April 06, 2010

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So, What Is the Kingdom of God? So, what is the Kingdom of God? Entire theological treatises have been written on the subject, and it would be impossible to summarize all the dimensions of the Kingdom here. There is broad agreement among scholars of the Scriptures, though, on what the Kingdom is. It is, in a phrase, the “rule of God”. One of the 20th century’s best expositors of Kingdom theology in the New Testament, the late George Eldon Ladd, notes that “the primary meaning of both the Hebrew word malkuth in the Old Testament and of the Greek word basileia in the New Testament is the rank, authority and sovereignty exercised by a king.” (Ladd, 19) While basileia may at times refer to a realm where that rule is expressed or a people over whom that rule is exercised, a kingdom is first of all “the authority to rule, the sovereignty of the king.” (Ladd, 19) This rule of God is seen as a present reality (Mt 12:28), and yet also a future hope (1 Cor. 15:24. 50). God’s rule is an inward righteousness, peace, and joy that we experience in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17) but it will also one day be an outward political triumph in which every earthly rule gives way to God’s rule (Rev. 11:15). The rule of God is something we enter now (Mt. 21:31, Heb. 12:28), and yet a place we will enter later (Mt. 8:11, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, Gal. 5:19-21, 2 Thess. 1:5). It is something we can, indeed must, receive now (Mark 10:15) and also something we will receive in the future (2 Pet. 2:10-11). These tensions are what led George Eldon Ladd and others to describe the Kingdom as “now but not yet”. The tension is seen in passages like Romans 8:18-25 and 1 Corinthians 15, where...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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