Kingdom of God
|Kingdom of God|
|SERMONS, ESSAYS AND OPINIONS||
The Kingdom of God (also called the Kingdom of Heaven) is a foundational concept in Christianity, and can be viewed as the central theme of Jesus' message in the synoptic Gospels. The phrase occurs in the New Testament more than 100 times, and is defined almost entirely by parables. According to Jesus, the Kingdom of God is within people and entered through acceptance like a child and doing the will of God. It is a kingdom peopled by the righteous; and it is a Kingdom that is spoken about by Jesus, paradoxically, as being a present reality as well as a future hope.
Usage and translation
The Kingdom of God is translated from the Greek "Βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ" (Basileia tou Theou). In the Gospel of Matthew it is synonymous with the "Kingdom of Heaven", and in the Gospel of John it is similar to the concept of "eternal life".
The phrase occurs in the New Testament more than 100 times.
There are different views about what Jesus meant by the term "Kingdom of God". These views include the views of:
- Consistent eschatology - the Kingdom is purely future
- Realised eschatology - the Kingdom has come
- Inaugurated eschatology - the Kingdom is both a future hope and a present reality
Inaugurated eschatology - The Kingdom as both a present reality and a future hope
Inaugurated eschatology refers to the understanding that Jesus spoke about the Kingdom in both a present sense and in a future sense. On the surface this understanding appears paradoxical. In this understanding, the Kingdom is not a geographical kingdom, but instead it involves
- People repenting and believing in Jesus - something that can be now
- The world coming under Christ's authority - something that will be completely fulfilled in the future
Luke 13 talks about the Kingdom like it is a growing tree - it is here now, but it is also growing or coming.
Biblical evidence that is consistent with this understanding is shown
- Kingdom is Near
- Jesus began by announcing that the Kingdom was near in Mark 1
- Kingdom is Among People
- In Luke 17, Jesus states that "The Kingdom of God is within you"
- The Kingdom has already begun
- In Matthew 21:31 Jesus states to the Pharisees that "Prostitutes are entering the kingdom ahead of you"
- Miracles and Healing
- Miracles and healings are offered as evidence that the Kingdom has arrived in Matthew 12
- Future when all will be fulfilled and judgement will occur
- Jesus speaks of a future where he will come again in Mark 13
- The Lord's Supper speaks of a coming kingdom
- In Mark 14 Jesus says "I will not drink the fruit of the vine until I come into my kingdom"
- Prayer for the coming kingdom
- Jesus encourages us to pray for the kingdom to come in Matthew 6