Survey of Matthew: The Change in Jesus’ Ministry


Matthew 1:1. Theme
The Messianic Kingdom. “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,” Mt1:1.
The book of Matthew is primarily about physical things, because genealogies are part of the physical realm, and only affect the physical realm.
Joseph vs. Caiaphas

Matthew 1:1. Main Proposition
"Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham,” Mt1:1.
The one who fulfills the Davidic and Abrahamic covenants.

The Davidic Covenant.
David's house (dynasty), kingdom, and throne. 2 Samuel 7:16, “Thine house, and thy kingdom, shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”
God's house (dynasty), kingdom, and throne. 1 Chronicles 17:11-14, “I will raise up thy seed after thee [Messiah], which shall be of thy sons, ... I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.” His throne will last forever because he himself is eternal.

The Abrahamic Covenant
The Davidic covenant is an amplification of the nation part of the Abrahamic covenant. God promised Abraham a land, a nation, and a blessing. Gen12:1-3, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country ... unto a land that I will shew thee [the land aspect]: and I will make of thee a great nation [the nation aspect], and I will bless thee, ... and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed [the blessing aspect].”


Matthew 1-10. Jesus’ Ministry Before the Turning Point

Matthew 4:23; 9:35. The Two Key Outline Verses
Help us understand the structure of the book, which is probably why it was repeated twice.

Matthew 4:23. “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”

Preaching: “the gospel of the kingdom.” The Greek word for preach means “to make an announcement or a proclamation.” He was announcing the “gospel,” the “good news” of the kingdom.
Teaching: “in their synagogues.” That meant that he taught the law.
Healing: He healed “all.”

Matthew 9:35. “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”


Preaching Before the Turning Point. Matthew 1 - 4.

John's preaching: Matthew 3:1. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Yeshua's preaching: Matthew 4:17, “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

The phrase “kingdom of heaven,” comes from Daniel chapter 2 about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of an image made of gold, silver, brass, and iron.  After the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman empires, in the time of 10 kings, God is going to set up a kingdom. “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed,” Dan2:44.

Full name: “the kingdom of the God of heaven.”
Matthew: “the kingdom of heaven.”
Mark, Luke, and John: “the kingdom of God.”
In the Lord’s Prayer: “thy kingdom.”

Mark 1:14-15 "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."

This is a political kingdom like the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman kingdoms.
This is the kind of kingdom that the people of Israel were expecting, because there was so much detail about it provided by prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.
If Jesus was going to offer a different kind of kingdom than what the people were expecting, this would have been the place for him to say so.
The missing piece of information was the timing, and now Jesus announced it was “at hand.”

The good news was not that a new, unexpected kind of kingdom would be set up; but that the one they had been waiting for, for hundreds of years, was finally ready to be set up.
And the requirement in order for it to be set up, as the prophets also taught, was repentance, “repent,” Mt4:17.


Teaching Before the Turning Point. Matthew 5 - 7.

If you have a red letter edition, chapters 5 through 7 are all in red, because Jesus spoke these words. Often called “The Sermon on the Mount.” This is a representative sample of Jesus’ teaching during this time.

He taught the Law.
Usually he taught in the synagogues, but even when he taught on the mountain here, he still taught about the law.
Mt5:19, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Mt5:21, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill.” One of the Ten Commandments,
Mt5:27, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery,” another of the Ten Commandments.


Healing Before the Turning Point.  Matthew 8 - 10.

The book of Matthew is arranged topically. He puts together, in these three chapters, a lot of different episodes of healing and miracles.

He healed all.
Mt8:16. “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick.”

The purpose of the healing: Mt8:17, “That [in order that] it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.”
Jesus did these miracles to identify himself with the Servant of Jehovah in the book of Isaiah, who would be the one to bring in the kingdom. (Isaiah chapters 42 and 49-53)

The kingdom was prophesied to be a time of the absence of sickness and hunger; and Jesus proved he could heal all sickness, and miraculously provide food when needed. The kingdom was prophesied to be a time when the desert will blossom like a rose; and Jesus proved he could control the weather (Mt8:26-27); so he will be able to make the desert blossom like a rose (Is. 35:1). So these were ‘messianic miracles’ to prove that he was the Messiah, and that he could bring in the kingdom he was announcing.



