The concept ‘kingdom of God’ is
fundamental to the kerygma on the salvific meaning of Jesus Christ in New Testament times.
This article aims to explore the raison d’être why this concept had been such an important
element in the kerygma. It argues that the Pax Romana as the primary ideology of the Roman
Empire played a significant role. The Pax Romana advocated harmony with the gods, and
subsequent heavenly peace and global stability and security in the inhabited world. However,
the kerygma replaced the Pax Romana as an ideology with the apocalyptic-eschatological
concept ‘kingdom of God’. According to apocalyptic eschatology, an end to the known world
is expected. This end was considered to be a cataclysmic catastrophe awaiting in the future,
albeit indeterminate to humankind. On the contrary, the church’s kerygma proclaimed that the
kingdom of God was already present. An element of Jewish apocalyptism, however, remained
in the Christian religion - yet adjusted. That is, although the kingdom of God was regarded
already present, the idea of a second coming of Christ as Redeemer was upheld. The article
demonstrates that the Christian kerygma on the realised kingdom of God had its origins in the
expectation of an utopia, as envisaged in the Pax Romana as ideology.