Difficult Scriptures Concerning Kingdom

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● Job 19:26. How could Job hope to see God in his flesh?

Job 19:25-26 has been beautifully memorialized in Handel’s classic oratorio “The Messiah,” as an inspiring statement of faith and belief in the resurrection. “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” In view, however, of Exodus 33:20 that “no man shall see [God] and live,” how then will Job, in a resurrected fleshly body, see God?

According to Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word translated “see” in verse 26, #2372, chazah, can mean mentally to perceive, which is the evident meaning of “see” in this instance. Later in the book of Job, after God spoke from the whirlwind, a humbled and
chastened Job said (42:5), “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine
eye seeth thee.” Although a different Hebrew word (#7200) is here used for “seeth,” its
definition also includes the meaning of “to see figuratively.”

In these verses, then, Job is referring to his eye of understanding, increased insight, and
recognition of God’s wisdom and power; just as one who finally understands a point of logic will say, “Ah, I see it now!” May we then also seek to see God — to “mentally perceive” his wisdom, justice, love, and power in the overrulings and providences over the affairs of the Church and in the progress of world events that will eventually bring about the perfect kingdom on Earth. RR

Psalm 2:8. Why would Jesus want an inheritance like the heathen?

It is not for what the heathen/nations are, but for what Christ can make of them, that they are to be desired as an inheritance. The context begins with “Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee,” which Acts 13:32-33 connects to Jesus’ resurrection. After receiving the nations, “I will give unto him authority over the nations; and he shall shepherd them with a scepter of iron, — as vessels of earthenware are dashed in pieces: — as I also have received from my Father” (Revelation 2:26-27 Rotherham).

In calling Christians now, God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to
shame them that are wise (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). After Christ and His church have broken the resistance and guided the world up “the way of holiness,” then in Them “shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves” (Genesis 22:18 ASV margin). Thusly shall Christ make His inglorious inheritance — the nations — glorious (Isaiah 60:13). JP

Matthew 6:10, 13. “Thy kingdom come … thine is the kingdom.” Is God’s Kingdom
future, or is it now?

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” was not in the
three best manuscripts (including Vatican 1209 and Sinaitic, the two oldest for this passage).1 Nor is it in Luke 11:4. Someone evidently added it from 1 Chronicles 29:11, “Thine, O Jehovah, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory.” Thus, there was no contradiction in what Matthew wrote, only in what an uninspired scribe added later. JP

__________
(1) The United Bible Society’s Greek New Testament omits these words with full confidence.

Matthew 8:11. Question: How can people on earth sit down with Abraham in the
kingdom of heaven?

When a centurion displayed great faith (8:5-10), Jesus marveled and said that he had
not found such faith in Israel. The centurion was not an Israelite but a Gentile — a Roman. Then Jesus said: “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down (RVIC recline) with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Jesus is saying that while some who are in the kingdom [of heaven] will be cast out
from it, there are others from outside of the kingdom of heaven who will enter into it. The kingdom of heaven, also the kingdom of God, consists of (1) God as King, who rules from heaven, and (2) its subjects, spiritual or earthly, who accept the applicable terms and conditions of the kingdom in the various realms, ages, and dispensations.

“The children [sons] of the kingdom” are the natural descendants of Abraham, and
were groomed to be part of his promised seed of blessing (Genesis 22:16-18), but were rebellious and unfaithful. They observed Jesus for 32 years, rejected him as the Messiah, and the leaders even caused His crucifixion. They lost their position in the kingdom and were ultimately cast out of the land of promise; Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in 70 AD, and Israel began their Diaspora.

The “many” who replace the cast out “children” are Gentile believers (from points east
and west of Israel) who, through faith in Jesus, enter in as citizens of the kingdom, embrace the promises to Abraham (repeated to Isaac and Jacob), and become part of spiritual Israel. In a preliminary sense, the “many” can be considered to be figuratively sitting, reclining, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob during the Gospel Age, in the same figurative way that Gentile Christian believers, represented by Lazarus in the parable of Luke 16, are carried to Abraham’s bosom (verse 22).

