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The preaching of Jesus Christ was based on the Kingdom of God. Various discussions on the true formation of the Kingdom of God have remained sidelined. The conception of the believers is different from what Jesus had thought initially. This means that the salvation of man was to be defined by God and that the thinking of man was his own idea, which in one way or another would differ from that of Jesus (Saucy 142). The Kingdom of God has been mentioned in the Bible for several times; and in religious history, the main question is what the clear meaning of the Kingdom of God is. This paper, therefore, seeks to find out the clear definition that Jesus gives to the Kingdom of God in his teachings and his ministry on earth.
When Christians are asked about the Kingdom of God, it is surprising that they usually give very bewildering answers. Various views, as well as themes in the Bible, have been presented in a way that brings a very divergent view on the Kingdom of God. According to the Gospels, the Kingdom of God forms the central theme of Jesus’ word. From the very beginning of the ministry of Jesus, the term Kingdom is the basis of his preaching. St. Matthews’s gospel mentions the Kingdom of God only for four times (Beasley-Murray 145). On the other hand, it was John the Baptist, who was spreading the good news of the Kingdom of God. Jesus adopted this very message and applied it in his preaching. The qualifications needed to enter the Kingdom of God were the most important notion, according to many, who have studied the issue of the Kingdom of God as presented by Jesus and John the Baptist.
Christian scholars, such as Rudolf Otto, wrote and discovered the meaning of the Kingdom of God. They discovered that it had immense number of distinctive elements, most of which had their roots in Persia. Rudolf Otto referred to the Kingdom of God as an ending point of all; while those who studied theology described the Kingdom as a technical term. Jesus did not originally invent the notion; this was a term that had been used before, and was just an explanation of what Jesus was passing across. According to many, God’s Kingdom was on earth and that it would be cleansed and renewed by the fire that would be sent by the Holy Spirit. However, salvation was the gift that God gave to the righteous and those who repented. Jesus Christ, therefore, had a clear meaning of the Kingdom of God (Marshall 9).
TEACHINGS OF JESUS ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Jesus went from town to town preaching about the Kingdom of God. He did so in many ways as he talked of his mission on earth and worked miracles. He mentions various instances and details about the Kingdom of God and describes those who would enter that Kingdom. In the instance where he teaches on the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus mentions the Kingdom of God, “your Kingdom come.” However, he did not define this Kingdom at this point. He still went on preaching, and later revealed the Kingdom he was talking about (Wright 659). When he was teaching children, he tells a story and asserts that only children, meaning obedient people, will enter the Kingdom of God.
Concerning these two examples, it can be asserted that the Kingdom of God must have been a very holy place, because only those who were righteous and holy could enter it. The story of the Good Samaritan also points out the kind of people, who would be accepted in the Kingdom of heaven. All those, who fear and obey God in their deeds, can be accepted to that Kingdom. This partly defined the meaning of the Kingdom of God. However, up to this level, Jesus did not clearly specify the location of this Kingdom of God. The Kingdom was situated somewhere in the unknown place, but many of the followers thought that the Kingdom was in a place that was far away, from where a man lived.
The Kingdom of God can be traced back to the times before the coming of Christ. When man was created, the position of God at the time was reserved to a place where man truly wanted him to be. Only the serpent knew where God was. The creation stories continue to tell us that the Kingdom of Father must have been somewhere in the very peaceful and holy place. This is why man wanted to eat the forbidden fruit and become the same being as God (Hiebert 159). This, therefore, meant that man would sit in the Kingdom with God. According to Jesus, he was sent from some unknown place, which could be the Kingdom of God. He does not tell exactly where he came from. However, he tries to draw a fuller picture of The Kingdom of God through various parables that he uses to illustrate and demonstrate the meaning of the Kingdom of God.
TEACHINGS THROUGH PARABLES
Parables are used for different purposes; they can be very short or very long, and apply various similes and symbols. However, the parables of Jesus Christ were very short, probably two or three sentences long. It was in a form of a story, describing a number of happenings with various characters. Asking his followers to think of a place outside the earth was very fascinating to many of Jesus’ followers. Through imagination, they were able to think of a place that never existed, but Jesus assured them that one day, they would be there and will see everything with their own eyes. In the story of the unjust judge, the parable brings forward the idea of the rich assisting the poor. In addition, by assisting them, he assured them that they would enter the Kingdom of God.
