Can you explain Matthew 21:43?


by Shawn Brasseaux

The Lord Jesus Christ said during His final weeks of earthly ministry: “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43). Is He giving Israel’s covenants/kingdom over to us Gentiles, as some teach? Is He predicting the formation of the Church the Body of Christ, as some teach? If Israel is God’s chosen people in the books of Matthew through John, then why did Jesus tell Israel that He was taking God’s kingdom from them and giving it to “a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof?” We are to be Berean Bible students, comparing Scripture with Scripture, to see what things are so (Acts 17:11).

When God began to form the nation Israel with Abraham, He intended all of Abraham’s descendants to participate in His earthly plan. However, as time passed, many of Abraham’s descendants were unbelieving. In Matthew 21:43, Jesus Christ is addressing Israel’s apostate religious leaders. These unbelieving Jews will not participate by faith in God’s dealings with Israel. They are too focused on works-religion and their righteousness. So, God will not allow them to enter the Millennium (the 1,000-year reign of Christ). They will never set foot in Christ’s righteous kingdom. They refused to be born-again as John chapter 3 admonished, so God will deny them access to the kingdom intended only for born-again Jews.

Luke 12:32 is the companion passage of Matthew 21:43. We begin in verse 31 of Luke chapter 12: “[31] But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. [32] Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” The parallel passage is Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The primary issue here is spiritual matters rather than physical (material) matters. Jesus Christ tells wayward Israel that they must seek God’s righteousness first (spiritual issue) before they can enjoy His physical blessings (material issue). They needed to have their priorities in proper order. They needed to first be saved from their sins by trusting Him!

It is important to note that the Lord Jesus did not say, “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to nations bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43). “Nation” is singular, not plural. “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” God did not give Israel’s kingdom over to nations (plural, as in Gentiles in the Body of Christ) but rather one nation (singular)—redeemed Israel. God took Israel’s kingdom away from apostate Israel and gave it to a nation (redeemed, born-again Israel) that was willing to submit to His righteousness, the “foolish nation” of Romans 10:19 and Deuteronomy 32:21. As John the Baptist warned, unbelieving Jews will be consumed in righteous wrath when Jesus Christ returns, and they will be cast into hellfire, never allowed into God’s earthly kingdom (Matthew 3:7-12; Matthew 13:37-42).

Also see:
» Is the Church the Body of Christ spoken of in Matthew 16:18?
» What does “My kingdom is not of this world” mean?
» Does Hebrews 10:25 really teach we must attend church?