Topic: Academic Level: College
Referencing style: Turabian Number of pages: 7
Number of sources: 7
Understandingthe kingdom of God is an undertaking that requires cautiousness. Itimplores us to comprehend two aspects i.e. Jesus’ teachings and theGospel through His teachings. Therefore, this paper will dwell on thedevelopment of God as King through the conception of the Kingdom ofGod and the Messiah in the Old Testament. It will further developunderstanding through the Messianic hope entailed in theIntertestamental years. The revelation of the Messianic hope and theKingdom of God throughout the life, death, and resurrection of Jesuswill also help to understand this topic. Moreover, the paper willlook to discuss the Kingdom of God and the Church as entailed in theNew Testament Revelation and epistles. This comprehensive study ofthe Intertestamental and scripture writings will look to unify theKingdom of God ideology with the aspect of the Messiah.
Backgroundof the concept of the Kingdom
Thesentiment "kingdom of God" is not as such visible in theOld Testament. In many instances, earthly kingdoms are mentioned asconcordances illustrate. Moreover, the books of Daniel 4:3, 34, andPsalms 103:19, 145:11-13, “thy kingdom” or "his kingdom’’as exalting worship are utilized. Therefore, it cannot be said theterm is not cited up until the New Testament. Due to the infrequentuse of the statement within the Old Testament, it can be justifiedthat Jesus gave it a new connotation1.Moreover, it can be deemed as a product of Jesus’ thoughts since itis most common in the Gospel books. Nevertheless, with the fewmentioning of the term in the Old Testament, the fundamentals areembedded within it. In other words, though the Old Testamentscriptures mention the Kingdom of God in few instances, it forms thebedrock of the term. The concept is deeply rooted in the historicalperception of the Bible that is moving forward under the leadershipof God. The covenant between God and the Israelites that is dominantin the Old Testament triggers the concept of the kingdom. During theexodus period, Moses molded the tribal people to form a nation thatwas morally conscious of God’s commands. Nevertheless, even withMoses’ efforts, it was God’s righteous and sovereign leadershipthat unified the people. Even after David was elected as King, Godremained the sovereign leader. As entailed in Isaiah 44:6 “Thussays the Lord, the King of Israel,” the Israelites moved fromhenotheism to monotheism trusting the outright ruler2.
Thefoundation of the Kingdom of God is also evident in the book ofPsalms 99:1-4 that state, “The Lord is King, let everyone tremble.”The book emphasizes on the outright leader’s reign over all Hispeople. He is the mightier King who establishes fairness,righteousness, and justice. These sentiments display God’s ruleover His people reigning in righteousness and holiness. However, thefailings of David’s heirs and subsequent conquering of theIsraelites by foreign nations instigated the Messianic hope3.There was hope that an heir of David will rise to restore therighteous kingdom. Because of the godless ways among the Israelitesand the promise given to David, it was essential for a righteousKingdom under the rule of God to be manifested on earth. In thatregard, God through His prophets envisioned a time when He would rulein person through the Messiah an emblem of the new era.
TheKingdom of God and the Messiah in the Intertestamental Era
Manyversions and portrayals of the Messiah arose during theIntertestamental period. Opinions varied as people had differentpictures about the Messiah. As entailed in the Old Testamentprophecies, the Messiah would rule eternally on the throne of David.As evidenced in Isaiah 52:13-53:12, the Messiah will also undergosuffering and death4.There was a notion of two Messiahs, one as the son of David and theother will be Joseph’s. According to the Qumran society, createdthe idea of two Messiahs i.e. one would be priestly and the otherDavidic. This community deemed themselves as the purest Priesthoodthan Jerusalem. As entailed in the Septuagint in Songs of Solomon 17,a Messianic figure will come to restore the Jewish people as well asJerusalem. During this period, God’s people experienced variouschallenges including spiritual degradation. They were ruled by thePersians, Greeks, Egyptians, Syrians, Maccabees, and the Romans5.All these eras introduced different cultures including Hellenizationthat contributed to the people’s understanding of the Messiah.
