by Thomas Bass | Les Feldick
I don’t claim to have any special revelations, and I don’t think I teach The Bible that much different than a lot of men who are far more important and educated than I am. But I trust that I am able to make it a little easier to understand. We have been talking about the Kingdom the past few lessons. Christ has returned, the Tribulation has run its course, and I think the questions that come into everybody’s mind are, “Who is going to go into the Kingdom? Are they going to be flesh and blood? Will they be having families? Will they be reproducing?” And the answer to all these question is, absolutely! This Kingdom will be on the earth, and will be `Utopia,’ (that’s the word the secular world likes to use). So let’s take a few references out of the Old Testament to show that this Kingdom idea has been on God’s mind from the very onset of the Book it-self, but especially after the call of Abraham.
I stressed many months ago that the Abrahamic Covenant you see was the Covenant between God and the Nation of Israel. He would make them a special, separated nation of people. He would put them in a geographic area of land and then, at the appropriate time, He would come to be their King, and set up the government. That comprises the Kingdom that everything is looking forward to. Let’s begin this lesson in Psalms Chapter 2; we have looked at some of the verses several times in the past. But in Psalms Chapter 2, we have the format of prophecy more or less laid out, and the rejection of the Messiah in verse 2. Then how God just literally ridicules mankind (in his frustrations, mankind thinks that he can rule without God in verse 3). So God laughs at mankind and will have them in derision in verse 4. And then in verse 5:
“Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.” That’s the Tribulation. And then the next verse brings in the Kingdom.
“Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”
Now that’s the Kingdom as it will be centered in Jerusalem where, of course, Zion is. Now verse 8:
“Ask of me, and I shall give thee (The Messiah, The King) the heathen (or Gentiles) for thine inheritance (in other words it isn’t just going to be a Jewish Kingdom, but will include the whole human race), and the uttermost parts (not heaven, but what?) of the earth for thy possession.” So this Kingdom is going to be on earth. All Scripture defines it as such. Now as we leave Psalms, come to Isaiah Chapter 2 for a moment.
“THE word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.” See Jerusalem is at the very center of all of this.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days (that final thousand years), that the mountain (or Kingdom) of the LORD’s house shall be established, in the top of the mountains (over all the other nations and empires that have previously existed), and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations (plural) shall flow unto it (the Kingdom).”
We will come back to Isaiah 11 at a later time, but for now come to Matthew. As I have stressed before, we haven’t taught the four Gospels yet. We were ready to begin that study, but we had so many requests for me to teach prophecy that we skipped the four Gospels, and have been teaching prophecy for quite some time now. But in about five or six hours we will be completely finished with prophecy, and then we will begin our study in Matthew and finish the Gospels, and the Book of Acts. But for now, in Matthew Chapter 3 we have John the Baptist coming on the scene in verse 1.
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea. And saying, `Repent ye (why?): for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
Why was John saying that? Because the King was there. Christ was on the scene, and He was about to present Himself to the Nation of Israel as their promised Messiah and King. So they were to prepare spiritually with repentance, and the baptism of repentance that John preached. The term, “The Kingdom of heaven” is frequent throughout the Book of Matthew. Let’s look at a few of them. In Matthew Chapter 4, Jesus has begun His earthly ministry:
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent (why?): for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Now come on over to Chapter 9. This is all to fulfill the promises made to the Nation of Israel through the Abrahamic Covenant. And now here it comes, the nation is there, they’re in at least part of the promised land (not all of it yet), and now Jesus has come to present Himself as their King.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages (of Israel), teaching in their synagogues, and preaching (what?) the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”
When you come into Chapter 10 (we will be looking at this in detail when we come into the New Testament), Jesus chooses the twelve in verse 2. Come down to verse 5 and read the following:
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them (now watch this), saying, `Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’”
Why did Jesus do that? Why did He qualify it in such a narrow frame of reference? Because the Abrahamic Covenant had nothing to do with anyone but the Nation of Israel. He knew that because He was the Framer of it. He was the One Who made that Covenant. Don’t think for a minute He was confused. Several years ago, I was listening to a preacher of a large church in the midwest. I was never so shocked in my life at what he said. He was using this passage for his sermon subject, and he said, “You know at this point in time, Jesus was still bigoted as He wasn’t taking the Gentiles into consideration, and He didn’t fully understand the scope of His ministry.” And I’m almost quoting him word for word. Imagine that, but you see what the poor gentleman couldn’t comprehend was, that Jesus fully understood, and had a heart for the Gentiles, but it wasn’t time for their ministry yet. He had come to fulfill the promises that He had made to Israel all the way back to Abraham. So He commanded the twelve not to go to anyone but Israelites. You remember when He spoke to the Canaanite woman? It was the same reason. She was a Gentile. He said, “I can’t give to you Gentiles that which belongs to the children (that is Israel).” After He says to go only to the lost sheep of Israel, we see in verse 7:
“And as ye (the Twelve) go, preach, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
The Kingdom is mentioned over and over. Let’s stop at Chapter 19. This isn’t intended to be an in-depth study of Matthew. But now in Chapter 19 as we have gone up through Jesus’ three years of His earthly ministry, and the twelve have been dutifully going with Him everywhere He goes. Now, in verse 27 (and you know I like to point out that these twelve men were just as human as you and I are. They weren’t super spiritual. They were common, ordinary fishermen and so forth), we read the following:
“Then answered Peter and said unto him (Jesus), Behold, we have forsaken all (their occupations), and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
Peter wasn’t talking about his salvation, he knew he had that. He had already believed that Jesus was the Christ. So what’s he talking about? He wanted to know what their reward would be for following Jesus (leaving everything else behind). Look at Jesus’ answer:
“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, `That ye which have followed me (the twelve, but we must leave Judas out), in the regeneration (that’s when you restore something back like it was. The earth back like it was in the Garden of Eden) when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory (and according to Psalms Chapter 2, it will be in Jerusalem), ye (the twelve, we will have Matthias in the Book of Acts) also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging (or ruling) the twelve tribes of Israel.’”
