When we read the Messianic Writings, which many call “New Testament,” we read about the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Kingdom of Elohim (God).
Yochanan was a priest and a prophet and he spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven.
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 3:1-2 ‘In those days Yochanan the Immerser came proclaiming in the wilderness of Yahudah, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the reign of the shamayim has come near!”
Shortly after his proclamation, Yahoshua came to him to be immersed to fulfill all righteousness (Mattithyahu 3:13-15, 16). And after Yahoshua had been immersed He went into the wilderness where the fallen angel, Satan the deceiver, came to tempt Him, (Matt. 3:13-4:11). Immediately after these things took place, Yahoshua proclaimed the same message of Yochanan.
Mattithyahu 4:17 “….Repent, for the reign of the shamayim has drawn near.”
Yochanan was born to be the forerunner to the Mashiach. The office of the prophet ended with him. Yahweh sent him after 400 years of silence.
These four hundred years of silence culminated with the visitation of the Almighty on their home land, the Land of Yisra’el.
Yahoshua is revealed
Yochanan 1:29-36 On the next day Yochanan saw Yahoshua coming toward him, and said, “See, the Lamb of Yahweh who takes away the sin of the world!” 30 this is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who has become before me, for He was before me.’ 31 “And I did not know Him, but that He might be revealed to Yisra’el, therefore I came immersing in Water.” 32 And Yochanan bore witness, saying, “I have seen the Ruach coming down from the shamayim like a dove and remain on Him. 33 “And I did not know Him, but He who sent me to immerse in water said to me, ‘upon whom you see the Ruach coming down and remaining on Him, this is he who immerses in the Ruach ha’Qodesh.’ 34 “And I have seen and have witnessed that this is the Ben of Yahweh.” 35 Again the following day, Yochanan was standing with two of his talmidim, 36 and looking at Yahoshua walking, he said, “See the Lamb of Yahweh.”
He sent His only Ben (Son) to redeem them with one single Atonement Offering by shedding His own Blood. When He came He put an end to the yearly animal sacrifice. He became the perfect Atonement.
His people were expecting a Mashiach who would come to deliver them from the Romans, but they, and the rest of humanity, did not consider their own moral bondage. The Passover Lamb had to be sacrificed, and the blood applied to their hearts. True freedom would come only when their hearts would be set free from sin. Yochanan came to prepare the way for the Mashiach, but He was not the Mashiach. (Yochanan 1:20)
Yochanan was born to be the forerunner of the Mashiach. He was supernaturally born to a barren woman called Elisabeth, (Luqas 1: 7-20). It seems that Yahweh always seeks a special person to manifest His glory. We may think about Sarah, (Bereshith/Genesis 11:30; 18:9-14). Rebecca, (Bereshith 25:21) and Rachel, (Bereshith 29:31.
Next we remember Samuel’s birth, and Samson who also was born to a woman who was barren, (Shophetim /Judges 13:2). All of them were graced with children after prayer, for all of them were barren, and they became the vital part of the history of Yisra’el
Many times, when Yahweh wants to do something very special He chooses people who have impossibilities, and by doing so He reveals His glory.
Yahoshua was born to a virgin girl to fulfill the Scriptures[i] six month after Elizabeth became pregnant, the Messenger Gabriel, came also to Miryam.
Luqas 1:26-35 And in the sixth month the messenger Gabri’el was sent by Elohim to a city of Galil named Natsareth, 27 to a maiden engaged to a man whose name was Yoseph, of the house of Dawid. And the maiden’s name was Miryam. 28 And the messenger, coming to her, said, ”Greetings, favoured one, the Adon is with you. Barukh (blessed) are you among women!” 29 But she was greatly disturbed at his word, and wondered what kind of greeting this was.30 And the messenger said to her, “Do not be afraid, Miryam, for your have found favour with Elohim. 31”And see, you shall conceive in your womb, and shall give birth to a Ben, and call his Name Yahoshua. 32 “He shall be great, and shall be called the Ben of the Most High. And Yahweh Elohim shall give Him the throne of His father Dawid. 33 And He shall reign over the house of Ya’aqov forever, and there shall be on end to His reign.” 34 And Miryam said to the messenger, “how shall this be, since I do not know a man?’ 35 And the messenger answering, said to her, “The Ruach ha’Qodesh shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you[ii]. And for that reason the Qadosh One born of you shall be called: Ben of Yahweh.
