Episode 51: What on earth is the Kingdom of God?
After a break for a couple of months we’re back with a new season of podcasts on the Bible and faith in the modern world. To kick off a new series on Biblical themes, Dan and Paul look at 8 different ideas about the Kingdom of God. They find that both Jesus’ statements about it and the expectations of his audience were deeply rooted in the Old Testament, Hebrew scriptures. This brings to life a tangible picture of what is involved but also something far greater and more universal than even the Jews expected!
Paul and Dan kickstart a new season of the Bible Feed podcast by explaining the plans for future episodes. They explain that some episodes will be on specific themes that run through the Bible to give an overview of each topic in question, whilst pointing to other resources that can help dig deeper into the topic.
How many interpretations of the Kingdom of God?
The theme for this episode is the Kingdom of God. To begin with, Paul and Dan discuss their initial reactions to 8 different views and how they differ and to some extent stand in tension:
- The kingdom as future hope: the future kingdom.
- The kingdom as inner spiritual experience: the interior kingdom.
- The kingdom as mystical communion: the heavenly kingdom.
- The kingdom as institutional church: the ecclesiastical kingdom.
- The kingdom as countersystem: the subversive kingdom.
- The kingdom as political state: the theocratic kingdom.
- The kingdom as Christianized culture: the transforming kingdom.
- The kingdom as earthly utopia: the Utopian kingdom. 
The Kingdom of God in the Bible
To explore which of these models convey the sense of the kingdom as described in the Bible, they start with Jesus who was preaching that “the Kingdom of God is at hand”, (Mark 1:15). Paul and Dan acknowledge that the crowds who listened to Jesus appear to already have had an understanding of what the kingdom meant to them. This leads them to realise that it is important to look at the Old Testament context when trying to understand this theme.
Jesus clearly taught about the kingdom coming in the future when he taught his disciples to pray in Matthew 6:9-10. And even beyond his resurrection, this was the disciples expectation, (Acts 1:3-11).
The Kingdom of God is within you
Before they turn back to the Old Testament to look at the context, Paul and Dan discuss the famous phrase in Luke 17:21, which is translated in the KJV as “the kingdom of God is within you”. This makes is sound like the kingdom is meant to be an experience of the Christian, or a state of salvation that they enter, (“the interior kingdom”). However, Paul notes that most modern versions generally translate this phrase as “the kingdom of God is within your midst”. Since Jesus was God’s appointed king, bringing his rulership into society, it was accurate to say that the “sovereignty” of God was in the midst of the people, because Jesus their king was standing in front of them.
Paul and Dan do consider some passages that describe the Christian as already living under the dominion of Jesus as king, and within his kingdom, (Colossians 1:13, Revelation 1:6-9). But this is clearly not the ultimate fulfilment of the kingdom according to the New Testament writings.
The Kingdom of God in the Old Testament
Surprisingly, the phrase does not appear in the Old Testament. However, Paul takes us to example passages in 1 Chronicles 28:5 and 1 Chronicles 29:11 that describe the political kingdom of Israel at the time of David and Solomon as the “Kingdom of the LORD”. In the time of Jesus, there is clearly a connection between the Jewish expectation of a restored kingdom and his preaching that the Kingdom of God is at hand.
The multifaceted Kingdom of God
Paul and Dan summarise by considering whether any one of the 8 models of the kingdom seem to fit the biblical data best. However, instead of being able to force the theme into one box, many elements of those 8 models have some aspect of truth to them, even if not directly covered in this overview. Jesus had indeed come to restore the kingdom of Israel, which was God’s own kingdom, but this kingdom was to be something that expanded and included so much more than just a political entity in Israel, including a rule for Christians to live by as they await the most complete fulfillment of God’s kingdom when Jesus comes again.
Throughout the episode and towards the end, they give pointers to several other Bible Feed podcast episodes and other resources that relate to this topic:
- Our series on the gospel of Matthew and in particular the episode called “The Kingdom of Heaven”.
- Episode 33 “Where is heaven?”
- Our blog “Blessed are the poor in spirit” identifies possible elements of how Jesus’ teaching of the kingdom was subversive without being violent.
 Taken from Models of the Kingdom by Howard Snyder
What on earth is the Kingdom of God
Dan: Welcome to the Bible feed podcast. It’s great to be back talking about the Bible and faith in the modern world. And we have had a break haven’t we, Paul.
