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DOCUMENT MK 13:28, 29
GOSPEL MT 24:32, 33
GOSPEL LK 21:29-31 Now from the fig tree learn her Now from the fig tree learn her Behold the fig tree, and all the parable: when her branch is now parable: when her branch is now trees: when they now shoot forth,
become tender, and putteth forth become tender, and putteth forth ye see it and know of your own I its leaves, ye know that the sum- its leaves, ye know that the sum selves that the summer is now
mer is nigh; even so ye also, mer is nigh; even so ye also, when nigh. Even so ye also, when ye when ye see these things coming ye see all these things, know ye see these things coming to pass, to pass, know ye that it is nigh, ihat it is nigh, even at the doors, know ye that the kingdom of God even at the doors.
is nigh MATTHAEAN P
LUKAN P $824-26 A Be not therefore anxious, say- A And seek not ye what ye shall ing. What shall we eat ? or, eat, and what ye shall drink, What shall we drink? or, Where neither be ye of doubtful mind. withal shall we be clothed ? For For all these things do the naafter all these things do the tions of the world seek after: but Gentiles seek; for your heavenly your Father knoweth that ye Father knoweth that ye have have need of these things. How need of all these things. But beit seek ye his kingdom, and seek ye first his kingdom, and these things shall be added unto his righteousness; and all these you. things shall be added unto you. B Be not therefore anxious for the B Fear not, little flock; for
morrow: for the morrow will be it is your Father's good pleasure II. anxious for itself. Sufficient to give you the kingdom.
unto the day is the evil thereof.
make selves treasures in heaven, where for yourselves purses which wax neither moth nor rust doth con not old, a treasure in the heavens sume, and where thieves do not that faileth not, where no thief break through nor steal: for draweth near, neither moth where thy treasure is, there will destroyeth. For where your thy heart be also.
treasure is, there will your heart GOSPEL MT 24:14
world for a testimony unto all the
nations; and then shall the end
DOCUMENT M $15
The Son of man shall send
gather out of his kingdom all
them that do iniquity, and shall
DOCUMENT M $24
heaven be likened unto ten virgins,
forth to meet the bridegroom.
GOSPEL LK 22:28-30
kingdom, even as my Father apVI.
pointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and ye shall sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israd.
I. Matthew has followed his document MK closely in this paragraph, including the phrase "it is nigh,” which seems to mean “the destruction of Jerusalem is nigh.” But for this general term Luke has substituted the interpretative words “the kingdom of God is nigh.” By so doing he made the preceding paragraph in the discourse appear to treat of the coming of the kingdom of God, something neither stated nor implied, either by the thirteenth chapter of document MK or by document P $60. The actual theme of the preceding paragraph in the final discourse and its relation to the above saying are considered in S$ 8, 9 of chap. iv.
II. By the substitution in the Lukan P of the present portions B, C for the more original form as preserved in portions B, C of the Matthaean P, there is formulated the expectation that “the kingdom” is imminent. So near is it that to accumulate possessions in any form is folly; the time for their use by men will soon be past; therefore, “Sell that ye have, and give alms," assured that "it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” These changes in the Lukan P seem to have been wrought under the influence of the contiguous document P version of the parables of the final discourse, P $$27–30. This recension of these parables shows so notable an eschatological cast that it is natural that sayings in the document near these parables should undergo the modifications which are observable by comparing the two reports of the portions B, C. The whole paragraph of which these sayings are a part is set forth on pp. 61-63; the parables which seem to have affected them are examined in $10 of chap. iv.
III. By this saying “the kingdom” is made the subject of public proclamation in the future "unto all the nations;" this as a forecast by Jesus about “the kingdom” would be of the utmost significance. But the evidence seems to compel the conclusion that this saying is later than the time of Jesus. The problem of its source is considered at length in $4 of chap. iv.
IV. In this exposition of the parable of the Wheat and Tares there are two kingdoms distinguished clearly, namely, “the kingdom of the Son of man" and "the kingdom of their Father.” It is by a process of elimination from the former that the latter is finally constituted. This is the most elaborate conception of "the kingdom” in the Synoptic Gospels. But it has been observed that it was apparently against precisely this notion of a kingdom through separation of bad from good that the parable was directed by Jesus. In other words, what Jesus seeks to cast out of the mind of his hearers by this parable is made by his early expositors to be the central truth intended to be taught by the parable. The meaning of the parable and the content of its reputed explication are examined in §6 of chap. v.
V. The source of the formula, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto,” in this and certain other parables from the parable group of document M $$15-25 has been considered on pp. 200-2. It was determined that the formula in the Ten Virgins and some others of the group resulted from documentary contiguity to those which belong properly to the discourse in parables on "the mystery of the kingdom of God.”
