Two millennia ago, Yeshua taught about the kingdom of God and lived the model humankind could emulate in its evolution toward spiritual maturity. Some individuals today model Yeshua’s teaching, and we can see glimmers of it in books and movies that end with love conquering all and people living together in brotherhood. But for society as a whole, Yeshua’s teachings have had little effect. We are living in a spiritual dark age.
Materialism has consumed the collective psyche of humankind, leaving people egocentric, addicted to sensual activities, manipulative, deceitful, and violent. Into the hands of this immature, barbaric species, the intellectual revolution since the seventeenth century has placed terrible capabilities capable of annihilating billions of people. The two millennia since Yeshua have seen no growth from his teaching and an alarmingly rapid development of the instruments that can destroy humankind and the earth.
Over the two millennia, humankind should have evolved to be different. The description that follows is what life on Earth would have been like if Yeshua’s followers had inaugurated the kingdom of God after his death.
The year is 2008, but history has been different. Soon after Yeshua left, the disciples, the family of Jesus, and the growing band of followers resolved to live Yeshua’s teaching and emulate Yeshua’s example. The missionaries such as Paul stressed the teachings and showed the new converts how to grow spiritually. Over the two millennia since then, humankind became more spiritually mature with every generation until today’s society bears little resemblance to that of the first-century Judeans to whom Yeshua spoke.
Today, we're walking up the stairs to the community hall where the wedding of Simon and Soeng is being held. Simon's family was Jewish and Soeng's was Buddhist, but these are simply interesting descriptions of their ancestors’ pasts. Religious practices long ago dissolved as obstacles to people living and loving together, and the differences among religions blended into a wonderful spiritual community, with the practices of individual religions being shared as different ways to find spiritual wisdom. The community hall is the gathering place for the entire town where people come together for events, almost daily, including meditation and prayer. All people are spiritual. There are no "atheists" or "agnostics," because the realities of the afterlife and the Higher Power are known to everyone.
The hall is alive with the sounds of all religious practices at any time of the day. There are no longer separate churches, temples, or synagogues. People stopped using them because they wanted to come together in love and to communicate with all others, without separating into sects and factions. "There is only one God," they affirm, "regardless of what people call God." No one sits in rows and listens. Everyone is free to wander and sit or stand wherever they wish and speak in any of the small groups assembled there.
The entire town has come out for Simon and Soeng's wedding. There were no invitations. Every event is open to all and all in the town who are able turn out.
The hall has been decorated by the townspeople. Esther and Miriam brought silk flowers they created. No one picks flowers any more. Beautiful flowers grow profusely because everyone plants them in all areas of the city, without regard for where they actually live, but plants are left to grow in their natural glory. Instead of picking flowers, some people have become adept at creating exquisite decorations using all manner of material, but none of it gathered from animals or plants in ways that harm them. No animals are killed anywhere, for any reason.
Sabah is the baker in the community, and he has baked a remarkable cake with four layers and decorated it with confections. He spent two days working on it. He did it out of love; there is no money any more. Everyone is a servant to every other person, out of love. Servanthood is the highest calling, and all are anxious to give their time and belongings freely to others. Sabah hadn't met Simon or Soeng, but had the time and wanted to do something special for them.
Inside the hall, we see Dagmar, the home builder, talking to a group about the home she is building for the couple. When she heard that Simon dreamed of having a little house where he could paint oils of the countryside, she asked Padmakumar, a farmer who farmed several hundred acres next to the river, if he had a piece of land where Simon might have a view of the countryside. Padmakumar doesn't own the land—he just farms it and gives the produce to whomever needs it. He came to this area of the world 15 years ago because he wanted fertile ground to be able to grow food to give to whomever wants it. People move freely on the Earth now, without boundaries or restrictions. Everyone refers to himself or herself as a child of God, not an American or Chinese or other geographical designation. And when someone moves into a community, that person is as welcome as the ones who have lived there all their lives and are immediately integrated into life there, in love.
Padmakumar was very happy to provide an acre, and Dagmar will complete the house with the help of dozens of people from the town—anyone who has a free moment to come out. Of course, no one would think of accepting anything for the opportunity to share in the couple's joy, including Dagmar and Padmakumar. It's a wonderful opportunity for everyone to be joyful in giving joy.
