Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tracing the Kingdom of God Theme Across the Canon

What follows is my all too brief attempt to trace out the kingdom of God theme as it unfolds in Scripture. Since this was produced for a graduate course at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, there were space constraints imposed that limit the scope and detail of my treatment (at certain points, the footnotes fill out a thought somewhat, and suggest where more unpacking might occur). I hope to produce something far fuller and more detailed as Providence allows. Nevertheless, here is, I believe, the basics of this theme as it unfolds in Scripture.

The Kingdom of God in the Canon

The theme of “the kingdom of God” occupies enormous space in recent scholarly discourse.[1] Numerous scholars have noted how well this theme may integrate biblical theology.[2] Yarbrough labels this theme as “all-important.”[3] Waltke speaks of the “in-breaking of God’s rule” as the center of the Old Testament (OT).[4] I myself would contend that the kingdom of God functions centrally in the unfolding of salvation-history.[5] But finding a center in Scripture is not the focus of this brief paper. Rather, this paper proposes to trace out this “all-important” theme across the canon as it unfolds corpus by corpus. Finally, then, I shall attempt to tease out tersely a few implications and applications.

Although the phraseology “the kingdom of God” does not occur in the OT,[6] the idea pervades the whole.[7] Numerous texts speak of God’s kingdom (e.g., Pss 103:19; 145:11–12; Dan 4:34). Similarly, scores of texts speak of God as king or of God’s throne (e.g., Pss 24:10; 99:1, 4; Isa 6:1, 5; 66:1). The kingdom of God as it comes into clear view in the New Testament (NT) clearly depends on the notion of royal rule in the OT.[8], [9]

The Pentateuch’s Anticipatory Witness

The witness of the first five books of the Bible is one of anticipation. We see no explicit references to the “kingdom of God,” but intimations crop up repeatedly in this block of Scripture. Moreover, the whole framework within which the witness unfolds is one of God’s lordship over the cosmos in creation, in providence, and in promised redemption.[10] This lordship language links up conceptually as well as semantically with the idea and reality of God as king over all and with the kingdom theme that develops in the Bible’s storyline.[11]

Since he created all things (Gen 1:1), God rules supremely as King over his creation, and to him alone belongs all allegiance.[12] Although God gives dominion to his image-bearers (Gen 1:26–28) in Eden, their dominion never escapes the bounds of his sovereign will, but is always subject to it (Gen 2:17).[13] The Garden of Eden thus serves as the basic framework for the kingdom theme.[14] But defying their King, humanity succumbs to Satan’s seduction to be like God and plunges into rebellion and ruin, as Genesis 3 tragically recounts. And so Adam and Eve and their future progeny forfeit dominion in paradise. Yet their rebellion and resultant ruin do not utter the last word. For God promises redemption through the seed of the woman (3:15). Already, then, there is a suggestion of regaining what was lost.[15] After the fallout of the Fall (Genesis 4–11), Abraham and his progeny then become the locus of God’s promise of redemption (Genesis 12ff). Among God’s promises to Abraham and his offspring, kings shall come (Gen 17:6, 16; 35:11).[16] This coming of kings comes in keeping with the promise of nationhood made to Abram (Gen 12:2), which “assumes a political and regal destiny.”[17] Gen 49:8–12 then narrows the anticipation of dominion down to Judah. And so Genesis intimates the rise of a royal dynasty.[18]

The formation of Israel as a theocratic nation ruled by YHWH comes as an exceedingly important development.[19] Exod 19:1–6 depicts Israel at Sinai entering into covenant with YHWH, who makes her “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,”[20] if she will obey his voice. So this watershed brings into sharper focus the ilk of kingdom developing in redemptive history: priests ruled by the righteous word of their sovereign covenant King.

