#6 ~ Doubts about the Kingdom

#6 ~ Doubts about the Kingdom

If I remember correctly, I started this session by asking how many people know that they are saved? Everybody in the class raised their hands. Then I asked how many had ever had doubts about their salvation. Almost everybody raised their hands. Then of course you can identify with John the Baptist as he later had doubts about Jesus as the Messiah.

John 3:22-30 ~ John the Baptist affirms the ministry of Jesus. For a significant period of time, the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus were contemporary. John’s mission was to point to Jesus that He might increase. Here is that familiar wedding banquet language that we have seen before. How confident does John the Baptist seem about Jesus being the One?

Matthew 11:1-6 ~ John the Baptist doubts the ministry of Jesus. This passage teaches us several things. First, not every disciple of John the Baptist left John to follow Jesus. Some still considered themselves disciples of John and not disciples of Jesus. Second, John had doubts about the identity of Jesus. Why might this be? What does Jesus offer as the proof for His ministry? Note that Luke 7:11-23 includes more information including that someone had just been raised from the dead which prompted the disciples of John the Baptist to go to him in prison with a report; and the fact that many people had just been healed that very day.

Matthew 11:7-11 ~ Jesus affirms the ministry of John the Baptist. The crowd witnessed these disciples of John the Baptist as they questioned Jesus. As they were departing, Jesus addresses the crowd concerning the ministry of John the Baptist. Many of them had gone out to hear John preach. He asks them why they went out there. It seems that Jesus liked to joke around since He suggests two ridiculous reasons why they might have gone out there. {Jesus asks if they had gone out to see someone in fine clothes. Take a look at magazines today and look at what type of clothes they wear. If you want to see someone in fine clothes, you are not heading out to the desert because John wore camel hair.} He finally gets around to asking if they went out to see a prophet. The answer is yes. Jesus quotes Malachi 3:1 in reference to John the Baptist. Jesus also had no problem praising John the Baptist.

Matthew 11:12-15 ~ The significance of John the Baptist. Jesus gives us the dividing line between the prophets and the law and the preaching of the Kingdom of Heaven. Now with the Kingdom of Heaven being preached, some type of reaction was demanded. The language here is not passive, but aggressive. You must seize it forcefully. It is not enough to sit there and do nothing. See also Luke 16:16-17.

Note: All of the dispensational models need to include this. Whatever your position, whatever kind of chart you make, you must apply Matthew 11:12-15 to your position on how the different covenants or dispensations fit together. The law and the prophets were only until John, but most of these models end them at the cross. When you come across something in scripture, instead of a long, complicated explanation as to why your chart is right and this passage is wrong, adjust your chart.

The Kingdom of Heaven was something that was actively occurring with the ministry of John the Baptist and in the ministry of Jesus Christ. There is no way around the language of Matthew 11:12 and Luke 16:16. He was healing to show the power of the Kingdom of Heaven was present with Him. In fact, all of His miracles served to demonstrate this. He was forgiving sins to show the presence of the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 12:28 is quite specific.

Matthew 11:16-19 ~ The parable of the children in the marketplace. Jesus has a little parable for those who sat through the ministry of John the Baptist and His own ministry without repenting. Children in the marketplace with flutes or other musical instruments would look to entertain, possibly for a bit of extra money. If people were not in the mood for something happy, like a dancing song, then they would switch to a sad song, or a funeral dirge in hopes of people being moved to tears, possibly being reminded of a sad time in their life. Some days, the people just sat there through the happy and the sad so they had this saying they would call to each other on days like that. Jesus compares His generation that sat through the ministry of John the Baptist and His own ministry with no reaction to those people in the marketplace. John the Baptist was quite the serious preacher. Jesus seems to be the exact opposite. He would eat and drink with sinful people like tax collectors. This got Him a reputation as “Friend of sinners.” This may have been why John the Baptist seemed to doubt His ministry. John predicted fiery judgment when the Coming One arrived, see Matthew 3:10-12. When Jesus came, there was no fiery judgment, but a lot of eating and drinking. Do you know people that it seems impossible to get some kind of reaction out of them? They have heard the serious preacher. They have been to the outreach event designed to get them to eat and drink while they hear the gospel. They sit there like a bump on a log with no repentance.

Matthew 14:1-12 ~ The death of John the Baptist. I include this mainly for continuity.

Matthew 16:24-28 ~ A death sentence for following Jesus. If Jesus is the Messiah, why is He promising a death sentence for anyone who follows Him? If you saw someone carrying a cross in the days of Jesus, there would only be one reason why: they were on their way to their own death. Instead of trying to avoid this death sentence, Jesus says that if you try to save your life, you will lose it. The word translated lose is really a much harsher word in the Greek usually meaning to destroy or to perish. Apollumi is a compound word from apo (separation) and olethros (destruction). Here are two examples as to how Matthew uses the word. Matthew 2:13, “Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy (apollumi) Him.” Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill (apokteino) the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy (apollumi) both soul and body in hell.” What Jesus is truly saying here is that if you take up your cross for your own death, you will save your life, but if you try to save your life, you will end up destroying yourself. Only by marching to your own death sentence to you avoid the destruction of death.

Matthew 17:1-13 ~ The dual nature of Elijah. The transfiguration which the three disciples witnessed prompted a conversation about the person of Elijah. The disciples know what the scribes are saying, but they want to know what Jesus would say. Jesus affirms that the scribes are correct, “Elijah truly shall first come and restore all things.” But, Jesus says that Elijah has come already. So which is it? Will Elijah come in the future? Or has Elijah already come in the past? This points us to the dual nature of prophecy. Sometimes, prophecy cannot be nailed down to one generation. Did John the Baptist restore all things? Is there an Elijah in the future that will come and restore all things? What are these things that he will restore? See Malachi 4:5-6.

Two opposing points of view. In one corner, we have Dispensationalism. This was popularized by C. I. Scofield and the publication of the Scofield Study Bible. What follows is a summary of this position in regards to the Kingdom of Heaven. When Jesus presented His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount concerning the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom had only been announced as at hand. “At hand is never a positive affirmation that the person or things said to be at hand will immediately appear, but only that no known or predicted event must intervene. When Christ appeared to the Jewish people, the net thing, in the order of revelation as it then stood, should have been the setting up of the Davidic kingdom.” Therefore the Sermon on the Mount applies to the Kingdom of Heaven, whenever it will be established here on the earth, meaning strictly future. The Sermon on the Mount has no application to the church, but only a moral application to Christians (page 999-1000 notes). It is only after the rejection of the message of the Kingdom of Heaven that the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13 apply to the church. Up until this point, “The O.T. prophets saw in one blended vision the rejection and crucifixion of the King, … and also His glory as David’s Son.” Only here in Matthew 13 did Christ reveal the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. These parables show the Kingdom of Heaven existing in mystery form until the end of the age, which we know to be the church. Only then at the second coming of Christ will the Kingdom of Heaven come and be present here on the earth. The church does not currently have the power of the Kingdom of Heaven present.

