Die verhouding "Ekklesia" tot die "Koninkryk van God": 'n hermeneutiese studie in die lig van Openbaring 1-3
Wahl, Willem Petrus
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The purpose of this study is to do research on the relation between the terms Kingdom of God and Ecclesia, within the problem field of Biblical hermeneutics. The focus is on Revelation 1-3 as it encompasses the main idea of this study, namely that the Kingdom of God is the axel around which the existence of the Ecclesia (church) revolves. A study on the historical background indicates that the Church in Revelations has gone through an era of prosecution and that it will happen again. Victory is encompassed in the reality of a religious experience of the Kingdom that has to function in and through the Church. Revelations is an apocalyptic writing (document) with prophetic-eschatological alignment (direction). A text-critical study of Revelation 1:6 reveals that the correct use of the word basilei,a (basileia: kingdom) symbolizes selective seclusion and sovereignty with God. The Greek word basilei,a (basileia: kingdom) has a functional/abstract meaning (the fact that God reigns) but also a geographical meaning. The study of the different eschatological interpretation models contributes to consequent-eschatological dialectics; the Church experiences the reality of a religious experience now already, but also realizes that the eschatological Kingdom of God has not come yet. The coming of the Kingdom of God has two principal moments, namely the first and the second coming of Christ. The Ecclesia is essentially the communion of the faithful. A Bipolar unit model, the invisible unity of the Church, as symbolized metaphorically in the people of God and the body of Christ, is combined with the visibility of the institutional Church through the emergence of the mystical unity character of the Church through the institutional Church. Aspects concerning the mystical unity of the Church are the togetherness, the predestination, the unity in diversity and the principalship of Christ. In Revelations is, and replace the Church, the people of Israel. The relationship between the Ecclesia and the Kingdom of God will be studied alongside two symbolic images, namely the Biblical chandelier symbol and the rotation symbol. The rotation symbol refers to two powers acting between the Kingdom of God and the Ecclesia. In view of the fact that the Church is being challenged by the devil to become secular, the Church exercises a centrifugal power on the Kingdom. The Kingdom however, exercises a centrifugal power on the Church through God being actively involved in His Church. The seven chandeliers (Revelations 1:20) of the chandelier symbol refer to the seven congregations in Revelations 2-3. Two characteristics, namely the septet and the seclusion, as well as the chandelier function (providing light) link the chandelier symbol of Revelations to the sacredness of the Old Testament. The septet in the chandelier symbol point to the perfection of God, the active involvement of God and the complete representation of the universal Church of all times. The second characteristic of the chandelier symbol, namely the seclusion, not only points to the religious circle of unity where in the congregations exist (with Christ as the binding factor), but also to the various milieus the Church can find herself in. The function of the Church is to be the light for the world. The Church does not have light in herself, but carries the light of God by being an earthly representative of the eschatological Kingdom of God. In the world, the Church is exposed to an opposing evil power that attempts to move the Church away from God, externally (by means of affliction and prosecution) and internally (by means of religious slumber and deceitful doctrine). The Church may not become of this world, but must embody the Kingdom of God by means of pure doctrine that influences the life of the Church, and leads to an inner reality and passion for the Kingdom of God through the Holy Ghost. In the Kingdom of God the Church triumphs with Christ over the darkness.