Paul: Yeah, but it’s good to be back
Dan: Sure. We we’re gonna be picking up where we left off. We, we reached 50 episodes and that felt like a really good place to pause.
So the things that we are gonna do, we’ve got some plans. We’ve been busy working away thinking about what to do. And some of the things we’re going to be doing are working through book by book, doing a series on overviews book overviews, or how to read, how to read Genesis. You know what, what’s an introduction to Numbers.
Paul: So there’s plenty to go at there. And I think actually some of those books might actually need more than one overview. I’m thinking of [00:01:00] Isaiah or something like that. And also in parallel to that, we’ve picked out some biblical themes. So there are some ideas that flow right through the Bible. And I’ve got a list of, I think it’s about 30 themes.
So we’ve got a few to go out there as well, topics that we can pick out and see how they’re used across all of those books of the Bible.
Dan: And then of course like we’ve been doing before, getting on a number of different guests, different people from across the Christadelphian community. And they’ll be talking about all sorts of things, Bible related, Bible study, their experiences of faith, church life, all sorts of different things. So let’s dive in.
Paul: So here’s to the next 500 episodes.
Dan: Okay. Is that when we next get a break! [00:02:00]
So today we’re going to do a biblical theme and try and trace through one theme. But pull through some of the threads, some of the ideas about what it, what it is, the idea of the kingdom of God. What on earth is the kingdom of God? That’s what we’re going to be talking about. You know, that phrase itself appears in different places in the Bible.
There’s other phrases like it that are related, that appear in different parts of the Bible as well. So we want to try and get a clear view of what the writers of the Bible were thinking. What were they trying to communicate when they said things like the kingdom of God?
And this is a tricky one to start with. I guess they all might be a little bit, because it sounds very simple at the start, but actually [00:03:00] that phrase in itself means a lot of different things to different people. Doesn’t it. Paul?
Paul: It’s a bit of a slippery concept. And I came across a number of different. ideas or approaches or concepts that people attach to the kingdom of God. It means different things to, to different people. So let me just run through them and, and see what you think of them.
There’s eight models of the kingdom of God, that I came across and we’ll just run through them. So the first one is that it’s a future hope, you know, it’s a future kingdom. So that’s fair enough, but it puts it very clearly out of the present time and, and into the future. So that’s the first one. The second one is described as the kingdom, as an inner spiritual experience or the interior kingdom. So I can see that, you know, people say, I’ve accepted Jesus as my Lord, as my king, and Jesus is [00:04:00] ruling in my heart. I can see that aspect I think might be, might be meant there.
So future kingdom, the interior kingdom, the third one is the kingdom as mystical communion, the heavenly kingdom.
Dan: What’s that?
Paul: I’m not quite sure what that, what that means really. I can speculate. It might be to do with going to heaven something like that, which we’ve addressed that before from a biblical point of view that’s not really where the Bible is, is talking about the hope of Christians.
So that’s three, the future kingdom, interior kingdom, the heavenly kingdom, the fourth one is the institutional, the kingdom as the institutional church, the ecclesiastical kingdom. I kind of recognize that in, in the way, some people talk about the, the kingdom of God you know, you may have heard of replacement theory in that, when the Bible talks about Israel as people of God that, there’s a view that Israel have been [00:05:00] replaced by the church and that’s now the people, the kingdom of God.
That’s one idea. Here’s an interesting one for the fifth one, the kingdom as a counter-system, the subversive kingdom. So. What do you think that means?
Dan: sort of secret organization or something?
Paul: Yeah. Sounds really cool. Doesn’t it?
Dan: Yeah. Kingdom people protesting putting up banners late in the night, early in the morning, or, you know, that kind of thing .
Paul: Gluing themselves to things…
Dan: Yeah, that’s it.
Paul: It’s an interesting one, because we, when we’ve talked about Revelation we’ve talked about where a Christians’ allegiance is, not necessarily to the ruling powers of the world.
Sometimes sounds a little bit subversive. So with, with five down. Three to go of these eight models. So the sixth one is the kingdom as political state, the theocracy, the theocratic kingdom. So that’s an interesting one, you know, that’s very much [00:06:00] grounded in politics, in nations
Paul: Number seven is the kingdom as Christianized culture, the transforming kingdom, where I guess the idea there is that Christian values and ideals just gradually seep into the everyday consciousness and the way society works and transforms it. And that becomes the kingdom of God . And then the final one the kingdom as earthly utopia, the utopian kingdom.