Two other crucial texts in the Pentateuch’s witness need to be surveyed: Num 24:3–9, 15–19 and Deut 17:14–20.[21] In Numbers 22–24, we read of Balak’s summons of Balaam to curse Israel. Balaam’s third oracle (24:3–9), drawing upon imagery from Eden and the Exodus, foretells of the triumph of Israel over adversaries through her king, and harks back to the royal figure of Gen 49:8–12.[22] Num 24:14 introduces the fourth oracle, and also looks back to Genesis 49, with a reference to what will happen “in the latter days” (בְּאַחֲרִ֥ית הַיָּמִ) “in the latter days.”[23]

In these latter days, “a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the head of Moab . . . [and] exercise dominion” (Num 24:17–19), recalling the seed (Gen 3:15), the kings (17:6, 17), and the blessing (49:8–12). The texts cited thus far from Genesis–Numbers anticipate Deut 17:14–20.[24] When the people enter the promised land and ask for a king, they may have one—so long as God chooses him, and he is an Israelite (17:15). But he must not amass military might, marry many wives, or accumulate excessive wealth (17:16–17). Positively, the king must give himself to the Torah and observe it, “that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel” (17:18–20).

The Former Prophets’ Determinative Witness

Following Deuteronomy’s assumption of the inevitable rise of kingship, Joshua–Kings records the need for, the rise of, and the demise of kingship in Israel. Joshua recounts entrance into the promised land; Judges records in sordid detail the consequences of a leadership vacuum. The book ends on an ominous note: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg 21:25; cf. 17:6; 18:1; 19:1). And so the tension in the narrative awaits resolution to this desperate situation.[25]

The narrative of Samuel resolves the tension created by king-lessness and moral chaos in Judges. It begins exultantly in Hannah’s song with the expectation of a divinely anointed king (1 Sam 2:10). Virtually the entirety of Samuel then presses toward the appointment of David as king. Shortly after Samuel anoints Saul as Israel’s first king (1 Samuel 10), Saul rebels (13). So Samuel announces the end of Saul’s kingdom and YHWH’s seeking “a man after his own heart” (13–14). Next the narrative tells of David’s rise to royalty according to YHWH’s appointment (recall Deut 17:15). After David is anointed king (2 Samuel 5), the narrative climaxes with the determinative Davidic Covenant in 2 Samuel 7.[26] YHWH promises David an everlasting dynasty, an eternal throne (7:12–16).

However, the fulfillment of the Davidic kingdom falters. First, the kingdom is torn in two (1 Kings 12). Then we read of the wreckage of king after king disregarding God’s covenant. The northern kingdom spirals out of control in idolatry and ends in exile under Assyria in 722 B.C. (2 Kings 17); the southern kingdom likewise plunges into idolatry and is exiled under Babylon in 587 B.C. (2 Kings 25). But 2 Kings does not end in despair amid the darkness: a ray of hope—through Jehoiachin’s release from prison and elevation above the other kings in Babylon—brightens the prospects of the Davidic dynasty (25:27–30).

The Latter Prophets’ Witness to a Divine-Davidic King

The Latter Prophets record the prophetic word delivered primarily during the dark days of the ending of Kings.[27] The Lord sits enthroned (Isa 6:1). Yet the prophets must repeatedly indict Israel for habitually failing to acknowledge God’s kingship. However, indictment and judgment speak only to one dimension of the larger story; the other dimension includes the promise of salvation. And the writing prophets convey clearly enough that that hoped-for, hope-filled promise comes with the coming king and YHWH’s kingdom.

In Isaiah 6–12, “the interplay of . . . two kingships—[one divine, one Davidic]—and their envisaged merger in a divine King in David’s line (7:14; 9:6–7; 11:1,10) becomes the unifying theme.”[28] This conjoining of kingships reaches lofty prophetic heights in Isa 9:6–7. A son is given to Israel—his “name shall be called . . . Mighty God, Everlasting Father. . . . Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom. . . .” This finally comes to fruition in the Christ of the NT—in whom the divine rule and human rule come together in perfect harmony. Though less explicit, and somewhat veiled, Ezekiel and Jeremiah speak of similar realities, the divine and human coalescing in a Davidic figure (Ezek 34:23–24; 37:24–28; Jer 23:5–6; 33:14–16).[29]

