Is the Kingdom of God "within you"?

What did Jesus Christ mean when He told the Pharisees that the "kingdom of God is within you"?


Answer:

Many people believe Jesus Christ taught that the Kingdom of God is something that exists only in the hearts and minds of believers. They base this on Luke:17:20-21, which says: "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.'"

The assumption that the Kingdom exists only in the hearts of believers is incorrect for several reasons. The Greek word entos, translated "within," is better translated "in the midst of" ( Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, "Within"). Several translations, including the Revised Standard Version, Jerusalem Bible and New English Bible, make this clear. Jesus Christ could not have been telling the Pharisees that God's Kingdom was something that existed within their hearts or minds—after all, these were people who wanted to destroy Him (Matthew:12:14; Mark:3:6).

Actually, Christ was pointing out the paradox that the Pharisees did not have the spiritual discernment to recognize that the message of the Kingdom of God was at hand or being offered to them (Matthew:23:15-17). To punctuate this point, Jesus, who will be the King of Kings in that Kingdom, was referring to Himself when He said "the kingdom of God is among you" or "in your midst." The spiritually blind Pharisees did not recognize Jesus as the divine Representative of that Kingdom.

Rather than telling the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God was something in their hearts, Jesus Christ warned them that they were so spiritually blind they couldn't recognize the very personification of that Kingdom in Him. There is no basis in this passage for believing the Kingdom of God resides in one's heart instead of being a literal world-ruling government.


Sounda

Sounda's picture

Is the kingdom of God within you.

My believe on the statement is that Jesus was referring to the soul within us. Our soul is part of the kingdom of God and when we are able to reach out to our soul, we can experience the kingdom of God.




Ken Murray

Ken Murray's picture

Yes Sounda, it is true that we can begin to live now, like we will in the future Kingdom of God, when Jesus comes to establish the Government of God on this earth.

As you imply from your comment, we can seek the "true God" (1 John 5:20) now, while God may be found.

We can love God now and lovingly live by God's commandments (1 John 5:3), laws and Way of christian life now, in anticipation of Christ's future reign over the nations of this world, as is prophesied in the Bible.

Daniel prophesied that the faithful of God would be given positions of serving Christ in God's Government (Isaiah 9:6-7) over the nations, after Jesus returns to this earth. (Revelation 5:10; Daniel 7:14; Daniel 7:18; Daniel 7:27).

As you know, in Luke 18:20, Jesus was asked by the Pharisees, who were seeking to trap Christ by their questions; "when would the Kingdom come"?

Naturally, Jesus knew that they were scheming hypocrites, because he told them they were so, in Matthew 23:13-17 and were "fools and blind".

So, in these verses in Luke 18:20-22, where Jesus was being questioned about the Kingdom of God, there is no way that Jesus was saying that the Kingdom of God was in these Pharisee souls or hearts, who we standing beside Him.

Far from it as i am sure you agree, Christ was plainly telling them that a representative of the Kingdom of God was right amongst them, in the midst of them, and they were too blind to see that fact, that is was actually, Him, Jesus Christ the Son of God, in person.

Their blindness to this fact, of course, was later evidenced by their scheming involvement in plotting to put Jesus to death.

A good lesson for all of us from these scriptures, is that we can be called now, in this life, to love God and live by God's way of life now, in preparation for us to help serve in God's coming Governmnent on this earth, over the nations.




Skip

Skip's picture

Hello Sounda,

I think we need to first ask ourselves what was going on here.
If we look just a little beyond (Luke 18: 9 --14), we see Jesus painting the Pharisees as full of pride. Now ask yourself, would Jesus say that a person who is full of pride has the Kingdom of God within? I don't think so either.

When Jesus makes the statement (Luke 17: 20 & 21), it is very close to the end of Jesus' physical life. "Within" can be also translated "among you" or "in your midst." Jesus was stating to those who heard Him, that they had better listen up! He was THE representative of the Kingdom of God. He was right there with them & they did not recognize Him. Let's pray that we are able to recognize God's Kingdom.




