In Proposition 19, George Peters states:
“The New Testament begins the announcement of the kingdom in terms expressive of its being previously well known.”
Arguably, this is a proposition many might not have thought about. There is no explanation of the kingdom or a recap provided of what is noted in the Old Testament regarding the kingdom. Perhaps this is due to the reality that the artificial separation some have made between the “Old” and “New” Testaments does not provide for the natural flow of information that exists without such a division. The front of the book simply flows right into the back of the book with the expectation that one has spent time devoted to understanding what God has outlined up to the point where the Messiah comes on the scene here on earth. The people were in full expectation of the coming of the kingdom, although to a large degree they were looking for a different kind of kingdom than what God had in mind as part of His divine plan.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 19 is the following:
“On the face of the opening pages of the New Testament it is taken for granted that the Kingdom was something well known, already the object of faith and hope. Theologians generally, either unable to reconcile this with their church theories, or deeming it unimportant while acknowledging the fact, pass it by in silence, or give us some apologetics to account for it, which are derogatory to the age, to the believers then living, and to the Word. The destructive critics, seeing here a point of leverage, insist upon it that this was evidence of the prevalence of “Jewish forms,” and scoff at it as a decided indication of weakness and failure. By us – for we make no apology, needing none – it is regarded as prerequisite and essential to the truthfulness and unity of our doctrine.”
By taken for granted, Peters is not suggesting that the New Testament authors ignored the doctrine of the kingdom as unimportant. What he is saying is based on his proposition, namely that the people in the New Testament era had an understanding of the doctrine of the kingdom, albeit in some points some of the religious leaders and people had a slightly skewed perception of its outworking. In a different observation in this proposition, Peters mentions that Jesus instructed the disciples to go and preach the kingdom of God. This assumes a few things. One is the aforementioned assertion that the disciples would have had an understanding or at a minimum a working understanding of the kingdom. Secondly, it is true that Jesus instructed them in matters related to the kingdom, building on and correcting when needed any false perceptions they already had regarding the kingdom. To make the statement that individuals in the New Testament era were clueless of this doctrine is quite incorrect and inserts into the discussion the idea that somehow we have discovered some long ignored doctrine. The proof found in Scripture speaks to a completely different reality than what many theologians operate under these days and apparently during Peters’ day as well.