Where is the kingdom of God?
In John 18, verse 36, Jesus made the statement; “My kingdom is not of this world”, and then again “My kingdom is not from here.” When Jesus said that His kingdom is not “OF” this world, He meant that His kingdom did not originate with this world. That’s what the word “OF” means. It means “out from”. His kingdom did not come “out from” this world. And thus the other statement; “My kingdom is not from here.”
So then, if Christ’s kingdom is not from this world, where is it from? Well, quite simply, the kingdom came from God. Daniel 7:13 & 14 says, speaking of Christ, “And He came up to the Ancient of Days, and was presented to Him, and to Him was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom.”
We know that the kingdom is the body of Christ, right? If you have any doubts about that, please read this little article.. https://cocbuffalowy.com/2018/06/the-kingdom-and-the-church/
So the kingdom of God, is the body of Christ, and the body of Christ, is what we commonly refer to as the church. Listen to what it says in Ephesians 5, verses 25, 26 & 27; “..Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to HIMSELF, the church in all her glory..” Christ presented the church to Himself! That’s just another example of the fact that Christ, is indeed God.
Daniel says that the Ancient of Days, gave a kingdom to the Son of Man, and Ephesians says that Christ presented the church to Himself. Truly, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, are ONE!
Now, back to the kingdom. The kingdom came from God. It originated with God. Christ said in Mathew 16:18, that he was going to “build” His kingdom. John 1, verse 3 says; “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him, nothing came into being, that has come into being.” Has the kingdom come into being? If it has, then it has come into being through Christ.
OK, so the kingdom has come, it exists. It came into being through Christ, and Christ built it. But where does it exist? Is it on the earth, is it in heaven, or is it on the earth AND in heaven? And is the kingdom inside of us? One of the translations of Luke 17:21 says; “For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” And that’s a pretty widespread belief, that the kingdom is literally inside of us. But here’s what Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says, is the more proper translation; A more accurate translation; “Behold, the kingdom of God is IN YOUR MIDST.”
So then, is the kingdom of God inside of us? Thayer, an expert in the Greek language obviously doesn’t think so. Thayer thinks that the kingdom was “in their midst”, and so do I think so.
When Jesus spoke the words recorded in Luke 17:21, He was speaking to a group of unbelieving Pharisees. If Jesus was saying that the kingdom is “inside you”, then He would have been telling those Pharisees who were questioning Him that day, that the kingdom was at that very moment, “inside of them”. And I can’t believe, and don’t believe, that was the case. Those unbelieving Pharisees, didn’t even have the “spirit” of God inside of them, let alone the kingdom of God!
We’ve got to remember exactly what the kingdom is. The kingdom is the “church” so to speak. In other words, the kingdom, is the called out assembly of the saved. The kingdom is a congregation of souls. Now how could the whole body of all saved souls be inside of you, or inside of me? It’s not possible is it? We, as individual saved souls, are in the kingdom, but it would be impossible for the kingdom literally, to be in us.
I heard people say that it’s just a matter of semantics. In other words, it’s just a mater of how we choose to describe it. Well, if it is just a matter of semantics, then God would no doubt want us to use correct semantics. We wouldn’t call the body of Christ, the head. And we wouldn’t call the head, (which is Christ) the body. So then we should just call everything by a term that accurately describes it. And so, we can accurately say that we, as saved souls, are in the kingdom of God. But we cannot accurately say that the kingdom of God is inside of us.
When Jesus spoke to those Pharisees, He was telling them that “the kingdom of God is in their midst”. It was right there among them! Jesus would soon be given His kingdom, and He Himself would be the “head” and the “King” of that kingdom, and He was in their midst.
Remember when Jesus said Mathew 4:17; “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” ? The kingdom wasn’t there yet, but it was “at hand”. And then Jesus said in Luke 11:20; “But if I, by the finger of God, cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” It sounds like the kingdom had come even closer.
So then first Jesus said that the kingdom was “at hand”. and then He said that the kingdom “has come upon you”. And then He said in Luke 17:21; “the kingdom of God is in your midst”. The kingdom of God wasn’t “within them”, but it had definitely come so close, that it was now, “in their midst”.
If the Kingdom isn’t Within us, What Is Within us?
What is in us, if we’re saved, is the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ, but not the kingdom of Christ. Romans 8, verse 9 tells us; “However , you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”
If the Spirit of Christ dwells in us, then we are in the Spirit, and we are in the kingdom. To say that we are “in the Spirit”, is to say that we are living according to the Spirit. It means that we are being led by the Spirit. Romans 8:5 tells us; “For those who are according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh. But those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”
Remember what the apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20? “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Well, that’s exactly what it means to be “according to the Spirit”. It means to live by faith in Christ, and it means to “set your mind on the things of the Spirit”.
Christ must be living in you. Not literally, Christ Himself can’t literally live in us. But the Spirit of Christ can, and MUST live in us. “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” It’s the Spirit of Christ that must be inside of us, not Christ Himself, and not the kingdom of Christ, but the “spirit” of Christ.
