“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Let’s talk for a bit about Who Jesus is. First and foremost of course, He is the Son of God. He is fully GOD. But now, since He was born into this world, He is also a direct descendant of King David, so He is 100% man as well. How amazing! God became something He had never been before: Human. As 100% God AND 100% Man, He is the Perfect Man!
Through both Mary and Joseph, He has a double claim to David’s throne. Joseph was a direct descendant of King Solomon while Nathan, another of David’s sons, was Mary’s great, great…great grandfather.
Kingdom Of Heaven.
Jesus went about preaching, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” as you read in part 6. What He meant was, “The Kingdom of Heaven is here now! It’s coming now!” meaning the VISIBLE Kingdom, where He would sit on the throne of His father, David.
“But isn’t He siting on a throne?” You ask. Yes. Right now He’s sitting on “A” throne; but if you read carefully, you’ll see it isn’t the one the angel promised to Mary; He is sitting on HIS FATHER’S THRONE IN HEAVEN. You won’t find anywhere in scripture that says He is currently sitting on David’s throne; not yet anyway. That will happen in the future after His 2nd coming, during His millennial rule. It could have happened when He first came if they had accepted Him. Wouldn’t that have been incredible! That’s why Jesus preached the way that He did, saying “The kingdom of heaven is at hand;” because it was.
Of course, He was talking about THE VISIBLE KINGDOM of David, the one they all longed to have restored to Israel. Sadly, that is now held in suspension, temporarily postponed.
Visible vs. Invisible.
Why is all this important? Because people are reading the synoptic gospels, but also John, and applying things to themselves and to the Church which were meant only for the Jewish people, to prepare them for the setting up of that VISIBLE KINGDOM. Remember, the synoptic gospels were written from a more Jewish perspective. Well, that was their perspective: That GOD WOULD RESTORE THE VISIBLE, EARTHLY KINGDOM TO THEM AT LAST.
That is one of the biggest reasons why they missed their visitation. They thought Messiah was going to fight against their oppressors and restore them as a literal, physical nation.
Constitution Of The Kingdom.
Let’s look at the facts He presented to them:
1) Jesus said during the Sermon on the Mount, “Unless you forgive others their trespasses, God will not forgive you.” Remember that? Yes, He actually said those words; but is it applicable to the Church? No.
Most preachers today, however, will tell you that it is, and go on and cite this verse. But according to the Apostle Paul, ALL our sins for our entire lives are cleansed from the moment of our new birth. We now forgive others AS WE HAVE BEEN (past tense) FORGIVEN, not in order TO BE FORGIVEN. This is the very subject about which he speaks in both Ephesians and Colossians, “FORGIVE, BECAUSE GOD HAS FORGIVEN YOU!”
“Has forgiven” is in the PAST PERFECT TENSE: Completed in the past, a one-time, never-to-be-repeated action.
So, here we have Jesus Himself saying, “Forgive in order to be forgiven,” but under grace Paul says, “Forgive, BECAUSE God HAS FORGIVEN You!” Are they contradicting one another? No! You see, what Jesus said was neither the law of Moses nor was it the gospel that Paul preached. It was the Gospel of The Kingdom. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.
When Jesus made that statement, He had not yet shed His blood. It was the best deal He could offer at that time. He was also addressing His earthly family, the JEWISH PEOPLE, who were still under law, outlining the principles, or “constitution,” of the kingdom, that He had been sent to establish. It was the laws of THAT kingdom of which He spoke. That will now be set up during His millennial reign, after His 2nd coming.
It is not the Law of Moses nor is it the New Covenant, but somewhere in between the two. The visible Kingdom of David will now only be in full demonstration during Jesus’ millennial reign. But because Jesus has now died and paid for our sins, things will be quite a bit different than He described in the Sermon on the Mount!
Is The Sermon On The Mount For The Church?
Please don’t get the wrong idea. I am not saying that the Sermon on the Mount, which also contains the Lord’s Prayer, is not for the believer. There are many principles in there that we can, and do, both use and apply in our Christian walk. For instance: “Bless those who curse you; overcome evil with good; pray for those who despitefully use you.” All these are teachings from that Sermon.
There are some things, however, that no one can do until He comes again like “Give to anyone who asks you.” Well, what if they asked you for a thousand dollars? I don’t think you’d be either inclined or able, in many cases, to open up your wallet and just hand it over. This is still a very dark and selfish world that is becoming darker and more selfish by the minute. Right now is not the season for it. Too many people would try to take advantage of you.
Only when THE KING, JESUS, is here, ruling the world with justice, righteousness, and equity, every wrong set right, where no one would even think of taking advantage of another person, can many of those principles be implemented.
The Lord’s Prayer.
What about the Lord’s Prayer. Is that for the believer? As you now know, this is also part of the Sermon on the Mount. Again, it is not Old Covenant and it is not New Covenant. It’s a prayer of The Kingdom.
Notice that nowhere does Jesus say anywhere in that prayer, “Ask anything in My Name I will give it to you.” It also does not end “In Jesus’ Name.” It says, “Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. THY KINGDOM COME….” It was a prayer that The VISIBLE (millennial) Kingdom come with Jesus here and in the flesh, is ruling the whole world from Jerusalem. Once again, the Jews would have seen that kingdom come if they had received Him back then.
There is nothing wrong or inappropriate with praying the Lord’s Prayer. We want His kingdom to come! We want His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, too. Heaven come to earth would be wonderful!
The Big Picture.
Here’s the big picture: In Matthew 5, 6, &7, where we find the Sermon on the Mount, He was outlining the principals which would apply to the VISIBLE kingdom. It was His “Constitution,” if you will.
Immediately after He was done speaking, in chapters 8-11, He turned away from the crowds and began showing them the “Deeds of the Kingdom:” He healed people and went about going good, healing ALL…..not some, but ALL who were oppressed of the devil; and He preached the Gospel to the poor. He was demonstrating what life would be like with Him in charge of ruling the world.
Then in Matthew 12, He revealed Himself to the Jewish leaders His 3-fold glory as the greatest of all the prophets, priests and Kings. As you learned earlier, after that rejection, He began teaching in parables. “But if they had accepted Him then, how would He die for our sins?” you ask. Good question! But since they did not and Jesus did die on the cross, I guess we’ll never know.
The Kingdom Invisible.
So, instead of the Visible Kingdom, Jesus went on to found the most successful organization the world has ever known: His Church. We are THE KINGDOM INVISIBLE, not THE VISIBLE KINGDOM of His millennial rule. We are a big part of the visible kingdom, but it will be comprised of so much more.
Isn’t it great? We don’t have to forgive in order to be forgiven! We HAVE BEEN forgiven, THEREFORE we forgive. That’s our motivation.
Join me now for Part 9 of Rightly Dividing the Word of God. We’ll be discussing what happened after Jesus rose from the dead, the book of Acts and the beginning of the Church. How did it begin “all Jewish” but ended up primarily Gentile?