People then began to live in the world of Jesus’ parables. They imagined a world where the rich and the poor sat together at a mutual table and enjoyed a meal together. However, when Jesus taught about the Kingdom, he said that the Kingdom of God is like a thief, who comes at night (Hiebert 160). This meant that the Kingdom of God was to come any time and that it would be here on earth. The Kingdom was not another place with different dimensions. However, people were to determine their own image of the Kingdom of God. Just like in the parable of the Ten Virgins, the word states clear that the Kingdom of God is near and can come any time. However, the origins and place are still not clearly indicated, because to Christians, entering the Kingdom is more important than knowing where it came from.
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THE KINGDOM ACCORDING TO JESUS’ TEACHING
Over time, Christians have been called to be messengers of the Kingdom of Christ. In many cases, they refer to it as the reign of the Lord. The idea of being agents of the Kingdom is the most fascinating of all. In the Gospel according to Mark, we are asked, to what can we compare the Kingdom of God? This was a question that Jesus asked his disciples, and it still exists in Christianity today. The world has been used to title God a king of Universe in many cases, in song of praise, in prayer, and in many other instances (Saucy 142). God has been termed as a king of the earth. People fully understand the Kingdom, but the idea of kingship could have a few problems with the people, who believe in existence of a king in a special dwelling place that is unknown and imaginary to humankind. However, the ultimate definition of the Kingdom of God states that it is a place where God lives and reigns, a place where sin is a forgotten case, a place where everyone is equal, a place where there is no hatred, just love.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD ACCORDING TO MAN
All along, the Kingdom of God usually has been identified with the church. Many say that the church is the dwelling place of Christ and God. Therefore, the church has been tasked with the duty of clarifying to people the meaning of the Kingdom of God. As the church develops and grows, the Kingdom also expands in numbers and capacity. This means that the church is an extension of God’s Kingdom and that it is the center of the earth’s Kingdom of God, according to Christians. In other instances, the Kingdom of God has been thought to be a part of human society. It does not talk about the salvation of the person, but the position of the society regarding salvation. As men work in the society, they build the Kingdom of God.
Other Christians believe that the Kingdom of God is a place where we all enter at the end of the world when the Savior returns. In the number of letters by Saint Paul to his people, he explains the Kingdom to be a place that is highly anticipated by Christians, and that all the great men of God will be there, and they will share all they have with those who will be there. In other instances, Jesus states that, "will gather out of his Kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father." The Kingdom is within us, thus, we should act positively and righteously; therefore, we ought to wait for the time when the Lord comes back.
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MEANING OF THE KINGDOM ACCORDING TO JESUS
Having performed a survey of the teachings of Jesus about the Kingdom of God, and having surveyed the thoughts and ideas of man with regard to this Kingdom, Jesus brought forward the key issues that were a guideline to knowing the meaning of the Kingdom of God. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were always on Jesus’ neck trying to challenge him, regarding matters of religion and more so, Christianity. Jesus explains that the Kingdom is inside the men’s heart and not elsewhere. The parables that Jesus presents in his teachings are a clear illustration of the true meaning that he gave to the world, concerning the Kingdom of God (Saucy 141). The parable of the mustard seed was very significant in explaining what the Kingdom of God was. The Kingdom spreads and grows in the hearts of people and becomes a big place for many individuals. Just like Heaven, the Kingdom is growing very fast and reaches out to many people at one time and this is exactly how the Kingdom of God operates. This means that the Kingdom of the Lord is within the people and is in the world. Thus, the definition of the Kingdom of God, according to Jesus, was that the Kingdom was a dwelling place of the spirit of the Lord, and this was in the hearts of men and women and the world in general.
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Over time, Christians have always been in vehement debates about the real meaning of the Kingdom of God. Various discussions have remained sidelined on the true formation of the Kingdom of God. The statement of some believers on the issue is different from what Jesus had thought initially. This means that salvation of man was to be defined by God and that understanding and thoughts of a man were his own formation that in one way or another would differ from that of Jesus. Having performed a deep study of the teachings of Jesus Christ about the Kingdom, and having surveyed the thoughts of man with regard to the Kingdom of God, it can be stated that Jesus brought forward the key issues that were a guideline to understanding the meaning of the Kingdom of God. However, the ultimate definition of the Kingdom of God was a place where God lived and reigned, a place where sin was a forgotten case, a place where everyone was equal, a place where there was no hatred, crime, injustice, just love. According to Christians, the church is an extension of God’s Kingdom and that it is the center of the earth’s Kingdom of God. On the other hand, the definition of the Kingdom of God, according to Jesus, was that the Kingdom was a dwelling place of the spirit of the Lord, and this was situated in the hearts of men and in the world in general.