In Part 1 we saw that Jesus was commissioned by the Father to announce a gospel of salvation, which encompassed the kingdom of God, along with ‘the things concerning himself’ (revealing the Father, providing reconciliation etc).
In this study we will focus on the gospel of the kingdom of God and in a future study concentrate on ‘the things concerning Jesus Christ’.
In order to properly understand the gospel message that Jesus was preaching we need to have some appreciation of the importance and context of certain events in the Hebrew scriptures, which are constantly used as reference points. The people of Jesus’ day knew the import of these and needed no explanation, however in this day and age we need this background context explaining.
As an example, why is Abraham referenced 73 times in the New Testament scriptures by most of the writers, and how is that relevant to us today? For instance Jesus himself said ‘Abraham looked forward to his day’ (John 8:56), Paul said ‘Abraham is father of us all’ (Romans 4:16-17), ‘the gospel was preached to Abraham’ (Galatians 3:8) and also ‘God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you’ (Galatians 3:29).
Did Paul describe the whole ministry of Jesus as a confirmation of “the promises made to the patriarchs” ?
Romans 15:8 ESV
For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,
So first of all we will get a little background before looking at the gospel message itself.
Did Yahweh start working with Abraham (Abram, before his name change) by instructing him to leave his native land and to go where He would lead him, and He would bless him and make him to be a blessing to the whole population of the earth?
Genesis 12:1-4 WEB
Now Yahweh said to Abram, “Get out of your country, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you, and make your name great. You will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. In you will all of the families of the earth be blessed.” 4 So Abram went, as Yahweh had spoken to him. Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed out of Haran
Did Yahweh promise by covenant to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants?
Genesis 13: 14-15 WEB
Yahweh said to Abram, after Lot was separated from him, “Now, lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land which you see, I will give to you, and to your offspring forever.
Genesis 15:18 WEB
In that day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:
Genesis 17:7-8 WEB
I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your seed after you.8 I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land where you are traveling, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. I will be their God.”
Psalms 105:7-15 WEB
He is Yahweh, our God. His judgments are in all the earth. 8 He has remembered his covenant forever, The word which he commanded to a thousand generations, 9 The covenant which he made with Abraham, His oath to Isaac, 10 And confirmed the same to Jacob for a statute; To Israel for an everlasting covenant, 11 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, The lot of your inheritance;” 12 When they were but a few men in number, Yes, very few, and sojourners in it. 13 They went about from nation to nation, From one kingdom to another people. 14 He allowed no one to do them wrong. Yes, he reproved kings for their sakes, 15 “Don’t touch my anointed ones. Do my prophets no harm.”
Did God reiterate His ongoing covenant promise of the land to Abraham’s descendants long after his death – some six times in Psalms 37
Psalms 37:9 WEB
For evildoers shall be cut off, But those who wait for Yahweh shall inherit the land.
Psalms 37:11 WEB
But the humble shall inherit the land, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
(Remember Christ’s sermon on the mount “the meek will inherit the land (or earth)” Matthew 5:5)
Psalms 37:18 WEB
Yahweh knows the days of the perfect. Their inheritance shall be forever.
Psalms 37:22 WEB
For such as are blessed by him shall inherit the land. Those who are cursed by him shall be cut off.
Psalms 37:29 WEB
The righteous shall inherit the land, And live in it forever.
Psalms 37:34 WEB
Wait for Yahweh, and keep his way, And he will exalt you to inherit the land. When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
In our previous study ‘What kind of Messiah did the people expect?’ we looked into various Messianic scriptures which promised a descendant of Abraham, through Isaac, Jacob and David would come as the Messiah, son of Yahweh God, king to rule over the land – even all the nations, the whole earth – ruling on the throne of David, over the kingdom of God on earth. (Please take time to review that study again in ‘Category – Jesus’ and ‘Archive – May 2017’).
When Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God, the people were familiar with the covenant promises of ‘the land’, the Messiah on the throne of David, and a restoration of the kingdom.However, there were a few things that had to be explained and clarified to fully understand the good news message he was bringing from God. It would be realised properly at his second coming.
