7:25 PM

Jeanne on 10:7

1.) In 10:7, Jesus instructs the disciples to proclaim, “the Kingdom of heaven is near” which furthers the continuing theme of heaven’s kingdom approaching mentioned also in 3:2 by John and 4:17 by Jesus (Carter, 234). Does this verse refer to the approaching time of Christ’s return (as v. 23 mentions) and establishment of an apocalyptic and eschatological kingdom, or does 10:7 rather reference the earthly and physical exemplification of the kingdom of heaven on earth through the disciples’ healing of diseases, proclamations of peace, and simple lifestyle?

2a) The only mention Luz gives to the matter is simply to state, “The Kingdom of God is primarily the setting for the ethical proclamation of Jesus” (75) While maintaining healing is the “concrete experience of salvation” given so that the proclamation of the kingdom of heaven does not become “mere ethical exhortation,” Luz does not further expound upon this argument.

2b) Likewise, Carter seems to align with the latter interpretation, although he offers little explanation for his views. Carter states that 10:7 refers to “God’s empire” that “challenges all other reigns, including Roman imperial power and the religious elite’s control (234). Carter maintains Jesus’ imperatives to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons demonstrate God’s “life-giving reign.” However, Carter notes also that “response to the mission involves eschatological consequences of vindication or condemnation (233).

3) It seems that the Gospel of Matthew portrays Jesus’ and then the disciples’ proclamation and exhibition of God’s kingdom of heaven on earth as pointing towards Christ’s apocalyptic return and establishment of an eschatological heaven. 3:2 and 4:17’s seems to account for the apocalyptic element to this reference of Jesus by mentioning the necessity of repentance. However, it seems Jesus first and foremost accounts for the disciples seeking to live as the household, or kingdom, of God on earth due to Jesus instruction for the apostles to live out such kingdom values as poverty, powerlessness, and self-denial.

Comments (4)

Jeanne, I agree more with the notion that the Gospel of Matthew portrays the proclamation of the Kingdom of God pointing more towards the earthly and physical exemplification through the healing of diseases. Specifically I do see where you can take Matthew 10 in the direction of the apocalyptic return but why not focus on Christ's presence now rather than later? I would try to add to your statement of the "disciples seeking to live as the household, or kingdom, of God on earth", not only looking at Jesus' instruction for the Apostles, but also look at: "The Israel of God had to be holy unto the Lord, just as the new Israel(I Peter 2:9), the Church, the Bride of Christ, was to be pure and unblemished (Rev.21:2)." which does point towards the instruction of the healing, proclamation of peace, and simple lifestyle. Luz and Carter do not have much to say, take a look at Hauerwas 111'ish. Keep on it, I am interested in where you go as I am working on the specifics of the healing and cleansing within the instruction from Christ and how that impacts the Kingdom within the world.

Where do you see the evidence suggesting that the Kingdom of God is eschatologically other-worldly as opposed to a this-worldly kingdom (i.e. the church)?

Thank you for your question, Robert! While I read the earthly and physical exemplification of the kingdom of heaven on earth as the primary emphasis of Matthew 10, someone with a dispensationalist eschatology (not me) who sees the kingdom as apocalyptic, would highlight 3:2 and 4:7 correlating the coming kingdom with repentance (3:2, 4:17) as well as references throughout Matthew (particularly Jesus’ parables) that correlate the kingdom of heaven with judgment (7:21-23, 13:24,30, 13:38-43, 13: 47-50). However, other passages, like 11:12 portray the kingdom of heaven as something followers of Jesus should seek for this world (although we cannot fully bring it to fruition until Christ’s return). And others where its just plain confusing (12:28). I would love to hear your thoughts!

This is an interesting conversation. I think Jeanne is right to take Luz to task on his inadequate description of the presence of the Kingdom of the God of Israel. The work of the apostles in Israelite towns brings the future judgment and salvation of the Kingdom materially into the present.

But there is still more of the Kingdom to come, it seems, too. "Apocalyptic" is often understood in mythical terms, so that whatever sounds like the end of the world or "the final judgment" or something utterly strange to life as we know it is referred indefinitely to the future or another world. But I don't think that's what apocalyptic is (with all due respect to the dispensationalists Jeanne mentions). An apocalypse is the revelation of a mystery, a rupture with the current order of things. It doesn't fit neatly into the way things are or Israel's expectations (and thus is anticipated by strange visions). This doesn't have to be mythical, but it does have to keep the people of God vulnerable to the surprising and scandalous invasion of God. With this in mind, what might be considered apocalyptic about the Kingdom of God in Mt. 10?

So I don't think "apocalyptic" (or "eschatological") maps onto what is "future" and definitely not onto what is "other-worldly." But whatever is present about it is indeed tensed by the future. The eschatological becomes also apocalyptic when the presence of the future seems to rip straight from heaven, in extreme discontinuity with but nevertheless into the present. What is it that remains future about God's Kingdom in Mt. 10? Because it is future in narrative time, it is not necessarily future to us.

Nevertheless, can we not say that there is always something future to the Kingdom of God so long as the dead raised by the apostles die again, so long as God's promises to Israel are not totally fulfilled, so long as creation is corruptible? The judgment that punctuates Mt. 10 is not the final word of God's Kingdom is it?

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