XIV. Kingdom of Israel -- Kingdom of God
Kingdom theme is so central to an appropriate understanding of the biblical faith
that it can readily function as a Theological Center that illuminates both Testaments,
and in fact
it bridges the gap between the Two Testaments.
The Kingdom theme is written across the
length and breadth of the history of the people of God. It begins, if we are to take the seriously
hint of the writer of Hebrews (11:10),
with father Abraham who left Ur of Chaldees in the
response to God's call to seek "the city .
.. whose builder and maker is God" (Gen. 12:1ff).
resonates in the OT expectation of a coming Prince who will spring from the line of David: a
"Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6). It spans the
Testaments to emerge again in the Apocalypse when human history comes to a close with "the
holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God" (Rev. 21:2).
Nor can any close reader of the Synoptic Tradition
mistake the central role that the
Kingdom of God plays in the proclamation and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Indeed, St. Mark
describes the beginning of Jesus' ministry with these pertinent words: "Jesus came into Galilee,
preaching the gospel of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at
hand; repent, and believe in the gospel'" (Mk. 1:14-15
clamation of the Kingdom of God is
the central and unifying theme in Jesus' ministry, especially as it is presented in the Gospel of
Many of Jesus' most memorable parables painted pictures of this wonderful kingdom.
It is like a sower who went out to sow (Mt. 13:1-10, 18-31); it is like a tiny grain of mustard
seed which "becomes a great tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its
The Kingdom of God
(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1953), remains the definitive work on this topic. My
analysis in this section is dependent upon Bright's fine work.
Heb. 11:10: "For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God."
"Synoptic" literally means "to see the same."
The term refers to the perspective established by the Gospels of Matthew,
Mark, and Luke.
Give the rough outline of the Kingdom Theme as a theological center in Matthew.