951753

This Site Is No Longer Active

Check out RESTITUTIO.org for new blog entries and podcasts. Feel free to browse through our content here, but we are no longer adding new posts.


  

As many of you have probably noticed, I have delayed in saying anything about this passage. The reason being that I needed a lot of time and space to deal with it. What I am going to attempt to do is to understand how the apostles and the early church understood terms “judge” and “Israel.” Then I will apply that understanding to this passage. I will quote the entire passage in largeprint and comment on each phrase as necessary.

28 And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration

Regeneration=παλιγγενεσια The only other time this word is used in the New Testament is in Titus:

3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration(παλιγγενεσιαs) and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

Notice how this regeneration is spoken of in connection with the holy spirit. Pentecost is when the holy spirit came upon the apostles. I believe that Pentecost gives us the time frame as to when these things were meant to take place. Another possibility is to understand regeneration as resurrection. Then the question would be whether is he referring the resurrection at the end of the age or to his own resurrection. I would say that he is referring to his own resurrection in that case.

when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne,

When did Christ sit down on his throne? It was sometime after his ascension:

Heb. 8:1 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,

Heb. 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Rev. 3:21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne

Rev. 12:5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

Christ is currently seated on his throne at the right hand of his Father. There is no reason to search for a future fulfillment of this phrase.

you also shall sit upon twelve thrones,

The early church fathers understood “throne” to be the position of overseer or bishop

Eusebius writes: Book1.1 This James, as the, whom the early Christians surnamed the Righteous’ because of his out standing virtue, was the first (as the records tell us) to be elected to the episcopal throne of the Jerusalem church

III.11: Then they all discussed together whom they should choose as a fit person to succeed James, and voted unanimously that SIMEON, son of the Cleophas mentioned in the gospel narrative (John19:25) was a fit person to occupy the throne of the Jerusalem church.

The Encyclopedia of World History:They served as overseers, responsible for distribution of goods to the poor, for preaching, for maintenance of gospel standards. Each town had its bishop, and his church(cathedral) possessed his throne or chair (Lat., cathedra), the symbol of his authority. Christians considered bishops to be successors of the apostles: (http://www.bartleby.com/67/401.html)

The apostles sat on the first thrones of the early church. This means that they held a position of authority

judging the twelve tribes of Israel

Two questions need to be addressed here: 1)What Israel is he referring to? 2)When did the apostles ever judge?

1)What Israel is he referring to? I believe that when Christ says “Israel” here he is referring the New Covenant church which includes both Jews and Gentiles. The following verses are examples of the New Covenant church being referred to as Israel:

Gal. 6:16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God

James 1:1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.

Rom. 2:28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Heb. 8:8 For finding fault with them, He says, “BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH;

This New Covenant with Israel was made with the apostles (Matt. 26:28) which we, being gentiles, are also partakers of.

2) When did the apostles ever judge? Acts 15 gives us an example of the apostles rendering a judgment over a specific issue. Also, Paul explains to the Corinthian church how they were supposed to render judgment themselves rather than going to the worldly courts:

1Cor. 6:1 Does anyone of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? 4 So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren,

29 “And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life

The parallel to this in Mark 10 gives us some idea as to when the apostles were to receive these things.

v.29 there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in this time(εντωκαιρωτουτω)houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.

When will they receive these temporal gifts? In this time. When will they receive eternal life? In the age to come, that is, in some future time. But is there any evidence that he apostles received any of these things in their time? I believe that there is. After Pentecost, the apostles were part of new growing family that already included thousands of people (Acts2:41) who were their spiritual brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers.

Mt. 12: 50 “For who ever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

It is also clear that brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers are meant to be understood spiritually rather than literally here in Matthew 19 for who could possibly receive more fathers or mothers than the ones they were born with?

But what about the houses and the farms? When did the apostles receive “many times as much” of those in their time?

Acts 2:44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;

Acts 4:32 and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them

Acts 4:34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.”

The apostles who had left everything to follow Christ now were part of an extended family that held all things in common and they received the proceeds of many houses and lands. However, the apostles did not keep these things for themselves but they distributed them to those who had need.

Mk. 10:29 houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions

It is interesting how Mark includes “persecutions” in his parallel account. There were plenty of persecutions during the life of the Apostles. These temporal gifts must also be applied to their lives after pentecost, unless of course there are going to be persecutions during the future millenial reign of Christ.

This passage clearly has a 1st Century fulfillment. This fulfillment fits with all the time indicators spoken of by Christ himself as to when the kingdom would come. If one insists in a literal kingdom on earth with Jerusalem as the capital, he will have to point to other verses to prove such a doctrine.

God bless you all

42 Responses to “Commentary on Matthew 19:28-29”

  1. on 08 Jul 2007 at 6:35 pmJohnO

    1) It would be hard to conclude linguistically that regeneration in Matthew 19.28 has to mean the same thing it means in Titus. We have a different speaker (Jesus) and writer (Matthew), than Paul in Titus. Furthermore, there is only one other ocurrance, which, again, makes it hard to force this conclusion that regeneration in this verse must mean Pentecost. Jesus and the prophets all spoke of a time of regeneration and restoration of the Earth. This is the subject matter Jesus is talking about.