In the other corner we have Catholicism and even Reformed Theology. The Catholic Church teaches the Kingdom of Heaven as referring solely to the church. They insist that Israelites had perverted the meaning of the kingdom so severely that when Christ came He was correcting their view concerning the kingdom when He announced it as at hand. The Kingdom of God means the ruling of God in our hearts. The seed and initial gathering of this kingdom is the Church, founded by Christ to preach the gospel of Christ and bring Christ’s own means of salvation to the world through the sacraments. The Kingdom was enshrined in the Church and they began to speak of the church as the Kingdom of God. The Church is the divine institution whereby we may make sure of attaining the spirit of Christ and so win the ultimate Kingdom of God where He reigns without end in the New Jerusalem.

For those who may have guessed, I do not ascribe to either one of these positions. The Kingdom of Heaven was present in the person of Jesus Christ. His disciples participated in the ministry of the Kingdom of Heaven. The church (see lesson #16 when I finally post it) also participates in the ministry of the Kingdom of Heaven). Yet the reign of Christ is not yet fully manifested as we know it will be. That does not mean that the Sermon on the Mount does not apply to the church. Those disciples that sat there listening to the Sermon on the Mount are both Israel and the church. They repented and entered the Kingdom of Heaven by faith.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

Posted in Bible, Eschatology, Parables, Parables of Jesus, Prophecy, The Gospel of Matthew, The Kingdom of God, The Kingdom of Heaven | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#5 ~ The Power and Value of the Kingdom

#5 ~ The Power and Value of the Kingdom

John the Baptist and Jesus came preaching, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” They never explained what was meant by this kingdom. But can we understand it from His teachings?

Matthew 5:2-12 ~ The Beatitudes. Matthew places the Sermon on the Mount toward the beginning of his gospel. These teachings should give us some insight as to what Jesus meant since He speaks of the Kingdom of Heaven, although it never seems like He fully explains it. Jesus pronounces a series of blessings upon a category of people that we know to be His chosen. One of these blessings is that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to these people.

From the other blessings we can get a picture of what this Kingdom of Heaven might be like. Each beatitude puts the characteristic of the people first, then the characteristic of the kingdom second. We can overlap them to get a composite picture of each. The people that will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven are: Poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungering after righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and persecuted. The Kingdom of Heaven can be seen to be:
Verse 3: The Kingdom of Heaven.
Verse 4: In this kingdom people are comforted.
Verse 5: It is here on the earth (read Psalm 37 in its entirety).
Verse 6: In this kingdom people will be filled and satisfied.
Verse 7: In this kingdom people will obtain mercy.
Verse 8: In this kingdom people will see God.
Verse 9: In this kingdom the citizens will be called the children of God.
Verse 10: The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to these people.
Verses 11-12: It is a place of great reward. Note that the reward is currently in heaven, but this kingdom seems to be here on earth. See Matthew 16:27 and Revelation 22:12 for more.

Matthew 5:13-16 ~ The role of “The Blessed” while they are here on the earth. Jesus gives His followers instruction on how they are to influence the world around them. You are the salt of the earth, the flavor of the whole earth. You are what makes the world taste good. You are the light of the world. You are what allows people to see anything that would bring glory to God. Without you shining your light, the world is in darkness. Currently the Father is in heaven, but His followers (the ones to whom the kingdom belongs) are here on earth.

Matthew 5:17-20 ~ Kingdom continuity. It is true that John the Baptist and Jesus began a new thing with the preaching of the Kingdom of Heaven. However, this ministry will be a fulfillment of the law and the prophets. The subsequent passage explains how the righteousness of the Kingdom of Heaven is a matter of the heart rather than following the letter of the law.

Matthew 6:9-15 ~ The Lord’s Prayer. This may surprise you but the Lord’s Prayer which we pray has insight into the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven. What does verse 10 teach us about the Kingdom of Heaven? What do verses 14-15 teach us about those who will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?

Matthew 6:33 ~ Seek first. The surrounding verses give a wide variety of things that people seek after. Food, clothing, treasures, money, all these things are second in comparison to the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

As mentioned before, Matthew includes seven parables of the Kingdom of Heaven all together in Matthew 13. We covered the first parable in a lesson focused on the Preaching of the Kingdom. We covered the second and seventh in a lesson focused on events concerning the end of the age. This leaves 3, 4, 5, and 6 which we will learn about in this lesson.

Matthew 13:31-32 ~ The parable of the mustard seed. The things that stand out here are the before and after picture of the mustard seed. Before, it is the smallest of all seeds. After, it is the greatest of the herbs, or greater than the herbs. It may seem insignificant now, but after it will be the greatest of all. If we correlate this with the beatitudes, what insights can we gain into being a peacemaker, showing mercy, forgiving others, and being meek?

Matthew 13:33 ~ The parable of the leaven. Jesus again wants to point out contrast. The leaven that would have been used would have been quite small. The amount of wheat flour was three measures, or three satons [which each saton is three gallons]. A bushel is a little over nine gallons, so think of a bushel. So this is nine gallons of wheat flour, probably the mixture which precedes dough. This little bit of leaven is taken and “hidden” in it, which it then in turn permeates the entire batch. How does the transforming power of the leaven relate to the beatitudes and the Kingdom of Heaven?

Note: I disagree with those who say that leaven must always refer to something evil in scripture. I worked in a bakery so I understand the power of leaven or yeast over the dough. A good baker mixes the ingredients first leaving the yeast out. Only after the dough is formed is the yeast added. The yeast permeates the already formed lump of dough.

Luke 13:18-21 ~ A Common Theme. It would make sense if these two parables had a common theme since they appear together in two different places. In both parables there is something seemingly insignificant which proves to be powerful enough to change the circumstances all around it. The tiny mustard seed becomes a full tree in which birds can nest. The leaven changes the entire lump of wheat to become edible bread. A good baker is relying on this little insignificant piece of leaven to make the entire batch of bread to be delicious. What we think of as insignificant in the here and now is powerful enough to transform. Forgiveness, mercy, meekness, and other such qualities the world despises, but they are the Kingdom of Heaven. These seem small now, but they will transform and be powerful in the end. If these two parables have the same basic interpretation, why did Jesus give them both to us?

Many times things are grouped in sevens in the scriptures. These groups of seven can also be broken into four and three. The seven seals in Revelation can be broken into the first four which each have colored horses with riders while the last three do not. With the seven trumpets, the first four are directed at the earth, sea, and trees while the last three each have a woe associated with it. Here in Matthew 13, the first four parables are spoken in the hearing of the multitude. After Jesus sends the multitude away, He gives the last three parables only to His disciples.

Matthew 13:44 ~ The Parable of the Hidden Treasure. In this parable the focus is on the knowledge that one person has while most others are ignorant of the value of this piece of land. He knows the treasure is there and is willing to do anything to gain it. He is joyfully selling everything because he knows in the end he will be rich. The value of this land is underestimated by everyone else. The actions by the one purchasing the land cannot be rationally explained to anyone else because they do not understand the value of the land.

Matthew 13:45-46 ~ The Parable of the Pearl. Like the last parable, the focus is on the knowledge of the merchant. He is in search of fine pearls and seems to have a knowledge that others do not have. Once he finds the one, he knows what to do. Why did Jesus give us two parables with the same meaning?

Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 14:25-35 ~ The Kingdom of Heaven before all. Do we really sell all that we have for the Kingdom of Heaven? These two passages portray a purposeful apprehension of discipleship. You leave behind everything and everyone. You take up your cross which was a death sentence.

Note: I presented to the class another interpretation for the parable of the Pearl (or merchant depending on what commentary you read). Some believe the merchant represents Christ who leaves heaven (sells everything) to purchase the church. They believe that the church is the pearl of great price, not the Kingdom of Heaven as I do. I am disagreeing with none other than Isaac Watts. If you read his classic hymn, Laden With Guilt and Full of Fears you see in the second stanza that he portrays the merchant as divinely wise reflecting this other interpretation of the parable. I stand by this simple interpretation that we as disciples are called to value the Kingdom of Heaven above all things. This is the thing for which we forsake all others. Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven.

I gave the example of someone calling people together to sell everything in their entire home to summon enough cash to purchase a field. It would make no sense for him to be selling couches, beds, furniture, appliances, etc. Why is he offering a discount on all of this stuff? The truth is that he needs the cash to purchase a field. Everyone else is left scratching their heads as to why he took this radical action. He sold everything? To buy that empty lot over there? It just sounds crazy. Until they find out he is now a millionaire.

To the world it makes no sense for us to value the Kingdom of Heaven above all things. We must place God’s Kingdom before this world and all of its pleasures. That is the interpretation of these parables that I hold.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

Posted in Parables, Parables of Jesus, The Kingdom of God, The Kingdom of Heaven, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Chris White

Fellow Prewrather, and podcaster, Chris White, took a 4 year hiatus but is back in action.  He blogs about the end times, specifically pointing out arguments and counter arguments for differing rapture positions.  It seems that he has returned with a fresh new energy for getting information out to all of us.  Note that if you scroll down through his blog, there will be essentially a 4 year jump in the dates.  Here is a link:

https://conspiracyclothes.com/nowheretorun/

The reason I noticed this is I got a pingback for my blog from his.  (I made that confused look that my wife likes to make fun of.)  I got over to his blog and saw the link, listened to the corresponding podcast, and realized he posted the link to provide his listeners with more information that he did not have time to delve into.

The article on my blog that he references is Revelation 14:14-16 Pictures the Rapture.  I had been putting forth this idea on different forums that I participate in and wanted one central post where all of the information could be found by anyone who wanted to read on this subject.  I had searched and had not found any article or any person who had something like what I envisioned.  So this post that I wrote took a lot of time and was motivated by faith.  Since that time many people have supported this idea that I have set forth in the article.  One of the subjects that I discuss is the parallel language between Revelation 14:14-16 and the parable of the wheat and the tares.

Chris White’s podcast has mainly to do with the parable of the wheat and the tares and the idea that this is the resurrection and rapture because of the resurrection language used in Matthew 13:43 which parallels Daniel 12:1-3.  I examine this as well in my article but my main focus is the language of Revelation 14:14-16.  In the final two minutes of his podcast Chris sent his readers/listeners to “The Orange Mailman which I highly recommend.  It’s one of the best Bible prophecy blogs on the internet.”

If you want to hear this high praise, or better yet, hear a podcast on how Matthew 24-25 cannot consistently support pretrib throughout the entire passage, and how Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 (The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares) must refer to the resurrection and rapture which occur after the time of tribulation because of the Daniel 12:1-3 parallel, then take a stroll over to this podcast right here.

Thanks for the hat tip, Chris.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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#4 ~ The Harvest of the Kingdom (Judgment Day)

#4 – March 24th ~ The Harvest of the Kingdom (Judgment Day)

It should come as no surprise that the Kingdom of Heaven comes with an aspect of judgment. John the Baptist and Jesus have been using language that suggests judgment and punishment. Verses that we have already covered include Matthew 3:10-12, 8:12, 10:15. As we are looking at the seven parables of the kingdom of heaven located in Matthew 13, we see that two of them have the interpretation that the judgment will occur at the end of the age. Before we get to these two parables, though, let’s look at language that Jesus has been using about Judgment Day, or The Day of Judgment.

It seems that the phrase “The Day of Judgment” originated with Jesus. There are hints of it in the old testament scriptures, but the phrase “The Day of Judgment” simply does not appear there. Some scriptures that are worth noting are Psalm 76:8-9, Ecclesiastes 12:14, Daniel 7:10, Malachi 3:5, but especially Psalm 96:12-13 echoed by Psalm 98:8-9 (which Psalm 92-99 seems to be one grand psalm portraying the coming of the Messiah). John and Jesus introduced the preaching of the Kingdom of Heaven and along with that there is this event that Jesus terms The Day of Judgment. Matthew uses the phrase the most, but it is also used by Mark, Peter, John, and Jude, see Matthew 10:15, 11:22, 11:24, 12:36, Mark 6:11, II Peter 2:9, 3:7, I John 4:17, and Jude 6. Paul has a very close equivalent worth mentioning found in Acts 17:31. Before we get to the parables, let’s look at two key passages in which Jesus uses this language.

Matthew 11:20-24 ~ Jesus condemns Galilee. For context, this is after the twelve disciples go forth from town to town preaching the gospel. Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were all located on the north side of the Sea of Galilee. These towns have had ample time and evidence to repent at the presence of the Son of God. Jesus describes a future judgment when cities which had experienced past destruction from God will be present as well. Tyre and Sidon had twice experienced God’s judgment. Isaiah 23 had foretold a destruction which came to pass in 722BC. Ezekiel 26-28 details a complete destruction which occurred at the hands of both Nebuchadnezzar II (a 13 year siege from 586BC-573BC) and Alexander the Great (332BC then later by Antigonus in 315BC). Sodom had experienced the wrath of God in Genesis 19. Given the wide time span here, how is it possible that all these cities will be present together on The Day of Judgment? Is it fair that Sodom was already punished by God but still must face The Day of Judgment? For those who want to study the cross reference of Ezekiel 26-28, there is a parallel language that Jesus uses to the language of Ezekiel. Tyre (Tyrus) was exalted to heaven, Ezekiel 28:12-19, but will be cast down to the lower parts of the earth, Ezekiel 26:19-21. Capernaum also was exalted to heaven but will be brought down to hades, or the realm of the dead.

Note: In the class it was generally agreed upon that the only way for all of these generations to experience judgment day together was the resurrection.

Matthew 12:38-45 ~ The Witnesses on The Day of Judgment. The cities that Jesus mentioned in the previous passage were recipients of God’s wrath. In this passage, the men of Nineveh escaped judgment because they repented. They will “rise in judgment” alongside the present generation to whom Jesus was speaking. They play the role of condemning the generation of Jesus. The Queen of the South refers to the Queen of Sheba which story is told in I Kings 10. She came from another country to seek out this king that God had set on the throne. The people of Capernaum didn’t have to travel anywhere, but instead the Son of God came to them. Jonah didn’t do one miracle, yet Nineveh repented. The Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon and rearranged her entire kingdom to find out the truth. The people of Galilee heard Jesus speak and witnessed countless miracles yet were not repentant.

Based on these two passages, what will The Day of Judgment be like? How does Jesus describe it?

In the class I led an activity. I gave three different sheets of paper with facts on them about a certain person. The first person was someone who had lived in Nineveh and had repented at the preaching of Jonah. I asked them a series of questions like, “So you don’t know very much about God?” “Yet you heard this Jonah person preaching to repent, is that right?” “Why did you repent?” The responses were something like, “I thought this God might give us a second chance. I heard we were going to be destroyed.”

The second one was the Queen of Sheba. I asked questions like, “So you lived in a faraway land and traveled all that way? Why did you make that long journey?” “Didn’t that take a lot of time and effort to travel all that distance?” “What did you find once you got there?” “Did you feel your journey was worth that long trip?”

The third one was a person who lived during the days of Jesus but had never repented. “So you know who Jesus of Nazareth is?” “Did you ever witness a miracle?” “Have you ever heard Him preach?” “What was the message that you heard?” And of course, “Why didn’t you ever repent?” The answers were something like, “Yes, I saw a miracle. Yes, I heard Him say that we needed to repent.” “I never thought it was that serious of an issue.”

Then I turned to the man from Nineveh and the Queen of Sheba. What do you have to say about this person? Both of you went through repentance or traveling a great distance to hear the truth. This person had the Truth walking through their own neighborhood and never repented. Is there any reason to withhold judgment?

Matthew 13:24-30 ~ The Parable of the Tares. This parable has some things in common with John’s parable of the threshing floor. In John’s parable the separation was between the grain and chaff on the wheat. Here the separation is between wheat and tares. The tares are darnell which is fake wheat. In both parables there is a gathering of the wheat into the barn. There is also a burning of what is thrown away, whether chaff or tares. Does it seem reasonable to apply this parable to The Day of Judgment about which Jesus has been speaking?

Note: There is a clear connection between the preaching of John the Baptist and that of Jesus. They were both prophesying a judgment by fire, or about The Day of Judgment.

Matthew 13:36-43 ~ The Explanation of the Parable. Jesus defines each symbol. (Note: This is a SS lesson designed to get people to search the scriptures for the answers.)
The Man who sowed good seed –
The field –
The good seed –
The tares –
The enemy –
The harvest –
The reapers –

What is the destination of the wicked? What is the destination of the righteous?
Note that we have encountered resurrection language twice in these passages. The men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South will “rise up” as in a resurrection. Here the righteous shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father, which would be the kingdom of heaven. Compare this with Daniel 12:2-3. This parable should give us great hope as far as our destination at the end of the age.

This parable seems to solve the problem of whether the kingdom of heaven was present during the ministry of Jesus or if Jesus was speaking of a kingdom that was completely in the future. The kingdom work is in the here and now in the field. Yet the kingdom is not completely pure. The judgment will occur at the end of the age and will include the righteous inheriting the earth while the wicked are cast out. The people of faith sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven but the wicked get thrown out into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. The answer to the question of whether the kingdom of heaven is present or future is yes.

Matthew 13:47-50 ~ The Parable of the Dragnet. We have another parable of the kingdom of heaven which occurs at the end of the age. This parable was designed for the fishing village in which Jesus was living and the surrounding area. At least four of the disciples of Jesus were fishermen. This would have been a familiar sight to anyone living on the Sea of Galilee. Jewish fishermen practiced the Jewish law and separated the clean from the unclean creatures, see Leviticus 11:9-12. Gentile fishermen did not do this, therefore Jewish fishermen had a larger clientele. Simon, Andrew, John, and James had walked away from a very lucrative business to follow Jesus of Nazareth. The good get gathered into vessels akin to the wheat being gathered into the barn. The bad are thrown away and the interpretation here is the same: they are thrown into a furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Again, the righteous (also termed the just) get to remain while the wicked are thrown out.

We are living during a time when the wicked and the righteous live side by side. How should these two parables affect our daily living? How should this future event affect our daily living? Have you ever had a time when you wished God’s judgment would come now? Do you think someone has wished God’s judgment on you? Is there anyone that you love that will experience God’s judgment on The Day of Judgment? How do you feel in the here and now knowing that some of your family and friends will be thrown out into the outer darkness? If you are called as a witness against someone that you love on the Day of Judgment, will you be able to say that you warned them? Based on everything we have studied today, what will the Kingdom of Heaven be like?

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

Posted in Day of Judgment, Eschatology, Judgment Day, Parables, Parables of Jesus, The Kingdom of God, The Kingdom of Heaven | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Riddle

A riddle in the classic style. If you know the answer, instead of typing it in the comments, please like or share the post. Thanks.

