Week 3, Lesson 5: Bring the King Home!

Now we know the invitation that will bring the King home, but we have not reached that point in history yet so let’s learn some kingdom lessons. 

First, covenants usually involve commitments from two parties. A marriage covenant, for example, requires husband and wife to commit, not 50% each, but 100% each. Both must be “all in” (faithful) for the covenant to be blessed. However, when God cut covenant with Abraham, He put him to sleep, initiated the whole thing, and took responsibility for the entire covenant. It is only God’s faithfulness that gives the Abrahamic covenant validity! 

Perhaps God had a kingdom in mind all along! In the Abrahamic covenant, He promised land and descendants, two key elements for a kingdom, and He knew the perfect King for the job! Yet, the Jewish people were stiff-necked and rebellious, and even rejected their King when He presented Himself on the earth. God knew they would not uphold their part of the bargain had He given them a part. Sadly, He knew the same about us! Gloriously, He made salvation a gift, not to be earned. 

Secondly, what did God really have in mind when the covenant was made with Abraham? Romans 4 provides some insight into God’s intentions. Following several verses emphasizing the faith of Abraham and David, we come to verse 13 which contains an interesting phrase in light of today’s study. Based on that verse, what was Abraham to become heir of? 

Could it be that God had a worldwide view when He called Abraham? Could it be that God’s idea of a kingdom was a worldwide, unified family made up of those who would know the Messiah? The apostle John seemed to think so when he wrote about the Good Shepherd. Read John 10:14-16. Do you see references to sheep/shepherd, Father/Son, one flock/one shepherd? Paul obviously thought so when he wrote Ephesians 4:1-4. How did he describe that unity?  

Uniting in Christ means one family, one flock, following one Lord, in one faith and one baptism! Why did God call a pagan, idol-worshipping Gentile to become father of the Jews? Was the intent to join Jews and Gentiles together as one flock?  

When Paul wrote to the Romans, he clearly indicated a lack of distinction between Jews and Gentiles. It is a complicated read but give it a try! Romans 2:25-29. Circumcision is a sign of being Jewish ethnically, but what about man’s spiritual state?  

  • Verse 25 implies that circumcision is not profitable if one does not keep the law. In other words, for those living by the Mosaic covenant (law), it requires perfection. Impossible! 
  • Verse 26 implies the opposite. If one is uncircumcised but obeys the righteous law, it is counted as circumcision. 
  • Verse 27 then asks the question: “So who is failing?” 

Now comes the meat! Verses 28-29 tell us it is not the outward appearance that makes one a Jew, but rather the inward circumcision of the heart, in the Spirit, not of the law. So, who is a Jew!?! 

Be careful here because there are two aspects of being Jewish: ethnic and spiritual. One is an ethnic Jew when born to Jewish parents. Gentiles can never become ethnic Jews. Yet, Jews and Gentiles can share the same heritage in Christ. A Jew does not cease being a Jew when he comes to know the Jewish Messiah. He remains Jewish. When a Gentile comes to know the Jewish Messiah, he does not become a Jew, but is grafted into the olive tree, inheriting the benefits of the covenant promises of God. We do not typically use this terminology as Christians, but in a sense, spiritual Jewishness is the inward circumcision of the heart, available to either Jews or Gentiles! 

Paul writes extensively about this relationship in Romans 9-11, which we will view more fully in a later lesson. But consider Romans 11:19-23 in which Paul describes “natural branches” and “grafted branches.” Remember the fig tree? It symbolizes Israel’s national heritage. This passage refers to an olive tree, symbolizing Israel’s spiritual heritage. Thus, because the Gospel came to the Jew first (Romans 1:16), Jews were natural branches of the olive tree until “broken off” (non-belief). Gentiles, on the other hand, are not “natural branches.” We must be grafted in! 

With that as the basis, who is ultimately included as part of the olive tree? In unity, believing Jews and Gentiles! 

That unity of one flock under one shepherd is what God intended! The Davidic covenant will feature a fully restored Israel (physically and spiritually). Currently, unbelieving Israel lies as “cut off” branches of their own olive tree. But a future day is coming when Romans 11:26 says all Israel will be saved! Their eyes will be open, they will say, Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai (Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord), and King Jesus will take His seat upon the throne! 

God promised Abraham a kingdom and the land of Canaan (Israel) is where kingdom headquarters is to be. (Are you excited about visiting kingdom HQ?) A new kingdom, made up of a worldwide family of believers, is being developed, and in that kingdom, there is no distinction between Jew and Greek (Gentiles) (Galatians 3:28). That is the Millennial Kingdom. 

Preparations are being made, and in fact, Jesus heard the prelude to the invitation when He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem that fateful Palm Sunday. Read the account in Mark 11:1-11. According to verses 9-10, how was Jesus greeted? The Jewish people seemed to get it right for a moment. They saw their King yet did not believe. Next time, they will see and believe. 

As we close out this week’s study, contemplate what it will be like to stand on the Mount of Olives where many of these accounts took place, or will take place in the future. Either God is faithful, or He is not. Either He will indeed return to establish His Kingdom, or He will not. What do you say?  

The prophet Zechariah foretold His first coming: 

9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! 
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! 
Behold, your King is coming to you; 
He is just and having salvation, 
Lowly and riding on a donkey, 
A colt, the foal of a donkey. 
(Zechariah 9:9) 

The Jewish people missed it the first time, but they will not miss it the second time! When they shout the invitation again, Jesus will appear in a manner impossible to miss: 

11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: 

(Revelation 19:11-16) 

PS: We are nearing the time of our departure! Be sure to stick with us for the upcoming concluding lessons, where we will tie it all together and go one extra step!

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