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Topic 8 Kingdom of God A. A.Terminology 1. 1.The central motif in Jesus’ teaching. a. a.Frequency: 61x in Synoptics (Mk., Q, M, L). b. b.Infrequent in.

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Presentation on theme: "Topic 8 Kingdom of God A. A.Terminology 1. 1.The central motif in Jesus’ teaching. a. a.Frequency: 61x in Synoptics (Mk., Q, M, L). b. b.Infrequent in."— Presentation transcript:

1 Topic 8 Kingdom of God A. A.Terminology 1. 1.The central motif in Jesus’ teaching. a. a.Frequency: 61x in Synoptics (Mk., Q, M, L). b. b.Infrequent in rest of NT and in Judaism (“dissimilarity”). c. c.Synoptic summaries ( Mk. 1:14-15; Mt. 4:23; 9:35; Lk. 4:43; 8:1 ). d. d.Prominent theme in parables (“The kingdom of God is like…”) “Kingdom of heaven” = “kingdom of God.” a. a.“Kingdom of heaven” used only in Matt. (32 out of 37x). b. b.Usually changes “k. of God” in Mk. or Q to “k. of heaven.” c. c.Reflects Jewish tendency to avoid direct reference to “God.” 3. 3.“Kingdom” not spatial but dynamic. a. a.Malkut (Hebrew); basileia (Greek). b. b.Not so much a place but an activity (the king’s reign). c. c.“Kingdom of God” primarily = “God’s kingly rule/reign.” d. d.Does not exclude physical image – gospels speak of “entering the kingdom” = God’s new world.

2 B. B.Kingdom of God in Judaism 1. 1.OT: King by virtue of Creation and Covenant. a. a.Rightfully King of Creation, though nations have turned away. b. b.King of Israel to extent Israel submits to Torah (puts on “the yoke of the kingdom of God” = submission to Torah) Judaism: k. of God becomes primarily an eschatological hope. a. a.“God’s final reign when he intervenes to destroy evil and set things right.” 1) 1)Present age: God’s reign opposed by Satan and his agents. 2) 2)Age to come: God’s reign fully manifested. b. b.The Kaddish (synagogue prayer): “May he establish his kingdom during your life, and during your days, and during the life of all the house of Israel.” (Cf. Lord’s Prayer) c. c.The Eighteen Benedictions (synagogue liturgy): “Bring back our judges as at first, and our rulers as at aforetimes, and be thou King over us, O Lord, thou alone.” 3. 3.Jesus announced arrival of long-awaited kingdom. a. a.Eschatological or not? b. b.Present or future?

3 C.Kingdom of God as Future/Eschatological 1. 1.Synoptic summaries (# 9 Mk. 1:15 par.) a. a.“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mk. 1:15). b. b.“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Mt. 4:17). c. c.Nearness of future kingdom lends urgency to repentance Lord’s Prayer (# 30 Mt. 6:10 = Lk. 11:2) a. a.“Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as in heaven.” b. b.Like Kaddish, prays for eschatological sovereignty of God Sayings associating Kingdom with final judgment. a. a.# 131 Mk. 9:43-48 par. – Entrance requires radical repentance. 1) 1)“If your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out” (radical repentance). 2) 2)“It is better…to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell” (judgment determines fate: kingdom of God or hell). b. b.# 42 Mt. 7:21-23 par. – Entrance requires radical obedience. 1) 1)“Not everyone…shall enter the kingdom of heaven but the one who does the will of my Father…” 2) 2)“On that day (judgment day)…I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.” c. c.Many parables have theme of final judgment (Weeds and Wheat; Fishnet; Marriage Feast; Sheep and Goats).

