Nazarene Principles ©2000
#95. Jesus prayed the words of the Third Nazarene Principle, ‘Let your Kingdom come.’ (Matthew 6:10) The “kingdom” is one of the Nazarene’s major themes, if not the dominate subject of his work and teaching. Therefore, it absorbs the largest portion of our discussion because there are three related subjects: the Church of Christ, the Resurrections, and the Last Judgment.
#96. It is noteworthy that this phrase “let your kingdom come” follows “let your name be sanctified,” because the Kingdom has much to do with this holy outcome to clearing the Name of the Father from reproach. Not just the Tetragram YHWH itself, but the character and reputation behind the Name, the Father himself. The subject includes His loving will for mankind on this Earth as well as your ultimate place in His “eternal purpose.” (Ephesians 3:9-11)
#97. WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THE “KINGDOM.” Even before his miraculous birth, the coming of the Messiah was strongly linked with the subject of the Kingdom. Mary of Nazareth was told by the angel Gabriel,96 ‘You will conceive and bear a son and you will call his name “Jesus.”97 This one will be great and will be called “Son of the Most High.” And the Lord God will give him the throne of David his forefather. And he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever and there will never be an end to his Kingdom.’ (Luke 1:31-33) In the days of Mary of Nazareth many Jews were keenly aroused to an expectation of the Messiah98 and the deliverance promised by his Kingdom. There was good prophetic basis for this as we shall see.
|96||GABRIEL. The same angel of the Book of Daniel.|
|97||JESUS. Meaning “Yehowah is Salvation.”|
|98||EXPECTATION OF MESSIAH. See Luke 2:25; 19:11.|
#98. MESSIAH’S APPEARANCE FORETOLD. The prophet Daniel had much to say on the subject of the Kingdom. The apocalyptic prophet uses the word “kingdom” more than any other writer in the Bible, 63 times, with Matthew a close second. (55 times) Daniel foretold a period of “seventy weeks” (or, 490 years) which was to begin, as it turned out, in the year 455 BC, with the announcement of the rebuilding of Jerusalem by King Cyrus of Persia. According to Daniel 9:25 there would be 69 weeks (or, 483 years99) until Messiah would make his appearance. Adding one year for the lack of a zero between BC and AD and subtracting 455 from 483, the result is the year 29 AD. The only year in human history when the Messiah or Christ could arrive is 29 AD.
|99||YEARS. Some translations read "seventy weeks of years" (AT, Mo, RS); the Tanakh, a new Bible translation published in 1985 by the Jewish Publication Society, also includes this rendering in a footnote.-See Da 9:24, ftn. Because of this reliable prophecy, first-century Jewish people "knew that the seventy weeks of years fixed by Daniel were drawing to a close; nobody was surprised to hear John the Baptist announce that the kingdom of God had drawn near."-Manuel Biblique, by Bacuez and Vigouroux. The Masoretic text, with its system of vowel points, was prepared in the latter half of the first millennium C.E. Evidently because of their rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Masoretes accented the Hebrew text at Daniel 9:25 with an ´ath·nach', or "stop," after "seven weeks," thereby dividing it off from the "sixty-two weeks"; in this way the 62 weeks of the prophecy, namely, 434 years, appear to apply to the time of rebuilding ancient Jerusalem. The translation by Isaac Leeser reads: "Know therefore and comprehend, that from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed the prince will be seven weeks: [the stop is represented here by a colon] and during sixty and two weeks will it be again built with streets and ditches (around it), even in the pressure of the times." The translation of the Jewish Publication Society of America reads similarly: "shall be seven weeks; and for threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again." In these two versions the words "during" and "for," respectively, appear in the English translation, evidently to support the translators' interpretation. Professor E. B. Pusey, in a footnote on one of his lectures delivered at the University of Oxford, remarks on the Masoretic accenting: "The Jews put the main stop of the verse under [seven], meaning to separate the two numbers, 7 and 62. This they must have done dishonestly, ... (as Rashi [a prominent Jewish Rabbi of the 11th and 12th centuries C.E.] says in rejecting literal expositions which favored the Christians) 'on account of the heretics,' i.e. Christians. For the latter clause, so divided off, could only mean, 'and during threescore and two weeks street and wall shall be being restored and builded,' i.e. that Jerusalem should be 434 years in rebuilding, which would be senseless."-Daniel the Prophet, 1885, p. 190.|
#99. It was exactly100 in this year John the Baptist began proclaiming, ‘The appointed time has been fulfilled and the Kingdom of God has drawn near.’ (Mark 1:15) So, in the year 29 the young carpenter from Nazareth presented himself at the Jordan river to be baptized by the wilderness zealot John. Immediately, thereafter he was anointed by God as evidenced in the heavenly Voice which declared, ‘You are my beloved Son and I have approved you’? (Luke 3:21, 22) According to one of the most fastidious and accurate historians of ancient times, it was ‘in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberias Caesar.’ (Luke 3:1) This is known to be the year 29 AD.
