The Kingdom of God
Part 2 of 5 of this bible study

 

Review

Let's review what we read last time. We spoke about the parable of the weed in Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.
Reading this parable thoroughly, we've seen it isn't as easy to understand as we thought. Lots of questions arose. This parable speaks about the harvest where the angels will come and collect the weed first to throw it in the fire . Then they will bring the sons of the Kingdom into Gods heavenly barn.

We read in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 that the believers who died will be the first to be resurrected. Then in the wink of an eye the still living believers will be changed. And finally we will all be caught up in the sky to meet our Lord. The other people, the unbelievers, will stay behind. This isn't exactly the same as we read in the parable.

We read some parts of Revelations.
The folowing things are being shown:

  1. there will be a first resurrection,
  2. then there will be a the thousand years of peace when Jesus will reign from Jerusalem over this world.
  3. The devil will be captived in those thousand years,
  4. at the end of those thousand years the devil will be set free for a short time and will seduce people to stand up against Jerusalem,
  5. the result is a great war where Jesus will conquer,
  6. a great white throne will be visible
  7. all people who are not resurrected at the first resurrection (thousand years earlier) will be resurrected and and will stand before the white throne.
  8. several books will be opened, one of them is the book of life, all those people will be judged by what is written in the books,
  9. a new heaven and a new earth will be created, the old ones will vanish,
  10. the new Jerusalem will come down from heaven and God will dwell among men.

I know there are people who think differently about the millennium. I believe the bible literally. So, for the moment, let's stick with what we read in Revelation 20 and 21. For me it is as simple as that.
Not only because I read it here in Revelations,
but I can read about this event in several parts of the bible.
The more you see the picture of God's plan with this world, with us people, the more you will understand how things fit in the big puzzle.

The harvest will be at the end of the age.
When will that be?
When the angels will weed out everything that causes sin and is doing evil.
What happens with that weed?
It will be thrown into the fiery furnace.

All of those whose names were not found in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire.

A new heaven and a new earth will be created. The One Who is on the throne is telling us: 'He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.' But.... all the others, 'the weed', their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur.
So, it must be clear now, the harvest is just before this world will be done away. In the parable the sons of the Kingdom will be gathered at the harvest.
We read some verses in 1 Thessalonians. The dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet our Lord in the air.

One will be taken and the other left. So Jesus is not talking in the parable about us, who are also sons of God. He speaks about another group of people who are called sons of the Kingdom. This group was called sons of God a long time before we Christians came in the picture.

Who are they? To understand this, we will read another parable.


The Parable of the net


Matthew 13:47-52

The second parable concerning the Kingdom of heaven explained by Jesus is the parable of the net.

47 "Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.
48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and
separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 "Have you understood all these things?" Jesus asked. "Yes," they replied. 52 He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."

With the knowledge we picked up by studying the parable of the weeds, we can already understand a few things when we read this parable of the net.
Jesus speaks about the lake. What did he talk about in the parable of the weeds which is comparable?

The lake is comparable with the earth.
What is comparable with the bad fish? The weed
What about the good fish? The children of the Kingdom.
The net that was let down in the lake? The harvest. The fisherman are not mentioned, but they must be there, with whom can we compare them? The angels. In this parable we see the same structure as in the parable of the weeds. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them in the fiery furnace.

These are two parables with the same meaning.
The first parable, of the weeds, is the first of six parables. The last parable of the six is the parable of the net. Is it reasonable to think that the parables in between have a total different message? The first and the last parable don't speak about us, Christians. Is it logical that the other parables are talking about us, Christians?
I don't think so. But you don't have to believe me. Let's listen to God. He speaks to us through His word, the bible. When we want to understand Gods deeper feelings and thoughts, we must study his Word. Jesus explained, as we read in Luke 4:43, He was sent by God to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God. That must be an important message. Important enough to study this subject, even when we, Christians, are not mentioned in these parables which are speaking of the Kingdom of God.
We have read some verses in Revelation where we saw that we have something to do with the Kingdom of God. There are many other verses that explain that we are not set aside. We will study those verses later. We must not be disappointed we are not the main subject in the parables. More important is that we can see and understand what God wants us to tell about His Kingdom


The Parable of the Tenants

We've learned a few things about the Kingdom of God. Can we say everything is clear now? I'm afraid not. So we have to dig a little more into the bible to find answers. Let's read the parable of the tenants.


