The Kingdom of God.
The Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God Has Come Near.
The Rebirth in the Resurrection.
Raising Up and the Rapture.
The First Resurrection.
The New Gospel.
The concept “Kingdom of God” was wrongly understood already during the lifetime of Jesus of Nazareth, and this was, in principle, also the reason why the Israelites did not recognize their Messiah - the “Anointed” - and rejected him. Many Old Testament prophecies led them to expect that the Messiah would come in power and glory.
And He will give strength to His king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed (Messiah).
1Sam 2,10 "Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; Against them
He will thunder in the heavens, The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; And He will give strength to His
king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed." 1Sam 2,10;
Thus, when Jesus came and announced that he himself was not only the Anointed but even the Son
of God, but he made no preparations to assume power in Israel, the crowd gave a roar, tore their clothes and
accused him of being a blasphemer and deceiver. This was thus also the reason why the religious leaders of
Israel condemned him to death and delivered him to the Romans to be crucified. But also in our time the term
“Kingdom of God” is often wrongly interpreted. Therefore we will seek to clarify the concept here.
The expectation of the Israelites about two thousand years ago was not unjustified, for, as we will see further below, Scripture does say that the Messiah will defeat all peoples when he comes to reign on earth. To be sure, this would only have occurred then if Israel had accepted its Messiah the first time he came. As we know from both history and New Testament passages (Mt 23,38; 24,2; Lk 19,41-44), God has temporarily removed his blessing from this people because of Israel’s rejection of his Son at that time. Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in 70 A.D. and the Israelites were scattered throughout the whole world. The prophecy of the salvation of Israel was broadened via God offering salvation to the peoples of the whole world through the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of all people.
To be sure, this does not mean that the original prophecy was canceled for Israel. It means only that it was postponed a few thousand years until the last of the Gentiles willing to be converted has come to faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 11,25-31). Then Jesus Christ will return, defeat all peoples and set up his kingdom of peace on earth. And the Jews will then also acknowledge him as their Messiah, return to their land and be blessed by God.
This kingdom that the Son of God sets up at his second coming is called the “kingdom of a thousand years” (millennium) in Scripture. As the term already indicates, it will last a thousand years and its end is thus also - after the last battle against Satan - the end of the world with the General Resurrection of all those who have died and the subsequent Last Judgment. And it is this millennial kingdom that is today often wrongly called the “Kingdom of God.” To gain some more clarity on this issue, we will look at a key passage in Scripture that can clear up this misunderstanding.
In Mt 13,24-30 we have the parable by the Lord about the tares among the wheat. He speaks here about the “Kingdom of God” (always called the “Kingdom of Heaven” in Matthew), which he compares with someone who sowed good seed in his field. But then, at night, his enemy sowed tares among the wheat. When the seed sprouted and the man’s servants wanted to gather up the tares, he stopped them, because they would then pull out some of the good wheat as well. He told them to wait until the harvest, when both the tares and the wheat would be harvested. The tares would be gathered first and burned, and the wheat would be brought into the barn.
The disciples did not understand the meaning of this statement by the Lord correctly and asked him to explain the parable to them. We find this explanation in Mt 13,36-43:
The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all those who commit lawlessness.
Mt 13,36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came
to Him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." 13,37 And He said, "The
one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 13,38 and the field is the world; and as for the good
seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 13,39 and the enemy
who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels.
13,40 "So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 13,41 "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 13,42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13,43 "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Mt 13,36-43;
From the indications in Mt 13,41-42 that the lawless ones will be thrown into the furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, we can clearly derive a temporal positioning of this prophecy: it will occur at the end of the world and the Last Judgment, when the righteous will enter eternal life and the lawless will be thrown into the sea of fire (Rev 20,15). The parable of the Lord about the dragnet a few verses later confirms this view: it is at the “end of the age” - thus at the end of the world - and the angels will first gather the wicked and lawless people from among the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire: in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous.
Mt 13,47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea,
and gathering fish of every kind; 13,48 and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat
down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. 13,49 "So it will be at
the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 13,50 and
will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mt
Building on this, we can now also assess the other statements. If it says in Mt 13,41 that “The
Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling
blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,” we thus recognize on the one hand with the gathering of
the lawless ones the General Resurrection and the Last Judgment at the end of the world. On the other hand, we
can recognize in that - because of the fact that they are gathered out of the Kingdom of the Son of Man, the
millennial kingdom of the Messiah.
The statement that “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” refers to eternal life into which the righteous may enter. We recognize here as well on the one hand the final kingdom on earth, the millennial kingdom of peace of the Son of God (Son of Man) and then, subsequent to that, the Kingdom of God the Father, the heavenly Jerusalem in eternity.
And it is precisely this connection that Paul also explains in his first letter to the Corinthians:
Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father.
1Cor 15,22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
15,23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,
15,24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has
abolished all rule and all authority and power. 15,25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under
15,26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 15,27 For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 15,28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all. 1Cor 15,22-28;
Paul also speaks here of the end of the world, when Christ, after all things are subjected to
him, “hands over the kingdom to the God and Father.” “[T]hen the Son Himself also will be subjected to
the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
One can therefore clearly prove on the basis of Scripture that the “Kingdom of the Son of Man” refers to the millennial kingdom of the Messiah on earth, whereas the Kingdom of God is the "Kingdom of the Father," thus the heavenly Jerusalem in the New Creation. That “God’s kingly dominion” is also present of course in the millennium under the dominion of the Son of God needs no further explanation. A more detailed differentiation between the millennium and the New Creation can be found in chapter 10.
One cannot discuss the millennial kingdom of peace, which is also a central concept in the New Testament (Rom 11,25-31; Hbr 4,1-13; Rev 20,18.104.22.168.6), intelligibly without also having mentioned at least to some extent the Old Testament background and its meaning for Israel. This Kingdom of the Messiah - or “kingdom of peace,” as it is also called (Isa 9,6; Rom 14,17) - was promised, according to Scripture, by God already to King David (the successor to King Saul, the first king of Israel after the period of the judges) about 1000 B.C. and prophesied by almost all the prophets. It is a kingdom that God will set up at the end of time and in which a king will rule with justice and peace, and Israel will be “chief among the nations” (Jer 31,7) - thus a world power.
And it will come about in the last days That the mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains.
Micah 4,1 And it will come about in the last days That the mountain of the
house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills,
And the peoples will stream to it. 4,2 Many nations will come and say, "Come and let us go up to the
mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may
walk in His paths." For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4,3 And He will judge between many peoples And render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then 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 train for war. Micah 4, 1- 3;
As is stated further below in Jer 23,5, this king - the Messiah (Anointed) of the Jews - would emerge from the descendants of David and rule with justice and righteousness. Isa 11, 1.10 here below also states that a shoot, thus a descendant, will spring from the stem, the roots, of Jesse - David's father - and the spirit of the Lord will rest upon him. He will be born of a virgin in Bethlehem Ephrathah (Micah 5,1) and there will be no wars in his dominion. And as Isa 11,6-9 affirms, the whole creation will live in peace, where the wolf will dwell with the lamb and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him.
