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Section 9B .. The Future

003white  Index to Section 9B... The Future         >       The Message of Jesus

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What Was the Core of Jesusí Message?
It wasnít love as so many believe

Carol Brooks
(
Based on a series of blogs by Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts)

Also See   What and Where is Heaven?


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Table Of Contents

Introduction

Part 1: The Heart of Jesus' Preaching

Part 2: Messianic Expectations In The 1st Century

Part 3: What Jesus Said About the Kingdom of God

Part 4: How The Savior Defined "Kingdom"

Part 5: Where is the Kingdom of God?

Part 6:  When is the Kingdom of God Coming? - The Three Stage Emergence

Part 7: Jesus Provided Evidence for the Dawning of the Kingdom.

Part 8: The Final Straw That Led To Jesus' Execution

 

Introduction
If you were to ask the average person (even the average Christian) what the core of Jesus' message was, there is no doubt 'love' would feature very strongly in their reply.  There is no question that several of Jesus' messages talked about love and caring for one's fellow man. telling us that we should love God (Mark 12:30), love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39) and even love our enemies without expecting anything in return (Luke 6:27-35).

However, love was not the core of his proclamation.


Part 1: The Heart of Jesus' Preaching
The Gospel of Mark summarized Jesus' ministry,

    Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:14-15 NASB)

And this wasn't the only time the Savior spoke about the kingdom of God.

In fact, the Greek phrase "kingdom of God" (Basileia tou Theou) appears over 50 times in the New Testament gospels - almost always on the lips of Jesus. Although he did use "the kingdom of God" on four occasions (12:28; 19:24; 21:31, 43), Matthew favored the synonymous phrase kingdom of heaven (Basileia ton Ourano) that appears over 30 times in his Gospel. See Footnote 1

Additionally, many of the Savior's parables were designed to tell us something about this kingdom: Jesus likened it to a mustard seed (more about this later), a treasure hidden in a field, an extremely valuable pearl, a dragnet cast into the sea, and a king who gave a banquet (Matthew 13:31-50; 22). He even defined His purpose in light of the kingdom.

    I must preach the kingdom of God (GK. basileia tou Theou) to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose." (Luke 4:43 NASB)

The disciples were also sent out to preach the Gospel or good news of the Kingdom.

    but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven (Gk. basileia ton ouranon) is at hand.' (Matthew 10:6-7 NASB)

    And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God (Gk. basileia ton Theou) and to perform healing. (Luke 9:2 NASB)

    But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God (Gk. basileias tou Theou) and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. (Acts 8:12 NASB)

Given the fact that the Kingdom of God was so central to Jesus' message, one would think that we would want to learn everything we can about it including what and where this kingdom is, when and how it will make its appearance, and what life will be like for those who will live in it.  


Part 2: Messianic Expectations In The 1st Century
As pointed out by Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts, Jewish messianic expectations in the 1st century varied from group to group.

    Some Jews believed that the kingdom would come through a rebellion against Rome. The Zealots and others with a revolutionary bent continually plotted ways to undermine and ultimately depose the Romans.

    Others rejected this approach, preferring instead to wait for God's dramatic intervention. The Essenes at Qumran had grand visions of an apocalyptic war between the sons of light and the sons of darkness, in which God would finally vindicate his people and restore both his temple and his kingdom. They were disinclined to look for human agents who might bring the God's kingdom, probably because their experience of Hasmonean (Maccabean/Jewish) rule of Judea had been such a negative one.

    In many of the Jewish kingdom scenarios, God would act through a human being who would execute divine justice and restore divine rule over Israel. Only a few Jewish texts refer to this human as the Son of Man (literally in Hebrew/Aramaic, "the human being"). More commonly, however, the human agent of the kingdom was called "the anointed one" (in Hebrew, mashiach or "messiah"). There wasn't one established set of expectations for the messiah, however. The Dead Sea Scrolls, for example, actually speak of multiple messiahs, including a priestly messiah and a royal messiah. 

    Common to every Jewish scenario of the coming to the kingdom was the expulsion of the Gentiles who ruled over Judea. In Jesus' day, of course, the Romans were the hated overlords whom, it was hoped, would someday be vanquished by the Lord and his anointed leader.

    (In the end, the Zealot-option prevailed as the Jews waged war against Rome in A.D. 66-70. Sadly, this only led to the destruction of the temple and the desolation of the Jewish people and their society.)