Matthew 11-12. The Turning Point

Could also be called, “The Rejection of Jesus’ Ministry,” because all three parts of Jesus’ ministry are rejected.


Preaching During the Turning Point. Matthew 11.

Rejection of his preaching ministry.
Mt11:20. “Then began he to upbraid [“scold”] the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not.”
His preaching ministry was to preach “the gospel of the kingdom”: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”(Mt. 4:17) And they didn’t repent. “They repented not.”(Mt. 11:20).

Mt11:21, “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”
Jesus was looking for an official, nation-wide, “sackcloth and ashes” kind of repentance, not for the internal repentance of a few individuals. He was looking for whole cities to repent: Chorazin, Bethsaida, Tyre, Sidon. It would have taken the repentance of whole cities to bring in the kingdom for that generation.


Teaching During the Turning Point. Matthew 12a.

Rejection of his teaching ministry.
Mt12:9. “And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue. And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days?”

Notice the issue here is law and Sabbath.
The Pharisees of that time had added a lot of extra rules to God’s Word which were called “the tradition of the elders.”
Jesus rejected the tradition of the elders.

Mt12:13. “Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.”
They rejected his teaching ministry to such an extent that, at this point in the gospel of Matthew, they decided to kill Jesus.

You have probably heard that that generation of Israel rejected the kingdom because they were expecting a physical kingdom, but Jesus was offering a spiritual kingdom. That is not true. Jesus was offering a physical kingdom, exactly as they were expecting. The biblical reason as to why they rejected the kingdom is that they rejected Jesus’ teaching about the law, especially about the Sabbath, and disagreed with him about the validity of the tradition of the elders.


Healing During the Turning Point. Matthew 12b.

Rejection of his healing ministry.
Mt12:22. “Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.”
A triple miracle: A demon possessed man, blind, and unable to speak.

Mt12:23, “All the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?”
That was exactly the purpose of the miracles. It was to get the people to say he was the Messiah; to prove he was the Son of David.

Mt12:24, “When the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.”
Even his enemies, the Pharisees, couldn’t deny a miracle had taken place. All the miracles in the Bible are so obviously authentic that no one in the Bible ever denies a miracle has taken place, unlike what we see on TV.
So all they could do was to deny the source of the miracle. They said, “He is doing it through demonic power.”

But Jesus actually did it through the power of the Holy Spirit of God. So they were calling the Holy Spirit the devil. Mt12:31, “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.”

At this point, that generation of the nation of Israel committed an unpardonable sin. They had reached a point of no return, just like an earlier generation of Israel committed an unpardonable sin. God brought them out of the land of Egypt, to the edge of Canaan, and they refused to go into the land, so God said that generation of Israel was going to die in the wilderness, and their children will enter the land. The next morning they put on their armor and said they were ready to go into the land. But Moses said, “It’s too late.” That generation of Israel had committed an unpardonable sin, so far as going into the land was concerned. And they tried to go in anyway, and were defeated in battle. (Num14:30-45). They wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, and that generation died out, and the next generation went in and inherited the land. Changing their minds couldn’t help them after that point. Physical judgment was determined upon them.

In the same way, when the generation of Israel of Jesus’ day rejected this miracle of triple healing, that was the final rejection for them. They had rejected his preaching and teaching ministries, and now they had completely rejected his healing ministry, so there was no more offer of the kingdom for that generation. But it is still only a sin for that generation; a later generation of their children will inherit the kingdom. It is only unpardonable for that generation.

In verses 38 through 45, the term “generation” is mentioned four times.

Mt12:39. “An evil and adulterous generation.” Mt12:41, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation.” Mt12:42. “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation.” Mt12:45. “Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” A future generation of Israel will accept the kingdom, but for that generation Jesus stops offering the kingdom, because they  reached a point of no return.

A summary of the rejection of Jesus’ ministry.
Healing: Mt12:38, “Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.” They had just seen a triple sign; the demon possessed, blind, and dumb man healed. So Jesus says, “You are not going to get any more signs except the resurrection,” (Mt12:39-40). It’s not that he didn’t do any more miracles at all, but he didn’t do any more publicly for the nation for the purpose of proving he was the Messiah.

