'The Jesus' parables of the Kingdom of God were about a future hope of salvation.' Discuss.

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Alexander Browning – Candidate Number: 2270

Theology Extended Essay.
Word Count: 2507

‘The Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom of God were about a future hope of salvation.’ Discuss.

To deconstruct the parables of the Kingdom of God to discover the implications of future hope of salvation; it is vital to analyse and embrace a wide variety of perspectives of the Kingdom of God. One must consider how the authors’ influence may have manipulated the different meanings of the Kingdom of God, what the parables were, and how the definition of salvation may be interpreted.

There is one perspective of the Kingdom of God as a ‘tangible’ place which can be reached by the conditioning of the spirit, repentance and faith. This Kingdom of God is more or less a representation that today’s society would see as ‘Heaven’. This would be a place of salvation one would reach in the afterlife; where the individuals are judged on the basis of actions and fulfilling God’s will.

On the other hand a different perspective of the Kingdom of God is the Realized Eschatology, which is the idea of the Kingdom of God as a partial temporal reality which can be revealed, yet there is still to be fulfilled eschatologically. This view can seem conflicting in two opposing views of eschatology, it gives an idea of salvation can be achieved by different means. A third perception is the Eschatological reality which is directly linked to the Parousia (2nd coming of Jesus) where mankind will be judged and there shall be a separation of the souls of mankind.

In the Jerome Biblical Commentary it states that Salvation is:

(1) “The Image expresses deliverance or rescue from evil or harm whether physical, psychic, national, cataclysmic or moral”

This idea can be seen in why God sent down Jesus as a ‘beacon’ of salvation for mankind; Jesus speaks in parables as a means of translation for Gods’ ‘word’ which is promising salvation. The salvation of the parables saves one from the entire elements of ones entity, which include spiritual (and moral), mental and physical.

A parable of Kingdom of God which can be seen as about a future hope of salvation is the Markan ‘Parable of the Sower’. This parable Illustrates God’s lavish offer of the Kingdom of God in Jesus’ preaching and the mixed response given to it, nevertheless results are amazingly rich. The hope in this parable comes from the fact that the Sower succeeds eventually; this is a signal to mankind that salvation will happen (but in the future) most probably in the Parousia. When Jesus was teaching and told of this parable it was an outdoor teaching, since he could include everyone and not be in the ‘hot house’ of the synagogue, where it would be quite claustrophobic. This can give insight to the idea that the Kingdom of God is inclusive to everyone, not just a certain group or division of people; God’s people are all people and vice versa. The parable is about the ‘seeds’ of humanity that people may be from any domestic origin, nationality or race and that if one is human, the Kingdom of God/Salvation can be granted, for example where Jesus says:

(2) “Some seeds fell into thorns  ... And some seeds fell into rich soil...Anyone who has ears for listening should listen!”

This is revealing a divine plan that God calls mankind to have faith and listen to the ‘word’. It is an invitation to reflect on ones’ own life, but the audience must participate in preaching the Good news of salvation because one must give in order to receive.
‘The Parable of the Sower’ has different evaluations of whether Jesus was teaching about a future eschatological hope of salvation or a hope of salvation that could be uncovered in a present tense. This could be because the original meaning of some parables may have been lost in transmission of the early church and the parable uses such metaphorical language, that the connotations are unclear. Nineham states:

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(3) “The word of God…was so misunderstood and rejected because of people’s sin and ignorance, that it became in fact an instrument of judgment and condemnation”.

This can be seen through how people of the Jewish temple would persecute people in the ‘name of God’ which was the total opposite intention of ‘the word’ which was to free the people (especially the Jews) not oppressing them.

The Matthian parable: ‘Parable of the darnel’ shows hope of salvation in a similar light to that of the Markan ‘Parable of the Sower’ in that the Kingdom of God, or Heaven (preferred ...

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