    It is likely that many of Jesus' followers expected Him to raise up an army to wage war against the Romans. He did not. Much to the contrary, He healed the servant of a Roman centurion (Matthew 8:5-13), praising this leader in the oppressor's army as a paragon of faith (v. 10). He stayed at Zaccheus' home although Zaccheus was a Jewish tax collector who was obviously working for the Romans (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus even appeared to support paying taxes to Rome (Matthew 22:15-22).

    But, far more confusing than this was what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. God will bless those who are meek, merciful, peaceful, and persecuted, not those who use human strength to fight against Rome (Matt 5:3-10). Moreover, Jesus taught that one should "not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile" (Matt 5:39-41). More troubling still, Jesus called his fellow Jewish to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them (Matt 5:44). [01]

    See Footnote II - A Man of Sorrows

And  Messianic Expectations in 1st Century..  Documentation From Non-Christian Sources


Part 3: What Jesus Said About The Kingdom of God
What Jesus said substantially differed from any of these ideas. He compared God's Kingdom to a tiny mustard seed inasmuch as it would start out in a very small way but would grow to become enormous.

    "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade" (Mark 4:30-32).

Note: Although quite large, the mustard tree is not the biggest tree in modern Israel. This however, does not tell us anything about the variety or size of trees in Jesus' time. In any case, the point Jesus was making was like the mustard seed, the kingdom of God would start out very small but grow to provide shelter to all who sought it.

This parable makes exactly the same point that God did when He spoke through the prophet Ezekiel,

    Thus says the Lord God, "I will also take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and set it out; I will pluck from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one and I will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. "On the high mountain of Israel I will plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit and become a stately cedar. And birds of every kind will nest under it; they will nest in the shade of its branches. (Ezekiel 17:22-23 NASB)

The Savior also informed us that we can only enter the kingdom with a childlike (not childish) faith

    But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." (Mark 10:14-15 NASB)


Part 4: How The Savior Defined "Kingdom"
There have been a wide variety of opinions on the nature of God's kingdom that Jesus said He was sent to earth to proclaim. Most Christians seem to believe it is the "heaven" that they will go to after they die. Others hold that the "kingdom" Jesus spoke about means the church - in other words, Jesus was announcing the dawning of the church age. Yet, others see this kingdom as an inner awareness of their own divinity (there's a stretch for you)

None are accurate.

Much of the problem can be laid at the feet of the fact that, in English, "kingdom" means a physical place ruled by a king. For example, King Abdullah rules over the Kingdom of Jordan. However, although the word basileia (in Basileia tou Theou) could sometimes refer to physical area over which a king ruled, its primary meaning in the first-century was "reign, rule, authority, or sovereignty." This is illustrated by Jesus' parable of the nobleman who

    "... went to a distant country to receive a kingdom (Gk. basileia) for himself, and then return.  (Luke 19:12 NASB)

The fact that he returned to where he was from meant that the nobleman didn't get a new physical area over which to rule but was given the authority to rule over the place he came from.

Thus when Jesus spoke about the kingdom, He was not referring to a geographical location but was speaking in terms of the authority of the king. And when He proclaimed that the kingdom of God was at hand (close), he didn't mean that a gigantic physical kingdom was approaching that would eventually have the air force scrambling its fighters, but that God's reign was at hand.

My Kingdom Is Not Of This World
When Pilate asked Jesus what He had done, Jesus answered was

    "My kingdom (Gk. basileia) is not of this world. If My kingdom (Gk. basileia) were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom (Gk. basileia) is not of this realm." (John 18:36 NASB)

Some contend that Jesus meant that His kingdom was not here on earth but up in heaven. However, this is not the case. Using the word basileia (reign or rule), Jesus added that this kingdom was ek tou kosmou. The Greek word ek can be taken several ways including indicating origin - the point from which action or motion proceeds. In view of all the other evidence that points to an earthly kingdom, it is more than likely that Jesus was telling Pilate that His 'reign was not from this world'.

    He then went on to say " My kingdom is not of this realm". Once again the original Greek has to be taken into consideration. It reads ouk estin enteuthen or "My reign is not from here."

He was not speaking of the location of the kingdom but the source of His authority.


Part 5: Where is the Kingdom of God?
Most Christians are taught (and continue to believe) that they will "go to Heaven" after they die. Yet, the words "the kingdom of God is at hand" do not suggest it was somewhere we would go after death. Much to the contrary it implies that the kingdom itself is approaching.

The Lord's Prayer: If we were to pay close attention, we would realize that that the words "Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10) means that we are praying that God's reign (His kingdom) will happen on earth as it is right now in His heaven.

