Gospel of the Kingdom (part 4) – our Blessed Hope, Jesus Christ

Our Blessed Hope taught many parables on the Kingdom. Why? The parables on the gospel of the kingdom set forth the mystery of this kingdom; a new truth which God disclosed in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Again, there are eleven parables on the kingdom that I see in two parts. First, Jesus is speaking (first seven parables) to the multitude in Galilee and the disciples in private to demonstrate the mystery of the kingdom as it has appeared in Jesus first coming (see previous blog). Then in the next four parables Jesus is teaching about the coming kingdom and how we should prepare. 

The four parables are:

  • Workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-6)
  • The parable on the wedding feast (Matthew 22:1-6)
  • The wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13)
  • The parable of the talents (Matthew 25: 14-30)

What are we to do while we wait for the coming fullness and consummation of the kingdom? We are to wait but not passively. 

Parable of workers in the vineyard:

            The original workers wanted an agreement with the landowner for their wages suggesting a lack of trust between them and the landowner. However, the other workers trusted the landowner and saw him as a generous man. The principle is to trust Jesus’ leadership and generosity as the intensity of the rebellious world increases. Mike Bickle teaches that the falling away from God in the last days will occur because of offense with God. Under pressure people will not accept Jesus’ leadership and generosity. They will want to know why the darkness is messing with their lives and will blame God. This will be the greatest challenge for the church in the time before Jesus second coming.

Parable of the wedding feast:                       

            I believe one of the greatest expressions of the Father’s love for the Son and believers is that He has prepared a wedding feast for the Millennial Kingdom that will be established after Jesus returns. Some reject this invitation; some are too busy with materialism (again the days of Noah are a warning from Jesus). Some are so offended (the wicked) they kill believers. Finally, there was a man at the wedding who accepted the invitation but who had not loved God and obeyed His commandments. He was casted out. We are to make the purposes of God our priority.

The wise and foolish virgins:

            This parable alerts us to the fact that faithful service can only be sustained by cultivating a heart in deep intimacy with God. The parable highlights that the return of Jesus may be longer than expected, however, we are to be prepared always! A note of concern: all ten virgins knew Jesus was coming, knew Him as the bridegroom and were preparing, however, five were foolish and did not have enough oil. What is this oil? In the end Jesus said to the five foolish virgins who did not have enough oil ‘I do not know you [I am not acquainted with you]’ (AMP Bible). The oil appears to represent intimacy with God (see previous post August 23, 2020).

The parable of the talents:    

            This parable alerts us to the fact that we are waiting but not passively. Faithful service is depicted as persevering diligently in the small and hard tasks for the kingdom even if the promises of God are delayed. Note also there are serious consequences to our action or lack of action. 

It is important to note other parables in the Olivet Discourse where Jesus instructs us regarding His return (Matthew 24 & 25). The parable of the fig tree warns us to know, understand and watch the end-time signs. The parable of the thief exhorts us to watch the signs that Jesus identified that we might be ready to respond faithfully, particularly in intercession. The parable of the faithful and wise servants exhorts us to work diligently with good motives to give spiritual food (knowledge and understanding of what God is doing in every season) to others. This parable highlights that Jesus’ return may be shorter than expected.

The kingdom of God is a miracle. It is an act of God and therefore is supernatural. God has entrusted the gospel of the kingdom to mankind and it is our responsibility to understand and proclaim this vital truth. The working of the kingdom is God’s working (grace; love and power) and the fruit is produced not by human effort or skill but by the life of the kingdom in each individual (we become partakers of the divine nature; 2 Peter 1:4). We are sustained, strengthened and enabled by God’s grace. The mystery of the kingdom has entered history in the person of Jesus Christ to work among men and bring them blessing and life (God’s provision/blessing for us in this present kingdom is in His promises; reference 2).

Written by John and Shirley Ray, edited by Joel Ratcliffe.

Photo by David Peterson from Pexels

Suggested Reading List:

  1. “The Two Banquets”                                                                Derek Prince
  2. “The Promise of Provision” Derek Prince
  3. “The Gospel of the Kingdom”                                                George Eldon Ladd
  4. “The Presence of the Future”                                                 George Eldon Ladd
  5.  Mike Bickle teaching library at IHOPKC.org

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