Essay What Is Meant by the Kingdom of God

1431 Words Apr 15th, 2013 6 Pages
Outline what Jesus must have meant when he used the term: ‘Kingdom of God’. The term ‘Kingdom of God’ (or as is otherwise referred to as ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ in Matthew's Gospel) is mentioned throughout the Four Gospels. Over the centuries many scholars have reached the same conclusion that the central theme of Jesus’ message regards the ‘Kingdom of God.’ But what did Jesus mean by this term? This essay aims to discuss the meaning of the term ‘Kingdom of God’ and what Jesus must have meant by this.

‘The Kingdom of God’ is perceived in many different ways by a variety of people. It is commonly thought that it refers to a life after death namely ‘Heaven’ and Jesus seems to reinforce this by stating, "my kingdom is not of this
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Jesus himself said, “The Kingdom of God does not come in such a way as to be seen … because the Kingdom of God is within you.” This further reinforces the assertion that the Kingdom of God is reflected in a person’s character and it becomes apparent when one follows the example set by Jesus.

This view of the term ‘Kingdom of God’ not as an actual place but as a reflection of human behaviour towards God and each other which is further reinforced by the Catholic Encyclopaedia, “In the mouth of Christ the "kingdom" means not so much a goal to be attained or a place — it is rather a tone of mind.”

In Jesus’ preaching, he often makes use of symbols, metaphors, images and parables to explain the nature of God and His Kingdom. Many scholars have concluded that the openness to interpretation of these modes of description make it difficult to decipher what Jesus meant by the term ‘Kingdom of God.’ Peter Leithart compounds this theory when he states, “None of these metaphors, images, or parables exhausts the full meaning of the kingdom of God. Instead, Jesus' teaching provides a variety of different perspectives on the kingdom.” Perrin supports this comment further when he states that the Kingdom is “a set of meanings which can neither be exhausted nor adequately expressed by any one referent.” The sources would suggest that there is not one meaning for the term ‘Kingdom of God’ but many and that perhaps Jesus

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