Meditation on the Preaching of the Kingdom

Richard Salbato


Before Each Hail Mary

1.
  John, son of Zachary and Elizabeth, also known as the Baptist, prepared the way for Christ by announcing: "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Christ began His preaching in Capharnaum by saying the same thing. "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." 1

 

2.  Christ predicts that many will come into the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, but the former children of the Kingdom (the Jews) will be cast out. 2 He commissioned twelve Apostles and told them to preach the message, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." 3


3.  In speaking of John the Baptist, Christ says, "Amen I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.  But from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven has been enduring violent assault, and the violent have been seizing it by force." 4

We could take this to mean "Heaven" in the sky, but we know from Christ's conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:13 that no one from earth had entered heaven. The gates of Heaven were still closed and would remain closed until His death on the Cross. "And no one has ascended into Heaven except Him who has descended from Heaven; the Son of Man who is in Heaven.

If he meant "Heaven in the Sky", how could Heaven be assaulted?  "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given." 5 He began to speak in parables about the Kingdom of Heaven because, "seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, neither do they understand." 6 They wanted an earthly king who would fight the Romans.

4.  He goes on to say, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like. ..[good seeds and weeds growing together]," 7 "The Kingdom of Heaven is like. [the growing of a mustard Seed]." So that there can be no mistake what He means, Christ explains that the Kingdom of Heaven is on this EARTH. "The field is the world; the good seed, the sons of the Kingdom; the weeds, the sons of the wicked one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil." 8


To further prove the Kingdom is on EARTH: "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His Kingdom all scandals and those who work iniquity. .:' 9


5.  In the parable, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure." 10 He lets them know that nothing is more important than entering the Kingdom. In "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a net cast into the sea," He explains that in the Kingdom will be the good and the bad. 11 Christ teaches that the Kingdom will be new but will draw from the old. 12 Regarding something new, He predicts there will be virgins in His Kingdom. ". and there are eunuchs who have made themselves so for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven." 13

6. HH e explains that no one is first or last in the Kingdom of Heaven, and many are called but few are chosen. And something old: it would not do away with the old law, but complete it. 14 His miracles show that the Messianic empire of God had already come 15. As conditions for the entry into the Kingdom of God, Jesus demands justice, 17 fulfillment of the Will of His Father 16, a childlike disposition. 18 He enjoins His hearers to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, 19 threatens the Pharisees with exclusion from the Kingdom of God, 20 and proclaims the transfer of the Kingdom of God from the Jews to the Pagans. 21

 

7.  Jesus does not understand the Kingdom of God purely in end of the world terms. It is a Kingdom which will be founded and which will continue while the world lasts, and which will be completed in the future world, Heaven. Many of the parables spoken by Our Divine Lord, for example, of the sower of the seed, of the cockle in the wheat, of the net, of the leaven, of the mustard seed, depict the Kingdom of God IN THIS WORLD.

8.  Even after He died and rose from the dead, He preached the Kingdom of God. 22 They still did not understand and asked "Lord, wilt You at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?" 23 Christ had told them that the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth was not to be a kingdom like David's, but a spiritual Kingdom of God, but they didn't understand. "The Kingdom of God is within you." 24

It is a Kingdom of grace, of the Holy Spirit, of love. The old kingdom was a covenant God made with Abraham, a covenant of circumcision. The new Kingdom would have a new covenant, the body and blood of Christ. "This cup is the New Covenant in My blood." 25


9.  After the Apostles received the Body and Blood of Christ at the Last Supper He said, "And I appoint to you a Kingdom, even as My Father has appointed to Me." 26


10.  The words "Kingdom of Heaven" or "Kingdom of God" occur thirteen times in Mark, thirteen in John, twenty-five in Matthew, and six in Luke. The reason for this is that Christ spoke primarily to the Jews who understood the meaning and the prophecy of the coming Kingdom. When speaking to the Apostles alone, Christ used the word "Church" instead of "Kingdom."

"And if he refuse to hear them, appeal to the Church, but if he refuse to hear even the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican:' 27 "Upon this rock I will build My Church." After Pentecost this new terminology developed. ..Instead of "Kingdom" they used "ecclesia," which means "a gathering." The Apostles used this word to mean "a community of believers." The English translation of this word is "Church:'

Notes:

1. (Matt. 4:17)

2. (Matt. 8:11-12)

3. (Matt. 10:7)
4. (Matt. 11:11-12)

5. (Matt. 13:11)

6. (Matt. 13:13)

7. (Matt. 13:24-30)

8. (Matt. 13:38)

9. (Matt. 13:41)

10. (Matt. 13:44-46)

11. (Matt. 13:47-49)

12. (Matt. 13:52)

13. (Matt. 19:12)

14. (Matthew 20)

15. (Matt. 12:28)

16. (Matt. 7:21)

17. (Matt. 5:20)

18. (Matt. 18:3)

19. (Matt. 6:33)

20. (Matt. 1:43,23:13)

21. (Matt. 21:43)

22. (Acts 1:3)

23. (Acts 1:6)

24. (Luke 17:21)

25. (Luke 23:20)

26. (Luke 22:29-30)

27. (Matt. 13:17)