Matthew 21:33-45

33 "Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey.
34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
35 "The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.
36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them in the same way.
37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. `They will respect my son,' he said.
38 "But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, `This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance.'
39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 "Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?"
41 "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end," they replied, "and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time."
42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "`The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?
43 "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
44 He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they knew he was talking about them.

It isn't so difficult to see who is who in this parable.
Here Jesus used the expression 'fruit' for the children of the Kingdom. Or as it is written in Matthew 23:37 'the children of Jerusalem'.
The tenants are the leaders of Israel. They understood that too.
The son is of course Jesus.
The vineyard was rented by God to the tenants, but they didn't give God what was His.
God, the owner of the land, sent his servants to collect his fruit. But they were killed.
Are these the angels, like in the other parable?
No, because angels can't be killed. These servants were the prophets.

Jesus says:

Matthew 23:37

37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

They didn't kill just the prophets, but they killed the greatest prophet that ever lived, the Son of the Landowner.

To whom is Jesus speaking in this parable?
He spoke to the Jews. He spoke especially to the chief priests and the Pharisees as though they understood.
What was the punishment for not being faithful to the landowner?


Matthew 21:43

"Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit."

In the parallel parable in Luke 20, they answered: 'May this never be!' (Luke 20:16).
They understood what Jesus was telling them. They also knew what Paul later wrote in Romans 9.


Romans 9:4

4 "the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises."

The Kingdom of God was promised to them.
But the Kingdom of God shall be taken away from them.
To whom will the Kingdom of God be given?
Do we easily say: "To us?" Or are we now a little more careful?

We have to dig a little deeper to find an answer to that question.

The parable of the Wedding Banquet

We've seen how Jesus speaks to the Jews in parables. They did not understand everything He was telling them, but when He told them the Kingdom of God shall be taken away from the tenants they understood perfectly clear that He was talking about them.

So, Jesus spoke to the Israelites. They were predestined to be sons of God. But Jesus told them the Kingdom shall be given away to other people.

There is another parable which speaks about that.
It's the parable of the Wedding Banquet.


Matthew 22:1-14

1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying:
2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.
3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
4 "Then he sent some more servants and said, `Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.'
5 "But they paid no attention and went off, one to his field, another to his business.
6 The rest seized his servants, ill-treated them and killed them.
7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8 "Then he said to his servants, `The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come.
9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.'
10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 "But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes.
12 `Friend,' he asked, `how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless.
13 "Then the king told the attendants, `Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
14 "For many are invited, but few are chosen".

As we've seen before, it is very important to read carefully. What is written?

Where in the bible can we find verses which speak about the same things?
Where can we find verses about this wedding?
It's in Revelations 19.


Revalation 19:6-10

6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
9 Then the angel said to me, "Write: `Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God."
10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow-servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

7. ...the wedding of the Lamb has come...
9. ...Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb...

When will that wedding be? What will happen what is written in verse 6b.
"our Lord God Almighty reigns."
Our Dutch translation is (in English): The Lord, our God, the Almighty, has accepted the kingship.
So, after the Lord, our God, has accepted the kingship the wedding of the Lamb has come.
See the study about the Bride of Christ.

For those who doubt Jesus isn't reigning yet, I recommend to read Revelation 11:15-19.

For those who want to be sure Jesus is the bridegroom, read Mat.9:14-15.You can read these verses here Matthew 9:14-15,

Back to the parable of the Wedding Banquet in Matthew 22.
When the son, who is the bridegroom, is Jesus, then the King must be God the Father.
God sent his servants to those who had been invited.

Who are those servants?
Again we read Matthew 23:37 37


Matthew 23:37

37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

Is the bible accurate? We can find all the answers to our questions. It is not always easy, but possible.

In the other parable we read:


Matthew 21:37

"Last of all, he sent his son to them. They will respect my son, He said"
They didn't!


Johannes 1:11

11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
They killed Him too.

We can recognize that the first group of invited people are the Jews.

Then who are the second group of people who are invited?
Generally it is assumed that these are the pagans, who later will be called: New Testament believers.
But is this right?
A long time I thought: I belong to that second group of guests, but, the more I saw details which didn't fit in the total picture of God's acts, the more I had to use 'oil' to loosen those rusted presumptions.
I read this parable from verses 1 through 6 and further as follows: 6 The rest seized his servants, ill-treated them and killed them. 8 Then he said to his servants, `The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.'
(Matthew 22:6-9, NIV).