Isa 11,1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from
his roots will bear fruit. 11,2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and
understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 11,3
And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision
by what His ears hear; 11,4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the
afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His
lips He will slay the wicked. 11,5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the
belt about His waist. -
11,6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. 11,7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. 11,8 The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. 11,9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea. -
11,10 Then in that day The nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious. 11,11 Then it will happen on that day that the Lord Will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, And from the islands of the sea. 11,12 And He will lift up a standard for the nations And assemble the banished ones of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth. Isa 11, 1-12;
(See also Chapter 10: “The Millennium.”)
But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
Micah 5,2 "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among
the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long
ago, From the days of eternity." 5,3 Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in
labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel. 5,4 And He will
arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And
they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth. 5,5 This One will be our
peace. Micah 5, 2- 5;
Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
Isa 7,13 Then he said, "Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a
thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well? 7,14
"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son,
and she will call His name Immanuel. Isa 7,13-14;
What was always of great significance for the Israelites over the centuries in these
prophecies is the promise that this king would gather the people of Israel (see Isa 11,12 above and further
below Jer 23,3.8; Jer 31,8 etc.) and that Israel would be subsequently promoted to “chief among the nations”
- thus to a world power. But the prophecy that the nations - thus the non-Israelites - will resort to this
king (Isa 11,10) has then also -at least for Christians - found its explanation in the New Testament period.
The following Bible passages are only some of the prophecies in Scripture on the dominion of the Messiah. But in order to be able to understand the theme discussed here better, it would be - especially for readers with little knowledge of the Bible - a great advantage to read at least these texts in their entirety.
For thus says the LORD, "Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, And shout among the chief of the nations.
Jer 31,6 "For there will be a day when watchmen On the hills of Ephraim call
out, ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, To the LORD our God.’" 31,7 For thus says the LORD,
"Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, And shout among the chief of the nations; Proclaim, give
praise and say, ‘O LORD, save Your people, The remnant of Israel.’ 31,8 "Behold, I am bringing
them from the north country, And I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth, Among them the blind
and the lame, The woman with child and she who is in labor with child, together; A great company, they will
return here. Jer 31, 6- 8;
But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise.
Mal 3,16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave
attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who
esteem His name. 3,17 "They will be Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "on the day that I prepare
My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him." 3,18 So you will
again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve
Him. 4,1 "For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every
evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze," says the LORD of hosts,
"so that it will leave them neither root nor branch." 4,2 "But for you who fear My name, the
sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like
calves from the stall. Mal 3,16-18; 4, 1- 2;
I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; He will reign as king And do justice and righteousness.
Jer 23,1 "Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep
of My pasture!" declares the LORD. 23,2 Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the
shepherds who are tending My people: "You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not
attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds," declares the LORD.
23,3 "Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. 23,4 "I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the LORD.
23,5 "Behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land. 23,6 "In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’ 23,7 "Therefore behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "when they will no longer say, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ 23,8 but, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ Then they will live on their own soil." Jer 23, 1- 8;
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom,.
Isa 9,6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the
government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 9,7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On
the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. Isa 9, 6-7;
Behold, a king will reign righteously And princes will rule justly.
Isa 32,1 Behold, a king will reign righteously And princes will rule justly.
32,2 Each will be like a refuge from the wind And a shelter from the storm, Like streams of water in a dry
country, Like the shade of a huge rock in a parched land. 32,3 Then the eyes of those who see will not be
blinded, And the ears of those who hear will listen. 32,4 The mind of the hasty will discern the truth, And
the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak clearly. 32,5 No longer will the fool be called noble, Or
the rogue be spoken of as generous. Isa 32, 1- 5;
And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him.
Ps 72,1 <<A Psalm of Solomon.>> Give the king Your judgments, O God,
And Your righteousness to the king’s son. 72,2 May he judge Your people with righteousness And Your
afflicted with justice. 72,3 Let the mountains bring peace to the people, And the hills, in righteousness.
72,4 May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, Save the children of the needy And crush the oppressor.
72,5 Let them fear You while the sun endures, And as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
72,6 May he come down like rain upon the mown grass, Like showers that water the earth. 72,7 In his days may the righteous flourish, And abundance of peace till the moon is no more. 72,8 May he also rule from sea to sea And from the River to the ends of the earth. 72,9 Let the nomads of the desert bow before him, And his enemies lick the dust. 72,10 Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts.
72,11 And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him. 72,12 For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help, The afflicted also, and him who has no helper. 72,13 He will have compassion on the poor and needy, And the lives of the needy he will save. 72,14 He will rescue their life from oppression and violence, And their blood will be precious in his sight; 72,15 So may he live, and may the gold of Sheba be given to him; And let them pray for him continually; Let them bless him all day long. 72,16 May there be abundance of grain in the earth on top of the mountains; Its fruit will wave like the cedars of Lebanon; And may those from the city flourish like vegetation of the earth. 72,17 May his name endure forever; May his name increase as long as the sun shines; And let men bless themselves by him; Let all nations call him blessed. 72,18 Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. 72,19 And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen. 72,20 The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. Ps 72, 1-20;
And, so as to understand the reaction of the Israelites to Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah and the Son of God, we should remember that especially the scribes in Israel at this time thought of all these prophecies and promises when the Messiah was being discussed. They expected a powerful ruler who would defeat the nations and would bring Israel to the greatness God promised it. And the disciples were no exception. They also asked him:
Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?
Acts 1,6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord,
is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 1,7 He said to them, "It is not for
you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; Acts 1, 6- 7;
Sadly enough, because of the appearance of the Lord in poverty and peaceableness, the
religious leaders in Jerusalem did not even notice all the other promises regarding the accompanying features
of his origin and arrival. As can be derived from the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Mt 1,1-17, Jesus of
Nazareth was descended from the line of David (Jer 23,5; Isa 9,6) and was - at least for us Christians in
connection with other prophecies such as being born of a virgin (Isa 7,14) in Bethlehem (Micah 5,1) - the
promised Messiah of the Jews.
