Jesus’ Kingdom of Heaven
The main theme of the Gospel of Matthew is Jesus’ kingdom of heaven. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, yet God’s newly anointed king will not rule over the kingdom of Israel. Instead, from the beginning he announces a new kingdom, the kingdom of heaven. Matthew is the only Gospel that uses this phrase “the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew’s story is full of conflict between the new king, Jesus, and the kingdom of Israel, especially its leaders. Rather than try to reform Israel, Jesus focuses on his new kingdom–and calls disciples to join him. On earth, his faithful disciples will be his kingdom of heaven.
So Matthew is full of Jesus’ teachings and actions that contrast with those of the rulers of Israel. The scribes (rabbis) of the Pharisees rule over the synagogues, where they interpret, teach, and enforce the law of Moses–the national constitution for the kingdom of Israel. Jesus patiently teaches his disciples the differences between the “narrow road” of his kingdom and the “broad way” of the kingdoms of earth, including the kingdom of Israel.
I have just finished “publishing” another (free) ebook on Smashwords, entitled: The Book of Matthew: Jesus’ Kingdom of Heaven Versus the Kingdoms of Earth.
Check it out at: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/162673
Let me know what you think.