Vol.XI No.II Pg.7
April 1974

You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Dear bro. Turner:

Does the word kingdom sometimes mean the rule and reign of Christ in the heart of a person as seems to be inferred by Luke 17:21? D.S.


It is my understanding that the word basileia (kingdom) always refers to rule and only by extension does it refer to the citizens, the territory or dominion — realm, such as is contemplated when we say the church is Christs kingdom.

Moulton and Milligan (Vocabulary of the Greek Testament) say, As kingship, or sovereignty in the abstract is necessarily the root meaning of this word, it is easy to see how the passage into the concrete could either be on the lines of our dominion (cf. our Sovereign and his dominions), or follow the outward and visible signs of royalty.

When we see the word kingdom we should think rule. Then, after the idea of rule is firmly planted in our mind, we may examine the context to see if, in this case, the word is extended to designate the realm of that rule, the people ruled, the nature of that rule (physical or spiritual), or some other extended use. We do ourselves, and our readers or hearers, a grave injustice when we say the church and the kingdom are the same without adequate explanation. The erroneous institutional concept of church that is so prevalent only complicates and compounds the error. R. L. Whiteside put it well when he wrote: In its broadest sense the church is that body of people who have been called out of sin into the service of Christ. As Jesus rules over this body of people, it is his kingdom. (Kingdom of Promise and Prophecy; p.177.) (See P.T., V.4, No. 5)

Bro. Turner

In Matt. 13:41 .to what does his kingdom refer; the church or world??


FIRST— note that the servants are angels (vs. 27-30,39-41) and the reaping or gathering out refers to final judgement, with no reference at all to discipline administered by the saints in an effort to save a brother.

The field is the world (vs. 38), so both the good seed and the tares are in the world (though saints are not of the world) so it is to the world that the angels shall be sent in the end of this world (vs. 40) to dispose of the wicked ones. I have no problem in considering the world as his kingdom (vs. 41) in the sense that God rules (has authority over) the world and all things. I believe we err in supposing that a figure like kingdom must always be used in the same sense, everywhere.

However, as both the saints and sinners must face a final judgement, some prefer to interpret Matt. 13:41 as a reference to the final disposition of citizens (church members) who offend and do iniquity. They thus preserve a more-or-less traditional concept of church— but at the cost of the basic idea in kingdom. Better, I think, to keep the basic idea of kingdom (see above) and let each context adjust its application.