The following paper on the Kingdom of God is from: TH 4000 – Introduction to Theology
Kingdom of God Paper
Ohio Christian University
TH 4000 – Introduction to Theology
Professor Karl Wolfe
John 3:5 (NIV) states, Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” The purpose of this paper is to explore exactly what we mean when referring to “the kingdom of God?” Powell states, “In Jesus Christ God came into the world to create fellowship in a new act of creation and redemption. The Kingdom of God is this new creation.” (Powell, 175) Wayne Grudem states, “The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King.” (Grudem, p.1067)
In Luke 13:18-24 Jesus uses two parables which can help enable us to understand how the Kingdom of God operates, “Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” Again He asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” IVP New Testament commentary notes in reference to these parables states, “Both mustard seed and yeast are very small in the beginning but produce something much larger. The kingdom as described in the parables is a presence that begins almost invisibly yet eventually comes to dominate.” (Bock- IVP Commentary, 1994)
The kingdom of God stands in stark contrast to the kingdom the Jews expected God to establish with the coming Messiah. The miracles Jesus performed were in part an announcement of the kingdom of God and pointed toward the fact that the kingdom of God had arrived in fulfillment of Isaiah 61. Powell states, “Jesus provided no incontrovertible signs attesting the Kingdom’s reality, except the miracles, which some thought were rooted in demonic power…The kingdom was not a place that could be identified; it was instead found wherever God’s power was manifested.” (Powell, p.183) Because of the hidden nature of the kingdom of God it required a response of obedient belief in the life and work of Jesus Christ to come to the understanding of the reality of the kingdom.
Carl Henry, 1992, in his article, “Reflections on the Kingdom of God” published in the Journal of the Evangelical Society states:
The reign of Christ is not simply one reign alongside others, whether that of Alexander the Great or of Caesar. It is the truly incomparable kingdom that transcends all others…The kingdom of God is the fulfillment and finale toward which all God’s ways and works point. It is the only kingdom that decisively attests that life is more ultimate than death, that mercy can outreach the arenas of sin and guilt, and that the sphere of God is greater than the realms of hell. (p.41)
The kingdom of God is the work of the Holy Trinity in power and revelation but likewise was hidden from those who chose not to believe. Jesus states in one verse Matthew 12:28 (NIV) “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” This verse shows the work of the Holy Trinity through miracles. Returning to the verse stated at the beginning of this paper, John 3:5 (NIV), “Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” This verse also shows the work of the Holy Trinity which is necessary for entrance into the kingdom of God.
In Luke 17:20-21 (NIV) we read, “Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” Jesus tells us the Kingdom of God is within us, yet in Matthew 6:10 (NIV) Jesus teaches His disciples to pray “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” At this point some may wonder if the kingdom of God is here, within us then what is the point to praying for it to come soon?
Powell states, “The kingdom of God is both a present and a future reality…Because of its future dimension, the age of the Spirit although a reality present in the ministry of Jesus, has not fully replaced the world of sin.” (Powell, p.193) In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus tells the parable of the weeds and in Matthew 13:36-43 (NIV) Jesus explains the parable as follows, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
The contrast between the present reality of the kingdom of God and the future reality of the kingdom of God is made clear to us in this parable. God’s kingdom is here and now for all who choose to believe through the grace of God by faith through the new birth experience as examined in John 3:5. The kingdom of God is His eternal kingdom which exists in its present state in the hearts of His people as examined in Luke 17:21. Yet, the full reality of God’s kingdom awaits the restoration of all things, a new heaven and a new earth as described in Revelation 11:15 (NIV) “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
Bock, D.L. (1994) Luke IVP New Testament Commentaries. Retrieved on July 18th 2011 from: http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Luke/Know-Time-Israel-Turns-Away
Grudem, W. (1994). Systematic Theology: an introduction to Biblical doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI; Zondervan
Henry, C. (March, 1992) Reflections on the Kingdom of God. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. Retrieved on July 18th, 2011 from: http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/35/35-1/JETS_35-1_39-49_Henry.pdf
Powell, S. (2008). Discovering our Christian faith: an introduction to theology. Beacon Hill Press: Kansas City.