Do you see how I read it?
Of course I read verse 7, but it didn't tell me a thing. It was blocked out in my mind. Still that verse was there and wasn't to be erased.


Matthew 22:7

7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

After the Israelites had killed the prophets and finally The Prophet -Who was the Son-, the King was enraged. (KJ 'wroth' which is in Greek close to 'wrath' Matthew 22:7, KJV).
The bible speaks several times about 'a day of wrath'. We shall read some parts.


Isaiah 13:9-13

9 See, the day of the LORD is coming, a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.
10 The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.
11 I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
12 I will make man scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger.

And a part of the New Testament.


Revalation 6:12-17

12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red,
13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig-tree when shaken by a strong wind.
14 The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.
16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"

There will, just before Jesus returns, a day (or period) of Gods wrath. This day is also called: 'day of the Lord'. It is the beginning of the last day of Gods acting with people on this earth. It is the beginning of the last thousand years of this earth.
About this event Luke said something too. The special thing is, these verses link really good to Mat.22:7. (the army that burned the city).


Luke 21:20-28

20 "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.
21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.
22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfilment of all that has been written.
23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people.
24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25 "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.
26 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

That day the Father of the bridegroom will be enraged and send his army to destroy those murderers and burn their city It will be just before Jesus returns on the clouds, as we read.
The logical conclusion in verse 7 of Matthew 22 must still be fulfilled. Unfortunately Jerusalem will be under attack. But, there is hope as well.

Of course I know, Jerusalem is destroyed at 70 after Christ, but what happened then isn't the same as that written by Luke. The coming of the Lord on the clouds is coupled to the surrounded Jerusalem.

But if verse 7 isn't history and still must be fulfilled, then verses 8-10 have nothing to do with us Christians. Do they? These verses explain what will happen in the thousand years of peace.

There are many things in this parable we didn't discuss. The wedding clothes, the bride (the woman of the Lamb) and of course the second group of guests.
Who are they?


Summary

Studying the first parable, about the weed, we learned that the Christians are not mentioned in that parable. Studying the parable of the tenants, we learned that Jesus was speaking to the Jews and told them that although the adoption of sons was originally for them, the kingdom of God shall be taken away from them.
Studying the parable of the wedding banquet, we learned that the Jews didn't want to enter the wedding hall. Again we learned we are not mentioned in that parable.
The question: Who are the sons of the Kingdom in the parables is not yet answered. Although we are not the main subject till now, we have to seek the Kingdom of God. And that's what Jesus told us to do. A lot of statements from God are universal. For example the ten commands as well as this encouragement to seek His Kingdom.

Home work for those who want to find out: is there a difference between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God.
Read the next passages side to side.


Mat. 4:17
Mat. 5:3
Mat.11:11
Mat. 10:7
Mat.13:11
Mat.13:31
Mat.13:33
Mat.19:14
Mat.19:23
Mark 1:15
Luke 6:20
Luke 7:28
Luke 9:2
Mark 4:11 and Luke 8:10
Mark 4:30 and Luke 13:18
Lucas 13:21
Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16
Mark 10:23 and Luke 18:24

You will come to the conclusion that the kingdom of heaven is exactly the same as the kingdom of God. Why the difference? Matthew wrote his gospel mainly to the Jews and is using the Jewish custom not to use the name of God often. Some will never use the name of God.

The parable of the Mustard seed


Matthew 13:31-32

31 He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."

Who do you think that man is?
And what is that field?
So, when the planter is Jesus, is the mustard seed the good seed or the bad, the wicked?
The good seed will grow and becomes a tree where the birds of the air can perch in it's branches.

To find out the meaning of that mustard seed which becomes a big tree we have to dig into the bible. We have to find verses that speak about a mustard seed and verses which speak about a big tree.
Do you know of a verse that speaks about a mustard seed? A familiar verse is Matthew 17:20


Matthew 17:20

20 He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

What does this verse speak about?
Faith!
Who is important in the bible when it comes to faith? Abraham.
Let's read a few verses from Hebrew 11.


Hebrews 11:8-16

8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age -and Sarah herself was barren- was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.
15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.
16 Instead, they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand at the seashore.
And this goes on and on, even today. Isn't that a big tree?
Abraham and his descendants were longing for a heavenly country. And God has prepared a city for them! Speaking about a heavenly Kingdom!