Dan: Something when everything’s great on the earth
Paul: yeah, it kind of feels a bit like the future, the first one,
Dan: Yeah. But defining where it is as well. Okay.
Right. So that’s a whistle stop tour through centuries of debate and discussion about that sort of thing. There’s obviously some tensions between them. You know, obviously if you know, is the kingdom of God somewhere in heaven where people go to, or is the kingdom of God the earthly utopia, there’s clearly a tension between those things.
You know, that’s something [00:07:00] future or present there seems to be a tension there as well. is it a tangible thing or is it a state of mind that, that seems to be somewhere where there’s, a tension. So we’ve gotta try and resolve this then haven’t we, you know, how do we work out, what did it mean to the biblical authors?
Paul: yeah. And all of those models of the kingdom that I’ve, I’ve just run through there very quickly. They can’t all be equally true. More than one of them could be, and perhaps that’s where we’re going to end up as we, as we look through the biblical information or some of it, at least. There’s some truth in some of those models. It’s a downside of a tendency to try and categorize things and put labels on, on different views.
It’s never quite as simplistic as that. So, let’s try and get to something that is a bit clearer and a bit more nailed down and focused than those eight models and everything that’s encompassed in them.
Dan: Okay. so this is a, a theme throughout the Bible then. So where should we [00:08:00] start in the Bible to work out, you know what the Bible is saying about this?
Paul: I guess if we follow a theme through the Bible, you’d normally expect to start at the beginning and kind of work through the different sections, but I’d suggest it is helpful to start with Jesus and start with, you know, what Jesus was teaching, and what Jesus was doing. So in, in Mark’s gospel for instance we have in chapter one, right at the beginning after John the Baptist was arrested.
“Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God and saying the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand repent and believe in the gospel.”
So whatever he came to talk about to tell people about, he’s saying it’s about the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is at hand. And in Luke’s gospel, it kind of parallels that by saying that Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God.
Paul: So, [00:09:00] so whatever he was saying is about the kingdom of God. So the next question is, well, what was he saying? What was he preaching?
Dan: Yeah. And it is interesting. He, he doesn’t come along and say, you know, here, the time is fulfilled. The kingdom of God is at hand. Let me tell you about this kingdom or something is at hand, which is called the kingdom of God, and now I’m gonna introduce you to it. He’s almost expecting them to understand it, you know, is that valid?
Paul: Yeah. And that’s the difficulty actually with, starting here with Jesus really is that he talks about the kingdom of God as though people already have, the people he’s talking to already have a concept of what that is. And most of what he’s saying is repent and believe in the gospel, you know, change your ways, do something in your lives, change your behaviour because the kingdom of God is at hand, he’s not explaining very much about what the kingdom of God is.
You think about the sermon on the Mount and all of the [00:10:00] content of Jesus’ preaching is all about how you should behave, what needs to change in, in people’s lives. So it’s assumed that people have some idea about what the kingdom of God already is. Something familiar to a Jewish audience.
Dan: Mm. Because he’s, Jesus is a Jew. Jesus is talking to a Jewish audience, isn’t he? So, so there’s, there’s clearly a Jewish cultural background, an Old Testament background, that kind of thing. Jewish expectation, about what the kingdom of God coming might be. Is there anything else we can see in Jesus teaching that helps us unravel that a bit?
Paul: Yeah, I think so. And when we look at some, we’ll just kind of fairly quickly look at two or three verses from the New Testament. And at least the first couple from Jesus. So Matthew’s gospel, I mentioned his sermon on the Mount, as part of that sermon on the Mount his, his disciples [00:11:00] ask him how they should pray.
And he gives what’s called the Lord’s prayer, this sort of model, example, prayer. And as part of that, He says that, you know, pray like this, “Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” So that’s, that’s already started to put the emphasis, if you like, on what we should think about the kingdom of God being in, in certain directions.
If someone is praying that, one of the disciples of Jesus is praying, “your kingdom come”. Well, it, it’s not here yet, it’s a future thing. And it talks about your will being done on earth. So there’s something, something about it being on earth. And then if we flick forward to Acts of the Apostles and the first chapter there, which is pretty much the last recorded words of Jesus [00:12:00] before he ascended. In Acts chapter one, Jesus, after his resurrection has been spending time with his disciples and he’s been speaking to them for 40 days about the kingdom of God. So, he spent a lot of time with, with his disciples and, and the subject of what he’s been talking about is the kingdom of God. And of course his disciples, as I’m sure we would have, have a few questions afterwards, one particular question is when is this going to happen?
