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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Thy Kingdom come....

What is the Kingdom of God? Is it literal or figurative? Is it physical or spiritual? Where is it or where will it be and when? Is there a difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven and what about the Kingdom of Jesus? Who is or will be in it or them and when?

During His ministry on earth Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was at hand and that it was near. The book of Matthew and many others record Him as giving numerous parables to describe the Kingdom.

Wikipedia offers this information on the Kingdom of God. What is your understanding of the Kingdom?

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14 (KJV)

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28 Comments:

Blogger Gayla said...

Hi KC :)

Just wanted to pop in and say thanks for visiting my blog. Sorry I was sick on your first visit!

I don't think the Kingdom of God is figurative. Especially in light of the model prayer - Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

I think we are capable - even though we are sinful people - of practicing Kingdom living in this life. God has provided us with His word, in which He commands, exhorts and instructs us in godly living. Apart from His Holy Spirit, however, we can't accomplish it.

Good post!

9/19/2005 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Neal W. said...

Hey man! Good question. I think the Kingdom is both present and future ("on earth as it is in heaven"). Here today, we try to welcome back the rule of God and live by his values, but we've got a lot working against us...but eventually the Kingdom of God will real and full and permanent.

9/19/2005 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Gayla thanks for the return visit. I hope I’m correct in assuming you feel all better. ;-) The phrase “Kingdom living” is very interesting and I certainly agree that there can be no form or figure of the Kingdom of God without God!

Neal it is really good to see you posting and commenting again. ;-) Is it fair to equate “living by His values” to “Kingdom living”? I’m still considering the use of the word “real” in defining the Kingdom.

9/19/2005 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Bonhoeffer says (if my understanding is correct), that the kingdom of God is a coalition of the church and the government. The church is the aspect of the here and now. It is the movement of God upon this earth, the miraculous. The governement is the aspect of the worldliness that still remains. It has yet to be redeemed.

The church points us to the now and shows us what the Kingdom is like. The government forces us to look forward (looking at the church), awaiting the day when the kingdom (government) will be made new.

Oh, you did not ask for Bonhoeffer's opinion did you? You wanted mine...

9/20/2005 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam Bonhoeffer’s opinion is welcome here although I tend to disagree. Your opinion here, on the other hand, is required! ;-) (BTW you’ve got some great articles on both blogspot and xanga.)

9/20/2005 05:50:00 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

My understanding of the Kingdom is that it is literal, physical, in the future, and will be on this earth. It is a reference to the 1000 year reign of Christ on this earth, when we believers are going to be ruling and reigning with Christ. I don't know about the difference between the Kingdom of God and Heaven (if there is one); however I think there is a clear distinction between the GOSPEL of the Kingdom, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One is the good news that Christ is coming back to rule and reign; the other is the good news that Christ died on the cross as a payment for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day.
Good Questions though... I never really hear that much about the Kingdom.

9/20/2005 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Does a kingdom require a king or ruler or boss?

I think the Kingdom of God is where God in three persons is King.
I think if you confess Jesus as Lord(King) & believe in your heart that God(King) raised Him from the dead then you will be saved or transferred into His Kingdom by the Holy Spirit(King).

Hi kc, I am working on getting down to Birmingham soon and trying work it out where I have some time to go south to meet up for "coffee".

9/20/2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Oh by the way before Adam "King" gets any ideas, I wasn't talking about him. LOL
You may not be "King" Adam, but you are a blessing to the Kingdom.

9/20/2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kristi we have very similar beliefs but I have a few additional suspicions of a spiritual realm that seem to flow into what others recognize as the Kingdom as well. I am fascinated with your distinction in the Gospel. Perhaps you could expound on this sometime? Maybe even a full Kristi Blog worth? ;-)

Kris you’ve touched on my suspicions in your comment. God is Spirit hence a spiritual Kingdom and Jesus is God resurrected from a physical death, hence a physical Kingdom. They come together on earth with Christ return. We are really looking forward to meeting with you!