|100||EXACT YEAR. One firm date of history is the first year of the reign of Tiberias Caesar, 14 AD. When the Good Doctor Luke confirms the exact date of Messiah’s appearance he cross references the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar with five other contemporary persons. (Luke 3:1-2)|
#100. Within days of this baptismal event, the fisherman Andrew, told his brother Simon Peter, ‘We have found the Messiah!’ Then, Nathaniel was the first to declare the Nazarene King with the words, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God. You are King of Israel.’ (John 1:35-51) So, right from the beginning the Kingdom theme was linked to the Nazarene. This was to result in the final confrontation with Rome over the issue of sedition.
#101. Immediately, Jesus Christ the Nazarene began his preaching and teaching work on the Kingdom subject. Matthew records, ‘From this time on Jesus commenced preaching, and saying: “Repent, for the Kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.”’ (Matthew 3:17) Mark puts it, ‘Jesus went into Galilee, preaching the good news of God and saying: “The appointed time has been fulfilled and the Kingdom of God has drawn near.”’ (Mark 1:15) Luke has the Nazarene saying, ‘Also, to other cities I must declare the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this I was sent forth.’ (Luke 4:43)
#102. The Gospel of John records the Nazarene’s first use of the word “kingdom” in his discussion with the Sanhedrin Court judge Nicodemas: ‘Unless anyone is born out of water and spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.’ (John 3:5) Here and elsewhere “entrance” into the Kingdom101 is a real possibility opened up for the first time by the arrival of the Messiah in Jesus the Nazarene. Indeed, Jesus’ uses the word group “enter” in this connection over two dozen times in the Gospels. This is more than a simple matter of going to heaven as we shall see.
|101||KINGDOM. Though Matthew 11:12 is a difficult text to translate and not all agree on its meaning, it may read (using the KJV, AAT and WMS), ‘And from the days of John the Baptist until now men have been taking the Kingdom of Heaven by storm and are seizing it as a precious prize.’ This makes it clear that only from the year 29 AD onward has the Kingdom of Heaven become a goal. (Ephesians 3:5, 6)|
#103. When the Nazarene forms his group of Twelve he sends them forth with instructions as to their preaching subject, ‘The Kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’ (Matthew 10:7) He does the same when he sends out his Seventy disciples, ‘The Kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:9) When some give excuses or want to put limitations to following Jesus, the answer is, ‘No one who looks at the things behind is suited for the Kingdom of God. Go and declare abroad the Kingdom of God.’ (Luke 9:60-62)
#104. In all of the Gospels the subject of the “kingdom” is used by the Nazarene over 100 times. It clearly is the dominate theme of his works and teachings. It was judged by some as ‘a new teaching.’ (Mark 1:27) But, what is this “kingdom”? Is it limited to the realm of heaven? Is it just the rule of God in the individual heart? Why does the Nazarene himself call it a “mystery”? (Mark 4:11)
#105. WHO IS THE KING? Remember, the Nazarene said, ‘I speak nothing of my own. What I teach is not mine but comes from the Father who sent me.’ (John 8:28) As a knowledgeable Jew, whose Scriptural wisdom impressed the elders as a twelve year old boy and served to irritate his enemies later, Jesus was well aware of the foundation which had already been laid in the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures. He called it a “mystery” because the Bible teaching of the Kingdom starts out like a puzzle. One piece of this puzzle is added until an enigmatic outline102 (1 Corinthians 13:12) takes shape. Into this subject the Messianic King, all the prophets were in a constant search as Peter later writes: ‘You have been created anew103 with a living hope of a heavenly resurrection to be revealed in the End-Time,104 at the revelation105 of Jesus Christ. About this heavenly salvation106 the prophets of old searched and prophesied, searching with a Messianic spirit for a clear understanding of the kind of time or season or conditions during which the Messiah would appear, and the glories107 after.’ (1 Peter 1:3-11) This spirit of prophecy found its inspiration in the subject of Jesus the Messiah and his Kingdom, for ‘the Testimony of Jesus is the spirit of the prophecy.’ (Revelation 19:10)
|102||IGNIMATIC OUTLINE. Paul uses the Greek word ainigmati at 1 Corinthians 13:12 which is variously rendered: NW: hazy outline; KJ: through a glass, darkly; NOR: blurred reflections; TCNT: dimly; MOF: baffling reflections.|
|103||CREATED ANEW. A New Genesis, ana-gennesas. (John 3:5; 1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18)|
|104||END-TIME. Greek, kairo eskhato. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)|
|105||REVELATION. Greek, apokalypsthenai. See Luke 17:30.|
|106||SALVATION. See Daniel 12:1, 2.|
|107||GLORIES. This is a strong allusion to the “appear of Daniel 12:1 and the solar and stellar glory of Daniel 12:3.|
#106. Of course, where there is a kingdom there must be a king. Examine now the early pieces of the prophetic puzzle which help identify the Messianic King in primitive elements only to finally be understood later. (Ephesians 3:5; Romans 15:4; 16:25, 26) Note these pieces to the prophetic puzzle or mystery.
