Baptist Views on the Mosaic Covenant

Introduction

Historic reformed theology splits the history of God’s dealing with man into two divisions: works and grace.  The first division is the era in which man could stand or fall before God based on his own obedience (Covenant of Works).  This period ended when Adam fell and was expelled from the garden of Eden.  From the time of Adam’s fall until the return of Christ, God began dealing with man as either fallen in Adam or standing in Christ.  In other words, there are two representatives for all men: Adam and Christ.  The time from Adam’s fall to the return of Christ is a period of grace, because for any man to be restored in his relationship to God, he must receive God’s grace.

Debates amongst Bible students arise when we consider the role of grace and works and the covenant made with the people of Israel at Mount Sinai.  Clearly, the people had been graciously chosen by God, and not for any good work they had done, and they had been miraculously delivered and made a people.  But, this people were given laws to follow in order to remain in fellowship with God and to retain his blessing.  There are several traditional views within Protestantism to try to explain the Sinai Covenant.

Dispensationalism

Old School Dispensationalists believed that the covenant at Sinai was for the people of Israel a covenant of works conditional covenant respecting their salvation.  God offered the Hebrew people his grace through the Abrahamic Covenant, which they subsequently rejected, and so God made a works-based arrangement with them.  Some also believed that Jews would receive salvation by obedience to the law and observance of the ordinances.

The Dispensation of Promise ended when Israel rashly accepted the law Exodus 19:8.  Grace had prepared a deliverer (Moses), provided a sacrifice for the guilty, and by divine power brought them out of bondage Exodus 19:4 but at Sinai they exchanged grace for law.  (Scofield Reference Bible, Notes on Genesis 12:1)

The Christian is not under the conditional Mosaic Covenant of works, the law, but under the unconditional New Covenant of grace.  (Scofield Reference Bible, Notes on Exodus 19:25)

As a dispensation, grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ (Romans 3:34-26, Romans 4:24-25). The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ, with good works as a fruit of salvation

Administration of the Covenant of Grace

Many reformed theologians, in placing emphasis on the continuity of God’s Plan of Salvation between the Old and New Testaments, have considered the Old Covenant, not as a separate and distinct substance from the New Covenant, but rather as only a different administration (or dispensation) of this same gracious covenant.  The Mosaic Covenant then, is wholly a gracious covenant.  The people are given laws, not for the salvation of their souls, but rather to organize life in the promised land and to foreshadow the coming Messiah.  This is Sam Waldron’s view and that of many popular reformed baptist pastors.

Of a Different Substance from the New Covenant

Many Baptist covenant theologians have viewed the Mosaic as being of a wholly different substance and administration from the Old.  They emphasize the legal nature of the Old Covenant, but unlike dispensationalists, do not believe the legal nature was in regards to salvation, but rather was a purely carnal covenant which offered blessing/curse to the people of Israel as a condition for remaining in the land of promise.   This is AW Pink’s view and the view of Pascal Denault and the 1689 Federalism blog.

Republication View

Some Baptists have a sort of hybrid view of the Old Covenant in which the Covenant is seen as being a republication of the law of man’s creation (see Marrow of Modern Divinity).  In other words, God has re-published the original Covenant of Works, made with man in the garden of Eden.  These Baptists, like dispensationalists, believe the covenant offered life and salvation by the perfect keeping of the law of God.  Unlike dispensationalists, however, they believe that no man was able to keep the law of God perfectly to the saving of his soul – with one notable exception!  Our Lord Jesus Christ was born under that covenant and kept the law perfectly!  So, for Jesus Christ, the Mosaic Covenant was an administration of the Covenant of Works.  For the nation of Israel, the covenant was a national covenant that offered blessing in the land through obedience (but not salvation) and offered a sacramental system to ceremonially atone for the sins of the nation and to foreshadow and prepare the way for Christ.  For individual people who lived in the covenant, God dealt with them through his gracious plan of salvation whereby their sins could only be righteous by the sacrificial death and meritorious work of Christ.  This is the view of Jeff Johnson and is similar to recent views held by some Paedobaptists.

