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1 Why are the promises of the Beatitudes bookended by the promise of receiving the kingdom of heaven?

1. As we have covered, the Sermon on the Mount was preached in a rich context of Eschatological expectation concerning the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew)/God (Luke). This promised Kingdom is initiated by the Day of Yahweh (Day of Judgment) executed at the hands of Messiah (the Arm of Yahweh), through which the wicked are judged (crushed Dan. 2:44) and the righteous rewarded. The Beatitudes Jesus gives are concerning those Blessed or rewarded at the Day of the Lord. From that time on Jesus began to preach (the gospel of the kingdom vs. 23), Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near. (Mt. 4:17 NIV) Wail (repent), for the day of the LORD is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; and He will exterminate its sinners (the wicked) from it. Thus I will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud and abase the haughtiness of the ruthless (Is. 2:11ff) When the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel, and settle them (the righteous) in their own land (Is. 13:6-14:1 NASB)
9 For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land. 10Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. 11But the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. (Ps. 37:9-11 NASB)

2. The New Testament does not redefine the promised kingdom of God as a supernatural or immaterial force that finds manifestation in the natural realm (an unbiblical, dualistic concept introduced by Plato and merged with Christianity in the 3rd and 4th Centuries), but rather upholds the Old Testament hope of the physical installation of the Anointed (Messiah) King on Zion/Jerusalem to judge the nations (Ps. 2:6, Mt. 16:27-28, 19:28, Lk. 1:32-33). Although Jesus is exalted to the Fathers right hand in heaven (Acts 2:33-35, cf. Ps. 110), Jesus is not yet sitting on His glorious Messianic Throne (i.e. Jerusalem, Jer. 3:17-18) until He comes in His glory (Mt. 25:31, cf. Mt. 24:301). 3. Because of this fact, the conclusion of the New Testament is not that the kingdom has come (not even in some mysterious and dualistic already sense), but rather that it is yet in the future. Repentance and its fruits (obedience) are required in light of the coming kingdom and the righteousness it will enforce.

Also see Post-Ascension passages specifically concerning His coming: Acts 1:11; 1 Cor. 4:5, 16:22; 1 Thess. 2:19, 3:13, 4:15-5:2, 5:23; 2 Thess. 1:7-2:2, 2:8; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8; Tit. 2:13; James 5:7-8, 1 Pet. 1:13, 2:12; 2 Pet. 1:16; 1 Jn. 2:28; Rev. 1:7, 22:12, 20.

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9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9-10 NASB) 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal. 5:19-21 NASB) 3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints (Destiny informs identity: There will be no immorality or greed in the age of righteousness, and you are called to that age, so live properly as in that age, live according to your destiny); 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ (Messiah) and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes (will come, Col. 3:6) upon the sons of disobedience. (Eph. 5:3-6 NASB) 4. In light of the identity of the Messiah being disclosed by reason of God attesting (certifying or confirming) Jesus of Nazareth with miracles, wonders, and signs (Acts 2:22, cf. Mt. 4:23-24) and by raising Him from the dead (Acts 2:32-36, 17:31), the proclamation of the New Testament is that the promised kingdom is imminent at His appearing (2 Tim. 4:1) when He shall execute the Day of Yahweh as Yahweh Himself (1 Thess. 1:6-10, cf. Is. 2:10-19) and establish His kingdom firm and secure (1 Kings 3:46). Biblically, kings would execute enemies to initiate the firm establishment of their kingdom. Jesus will do likewise. The day Jesus is installed on Zion (leaving heaven, Acts 3:19-21) and establishes His kingdom is the day He will execute vengeance on His enemies. Hence, His Day initiates His Kingdom and only those blessed by Him will inherit anything in His kingdom. 6 So when they had come together, they (the apostles, vs. 2ff) were asking Him, saying, Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel? 7 He said to them, It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority (i.e. there is a fixed day for the establishment of the Kingdom, Acts 17:31); 8 but (until that time) you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you (just as it was upon Jesus in power); and you shall be My witnesses (that I rose from the dead and am the appointed Messiah to restore the kingdom to Israel) both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth (preaching Jesus as the appointed Messiah/King with the same urgency [demanding repentance, Repent, for] John the Baptist and Jesus had when they preached the gospel of the kingdom (Mt. 3:1-12, 4:17, 23), This gospel of the

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kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come, Mt. 24:14). (Acts 1:6-8 NASB) 22 Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God (Definition of attest: provide or serve as clear evidence of) with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know- 32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ (Messiah)- this Jesus whom you crucified. (Acts 2:22-36 NASB) 42 And He (Jesus) ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify (be His witnesses, cf. Acts 1:8) that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. (Acts 10:42 NASB) 30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day (cf. Acts 1:7, the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority) in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead (Resurrection = proof of God appointing Jesus to judge the world/reign from Jerusalem on a fixed day). (Acts 17:30-31 NASB) 5. The New Testament does not conclude that the promised, Messianic kingdom of God has begun, but rather that the appointed Messiah/King has been clearly and soundly identified in Jesus of Nazareth and very soon the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end. (Luke 1:32-33, cf. Is. 9:6-7). He is the One who is coming in the glory of His Father with his angels (Mt. 16:27) in just the same way as He ascended into a cloud (Acts 1:9-11) to restore the Kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6-8). The entire thrust of the apostles in their writing and lifestyle reflects that this hope has been confirmed (made more sure, 2 Pet. 1:19) but not yet fulfilled.