Kingdom Offer (was Re: Time and again)
>>In examining the text of Isaiah 60:22 the ancient Rabbis noticed what they
>>My own qualified guess is that Jesus did not actually predict his
>>own Parousia. I think he predicted the coming of the Kingdom of
>>God in the near future. After Jesus death (and resurrection) his
>>followers merged the coming of the Kingdom with the Parousia -
>>the Son of Man was going to bring the fulfillment of the Kingdom
>>himself. I think there are signs of this merging of traditions in the
> I agree that an expectation of a kingdom, which did not
>"" the Son
> So that
>application of the Son of man ideology, already a current meessianism in
> "" When
>it did not, the Son of man ideology also fell by the wayside (after John had
> But what we see, then, is one of those passed over
> "" which are
>not revealed by the standard analytical processes.
>"" is not a dirty word;
called a "contradiction" in the phrase "I, the L-RD, will hasten it in its
time." The Talmud discusses this verse as follows:
R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua b. Levi pointed out a contradiction.
It is written, "In its time [will the Messianic
Kingdom come], whilst it is also written, "I [the L-RD] will
hasten it!"-- If they are worthy, I will hasten it; if not,
[it will come] at the due time.
Thus, the Rabbis understood this verse to mean that the L-RD would offer to
hasten the Messianic Kingdom, if they were worthy but if not, the Kingdom
would not come until its due time.
Tractate Sanhedrin of the Talmud also tells us that the Rabbis believed
that such an offer was to be made around the Hebrew year 4,000 (around the
first Century). The Talmud relates this tradition which it accredits to
the school of Elijah:
The school of Elijah teaches: The world is to exist six thousand
years. In the first two thousand years was chaos;
two thousand years the Torah flourished; and the next two
thousand years are the days of the Messiah, but
through our many iniquities all these years have been lost.
The text goes on to discuss the delay of the Messianic Kingdom, and then
Rab said: All the predetermined dates [for the Messianic Kingdom]
have passed, and the matter [now] depends
only on repentance and good deeds.
This requirement for repentance prior to the Messianic Kingdom is taken
directly from the Torah (see Deut. 30:1-6).
Now as we have already discussed, Is. 60:22 tells us that the L-RD will
either "hasten" the Kingdom, or let it come about "in its [due] time", all
depending on the requirement of repentance (Deut. 30:1-6.) This Kingdom
offer began in the days of Yochanan the immerser (John the Baptist), as we
read in Mt. 11:12:
Only from the days of Yochanan the immerser until now the Kingdom
of Heaven is constricted and the forceful despoil it.
[Mt. 11:12 from the DuTillet Hebrew ms.]
and in Luke 16:16 we read:
The Law and the prophets were until Yochanan henceforth the
Kingdom of G-d is announced but everyone treats it with violence.
[Lk.16:16 from Old Syriac & Peshitta Aramaic]
Yochanan had been announcing, "Repent you of your lives, for the Kingdom of
Heaven is near to come" (Mt. 3:2 DuTillet.) And as soon as his work began,
Y'shua proclaimed, "Turn you, turn you, in repentance: for the Kingdom of
Heaven is near."(Mt. 4:17 DuTillet = Mk. 1:14-15) Now the word for "near"
here in the DuTillet and ShemTob Hebrew
versions is hbrq, in the Aramaic of the Old Syriac and Peshitta the Aramaic
equivalent thbrqd appears. In their book Understanding the Difficult Words
of Jesus, David Bivin and Roy Blizzard Jr. correctly point out that the
Hebrew word "karav" means "to come up to and be with," or "to be where
something or someone else is."; "It's here! It has
arrived!" (p. 88) An example of its usage may be seen in 2Kn. 16:12 where
we read "...and the king drew near to the altar..." meaning he was right
there at the alter. Bivin and Blizzard, however, appear to have an
amillennial view of the Kingdom, writing "It [the Kingdom] is G-d ruling in
the lives of men. Those who are ruled by G-d are the Kingdom of G-d." (p.
90) In truth, the phrase "Kingdom of G-d" is a variation of the phrase in
the Tenach (Old Testament) "Kingdom of YHWH" (1Chron. 28:5; 2Chron. 13:8) a
term used to describe the Kingdom of Israel. After studying the "Kingdom
of G-d" with the Messiah for forty days (Acts 1:3) the emissaries wanted to
know if the Kingdom would be restored to Israel "at this time", Y'shua
answers that it is not for them to know the time (Acts 1:6-7). The truth
is that the Kingdom of G-d/Heaven is the restored Kingdom of Israel (see
Jer. 23:5-6; Is. 9:6-7; 11 with 1Chron. 28:5; 2Chron.13:8.) The Hebrew
text of Mt. 3:2
& 4:17 = Mk. 1:14-15 does indicate that the Kingdom was right there,
available, if they would just repent. The passage is a conditional
statement with an implied "if" as we find in Jonah 3:4.
Y'shua continued to proclaim this Kingdom offer throughout his career (Mt.
12:28 = Lk. 11:20; Mk. 12:34; Lk.10:9, 11; 17:21) even sending out his
emissaries with the same proclamation (Mt. 10:7.) This is the meaning of
the passage, "...if you are willing to receive it [the Kingdom], he
[Yochanan] is Elijah who is to come." (Mt. 11:14 see 11:12).