Adam has already been appointed as the royal scriptural attorney. I know it is common for those in law to aspire to a higher place but King? (grin)

9/20/2005 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Really y'all. Despite my last name being 'king', I have no claim to royalty. Afterall, I am scottish, we are good for nothing but drinking...

About the kingdom. My main contention would be with that of Kristi's view. If we say that the kingdom is ONLY that of a future reign of Christ upon this earth, then we must of necessity ignore the repeated claims of Jesus that the kingdom is near and the kingdom is among you.

Speaking to the people around Him, He told them that the Kingdom of God has come to them (Luke 11:20).

Now then, why would He say the Kingdom has come to them when He really means it will not come until thousands of years after they die.

Likewise, in so arguing as you have you must of necessity ignore or either attempt to argue away the blatant claims of Jesus that there were some around Him that would not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom (Matt. 16:28).

I think you can draw from my questioning my view about this.

I would never say that the kingdom of God is not a literal thousand year reign of Christ upon this earth. I am not as foolish as to believe as the amils on this one.

Yet, neither would I say that the kingdom of God was not ushered in at the time of Christ upon this earth. I am not as foolish as the premils on this one.

That is why I believe the Kingdom to have both a here aspect and a there aspect. It is the here but not yet Kingdom to use an infamous phrase...

9/21/2005 05:24:00 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

I'm really not knowledgeable enough of this subject to be able to argue my point. I do need to say however, that I definitely believe in a spiritual kindom as evidenced by the fact that God is a spirit, and spiritual warfare that is so evident. So I don't believe that every time the Bible mentions Kingdom, that it refers to the 1000-yr. reign, but many times it does.

When Christ said, "There are some of you who won't taste death until you see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom", I always thought that referred to Peter, James, and John seeing Christ in His glory at the Mount of Transfiguration. But if someone can show me why that view is incorrect, I'll gladly listen.

As far as what Christ meant when he told people the kingdom of God had come to them (as Adam referenced), I don't know. I'm gonna have to do my homework!!

Can someone tell me what exactly is the "here" aspect of the kingdom?

9/21/2005 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam you’re not getting off that easy. There’s work to be done! There’s more to your thoughts on the Kingdom you’ve yet to share! ;-)

Kristi I really appreciate your honesty and I think if we all were so honest we would have to say that we too lack the knowledge to argue. I can’t imagine Jesus would have offered so many parables on this subject if it were easily understood. I only have suspicions to offer and very little understanding on this subject.

Like Kris I suspect that the Kingdom is where the King is and if the King abides in us then the Kingdom is here in us now. I think this might be the “here” aspect but I also believe that the spiritual Kingdom here now will be united in the physical Kingdom when Christ rules and reigns with a rod of iron. I am also willing to learn more.

9/21/2005 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

You know how David was annointed king, and yet he had to wait until Saul's time as king was up? David was officially king, but so was Saul. David could have said that his being king was here (he had been annointed and inaugerated), but also it was not yet (he had not officially taken the throne).

9/22/2005 02:27:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Good analogy Adam, thanks. Is that analogy inferred in the scripture too?

9/22/2005 04:09:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

This is very strange it seems, I have been reading both books of Samual this week and Adam brings up David & Saul...anyway I have been think about why God didn't just give David the throne sooner than He did and I came up with some ideas.

Why didn't David take the throne sooner?
1. God wasn't too happy about His people wanting a king to start with, so He left Saul king to show them what they got themselves into.

2. God still had work to do on David to prepare him for the throne.

3. The people would never freely accept David as King until Saul utterly failed or was dead.

4. All the above.

Just my thinking on it and as always just my opinion and is always open for debate.

Do not intend to change your subject here kc but did find it unsual that Adam would bring up David and Saul the same time I was studying them.

9/22/2005 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Okay, Kc, here are my thoughts; tell me what you think.

When Jesus was here on earth, His ministry was mostly to the Jews, correct? So, when He told all those parables about the Kingdom, and when He kept saying, "the Kingdom of God/Heaven is at hand", he was addressing the Israelites.