The Writings’ Witness to YHWH’s Reign

I shall now focus on Psalms, Chronicles, Ruth, and Daniel. As for the Psalms, many have noted the decidedly “Davidic and kingly character of the final form.”[30], [31] Many points might usefully be made concerning a plethora of passages in the Psalms,[32] but only a quick look will be taken at a modest selection of the kingly contents of the Psalter. Along with Psalm 1, Psalm 2 introduces the Psalms. An enthronement psalm, it attests YHWH’s appointment of his anointed king. The “extravagant” language concerning God’s son (2:8, 10–11) “points to a Davidic monarch who outstrips both David and Solomon, not to mention all their heirs and descendants down to the exile.”[33] Similar things might be said of Psalms 45 and 72 where, respectively, the king is shockingly addressed as “God” (אֱ֭לֹהִים) with an eternal throne (Ps 45:6), and it is asked that Solomon’s dominion might extend to “the ends of the earth” so that “all kings [might] fall down before him, all nations serve him” (72:8, 11). These passages, among others (e.g., Pss 89:3–4, 25, 29, 38, 49, 51; 132:11), come in the trajectory of 2 Samuel 7. In the same trajectory, Psalm 110 “sings the triumph of what appears to be a new David . . . who sees Yahweh crush[[34]] the head of his enemy.”[35] With Psalms 93–99, “the central theological affirmation of the Psalter is that the Lord reigns!”[36]

Set in dark days of the judges, Ruth comes as a bright light of hope. It closes with a genealogy ending with David, reminding us of God’s goal for the Davidic dynasty.[37] The book of Daniel likewise looks forward: “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed” (Dan 2:44), “an everlasting dominion” (Dan 4:34). To “one like a son of man” the Ancient of Days will give “dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him” (Dan 7:13–14; cf. Gen 49:10; Ps 72:11). In the stream of OT anticipation, this can be none other than a Davidide in line with 2 Samuel 7. Lastly, Chronicles patently betrays a preoccupation with David.[38] And it concludes with Cyrus’s proclamation for God’s people to return to the land and rebuild the temple, a temple “inextricably tied to the dynasty of David.”[39]

The Witness to the Dawning of the Kingdom in the Gospels

Some larger issues need now to be addressed. At risk of oversimplifying, the Hebrew מַמְלָכָה and מַלְכוּת and the corresponding Greek βασιλεία, usually translated as “kingdom,” can signify two related but distinct concepts. The terms may signify the kingship or reign of a king abstractly, or a concrete reality such as the place and people ruled over.[40] Many claim that the primary meaning of these terms “is abstract and dynamic, that is, ‘sovereignty’ or ‘royal rule.’”[41] But is the idea of realm included along with reign?[42] For present purposes, it is sufficient to say that both “static” and “dynamic” senses are commonly present in these terms.[43] Also a key question: is the kingdom of God a present or future reality?[44] Vos, Cullman, and Ladd, among others, see the kingdom as both present and future.[45] Doubtless this already-and-not-yet understanding is the scriptural notion.[46]

Now we must enter the gospels and consider their cataclysmic witness. The gospels deploy three terms for the kingdom: ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ, ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, and ἡ βασιλεία.[47] These are fundamentally near-synonymous expressions.[48] Speaking generally, this phraseology expresses “the broad concept of God implementing his eternal sovereignty in the affairs of his world,”[49] bearing in mind there is a sense in which God’s reign has always been absolute. And so the kingdom language bears two dimensions of conceptual meaning: first, God’s reign in providence, or God’s absolute sovereignty over all (e.g., Ps 103:19); and, second, God’s reign in grace and eschatological blessing (e.g., Matt 12:28; Rom 14:17; 1 Cor 15:24). Following Jesus’ resurrection, all God’s sovereignty is now mediated through Christ, the “mediatorial King” (1 Cor 15:24–28; Matt 28:18).