Despite the fact that the Kingdom was being offered as early as the service
of Yochanan (John) the immerser, repentance was required for it to be
realized (Mt. 3:2-3; Mt.4:17 = Mk. 1:14-15; Dt. 30:1-6). However, from the
time of Yochanan forward, the Kingdom was being rejected, "plundered" and
"treated with violence" (Mt. 11:12 DuTillet; Lk. 16:16 Old Syriac &
Peshitta.) Y'shua compared this rejection to those who would not dance for
flute players (Mt. 11:12, 16-19.) Y'shua also mentions this rejection in
Lk. 17 where we read "...the Kingdom of G-d is among you... But first he
[Y'shua] must suffer many things and BE REJECTED BY THIS GENERATION." (Lk.
17:21, 25.) Mt. 21:43 tells us that the Kingdom would be taken from those
to whom Y'shua was speaking and given "to a nation" bearing its fruits (the
fruits being repentance, see Mt. 3:2, 8) the words "to a nation" in the
Aramaic is L'AM meaning "to a people" i.e. another generation
(see Lk. 17:21,25; Jer. 31:35-37; Rom. 11) This is also the meaning of
Mt.8:11-12 = Lk. 13:28.
It would seem that the Kingdom offer was extended beyond the crucifixion.
In his discourse at the Temple in Acts 3:12-26 Kefa repeated the Kingdom
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted
out, so that the times of refreshing may
come from the presence of the L-rd, and that He may send Y'shua
the Messiah, who was proclaimed to
you before, whom heaven must receive until the time of
restoration of all things, which G-d has spoken
by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
Thus it would appear that if the people of Israel had entered a national
repentance, even then, the Messiah would have returned to restore the
Kingdom to Israel right then and there.
This Kingdom offer seems to have continued throughout the entire Acts
period, until it expired at the end of the Book of Acts. In Acts 28 "Paul
called the leaders of the Jews together... to whom he explained and
solemnly testified of the Kingdom of G-d, persuading them concerning
Y'shua..." (Acts 28:17, 23). Once again a corporate repentance did not
occur "... some disbelieved. So they did not agree among themselves." (Acts
28:24b-25a). At this time Paul made known that the Kingdom offer had
ended saying "...the salvation of G-d has been sent to the Gentiles, and
they will hear it!" (Acts. 28:28) this parallels Romans 11:11 "...to
provoke them [Israel] to jealousy, salvation has been sent to the
Gentiles." Which ties this concept to the Olive Tree Parable of Romans 11.
The Olive Tree Parable of Romans 11 , when viewed in light of the Kingdom
offer, teaches that when the Kingdom offer expired in Acts 28:28 = Rom.
11:11, that wild branches (Gentiles) were grafted into the natural olive
tree, but that at some
point in the future, the natural branches would be grafted into their own
olive tree. This concept of unity between Jews and Gentiles in the one
body is echoed in Eph. 2-3 and Col. 1:19-26 a unity which Paul describes as
a mystery "which was in the past concealed but now revealed" (Eph. 3:3-6 &
Col. 1:26) This is because the time period of the wild branches in the
olive tree following the Kingdom offer was in the past concealed. Daniel's
prophecy of weeks of years (Dan. 9:24-27) goes directly from the coming of
the Messiah to the final seven year period commonly known as the
tribulation. Daniel accounts
for no space between the two. This is why there was such expectation that
the Kingdom would come in the first century. There was a mystery, a
parenthetical period of time in Daniel's prophecy which was in the past
concealed but later revealed. Had the Kingdom offer been accepted in the
first century, then Daniel's last seven years would have run from 63 C.E.
to 70 C.E.. These Years seemed in many ways to fulfil endtime prophecies
(so much so that post-millenialists claim that the events of Revelations
and Mt. 24 occurred during these years). This is because these years WOULD
have been Daniel's final week, had the Kingdom offer been accepted.
It has already been discussed that the Kingdom offer expired in 63 C.E.,
but why? What happened in 63 C.E.? This year was the year of the death of
James the Just. According to the ancient Nazarene writer Hegesippus, James
the Just was very popular with the Jewish community in general, and many
had come to be believers in Y'shua as the Messiah as a result of his
charisma with the people. Certain of James's enemies, fearing that all
Israel would join the Nazarene movement, pressed him to stand on a wing of
the Temple and deny Y'shua. Instead, James repeated the same hybrid of Ps.
110:1 & Dan. 7:13 which Y'shua had recited at his trial. In response,
James' opponents cast him to the ground and stoned him to death (Hegesippus
as quoted by Eusebius in Eccl. Hist 2:23). Upon the death of James the
Just, the Nazarene movement lost its steam. Even within the movement
apostate elements began to arise. Furthermore, the Essene and Pharisaic
elements of the movement began to polarize. There was no longer any chance
that the Kingdom offer would receive national acceptance in time for the
Messianic Kingdom to occur in the first century. This was the very year
that Acts 28:28 took place.
He who seeks will not cease until he finds,
and having found he will be amazed,
and having been amazed he will reign,
and having reigned he will rest.
- The Goodnews according to the Hebrews
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