Thefour main factions in Judaism i.e. Sadducees, Zealots, Pharisees, andEssenes, developed a deluge of perceptions about the Messiah. Somebelieved He would deliver them from the heavily guarded Roman rule,taking them back to their former authoritative power of all nations.Some factions even taught that the Messiah would be like anapocalyptic power of catastrophic magnitudes which would entirelyextinguish the realms directives to usher in a supreme utopiacontrolled directly by God. Other philosophies encompassed the notionthat the Messiah would come as a king, others priest, while somefused the ideas and taught there would be two of them though withdistinct characters to fit all categories6.Evidently, various groups gave diverse reactions to the query ofmessianic personality centered on their worldly perceptions that hadstartling disparities despite the fact that all of them shared amutual starting point i.e. the Hebrew Bible. A common problem duringthis Hellenistic period involved interpretation. Though all groupsshared a common source, they differed considerably in interpretation.This issue blocked a joined Jewish description of the Messiah. Thefluidity of the ideologies entailed in the Bible confused majority ofthe Jews, and it was worsened by the dubious interpretations from thedifferent factions.
Jesus’teaching on the Kingdom of God
Afterthe 400 years of silence from God, the defining moment was instigatedby John the Baptist. In the book of Mathew 3:2, John implores thepeople to repent since the Kingdom of heaven was at hand. It markedthe return of God’s voice to the His people. Scholars of the Bibleagree that Jesus` central message was the Kingdom of God. Asmentioned in the gospel of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, Jesus went aboutpreaching the ministry and the Kingdom of God. In Luke 4:43, Jesusstates that this was His principal purpose. The book of Mark 1:13-14,and Matthew 4:23, unanimously suggest that the Kingdom of God was thecentral purpose of Jesus on this earth. Nevertheless, there isminimal agreement on how the kingdom should be described.
InHis teachings, Jesus related to the Kingdom of God. He stated to thePharisees that He was indeed the Kingdom. In Luke 17:21, Jesus spoketo the Pharisees that “God’s Kingdom is amongst you.” GraemeGoldsworthy, an Australian Anglican theologian, stated that Jesusexemplifies the Kingdom theme of God’s people under His rule. Jesusis described as both the righteous resident as well as faithful rulerof the Kingdom. Jesus also demonstrated the kingdom while teachingthe people. In His works, He displayed the power of the kingdom aswell as the authority over darkness. As exemplified in Luke 11:20,“If I can cast out demons through God’s power, then surely Hiskingdom is upon you.” Apart from declaring the kingdom insentiments, Jesus also illustrates the kingdom through His works.
TheJewish understanding of the Messiah was hugely affected by thesociopolitical circumstances. Following through the Jewish history,the story of the Messiah began during King David’s era. However,the division of Israel resulted in turbulent political situationsthat climaxed in the apocalyptic Son of Man imagery. Though theinterpretations in Judea comprehended the vitality of a Godlyappointed king, it was difficult to understand with the subjection ofpagan foreigners. These socio-political occurrences impactedimmensely on how the Jews perceived the Messiah. In that regard, whenhe was administering to the people, some rebelled against His word7.They thought that Jesus would come to redeem their realm. He wassupposed to be a military conqueror who would rescue them from theirenemies. However, in John 18:36, Jesus states that His kingdom wasnot within this world. He transforms the kingdom to illustrate thatit was a liberating mission, cosmic in scope, and holistic in nature.Jesus teachings and the establishment of the kingdom continuesthrough his death and resurrection. By dying and resurrecting, Jesushad redeemed the kingdom of God for us. He managed to defeat death,sin, and Satan. As entailed in Colossians 2:14-15, Jesus overcame theworld, devil, and flesh by defeating darkness. Through the cross,Jesus proved that he was the monarch of the reestablished kingdom. Asexemplified in the book of Acts 1:6, Jesus accomplishes His earthlyministry by illuminating the Kingdom. Jesus also establishes thekingdom as typified in the second coming. As entailed in His secondcoming i.e. Revelation 19:16, the body of Jesus will be ascribed as“King of kings and Lord of lords.” His second coming emulates avictorious warrior who comes to finalize the victory. He places allthe enemies at His feet before launching a novel creation under arighteous kingdom8.As such, if God’s kingdom was focal to the ministry and life ofJesus, it remains vital to our ethics and theology today.
