|Luke 17:20-21 |
20 Now when he was questioned by the Pharisees, as to when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with outward signs to be observed.
21 Nor will they say, 'Look here!' or, 'Look over there!' For behold, the kingdom of God is within you and around you."1 [The Kingdom of God, which is within you and around you, is a parallel dimension that occupies the same physical space in which we live. To enter the Kingdom of God within and around us, is to be dramatically translated to the spiritual dimension of consciousness and sight, in union with Christ and God, but walking on earth by the light of God. The world passes away from our sight when the Kingdom is entered. "The Father is in you all, Christ is in you, and the Kingdom of Heaven is in you; there, in your hearts, is where you will find them all. Know him there searching your hearts, and find him there trying your minds and hearts; incline your ears, and give ear to him there, who will render to everyone of you according to your words and works whether they are good or evil," (by George Fox). Turn inward.]
1 The kingdom of God does not come with outward signs to be observed. Nor will anyone say, 'Look here!' or 'Look over there!' For the Kingdom of God is within you and around you. This single statement should be enough for you to realize that Christendom does not have a clue to what Jesus was preaching. They think the kingdom of heaven is only after you die. Some think that maybe we are all in the kingdom of heaven, without realizing it. Or they don't think.
Yet, Jesus said that was why he came to preach: I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God, ..because that is why I was sent. Luke 4:43. And he said it was near: The time has come, the kingdom of God is at hand [near]. Repent, and believe the gospel [good news]. Mark 1:15. And he talked about the kingdom more than any other subject; there are over 100 references to the Kingdom in parables, warnings, and exhortations.
Notice, he said, the time has come, the Kingdom is near. He is not talking about a Kingdom thousands of years later. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is recorded saying that some then standing with him, 2000 years ago, would see his glorious coming with the Kingdom before they died. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is recorded saying all the end times prophesies would be fulfilled before the generation of 2000 years ago died, (click here to see all).
The Kingdom is the prize for losing your sinful life; the prize that is beyond man's imagination, the prize that has been ignored by Christendom.
How can the Kingdom be within and around a man? It is a parallel dimension occupying the same physical space. The Apostle Paul helps us understand the Kingdom of God within and around us, writing in the Bible's book of Acts: God .. is not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being, (Acts 17:27-28) — but we are not aware of this because we are in a lower physical dimension. The physical dimension shares the same space as the higher spiritual dimensions. To enter the Kingdom of God within and around us, is to be dramatically translated to the spiritual dimension of consciousness and sight, in union with Christ and God, but walking on earth by the light of God. The world passes away from our sight when the Kingdom is entered.
God is in us too: one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in you all. Eph 4:6. And Christ is in us too: Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 2 Cor 13:5. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 cor 4:6. Christ in you, the hope of Glory. Col 1:27.
From his Journal the following is George Fox's wonderfully inspiring, unparalleled Christian testimony of being translated into paradise and then the Kingdom:
"I saw also the mountains burning up, and the rubbish, and the rough, and crooked ways and places made smooth and plain,* that the Lord might come into his tabernacle. These things are to be found in man's heart; but to speak of these things being within, seemed strange to the rough, crooked, and mountainous ones. Yet the Lord said, ‘0h earth, hear the word of the Lord!'"
*Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth. Luke 3:5
"Now I came up in spirit, through the flaming sword,* into the paradise of God. All things were new, and all the creation gave another smell unto me than before, beyond what words can utter. I knew nothing but pureness, innocence, and righteousness, being renewed up into the image of God by Christ Jesus; so that I came up to the state of Adam, which he was in before he fell. The creation was open to me; and it was showed me how all things had their names given them, according to their nature and virtue. I was at a stand in my mind, whether I should practice medicine for the good of mankind, seeing the nature and virtues of the creatures were so opened to me by the Lord. But I was immediately taken up in spirit, to see into another or more steadfast state than Adam's in innocence, even into a state in Christ Jesus, that should never fall.** And the Lord showed me, that such as were faithful to him, in the power and light of Christ, should come up into that state in which Adam was before he fell; in which the admirable works of the creation, and the virtues of that may be known, through the openings of that divine word of wisdom and power by which they were made. Great things did the Lord lead me into, and wonderful depths were opened unto me, beyond what can by words be declared; but as people come into subjection to the spirit of God, and grow up in the image and power of the Almighty, they may receive the word of wisdom that opens all things, and come to know the hidden unity in the Eternal Being."
