The Kingdom of God; A Conceptual Sketch - I

English Section / 29 decembrie 2023

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) - "The Kiss", (1907-1908), detail

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) - "The Kiss", (1907-1908), detail

The Concept of the Kingdom of God (V)

Versiunea în limba română


Introductory Note

In constructing the concept, I have retained numerous Commandments specific to biblical times because they remain relevant today. For example, the prohibition "Do not put your sickle to your neighbor's standing grain" is considered not only with the traditional sickle but also as a metaphor for contemporary industrialized agricultural tools. According to many, including Max Weber, Judaism developed a deep connection between religion, culture, and national identity. As a religion with a national specificity, Judaism discriminates between the regime of non-Jewish slaves and Jewish ones, adapting, in the case of non-Jews, to the slave conditions of the time but rejecting them for Israelites, as illustrated, among other verses, by Leviticus 25:

"44. As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you."

Ethnic discrimination is also evident in the structure of the Shmita. At point A.5.2. Debt Cancellation, if this were a documentary study of the Bible, an exception for foreigners from debt cancellation would be necessary:

"3. You may exact it from a foreigner, but your hand shall release whatever of yours is with your brother."

(Deuteronomy 15)

No, this is not a documentary study highlighting inconsistencies in the biblical text; it is the construction of a concept guided by axiological milestones derived from the Bible, advocating the choice for C. Protecting widows, orphans, and strangers (see the concept sketch):

"34. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God."

(Leviticus 19)

The commandment is all the more impactful as, though it refers to non-Jews, it sets the standard/core of the Golden Rule, found in both Christianity and its equivalent in Judaism: "Love your neighbor as yourself." It seems that Jesus made no distinctions:

"21. They asked him, 'Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.'"

(Luke 20)

Through the Apostle Paul, Christianity unequivocally abolishes discrimination:

"28. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

(Galatians 3)

Therefore, the liberating provisions of Shmita and Jubilee characterize the Kingdom of God, destined by Jesus for all, without discrimination, while provisions regarding the servitude of non-Jews remain irrelevant here. Similarly, the permission for Levites to redeem their houses in their cities at any time (a provision of the Jubilee) is irrelevant in the universalization of the concept of the Kingdom of God. An essential aspect of this configuration is that the Kingdom of God, while based on the Commandments of the Tanakh, is subjected to a presumed conception of Jesus Christ. In some cases, explanatory notes - marked with [N.A.] - have been included after biblical verses, deemed necessary for understanding the conceptual structure. Titles and subtitles have been inserted with the same role, marking the progression from one section to another. In certain situations, I have detailed in Appendices the choice of the verse and its significance. Of course, this is an example of construction, and I acknowledge its lacunar character - as indicated in the title, it is a conceptual sketch. I hope to stimulate research on the subject, as I believe human organization is on the edge of evolution, and we need the rainbow of a revelation for the next step.

Fundamental Thesis:

Man has the status of a spiritual being

"26. Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.'" (Genesis 1)

[N.A.] The fundamental thesis asserts that man is endowed with spiritual potential whose realization reflects holiness.

See Appendix 1 - "In Our Image and Likeness."

"2. Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy." (Leviticus 19)

[N.A.] Chapter Leviticus 19, where this Commandment appears, is called the "Ritual Decalogue" because, although not an exact repetition of the Decalogue, it includes many moral and ethical elements from the Ten Commandments but in a more extensive and detailed context. The Commandments are the means to translate spiritual potential into the realization of holiness through their observance.

"33. I am the Lord who makes you holy." (Leviticus 22)

"31. Keep my commands and follow them. I am the Lord." (Leviticus 22)

Coordinated Thesis:

Spiritual elevation demands dedication

"5. If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married." (Deuteronomy 24)

[N.A.] Spiritual dedication is conditioned by the unburdening of hindrances, just as in the case of a newlywed marriage - dedication is dependent on freedom. Holiness is correlated with spiritual devotion and detachment from material conditioning.

See further "Complete Freedom" and See Appendix 2 - Additional Understanding/"Binah Yeseirah."

"13. Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,

14. For she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold." (Proverbs 3)

"24. The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, 'Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!'" (Mark 10)

Subordinate Theses: Complete Freedom, a Condition of Dedication

"6. 'I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.'" (Deuteronomy 5)

[N.A.] See further "The Decalogue" and See Appendix 3 - "I am the Lord your God."

Means, Conditions, and Effects:

The Decalogue - Ensuring Compatibility with Community Life

[N.A.] The Decalogue aligns the individual with communal life, not only by regulating relationships between individuals but also by providing a collective ethical reference code, making communal life perceptible.

1."I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me!" (Exodus 20:2-3)

2."You shall not make for yourself a carved image-any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me." (Exodus 20:4-5)

3."You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." (Exodus 20:7)

4."Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it, you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates." (Exodus 20:8-10)

5."Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12)

6."You shall not murder." (Exodus 20:13)

7."You shall not commit adultery." (Exodus 20:14)

8."You shall not steal." (Exodus 20:15)

9."You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." (Exodus 20:16)

10."You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's." (Exodus 20:17)

(To be continued)

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