So their question comes in verse six of Acts, chapter one. “When they come together, they asked him, Lord, will you, at this time restore the kingdom to Israel.” So they’re connecting the kingdom of God with Israel. and then Jesus ascends and the two men stood by them and said, “why do [00:13:00] you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus who was taken up from you into, into heaven will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
So, there’s quite a lot of information in that about the Jewish expectation, the disciples’ of Jesus expectation of the kingdom. Something connected with Israel, connected with something on earth and connected with a return of, of Jesus as he had, as he had ascended, so he would, he would return.
So that’s the sort of expectation that’s set up there. And then finally, when we go to the last book of the Bible and the book of Revelation. John, the author of this book in Revelation five, there’s a description of a song that is sung by the redeemed, redeemed Christians. “And they sing a new song saying worthy are [00:14:00] you to take the scroll and open its seals for you were slain by your blood. You ransomed people for God, from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God and they shall reign on the earth.” So Yeah. That’s, that’s interesting, isn’t it?
Dan: Yeah. There’s an issue with the tenses there isn’t there.
Paul: Yeah. Because there’s, “you have made them” that’s, you know, the aorist tense in Greek, the past tense, perfect tense as it is in English. You have made them a kingdom. This is the disciples, followers of Jesus believers, but “they shall reign on the earth”. There’s a future expectation, of reigning on earth as well.
Dan: Well, I suppose that opens up the idea that, is there something more to it than just one [00:15:00] or the other, is that what this is leading us towards, you know, we’ve definitely seen that there’s this prayer for God’s kingdom to come and for Jesus to come again and for people to reign on the earth in the future.
But, there is a kingdom to some extent already made, by the blood of Jesus that, the way what, what he’s achieved in his, his death is maybe that’s setting us up. but then I’m just sort of thinking about all the other, the different ideas, the models you presented there’s that view about it’s an internal state of mind or, an internal state of being and there is something in Luke, isn’t it, Luke 17, where, where Jesus says “the kingdom of God is within you”. That’s always quoted isn’t it as support for that idea.
So what do we make of that?
Paul: Yeah, I think that’s the King James Version translation of that “the kingdom of God [00:16:00] is within you”. And I think the, NIV may have that as well.
There’s a couple of things to, to point out there. One is, most of the other translations will translate it something like “the kingdom of God is in your midst”
Paul: or “the kingdom of God is among you”. So it takes it away from being within you, which sounds like it’s, it’s the interior kingdom, you know, internal, it’s to do with the state of your heart.
It’s not that, it’s conveying something a little bit different with “in your midst” and “the kingdom of God is, is among you”. So just park that for a minute. And then the second point is this word kingdom in English. You tend to think of it more as a place or a location, the United Kingdom, the kingdom of Denmark or whatever, you tend to think of a location. The Greek word for it is basileia. [00:17:00] It’s a bit broader than just the location and it means, the Royal power or the Royal rulership of something, of God. So, so when you think of it like that, and, if Jesus had said; where is it in, in Luke 17?
Dan: Verse 21.
Paul: So, yeah, so “nor will they say, look, here it is, or there, for behold, the Royal rulership, the Royal power of God is among you.” You know, what might you think he’s referring to?
Dan: Well, he’s, he’s been claiming that he has the authority of God and he’s acting under God’s authority. So is, is that perhaps what he’s saying.
Paul: Yeah, and making claims to be the Messiah, the anointed one, in the line of David, etc, so the, the king, the anointed king and acting on behalf of God on God’s behalf. So that makes much more sense of that statement of Jesus. Effectively, he’s saying you know, [00:18:00] you don’t need to look up to the sky or, or look across the horizon because the Royal power of God is right here in front of you and, and it’s embodied in, in what I’m doing and what I’m saying.
And, there is a sense we’ve kind of alluded to it already. In that, that verse from Revelation, there is a sense in which people put themselves under the rulership, the Royal power, of Jesus and under Jesus kingship.
In Colossians for example, Paul says it really clearly he says in Colossians one it’s verse 13, he says that he has, or God “has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son”.
