What is a kingdom after all? If different generations use the word differently, they will naturally come to different conclusions. Here, McKnight seeks to explain the term.
McKnight, Scot. Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Brazos Press, 2014. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 5, “Kingdom Is People.” pp. 65-78
McKnight explores the implications of the term “kingdom” as heard by a first century Palestinian audience. They would most naturally think of David as a king and of the people of God as his kingdom. Yet the “skinny jeans” people tend to think in terms of “justice” while the “pleated pants” people think of “salvation” (McKnight 2014, 65). McKnight’s desire is “to dig into Scripture a bit more in this chapter to establish once and for all that kingdom in Jesus’ world would have meant ‘a people governed by a king’” (McKnight 2014). He takes us to the promises of a land given to Abram in Genesis 12 and to numerous other passages in which the promises of God involve a landed people (McKnight 2014, 66-68). Inherent in this idea is that the kingdom area is inhabited by people under the king’s rule (McKnight 2014, 68-70).
The reason for this extensive treatment, McKnight says, is scholarship which tends to make a strong distinction between kingdom as a reign and church as a people. He cites D.A. Carson (McKnight 2014, 73) as representing that view. The importance of McKnight’s argument is that Jesus is the king ruling over his people, and that talk of the kingdom focuses on the actual people (McKnight 2014, 74). He then goes on to discuss images of his people as used by Jesus (McKnight 2014, 75ff).