Brad, I’m tracking with you on this unifying motif of “kingdom,” but I think—riffing off the “dominion of darkness” section in your article—that the pervasive darkness / Light motif throughout the Scriptures (esp. John) accompanies the presence of these two kingdoms too. I think you picked up on this when you cited John 2:8 — “the darkness is fading and the true light is already shining.” We see it also in the only two sources of light in the ancient world: the destructive properties of fire (as painful torment or as that which consumes the obstacles to eternal life) and the illuminating properties of the sun (as illuminator of our transgressions—or, ironically, our participation in darkness—or as illuminating truth).
I think this appears most starkly in the verse immediately preceding the verse you use to underscore the properties of the “dominion of darkness” in 1 Col., where in v.12, Paul writes on the Father, “who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light,” and then goes on to say (as you quote), “He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son…” (v.13). So, here, alongside the kingdom motif, we have the darkness / Light motif too.
Where else is the darkness / Light motif present alongside the kingdom motif? I’d want to do some more digging since I know there is a truckload of examples, but it could look a little like the following:
1.) Present external realities: political structures = light / darkness as the experience of the political realities as oppressors and oppressed during the plague of darkness in Egypt that was nevertheless experienced as light to the Hebrews; or the violence and insurrection of the zealots that incited the Roman army to destroy Jerusalem and the temple.
2.) Present inner reality: repentance = metanoia or transformation of our nous — “Repent (metanoeite), for the *kingdom* of heaven is at hand,” as embodied in Paul’s conversion through his encounter with the Unapproachable Light that both blinded him and revealed his participation in the dominion of darkness when Jesus remarked about him, “It is hard for you to kick against the spikes” (Acts 26:14). And as exhibited in Light as present judgment: “This is the judgment: Light has come into the world…” (Jn. 3:19).
3.) Future reality: our bodily resurrection / transfiguration = metamorphoomai, wherein Jesus’ own Transfiguration (Lk. 9:28ff.) was a response to and expression of his own statement that “there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God” (Lk. 9:27), and during which “his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white” (Mt. 17:2), which was not a change into something he wasn’t before, but a revelation of what he already was and what we will be.
So, I think this motif of darkness / Light should operate alongside the two kingdoms as equally able to unify present political realities, inner ontological realities, and future realities (all of which can be summarized as eschatological), perhaps as the underlying cosmic reality.
Where the fire (a negative source) in James fits into this darkness / Light motif is a question to ponder further. And, given the political / kingdom motif, when James later says in this same passage, “And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace” (Js. 3:18), I wonder how this fits in too. And, much like in the hierarchy of rungs on the Beatific Ladder, peacemaking (present political reality) requires purity of heart (present inner reality) to facilitate it genuinely, James also picks up on in this passage: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable…” (v.17).