The Kingdom of God was a central theme in Jesus’ vision. Was it meant to be understood as
utopian as Mary Ann Beavis views it, or existential? In 1st century CE Palestine, kingdom of
God was a political term meaning theocracy suggesting God’s patronage. Jesus used the term
metaphorically to construct a new symbolic universe to legitimate a radical new way of living
with God in opposition to the temple ideology of exclusivist covenantal nomism. The analogies
of father and king served as the root metaphors for this symbolic universe. They are existential
root metaphors underpinning the contextual symbolic universe of God’s patronage in reaction
to the collapse of the patronage system which left peasants destitute. Jesus’ paradoxical use of
the metaphor kingdom of God had a therapeutic value and gave the concept new meaning.
The initial motivation for proclaiming God’s patronage originated in Jesus’ primary identity
formation by Mary as single parent and was reinforced in his secondary identity formation
by John the Baptist. From these results can be concluded that kingdom of God was not meant
to be understood as utopian, but existential. In order to clarify the meaning of kingdom of
God and God’s patronage for the 21st century, demythologisation and deconstruction can be
helpful especially by highlighting the existential meaning of the kingdom of God.