And it is now interesting to state that immediately at the beginning of his public ministry Jesus Christ proclaimed the gospel of the Kingdom of God - thus not that of the Messiah’s kingdom of peace but that of the Kingdom of God, of the Kingdom of the Father in eternity. In this form it was new to Israel. From that also came the confirmation of the doctrine of the resurrection, as the Pharisees taught it but was rejected by the Sadducees (Mt 22,23-33). One can also now see here the great misunderstanding and the wrong view on the part of the scribes. Like the Lord once told them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Mt 22,29), they should have known on the basis of their knowledge of the Scripture that, in their Scriptures, i.e. the Old Testament, there was not one single prophecy about a Kingdom of God, thus eternity. All prophecies had to do with the just dominion of a king on earth. Any Israelite who had studied the Scriptures during his lifetime should have known that.
Perhaps that is also the reason why Jesus preached this message exclusively to the Jews in the synagogues of the cities in Israel. To the Canaanite woman, who asked him in Mt 15,21-24 to have mercy on her possessed daughter, he said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And when he sent out the twelve, he told them to preach the Kingdom of God only in the cities of Israel. He commanded them further: “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece.”
I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also.
Lk 4,42 When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds
were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them. 4,43 But He said to
them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this
purpose." 4,44 So He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. Lk 4,42-44:
He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming the kingdom of God.
Lk 8,1 Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village
to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, Lk 8, 1;
But He answered and said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.".
Mt 15,21 Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and
Sidon. 15,22 And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, "Have mercy
on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed." 15,23 But He did not answer her a
word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, "Send her away, because she keeps shouting at
us." 15,24 But He answered and said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel And preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mt 10,5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in
the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 10,6 but rather go to the lost
sheep of the house of Israel. 10,7 "And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is
at hand.’ 10,8 "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you
received, freely give. 10,9 "Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10,10
or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his
support. Mt 10, 5-10;
The statement of Jesus above, in Mt 15,23,”I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” confirms the view that at this time the conversion of the Jews was the exclusive concern. The Kingdom of God had to be proclaimed first of all to the Jews.
The kingdom of God has come near to you.
Lk 10,8 "Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set
before you; 10,9 and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near
to you.’ 10,10 "But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its
streets and say, 10,11 ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against
you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 10,12 "I say to you, it
will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city. Lk 10, 8-12;
However, as we can conclude from the texts of the New Testament, the Israelites did not
understand that. And today as well people struggle when exegeting the Bible to relate this Kingdom of God to
the dominion of the Messiah, the millennial kingdom of peace. But they always fail because of fact that the
missing reference to reality in the texts contradicts this. So, for example, the statement further below in Lk
17,20, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed,” is in direct contradiction with the
millennium that people will be able to observe.
In fact, it is not a physical, geographical kingdom that is proclaimed here but primarily a situation: the royal dominion of God. It is precisely this term that we also find in the Greek original in all these places. Unfortunately, in almost all translations it has been changed into “kingdom,” supposedly to make it more understandable. In truth, the true meaning of this concept has thus been obscured for centuries.
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.
Mt 13,19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not
understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on
whom seed was sown beside the road. Mt 13,19;
The dominion of God (Kingdom of God) is present where God is the highest instance. That is, of
course, primarily in the dimension of eternity, thus in heaven and in the New Creation in the heavenly
Jerusalem. But the dominion of God can also be found on earth. Equally whether it concerns a country, a
community or a person. If a person subjects himself to the will of God and God is the highest authority for
him then the dominion of God is embodied in him. He is then a representative of the Kingdom of God in the
world as our Lord also was. And as the Lord told us time and again in parables, this attitude - although
rather unprepossessing from a worldly point of view - has the property to mature and to become large. Just
like the mustard seed (Mt 13,31-32), leaven (Mt 13,33) or the seed sown on good soil (Mt 13,23) that can yield
fruit a hundredfold.
The statement by the Lord above, Lk 10,9, “The Kingdom of God has come near to you,” thus refers to the dominion of God in the world. Heaven has come near to humankind and has been spiritually opened and has come among us in the person of the Son of God.
The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, For the kingdom of God is in your midst.
Lk 17,20 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;
17,21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God
is in your midst." Lk 17,20-21;
But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Lk 11,15 But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the
ruler of the demons." 11.16 Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. 11,17 But
He knew their thoughts and said to them, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house
divided against itself falls.11,18 "If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 11,19 "And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom
do your sons cast them out? So they will be your judges. 11,20 "But if I cast out demons by the
finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Lk 11,15-20;
The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Lk 7,20 When the men came to Him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us
to You, to ask, ‘Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?’" 7,21 At that very
time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were
blind. 7,22 And He answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the
blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the
poor have the gospel preached to them. 7,23 "Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me." Lk
Thus, the Kingdom of God does not come in such a way that it can be observed - that is, as the
Israelites had imagined at that time for more than a thousand years. There is no battle of opposing troops, no
deaths and no wounded. There is no ceremonial takeover of power nor an honor guard for the new ruler. Entirely
to the contrary: the dominion of God can be recognized only through the person of his representative and his
actions. And it is this representative himself who has come to serve humankind. He casts out demons, makes
blind people see, the lame walk and cleanses the lepers, makes the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor
have the good news preached to them. But since time immemorial in the course of human history, this kind of
dominion has been suspect and was so to the Israelites at that time: they thought that it was Beelzebul, the
devil, who was at work and not God.
The dominion of God could therefore also be compared in our time with the air a diver takes with him when he dives: it is part of another “dimension,” namely the world outside the water and, for the diver, the most important prerequisite for surviving in the water. And similarly, like the diver will drown and die if he does not use the oxygen tanks, the human being who rejects the dominion of God in his life loses eternal life (not his eternal existence!) and dies the second death after his rebirth in the resurrection.
(See also Excursus 08: “The first and the second death.”)
On earth and among people, the Kingdom of God does not come in such a way that it can be observed. It cannot be seen. But God's dominion is reality in heaven and in eternity. And that can be seen - but only if one gets in. That is the background of the discussion that the Lord had with Nicodemus, a scribe of the Pharisees, who was also a leader of the Jews (councillor, member of the high council in the Sanhedrin). The Lord said to him that one can see the Kingdom of God if one is born again.
Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Jn 3,3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless
one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." 3,4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can
a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can
he?" 3,5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he
cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 3,6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that
which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Jn 3, 3- 6;
As we can gather from this discussion between the Lord and Nicodemus in Jn 3,1-21, the issue
here is spiritual rebirth. Since the only type of birth Nicodemus knows about is biological, physical birth,
he asks if we have to return to our mother's womb in order to be reborn. The Lord explains to him that we need
both: our biological birth - that of water (amniotic fluid) - and our rebirth - that of the Spirit - in order
to enter the Kingdom of God. Whoever is not born biologically - of water - is not alive and therefore cannot
subsequently be born of the Spirit either.