Yahoshua had a supernatural birth!
Tehillim (Psalms) 2:7-8 “I inscribe for a law: Yahweh has said to Me, ‘You are My Ben (Son), today I have brought You forth. 8 ‘Ask of Me, and I make the gentiles Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 Break them with a rod of iron, dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”
10 And now, be wise, O Sovereigns: Be instructed, you rulers of the earth. 11 Serve Yahweh with reverence, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Ben, lest he be enraged, and you perish in the way, for soon His wrath is to be kindled. Barukh are all those taking refuge in Him.
This prophecy has been partially fulfilled. The Ben of Yahweh has come, fulfilling many other scriptures. His birth was prophesied when and where He would be born. He was born in Bethlehem, the city of Dawid, being his offspring in the natural of his earthly mother Miryam. As we continue reading all the Messianic Writings, you will discover how many prophecies were fulfilled at His birth and throughout His whole life. Let us read one of those prophecies.
His birth and life has no comparison to any other human being. Yahoshua is the Ben of Yahweh and came to establish His Kingdom. He had to be born supernaturally of Elohim (God) who chose the womb of a virgin in order to be able to defeat the devil. He could not have been born of a fallen sinful man. He was born as the self existing Elohim in a human body. He was and is Elohim.
Yochanan 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim.
What was the nature of His kingdom?
Luqas 17:20-21 And having been asked by the Pharisee when the reign of Elohim would come, He answered them and said, “The reign of Elohim does not come with intent watching, 21 Nor shall they say, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ for look, the reign of Elohim is in your midst!”
The Kingdom of Heaven is spiritual, and we enter in spiritually, and it is not taking over governments and institutions, and rule in this world. The kingdom is made up of repented sinners who have embraced the King Yahoshua and His teachings.
His kingdom was and is not of this world
Yahoshua was on trial and Pilate asked him if he was a king. (Yochanan 18:33)
Yochanan 18:36 Yahoshua answered, “My reign is not of this world. If My reign were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Yahudim. But now My reign is not from here.”
37 Then Pilatus said to Him, “You are a Sovereign, then?” Yahoshua answered, “You say it, because I am a Sovereign. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’
For whom did He come?
Yochanan 1:11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
He came to seek and to save the lost sheep of Yisra’el[iii]. He chose twelve disciples in the land of Yisra’el. Then He sent them out and gave them specific instructions.
Mattithyahu 10:5-6 Yahoshua sent these twelve out, having commanded them, saying, “Do not go into the way of the gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Shomeronites,(Samaritans) but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Yisra’el. And as you go proclaim saying: ‘The reign of the shamayim (heaven) has drawn near.’
Mattithyahu 15:24 And He answering, said, ‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Yisra’el.”
He came to save the lost.
Mattithyahu 18:11 “For the Ben of Adam has come to save what was lost.
Yahoshua ministers to Zakkai
Luqas (Luke) 19:8-10 But Zakkai stood up and said to the Adon, “Look, Adonai, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have taken whatever from anyone by false accusation, I repay fourfold. 9 and Yahoshua said to him, “Today deliverance has come to this house-since he also is a son of Avraham. 10 “For the Ben of Adam has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
Zakkai (Zacchaeus) repented and accept the King in this life, therefore he became part of the Kingdom of Heaven and received life eternal. We notice that Zakkai made a declaration which described his change of heart. He decided to give half of his possessions to the poor! He did not make a profession of faith and continued sinning! I have not yet seen a person doing such dramatic change immediately after having entered the Kingdom of Heaven! But Zakki after receiving the King in home and in his heart, and therefore entering the Kingdom of Heaven, chose to immediately make such unselfish donation to the Kingdom of Elohim! I am very sure that action was registered in Heaven immediately and the angels rejoiced!
We now have seen that the Kingdom of Heaven is built one person at the time.
The transformation begins when the King comes into a person’s life. The most horrible sinner who repents, can become a mighty warrior in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Continued in Part Two.