Chapter 2 - Kingdoms
For the most part in this book the spiritual/metaphysical is given back seat status. Economics is largely on the opposite end of the spectrum in that it deals with the physical world of factors of production, goods and services, capital, labor, rent, etc. That being said, Adam Smith referred to the “invisible hand” as a manifestation of market forces, in and of itself, a kind of nod to an unseen, if not metaphysical, force. Kingdoms in the Gospels exist in both contexts.
It is difficult to write about kingdoms in the Gospels and write so little as there are so many mentions of the Kingdom of Heaven, etc.
Kingdom – 126; Realm - 1
Kingdom is almost always mentioned in the context of the “Kingdom of Heaven” as so famously alluded to in the Lord’s Prayer:
Matthew 6:10 may your kingdom come,
However, there are mentions of kingdoms in the Gospels that do refer to the economic and political and are the most often mentioned economic/political system discussed.
Matthew 24:7 For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
Kingdoms were also offered as the ultimate prize and temptation of power and wealth.
Luke 4:5 Then the devil led him up to a high place and showed him in a flash all the kingdoms of the world. 4:6 And he said to him, “To you I will grant this whole realm – and the glory that goes along with it, for it has been relinquished to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish.
Additionally, kingdoms were used as metaphor…
Luke 11:17 But Jesus, realizing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, and a divided household falls.
The following parable intriguingly uses many rich economic metaphors to describe what the kingdom of heaven is like…
Parables on the Kingdom of Heaven
Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure, hidden in a field, that a person found and hid. Then because of joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field. 13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. 13:46 When he found a pearl of great value, he went out and sold everything he had and bought it. 13:47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea that caught all kinds of fish. 13:48 When it was full, they pulled it ashore, sat down, and put the good fish into containers and threw the bad away. 13:49 It will be this way at the end of the age. Angels will come and separate the evil from the righteous 13:50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13:51 “Have you understood all these things?” They replied, “Yes.” 13:52 Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.”