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Daniel 7 & Matthew 13 by Robert Dean
Series:Acts (2010)
Duration:1 hr 3 mins 18 secs

The Son of Man; The Kingdom Mysteries. Daniel 7, Matthew 13

 

Acts 1:3 NASB "To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over {a period of} forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God." In verse 6 the disciples had one last question: "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" He didn't rebuke their notion of the kingdom. Their idea was clearly a physical, geopolitical kingdom of Israel with a Davidic ruler. He doesn't say they had a wrong idea about the kingdom, that it wasn't going to be a literal physical kingdom but a spiritual kingdom and that He was just going to reign in their hearts. He doesn't challenge their concept of the kingdom. What He does say is: It is not for you to know when I am going to establish that kingdom. So these two verses show us that during this time between the resurrection and the ascension Jesus focused on doctrines related to the mysteries related to the kingdom of God.

The book of Daniel is crucial for understanding the kingdom. In Daniel chapter two there is the dream of Nebuchadnezzar of a huge golden statue that has a head of gold, an upper torso of silver, a waist area of bronze, legs of iron and feet of iron and clay. That is a picture of the history of the kingdoms of man in their various manifestations, the various human empires that are going to dominate world history. In the fourth chapter Nebuchadnezzar was warned by God that he was becoming too arrogant and he had another dream which Daniel interpreted. It was a warning that if Nebuchadnezzar didn't humble himself under the authority of God that God would reduce him to the level of an animal for the next seven years and he would live out in the fields and eat grass like the beasts. God would teach him who was really in authority. So there are two passages where the emphasis is on the dream and then this event and that it was designed to teach (4:17) "In order that the living may know That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes And sets over it the lowliest of men." So this aspect of a kingdom of man juxtaposed to the kingdom as the rule of God is at the very core of all of the visions in Daniel because they lay out the conflict that will eventually come about as the kingdom of God, in terms of the messianic kingdom, is going to be established on the earth. 

The church age period is the period known as the mysteries, not a mystery form of the kingdom. Within dispensational theology, dispensationalists and their teaching, there are some who believe that we live in a mystery form of the kingdom, but what kingdom is that? That cannot be the messianic kingdom. We don't have the word "form" in Matthew chapter thirteen, rather Jesus is telling the disciples He was going to teach them the mysteries of the kingdom, i.e. mystery always refers to unrevealed truth. Jesus was going to reveal to the disciples information about this coming kingdom that had never before been revealed. And what He was going to reveal to them is that before that kingdom is established there are going to be certain things that will characterize the intervening age, which is the age in which we live. The age in which we live is not a spiritual form of the kingdom, not a mystery for of the kingdom; the kingdom, meaning the messianic, Davidic kingdom, is not in existence in any form. Jesus is not on any throne, He is seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven; He is not seated on His throne and doesn't receive His throne until He comes back at the end of the Tribulation period.

In Daniel chapter seven Daniel sees these same kingdoms of man revealed again in a dream, the same empires but now they're portrayed in a bestial way. At the end of it, Daniel 7:8 NASB "While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it [Reference to the Antichrist establishing his kingdom]; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great {boasts.} [9] "I kept looking Until thrones [in the Antichrist's kingdom] were set up, And the Ancient of Days [God the Father] took {His} seat; His vesture {was} like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne {was} ablaze with flames, Its wheels {were} a burning fire. [10] A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened." We haven't seen the kingdom yet. We have seen the human kingdoms and the manifestation of that, and then there is this judgment that makes place indicated by the court being seated and the books opened. This is the same imagery as in Revelation 4 & 5 when John is suddenly taken up into heaven and he sees one sitting on the throne [the Ancient of Days, God the Father] and He has this scroll in His hand and the search goes on: Who is worthy to open the scroll? That is the book that is here, so that is the time frame, the final judgment upon the earth.

Daniel 7:11 NASB "Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn [Antichrist] was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. [12] As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. [13] I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. [14] And [then] to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and {men of every} language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed." That vision of Daniel's isn't trying to give a rigid chronology of events in the Tribulation period, it is pointing out snapshots of things that happen during that judgment time. There is the Ancient of Days on the throne, books before Him that will be used for the judgment. The ten horns are the kings, the little horn, the Antichrist, are going to speak pompous words, their dominion is then taken away, and it is at that time that One like the Son of Man appears. The Son of Man is a messianic title, and He comes with the clouds of heaven and then it is at that time, after all of these things happen, "to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom."

The point is that the Son of Man is the future King and the Son of Man as the future King is not given His kingdom until after these events that take place in the Tribulation are over with. So it is not until the end of the Tribulation that the Son of Man is given His kingdom. Until then, what is He doing? He is seated at the right hand of the Father. Psalm two talks about the fact that He is the anointed one and He is waiting as the armies of the kings of the earth gather themselves against the Lord and against His anointed. That depicts the antagonism, the opposition to God, leading up to the battle of Armageddon. It is not until that takes place that there is the kingdom being given unto the Son of Man. Daniel 7:13, 14 depicts this.