The house will be modest; that's all the couple wishes before having children. Their parents still had children at home, so they would have more room if they were in another home for a while. They would be happy to move into a house with an older couple whose children had left, but Dagmar wanted to build the house for them, so they were delighted to enjoy Dagmar's gift. When they have their first child, they likely will move to a larger house or a house with other young couples who have children. No one feels the need to own a house, have a separate house , or have a large dwelling. Everyone's joy is in the love they share within the house, not in the house itself. Most people live with their extended families when there is room, but today everyone feels like they are part of the same family, so it matters little whom they live with.
The bride enters in a beautiful dress Kachina and her sisters made for her based on their Native American tribal garments. Soeng told Kachina about her love for the Native American culture and wish to have something from it at the wedding. Kachina immediately volunteered to create a dress. Kachina sews with the local tailor, who was happy to allocate time and equipment for her to design and sew the dress for a few days and not work on customer garments. The people Kachina was sewing for were enthusiastic that she should use her time in this way.
Kachina stands back, looking at the dress, and remarks, "I should have lowered the waist a little. The cut makes you look wider around the middle."
Seong laughs, "Then I must look very healthy. Perhaps we should raise it more instead."
Seong would never take offense at something someone said. She has never known a moment when she was criticized or condemned, when she felt she wasn't loved unconditionally without regard for her physical appearance or actions. Being offended is simply not known today. No one questions whether anyone else in the town has unconditional love for them, regardless of what someone says.
The couple doesn't exchange vows because the old custom is viewed as superfluous. Of course they're committed to each other. Of course they love each other. Of course they'll never leave each other. It was centuries ago that people came to realize that marital problems resulted from the "old ways" as they called them, when people didn't love each other unconditionally. Today, the same love they feel for all people is the love they feel for each other, with the special bind of the children they will have and their eros love for each other. But there would never be a thought that they might "grow tired" of one another or separate.
Simon's grandmother, Julia, is wheeled into the hall. She is dying of old age, and now looks forward to being with her husband, who crossed into spirit five years ago. Diseases diminished dramatically when people stopped being hostile toward one another and destroying nature with chemicals and pollutants, so most people die from old age, but old age is now 150 years. There is no complicated medical system any more. People are healthier and physicians advise people for free. But most people simply use the remedies they know in their families to treat the occasional illness.
Julia smiles and laughs as she is hugged by all when she passes them. Naaman's mother had just crossed over the week before. He asks Julia, "Tell my mother I miss our evening talks together, and when she has settled in to come to me during my meditations if she has time."
Julia laughs, "Yes, of course Naaman. I'm beginning to feel like the postal service. I'm so looking forward to seeing everyone on the other side. I'll give everyone all the messages I get."
Simon wheels Julia up to a table and sits down beside her. He takes her hand. "How are you feeling, Mom?"
"I'm tired, Simon." She smiles and leans toward him. "I had a wonderful meditation with your father last night, and we talked about when I might be able to cross over. He felt that it would be just a few days."
"Wonderful, Mom," Simon smiles with a tear gently flowing from his eye. Simon's tear is because of the separation from his mother he knows is coming, but also because of the happiness he feels for his mother. He knows she will be overjoyed to be with her beloved husband all the time, not just during meditations when she speaks with him now.
Julia wipes the tear from his face. "I know you miss your dad too. I'll give him bear hugs from you."
Simon hugs her. "Let's start having evening gatherings to help you prepare. I know this is just for a while, but I'm going to miss having you here in that old body, even if it is falling apart." They laugh and squeeze each other's hands.
The entire wedding festivity is filmed by the local television crew for viewing by those who cannot attend and by people in other towns. They film activities like this so people can share in the love that fills the room. No television broadcasts are made that have negative or violent content. All broadcasts are intended to uplift and help viewers grow spiritually. Everything on Earth now is focused on spiritual growth, including teaching children. There are no schools any more. Children learn the skills they need as they live at home, through materials and television broadcasts that are continually available on demand. They come together at the community hall for discussions, plays, and other activities with other children and adults. There is no competition, but great physical events are performed daily, with everyone joining in; however, they are never pitting one person against another. Competition and winning simply aren’t important any more.
The young children are integrated into the working community as soon as there is a little task they are capable of performing. They’re encouraged as valuable parts of the community, even when they’re just toddlers. Parents focus on helping their children to feel loved, become independent and responsible, and grow spiritually. Other things in learning aren’t important.
Older people come to people's homes to teach the children and to help others who need their maturity and guidance. Everyone has a purpose and a place—there are no old-folks homes or orphanages. Everyone belongs; everyone feels loved.
