Saturday, 24 November 2012
Kingdom of God
1) Kingdom of God
b) The meaning of the Term in the New Testament
c) The Kingdom, Jesus, the Hebrew Scriptures, and Second Temple Jewish Kingdom Hope: A Static or Tensive Symbol
d) Kingdom: Present, Future, or Both?
e) Defining the Kingdom
f) The Kingdom and Ethics
Kingdom of God
The kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven is the central theme of Jesus’ preaching according to the synoptic gospels. Which Mathew who addresses himself to the Jews speaks for the most part of the “Kingdom Of Heaven” Mark and Luke speak of the Kingdom Of which hath the same meaning as the “Kingdom Of Heaven”, but was more intelligible to non-Jews. The use of Kingdom of Heaven Mathew is certainly due to the tendency in Judaism to avoid the direct use of the Name of God. In any case no distinction in sense is to be assumed between the two expressions (Mt 5:3, Lk 6:30).
The meaning of the Term in the New Testament
We note that the Kingdom is called generally the Kingdom of God, but sometimes the kingdom of Heaven (Literally the kingdom of the heavens). The latter form is confined to Mathew’s gospel. While elsewhere and a few times in Mathew the other form is used. Whereas there must have been a reason for Mathew’s variation, there no ground for supposing that he meant to denote anything different. In all probability ‘Heaven’ was chosen as a periphrasis  for God out of typical Jewish reverence for the divine name. It is just possible that Jesus Himself varied his usage but this is less likely in view of the fact that Mathew alone preservers the form ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. It seems reasonable to conclude that Mathew made no distinction between the Kingdom Of Heaven and the Kingdom of God.
The mean of the word Kingdom (basilea) It is now generally agreed that it means not so much a domain, as reign; not so much an area over which the king reigns, as the activity of reigning. It is therefore, a dynamic concept, a view which is in complete agreementwith Hebrew usage (Ps 145:11, 13, 103:19). This was also the usual understanding of it is in Judaist thought
The Kingdom, Jesus, the Hebrew Scriptures, and Second Temple Jewish Kingdom Hope: A Static or Tensive Symbol?
When Jesus used the expression “kingdom of God,” how much of its meaning can we assume he and his audience shared? This becomes an important question because the expression itself, surprisingly, is totally absent in the Hebrew Scriptures. Here is a case where the study of an idea has to move past a study of the set phrase to get anywhere. The idea, however, is more frequent. Yahweh is King (1 Sam 12:12; Ps. 24:10; Is. 33:22; Zeph. 3:15; Zech. 14:16-17). He rules over Israel (Exod. 15:18; Num. 23:21; Deut. 33:5; Is. 43:15). He rules over the earth or the creation (2 Kings 19:15; Is. 6:5; Jer. 46:18; Ps. 29:10; 47:2; 93; 96:10; 145:11, 13). He possesses a royal throne (Ps. 9:4; 45:6; 47:8; Is. 6:1; 66:1; Ezek 1:26). His reign is ongoing (Ps. 10:16; 146:10;Is. 24:23). Rule or kingship is His (Ps. 22:28). It is primarily God’s special relationship to Israel that is in view here as the Son of David is said to sit on Yahweh’s throne (1 Chron 17:14; 28:5; 29:23; 2 Chron 9:8; 13:8). When Israel was overrun by the nations, a longing existed that one day God would reestablish his rule on behalf of his people and show his comprehensive sovereignty to all humanity. After all, God had committed himself to David concerning a dynasty of duration (2 Sam. 7:13). It is here that the hope of a future kingdom of God, made not with hands, came to be contrasted with the kingdoms of men in Daniel 2 and 7. It is in the context of such expectation that Jesus used the term “kingdom of God.” What was hoped for was something that had existed in the past, but only as a mere glimpse of what had been promised–a rule to come involving total peace for God’s people. In sum, Kingdom hope by the time of the Babylonian captivity is driven forward by the vision of the fullness of God’s rule showing up one day. It was to this hope that Jesus preached.
