The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 17: Matthew 22:1-40, by Kevin M. Williams
Does Messiah pay taxes? Journey through the Gospel to the Hebrews with Kevin Williams and find out.
And Jesus answered and spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared …” (Matthew 22:1-2).
One consistent theme to Yeshua’s (Jesus’) ministry in the book of Matthew is the reality of the Kingdom of heaven. We do well to remember, that from the moment he walked out from his 40 days in the Judean wilderness he taught, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17).” The sovereignty of the Most High God was never a question. The validity and continuity of God’s revealed Word was not up for debate. The authority of the Kingdom was never doubted.
Rather, the manifest presence of the Kingdom of Heaven was dearly desired by many Hebrews in those days—as well as today. The yearning was that God would establish His kingdom on earth, and that all the nations of the gentiles would be brought under His banner.
In both Yochanan’s (John’s) and Yeshua’s preaching the reason for urgency to repent is that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. The concept of the Kingdom of God is crucial to understanding the Bible. It refers neither to a place nor to a time, but to a condition in which the rulership of God is acknowledged by humankind.1
We see this zealous belief reiterated in Yeshua’s disciples: “And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Many believers look forward to the day of Messiah’s return, and the complete and absolute establishment of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
And yet “Thy Kingdom come …” drones throughout congregations in the western world in countless churches, denominations, and services. I say it “drones” because it has been said so many times, recited for so many years, and reiterated without conscious thought, that the words have lost their vigor.
Fearful it would be if the kingdom of God were in fact to come and settle on this green globe we call home. Many of the sins we enjoy so liberally would come home to roost in profound and terrible ways. The words “Thy Kingdom come” flow so swiftly from our mouths. Yet, the kingdom we are praying for would bring such change that many, I fear, would scarcely know how to cope. The Kingdom of God on earth means that the Judge is in our midst. His unswerving intolerance for sin would be the rule of the land.
If we read Ezekiel, the coming of the Kingdom of God means that the Temple will be restored, with all its injunctions, requirements, tithes, festivals and sacrifices. How many have even paused to contemplate what that would mean to their daily lives?
The coming Kingdom of God brings with it a level of accountability undreamed of by most, with the Messiah seated on His throne as the conquering King. Are we really ready to bend the knee, not merely in a Sunday-go-to-meetin’ kind of way, but in a manner that is wrought with submission in service to the One True King?