The primary message of Jesus was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. It is important to note that this particular message was first preached by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-2). Jesus preached and taught a lot about this concept of the kingdom of heaven. However, there is a debate about the exact meaning of this phrase. Nevertheless, “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” is not the same thing as saying “stop sinning, it is time to die and go to heaven”. It is not the same thing, yet that is more or less the interpretation adopted within certain Christian communities…
Bible experts have continually debated the meaning of that phrase “kingdom of heaven”. However, we can trace the origins of that phrase to Prophet Daniel (Daniel 2). Daniel 2 talks about the Kingdom of heaven as a kind of earthly kingdom (in modern English, this is best thought about as a socio-economic system). The kingdom of heaven in modern language is best communicated as God’s system operating on the earth. A kind of socio-economic framework that is fair to all concerned and empowers everyone to do their best work that glorifies God.
“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.””(Luke 17:20-21 ESV)
When we study and reflect upon most of the parables of Jesus that centre upon the kingdom of heaven, you see that they are not about dying and going to heaven. It is deeper than that. The “kingdom of heaven” and “heaven” could not possibly be referring to the same thing. The parables of Jesus do not primarily describe the kingdom of heaven as a destination. This is rather a charge to change your perceptions and understanding and turn your focus to God. Once you focus on God, you will be transformed inside-out and become a vehicle for the grace of God to flow through our dark world.