Luke 17:20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The Kingdom of God doesn’t come with observation;
21 neither will they say, ‘Look, here!’ or, ‘Look, there!’ for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.”
Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Whether or not these are one and the same is another matter. For the purposes of this essay, I’ll treat them as one as, if these two terms do refer to different Kingdoms or different aspects of the same Kingdom, the same principles apply either way.
The sharpest among you have surely made the leap already.
How many times did Jesus say “the Kingdom of God is at hand.”? I’ll answer for you – once. He said “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” three times. The words “at hand” means close to us in time and/or space. What if there is another meaning?
Consider a teacher instructing an apt student. The teacher tries to convey an important albeit abstract concept. He can see the student consistently overlooks the one important aspect that would make everything crystal clear.” He says “You are almost there.”. In other words, the solution to this problem is at hand. Such is the Kingdom of God.
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
King James Version (KJV)
Wait. What?! Look at verses 3 and 4 in the World English Bible (WEB)
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we don’t wage war according to the flesh;
4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds,
Verse 4a says “for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh” (or carnal in the KJV). The word for flesh and carnal share the same root in the Greek. Let me ask you… if something is not of the flesh, then of what is it? Of course, scripture often compares the flesh with the spirit, but here, let’s consider verse 5…
2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Hmmmm – imaginations and knowledge, bringing into captivity every thought. There you have it. Humans think in pictures and… words. Let’s take this one step further.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The word of God is sharper than any twoedged sword. Where else is the word of God compared to a sword?
Ephesians 6:17b …the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
This verse is near the end of the great passage revealing the true nature of our warfare.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Notice how every aspect of the armour of God is directly related to words. This is a spiritual truth. This is why prayer is powerful, why we are exhorted to renew our minds, and why Jesus said “the Kingdom of God is within you”. Ask yourself… “within you” where? In your feet? In your belly? No! In your “heart” – a figure of speech indicating the very center of your being. In other words, your mind.
What a revolutionary statement! No other creature formed on earth can rival man’s ability to communicate with words. We exist on a higher plain, just as spiritual beings exist on a plain higher than ours. I am not so sure it started out that way. Adam communed with God on a personal level. From the scriptural accounts one can ascertain their relationship was not like our own at all. While born again believers have regained the potential to operate in the spiritual realm, we are not quite complete… yet.
1 Corinthians 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Some use this passage to justify their contention believers can no longer operate the nine manifestations of the spirit. Personally, I find this ironic considering this passage follows on the heels of the most detailed treatment of the manifestations of the spirit and instruction and exhortation on speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy – three of the nine manifestations. Why bother with this at all and then say “oh, yeah, use this while you can because when I pen my last epistle, all of this is done because then the new testament scriptures will be complete”. Do note, neither Paul, nor any of the early church fathers said this… ever.
The Apostle Paul, however, did indicate when “that perfect will come” will be a reality, and he was not alone. Of course I speak of the return of Christ. He is perfect and he certainly will come. At that time:
1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We shall all be changed. Isn’t that wonderful? And, oh gee look, this passage comes soon after that one I wrote of before! Go figure. In the same epistle even. Huh. Context! By this I mean, rather than taking a few verses out here and there, do consider the whole – where and how it fits. Surely there are some asides in these epistles and elsewhere but overall it is our job to rightly divide and discern how these things apply.
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The WEB presents this in a different light
2 Timothy 2:15 (WEB) Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth.
This is one reason why it can be helpful to compare different versions. I do this quickly and easily using the free software Theophilos, but one can also use online tools such as the Blue Letter Bible. To be fair the BLB is actually a stronger tool as it allows the student to instantly seek out the meanings of the words used – such as “study vs give diligence” above. The results of such studies are not always conclusive but they more often than not offer far more insight than simply reading one version or even comparing two or more.
Talk about asides. 🙂
So what is the Secret of the Kingdom? Jesus told us in the verse at the beginning of this post. Beyond that, the Kingdom of God is accessed by us mere humans by the utterly simple means of accepting Jesus, the Messiah, as Lord and Savior.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Romans 10:8a But what saith it?
Romans 10:8b The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
In part one of this post, I took to task those who scoff at “mere words”. The “mere words” they love to scoff at are God’s words i.e. His WORD. These same scoffers will then use words to justify their claims and even more words to deceive and control anyone within earshot. Controllers overwhelmingly control via words. It is only when those words are ignored do they then apply force.
Words are the substance of human society and iteration. They set us above all other earthly creatures. In Genesis, God destroyed the tower of Babel and confused man’s language. Why?
Genesis 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
God knows the power of words. Read Genesis from the beginning. The phrase “And God said…” occurs numerous times in the “creation” account. (Pop quiz: How many times does Genesis says God created? The answer may surprise you.) Consider just some of those things God said about words.
Psalms 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
Proverbs 15:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.
Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Micah 2:7 O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?
Luke 9:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.
1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword
Thus I urge you to take the words and Word of God to heart. The day will come when you will either be glad you did or woe your decision to ignore them.