Again, the same sense is used in Romans 11, where Paul uses the example of an olive
tree (Abrahamic promise and its fruitage) to show natural branches broken off (faithless Israel) and replaced by wild branches (Gentile believers).

In a fuller, more expansive, and final view of Matthew 8:11 (R1095:2-4), the elect Gentiles
come to their final heavenly reward in the Millennial Kingdom and then “sit down with
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” Because the opportunity for a heavenly reward was not yet available until Jesus died on the cross (2 Timothy 1:10, Hebrews 9:8), the resurrected Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and the other ancient worthies) will be the earthly government in the Millennial Kingdom (Psalm 45:16, Hebrews 11:39, 40). But all will be regarded as sitting together because all (heavenly
and earthly agents of the kingdom) will be sharers in the joys of the Lord, and in the
promised work of blessing the nations. See also Luke 13:28-30 for further study. RR

Editor’s note: Or, when Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are raised, and prominent here on
earth, many Gentiles will become more worthy, but the religious leaders of Israel will be
humbled. It is not the kingdom in heaven, but of heaven (kingdom of God in Luke 13:28-
29). Those who gnashed the teeth in Diaspora caused others to weep. (Consider R3457:1-2.)

Matthew 25:31 and following. Parable of the Sheep and the Goats — Does eternal
destiny depend on present experience?

For the Church class, eternal destiny does depend on present experience, for we are being developed presently, and God’s judgment of our case will depend on our faithfulness in the present. In this respect, we can take to heart the moral lesson of the parable to be concerned with our fellows in faith during the Gospel Age.

However, the parable describes the test for the world of mankind, the “all nations” who
will be gathered “before him” in the Kingdom. Their judgment and eternal destiny will depend upon how they respond during the Millennium. Then the goat class, who will have been hard hearted toward their fellows in distress, “shall go away into everlasting punishment” — the fire of destruction mentioned in verse 41. Whereas the righteous, who do exhibit concern and demonstrate godly love for their fellows, will receive “life eternal.” DLR

1 Corinthians 15:23-28. Why is the Millennial work passed over (ignored) in these
verses?

1 Corinthians 15:22-26 is one of the shortest narratives of the Divine plan found anywhere in scripture. What economy of words! The apostle Paul covers the entire human experience, from the death of Adam, as the wages of his sin (the punishment which then inherited by all mankind), to the full removal of the Adamic death condition. A resurrected world, now restored and returned to the Father, will be in possession of a full experience in the “knowledge of good and evil.” Praise God for His wonderful wisdom and plan.

Verse 22 ends with the phrase “in Christ shall all be made alive,” or “shall be quickened.”
This describes a process, that to gain life one must come to Christ. But does this happen
to all at the same moment? Verse 23 says there is an “order,” a series or succession. The
“firstfruits” mentioned, which are “Christ,” includes Jesus and also his church, the members of his body, the Christ [Anointed] collectively. This is the first orderly step to occur by which all “shall be made alive.” By deduction we can understand there are after-fruits, and this includes the general world of mankind, all remaining who are not part of the Christ.

The apostle says further of them, “Afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
Looking at the original language, the thought is, this will take place “in” or “during his parousia” or “presence.” The “presence” of Christ entails not only the moment of his return, but runs through the entire Millennial Kingdom.

“Then cometh the end.” The end of what? It is the end of the work of mediation between
fallen man and Jehovah. With the Millennial Kingdom work having been accomplished, the mediator — the Christ head and body — will then step aside, and a direct relationship can be reestablished between every member of the human family and their heavenly Father. It will be like the relationship that existed between Adam and Jehovah before the fall!