Then, completely astounded, Nicodemus asks how that is possible. He thus has no idea of what the Lord is speaking about and relates these statements to biological, physical birth again. The Lord’s answer was both an answer to this scribe's question and a resumption of the topic of rebirth being discussed. He said, “[U]nless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” That means that we need both: our biological, physical birth - that of water (amniotic fluid) - in order to come into this world, and then our rebirth, namely that of the Spirit, in order to enter the New World, the Kingdom of God. Paul also writes this in his first letter to the Corinthians:
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
1Cor 15,50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the
kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 1Cor 15,50;
We must therefore be reborn. To be sure, in these statements by the Lord above, in Jn 3,3-6, there is no information about the time of this rebirth of the Spirit. But we do have a very concrete indication from the Lord himself elsewhere as to what this event is and when it will happen.
In the regeneration the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne.
Mt 19,28 And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have
followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also
shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Mt 19,28;
The Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne and judge all nations.
Mt 25,31 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels
with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 25,32 "All the nations will be gathered
before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the
goats; Mt 25,31-32;
The Lord Jesus himself makes the statement here about the rebirth, and based on the indication in the context, this is a rebirth that obviously still lies in the future. It is that point in time when the Lord will sit on his glorious throne and judge the world. The apostles will also sit on thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Thus, this is the time of the last judgment. And the event that immediately precedes the last judgment is the General Resurrection. Everyone of all peoples will rise from the dead in order to be judged by God. And the Lord now calls this resurrection, in which the dead will be made alive again by the Spirit and born anew, rebirth or regeneration. In Lk 20,36 as well he characterizes those reborn in the resurrection of the Spirit as “sons of the resurrection.”
They are sons of God and sons of the resurrection.
Lk 20,34 Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in
marriage, 20,35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the
dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 20,36 for they cannot even die anymore, because they are
like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. Lk 20,34-36;
According to Scripture, the rebirth is thus identical to the resurrection at the end of the
world. And those who are reborn here are all those who have died, whom the Lord summons from the realm of the
dead: “those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a
resurrection of judgment” (Jn 5,26-29). These statements in Scripture thus completely contradict the
teaching of a so-called “rebirth” of a believer when he converts. And as is apparent, this wrong view can
be traced to errors in translation.
While the Lord uses the Greek term palingenesia in Mt 19,28 above for the rebirth in the resurrection, those passages here below, 1Ptr 1,3 and 1,23 on which the notion of “rebirth” in one’s lifetime is generally based - just like in all other Scriptural passages relating to this that are unfortunately again and again translated by “reborn” (Jn 1,13; 1Jn 2,29; 3,9; 4,7; 5,1.4.18) - employ the Greek verb anagennao or gennetes in the Greek original of the texts. These terms are to be translated as “begotten” or “begotten again” respectively (so also in Barnes New Testament Notes 1Pet 1:3 - “Hath begotten us again”).
God, who according to His great mercy has begotten us again.
1Ptr 1,3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according
to His great mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from
the dead. 1Ptr 1, 3:
For you have been begotten again not of seed which is perishable.
1Ptr 1,23 for you have been begotten again not of seed which is perishable
but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.1Ptr 1,23;
Indeed, it is also completely in line with creation that the rebirth in the resurrection must
be preceded sometime by a re-engendering. Just as an act of biological engendering must precede the
biological birth, so a spiritual engendering must precede the spiritual rebirth in the resurrection. And this
spiritual engendering, re-engendering, is our conversion to faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are not
reborn when we convert but are first made capable of spiritual development by the Word of God and thus re-engendered.
And as an engendered child has no absolute certainty until his birth that he will enter this world healthy and
undamaged, so the re-engendered Christian has no absolute certainty until his rebirth, thus after death and
resurrection, that he will enter eternal life nor in what condition he will do so (Mt 5,29-20).
(See also Discourse 85: “True and false rebirth.”)
All in all, as can be easily seen, a certain parallel to our physical life can be noted:
whereas, physically, the human child develops for nine months after conception and then - if there are no
complications - is born, in our faith lives we are engendered or made capable of development spiritually at
our conversion by the Word of God (Mt 13,23, Lk 8,15). We can develop further in our life in faith until death
and will be spiritually reborn at the resurrection.
As Paul writes above in 1Cor 15,50, flesh and blood cannot actually inherit the Kingdom of God. We must first die in order to be then reborn - of the Spirit. And these people who have been reborn have the characteristics that the Lord ascribes here below in Jn 3,7 to those born of the Spirit:
The wind blows where it wishes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going.
Jn 3,7 "Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
2,8 "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from
and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." 3,9 Nicodemus said to Him,
"How can these things be?" 3,10 Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of
Israel and do not understand these things? 3,11 "Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know
and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 3,12 "If I told you earthly things
and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? Jn 3, 7-12;
Such characteristics will be sought in vain in the earthly lives of those who have been “reborn,”
just as they - although allegedly “reborn” - cannot meet the criteria of the Lord in Jn 3,3 for seeing the
Kingdom of God:
Jn 3,3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless
one is born again (born from above) he cannot see the kingdom of God."
The Greek word anothen, which is translated here in Jn 3,3 and 3,7 as “again,” as
an adverb, means “from above, from on high” (so also in Barnes New Testament Notes Jn 3:3 - “be born
again”) and is translated in almost all translations as “from above” in Jn 3,31 and 19,11. However,
because the translators did not understand the actual meaning of this sentence, they gave the another,
temporal meaning to this word, namely, “again,” and thus prevented the correct understanding of this
promise of the Lord for generations.
It is thus not surprising that people who have not yet died and been resurrected and thus have not yet been born from above cannot do what the Lord ascribes in Jn 3,8 to those who are born again: “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” For that reason, the defenders of a “rebirth” in this life among the brothers and sisters in the faith and in Bible schools need to be reproached for not having examined the Scriptures; otherwise these contradictions would not have escaped them.
Entirely to the contrary, we see these characteristics here entirely in the Lord after his resurrection (rebirth), when he suddenly met two disciples on the road to Emmaus as a stranger (Lk 24,15-16), then appeared to the eleven apostles as well through closed doors (Jn 20,19) and then vanished again: namely the ability to transform his resurrection body or to go through matter without their knowing whence he came and where he went.
The Lord reveals a further characteristic of the resurrection body to the scribes of the Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection. As he said to them, in the resurrection people do not marry or are given in marriage; rather, they will be like the angels in heaven - thus sexless. This is a condition that is explained by the fact that people enjoy eternal life and procreation is no longer necessary.
In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
Mt 22,29 But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not
understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 22,30 "For in the resurrection they neither marry
nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 22,31 "But regarding the resurrection of
the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 22,32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of
Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." Mt 22,29-32;
(See also Chapter 12: “The Resurrection.”)