Distinctionsbetween the concepts of the church and kingdom
Thescholarly articles differ in the understanding of the Kingdom. Forinstance, some churches believe that heaven is similar to God’skingdom. Some equate the institutional church to the kingdom so thatthe sentiment “Kingdom work” tends to mean “church work.”Liberal Christians link social reform to God’s kingdom whilePietists find God’s kingdom within their hearts and link it to thespiritual life. Another section believes that God’s kingdom remainsa future aspect that will be founded for the Jewish people in the1000 year of Jesus’ rule.
Throughthe reinterpretations of the Word to make it applicable to theinstitutions i.e. the government and church, human was described as aphysical being, born in sin, and needed redemption. The redemptionwas then afforded through the church. On the other hand, Jesus is thespiritual being who came as a human to redeem us from wickedness andsin. Concerning the subject as to which mode of rational is accurate,there is no denying the assertions of the 1st-century Christ’sfollowers. As a matter of fact, only the Sadducees perceived humansas physical beings, instead of an existing spiritual soul abiding inthe physical state. Hence, when the Roman Church tried to eradicateJesus’ teachings from this foundational concept, many doctrineswere developed. As a result, many church figures were condemned andreplaced by a new generation of theologians. In the process, the realfocus of the gospel was altered so that the church became similar tothis world. It was then manifested to what the opponents termed asSatan’s Synagogue (Revelation 2:9). Consequently, the covenantbetween God and the Roman Church no longer existed.
Theconcept of the Messiah and the Kingdom of God
Theform of God’s Kingdom is a society of love. The community is forgedvia the inadequacy of our current state. All the aspects of thekingdom and its glory will be revealed one day. The Messiah died todestroy our sins and connect us to the heavenly kingdom. In the NewTestament, Jesus prepared us for the everlasting kingdom that wasmentioned by the prophets in the Old Testament. Therefore, presently,we must live as members of one society, sharing the struggles andwonders to hasten His second coming9.The concept of the Messiah and God’s Kingdom have been manifesteddifferently throughout the human history thus radiating its heavenlyreality10.
TheBible clearly reveals God’s design of the Kingdom. He reveals theshape, formation, and patterns to draw us closer to it. Additionally,the entire history reveals the dawning of the new era of the kingdomthat is coming with glory. As such, it is imperative for theChristian theology to comprehend God’s kingdom as it is the coreunifying theme of the scriptures.
Barrick, William D. "The Kingdom of God in the Old Testament." 2012: 173-192.
Coulter, Fred R. "Paul’s Epistles and the Seven Churches." 2011: 1-12.
Emslie, Robert. "The Kingdom of God and the Messianic Hope." 2014.
Naugle, David. "Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God." Christian Worldview Journal, 2010.
Rushdoony, Mark R. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God. 2016. http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/the-gospel-of-the-kingdom-of-god/ (accessed September 30, 2016).
Rydelnik, Michael. The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? B&H Publishing Group, 2010.
Schreiner, Thomas R. The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments. Baker Publishing Group, 2013.
1 Barrick, William D. "The Kingdom of God in the Old Testament." 2012: 173-192.
2 Emslie, Robert. "The Kingdom of God and the Messianic Hope." 2014.
3 Schreiner, Thomas R. The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments. Baker Publishing Group, 2013.
4 Rydelnik, Michael. The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? B&H Publishing Group, 2010.
5 Emslie, Robert. "The Kingdom of God and the Messianic Hope." 2014.
6 Rushdoony, Mark R. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God. 2016. http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/the-gospel-of-the-kingdom-of-god/ (accessed September 30, 2016).
7 Naugle, David. "Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God." Christian Worldview Journal, 2010.
8 Naugle, David. "Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God." Christian Worldview Journal, 2010.
9 Emslie, Robert. "The Kingdom of God and the Messianic Hope." 2014.
10 Coulter, Fred R. "Paul’s Epistles and the Seven Churches." 2011: 1-12.