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Yeshua in Context » Kingdom Future

Applying Messiah’s Kingdom Parables, Part 2

. . . birds came along and devoured it . . . it withered away . . . it yielded no grain . . .” -Mark 4:4, 6, 7. Parables are usually connected to a scripture text or several of them. They often explain something puzzling about God and his relation to his people, or something unstated or mysterious in a text. Yeshua understood a startling truth found in Isaiah 6, one that naturally leads any thoughtful reader to ask questions. Modern readers of the Sower parable (Mk 4; Mt 13; Lk 8) tend not to realize that the parable is commenting on a text. … Read entire article »

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

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, … Read entire article »

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

Symbolic Actions and Kingdom Enactments

Isaiah spent most of his career in sackcloth, but for three years went about barefoot and in his undergarments as a sign of what was to come (Isa 20:1-3). Ezekiel laid on his side for three hundred and ninety days (Ezek 4:4-5). Zechariah broke two staffs over his knee and threw thirty shekels into the treasury of the house of the Lord (Zech 11:7-14). These are symbolic actions, a kind of prophetic message in and of themselves. Yeshua also engaged in symbolic actions and what I call kingdom enactments. Symbolic Actions Declaring High Authority The Triumphal Entry (Mk 11:1-11; Mt 21:1-11; Lk 19:29-44; Jn 12:12-19) – Riding deliberately into the city as per Zechariah 9 with crowds hailing him, Yeshua is making a claim of messianic identity. The Temple Cleansing (Mk 11:15-17; Mt 21:12-13; … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1a - Intro to the Gospels, Aims of Yeshua, Enactments and Symbolic Actions, Gospel Genres, Identity of Yeshua, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Miracles, Son of Man

Video at the Musings Blog: What Was New for Jews in Yeshua?

At the Musings blog, and as a third video for my class on Introduction to the Apostolic Writings (New Testament), I discuss the significance of what Yeshua did in a Jewish context. What was so revolutionary? See “What Was New in Yeshua for First Century Jewish People?”. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Applying the Gospels, Background to Gospels, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Resurrection of Yeshua, Video

The Symbolic Use of Abraham

I asked my congregation a test question. I said, “What does Abraham represent in the gospels?” The answer I got was, “Faith.” It’s not a bad answer considering that this was before we had read a few Abraham texts in the gospels. Yet, before we would jump to Paul’s explanation of Abraham (Rom 4:3; Gal 3:7), it is good to consider a step earlier than the realization that Abraham represents faith. It is eye-opening to re-read some of the Abraham texts in the gospels with an eye for first century Jewish ideas about election, covenant, and afterlife. Let’s begin with three texts: Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones … Read entire article »

Filed under: Abraham, Afterlife, Background to Gospels, General, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Teaching of Yeshua

Future Hope vs. Present Distress

Mark tells the story of Yeshua focused on future hope. Luke tells the story of Yeshua focused on present distress. What I mean is this: in Mark’s gospel, we see the theme of the identity of the veiled Son of Man. He is much more than he appears to be. Those who remain close to him see this gradually more and more. The coming Son of Man (Yeshua in his Second Coming) will bring all of that future hope to reality. So Mark is apocalyptic (interested in showing how the Eternal breaks through into the Present). In Luke’s gospel, the reality of a disciple-community spread throughout the empire dealing with the problems of an absent Lord and an unbelieving Roman populace, is more obviously in the background. So Luke emphasizes the present … Read entire article »

Filed under: Applying the Gospels, Discipleship - Formation, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Literary Features

Poor in Spirit

How important is it to interpret a biblical text well? Obsession with details of theology, which is at least close to the same thing as obsession with a good interpretation of a sacred text, has been compared to speculating about how many angels fit on the head of a pin. Cliches like splitting hairs, chopping logic, quibbling over details, or making fine distinctions come to mind as the probable result of insisting on a good interpretation of a few words from an ancient saying. After all, do the differences really amount to much? Well, I think they do. Take the phrase “poor in spirit” for example. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Applying the Gospels, Beatitudes, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Paradox, Teaching of Yeshua

