Lesson 58

Gospel of the Kingdom

"O my God, bend down your ear and listen to my plea.
Open your eyes and see our wretchedness . . ."
Daniel 9:18 (Living Bible)

For more than sixteen hundred years God’s chosen people, the Israelites, had waited and prayed for a deliverer who would be greater than Moses. They looked for a king who would be greater than David (a man after God’s own heart) or Solomon in all his glory.

Now the deliverer, the Messiah for whom they had looked for so long, was among them. John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2), Jesus (Matthew 4:17), and Jesus’ followers (Luke 10:9, 11) told that the kingdom was at hand but most of the Jews did not believe their message.

Many were too busy to remember God’s promises. Some were too selfish to fit into God’s plan for a kingdom—they wanted rich and powerful rulers like the heathen emperors of their day. They did not want to follow a poor carpenter’s son who did not even have a place to live (Matthew 8:20).

Jesus had come to his own people (the Jews) and they rejected him—indeed, they crucified him. But a few did understand and believe what Jesus was telling them. These were given the privilege of becoming sons of God (Hebrews 3:1-6).

God’s people were like beloved, well cared for servants. They remembered Moses as their greatest leader and knew that they should serve God by obeying, to the best of their ability, the laws he had given to Moses.

Now these faithful and obedient ones could be more than favored and protected servants. Now they could become sons of God, of the house of sons, brethren of Jesus, joint-heirs of the kingdom! At Pentecost they received God’s holy spirit—the power and understanding they needed to work with God.

The offer to the Jews was taken away because there were not enough who were worthy of becoming part of the church. The invitation then went out to the Gentiles. When the number of the church (144,000) is complete, no more will be called to become a part of it (Revelation 14:1). They are called a "little flock" and they will reign with the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) in the kingdom.

When the work of gathering out a church class has been completed, the Gospel Age ends, the blindness of Israel is removed, and the blessings of the Millennial Age will come to the whole world!

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