See What And Where is Heaven?
Although Christians believe they will spend all eternity in heaven,  they seem to have little or no idea where this heaven is, what it will look like, or what they will do once they get there. Either they have vague, half formed ideas about some ethereal place 'out there' or resort to pious phrases that amount to little more than spiritual gobbledygook. If this is the best we can do then it is little wonder that non Christians are not in the slightest bit interested in our "heaven", and Christians themselves so rarely seem to look forward to the coming of the kingdom of God. Luckily the Bible isn't at all silent on where "heaven" is and, even more importantly, what it will be like. In fact, the Bible's description of the coming kingdom is far, far, more practical than that of our theologians.

And definitely take the time to read what the Hebrew prophets had to say about the kingdom.

The Earthly Kingdom of God in Prophecy
The promise of the kingdom was a major source of hope for the Jews and consequently never very far from Jewish thought. While it is true that there were differences of belief as to how the reign of God would come back to the earth, the one common factor between all the possible scenarios was the expulsion of the Gentiles who ruled over Judea. But, in no case was the kingdom expected to be anything but an earthly one. This belief stemmed from the fact that God promised to give Abraham an entire country for an everlasting possessionSee The Location and Nature of Heaven - Part II of What And Where is Heaven? 

It is fair to say that the Jews were anticipating someone who would lead the way in throwing off the yoke of the foreign oppressor and freeing for all time their beloved land and holy city - thus fulfilling God's promise to Abraham. The Hebrew prophets of old also consistently and recurrently spoke of a time when a descendant of David - the Messiah or Lord's anointed, would rule as king from Jerusalem. In fact, the idea of a restored and peaceful land inherited by the righteous, is a recurring theme in Isaiah's prophecies.

However, a plain reading of the words of many of these men of God makes it impossible to deny that they looked ahead to an undetermined time in the future when God would return to establish a literal, earthly kingdom. Here are a few of the many examples,

Zechariah: This prophet Zechariah reiterated that the Lord would return and again choose Jerusalem and Judah, where His house would be built.

    'Therefore thus says the Lord, "I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it," declares the Lord of hosts, "and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem." "Again, proclaim, saying, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts, "My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem." (Zechariah 1:16-17 NASB)

    "The Lord will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. (Zechariah 2:12 NASB)

Zephaniah: who prophesied in the latter half of the seventh century B.C. said that at an appointed time the Lord (as "king of Israel") would give victory to his people, deal with their oppressors, gather their lame and outcasts, and restore their fortunes.

    Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away His judgments against you, He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; You will fear disaster no more. In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: "Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp. "The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. "I will gather those who grieve about the appointed feasts - They came from you, O Zion; The reproach of exile is a burden on them. "Behold, I am going to deal at that time With all your oppressors, I will save the lame And gather the outcast, And I will turn their shame into praise and renown In all the earth. "At that time I will bring you in, Even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I restore your fortunes before your eyes," Says the Lord. (Zephaniah 3:14-20 NASB)

Isaiah: had the most to say about this coming kingdom that would have Jerusalem as its capital. Note that verse 1 specifically saying that this was a prophecy concerning "Judah and Jerusalem".

    The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. [2] Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the Lord Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it. [3] And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. [4] And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war. (Isaiah 2:1-4)

Daniel: Perhaps Daniel's prophecies are the clearest of all . He was given the ability to interpret king Nebuchadnezzar's dream of four great kingdoms or empires that, in succession, would dominate history. They would all be crushed by a stone cut without hands which would become a great mountain that filled the whole earth.

And there were plenty more - See Location and Nature of Heaven - The Prophecies.  

In Summary, all the prophets looked forward to an undetermined time in the future when God would return to His earth to rule over his people. Centuries later Jesus contradicted everything the Jews had believed about how God's kingdom would come about. The prophecies made by those men of old would without a doubt be fulfilled, but would be fulfilled in a very unexpected way. The Messiah said God's reign had already begun on earth.


Part 6: When is God's Kingdom Coming? - The Three Stage Emergence
Jesus proclaimed that the reign of God was coming to earth, but when was it supposed to arrive? Most people, including most believers, assume that when Jesus used the phrase "the kingdom of God." (Greek... he basileia tou theou), He was strictly referring to the age to come. In other words, the Heaven that Christians anticipate.

Future
It is true that the Savior often referred to the kingdom in the future tense and said it was at hand (imminent or close in time). For example

    but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' (Matthew 10:6-7 NASB)

    Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:14-15 NASB)

    But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: (Matthew 25:31)

    "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."  (Matthew 26:29 NASB)

All of which makes it sound like the kingdom of God was something that would come about only at some future date... that it was strictly an end time message.