    2) In all the references you supplied Jesus’ current position is never called his throne, but rather his Father’s throne. Rather Gabriel tells us where Jesus’ throne will be in Luke 1, in Jerusalem. Furthermore in your third reference Jesus clearly states a future action in giving thrones as he has been seated on a throne – but when? – when Jesus sits on his throne.

    3) The thoughts of the early church fathers cannot be imposed upon Jesus’ words. Furthermore, there is no indication that they thought this verse supplied their understanding of their sees as thrones. Many of the early Christians expected a literal coming of Christ and literal thrones to be handed to the disciples.

    4) Jesus only ever referenced one Israel- the Jewish people of which he was a part of. Again you cannot impose the thoughts and rhetoric of Paul back onto Jesus. Secondly – the disciples never ruled over Israel – which is why we expect them to in the resurrection.

    5) I agree that the followers of Jesus experienced a larger family life because of the community of the church – of that there is no doubt. Mark clearly places those blessings, along with the persecutions in this time. But Mark also clearly places eternal life in the age to come (not persecutions). Matthew stresses the continuation of these blessings from their current time, into and throughout the next age. Of course with the promise that they will eat on Zion with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in a feast, prophecy that the non-believers will submit their wealth to the Messiah, and the ruling of the saints (as your quotation of Corinthians plainly states as future) over the world would conclude that these blessings would also take place in the next age.

    I agree that this passage does not prove a Jerusalem-based Kingdom. However, it works much much plainer under that paradigm. Your assessment has basically turned the verse into this:

    And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, when the Holy Spirit comes, when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne in heaven, you also shall sit upon twelve bishop-seats, judging the twelve tribes of the Church.

    Does that sounds like an apocalyptic, or even Jewish, Jesus? Does that have any parallel in any Jewish thought of the time? Does that message make sense within first century Judaism, or is it entirely out of place?

  2. on 09 Jul 2007 at 12:52 amKarl

    Hi JohnO,

    You did a great job in posting my article on the site. It came out almost exactly as I wanted. Thank you.

    You wrote: It would be hard to conclude linguistically that regeneration in Matthew 19.28 has to mean the same thing it means in Titus.

    ? Actually since both passages use the same greek words it is linguistically easy to conclude that they mean the same thing. If you disagree, you will have say that it is hard to conclude “conceptually” or something like that, not linguistically.

    You wrote: Jesus and the prophets all spoke of a time of regeneration and restoration of the Earth. This is the subject matter Jesus is talking about.

    If this is true show me were the term “regeneration” (παλιγγενεσια) is used to refer to the restoration of the earth in the NT. (or LXX for that matter)

    you wrote: Many of the early Christians expected a literal coming of Christ and literal thrones to be handed to the disciples.

    Many early Christians also viewed the position of overseer as a throne also. That is a “seat” of authority.

    You wrote: Again you cannot impose the thoughts and rhetoric of Paul back onto Jesus.

    Why not? Those who obey God are the true Israel. Not those who are born according to the flesh.

    John wrote: Rather Gabriel tells us where Jesus’ throne will be in Luke 1, in Jerusalem.

    Which verse in Luke 1 says that he will reign in Jerusalem? And even if it did say “Jerusalem” we “have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,” Heb. 12:22

    You wrote: and the ruling of the saints (as your quotation of Corinthians plainly states as future)

    1 Cor. 6:3 “Do you not know that we will judge angels? HOW MUCH MORE MATTERS OF THIS LIFE?”

    I think I boldfaced this part in the original paper but it didn’t come through.

    You wrote: Does that sounds like an apocalyptic, or even Jewish, Jesus? Does that have any parallel in any Jewish thought of the time? Does that message make sense within first century Judaism, or is it entirely out of place?

    Mark 1:27 They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority!

    It has parallels in the NT and Paul. But since we can’t even use Paul to interpret Jesus’ words than I guess it doesn’t really matter what 1st century Judaism teaches anyways.

    You wrote: I agree that this passage does not prove a Jerusalem-based Kingdom.

    Thanks for at least giving me that.

    However, it works much much plainer under that paradigm.

    I’ll give you that, but I would remove one of the “muches” that you put in there.

    God bless you

  3. on 09 Jul 2007 at 8:47 amJohnO

    Concerning linguistics, one case is hard to prove conclusively that is my point. The word could be general regeneration and is used in two different contexts which would not force the same understanding of the word. My point is that there are not enough cases to be conclusive.

    You wrote: Again you cannot impose the thoughts and rhetoric of Paul back onto Jesus.

    Why not?

    Because Jesus never spoke in those terms. Paul’s rhetoric is alien to Jesus.

    In 1 Cor 6 I was referring to this:

    Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?

