If there is one chapter in the Bible which best describes the kingdom of heaven (in other places, the “kingdom of God”), Matthew 13 is it.
Through seven parables, Jesus spoke to the crowds who came to see him (v. 1). In these parables, he laid out aspects of the kingdom that were both hidden and revealed, spiritual and physical, contested and certain, already and not yet. In short, by looking briefly at each parable we can get a list of the kingdom’s characteristics. Then, as we look at all the parables together, we are positioned to answer the question: What is the kingdom of God like?
What follows are five observations from individual parables (some are taken together), and two larger observations taken from the whole of Matthew 13.
The Kingdom of God Is . . .
. . . Mysterious
Perhaps it would be better to say the kingdom is hidden and revealed. For this is what mysterion means in the Bible. Beginning with Daniel 2, the word “mystery” speaks of a kingdom reality that was once hidden but now revealed. Continue reading
Sitting in Dr. Russell Moore’s Systematic III class and then again in his Eschatology class, I became convinced from the Scriptures that Israel is not just a what, but a who. And that who is Jesus Christ.
Today, with Israel in the headlines and just returning from the “Promised Land” himself, Dr. Moore summarizes his thoughts on the future of Israel. It is a snapshot of the biblical theology that was presented in those classroom lectures–a biblical theology of God and his people that unifies all things in Christ (Eph. 1:10), the True Israel of God. Whether you are Dispensational, Covenantal, or agnostic in terms of all things eschatological, it is worth a look.
Anyone thinking through these matters–eschatology, the nature of the church, the future of Israel, and how evangelicals have debated these things over since Scofield–should consider Moore’s arguments. Reading his book on the subject would be a great place to begin, The Kingdom of Christ. Similarly, another great chapter on this subject of the identity of Israel is Stephen Wellum’s chapter on the covenants in Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ. Both are excellent.
Thankful to be a co-heir with Christ, the True Israel, and I hope that he too is on your mind!
Sola Deo Gloria, dss