The Offer of the Messianic Kingdom in the First Century

According to Jewish eschatology, there is a 7000 year plan of God. The first 2000 years was called “Tohu” meaning “destruction.” The second 2000 years was called “Torah” meaning “instruction” and the third 2000 years was called “Yomot Ha Mashiach” or the “days of the Messiah” (Avodah Zarah 9a). At the end of 6000 years, the people would enter into the final 1000 years called the Athid Lavo, or the “future age or coming.” It was also called “The day of the Lord.” But, in Isa 60.22, the Rabbi’s saw a contradiction. They knew that there was a “fixed time” for the Messianic Kingdom, but they believed that it could be “hastened” and “offered” before the time if the people were worthy (Talmud, Sanhedrin 98a). So, according to the Talmud, the Rabbi’s believed that an offer would be made around the year 4000, and we know that Yeshua came around this time and an offer was made. This was the time that the people expected the Messiah according to the prophecies in Daniel. When Yeshua was born, the people were in a state of expectation of the coming of Messiah and with that expectation it also meant the coming of the kingdom. (John 1.19-22; Luke 3.15). John the Baptist announced it (Matt 3.2) and so did Yeshua (Matt 4.17,11.12; Mark 1.14-15; Luke 16.16; Matt 21.43-for it to be “taken away” it had to be offered). After the resurrection of Yeshua, the Talmidim studied the Scriptures with Yeshua where things were explained (Acts 1.3-4). In Acts 1.6, they ask if the kingdom would be restored to Israel at that time. Yeshua answers that it is not for them to know the time (Acts 1.6-7). Now, the Kingdom of God is also the restored Kingdom of Israel, with the terms “kingdom of the Lord, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven as synonymous (1 Chr 28.5; 2 Chr 13.8; Isa 9.6-7,11; Jer 23.5-6). The kingdom was there if the people wanted it, and Yeshua proclaimed it throughout his brief career (Matt 12.28; Mark 12.34; Luke 10.9-11, 11.20, 17.21). He sent his Talmidim to proclaim it (Matt 10.7) and “if you care to accept it (the kingdom), he himself (John) is Elijah, who was to come (before the kingdom offer-Matt 11.14).” But, the kingdom was rejected because repentance was required. This “rejection” is likened to those who would not dance for the flute players (Matt 11.15-19). The kingdom would be taken away from those he was talking to and given to others (Matt 21.43). Yeshua had to go on to the cross to ratify the new covenant in his own blood, and he was vindicated by the Lord through his resurrection. In Acts 3.19-21, we see that the offer was extended according to the words of Peter. If Israel entered into a national repentance, even then Messiah would come back and restore the kingdom to Israel. However, by the end of the book of Acts, corporate repentance did not occur and Paul made known that the kingdom offer to Israel had expired. The Gentiles were already accepted into the kingdom of God and this reality was the basis for Paul’s Olive Tree theology discussed in Rom 11. When the kingdom offer expired (Acts 28), these wild branches are grafted into the Olive Tree and in the future, the natural branches would also be grafted back in. This would result in a unity between Jews and Gentiles into one body (Eph 2.11-22; Col 1.19-26), which was called a mystery concealed, but now revealed. This “mystery” is because the time period in Dan 9.24-27 is 70 weeks. This time period includes the final seven year period (one week) called the “Birthpains.” Daniel did not see a “space” between the coming of the Messiah and the Birthpains. This is why there was so much “expectancy” in the first century (Luke 3.15; Acts 1.3-6). This was a mystery because had the kingdom been accepted when Yeshua came in the first century, then Daniel’s last seven years would have run from approximately 63 to 69 AD. These years, in many ways, fulfill the end-time prophecies. That’s why a post-millennial theology called Preterism that is taught today says that the events of Matt 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 already occurred. It is because these years would have been Daniel’s final week had the kingdom been accepted, with John being Elijah and so on. Not understanding this concept of the offer of the Messianic Kingdom being already offered and rejected, false theologies concerning eschatology are bound to crop up. There are reasons why the kingdom offer expired. In 63 AD, Jacob (James) was the “nasi” of the Messianic believers in Jerusalem (Acts 15.1-29). He was called “Jacov Ha Tzaddik” and was very popular among the Jewish people. Many were joining the Messianic Movement called “the Way” because of him and this caused the religious leaders in Israel to try and stop the movement. In 63 AD Jacob (James) was stoned in the Temple after he refused to deny Yeshua, and the movement and the various Messianic groups were disheartened and alienated from the “Judaisms” at that time. There are some who say that this was the last straw that caused the destruction of Jerusalem because “they hated without a cause” and that this sentiment referred to the killing of Jacob (James). There was no chance for national acceptance of the kingdom now. This is the year Acts 28.28 took place, with Paul being killed shortly thereafter. At this time, the first Jewish revolt was gaining momentum culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple around seven years later. The Lord still promises that the kingdom will be restored “in its due time” (Isa 60.22). The Talmidim knew that it would be restored (Acts 1.3-4). Now it will come at the end of 6000 years, beginning on Rosh Ha Shannah, year 6001. The believers will be gathered to the Lord in the Natzal (Rapture) and be with him in heaven for the coronation, the judgment of the believers and the wedding of Messiah. While this is going on in heaven, the Birthpains of the Messiah will be going on in the earth for seven years, which is Daniel’s final week of years, culminating in the second coming of Yeshua on Yom Kippur seven years and ten days after the Natzal.

Sources
James Trimm, Yashanet notes on Book of Matthew

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

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