#107. (1) A PROMISED SEED. The first prophecy in the Scriptures at Genesis 3:15 foretold a “woman” whose “seed” (a son)108 would ultimately crush the death-causing “serpent.” The Woman’s Seed would suffer what would amount to a wound in the heel. These elements all come together over four thousand years later in the Revelation chapter 12. (Revelation 12:1-5, 17; Romans 16:20) By crushing the Serpent’s head it is implied that the original promise of endless life in a Paradise Earth will be realized.
|108||SON. Hebrew zera, a male offspring. Greek, spermatos.|
#108. (2) THE SEED WOULD BE SEMITIC. The next veiled hint is in Genesis 9:26 where Noah’s son Shem (meaning, Name, Fame), from whom all the Shemitic (Semitic) peoples descend according to the Table of Nations109 in Genesis chapter 10, is uniquely associated with his God, Yehowah.
|109||TABLE OF NATIONS. The Table of 70 nations as descendants of Noah’s three sons shows the distribution of earth’s inhabitants in three major ethnic or racial groups: Shem, the Semites, settle in the Middle East and the Fertile Crescent; Japheth, meaning “Wide” is the father of all the Japhetic peoples who have spread broadly across all the earth, from China to Europe to the Americas; and, Ham, from whom the Hametics settled from the Mediterranean coast to deepest Africa.|
#109. (3) THE SEED WOULD BE HEBREW. Genesis 10:21 isolates the foretold Seed among the sons of Eber (Heber), the root for the word “Hebrew” which means “from across the River.”
#110. (4) THE SEED WOULD BE ABRAHAMIC. Genesis 17:6 foretells certain “kings”: ‘I will make you (Abraham) very fruitful and kings will come from you.’ Kings and kingdoms have already appeared in Genesis chapters 12 and 14 but this is the first prophecy actually mentioning Hebrew and Abrahamic kings. These turn out to include Israelite kings like David and Solomon as well as great Arabic sheiks. But, the true focus of this prophecy must wait until the real kings take their everlasting places.
#111. Genesis 22:18 promises, ‘And by means of your Seed all nations of the earth will be blessed.’110 This is the famous Abrahamic blessing involved in God’s covenant with this old man. Here we have the extension of the Seed of the Edenic promise to include all those non-Eberite peoples, that is those who are not Jews, the Gentiles who would receive a Divine Blessing because of the faith of the ancient Patriarch. “Nations” implies an international throng of many, many millions as a global result to the original Edenic promise.
|110||GENTILES BLESSED. Paul is to quote this verse in Galatians 3:8, 29 and gives an inspired application of the phrase “the nations” to those Gentile Nazarene Saints who become part of the Christian Church. (Ephesians 2:11-14, 19-22; 3:3-6.|
#112. (5) THE ROYAL SEED WILL BE A JEW. The next piece of the puzzle is in Genesis 49:9, 10 in what is called Jacob’s (Israel’s) death-bed prophecy: ‘You are a lion’s cub,111 O Judah. The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh112 comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.’113 This is the first real identification of the foretold Seed as a ruler or king. Such a king out of Judah would be a Jew for that designation became the shortened form for “Judah” after the Babylonian captivity in the Fifth Century BC.