Why is it important that He is called the Son of Man? He is the ideal human, not in a Platonic sense of ideal, not in some sort of human romantic sense of the ideal man, but in the sense of God's original intent for mankind. Genesis 1:26 takes place when God created the human race and said NASB "Let us (reference to the Trinity) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So man was created to rule over everything on the planet. That is not a green doctrine! Man really trashed the planet when he disobeyed God, and that is the cause of everything else. Until that root problem of sin and disobedience is dealt with man can't solve the environmental crisis. Man can't solve the environmental problem because the environmental problem has its root in a constitutional defect in the human race called sin, and it is not until the ideal ruler, the God-Man who is sinless, comes that He can roll back the effects of the curse on the planet and the creation. Genesis 1:27, 27 gives us our doctrine of God's original intent for man, and since man fell and can't fulfil that purpose God sent His Son to become a human being and fulfil that original ruling dominion destiny. Notice in Daniel 7:14 it says, "And to Him was given dominion." But dominion was originally given to Adam. Adam lost it and Satan because of his deception became the prince of the power of the air, the god of this age, and so it is not until he is defeated that the kingdom and dominion is then transferred to the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Two things we learn here. The ideal man is called the Son of Man. This is one of the most common titles that Jesus used referring to Himself during the period of His incarnation. Second, He is the one who fulfils the destiny of man, and He doesn't get the kingdom until after this future rebellion against God takes place and the kingdoms of man are finally destroyed at the battle of Armageddon.

That takes us to the message of John the Baptist. What has been established so far is that the Old Testament teaches in light of the covenant with David—that God promised him an eternal dynasty, an eternal throne and an eternal kingdom—that the Old Testament teaches a doctrine of a future perfect kingdom in Israel that was a literal kingdom that would be ruled by a literal, physical descendant of David (which means He has to be human), but that that physical descendant was also God because He is viewed as eternal. So there is this promise of a kingdom, but what happened to Israel after David? It just went on a downhill slide until it absolutely imploded and then was destroyed. When a small group returns with Zerubbabel after the Babylonian captivity even though there is a political cohesion there for a while it just doesn't have the strength and power and authority like anything related to what was promised in the Old Testament. Then they became a client state of Rome in 63 BC until AD 70 when God judges them.  So John the Baptist shows up on the scene and begins with a message that is tied to this kingdom promise from the Old Testament. In this message in Luke 3:8, 9 NASB "Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." It is a picture of judgment on the production of this tree of Jewish culture that has basically rejected God and gone into the idolatry of legalism. "Every tree that does not bear fruit" is not talking about application of doctrine, it is talking about teaching. Fruit in so many passages in the Gospels is talking about the content of their message, not the activities in their life. So "every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire" is a metaphor indicating judgment. But where did John get this idea? He picks it up from Micah chapter four which focuses on this future reign of the Messiah. He is not always called the Messiah—mashiach, meaning the anointed one. There are passages such as Psalm two that refer to this future King as the Messiah—only about five or six in the Old Testament that specifically designate Him as the Messiah.

There is an interesting little trend going on today which shows just how crazy the world has become. Two weeks ago at the Evangelical Society meeting in Atlanta there was a professor from a rather well-known seminary in Dallas who gave a paper which basically said there are no messianic predictions in the Old Testament. It has now become pandemic in evangelicalism to say this.

Even though the phrase "the Messiah" is found only a few times it is enough to identify the anointed one, the Messiah, as clearly this one who is the descendant of David who will re-establish a kingdom in Israel, and it will be a perfect kingdom that will last forever. There is a loud and clear kingdom promise in the Old Testament. Then with the close of the Old Testament canon there is this period of expectation that settled over Israel and the Jewish people and then all of a sudden on to the scene in approximately 29-30 AD there was this strange figure out in the desert who wears camel hair clothes and eats locusts and honey, proclaiming this message, Repent for the kingdom is at hand. But part of that message is Luke 3:8—repentance, i.e. changing what they believe and what they teach in light of repentance. Deuteronomy 30:2, 3—when my people turn back to me, then I will bring them back from all of the lands where I have scattered them and re-establish them in the land that I have promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So John's message is that message which says now is the time to turn. That language reverberates with Deuteronomy in the background.