Businesses have as their primary purpose helping people who participate in the business develop spiritually. They aren't really employees, and there are no salaries. People work because they want to serve others and want to create, in ways that interest them. Occupations are seen as opportunities to grow spiritually while creating useful products and services that will benefit others. Every activity today is seen as an opportunity to advance spiritually, and every product or service is seen as part of the person's servant hood to others. Giving is the primary motivation for most activities, and there is only giving and accepting, without bartering or taking in the world today.
Josh, Simon's brother, proposes a toast to Simon and Seong. "Simon and Seong, I wish you all the happiness God freely makes available to us, and the pitter patter of little feet, other than Blaze the dog." Everyone toasts the bride and groom. Josh was in an accident as a teenager and suffered some brain damage. He is given to violent episodes beyond his control. Someone accompanies him to public events, out of love, and helps him calm himself if he starts becoming angry and violent. He feels no stigma from his illness because no one judges him, and friends all volunteer to go with him wherever he wants to go. Even if he becomes violent and strikes someone, no one ever judges him or feels anger toward him.
In the accident, Josh was hit on the head by the beam of a porch roof that had not been nailed in place—the people living in the house had forgotten to do so. No one would blame them for the accident, although they felt very bad about it. There would be no law suits; there are no longer any lawyers because there is no longer any law to speak of. There are no disputes. When something unfortunate happens, everyone is so anxious to take care of the other person involved, whether it is the person harmed or the person who accidentally did the harming, that there are never recriminations.
This isn't a fantasy. It's reality, or at least it's what reality should have been. It’s a reality that is in our nature and in the universe right now, but we’re not living it. Life on Earth in 2008 should have been even more wonderful than this, more wonderful than we can even imagine or portray. It's life on Earth as Yeshua knew it could be. That is the spiritual evolution that comes from people freely entering the kingdom of God. Life would have been like that if the followers of Yeshua had understood his teaching and worked at emulating his model.
It would have begun in the first century in occupied Judea. Following Yeshua’s model would have been difficult for the apostles, the family of Yeshua, and the followers. They would have retained all of the Jewish practices and worked at being loving, compassionate, forgiving, and non-judgmental. It would have required them to relax their hold on the law enforced by the Jews at the time, as Yeshua told them to. They would not have condemned anyone, even if the law required condemnation. They would have reached out to the Samaritans, the tax collectors, the Romans, and the publicans, all hated by the Jews. In the process, they themselves would have become outcasts. It would have been very hard on them, but they needed to persevere to make Yeshua’s vision of the kingdom of God a reality.
In the end, they would have broken with Judaism because the Jewish leaders would not have followed Yeshua’s lead and they would have been banned from the Temple, the synagogues, and all Judaic gatherings. However, the apostles and family of Yeshua would have lived to ripe old ages because they would not have been revolutionary or offensive to the Jews or the Romans.
Their children, then, would have followed their lead and, from that basis, would have become even more loving, compassionate, and tolerant. Likely, some Jews would have been attracted to them because of their example. Their ranks would have grown by attracting people who found their example and teaching compelling. The message of Yeshua as the Jewish messiah, appearances after his death, eternal life, love for all, non-judgment, and universal inclusion would have resonated immediately with the marginal Jewish converts who did not follow the law strictly (called "god fearers"). Many Jews would have accepted him as the Messiah, albeit a very different Messiah than they had expected. The remarkable love the followers showed for one another would have convinced those who met these followers of Yeshua that, in fact, he was a remarkable man who was transforming Judea. By the end of the second century, their ranks would have swelled.
Those who practiced Yeshua’s teachings would not have felt the need to make their beliefs attractive to the gentiles, because the love and gentleness they displayed were so compelling to people. So they would not have added elements of the Mithras and other man-god legends to the descriptions of Yeshua’s life and teaching. As a result, Yeshua would have been a model for all humankind as a normal man with a message that shone like a lamp to the world. It would have illuminated the dark corners of the Roman Empire as groups of people came together to love and be loved, without regard for who they were or their class in society.
By the fourth century, their behavior would have been known widely, and those who weren't Yeshua’s followers would have had great respect for them. Constantine may not have been so attracted to this sect because it lived and taught love, non-judgment, and tolerance. Having broken with Judaism, it would not have had the history, tradition, and organization attractive to Constantine, and their unwillingness to follow Constantine's direction would have alienated them from him. However, their willingness to accept him without condemnation, even in the face of the 19 homicides at his hands, may have shocked him into admiring this committed group that acted so unlike normal humans.
Those who followed and taught Yeshua’s message would have continued to astound people by their remarkable capacity to love and accept others without hostility and judgment. The ranks would have continued to grow. All the downtrodden would have known they could come to this group of people for solace. The term "Christian" would have come to embody the noblest, most honest, and most loving qualities and people would have used the name when they wanted to speak of the highest spiritual development.