Conclusion

This is a thorny issue and each view point has much scriptural support and great theologians speaking for it.  Although a difficult and tough knot to untie, I think that studying grace/works/continuity/discontinuity between the Old and New Covenants is the key for understanding the scriptures!

…[God] was pleased to make known His eternal purpose of mercy unto the fathers, in the form of covenants, which were of different characters and revealed at various times. …Each one reveals some new and fundamental aspect of truth, and in considering them in their Scriptural order we may clearly perceive the progress of revelation which they respectively indicated. They set forth the great design of God accomplished by the redeemer of His people.  (AW Pink)

The post linked below contains a very helpful discussion of these manners and a very lively and edifying series of comments by several great Baptist men who hold to traditional Particular Baptist views.  The brotherly tone and challenging back and forth is very edifying example of charitable theological discussion and many key issues are clearly discussed.

Clarification on the Mosaic Covenant and Eternal Life

Denault on the Sinai Covenant

Some notes upon re-reading Chapter 3 of Pascal Denault’s “The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology”…

The Covenant concluded between God and Israel in the Sinai desert was a progression of the covenant of circumcision [i.e. the Covenant of Promise with Abraham]. The Sinaitic Covenant was specifically concluded with the physical posterity of Abraham for the accomplishment of the carnal land/seed promises of the Abrahamic Covenant. The natural posterity of Abraham was to inherit the Promised Land and the Sinaitic Covenant was made to this end.

But, did the Covenant serve a fuller purpose?

Why Was the Old Covenant Given?

Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; …But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (Gal 3:19-24)

According to the Apostle Paul, the law (i.e. the Covenant made at Sinai) was given to guard against sin until the Promised Seed of Abraham would come. The Old Covenant had a distinct role in preserving and keeping the Hebrew people separate so they could fulfill their mission of bringing the Messiah into the world.

Paul also states that the law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Jesus Christ. The law teaches us our failures and short-comings. The law teaches the justice of God and our need of a sacrifice, a priesthood, and a mediator. By giving the Hebrews a picture of the offices and roles of Christ, it taught them to weary of their rites and sacrifices and to despair of the priesthood and to seek mercy and grace, no longer under types and signs, but in its fullness in Christ.

Does the Sinai Covenant Continue?

The Apostle continues…

But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

(Gal 3:25-29)

Now that the Gospel of Grace has been revealed, we no longer require the ordinances, types, and shadows of the Old Covenant. There is no longer a distinction between Jew and Greek required. The Promises made to Abraham are not to be passed from generation to generation through the physical seed of Abraham. The Seed of Abraham has come and fulfilled the promise and received all it’s blessing. Those that are united to Christ are heirs of the promises, and with Christ, the heirs/seed of Abraham.

Denault’s Analysis

Brother Denault’s analysis, from his reading of 17th Century Particular Baptist works, is that the historic Baptist position is that goal of the Sinai Covenant was achieved in three ways:

  1. It preserved the Messianic lineage (Gal 3:16-29, Rom 9:4-5).
  2. The Old Covenant pointed typologically towards Christ – Priest, Mediator, Judgement, Sacrifice, Atonement, Deliverance, etc.
  3. It Concluded all under sin, so that faith could only be by faith in Christ (Gal 3)

Sinaitic Covenant, part 2

Notes on Sinaitic Covenant from my own thought after reading some of AW Pink’s Divine Covenants

The covenant with the Hebrew people made at Mount Sinai:

  1. Was built on the Abrahamic Covenant
    • It was a carnal and temporal fulfillment of it
  2. It was preparatory for the coming of the Messiah and the ushering in of the New Covenant
    • It was intended to be temporal – see Gal 3:19
  3. It was conditioned on obedience –
    • Promised outward blessing for the chosen people in the chosen land
    • Promised cursing and calamaties if the people rejected the rule of Jehovah
    • Blessing and cursing for the whole of Israel was based on obedience to the law; but the salvation of individuals was all of grace through faith as in every age, irrespective of the sin/obedience of the nation as a whole (Heb 11)

Hebrews 8

6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry [Christ has a more excellent ministry than Moses], by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant [The New Covenant is better than the Old (Sinaitic Covenant)], which was established upon better promises [The promises of the New Covenant are eternal – those of the Old Covenant were temporal]. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. [Jeremiah 31:31-34] 13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Analysis

This passage is a great corrective to Reformed Covenant theologians and Dispensationalists alike.  The Covenant Theologian must take note that the New Covenant is founded upon better promises and is “not according to the covenant” that was made with Moses.  It is not merely a new administration of one covenant, it is entirely new and distinct from the old and temporary one.  Also note that every member of this New Covenant is converted – a regenerate church is assumed.

The Dispensationalist must note the passing of the levitical priesthood and the temple.  These have no future in God’s plan.  They were a “shadow of heavenly things“; that is types to serve until the anti-type has come.  Also note with whom the Covenant will be made – Israel.  Jehovah has dis-regarded the disobedient Hebrews, but He has found favor in one Hebrew – the Messiah.  Those that are Messiah’s are the people of God, a holy nation (1 Pet 2:5), fellow citizens of Israel (Eph 2:19), and en-grafted ‘unnaturally’ into the tree of Israel (Rom 11).

Says AW Pink:

Observe carefully what is said in Hebrews 8 to be the characteristic difference between the new and the old economies: “I will put my laws into their minds and write them in their hearts” (v. 10). No promise in any wise comparable to this was given at Sinai. But the absence of any assurance of the Spirit’s internal and effectual operations was quite in keeping with the fact that the Mosaic economy required not so much an inward and spiritual, as an outward and natural obedience to the law, which for them had nothing higher than temporal sanctions. This is a fundamental principle which has not received the consideration to which it is entitled: it is vital to a clear understanding of the radical difference which obtains between Judaism and Christianity. Under the former God dealt with one nation only; now He is manifesting His grace to elect individuals scattered among all nations. Under the former He simply made known His requirements; in the latter He actually produces that which meets His requirements.

 

Toward a Covenantal Theology

JM has compiled an excellent list of resources for Baptists who want to study the Covenants and Baptism. I heartily agree with the #1 selection! Number 6 is also outstanding.

Feileadh Mor

It’s probably fair to say that most Calvinistic, Particular or “Reformed” Baptists feel peer pressure to pursue the study of paedobaptist covenantalism. I have been personally told on numerous occasions that I should move toward a “full” covenant theology and embrace the baptism of infants “into the covenant.” In an effort to deal with my Reformed brothers and sisters honestly I have taken the the time to understand the reasons for paedobaptism and still cannot agree with the practice. Over the years I have been blessed by more than a few titles that helped me move toward and define my Baptist covenant theology. In an effort to help others along I decided to create a list of books I consider essential reading on the subject, titles that I own, have read and will continue to re-read for years to come. This is not a definitive list of titles but a…

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Traditional versus Dispensational Interpretation

The traditional method of Scriptural interpretation used by Protestants is well summed by the London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689), Chapter 1, Article 9:

Historic Baptist/Protestant View

The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.

Viewed from another vantage point is Augustine’s oft quoted saying that “the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and that the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed“.

According to Plan (Goldsworthy)

One small modern book that teaches Bible students how to study the Bible in light of the full revelation of Christ is Graeme Goldsworthy’s According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible. Goldsworthy highlights the key events of the Bible, such as creation, the fall, the promises to Noah, the call of Abraham, the Exodus from Egypt to Israel, the giving of the law, the wilderness temptation, the conquest of Canaan, the beginning of the monarchy, the Exile of Israel to Babylon, the prophetic promises, the coming of Christ, the outpouring of the Spirit, and the future consummation. He does so in a way which emphasizes that all of Scripture points to Christ and finds its ultimate fulfillment in Him.

