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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 4, by Kevin M. Williams

Regardless, the Mishkan—or Tabernacle—of God was in the heart of the encampment, where the Shekinah glory of the Lord shone into the night’s sky. The Mishkan and its grounds were ritually clean, and the encampment of Israel was ritually clean. It was were the priesthood dwelt, it was where worship, song, and miracles took place. It was where the altar of the Lord stood, and where repentance was transformed into sanctification. In short, it was where we might think the action was.

Yet Moses, like Jesus, preferred to dwell among the unclean dregs of society. For Moses, it was outside the camp. For Yeshua (Jesus), it was Galilee. Why? Because it was where neither of them needed to be, but where they were most needed.

A lesson for our day? Who is accepted in our congregations? Sure, we say “everyone,” but do we really mean everyone? Are there miracles in our churches? Certainly. Is the Holy Spirit present? Without question. Is the Word of God spoken, taught, and encouraged in our sanctified walls of brick and mortar? Absolutely.

But the transforming power of the Almighty Creator takes place someplace outside those hallowed walls, where we are needed most. We can always retreat to our congregations for ministry, for healing, for corporate worship, prayer, and study, but that is not reality for a majority of non-professing people. If we really want to minister, might we follow the example of John, and allow ourselves to decrease that the Messiah might increase? What would happen if we followed our Messiah, and Moses our teacher, and move into the places of darkness so the Light might shine?

Even Matthew answers our question for us. Why did Jesus move to Galilee? “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a Great Light, and to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a Light dawned” (Matthew 4:16).

___

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17).

The Kingdom of Heaven has been discussed before in the Pneuma Review (See “The Kingdom of God As Scripture’s Central Theme: A New Approach to Biblical Theology” by David Burns in Spring-Summer 2001), so we will not spend a great deal of time on it here. But it cannot be stressed enough, that biblically, the gospel and the Kingdom of Heaven/God are not separate theologies, separate messages, or separate doctrines. To separate them is to dilute the wholeness of God’s Word and preach only in part. The two are tightly woven into the same fabric of redemption and sanctified living.

Finding the reality of the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven—not as separate issues but as the same—may be one of the greatest challenges facing the body of Messiah in these last days.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Winter 2002

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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