Listen to a few verses that speak of what should be “in us”. 1 Corinthians 1:6 says; “Even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you.” So then, the testimony is “in you”.
Now 2 Corinthians 11:10; “As the truth of Christ is in me..” The truth, is “in you”.
And now Colossians 3:16; “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you..” In this verse it’s the word that is “in you”.
Philippians 1:19 speaks of “the provision, of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” The “provision of the Spirit of Christ”, would have to include all three of those things just mentioned. It would include the testimony of Christ, and the truth of Christ, and the word of Christ.
Now when Paul wrote, in Galatians 2:20; “..It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..” It should be obvious to us that Paul is referring to the “spirit” of Christ that’s living in him.
Listen to Colossians 1:25 thru 27; (Paul is speaking of the fact that he was made a minister to the church, or, to the kingdom) And so Paul says; “Of which I was made a minister, according to the stewardship from God, bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the word of God. The mystery, which has been hidden from the ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known, what is the riches of the glory of this mystery, among the gentiles, which IS, Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Paul is saying that “Christ in you”, IS “the riches of the glory of this mystery”. The “glory of this mystery” is Jesus Christ. The “mystery” is the gospel, it’s God’s plan of salvation. And the “glory” of the mystery, is Jesus Christ. It’s like what John 1:14 says; “And the word became flesh, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus Christ is the “glory” of God’s salvation And what are “the riches of the glory”? Well, if Christ is the glory, then the riches of the glory, are the blessings that come from salvation IN Christ, to those who believe in Him, and obey Him. The riches then, are the blessings that are found in the kingdom.
So we can see, how Paul could say that, figuratively, “Christ lives in me”, because the “spirit” of Christ lived in him. And we can see how Paul could use the phrase, “Christ in you”, because the “riches of Christ” are in us.
There’s even one verse that I believe, implies, that the kingdom can figuratively, be in us, just like Christ, and even God, can figuratively be in us, when the “spirit” of Christ, and of God, is in us. The verse is Romans 14, verse 17. Listen to it, and see what you think; “For the kingdom, is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, and peace, and joy, in the Holy Spirit.” Now we know that we have to take that verse figuratively, because we know with certainty, that the kingdom literally is the body of the saved.
But figuratively, the kingdom is “righteousness, peace, and joy”. Those are characteristics which we find in the kingdom. They are characteristic, of the souls that make up the kingdom, Christ Himself being the very “king” and the “head” of the kingdom.
And we could very well say, that righteousness, and peace, and joy, are all a part of the “spirit of the kingdom”. And so then, the “spirit of the kingdom”, can certainly be inside of us, and it MUST be inside of us. Just like the “spirit” of Christ MUST be inside of us. “But if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (Rom 8:9).
These differences that I’m talking about may be subtle differences, but even subtle differences need to be understood, if we are going to have a correct understanding of the bible. Some people would say that it’s all just semantics, and as a matter of fact, it is a matter of semantics. But the problem is, most people don’t even know what the word “semantics” means.
People think that “semantics” refers to words that have the same meaning. They think that “semantics” is just a matter of choosing what word you’ll use to describe something. That’s what synonyms are. That’s not what “semantics” means. Here’s what “semantics” means; Semantics is the very “meaning” of a word or phrase. It’s not a matter of having similar words with the same meaning. Semantics is the study of the MEANING, of words and phrases.
If we understand the semantics, (THE MEANING) of bible words and phrases, then we’ll know the meaning of even the subtle differences, between the words and phrases that the bible uses. The lack of understanding semantics, is the cause of so many people being lost, because they don’t know the meaning of the scriptures. But they’re convinced by other people, that God’s precise words don’t matter. They think they’ll be fine just using their own words.
Well, God’s words matter. Jesus said in John 12:48; “The word that I spoke will judge him at the last day.” Jesus said in Mathew 4:4; “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY word, that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
And in Mathew 12:36; “And I say to you; that every IDLE word that men shall say, they shall give an account for, in the day of judgment.” Do you know what an “idle” word is? It’s a word that is thoughtless, and unprofitable, and it’s words that shun, the understanding that we should put into our words. “Idle words”.
“For by thy words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.” (V-37) God’s words matter.
Jesus calls His gospel, “the gospel of the kingdom”. (Mat 24:14) But where is the kingdom of God? Wherever the body of the saved is, that’s exactly where the kingdom of God is. It’s here on earth, because Christians live on the earth. It’s in hades, because those who have died in Christ, are in hades. And it’s in heaven, because the king of the kingdom, is in heaven.
But what we really need to be concerned about, is how can we get INTO the kingdom, and how can we remain in the kingdom, once we get there.
You get there by believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Mat 16:16, John 8:24) And by repenting of your sins, and by being baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. (Acts 2:38, Acts 17:30, Acts 22:16) And by always being willing to KEEP repenting of your sins. (Acts 8:22, 1 John 1:9) And by always being willing to confess the name of Christ. (Mat 10:32 & 33, Romans 10:10) And by remaining faithful unto death. (Mat 24:13, Rev 2:10).
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, that they should rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.” (Revelation 14, verse 13)