Contemporary Metaphors for the Kingdom of God

Contemporary Metaphors for the Kingdom of God
Contemporary Metaphors for the Kingdom of God

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Contemporary metaphors for the kingdom of God

God’s Kingdom is described metaphorically in most parts of the New Testament. As Tame (2005) pointed out, the metaphors used in the New Testament actually do not relate to the contemporary society. This essay is focused on contemporary metaphors for the Kingdom of God. One particular metaphor or parable is used in describing the Kingdom of God.

The essay discusses how the selected metaphor or parable would have made sense to Jesus’ audience during the first century. The impact and meaning of this message to the original audience of Christ is described exhaustively. Lastly, this essay describes the way in which that same message and impact may actually be communicated in the modern context.

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One particular metaphor that has been utilized in describing the Kingdom of God is the Parable of the Mustard Seed. This parable was taught by Jesus Christ in rhetorical hyperbole. Here, Christ makes use of a tree or shrub growing up from a seed to represent the growth of God’s Kingdom (Daniel 4: 11-21; Ezekiel 17: 23; John 12: 24). The growth of the seed attracts the presence of evil – portrayed as birds (Revelation 18: 2; Matthew 13: 4, 19) – to dilute the church whilst exploiting its benefits.

According to Christ, the heavenly kingdom is analogous to a mustard seed that a person takes and sows. Although the mustard seed is in fact the tiniest of all seeds, when this seed grows, it becomes the biggest of plants in the garden and tree where birds come and rest on in its many branches (Morrison, 2011).

Therefore, the picture that Jesus Christ paints in this parable is that of the lowly initial stages of the church undergoing an explosive growth rate. The church grows very big and later on it becomes a source of shelter, rest, and food not just for believers, but also for false professing persons who want to take advantage of or consume its benefits whilst mixing or residing amongst what the seed produced (Galatians 1: 7; Corinthians 11:13; and 1st Corinthians 6,7; 5:1).

Put simply, Christ was predicting that despite the fact that the church would grow to become very large from merely a small beginning, it would not remain unadulterated. Even though this is not a disapproval of the big size of modern Christianity, it actually shows the audience the biggest burden which comes with it. This parable serves not just as a prediction, but also as a warning (Morrison, 2011). 

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Given that the metaphors used to describe the Kingdom of God in the Bible are out of date, it is not easy for people in today’s society to comprehend what Christ is saying. Nowadays, Bible readers struggle to find the meaning of God’s Kingdom (Tame, 2005). The same meaning and impact of the Parable of the Mustard Seed may be communicated in the contemporary context by using the metaphor of financial investments; that is buying growth stocks.

A growth stock is essentially a share in an organization whose earnings grow at a rate that is above average in relation to the market. Growth stocks generate sustainable and considerable positive cash flow and whose earnings and revenues are projected to increase much quicker in relation to the average company in the same industry (Fuscaldo, 2014).

An investor who invests in growth stocks may start off by purchasing a very small amount of stocks in a growth company and as the company continues to grow over time, so does the investor’s assets in that company. Growth stocks are generally attractive to a lot of investors since they are growing (Fuscaldo, 2014). The revenues and earnings of the investor in growth stocks would increase much quicker than investments in other companies in that industry.

Therefore, after a period of time such as 10 years, the earnings of the investor who initially invested $2,000 would be about $150,000 (Fuscaldo, 2014). However, there are challenges for instance the company’s stock price may decline later on and the investor’s earnings reduce. These challenges or risks are comparable to how the church would not remain pure.

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The changed metaphor from the Parable of the Mustard Seed to the metaphor of investing in growth stocks is faithful to the teaching of Christ on God’s Kingdom whilst changing the metaphor for the audience in that my contemporary audience members will easily understand how the Kingdom of God grows. It starts small like a little financial investment in growth stocks of a company that grows slowly but steadily and after some years, the investment will increase into a substantial amount of money for the investor.

Put simply, just like financial investments in growth stocks, God’s kingdom has small beginnings; however, its growth is gradual but certain. This updated metaphor is especially suited to today’s audience members since many people nowadays tend to buy stocks in companies as a better way of investing their money rather than just saving them in banks and earning annual interest on their savings.

The metaphor conveys to my audience members the traits of the Messianic Kingdom of God as modelled and taught by Christ since it illustrates how God’s kingdom is comparable to buying growth stocks; has humble beginnings but eventually grows into a big thing.        

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 To sum up, Christ using the mustard seed parable to his audiences was describing the kingdom not simply as a seed, but as the tiniest seed. He was not explaining to the audience members a kingdom which comes in a conflagration of glory – Jesus basically described a kingdom which starts really small. This is not what was expected by the Jewish people at the time, but it was the kingdom of God which Christ stated was forthcoming.

On the whole, the kingdom of God is a narrative regarding slow growth. The meaning and impact of the mustard seed parable could be conveyed in contemporary context using the metaphor of investing in growth stocks; humble start but steady increase. Companies with growth stocks grow at a comparatively faster rate than other companies.    


Fuscaldo, D. (2014). 5 characteristics of good growth stocks. Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Longenecker, R. N. (2012). The challenge of Jesus’ parables. Boston, MA: Eardmans

Morrison, M. (2011). The Present and Future Kingdom. Grace Communion International.

Tame , K. (2005). And finally…the kingdom of God is like this… Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

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