Now, I believe we should approach the Bible with a dispensational viewpoint. (meaning that we understand God has dealt with people throughout time based upon different set premises. for example, innocence, then guilt, conscience, human gov't, the law, etc)

God's dealings with the Jews began with Abraham and continued until Christ died on the cross. When Christ died, and 50 days later the Church Age began (also known as the Age of Grace), in effect, God punched the stopwatch for His dealing with the Jews, and began His plan of building the body of Christ, the church. It is not until believers are raptured up to heaven and the tribulation begins that God punches that stopwatch again and begins dealing with the Jews as His special people once again. (Now, I am not saying that Jews cannot get saved during the Church Age, or that God is ignoring them; I'm just saying that they are on "hold" as far as God's major plan in the world.) What I'm saying about the nation of Israel is clearly demonstrated with an in depth study of the prophecy in Daniel 9.

Now I said all that for this. When Jesus walked on this earth, and taught the Jews that the Kingdom was at hand, from God's perspective with the Jews it was. Christ died, then next for them is the tribulation and Boom--the Kingdom is here! The Jews never had any concept of the "church." God didn't reveal it to them.

I guess what I'm saying is, do you think Jesus had such an emphasis on the kingdom when He was here, because as far as the Jewish timetable is concerned, it is "at hand"? That is the next event where the Jews will play a major role.

I believe all the Kingdom teachings definitely have a secondary meaning for those of us in the church age--that "spiritual meaning" which has been referenced by several others of the King living inside of us; but the primary meaning was to the Jews about their next major role in God's timetable.

9/22/2005 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris I’m happy to have your thoughts on topic or off. You’ve got me reading the OT which is unusual without a NT provocation. Pechuer and Adam might have some helpful commentary on this subject.

Kristi I think with your perspective you’ve raised an excellent question. Is it possible to examine the parables and the Kingdom outside of a theological framework? I suspect your argument makes it clear that at the very least a full ontology of the Kingdom will result in some sort of supporting theology. Given that conclusion I would say your argument to the relevance of time works well within a dispensational framework.

9/22/2005 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger sophigirl said...

Sorry I'm coming late again for the discussion! However, can we talk about 2 different Gospels? That was something completely new to me and I don't want to jump to conclusions before I understand Kristi's point.

BTW, I completely agree with KC in thinking that it is VERY hard, if not impossible for us to discuss this issue outside of our theological framework (though the framework itself can be changed under the influence of the Holy Spirit and of the Scripture). With that, I openly state that I do not take a dispensational approach in reading the Bible. Maybe that's why I don't understand the concept of 2 different Gospels and need help with that.

9/22/2005 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

I will try to explain my distinction of the 2 gospels. First of all, we must understand that the word "gospel" means "good news". The word itself does not specify what that good news is. Most of us are probably very familiar with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the message of salvation. "...the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation." Rom. 1:16 "...the gospel...by which ye are saved...that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again." I Cor. 15:3-4.

There is also the gospel, or good news, of the Kingdom. This is the message that Christ is coming back to physically fulfil the Davidic Covenant by setting up a kingdom on earth, with a descendant of David (Jesus Christ) on the throne. (II Sam. 7:16) Jesus mentions this gospel in Matthew 24 when He's teaching the disciples about the end of the world. In verse 13, he says those who endure to the end of the tribulation will be saved--(saved to go into the Kingdom). And in verse 14, he goes on to say "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world..." So basically, the good news is that the Kingdom is coming--the tribulation will not go on forever. It will end.

That is the distinction I understand from Scripture between these 2 messages of Good News. Hope that helps

9/22/2005 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Alina I’m thankful for your thoughts anytime. I’m looking forward to hearing your perspective on this. (BTW great post on language!) ;-)

9/23/2005 03:11:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kristi, does one gospel apply to one specific group of people, and the other gospel another group? Or do they both apply to all people?

9/23/2005 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Adam, I would say that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for all people. It is the central theme of the Bible, preached from Genesis to Revelation.

The gospel of the kingdom would apply only to those people alive during the tribulation, since it is the message that the Kingdom is coming and the horrors of the tribulation will be over.

The people living during the tribulation will also need the gospel of Christ to be preached in order to be saved from their sins. The gospel of the kingdom is a message of salvation from the tribulation.