Matthew presents Jesus as “the son of David, the son of Abraham . . . born king of the Jews” (1:1; 2:2; cf. Luke 1:31–33). The long-awaited promised King has come, the Son of Psalm 2,[50] the Son par excellence in whom God’s soul delights (Matt 3:17; cf. Isa 42:1; Mark 1:1), who keeps the covenant. After his baptism, Jesus begins his ministry by preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17)—“at hand,” because the King is present, fulfilling Scripture (e.g., Matt 2:6, 15, 17; 4:1–11). Now although the kingdom came in a sense in Jesus’ birth and life, it is also seen as coming at the cross of Christ. “Matthew plays with the theme of Jesus reigning from the cross (Matt 27:27–51a).”[51] But the dawning of the kingdom occurs supremely in the resurrection of the Christ,[52] which should probably also be seen in connection with Jesus’ ascension (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:6, 9), exaltation and session (Acts 2:34–36), and the outpouring of the Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 2ff).[53] Mark 14:62, drawing upon Dan 7:13 and Ps 110:1, seems to confirm this.[54] The kingdom of God comes in power according to Jesus’ prediction (Mark 9:1),[55] even if not in the fullness of end-time blessing. As the heavenly kingdom breaks into this fallen and fading world, however, it comes in an unexpected, almost imperceptible manner (Matthew 13).[56] Jesus’ kingdom “is not from the world” (John 18:36). Its origin is from above, not from below. And apart from the new birth, no one can see or enter the kingdom of God (3:3, 5). 

The Witness to the Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus

Luke “frames” his narrative in Acts with kingdom of God language (1:3, 6; 28:23, 31), for this is “what the rest of the book is about: the kingdom!”[57] References to the risen Jesus as King abound in Acts as the apostles proclaim him as Lord.[58] The central message preached and taught as the church “was clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) was the kingdom of God (Acts 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31). As a continuation of all that the Lord “Jesus began to teach and do” (1:1), “the book of Acts . . . is about the continuation of [God’s] saving promise, the kingdom of God, through the Lord Jesus.”[59]

The Epistolary Witness to the Character of the Kingdom

Only eighteen references to the kingdom of God occur in the epistles, yet not because it is less important than in the gospels. Schmidt avers, probably rightly, that the reason the epistles appear to speak so infrequently of the kingdom is that it is stressed implicitly by reference to the Lord Jesus Christ.[60] The epistles manifest the risen Lord’s inaugurated new-creation kingdom in the life of the church, God’s “royal priesthood” (1 Pet 2:9; cf. Exod 19:6). Those joined to the risen Jesus, Jew and Gentile alike, participate in the in-breaking of the new creation and the true Israel of God (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15–16).[61] For example, consider Colossians, which refers explicitly to the kingdom only twice (1:13; 4:11). Yet Yarbrough can argue cogently that everything after 1:13 is commentary on the meaning of the “kingdom” for the Colossians![62] The focus of the theme verses (2:6–7) on Jesus as Lord supports his claim, along with the way these verses serve as an inclusio with 3:17.

The Consummative Witness of the Apocalypse

The Revelation bears powerful witness to the kingdom in its inaugurated and consummated states. The description of Jesus in 1:5 links his status as “firstborn from the dead” with his being “ruler of the kings of the earth,” as does 3:14 (cf. Ps 89:3–4, 27, 36–37, developing Psalm 2 and 2 Samuel 7).[63] And the designation of Jesus in Rev 3:14 as “the beginning of God’s creation” probably refers to the new creation (cf. 21:1, 5), dawning in Jesus’ resurrection and those who are in him. As risen King, Jesus rules over the kings of the earth. And he has “made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father” (1:6; cf. Exod 19:6).

So in the risen, royal life of Jesus, the new-creation kingdom of God is manifested already, manifested in his kingdom of priests (ruled by his righteous word), and in his present rule over the kings of the earth. This rule will fully, finally come only in the age to come (Rev 11:15; 12:10), when the saints of God will reign with Christ in eternal blessedness (3:21).[64]

The throne references recall a major theme in Revelation: God is king (e.g.,4:2; 5:1; 21:5). “By highlighting the divine throne, John’s final vision reveals that the creation of the New Jerusalem consolidates God’s absolute authority over everything that exists upon the earth.”[65] So in “a new heaven and new earth” (Revelation 21–22), we see the kingdom consummated, seen not least by the references to God’s throne (21:3,5; 22:1, 3).