Such a hope had been nurtured in some circles of second temple Judaism. The kingdom became linked (sometimes) to the messianic hope, but (always) to judgment of the nations, and vindication of the saints. Some Jewish documents, content with the current arrangement, do not reflect any such hope. The concept is expressed with some variety, but central to its expression is that God will assert his comprehensive rule (1 Enoch 9:4-5; 12:3; 25; 27:3; 81:3). God’s powerful presence will involve the removal of Satan’s influence (Assumption of Moses7–10). He will destroy his enemies and free his people. These enemies are described in both earthly terms, like the Romans in Psalms of Solomon 17–18 and 2 Baruch 36-40, and in spiritual terms, where Belial stands among the evil forces who will be defeated (1QS 3–4). Often the coming of the kingdom was seen as preceded by a period of intense upheaval and tribulation (Sib. Or. 3:796-808; 2 Bar. 70:2-8; 4 Ezra 6:24; 9:1-12; 13:29-31; 1QM 12:9; 19:1-2). The cry of the prayer of 2 Macc. 1:24-29 summarizes well the hope of deliverance. The call was for God to deliver and vindicate his people. The text of Psalms of Solomon 17–18 gives the most detailed expression of messianic hope in all the texts, though the idea of kingdom in this period of Judaism did not always entail a messianic hope. In fact, sometimes the Messiah is seen in very earthly terms as in the Psalms of Solomon, while in other texts, he clearly possesses a more transcendent power (1 Enoch 37–71) or has a seeming mix of the two (4 Ezra 7:28-29; 12:32-34; 13:26). Thus, associated with the consistent idea of God’s coming comprehensive and vindicating rule for his people is a complex and varying array of sub-themes tied to the kingdom’s coming. In Judaism, there was no unified view of the kingdom beyond the hope of God’s powerful coming and vindication. It is important to appreciate that it is into this somewhat confused backdrop that Jesus preached this hope.
Here is the major thesis of this essay. Jesus’ use of the term kingdom is Tensive with a stable base. In each of the categories we shall examine it will be shown that Jesus’ use is complex and must be examined one text at a time. Choices of either-or in his usage inevitably err in narrowing the depth of Jesus’ usage. To make the kingdom a static technical term for every use is to miss the variety of nuances he uses within the stable base meaning he gives.
Kingdom: Present, Future, or Both?
When it comes to the use of the term “Kingdom,” Caragoun is has numbered its use with “of God,” “of the Heavens,” and by itself. Kingdom of God appears five times in Matthew, fourteen times in Mark, thirty-two times in Luke and twice in John. Kingdom by itself occurs thirteen times in Matthew, seven times in Luke and three times in John, while being absent in Mark. When one puts all the uses together, Kingdom appears fifty times in Matthew, fourteen times in Mark, thirty-nine times in Luke, and five times in John.
C. H. Dodd notwithstanding, the bulk of the uses look to the future consummation of the Kingdom, to the final judgment, the coming of the Son of Man, to being seated at the banquet table in an era of joy and fellowship, to a period when the Kingdom is received or inherited or prepared. The kingdom Jesus preached was a goal of God’s promise and hope that brought deliverance and vindication through the working of God’s power. But key to the groundwork for that golden age was the work of one in whom and through whom God was working and would work. It is in this context that the issue of the presence of the Kingdom since the time of Jesus’ ministry must be raised. The Kingdom as future is clear in Jesus’ teaching, but is there any sense in which it can be said to have begun? If it has begun, then what does that mean for understanding the Kingdom in the New Testament and in its potential presence today?
On one point all are agreed. Jesus’ message was about the Kingdom. He preached the arrival of the messianic age and its activity of deliverance, contrasting the greatness of the Kingdom era with the era of the Baptist, which seemingly had now passed (Luke 4:16-30; Luke 7:22-23, 28 par; 16:16; Matt. 11:12-14).
Some texts highlight the Kingdom’s approach or proximity (Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9, 11).31 The parable of the Sower makes it clear that it is the Word about the Kingdom that is presently sowed (Matt. 13:19). The word is compared to seed. The image extends in other parables to include the image of a Mustard Seed planted. At the start, it is a tiny seed, but ends up as a tree where birds can rest. This cannot be a reference to the apocalyptic Kingdom of the end, for that Kingdom is decidedly great and comprehensive from its appearing with the Son of Man. Nor can it be the theocratic Kingdom as seen in Old Testament declarations of God’s rule, for that cosmic, total rule also has been comprehensive from its inception. What is in view here is the launching of the eschatological Kingdom, which surprisingly is “breaking-in” in miniscule form. So this parable is our first clue that a “mystery” of the Kingdom involves its seemingly insignificant start in the present with the “planting” Jesus’ word about it brings. The parable of the Leaven makes the same point in distinct imagery.
