The Kingdom of God -
It's Shades of Meaning
from the Catholic Encyclopedia
(In Matthew, generally, Kingdom of Heaven).
Old Testament Teachings
In this Expression, the Innermost Teaching of the Old Testament is summed up, but it should be noted that the word 'Kingdom' means
'Ruling' as well; thus it signifies not so much the Actual Kingdom, as the 'Sway of the King'. We find the Theocracy sketched in the
Books of Exodus and Samuel. It is God Who Rules in the Theocratic King and
Who will Avenge any Neglect on his part. All through the Psalter this same thought is found;
it is Constantly Insisted that God's Throne is in Heaven and
that there is His Kingdom; this may explain St Matthew's Preference for the Expression "Kingdom of
Heaven", as being more familiar to the Hebrews for whom he wrote. The Prophets dwell on the thought that
God is the Supreme King and that by Him alone,
all kings rule. And when the Temporal Monarchy has failed, this same thought of God's Ultimate Rule
over His People is brought into Clearer Relief till it Culminates in the Grand Prophecy of Daniel;
As the Visions during the Night continued,
I saw One like a Son of Man coming on the Clouds of Heaven;
When he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before Him,
He received Dominion, Glory, and Kingship;
Nations and Peoples of every language serve Him.
His Dominion is an Everlasting Dominion
that shall not be taken away,
His Kingship shall not be destroyed.
to which the thoughts of Christ's 'Hearers' must have turned when they heard
Him Speak of His Kingdom. In that Vision, the Power of Ruling over all the Forces of Evil, as
Symbolized by the Four Beasts, which are the Four Kingdoms, is given to "One like the Son of Man". At the
same time we catch a glimpse in the Apocryphal Psalms of Solomon, of the way in which, side-by-side with the
Truth, there grew up among the Carnal-minded the Idea of a Temporal Sovereignty of the
Messiah, an Idea, which was to Exercise so
Baneful an Influence on subsequent Generations; where God is besought to Raise-up the King, the
Son of David, to Crush the Nations and Purify Jerusalem, etc. In the Greek Book of Wisdom, however,
we find the most Perfect Realization of what was Truly Implied by this 'Rule' of God —
"She [Wisdom] led the Just Man through Direct Paths and shewed him the Kingdom of God", i.e. in what
that Kingdom consisted.
In the New Testament, the Speedy Advent of this Kingdom is the One
(1) Theme: "Do Penance: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, said the Baptist, and
Christ's Opening Words to the People do but Repeat that Message. At every-stage in
His Teaching the Advent of this Kingdom, its Various Aspects,
its Precise Meaning, the way in which it is to be Attained, form the Staple of His Discourses, so
much so that His Discourse is called "the Gospel of the Kingdom". And the various
Shades-of-Meaning which the Expression bears, have to be Studied.
Kingdom of God,
~ Mystical Body of Christ,
~ Holy Catholic Church (A Divine Society),
~ Holy Bride of Christ (cf. Song of Songs), and
~ the Communion of Saints.
of the Kingdom
Established in 33AD - by the Passion and Death of Christ, which Defeated Satan, and prompted the Sending of His Spirit
on the Day of Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church
We Pray for the
Coming of the Kingdom in the 'Our Father':
"Thy Kingdom Come,
Thy Will be Done,
On Earth, as it is in Heaven"
Fully Complete at the
End of Time - the
Second Coming of Christ,
the Day of Final Judgment.
Christ's Work was to Initiate the Kingdom. The Church is to Complete that Task.
The Kingdom of God is also another Name for the Mystical Body of Christ. Both Concepts
express our Union with Christ through Grace; both include the Church Militant on Earth, the Church Suffering in Purgatory,
and the Church Triumphant in Heaven. Yet, when considered as the Kingdom of God, it is seen more in the Light of Christ's
Reign in the Minds and Hearts of Men, their Recognition of His Sovereignty and Obedience to His Laws.
The Building of the Kingdom of God is a Continuing, On-going Effort in which we are all called to Participate, with
the Help of the Holy Spirit Residing in the Essence of our Soul.
At the End of Time, Christ’s Temporal Power will be Manifest, and all will Submit to His Rule, Willingly or not,
to the Eternal Anguish of those who Freely Refused to Recognize and Submit to His Authority during their Life on Earth.
Those in the State of Mortal Sin are no longer in the Kingdom of God, but
can be Reinstated by Sacramental Confession.
Kingdom of God = a Tone-of-Mind
In the Mouth of Christ the "Kingdom" means not so much a Goal to be Attained or a Place —
though those Meanings are by no means Excluded — it is rather a Tone-of-Mind, it stands-for an Influence which must Permeate
Men's Minds if they would be One (1) with Him and attain to
His Ideals. It is only by Realizing these Shades-of-Meaning that we can do Justice to the Parables of
the Kingdom, with their Endless Variety.
At One-Time the "Kingdom" means the Sway of Grace in Men's Hearts,
e.g. in the Parable of the Seed-growing-Secretly (Mark 4:26 sq.; cf. Matthew 21:43); and thus, too, it is Opposed-to and Explained-by the
Opposite Kingdom of the Devil (Matthew 4:8; 12:25-26).
At Another-Time it is the Goal at which we have to aim, e.g. Matthew 3:3. Again it is a Place where God
is Pictured as Reigning (Mark 14:25). In the Second Petition of the "Our Father" —
"Thy Kingdom come" — we are Taught to Pray as well for
Grace, as for Glory.
Kingdom of God = Church
As Men grew to Understand the Divinity of Christ, they grew to
see that the Kingdom of God was also that of Christ — it was here
that the Faith of the Good Thief excelled: "Lord, remember me when Thou shalt come into Thy Kingdom".
So, too, as Men Realized that this Kingdom stood-for a certain Tone-of-Mind, and saw that this Peculiar
Spirit was Enshrined in the Church, they began to speak of the
Church as the "Kingdom of God"; cf. Colossians 1:13; 1Thessalonians 2:12; Apocalypse 1:6-9
and 5:10, etc. The Kingdom was regarded as Christ's and He Presents
it to the Father; cf.1Corinthians 15:23-28; 2Timothy 4:1.
Kingdom of God = In-Dwelling of the Spirit of God
The Kingdom of God means, then,
the Ruling of God in our Hearts;
it means those Principles which Separate us off from the Kingdom of the World and the Devil;
it means the Benign Sway of Grace;
it means the Church
as that Divine Institution whereby we may make sure of Attaining the
Spirit of Christ and so Win that Ultimate Kingdom of God, where
He Reigns without End in "the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven
from God" (Revelation 21:2).