Discipleship and the Fig Tree

The following commentary is important for illustrating a key point of discipleship for Yeshua. To understand the basis for these comments on Mark 11:12-14 and 20-25, it is important for me to disclose what I think is the meaning of Yeshua’s resistance to the Temple state. I do not, as some commentators and historians, think Yeshua was against the Temple itself, but against the corrupt administration which turned the Temple state into an instrument of oppression of the lower classes and used it as an instrument for power and position for themselves. After the commentary, I will suggest a few points of application for discipleship in our time. MARK 11:12-14, 20-25 Yeshua curses a fig tree (vss. 12-14). In between is Yeshua’s Temple protest action (vss. 15-19). The next morning’s lesson from the fig tree … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Applying the Gospels, Discipleship - Formation, Enactments and Symbolic Actions, Forgiveness of Sins, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Temple and Torah

Yeshua as Prophet of the Kingdom

It helps sometimes for us to forget that we know so many things about Yeshua, to back up and experience him from within the story and not from thousands of years after. I suspect that one reason the idea of Yeshua as prophet is neglected in religious talk is that it seems retrograde to some to consider his “lesser” roles in the divine plan. But it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the idea that Yeshua was a prophet of the kingdom from within the story, from within the experience the disciples and crowds had of Yeshua. For them Yeshua was a potential prophet, a healer, an exorcist. How does Yeshua come across as a prophet in Mark? What sorts of things do we learn from this? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Enactments and Symbolic Actions, Identity of Yeshua, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present

The Misunderstood Kingship of Yeshua

The following commentary is on Matthew 21:1-11. I consider the larger context of Zechariah 9 and how it affects our reading of the Triumphal Entry. I’d say that even modern commentators have not given this sufficient attention in many cases. Zechariah’s prophecy of the king coming on a donkey is a critical view of kingship looking ahead to the messianic age when the ideas of dominion change into peace. In the early part of Zechariah 9, the warring peoples of the Mediterranean coast will become peaceful and submit to God’s authority in the messianic era. Then, in 9:9, Daughter Zion’s king (Jerusalem in the age when promises are fulfilled) comes not as a war-maker, but bringing peace, not on a warhorse, but a donkey like the Davidic kings of old. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Enactments and Symbolic Actions, Identity of Yeshua, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present

Why the Beatitudes Are Much Loved

The Delitzsch Hebrew-English version (DHE), a forthcoming translation of the gospels from the Hebrew version of Franz Delitzsch, renders Matthew 5:3 as follows: O the gladness of the poor in ruach, theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Yeshua makes desirable what is commonly regarded as unpleasant or pathetic. Our emotions are stirred by such talk. The imaginations and hopes of peasants sitting on the Galilean grass were stirred. It is something greatly to be desired, a reversal so needed by those of us who deeply feel our poverty of spirit. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Beatitudes, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Teaching of Yeshua

The Kingdom Has Reached You

Luke 10:9 is variously translated “the kingdom of God has come upon you” or “has come near to you.” Luke Timothy Johnson (The Gospel of Luke, Liturgical Press: 1991) renders it “has reached you.” Yeshua indicated that in some ways the kingdom of God arrived with him and in others that there would be a delay. Luke 10:9 is one of the “now” aspects of the kingdom of God in the “now and not yet” duality. How does Luke 10:9 inform us of one of the senses in which the kingdom had already reached Yeshua’s generation? What does it tell us about the kingdom in our day and in the future? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present

His Feet On the Mount of Olives

Luke 24:50-51 (NET): Then Jesus led them out as far as Bethany . . . he departed and was taken up into heaven. Acts 1:9, 12 (NET): . . . while they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud hid him from their sight . . . then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called the Mount of Olives . . . … Read entire article »

Filed under: Geography, Kingdom Future, Return of Yeshua

Yeshua and the Temple

Chapter 7 of Yeshua in Context is about the Temple Cleansing and chapter 14 is about Yeshua’s trial. In both of them I bring up the issue of Yeshua’s stance toward the Temple in Jerusalem. A number of excellent Christian scholars are in the habit of suggesting that Yeshua viewed the Temple as harmful or obsolete. I’d have hoped the progress of scholarship would have brought well-read people past such misinformation by now. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Erasing Anti-Judaism, Kingdom Future, Temple and Torah

Banquets, Luke, the Age to Come

You will find eight occasions in Luke with Yeshua teaching a group over a meal. The Messianic banquet theme is known from Jewish writings of the time (the Second Temple period). In The Yeshua in Context Sourcebook (upcoming), I include a list of Luke’s eight messianic banquets. Here is a list of “Banquets of the Age to Come” from the Hebrew Bible and Jewish literature (including Revelation) from the period. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Kingdom Future