Category “Theology”

Chapter 1 – He Will Reign Forever

This chapter seeks to establish the claim that “the kingdom of God is the grand central theme of Scripture that encompasses all other biblical themes,” a theme that brings coherence and unity. This is a strong claim, and while I think the chapter does a good job of arguing for it, other equally expansive themes could be argued with equal force. Qualifying the kingdom as “a central theme” instead of “the central theme” would have been a bit more prudent. With that being said, it is an expansive category, which is why I decided that I needed more information on the subject.

Vlach argues that the kingdom program can be divided into five parts:

  1. Creation – Genesis 1-2
    God creates man as His image-bearer, to rule and subdue creation
  2. Fall – Genesis 3
    Man fails to be God’s image bearer, leading to the both man and creation experiencing devastating results
  3. Promise – Genesis 3:15 to end of OT
    God promises that, through the seed of the woman, the fall will be reversed and man will effectively rule over creation
  4. Redemption – Gospels and Epistles
    Jesus provides redemption through His atonement, with His death being the basis for both a restored kingdom and reconciliation of all things1
  5. Restoration – Revelation
    Jesus reigns over the earth for 1000 years, at the end of which His kingdom merges into the perfect, eternal kingdom of the Father

For Vlach, this list highlights the importance of the kingdom theme. It runs from Genesis to Revelation, it permeates OT history and prophecy, it was central in the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus, and it is the focus of NT eschatology.

The last pages of the chapter define the term “kingdom.” The concept of kingdom should include, at a minimum, the following aspects:

  • Ruler – A kingdom must have a ruler with both the right, authority, and power to rule
  • Realm – A kingdom must have a realm of subjects to be ruled over
  • Rulership – A kingdom must have the active exercise of being ruled

A king can be sovereign, that is, have the right to rule, but for a kingdom to exist, he must actually exercise that right in a realm over which he has authority. Vlach notes that the word kingdom, as used in scripture, is applied at times to each of these aspects individually, but the concept still includes all three. For example, “He has made us to be a kingdom,” in Revelation 1:6, describes believers as a realm. But Revelation 5:10 indicates that the ruler and rulership with be included at a future date.

Vlach concludes the chapter with this final, succinct definition of the kingdom of God: “The rule of God over His creation.”

  1. This last point – the reconciliation of all things – is the lynchpin in the argument for the primacy of the kingdom plan in scripture – it is not just about the fate of man, but the fate of all things []