Is the Kingdom of God within us?

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Question: Did Jesus say that the kingdom of God is within us? Does this mean that all humans already possess eternal life?

Answer: The verse regarding the kingdom being "within you" is taken from the KJV translation of Luke 17:21. It was given by Jesus as he and his disciples traveled south through Galilee and Samaria on their way to Jerusalem (Luke 17:11). Just before he made the statement in question he healed ten lepers, only one of which came back to thank him for what he did (verses 12 - 19).

After the healing the Bible records the Pharisees demanding he tell them when the Kingdom would come (Luke 17:20). Jesus, near the end of his ministry, knew that the Pharisees and most of the religious leaders hated him and his message. He knew they wanted him dead. In fact, sometime prior to their request, he pointedly told them that their true spiritual father was Satan the devil (John 8:40 - 44)!

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Jesus' answer to the Pharisees' demand of knowledge regarding when righteousness would rule the earth was swift. He informed the self-righteous that, "Neither shall they say, 'Behold, it is here!' Or, 'Behold, it is there!' For behold, the kingdom of God is standing IN THE MIDST OF you." (Luke 17:20 - 21, HBFV).

Jesus on his throne
Jesus on his throne
Giotto di Bondone, c. 1330

Was Jesus now informing the same unconverted Pharisees who sought to kill him (John 8:28, 37, 11:53) that they had eternal life 'within their hearts?' No, he was not! Part of the problem in misunderstanding his statement lies with the erroneous KJV translation of the Greek word entos (Strong's Concordance # G1787) as "within." More accurate translations, like the one shown above, translate the word as "in the midst of" or "among."

It was in the midst of, or among, the Pharisees in the person of Jesus that God's Kingdom was manifested to them. Before this encounter Christ equated his presence and power with the rulership his Father gave him when he stated, "And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Because of this, they shall be your judges. But if I . . . cast out demons, then the KINGDOM OF GOD has come upon you" (Luke 11:19 - 20).

Notice what happens when Christ returns to the earth the second time. The book of Revelation states, "Then the seventh angel sounded his trumpet; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of THIS WORLD have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign . . ." (Revelation 11:15, HBFV)!

The seventh angel heralds the coming Kingdom of Heaven. It will have a King (1Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14, 19:16) and territory (the entire planet). It will contain subjects (all the people who survived Satan's rule) and laws to govern with (the Ten Commandments).

The Kingdom of God is decidedly not within each human being. Jesus was not giving a pretty sentiment about moral improvement in the hearts of man or the automatic placement of eternal life inside a human (e.g. immortal soul). He, as its King, was discussing a soon coming new government coming to save man from himself!

Additional Study Materials
Does the Bible teach reincarnation?
When will the Lord return?
How do we become more like Jesus?
What are the greatest Old Testament events?
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