Some Implications and Applications of the Kingdom Theme

This “all-important” kingdom theme has far-reaching implications for worldview formation and the church’s ministry. Only a few, however, can be tersely teased out. First, as a “kingdom of priests,” the church of Christ is called to bear witness to the gospel of the kingdom and manifest something of the presence of Christ to the nations. As the apostles bore witness to the resurrection and grace of the Lord Jesus, calling everyone everywhere to repent and believe in the living Lord and Savior, so also the church must stay focused on this task above all other tasks.[66] 

Second, the church needs to stay focused on her “kingdom existence,” as it is a manifestation of the present reign of God in Christ, as “life under [Jesus’] lordship.”[67] He is Lord of all. Our life together in local churches better reflect what we confess. And so we ought, for example, to embrace the Sermon on the Mount “as a manifesto for life in the kingdom of heaven.”[68] Similarly, inasmuch as the kingdom expresses the new creation in the risen Jesus, the local church ought to seek to bring down now as much of heaven as possible in this age, seeking “the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Col 3:2). “Raised with Christ” (Col 3:1), we ought to show forth new-creation life in our church communities (e.g., Col 3:12–17), doing all we do “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Third, and last, in the face of the evils and sorrows of this present age, the church needs to live in the hope that, according to God’s precious promises, God’s kingdom will triumph at last over the serpent, the church will reign with Christ forever in a new Eden, and all nations will one day come and bow low before the King of glory. And so we ought to pray daily in confidence for God’s name to be hallowed, for God’s kingdom to come, and for the King’s will to be done on earth as it is done in heaven (Matt 6:9–10).

