Giving them the kingdom?
Sectarian institutions and their teachers would like us to believe that Jesus and the Father are giving their followers "the kingdom." As if it is some kind of plot of land or ranch in the sky or on earth and God is giving this "kingdom" to them - as though they will each be inheriting it - and thus able to possess "the kingdom."
Some of these sectarian teachers also say that we will "inherit the earth." They claim that Jesus will kill off those who don't join their sect, leaving the sect's members to own the earth.
None of this is true. The Supreme Being is the only true owner of everything in His creation. He never gives it away to someone else for someone else to possess it. Yes, we may be given the opportunity to caretake some tiny portion of His physical creation - but this is a temporary situation. Our physical body is designed to last only a few years, and whatever physical land or house or other material thing we may think we possess will be snatched away either during this lifetime or at the time of death of the physical body.
This temporary possession means that we never actually own anything on this planet or elsewhere. Despite the fact that we are the eternal spirit-person within, we are simply traveling through.
One might compare it to being assigned a seat on an airplane. For a few hours during a flight, we might have the opportunity to sit in the assigned seat. But that seat never belongs to us. We might say during the flight: "This is my seat." But when the flight arrives at its destination we must leave the seat and soon someone else will be sitting in that seat.
The reality is that we are simply not owners.
Ownership means control, and we are not in control. We can simply look around us at the weather and society and wars and so on to determine this. We cannot control the aging process. We cannot control death.
The Supreme Being is the only owner, because He and only He has control over everything. Therefore, "the kingdom" is always owned by Him and He never gives ownership to anyone else.
Besides, Jesus did not say this anyway. The word "kingdom" is being translated from the Greek word βασιλεία (basileia). The lexicon clearly states that it does not mean "kingdom." The lexicon says, "royal power, kingship, dominion, rule - not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom."
Thus Jesus is referring to "dominion" or "rule" or the "right or authority to rule over a kingdom." He is not referring to any "kingdom" as in some place or plot of land.
So is Jesus saying that God ("the Father") is giving Jesus' students "dominion" "kingship" or "rule" or the "right or authority to rule over a kingdom" then?
Don't be ridiculous. Jesus is not speaking of their having this dominion or kingship at all. Jesus is speaking of their accepting the Supreme Being's dominion. Jesus is speaking of their surrendering their lives to the Supreme Being, and taking shelter of the Supreme Being.
Quite simply, nearly the entire translation is wrong. Let's look at this more closely:
Here is the original Greek statement:
μὴ φοβοῦ τὸ μικρὸν ποίμνιον ὅτι εὐδόκησεν ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν δοῦναι ὑμῖν τὴν βασιλείανYes, μὴ φοβοῦ is appropriately translated to "do not be afraid" as stated. And μικρὸν ποίμνιον could well be translated to "little flock" - but more appropriately to "humble followers" - as the word μικρὸν can be "small" or "little" but Jesus was not referring to his students as either small or little. Neither was he referring to the size of the group as indicated by the translation.
Rather, the word μικρὸν can also mean "little rank or influence" - which relates to humility. Jesus is referring to his humble followers, because it is humility that ties into the next part of Jesus' statement:
The word εὐδοκέω (eudokeō) refers to being pleased with. Here it is construed that God is pleased with giving them the kingdom. But what the translators are missing is that Jesus is speaking of the Supreme Being being pleased. This is a critical element of Jesus' statement.
Taking shelter in God
And it is by virtue of pleasing the Supreme Being - that Jesus' humble followers are being given the opportunity to accept the Supreme Being's dominion over their lives. This means taking shelter in God.
This notion of being given either the kingdom or even the kingship or rule is to not understand the relationship between Jesus, the Supreme Being and Jesus' students.
Jesus is God's representative. As such, He is speaking on behalf of the Supreme Being. Consider these statements:
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 7:16)and
"For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken." (John 12:49)Thus we can understand that Jesus is representing God - and Jesus' teachings are coming from God.
For this reason, Jesus can state that the Supreme Being is pleased with their worship of the Supreme Being, and thus has given them the ability to come to a point where they can accept God's dominion over their lives.
This does not come easy. Most of us are busily engaged to try to rule the world or some part of the world. We are trying to be the superstar or the hero. We are trying to gain everyone's attention. We are trying to get everyone (or anyone who will listen) to do what we want them to do. We are trying to be the boss. We are trying to be rich, famous and in control.
Yet this is not our natural position.
The Supreme Being is the ruler. He is the superstar, the hero and the boss.
We can tell this is not our natural position because those who reach stardom or wealth beyond their needs are still not happy. Even the most successful movie stars and rock stars, who command millions of adoring fans and millions of dollars for appearances are not fulfilled inside. This is why we see so much drug and alcohol abuse and even suicides among those who are movie stars or rock stars. They may have "made it" but they are still empty inside.
This is because by nature we are not stars or bosses. We are servants. We are subjects of the Supreme Being. God created us to love Him and serve Him - and gave us the freedom not to. This is why we feel better when we give than when we receive. Because by nature we are givers.
But getting to the point where we realize that we are subjects of God and we not king of our lives is the tough part. This is where it takes a commitment to learn the Truth and hear from an authoritative source such as Jesus. Those students of Jesus walked away from their homes and their jobs to follow Jesus. They were on the path to commit their lives to the Supreme Being.
As such, Jesus is telling them that their being his humble followers is pleasing to the Supreme Being, and pleasing God means opening the door to giving one's life to the Supreme Being - surrendering to the will of God. This is in fact, what Jesus had done:
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)He was also focused on pleasing the Supreme Being:
"... for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30)This type of surrender is not the type of surrender that comes with force. It is not the type of surrender that fanatical extremists want from those they conquer in battle - not the type of surrender that comes via a threat of beheading or imprisonment.
The surrender that Jesus is speaking of comes from love.
God gave us the freedom to love Him or not because love requires freedom. And surrendering our love follows coming to know and love the Supreme Being. It comes from falling in love with God because we see that God is our Soul Mate and our Best Friend.
It also comes from realizing that we are never going to achieve happiness without loving and pleasing the Supreme Being. Coming to this reality - of surrendering our love to the Supreme Being - means taking shelter of the Supreme Being. Accepting God's dominion in our lives means putting ourselves under the protection of God - not just so we can feel protected - but in order to rest our otherwise restless hearts upon Him.
As such, a more appropriate translation of Jesus' statement is found in the Gospels of Jesus:
"Don’t be afraid, little flock. Because your Creator has gladly chosen to give you sanctuary." (Luke 12:32)