Did Paul clarify that the covenant promises made to Abraham were also made to Christ as his offspring/descendent? Christ is the heir!
Galatians 3:16 WEB
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He doesn’t say, “To seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “To your seed,” which is Christ.
The good news for us is in verse 29
Galatians 3:29 WEB
If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise.
If we are Christ’s we are Abraham’s offspring too – we are heirs too, we inherit according to the promise, with Christ. We inherit the kingdom, the land, the earth.
To recap, what did Jesus come preaching?
Mark 1:14-15 NASB
Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
What did Jesus say the meek would inherit?
Matthew 5:5 NRSV
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Did Paul confirm this in his letter to the Romans?
Romans 4:13 NRSV
For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
Did Paul point out that the saints will judge (rule) the world?
1 Corinthians 6:2 NRSV
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?
2 Timothy 2:12 NRSV
if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us;
Did Jesus say he was to rule the kingdom and his followers would rule with him?
Matthew 19:28 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Luke 22:28-30 NRSV
“You are those who have stood by me in my trials; 29 and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
In the book of Revelation, where did John say we would reign? On earth?
Revelation 5:10 NRSV
you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.”
Did James also confirm this good news that we can be heirs of the kingdom?
James 2:5 NRSV
Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?
Jesus preached many parables about inheriting the kingdom, for example:
Matthew 25:34 CJB
“Then the King will say to those on his right, `Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.
Matthew 21:38 CJB
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, `This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance!’
Jesus was telling the people (and us today) that at his return to earth (his second coming) he will usher in the kingdom of God, and be given rulership over the whole earth, administering Yahweh God’s government. And that his true followers, those who believe him, repent and accept God’s gracious offer, can be forgiven, reconciled to our Father God and share the rule of this earth in righteousness with Jesus Messiah, son of God.
This can be our inheritance along with Jesus, the first born of many brethren (Romans 8:29).
This worldwide Messianic rule is the fulfilment of the covenant promises made by Yahweh to Abraham – who will himself be a part of this Kingdom of God when he is resurrected at Christ’s return (I Thessalonians . 4:13-17, I Corinthians. 15:23, 50-52).
Paul says that Christ confirmed the promises given to the patriarchs:
Romans 15:8 NRSV
For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,
Does Daniel 7:27 paint a wonderful picture of this kingdom of God on earth?
Daniel 7:27 WEB
The kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole the sky, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High: his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
Please review Psalms 2:2-9, Psalms 45:2-7, Psalms 72:9-14, Isaiah 9:6-7 & Isaiah 11:1-16 for further descriptions of the kingdom of God on earth under the rulership of Jesus Messiah.
And yet Jesus made an amazing statement in Mark chapter 4 just after he had told the parable of the sower – quoting Isaiah 6:9-10 – he said that many would not see, hear or understand, for if they did they would repent (turn to God) and He would forgive them:
Mark 4:10-12 NRSV
When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that “they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’ “
In the parable of the sower in Mark 4:3-20, Jesus is explaining how important comprehending or not comprehending the ‘word’ (the gospel message) is, and how Satan hates it and will snatch it away if he possibly can:
Mark 4:15 NRSV
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.
We saw earlier that Jesus said it was necessary to repent and believe the message regarding the kingdom of God:
Mark 1:14-15 NRSV
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
So we must pay attention, listen and believe what Jesus taught, if we want to enter into the kingdom at his return.
We have seen that Jesus came preaching the good news message from Yahweh God regarding the setting up of God’s government on earth, under his rulership as Messiah King, at his return. That we who believe and are saved can have a part in this kingdom of God, as co-inheritors with Messiah – this is Yahweh fulfilling His covenant promises to Abraham and the patriarchs from the Hebrew scriptures. This is marvellous news of a wonderful future in a perfect world, according to our Father’s perfect plan.
This isn’t the complete message though, there remains the all important aspects of how we are saved, reconciled to our Father God and made ready to inherit this kingdom – so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:3). These things we will study next time in Part 3.