Gospel of Matthew
J. Deering - AncientPath.net
"A Brief Summary of the Kingdom of God"
I. Eternity (Past, Present, Future)
All of Eternity belongs to the Eternal Kingdom of God, where God is upon the throne as the ultimate King of that Kingdom.
With Creation of the temporal Universe (physical creation) TIME enters into the plan of God - both for the Angelic hosts and for Man.
A. From Creation to Abraham
God deals with mankind DIRECTLY as King over His earthly kingdom. Promises are made by God that there was to be One who will come to free mankind from the effects and penalties of sin and evil.
B. From Abraham through Joshua
God deals with the Nation of Israel through His Covenants. God is King over His Covenant People. The Covenants make the Nation Promises: Wrath for disobedience, Blessing for obedience within the framework of an earthly kingdom where God dwells with man (the Tabernacle).
C. The Judges
God continues to deal with the Nation of Israel, through His Covenants, however, His people reject Him as King. God sets in motion a cycle of obedience, disobedience, persecution, wrath, and rescue through a God chosen "judge."
D. The Kings
God continues to deal with the Nation of Israel, through His Covenants, however, His people continue to reject Him as King and the request to have "Kings like the other nations." God gives them their desire starting with King Saul. The list of Godly kings begins with David, however, very soon the nation falls into idolatry through a long list of ungodly kings.
E. The Prophets
God continues to deal with the Nation of Israel, through His Covenants, however, His people continue to reject Him as King. This period overlaps the period of the Kings, as God calls prophets to clearly warn the Nation of Israel of the wrath of God and how that wrath will be administrated. The prophets call out to the nation to repent and return to their God (which they will not do). The writings of the Prophets are filled with the theme of a coming "Messiah" who will free them from the effects and penalties of sin and evil.
F. The Captivities
God continues to deal with the Nation of Israel, through His Covenants, however because the Nation will not repent, He brings external forces (Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Romans) and sends the Nation into a series of captivities in order to "winnow" out a true remnant that is repentant and returns to their covenanted land. They do so, however, still under the rule of others (with a brief self-rule under the Maccabeans, mid-Roman captivity).
G. The Gospels through Matthew Chapter 10
God continues to deal with the Nation of Israel, through His Covenants. The foreign captivities have left the Nation of Israel with extreme secularism and the desire of their hearts has turned toward interpreting the message of God concerning the promised Messiah as a national deliverer from foreign powers rather than from the effects and penalties of sin and evil.
God sends His only begotten, unique, human born Son of God.
John the Baptist, the one who has come to prepare the way (make straight) for God to introduce His Son, Jesus, as the Promised One. John tells the Nation that Jesus is the one whom the Prophets spoke of when foreshadowing the Messiah.
The Nation, now called "the Jews," Judeans, from the tribe of Judea, who had come out of the captivities looking for a physical, secular king to free them from their "oppressors." They have little or no interest in a spiritual King who will free them from the effect and penalty of sin and evil.
John preaches, "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand."
Jesus, the Son of God, the Promised Messiah, has come and is standing ready to offer the Kingdom of God to His people. He is about to offer "God dwelling" among man once again. If the nation will repent and return to their God... Jesus will usher in the promised Kingdome of God on Earth, where He is King. The Earthly Kingdom of God, under the covenants, was a shadow of the true Kingdom of God in the heavens. Under the covenants Israel was in the position of having two kinds of people in their midst: 1- those who were born (physical descendants) from the genealogy of the family line that first came through Abraham, then his son Isaac, then through his son Jacob (the 12 tribes of Jacob, called Israel). 2- those who "had a heart for God," (spiritual descendants) those who truly loved Him and could be described as those who fulfilled the 1st commandment, "You shall have no other God but me, and you shall love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind," as Abraham had. Had the nation repented and returned to the immediate theocratic rule of God among them, the tribulation would have been ushered in (winnowing the Nation down to the true believers) (Both Wrath and Blessing were part of the message of the Prophets) and then the Millennium would have followed with the one-thousand years of Messianic rule.
Here we need to insert a note concerning the plan and program of God for all these events. Jesus makes it quite clear that He has come to die upon the cross. That is His primary mission, not the ushering in of the Kingdom of God on Earth. It becomes apparent when studying the whole of Scripture that Jesus comes in order to suffer, die, be buried, resurrected and ascended - in order that the penalty of sin, evil, and death should be paid through His death - in place of our eternal suffering and death - IF we would chose to believe in Him with all of our heart, mind, and soul. The "IF" is important, for His death upon the cross only makes "salvation" AVAILABLE to all, but only efficient for and in those who believe.
