Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dr. Dwight A Pryor on Kingdom of God

"There is no other subject more important to the life of the man Yeshua than the subject of the kingdom of heaven." I've been around church all my life, and I don't think I've ever heard it explained this way. Yes, this is a long video, and the sound quality is not the best, but I think this is the best presentation of the message that Jesus came to give, that I've heard to date.

Dr. Dwight A. Pryor speaks on the Hebraic understanding of the Kingdom of God, comparing it to the Greco-Roman (Western) mindset.

Yes, you may notice that this video is 32 minutes long... if you don't have time to watch it let me try to summarize some of the main points here.

"There is no other subject more important to the life of the man Yeshua than the subject of the kingdom of heaven."
Luke 4:43 (NIV)
"But he said, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent."

So Jesus spent his short life teaching about the kingdom of God. He taught by explicit teachings, by parables, and by demonstrating how one should live in the kingdom of God. His life taught us what life in the kingdom of God looks like - both by what he said, and by how he lived.

When Yeshua spoke and said the kingdom of heaven... he's not talking about heaven in the same English way that you and I do... heaven in this phrase is just what the scholars would call an evasive synonym... meaning God.
In Hebrew during the days of Jesus, they did not speak the name of God. So in the book of Matthew we see the Hebrew that Jesus would have spoke translated "kingdom of Heaven".
Mark, Luke and John used the Greek which translates "kingdom of God".

So when we read verses like Matthew 7:21 (NIV)
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
We should not read this and think "will not get to go to Heaven when they die". This should be read "will not enter the kingdom of God". I think there are other verses like this we have often misunderstood as well.

Yeshua believes in the world to come... he does believe in life after death, of course.. but that's not what he's talking about ...
For Yeshua when he's talks about kingdom, he's not talking about a realm, he's talking about a reigning, a ruling.
When Jesus talked about kingdom of heaven, or kingdom of God, he wasn't talking about a location or realm, he was talking about who is reigning or ruling. He was talking about the kingship or ruling of God.

This term kingdom of heaven is a term that is unique to the pharisees, to the sages of Israel.
So the people in Jesus day knew what this meant.

When he comes out of the wilderness and announces 'the kingdom of heaven is at hand' people don't turn to themselves and say 'what is he talking about?'

To the sages, to the rabbis, the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, means first of all to accept God's authority over your life, and the other side of the coin, to do God's will.
Point two, there's a fundamental difference between the Hebraic orientation to life, and the Greco-Roman orientation to life.... The Greco-Roman heritage of which we share, fundamentally views spiritual things as being of the other world not of this world.
The Hebraic mindset... the spiritual is that which bears life... the word spirit and life are parallel... the word spirit... is basically the word for wind or breath.
Jesus message of the kingdom of God was something for the here and now, not just talking about the afterlife.

The king is here, he's ruling and reigning, and the power of His Holy Spirit, in the lives of all who will submit to His authority and who obey His will. So repent, turn around, the king is present and in the power of the Holy Spirit he's going to set captives free. That's why it's good news.

I pray that we could learn to focus on this same good news of the kingdom of God - the same message that Jesus came to share!

I'm looking forward to watching more of this session.

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