I cut off the head
of Lahmi’s brother.
Wrapped in a cloth
to wait for another.
Served with holy bread
to my new owner.
He took me to Gath
like a crazy loner.
Wielded by a man
who liked to sing.
Cut off the corner
of the robe of a king.
Can you be brought
to say my name?
If the answer is yes
you win the game.

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#3 ~ The Preaching of the Kingdom

#3 – March 17th ~ The Preaching of the Kingdom

Just a note before you read this: Please read each scripture passage before reading my commentary. God’s word must take precedence before my words. In the opening passage here, the two things I emphasized in the first lesson that Jesus did that John the Baptist did not do are miracles and going forth to the people. John the Baptist stayed out in the wilderness and in order to hear his message, everyone had to go out to him. Jesus went to the people.

Matthew 9:14-17 ~ The New Wine of the Kingdom of Heaven. Last week we saw two new things that Jesus did that John the Baptist did not do. What were these two things? Jesus gets criticism for His style of ministry. In response, Jesus points out that it would be highly inappropriate to fast while at a wedding banquet. We have already seen banquet language in reference to the Kingdom of Heaven, see Matthew 8:11-12. Jesus then tells two parables to explain how He is doing something new in the lives of His disciples. Remember, the original question related to His disciples (Why don’t your disciples fast?). He came to give them new wine. New wine was unfermented wine (non-alcoholic) but with the potential to be explosive in power. It would rip apart old wineskins. Essentially, Jesus is saying that the new wine that He is giving to His disciples would rip apart the old system. Only new wineskins would be able to contain the explosive power of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 10:5-15 ~ Jesus sends forth the twelve. Instead of relying on the crowds to come to Him, Jesus and His disciples go forth to where the people are to preach the Kingdom of Heaven. The message is simple, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” This is accompanied by the power to heal. This preaching of the Kingdom of Heaven is the new wine of which Jesus spoke. Jesus didn’t give this power to the priests at the temple, He didn’t give it to the disciples of John the Baptist, and He didn’t give it to the scribes and Pharisees. He gave it to His disciples that He personally chose. There are also consequences if people do not receive the message of the disciples, but not to be reckoned until the day of judgment. Chapter 10 gives the entire context, but these verses are pointed out to show that the disciples are participating in the preaching of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Yes, it’s not just Jesus. The disciples are there and preaching the gospel.

Matthew 13:1-9 ~ The Parable of the Sower. In Matthew 13, there are seven parables of the Kingdom of Heaven. I believe there is significance in the number seven. Matthew places these seven together for a reason. Some of them are unique to Matthew, but Luke includes them at different points in his ministry and it seems that Mark has an additional parable [which we will review] that is not included in any other gospel. The main point that we will see in this first parable is that the power of the Kingdom of Heaven is in the preaching of the word, specifically in the preaching of the gospel.

Matthew 13:10-17 ~ The explanation of the explanation. Before Jesus explains the parable of the sower, He has an explanation as to why He speaks in parables to begin with. This is the explanation that will explain why He needs an explanation for any parable. The short answer is that they (the people to whom they preach) are spiritually blind and deaf. The people that were flocking to see and hear Jesus and His miracles simply could not comprehend the message. In context, the reason is because they did not repent and believe the gospel, see Matthew 11:20. For all the multitude that gathered, very few understood the power of the Kingdom of Heaven that was present in the person of Jesus and His disciples. Notice how Jesus pronounces a blessing upon His disciples after explaining about the spiritual blindness of those on the outside, see Mark 4:11. Compare this statement with the phrase “outer darkness”.

Because Jesus quotes Isaiah 6 in His response, our class also examined the original context of the passage that Jesus quoted. This too gives insight into the preaching of the gospel.

Isaiah 6:8-10 ~ The Call of Isaiah. To sum up Isaiah 6, Isaiah sees a vision of God’s glory, he confesses the sinfulness of his own mouth and the sinfulness of his people, then God pronounces his sins as covered. Then there is a question from the Lord. Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? Notice the two aspects of the question. There is God’s part in sending someone. There is the person’s part in accepting the call to go on their own. Isaiah accepts the call and says that he will go. In response to that, God tells Isaiah the following. Go and give the message. They will hear but not understand. They will see you, but not repent and be converted. If you were Isaiah and had just accepted the call to go to the people, how would you react to this news that they will not repent? Do we fail to tell people the word of God because we think they will not repent and believe?

Matthew 13:18-23 ~ The explanation of the parable of the sower. There are four results of the sowing of the seed. What is meant by each type of situation?
#1 – Along the path.

#2 – Rocky ground, shallow soil.

#3 – Among the thorns.

#4 – On good soil.

Mark 4:26-29 ~ The parable of the seed. This is a parable only found in the gospel of Mark. The power of the Kingdom of Heaven to change lives and produce fruit is in the preaching of the word of God. The entire world revolves around the wisdom of God in the growth of a plant from a seed. All our food supply comes from seeds. Why does a seed grow? Scientists do not know why seeds grow. They just know that they do. As recipients of the word of God, we also cannot fully explain why the word of God produces fruit. We just know that it does. As we go forth to proclaim God’s word, we do not have a reasonable explanation for why it will work.

Preaching versus preaching the gospel. The Greek word which is translated “preach” in many places is kerusso which means to be a herald or to proclaim something openly. Here are the instances in Matthew’s gospel where this word is used, Matthew 3:1, 4:17, 4:23, 9:35, 10:7, 10:27, 11:1, 24:14, 26:13. The word that is translated as a phrase “preach the gospel” is euaggelizo. We get our word evangelize from this word. It is comprised of two words, eu and aggelos, which mean good and messenger. Eu is seen in other English words like eulogy which means good word or euphemism which means good sound. Aggelos is seen as angel which we know as a messenger from God. To put it succinctly, the word means to good message, although we don’t talk that way. It is interpreted to preach the gospel which is a very good dynamic equivalent. In Matthew’s gospel it appears only in 11:5, but it appears in many places throughout scripture, see Luke 1:19, 2:10, 3:18, 4:18, 4:43, 7:22, 8:1, 9:6, 16:16, 20:1; Acts 5:42, 8:4, 8:12, 8:25, 8:35, 8:40, 10:36, 11:20, 13:32, 14:7, 14:15, 14:21, 15:35, 16:10, 17:18.

