Hey kids! Guess what time it is?
It’s word study time!
Two years ago in October 2012, I got mysteriously ill and ended up spending a week in the hospital. Having nothing to do, being abysmally sick (not really able to eat or sleep), I decided to attempt to read a book on a subject that I had wanted to tackle for a while. I had wanted to read Alva J. McClain’s book The Greatness of the Kingdom, which is an exhaustive look at the concept of “the kingdom” throughout the entire Bible. I hadn’t ever really studied the topic in serious depth, so I figured that my illness provided me a perfect opportunity. The problem was that my office was a horrid mess and my wife couldn’t find the book so I basically decided to do all the study on the topic myself…but that’s a lot of work so I simply did an exhaustive study of the term “kingdom” in the Bible. I had an English concordance (on my phone) and I looked up every single usage of the word “kingdom” in both the OT and the NT, and started refining my understanding of the kingdom (I had a lot of free time). I’ll post my findings in the order of Old Testament, New Testament and then kingdom parables.
Why that order?
Well, the reason is not because “the Old Testament comes first” (I tended to previously think of “the kingdom” as essentially a New Testament concept). I had heard a lot of talk about “the kingdom” in the NT, and I had always been puzzled about something. When Jesus arrived in Matthew 2:2, he was called “King of the Jews” and in 3:2 his initial message was “repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand”, but the people seemed to know what he was talking about. They thought that Jesus was the promised king who would establish a promised kingdom, and nobody stopped him and said “hang on a second! What in the world are you talking about? Kingdom? What kingdom?”. In the gospel of Matthew, the “gospel” that Jesus proclaimed was the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23, 9:35, 24:14). That was the “good news” that Jesus brought to his listeners.
I had never heard anyone explain the setting up of the kingdom promises in the OT, so that seemed to be the logical place to start. I also decided to treat the New Testament separately from the specific kingdom parables in the gospels for the purpose of limiting the length of the posts and prevent the New Testament post from becoming horribly unwieldy.
Here’s the first installment of my gleanings from my survey of the term “kingdom” in the Bible; this isn’t a comprehensive explanation of the concept, but rather simply the term “kingdom”. This would only be one step in producing a properly and comprehensively biblical understanding of “kingdom”, but it’s a decent start. I list the usages of the word “kingdom” according to their meaning, and I’ve written some notes about certain references that are either important or may be slightly confusing: Continue Reading…