    In reference to the “new teaching” it would certainly be Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the style in which he spoke (which is specifically mentioned) that was new. Pharisees didn’t preach this, or in this way. I don’t think we can interpret Jesus in light of Paul – it has to be the other way around. We have to interpret Paul in light of Jesus. Furthermore, the Christian Paul isn’t a good way to get at Second Temple Judaism. He doesn’t write much about it at all, it isn’t his focus. I would suggest picking up the book ‘The Parables’ that I reviewed here last week. It has a good deal of information concerning the Pharisee/Rabbinic movement.

  4. on 09 Jul 2007 at 11:24 amKarl

    Hi JohnO,

    You wrote: Concerning linguistics, one case is hard to prove conclusively that is my point.

    Again linguistics is not the problem. The linguistics support my position without exception. However, if you disagree with my position, you are disagreeing with me on conceptual grounds or contextual grounds, not on linguistical grounds. I think you realize this in your following sentence when you mention “context:”

    “The word could be general regeneration and is used in two different CONTEXTS which would not force the same understanding of the word.”

    I respect that you don’t agree with me and that you see a contextual difference between the two passages. All I’m trying to do is correct your use of the term “linguistics.” The linguistics, that is the language or words being used, are exactly the same in both passages. However, we are both interpreting the passages based on a different understanding of the contexts in view.

    You wrote: In 1 Cor 6 I was referring to this: Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?

    You missed the point of what I was saying. You had said that the judgement of 1 Cor. 6 has to do with the future. Which indeed it does. However, the judgement of 1 Cor. 6 also has to do with this life, not only the future. My point is that the church, of which the apostles were the highest authorities, was expected to judge in matters of this life as well:

    1 Cor. 6:3 “Do you not know that we will judge angels? HOW MUCH MORE MATTERS OF THIS LIFE?”

    JohnO wrote: I don’t think we can interpret Jesus in light of Paul – it has to be the other way around. We have to interpret Paul in light of Jesus.

    I would suppose based on this that you believe then that Christians should keep Torah:

    Matt 5:18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    If not, then show me where Jesus tells us not to keep Torah.

    JohnO wrote: Furthermore, the Christian Paul isn’t a good way to get at Second Temple Judaism.

    Jesus was prophesying the destruction of Second Temple Judaism. I therefore don’t understand what good there is in boxing Jesus’ message into what Second Temple Jews thought about anything would be. This is not to say that we can’t or shouldn’t understand what was going on around that time, but only that we shouldn’t limit our ideas to what 2nd temple Judaism taught.

    God bless you

  5. on 09 Jul 2007 at 11:53 amJohnO

    Jesus’ message is in the context of STJ. If his message doesn’t have any contact points with that context – we should really question whether or not we have the authentic message of Jesus.

  6. on 09 Jul 2007 at 12:07 pmKarl

    JohnO wrote: Jesus’ message is in the context of STJ. If his message doesn’t have any contact points with that context – we should really question whether or not we have the authentic message of Jesus.

    I’m not saying that Jesus’ message has no points of contact within STJ, only that we can’t limit Jesus’ message to STJ

  7. on 09 Jul 2007 at 2:58 pmMark

    >
    I would suppose based on this that you believe then that Christians should keep Torah:

    Matt 5:18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    If not, then show me where Jesus tells us not to keep Torah.
    >

    Notice that Jesus said “until all is accomplished.” Also, his teachings were about keeping the heart of the Torah, and not being bound by the Letter. Paul expounded on this, and was able to give more detail because Jesus had by then completed the necessary sacrifice for sin, and ratified the New Covenant with his blood.

    In any case, the point of JohnO’s comment about imposing Paul’s logic on the words of Jesus followed the statement that “Jesus only ever referenced one Israel- the Jewish people of which he was a part of.” The point of which was that while Paul used the term “Israel of God” to refer to the Church, Jesus never changed the meaning of the term Israel. And besides, Paul only used that terminology a few times – but he also referred to national Israel. Thus you can’t conclude that the word Israel in the NT always means the Church.

    All in all, the point which your article missed, which is also the point many people miss when dealing with the Kingdom of God, is that we must understand Jesus’ terminology in light of its thoroughly Jewish context and environment. The prophecies in the OT about the Kingdom were understood by Jews for hundreds of years to be literal, physical, and eschatalogical (referring to the end times). I asked Wolfgang on another thread the same question I put to you. If we are now to understand those prophecies as being figurative, when exactly did Jesus tell his followers of this?

  8. on 09 Jul 2007 at 4:29 pmKarl

    Hi Mark,

    Mark wrote: Notice that Jesus said “until all is accomplished.”

    Jerome has sufficiently explained the use of the word “until” in the bible:

    The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary: 5) Now we have to prove that just as in the one case he has followed the usage of Scripture, so with regard to the word until he is utterly refuted by the authority of the same Scripture, which often denotes by its use a fixed time (he himself told us so), frequently time without limitation, as when God by the mouth of the prophet says to certain persons, Is. xlvi. 4. “Even until old age I am he.” Will He cease to be God when they have grown old?