There is more.
In the parable Jesus tells us about a big tree. He's not talking about a real big tree like we can see outside. This tree is an image of something, a symbol.
To understand a little bit more about that image of the tree, we have to find verses which speak to the symbolism of a tree.
I found two bible references. The first is found in Daniel 4. It is the story of Nebuchadnezzar who had a dream.


Daniel 4:10-12

10 These are the visions I saw while lying in my bed: I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous.
11 The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth.
12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the beasts of the field found shelter, and the birds of the air lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.

This dream has a great similarity to the parable of the Mustard Seed. Although it seems that it is more or less the same story, it isn't. This can be seen by looking at the rest of the dream and its interpretation. But we can also learn something else. It's the principle. Let's read a bit more of that chapter.
We read the part where Daniel explains the meaning of the tree.


Daniël 4:20-22

20 The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth,
21 with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the beasts of the field, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds of the air
22 you, O king, are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth.

What does that tree depict? The kingship and the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. This is the Divine
explanation through the mouth of Daniel.
Now we can see that the tree, which grew out of the mustard seed, is probably an image of the Kingdom of God.

The other Old Testament book that speaks about a tree in the same way is Ezekiel. It is a very interesting part of the bible. The Lord gives Israel an allegory. He does this through a parable. It has to do with the kingship over Judah. It's about the throne of the house of David. There were lots of kings after David. And finally there was a king, his name was Zedekiah, who was the last king to reign over Judah. Nebuchadnezzar appointed him. Zedekiah made a covenant with Nebuchadnezzar under oath. Then we read in Ezekiel 17 how he breaks his oath. And God isn't pleased with that.


Ezekiel 17:18-20

18 He despised the oath by breaking the covenant. Because he had given his hand in pledge and yet did all these things, he shall not escape.
19 "`Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: As surely as I live, I will bring down on his head my oath that he despised and my covenant that he broke.
20 I will spread my net for him, and he will be caught in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon and execute judgment upon him there because he was unfaithful to me.

But, before God is saying those words through Ezekiel He gives the house of Israel a parable. In this parable the Lord tells us about an eagle that broke a little branch of the top of a cedar (that's a big tree.) When you read the whole story you will understand that this branch is King Jehoiakim who is kidnapped by Nebuchadnezzar. King Nebuchadnezzar told Zedekiah to be king over Judah. This is all a very interesting subject, but too much for now. It is not only history, but has also to do with the future.

The throne didn't stop with the kingship of Zedekiah. That's the lesson of Ezekiel 17. It's a little bit too much to read the whole chapter now but you can read it at home. For the moment it is enough to read the last verses of this chapter


Ezekiel 17:22-24

22 "`This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain.
23 On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches.
24 All the trees of the field will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. "`I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.'"

In these verses we're not only seeing that the Lord Himself will take a shoot from the very top of the cedar and plant it ( this has to do with the throne of the house of David), but we also see that there is a great resemblance with the parable of the mustard seed. This time it is not a resemblance like the resemblance with the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, but in my opinion, at the end, this is the same story as the parable of the mustard seed. I can prove this. The bible study about Israel is covering this subject.( Embedded in this site.)

I think it is clear now that the tree which grew out of the mustard seed has to do with faith of believers, with Israel and with the throne of the house of David.
To round off this part of our bible study of the parable of the mustard seed, we will read a few verses in Luke.


Luke 1:30-33

30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God.
31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; his kingdom will never end."


The house of Israel and the house of Juda

I know, that parable in Ezekiel and its meaning isn't easy to understand, that's why I want to explain a few things before we go on.
To start this small excursion I like to read a few verses of Matthew.



Matthew 19:27-29

27 Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?"
28 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

Jesus said: at the renewal of all things, when the Son of men will sit on His glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Jesus will sit on the throne of His father David, like we read in Luke 1, but the disciples will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Why is that so special? There are twelve tribes.
Oh.... where are these twelve tribes?
I can hear you thinking: are those twelve tribes not the Jews? Jews are Israelites, isn't it?
That's correct. Jews are Israelites, but ...
are all Israelites Jews?
To see this more clear:
Most countries have states or provinces. The USA has 51 states. One of the states is Hawaii. All Hawaiians are Americans,but are all Americans Hawaiiens?

