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"From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"
When John the
Baptist, last of the Old Testament prophets and forerunner of the
Messiah, was imprisoned by Herod ... Jesus took up the Baptist's
message so that it would not be silenced. Messiah's
kingdom would be founded on righteousness. Therefore, it was imperative
that his citizens prepare themselves by
repentance. Individual repentance of sin was
the necessary foundation of entrance into Christ's kingdom on earth. No
or unrepentant Jew would in anywise enter therein. Now, may I say to
you, the kingdom hope of the Jews is and always has been an earthly kingdom ... for so it is
clearly set forth in the Scriptures. Jesus own words in what has become
known as "the Lord's prayer" clearly reflect that as well.
"... thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."
Let me present just two Old Testament
passages out of many that clearly present the fact of the "on earth" nature
of Christ's coming kingdom.
Then the Lord will go forth And fight against those
nations, As He
fights in the day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet
will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall
be split in two,From
east to west,
Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall
move toward the north And half of it toward the
south. 5 Then you
shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall
reach to Azal.
Yes, you shall flee
As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of
Judah. Thus the
Lord my God will come, And all the saints with You.
6 It shall come to pass in
that day That
there will be no light; The lights will diminish. 7 It shall be one day Which is known to the Lord\Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall
happen That it
will be light. 8
And in that day it shall be That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the
eastern sea (Dead Sea) And half of them toward the
western sea (Mediterannian Sea); In both summer and winter it shall occur. 9 And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be\gThe Lord is one,h And His name one. 10 All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of
Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her
place from Benjaminfs Gate to the place of the First Gate and the
Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the kingfs winepresses. 11 The people shall dwell in
it; And no longer
shall there be utter destruction, But Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
12 And this shall be the
plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought
Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, Their eyes shall dissolve in
their sockets, And
their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths. 13 It shall come to pass in
that day That a
great panic from the Lord will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand
of his neighbor,
And raise his hand against his neighborfs hand; 14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations Shall be gathered together: Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance. 15 Such also shall be the plague On the horse and the mule, On the camel and the donkey, And on all the cattle that will be in those camps. So shall this plague be.
16 And it shall come to pass
that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against
Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord
of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 And it shall be that
whichever of the families of the earth
do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on
them there will be no rain. 18
If the family of Egypt will
not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive
the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up
to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of
Egypt and the punishment of all the
nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
20 In that day gHOLINESS TO THE LORDh shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lordfs house shall be like the bowls before the altar. 21 Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the Lord of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.
There shall come forth a Rod
from the stem of Jesse (King
David's father), And a Branch (Christ Jesus) shall grow out of his roots. 2 The Spirit of the Lord
shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and
might, The Spirit
of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. 3 His delight is in the fear
of the Lord, And
He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of
His ears; 4 But
with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for
the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,And with the breath of His
lips He shall slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the
belt of His loins,
And faithfulness the belt of His waist.
6 gThe wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play by the cobrafs hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viperfs den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.
10 gAnd in that day there
shall be a Root of Jesse (Christ Jesus), Who shall stand as a banner
to the people; For
the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall
be glorious.h11 It
shall come to pass in that day That the Lord shall set His
hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His
people who are left,
From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea. 12 He will set up a banner
for the nations, And will assemble the
outcasts of Israel, And gather together the
dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
13 Also the envy of Ephraim
shall depart, And
the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, And Judah shall not harass
Ephraim. 14 But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of
the Philistines toward the west; Together they shall plunder the people of
They shall lay their hand on Edom
and Moab; And the people of Ammon shall obey them.
15 The Lord will utterly
destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt
(Red Sea); With His mighty wind He will
shake His fist over the River (Nile River), And strike it in the seven streams, And make men cross over dry-shod. 16 There will be a highway for the remnant of His
people Who will be
left from Assyria, As it was for Israel In the day that he came up
from the land of Egypt.
"And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.' They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him."
Ever wonder what Jesus sees in you? Me too. Ha! I'm sure you're saying, "Ditto, brother!" Our Lord's choices among the society of men are a mystery, are they not? That scripture in First Corinthians comes to my mind that says,
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. 1 Cor 1:26-29
Don't you just love the thought that you and I were chosen by him?! Heard a fellow tell one time how when he young and the kids would choose up sides for a ball game that he was always taken last. Then the captain of one team would say to the captain of the other team, "You take him." And, the other captain would say, "No... you take him." Later in life, after he had become a Christian, he said when he discovered in the scriptures that the Lord had chosen him, "It was wonderful! I do like to be chosen!" Me too. I too likes to be chosen! We see here in our text that Jesus, the meek and lowly one himself, gathered up to himself lowly ignorant ordinary fishermen to be his disciples and ... eventually ... the very foundation of his beloved Church. Amazing, is it not?
For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: gI dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15
The next two verses of the Corinthian
passage cited above read,
of Him you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from
righteousness and sanctification and redemption\that, as it is written,
gHe who glories, let him glory in the Lord." 1 Cor. 1:30-31
"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him\from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan."
When Messiah comes, the scriptures
predicted he would be a healer.
This would be one of the great signs of the presence of the long
awaited Deliverer. As you have it in Malachi 4:2, for
But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
When Jesus stepped out upon the stage of
human history, he came healing like never seen ... before nor since. He
healed with a touch ... or, sometimes, with just a word ... or,
sometimes, with unexplainable baffling complexity as he generated faith
in himself in the heart of the one he was healing ... or merely because
someone just touched him. As a result, word spread like wildfire until,
followed him. His mode of operation was preach, heal, preach,
heal ... his miracles
authenticating the truth of his words
as well as his person. As we
have it in Psalm 103:2-3,
"And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousnessf sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
gYou are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
gI, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison,Those who sit in darkness from the prison house." Isaiah 42:6-7
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, eYou shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.f But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother [NU omits without a cause] shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, eRaca!f shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, eYou fool!f shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny."
"You have heard that it was said [NU omits to those of old],eYou shall not commit adultery.f But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell."
Furthermore it has been said, eWhoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.f But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
"Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, eYou shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.f But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is Godfs throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your eYesf be eYes,f and your eNo,f eNo.f For whatever is more than these is from the evil one."
"You have heard that it was said, eAn eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.f But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away."
"You have heard that it was said, eYou shall love your neighbor [NU omits: and hate your enemy].f But I say to you, love your enemies, [NU omits: bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you,] and pray for those who [NU omits: spitefully use you and] persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the [NU changes: tax collectors to Gentiles] do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (NIV)
"And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you [NU omits: openly]. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him."
"In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
[NU omits: For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]"
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
"Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you [NU omits: openly]."
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your
body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body
will be full of darkness. If
therefore the light that is in you is
darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters; for
either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be
loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, eWhat shall we eat?f or eWhat shall we drink?f or eWhat shall we wear?f For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brotherfs eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, eLet me remove the speck from your eyef; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brotherfs eye."
"Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"
"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. [NU reads: How instead of: Because] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheepfs clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them."
"Not everyone who says to Me, eLord, Lord,f shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, eLord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?f And then I will declare to them, eI never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!f"
"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
"And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."