Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kingdom principles past vs. New Covenant future

I understand that Matthew 5 – 7 is written to the Jews, but when does it apply to them?  Is this passage describing the Kingdom?  If this instruction is for the Kingdom, why would they need it since they will have the Holy Spirit within them, the Law will be written in their hearts, and the Lord will cause them to walk in his statutes?

It applied to the Jews at the time the Lord Jesus Christ was talking to them. It is regarding and referring to kingdom principles – things that will be the norm in the kingdom – the righteous standard under which the kingdom will operate.  If this doctrine only applied to the kingdom, they wouldn’t need this instruction – particularly right then when the Lord was speaking to them; because under the New Covenant, the Spirit of God will be in them, causing them to keep his commandments.

Jeremiah 31:31
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

Ezekiel 36:37
Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.

But Matthew 5 – 7 (and any other doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ in his earthly ministry) was not only giving instructions about how the Kingdom will operate in the future, but also what the righteous standards were that they were to live by at that time.  Obviously, it would be the power of his word working in them then.  In the future, it will be the Spirit of God doing the work in them.

So, Matthew 5 – 7 was both (1) a present reality to those who were there and heard the Lord Jesus Christ detail the righteous standard to get into the kingdom and (2) a future hope of the kingdom.  He was preparing them to enter the kingdom by teaching them kingdom principles that had to be lived by at that time.

Remember that the Jews did not only have to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah and be water baptized according to John’s baptism…

Mark 16:16

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Luke 7:29

And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.

…but they also had to do the works that Jesus Christ gave them.  They had to keep his word—his commandments—to the best of their ability without the Spirit of God in them.  You see that in John…

John 14:15

 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 15:10

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

Here are his commandments for the nation of Israel:

Matthew 5

1And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: [Notice he went up.  He is the Messiah.  Mountains in scripture represent kingdoms.  He is King.] and when he was set [royalty is seated], his disciples came unto him:


2And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

3Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We know the kingdom wasn’t there yet; he was saying they needed to have humility—a broken spirit before God.

 4Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Again, that’s in the future coming Kingdom.

 5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

‘You’re meek now; you will inherit the earth.’

 6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

You hunger and thirst now, you will be filled in the kingdom.

 7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

You’re merciful now; you obtain mercy then.

 8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

You must do that now in order to see God.

So when you look at Matthew 5, 6 and 7, although they are Kingdom principles, they also applied to Israel at the time of Christ’s earthly ministry and before the dispensation of grace began in Acts 9.

Matthew 6:10

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

They’re waiting for the kingdom to come, but Christ’s instructions apply to them in the present.


Matthew 7:12

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

They have to keep the law and the prophets (keep his statutes) in order to enter the kingdom.

Matthew 7:13-14

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.


Matthew 6:33

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness [right now!]; and all these things shall be added [what they would eat and drink] unto you.

You might be asking: Even though the Lord is going to provide all those things in the kingdom, didn’t the Lord Jesus Christ provide what they would eat when he was on earth?

Matthew 14:19-20

And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.  And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

Here, Christ was giving them a taste of the kingdom.


Hebrews 6:4-5

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,


Matthew 5:19

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The kingdom is still future and these commandments are the issue.


Matthew 5:21-22

Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the [future] judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

The law said that if you killed a man you were in danger of judgment, but the Lord Jesus Christ is saying that even intent—being angry with your brother without a cause—will be judged.

Matthew 5:27-30

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

The Lord was giving them instructions on how to get into the kingdom.  These things will be the righteous standard in the kingdom and he will cause them to keep his commandments; but the disciples who heard these instructions during his first coming needed to also keep these righteous commandments then to make it into the kingdom.  They were to work and do it in their own strength to the best of their ability; and when they failed they were to offer the proper sacrifice.  If they endured to the end they would be saved into the kingdom.

For Israel, it was like the seven days of creation:  work six days and rest on the seventh day.  They worked in their own strength six days (their lifetime).  It was a time of testing to see if they would do what the Lord said through Jesus Christ.  If they continued in his word until their death—or until the kingdom came—then they would get into the kingdom and the Lord would cause them to keep his statues.

Isaiah 42:21

The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake [the Lord Jesus]; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.

In essence, the things that the Lord tells Israel in Matthew are the Law.  The Jewish leaders with all their traditions of men had dishonored the law.  They brought it down from its original intent—love—to a system of rites and rituals that would produce self-righteousness apart from a proper heart attitude.

Isaiah 29:13

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:


Mark 7:6

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.


Matthew 5:17-18

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

So in Matthew 5 – 7, the Lord is magnifying the law and making it honorable.  He’s giving the true intent of the law.  He is clarifying it for them.

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