In Proposition 44, George Peters states:
“The preaching of the Kingdom, being in accordance with that of the predicted Kingdom, raised no controversy between the Jews and Jesus, or between the Jews and His disciples and apostles.”
We typically think of the message Jesus and his disciples taught as always being rejected by the Jewish people. Truly as time went on and the message from Jesus became focused on his role as the suffering Messiah, the rejection became more prominent. However, when the message of the Kingdom was initially pronounced by Jesus, it was received not with rejection but rather with an apparent acceptance. As Peters notes, we find no evidence of disagreement from the people or religious leaders in the early stage of the ministry of Jesus. We also find no evidence of rejection of this message among the Jewish people when Jesus sent for his disciples to preach the message of the kingdom, namely repentance. While many, in particular the religious leaders rejected the message, there was a greater majority who embraced the message, most notably as seen in Acts.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 44 is the following:
“The Jews did not find fault with the Kingdom, but in the King as believed in by believing Jews and Gentiles. In their blindness, they refused to acknowledge the purity and holiness essential to entrance into the Kingdom; they rejected the repentance requisite for its establishment; they were angered at the well-merited rebukes aimed at their hyprocrisy and sinfulness; they were fearful of losing their own authority and power, and therefore they rejected the King, and urged his crucifixion. After his death, it was too humbling to their pride to confess a crucified Jesus as their Messiah; it was too mortifying and condemnatory to their past action to acknowledge a once dead and buried Jesus to be their King; the difficulty was not in the Kingdom, but in the King, and in the confession and obedience that was required. This influenced the nation, the great mass of the people, but nevertheless many Jews, seeing the Scriptures fulfilled in this Messiah, and the Messianic evidences in His birth, life, miracles, words, death, etc., still clung to Him as the promised Messiah, the Restorer of the David Kingdom as predicted; and this was done under the assurance (as we shall show in its place) that He would come the Second Time for this very purpose. Such is the plain teaching of the Record, and its testimony on this point is decided and overwhelming as the reader will see for himself as we proceed.”
There is not a whole lot I see the need to add regarding this observation as Peters lays out the facts of the matter quite plainly. Those who rejected the message of the kingdom did so not because they rejected the message of the kingdom. It was well known and accepted that the kingdom was promised by the Prophets. The message taught by Jesus and his disciples was the same message declared by those prophets all the way up to John the Baptist. Nothing changed as far as the construct of the message is concerned. The rejection was based on a faulty understanding of the nature of the Kingdom and its Messiah. Furthermore, those who rejected the message did so because in their pride they refused to accept the method for entrance – repentance. Some rejected the message but many saw the reality of the Messiah, who he was, and when the ultimate fulfillment of the promise of the kingdom would take place. Those in this group repented and grabbed hold of the Redeemer and thus will find their place in His kingdom.