Micah 4:7 is one of those Old Testament passages that emphasizes this future reign. God reveals to Micah, starting in verse 1 NASB "And it will come about in the last days [The latter days of Israel's time frame, Daniel's 70th week] That the mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief [top] of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, And the peoples will stream to it." This is the messianic temple. This mountain of the Lord is the same mountain of the Lord that Isaiah talks about in Isaiah chapter two. Isaiah and Micah were contemporaries. Isaiah said all the nations will come to the mountains  of the Lord to worship, so we are talking about a messianic kingdom context. Micah 4:2 NASB "Many nations will come and say, 'Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.' For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. [3] And He will judge between many peoples And render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they train for war." The Isaiah verse which says this is carved over the entry way to the United Nations building in New York. What that shows is that the UN self-consciously has established itself as the organisation that will bring in world peace. It has claimed for itself a messianic role. That is why the UN should be rejected by Bible-believing Christians. It has taken upon itself the roll that the Bible assigns only to the Messiah.

Micah 4:6 NASB "In that day," declares the LORD, "I will assemble the lame And gather the outcasts, Even those whom I have afflicted [Israel]. [7] I will make the lame a remnant And the outcasts a strong nation, And the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion From now on and forever." Here we have deity indicated with the ruler—not just a descendant of David but now deity. So here we have a clear message related to the Messiah. [8] "As for you, tower of the flock, Hill of the daughter of Zion, To you it will come—Even the former dominion will come, The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem."

Micah 4:9 NASB "Now, why do you cry out loudly? Is there no king among you, Or has your counselor perished, That agony has gripped you like a woman in childbirth?" That is a description of the Tribulation period leading up to the birth of the kingdom. [10] "Writhe and labor to give birth, Daughter of Zion, Like a woman in childbirth; For now you will go out of the city, Dwell in the field, And go to Babylon. There you will be rescued; There the LORD will redeem you From the hand of your enemies." At the end of verse 12 he says, "For He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor." That is the language that is picked up by John in Luke 3:9 related to this kind of judgment. John recognizes that what is going on is related to the judgment that is announced in the Old Testament that must precede the establishment of the kingdom. 

John's message is expanded. We don't have the phrase, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" in Luke's account of John's message. But when we look at the parallel passage in Matthew 3:1, 2 we see that his message is "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Jesus then sends out His disciples to Judah and Galilee, just to the house of Israel, and it is the same message. The question is: how did they know what they were talking about? We can read the first three chapters of Matthew and nowhere does it define the kingdom. The only way they would know what John meant and what Jesus meant when they announced the kingdom is that if they knew the promise of the kingdom in the Old Testament. Remember when Gabriel appeared to Mary he said that this was the child who would reign over His people. He ties is back directly to the Davidic covenant and the promise there. So there is clearly this indication from the Old Testament that God has this plan to bring in the Messiah who will rule over the nation.

This sets the stage for the first part of the ministry of Jesus. That is His message; He came to Judah, the house of Israel, with this message that it is time to turn back to God so that the kingdom can be established. It is a legitimate offer of the kingdom. Well, what happened? What happened is described in Matthew chapter twelve. Luke describes it as well but the Matthew passage is a little more detailed and precise. The Matthew passage is parallel to Luke 11:37ff. We see in Matthew, Mark and Luke where the first part of Jesus' ministry is this proclamation and offer of the kingdom. Then He hits this same point of increasing opposition and then this event happens that is described in each of the Gospels where He is healing on the Sabbath and He casts out a demon.

Matthew 12:22 NASB "Then a demon-possessed man {who was} blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. [23] All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, 'This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?'" So they understand what is going on here from an Old Testament framework. They understand what the promise is, that David would have a son and when He came His credentials would be that He would be healing, giving sight to the blind, healing the lame and the lepers. [24] "But when the Pharisees heard {this,} they said, 'This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.'" So what the Pharisees are saying is that Jesus isn't doing this by the power of the Spirit, there is nothing divine about Him, He is just doing this by the power of the devil. Jesus rebukes them in the next few verses, talking about how a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, if Satan casts out Satan he is divided against himself, how then will his kingdom stand? The issue that Jesus is pointing out is the Son of Man [verse 8]. Again and again He refers to the Son of Man and this takes us back to the Daniel chapter seven passage. He is clearly making people recognize He is that individual spoken of in Daniel.

Jesus concludes with a powerful punch. Matthew 12:32 NASB "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the {age} to come." What is this age? He wasn't in the church age, was He? This was before the cross. The age to come is the church age. What is this sin? People get all confused about this unforgivable sin. Question: Did Jesus die for every sin? Either He did or He didn't. If He didn't die for every sin then the atonement is limited somehow. But Jesus paid for every sin. Did He pay the priced on the cross for the sin of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Did He die for every sin or not? Yes; if He died and paid the penalty for every sin that means He paid the penalty for every sin, including the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. But He said it won't be forgiven him.

