And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. -Matthew 13:10-11
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. – Romans 14:17.
This is the preaching of the Kingdom of God. This is not talking about either going to heaven, nor is it about the Millennial Kingdom to come. The apostle Paul above says that the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink. That’s what many of us think when we consider Paradise, Heaven, or the Kingdom of God- that we’re going to lay around all day eating the finest foods eternity has to offer. We mostly have literalistic views of what heaven is, or what the Kingdom will be. But let’s hear what Jesus says concerning the Kingdom of God:
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. – Lk 17:20-21.
Often folk try to reinterpret this passage to say, “..the Kingdom of God is [among] you”- but if that were true, then it would still come with observation, right? Also, the Greek word translated here as “within” is entoς- entos, inside (adverb or noun): – within (Strongs Gk 1787). And, it comes from the Greek word en- en, meaning in, or within. Thayer’s says, 1) within, inside 1a) within you, i.e. in the midst of you 1b) within you, i.e. your soul. So, while ‘among’, or in one’s midst could also apply, nevertheless, in and inside, or within definitely may also be intended. And, given the context (“cometh not with observation”)- the primary definition seems to be ‘within’.
Thus, the mystery of the Kingdom of God is this, it is inside of you, within you.
Now, here’s a mind blower for those with ears to hear: the Kingdom of God being within, or inside of one is not the same as “asking Jesus into one’s heart”, or being born again, or becoming a Christian. Before you go and get your pitchforks and torches- consider: the one’s to whom Christ spoke these words, they were the Pharisees! As such, notice that Christ didn’t say, “for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within us [meaning He and His disciples]”, nor yet, “within my children” or any other such language. How is this? Note what it says concerning Christ as the Light:
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.– Jn 1:9.
This is irrespective of whether one is good, or if one is evil. This is regardless if one is rich, poor, black or white, great or small. Neither does it apply only to Christians, or to any other religion. Even atheists have been lightened as they came into the world! How is this so?
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended [to seize, lay upon, take hold of to make one’s own, arrest] it not.– Jn 1:5.
Let that sink in a moment. The darkness refers, not just to evil, but to the nothingness that is ours’ naturally, who and what we are independently of God (Light) is nothingness, or darkness. Thus, this Light sits inside all of us- the Kingdom of God. But we (as we, as ‘nothing’) cannot seize it, cannot lay hold of the Kingdom so as to make it our own. What then can we do? Well, this is where all of Christ’s preaching on the Kingdom of God comes into play- quite a lengthy, but well rewarding study!
Does this mean that all are automatically saved? Or does this mean that, no matter what one does, they’ll make heaven their home- as in Universalism?
No. Just because we’ve all been alit by Christ as we came into the world (remember, as darkness we cannot grasp it), doesn’t mean that we’re no longer in need of a conversion experience. In fact, Christ taught:
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.– Jn 3:3; and,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.– V.V.5-7.
Before you and I can partake of, or enter into the Kingdom of God (within us), we must first have a radical transformation classically called being “born again”- which according to the Greek means to be born from above. We were already born of flesh and blood, but now our spirit-man, our inward self must be born again, born from above. This comes by surrendering ourselves to God, to Christ. As the apostle Peter said,
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. – 1Pet 1:23.
Christ, as the Logos incarnate (Jn 1:1-2) is the Word of God. And turning to Him in faith, trusting in the shed blood which He gave on the cross assures that our sins are forgiven, and that we receive eternal life, and are righteous before Him- as a free gift by virtue of believing (Rom 3:23-26; Eph 2:8-9).
This is then the mystery: we may come to salvation by faith in Christ, being righteous before God by His atoning work. We thus have eternal life. But it doesn’t stop here for the believer. No, no, no. We may now have access to the Kingdom of God within. This Kingdom is nothing short of God Himself, the fullness of God, the fullness of Christ, and the very divine nature of Which we may partake (Eph 3:19; 4:13; 2Pet 1:4). The Kingdom of God is a full maturing in Him, a growing up into Him in all things (Eph 4:15). Other terms, too, are used such as theosis, or deification. We become by grace what God is by nature, as St. Athanasius said. For now, with our new heart, our new spirit, we may now ‘see’ the Kingdom of God, we’re open to the possibility. Yet, we may not yet enter until that we are immersed in the water of His Word, and His Spirit (Jn 3:3, 5; 17:17; Eph 4:26). This is nothing short of sanctification and discipleship- truth be told.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.– Jn 8:31-32.
The Truth is Christ, the Truth is God, the Truth is That Kingdom of God within you. Let’s believe, receive, and enter into That which is one’s True Nature, into that Light by which we’ve come into the world, by which we exist, and have our being (Acts 17:28).
Amen.Invite Leon to Speak