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
(Luke 24:25-27)

In his own words:

“In doing biblical theology as Christians, we do not start at Genesis 1 and work our way forward until we discover where it is all leading. Rather we first come to Christ, and he directs us to study the Old Testament in the light of the gospel” (According to Plan, pg 55)

Dispensationalism

There is a modern system of interpretation that finds itself threatened by this approach to Scripture. An example of this school is Dr. Keith Essex, graduate of Dallas Seminary and professor at The Masters Seminary (associated with radio personality John MacArthur).

Dr. Essex takes particular exception to the preceeding quote from Goldsworthy. He strongly disagrees with the approach that the New Testament can be used as an interpretive aid in understanding the Old. Says Dr. Essex: “In contrast to Goldsworthy, the present reviewer would affirm that biblical theology should proceed from Genesis 1 and OT prophecies should be understood literally.

Literal Interpretation: But What Does It Mean?

Now, all conservative Bible students agree that the Bible should be interpreted ‘literally’; but only IF by ‘literally’ we mean in a normal and natural way (contra allegoricalism). But, this is not ALL the Dispensationalist means when he says ‘literal’. By literal, the Dispensationalist means that the Old Testament prophecies were intended to be understood by first generation of hearers entirely within their own historical context and culture. Given this interpretive grid, the reader must understand that all Old Testament prophecy must be comprehended (and must find their fulfillment) within the context of Old Covenant Temple Judaism without regard for future revelation or fulfillment.

Errors of Dispensationalism

The errors of this method are that it assumes that: 1) the original hearers were intended to fully understand the mysteries of God revealed to them, and 2) that we can only understand the Scriptures by understanding this original historical context.

Response to Dispensationalism

According to the Apostle Paul, Gentiles during the Old Covenant were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise” (Eph 2:12). But now that Christ has come, believing Gentiles are “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph 2:19). In these verses, the apostle is revealing that Gentiles can be (“contrary to nature”, Rom 11:24) fellow citizens of Israel and of the one people of God.

The Dispensationalist simply will not (cannot) accept this! If the Dispensational Bible student believes that Israelite hearers under the Old Covenant would have understood God’s promises to Israel to exclude Gentiles, then no later revelation can include them. For Dispensationalists, the Old has a sort of logical priority over the new.

Mystery

The Apostle continues into chapter 3, writing of the same theme. He states:

…by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.
(Eph 3:3-6)

According to Paul, the things he himself wrote about Gentiles being engrafted into Israel were a mystery in “other ages” and were “not made known to the sons of men”. If indeed these matters were a mystery under the Old Covenant, it should only make rational sense that we would not try to understand them fully there.

Wrap-Up

The further issue I have with Dispensationalism is with the arrogant assumption that we can create models of interpretation, that if followed, allow us to fully understand Old Testament prophecy as the original hearers understood it. Not only is this arrogant, but within this there is a false assumption that everything revealed in Scripture was even intended to be fully comprehended by the generation that received it (a denial of mystery). In the end, I think our forefathers had it right. We should let the final and fuller revelation interpret the shadowy and less clear.

For more, see Problems in Dispensationalism and Dispensationalism and Ephesians.

Podcast Interview with Pascal Denault

If you enjoy the study of the Bible’s covenants and are curious about the historic Baptist position on Covenant Theology, listen to the 2-part Confessing Baptist podcast interviews with Pascal Denault, a pastor in Quebec, Canada.

The Kingdom of God, Israel, and the Church

Introduction

The Kingdom of God is a key and central theme of the New Testament. All dedicated students of Scripture understand this to be so. Some see the kingdom as being entirely future and equate it entirely with the Old Covenant nation of Israel. Others see it entirely present and equate it as being identical with the Church. So what is the relation of the Kingdom, Israel, and the Church?

