These are the course notes for a lecture on the Synoptic Gospels.
5 The Kingdom of God
5.1 The Central Message of Jesus Mark 1:14-18
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:14-15
John the Baptist announced that the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2). Jesus takes this message forward. The Synoptic Gospels contain 76 different kingdom sayings, or 103, including the parallels:
5.2 Jewish Expectations
Although the phrase “kingdom of God” is rare in OT, the idea that God is King, Creator, Sovereign and reigning on high is everywhere declared and assumed.
The Kingdom is God’s awaited eschatological (end-time) rule; beginning with Israel, then universal; bringing an end to all evil. OT promises Isaiah 24:1-23; 52:1-10; Zechariah 14:9-20, Daniel 2:44. Promises to the exiles yet to be fulfilled giving the idea that Israel was still in exile. Prophecies concerning the Day or the Year of the Lord. ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ (Acts 1:6)
In the Inter-Testamental Period of Judaism (ITP) God’s kingdom is a hoped-for time of blessing: e.g. Assumption of Moses 10:1, Qumran
The Kaddish: Jewish daily prayer, begins: “Magnified and hallowed be his great name in the world … And may He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and in your days … quickly and soon.”
5.3 The Kingly Rule of God
The Gospels use three terms to express the idea of the kingdom of God: hē basileia tou theou (“the kingdom of God”), hē basileia tōn ouranōn (“the kingdom of [the] Heaven[s]”) and the absolute hē basileia (“the kingdom”). The primary meaning of the Hebrew maleḵûṭ (with synonyms), Aramaic malkû and Greek basileia is abstract and dynamic, that is, “sovereignty” or “royal rule.”
In Jesus’s teaching the Kingdom of God is “the awaited manifestation of God’s perfect reign” – a “tensive symbol” (Perrin) or banner phrase for “God’s end-time rule”. The “kingdom of heaven” is just a reverential circumlocution for a Jew to avoid using the name of God. There is NO difference in meaning between the two terms “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven”.
5.4 History of Understanding of “The Kingdom of God” – is it already or not yet?
5.4.1 Consistent eschatology – all in the future
5.4.2 Realised Eschatology – God’s reign has already come in Jesus’s ministry.
5.4.3 Inaugurated Eschatology Kingdom is both present and future
The Kingdom is breaking in. God’s kingly rule has begun in Jesus’s ministry, more will come through Jesus’s cross and resurrection, the kingdom will finally come at Jesus’s return, At the moment old and new age are side by side and we are living life in the overlap.
Jesus ———————-I————————————— NEW AGE
OLD AGE ————I———————- Day of the Lord
5.5 The Kingdom in the Teaching of Jesus – see Unit 6.
5.6 The Kingdom in Action – Unconditional Welcome and Table Fellowship – see Unit 9.
5.7 The Kingdom in Action – Forgiveness of Sins Mark 2:1-12, Matthew 1:21
5.8 The Kingdom in Action – Miracles
5.8.1 The function of miracles Matthew 12:38-42
5.8.3 Nature miracles
5.8.4 The Beelzebub Controversy and Plundering the Strong Man Matthew 12:24-29
“But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matthew 12:28)
5.8.5 Healing and Deliverance today
5.9 The Kingdom and the Church
“Jesus came proclaiming the Kingdom, and what arrived was the Church” (A. Loisy 1902)