KJV): But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

What exactly is Gods Kingdom and his righteousness.

What is Gods Kingdom?

Jesus in his famous "Sermon on the Mount" taught his followers to pray "let your Kingdom come." Millions of people are familiar with this famous prayer,so what is God's Kingdom? In a vision given to prophet Daniel ,we read that God establishes a Kingdom in Heaven, with the resurrected Jesus Christ enthroned as King of God's kingdom. Daniel wrote:

Daniel 7:13-14 (NASB)

The Son of Man Presented

13 “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man {Jesus} was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.

14 “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

In Daniel chapter 2 we read about a dream that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had, about a huge statute representing a succession of world powers and which dream Daniel interprets. That God establishes a Kingdom that will destroy all these human kingdoms and it will last forever.(recommend reading chapter 2) Daniel reveals the dream to the King. :

Daniel 2:28,44 (NRSV)

28 "But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has disclosed to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen at the end of days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed were these."

44 "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever."

Jesus during his earthly ministry, told his Apostles that they, and others selected from people of all nations of the earth, will rule as Priests and Kings over the earth:

Luke 22:28-29 (NRSV)

28 “You are those who have stood by me in my trials; 29 and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom.

Revelation 5:9-10 (NRSV)

9 "They sing a new song:“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; 10 you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.”

We have seen that Jesus has been given ruler-ship over the nations , peoples and languages and that those associated with Him will reign as Priests and King over the earth. The subjects of the Kingdom will be those that first seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and those resurrected to life on earth, they will also have the opportunity to seek God's righteousness and live. (John 5:28-29)

The Bible describes the blessing and conditions that people will enjoy under God's Kingdom. A few are listed below.

Death and mourning will be done away with.

Revelation 21:3-4 (NRSV)

3 "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home[a] of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away."

My chosen ones will enjoy the work of their hands.

Isaiah 65:21-22 (NRSV)

21 "They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands."

Abundance of peace and prosperity.

Psalm 37:11 (KJV)

11 "But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace."

Resurrection of the dead.

John 5:28-29 (NRSV)

28 "Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."

The prophet Isaiah eloquently describes the conditions under God's Kingdom that people will enjoy.

Isaiah 11:6-9 (NRSV)

6 "The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox."

8 "The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."

What is God's Righteousness?

God as the creator has the right to set the standards for what is good or what is bad, what is right or what is wrong ,(Revelation 4:11) we simply do not live by our own standards. We obey God's laws, not out of fear of punishment, but because we love Him , value our relationship and want to please Him.

Luke in writing about the parents of John the Baptist, the two faithful servants of God, Zechariah and Elizabeth, summed up, what is God's righteousness.

Luke 1:6-7 (NRSV)

6 "Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years."

Paul pointed to a danger,when he wrote to his follow countrymen,they were trying to establish their own righteousness and not knowing about God's righteousness.

Romans 10:2-3 (NASB)

2 "For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God."

To avoid the above danger we must continuously seek knowledge based on God's word, so that we get better acquainted and deepen our relationship with God, and his son Jesus. Jesus said:

John 17:3 Amplified Bible (AMP)

3 "Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true [supreme and sovereign] God, and [in the same manner know] Jesus [as the] Christ whom You have sent."

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The kingdom of God is the polity established by God in the heavens to dispense God's truth, righteousness and justice. In the first century this power and authority was embodied in the Judean leaders; the chief priests, regular priests, scribes, pharisees and the Sadducees:

[Mat 21:33-46 NASB] (33) "Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who PLANTED A VINEYARD AND PUT A WALL AROUND IT AND DUG A WINE PRESS IN IT, AND BUILT A TOWER, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. (34) "When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce. (35) "The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. (36) "Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them. (37) "But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' (38) "But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.' (39) "They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. (40) "Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?" (41) They said to Him, "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons." (42) Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, 'THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES'? (43) "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. (44) "And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust." (45) When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them. (46) When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet.

Jesus told the Jerusalem leadership that the kingdom of God would be given to a people bringing forth the fruit thereof. This "fruit" is what God seeks and what the disciples were to seek:

[Phl 1:11 NASB] (11) having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

[Heb 12:11 NASB] (11) All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Update

Jesus' mission to establish the kingdom of God was predicted long ago:

[Isa 2:1-4 NLT] (1) This is a vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: (2) In the last days, the mountain of the LORD's house will be the highest of all--the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. (3) People from many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob's God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths." For the LORD's teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. (4) The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.

In order to accomplish this it was necessary to resurrect the diaspora/lost sheep of Israel (Ezekiel 37, Acts 2) through a new covenant (Jeremiah 31), judge the current government (Ezekiel 34, Matthew 25), make the old covenant "disappear" by the destruction of the temple (Matthew 24, Hebrews 8:13 (below), gather in the 144,000 lost sheep and establish a glorified version of Jerusalem (Revelation 20-21):

[Heb 8:13 NET] (13) When he speaks of a new covenant, he makes the first obsolete. Now what is growing obsolete and aging is about to disappear.

The "about to" occurred roughly 40 years after Jesus' public ministry.

The rulers of the kingdom of God are the 144,000 aka the "one stick" of Ezekiel 37. In this way is fulfilled:

[Isa 2:3, 6 NLT] (3) People from many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob's God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths." For the LORD's teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. ... (6) For the LORD has rejected his people, the descendants of Jacob, because they have filled their land with practices from the East and with sorcerers, as the Philistines do. They have made alliances with pagans.

Coincidentally, the 144,000 constitute the bride of Christ, also described as the bride of the new Jerusalem:

[Hos 2:19-20 NASB] (19) "I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, In lovingkindness and in compassion, (20) And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD.

[Isa 62:1-7 NKJV] (1) For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, And her salvation as a lamp that burns. (2) The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, And all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, Which the mouth of the LORD will name. (3) You shall also be a crown of glory In the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem In the hand of your God. (4) You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; For the LORD delights in you, And your land shall be married. (5) For as a young man marries a virgin, So shall your sons marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you. (6) I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; They shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, (7) And give Him no rest till He establishes And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

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