A Few Notes…

    • The Election, Kingdom, and promises belonged to Israel (Rom 9:3) – “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matt 15:24)
    • The Kingdom was first offered to Israel – “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt 10:5-7).
    • The natural born Israelites rejected Christ and the Kingdom of God, preferring instead a kingdom of man (John 6:15, 66; John 18:36) – “But last of all he [God] sent unto them his son [Christ], saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen [Israelites] saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance [the kingdom]. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.” (Matt 21:37-39).
    • Christ prophesied that after his death, non-Jews (Israelites by birth) would be engrafted (contrary to natural reason) into the people of God (see Rom 11) – “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matt 21:43)
    • Christ gave Kingdom authority to His followers to be held by the Church – “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matt 16-18-19)

What is this ‘key’ that opens the door to the Kingdom? George Ladd writes:

Jesus condemned the Scribes because they had ” taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” The key of knowledge which should open the door of the Kingdom of God had been entrusted to the leaders of the Jewish people. This key was the correct understanding and interpretation of the Old Testament which should have led the Jews to recognize in our Lord’s person and ministry the presence of the Kingdom of God and the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises. Paul expressed the same truth when he said that God had entrusted to Israel the oracles of God (Rom. 3: 2). However, the scribes had taken away the key of knowledge; they so interpreted the Scriptures that they pointed away from Christ rather than to Him as the One who had come to fulfill the prophets. Thus they refused to enter into the realm of Kingdom blessings which Jesus brought, and they hindered those who wanted to enter.

  • In a mystery hidden during previous ages, the gentiles were to become a part of the one people of God(1 Cor 12:13) – “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Eph 3:5-6).

To Be Continued…

In the next post I will continue to place bullets regarding what the New Testament says about the Kingdom, Israel, and the Church.

When is the Kingdom of God?

Introduction

The Old Testament looked forward to a golden age of peace and prosperity on Earth when the Kingdom of Israel and Israel’s king would rule over the whole earth. When God Incarnate came to visit His people he proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). Jesus ministry was centrally focused on teaching about the Kingdom of God.

George Ladd writes:

This theme of the coming of the Kingdom of God was central in His mission. His teaching was designed to show men how they might enter the Kingdom of God (Matt. 5:20; 7:21). His mighty works were intended to prove that the Kingdom of God had come upon them (Matt. 12:28). His parables illustrated to His disciples the truth about the Kingdom of God (Matt. 13:11). And when He taught His followers to pray, at the heart of their petition were the words, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). On the eve of His death, He assured His disciples that He would yet share with them the happiness and the fellowship of the Kingdom (Luke 22:22-30). And He promised that He would appear again. on the earth in glory to bring the blessedness of the Kingdom to those for whom it was prepared (Matt. 25:31,34).

The Kingdom is Today AND Tomorrow

So, does the Kingdom of God exist today? Are we in it now or do we wait for it in the future? Ladd writes:

The Word of God does say that the Kingdom of God is a present spiritual reality. “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). Righteousness and peace and joy are fruits of the Spirit which God bestows now upon those who yield their lives to the rule of the Spirit. They have to do with the deepest springs of the spiritual life, and this, says the inspired apostle, is the Kingdom of God.

…Another facet of Kingdom truth reflects the fact that the Kingdom is a realm into which the followers of Jesus Christ have entered. Paul writes that God has “delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). This verse makes it very clear that the redeemed are already in the Kingdom of Christ. …Furthermore, our Lord describes those who received His message and mission as those who now enter into the Kingdom of God (Luke 16:16).

