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What is the 'Kingdom of God' and How does it relate to the Church?
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To build the Kingdom of God was the primary motive of Jesus Christ. Each of his hardships was centred on understanding God’s divinity. This gives rise to the thought that the Kingdom of God is proportionate to the salvation in God. Subsequently, the Kingdom is believed to be bringing both salvation and end times. While considering the relationship between the Kingdom of God and the Church, it is best depicted that the Church is considered as the indication of God’s Kingdom. The Church is considered as an assembly of people anointed by the Holy Spirit, where the gospel of God is preached, and sacraments which reflect various signs of God are observed. It is regarded that the Kingdom of God acts as a boundary as well as the core content of the Church. This essay explores the different viewpoints about the Kingdom of God and its association with the Church.
The fundamental meaning of the Kingdom in ancient languages is the same – kingship and sovereignty. The same meaning is used in the English connotation of the Kingdom – the power of the king. Though the contention of sovereign God is motioned in the Old Testament, it is not visibly expressed as the Kingdom of God. For instance, in Psalm 47, it is mentioned as 'For God is the King of all the earth; sing him a psalm of praise.” The Kingdom of God is visibly described through the prominent demonstration of His superior force in judgement and salvation.
A kingdom is seen as an entity with the legal usage of royal power as against dictatorship which uses authority unfairly. In the teaching of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, the Kingdom of God is referred to His execution of promises mentioned in the Old Testament. As revealed through gospels, God utilises his power to overcome oppression and retains justice to ensure peace and harmony among humanity.
The reign of God is set by righteousness. New Testaments states that 'Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?' According to historical data, the last centuries of BC witnessed the strengthening of the idea of God’s Kingdom. The gospel states that the time was ready to see the next coming of God. This is also proven from the prophetic message of John the Baptist 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
As various commentators and evangelists, portray Jesus as a social figure, the actual meaning of his teachings got distracted or misinterpreted to meet the modern human outlook. The gospel of grace, 'my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace', calls for the belief in the aim of God for both individual and the world as a whole. This message brings up the seriousness of God's purpose in sending His Son as well as His future coming. This denotes a message of urgency and connects to the motivation to reach the day of His arrival. This is regarded as an authentic hope that motivates the Christians against evil to gain and also acts as a growth stimulant. The faith and love for God are being built on the hope given in the gospels.
To reach the Kingdom of God, people have to transform themselves into the children of Abraham where the eternal rule would be set on the re-gathered tribes to form a new world order and to gain citizenship of New Jerusalem. Jesus’ preaching does not focus on the Old Testament as a vision of the future. Rather, his gospel was based on Daniel’s and Isaiah’s which combines “universalism and nationalism” along with the combination of spiritual and political aspects of the future Kingdom.