The result would have been that after the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, those who followed Yeshua’s teachings would have been represented in all corners of the Roman Empire. They would have brought unconditional love, non-judgment, tolerance, servanthood, and confidence in the inner voice of God to the British Isles, Africa, Russia, India, and the other far reaches of the empire. What came to be the Dark Ages as Europe sank into chaos after the Roman Empire collapsed would have been the Age of Illumination as people practiced Yeshua’s teaching.
In the seventh century, when Muhammad went to the Jews and Christians to learn more about the One God, those who were living Yeshua’s teachings would have welcomed him and embraced him as the prophet bringing spiritual light to the Arabs. He, his followers, and the loving adherents to Yeshua’s teaching would have found a common bond and taught all people together. They would have shared wisdom and love in a universal vision of what humanity could become. That bond would have continued into the twenty-first century.
In the eighth century, Charlemagne would have embraced Yeshua’s teachings whole heartedly. Charlemagne undertook 53 campaigns to conquer people, so it is impossible to predict how history might have changed if Charlemagne had been a pacifist. However, assuming that he retained the influence he did, everything he did would have been enhanced by Yeshua’s model, and he would have spread it throughout Europe.
Louis, Charlemagne's son, who ruled after his father's death in 814, was a poor ruler and civil wars, revolts, and the division of the empire and influence resulted. If Charlemagne's son had followed his father's example as he grew up, and had matured spiritually to have the Yeshua mind, all of Europe might have grown closer to being the kingdom of God as Yeshua envisioned it.
In the eleventh century, Christians were incessantly slaughtering other Christians in Europe. The thousands would not have died if the church that had evolved had been infused by that time with the teachings of Yeshua: peace, brotherhood, and love.
The 250 years of bloodshed in the Crusades would not have occurred, with the deaths of thousands of crusaders and slaughter of as many as 70,000 Muslim men, women, and children in Jerusalem in 1098. All people would have learned from the teachings of Yeshua and Muhammad and would have been living in peace since the seventh century.
The middle ages would have been a flowering of spiritual maturity in humankind, and the Renaissance would have added to humanity what Yeshua’s followers brought in spirituality. Together, the earth would have been transformed. Medici patronage supporting art and rediscovery of classicism would have been augmented by the mature movement based on Yeshua’s teaching that influenced people to perform actions for each other out of love and compassion. Money might still have been used as a convenient way to keep track of work done, but it would have been falling out of use as people stopped accepting money for tasks.
By the Age of Reason, all people would have been living in peace and the discoveries of science would have been understood in a spiritual perspective. The veil between the afterlife and Earthly life would have become more transparent, and people would have understood that they are spiritual beings having a physical existence.
The church would not have developed a hierarchy. It would instead have been a church of the people who met in small groups and supported all people in love, without an organization. There would not have been ministers or priests. People would have been servants to each other spontaneously. The estimated 25 million people killed by the church through the centuries would not have died.
There would have been no more wars. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries alone, the 37 million would not have died in World War I. The 62 million would not have died in World War II. The 6 million Jews would not have been exterminated in the Holocaust. There would have been no 869,000 killed in the Korean War, 5.4 million during the Vietnam War, 660,378 during the Gulf War, 2,992 in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, 12,500 in the War in Afghanistan, 700,000 in the Iraq War, and thousands now in the Iraqi civil conflicts.
None of these men, women, and children would have died terrible, agonizing deaths. Every person who died in these modern wars had a story of personal agony and trauma, for that person, for a family, and for all those who witnessed the killing or heard about it. Those minutes, hours, and days of torment, fear, and pain were repeated millions of times during the last 100 years. To the rolls of those who died in trauma and agony, add the millions who suffered indescribable horrors from war during the previous 19 centuries when humankind should have been growing to be loving, peaceful, and united in brotherhood.
If those who had lived before us had practiced Yeshua’s teachings, today we would be joining all the others coming to the marriage of Simon and Seong, with no conflict in our lives. We would never have experienced being judged or condemned by our parents, our teachers, or any others. We would, every moment, have felt the warmth of unconditional love from all around us and all new people we meet. There would be no strangers. There would be no need for forgiveness because there would have been no transgressions—we would be living in perfect harmony. And we would not fear death. We would look forward to the next stage in our eternal existence.
That is what Yeshua envisioned as the kingdom of God.
But we don't live in the kingdom of God today.