I'm not sure how much you know about the Old testament, but probably you know that at a certain point the Israelites wanted a king.
Their first king was....?
Saul.
There second king was ....?
David.
There third king was.....?
Solomon.
What happened then?
The mighty kingdom of Israel was divided into two kingdoms.
Let's read something about that. We can find them in 1 Kings 11


1 Kings 11:6, 9-14,
31-32, 35-36, and 38

6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.
...9 The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.
10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD's command.
11 So the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.
12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son.
13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen."
14 Then the LORD raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom.
....31 Then he said to Jeroboam, "Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: `See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon's hand and give you ten tribes.
32 But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe.
....35 I will take the kingdom from his son's hands and give you ten tribes.
36 I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put my Name.
....38 If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.

So, the house of David will still be king over Juda, but the 10 tribes, which are torn of, will get their own king.
From that day on there are two kingdoms in the land of Israel. One is called Israel, the other Juda. You can read all about this in the books of the kings and the chronicles.
Israel is also called 'the house of Israel' or 'the house of Jacob' and 'Ephraïm', because Ephraïm was main tribe of the ten tribes. (There are more reasons but not relevant at this moment). And Samaria after their capital.

In the second book of the kings, chapter 17, we can read about the last king of Israël and Israëls exile to Assyria. They never returned.

That's history you think.
Let's see what the bible thinks about that.
Ezekiel was a prophet who lived about 130 years later and God told him to prophesy about two nations: Israel and Juda.


Ezekiel 37:16, 21-28

16 "Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, `Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.' Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, `Ephraim's stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.'. (Note)
......
21 and say to them, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.
22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.
23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offences, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
24 "`My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees.
25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there for ever, and David my servant will be their prince for ever.
26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them for ever.
27 My dwelling-place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.
28 Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them for ever.'"

At the time Ezekiel wrote this prophesy, the house of Israel was still in exile and till this day they never returned.
25 second part David my servant will be their prince forever!
Who is that servant David?
This is something special: David was the king who was beloved by God.
God promised David, as we just read in the book of Kings, his throne will endure forever.

David is a Hebrew name: Dawid, that means: my beloved. So, it is perfect legal to read the verse like this: and my beloved servant will be their prince forever.

Again Luke 1:32 about Jesus.


Luke 1:32

32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,

That's one thing we have to remember.
The other is: These two nations which are never united will be united.
I don't know where the ten tribes are, but I'm sure God kept His bookkeeping in good order. They will return to Israel. There are lots of bible verses which are talking about that.
Their sins shall be forgiven and taken away. And all twelve tribes shall be united.
This gives a whole new perspective to lots of bible verses.

When we talk about Israel, every time we have to remember there are twelve tribes.
Benjamin and half of the tribe of Levities went together with the tribe of Juda, later they were called Jews. The other 10 tribes are still lost. They are somewhere, God knows where. With some bible study we can find some hints where and who they are, but that's not important for this bible study.

About entering the Kingdom of God, it is good to know: With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

summary

The parable of the mustard seed tells us about a very small seed which becomes a big tree.
Israel started with one man, and he is as good as dead, as the bible tells us: Abraham.
His grandson Jacob received the name Israel from God and also twelve sons. They became the twelve tribes of Israel.
Later they were split into two nations: Israel and Juda. One nation: Israel went in exile to Assyria.


The other nation, who has the throne of the house of David, went in exile to Babylon. The throne of David stopped as it seemed. But the parable, God told to Ezekiel, tells us God took one branch of the top of the cedar and planted it somewhere else. That means the throne of Israel is still somewhere and will come to Jerusalem when Jesus returns, because He will sit on the throne of his father David.
At that time the 10 tribes will not any longer be lost, they will know who they are and go to the land of Israel, to be united with the rest of the tribes, the Jews.
God will forgive them there sins and He will be their King.


In the next part we will talk about the fact that a lot of things in the bible have two meanings, there are two lines to follow.


This is the end of part 2

Go to part 3 of the bible study about the Kingdom of God

Go back to part 1of the bible study about teh Kingdom of God

Acts 1:3 and 6

3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 6 So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

Matthew 13:37

He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.

2 Peter 3:8

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

Luke 20:16

16 He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others." When the people heard this, they said, "May this never be!"

Matthew 9:14-15

14 Then John's disciples came and asked him, "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"
15 Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast..

Matthew 22:7, KJV

7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

NOTE

This is unfulfilled prophesy.