In concluding this topic, we should still point out that there is apparently an exception to the Lord’s statement in Jn 3,3 above: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The Lord himself says in Lk 9,27:
There are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.
Lk 9,26 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be
ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 9,27 "But
I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the
kingdom of God." Lk 9,26-27;
This statement by the Lord in Lk 9,27 appears to be a reference to that event of which Luke reports immediately after it:
Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Lk 9,28 Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John
and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 9,29 And while He was praying, the appearance of His face
became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. 9,30 And behold, two men were talking with
Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, 9,31 who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which
He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Lk 9,28-31
It was thus Peter, James and John who saw, in a kind of vision, the Kingdom of God in the form
of Moses and Elija appearing in glory on earth. And that appears to be a situation similar to what Paul
describes in 2Cor 12,1-4 that he was, “in the body, or out of the body” in Paradise and in the third
heaven and thus saw the Kingdom of God. It is thus also possible to see the Kingdom of God in a vision or a
(See also Excursus 09: “The Paradise.”)
Who, whether in the body, or out of the body I do not know, was caught up to the third heaven and into Paradise.
2Cor 12,1 Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to
visions and revelations of the Lord. 12.2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago-whether in the body
I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows-such a man was caught up to the third heaven.
12,3 And I know how such a man-whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows- 12,4 was
caught into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. 2Cor 12, 1- 4;
In the General Resurrection at the end of the world all people who have died will be raised
and reborn. And here the question arises, of course, as to how this stands in connection with those deceased
persons who are raised at the Lord’s return and the living believers who have been raptured. Here also it is
the translations that often cause difficulties. If one examines the original Greek texts closely, it can be
seen that in reference to both the General Resurrection (Jn 5,29; Acts 24,15) and the First Resurrection (Rev
20,4) the verb “resurrect” is used, whereas in reference to the return of the Lord at the rapture, the
deceased believers are not resurrected but raised (1Cor 15,52, not in 1The 4,16!). This little-noted
connection is also clearly expressed in the text of Acts 10,40-41:
God raised Him up on the third day and we ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
Acts 10,40 "God raised Him up on the third day and granted
that He become visible, 10,41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that
is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. Acts 10,40-41;
Here Peter proclaims to the Roman centurion Cornelius the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And he reports that God raised Jesus up (Gr. egeiren) and then that the disciples had eaten with him after he had been resurrected (Gr. anastenai). We can also reconstruct these facts in the gospels: Immediately after his being raised from the dead, Mary Magdalene saw the Lord and wanted to embrace him. But he told her: “Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.”
Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Fathe.
Jn 20,11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she
stooped and looked into the tomb; 20,12 and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at
the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 20,13 And they said to her, "Woman, why are you
weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have
20,14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 20,15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." 20,16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher).
20,17 Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’" 20,18 Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her. Jn 20,11-18;
But when the Lord had returned from his Father to the earth again after his resurrection on the same day and suddenly appeared to the disciples, he ate with them and had no more reservations about letting them touch him.
When the doors were shut Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Touch me and see.
Lk 24,36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst
and said to them, "Peace be to you." 24,37 But they were startled and frightened and thought that
they were seeing a spirit. 24,38 And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise
in your hearts? 24,39 "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit
does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." 24,40 And when He had said this, He showed
them His hands and His feet. 24,41 While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement,
He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" 24,42 They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish;
24,43 and He took it and ate it before them. Lk 24,36-43;
All those believers who “are Christ’s” (1Cor 15,23) and will be raised from the dead at his return and raptured together with the living believers are therefore first raised up and do not have a resurrection body.
Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Cor 15,47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from
heaven. 15,48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those
who are heavenly. 15,49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the
heavenly. 15,50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor
does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 15,51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all
sleep, but we will all be changed, 15,52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for
the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 15,53
For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1Cor 15,47-53;
(See also Excursus 07: “The resurrection body.”)
Only the martyrs of all times, who are also raised at this rapture and then subsequently receive resurrection bodies together with the other martyrs from the dominion of the Antichrist (Rev 13,15-17) at the First Resurrection (Rev 20,4-6) in order to reign with Christ in the millennial kingdom, will be able to perform this duty physically on earth - but also in heaven.
They should rest for a little while longer, until their fellow servants, would be completed also.
Rev 6,9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls
of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had
maintained; 6,10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will
You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 6,11 And there was
given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer,
until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been,
would be completed also. Rev 6, 9-11;
The image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
Rev 13,15 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so
that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to
be killed. 13,16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free
men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 13,17 and he provides that
no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the
number of his name. Rev 13,15-17;
I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God.
Rev 20,4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to
them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because
of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on
their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
20,5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the
first resurrection. 20,6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over
these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for
a thousand years. Rev 20, 4- 6;
To come back now, however, to the Lord’s proclamation of the Kingdom of God, we should keep in mind that all these clarifications, such as the General Resurrection, rebirth, the First Resurrection, the Lord’s Return, raising and rapture, etc, were not yet available to the Israelites at that time, which is why they responded with extreme skepticism to all statements related to this. A report truly worth reading and particularly meaningful here is found in the gospel of John, which, because of its realistic depiction of the situation at that time, will be quoted in its entirety:
We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone.
Jn 8,31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you
continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 8,32 and you will know the truth, and the truth
will make you free." 8,33 They answered Him, "We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet
been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?" 8,34 Jesus answered
them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 8,35 "The
slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 8,36 "So if the Son makes you
free, you will be free indeed. Jn 8,31-36;
We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.
Jn 8,37 "I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill
Me, because My word has no place in you. 8,38 "I speak the things which I have seen with My Father;
therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father." 8,39 They answered and said to Him,
"Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds
of Abraham. 8,40 "But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I
heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 8,41 "You are doing the deeds of your father." They said to
Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God." 8,42 Jesus said to them,
"If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I
have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 8,43 "Why do you not understand what I am
saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. Jn 8,37-43;
You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.
Jn 8,44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires
of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no
truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of
lies. 8,45 "But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 8,46 "Which one of you convicts Me
of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 8,47 "He who is of God hears the words of God;
for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God." 8,48 The Jews answered and said to
Him, "Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?" 8,49 Jesus answered,
"I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 8,50 "But I do not seek My
glory; there is One who seeks and judges. Jn 8,44-50;
Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.
Jn 8,51 "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never
see death." 8,52 The Jews said to Him, "Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the
prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’ 8,53 "Surely
You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to
be?" 8,54 Jesus answered, "If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who
glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; 8,55 and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him;
and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. 8,56
"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." 8,57 So the Jews
said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" 8,58 Jesus said to them,
"Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." 8,59 Therefore they picked up
stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. Jn 8,51-59;
From a purely objective point of view, one could have complete sympathy for these Israelites.