Matthew 10:16 ~ I am sending you out. The mindset of most churches is to come to church and sit and listen to preaching. This can be fine for the purposes of fellowship, discipleship, teaching, ministering to the needs of other Christians, and worship. However, for the purpose of proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven as being at hand, for the purpose of evangelism, the mentality of come to church and sit is the exact opposite of the ministry of Jesus and His disciples. The new wine with explosive power that Jesus gave to His disciples would compel them to go forth to other places in order to proclaim and evangelize. The idea of “invite people to church” is the exact opposite of the method of Jesus and the early church. We say we are disciples of Jesus. But are we? The ministries of Evanston should fall into line with the ministries of the new testament church. In order to do evangelism, we must have the new wine that Jesus gave to His disciples to go forth to where the people are and not make them come to us. The present power of the Kingdom of Heaven is in the preaching of the gospel. When the church does not preach the gospel, the power of the Kingdom of Heaven is not present.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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#2 ~ The Healing of the Kingdom

What is meant by the gospel? What difference has it made in your life?

I opened the discussion in this way because many people associate the gospel with the good news that Jesus Christ has died for our sins. However, the gospel was being preached by Jesus Christ years before this happened. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news, but it is the good news encompassing more than just “Jesus died for your sins.”

Matthew 4:12-25 ~ Jesus enters public ministry. Jesus began His public ministry with the same words that John the Baptist spoke, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This shows a continuity with the message and preaching of John. However, there are some new things that happen with the ministry of Jesus that did not happen with John’s ministry. John confined his ministry to the wilderness and all of Judea went out to meet him in that deserted area. Jesus comes to Capernaum (where the people are) which was a well-known fishing village and seeks out people to follow Him. In light of the message of John the Baptist and Jesus that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, how would you have felt about Jesus calling out to you to follow Him? What do you think the future would have in store for you if you had left everything to follow this man who claimed that the kingdom of heaven was at hand?

What is meant by the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom? What difference has it made for you?

Note: I drew on the markerboard behind me an illustration of one man out in the middle of the desert and everyone going to him. Then I drew an illustration of Jesus going forth to each town. I pointed out that the preaching of the gospel beginning with Jesus Christ means that we take the gospel to them. The idea of “come to church” is not truly gospel oriented. Gospel dictates we go to those that need to hear it.

Matthew 4:23-24 with Greek words depicting the sicknesses that Jesus healed. And healing all manner of nosos and malakia among the people. And they brought unto Him all kakos people that were taken with various nosos and basanos, and those which were daimonizomai, and those which were seleniazomai, and those that were paralutikos. Translation of these Greek words. Nosos = sickness or disease. Malakia = bodily weakness. Kakos = miserable or ill. Basanos = torments or torture. Daimonizamai = under the influence of a devil or demon. Seleniazomai = Under the influence of the moon, lunatic, epileptic. Paralutikos = paralyzed or disabled.

Jesus begins healing all kinds of people including those that are possessed by devils. Verse 24 gives a wide variety of sicknesses and physical ailments that Jesus healed. The point seems to be that there was no condition which Jesus could not heal. If you were hearing the preaching of Jesus that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and then witnessing Him healing all manner of sicknesses, what would be your view of the kingdom of heaven? What do you think are the purposes of the healing miracles?

Matthew 8:5-13 ~ The Faith of the Centurion. This story gives us insight into the authority of Jesus over sickness. Up to this point, Jesus has been physically present at every healing described in the gospel of Matthew. [It is possible that John 4:43-54 occurred before this, but most people were not there to witness that miracle.] The centurion comes with a request and Jesus immediately wants to come and be physically present to heal his servant. The centurion responds that Jesus does not need to come and be physically present because of His authority. Jesus is genuinely surprised at the man’s response. He draws attention to the centurion’s understanding of His authority stating that it took great faith for him to stop Jesus from physically coming to his home. Can you imagine the walk home for the centurion? He had no proof that his servant was healed, yet he was confident in the authority of Jesus that his servant would be completely healed when he arrived. How often do we have this confidence when asking Jesus for our requests? What are things that we can ask with that confidence?

Jesus points out that the faith of this Gentile was something not found in all of Israel. This Gentile put the entire nation of Israel to shame. Jesus continues with the first hint of banquet language which will serve as foundational to other parables. What can we learn about the kingdom of heaven from this language? Who will be in the kingdom of heaven? Who is thrown out of the kingdom of heaven? Is the kingdom of heaven present in the person of Jesus or is it future with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? This is the first time out of six that Matthew uses the phrase “weeping and gnashing of teeth”; 8:12, 13:42, 13:50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30. The phrase “outer darkness” appears in three of these passages; 8:12, 22:13, 25:30.

Gathering language from the prophets. There are hints that Jesus was alluding to other prophecies when using His language of being brought into the kingdom of heaven. Narrowing our search to passages which use the closest language that Jesus used will lead us to Isaiah 43:5-6 and Isaiah 49:12. While the context of Isaiah 43:1-6 would have been that of the nation of Israel, the passage further portrays a gathering of all nations in Isaiah 43:7-10. The prophecy seems to shift to include language not limited to the nation of Israel, but uses terms like “my sons”, “my daughters”, and “even every one that is called by My name.” When Jesus tells of this gathering into the kingdom of heaven from the east and west, He makes a point of Gentile inclusion. The language of Gentile inclusion was present in Isaiah 43:1-10 and it is present in the language of Jesus. Not all Israelites will be welcomed in, and not all Gentiles will be shut out. Isaiah 49 is more complex, but a simple reading of the passage noting verses 6 and 22 shows that verse 12 should include Gentiles being gathered into the kingdom of heaven.

Since Jesus is pointing out that Gentiles will be gathered into the kingdom of heaven while Israelites are thrown out, what would many Israelites have thought about this kingdom of heaven that Jesus was preaching? Also remember that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not Israelites, yet they were considered the patriarchs of the nation of Israel. What was the characteristic for which they were most esteemed? What are the two characteristics that we have now seen which are required for entrance into the kingdom of heaven? See Mark 1:15 and Acts 20:21. (Answers are faith and repentance.)

We also had a discussion on the location of this kingdom. Where are they being gathered to? Is it up to heaven or here on earth?

Matthew 8:14-17 ~ Jesus bears our sicknesses. Matthew again points out the healing power of Jesus. Then he makes a surprising point about fulfilled prophecy. Matthew states that these healings were done to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 53:4. Not all translations render this accurately. Here it is in the Holman Christian Standard Version which helps more so than any other translation [that I have found] when it comes to comparing to Matthew 8:17.

