The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Monday, March 12, 2018

Universal Truth; 'The Kingdom is Within You'

According to Luke's Gospel account ( Luke 17:21 ), Jesus related this stunning truth to the Pharisees, of all people: 'the Pharisees; really Jesus?!' How in God's name could the Pharisees have the Kingdom within THEM?! But, that's what Jesus said. In our English Bible, it is even recorded that He used the Greek 'entos', meaning, pretty simply, 'within' or 'inside'. Some versions may translate this preposition 'in your midst', connoting that Jesus was equating the Kingdom with Himself, but as the case may be, Jesus very plainly told them that the Kingdom ( of God/Heaven ) was inside them. But then, we might ask ourselves; 'if Jesus told THEM that the Kingdom was within ( inside ) them, then what does that say about those today who deny the Christ today, or are simply ignorant of the Presence of Glory ( Divinity )?'

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.”

Many Christians today seem to think that the Kingdom of God WILL come with observation: according to this belief, the visible return of Jesus will usher in the 'Kingdom Age' ( there ARE variations on this belief ). Probably one of the main rationales for the Kingdom ( of God ) being present with us right now is the old adage that 'God will not dwell with sin'. There may be some ( biblical ) basis for such a rash statement, but if Jesus told those in the first century, even those who rejected & eventually crucified Him, that the Kingdom was within them, then who are to say that it is not present in those today who reject Him, especially our ( biblical ) version of Him. 

What if the Kingdom of God, like the Creator God, is not defined solely by the biblical record?! That's probably a startling, even heretical notion to most Christians today, but if indeed the Kingdom is within; how did it get there? Is it only when we acknowledge its presence, by our acquiescence to the Covenant, as laid out in our English Bibles, that it comes to be, or is it just there; part of our make-up, our true being? Another way of putting it might be, 'Is the Kingdom of God, like the Scriptures seem to say, something we must enter into?' One must understand the first century context of passages like this though, statements that make it sound like we must enter the Kingdom. The Scriptures were written to a first-century audience. Sure; there ARE Universal Truths contained therein ( for people of all times & places ), but to really understand WHY the writers used that kind of language ( 'entering' ), one must take into account that first-century context in which Jesus made statements like 'the kingdom of God is near' ( Luke 21:31 ). If the Kingdom of God was near in those day, even 'at the doors' ( Mark 13:29 ( James 5:9 ), then how can we say, with any authority, that it is not present with us today?

The Kingdom of God, according to the biblical record, is covenantal in nature; this cannot be denied! However, as Life itself, even biological life, is covenantal, or relational in nature, can we unequivocally say that the Kingdom is found only in the hearts of those who acknowledge & accept it? Can one be part of the Kingdom of God without manifesting this glorious truth in their lives? From a strict & woodenly literal understanding of Scripture, the answer must be a resounding 'NO! Acknowledging the context in which Scripture was written, however, with the understanding of our true nature, not as human beings, but as spirit beings, we see that, as Jesus told those Pharisees, the Kingdom is within. Admittedly, it IS only when one manifests this glorious truth through one's actions that it becomes apparent, but I daresay that it was not evident in those Pharisees either!

The implication of this Universal Truth is that the Kingdom of God is present in all of Creation, whether one accepts it or not, even if one acknowledges it or not! Human beings, being what they are, may deny the Creator, but they cannot deny who they are. We are not wholly comprised of flesh & blood ( though some may insist we are ); we are comprised of what is often termed 'soul & body', or spirit & body; though our biological body is manifest to the physical senses of those around us, that biological mess of 'flesh & blood' is motivated by the Spirit Within. We often allow our Ego to rule over us, thus denying the Spirit Within & failing to manifest the Kingdom Within, but when we remain true to ourselves, our true nature, we manifest the Kingdom of God, bringing glory to the Creator, who is the Source of all Life!

The covenantal nature of Scripture, as I have alluded to before, is not such that one must agree to it before being held ( accountable ) by it: for instance, where in Scripture is it recorded that Adam even asked for a wife to be brought to him? To be part of a Covenant, or rather, held by it, one is not required to accept it or even to acknowledge its existence, it just is; we must simply live by its terms or die! Biologically speaking, of course, without the necessary nutrients ( food, water, etc. ), Life would cease; however, the spirit remains, for the spirit, being One with the Source, never dies.

In the context of Jesus' startling statement, which is the primary focus of this blogpost, He was, in some sense, equating Himself with the Kingdom of God, though His message was that 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.' ( Mark 1:15 ) Again, if the Kingdom was 'at hand' ( Greek 'eggiz┼Ź' ) in the first century, how can we not acknowledge its presence NOW?!

The Kingdom of God, like the Creator, or Source, is a Universal Truth: it just IS, whether one tries to deny it or not! The ignorance of humanity does not change this glorious fact. As entertained previously, the notion that one muster into covenant in order to BE in covenant is one that may seem to have some biblical foundation, though it is by no means crystal clear & also as proposed previously, if indeed our English Bible is not the only ( written ) Revelation of the Creator God, then it should not be heretical to imagine that the Kingdom is within us all, just waiting to be manifest, or made evident in our lives!

'Did the Kingdom of God exist before the Day when Jesus came, announcing its arrival?' Most assuredly! But, as Israel had been allowing their corporate Ego to rule them, beginning with Cain, who murdered his brother because of it, the Kingdom had not manifested, or become apparent till 'the Day of the Lord'. Jesus came to reveal the true nature of that Kingdom! As a human being, He showed his first-century proponents that one could indeed master their Ego & manifest truly the Kingdom that resides in us all. Just as He revealed the Christ Within, He proved that the Kingdom begins with the heart & only then works its way out through the finger-tips!

Charles Haddon Shank

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