Preaching: Mt12:41. “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” Jonah went through the city of Nineveh and preached, announced, that Nineveh will be destroyed in 40 days. The king made a decree, and all the people put on sackcloth, they even put it on the animals, and they fasted, and prayed, and were told by their leaders to repent from their evil ways. God accepted their city-wide repentance, even though the repentance was certainly not genuine for every individual, and he didn’t destroy Nineveh. (Jonah 3:1-10)

This is the kind of organized, national repentance that Israel will provide in a future generation and at that time the kingdom will be set up. Zechariah 12:9-13:1, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, ... And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness."

Teaching: Mt12:42. “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom [the teaching] of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” She had to travel a long way, and they didn’t have to travel at all. She had only Solomon to teach her; but the creator of Solomon, came to them, and they rejected his teaching ministry.



Matthew 13-26. Jesus’ Ministry After the Turning Point

Teaching After the Turning Point. Matthew 13.
 
Mt13:10. “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” They hadn’t heard Jesus speak in parables before this point.

Mt13:34. “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them.” Now before he had spoken unto them without parables. He had taught plainly about the law in the synagogues and elsewhere. But now his public teaching is only in parables. Why?

Mt13:11, “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.”
He wasn’t speaking in parables to make the truth easier to understand but so the people wouldn’t be able to understand what he was saying. And then privately (Mk4:34) he would explain to the disciples the keys (Mk4:13) to interpreting the parables, like the field equals the world, the birds equal the messengers of Satan, and so on.

So the disciples could hear Jesus’ teaching and understand it, but the crowds wouldn’t. Instead of just stopping his teaching ministry as a judgment upon the nation, he continued to teach the nation but in a way they couldn’t understand.

This judgment on the nation was prophesied back in Isaiah. Mt13:14, “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive.”


Healing After the Turning Point. Matthew 13+.

Mt13:58, “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”
Before he healed “all.” Now he only heals ‘some’. Now he heals only those that have faith, because the purpose of the miracles has changed.

Before he was doing the miracles to prove he was the Messiah, the Servant of Jehovah spoken of by Isaiah, to get the nation to accept him, so he could set up the kingdom. But since there is no more possibility of the kingdom for that generation, it doesn’t make sense to try to prove you are the Messiah anymore. So now he is doing the miracles because of personal need, just for those who have faith. He is not healing “all” anymore.


Preaching After the Turning Point. Matthew 16:21+.

His preaching ministry changed.
Mt16:21. “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”
“From that time forth Jesus began ...” is parallel with 4:17, “from that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Now Jesus began to talk about his death and resurrection.

He stopped announcing the gospel of the kingdom and its requirement of repentance, because it is not going to be set up for that generation, and he started announcing his death and resurrection, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The disciples hadn’t heard this message before. That’s why in the next verse, “Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.”

He also began to announce his return. Since the kingdom was rejected by that generation of Israel, he would have to return and set it up for a future generation of Israel. Mt16:27, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”

Mt21:43. “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” So the kingdom of God was taken from that generation of the nation of Israel, because they did not repent, and they did not “bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance,” Mt3:8. And it will be given to another nation of Israel, a future generation of Israel that will repent, and will bring forth the fruits thereof.

Mt23:39, “For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” He will not return to set up the Messianic Kingdom until a future generation of Israel will accept him as Messiah.

When Yeshua was being tried by Caiaphas and the council, he said, “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven,” Mt26:64. This is a reference to Daniel chapter 7.

We started off the book of Matthew with the phrase “kingdom of heaven” in Matthew 3:2 and 4:17 from Daniel chapter 2, where Nebuchadnezzar had a dream about a statue made of 4 metals, that represented the 4 world empires before the Messianic Kingdom: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. We finish up Matthew with this reference to Daniel chapter 7, where Belshazzar had a dream about 4 animals, that represented the same 4 world empires, before the Messianic Kingdom, when “one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed,” Dan7:13-14.


Implications for Principles of Biblical Interpretation

1) Interpret the Bible in Context. The author of one website stated in big red letters, “John preached repentance. Jesus preached repentance. And I preach, “Repent!” John preached “Repent” in Matthew 3:2, and Jesus preached “Repent” in Matthew 4:17, but Jesus stopped preaching “Repent,” after Matthew 12. If you are going to preach like Jesus, are you going to preach like Jesus preached during the first half of his ministry or the second half of his ministry?