Isaiah 53:3-4
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like one people turned away from;
He was despised, and we didn’t value Him.
Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses,
and He carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded Him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.

Note: I think some translators had a problem with seeing Jesus as “a man of pain who knew sickness”. That is literally what it says. “He has borne our sickness and carried our pain.” That one is more understandable, but the Hebrew words are the same. “Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” simply does not capture the Hebrew and that is reflected by Matthew’s insight into this passage.

Read Isaiah 53:3-6. Matthew states that the reason for the healing miracles is because Jesus came to take upon Himself everything related to sickness, suffering, and even sin. At the home of Simon Peter this was brought to fulfillment. Some people believe that the word “fulfilled” means completed or in the past. This is not so. It means “filled to the full”. The prophecy of Isaiah was not completed and put in the past because Jesus has many more people He will heal, and He has yet to take the sins of the world upon Him at the cross. Jesus healed these people that we might know His role as the suffering servant to take it all upon Him, sicknesses, pains, and even sin. What does this have to do with the kingdom of heaven? Should we mention the healing power of Jesus when preaching the gospel?

Class closed with a very good discussion on how healing is an essential part of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven is healing. The power of the Kingdom of Heaven was being demonstrated by Jesus Christ as there was nothing He could not heal. The Kingdom of Heaven will be a place where nothing cannot be healed.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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#1 ~ The Harbinger of the Kingdom (John the Baptist)

#1 ~ The Harbinger of the Kingdom (John the Baptist)

Discussion. What is the meaning and significance of baptism?

The first two parable of the Kingdom of Heaven are not spoken by Jesus, but by John the Baptist.

Matthew 3:1-3 ~ The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness. Matthew quotes Isaiah 40:3 in reference to John the Baptist. Let’s compare Isaiah 40:3-11 to understand the context. Verses 3-5 talk about preparing a highway for God. Verses 6-8 give the message that the voice is supposed to proclaim. Verses 9-11 tell us that the message goes out from Jerusalem that the Lord GOD will come with might and be a shepherd to His people.

(This was a good discussion and prompted a discussion at the end of the lesson about how closely John’s message paralleled the message presented here. All flesh is as grass and will wither away. John’s message was one of judgment by fire.)

Matthew 3:4-6 ~ Dressed like Elijah. The language that Matthew uses to describe John the Baptist should have reminded his readers of the prophet Elijah, see II Kings 1:7-8. A garment of hair and a leather belt was the trademark dress of the prophet. Note: A garment of hair may have been the trademark of any prophet, see Zechariah 13:4-5. He scavenged off the land in order to eat. This also may have reminded the people of Elijah, see I Kings 17:4-6. The people were baptized and confessed their sins. So how was John helping to make a highway for God?

Matthew 3:7-10 ~ John refuses to baptize the Pharisees and Sadducees. Instead of baptizing them, John publicly calls them snakes. He states that they have not repented because they have not brought forth fruits worthy of repentance. He states that they are not coming because they have been warned of God’s wrath which is to come. John’s response shows what they put their hope in, namely a presumption that they were already children of Abraham. See Luke 3:10-14 for John’s preaching on specific repentance.

(I asked the class the question, “What would happen if someone came to our church to be baptized and we refused to baptize them because we did not see fruits worthy of repentance?” I remember one comment being, “That might come across as judgmental.”)

The significance of the baptism of John. Christ had not been crucified, yet John baptized. What was the significance? The best explanation I have found comes from GE Ladd who picked this up from TW Manson. Baptism was total immersion in water. There was a ritual in the law for lepers being cleansed from their leprosy. The ritual was not cleansing them from that leprosy, but an outward sign that they had already been cleansed, see Leviticus 14:8-9. This applied to almost any other type of uncleanness as well, see Leviticus 15:5, 10, 13, 16-18, 21, 27. By the time John the Baptist started preaching, there were mikveh pools throughout Judea in various places for the purpose of this ritual cleansing. The Jews had also devised a system of proselytization for those Gentiles who wanted to convert to Judaism. Males must be circumcised, all must participate in the Passover Feast, and all must be immersed (baptized) in a mikveh pool to show their complete forsaking (repentance) of worshiping false gods and turning to the One, True God. If John was commanding Jews to be baptized, could they have been offended?

Consider the following quote from TW Manson: If we confine the search to Judaism, the most likely of all the Jewish lustrations is the proselytes’ immersion: and that for two chief reasons. First, the proselytes’ immersion differs from the other Jewish washings in that it is a once-for-all rite that is not repeated: and in this respect it agrees with John’s baptism, which equally seems to have been administered once only to each postulant. Secondly, the derivation of John’s rite from the proselytes’ immersion determines the kind of ideas to be associated with John’s baptism: and those ideas fit admirably into the general picture of John’s convictions and expectations. ~~ It seems to me that the point – and it is a very sharp and stinging point – of John’s procedure is that he deliberately invites the children of Abraham to submit to a rite which had been devised for the benefit of Pagans. He says in effect: You call yourselves Jews, you claim to be the descendants of Abraham, you demand the privileges that belong to Israel. You have no right to the name, no right to the status; you have forfeited all by your wickedness. You have only one chance. You must begin where the unclean Gentile begins – at the bottom. You must rediscover, and re-learn your Judaism from the beginning. Only so can you hope to have any part in the good time that is coming.

The first parable of John. We get to the first parable of John concerning the preaching of the Kingdom of Heaven. The axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. What would this show us about John’s understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven? Does this show a sense of urgency? Do we have that same sense of urgency?

(I tried to utilize this series to prompt our church to do evangelism. If there really is this judgment coming and the preaching of the kingdom of heaven is a warning of that judgment, how urgent are we about preaching this gospel of the kingdom?)

Matthew 3:11-12 ~ The parable of the threshing floor. In Luke 3:15-17, John was saying this to dissuade them from the idea that he is the Messiah. He begins to point to One that is coming. John is unworthy, but the Coming One is Worthy. What are the things that the Coming One will accomplish?

Here are some insights into the language that John was using. Wind winnowing is an agricultural method developed by ancient cultures for separating grain from chaff. It is also used to remove hay and chaff or other pests from stored grain. Threshing, the loosening of grain or seeds from the husks and straw, is the step in the chaff-removal process that comes before winnowing. In its simplest form it involves throwing the mixture into the air so that the wind blows away the lighter chaff, while the heavier grains fall back down for recovery. Techniques included using a winnowing fan (a shaped basket shaken to raise the chaff) or using a tool (a winnowing fork or shovel) on a pile of harvested grain.

