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Original Research

The Kingdom of God in the Gospel of Matthew

A.B. du Toit

Verbum et Ecclesia; Skrif en Kerk: Vol 21, No 3 (2000), . doi: 10.4102/ve.v21i3.639

Submitted: 11 August 2000
Published:  11 August 2000


It would be entirely wrong to regard "kingdom of God" as the central motif of the New Testament. Matthew's kingdom depiction should be read against the backdrop of a (mainly) Jewish Christian community in the process of re-defining its own identity over against Jewish opposition, which was consolidating itself under Pharisaic-scribal leadership. The genitive "of God/of heaven" signifies the kingdom as God-determined, but God's transcendence is mitigated by Matthew's portrayal of him as the Father of believers. Kingdom of Godlheaven is a dynamic concept indicating God's active reign. The rule of God and righteousness, as its human correlate, are the key motifs in the Sermon on the Mount. Although the kingdom in Matthew involves a critical decision and the acceptance of strict entry requirements, it is not an entirely ethical concept, as is shown by the first beatitude. A growing correspondence between the kingdom motif and messiah christo logy can be traced. Modern churches in the process of losing their identity can benefit from a responsive reading of Matthew's kingdom message.

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Author affiliations

A.B. du Toit, University of Pretoria, South Africa



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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