    And the Saviour in the Gospel tells the Apostles Matt. xxviii. 20. “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Will the Lord then after the end of the world has come forsake His disciples?,…

    What does he mean then by saying, “for he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet”? Is the Lord to reign only until His enemies begin to be under His feet, and once they are under His feet will He cease to reign? Of course His reign will then commence in its fulness when His enemies begin to be under His feet.

    David also in the fourth Song of Ascents Ps. cxxiii. 2. speaks thus, “Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look unto the Lord our God, until he have mercy upon us.” Will the prophet, then, look unto the Lord until he obtain mercy, and when mercy is obtained will he turn his eyes down to the ground?… I could accumulate countless instances of this usage, and cover the verbosity of our assailant with a cloud of proofs; I shall, however, add only a few, and leave the reader to discover like ones for himself.

    Mark wrote: Also, his teachings were about keeping the heart of the Torah, and not being bound by the Letter. Paul expounded on this…

    If we are not allowed to use Paul to expound Jesus’ words, then show me where Jesus said that Torah is no longer binding. If, however, we are allowed to use Paul to expound Jesus’ words then I appeal to Paul to understand what Jesus means by “Israel” in this passage.

    Mark wrote: The point of which was that while Paul used the term “Israel of God” to refer to the Church, Jesus never changed the meaning of the term Israel.

    Heb. 8:8 He says, “BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL” With whom did Christ make this new covenant? With Israel according to the flesh? No, rather he made it with the apostles. This is why he choose 12 apostles, signifying them as heads over of the new 12 tribes of Israel, of which we have been grafted in.

    Mark wrote: Thus you can’t conclude that the word Israel in the NT always means the Church.

    Yes, but we can conclude that sometimes when the word “Israel” is used in the NT it does mean church. Then the only question is the matter of interpretation as to which he is referring to. Is he referring to Israel according to the flesh that by and large rejected him and his disciples? Or, is he referring to his people, made up of both Jews and Gentiles, that accepted him as Lord? I’ll go with the later.

    Mark wrote: If we are now to understand those prophecies as being figurative, when exactly did Jesus tell his followers of this?

    Jesus’ followers are the ones themselves who interpreted many of these terms in a spiritual sense:

    Heb. 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,

    God bless you

  9. on 09 Jul 2007 at 5:26 pmJohnO

    Karl,

    I think Jerome is faulty in his conclusions on until:

    Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” Matt 2.13

    He remained there until the death of Herod. {This was} to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON.” Matt 2.15

    Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn. Matt 13.30

    “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, Matt 24.38

    Jesus did not remain as a child in Egypt after Herod’s death. In both cases of “until”, when Herod died, Jesus no longer remained in Egypt.

    When the harvest comes the tares and wheat will no longer grow together.

    When the rains came in the flood, the people stopped marrying and eating and drinking.

  10. on 09 Jul 2007 at 5:57 pmKarl

    Hi JohnO,

    Those verses don’t disprove what Jerome says or what I’m saying. I don’t think that you understood what Jerome was saying. The point is that sometimes the word “until” implies a change (i.e. your verses) and sometimes the word until does not imply a change. (Jerome’s verses) Each verse has to be taken in its context. In the verses that you quoted the change is described in the following verses. Jerome was not saying that everytime “until” is used it never implies a change.

    God bless you

  11. on 09 Jul 2007 at 6:34 pmJohnO

    Well that certainly seems to be your own implication. If it may indicate a change, and it may not indicate a change – why don’t we just look to see how *everyone* understood the issue at hand concerning Gentiles and the Law. Acts 15 states that Gentiles do not have to submit to all of the mosaic law, only the four principles laid out by the Disciples and Apostles. That is a conclusion reached by Peter, James, and Paul – and one which the entire council agreed.

  12. on 09 Jul 2007 at 6:38 pmKarl

    JohnO: Acts 15 states that Gentiles do not have to submit to all of the mosaic law, only the four principles laid out by the Disciples and Apostles. That is a conclusion reached by Peter, James, and Paul – and one which the entire council agreed.

    We can’t read later conclusions by Peter, James and Paul into Jesus’ words can we?

  13. on 09 Jul 2007 at 9:48 pmJohnO

    I’m not “reading” a phrase “Israel of God” back onto the lips of Jesus. I’m taking the clear reasoned out conclusion of their life with Jesus. I’m not reading a rhetorical device, a metaphor, that Paul uses to show the inclusion of Gentiles within the promises, back into a non-metaphoric plain usage of a word.

  14. on 10 Jul 2007 at 9:16 amMark

    >
    If we are not allowed to use Paul to expound Jesus’ words, then show me where Jesus said that Torah is no longer binding. If, however, we are allowed to use Paul to expound Jesus’ words then I appeal to Paul to understand what Jesus means by “Israel” in this passage.
    >

    Nobody said we’re “not allowed to use Paul to expound Jesus’ words.” The statement JohnO made was, “you cannot impose the thoughts and rhetoric of Paul back onto Jesus” regarding what the usage and meaning of “Israel” was. That is, just because Paul used the term Israel to SOMETIMES refer to the Church as the “new” Israel, doesn’t mean that we can assume Jesus used it that way. In fact he didn’t, because the idea of the “new” Israel was not revealed until later. Therefore when he referred to the apostles judging the twelve tribes, he was referring to literal Israel at the time.
    As for the Torah being binding, see my post in the “Matthew 24” thread.

