2nd Clement on the Coming of God’s Kingdom

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In today’s world, there are elements of ‘Christianity’ which believe that through violence of some sort, they can bring on the Kingdom of Christ. Whether through the violence of election which mandates conversion or through some terrorist act which consumes the Dome of the Rock, thereby paving the way for a Third Temple, people believe that these things will bring about the Second Coming of Christ. Yet, this dominionism is not prevalent in the earliest Christian writers.

2nd Clement, one of the earliest post-NT sermons, preached that the kingdom of God will come when there is equality…

Let us wait, therefore, hour by hour the kingdom of God with love and righteousness, since we know not the day of God’s appearing. For the Lord Himself, when he was asked by someone when his kingdom was going to come, said:

“When the two shall be one, and the outside like the inside, and the male with the female, neither male nor female.”

Now, ” the two are one” when we speak the truth among ourselves and there is one soul in two bodies without deception. And “the outside like the inside” he means this: “the inside” signifies the soul, while “the outside” signified the body. There just as your body is visible, so also let your soul be evident in good works. And by “the male with the female, neither male nor female,” he means this: that when a brother sees a sister, he should not think about her as of a female, nor should she think anything about him as of a male. If you do these things, he says, the kingdom of my Father shall come.

The above is from ]]’s book, noted above, which includes the Apostolic Fathers in both English and Greek. It is a very good translation, which includes notes and cross references to track quotations from the Fathers of the Scriptures.

Holmes, and others I am sure, note that the author is pulling from the Gospel of the Egyptians which is different from the one found at ]], but assumed to be of a different sect of early Christianity which rejected marriage. While that may be the case, we do know that this version of the Gospel was never fully accepted while sayings which may be found in the Egyptians’ Gospel remain. Possibly, that instead of accepting the Gospel of the Egyptians, said Gospel shared a common Oral Tradition of sayings of Christ which are not found in the canonical Gospels. This is not uncommon, even in Canonical sources, in that Paul relayed words of Christ which are not quoted by the Evangelists.

I am not sure that the author is meaning a pure eschatological Kingdom here, but more probably, the full realization of Christ’s Kingdom on earth; however, eschatology plays a part, at least in the end, in that the author throughout the sermon urges his audience to remain ever vigilant in their lives so as to be pure when God appears. How interesting in the debate though, of the role of women, that this early sermon which teaches against separation based on gender was so readily beloved by early Church historians and collectors of valued documents that it was preserved and attached to the traditional successor of Peter.

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