Present
However, what complicates the issue is that Jesus also spoke of the presence of the kingdom being already present. When some of the Pharisees accused Him of casting out demons through Beelzebul the ruler of the demons, Jesus asked them how Satan's kingdom could stand if "he is divided against himself" (Matthew 12:25-26). He then added,

    "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.  (Vs. 12:28)

    Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst." (Luke 17:20-21 NASB)

    NOTE: It is absolutely impossible that Jesus would have told the Pharisees that the kingdom of God was within them. These religious leaders were Jesus' sworn enemies - constantly looking for ways to bring Him down. Jesus Himself called them robbers and self indulgent hypocrites - full of dead men's bones, and all uncleanness (Matthew 23:25-27).

    So what did Jesus mean? In His answer He used the Greek entos hymon - ie. "the kingdom of God is entos hymon". The phrase does not necessarily mean in ones heart, but can also mean in ones midst. In other words, Jesus was telling these religious leaders that the kingdom was already in their midst. The kingdom had begun on earth in a most unexpected  way - with His ministry

Future and Present
And if that wasn't complicated enough, Jesus also indicated that the kingdom has both present and future dimensions. Take this parable for example:

    And He said, "How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? "It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade." (Mark 4:30-32 NASB)

Since we can safely rule out the possibility that Jesus contradicted Himself we have to look at it another way which is the kingdom of God arrives on earth in three stages.

    Stage One: When Jesus reiterated the message preached by John The Baptist, proclaiming that the kingdom was "at hand" (Matthew 3:2 and 4:17), He was simply saying that the initial stages of the kingdom had come... Its King had entered the world, verifying who He was by miraculous deeds. 

    Stage Two: However there is no kingdom, earthly or otherwise, without subjects, so Jesus then proceeded to make disciples, thus establishing His reign in the earthly realm. Shortly after Jesus physically left earth, His kingdom, which until that point had consisted of a handful of discouraged followers, took a gigantic step forward at Pentecost. It literally exploded onto public consciousness with the arrival of the Holy Spirit, causing a rapid multiplication of Jewish disciples.

    Stage Three: However, God's kingdom (in every sense of the word) will only be fully realized when Jesus physically returns to earth and takes it over, destroying His enemies and ruling from Jerusalem. This final consummation, or fulfillment, of the kingdom of God on earth, has always been the ultimate goal. See The Kingdom... When? www.inplainsite.org/html/the_kingdom_when_.html

In summary the kingdom of God is "already and not yet". The following analogy should adequately demonstrates this concept.

    A woman who is several months pregnant has heard the baby's heart beat and felt it moving. She has prepared a nursery for the baby and chosen a name. In other words, she is already, but not yet a mother. There is one more step required in order to complete the process - She has to give birth.


Part 7: Jesus Provided Evidence for the Dawning of the Kingdom.
Jesus was echoing what the ancient prophets had already foreseen but without any evidence to substantiate what He was saying He would have been roundly dismissed as nut job or an out and out charlatan who was familiar with the Old Testament. However, the various miracles wrought by our Lord provided plenty of evidence that He was who He said He was and that the kingdom had already began to make its presence known.

When John the Baptist sent word to Jesus from prison asking whether He was "the expected One", our Lord's reply was "Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

John would have understood Jesus' message to mean that the healings promised in Isaiah were happening in His ministry showing that He was indeed the One who was ushering in the kingdom. 

Miracles Associated with The Natural World. Psalm 89 speaks of God's power over the waters - "You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them". (Vs. 9). The Gospels tell us that Jesus walked on water (Matthew 14:25-33) and stilled a storm that frightened His disciples - the winds died down and the sea became perfectly calm (Matthew 8:24-26).

Healing: Jesus not only healed people of various diseases during His time on earth but also cast demons out of people . Although these miracle made Him immensely popular and provided great relief to the healed, it was not an end in itself. Those familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures would have realized at some point that the healings were a sign of God's presence and reign on earth.

For example, Isaiah's overall message in chapter 35 was that the enemies of the people of God would be destroyed but His people would live in security and prosperity. The prophet specifically mentioned that the eyes of the blind would be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, the the lame would leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute would shout for joy. (Vs. 5-6).

    As Matthew 21:14 says - And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.

In his blog, Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts  points out that many people have trouble believing that Jesus performed actual miracles. They are inclined to the theory that these miracles are not historical facts but symbolic legends. However, what has not been taken into consideration is that if one were to take away the actual healings, exorcisms etc. we would be left with a Jesus whom most people would have ignored. "Take away these works and there's no reason to believe his words". [01]

 Also See Is Physical Healing Included In The Atonement?