    >
    Jesus’ followers are the ones themselves who interpreted many of these terms in a spiritual sense:

    Heb. 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,
    >

    The context of that verse is the difference between the Old and New Covenants. This has nothing to do with changing the meaning of Kingdom of God to a figurative or “spiritual” kingdom. As I said in the “Matthew 24” thread, we cannot just make a blanket statement that EVERYTHING in the Old Testament is changed. We can only say that about those things which Jesus and/or Paul SAID were changed. And there is nowhere in the New Testament where the meaning of Kingdom of God is changed from a literal to a figurative kingdom. At most, there is a partial “seed-form” fulfillment of the kingdom for now, but not INSTEAD of the future literal kingdom.

  15. on 10 Jul 2007 at 9:37 amKarl

    Hi Mark,

    You wrote: Therefore when he referred to the apostles judging the twelve tribes, he was referring to literal Israel at the time.

    This is where we disagree. I don’t believe he was referring to the nation that rejected him, but rather the nation that believes in him.

    Mark wrote: As for the Torah being binding, see my post in the “Matthew 24″ thread.

    Sorry I brought up Torah in this thread. I drifted off of the topic a bit.

    Mark wrote: That is, just because Paul used the term Israel to SOMETIMES refer to the Church as the “new” Israel, doesn’t mean that we can assume Jesus used it that way.

    Heb. 8:8 He says, “BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL” With whom did Christ make this new covenant? With Israel according to the flesh? No, rather he made it with the apostles. This is why he choose 12 apostles, signifying them as heads over of the new 12 tribes of Israel, of which we have been grafted in.

    JohnO wrote: I’m not reading a rhetorical device, a metaphor, that Paul uses to show the inclusion of Gentiles within the promises, back into a non-metaphoric plain usage of a word.

    When Paul calls the church “the Israel of God” in Galatians he is not using a rhetorical device or metaphorical language. He is simply saying you are Israel.

    Mark wrote: (with reference to Heb. 12:22) The context of that verse is the difference between the Old and New Covenants.

    This actually supports my theory. You are understanding the kingdom in an old covenant context, not in the context of the new covenant.

  16. on 10 Jul 2007 at 12:14 pmJohnO

    You are understanding the kingdom in an old covenant context, not in the context of the new covenant.

    We disagree that there is any difference in the Kingdom. Christ adopted a known term in his time without making any modifications to it. Therefore it would retain it’s meaning. He doesn’t ever say – the Pharisees have the Kingdom wrong. Most of the time, Jesus is talking about ethics – the reason for ethics is the coming of the Kingdom. Therefore the Kingdom is related to everything Jesus is saying, but he never redefines the Kingdom away from a restored Davidic Monarchy.

  17. on 10 Jul 2007 at 9:32 pmKarl

    Hi JohnO,

    You wrote: Most of the time, Jesus is talking about ethics – the reason for ethics is the coming of the Kingdom.

    I agree with you here. We just disagree about the timing and nature of that kingdom.

    God bless you

  18. on 11 Jul 2007 at 1:10 pmWolfgang

    Hello everybody

    it seems to me that the coming (return) of the Lord and associated events are misunderstood by a vast majority of those who claim to be following the teachings of Jesus and the apostles

    In particular, certain expressions – such as “heavens and earth” are understood literally and as references to earth and physical cosmos etc. and based on that literal understanding, many clear statements as regards the timing are disregarded and explained away.

    Jesus did say with all surety that “heaven and earth shall pass away,
    but my words shall not pass away.” (cp. Mat 24:35). Peter affirmed, “But the
    day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (cp 2Pet 3:10). The writer of Hebrews wrote: “The heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment.” (cp. Heb 1:10-11).

    Now, when did Jesus, Peter, and the writer of Hebrews say that these things would happen and come to pass? Jesus’ timing was stated in, “This generation shall not pass away until all these things shall be fulfilled.” Peter stated concerning the timing, “The end of all things is at hand.” The writer of Hebrews stated, “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”

    It seems to me that folks then base their faith on what one could call “failed promises.” He promised to return to that generation, but didn’t. Peter said the end was at hand, but it wasn’t. In Hebrews we read that hw was coming in a very little time and would not tarry, but it didn’t happen, etc … etc …

    So you don’t scream to loudly at me, for many years I belonged into the large numer of Christians who did believe in exactly such “failed promises” … Despite the very words found in Heb 10:37 (“WILL NOT TARRY”) I would even teach regularly that we do such and such “while the Lord tarries” or “as long as the Lord tarries”, etc …

    Finally, one day, I happened to read the verse in Heb 10:37 (“37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”) and also in Jam 5:9 (“9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.”) and it dawned on me that my teachings concerning the coming of the Lord, coming of the kingdom, etc etc were straight contradictions of what I was reading there. My teaching was “he will tarry” — Heb said “he will NOT tarry”. My teaching gave the impression of the judge still being far away or at best having been standing at the door for already 2000 years, whereas James emphasizes that the judge obviously was very close to coming inside, his “long journey” having already been behind him with him having already arrived at the door.

