Talking About the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God
There is a good reason why many churchgoers have a very vague idea of what the Bible says about the future of our world. The truth is that Yeshua's teaching about a future Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, a new divine world government, is extremely unpopular in religious academic circles. Academic theologians train pastors who teach churches.
Scholars would much prefer a Yeshua who taught an ethic of timeless love and fellowship with YEHOVAH God. They are much less enthusiastic about a God who promises to send His Son to introduce, by cataclysm, a new world order on earth. Yet the Messiah promised his followers that they would inherit just such a new society on earth, the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God (Matt. 5:5). Yeshua never promised anyone "heaven." He did say that a Christian's reward is presently stored with YEHOVAH God in heaven. That reward will be bestowed on believers when the Messiah returns to establish the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God on earth (1 Pet. 1:4, 5).
The reward is to inherit the promised renewed earth of the future, the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God (Matt. 5:5; Rev. 5:10). Belief in a brand new world coming is the essence of the Hebrew prophets' message, and it is the heart of what Yeshua taught under his banner: "The Gospel about the Kingdom of God" (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; Luke 4:43; Acts 8:12; 19:8; 28:23, 31).
If one reads scholarly analyses of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God in the teaching of the Messiah, it is easy to see that Yeshua's emphasis on the Kingdom to come at his return to the earth is bypassed and ignored. Some scholars, finding this information about a future apocalyptic Kingdom uncongenial, argue that the disciples, in their misunderstanding of the Messiah, must have read the future Kingdom of YEHOVAH God back into Yeshua's words and thus misrepresented him.
There is another scholarly technique by which the teaching of Yeshua may be evaded. This proposes that the Messiah did use language which sounds as if he believed in a great future intervention in the affairs of man, but that he used such language only out of deference to popular ignorance. He really meant something quite different. And what he meant is what we all anyway wish he had meant: a Kingdom in the heart, a gentle fellowship with YEHOVAH now.
Theology has some serious unfinished business. It must come to terms, courageously and candidly, with the fact that the Christian Gospel, as the Messiah preached it, announces a coming catastrophic intervention by YEHOVAH God to put an end to injustice and human mismanagement of the planet, to destroy those who are destroying the earth (Rev. 11:18). Yeshua spoke always about the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, as did Paul. It is fascinating to observe how minutely Paul followed his lord in this matter. Yeshua "welcomed [the people] and began speaking to them about the Kingdom of God" (Luke 9:11). Paul "welcomed all who came to him and preached the Gospel about the Kingdom of God" (Acts 28:30, 31).
But do Christians today follow this example? When did you last hear an evangelist on radio or TV invite people to "repent and believe the Gospel about the Kingdom" (Mark 1:14, 15)? I have seen scores of tracts claiming to offer the Gospel, which contain not a single reference to the Kingdom. When did you last share the precious information about the Kingdom and what we need to do to enter it when it comes?
Paul obviously expected church members to play their part in the propagation of the Gospel Message about the Kingdom. He noted that when he was in prison "most of the brethren ...have far more courage to speak the Word of God [the Gospel] without fear" (Phil. 1:14; cp. Matt. 13:19).
It is our Christian duty to be evangelists for Yeshua and the Kingdom of his Father. Timothy was instructed to "proclaim the Word [of the Kingdom, Matt. 13:19] at every opportunity" (II Tim. 4:1, 2). The treasure of the Kingdom message given to us (Matt. 13:11, 44, 46) is not to be hoarded. It is to be passed on to others who have, perhaps, no clear idea about the Kingdom.
A fierce judgment awaits those who do nothing with the talent they have been given. They don't just miss out on rewards in the Kingdom; they are excluded from the Kingdom itself (Matt. 25:28-30).
The New Testament is held together by a single core concept which provides unity to all its parts. The church will become unified again when it adopts this New Testament pattern of teaching.
The unifying heart of the New Testament is the Gospel Message of salvation as it came from the Messiah. This Gospel is called the Gospel about the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mark I:14, 15; Luke 4:43: Acts 8:12; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31). It is known as the "Word" or Message about the Kingdom (Matt. 13:19) or simply the Message ("Word") or Message of God/Gospel of God (Luke 8:11, Mark 1:14, 15). Throughout the New Testament it is abbreviated to "the Word/Message." Sometimes it appears as "The Gospel," "the Gospel of Jesus Christ" (i.e., the Gospel which he preached as well as the Gospel about him). The same saving Message is called "the Message of the Truth," or simply "the Truth." In John's Gospel it is called "the witness" or "my [Yeshua's] Word or Words/teaching." Sometimes in Paul's letters it is called "the Mystery," reminding us of Yeshua's "Mystery of the Kingdom" (Matt. 13:11 ).
At present evangelicals strangely avoid the obvious content of the Gospel as the Gospel of the Kingdom. This is a departure from the teaching of the Lord Yeshua whom they claim to serve. Revival will come when the Gospel of the Kingdom is made the center of all preaching. Ministries of all types can compare their own writing and preaching with that of Paul and the Messiah. Could it be said of modern evangelicals that they "welcome the people and begin talking about the Kingdom of God"? (See Luke 9:11; cp. Acts 28:30.)
Talking about the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God is one of the most satisfying activities a Christian can enjoy. It is nothing less than his duty as a servant of the Lord Messiah. What else ultimately matters other than gaining immortality in the coming Kingdom?
Hope of Israel
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