Now, you know, that’s not about taking someone from one location and moving them to another location. It, it means people, believers, have moved out from the dominion, the rulership of one force or one [00:19:00] influence and are now under the Royal kingship of, of Jesus.
Dan: Sovereignty. Isn’t it. That’s, that’s what it’s talking about.
Paul: Yeah. That’s a good, that’s a good word for it. Yeah,
Dan: Being transferred under the sovereignty now of Jesus or recognizing that he has, that he is sovereign, he’s acting on God’s authority.
Paul: And it’s there in, Revelation chapter one, we’ve read from chapter five, but in chapter one, John is writing to the seven churches and in verse five, towards the end, he says “to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom priest to his God and father to him be glory and dominion forever and ever”.
And then he says, “I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and in the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus.” So he’s, recognizing Jesus as his king and that’s [00:20:00] something he shares as a partner with, with other people who recognize Jesus as their king. So it’s an important aspect
Paul: the kingdom, the rulership, the Royal power of God vested in Jesus. But it’s not the only aspect.
Dan: Yeah. Okay. So there’s something about people recognizing the sovereignty of God in their lives right now,
Dan: He has sent his son Jesus as, as the Messiah. So that’s important, but there’s also an expectation that he is to come again. And the kingdom of God is, is something tangible and real.
So we haven’t seen anything about heaven or going to heaven or anything like that, have we, so far. But there is this phrase, “kingdom of heaven” that comes up in different parts. Well, it’s, it is through Matthew actually. Isn’t it? Where it, where it appears.
Paul: Yeah. It’s a question that you are much better equipped to answer than than I am Dan, having done a series on Matthew. So I refer you, listener, to [00:21:00] the series on the gospel of Matthew in which there was a whole episode dedicated to the kingdom of heaven and that phrase, as it appears in, in Matthew.
Dan: So hopefully we’ve not contradicted anything in that or, you know, developed the thoughts. . Because that’s approaching it from a very different angle. Just trying to pick through what Jesus had meant in the gospel of Matthew and how it’s an equivalent phrase to the kingdom of God and it isn’t really, it’s not defining a location. So, that’s worth , going back to check.
So, okay. So we’ve only looked at the New Testament so far. I’m really conscious of that. And, and this is meant to be a theme throughout the whole Bible. And actually we’ve seen that Jesus was talking about a concept that his, the people he was speaking to, would’ve already understood this.
So what about the old Testament? What about the Jewish scripture?
Paul: Although we’ve only looked at the New Testament so far, we’ve looked at some words of Jesus and some conversations with his disciples, which are very much rooted in Old Testament [00:22:00] concepts and ideas, which we’ll take a look at now. Now, if you, if you search for kingdom of God, as a phrase in the Old Testament, It doesn’t appear which is perhaps surprising.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not a concept that is relevant and, embedded in parts of the Old Testament. Because we have a couple of examples where, and this is not surprising having looked at Acts chapter one and what the disciples asked Jesus about the kingdom of Israel.
We find that there’s a couple of instances where the kingdom of Israel is referred to, not as the kingdom of God, but as the kingdom of the Lord, the kingdom of Yahweh. And they’re in the first book of Chronicles. The two that we’ll look at are in 1st of Chronicles .
So 1 Chronicles 28 and verse five, we have David talking about passing on the, the throne of Israel, the kingdom to his son, [00:23:00] Solomon and he says “of all my sons for the Lord has given me many sons. He has chosen Solomon my son to sit on the throne of the kingdom of Yahweh over Israel.” David is talking about the kingdom of Israel as the kingdom of Yahweh, the kingdom of the LORD. The same sort of thing is in the next chapter, chapter 29 and verse 11. He says “yours oh Lord is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours, yours is the kingdom. Oh Lord. And you are exalted as head above all.”
So there’s that idea that David’s talking about as he, as king is passing on to Solomon as king over Israel, seeing himself as ruling on God’s behalf and therefore it’s God’s kingdom. It’s the kingdom of Yahweh. I’m not an expert in this, but I [00:24:00] think that’s probably a fairly common concept for kings in the ancient near east, thinking of themselves as ruling on behalf of a deity. So it’s not dissimilar to that. And here is, you know, the kingdom of Israel being the kingdom of Yahwh, the God of Israel.
Dan: So, with this you’ve looked at first about David and Solomon. Is that all this is about, was there any expectation of anything beyond that?