So, the Kingdom of God exists on earth today in its fullest and final form right? Wrong! Ladd goes on to say…

At the same time, the Kingdom is an inheritance which God will bestow upon His people when Christ comes in glory. “Then the King will say to those on his right hand, ‘Come, 0 blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”‘ (Matt. 25:34). How can the Kingdom of God be a present spiritual reality and yet be an inheritance bestowed upon God’s people at the Second Coming of Christ?

…the Kingdom of God is [also] a future realm which we must enter when Christ returns. Peter looks to a future day when there “will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Pet. 1:2). Our Lord Himself frequently referred to this future event. “Many will come from the east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 8:11). …Jesus told of the day when the angels “will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matt. 13:41,43).

Conclusion

So, the Kingdom of God is both now AND future. It is a ‘yes’ and an ‘almost’. It is an ‘already’ and a ‘not yet’. Well, then, ‘when’ is the kingdom of God then? In writing about the diversity of teaching about the Kingdom in the New Testament, Ladd writes:

The Kingdom is a present reality (Matt. 12:28), and yet it is a future blessing (I Cor. 15:50). It is an inner spiritual redemptive blessing (Rom. 14:17) which can be experienced only by way of the new birth (John 3:3), and yet it will have to do with the government of the nations of the world (Rev. 11:15). The Kingdom is a realm into which men enter now (Matt. 21:31), and yet it is a realm into which they will enter tomorrow (Matt. 8:11). It is at the same time a gift of God which will be bestowed by God in the future (Luke 12:32) and yet which must be received in the present (Mark 10:15). Obviously no simple explanation can do justice to such a rich but diverse variety of teaching.

The Kingdom of God – the Who, Where, and When

Kingdom of God – Kingdom of Heaven

It’s hard to believe how some can continue to maintain a distinction between the Kingdom’s of God and Heaven. A simple comparison of the uses of the phrase is enough to demonstrate the terms to be synonymous. For example, when a gentile soldier expressed a profound faith in Christ’s power to heal his dying servant, Jesus remarks to those standing by:

When Jesus heard it [the confession of faith from the Centurion], he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt 8:10-12)

On another occasion, while preaching in a Jewish synagogue, Jesus says to the Jews:

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. (Like 13:28-30)

What these passages teach us about the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matt 8 Luke 13
Gentiles from all over the world will be in the Kingdom of Heaven Gentiles from all over the world will be in the Kingdom of God
Believing gentiles will be added to the faithful of Israel (Abraham, etc) in the Kingdom of Heaven Believing gentiles will be added to the faithful of Israel (Abraham, etc) in the Kingdom of God
The unbelieving Jews who were to inherit the kingdom will be cast into Hell The unbelieving Jews who were to inherit the kingdom will be cast into Hell

 

Summary

These passages are further proof that the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are one and the same.

The Who

Who will be in the Kingdom?

Jesus’ teaching makes it obvious that that believers from all races (‘North, South, East, and West’ and ‘the last’) are they who belong to the kingdom – “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (Jn 3:3)”. Consequently, Paul teaches us who will not inherit the Kingdom of God – “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? (1 Cor 6:9)”.

The What

In Romans 14 Paul chastises the legalists who believed the Kingdom of God consisted in man-made standards of conduct rather than the true worship of God in Spirit and Truth (Jn 4:23-24) -> “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom 14:17).”

The Kingdom of Heaven, is in part, those believers who have been made righteous, and in whom dwells peace with God, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

The When

The Lord’s Prayer also gives us a glimpse of the Kingdom – “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”. This petition in the Lord’s Prayer teaches us to pray for the time when God’s Kingdom will come and God’s Will will be done in Earth, just as it is in Heaven. This has been accomplished, to an extent, in ‘this age’, in the redeemed. The redeemed are those that have been declared righteous, who have a forensic peace with God, who are sealed with the Holy Spirit. At the return of Christ (the age to come), this inaugurated kingdom shall be consummated and God’s Will shall be done on Earth just as in Heaven.

Conclusion

Until that time we pray “Let thy kingdom come…”