What Is the Kingdom of God & What Will the Millennium Be Like?

The Preaching of the Kingdom of Elohim Was Fundamental to the Ministry of Yeshua

During Yeshua’s earthly ministry as recorded in the Gospels, which subjects did he teach about the most? Curiously, sadly and for the most part, it wasn’t what most churches in maintstream Christianity are preaching from their pulpits and media platforms today.

So what did Yeshua preach mostly about? The facts speak for themselves. In an analysis I made a few years ago of the Gospels books of Matthew and John I categorized and referenced all the words and actions of Yeshua. The subject Yeshua devoted the most time to was himself and his mission (316 references), followed by revealing his Heavenly Father to his followers (184), followed by his commentary and denunciation of the hypocritical religionists of his day (177 references). The fourth subject to which he devoted the most amount of time was the kingdom of Elohim (144 references). After that, in numerical order was his death, burial and resurrection, followed by YHVH’s judgment, obedience and faithfulness to YHVH’s commandments, spiritual rewards, healing, worldliness, persecution and trials, faith and belief, followed by faithlessness and unbelief. As we can see, the preaching and revelation of the kingdom of Elohim received a high priority in Yeshua’s ministry. This reality is consistent with how the gospel writers distill down the main message of Yeshua’s ministry in the following phrase: “Repent, for the kingdom of Elohim is at hand” (Matt. 3:2; 4:17, 23; 10:7). 

During Yeshua’s earthly ministry as recorded in the Gospels, which subjects did he teach about the most? Curiously, sadly and for the most part, it wasn’t what most churches in maintstream Christianity are preaching from their pulpits and media platforms today.

On the focus of Yeshua’s preaching ministry, Hebraic Christian scholar, Marvin Wilson, notes an important facrt. “[Yeshua] came to this earth on a rescue mission, but not to help people escape this world. Instead, he came to free them from the clutches of sin, self, sickness, and oppression that they might be prepared for the olam ha-ba, the “age to come” (Our Father Abraham—the Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith, p. 182).

The gospel message involves repentance from sin (i.e. lawlessness or Torahlessness), so that one can enter into the kingdom of Elohim, which is from heaven (Matt 3:2; 4:17). In the modern mainstream church, neither of these subjects is preached much about. Instead, Christianity tells us that the law of Moses (i.e. the Torah), has been done away with, and we are also told that when you die you go to heaven and that’s that. Since the church hardly speaks about repentance from Torahlessness or about the kingdom of Elohim—things that according to the apostolic writers—formed the basis for the gospel message, one can’t help but wonder how many people even know what the true gospel message is. In this teaching, we want to discuss the kingdom of Elohim aspect of the gospel message as it relates to the millennial reign of Yeshua after his return. This is the ultimate hope of the redeemed believer, and thus it is something that we need to understand.

Brad Young, another Hebraic Christian scholar, in his book,Jesus the Jewish Theologian,describes the first century view of the concept of the kingdom of Elohim as follows: “The twin parables of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven [Matt. 13:31-33; Luke 13:18-21; Mark 4:30-32] illustrate the basis for [Yeshua’s] teaching concerning the kingdom of heaven. They illustrate the progressive growth of the kingdom.… From the start, the supernatural aspect of this parable should not be overlooked. That a tiny seed can progressively grow into a tree was viewed as nothing less than miraculous. The same must have been true for the action of the leaven in the dough. Growth — this amazing, steady, continuous process — would have been viewed as a true wonder in the eyes of the people. The major theme of these illustrations is this miraculous growth. The idea of a sudden, total reversal of the present situation is not congruous with these parables of progressive growth” (ibid. pp. 77–78). That is to say, the kingdom of Elohim would not suddenly appear upon the scene with sudden transformation of the surrounding world, but that it would start small and slowly, gradually, yet powerfully, increase until it was of great consequence.

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Unveiling Some Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 13:1–58, Yeshua reveals some fundamental mysteries pertaining to the kingdom of heaven. 

Let’s systematically analyze this amazing chapter section-by-section to see if we can unlock some deep mysteries pertaining to the kingdom of Elohim.

In the Parable of the Sower, Yeshua reveals that he is sowing the seeds of the gospel message far and wide across the field of the world (v. 38). That seeds falls on all types of ground and there are external influences (i.e. the world, the flesh and the devil) that affect whether the seed will germinate and come to fruition or not. The bottom line is that the majority of seed gets destroyed along the way and fails to produce fruit.

Yeshua then explains the purpose of parables (see comments on v. 14). The main point of this discussion is that only those who are genuine and earnest truth seekers will find the deep spiritual truths of Yeshua’s kingdom behind his parables. These are the ones who have “eyes to see and ears to hear” who will eventually become part of his kingdom. All others will fall by the wayside having disqualified themselves by their lack of spiritual zeal and tenacity to enter into his kingdom.