Paul: Yes, definitely. And that’s a good point in that, while there’s that similarity between how David and Solomon talk about their position as king over the kingdom, reigning on behalf of their God Yahweh and that being similar to other nations, there is a sense in which the biblical account projects beyond simply that for example, in two Samuel, and chapter seven we have, promises [00:25:00] made to David, King David , through the prophet, Nathan.
And he’s told that, so this is the words of the prophet, Nathan to David, “when your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers. I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body. And I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
So there’s something that’s projecting forward for a much longer period than just David and Solomon and his son and a dynasty like that. It’s talking about something that lasts forever.
Paul: but then we find through the history of David and Solomon that they have some good qualities, but all of them trip up and fail in some way, and none of them turn out to be the one for whom those words can truly be said to have been fulfilled. And they certainly didn’t rule forever, so something else is needed.[00:26:00]
Dan: Yeah. Then the history of Israel and Judah, as it becomes, ends doesn’t it, or the history of the kingdom of Israel, the kingdom of Judah, ends quite dramatically when the Babylonians burned Jerusalem. So, it’s that long period of time after that, when there is no kingdom, there’s no rule, there’s no sovereignty of that sort of nation.
And it’s in that situation that Jesus comes along and says, the kingdom of God is at hand. So you can sort of see there’s a bit of a tie in that people would be expecting or hoping for that kingdom to come back, a political entity.
So that’s helpful, how does it flow into the things that we’ve talked about? So we’ve talked about, accepting Jesus as king and, waiting for something in the future, we perhaps just need to fill the gap. If we can, can we fill the gap?
Paul: Well, maybe Luke’s gospel can fill the gap for us. And as [00:27:00] Jesus came preaching, you know, that the kingdom of God is at hand. And we’ve already said that people seem to have already had an idea of, what he meant by that. It’s probably these ideas from the Old Testament, Hebrew scriptures, about one who would be the descendant of David, the offspring of David, who would restore the kingdom, restore the nation and rule forever.
That’s probably the sort of concept that was in people’s minds. And the link is made quite explicit in Luke’s gospel. When the record there of the angel Gabriel speaking to Mary announcing that she is to have a son that is to be Jesus and in verses 30, through to 32. The angel says to her, “do not be afraid, Mary, for you, a found favor with God behold, you will conceive in your women, bear a son and you shall call [00:28:00] his name. Jesus. He will be great and will be called the son of the most high. and the Lord, God will give to him the throne of his father, David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom.”
There will be no end, Jacob, the kingdom of the house of Jacob, or Israel. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. So it’s really explicit that Mary is being told there that Jesus is this one, the descendant of David, the anointed king. He will reign over Israel.
Dan: Yeah. Okay.
Paul: and of his kingdom there’ll be no end, it’ll be forever. So it’s definitely pulling on that Jewish concept from the Old Testament. But through Jesus, it effectively becomes much more than just about the kingdom of Israel. We saw in Revelation, he saved people, redeemed people “by your blood from all nations, languages, tribes, and, and people.”
Dan: Okay. So that [00:29:00] concept that they were waiting for, people were expecting this tangible political Jewish kingdom to emerge. And, yes, that’s what Jesus has come to do, but it’s something much bigger perhaps than what they’re expecting.
Paul: yeah. The Jews might have seen, the fulfillment of those promises, if you like to be Israel as a nation, in a fairly small part of the world, restored, and it’s a great kingdom, it’s wonderful. And the effect of that just spreads, it has a general effect on the surrounding nations. But actually it’s much more than that in, in Jesus.
It’s still centred on earth, a physical location of Jerusalem, but all nations are brought into it in a much more complete and augmented way through Jesus than, the way many Jews would’ve thought about it at the time of Jesus.
Dan: Okay. [00:30:00] Yeah. That’s a really good summary of it. And, and then to, just to complete that summary of the things that we’ve seen, in anticipation of that being finally fulfilled, people can right now, when they come to know Jesus, know what he stands for, to know he’s died and has been risen and is king overall. They can put themselves under his sovereignty under his kingship, under his rulership now. So, so there is, you know, there is that other aspect that in anticipation of that people live as if they’re part of that kingdom right now as well.
Paul: Yeah. And then it’s fully realized in that biblical prospect of a Jesus returned to yeah, it is a political entity on earth.
