The Kingdom of God

Discussion in 'Theology' started by lunamoth, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Next Monday I am scheduled to lead a discussion on the Kingdom of God in my theology seminar (adult study). Part of our reflection will consider what the KOG means to people in different churches. In this thread I would like to hear your thoughts about the KOG, and especially as presented from your tradition. If you make a distinction between your personal thoughts about the KOG vs. what your tradition teaches, it would be interesting and helpful if you point out the differences.


    A few questions:

    What is/was the KOG to Jesus?

    What is the KOG to you?

    What is the relationship between the KOG and the Church?

    Thanks!
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Luke 17:20-21 (King James Version)



    20And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

    In my belief system tis that place of prayer, not bellowing on the street corner, but when we go in and close the doors behind us. Tis time in meditation that allows us to understand the KOG and then understand we are in the midst.

    Perception, like the fellow who asked about the next town...first traveler headed from their indicated the people were terrible and awful, the second said they were wonderful and givng...it is perception. Some think we are living in hell right now and are awaiting someone to save us, others feel we are in the kingdom now.

    Role of the church, to assist us in opening our eyes to the glory at hand.
     
  3. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Luna, please remember that though it is a good quesion, this board is not to invite people to describe their view of the KoG and its relation to the church. Only the correct interpretations of approved experts are appropriate.
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Oops...theology board, above sarcasm aside, my bad. I was dispensing my opinion based on my understanding of New Thought. I'll find some Fillmore, Fox, etc. to back it up.
     
  5. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Mods please feel free to move this thread if it is not appropriate for this forum. I put it here because I am specifically interested in traditional viewpoints as well as opinions, and I am not looking for a debate on the topic.

    I think for two of the three questions it would helpful to indicate what you base your answers on, even if you don't give specific resources or links (although I would find those helpful and appreciate them). Obviously for one question only the individual answering can really be considered the proper reference. Still, even in that question I am hoping that the answer is tied to one's traditional teaching, how one believes the same or different from the orthodox teaching.
     
  6. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    I thought your post was fine and I gave you 'good rep' for it already.

    Thank you for your input. :)
     
  7. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    If you belong to any denomination or even a non-denominational church, I would think you have some kind of teaching, general or specific, about the KOG. It is interesting as well if variable interpretations of the KOG are encouraged by your community, and if there are any limits to what can rightly be called the KOG.

    If you are a sole believer in your flavor of Christianity, a 'non-organized-religion-Christian,' as many here at IO tend to be, then I would be very interested in your interpretation of the KOG as well, whatever you would like to share.

    But if someone is going to challenge traditional or other interpretations I would then expect that they clearly define which 'Church' or orthodox teaching they are challenging, present it fairly with references to back them up (to prevent strawman attacks), and hopefully bring original scholarship in to support their claim.

    Cheers
     
  8. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    I would think there is quite a bit on this in comparisons between Catholic and Protestant theology.

    An interesting Evangelical idea I came across is that the Kingdom is between people - and does not include institutions.
     
  9. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Luna, if you want to discuss this, it won't be on this board. I am not interested in challenging anything but rather in "understanding."

    Esoteric Christianity and traditional Christianity have two basic opposing views so naturally the KoG is understood differently. If you read this article, you should understand why the differences must be what they are. They would not be welcome here. It has proven to be so. But you can get a glimpse of why these differences must be as they are and you may get an idea here:

    Esoteric Christianity
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks Wil — no problems.

    We're all going to hit that point of expressing ourselves without necessarily offering the backup, so we shouldn't be too worried about that.

    Where it matters is when we start expressing unfounded opinions, or erroneous opinions and assumptions about what others believe, based on ignorance or prejudice, which happens quite a lot on the other boards.

    Interdenomination discussion will always be testy as well, if we let it get out of hand, it's a shame we don't get Buddhists or Native Americans or Brahmins posting ... even an Orthodox source would, I'm sure, engender some lively debates in some areas.

    But hey-ho ... early days.

    Thomas
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That's right, the rest of IO is open to individual speculation.

    As Lunamoth was quite clear to point out, she's interested in the doctrines of the various denominations: "what the KOG means to people in different churches" and "especially as presented from your tradition".

    If you wish to pursue your own opinions on the matter, you have the rest of IO at your disposal.