Now isn’t that so plain? When the Kingdom is set up and the Nation is now under their King, under The King will be twelve original Apostles each ruling the twelve tribes, there in Jerusalem. There in the land of Israel. Let’s look at another verse or two. This comes back to the closing days of the Tribulation, but that is all tied to the beginning of the Kingdom.
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” Now that’s the end of the Tribulation. Look at what the next verse says:
“And then shall they (the Jews. What’s the next word?) see (lock that word in for I’ll come back and make a point with it) the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Remember, He is addressing the Nation of Israel.
“And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the (what’s the next word?) kingdom of God is nigh at hand.”
Now come on over to the Book of Acts Chapter 1. Of course, the Crucifixion has come and gone. Christ has been raised from the dead. He has spent forty days with the eleven. And now verse 3:
“To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days (they saw Him. How? With their eyes), and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:” Now verses 6 and 7:
“When they therefore were come together (Jesus and the eleven, on the Mount of Olives), they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?”Notice He didn’t tell them there wouldn’t be a Kingdom, but rather:
“And he said unto them, `It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.’”
Don’t think Peter had forgotten about the promise of both him and the others sitting on the twelve thrones we read about earlier.
I just had a thought. I’m going to give you something to look for. I want you to search the four Gospel accounts, and see if you can find a single time that the twelve referred to the Lord as “Jesus.” I think you will have an eye-opener.
So the Kingdom has been the theme throughout all of Scripture. That this Kingdom is going to come on the earth where Christ will be the absolute King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Satan, as we have seen, is going to be bound and there will be no sin. But the question is, “Who is going to go into the Kingdom?” There are qualifications, of course. Come back to John’s Gospel Chapter 3. A portion you all know forward and backward. And you have heard dozens of sermons on it. And here we have Nicodemus in verse 2:
“This same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”
Notice Nicodemus was head and shoulders ahead of most of the Jews of that day. He recognized that these miracles were telling him something. And he knew that Jesus was Someone special.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, `Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except (or unless) a man be born again (or born from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” Now what does that tell you. Who can go into the Kingdom? ONLY BELIEVERS!
There will be no unbelievers in the Kingdom. Come back to Matthew 24. Several lessons ago, I had my timeline on the board showing the seven years of Tribulation. And at the mid-point of the Tribulation we see the Anti-christ coming in and defiling the temple at Jerusalem? Matthew 24 verses 15a and 16:
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,… Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:”
I call this the escaping remnant of Israel. They go down to the mountains to the southeast of Jerusalem. They won’t be the whole nation but as I taught you before, only the remnant. And in those mountains God is going to protect them for the last 3 1/2 years. Then as this remnant of Israel who have gone out to the mountains in unbelief (in that they have never recognized Christ as their Messiah), when they see Christ coming with glory and power at His Second Coming they will believe. So they, too, will get to go into the Kingdom.
Let’s look at this remnant as they see Him coming from the view of Zechariah. Remember, I told you earlier in the lesson in Luke 21:27 to remember that word `see’ – in that they would see Him:
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications (remember this is the house of David, no Gentiles are there): and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced (His Crucifixion),…”
They will suddenly not only have their physical eyes opened but also their spiritual eyes. And they will recognize that this coming manifestation of The Christ, The Messiah is the One Who died back there on that Roman Cross. Let’s look at one more verse in this lesson:
“And one (this remnant of Israel) shall say unto him, `What are these wounds in thine hands?’ Then he shall answer, `Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends,’”
Then this remnant of Israel will experience that new birth that Nicodemus was told he had to have in order to go into the Kingdom. This remnant, by far, will be the largest number of people to survive the Tribulation. This then will be the seed stock of the Nation of Israel as they come into the Kingdom. All twelve tribes will be represented here. Isaiah tells us, “Will a nation be born in a day.”