They said among themselves: “Who does he think he is?” To be sure, the Lord had proved through the
miracles he had done that he was indeed “somebody.” But that was not actually the issue here - to produce
proof or witnesses. Even if he had done still greater miracles and had cited many witnesses, they would not
have believed him. It was not the lack of proof but their lack of faith that led the Israelites to their wrong
assessment. It was their lack of confidence in their own God, the complete absence of the Holy Spirit, that
hardened their hearts and closed their ears to the words of the Son of God.
Above, in Jn 8,40, the Lord accused the Jews of wanting to kill him. But it was not only the people who wanted to kill him; it was also and in particular the Sanhedrin, the religious leaders of Israel who were afraid of losing their power and discussed how they could kill him.
This man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him.
Jn 11,47 Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and
were saying, "What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. 11,48 "If we let Him go
on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our
nation." 11,49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know
nothing at all, 11,50 nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the
people, and that the whole nation not perish." 11,51 Now he did not say this on his own initiative,
but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, 11,52 and not for
the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are
scattered abroad. 11,53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him. Jn 11,47-53;
But this made it clear that the Jews has rejected the Son of God and declined the salvation of their God. The Lord depicted this in a particularly striking way in the parable of the king who prepared a wedding feast for his son.
Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.
Mt 22,2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who
gave a wedding feast for his son. 22,3 "And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to
the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 22,4 "Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell
those who have been invited, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are
all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast."‘ 22,5 "But they paid no
attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, 22,6 and the rest seized
his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.
22,7 "But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. 22,8 "Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 22,9 ‘Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 22,10 "Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. 22,11 "But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 22,12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 22,13 "Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 22,14 "For many are called, but few are chosen." Mt 22, 2-14;
The king in this parable is God; his son for whom he prepared the wedding feast is the Son of
God, our Lord Jesus Christ. The slaves whom the king sent out to call the guests originally invited to the
feast to come are the prophets of Israel in the Old Testament. Time and again they had called the Israelite
people to turn back to their God. The invited guests are the people of God in Israel.
But these wedding guests were not interested and continued in their wrong thinking. Even more, they took the slaves and killed them, like the many prophets who were mistreated and killed over the centuries by kings and those in power in Israel - as John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus himself also were.
When the king now saw that those who had been invited were not worthy, he had their city burned (Jerusalem by Titus in 70 A.D.) and these murderers killed. He then sent out slaves again (apostles and preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ), who now invited all people who were prepared to come (from among all peoples and also from among the Jews). This is the situation now, after the Lord was rejected by the Jews and crucified by the Romans. Since then and until the end, God has been sending and will send his - now Christian - slaves to invite all people - bad and good.
Thus, through its obstinacy, Israel lost its position as the only elected people. If membership in one of the twelve tribes of Israel had been the condition until that time for election, the criterion has now changed. No longer is physical membership in a people decisive but the internal, spiritual willingness to accept faith in this God (i.e. that we be dressed in wedding clothes) - regardless of race, color, origin or position.
Paul was in a very similar situation in Rome when, as a prisoner, he called the Jews living in Rome to himself and proclaimed the Gospel of salvation to them. Some listened to him and others rejected it. Paul also recognized that the Jews had hardened their hearts and proclaimed to them in the Holy Spirit that salvation had been taken from them and sent to the Gentiles.
Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.
Acts 28,25 And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after
Paul had spoken one parting word, "The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your
fathers, 28,26 saying, ‘go to this people and say, "you will keep on hearing, but will not
understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; 28,27 for the heart of this people has
become dull, and with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes; otherwise they might see
with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal
them."‘ 28,28 "Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to
the Gentiles; they will also listen." Acts 28,25-28;
Since you repudiate the Word of God we are turning to the Gentiles.
Acts 13,46 Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, "It was necessary
that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal
life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. Acts 13,46;
The dominion of God was thus sent to the Gentiles and no longer to Israel. And, finally, the Lord was no longer content with parables but brought the bitter consequence of their unbelief home to the Israelites:
The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.
Mt 21,43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away
from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 21,44 "And he who falls on this stone will
be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust." 21,45 When the chief
priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.
21,46 When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet. Mt
But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves.
Lk 7,28 "I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater
than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." 7,29 When all the people and
the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of
John. 7,30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been
baptized by John. Lk 7,28-30;
When you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out.
Lk 13,24 "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you,
will seek to enter and will not be able.13,25 "Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and
you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and
say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ 13,26 "Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and
drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; 13,27 and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know
where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers.’ 13,28 "In that place there will be
weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the
kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. 13,29 "And they will come from east and
west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. 13,30 "And
behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last." Lk 13,24-30;
This text finally also confirms again that the kingdom of God and the millennial kingdom are,
temporarily and substantively, completely separate periods. When it states above, in Lk 13,28, “In that
place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the
prophets in the kingdom of God,” the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” shows us again that this
statement refers to the period after the Last Judgment and thus to the New Creation in eternity. And if this
can be mentioned in the same time frame as the Kingdom of God, then it cannot be the Millennium here. Here we
see clearly that the millennial kingdom of peace is the final period in the current age, whereas the Kingdom
of God has to do with the future age, eternity (Mt 12,32; Lk 18,30; Eph 1,21).
We can recognize Israel and the Gentiles also in the parable by the Lord here below, in Mt 21,28-32, of the two sons who had to work in the vineyard. In ancient times the Gentiles (the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans) had made many idols and false gods and did not want to believe in the one God. They are represented in this parable by the first son, who did not want to work in the vineyard. Israel, on the other hand, was prepared at that time to follow God. But then, when the Messiah came to them to put their faith to the test, they refused him and rejected him. They are like the second son who said “I will, sir” but did not go.
Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.
Mt 21,28 "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the
first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ 21,29 "And he answered, ‘I will not’; but
afterward he regretted it and went. 21,30 "The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he
answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. 21,31 "Which of the two did the will of his father?"
They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you that the tax collectors
and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. 21,32 "For John came to you in the
way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and
you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him. Mt 21,28-32;
Many among the Gentiles, however, to whom the Gospel was preached after this time, accepted
the one and only God and converted. In the parable further above, in Lk 13,30, those who believed, who are
called the last by the Lord, will be raised as the first at the rapture and enter heaven. But the Israelites,
who were the first, will be resurrected as the last only at the end of the world, at the rebirth in the
Israel in the light of the Bible.
Based on the Old Testament
God has completely taken away his compassion from the house of
Israel (Hos 1:6). They are no longer his people (Hos 1:9). Only the house
of Judah will be saved by the Lord. Not by war, however, but by his Spirit
(Hos 1:7). And only in the Millennium, when the Son of God has entered on
his thousand years rule on earth (Hos 1:10; 2,18 Eze 34:25; Isa 2:4), will
the Lord once more accept Israel as his people (Hos 2:23; Jer 31:27-28).