VI. Of the two reports of sayings which promise judicial functions to the Twelve, the Lukan alone gives the promise in the form of participation “in my kingdom.” Both forms of the saying are studied as to content and origin in $4 of chap. v.
VII. The promise, “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” is considered in its contextual relations in $1, chap. viji.
The opposition in the notions of the future of the kingdom of God conveyed by this body of sayings ought to be observed: By passage I, in its Lukan form, taken with its context, the kingdom is promised within the generation; by passage III the end is deferred until the gospel has been preached “unto all the nations.” By passage IV there is first on earth a kingdom of the Son of man; afterward, by a process of selection in the consummation of the aeon," the kingdom becomes “the kingdom of their Father”: yet the Son of man must continue to have a kingdom; for, after the day of judg. ment, he still holds the kingdom appointed unto him by his Father, passage VI, and the Twelve are to share its honors with him. By the Lukan portions B, C in passage II there is evidenced the convic
tion that the coming of the kingdom will not be long deferred; yet in passage VII there is involved the establishment of institutions which imply a considerable period of future ecclesiastical activity. Out of this confusion of thought, found by this grouping and contrasting of these earlier and later additions to the original sayings of Jesus, one naturally wishes to pass to such clearness and certainty, if not precision, as may be had from the utterances of Jesus himself on the future of the kingdom.
$5. THE MYSTERY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD Substantially the whole body of teaching from Jesus about the future of the kingdom of God is contained within a single discourse in the form of a number of parables. These parables deal with what Jesus terms “the mystery of the kingdom of God.” Outside of this discourse (Matt. 13:1-53=MK 4:1-34=Luke 8:4-18), there are certain brief sayings in which Jesus touches upon the future of the kingdom; these will be considered in the final section of the present chapter; their contribution is minor, distinctly secondary to that given in the parable discourse.
That Jesus should speak seldom of the future of the kingdom is natural, in the light of his policy toward the revelation of his sense k of messianic vocation, that is, if it be supposed that he had as fresh a message about the nature of the kingdom of the Messiah as about the nature of the Messiah himself. On the other hand, if Jesus conceived of the kingdom as did his contemporaries, there was no need that he treat the theme at length or, indeed, at all. Whether Jesus spoke practically once only on the future of the kingdom because he had nothing to add or to take away from current notions, or, on the contrary, because he had so revolutionary a conception that he must needs reveal it with utmost care, ought to be determined not by any preconceptions as to what is likely in the case, but by the evidence presented in the report of the discourse as handed down in the documents. However, on the one hand, it is fair to urge in advance that Jesus would most likely think and speak wholly according to the mode of view of his times; on the other hand, it is reasonable to raise the question whether one should expect, from him who had so freely redefined by act and attitude the vocation of Messiah, such an out
look upon the future of that Messiah as would fulfil current expectations as to the kingdom.
If Jesus believed in any future for the kingdom of God fundamentally different from the future of the messianic reign expected by his fellow-religionists including his own disciples, there must needs be on his part the utmost care and skill in the utterance of his convictions, in order to avoid giving a kind and degree of offense which would be permanently fatal to his mission. To sketch the future of the kingdom of God in colors other than those to which his contemporaries were accustomed would be to invite the rejection not only of this portrayal but of himself and the whole body of his original ethical and religious teaching. For no man could openly and unambiguously utter himself in opposition to current views about so fundamental a theme as the nature of the future of the kingdom and expect to retain longer the sympathetic hearing, not to say the favorable attitude, of the contemporaries of Jesus.
It was necessary in a preceding study to consider the exposition recorded in document M of two of the parables in the discourse on the future of the kingdom. In order to an adequate estimate of those explications, the setting, purpose, method, and content of the discourse as a whole were considered at that time. The arguments advanced need not be repeated here.' For convenience, a summary statement
may be made:
1. That Jesus, through the discourse in parables by the sea, intended to make a revelation of what he regarded as new conceptions about the nature of the kingdom of God is evidenced by the fact that he refers to the content of these parables as "the mystery of the kingdom of God," document MK $20A end. There could be no "mystery” in that which was the common knowledge or expectation of his contemporaries; therefore, these parables apparently do not express current ideas of the kingdom.
2. Jesus chose the parabolic method on this occasion because he had something to say that he did not wish to utter in plain terms, document MK $20B. He did not state why he wished his truth to be hidden from all except those who were able to grasp it under figurative forms. But the natural inference is that his reason was the
i See pp. 229–35.
. On docunmet MK $ 20C, see p. 231, n. 1.