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The Kingdom of Heaven—Some Mysteries Revealed

Matthew 13:1–58, Yeshua reveals some fundamental mysteries pertaining to the kingdom of heaven. 

Let’s systematically analyze this amazing chapter section-by-section to see if we can unlock some deep mysteries pertaining to the kingdom of Elohim.

In the Parable of the Sower, Yeshua reveals that he is sowing the seeds of the gospel message far and wide across the field of the world (v. 38). That seeds falls on all types of ground and there are external influences (i.e. the world, the flesh and the devil) that affect whether the seed will germinate and come to fruition or not. The bottom line is that the majority of seed gets destroyed along the way and fails to produce fruit.

Yeshua then explains the purpose of parables (see comments on v. 14). The main point of this discussion is that only those who are genuine and earnest truth seekers will find the deep spiritual truths of Yeshua’s kingdom behind his parables. These are the ones who have “eyes to see and ears to hear” who will eventually become part of his kingdom. All others will fall by the wayside having disqualified themselves by their lack of spiritual zeal and tenacity to enter into his kingdom.

Yeshua’s Parable of the Wheat and Tares is an expansion of one aspect of the of the previous parable. In the Parable of the Sower, bad seed (i.e. the sons of the wicked or the lawless/Torahless one, vv. 38 and 41) can also be sown by the enemy (the wicked one or the devil, v. 39) into the field in which the good seed on the good ground is sown. This means that of the seed that is sown there’s a reduction factor of four to one. Only one in four seeds or twenty-five percent Continue reading


 

The “Gospel of the Kingdom” Vs. the “Gospel of the Person of Jesus”

Are mainstream Christian Bible teachers and pastors really teaching what Yeshua and his apostles preached?

Recently, I received a letter where the writer asked the following question: Is the  gospel of the kingdom is different than that of the death, burial and resurrection or are the two connected?
Here is my answer to this excellent question:
The phrase, “gospel of the kingdom” is found in Matt 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mark 1:14, 15. We also find that the Gospels record that John the Baptist preached the message of repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt 3:2). The same words were used to describe the message that Yeshua preached (Matt 4:17). At the same time, both Yeshua and John preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven as well (Mark 1:14, 14 and Matt 4:23; 9:35). Yeshua’s disciples were to preach the same message to the world (Matt 24:14). Therefore, it is logical to conclude that the message the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection as the apostles taught and the gospel of the kingdom are one in the same. Succinctly, they taught that one cannot enter the the kingdom of Elohim without placing one’s faith in Messiah. Therefore, these two messages are linked, indivisible and two sides of the same coin.
The problem is that the message of the kingdom is foreign to many Christians. They know about Yeshua, but little is taught or known about the kingdom of Elohim, even though this was a core component of the gospel message. This is because, in the minds of most Christians, when you die, your immortal soul “goes back to heaven” period. So what is the relevance of talking about the kingdom of Elohim in this paradigm? Little if any. Yet the kingdom of heaven/Elohim was one of the subjects that Yeshua talked about the most—certainly more than heaven or hell!
Let’s let the data speak for itself. Years ago I cataloged by topic the subjects Yeshua talked about the most in the synoptic Gospels (Matt, Mark and Luke). This is what I discovered:

1 Yeshua Speaking About Himself (316 references)

2 Yeshua Speaking About His Father (184 references)

3 Yeshua Interacting With the Disobedient/Hypocritical Religionists (177 references)

4 Yeshua Speaking About the Kingdom of Elohim (144 references)

5 Yeshua  Talking About the Torah (96 references)

So where does the gospel message that the mainstream church preaches fit into this paradigmatic scenario? Is it really preaching what Yeshua himself preached? Well, from the data above, it seems that that they’ve got the first subject covered quite well, thank you very much. But anyone with any church experience will see that that they’ve missed it big time on subjects two through five! This, in my opinion, is why the gospel of the kingdom, not to mention the subject Torah are such foreign concepts to the average Christian.
After that, Yeshua talked most about these topics:

6 Yeshua Speaking About the  Path of Righteousness (71 references)

7 Yeshua Teaching on Judgment (58 references)

8 Yeshua Speaking About His Death, Burial and Resurrection (54 references)

9 Yeshua Teaching About Obedience/Faithfulness (45 references)

10 Yeshua Speaking About Spiritual Rewards (43 references)

Sadly, the church doesn’t have much to say about most of these subjects as well.
By comparison, some of the things about which many churches teach the most frequently are are near the bottom of the list of what Yeshua preached about if even on the list at all. These include:
  • Money: 3 references (although “the perils of materialism” had 19 references)
  • Blessings: 4 references
  • Miracles and signs: 25 references
  • Physical needs: 2 references
  • Love (brotherly): 10 references
  • Love (of Elohim for man and vice versa): 19 references
The following subjects are not on the list of topics Yeshua discussed despite the fact that they are popular subjects within Christian circles (go to any Christian book store and see what the subjects of the best selling Christian books are!).
  • Financial security
  • Pleasure and entertainment
  • Retirement
  • Sexual pleasure and fulfillment
  • Self esteem
  • Psychology
So when John and Yeshua preached the gospel of the kingdom, and when Yeshua commanded his disciples to do the same (Matt 10:7), while at the same time preaching the basic message of the good news of Yeshua the Messiah (Matt 28:18–20; Mark 16:16; etc.), this is what they did, even though the church, by in large, doesn’t preach half of the gospel message, that is, the kingdom of Elohim and repentance.
Suffice it to say, briefly, the Scriptures teach us that the kingdom of heaven/Elohim was brought to this earth by Yeshua, is currently in force among his people, and will be made universal when Yeshua returns to this earth as King of kings and establishes his millennial kingdom here. Belief and faith in Yeshua along with repentance of sin (violation of the Torah) and obedience to his Torah commands will be requisite to being a part of that kingdom.

 

A Better Resurrection? First, Second and ??? Place in the Kingdom?

Hebrews 11:35, A better resurrection. This verse indicates that there is more than one resurrection of the righteous dead, and that there is at least one resurrection that is better than another one.

Likely, the first resurrection will be the best resurrection, since the righteous dead saints and the righteous living saints will be resurrected at that time to meet Yeshua in the air at his second coming.

The resurrection/s that will occur subsequent to that (whether it/they will occur/s during the millennium or at the white throne judgment) will likely be inferior to the first resurrection. Why is this?

Those saints who will be part of the first resurrection are those who endured and overcame the world, the flesh and the devil and remained faithful to Yeshua against such opposition. They are the strongest and most righteous saints, since their mettle, loyalty, faith and endurance was tested under the most trying circumstances, and they still remained faithful to Yeshua. They will likely be those who will be greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:19).

Those saints who will be resurrected subsequent to that will have had to go through great refining trials because they are spiritually subpar. This will be because they weren’t faithful in living up to the spiritual light they were given, or because not as much was given to them in the first place, so not as much was required of them (note the Parable of the Talents in Matt 25:14–30; Luke 12:48).

Those who come to faith in the millennium will likely have a lower reward, since their overcoming faith didn’t need to be as strong. This is because they lived during ideal times when evil was suppressed because Yeshua was ruling the world and Satan was imprisoned in the bottomless pit, thus making it easier to be a saint.

All this goes to show that there are levels of rewards in the kingdom of heaven (e.g. Matt 5:19; Matt 25:20–23, 29; Rev 2:23; 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 20:12), even as there are levels of punishment (e.g. Luke 12:47–48).

Those who are currently lukewarm believers and who turn their lives around now and who open the door of their life to Yeshua (Rev 3:20) becoming red hot for him prior to his first coming (and first resurrection; Rev 3:15) will have a shot at the highest reward in the kingdom; that is, to sit with Yeshua on his throne (Rev 3:21). This  shows the mercy and grace of YHVH in that he can take even lukewarm saints who desire to turn their lives around and to repent and reward them with the highest position in his kingdom.

Lest we get smug in our spiritual complacency, let’s not forget what Peter said, “the righteous are scarcely save” (1 Pet 4:18). Every saint living is lukewarm to one degree or another by YHVH’s highest, righteous spiritual standards. Those who don’t think they are lukewarm are blinded by their own pride and self-righteousness, which is the greatest sin of all! In fact, the Bible teaches that our best righteousness is as filthy rags (Isa 64:6). Yet, at the same time, there is hope for us all to come to the higher spiritual level! This, however, won’t occur without our having to go through the refining fires of trials (Rev 3:18) or, for some, even great tribulation (Rev 7:14) at the end of the age prior to Yeshua’s second coming.


 

Mysteries Pertaining to the Kingdom of Heaven Explained

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Matthew 13:1–58, Yeshua unlocks fundamental mysteries pertaining to the kingdom of heaven. 

Let’s systematically analyze this amazing chapter section-by-section to see if we can unlock some deep mysteries pertaining to the kingdom of Elohim.

In the Parable of the Sower, Yeshua reveals that he is sowing the seeds of the gospel message far and wide across the field of the world (v. 38). That seeds falls on all types of ground and there are external influences (i.e., the world, the flesh and the devil) that affect whether the seed will germinate and come to fruition or not. The bottom line is that the majority of seed gets destroyed along the way and fails to produce fruit.

Yeshua then explains the purpose of parables (see comments on v. 14). The main point of this discussion is that only those who are genuine and earnest truth seekers will find the deep spiritual truths of Yeshua’s kingdom behind his parables. These are the ones who have “eyes to see and ears to hear” who will eventually become part of his kingdom. All others will fall by the wayside having disqualified themselves by their lack of spiritual zeal and tenacity to enter into his kingdom.