Dan: . That’s good. So just thinking back to all those fancy words and terms at the beginning, those eight different concepts have we covered them all? Are they all right? or most of them?
Paul: Well, I’m just [00:31:00] looking back at them. Future, yes. There’s a future return of Jesus reigning on the earth. An inner spiritual experience, if that’s to do with Jesus being your king, you’re sovereign now – yes.
The heavenly kingdom. I’m less convinced by that…
Dan: No, we’re not sure what it means anyway, so yeah.
Paul: No, the institutional, the ecclesiastical church as the kingdom.
We’ve maybe seen a hint of John talking about he’s partnering with other people that are also under the rulership, have put themselves under the rulership of Jesus?
Dan: But not necessarily as some organization with authority that that perhaps is sometimes taken to mean, but yeah, maybe there’s something little in that.
Paul: Yeah, now the subversive kingdom. I’d probably say we haven’t really seen that [00:32:00]
Dan: No. But I think if I remember correctly, if you listen back to the Matthew episodes from earlier, there is definitely a hint in Jesus teaching that is subverting the status quo of powers and rulers, their strong domineering…
Paul: Yeah. Certainly recognizing them for what it is. But not necessarily uprooting it and subverting it and changing it by protest in this sort of way,
Dan: no, not violent
Paul: certainly not by violent
Dan: definitely not. No. We’ve thought about that. Haven’t we?
Paul: The theocratic kingdom, I think that’s definitely come through.
Paul: It was there in the Old Testament, an individual, a king ruling on God’s behalf.
The Christianized culture transforming the world. I mean, there may be some effect of that in people living after the example of Jesus, but again,
Dan: perhaps not [00:33:00] come through strongly in the verses we’ve looked at.
Paul: Then finally as earthly utopia,
Paul: I think we’ve seen that one. So we probably got about five out of the eight that have come through.
Dan: That’s good. Yeah. That’s useful. It, it does show that putting things in boxes and saying you stand for this particular theological interpretation, isn’t necessarily the better way of proceeding, there’s a lot more nuance sometimes.
So that’s really, really helpful. One thing I think’s important as we do these theme episodes is just think about how this idea fits in with the rest of the structure of the Bible, the rest of the structure of other theological ideas, other thoughts, that are in the Bible.
Because nothing stands on its own. Does it? So how does this relate to other ideas in the Bible?
Paul: I’m conscious this is the first theme that we’ve, well, it’s not really the first there are some in our previous 50 episodes! We’ve looked [00:34:00] at things like the soul and the idea of the immortal soul perhaps not being something that is in the Bible or the hope of a Christian.
And it’s much more about resurrection, and a bodily resurrection. So that concept makes much more sense if the full ultimate realization of the kingdom is Israel restored in this way on earth. If it’s, you know, a thing on earth, it makes sense that a resurrected body would have something to do with that.
Rather than souls going to heaven or hell, which is not really a biblical idea. So bringing those two things together, resurrection and kingdom of God on earth really starts to make it easier to visualize or start to think about something tangible as to what this kingdom of God might be.
Dan: That’s helpful. I think as we do more of these themes, we’ll start to see how they [00:35:00] connect more and more to each other. But yeah, as you say that was already connected really well with the things we looked at before. The soul, heaven and and then I suppose, hell as well, which is the counterpart which we’ve touched on as well in another episode, so good.
Thanks for helping us walk through that, Paul. We’ve mentioned quite a few earlier episodes actually. Which is good because this is only meant to be a high level overview. We’re trying to distill lots of information in a short period of time, about one theme, one topic.
So there’s going to be lots of other things that you might want to follow up and so on. So why not navigate to Bible feed.org and go and have a look at the other episodes and the blog content as well, just search for the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven and see what you get. You’ll get the Matthew episodes there’s the episode on the kingdom of heaven. You’ll get the episode where is [00:36:00] heaven, which will be relevant.
Thanks a lot, Paul, for taking us through that. It’s really, really good to be back talking about this, discussing the Bible, thinking about these different Bible topics and faith in the modern world.
And it’s gonna be great to be able to do this again more regularly. And if you’ve got any comments, please do let us know head over to Bible feed.org and follow us on Facebook, on Twitter, Instagram, and let us know what you think.
And by all means introduce us to a friend, family member or someone you’re sitting next to on the bus or the train. They need to know about the kingdom of God, you can let them know! So we will be really pleased to be back with you again soon.
Thank you very much.