9/23/2005 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger sophigirl said...

Kristi,

Thank you for your clarification. I see now what you are talking about. I would suggest to you that these 2 Gospels are not really 2 separate messages, but 2 sides to the "big picture" of God's plan of redemption of the fallen world and therefore, one cannot be taken without the other. Here's my thought:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth in order to glorify Himself and so that those who live in His world might enjoy Him forever. Then, sin came into the world and corrupted God's creation (the questions of why this happened, who was the "responsible party", etc. are profitable to discuss, but it will take much time and couple of other posts, so for now I'm staying away from these) - man was alienated from God and the whole realm of creation was subjected to futility. Throughout the Old Testament (through different acts of redemption, through his prophets and through direct communication to such figures as,Adam &Eve, Abraham, David, etc.), God revealed His plan to redeem the fallen humanity and to restore the order of creation (where He is the ruler and king, and all is subjected to His authority). He was going to do it by sending the Messiah - the seed of woman, the offspring of David that was before David, His humble servant - to crush the serpent, to conquer sin and death, and to subject all His enemies to His rule. We know that this person, of whom "all prophets and writings" testify, is Jesus Christ.

In Himself, in His redemptive work, He reconciled humanity to Himself (and again, there is a question of limited vs. unlimited atointment that I am not going to discuss here). In the same act of redemption, He subjected His enemies to Himself and is now sitted at the right hand of God - the ruler of all. When Jesus on earth proclaimed the gospel fo the kingdom (and by the way, this proclamation did not stop with His ascention - in Act and in the epistles the term "gospel of the kingdom" is heavily used), he proclaimed this very thing - that the glorious plan of God's redemption is being fulfilled in His ministry. Granted, we don't see all things restored to the way it will be one day, but His work has already began by liberating His church (here I might infringe on other discussion going on KC's blog) from the dominion of darkness and by transporting us into the dominion of His great light (i.e., His kingom). We, as church, live under His authority and His kingship, and extend His presence into the world, thus extending His authority. This work will continue until His second coming. At that time He will also restore the material order of the universe to its rightful way. Thus, His kingdom is already present (within us, the church), but is not yet as it will be in the end (look at the parables of the hidden nature of the kingdom - the parable of a mustard seed, etc.)

Therefore, there are no 2 different Gospels - one to the Jews and one to Gentiles, but one Gospel of God's grace. (see Eph. 2 and 3)

9/23/2005 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Joel A. Patrick said...

I agree with Alina. The apostles were making much of Jesus throughout the book of Acts, and they did this by “preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ [the King]”

9/23/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

I’ve been gently criticized for riding the fence on Dispensationalism but I feel encouraged by the discussion here.

I do prefer to view time from the perspective of the Dispensationalist as opposed to a philosophical (humanistic or social) perspective. I find it aids in my understanding of much of the scripture to perceive time as progressing with His revelation. I agree that the same Gospel is given to all, however I also agree that the progression of revelation of the Gospel message has been divided in time.

The Gospel was given first to the Jews, but not revealed to them and “they received it not”. It will be revealed to the Jews and when Christ returns the Kingdom (spiritual and physical) will be established on earth. I do suspect that this event alone is not the completion of the Kingdom. I suspect that it will be complete in the new Heaven and new earth.

9/23/2005 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

BTW please, everyone feel free to infinge as needed! ;-)

9/23/2005 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I do have a further question for your Kristi. Is there any aspect at all of the kingdom that is now? Can we at all say that the kingdom of God is now? Or must we say that the kingdom of God will not be established until a future date?

9/23/2005 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

I want to be sure that everyone understands that I am not saying there are two different messages that save from sin. NO! If that were the case, I would be under the curse of Galatians 1:9--"If we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

Keep in mind the Gospel simply means "good news". Typically when we use the word, we are referring to the gosepl of grace that was given to Jews and Gentiles and Gentiles alike.

And yes, I agree, all the messages of "good news" in the Bible are not really separate messages, they are all different sides of the same big picture--redemption of man through Jesus Christ.

9/23/2005 12:59:00 PM  

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