Rorate Caeli

Kingdom of David, Kingdom of God

The Church is described by way of reference to many different models: Family of God, People of God, Mystical Body, Eucharistic Communion, etc. But most recently in the Second Vatican Council, one of the major images that bubbled to the surface over and over again was the image of "Kingdom of God."

A new essay looks at the prominence of this kingdom/church relationship in St. Luke's Gospel:

The Four Gospels each have their own distinctive personality, style, emphasis, theme, etc. St. Matthew's Gospel is the gospel written to the Jews, and as such has a very Jewish flavor to it; Jesus is cast in terms of Old Testament heroes, but more perfect; He is the New Moses, or the New Solomon, or even the New Israel; the emphasis seems to be on the Kingdom. In a similar way, we can look at St. John's Gospel and certain distinctive things come to mind: the emphasis upon the divinity of Christ, the contrast between light and darkness, the conflict between "the Jews" (a term he uses often) and their Messiah, the importance of belief, the mystical and sacramental outlook, etc.
To a certain degree, St. Luke's Gospel has also had it's general classification: St. Luke is the precise historian, the doctor with an eye for detail; his work is pure history, that "orderly account" which he wanted to set down for posterity's sake; the theme of "meal" and of "journey" are central.

It comes as a bit of a surprise, then, to find (upon closer reexamination) that St. Luke's Gospel is in fact saturated with Davidic Kingdom imagery; so much so, in fact, that it could be rightly stated that the Kingdom of David is the primary model for St. Luke's understanding of the Church, and that the presentation of Jesus as the Son of David who restores David's fallen throne is central to St. Luke's understanding of Jesus' mission and ministry.


For St. Luke, the kingdom of God is the Church, and the Church is the worshiping assembly of the Davidic Kingdom on earth.

This is no mere interesting theological speculation: it has profound ramifications for today's ecclesial crisis. Only when the Church recaptures her claim to royal manifestation will we begin to see Modernism vanish; when the pope insists on being a prime minister in this monarchy, the democracy of collegiality will dissipate; when liturgical priests begin to reflect royalty in their Masses, reverence will return - along with regal vestments, royal chalices, palace incense, and so on.

Read more of Jesus, Son of David: The Davidic Messiah and the Church in St. Luke.

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