    Karl put the basic dilemma in his short comment above: “We just disagree about the timing and nature of that kingdom.” Indeed, the timing and the nature of that kingdom” are the crucial points, and it is the understanding of the nature of the kingdom which sort of determines one’s understanding of the timing … that is, as long as I interpret scripture in terms of an earthly political kingdom, my timing must be “is all still future” and the timing statements become irrelevant and are basically ignored. When I interpret the scriptures in terms of a heavenly spiritual kingdom, the timing statements become relevant and prove to be literally true … and the dilemma is solved.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  19. on 11 Jul 2007 at 1:33 pmJohnO

    Yet, no evidence from scripture has been shown to support any other “nature” of the Kingdom. This is what we’ve pressed for the entire time, and gotten nothing but vague answers.

  20. on 11 Jul 2007 at 2:21 pmWolfgang

    Hi John O.,

    there won’t be any evidence from scripture to support any other nature of the kingdom … the same scriptures you interpret to mean an earthly political kingdom are the evidence !
    They are evidence for a spiritual heavenly nature of the kingdom when understood together with the various other scriptures which speak about the timing and some other aspects of the kingdom. Your interpretation of those scriptures as an earthly political kingdom contradicts the clear timing statements by the prophets (such as Daniel), Jesus and the apostles and NT writers.

  21. on 11 Jul 2007 at 4:42 pmKarl

    Wofgang wrote: Now, when did Jesus, Peter, and the writer of Hebrews say that these things would happen and come to pass? Jesus’ timing was stated in, “This generation shall not pass away until all these things shall be fulfilled.” Peter stated concerning the timing, “The end of all things is at hand.” The writer of Hebrews stated, “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” It seems to me that folks then base their faith on what one could call “failed promises.” He promised to return to that generation, but didn’t. Peter said the end was at hand, but it wasn’t. In Hebrews we read that hw was coming in a very little time and would not tarry, but it didn’t happen, etc … etc …

    It is for these reasons that I can’t see myself taking seriously the futurist position ever again. I was raised a futurist and the verses above were always an embarrassment to me. This is not to say that I think I understand everything about prophecy in the bible. I most certainly don’t.

  22. on 12 Jul 2007 at 8:24 amJohnO

    Wolfgang and Karl, would you care to show us how something that originally was spoken and understood as an earthly, political, Kingdom, must now be understood spiritually? How do any of these things translate without any biblical precedent? We’ve been waiting this whole time – and all we keep hearing are “timing verses”, which you mentioned twice in the last comment. I’m not asking about timing.

  23. on 12 Jul 2007 at 11:33 amKarl

    Hi JohnO,

    you wrote: Wolfgang and Karl, would you care to show us how something that originally was spoken and understood as an earthly, political, Kingdom, must now be understood spiritually?

    Here is how the apostles understood the kingdom in at least one sense: Re. 1:6 “and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” I know that you are probably sick of hearing this verse, but the apostles saw themselves as being the kingdom of God. Whether we use terms like literal or spiritual doesn’t really matter. The apostles were literal people.

    Here is how the apostles understood Mt Zion and Jerusalem. Heb. 12:22 “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,” But many christians today are still waiting to actually go to Mt. Zion when Paul says that we have already come.

    Micah 4:1 “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the HOUSE OF THE LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains,” Many christians are looking for a rebuilt house of the Lord in Jerusalem. But Paul explains that we are the house of the Lord: Eph 2:21 “in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”

    God bless you

  24. on 12 Jul 2007 at 11:42 amKarl

    Hi JohnO,

    you wrote: Wolfgang and Karl, would you care to show us how something that originally was spoken and understood as an earthly, political, Kingdom, must now be understood spiritually?

    The verses I just quoted above don’t prove that the kingdom MUST be understood spiritually. Those verses prove that the kingdom was interpreted a having been fulfilled in the 1st century by the apostles. The verses that prove that the kingdom MUST be understood in a “spiritual” manner are all of the timing verses. Because if the kingdom didn’t have a 1st century fulfillment then the prophecies of Daniel, Jesus and the apostles don’t have much value.

  25. on 12 Jul 2007 at 11:42 amJohnO

    “and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” – is a quote from Exodus where God is actually telling them to be a nation, with territory, with laws, with rulership over land.

  26. on 12 Jul 2007 at 11:50 amKarl

    JohnO wrote:“and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” – is a quote from Exodus where God is actually telling them to be a nation, with territory, with laws, with rulership over land.

    And John said that had happened in his day. That they had become a kingdom. Was he mistaken?