    Thomas
     
  12. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Well I have to give you credit for not wanting to hide it. This board is for the approved experts of Christendom and not for the understanding of that minority that have experienced Christianity. Fair enough
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Nick —

    I tend to view traditional Christianity as presenting Christian esoterism in a proper context — that is, in relation to its exoteric component.

    If you want to discuss that article, I'd be more than happy.

    What is not welcome here is the assumption of your infallibility. Just because you hold an opinion does not place that opinion beyond argument.

    Esoteric Christianity
    As I said, if you wish a discussion, perhaps I should start a thread, offering a critique of the claims made?

    I might point out you are not alone in claiming to be the voice of 'esoteric Christianity' Bishadi and others also make that claim, although their ideas are often different from your own, which only points to the subjective and relativistic nature of such claims.

    Here we're aiming at objectivity and authenticity.

    Thomas
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Lunamoth —
    Speaking on behalf of us Catlicks ...

    Jesus is the King and the Kingdom, in that whoever is in His presence is in the Kingdom, whether the individual knows it or not.

    This is the 'Messianic Secret' of Mark's Gospel "to you it is given to know, to them it is not given", when He explained the Parables of the Kingdom. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus never said, "Blessed are they who have seen me" ... but it would be true.

    In Biblical Studies there is much discussion of a twofold eschatology, of a present exchatology and a future eschatology, preached simultaneously. John is famous for this. "I and the Father are one" (present) — "the Father is greater than I" (future).

    My own belief (I'll let you know what my tutor says when I get my essay back) is that the Beatitudes are future-based "for they shall" six times out of eight) whilst the Parables of the Kingdom is now.

    Man: "Rabbi, tell me, where shall I find the kingdom?"
    Jesus: "You're looking at it."

    From the Catechism: CCC546
    +++

    Faith and Grace.
    Like in the Holy Spirit.

    One person is not a kingdom, even a king is not a kingdom ... a community is a kingdom. So the Church is a representation of the Kingdom, in that the Church comprises those people who declare themselves to be His people.

    Likewise the Gifts of Grace manifest themselves by degree in individuals, but they are present in their fullness and entirety in the Church, and accessible to all through the Church.

    The Church is the means by which Christ chooses to distribute His gifts amongst all mankind. The Catechism has a lot to offer on this point.

    Thomas
     
  15. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    I was raised Catholic and was taught as follows: the Kingdom of God is the completion of God's plan in some future time. It is identified with Jesus' second coming "with glory" in the wake of a cataclysmic, apocalyptic event that will lead up to the resurrection of worthy humans. Consistent with the Judaic/OT notion of Apocalypse, earthly empires give way to G-d supreme and eternal reign. G-d plan presumably includes the effectance of values like peace and justice and harmony. At last, the ambiguities of human existence are replaced by the potentiation of the Holy into an everlasting temporal rule. In addition, the Church is portrayed as facilitating the Kingdom into the world.

    Since the thread is not in the Abrahamic faiths area...The Hindu tradition also has an idea about the Kingdom. The term is Vaikuntha.

    Sometimes the term designates a divya loka, a divine land of bliss to which one attains upon quitting the material plane and ceasing to have additional births in the material world.

    Vaikuntha is also described as the eternal abode of Krishna and Vishnu.

    Sometimes the term Vaikuntha is used in reference to the organization of cosmos. It is said to be that part of the order of things that's "managed by the personal energy of the Lord."
    Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 1 Chapter 15 Verse 46
     
  16. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist Staff Member

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    The fulfillment of the New Covenant. (Luke 22:14-20)

    When the law is written on the tablet of the heart (New Covenant), instead of on Tablets of stone. (Old Covenant) (See 2 Corinthians 3:3, Proverbs 3:3, Proverbs 7:3, Jeremiah 31 and Romans 2)

    The people who have God's law written on their hearts are the living stones which build the Church. (See 1 Peter 2:5 about the living stones and Jeremiah 31:33-34 about no one having to say, "know the Lord!" {i.e., no formalized institution needed.})
    Jeremiah 31:33-34
    "I will place My law [i] within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. 34 No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying: Know the LORD, (AG) for they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them"—the LORD's declaration. "For I will forgive their wrongdoing (AH) and never again remember their sin." ​
    See Jeremiah 31 linked above, as well as 1 Corinthians 1 & 2
     
  17. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Thank you Thomas. Not surprsingly much of this resonates with my views of the KOG as well.

