Entering the Kingdom is not just something that happens to believers at the end of their life.
Deuteronomy 28:6 – “You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
In speaking of those who would be faithful to the Torah, or instruction, of God, Moses wrote that they would be blessed upon “coming in and going out.” This is a Hebraic phrase that indicates the whole of how one lives their life. In Thayer’s lexicon, it is described as, “usually denot[ing] one’s whole mode of living and acting, … [it] is used of familiar contact with one.”
This same idea was expressed by the Philistine king Achish, when David was hiding from Saul by living among them.
1 Samuel 29:6 – “So Achish summoned David and told him, ‘As Yahweh lives, you are an honorable man. It was good in my eyes to have you going out and coming in in this unit with me, because I have found no fault in you from the day you came to me until today…'”
The military unit that David was involved with would go out on “sortie” missions and raids, and each day they would “go out” to raid villages, and then “come in” at the end of the day back to their main camp. This type of language implied that this was their routine, how they conducted themselves on a regular basis.
Yeshua used this similar type of expression when he spoke about the goal of the believer’s life.
John 10:9 – “I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.
This going in and out doesn’t mean that one goes in to receive salvation or protection and then leaves that place of security. It speaks of anyone coming under the protection of the Good Shepherd must do so through the one gate, through the guidance and commitment to Yeshua as the controlling authority of one’s life. Then one can go about living, i.e., coming in and going out, under the protection of the Good Shepherd.
That entering the Kingdom is represented as a reality of this life, and not just reserved for some eternal existence beyond this reality, Yeshua speaks about the qualifier of those who would participate in the blessings of that existence.
Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Here, at the culmination of the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua teaches that the one who is entering the kingdom of heaven is the one who actually does the will of the Father, not just those claiming to be disciples of the Messiah. Doing God’s will is something that must be evidenced in this life, and demonstrates who the true believers are. Yeshua had just spent the previous chapters explaining to his disciples what doing God’s will looks like, which is why the Sermon on the Mount has become such a pivotal teaching of Messiah.
Entering the Kingdom, therefore, is not just something that happens to someone upon their physical death; it is a way of life, a mode of living on this earth here and now that is centered around the good news of the Kingdom of God. By faithfully seeking how to apply the teachings of Messiah in our everyday “going out and coming in,” we demonstrate that we are seeking first the Kingdom and that we have come under the protection and security of the Good Shepherd.
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