Equally suggestive about the significance of Jesus’ present activity for the presence of the Kingdom are the images of Jesus as a bridegroom (Mark 2:18-22 par.), a shepherd (Matt 9:36 par; 10:6; Luke 12:32, see Ezek 34), and as a harvester sending messengers out to reap the harvest (Matt. 9:37-38; Luke 10:1-2), all eschatological images. All of this suggests that if the Kingdom has not come, it is very, very close. It is so close that what the disciples are experiencing is what prophets and kings longed to experience, a clear allusion to the arrival of hoped for promise (Luke 10:23-24 par.). The offer of forgiveness Jesus declares as present is one of the great hoped for blessings of the new era (Jer. 31:31-33; Mark 2:5; Luke 7:36-50; 19:1-10).
At the center of all of this activity was Jesus. That Jesus could interpret Torah and even explain its scope, so that religious practice could change pointed to the arrival of a new era (Matthew 5:21-48; Mark 7:1-23). Now it is true that not all the texts I have cited mention the Kingdom, but most do. The others are describing the delivering and teaching activity of the one through whom the promise comes. In Judaism, the Kingdom was about the age to come or the messianic era. Remember that in the Hebrew Scriptures the term Kingdom of God does not appear, though it is a topic of many other related themes. So the work of the Messiah would seemingly qualify as Kingdom work, especially given teaching in the parables that the Kingdom is being planted in Jesus’ teaching. The fact that this teaching is “new” or “mystery” does not alter the fact that it is Kingdom teaching connected to the original promise of the Kingdom. That the Kingdom is not delayed because of Israel’s rejection is shown in the parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24). Here the refusal to come to the celebration when it is announced does not lead to the postponing of the banquet, but to the inviting of others to fill it. Though banquet imagery is normally looking to the future in Jesus’ teaching, in this case it is his preaching and the invitation to experience blessing starting now that is in view. These texts show that at the heart of the Kingdom is the mediating of promised blessing and deliverance, an exercise of divine power and authority through a given Chosen, Anointed one, who also acts with unique authority.
Defining the Kingdom: “Dynamic”– God’s Powerful Presence in Rule (God in Strength) or “Realm” (Church, Israel, World, or “Eschatological”) or All the Above?
The remaining issues I shall cover more quickly as the basic foundation is now laid to address them. The texts already covered on the presence of the Kingdom make it clear that the Kingdom can be defined in terms of the dynamic or active presence of God’s power and authority. God’s rule is expressed in terms of the exercise of his authority. Thus, Jesus’ miracles evidence the in-breaking of God’s authority, the presence of his power. Jesus’ presence means the Kingdom’s presence. We would also suggest that the mediation of the Spirit through Jesus is evidence of the presence of this rule, as the giving of the Spirit is a key, messianic work. This idea is not explicit in the gospel material, but it will show up in Acts and the epistles. Most New Testament scholars accept this “dynamic” element as central to Jesus’ teaching.
More discussed is the issue of realm. This problem is exceedingly complex; for once again Jesus’ use shows a variety of contexts. First, several texts indicate that Israel or activity associated with Israel are an element in Kingdom teaching. I already have noted the choosing of the Twelve (Matt. 10:2-4 par.), and Jesus’ remark about the disciples sitting on the twelve thrones over Israel (Matt. 22:28-30 par.). Other texts indicate that the disciples, after hearing all of Jesus’ teaching, still expected a role for the nation of Israel. Acts 1:6 has the disciples ask if Jesus would now be restoring the Kingdom to Israel. Jesus, though he does not directly answer the question of when, does not reject the premise of the question. In fact, two chapters later in Acts 3:21, Peter makes the point that the “times of refreshing” that Jesus will bring on his return, a Kingdom theme, are already described in the Scripture. Thus, the eschatological dimensions of the Kingdom hope emerging from the Old Testament seem affirmed in this Spirit inspired speech. One final text is associated with the celebratory banquet imagery. When Jesus refuses the wine at the last supper and notes that he will not partake of the Passover again until he does so in the context of fulfillment in the Kingdom (Luke 22:16-18), he suggests a day when the celebration will commemorate the completion of promise with a celebration rooted in Old Testament expression. Whatever additional elements there are to the Kingdom realm, and there are additional elements as we shall see, they do not preclude an element involving the old Israelite expression of hope.