*So [God] drove out the man [Adam and Eve out of paradise, the Garden of Eden]; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden the cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep and guard the way to the tree of life. Gen 3:24
**There are two steps in perfection through the grace of Christ: 1st) to be raised up to the perfection of Adam and Eve in paradise, but still capable of falling to temptation, and 2nd) to be raised up to union with Christ Jesus, an everlasting perfection, which is incapable of falling to sin or temptation. Stephen Crisp, another eminent early Quaker, writes further of this two-step perfection:
For you know while the vessel is filled with wrath, envy, or with unrighteousness of any kind, such are not yet fit for the glory of God to shine forth in. When that is removed out by judgment; and Zion is set free from oppression, then the creature returns to God a pure vessel in the righteousness that was before the fall. So a man or woman may come to Adam's state that he was in before he fell, which was without sin. Against such the judgment of God does not go forth, but they have peace with God, and fellowship in what is pure, before sin and transgression were. Those who come to this state, may be entangled again; as was Eve, and if they do not watch, they may be entangled again; but if such are faithful to the power that redeemed them from the sin, and in the power resist the temptation, then such receive the seal of eternal life in Christ Jesus, who never fell, though he was tempted, and so come to an establishment in Him who never changes.
"Moreover, the Lord God let me see, when I was brought up into his image in righteousness and holiness, and into the state of the paradise of God how Adam was made a living soul; and also to the stature of Christ, the mystery that had been hid from ages and generations: which things are hard to be uttered, and cannot be borne by many. For of all the sects in Christendom (so called) that I discussed with, I found none that could bear to be told that anyone could spiritually grow to Adam's perfection, (that is into that image of God, and righteousness and holiness that Adam was in before he fell), to be clean, pure, and without sin as he was. Therefore, how would they be able to bear being told that any should spiritually grow up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; when it threatens them to hear that any shall come, while upon earth, into the same power and spirit that the prophets and apostles were in? Though it is an absolute truth, that none can understand the Apostle’s writings correctly without the same spirit by which they were written.
The Lord God opened to me by his invisible power, how that ‘every man was enlightened by the divine light of Christ.’ I saw it shine through all, and that they that believed in it came out of condemnation to the light of life, and became the children of it; but they that hated it and did not believe in it, were condemned by it, though they made a profession of Christ. This I saw in the pure openings of the light without the help of any man; neither did I then know where to find it in the scriptures; though afterwards, searching the scriptures, I found it. For I saw in that light and spirit which was before the scriptures were given forth, and which led the holy men of God to give them forth, that all must come to that spirit, if they would know God or Christ, or the scriptures correctly, which they that gave them forth were led and taught by."
The following is from the writings of another kingdom-dwelling early Quaker, William Dewsbury: (written in 1655)
In that day and hour of temptation, I witnessed those Scriptures fulfilled in me of Paul's condition, in which he complained as I then did. I found law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, so that when I would do good, evil was present with me; the sense of which caused me to cry, "Oh wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" As I was crying to the Lord, to free me from the burden I groaned under; the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "My grace is sufficient for you, I will deliver you." And by the power of this word, I was armed with patience to wait in his counsel; groaning under the body of sin in the day and hour of temptation, until it pleased the Lord to manifest his power to free me, which was in the year 1651.
Thus through the righteous law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, I was and am made free from the body of sin and death; and through these great tribulations, my garments are washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb, who has led me into the new Jerusalem, where no one enters that works abomination or speaks a lie, but those whose name is written in the Lamb's book of life. Here my soul now feeds upon the tree of life, which I had so long hungered and thirsted after, that stands in the paradise of God. Here there is no more curse nor night; but the Lord God and the Lamb are my light and life forever and ever! And I witness that I am regenerated and born again of the immortal seed, and having partaken of the first resurrection, over such the second death has no power.
And this I declare to all the inhabitants of England, and to all that dwell upon the earth, that God alone is the teacher of his people. He has given to everyone a measure of grace, which is the light that comes from Christ. It checks and reproves for sin, in the secret of the heart and conscience. All who wait in that light, which comes from Christ, and which is the free grace of God, for the power of Jesus Christ to destroy sin and to guide them in obedience to the light, shall come to know the only true God and Father of light in Christ Jesus, who is the way to him. This I witness to all the sons of men, that I came not to the knowledge of eternal life by the letter of the Scripture, nor by hearing men speak of the name of God. I came to the true knowledge of the Scriptures and the eternal rest which they testify of in Christ, by the inspiration of the spirit of Jesus, the lion of the tribe of Judah, who alone is found worthy to open the seals of the book.
Dewsbury clearly speaks above of: 1) suffering under the burden of sin, 2) being freed from sin, 3) experiencing great tribulations, 4) Christ being resurrected in him, 5) being translated into the Kingdom of God, 6) being in New Jerusalem, and 7) feeding from the tree of life that stands in the paradise, (kingdom), of God. Thus all the promises of the scriptures he witnessed as having been fulfilled.
"The Father is in you all, Christ is in you, and the Kingdom of Heaven is in you; there, in your hearts, is where you will find them all. Know him there searching your hearts, and find him there trying your minds and hearts; incline your ears, and give ear to him there, who will render to everyone of you according to your words and works whether they are good or evil," (by George Fox).