11 Mar. Luke 17:20-21

11 Mar. Where is the Kingdom of God?

"Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, 'When will the kingdom of God come?' Jesus answered, 'God's kingdom is coming [already], but not in a way that you will be able to see with your eyes.'"

"People will not say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There it is!' because God's kingdom is WITHIN you."

          (Luke 17:20-21)



So many of our 'religious' beliefs originating in the Bible are based on the geography of place. But our knowledge of the geography of Palestine (where much of the Bible was written) is generally so poor, that we often base our 'beliefs' on false misconceptions.

We think that Jesus was born in a stable where "the cattle are lowing", but don't realise that the climate of Bethlehem is too hot and dry for cows to live there! (see Luke 2:7)

We think that the Holy family escaped to a distant and hostile foreign country when they escaped Herod's wrath by fleeing to Egypt, but don't realise there was a thriving Jewish community in this nearby friendly country in Jesus's day. (see Matthew 2:14)

We think that Philip baptised the Ethiopian royal servant by full immersion in a river or lake beside the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, but aren't aware there are no rivers or lakes alongside this desert road, only deep wells. (see Acts 8:26-40).

We imagine that Jesus talked about "hell" as a burning pit of flames in "the underworld" (actually a Greek, pagan religious concept), whereas the word often translated "hell" ("Gehenna") referred to a garbage disposal site just outside the gates of Jerusalem in the Hinnom Valley!

And we imagine that we will go UP to "heaven" (usually regarded as a physical place above the clouds) while the Bible actually teaches that God will come DOWN to earth in the "end times" and create a new unified heaven/and/earth here on earth. (see Revelation 21:10 & 22-27)

In Jesus's day, people imagined that the "kingdom of God" was imminent, and the "end times" would be ushered in by a militaristic Messiah who would drive the Romans out of Palestine and establish God's kingdom on earth. In one sense they were right - Jesus preached "the right time has come" and "the kingdom of God is near." (Mark 1:14)

But they got their geography wrong! Jesus said, "'God's kingdom IS coming [already], but not in a way that you will be able to see with your eyes'. People will not say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There it is!' because God's kingdom is WITHIN you." (Luke 17:20-21)

One day, God WILL create a "new heaven and a new earth" and will live among his resurrected people in a new earthly kingdom. (see Revelation 21:11-14).

But, in the meantime, God's kingdom is ALREADY being established here on the earth, as the "kingdom of God" already exists wherever anyone acknowledges God as king in their lives.

We may not be able to "see" God's kingdom fully established yet (many Christians regard God as living with us in a different parallel dimension), but Jesus assures us that "God's kingdom is [already] WITHIN you" and, in the future, we WILL see God face to face.

In the words of Handel's 'Messiah', (quoting Job 19, 25-26), "I know that my redeemer liveth... and in my flesh shall I see God."

The photo shows the Valley of Hinnom ("Gehenna") just outside the old city walls of Jerusalem.

You can read more about God's future kingdom on earth @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/the-new-heaven-the-new-e…/

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