Part 8: The Final Straw That Led To Jesus' Execution

Think about it for a moment - although they might have heartily disagreed with Him on several points, the Jewish religious leaders would not have been particularly bothered by a Rabbi who ran around telling people to love God and people. The Romans would certainly not have considered anyone a threat whose message to the Jews was not only to love their enemies, but to turn the other cheek as well.

What He preached angered most of the religious leaders he encountered which means His messages were so inflammatory and  subversive that they determined to do away with Him once and for all (or so they thought).

So what did Jesus say and/or do to finally get Himself crucified?

Not only did He claim to be God but He exposed the corruption of the religious elite and threatened them that they would be on the receiving end of God's judgment.

In Jesus' time God's temple had been desecrated by a group of men who changed the currency used by pilgrims into shekels for payment of the annual tribute. Because people found it difficult to transport birds from distant parts of Judea they also sold doves to be offered in sacrifice (Leviticus 14:22; Luke 2:24). However, what should have been nothing but a convenience offered the temple goer, soon became a profitable business.

Jesus' actions when He entered the Temple immediately followed His triumphant entry into Jerusalem stirred up a hornet's nest. Mark wrote

    Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a robbers' den." (Mark 11:15-17 NASB)

The phrase, "den of robbers," comes from the prophecy made by Jeremiah in chapter 7, verses 11-13, when God accused the Israelites of stealing, murdering, committing adultery, swearing falsely and offering sacrifices to Baal and other gods. They hypocritically came and stood before Him in His Temple and claimed to be delivered (Jeremiah 7:9-10) apparently believing that the Temple afforded protection (a lesson to us all). However, because of the iniquity of both the priests and the people, God did not spare even Shiloh although the site of His ark. He actually allowed His it to be desecrated at the hands of the Philistines.

By using this passage, Jesus not only inferred that the temple authorities were dishonest thieves but that as part of His judgment God would destroy it as well. As said by Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts

    Jesus was not the only Jew in his day to criticize the Temple. Many of the common folk despised its heavy taxation and financial corruptness, while the Essenes from Qumran wrote it off completely as spiritually bankrupt. But Jesus action in the temple, combined with his citation of Jeremiah, was a frontal assault on the central institution of Judaism in his day.

    Moreover, he explicitly undermined the authority of the entrenched temple hierarchy. It's no wonder that "the chief priests and the scribes," when they heard what Jesus had done, "kept looking for a way to kill him" (Mark 11:18). A prophetic rabble rouser in Galilee could be ignored; one who defamed the temple itself needed to be dispatched quickly. [01] 


Footnote I
The "Kingdom of God" and The "Kingdom of Heaven" are the same place

There are those that believe that "kingdom of God" and the term "kingdom of Heaven" refer to different things, or time periods. That this is not true is readily seen from the fact that the words are used interchangeably in parallel accounts. For example...  (All Emphasis Added)

    I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; (Matthew 8:11 NASB)
    And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. (Luke 13:29 NASB)

    Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 3:2 NASB)
    "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15 NASB)

    He spoke another parable to them, "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened." (Matthew 13:33 NASB)
    And again He said, "To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? "It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened." (Luke 13:20-21 NASB) (Also See Matthew 13:31-32 and Mark 4:30-31)

Jesus also used both terms in two consecutive verses, one a repetition of the other

    And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:23-24 NASB)

It is possible that because the Jews held the name of God in the highest respect Matthew, whose Gospel was directed at the Jews, would have refrained from using the word "God" too often. In fact he only used "kingdom of God" when warning or rebuking his fellow Jews. {PLACE IN TEXT}


Footnote II -  A Man of Sorrows 
Jesus' message that the kingdom of God would come not through the might of an army, but through weakness must have mystified and angered many of those who knew Him AND either overlooked, ignored, or didn't understand Isaiah's prophecy,

    For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.  (3)  He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  (4)  Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.  (5)  But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.  (6)  All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.  (7)  He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.  (8)  By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?  (9)  His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.  (10)  But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. (Isaiah 53:2-10 NASB)

 Even Peter was unwilling to accept that Jesus would "suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed", even rebuking our Lord for saying so. I wonder if he heard the next part where Jesus said 'after three days He would rise again. (Mark 8:31) {PLACE IN TEXT}


End Notes
[01[ Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts. What Was The Message of Jesus?
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/what-was-the-message-of-jesus/

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