4 C.Kingdom as Future/Eschatological – cont Sayings associating Kingdom with eschatological feast of salvation (“Messianic Banquet”) a. a.# 165 Mt. 8:11-12 par. – “…many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven…” b. b.# 236 Mk. 14:25 par. – “…I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 5. 5.Sayings about a coming Son of Man to pronounce judgment and establish Kingdom a. a.# 123 Mk. 8:38-9:1 par. – “Those who are ashamed of me…of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in glory…There are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” b. b.# 219 Mk. 13:26-27 par. – “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels and gather his elect…”

5 C.Kingdom as Future/Eschatological – cont Conclusion a. a.Jesus announces the eschatological Kingdom of God coming in near future. b. b.It is urgent to repent, live right, and be prepared to enter. c. c.Burden of proof is on those who claim Jesus taught a non- eschatological Kingdom (Borg, Crossan, etc.).

6 D.Kingdom of God as Already Present 1. 1.# 149 Lk. 11:20 par. Mt. 12:28 – Explanation of exorcisms a. a.“If it is by God’s finger that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” b. b.In Jesus’ healings God’s sovereignty is being restored # 176 Mt. 11:12-13 par. Lk. 16:16 – Words about John a. a.(Since John) “the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force” (Lk.: “everyone enters it violently”). b. b.John marks “shift of the ages;” time of fulfillment has come; already people are entering Kingdom # 183 Lk. 17:20-21 – “The kingdom of God is in your midst.” a. a.Liberal theologians (mis)translated entos as “within you,” i.e., a non-eschatological, spiritual rule of God in hearts of men. b. b.Not “within” but “among” – Kingdom is present in Jesus’ activity, if only you have eyes of faith to see it. c. c.“Not coming with observable signs” – rejects apocalyptic speculation (cosmic signs, etc.); discerned by faith.

7 D.Kingdom of God as Already Present – cont # 64 Mt. 11:2-6 par. – Reply to John’s question a. a.“Go tell John what you see and hear: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them” (cf. Isa. 29:18-19; 35:5-7; 61:1-2). b. b.Jeremias: “Jesus’ eschatological cry of joy;” fulfillment of prophetic hope for age of salvation is dawning # 10 Lk. 4:16-21 – “Inaugural sermon” in Nazareth a. a.Reads Isa. 61:1-2 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” b. b.Declares: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” c. c.Messianic age has arrived. 1) 1)Couched in “Jubilee” imagery: release of debt-slaves and return of forfeited land in the 50 th year (Lev. 25). 2) 2)Esp. relevant to Palestinian conditions of poverty, debt, and absentee landlordism.

8 D.Kingdom of God as Already Present – cont # 142 Lk. 10:23-24 par. – Blessing of disciples a. a.“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see…” b. b.What the prophets longed for, the disciples have in their experience Many parables depict something decisively new present in Jesus’ ministry. a. a.#54 Mk. 2:21-23 par. – Parables of New Cloth and New Wine 1) 1)Can’t patch old garment with new cloth or put new wine in old wineskins. 2) 2)Something new has come which does not fit old patterns or expectations. b. b.Elsewhere – imagery of harvest, feasting, and light Conclusion a. a.Many sayings imply that Kingdom of God is already dawning in Jesus’ ministry. b. b.Kingdom of God can already be experienced through proper response to Jesus.

9 E. E.Main lines of interpretation 1. 1.The “non-eschatological” school – Liberal lives a. a.Jesus used language of eschatology (husk), but heart of his teaching was an “inward moral ethic” (kernel). b. b.Kingdom is inward reign of God in hearts of people. c. c.An ethical ideal toward which we strive through human effort, work of Church, and advance of Christian (European) culture School of “thoroughgoing (consistent) eschatology” – A. Schweitzer a. a.Eschatology is not the husk but the kernel. b. b.Jesus taught an imminent, apocalyptic kingdom; urgent to repent. c. c.Ethical demands are conditions for entering, an emergency “interim ethic” applicable to brief period before K. comes. d. d.“Present” texts explained as meaning that K. is so near that its effects are felt aforetime, or that Jesus prophetically “sees” it in advance. e. e.By 1930, most scholars agreed on some form of eschatological view.

