The Kingdom of God: Part 4
Apr 20, 2006
The Kingdom of God is a Universal Kingdom. It is not an exclusive club for Israelites, although Israel does have a major role to play in its establishment. Yet when I speak of "Israel," I do not mean the counterfeit state known by that name today, which has fooled much of the Church into thinking that it is the beginning of this Kingdom.
When the Kingdom of God was first established under Moses, it included not only the descendants of the twelve tribes of Jacob-Israel, but also a very large "mixed multitude." They were mostly new converts, having been converted at Passover in order to save their firstborn sons, so one ought not to expect perfection from them. In fact, their spiritual immaturity became evident often during their sojourn in the wilderness. Yet they were citizens of the Kingdom, along with Israel.
In Solomon's day, when the king dedicated the new Temple, he prayed in 2 Chron. 6:32 and 33,
"Moreover, concerning the foreigner, which is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for Your great name's sake, and Your mighty hand, and Your stretched out arm--if they come and pray in this house, then hear Thou from the heavens, even from Your dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calls to You for; that all the people of the earth may know Your name, and fear [respect] You, as do Your people Israel, and may know that this house, which I have built is called by Your name."
Years later, in Isaiah 56 the prophet Isaiah addressed this question of non-Israelite foreigners who would come to see the God of Israel as the true God of the earth. He says in verse 6,
"Also the sons of the foreigner, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one that keeps from polluting the sabbath and takes hold of My covenant; even them will I bring to My holy mountain [Kingdom], and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people."
Isaiah lived to see the captivity and dispersion of the House of Israel when the Assyrians deported them to the area around the Caspian Sea. Isaiah foretold their regathering and blessing, but adds an important detail in Isaiah 56:8,
"The Lord God which gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, "Yet will I gather others to him, besides those that are gathered to Him."
In other words, the regathering of the true House of Israel into the Kingdom of God was to include non-Israelites as well. Jesus confirms this in a short parable found in Matt. 13:44,
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hidden in a field; the which, when a man has found, he hides, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field."
Most of the interpretation is given by Jesus Himself. "The field is the world," He says in verse 38. The treasure is Israel, for when God made the covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai, He said in Exodus 19:5,
"Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure [i.e., a treasure acquired for a possession] unto Me above all people; for all the earth is mine."
Because Israel had become "lost sheep" (Ezekiel 34:11), they were hidden from most people, and to this day, most of the Church does not know where the so-called "lost tribes" are located. They are certainly not Jews or the nation of Judah, for they were never lost in the same sense and are never called "lost" in the Bible. Yet because no one bothered to search for them (34:6), God says in verse 11, "Behold, I, even I, will both search for My sheep and seek them out, as a shepherd seeks out his flock."
So Jesus' parable may now be interpreted as follows: The Kingdom of heaven is like the lost sheep of the House of Israel that were hidden in the world. Jesus came to find them, as He said He would do. When He found His "treasure," he reburied it, sold all that He had, and bought the "field" in order to obtain the treasure in it. In other words, He gave His very life on the cross in order to buy the world, so that He would own the treasure (Israel).
This reveals the law of theft, for if He had simply taken the treasure without first buying the field in which it was buried (hidden), He would have been a thief. He had to purchase the whole world in order to obtain Israel. Such is the universal plan of salvation.
Yet the object of His world-purchase is to obtain the treasure of Israel. Why is this His focus? Because Israel possessed the Birthright, which was the Kingdom itself. Recall that Jacob had obtained the Birthright from Esau, and that the angel had changed Jacob's name to Israel in Gen. 32:28. Many years later, when Jacob was nearing death, he called his son Joseph to his bedside, along with Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. There he gave them the Birthright, along with the Birthright name of Israel, saying in Gen. 48:16, "The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name [Israel] be named on them."
In 1 Chron. 5:1, 2 we discover that Jacob-Israel gave them the Birthright, saying in verse 2, "for Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler, but the birthright was Joseph's." That is, of Judah would come the kingly line that would culminate in Christ. But Joseph had been given the birthright itself.
As long as the tribes were united, all the people benefited from these blessings. But when the Kingdom was divided in 1 Kings 11, "the Kingdom" was taken from the kingly line of Judah (1 Kings 11:31, 34, 35). This brought about a breach between the King and the Kingdom.
Jesus came the first time of the line of Judah (and of King David himself) to be lawfully eligible to claim the throne. But He has to come a second time to obtain the Birthright, or the Kingdom, because His second coming is "of Joseph." For this reason Rev. 19:13 says, "He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood," which is a direct reference to Joseph, the only man recorded in Scripture whose robe was dipped in blood (Gen.37:31).
This means the KING is coming the second time to claim His KINGDOM. In doing so, He will repair the ancient breach between Judah and Israel which had split the King from the Kingdom long ago. At the same time, the "lost sheep" of the House of Israel will be declared no more lost, but found, in spite of the slothfulness of the shepherds who refused to do their lawful duty. Deut. 22:1-3 reads in part:
"You shall not see your brother's ox or his SHEEP go astray and ignore them; you shall always bring them again to your brother. And if your brother is not near to you, or if you do not know him, then you shall bring it to your own house; and it will remain with you until your brother comes looking for it, and then you shall restore it to him."
This is the law of lost sheep. It is the law most applicable to seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. It is seeking for the Birthright itself.
This is the fourth part of a series titled "The Kingdom of God." To view all parts, click the link below.