The Program of King Messiah

Matthew 4: 17

The Holy One, blessed be He, will sit and expound [on] the new Torah that He will give through the Messiah. “New Torah” means the secrets and the mysteries of the Torah which have remained hidden until now” (Midrash Talpiot 58a).374

After His baptism and subsequent forty days of testing in the wilderness, Yeshua had completed His required preparation and then began His actual messianic program for Israel. From that time on, Yeshua began proclaiming: Turn from your sins to God, for the kingdom of Heaven is near (Matthew 4:17 CJB). Turning from sin is the key element in traditional Judaism. Repentance (t’shuvah) covers more than merely a change of heart, but actually turning and going in a different direction. Turn (shuwb) is the key word for the book of Jeremiah, as the weeping prophet tried in vain to persuade rebellious Isra'el to repent from her destructive path. In the messianic program, the call is to turn from that which misses the spiritual mark that ADONAI has placed before us. It is important to note that Isra'el was not called to convert to a different religion or a different God; but rather, to turn around and come back to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Mattityahu uses the phrase, the kingdom of Heaven rather than the Kingdom of God because he was speaking to a Jewish audience. Jews then, as well as many today, avoided using the word God. Some substitute the name ADONAI, the LORD, or HaShem, meaning the Name, for God’s name. If they are writing in English, they will write it as G-d, out of reverence for His name. Matthew’s intended audience would understand his substitution of the word heaven rather the word G-d. Consequently, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Heaven effectively mean the same thing. Establishing the kingdom of Heaven has been the foundational hope given to Isra’el in the Torah (Exodus 19:6), the Prophets (Isaiah 11:1-9) and the Writings (First Chronicles 29:11). It only makes sense for Jews to conclude, therefore, that the Messiah would be the King over His Kingdom on earth (Isaiah 9:6). Since Yeshua was the promised King Messiah, it was not surprising that He started His public ministry with an announcement that His Kingdom was near.

 

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