[1] A recent bibliography lists over 10,000 publications on the kingdom of God published in the twentieth century alone. Chrupcala, Leslaw Daniel. The Kingdom of God: A Bibliography of 20th Century Research. Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 2007.
[2] E.g., Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W Goheen, The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004); Graeme Goldsworthy, “Gospel and Kingdom,” in The Goldsworthy Trilogy (Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster, 1981), 1–148.
[3] Robert W. Yarbrough, “The Kingdom of God in the New Testament: Matthew and
Revelation,” in The Kingdom of God, eds. Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 95.
[4] Bruce Waltke, An Old Testament TheologyAn Exegetical, Canonical, and Thematic
Approach (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 144.
[5] As does Thomas R. Schreiner, The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2013), xiii.
[6] E.g., R. T. France, “Kingdom of God,” DTIB: 420.
[7] C. C. Caragounis, “Kingdom of God,” DJG: 417; cf. Brian Rosner, NDBT: 9.
[8] Steven M. Sheeley, “Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven,” EDB: 767.
[9] However, although this paper, according to its brief, will trace out this “all-important theme,” it does not wish to give the impression that the theme is equally prominent in all the Bible.
[10] John Frame avers persuasively that “God’s lordship [is] a central theological theme.” Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2013), 15.
[11] So also Schreiner, The King in His Beauty, xiii.
[12] Goldsworthy, “Kingdom of God,” NDBT: 618.
[13] Ibid., 618. Nevertheless, God’s supreme rule and humanity’s subordinate rule intertwine at this point, setting a trajectory that ends in Revelation with the Lord God, the Lamb, and the saints reigning in a new creation.
[14] Ibid., 618; Goldsworthy, “Gospel and Kingdom,” 60.
[15] So also Stephen G. Dempster, “Geography and Genealogy, Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible,” in Biblical Theology: Retrospect & Prospect (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2002), 69–70.
[16] So also, e.g., Roy E. Ciampa, “The History of Redemption,” in Central Themes in Biblical
Theology: Mapping Unity in Diversity (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2007), 265.
[17] Stephen G. Dempster, Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2003), 76.
[18] T. Desmond Alexander, “Royal Expectations in Genesis to Kings: Their Importance for Biblical Theology,” Tyndale Bulletin 49, no. 2 (1998): 194–216.
[19] T. Desmond Alexander, From Eden to the New Jerusalem: An Introduction to Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2008), 80.
[20] All Bible citations are from the English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011).
[21] T. D. Alexander also notes these two texts in The Servant King: The Bible’s Portrait of the Messiah (Vancouver, BC: Regent College, 2003), 35–39.
[22] Dempster, Dominion and Dynasty, 115–117; “Geography and Genealogy,” 74–75.
[23] The same Hebrew expression (בְּאַחֲרִ֥ית הַיָּמִ) last occurred in Gen 49:1. See G. K. Beale’s discussion of the allusion here in A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011), 99–101.
[24] Dempster, Dominion and Dynasty, 120.
[25] William J. Dumbrell does not see Judg 21:25 as a negative assessment of judges and a positive assessment of kingship. The Search for Order: Biblical Eschatology in Focus (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1994), 58–60. However, Dempster, citing Von Rad, is probably perceptive: in its canonical context, Judg 21:25 functions to create anticipation for the righteous rule of God’s people. Dominion and Dynasty, 133.
[26] Dempster, “Geography and Genealogy,” 76. The Davidic Covenant advances the kingdom theme in a determinative and far-reaching manner, to the extent that it reverberates throughout the rest of the Scriptures, and indeed on into eternity.
[27] Dempster, Dominion and Dynasty, 75.
[28] J. Alec Motyer, The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers
Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993), 37.
[29] Indeed, it seems these prophets are not alone in testifying to the rule of a Davidic king and
YHWH together: see also Hos 1:1; 3:5; Mic 5:2; and Zech 9:9–10 with 14:9 and Ps 72:8.
[30] Schreiner, The King in His Beauty, 252.
[31] For instance, nearly half of the psalms claim Davidic authorship (David M. Howard, Jr., “The Case for Kingship in the Old Testament Narrative Books and the Psalms,” TRINJ 9:1 (1988): 34); sixty-four, according to Eaton’s criteria (Eaton, J. H. Kingship and the Psalms. 2nd ed. Sheffield: JSOT, 1986), may be considered royal psalms (J. A. Grant, “Kingship Psalms,” DOTWPW: 376); the flow of Psalms moves from David’s life (books 1 and 2) through the failure and fall of the monarchy (book 3, esp. Psalm 89) and back up again to the hope of a new Davidic king in a restored kingdom (e.g., Psalm 110; Ps 132:11; Gordon Wenham, “Towards a Canonical Reading of the Psalms,” in Bartholomew et al., Canon and Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 333–351); the royal psalms at the “seams” of the Psalter attest to the royal flavor and flow of the Psalms (Gerald H. Wilson, “The Use of Royal Psalms at the ‘Seams’ of the Hebrew Psalter,” JSOT 35 (1986): 85–94); and, not least of all, even as David features prominently in books 1–3, books 4–5 ring with the praise of YHWH’s royal rule (e.g., Pss 145:1; 146:10; Howard, “The Case for Kingship,” 34).
[32] Not least of these would be the way in the which the NT deploys some of the key royal psalms (e.g., Psalms 2, 45, 110 in Hebrews 1).
