Ridderbos on the Kingdom of God

The second edition of The New Bible Dictionary had an article on the Kingdom of God by Herman Ridderbos. This is the first of two posts summarizing my notes on that article.


  • John the Baptist first announces that the kingdom is at hand (Matt 3:2).
  • Jesus takes over this message as he begins his ministry (Matt 4:17).
    [Personal side note: Paul ends his ministry preaching this same message (Acts 28:31)].
  • The Kingdom of God was a late-Jewish apocalyptic expectation
  • The hope was for God to restore Israel to prominence and liberate them Gentile control by the Messiah.
  • The hope for the Kingdom of God is closely tied with the restoration of David’s throne.
  • Divine Judgement is a key element in the preaching of the Kingdom (Matt 3:10, 13:41, etc).

Matt 3:9-12
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire: Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

The Kingdom is Present

Jesus proclaimed the kingdom as already present in His person and ministry – “… if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Matt 12:28, Luke 11:20). The casting out of demons shows that Jesus has entered into Satan’s domain and plundered it (Matt 12:29, Luke 10:18). The Kingdom is also evidenced by Jesus healing the sick, forgiving sin, and raising the dead – (see Matt 11:2, Luke 7:18). Justification and the forgiveness of sin are the key witnesses to the present reality of the kingdom. Says Ridderbos, “…salvation is announced and offered as a gift already available…So too the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed, not merely as a future reality to be accomplished in heaven, nor merely as a present possibility, but as …offered today…through Jesus…”. These things testify clearly that Jesus is the promised King now, not only in the future.

Next Time…

  • The Future Aspect of the Kingdom
  • The Kingdom Proclaimed by the Apostles
  • Conclusion

One thought on “Ridderbos on the Kingdom of God

  1. Pingback: Ridderbos on the Kingdom of God, part 2 | Abraham's Seed

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