Verses 25-28 begin with “For,” indicating that these four verses are an expansion of what
had just been covered. They explain how “the Christ” will prepare man during the Millennial Kingdom to be able to stand before their perfect God and not die. They will be able to stand in their own righteousness, entering into a New Covenant with Jehovah in complete agreement with, and fully able to keep, His laws and commandments. They will do so because they realize the wisdom and because of their love for their God. In summary, we see the Millennial work is indeed shown in this message, powerfully
stated in so few verses of scripture.

Further, see Acts 3:19-23.

1 Corinthians 15:29. “What shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead
rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” How can we be baptized for the
dead?

The baptism that Paul refers to here means our baptism into Christ, his death and the trying experiences of life through which we pass in order to be fitted for service with Jesus beyond the vail, to raise the dead world of mankind and bless them in the Millennium. “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3)? This is the same baptism that Jesus referred
to in Matthew 20:24, “Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the
baptism that I am baptized with.”

Based on the context of 1 Corinthians 15:29, perhaps Paul also had in mind the trials
and experiences we endure on behalf of other members of the Church class who are “dead in Christ” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Paul’s labors and daily service were directly on behalf of the brethren to whom he ministered, even at the peril of death. Thus, the expression of verse 30, “And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?” (serving the brethren, as he did). DLR

1 Corinthians 15:50-54 — What does Paul really say here?

Brethren have long understood, correctly, that Paul’s point in this passage is that those
who died before the return of Christ would sleep in death until his return, whereas those
who died after the return of Christ would be changed “in a moment,” without a long period of sleep in death intervening.

However, the precise way this point is expressed by Paul, is reflected quite differently in
different manuscripts. The RVIC (available at the Herald website), in footnote 183, gives evidence for this reading. “We shall all fall asleep, but we shall not all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” In other words, some will be changed instantly (those living into the parousia), and some will not (those who died before the parousia, and were required to wait in the sleep of death for the return of Christ.)

Seeing most of the best manuscripts express the point is helpful. Notice the affirmation,
“We shall all fall asleep.” The Greek here is not merely “sleep,” but “fall asleep.” Paul here affirms that all of the saints will die. It is the same Greek word as used for Stephen, the first Christian martyr, when “he fell asleep” (Acts 7:60). This is the only direct statement in the New Testament that unambiguously states that all the saints will die. This directly negates a popular view among some churches that some saints will be taken upward into heaven bodily, without dying.

In this context, Paul uses the word “changed” to refer to those who die during the parousia of Christ, and “raised” for those saints who had died before the return of Christ and slept in death waiting for their resurrection. He further distinguishes the two cases by saying “this corruptible shall have put on incorruption” (referring specially to those dying during the parousia), and “this mortal shall have put on immortality” (referring specially to those who slept in death awaiting the parousia) — verse 54. DLR

Revelation 21:3, 4, 10 (NAS). “Behold the tabernacle of God is among men, and
He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes…and [he] showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” Are God, Christ, and the faithful to become flesh in the Kingdom?

We must first realize that Revelation is a book comprised largely of symbols. To partially
answer this question, we would have to say in a sense, Yes! But let us examine further.

On the surface it appears that God would be walking with them!

When Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden, God spoke to the pair directly. “And
they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and
the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, Where are you? And he said, I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself” (Genesis 3:8,9,10). Note, they did not see the LORD God, they only heard and talked with Him!

When the Jews were in the wilderness they reverenced God by His presence in the tabernacle at the ark of the covenant. His presence was pictured by the Shekinah Glory. God’s presence was also shown by the pillar of cloud which overshadowed the tabernacle by day and the pillar of fire that shown over it at night (Nehemiah 9:19). However, He was not seen!

In Exodus 33:20 (NAS), [God] “said, you cannot see My Face, for no man can see Me
and live!” Jehovah God is a Divine being along with His Son, and soon with His church in
glory. They will not be seen physically by men in the Kingdom, though their presence will be felt, similar to that in the Garden of Eden. AKH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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