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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 17: Matthew 22:1-40, by Kevin M. Williams

The reality of the Kingdom of Heaven has dwelt among us already in the person of Yeshua the Messiah. He inaugurated a new era in which the hearts of mankind would willingly turn to Him in love and obedience. With that inauguration we have, from time-to-time, caught glimpses of the kingdom. We have seen it on the face of that singer praising His name, felt it in the words of someone’s prayer, or touched it for a moment while reading the Word of God. It was fleeting, but it was real—genuinely and inexplicably real.

Yet it may have been so fleeting, that sometimes we wonder if it really happened at all.

The Kingdom of God is real. We who are of the household of faith are citizens of that kingdom. Its supernatural manifestation does intrude into our “space” from time to time in ways that regularly leave us in awe and amazement.

So then, do we wait? Do we wait for the full reality of that Kingdom to be made manifest here on earth before we begin to act like lawfully entrusted citizens? Is it better to wait for the Messiah to take up his throne here on earth to really “get our act together,” or might it be time to take this faith-thing seriously in the here and now? Do we live in an almost, but not really here Kingdom?

Rabbi Paul does not imply that we are almost but not yet ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). We are not almost but not yet citizens (Ephesians 2:9). We are not called to behave as almost but not yet partakers in the promises of Abraham (Galatians 3:29). We should not act as almost but not really sharers in the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:12).

The message of Yeshua was the good news of the Kingdom of God/Heaven. When we read the Messiah’s parables and hear his words, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to …,” His understanding of the Kingdom was potent, alive, and in their midst.

And Jesus answered and spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king, who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.

“But the king was enraged and sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and set their city on fire. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ And those slaves went out into the streets, and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.

“But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:1-14).

Many lessons have been taught in numerous commentaries on Yeshua’s parables, and no further hermeneutic will be attempted here. But certainly we can see a king and a kingdom that does not tolerate being treated casually. For the king in Yeshua’s parable, there is no “almost” kingdom, or half-hearted kingdom. The citizens are expected to take the king—and the king’s will—very seriously.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Spring 2005

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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