| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 52 - Page 112 of 207 Index | Zoom | |
In God's earthly kingdom purposes redeemed Israel was to be the channel of blessing
to the whole world, and it was for this purpose alone that God planned to make them the
premier nation of the earth, spiritually and temporally, for they were to be a priestly
nation (Exod. 19:) that could mediate God's truth (Deut. 7: 6; 28: 1, 13; Psa.
135: 4; 147: 19, 20; Acts 13: 46, 47 and many other Scriptures). Israel was to be
the divine agent God would use to make Himself known to all nations, so that at last His
kingdom on earth could be established.
This also explains why there is the stress on the word "world" in the Gospel of John
(79 occurrences). It in no way contradicts the Lord's statement in Matt. 15: 24, that His
earthly ministry was to Israel. We must remember that the words of Christ recorded by
John were part of this earthly ministry and they must primarily be kept in this setting and
all of them must be studied with this in mind. Whether the dating of John's Gospel was
early or late cannot alter this important fact. However late it was, it could not be
revealing the great secret of Eph. 3: and Col. 1: concerning the Body of Christ, for that
was kept for Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, to make known under the guidance of the
Holy Spirit after Israel was laid aside in unbelief (Acts 28:). It is in the epistles to the
Ephesians and Colossians we find the revelation of the Body of Christ, giving its calling,
constitution and heavenly destiny.
In the O.T. and during the Lord's earthly ministry, Israel had alas forgotten that God's
choice and purpose for them had the whole world in view. They looked on the Gentiles
as "dogs" therefore the Lord Jesus emphasizes the word "world" as a corrective in His
ministry to them, recorded in the Gospel of John, showing them that He had a wider
purpose. The earthly kingdom made known in the Gospels was the great Messianic
kingdom of the Old Testament prophets, and it was this kingdom that the fore-runner,
John the Baptist, proclaimed followed by the Lord Himself. It was already known, being
revealed in its wondrous details in the O.T.
Thus it was that this kingdom was described in the model kingdom prayer, given by
the Lord, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6: 9-13). Even when
Israel had crucified her King and Redeemer, this purpose of God was not ended, for the
period covered by the Acts followed in which Israel had another opportunity of
repentance and turning back to God. The Jew was still first both for judgment and
blessing (Rom. 1: 16, 17; 2: 8-11). We find both Peter and Paul putting them first in
their ministry. God's tremendous long-suffering had not run out as Peter made clear in
Acts 3: 19-26. If they repented and turned back, their sins and opposition would be
forgiven and their King would be sent back to them again. The kingdom was still "the
restoration of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets"
(verse 21). They had "foretold of these days" (verse 24) and Israel was still "the children
of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with the fathers, saying unto
Abraham, And in thy seed shall all families of the earth be blessed" (verse 25).
The great implication of these most important verses has been missed by so many
that we do not wonder at all the confusion of ideas about the Kingdom of God (The
reader is directed to the author's The Kingdom of God in Heaven and on Earth).