Based on the New Testament
It is God’s will that we should listen to his Son (Mt 17:5). This same Son
of God has told us that anyone who rejects him rejects God as well (1Jn
2:23; Lk 10:16; Jn 5:22-23. 15:23). The people of Israel today deny the
Son of God and abuse him as an impostor and blasphemer. As a result of
this denial of the Son, Israel has also rejected the Father and so is a
God-less people. (Jn 8:24)
The Kingdom or dominion of God was taken away from Israel and given to us, the Gentiles. All
Christian churches and denominations teach this. Sadly, some Christian denominations also teach that Israel
has therefore been rejected by God. It is a fact that, by way of punishment, Israel has been put at the end of
the line until the last one among the Gentiles willing to be converted has converted and the Messiah has
returned. Then Israel will return again and take its place in God’s plan of salvation.
There are, of course, different premises and consequences concerning this “transfer” of the Kingdom of God from the Israelites to the Gentiles. Therefore, every orthodox and responsible Christian must ask himself if we are on the right path or if we - like the Israelites at the time - only think that we are on the road to the Kingdom of God.
With the above parable in Mt 21,29-31 the Lord held up a mirror to the Jewish scribes, so that they themselves could see why the Kingdom of God had been taken away from them. What does the mirror look like that we have to hold up to ourselves, in order to see the truth of the status of our faith?
Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom?
Jam 2,5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? Jam 2, 5;
We are the heirs of the Kingdom - are we the heirs of the Kingdom? We stated further above
that the dominion of God is always present where God is the highest authority. If a person subjects himself to
the will of God and God is the highest authority for him, then this dominion of God is embodied in him, he is
the heir to the Kingdom of God. Do we do that? Is that taught in our congregations? Is it at all possible to
live in line with such an attitude at this time?
Our congregations are, sadly, always more organizational centers than they are centers of faith. They are more concerned with gaining members than winning souls. But God does not want members; he wants people who confess that they are completely his. But more and more orthodox believers are seeing that teaching and practice no longer occurs in many congregations. The consequence of this is that these believers see themselves forced to leave their churches. Although one can attempt to find a new assembly that is faithful to the Bible, only rarely does one succeed in this. Therefore, many of these Christians have no other choice than to shape their faith lives alone or with their spouses and at best come into contact with like-minded people in small groups meeting in homes.
It is certainly a serious topic and some of the believers who have left blame themselves secretly. Reproaches and exclusion also come from the churches they have left. And not infrequently they allow themselves to be persuaded and return to these churches. But is that wise? Is that really what God wants of us - to practice a superficial faith together with a large number of nominal Christians in a secularized church? Oswald Smith made some very pointed statements on this in his very good book, The Man God Uses: (pp. 9ff.) [what follows is a translation of the German translation, given that it was impossible to locate the original English version]:
“God created us for himself. He desires communion with us, connection with us. We
should live with him moment by moment, here among our godless and deviant contemporaries, in a world that has
no understanding of a separate life in the Holy Spirit, in a world that crucified our Lord and whose God is
Satan, live as pilgrims and strangers - that is his plan and his purpose for us.
There has hardly been a time in which the emphasis on separation has been more necessary than now. The world has become so churchly and the church so worldly that they can hardly be distinguished from each other. The line of separation is completely blurred. Churches where revival thrived earlier and whose spiritual life was once deep and strong are now only social centers above which God has written the word “Ichabod,” “The glory has departed.”
People seem to think today that they must mingle with the world and be like them in order to speak to people and win souls. But if someone has fallen into a deep well, it would not occur to anyone, not even in their wildest dreams, to jump in after him in order to get him out. The rescuer remains above and from there lowers a cable or ladder so as to help the other get out.
Thus here as well. People who have won souls and given new direction to the lives of others have always been such who, regardless of the masses, went their way with God and from their spiritual height have lifted others up to their level. The only way to win others is to be different oneself, to draw them by something that they lack. If God reigns in us, we can have an impact on others.”
(See also Discourse 1042: “Are all governments of the
world ordained by God?”)
It is thus the dominion of God in us that distinguishes and separates us from the masses on the one hand but which, on the other, also confers on us the ability to win souls and to give new direction to the lives of others. We should - indeed we must - be different from the godless world around us.
"Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord.
2Cor 6,14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership
have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 6,15 Or what harmony has
Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 6,16 Or what agreement has the temple
of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and
walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 6,17 "Therefore, come out from
their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "And do not touch what is uinclean; And I will
welcome you. 6,18 "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says
the Lord Almighty. 2Cor 6,14-18;
But this command, “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” pertains not
only to the atheistic world but also to all religions in which Jesus Christ is not confessed as the Son of God
and the only Savior. For some time already the attempt has been made within the framework of “interreligious
ecumenism” to unite all the great world religions. It is claimed that “the love that is proclaimed in the
Gospel excludes no one” and therefore “openness for all people of other cultures and religious traditions”
is propagated. This perverts the love in the Gospel and betrays Christ. For this unified world religon
representatives of both the Catholic Church and the Christian Orthodox Churches have already expressed
willingness to renounce one Christian principle or another in favor of Islam, the Mosaic faith or Buddhism.
(See also Discourse 91: “Interreligious Ecumenism: Are the
Religions Merely Different Paths to Salvation?”)
But true and genuine Christian faith cannot renounce any of its principles. Christianity is the only religion worldwide that claims absolute truth and it cannot abandon that claim. Our Lord said:
I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Jn 14,6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no
one comes to the Father but through Me.Jn 14, 6:
And this does not allow any latitude for a reinterpretation or a compromise. It is the only
As the Lord told us in his parables here below, the dominion of God (heaven) does not just fall into our lap.
And from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Mt 13,44 "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the
field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and
buys that field. Mt 13.44;
Upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Mt 13,45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine
pearls, 13,46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought
it. Mt 13.45-46;
In both parables the people sold everything they had in order to gain possession of their find. The Kingdom of God is thus not without price! We must pay for it - not in cash, to be sure, but by abandoning all those practices of ours that would prevent the growth of the dominion of God in us and thus our right as heirs of the Kingdom of God. Paul enumerated some of these bad practices in his letters:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
1Cor 6,9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom
of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor
homosexuals, 6,10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will
inherit the kingdom of God. 6,11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but
you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1Cor 6, 9-11;
Of which I forewarn you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5,16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of
the flesh. 5,17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these
are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 5,18 But if you are led
by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 5,19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:
immorality, impurity, sensuality, 5,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of
anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 5,21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of
which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit
the kingdom of God. 5,22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, 5,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal
For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Eph 5,3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among
you, as is proper among saints; 5,4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting,
which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5,5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral
or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
5,6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons
of disobedience. Eph 5, 3- 6;
Here the chaff is separated from the wheat. All non-Christian religions, with the exception of Judaism but including the Catholic and Orthodox churches (“Mother of God”), are excluded from the Kingdom of God because of the idolatry they practice. But all Protestant churches as well that bless homosexual couples (most recently two Anglican priests) have therefore blessed “catamites” (effeminate) and have violated this command by God. For, as Paul writes, the immoral, the impure and greedy are also idolaters.