2) Understand the Physical Realm in Scripture. The book of Matthew is largely about physical things, as we saw from Matthew 1:1, “The book of the genealogy.”
Spiritual things are more important, but physical things are very important too.

God is going to redeem all parts of creation. He has given us justification of our spirits now, and he will give us glorification of our bodies and an inheritance in the kingdom in the future. He will not let Satan have victory in any realm, not even in the physical realm.

Physical things can also be spiritual without ceasing to be physical. Jesus’ resurrected body was a spiritual body. “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body,” 1Cor15:44. But it did not cease to be physical when it became spiritual. After his resurrection, Jesus said, “handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. ... And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them,” Lk24:39-43.

Even ‘spiritual’ gifts belong to the changeable, physical realm, because they are ‘manifestations’ of the Spirit in the physical realm. “Now concerning spiritual gifts ... the manifestation of the Spirit is given,” 1Cor12:1-7.

God often deals with physical nations, such as Israel, as a group; but for spiritual things, he has to deal with us as individuals. God can judge a whole nation for the sins of some, or reward a whole nation for the obedience of some. Joshua and Caleb had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years with the rest of the nation. This was not unfair to Joshua and Caleb because they could still know and serve God despite this additional physical hardship. And the whole generation of Israel of Jesus’ day, including the apostles, missed out on having the kingdom set up during their lifetime, because of the decisions of their national leaders. But in the spiritual realm, every man must stand before God individually for salvation, for rewards, and for judgment.

Spiritual things don’t change. Righteousness and truth are always right, and sin is always wrong. But in the physical realm, it is appropriate that things change; even Jesus’ Messianic Kingdom ministry.

3) Dispensationalism is Correct; Covenant Theology is Wrong. The change in Jesus’ ministry shows that there are changes and ages during the working out of God’s plan.

Even Jesus is not “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” Heb13:8, in every way. He is unchangeable in the spiritual realm, in his righteousness, mercy, and power, yes! But even in his person, first he was God, then he became God and mortal man at the incarnation, and then he became God and immortal man at the resurrection. In the physical realm, first he was a small baby, and then he was an adult man. Sometimes he was thirsty; sometimes he was not.

There are ages and dispensations in God’s plans in the physical realm. God told Adam he could only eat plants; then he told Noah he could eat all meats, anything that moves; then he told Moses he could eat only some meats. These are mutually exclusive laws for different ages relating to things in the physical realm that are neither right nor wrong in themselves, like eating meat or not eating meat, that God changes from age to age.

The question often arises as to what would have happened if that generation had accepted Yeshua as Messiah; where would the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins come in? If that generation of Israel had accepted Jesus as Messiah and king, Judas would have betrayed Jesus to the Romans, the Romans would have crucified Jesus for insurrection, Jesus would have risen from the dead and ascended to heaven, the Antichrist would have arisen, the nations would have attacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple, Jesus would have returned and saved the remaining people, and he would have set up the kingdom back then during that generation. The only difference is that things would have happened earlier, and you and I would have been born during the kingdom, when prophecy says birth rates will be increased.

4) Don’t ‘Spiritualize’ the Scriptures. There is enough scripture that is talking about purely spiritual things, and there is enough scripture that is talking about things we ought to do to keep us busy, like 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks,” that we don’t also have to ‘spiritualize’ scriptures that are talking about physical things.

What sense would the book of Matthew be if we ‘spiritualized’ Israel to be the church here, like many Bible teachers do for Israel in the Old Testament scriptures? Using that method of interpretation, Jesus would have been offering justification (the ‘spiritualized’ kingdom of God) to those who are already in the church (the ‘spiritualized’ nation of Israel), who would have rejected Jesus and justification, when actually no one can be part of the church unless he has already accepted Jesus and justification.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”2Tim3:16, but all scripture is not about me, and it can still be profitable to me, without being all about me, and without being all about the church.

For example, Matthew 10 cannot be about us. Jesus told his 12 apostles, which are specified by name in the chapter, not to take a suitcase, or change of clothes, or money with them when they travel; and not to preach the gospel to any of the Gentiles. Matthew 10:5-10, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, ... provide neither gold, ... nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats.” You probably have a wallet in your pocket, and this passage certainly doesn’t apply to us, because we need to preach to the Gentiles. Even though it is not about us, or binding on us, we can learn from the example of the apostles’ faithfulness.