Conscious

Conscious's picture

The main answer that was given above is not close to the truth. You said that "There is no basis in this passage for believing the Kingdom of God resides in one's heart instead of being a literal world-ruling government". First of all you attempt to take God out of my heart and then you put the blame on some government, I think,not sure because you are not coming to the point and I don't know who you are blaming, if anyone.The truth is you are misinterpreting the message from Jesus. You are over thinking and instead you are covering it up with your minds ego. The ego will go to extremes.The ego will fight till the end of time unless you can create a thought gap and get into your consciousness without thinking. Many people believe that changing their belief system will make them weaker, the truth is changing your belief system will make you stronger.
YES, Jesus was telling the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God was within them. The reason he was telling them was because they were full of thought and ego and they couldn't see anything but the ego.Jesus knew this. If your belief was true Jesus who had so much faith would have said, I am the son of God and you are in my midst and of course you are in the midst of God. It was their egos that wanted to destroy Jesus, not who they truly were, which was why he said what he said in the first place.
Then you try to explain about the Greek word entos, meaning "within", is "Better" translated to " in the midst of". I think you say this because it's your ego trying to remain alive in your belief. Besides, it doesn't matter which way you change this one word. The message remains the same either way.
Your first sentence in the last paragraph would have been right if you would have changed the last word to "them" instead of "him". And there is No Truth at all to the last sentence.
I am shocked that this is your belief. If it is your belief then I suggest you get into the present moment right now. Just breath without thinking. Feel God in your heart without your ego about your belief getting in your way. Feel the JOY of God ! Feel the enthusiasm of God. Accept God in your heart. Don't let your ego take control, let God take control. I am praying for you as I write my reply.
When you accept the fact that your mind is just a second opinion to the real you, you will get into this present moment and rethink your beliefs.
Some more comments on this answer seem to be agreeing with your answer. Someone said, the Pharisees were blind to many facts which I agree with but Jesus knew they were blind to the fact that God was within them.Their egos was why they were blind. It's why he made the statement. I'm thinking your answers are blind to the fact that your ego's are misinterpreting what Jesus really meant.
I'm not expecting this comment to remain on this web site for very long. I'd just like you to reconsider how you think about your answer.Because-------- The KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU !




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Conscious, we believe that God indeed lives in His people through the Holy Spirit, and this is a well-established biblical fact - if you repent and are baptized, then you will "receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Within that statement though comes the understanding that the Holy Spirit is a GIFT that is NOT in you prior to that time. The New Testament letters speak over and over again about "receiving" the Holy Spirit, clearly showing that it is not something that we already have within us that is merely being "awakened" or "connected to." You seem to assert that this connection can be made simply by looking within yourself, and I don't see how you can reconcile this with our total dependence on Christ to reconcile us to God by His sacrifice.

Additionally, just because the Spirit lives in us does not mean that the Kingdom of God is some secret that resides in our hearts. The bible consistently indicates that the Kingdom is a real government system that will take over the entire earth at Christ's return (Zechariah 14:16-21, Daniel 2:44-45, Revelation 20:4-6). Christ taught the disciples to pray "Your Kingdom come" in Matthew 6:10, and the New Testament shows over and over again that God's Church was eagerly awaiting that Kingdom.




Conscious

Conscious's picture

Jesus has graciously ordered that the preaching of the gospel shall be stopped by no barriers. Wherever there is man, there it is to be proclaimed. To every sinner he offers life, and all the world is included in the message of mercy, and every child of Adam is offered eternal salvation.

Neither Jesus nor His disciples laid down any rules about how baptism was to be done, nor did they provide much interpretation of its spiritual significance. As a result, many different beliefs and practices have developed within Christianity over the centuries.
Baptism is a public symbol of a spiritual rebirth that has already occurred in the person being baptized.

Jesus didn't mention baptism at all. He did mention born of water : John 3:6-7
Jesus routinely sent the people off after being healed without baptism. Could it be that faith is the key to having a relationship with God and not baptism?
Of course you have to look inside yourself to get the connection and to become awakened. The essence of who you are is consciousness. It doesn't mean that I can't be saved because I look inside myself to find the meaning of life and all it's joy. Actually it makes me enthusiastic. Why wait? All we have right now is the present moment. All we have for eternity is this present moment. When Christ returns we will have this present moment. Why not get in the present moment now, learn how to be aware, get awakened, and be ready for the present moment when Christ returns?
We should stay in the present moment. When your mind gets into the future you become stressed and anxious which can lead to diseases and/or health problems. Why not be happy by just staying in the present moment?
Jesus said: "It is not I but the father within me who does the works and I can of my own self do nothing." Anxiety, stress, and negativity cut you off from that power. The illusion that you are separate from the power that runs the universe returns. You feel yourself to be alone again, struggling against something or trying to achieve this or that. But why did anxiety, stress, or negativity arise? Because you turned away from the present moment. And why did you do that? You thought something else was more important. You forgot your main purpose. One small error, one misperception, creates a world of suffering.
As soon as you turn away from the present moment, God ceases to be a reality in your life, and all you are left with is the mental concept of God, which some people believe in and other's deny. Even belief in God is only a poor substitute for the living reality of God manifesting every moment of your life.




