The Kingdom of God is “Within You”
By Peter Salemi
In the history of the modern day church of God seventh-day, there has been a tradition that when Jesus said “the Kingdom of God is within you” that it meant something else. It had nothing to do with God dwelling in your heart; but that Jesus was “among” them as a representative of the Kingdom of God on earth. Is that true? Or does the meaning of the “Kingdom of God” go deeper than Jesus ruling on earth in the millennium?
Two Aspects of the Kingdom
When Jesus came to this earth more than 2000 years ago, he came to preach the good news about the coming Kingdom. The Gospel of Mark says, “…Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (1:14-15). The good news was that the kingdom of God was “at hand,” meaning “imminent.” God setting up his kingdom as many prophecies of the Bible foretold of the Messiah ruling on Earth on David’s throne over the tribes of Israel and the whole world subjecting themselves to the Messiah.
However, Jesus also told the Pharisees when they “demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come,” (Luke 17:20), that, “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.” (vv.20, 21). Jesus said the kingdom does NOT come by “observation.” The Greek word is only here in the New Testament, it’s “parateresis.” Its meaning is, “The progress of the kingdom cannot be defined by visible marks like that of an earthly kingdom” (Vincent Word Studies). The kingdom would not be inaugurated with spectacle or splendor; there would be no leader who staked out a geographical claim “Lo here! or, lo there!”
Instead, what did Jesus say about the Kingdom? “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
“Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
“Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” (Matthew 13:31-33). These parables are a representation of the progress of the Gospel in the world; it begins small and grows till the kingdom is fully revealed with the second coming of Jesus Christ. Vincent’s Word Studies agrees when it comes to Luke 17:20 about its “observation:” “Its growth in the world is a process of pervasion, like the working of the leaven through the lump.” (Emphasis theirs).
This is what Jesus was telling the Pharisees, that the kingdom would come silently and unseen, like leaven or the mustard seed. In fact it was happening already but the Pharisees did not see it. Jesus said, “for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” What did he mean by this? Some say that it should read, “in your midst” or “among” you.
The Greek words for “within you” is “entos humōn” “Entos” means “within.” Robertson’s word Pictures says this cannot mean “among” or “in the midst” for “…there is no clear instance of entos in the sense of ‘among’ (Bruce)…”
In fact the only other time this word “entos” is used in the New Testament is in Matthew 23:26 and it’s clear what is meant, “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within [entos] the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” Clearly Jesus meant the “inside” as opposed to the “outside” of the cup and platter. Nothing here suggests “among” or “in the midst.”
Dodson’s Greek Lexicon clearly states this word means, “within, inside, the inside”
Mounce writes the same, “inside, within, Luke 17:21; τὸ ἐντός, the interior, inside, Matt 23:26.” (emphasis added).
Now some argue that when Jesus said to Pharisees the “the Kingdom of God is within you” that Jesus was surely not saying that the kingdom of God resided within the Pharisees’ hearts. The Pharisees opposed Jesus and had no relationship with God. Jesus in other places denounced them as “whitewashed tombs” and “hypocrites” (Matthew 23:27). So the meaning has to be “among” or “in the midst.”
However, the Pharisees were looking for visible manifestations like an earthly kingdom, but Jesus told them “…that they, as others, are to look for the kingdom of God within themselves, not in outward displays and supernatural manifestations. It is not a localized display ‘Here’ or ‘There.’ It is in this sense that in Luke 11:20 [Matt 12:28] Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God as ‘come upon you’ (ephthasen eph' humās), speaking to Pharisees.” (Robertson’s Word Pictures, emphasis added).
When Jesus healed in Luke chapter 11:20 and Matthew 12:28 by the power of God-the Holy Spirit, he said The kingdom of God had “come upon” them-the Holy Spirit the power of the kingdom was made manifest. Even in Luke 17:13-19 Jesus healed people and the Pharisees were there just like in Luke 11:20 and Matthew 12:28.
When these things came about the Pharisees were invited to receive the spirit, and let it dwell in them, as the Holy Spirit does in believers (Rom 8:16); and the “Laws” of the kingdom is written on the believers heart, (Romans 5:5; 7:14; 1 John 5:3), So that the “…peace of God rule [“govern” Strong’s #1018] in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Col 3:15). So Luke 17:21 meaning is-It was an invitation to the Pharisees to repent and receive the spirit. “The kingdom of God” came upon them, and that they were invited to receive the power of the kingdom, and let it dwell “within” them.
So, when Jesus said the “Kingdom of God is within you” he truly meant that the Kingdom of God was to dwell in each and every one of his believers, and it was to spread and grow on this earth like leaven.
So there are two aspects of the Kingdom, and one actually leads into the other. The spiritual growth of the kingdom, inside the hearts of his body of believers on the earth; which will lead into Jesus ruling this earth on the throne of David that will be set up on this earth at his second coming.
