Friday, November 12, 2010

The Kingdom of God is Within You

I have been having a conversation lately with a man about the nature of heaven. To this man, and probably many of you reading this, heaven refers to a “place” somewhere out there that some will experience in the future.

Many people I have talked to, including this man, think the phrase “the kingdom of Heaven/God is referring to the futuristic place somewhere in the universe.

So in other words, when someone in the texts says to Jesus, “What must I do to inherit the Kingdom of God?” we automatically assume they are asking the same question most of us have been taught to ask… “How can I get to Heaven after I die?”

In Luke 17 Jesus is asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come and here is how Jesus replies…

“The Kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the Kingdom of God IS WITHIN YOU.”

Obviously Jesus is not referring to the Westernized version of the Kingdom of God, as if its a physical place somewhere in the universe that some (very few in most traditions) will reside after they die.

Instead Jesus almost always (if not every time) refers to the Kingdom of God being a present reality to be experienced.

When Jesus describes the dwelling place of the Kingdom of God he says to look no further than within you. Notice there is no conditions to this statement. Jesus doesn’t say, “The Kingdom of God is within you IF ______________.” He says emphatically that the Kingdom of God is with in you, whether you believe it or not.

I am thinking about doing a few posts starting next week taking a little closer look at the Kingdom of God.


JustinGaynor said...

Now we're talkin'!!! Can't wait!

Michael Gormley said...

The Kingdom of GOD is the Catholic Church!

Why did Jesus Christ become Incarnate in the first place? Was it to leave us with a book, or to establish a Church? Well, in this verse He told us one of the reasons why:

"But He said to them, "To the other towns also I must PROCLAIM THE KINGDOM OF GOD, FOR THIS IS WHY I HAVE BEEN SENT"." (Luke 4:43)

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." (Luke 19:10)

And how are we, who are the lost ones, to be saved? It is through the Church which He founded.

"Therefore, if you harken to My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My special possession, dearer to Me than all other people, though all the earth is mine. YOU SHALL BECOME A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, A HOLY NATION." (Exodus) 19:5-6

"You, however, are a chosen race, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PURCHASED PEOPLE; that you may proclaim the perfections of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." (1Peter 2:9)

The Kingdom of GOD will last forever:

"And when your days shall be fulfilled and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will raise up your seed after you, which shall proceed out of your bowels, and I WILL ESTABLISH HIS KINGDOM. HE SHALL BUILD A HOUSE TO MY NAME, AND I WILL ESTABLISH THE THRONE OF HIS KINGDOM FOREVER...AND YOUR HOUSE SHALL BE FAITHFUL, AND YOUR KINGDOM FOREVER BEFORE YOUR FACE AND YOUR THRONE SHALL BE FIRM FOREVER." (2Samuel 7:13, 16)

"And among my sons (for the Lord has given me many sons) he has chosen Solomon my son, to sit upon the THRONE OF THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD OVER ISRAEL. And He said to me: Solomon My son SHALL BUILD MY HOUSE AND MY COURTS, FOR I HAVE CHOSEN HIM TO BE MY SON, AND I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM." (1Chronicles 28:5-6)

So Solomon will sit on the throne of the Kingdom of GOD, an earthly kingdom, clearly a type of the Church which will be manifested in the New Testament.

"He shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his Kingdom: to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, FROM HENCEFORTH AND FOREVER." (Isaiah 9:7)

"He shall be great, and be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord GOD will give Him the throne of David His father, and He shall be King over the House of Jacob forever; and OF HIS KINGDOM THERE SHALL BE NO END." (Luke 1:32-33)

And He said, "To what shall we liken the Kingdom of GOD; or to what parable shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the earth, is the smallest of all seeds upon the earth; yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than any herb, and puts out great branches, so that the birds of the air can dwell beneath its shade." (Mark 4:30-32. See also, Mark 4:26-29.)

This is a clear analogy of the Church which Jesus Christ founded.