  27. on 12 Jul 2007 at 11:54 amKarl

    Ex. 19:5 ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”

    I believe that under the New Covenant we are a nation. We have laws. We have a land: “for all the earth is Mine;”

    God bless

  28. on 12 Jul 2007 at 12:03 pmWolfgang

    Hi John O.,

    you wanted to know about something that was originally understood as earthly should now be understood spiritually ….

    Well, as part of the earthly OT nation and kingdom there was “the (earthly, made of stones, physical) temple” established for an earthly location where God be worshipped. In the NT fulfillment there is no earthly physical nation of Israel anymore so than there is another earthly physical temple made of stones … the believers are the temple and habitation of God “not made of stones”.

    The point is: You can harp on all the earthly physical political nature of the kingdom and interpret every verse in the Bible concerning the kingdom, Jerusalem, temple or whatever else relates to the topic as must be understood as referring to an earthly political kingdom, etc … and all that happens is this: the dillemma concerning the rather simple and clear time factor statements is never solved by such an interpretation, rather the various prophecies by Jesus and the apostles concerning the coming of the kingdom and the coming of the Lord are made to appear to be false.

  29. on 12 Jul 2007 at 3:53 pmJohnO

    Wolfgang, you keep bringing up the temple, I’ve continually talked about the Kingdom, would you like to talk about the Kingdom too?

    That they had become a kingdom

    Is that why they were persecuted, killed, run out of cities, un-recognized, and marginalized? Doesn’t the OT paint a rosy picture of God’s Kingdom, full of peace, joy, no more tears, no more pain, and one in which the wicked are removed from the face of the earth?

  30. on 12 Jul 2007 at 7:49 pmKarl

    JohnO wrote: Is that why they were persecuted, killed, run out of cities, un-recognized, and marginalized?

    The more all of these things happened the more the kingdom of God grew. Blood is a great fertilizer. Yet despite all of these things, they considered themselves to be God’s kingdom and temple.

  31. on 12 Jul 2007 at 7:52 pmKarl

    JohnO wrote: Doesn’t the OT paint a rosy picture of God’s Kingdom, full of peace, joy, no more tears, no more pain, and one in which the wicked are removed from the face of the earth?

    When someone enters the kingdom of God they find peace and joy. The kingdom of God removes wicked men from the earth all of the time, everytime a sinner repents.

    God bless you

  32. on 12 Jul 2007 at 9:02 pmJohnO

    Karl, the OT picture says that the wicked are judged by God and destroyed, annihilated – not changed. Furthermore it describes the peace as “sitting under your own fig tree”. To a Hebrew, and particularly the ancient authors who wrote that line, it means a life with possessions, property, family, and peace from any external harm. The early church had none, they gave their possessions and property to others – and had it taken in persecution. Their family members were killed, and they certainly had no peace from external harm and wickedness.

  33. on 12 Jul 2007 at 11:32 pmMark

    >
    The point is: You can harp on all the earthly physical political nature of the kingdom and interpret every verse in the Bible concerning the kingdom, Jerusalem, temple or whatever else relates to the topic as must be understood as referring to an earthly political kingdom, etc … and all that happens is this: the dillemma concerning the rather simple and clear time factor statements is never solved by such an interpretation, rather the various prophecies by Jesus and the apostles concerning the coming of the kingdom and the coming of the Lord are made to appear to be false.
    >

    On the contrary, Jesus taught the mysteries of the Kingdom and how the physical would come in the future, but in the meantime a hidden, or “spiritual” form, if you will, would be in place. You can’t start with the epistles and their references to the hidden kingdom (of which there are really only a few) and interpret them as if they were the ONLY fulfillment. You have to consider both ways that Jesus spoke of the Kingdom.

    I wrote in the other thread:
    The references in the NT that speak of the kingdom being present now do not negate the future kingdom to come. They represent the hidden, partial fulfilment that is here now, as Jesus spoke of in his parables. I wrote about this in more detail here:
    http://www.godskingdomfirst.net/KingdomCome.htm#mysteries

    This is a very important distinction for it allows for the hidden or “spiritual” aspects of the kingdom that are present now, without negating all the hundreds of prophecies about a literal kingdom on earth in the future.

  34. on 12 Jul 2007 at 11:37 pmWolfgang

    Hi John O.,

    you wrote:

    Wolfgang, you keep bringing up the temple, I’ve continually talked about the Kingdom, would you like to talk about the Kingdom too?

    did you not read what I wrote? was the temple not a vital part of the OT kingdom? does it have no part in the NT kingdom? Is the temple in the NT kingdom also made of stones and located in earthly Jerusalem?

  35. on 13 Jul 2007 at 7:40 amJohnO

    Wolfgang, I’ve read it many time because it is the only example that you have of something material being made an allegory for something spiritual. The other example you seek, the Kingdom of God, is not a once material thing allegorized by any texts.

  36. on 13 Jul 2007 at 3:40 pmWolfgang

    Hi John O.,

    you did not answer my questions? … was the temple not a vital part of the OT kingdom? does it have no part in the NT kingdom? Is the temple in the NT kingdom also made of stones and located in earthly Jerusalem?