    I like the part from the catechism about it being an invitation, an invitation to do something differently, to do things God's way (eternal life).

    The bit I quoted above is related to what I think I will use as one of my two main questions for our seminar discussion, the tension between the 'now' and 'not yet' that runs through the Gospels and especially when talking about the KOG.

    I think my discussion question around this will be something like:

    Has Satan already been destroyed?
     
  18. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Hi N-N, Thank you for your input. :)

    It is interesting that you mainly see a future reference for the KOG, and that it is tightly linked to an apocalypse. I more often associate that interpretation with a Protestant, rather than Catholic, view.

    What about the quote wil gave from Luke about the KOG being among/within us?


    This is another point that interests me. How much is it up to us to 'build' the KOG? In the Baha'i view it is very much our job to create God's Kingdom on earth.


    Thank you for that!
     
  19. Janz

    Janz What's Amatta U

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    I hope I am not too late. One of my favorite books about the KOG is written by Mortimer Arias: “Announcing the Reign of God.” Here is a link to an article written by him:


    THE KINGDOM OF GOD


    The Reign of God constitutes the central theme of Jesus of Nazareth's teachings found within the Synoptic Gospel more than 100 times and is defined almost entirely by parable.
    In the Synoptic Gospels, (which most scholars believe were all written in Greek language) Mark and Luke use the Greek term "Basileia tou Theou," commonly translated in English as "Kingdom of God," while Matthew prefers the Greek term "Basileia ton Ouranon" which has been translated as "Kingdom of Heaven”



    The word “kingdom” is a translation of the Greek word “basileia” which in turn is a translation of the words "malkuth" (Hebrew) and "malkutha" (Aramaic). These words do not define kingdom by territory but by dominion. Jesus said of the Kingdom of God that one cannot say, “Look here it is!” or “There it is!” According to C. H. Dodd (a Welsh New Testament scholar and influential Protestant theologian) the common translation of “malkuth” with “basileia” in Greek and hence “kingdom” in English is problematic so a translation with “kingship,” "kingly rule," “reign” or “sovereignty” should be preferred.


    For me, the future reign of God has broken in through the presence of Jesus. And yet . . . it hasn’t arrived in its fullness. We are living “between the times” — between the incarnation/death/resurrection of Jesus and the coming consummation that we await. Jesus stories and teaching pointed to a very different kind of kingdom than what was expected- a kingdom that was inverted, where the poor are blessed, the “sinners” are received, the dead are made alive, and the last will be first. Jesus came to show us the way to what God had intended for us in creation. That’s the kingdom, or rule of God and he taught his disciples to live with this perspective as a sign of the inbreaking reign of God. We, as his followers, are to live in harmony with God and with others and with the world that God created and blessed.


    That is the misson of the church (the Body of Christ) to be this sign or a proclamation of the future Reign of God. We are to proclaim the Gospel in both Word And Deeds.


    I would say that my background is of a liberal Presbyterian; but I am now not a member of any local fellowship. I do however, appreciate Liberation Theology as well as the above teaching of the Reign of God.
     
  20. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Hi SG, Thank you!

    Very nice. :) I especially like your use of living stones for the people of God's church. And the Jeremiah quote is perfect. The other main theme I think I will concentrate my discussion on is Jesus' prophetic role, and along the lines of the question:

    How much did Jesus know?

    My one question to you is about the institution of the church, which you seem to see as 'done away with' in any formal or organized sense. I hear where you are coming from, but how would Jesus' message and the story of his life, death and resurrection be preserved and passed down if nothing was organized?

    Even though the Bible records the story as the evangelicists knew it, without the tradition preserved by organized religion it would be easy to lose important interpretations, including the interpretation of the Incarnation.

    It is the same old problem religions have faced, the tension between the individual's relationship with their God and Creator, and the need for some kind of instrument to maintain the teachings of God over the generations.

    Anyway, that's kind of far afield from my question about the KOG, and I am not debating the point. My point is that both are needed, the living, creating individual relationships and the centering, anchoring tradition.

    I love it:


    Jeremiah 31:33-34
    "I will place My law within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. 34 No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying: Know the LORD, (AG) for they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them"—the LORD's declaration. "For I will forgive their wrongdoing (AH) and never again remember their sin."
     

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