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Mike Shreve was a teacher of yoga at four universities. (The portrait above was drawn by one of his students in 1970.) Then a spiritual rebirth brought him into a real relationship with God and drastically changed his heart, his life and his belief system.  Read his story here.

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TheTrueLight.Net
Site Completed–10/15/01
Major Revision—5/28/03
Last Updated–03/19/09

The True Light Project
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Phone: (423) 478-2843
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TheTrueLight.Net
©2002 copyright
Mike Shreve.
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What did Jesus mean when He said, "The Kingdom of God is within you"?

One of the most misunderstood statements of Jesus is recorded in Luke 17:20–21, "Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."

Jesus was answering skeptical Pharisees who were hoping God’s dominion on earth would immediately appear. They were expecting Jesus, if he were truly the Messiah, to liberate the Jews from Roman control and restore the Promised Land to Abraham’s seed. For their sakes, Jesus explained that the kingdom "does not come with observation." This word "observation" implies viewing something over a protracted period. In other words, he was informing his hearers that they would not see a gradual removal of the Romans from the land of Israel, with the Israelites recapturing one city at a time.

I do not believe that Jesus was indicating his audience actually possessed an inward experience of the kingdom of God. Rather, he was making a hypothetical statement. He was proposing, "If you experience the kingdom of God, it will be an inward experience." In a similar sense, Jesus could have exhorted a group of depressed persons saying, "You will not find true joy in external and material things, for behold, true joy is within you." Such a statement would not be an acknowledgement that joy was actually resident within their hearts, but rather, that if they ever found true joy, it would be an internal experience.

When all the New Testament scriptures on this subject are blended together, they clearly reveal that the kingdom did not become an inward, personal experience in the hearts of the disciples until much later, on the day of Pentecost. On that pivotal day, when the Holy Spirit swept into the upper room like a wind, men were ‘born of the Spirit’ for the first time. It was then that one of Jesus’ prophecies came to pass: a prediction that a number of his disciples would not "taste of death" until they saw "the kingdom of God come with power." (Mark 9:1 KJV)

In John 3:3–7 Jesus clearly indicated that this ‘born again’ experience is the main prerequisite for ‘seeing’ (comprehending) and ‘entering’ the kingdom of God. So Luke 17:20–21 is not a description of the inward spiritual condition of the whole human race. Instead, it only indicates a potential inheritance that can be realized through the biblical experience of salvation.


"In Search of the True Light" ©2002 copyright by Mike Shreve.
All articles unless otherwise noted are copyright by Mike Shreve.
Personal Stories are the work of the individuals.
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