NOT WITH OBSERVATION
Luke 17:20 ¶ 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: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. 22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. 23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. 37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
One of the most deceptive errors that has caused major problems in the religious realm in the last two thousand years is the false notion of an earthy, visible kingdom of God. Even scriptures like these verses, in the very words of the Lord Jesus himself are not understood, being put off to some future time after his return to earth. But just take time to meditate upon our Lord’s clear words regarding his present day, spiritual kingdom.
First of all, remember that both he, and John the Baptist came preaching that the kingdom was then “at hand.” Matthew 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Then remember the words of the Lord Jesus as he spoke to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews regarding their law, concerning the ability of one to both see and enter the kingdom. He very plainly instructor this learned scholar that it requires a spiritual birth by the Holy Spirit to do so. John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 5 Jesus answered, 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. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Also consider the Apostles’ words concerning the understanding given them by direct revelation of the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. Two things given to us as to what the kingdom is not! It is not physical food to nourish the flesh, nor religious drink offerings to preform physical religious traditions. And it is not just preaching of word in sermons. But it is a kingdom of inward spiritual righteousness accompanied by the Spirit’s peace and joy. And it is the effectual workings of the ‘power’ of the Holy Spirit, conquering lost souls by the power of Christ, the white horse rider. (See Revelation 6:2)
And we have in our often recited “Lord’s Prayer” a definition of the kingdom, to which we are mostly ignorant. For we repeat, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” But this, coupled with the angel’s report at the Incarnation of, “Peace on earth, good will towards man,” is not understood in its proper meaning. For we do not perceive that these statements regard God’s granting peace to the individual sinner upon being granted repentance. For the Lord Jesus clearly stated regarding world peace that we are never to even think that he came to “send peace on earth, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)
And in our text, listed above we are clearly instructed that the kingdom was not to be identified by a specific location! For in verse twenty-three of our Luke seventeen passage he informs us that we are not to follow anyone falsely trying to identify the kingdom by a specific location. Luke 17:23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. And then in the very next verse he informs us just how the gospel kingdom would advance to it final culmination. Luke 17:24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. It would be more clearly defined as lightening flashes of revelation to the individual hearts of his elect people, rather than the planned structuring of an organization of religious order!
He informs as he directs his instruction to Zerubbabel concerning the rebuilding of the true church from the “great mountain” of debris left from Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Jerusalem, that it would be accomplished, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6) That is, not by the might of one human’s effort, nor by the collective powers of many humans, but it would be solely the workings of God’s Holy Spirit! And so it was!
Mark 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, (languages) as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
And the kingdom, with the King’s workings therein, are clearly seen by eyes of faith in only the true believers. 2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For they alone have received the sight-giving gift of faith! Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 27 By faith he (Moses) forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
But the carnal practice of mere religious traditions have blinded the eyes of all other religionists, who are but members of a religious organization, and not living members of Christ’s true church – which is a living organism! Matthew 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
In our verse twenty-one of our Luke seventeen text we learn that the kingdom then is not to be see at a distance! For it is even said to be “within you.” And is not this the very meaning of the instruction of our Lord as listed in John 14? Consider these verses:
John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 ¶ I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
And because ‘the world’s’ citizenship cannot see the Holy Spirit, they cannot receive him! But not only shall the Holy Spirit dwell ‘with’ the true believers, but he shall dwell “in” them. This is how they are made to be one with the Father even as Christ is one with Him! John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Dear little believer – you who are so timid and reluctant to believe that God really loves you – He does not just plan to have you escape from Hell, but He fully intends to have you eternally to bear his likeness in a spiritual oneness! He fully intends to have you made with him as “all in all!” 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
1 Corinthians 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. That is, the Trinity coupled with the true church in an eternal glory!
Ephesians 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Believe it! 2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:58 ¶ Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
But how is the true church to be identified? It is identified by those who are having to daily feast off the revelation of Jesus Christ to them by the Holy Spirit! Luke 17:37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
These spiritual believers are seen as eagles: Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Revelation 12:14 And to the woman (Christ’s Bride; His church) were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, (the gospel arena) into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Job 39:27 Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? 30 Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Pastor Gene Breed
April 8, 2023