The fact that the NT uses a political term, “kingdom of God,” to describe the salvation that Jesus achieves is puzzling to moderns. Part of the resolution to that problem is to recognize, as I’ve argued elsewhere, that the Bible treats “salvation” as a political issue. The other part of the issue is to recognize the central importance of issues of authority, the question of “who’s in charge.” If we go with “reign of God” as a translation of BASILEIA TOU THEOU, the point is clearer: What brings salvation is a change of authority, an overthrow of a ruler whose reign brings nothing but destruction and pain and his replacement of a ruler whose rule is like green grass after rain. We are all democrats, and so we don’t recognize just how much our flourishing, health, and prosperity depends on who’s in charge. But democracy is a delusion. EVERYTHING depends on who’s in charge.
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