What is the Kingdom?
The word Kingdom means “the dominion of the King.” Everything is “of” “for” and “by” the King. Everything and everyone belongs to the monarchy, and the Kingdom of God is the dominion over which God reigns. At this point in time God is NOT ruling over this earth. Jesus makes it clear that Satan the Devil is the “prince (Grk. “ruler” Strong’s #758) of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). This “ruler” (prince), Jesus says will be “cast out” eventually and placed in the “bottomless pit” (Rev 20:3).
At the moment, God wants to reign over the hearts and minds of people and his people Israel-the Kingdom “within you.” This will eventually grow and fester like leaven and the “children of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:38), will produce the “fruits” of “righteousness” on this earth, and eventually, “…shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (v.43); the end time harvest will be reaped (the resurrection) and the children of the kingdom will become “kings and priests” (Rev 5:10) and rule and reign on earth with Christ in the kingdom of God. Do you see how it starts, grows, and eventually the world will see the full “…manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19)?
From the beginning when God created man, God wanted man to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen 1:26-27).
Psalm 8 says, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
“For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
“Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
“All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
“The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
“O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (vv.4-9)
Why did God put us here? He put humans here to expand his heavenly kingdom here on earth and to culturalize this earth with heavenly culture. Of course man did the opposite and allowed earthly things to culturalize man.
Since man’s rebellion Almighty God has been calling men and women out of the world, and to establish the kingdom of God in their lives and affect the lives of the people around them. The purpose of salvation is to restore the kingdom of God to men. When the kingdom of God is “within you,” and we “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;” (Matthew 6:33), this world could change in a matter of days.
The People of God are Kings!
The people of God are those who have the Holy Spirit and have yielded their lives to God, and God has become the Sovereign King in their life. Through the spirit of God-the power of the Kingdom He writes the “Laws” of the kingdom in their hearts and God reigns in the hearts-the Kingdom “within” “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness [God’s laws Psalm 119:172], and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Rom 14:17). Then, God gives that person a job to do-to have God’s kingdom in their lives and execute the rule of God in their life.
Many Christians do not know that they ARE kings right at this moment.
The Apostle Peter wrote to the church, “But YE ARE a chosen generation, a ROYAL priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;” (1 Peter 2:9). The Pulpit Commentary says, “St. Peter has here the epithet ‘royal.’ He follows the Septuagint Version of Ex 19:6; the Hebrew has ‘a kingdom of priests.’ The word ‘royal’ may mean that God’s elect shall sit with Christ in his throne, and reign with him (Rev 3:21; Rev 5:10), and that in some sense they reign with him now over their lower nature, their desires and appetites; or, more probably, the priesthood of Christians is called ‘royal’ because it belongs to the King—‘a priesthood serving Jehovah the King, just as we speak of ‘the royal household’ (Weiss, quoted by Huther)” (emphasis added).
Jamieson Fausset & Brown commentary correctly says, “Believers, like Christ, the antitypical Melchisedec, are at once kings and priests. Israel, in a spiritual sense, was designed to be the same among the nations of the earth. The full realization on earth of this, both to the literal and the spiritual Israel, is as yet future.” (Emphasis added).
Believers are kings that serve under the “King of kings” Jesus Christ. Revelation the first chapter John wrote, “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (v.9). John said that he was their “brother” and “companion” in the “kingdom” speaking in the present tense.
He also said that Jesus was, “the prince [Grk. “ruler”] of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (vv.5-6). Jesus rules over his body-his church and we are kings and priests. The people of God have been given rule to execute the kingdom of God principles in their lives that we read in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and have been given an assignment-work is to be done. (see Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27).
Like leaven, the kingdom must grow and fester, believers must produce fruits as God said “be fruitful and multiply” fill the earth with the kingdom principles of Christ so others can benefit from it and serve the people that God loves. This is God’s spiritual kingdom on earth at the moment! “The full realization on earth of this, both to the literal and the spiritual Israel, is as yet future” when Christ comes! Christians rule over their assignment that God want them to do now; and eventually, they shall rule the earth with Christ at his coming as Jesus says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev 3:21).
“the good seed are the children of the kingdom;” (Matt 13:38)
The Bible says that the believers in Christ are “seed” that will become “fruit” produced from that seed.
What is fruit? Fruit is a living organism with the seed inside, a “seed in itself” (Gen 1:11). Seed is anything that produces life. Men, the Bible says, have “seed” and the child is called the “fruit of the womb” (Gen 30:2). God says we are to be “fruitful and multiply.” (Gen 1:28). Fruit is the outward manifestation of the seed inside. What God puts in us we manifest on the outside.
