Beyond the Jordan

“Beyond the Jordan”

There are several chapters in this book that derived from a Sunday School class I taught on the Gospel of Mark. I tried to dig in and bring out as much history, culture and customs as I could find to make the class interesting without boring them to tears.  

 “And he [Jesus] left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them.” Mark 10:1 (ESV) 

Where was this region of Judea located and what did the phrase “beyond the Jordan” mean?  

The prefix trans- is Latin and means “across” or beyond. This phrase, “Transjordan”, refers to the land on the other side of the Jordan River. But the other side of what?    The equivalent term for the west side is the Cisjordan.  The Jordan runs north and south, so the west side was ‘this side’ and the region East of the Jordan river was ‘that side’. 

The Septuagint translated it: ‘beyond the Jordan towards the sunrise’‎.  Whereas the term “East” as in “towards the sunrise” is used in the Arabic language to mean  ‘East of the Jordan’‎.

Stand at the Jordan river at sunup and the land where the sun rises is ‘beyond the Jordan’.  This is probably because the land west of the Jordan contained more civilization, culture, shipping, coastlines, agriculture, etc.  Not that the East side didn’t have some of these features, but the majority of growth was from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, which run parallel to each other.  

Nine of the cities of the Decapolis were located in the Trans-Jordan.  Some of those cities were ruled by Rome and threw their allegiance to the empire during the wars of 66-70 a.d. Each governor agreed to expose and surrender Jewish citizens to be killed.  They also formed armies that operated under the authority of the Roman Emperor during this time.  This tells us that the land “beyond the Jordan” was not nearly as Jewish as the western side.  The book of Numbers (Ch. 32) tells how the tribes of Reuben and Gad came to Moses to ask if they could settle in the Transjordan.  Moses did not like the idea, but gave them permission.  Some historians have called the Jordan a barrier to the Promised land. 

To live in the Transjordan was to either be a natural buffer or first line of defense against attacks from the Medes, Persians, Assyrians and Babylonians. The two tribes, Reuben and Gad, separated themselves yet still fought alongside their tribal brothers against any enemies. 

The “real” kingdom of God

In 2014, I wrote a book about the Kingdom of God championed by Jesus in His parables.[1]  The entire premise was based on wanting to understand the kingdom.  I guess I could have just used one verse and had a bumper sticker made instead!  I wished I would have thought about this verse as the all-encompassing answer to my research and investigation.

The reason I feel more can be learned is that, even though most believers will agree with the verse at first reading, some still assert: “Yes, that’s true! But someday, the really, really, real kingdom will be physically set up by Jesus.”

This belief is in direct opposition of Jesus’ words:My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; now, therefore, my kingdom is not from here.”    John 18:36 (Jub) 

Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is the verse of discussion: “For the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17  (Jub)

I can hear the resounding chorus of those singing; “Well, duh, TJ, everyone knows this verse, didn’t you?” Hey, I’m going somewhere with this, so hold on.

This was the only kingdom Jesus ever spoke of, and it was an invisible, spiritual one. Jesus did not say: “For THIS kingdom is not of food or drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, but just wait! In another 2000 years I will bring yet another kingdom which will be physical. Yep! You can visit me in Rome or Jerusalem.  I haven’t decided which city I’m going to office out of, but once I do, get online and book your vacation (I’m not allowed to endorse any one travel booking site at this time). If I’m not in some meeting trying to bring world peace, I might walk out on the veranda and wave to the crowds down in the gentile courts.”

Sounds ridiculous, right? Who would want that type of relationship with the Savior?  Suddenly, it will be more appealing to surrender the one-on-one relationship we enjoy for some physical relationship where you must travel around the world just to catch a glimpse of him?  No thanks! But sadly, most Christians believe this is what will happen. They misunderstand the nature of Christ’s kingdom, and place the same emphasis on it as the first century Jews.

For the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus did not mention two different kingdoms. Question: is the Holy Spirit among us today?  Yes.  Do we believe that we have the righteousness of God, the Peace of God, and can find joy which comes from the Holy Spirit? Yes. Righteousness, peace, and joy ARE the kingdom.  The very thing you possess.  If the Son of Man verbally explained what His kingdom was, and added no future conditions or promises to it, then we should feel very comforted that we received His kingdom, in all fullness.  He is not withholding anything from us, to “dish out” to some lucky, future generation.  The “lucky future generations” have enjoyed the kingdom of God since the first century. 


[1] Kingdom Come:  Messiah’s Methodical Manifesto Hidden in the Parables (search Amazon to purchase)

Is Replacement Theology heretical?

Is Replacement Theology heretical

Maybe I’ve been living under a theological rock, but there’s been this debate/argument/accusation/refutation/fleeing/running away from the charge of “Replacement Theology”, as if it is akin to being a Satanist, anarchist or even a heretic.  But as a believer who actually interprets prophecy as being fulfilled, I am used to the label ‘heretic’.  Though the more I think about ‘replacement theology’  the more I realize there may not be a better term to describe the new covenant the Savior won for us.

 

Me and ‘Bob’ and 1st Corinthians

Bob’s been a friend of mine for years.  I’ve known Bob a long time. Bob’s pretty easy to figure out.  Bob really never studies his Bible.  Bob opens it up once in a while and points to a ‘verse for the day’, or reads whatever Proverb coincides with that day’s date, maybe works through a devotional in his Sunday School class, usually answers questions with “I don’t know what the Bible says but I’ve always believed…”.

Me and Bob

The Spawn of Hymenaeus

I noticed that another prophecy about the ‘second coming’ failed this month.  Hmmm…I’m really surprised that David Meade got it wrong….3 times in a row in as many months.  Since this whole rapture predicting thing has continued to be an epidemic in the Church,  I thought I would look and see how many rapture predictions have failed since I was in school.  Wanna guess how many?

I noticed that another prophecy

My first Book is released!

Here is the Amazon link if you would like to purchase it!  My New really Cool Book

I discuss the parables of Jesus from the book of Mark in the context of a fulfilled Covenant theology.  I think this is one of the freshest yet orthodox views to take and I hope you will enjoy viewing the parables through a completely different set of lenses.  I take a very different approach to explaining these “agricultural motifs” Christ used to explain His coming Kingdom.  I don’t tackle all the parables, only the ones where Jesus mentioned “the kingdom of God is like…”.  It is a short read; only 135 pages but packed with a lot of information.  Click on the link to read more on the Amazon site!  Thanks!

TJ

If I be lifted up, I will gently woo?

 

Some think that simply praising Jesus will bring people into the kingdom. Yep. Just lift up Jesus’ name and He will serenade the lost with a touching rendition of “Kum Ba Yah”. But is that what the text really says?  Join me for a up-close look at several words that really define what Yeshua was saying:  “let me be crucified and I will judge the world”.   Pretty radical sounding huh?  Well, read and decide for yourself!

If I be lifted up