Skip

Skip's picture

Hello Conscious,
I'd like to comment on your 26 (& 25) July comments.

"The essence of who you are is consciousness."
I've only had a few courses in psychology but consciousness and ego seem to overlap significantly. (Wikipedia definitions of Id,ego, super-ego. See the graphic to the right of super-ego.)

In other words, first you want us to (25 July) "Feel God in (our) hearts without ego about (our) belief getting in (our) way. Feel the joy of God."

Then you say, "The essence of who you are is CONSCIOUSness."

I find it hard to do both at the same time:
--remove ego which is how most of us CONSCIOUSly perceive the world,
and
--still live in the external (shall I call it real) world.

If I live in my own concocted fantasy world then I guess I can do away with ego entirely. But if I actually want to interact with others on a plane that approaches average, normal, I need some ego.

Psychology helps us understand many things but not quite all things.
In this case I'm afraid it has derailed a simple teaching of Jesus Christ: He was (& is) the King of the soon coming Kingdom of God. The Pharisees , as worldly sharp as they were, just couldn't see this because the essence of their consciousness was not Godly. The Kingdom of God was definitely not in their hearts.




Skip

Skip's picture

Hello again Conscious,
I really like your 26 July first sentence!
Matthew 24: 14 & Mark 13: 10 certainly agree with your assertion.

But then I have to disagree with your second paragraph.
Jesus Christ stated several crystal clear rules. For example:
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Is this just metaphor?

Then in Matthew 5: 17 Jesus states, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill." Please reread verses 18, 19, & 20 also. They seem to me to be clear rules requiring compliance.

Notice some other New Testament rules that Jesus said to obey:
--verse 22: "...whoever is angry with his brother without a cause,shall be in danger of the judgment." Rule & consequence.
--verse 28: "...whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
--verse34 to 37"...do not swear at all...let your 'yes' be 'yes'
whatever is more is from the evil one.

Aren't these rules? (And I've just started to list some!!)

But oh yes!
You were talking about rules for Baptism, not just rules in general. I find it very interesting that we humans are pretty good about taking others to task for the small mistakes and excuse ourselves from some pretty significant shortcomings.

I am not saying that you have shortcomings!! But I know that I, personally, will focus on small points of an argument that I want to win and avoid big consequential points.

I would think that some of the different concepts about Baptism fit into this category. We have great New Testament examples of how it was done and why & where. These serve as examples to follow. We do not have a "Thus sayeth the Lord."

Finally I wonder about, "But why did anxiety, stress, or negativity arise? Because you turned away from the present moment. And why did you do that? The illusion that you are separate from the power that runs the universe returns."

I have lived in that "present moment."
It can be very,very persuasive, but it is a lie.
Whether it is Eastern Philosophy/Religion or
Oprah Winfrey Self Fulfillment or
the "darker" side promises of certain drugs ---
none of these really work in the long term.

Sorry, but I do have to look to a very real future.
The pages of God's Word do describe a time when we humans can become permanently connected to the very REAL true power of this universe. But it is not intrinsic to us; it must be given.

At the end you say, "As soon as you turn away from..."
at this point I would write "God's Word".
It is the one physical entity that will not let us down.
But it takes a complete lifetime to prove that point.




Milan Bizic

Milan Bizic's picture

Hi Conscious,

I won't address all of your points, but there is one correction I'd like to make to what you said. You said that Jesus never mentioned baptism.

Actually one of Jesus' most stirring and powerful commands had to do with baptism: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).

It is by Jesus' direct order that we are to baptize those who believe in Him, understand His word and are willing to live by it.

Hope this helps,

Milan




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Your comment, "Could it be that faith is the key to having a relationship with God and not baptism?" is a straw man. No one here said that baptism is the key to having a relationship with God. We don't believe that way because, frankly, it isn't THE KEY. That doesn't mean it isn't required though - Peter, being filled with the Holy Spirit, told us that this is what we were supposed to do (Acts 2:38). While faith IS the primary key to a relationship with God, you also have to realize that faith entails obedience to God's will - i.e. actually DOING what God says to do because of your belief. Faith is not merely some touchy-feely internal feeling that requires no action.