[33] D. A. Carson, Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 47.
[34] The verb behind the translation “crush” in Num 24:17 (“מחץ,” to smash, HALOT 1:571) occurs tellingly again here in Ps 110:6, tellingly not least because the Numbers 24 usage likely develops Gen 49:8–12 and probably (conceptually) 3:15.
[35] James M. Hamilton Jr., God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 79.
[36] J. Clinton McCann, “The Psalms as Instruction,” Int 46 (1992): 123.
[37] Dempster, Dominion and Dynasty, 193.
[38]  It is as if “all history is regarded as a footnote to David.” Dempster, citing Brueggemann, “Geography and Genealogy,” 73.
[39] Ibid., 225.
[40] Geerhardus Vos, The Teaching of Jesus Concerning the Kingdom of God and the Church (New York: American Tract Society, 1903), 25. For all the data, see also B. Klappert, “King, Kingdom,” NIDNTT 2:372–389; Philip J. Nel, “מלך,” NIDOTTE 2:956–965.
[41] E.g., Caragounis, “Kingdom of God,” DJG: 417.
[42] See, for example, Ladd’s discussion in The Presence of the Future, 122–148.
[43] And probably neither should be excluded without warrant to do so in context. Schreiner argues for realm being included in the notion of the kingdom of God. The King in His Beauty, xiv–xv.
[44] Ritschl, Harnock, and Dodd argued that for Jesus it was an entirely present reality; Weiss, Schweitzer, and Moltman urged that for Jesus it was entirely future. Anthony A. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979), 41.
[45] Ibid., 41. See, e.g., George Eldon Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1959), 13–51; and The Presence of the Future (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974), 105–121.
[46] Much debate has swirled around how to translate φθασεν in Matt 12:28 and Luke 11:20. Taking φθασεν in its most natural sense (Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Future (London: Macmillian, 1954) 75–76), the miracles of Jesus are a manifestation of the presence of the kingdom of God, not just the “preliminaries” of the kingdom, as Caragounis argues (“Kingdom of God,” DJG: 423). Luke 17:20–21 is another passage often debated. It is enough here to note that the kingdom of God is “among you” (or the like, translating ντς μν) rather than “within you” (e.g., KJV) is almost certainly the best translation. Thus the kingdom is among those first-century hearers because the King—Messiah Jesus—was among them.
[47] Caragounis, “Kingdom of God,” DJG: 417.
[48] Caragounis avers that the expressions “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven” are equivalent. DJG: 417. This is probably almost right, with there actually being a slight difference in perspective in the differing phraseology. See Jonathan T. Pennington, “Heaven and Earth in the Gospel of Matthew,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 12, no. 1 (2008): 44–51.
[49] R. T. France, “Kingdom of God,” DTIB: 422. However, for some of the diversity of usage, see D. A. Carson, “Kingdom, Ethics, and Individual Salvation,” Themelios 38, no. 2 (2013): 199–200.
[50] Scott J. Hafemann says: “Jesus is enthroned as Israel’s messianic King at his baptism.”
“The Kingdom of God as the Mission of God,” in For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 244.
[51] Carson, Jesus the Son of God, 51.
[52] Ibid., 51.
[53] Since the kingdom comes in the birth and miracles of the Christ, and especially in his death/resurrection/ascension/exaltation/session/outpouring of the Spirit, we should probably see the kingdom coming as a theological whole with this whole complex of events in mind.
[54] See R. T. France’s exegesis, though it is by no means a consensus. The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002), 610–613.
[55] Ibid., 344–345.
[56] Beale, New Testament Biblical Theology, 433; cf. Ladd, Presence of the Future, 218–242.
[57] Alan J. Thompson, The Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus: Luke’s Account of God’s Unfolding Plan, ed. D. A. Carson (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2011), 44–45.
[58] Robert W. Yarbrough, “The Kingdom of God in the New Testament: Mark through the Epistles,” in The Kingdom of God, eds. Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 130–131.
[59] Thompson, The Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus, 48.
[60] Schmidt, TDNT 1:589.
[61] Beale, New Testament Biblical Theology, 298–314; cf. 314–354 for the in-breaking of the new-creation kingdom in the risen Lord Jesus.
[62] Yarbrough says: since “the kingdom of [God’s] loved Son” (1:13) centers on the his lordship, and since “almost all of Colossians is an application of that lordship, almost all of Colossians is essentially about the kingdom.” “The Kingdom of God in the New Testament: Mark through the Epistles,” 147.
[63] So argues Beale persuasively, New Testament Biblical Theology, 335–354; cf. G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999), 190–196, 296–303. The following discussion depends heavily on Beale’s material.
[64] Perhaps 5:10 should also be included here, but note the textual problem and the discussion in the commentaries. In any case, there is a sense in which the church is already a kingdom, reigning with Christ; but there is also a sense in which the church does not yet reign with him, awaiting his return.
[65] Alexander, From Eden to the New Jerusalem, 75.
[66] For a look at some ways in which the Bible’s teaching on the kingdom has been distorted, or imbalanced, as it is applied today, see Carson, “Kingdom, Ethics, and Individual Salvation,” 197–201.
[67] Yarbrough, “The Kingdom of God in the New Testament: Matthew and Revelation,” 115.
[68] France, DTIB: 421.


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