Editor's Choice

Describe the Kingdom of God and its values. I listed some values below: 

1) Money (economic) general sharing ­

2) Prestige (social/cultural) least as greatest

3) Power (political and religious) service not domination

4) Solidarity (political and religious) universal solidarity vs. cliques 

To Jesus, the kingdom is a politically structured society of people on earth as it is already fulfilled in heaven.

Quick answer:

The Christian Kingdom of God described by Jesus in the gospels is a place of peace and harmony that mirrors the social order of heaven. It can be realized on earth. It is a society of abundance, sharing, love, gentleness, peacemaking, compassion, mercy, faith, and joy, marked by equality rather than domination. Many theologians have called it the "upside down" kingdom because its values differ so radically from the values of worldly empires.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Kingdom of God as described by Jesus Christ first and foremost should be seen as an alternative to the traditional Jewish concept. When the spiritual and political leaders of Judah/Judaea talked about "kingdom," they meant Israel as it was under David. They meant a divinely assisted restoration of an earthly state free from the clutches of Roman authority.

In the time of Christ, Rome ruled its restive territory through royal proxies, such as King Herod. Although Persia had administered Judah similarly, the Zoroastrian empire built by Cyrus the Great respected and honored the Jewish faith. The Hellenistic Greeks and Romans who followed rejected and despised Jewish faith and ritual, leading to simmering hostilities.

Christ taught that the earthly realm of Judaea in his time, ruled by wealthy puppets of an empire with a hostile culture, held no promise of salvation for the Jewish people. Its leaders and many of its people had fallen for the allure of the sensually charged Hellenistic culture that favored enjoyment of worldly things and ideals over the discipline required by the Jewish faith.

From this notion came the Western Christian notions of civitas mundi and civitas deo as later explained by St. Augustine. While one had to live in the kingdom of the world, obey its laws and tax requirements, each individual could aspire toward and fulfill the expectations of the Kingdom of God. This idea of kingdom gave Christ’s followers hope despite being surrounded by prejudice, harassment, and dangerous hatreds.

St. Augustine expounded further on this dualism over three centuries later. It remains a foundational ideal in Western Christianity, although Eastern Christians who later formed the Orthodox Church favored tighter religious and political authority fusion.

Rejection of the Hellenistic culture propped by Roman authority meant rejecting Hellenistic values. These include putting too much pride in personal wealth, political power or personal influence, and indulging socially acceptable hatred such as prejudices against tax collectors and prostitutes. The Kingdom of God sees all individuals as equal, from paupers to the powerful.

Christ’s revolution in political and social thought differs from those in modern times. They seek to control the state to effect their ideas of change. From Christ, we learn that politics, government, and many of society’s notions of what is important do not matter at all. Earthly kingdoms rise and fall, but the Kingdom of God is eternal and what should occupy most of our attention since it, not that of the world, leads to salvation.

For those on the bottom rungs of society at the time with no hope of rising to an even more comfortable life, the message of another kingdom that valued each of them as individuals proved popular and alluring.

The Kingdom of God’s values are those articulated by Christ. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you have more, share with someone who has less. Treat all with love and compassion. Do not soil the sacredness of religious spaces with the commerce of the world. Repent fully and completely of the wrong done to others, intentional or not. Every individual enjoys the love and grace of God regardless of birth or social station.

Most importantly, each person must aspire toward these values through choosing of their own free will. Compulsion of good actions ignores the point.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The first thing we need to do in order to answer this question is to define what the Kingdom of God is. According to the Bible, God's kingdom is the spiritual realm that is ruled by God. In earthly terms, people can be part of the Kingdom of God by obeying his rules. It is a place ruled and governed by love, which is why Christians are exhorted to love God and love their neighbors above all else.

The idea of loving one's neighbor is the rubric against which all values should be tested for whether they align with the Kingdom of God. Your first point, about the sharing of money, is excellent, because money means nothing in the Kingdom of God but can be shared on earth to alleviate others' suffering.

The prestige of a worship leader or pastor can help to spread the news about the Kingdom of God, so some would argue that prestige can be very useful.

Jesus was the ultimate servant king, and putting the needs of others ahead of one's own is another cornerstone of the Kingdom of God.

It is very clear that God will not turn away anybody who truly repents of their sins, and so the idea of universal solidarity is a great demonstration of God's kingdom.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Your answer regarding the Christian Kingdom of God as described by Jesus Christ is very thorough. Jesus envisioned the Kingdom of God as ordered in a way radically different from the Roman empire of his time—or the empires and societies of our own times. Theologians often referred to Jesus's vision as the "upside down" kingdom, where behaviors that are scorned or ridiculed by empire—such as love, gentleness, compassion, grief, joy, faith, peacemaking, goodness, mercy, and generosity—are most valued.

As you note, Jesus believed that this social order already existed in heaven and needed to be replicated on earth. In what has become known as the Lord's Prayer, he instructs his followers to pray that God's will be done "on earth as it is in heaven": he wished for earth to mirror heaven.

As Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker note in their book Saving Paradise, in the first seven or eight centuries of Christianity there are almost no images of Christ suffering on the cross (they find just one). Instead, image after image depicts the Kingdom of God. This is a rural land of abundance where people live in peace and harmony with Christ as their head. Christ is close to his people, living as they live. As you note, this kingdom is a place where people share what they have and do not practice domination.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

You give a pretty full answer in your question. The kingdom of God is a central teaching in the gospels as Jesus proclaims that the kingdom of God has come. This begs the question of what is the kingdom of God. 

Many people in Jesus' day misunderstood the nature of the kingdom. They thought that Jesus was going to usher in a physical kingdom, which he did not. What Jesus meant is that his rule and reign will begin to take shape in the world through the church. This is why some of Jesus's main teachings are about a new ethic - how his followers should act and live.  In Matthew 5, we read his speech, called the Sermon on the Mount. 

In this chapter Jesus says:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Based on this teaching, for the next several chapters Jesus fleshes out what it means to live by his teaching. So, we can say that the kingdom of God exists where people live in a way that is consistent with the teachings of Jesus. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial