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Edward O’Hara Mon 1/20/2020 2:11 PM
When Jesus said “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it”, was He saying the Old Testament stopped with John the Baptist and the New Testament started with His preaching? Does this mean that the covenant that God made with Israel through Moses ended with John the Baptist?
But, is that possible? Because doesn’t Heb.9:15-10:9 show that the Old Testament continued for Israel until Christ’s death? And that it was only by the death of Christ the Old Testament ended because that’s when the New Testament came to power? If so, and the scriptures are pretty clear that it is, then what did Jesus mean with His follow up statement when He said: “Since that time the kingdom of God is preached”? The answer to these questions carries a much greater significance in our understanding of our salvation than one might expect.
To answer these questions we will look first at the beginning of this preaching of this kingdom Jesus refers to found in Mt.4:13-17 when it says “And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
What we see here is that the message Jesus was bringing to Israel was a message to confirm a 2 part covenant that God had made with them that we know as the Old Testament. God gave one part for Israel through Abraham. And Paul said in Gal.3:17 that another part was added to this 1st part some 430 years later. Because in this passage Paul says “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.”
In this verse, we see that there was a covenant God made with Israel that was twofold. One part was given to Israel through Abraham that was by faith apart from works as Paul says in Rom.4:1-5. And the other part through Moses that was dependent upon demands God required them to meet for them to receive blessings, or curses for not living up to those demands, that are given in Deut.28. And Paul says this part was added because of transgressions (Gal.3:19) until the seed should come to whom the promise was made. So it was added to show Israel how to behave in a manner that would show the world they were God’s people (2Sam.7:23 and Mt.5:16). And to preserve them as a people (Gal.3:23) to fulfill the prophecies that said the messiah would be born through their bloodline (Is.7:14).
And the part that was given earlier through Abraham is a contrast to the latter because that given through Abraham was conditioned only on faith like the New Testament is. Which is shown in Abraham’s being asleep when God made the covenant with him (Gen.15:12-21). So that God swearing by Himself the covenant can not be broken by anything man could do (Heb.6:13).
So because Jesus was an Israelite born under the law (Gal.4:4) the covenant Jesus was under, and the kingdom of God He was preaching when He came to Israel, contained both of these. That which Israel had been in since Abraham. And that which Israel had been in that God gave through Moses. Both functioning as the one covenant God made with Israel that Paul said Jesus came to confirm. And as Paul concluded that even though the law came 430 years after the promise it did not disannul the promise. So the conditional nature of the latter part would have no effect on whether Israel was to receive the promise. So the Israelites were recipients of the promise and at the same time the blessing or cursing provided in the law of God.
This is why we see Jesus saying He only came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mt.15:24). Because His message was to those who had been given the covenant that contained both the promise by faith and the blessing and cursing that were by the works of the law. While the Gentile has never been (Eph.2:12) nor ever will be accountable before God to keep the law(Rom.2:11-14). And therefore no recipient of the blessing and cursing of Deut.28.
So Jesus’ message to Israel was that they must both keep the law of Moses for eternal life as He told the rich young ruler (Mt.19:16-20). And at the same time, eternal life was by faith in Him as their messiah (John5:24). Because while the law given through Moses remained in force they were required by God to keep it. And because the promise to Abraham was also in force their justification would also come by faith just as Abraham’s. But, their keeping of the law was not a condition for the promise of a kingdom that came through Abraham. It was only a condition for receiving the blessings of Deut.28 and eternal life as Jesus said.
So what does it mean when Jesus said: “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it“? It means that John was the final prophet of the Old Testament. And that since that time the Messiah, who was also an Israelite born under the law, would preach a kingdom which according to the promise given to Abraham in Gen.12:1-3 is a kingdom on earth promised solely to the nation of Israel.
This earthly kingdom is a kingdom of promise that Israel will receive that we know as the millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth, found in Rev.20:4-6. And it is during this time that we see the law of God enforced as it says in Zech.14:9-21. Because during this time it will be the kingdom God promised to Israel through Abraham. So it is this kingdom that Jesus preached. A kingdom that will function under the covenant that included both the law and the faith of Abraham. This is why it was only after Jesus died that the New Testament was preached. Because it did not come to power until Jesus’ death “took away the first testament to establish the second”.Heb.10:9.
And in the New Testament, both Jew and Gentile can now come into the kingdom of God by faith without the works of the law that Jesus told the Israelites they needed to keep for eternal life before He died. Because in the New Testament that is without the law justification/righteousness is only possible by faith without works as Paul says it was for Abraham (Rom.4:1-5). Now both Jew and Gentile come into this kingdom by faith without works as Paul said in Eph.2 because Jesus “abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
Who is this “new man” that Paul speaks of here? He is the “new creature” of 2Cor.5:17. About which Paul says, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” And it is the spiritual man that Jesus speaks of in John3:1-8 about which Jesus says, “what is born of the flesh is flesh and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.” But, this new birth would not be possible until after Jesus died. Because it was only after His death that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to reprove men of sin, righteousness, and judgment(John16:7-11). And the new birth is a birth that is of the Spirit.
The “new man” is a spiritual man that never existed before until Jesus came. Brought into being by the spiritual birth Jesus said we must have to “see the kingdom of God”. And because a man may now become the new spiritual man there is no need any longer for the law. Because instead of being led by the outward command of the law as Israel was in the Old Testament(Gal.3:23-25) because they were only natural men. Believers are now equipped spiritually because of the new birth to be led by the Holy Spirit.Rom.8:14. And the love that He sheds abroad in the hearts of those who trust in Him.Rom.5:1-5.
Have you trusted in Jesus so that you too can become this new man that Jesus and Paul preached we must? So that you too can inherit the kingdom of God? It’s a free gift given freely from God to all who will simply receive it by trusting in Jesus as Lord and believing in His resurrection.
If you are reading this God is calling you. He loves you and wants you to know Him. Because knowing Him is eternal life.John17:3. So if you do not know Him please take the time right now to pray and confess Jesus as Lord of your life. And believe that He has raised from the dead. In doing this and really meaning it from your heart you will be saved from death to life. From sin to righteousness. And from the wrath to peace with God. Because when you trust in Jesus you leave the old life behind where you were only equipped to trust in idols. In what has been made. And now trust in Jesus who alone can equip you for heaven because He is the only WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE.
Edward O’Hara Mon 1/20/2020
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The light went out in the church, and that’s the reason the world got dark. Dark times were perpetuated by the “last one out, turn out the lights” “The church lights have gone OUT”.
The Lukewarm Christian
There are numerous pathetic souls who, though they have not severed formal fellowship ties with a local church, nonetheless are so spiritually apathetic as to be practical enemies of the Lord.
Prophecy Unfolding Before Our Eyes in Real-Time
Peace, Bible, one Spirit unto the Father, eternal life.John17:3, the kingdom of God
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