Q&A: The Messiah and the Kingdom of God

The Messiah and the Kingdom of God

For the Jews in Jesus' day, what was the connection between the Messiah and the kingdom of God?

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Answer

For many years the Jews in Jesus' day had been expecting God to send a king who would bring them freedom—in Jesus' day, specifically freedom from the Romans—but they had been expecting this freedom for many, many years. Back in about 140 BC they had for a short time had a rebellion against the Romans and had had their own kingdom and relative independence from Rome, but that had all gone later on, and by the time Jesus comes the Roman soldiers are walking the streets of Jerusalem. But what they did was to put this in the context of their prophets. Their prophets had spoken of God coming as savior, of God restoring them to their land, of God bringing back the dispersed Jewish people all over the, really, all over the known world of that day, and bringing them back to Israel, as we would think of it. And that was what they were expecting. So, they were expecting a Messiah who was the Anointed One—which is what the word Messiah means, the Anointed One of God—and he would come as king, and primarily he would be this great figure who would draw all God's people together from all over the world, bring them back home and defeat the aggressor, particularly Rome.

Answer by Dr. Paul Gardner

Dr. Paul Gardner is Senior Pastor of ChristChurch Presbyterian in Atlanta, GA.