Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jesus and the Kingdom of God (Esch 205)

Jesus and John came with the same message.

"In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!'" (Matthew 3:1-2).

"Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel'" (Mark 1:14-15).

Both said that the Kingdom of God was at hand. This meant that the Kingdom of God was near. It was close to being inaugurated.

In Matthew 13, Jesus told a series of parables about the Kingdom of God. We will look at two which particularly correspond with Daniel.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

"Another parable He put forth to them, saying: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches'" (Matthew 13:31-32).

The idea here is that the Kingdom of God starts out small, in fact smaller than any other seeds, but once it is grown, it is greater than all other herbs and becomes a tree.

Jesus highlights the principle that the Kingdom starts inauspiciously, but it grows surprisingly large. This matches what Daniel said about the growth of the Kingdom. It starts as a stone but becomes a mountain, just as a mustard seed becomes a large tree.

The Parable of the Leaven

"Another parable He spoke to them: 'The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened'" (Matthew 13:33).

Jesus also compared the Kingdom of God to leaven or yeast. Leaven starts out as a proportionately small ingredient in a loaf of bread, but it effect the entire load, causing it to rise. This matches what Daniel said about the growth and the universality of the Kingdom of God. The stone becomes a mountain which fills the earth, just as a pinch of yeast spreads throughout the entire loaf.

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