Other texts suggest the language of gathering to a specific place. Luke 13:28-29 look to people coming from “east and west” to sit at the table with the patriarchs. My only point here is that this is standard Jewish imagery. Matthew 8:12 is the parallel. It suggests that the surprising inclusion of Gentiles is in view, but not the entire exclusion of Israel. After all, the disciples represented a remnant of the nation.
Another key set of texts are Matthew 11:12 and Luke 16:16. Many treat these as parallels and point to the Matthean conflict imagery of men seeking to take the Kingdom by violence as key to both texts. My own suspicion is that Luke does not parallel Matthew’s conflict imagery here, but points to the persuasion of preaching in his version of the image. However this exegetical debate does not alter the key point for us here, namely, that the kingdom is a “thing” contended over (or preached about), even in the present. The image is of a realm introduced into the world and as an object of contention (and discussion) within it.
Another unusual use is in Luke 23:42-43. Here the thief on the cross asks to be remembered when Jesus comes into his Kingdom. The request, understood in normal Jewish terms, looks to the future. Jesus’ reply brings the future into the present yet again. For he tells the thief that this very day he will be with Jesus in paradise. Though the reply does not use the term Kingdom, the idea of paradise is a part of that hope in Judaism. There is a sense where Jesus reveals a current, cosmic claim and dimension to the Kingdom where it comes to the issue of death. This appears to be another fresh dimension to Jesus’ teaching.
The Kingdom and Ethics
In the end, the transformation associated with the in-breaking of the Kingdom is not merely an abstract exercise in theology or definition. It is designed to impact life. Thus, the connection between Kingdom and living or Kingdom and ethics needs attention. In this era, the Kingdom involves the inaugural “in-breaking” of God’s power, presence and rule among a people he has claimed as his own, forming them into a community that looks forward one day to the total in-breaking of his authority expressed throughout the world. Those who are his have acknowledged their need for God and his provision by faith alone. As a result, they have entered into an enduring relationship to God. That relationship entails a call from God on the life of the disciple. Thus, in a sense all aspects of Jesus’ teaching about discipleship involve teaching about the Kingdom and ethics. In sum, what Jesus presents is the idea that the in-breaking of God’s rule into one’s life demands a total response to that rule. However, by means of God’s grace, the disciple is enabled to move into that demand and grow in one’s experience of it. Relationship to that rule is to be more important than family, possessions, vocation, even life itself. Whether Jesus alludes to the fact that his family is made up of those who do God’s will, mentions that one must hate the family for his sake, teaches that possessions are to be given to the poor, or mentions the need to bear one’s cross, he is pointing out that no demand on a person’s soul is greater than the one made by God in the context of his Kingdom program. It is the greatness of the Kingdom that creates the totality of its call for faithfulness.
To develop this area, I wish to examine four themes: faith/repentance, following at all costs from within, imitation in the context of reconciliation, love and service, and reward. I would wish to argue that any treatment of Kingdom that does move into this area has failed to appreciate a major goal of the Kingdom program as seen in the New Testament.
(1) The theme of faith/repentance is seen in two key elements. First, there is the preparation that John the Baptist brought in declaring that the Kingdom draws near. This preparation highlighted a preaching a baptism of repentance, a baptism that included a concrete call for turning expressed in practice toward others (Luke 3:10-14). This idea will be taken up more fully when we get to the theme of imitation, but its groundwork was laid in John’s initial, preparatory declaration as an Elijah-like figure. His work involved a call to reconciliation where people were implored to turn back to God. Included within this turning was a bringing of sons back to their fathers and the disobedient back to the wise (Luke 1:16-17). Reconciliation with God shows itself in reconciliation with others.
The second element is Jesus’ teaching that to enter the Kingdom one must be like a child (Matt. 18:2-4). Here there is a humility and dependence that is invoked. In fact, it is humility that defines “greatness” in the Kingdom. In this context, it is clear that it is not the Kingdom in the future that is addressed, because the whole of the chapter is looking at relationships in the newly formed community (see Matt. 18:17). Such faith in God extends to a recognition that even daily needs are in his hands and that he will care for his own (Matt. 6:11, 25-34;Luke 11:3; 12:22-31). Faith ultimately is a humble recognition that one needs God and so moves to trust him, relying on his rule and provision. It is in the context of relying on God’s provision that the gospel moves in a direction we are most familiar with through the Pauline emphasis on the work of the cross in relationship to sin. However, one should not forget that alongside that fundamental provision of God comes an enablement of provision and power through the Spirit that changes one’s identity and allows the disciple to live in a way that honors God and reflect son ship with him. In fact, Paul’s burden in Romans 1–8 is to make this very point about the gospel.