5) Understand Israel. Your view of Israel will have a large impact on your interpretation of scripture, because so much of the Bible is about Israel. Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum wrote a thesis entitled, “Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology,” because a right understanding of Israel is so crucial to rightly interpreting the Bible.

Israel and the church are not the same. The large majority of Israel has always been unsaved and unjustified. That’s why the Israelites gave Moses, and even God, as it were, such a hard time in the wilderness. During Elijah’s time, there were only 7000 believers in Israel. Most Israelites were natural men, enemies of God spiritually, without a new heart. So of course they didn’t act like the church, whose members are all justified, regenerate, led of the Spirit, and who love righteousness by their nature as children of God.

6) Understand the Kingdom. The future kingdom will be a physical kingdom that will exist in the political, economic, educational, and other parts of the physical realm; but it will be spiritual because it will be set up by Christ, and ruled by Christ, in conformity to Christ.

Jesus would not have had to change his ministry if he had offered, and then gone on to provide, a ‘spiritual’ kingdom. If Jesus had offered a ‘spiritualized’ kingdom, the national rejection would have made the kingdom even more “at hand,” Mt4:17, because it led to the cross and resurrection that supposedly established that kind of kingdom. And it would have been even more “at hand” after the rejection, than before, merely by the passage of time. But Jesus stopped announcing the kingdom was “at hand” after the rejection in chapter 12, because the physical kingdom he offered in the book of Matthew was no longer at hand for that generation.


Application

Look Forward to the Kingdom. A short time before the Kingdom is set up, we will be resurrected and glorified. This is our sure and certain hope. We “rejoice in hope of glory,” Rm5:2. And then in the kingdom, we will enjoy the rewards of our faithfulness and sufferings during this present time.

We are supposed to be looking forward to the kingdom. We are supposed to use our knowledge about the future kingdom to encourage ourselves to persevere through suffering and to motivate ourselves to labor harder during this present time. But how can our hope of the kingdom be an effective motivating force in our lives, if we don’t even know what the kingdom is? Therefore we should learn and teach about the kingdom. But we don’t hear much teaching or singing or conversation about the Messianic Kingdom now days, unfortunately; and we are really short-changing ourselves, to put it mildly.

The book of Revelation spends almost 19 chapters talking about the relatively short 7-year tribulation period, and then the only thing it says about the long kingdom period is that it lasts 1000 years. That’s because the Old Testament, especially in books like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the minor prophets, and Psalms, already give us a wealth of information about the Kingdom; and we should study those books and teach them. All Revelation added was the time factor.

Matthew 25:21 tells us a few things about the kingdom that we can use to encourage and motivate ourselves. First of all, it says that the kingdom will be a time of work. He says, “I will make you ruler over many things. You have been faithful in a few things.” So the Lord has a lot of responsibilities that he wants to give out during the kingdom. But he can’t give you those responsibilities in the kingdom if you don’t show yourself faithful in the few things that we have been given to do during this present time.

And also it says, “Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” The kingdom will be a time of great joy. So don’t be discouraged during the times of hardship and suffering we go through now, because we know about the joy that is coming in the kingdom.

Be Born Again. We need to keep in mind that, unfortunately, not everyone is going to be in the kingdom. And this is found in Matthew 8 verse 10. This is a passage about a Roman centurion who had demonstrated faith in the Lord. “When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” Mt8:10-12.

So the “children of the kingdom” are Jewish people, and the people that “come from the east and west” are Gentiles. It doesn’t mean that no Jewish people will enter the kingdom. It means that many of the children will be cast out, because being Jewish alone won’t get you into the kingdom. Going to church and being good won’t get you into the kingdom either. As it says in verse 10, faith is the only thing that will get you into the kingdom.

As John said in John 3:3, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” And he went on to say that the way to be born of the Spirit of God is by having faith in what Jesus did on the cross for us.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,” John3:16. God gave his Son on the cross as a substitute for us, for our sins. “That whosoever believeth in him,” has faith in him, and relies upon what he did for us. “Should not perish,” should not be cast out into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. “But have everlasting life.” And part of having everlasting life is to be there in the future kingdom.

So we definitely want to have a part in that, and be there in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all those that put their faith in God and Christ. And if you haven’t already done so, call upon the Lord in your heart, and tell him that you trust him and what he has done for you. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” Rm10:13.