10 E. E.Main lines of interpretation – cont The school of “realized eschatology” – C. H. Dodd a. a.Kingdom has arrived in Jesus’ ministry; eschatology has been “realized” (i.e., experienced); eschaton has come. b. b.Jesus looked for no future critical events; the eschatological crisis is present in his ministry (healing, preaching, passion, resur.). c. c.“The eschaton has moved from the future to the present, from the sphere of expectation into that of realized experience…In the ministry of Jesus Himself the divine power is released in effective conflict with evil…(Kingdom of God) represents the ministry of Jesus as ‘realized eschatology,’ that is to say, as the impact upon this world of the ‘powers of the world to come’ in a series of events, unprecedented and unrepeatable, now in actual process” (Dodd, Parables of the Kingdom, pp ). d. d.“Future” texts are explained away – “final judgment” is graphic depiction of judgment taking place now. e. e.Dodd has been influential in calling attention to the “present” motif in Jesus’ teaching on K. but not in his total rejection of the “future” element.

11 E. E.Main lines of interpretation – cont The school of “inaugurated eschatology” – Jeremias, et al. a. a.Jesus taught Kingdom is both present and future – became mainstream consensus for most of 20 th cent. b. b.Kingdom has already arrived, but not yet in its fullness – power of evil is broken but not yet eliminated. c. c.Jeremias: “eschatology in the process of realization.” d. d.Cullmann: “D-Day” (decisive battle) has come; “V-Day” (final victory) still lies in future. e. e.Bultmann: future Kingdom impinges on present by compelling a decision (“the future determines the present”) Recent trends a. a.Jesus Seminar: non-eschatological interpretation. 1) 1)Attributes apocalyptic texts to later tradition. 2) 2)Divides Q into earlier (wisdom) and later (apocalyptic) layers. b. b.Third Quest: emphasizes future aspect. 1) 1)Sanders: Jesus expected an imminent K of G established by intervention of God; elimination of evil; building of a new Temple; restoration of Israel, ruled by Jesus and disciples. 2) 2)Did not expect the end of the time-space universe.

12 F. F.Characteristics of the Kingdom 1. 1.Present “hiddenness” of the Kingdom. a. a.It takes eyes of faith to see K of G in Jesus’ activity (“ whoever has ears to hear, let them hear ”). 1) 1)Kingdom is not yet complete. 2) 2)It comes in unexpected ways (not in military might or cosmic events but in servant ministry). b. b.“Parables of contrast” (see Topic 7). 1) 1)Mustard Seed (# 97 Mk. 4:30-32 par.). 2) 2)Leaven (# 98 Mt. 13:33 par.). 3) 3)Sower (# 90 Mk. 4:1-9 par.) Kingdom comes not by human effort but miraculously, by power of God. a. a.Parable of Seed Growing Secretly (# 95 Mk. 4:26-29). 1) 1)Emphasizes not natural process of growth but miraculous contrast between “dead” seed and new life/harvest. 2) 2)May answer demands for Jesus to act more decisively – zap sinners or rally a revolt: “No, we will plant seed and wait for God.” b. b.This does not rule out human involvement – seeds must be planted and watered, but God gives the growth (1 Cor. 3:6).

13 F. F.Characteristics of the Kingdom – cont Kingdom demands a response. a. a.Repent – “turn around” from sin towards God. b. b.Embrace ethic which embodies the values of the Kingdom Kingdom offers salvation or judgment, depending on response. a. a.Repent or perish (# 162 Lk. 13:1-5). 1) 1)Assumption that disaster/suffering is evidence of extraordinary sinfulness is false. 2) 2)All are sinful and must repent to avoid destruction (cf. OT prophets preaching doom of nation unless it repents). b. b.Parable of Barren Fig Tree (# 162 Lk. 13:6-9). 1) 1)Owner orders tree cut down; gardener begs for one-year reprieve. 2) 2)Jesus’ ministry involves a one-time blanket pardon for those who will embrace it before it is too late Kingdom is not “political” but has political implications. a. a.Not plotting to revolt and take over government. b. b.Kingdom does involve restructuring social order according to God’s values. c. c.“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth…” d. d.Kingdom of God contradicts/condemns kingdom of Caesar/ Herod.


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