(2) Following at all costs from within raises the issue of how “demanding” Jesus’ call to discipleship was. It was a cost to be fully counted and not enter into lightly or unadvisedly, to steal a phrase from the initiation of another important relationship (Luke 14:25-35). Thus, the call of many disciples notes how they left their nets or tax collection booths to follow him (Mark 1:16-20 par.; Luke 5:28). Jesus expresses it as hating or leaving mother and father for his or the Kingdom’s sake (Luke 18:29; Matt. 10:37; 19:29). It means hating mammon (Matt. 6:6:24;Luke 12:14-21; 16:13). It involves a carrying of the cross, even daily, even at the risk of life (Matt. 10:38-39; Luke 9:23). The assumption in all of this is that the way will not be easy, nor is the road one of powerful triumph. Victory comes through suffering and rejection like that Jesus himself would experience. Jesus sought to reveal the whole program to the multitudes. He desired that they understand what the relationship with God they were entering into involved. God’s rule was not selective; it makes claims on the whole of life. So Jesus defines the members of his family as those who do God’s will (Mark 3:31-35 par.; 10:29-30 par.). Sons and daughters respond to the Father. They “seek his Kingdom” and rest by faith in his care (Luke 12:31), what Matthew’s version calls seeking “first his Kingdom and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33).
This following also entails a response from within. Mark 7:1-23 shows this clearly when Jesus defines defiling in terms that look at “what is in inside” the person. The list highlights those acts which defile as primarily associated with relational categories. The six antitheses of the Sermon on the Mount press the Law in this inward direction. It is not murder, but anger, nor is it adultery, but lust that violates God’s righteous standard (Matt.5:21-48). This internal feature stands at the heart of Kingdom spirituality. This internal feature is central to what goes into spiritual formation. That formation is spiritual because God calls and goes to work on the inner person, on our spirit, through His Spirit. This also is not a mere triumphalism, as Paul makes clear, since we groan for the completion of redemption in the salvation to come (Rom. 8). In the meantime, the call is to be faithful and walk by the Spirit.
(3) The following leads naturally to the theme of imitation. The child is to be like the Father. One dimension of this concept is the theme of reconciliation. We noted reconciliation as a defining quality of a “prepared” people for God. In responding to the Baptist, people were accepting the call of God to be a reflection of him and his holiness. What God would provide through the Messiah, as John noted, would be a grater baptism of the Spirit, one of the great provisions of the new era. That Spirit, by his grace, enables the transformation God’s Kingdom calls for from those who trust God to provide for their spiritual well being and deliverance. Jesus makes the same point in the upper room (John 14–16). So Jesus issues a call to love and serve that is an imitation of God’s own character (Luke 6:27-36). This extends even to loving one’s enemies. Jesus holds up his own life as the example to be imitated (Mark 10:41-45; John 13:1-17). Such a character is revealed in the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-13; Luke 6:20-23). In fact, it is character like this which is salt and light in the world, reflecting the call of what the Kingdom citizen is to be (Matt. 5:14-16). So the disciple is to show mercy (Luke 10:29-37). This is why Jesus responded to the Jew who quoted the two great commandments of loving God and loving one’s neighbor as “not far from the Kingdom” (Mark 12:28-34). It is also why the commandment to “love one another” was the sign that would show them to be Jesus’ disciples (John 13:34-35). A major goal of the Kingdom was to produce children in kind, which is why the standard for character is so high and the demand of the Kingdom is so great (Luke 6:36; Matt. 5:48).