The work of Jesus on the cross accomplishes two great things. First, it would allow for the establishment of the physical Kingdom of God for the Nation of Israel upon the Earth, where the Son of God would sit as its King, in the promised land. Second, it creates the situation whereby all those who believe upon His name to enter into the "spiritual" Kingdom of God as His brothers and sisters, never again to be out of His presence.
H. The Postponement
Chapter 11 of Matthew introduces the rejection of the Son of God as king. The theme of rejection will continue all the way to the Cross, however after Chapter 11 Jesus changes His message from the ministry to the Jew, to a message that includes the whole world. It becomes clear that upon the nation's rejection of Him as King He then rejects His offer of the Kingdom to the Nation of Israel for their lack of repentance. The message becomes that the Offer of the Kingdom of God to the Jew has been POSTPONED due to their rejection of God as their king.
As Jesus turns to the whole world as the center of His attention the MYSTERY of the "Assembly" comes into view. This message is refined and enlarged upon in the Book of John, the Book of Acts, and the Epistles. It is often called the "Mystery of the Church," or the "Church Age." God sets the Nation of Israel aside for an undefined period of time allowing God to "assemble" a "body" of people who have believed in His Son (the 1st commandment), as a special "peculiar" group that will become not only the Royal Priesthood, the administrators of the New Covenant, but indeed the very brothers and sisters of The Son of God.
I. The "Rapture"
When God has completed His plan and purpose for this called-out "assembly," when the last believer has believed, God has revealed that He will remove them from the Earth to Heaven and then continue with His plan for the Nation of Israel and their Kingdom of God on Earth. According to the books of Thessalonians Jesus will usher in "The Day of the Lord," and "Come in the air" to catch up His "assembly of believers," taking them to Heaven, where He will be wed to them in "The Marriage Feast of the Lamb."
J. The "Tribulation"
Upon the removal of His Holy Spirit filled people (the Holy Spirit thus leaves the physical world leaving only unrighteousness upon the face of the Earth) stage II of The Day of The Lord begins. The prophets foretold that the Kingdom of God could only be ushered-in through the "Purging of Israel." The promised wrath of God would be poured out against unbelief. That wrath will center upon the Nation of Israel, however its effects will be world-wide. All that is unrighteous will be purged out of the world. God's wrath towards unrighteousness will be swift, efficient, and effective. It will be a time of great sorrow, not only for man, but for God as well. It should be remembered how Jesus sat outside the city of Jerusalem and wept for the people of Israel who would be caught up in destruction because of their wickedness and unbelief. It will be with enormous sadness that God cleanses the world of those who will not believe in His Son. Seven years is the appointed duration of the Tribulation. During that time many will believe and be saved, however many more will not. Because of the suffering these Tribulation believers will endure - they will hold a very special place in both Heaven and God's heart.
K. The "Millennium"
At the last moment of the "Tribulation," Jesus RETURNS to Earth to take His rightful place as the King of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth - with His covenanted people, the believing Hebrew. It is here that both aspects of the Promise come to fullness. The physical seed of Abraham, through Isaac, through Jacob, will occupy the whole of the Promised Land in the Kingdom of God - and, they will all be BELIEVERS in the Lord Jesus Christ.
As people are born during the Millennium many of them will look to self as the authority in their lives and refuse to "bend the knee" to their King Jesus. There will be a final revolt that ends with the complete destruction of sin, death, and evil.
L. The End of Time
When TIME is at it's conclusion for the ages God has allowed us to see in His revelation of His plan, The Son of God comes forth and offers "The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth" to His Heavenly Father and we join with Him for an Heavenly Eternity vitally conjoined to our Savior. Those who have rejected the Son of God as God and King will be separated eternally and there suffer the effects and results of disbelief, evil, sin, and eternal death.
Almost nothing has been revealed to us concerning the everlasting state of Eternity. We can be assured, however, that Eternity will be filled with adventure, righteousness, and the continuing plan of God. There will always be a division between The Covenanted Nation of Israel and The Body of Christ, but that division is one of righteousness and blessing for them and us. They belong in the group of believers who are physical seeds of Abraham and we belong in the group of spiritual seeds of Abraham. Together, with the Angels of God, we comprise the Kingdom of God that was once Earthly.