In Matthew 3:12, the wheat is sunago, which means to draw together or gather together, and even carried the idea of welcoming someone into their home. It is a compound word from “to lead” and “with”. It is used many times in the book of Acts when the church was gathered together for assembly. When John says His (Christ’s) wheat will be sunago into the barn, this is eternal dwelling place language. It is directly related to the word sunagoge which is translated synagogue. The idea is coming together for an assembly. The chaff is to be burned with unquenchable fire. This relates to the parable of the axe and the trees. Based on these two parables now, what is John’s understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven?

(This language should be considered foundational for other passages which talk about being gathered into the kingdom of heaven. There is a gathering for the wheat, but there is judgment for the chaff. All other parables should look back to this one which was preached first.)

Matthew 3:13-17 ~ The Baptism of Jesus. Matthew concludes the ministry of John the Baptist with the baptism of Jesus. It’s almost as if Matthew is saying that once Jesus was baptized, the work of John was essentially done. We know from John 3:25-30 that there was a significant period of time during which Jesus and John were both baptizing people. The arrangement of Matthew makes for a smooth transition for us to focus on Jesus now instead of on John and his preaching. Just before the baptism, John once again admits he is unworthy. Fiery preacher that he was, he knew his own sinfulness. There were immediate signs after Jesus was baptized to show His true identity. What are these signs? John 1:29-34 shows that God had told John ahead of time that when he baptized the Coming One that the Holy Spirit would descend upon Him and remain. When John saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove, he knew that this was a fulfillment of what God had promised him. Jesus is the One.

What is the Kingdom of Heaven? From this story here, we may not have a clear picture. Throughout the coming weeks we will see what Jesus says about the Kingdom of Heaven.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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The Kingdom of Heaven in Story Form ~ Outline

Exploring the Parables of Jesus concerning the Kingdom of Heaven

When someone in my class suggested this series to me, I knew there was no material out there that would teach this the way I would. So I decided to write the material myself. I sat at my kitchen table praying for over three hours. One by one, God would show me a lesson from scripture based on a parable. Ten minutes in prayer for one lesson, fifteen minutes in prayer for another lesson, one by one he showed me what He wanted me to teach. Here is the outline that I wrote on that day. What will follow is each lesson in this series which was taught earlier this year.

#1 – March 3rd ~ The Harbinger of the Kingdom (John the Baptist) – Matthew 3:1-17

#2 – March 10th ~ The Healing of the Kingdom – Matthew 4:12-25, 8:5-17

#3 – March 17th ~ The Preaching of the Kingdom – Matthew 9:14-17, 10:5-15, 13:1-23, Mark 4:26-29

#4 – March 24th ~ The Harvest of the Kingdom (Judgment Day) – Matthew 11:20-24, 12:38-45, 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50

#5 – March 31st ~ The Power and Value of the Kingdom – Matthew 5:2-20, 6:9-15, 33, 13:31-34, 44-45, Luke 13:18-20

#6 – April 7th ~ Doubts about the Kingdom – Matthew 11:1-19, Luke 16:16-17, Matthew 14:1-12, 16:24-17:13

#7 – April 14st ~ The Kingdom is for the Lost – Matthew 18:1-4, 10-14, Luke 15, Isaiah 53:6

#8 – April 21st ~ The Kingdom is a Place of Forgiveness – Matthew 18:15-35, 6:7-15

#9 – April 28th ~ The Workers of the Kingdom – Matthew 19:27-20:28, 12:28, Luke 11:20

#10 – May 5th ~ The Inheritance of the Kingdom – Matthew 21:28-46, Luke 13:6-9, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19

#11 – May 12th ~ The Royal Invitation to the Kingdom – Luke 14:7-24, Matthew 22:1-14

#11 – May 12th ~ The Royal Invitation to the Kingdom – Luke 14:7-24, Matthew 22:1-14

#12 – May 19th ~ The Olivet Discourse (The Parable of the Fig Tree) – Matthew 24:1-35

#13 – May 26th ~ Prepared for the Kingdom (Prepared for the Coming of the Son of Man) – Matthew 24:36-25:13, 7:21-23, Luke 13:22-30, Mark 13:32-37

#14 – June 2nd ~ The Productivity of the Kingdom – Luke 19:11-27, Matthew 25:14-30

#15 – June 9th ~ The Separation of the Sheep from the Goats – Matthew 25:31-46, 10:26-33, 12:33-37, 26:26-29, 64

#16 – June 16th ~ The Church: Working for the Kingdom of God
The Resurrection: Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 1:1-5, Acts 4:2, 33
The Church Preaches the Kingdom of God: Acts 8:12-13, 19:8, 20:24-25, 28:23-28
The Identity of the Church: Colossians 1:13-14, 4:11, I Thessalonians 2:9-12
The Unshakeable Inheritance of the Church: I Corinthians 6:2, 9-11, James 2:5, II Peter 2:8-11, Hebrews 12:25-29
Suffering for the Kingdom of God: Acts 14:21-23, II Thessalonians 1:4-8, Revelation 1:9, 12:10-12
The Future Kingdom for the Church: II Timothy 4:1-2, 18, I Corinthians 15:20-28, 50-58

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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The Kingdom of Heaven in Story Form

So it’s been over a year.  I’m not gone, just busy.  I teach twice on Sundays for the majority of the year in addition to other church duties.  I teach an adult Sunday School class and have been alternating between teaching curriculum and writing my own material.  I have been taking suggestions from the class for what we should study.  A good (best) friend of mine suggested we learn about the parables of The Kingdom of Heaven, especially as a tool for evangelism.  With the help of God, I wrote a 16 lesson series all about the nature of The Kingdom of Heaven as revealed by Jesus through the parables.

What will follow are the outlines that I handed out to my Sunday School class.  Many of these sessions were recorded and I had hoped I could provide links to them.  The discussion was very good and provides additional insight not captured in my pre-typed lesson plan.  However, with such a long delay in getting the messages transferred to the internet, I have decided to simply post my lessons and if the sessions are uploaded to the internet, I will go back and edit the post providing the link to the audio.

Keep in mind, my view of The Kingdom of Heaven is not dispensational.  I believe the word of God teaches very clearly the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven and a lot of people have it wrong.  What follows may not fit your preconceived idea of The Kingdom of Heaven.  Consider these lessons and study the word of God for yourself.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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