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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
“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
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
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,”
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