|111||LION OF JUDAH. Compare Revelation 5:5.|
|112||SHILOH. Meaning, He to Whom It Belongs. LXX adds: ‘and he is the expectation of nations.’ Note Ez 21.27. Strongs # 935 as at Genesis 49:10. Vulgate: ‘he who is to be sent.’ Compare JPS.|
|113||OBEDIENCE OF THE PEOPLES. This quote of Genesis 49:9, 10 is based on NIV and NAS translations.|
#113. (6) A PROPHET LIKE MOSES FROM AMONG THE ISRAELITES. Deuteronomy 18:15 has Moses predicting, ‘A Prophet from among you Israelites, like me (Moses), is what Yehowah your God will raise and you people should listen to him. The Israelite who does not listen will be cursed.’ In the days of the Nazarene some wondered if Jesus was this foretold Prophet. (John 7:40; compare also Matthew 21:11, 40; Luke 6:15; 7:16; 24:19; John 1:21, 25; 4:19; 6:14; 9:17) Peter quoted this verse of Moses in Acts 3:22, 23 and applied it to Jesus the Nazarene.
#114. (7) A DESCENDANT OF DAVID. Psalm 89:3, 4, 27, 29 (LXX) reads: ‘I made a covenant with my Elect. I swore to David my servant: “I will establish your Seed for ever and build your Throne to all generations.” And I will establish David’s Seed forever and his Throne as the days of heaven.’ The name “David” actually becomes a title for Messiah. (Ezekiel 34:23, 24; 37:24, 25; Hosea 3:5; Amos 9:11) The angel Gabriel alludes to Psalm 89 when he tells Mary, ‘Yehowah God will give (Jesus) the throne of David his father and (Jesus) will reign as King over the House of Jacob into the Ages.’ Paul makes a similar statement: ‘God’s Son came from the seed of David according to the flesh.’ (Romans 1:3; compare Revelation 5:5; 22:16)
#115. (8) BORN IN BETHLEHEM. Micah 5:2 foretold: ‘Out of you, O Bethlehem, shall come forth a ruler of Israel whose origin114 is from past eons.’ Jesus was born in this insignificant village and this text in Micah was understood by the Jewish priests at the beginning of the Common Era (1 AD) and applied it to the Messiah. (Matthew 2:1-6)
|114||ORIGIN. The Hebrew word is translated “origin” by JPS, NJB, NIV. The Messiah could not be God who has no “origin.” Compare TWOT (Gesenius) Vol 1, page 893.|
#116. (9) ONLY ONE YEAR TO APPEAR. As discussed earlier there is only one year in which the Messiah could appear, 29 AD. This the Nazarene did at the age of 30 when he was baptized in water and anointed with God’s spirit. (Daniel 9:24, 25; Luke 3:1-3, 21-23)
#117. (10) A SHORT MINISTRY. Daniel 9.26, 27 foretold: ‘At the half of the week (of seven years) Messiah will be cut off without anything.’ Counting from the anointing of the Nazarene to his execution was three and a half years. Judging from the Gospel of John, from the time of Jesus’ baptism until his death, covered the space of four Passover festivals. Jesus was executed for sedition by the Romans under pressure from the Jews just three and a half years after beginning his teaching ministry concerning the Kingdom. Over his head a sign was posted in three languages, ‘Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.’ (John 19:19) The Jewish historian Josephus, who was a contemporary of the first Christians, wrote: "a certain Jesus (who was called the Christ), a wizard of a man, if indeed he may be called a man… whom his disciples call a son of God… Pilate had sentenced him… And even now the race of those who are called 'Messianists' (that is, Christians) after him, is not extinct.”
#118. (11) A PROPHETIC DEATH. Some estimate over 300 prophecies regarding the Messiah, others 1,000. Here is a short list of those dealing with just the death of the Messiah at the end of the foretold three and a half years.
#119. There are other details regarding the execution of the King-Messiah such as some association with evildoers. (Mark 15:28; Luke 22:27; John 19:36) Surely these suffice to establish the Kingdom mystery revealed in Christ. One can see that all of these would be an impossible task to fake115 when events such as birth and death are beyond one’s control. The only other answer is an evil deception on the part of the Nazarene’s disciples. However, this does not seem part of their character. Having identified the King through prophetic details we can now examine the subject of the Kingdom itself. Again, the Nazarene would have known those prophecies which revealed the secrets or mysteries about his coming Kingdom.
|115||FAKE. Many have been the attempts to establish all this as a ”fake” or part of a “Passover plot” while admitting by this that these events actually took place. Either all of the Nazarene’s disciples were liars and deceits of the worse sort willing to suffer and die for their deception, or they told their eyewitness truth. There has never been any Jewish objection to these events. Josephus confirms some of them.|
Nazarene Commentary 2000©
Mark Heber Miller
©2000 All Rights Reserved