Yeshua’s Parable of the Wheat and Tares is an expansion of one aspect of the of the previous parable. In the Parable of the Sower, bad seed (i.e., the sons of the wicked or the lawless/Torahless one, vv. 38 and 41) can also be sown by the enemy (the wicked one or the devil, v. 39) into the field in which the good seed on the good ground is sown. This means that of the seed that is sown there’s a reduction factor of four to one. Only one in four seeds or twenty-five percent comes to fruition. Amongst the remaining twenty-five percent, tares or noxious weeds that are planted by the Satan will grow up around the good seed or wheat. The wheat plants are the saints or the sons of the kingdom (v. 38) or the righteous (v. 43) who must be tried, tested and spiritually refined along the way by the tares amongst them. Will the saints be faithful to the Master, or will they fall victim to the lies and dessemblance of the false saints or satanic elements among them? Distinguishing who are wheat and tares is only possible by evaluating the fruits that are produced (Matt 7:15–20). This takes time to determine as a plant slowly develops and it then becomes evident whether it’s a wheat or a tare. At the end of the age, Yeshua will send his angels to separate out the wheat and the tares (see Matt 24:31 and Rev 7:1–8 cp. 14:14–20). The former will inherit his everlasting kingdom, while the latter will be burned up in the lake of fire.

Through the process of separation, refinement and elimination, the good seed in the fertile ground germinates and begins to spread its roots and grow into a large plant. Though the saints are like many individual plants in Yeshua’s spiritual field, Yeshua likens the expansion of the kingdom of Elohim in the life of the saints to a singular mustard seed that though it is very small, in time it becomes a very large tree-herb in the garden. Even as a large plant that is now well established in Yeshua’s garden (despite the opposition of the tares), the wicked one will continue to send his demonic agents (the birds of heaven, see vv. 4 cp. 19) that will attempt to find shelter within the branches of the tree. As demonic spirits and their agents were attracted to Yeshua (Mark 3:11) and his apostles (Acts 16:16–18), even so in our days, those with demonic spirits will be attracted to the congregation of the righteous.

Next, Yeshua likens his kingdom to the action leaven in bread dough. This is the only reference in the Scriptures to leaven as a positive thing. In this case, bread may be viewed as a metaphor for the spiritual body of Yeshua. Indeed, Yeshua is the bread of life (John 6:26–40) that is unleavened or sin-free. However, when humans become part of Yeshua’s kingdom or spiritual body it will expand, which is a good thing. However, because humans aren’t sin free, but are like leavening (a biblical metaphor for sin), the bread or body of Yeshua will grow, though comprised of sinful humans who have been redeemed from sin. This calls to mind the bread waving ceremony the priests conducted on the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) where they waved two leavened wheat flour loaves of bread representing the two houses of Israel above the altar before YHVH for his acceptance. Though YHVH is set-apart or holy and hates sin, his mercy triumphs over his judgment against men’s sin, and he graciously accepts humans who have been redeemed from sin by Yeshua the Messiah, who is the Bread of Life. His eternal kingdom will be comprised of imperfect humans who have been redeemed from sin, which is why he likens the expansion his kingdom to leaven being used to expand the bread.

Yeshua then likens the kingdom of heaven to a treasure buried in a field, which a man discovers and sells all he has to buy the field containing the treasure. This parable shows the heart attitude that one must have if they want to be part of Yeshua’s everlasting kingdom. They must seek first his kingdom above everything else in their life (Matt 6:33), and be willing to die spiritually to anything that comes ahead of Yeshua (Matt 10:39; 16:25).

The kingdom of heaven is also like a pearl of great price — an ultimate treasure — that one must be willing to sell all to “purchases.”

The Parable of the Dragnet teaches us that as the gospel is preached, it is like a giant fishnet that is cast out across the seas of humanity. Many people will respond to the glorious gospel message of salvation and the kingdom of heaven. However, like the Parable of the Wheat and Tares, the gospel message will attract both the sons of the kingdom and the sons of wicked into the same field (as in the earlier Parable of the Wheat and Tares) or fishnet (as in the Parable of the Dragnet). Again, Yeshua reveals that at the end of the age, his angels will separate out the good fish (the sons of the kingdom) from the bad fish (the children of the devil). The latter will be cast into the lake of fire (see Matt 24:31 and Rev 7:1–8 cp. 14:14–20).

Yeshua finishes his teaching on the kingdom of Elohim by explaining that only those who study the Bible deeply and diligently will understand these mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. They will view them as priceless treasures and desire to share them with others.

Sadly, Matthew 13 ends by showing that Yeshua’s own friends and family largely rejected his teachings on the kingdom of heaven. “A prophet is not without honor except  in his own country and in his own house,” he concludes.