There are four kinds of forgiveness. There is the legal forgiveness that Jesus paid on the cross that wipes out every sin. Then there is the second kind of forgiveness which is positional forgiveness we have when a person trusts Christ and He is forgiven and placed in the body of Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The third kind of forgiveness is the kind of forgiveness we experience when we confess our sins. It has already been wiped out. Remember, forgiveness means it is eradicated. So when Jesus says this sin won't be forgiven them is He talking about soteriological forgiveness, or is He talking about historical forgiveness? He is talking about historical forgiveness. He is not talking about forgiveness between them and God, He is talking about historical forgiveness, that as the leadership in Israel and this crisis between Jesus and the leadership representing the corporate entity of Israel which has said we are rejecting you as the Messiah; you are not the Messiah. He says, if you reject me as the Messiah then this is irreversible and 70 AD is coming; you can't avoid it now. That is what He is talking about. It is historical, it is not eternal forgiveness. Only the generation at that time could commit this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Once they did that, and they rejected Jesus, rejected His credentials, claimed that He just did this in the power of Satan, then what that does is set them on an irrevocable course to the cross. Once they crucify the Messiah and then afterward don't want to accept Him it sets them on an irrevocable course to the ultimate 5th cycle of discipline in AD 70. That is what Jesus is talking about here.

So sin is going to be forgiven Israel when? When they gather in the area of Petra and they call upon the name of Jesus. That is what Jesus said: I will not com e again until you say Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord at the end of Matthew 23. Jesus has offered the kingdom here and they have rejected it. Because they have rejected it, it is postponed. He didn't say He was going to give it in a spiritual form. He also talks to them a bout the fact that they have rejected the sign. Matthew 12:39 NASB "But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and {yet} no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; [40] for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." The point that He is making here is that He is the Son of Man.

In Matthew chapter twelve they reject Him. Your power is not God's power, you are not the Messiah, you are just getting your power from the devil; we reject your offer of the kingdom and we reject you.

What happens in Matthew 13? After that He leaves and goes to the disciples and starts teaching them in parables. Why does He teach in parables? Matthew 13:10 NASB "And the disciples came and said to Him, 'Why do You speak to them in parables?' [11] Jesus answered them, 'To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.'" The phrase "mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" indicates mysteries related to the kingdom of heaven. He is going to give them unrevealed information. Why? Because Israel had just rejected the kingdom, and now it was to go to plan B. Plan B is that the kingdom is not coming right now, something is going to come between now and the establishment of the kingdom. This is new, unrevealed information about the mysteries of the kingdom. He told the disciples He was going to give it to the disciples in code language so that they could understand it but they can't. So what Jesus is doing at this point is, He is cloaking His teaching in a way (the parables) so that the Pharisees can't understand it.

Matthew 13:12 NASB "For whoever has, to him {more} shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him." What is He talking about? Whoever has revelation and accepts it, more will be given. [13] "Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. [14] In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, 'YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE." He quotes Isaiah 6:9 which talks about how those in negative volition just won't understand. So in verse 18 Jesus begins to explain the parables. The first one He explains is the parable of the sower. This isn't talking about the gospel; it is not talking about salvation. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. What has Jesus just said in v. 12? "Whoever has to him more will be given, but whoever does not have even what he has is taken away." What does he have? He has whatever information he has about the kingdom. Id he is positive to it he is going to be given more; if he is negative to it even what he has is going to get lost. So the parable of the soils [sower] is talking about how people receive the revelation, the information about the kingdom. It's not about the gospel; it is not talking about people getting saved here. The point that the Lord is making here is that the one who receives seed on the good ground and hears the Word and understands it is he who indeed bares fruit and produces. The bearing of fruit isn't divine good, it is not good works, it is not application of doctrine; the bearing of fruit is getting more revelation about the kingdom—understanding it more. So the fruit from this seed is more information on the kingdom. This is what Jesus is going to be talking about: what lies in between the first advent and the second advent. 

Then He goes into the next parables. He talks about the wheat and the tares in vv. 24ff, and He talks about the man who sows good seed. This is comparable to the man sowing good seed before, it is the information about the kingdom. Some of the seed grows up tares and some grows up wheat, but it is not until there is a judgment that they can be separated. So this is talking about the period of time before the kingdom comes, before the judgment comes. What have we already established by Daniel chapter seven? There is going to be a judgment, the Tribulation, then the Son of Man receives the kingdom. So at the end of the parable of the wheat and the tares is when a judgment occurs. The judgment occurs before the kingdom is established, so Jesus is talking about the fact that during the intervening period good and evil are going to co-exist in this period, and it is not going to be until the time of the harvest that the judgment occurs at the end of the Tribulation period and there is goi9ng to be a separation between the wheat and the tares.

Then He goes on to the parable of the mustard seed which talks about the growth of the kingdom, and it shows how the message of the kingdom is going to be received outwardly by men. There is a lot of information here and it gets very confusing for a lot of people, but all of these parables fit together and the one theme that they have is what Jesus is talking about here, that there is now going to be a period between the first advent and the establishment of the kingdom and how that period of history is going to be characterized. Then the kingdom is going to come back.