    May I add: Since you insist on Jesus ruling from an earthly throne (as the OT kings of Israel, and in particular David, did, would you not also then have to insist that your NT future kingdom would need an earthly physical temple again?

    Also, I am not “allegorizing” anything … I am referring to the overall biblical principle of the OT earthly physical and temporal foreshadowing the NT heavenly spiritual and eternal …

  37. on 13 Jul 2007 at 3:53 pmJohnO

    And this is my point:

    overall biblical principle

    This is not an overall biblical principle when it talks about the temple only.

  38. on 14 Jul 2007 at 1:23 amMark

    And that goes back to the point I made, that we can only apply the “shadow vs substance” idea to those things that Paul specifically says it applies to, namely the temple, the sacrifices, and the letter of the law. Neither Paul nor Jesus ever said that the Kingdom of God was to be understood in a spiritual sense INSTEAD OF a literal future one. Paul specifically talked about our inheritance and our hope, which he said was the same hope as that of Israel. He also said that if we only have hope in this life, we are of all men most miserable. The only references to a present form of the Kingdom are about the hidden seed form which Jesus spoke of in his parables.

  39. on 14 Jul 2007 at 7:41 amWolfgang

    Hi Mark,

    And that goes back to the point I made, that we can only apply the “shadow vs substance” idea to those things that Paul specifically says it applies to, namely the temple, the sacrifices, and the letter of the law.

    ever read about what Paul wrote concerning the believers’ bodies? that we have now a physical one vs the one believers will have upon being changed which is a spiritual body?

    2 Cor 4:18 – 5:1
    18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
    5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

    I suppose you all look for a second earthly house, rather than for one in the heavens? Or does your view of an earthly political kingdom of God not require that believers have earthly physical bodies?

    What do you make of Paul’s comment that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”? If people of flesh and blood are not fit for the kingdom of God, why is that? could it just be that the nature of the kingdom of God has nothing to do with flesh and blood and a physical nation etc on earth? could it just be that the nature of the kingdom of God is spiritual and heavenly and that is the reason why there needs to be a change since flesh and blood (a physical person) can’t inherit the kingdom of God? Also, how do believers INHERIT the kingdom of God IF such kingdom is a political nation on earth?

  40. on 14 Jul 2007 at 9:31 amKarl

    Hi JohnO,

    You wrote: Karl, the OT picture says that the wicked are judged by God and destroyed, annihilated – not changed.

    This happened in 70 AD.

    You wrote: Furthermore it describes the peace as “sitting under your own fig tree”. To a Hebrew, and particularly the ancient authors who wrote that line, it means a life with possessions, property, family, and peace from any external harm.

    I would have to see exactly what verses you are talking about to comment on it.

  41. on 16 Jul 2007 at 3:41 pmMark

    Wolfgang,

    you wrote,
    >
    2 Cor 4:18 – 5:1
    18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
    5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

    I suppose you all look for a second earthly house, rather than for one in the heavens? Or does your view of an earthly political kingdom of God not require that believers have earthly physical bodies?
    >

    Paul says in the very next verse (II Cor. 5:2), “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.” Notice it says it is FROM heaven, not that we will go TO heaven and get new bodies. Verse one had said, “we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” All those phrases, “of God,” “not made with hands,” “eternal in the heavens,” are ways of describing the SOURCE of the new body, just like the coming Kingdom is called “heavenly” in II Tim. 4:18.

    But Paul could not have been saying that we would go TO heaven, or it would conradict what he wrote in I Cor. 15, especially verses 22-23 (“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ�s at his coming.”) and verses 49-54:
    49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
    50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
    51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
    52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
    53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
    54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

    Also, Philippians 3 refers to our future hope, especially verses 20-21:
    20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
    21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

    You also wrote,
    >
    What do you make of Paul’s comment that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”? If people of flesh and blood are not fit for the kingdom of God, why is that? could it just be that the nature of the kingdom of God has nothing to do with flesh and blood and a physical nation etc on earth? could it just be that the nature of the kingdom of God is spiritual and heavenly and that is the reason why there needs to be a change since flesh and blood (a physical person) can’t inherit the kingdom of God? Also, how do believers INHERIT the kingdom of God IF such kingdom is a political nation on earth?
    >
    Paul explains this clearly in I Cor. 15. “There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body” (v. 44) but they are still physical bodies (v. 38-39). I recommend reading the entire chapter in answer to your question.

    You asked, “could it just be that the nature of the kingdom of God has nothing to do with flesh and blood and a physical nation etc on earth?” but you still have not presented any Scripture which redefines the Kingdom of God in that way (“spiritual” or “figurative” INSTEAD of literal on earth in the future).

  42. […] being literally only two of those tribes left by then, the best answer seems to come from the site Commentary on Matthew 19:28-29 – LHIM.org.  Responding to the question as to what “Israel” Jesus was referring to, the writer […]

  

Leave a Reply