You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not worship them or serve them.
Ex 20,3 "You shall have no other gods before Me. 20,4 "You shall
not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the
water under the earth. 20,5 "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God,
am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth
generations of those who hate Me. Ex 20, 3- 5;
But Evangelical Congregations should not gloat either. All these other grounds for exclusions such as
- filthiness, silly talk and coarse jesting
- enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions
- envying, drunkenness, carousing
- immorality, impurity, sensuality
can be found time and again in the church and sadly are not always clearly condemned.
These are all practices that we, as heirs of the Kingdom of God, should eradicate and never commit again. But what things should we do? Should we, for example, pray the whole day? Here one should distinguish between what is usually understood as prayer and what true prayer actually is. Every form of prayer that for example - as is the custom in the Catholic Church - is prayed as penitence, such as “3 Our Fathers and 4 Hail Marys” is a droning of something learned by heart and the “Hail Mary” adds an idolatrous text to that. That is an insult to God and has nothing at all to do with proper prayer.
Like a conversation with someone dear to us, which includes some time every day in which constant topics come up but also deals briefly with events that can always occur in the meantime, so it is with prayer to God. In this conversation there are also fixed “items on the agenda,” with fundamental asking and thanking - possibly in the morning. But in the course of the day there is time and again the need to thank God for a beautiful moment - be it in nature or in one's life - for example, or to pray for success in a difficult undertaking. Viewed this way, the orthodox Christian actually prays all day long - if not uninterruptedly - because he speaks with God and does not recite prayer formulas.
It is quite similar with respect to Bible study. Often, we only “go through” a book of the Bible, discuss it a bit and then the next book is tackled. Apart from the fact that, when busy with the next book, the participants no longer know what the previous one was about, by the next weekend most people have also forgotten what was read the previous week. As we can see, it makes no sense at all and is not completely incomprehensible that many believers are already “sick and tired of it.”
A fruitful Bible study should not barrel through all the books of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation but rather search for and fix on a theme. The entire Scripture will then be examined on this theme by means of parallel passages and notes made as to what is said on that theme. And only then does the actual study of the Bible begin, in which these texts are examined and analyzed in their entire context, what they say about the topic, where still more information is found in the Bible, etc. Finally, one obtains rather substantial statements about the topic chosen - e.g. the Rapture. The whole is then no longer a matter of reading texts quickly and at best learning them by heart but rather a properly detailed documentation, where the background of the events suddenly becomes more comprehensible and which will not be forgotten so quickly.
Many brothers and sisters think that all these connections in the Bible are very interesting but completely without significance for a faith-filled life pleasing to God. That someone has been converted and attends the worship service every Sunday in his church is thought to be much more important than knowing some prophecies of the Scripture and their meaning for the present and the future.
The Jews evidently thought quite similarly in Jesus’ time, as told us in Mk 12,10-27.
Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone?
Mk 12,10 "Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone
which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; 12,11 This came about from the Lord, and
it is marvelous in our eyes’?" 12,12 And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the
people, for they understood that He spoke the parable against them. And so they left Him and went away. Mk
Have you not read in the book of Moses, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’?
Mk 12,26 "But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you
not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I
am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 12,27 "He is not the God of the
dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken." Mk 12,26-27;
These Jews were probably Israelites who were faithful to the law and zealous attendees at the
synagogue. But as the Lord asserts to them here, they had not read their Scirptures (Ps 118,22-24 or Ex 3,6)
and had not seen on the one hand - as, for that matter, neither did Nicodemus further above - that there would
be a resurrection and that God is not God of the dead but of the living. On the other hand - which is much
worse - they had not understood at all the warning of the psalmistl (the stone which the builders rejected) in
the Hallel, of which the second part (Ps 115-118) is sung every year after the closing prayer of the
Passover meal (Mt 26,30). They thus did not recognize the Messiah. The consequence of this was the greatest
catastrophe that ever struck Israel: shortly before the fulfillment of all the prophecies that God had
promised this people, they had condemned the Son of God who would fulfill all these promises to death because
of their defective knowledge of Scripture and handed him over to the Romans.
Here one can see very well the connection between prophecy and reality and the risk that every brother or sister takes who holds that it is enough to attend the Sunday service and one should not worry about Scripture and the prophecies. Sadly, many Bible teachers also contribute to this attitude when they preach that the church will be raptured before the tribulation and that therefore we do need only to wait until the Lord Jesus returns and takes us to himself.
(See also Discourse 71: “Is the next major event of world
history for the faithful the Rapture?”)
But what is concealed from the people here is the statement, among others, by the Lord on his return and the rapture in Mt 24,29-31:
But immediately after the tribulation of those days they will see the Son of Man coming.
Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days
the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the
powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky,
and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the
clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great
trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to
the other. Mt 24,29-31;
The Lord will thus come back only after the Tribulation to gather his own (1The
4,15-17; 2The 2,8) and therefore the church must go through this Great Tribulation. There can thus be no
question of leaning back and waiting for the Lord. For believers, the next major event in world history is
thus not the rapture, as Heinz Weber of the Brake Bible School proclaims but the greatest catastrophe of all
time: a Great Tribulation such as has not occurred from the beginning of the world until now nor ever will (Mt
(See also Discourse 09: “The Great Tribulation: an
affliction of the faithful, or of the whole world?”)
And as the Lord tells us, there will be great temptations for Christians precisely in this difficult time:
For false Christs will arise and will show great wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
Mt 24,23 "Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or
‘There He is,’ do not believe him. 24,24 "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will
show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
24.25 "Behold, I have told you in advance. Mt 24,23-25;
Therefore, whoever does not warn the brothers and sisters today of these dangers and teaches
them that the next event for believers is the Lord’s return bears the blame if they then consider a false
Christ to be the returned Lord.
(See also Discourse 65: “Why the Rapture
is to be placed after the Great Tribulation.”)
As we can see, the situation for the believers here will be similar to that which we could establish above for the Jews at the time of Jesus. With the distinction that the Jews then saw the true Christ as a false one and killed him, whereas here the Christian believers will see the false Christ as the true one and follow him.
If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.
Jn 5,43 "I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if
another comes in his own name, you will receive him. Jn 5,43;