I say unto you that many come from the east and from the west and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven whereas the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew chapter 8 vv11-12)
Jesus had taught His disciples to expect His return to Earth to be quite imminent: they “would not have finished going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man returned in glory” (Mt10:23). The situation is, we simply do not know what Jesus as Prophet knew and when He knew it – His wisdom we are told evolved and developed (cf. Lk2:52). But we can categorically state that He did not know everything, for He told His disciples as much – especially concerning timings (Mt24:36). That even applied after His resurrection (Acts1:7). However, the verse quoted from Matthew 8 (above) indicates that Jesus as Prophet was aware that Gentiles would one day sit alongside the likes of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whereas certain “children of the Kingdom” would be excluded; the point being that the “children of the Kingdom” had always been understood to be the Jews, not Orientals or Westerners.
Again it may be necessary to affirm that “the Kingdom of Heaven” is not here referring to the place spirits go to after death but “the Kingdom of God” as other apostles described the same concept, being a kingdom on terra firma derived from heavenly authority and run on heavenly principles, in contrast to the kingdoms of this world as they are currently ordered under the malign influence of “Archon tou kosmou” – you know who (Jn12:31).
Regardless of what the incarnated Word knew or didn’t know concerning “the secret plan hidden in God (the Father) who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph3:9), i.e. the fact that the current age would not be the fulfilment of OT prophecy but the age of the Church in which elect Gentiles would augment the ranks of those who were to inherit the “privileges of the sanctified” (Acts26:18) as joint-heirs with Israel and the Lord of Glory (Rom8:17), Jesus had certainly not clarified the matter with His disciples. Peter and his company simply did not grasp it at all (Acts11:17,18). Nor would they have been anticipating a thirteenth apostle being appointed after Christ’s ascension, which is why Matthias was chosen to replace Judas before Pentecost. Neither had I grasped these matters – it is certainly not what I was brought up to believe, but it is what I was shown by the Spirit and has been verified to my own satisfaction by its ability to resolve virtually every known tension in Scripture.
Once perceived, it has radical (and wonderful) implications for divine providence (i.e. God’s intentions towards humanity as a whole). It also however affirms the sacerdotal nature of the Church, being linked to the fact that the benefits of the atonement apply at two levels: the forensic (2Cor5:19) and participatory (Jn6:54-57), all of which is covered in detail in my book (chapter 3) and will no doubt be referred to again in later posts. A free PDF of the “The Little Book of Providence” is available HERE.