Almighty God puts his Holy Spirit in us-his “seed.” This is the begettal process as Peter says, “Being born [Grk. “Begotten”] again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1Peter 1:23).
John wrote, “Everyone who has been begotten by God does not practice sin because His seed of begettal is dwelling within him, and he is not able to [continue to] practice sin because he has been begotten by God.” (1 John 3:9 AFV).
The seed is the “word of God” (Luke 8:11). The word of God is written in our hearts by the spirit of God (Romans 5:5; 2 Corinth 3:3). Jesus said, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63).
In a physical seed, there is the inner and outer layer. In a spiritual seed there is the Holy Spirit (the outer layer) and the word of God (the inner layer) that eventually will “…multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness” (2 Corinth 9:10).
James wrote, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (1:18).
Finally, notice what Isaiah says about the words of God-the seed, “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (55:10-11). The word of God “makes” you fruitful it has to! It’s encoded to bring life and prosperity-it’s the law! Just like the earth makes the seed to bud, so, when the word of God is sown in the field of your mind, it will begin to bud and produce fruit-it has to! And what are those fruits? The “Fruits of Righteousness” which is God’s Law (Psalm 119:172).
God places his seed, the word of God by his spirit in our minds, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Rom 8:16). God’s people will develop the “divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), the same nature as God, and overcoming our human nature we become a “child of the kingdom”-The Kingdom “within” you! We are trained and guided by the spirit of God, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom 8:4); and we develop the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinth 2:16)-the KINGDOM MIND! And what develops in us will show on the outside-the fruit which is the outer manifestation of the inside seed, “I will shew thee my faith [the seed inside] by my works [fruits on the outside].” (James 2:18).When we put our faith into practice as James wrote, what we believe and all our intentions on the inside will translated outwardly to the flesh, “For as the body without the spirit [mind] is dead… For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (James 2:26; Prov 23:7).
Trees of Righteousness
What is on the inside shows on the outside just like a fruit from a tree. If your mindset is like God’s, it will manifest outwardly, and it will affect you and the people around you, cause and effect as God said, “…my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isa 55:11).
God’s people developing these “fruits of Righteousness” are “trees of life” filled with God’s wisdom and law in this world, as Solomon says of people with wisdom, “She [wisdom] is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her…The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life;” (Prov 3:18; 11:30). The people of God are filled with his knowledge his word and the people of this world can benefit from them. Lives can be changed and God can reign in them as it does in his people.
Then, eventually in the Kingdom of God when Jesus returns, God’s people will “be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” (Isa 61:3). The people of God will be fully developed at the resurrection fill with God’s glory and all wisdom and the whole world will partake of these trees of life and learn the ways of God to produce their own fruits of righteousness in the kingdom.
So the Kingdom starts as the spiritual kingdom-the unseen seed planted in God’s people. God is dwelling and ruling in them by his “seed” (see 1 John 3:24; 4:13) that grows like the mustard seed until the outer manifestation of the Kingdom is revealed fully by Christ’s coming “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:13); and the full “manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom 8:19), the resurrected saints. The whole world will partake in the “fruits of righteousness” supplied by God and his saints, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Rev 22:14); and the whole world will be at peace, and God’s righteousness will rule this earth forever, “for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:3).
God’s People to Apply the Kingdom Principles
God uses his people to expand his kingdom principles on the earth to serve people, their families, friends, people they associate with, and even their fellow brethren who wrong them in the church-“love your enemies.” The Sermon on the Mount is the Kingdom principles God’s people are to perform to spread the spiritual Kingdom on this earth.
People will see their Good works and they will benefit from them. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). God uses his people on earth to love the people he sent them to serve!
One such example is Joseph. God sent Joseph to Egypt, “for God did send me before you to preserve life… And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” (Gen 45:5, 7). God used Joseph to save life and his family through the years of the famine and Joseph ruled Egypt using the Kingdom principles because he had the spirit of God dwelling in him (see Gen 41:38) and Countless lives were saved!
Another example is the Queen of Sheba. When she saw all of the Wisdom of Solomon she said, “Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.
“Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.” (1 Kings 10:8-9). God called these people and used them to serve the people who he loves. To do judgment and justice and preserve his people-to spread the kingdom culture on the earth so human beings can prosper, benefit and serve the Lord. All of God’s people have that great responsibility, and if we all did this, and the people on earth partake of the fruit that God’s people are producing, this world would look a lot different than what we see today. May God continue to use his people in the same way he used Solomon, Joseph and others to save many lives on this earth!
This is what Jesus meant when he said the Kingdom is “within” you. The spiritual kingdom on earth (the seed inside) to grow and grow and serve others; to produce “fruits of Righteousness” that all can benefit till eventually the kingdom will come into full bloom (outer manifestation-the fruit) at the second coming of Jesus Christ!
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