What Is Meant by the Kingdom of God

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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 world.” Others believe it relates to a way of life, whereby it can only be reached through the right decisions and acts of kindness as outlined by Jesus’ teachings. Some would say that the ‘Kingdom of God’ is in fact the Church –his legacy, established when Jesus sent out his twelve disciples “to preach the Kingdom of God and to cure diseases.” Another belief is that it is an inner state of being; a reflection of the psychological or spiritual state. None of these interpretations take into account what the Old Testament prophets had been saying about the Kingdom for centuries. Therefore to completely understand what Jesus meant by the term ‘Kingdom of God’ it is important to examine the background and what Jewish people of Jesus’ period understood the term to mean. A thousand years before the time of Christ, during David and Solomon’s reign, Jewish people lived in relative peace and stability. In the years that followed fortunes declined, the nation split into two: the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah and it was no longer a peaceful state. The nation’s leaders were abducted to Babylon and Solomon’s famous Temple was ruined. It is understandable, therefore that the Jewish people of that time considered the...
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