The Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God is going to appear. Jesus tells them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable.”
“The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable” — really?
So many people today talk about Jesus’ return, of His appearing in the clouds, of the disappearance of presumably millions of Christians in an instant flash. Sounds observable to me! Sounds like people are going to say, “‘Look here!’ or ‘there!'”
But Jesus says, “You see, the kingdom of God is among you.”
The Pharisees do not see, but think they do. Therefore, they remain blind. The disciples listen. Jesus tells them they are going to “long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but won’t see it.” (Luke 17:22) He warns them not “to follow or run after” false messiahs just because people get excited and say, “Look here!” (Luke 17:23) Rather, the kingdom of God is within them, and within us.
Jesus says, “The man in the field must not turn back.” (Luke 17:31)
“This is eternal life: that [we] may know You, the only true God, and the One You send — Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) I’m always a bit bewildered that people don’t seem to realize they are in hell. Obviously some people are extremely aware of being in hell — their circumstances make their condition painfully obvious. For others, however, this earth has many pleasures — its natural beauty is one of its best attributes. Of course, we owe that entirely to the Creator. But, after the fall into sin by Adam and Eve, we — in our natural state — also find ourselves in trapped in hell. Remember the angels usher us out of the garden of Eden and bare the way back.
Jesus reveals God to us. As we accept Him as God — that is, Lord and Savior, Healer and Coming King — we are ushered out of hell and into His kingdom. Because we remain on this earth for a time, we may be very aware of the trappings of hell around us. But, we are not of this world. We are foreigners, waiting for our full inheritance, our heavenly country, as the author of Hebrews writes.
Knowing God is eternal life.
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s glory, as the waters cover the sea.”
“What use is a carved idol after its craftsman carves it? It is only a cast image, a teacher of lies. For the one who crafts its shape trusts in it and makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood: Wake up! or to mute stone: Come alive! Can it teach? Look! It may be plated with gold and silver, yet there is no breath in it at all. But the Lord is in His holy temple; let everyone on earth be silent in His presence.” (Habakkuk 2:18-20)
With the talk of the ‘rapture’ – the supposed taking of one over another at the Lord’s second coming – I rather doubt the Lord is pleased with the attention this has taken from His glory. Some of us have created an idol with no power to save us and followed after it. The cast image is the myriad ideas of the ‘end of time.’ We speculate and call it prophesy. Our idol is a teacher of lies.
Rather than worry over what we are not allowed to know – for no one knows the day of the Lord – we ought to remember “the Lord God comes with strength, and His power establishes His rule. His reward is with Him, and His gifts accompany Him. He protects His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them in the fold of His garment. He gently leads those that are nursing. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand? Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or who gave Him His counsel? Who did He consult with? Who gave Him understanding and taught Him the paths of justice? Who taught Him knowledge and showed Him the way of understanding? Who will you compare God with? What likeness will you compare Him to?” (Isaiah 40:10-14,18)
Certainly we ought not to compare God to the feeble cast images that consist only of our ideas of His return.