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Yeshua in Context » Aims of Yeshua, Applying the Gospels, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Discipleship - Formation, Gospel Genres, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Parables, Teaching of Yeshua » Applying Messiah’s Kingdom Parables, Part 1

Applying Messiah’s Kingdom Parables, Part 1

To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables.
-Mark 4:11

“Kingdom” is not “afterlife” exactly and it is not “people of Israel” or “people of the Church.” The modern reader tends to inject meanings into Yeshua’s words that are not there. Looking in the words of Messiah for a message on how to qualify for a good afterlife, it is natural for many to see in the word “kingdom” a code word for “going to heaven.” This is a problem compounded by the fact that Matthew, the best-known gospel for many Bible readers, uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven” instead of “kingdom of God.” But, as many will rightly point out, “heaven” here stands for “God.” It is a euphemism, like saying “in the eyes of heaven.”

Another temptation is to see “kingdom” as either “the nation of people known as Israel” or “the visible institution of the church.” Christian pastors sometimes ask people to “work for the kingdom” with the understanding that “church is the kingdom.” In Judaism, “kingship of God” is a more common notion than “kingdom.” This is because Judaism, like Yeshua, is immersed in the Hebrew Bible.

What does Messiah mean when he says “to you” (the inner circle, those who come to me after my teaching and ask questions) is given the “secret of the kingdom” but to everyone else (outsiders who sit on the hills and listen from afar, hoping to catch a glimpse of a miracle) there are only “parables”?

Does he mean that the parables are not about the kingdom? Is the idea that the parables are teasers, mere hints, but that somewhere else we should look for Messiah’s real teaching? If so, where do we find this teaching?

No, it is not that there are two sets of teaching exactly, although the inner circle does get more explanation and teaching than the hill-sitters get. But rather, it is the whole package. Those who become part of Messiah’s disciple circle (not just the Twelve, but at least one hundred and twenty by the time of Acts 1) receive the secret. And the secret is not just one thing. It is many things.

Those who were in Messiah’s disciple circle, the ones who were fortunate enough to be there in Galilee and Judea so long ago, saw the actions of Messiah, got private explanations, and went through the experience of disappointment, terror, disbelief, startling realization, overwhelming joy, and sense of empowerment through the trial, death, burial, resurrection, commission, and ascension of Yeshua. The secret was being in the disciple circle. It was asking questions. It was watching Messiah do messianic things. It was seeing the kingdom in action. It was living through the greatest misunderstanding about kingdom (that death and suffering lead to the reign of God).

It is possible to be in Messiah’s disciple circle now. The requirement is a willingness to consider his words and actions. The requirement is to do this with others. The requirement is to believe.

In this series, I will explore a little at a time the details of Messiah’s parables and what they mean about the kingdom, future and present. What is the kingdom exactly? What does a first century Jewish teacher mean when he says “kingdom of God”? How do we apply this?

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Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Applying the Gospels, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Discipleship - Formation, Gospel Genres, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Parables, Teaching of Yeshua

2 Responses to "Applying Messiah’s Kingdom Parables, Part 1"

  1. Don Johnson says:

    How can I subscribe to this?

    1. yeshuain says:

      Don,

      I don’t think there is a subscribe feature exactly. Some people, though, do tell me they can get blogs to come to their email account. I have never tried that.

      I do, however, post links to my blog posts on my author page on Facebook and on my Twitter account.

      http://facebook.com/DerekLeman
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      I use Google Reader. Look it up and see if it will work for you. The “Yeshua In Context” blog has an RSS feed and you can set up Google Reader to follow the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs.

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