(4) The Kingdom is not without its rewards. Primary is vindication in judgment and unending relationship with God as represented in the image of the banquet table. The Father sees the sacrifice and honors it. Such is the promise of Jesus to an uncertain Peter who desperately asks who can be saved in the midst of a discussion about who can be saved if the rich are not able to enter the Kingdom (Luke 18:23-30). Jesus’ reply assures Peter and those he represents. Jesus summarizes the reward that accompanies participation in the Kingdom saying, “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents, or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” The Marcan parallel, which speaks of the gospel and not the Kingdom–showing the inherent relationship between the two–adds the note that what is received in the present age is “homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields–and with them persecutions.” Matthew 25:31-45 shows that the Son of man’s return in his glory brings with him the vindication of those who have reached out to him. The reward noted in the Beatitudes also underscores that though there is suffering and sacrifice now, there will be great reward. Here again an appreciation for what the future brings impacts how we see ourselves in the present and calls us to live in light of what the future will be. The future calls on us in the present to reflect as light what we are becoming and will be. The meek inherit the earth, but they also are to illuminate it. With our security resting in God’s power, presence, and hope, the rule of God can bring us to be what God made us to be and redeemed us to become. This is precisely why one of the more important parables about the Kingdom pictures God’s Word about the Kingdom as a seed that is planted and takes root in good soil and whose goal is to produce fruitfulness (Matt. 13:1-9, 18-23 par.). Viewed from the human perspective, it is the goal of the Kingdom to produce sons and daughters of God who are fruitful for him
One other dimension of reward is less clearly developed and is of lesser significance in Jesus’ preaching than the theme of vindication and eternal reception. It is the idea of the future exercise of responsibility for a faithful stewardship. Only a few passages hint at this idea. It is suggested by the note of expanded responsibility in the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30) and the idea of having responsibility over cities in Luke 19:17, 19. The rewarded servants are “set over much” for their faithfulness. The images do appear within the construct of the parable, but they seem to indicate something in relationship to reward for stewardship. The reward for the blessed servant in Luke 12:43-44 looks to go in a similar direction. It may also be indicated in the note whether to entrust more to a steward who is irresponsible in Luke 16:11-12. The sum of this teaching suggests a period when the kingdom will still be at work in the exercise of its rule, themes that may relate to the idea of an intermediate kingdom.
It is time to pull together much of what has been said. So I now review the description of the Kingdom and noting especially what other terms intimately connect to it. This section is important, for it will provide the bridge to the rest of the New Testament teaching on the Kingdom.
From what has been said, the Kingdom is both distinct from and intimately associated with the church. The Kingdom is more than the church, but the church is contained within the Kingdom program. There is an ongoing progression to the movement of God’s unified Kingdom program as it moves through the dispensations or eras of its administration. The program both propels us toward the realization of full hope and pulls that future into the present as a glimpse of what is to come. So how do we as community fit in to that dialectic between present and future Kingdom?
God has invested in the church. His investment is the indwelling Spirit, mediated through Christ and given in the context of forgiveness and promise, an eschatological down payment on the rest of the hope. The church, then, is the beneficiary of God’s power and presence. Satan and sin stand defeated, as the confident language of Romans 8 declares. Son ship means we are able to walk responsively to the presence of God’s rule, reflecting His character. In the age to come, the returning Son of Man will make all of this authority clear to the entire cosmos. Those who confess Jesus to be their Savior and Lord are recognizing this authority that God has invested in His mediator. If being prepared for the Kingdom community in the time of John the Baptist meant turning to God in the context of reconciliation and being reconciled with others, then the call of the indwelt community is to evidence the presence of such transformed relationships before a needy world. This fundamental exhortation appears in a text like Ephesians 2:11-22.
A major responsibility we have in witnessing to the world is that the quality of our own relationships, especially to one another, should show itself to be decidedly different from the world. Jesus’ “new commandment” to love one another “as I have loved you” is really a Kingdom command. Sacrifice and service stand at the heart of relational dynamics. If the world is to understand community in a context of loving God and relating to others, the place it should be most visible in this cosmos is in how those in His community relate to God, each other, and the world. If we walk by the Spirit and manifest the fruit of the Spirit, then the world should be witness to a sneak preview of the way things will be in the end, an audio-visual incarnation of what God transforming lives means. A glimpse of the future will be pulled into the present to the glory of God. Thus, the quality of our own communities and their integrity should be priorities for the church. Then not only will our proclamation point to the Kingdom and its hope to come, it will be painted as a living portrait for all to see. As 1 Peter 1:9-12 so aptly puts it, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were no people but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I beseech you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh that wage war against your soul. Maintain good conduct among the Gentiles, so that in case they speak against you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
` So the Kingdom has come through the Son invading the world. As Messiah we confess that he rules. The Kingdom’s coming now means the defeat of Satan, the forgiveness of God, and the indwelling enablement of the Spirit. And yet, the Kingdom comes one day through the returning Son of Man to vindicate the saints and render God just and His promises true. Then Satan and evil will be removed. Even so, come Lord Jesus. But in the meantime, give us the strength through your enablement to be light to show what the kingdom is and is like. You have pulled the future into the present. Let us illumine the future in an incarnated way through your present rule in our lives.
