1999 James A. Fowler
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KINGDOM OF GOD
I. Representative Biblical references
A. Old Testament
are no direct references to the "kingdom of God" in
are general references to God's rule (sovereignty)
103:19 - "His sovereignty rules over all"
145:11,13 - "Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom"
examples of indirect references to the "kingdom of God"
Sam. 7:12,13,16 - "I will establish His kingdom...forever"
Chron. 17:11,14 - "I will establish His kingdom...forever"
22:28 - "the kingdom is the Lord's"
9:7 - "On the throne of David and over His kingdom..."
7:18 - "the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom"
B. New Testament
1:15 - "the kingdom of God is at hand"
17:20,21 - "the kingdom of God is not coming with signs
to be observed... behold, the kingdom
of God is in your midst"
3:3 - unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of
14:17 - "the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and
joy in the Holy Spirit"
3:2; 4:17 - "the kingdom of heaven is at hand"
5:3,10 - "theirs is the kingdom of heaven"
5:19,20 - "enter the kingdom of heaven"
5:5 - "inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God"
1:13 - "the kingdom of His beloved Son"
Pet. 1:11 - "eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus
6:33 - "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness..."
18:36 - "My kingdom is not of this world/realm"
20:25 - "went about preaching the kingdom"
II. Words employed in original Biblical languages
A. Hebrew (Old Testament)
= "to reign, to rule"
= "kingdom" (power to reign, rather than locality)
B. Greek (New Testament)
= "to reign, to rule"
= "kingdom" (reign, rather than realm)
III. Old Testament background for understanding Messianic
King and kingdom
A. God's intent was for Theocratic
reign in lives of His people, individually and collectively.
B. Israelites rebelliously demanded a
physically personified King-figure - Deut. 17:14-18;
C. Prophets prophesied of Messianic King
and kingdom - (cf. I,A,2)
D. Israelites developed exclusivistic,
nationalistic, racist and religious conceptions of physical,
and political kingdom, and thus their Messianic expectations
E. Jewish peoples rejected Jesus as Messianic
King - Matt. 8:12; 21:43
IV. New Covenant understanding of the "kingdom of
A. Christological basis of kingdom
Christ is King - Mk. 15:26,32; Jn. 18:37; I Tim. 6:15
Kingdom is the ontological reign of the King.
referred to autobasileia - "the kingdom of Himself"
B. Spiritual basis of kingdom
from physical kingdom - Jn. 18:36,37; Rev. 11:15
with diabolic spiritual reign
demonic - Matt. 12:26,28,29; Lk. 10:9; 11:20-26
domain of darkness - Col. 1:13; Acts 26:18; Rev. 16:10
with spiritual realities
spiritual life - Mk. 9:47/Matt. 18:9
Holy Spirit - Matt. 12:28; Rom. 14:17
spiritual fellowship - Mk. 14:25; Lk. 22:30
salvation - Rev. 12:10
righteousness - Matt. 5:20; 6:33
C. Functional basis of kingdom
kingdom is the dynamic function of the King Jesus as He reigns
as Lord in the lives of His
people (individually and collectively).
grace-dynamic of God causes the kingdom to function.
kingdom involves the functional Lordship of Jesus Christ.
D. Universal basis of kingdom
reign of Christ is for all peoples
Not just for people of Jewish nation, race or religion
reign of Christ is intended for all places
Not just a localized place, realm or sphere
Not just up in heaven - Matt. 6:10
E. Eternal basis of kingdom
kingdom is eschatological
Pertains to "last things"
Not necessarily pertaining primarily to future things
kingdom is an eternal continuum
Not just a particular interval of time, ex. millennium
Already - Matt. 6:33; 11:11; 12:28; 21:31: 23:13; Mk. 10:15;
12:34; Lk. 17:20,21;
14:17; Col. 1:13
Not yet - I Cor. 15:24; Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:5; II Tim. 4:1,18
F. Responsible participation in kingdom
- receptivity of His activity - Matt. 18:3; Mk. 10:15; Jn. 3:3
- Matt. 3:2; 4:17
- II Thess. 1:5,8
Christ is the dynamic of the fulfillment of His own demands.
as kings - I Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10
with Christ - Rom. 5:10,17; I Cor. 4:8; Eph. 2:6; Rev. 20:4-6
V. Inadequate theological interpretations of the kingdom
A. Kingdom = Church, invisible or
B. Kingdom = realm subsequent to end
C. Kingdom = Jewish theocracy in temporal
D. Kingdom = abstract, ethereal, mystical
or ideal goal or objective
E. Kingdom = progressive Christian realization
F. Kingdom = ethical and moral submission
to dictate of King
G. Kingdom = power of an individual's