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3) Hopkins C.H., Walter Rauschenbusch and the Brotherhood of the Kingdom»: Church Hist 7/2 (1938
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12 Donald Guthrie “New Testament Theology”. (Inter-varsity, England,) 1981
12)Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998).
 Markus R.A., Saeculum. History and Society in the Theology of St. Augustine (Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures),( London - Cambridge: University Press 1970), pp. ix-252 / 1989
 Donald Guthrie “New Testament Theology”. (Inter-varsity, England,) 1981, Page 409
 S.Aalean “ Reign” and “House” in the Kingdom of God in the gospels (NTS 8 1962) pp 215
Kudo K., On the Natural Kingdom of God in Hobbes and Spinoza: Journal of Humanities (Mejiro University, Shinjuku - Tokyo, Japan) 3 (2006) 1-13
 The expression does occur in Wisdom 10:10
 Chrys C. Caragounis, “Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven,” Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Joel Green, Scot McKnight, I Howard Marshall, eds. (Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 1992), p. 417.
7 Michael Lattke, “On the Jewish Background of the Synoptic Concept ‘The Kingdom of God,’” in the Kingdom of God, Bruce Chilton, ed. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984), pp. 72-91.
 Jacob Neusner, William Green, and E. Frerichs, eds., Judaisms and Their Messiahs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987).
 J. Jeremias, New Testament Theology, pp. 32-34 Bruce Chilton, Pure Kingdom: Jesus’ Vision of God. Studying the Historical Jesus (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1996), pp. 56-101,
 Hopkins C.H., Walter Rauschenbusch and the Brotherhood of the Kingdom»: Church Hist 7/2 (1938) 138-155
 Nelson W.D., the Kingdom of God and Walter Rauschenbusch. A synthesis of personal salvation and social transformation (Thesis D. Min., Wesley Theological Seminary1989, pp. 96).
 Dorrien G.J., Thy Kingdom Come: the Making of American Liberal Theology. II: 2003, pp. xiii-666: p. 21-72 (chap. 2).
Musser D.W. - Price J.L., History and the Kingdom of God: in Idd., Tillich (Abingdon Pillars of Theology), Nashville TN: Abingdon 2010, pp. xiii-95: p. 39-50 (chap. 7). [History)
 Nordgreen O.E., The Four Kingdoms in the Book of Daniel Reconsidered : in electronic resource: <http://folk.uio.no/otton/Daniel1.htm>.
 Motyer A., Christ as fulfillment: The themes of King and kingdom»: in Id., Look to the Rock. An Old Testament Background to Our Understanding of Christ, Leicester, U.K.: Intervarsity 1996, pp. 255: p. 39-62 (chap. 2) / Grand Rapids MI: Kregel 2004.
 Klaus R.L., A Survey of the Theology of the Kingdom of God : pp. 69 in electronic resource: <http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:3siYnnXABXIJ:ivgrad.stanford.edu/media/2007/lg/kog_theology>.
 Bruce Chilton, God in Strength: Jesus’ Announcement of the Kingdom. Studiem zum Neuen Testament und seiner Umwelt 1 (Freistadt: Plchl, 1979).p 102-105
 Dale Allison, Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet, pp. 141-43,
 Norman Perrin, The Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus, pp. 201-06; George Ladd, The Presence of the Future, pp. 278-304, and Scot McKnight, A New Vision for Israel, pp. 156-237.
 Mark Saucy, The Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus in 20th Century Theology (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1997), pp. 342-47.
 Mark Saucy, The Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus in 20th Century Theology (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1997), pp. 342-47.
 George Ladd, Theology of the New Testament. Revised ed. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1993 revision of 1974 ed.), p. 450.
 George Caird, New Testament Theology. Larry Hurst, ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), pp. 131-32
see Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998).p 68
 Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998).
 Dorrien G.J., Thy Kingdom Come: the Making of American Liberal Theology. II: 2003, pp. xiii-666: p. 21-72 (chap. 2).
 Musser D.W. - Price J.L., History and the Kingdom of God: in Idd. Tillich (Abingdon Pillars of Theology), Nashville TN: Abingdon 2010, pp. xiii-95: p. 39-50 (chap. 7). [History
 In Pauline terms, this is expressed in terms of the work of God’s grace in the key mission passage of Titus