You are also mistaken when you say that the bible does not reveal much about the spiritual significance of baptism - Paul spent quite a bit of time on baptism in Romans and a few other places. For a good study on what the bible says about baptism, see: http://www.ucg.org/bible-study-lesson/bible-study-course-lesson-8-what-christian-conversion/baptism-why-do-we-need-it/

Furthermore, I know of not one single scripture that advocates these concepts of "living in the moment" and "looking within yourself to become awakened." While it's true that Christ instructs us not to worry about the needs that we will have tomorrow, He does not tell us to altogether forego thinking about the future. If God didn't want us to think about the future, then He did us a disservice by giving prophecy! On the contrary, God has planned wonderful things for the future of mankind, and dwelling on these things is both appropriate and inspiring (see Hebrews 11:13 to see that the Heroes of faith did exactly this in their lives). Additionally, we are commanded over and over again to watch for the coming Kingdom and to conduct ourselves properly BECAUSE that time is coming (2 Peter 3:10-12).




Conscious

Conscious's picture

Hello everyone: I'm going to answer each and every comment, question, or statement made. If I leave something out please let me know but probably have to take some time between answers because of work obligations. I sense long replies on my part, so I may have to use a few of these blocks for my replies. This conversation has made me interested in your beliefs.
Hello Skip:
You said "I find it hard to do both at the same time:
--remove ego which is how most of us CONSCIOUSly perceive the world,
and
--still live in the external (shall I call it real) world."

I say : When you are viewing the world through your ego you are not conscious but are unconscious.Your ego is/are thoughts that you THINK you are ,( through past life experiences ) not what the world actually is. When consciousness (you) becomes completed identified with thinking and forgets it's essential nature, it loses itself in thought.Every thought, desire , fear, action,or reaction is then infused with a false sense of self that is incapable of sensing the simple joy of BEING, and so seeks pleasure, and sometimes even pain as substitutes for it. This is living in the forgetfulness of BEING. In this state of being,whatever you achieve, soon you will be unhappy again, or some new problem or dilemma will draw your attention in again. When you are conscious you are more aware, you connect with a higher intelligence than your mind could ever know and you will be able to live in the external world in a more quality manner. That is staying in the present moment.You may find it hard to do because of the uncertainty of just being in the present moment. If you can't accept uncertainty of the present moment it will turn into fear. When you become comfortable with uncertainty, many better possibilities open up in your life. It means fear is no longer a dominate factor in what you do, say, or write. AND fear no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate change. If uncertainty is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity. You find it hard to do both like you say because the ego doesn't understand the present moment and your ego will fight till the end of time to exist in your mind for the sole purpose of making you who you are." your thoughts'. The number one enemy of the present moment is ego.
You say: "If I live in my own concocted fantasy world then I guess I can do away with ego entirely. But if I actually want to interact with others on a plane that approaches average, normal, I need some ego."
I SAY, " Your concocted fantasy world is not a fantasy, your thoughts are the fantasy". When you interact with others and are ' Conscious", your interactions will be a lot better quality and better understood. You will be happier and it will come across to others. You will not be fighting your ego as you go about enjoying life. You just think you need some ego because " your ego will fight forever to have an identity. Good or bad, your ego is not letting go of you. But you can recognize this and learn to be the essence of who you are " Consciousness". Don't worry so much about losing something ( your ego) , because you won't ever lose your ego, but you can recognize your ego for what it is, and in return be in the present moment and be much happier and better with every single thing. You'll have an awareness that is beyond understanding by the mind. When can you get in the present moment? NOW , What has to happen to get in the present moment? Just say hello to the ego and recognize it for what it is, That incessant second voice in your head holding on to whatever it can to make you what it wants to make you.
Finally Skip on your last comment of first comment : I'm not talking about Psychology here although it was perceived that way. I'm talking about the present moment. , If you are insisting on the fact that you have to have " some ego", no matter what is said, discussed, prayed about, put in the bank, nothing I can say will have an effect. Nothing stands in the way of ego except the present moment. I'd love to go to a Church service one time and the Preacher say, Ok, everyone, please take 2 minutes, don't think or anything, just breath, no thoughts, just breath. Being conscious of breathing automatically puts you in the present moment. Then after the breathing, the Preacher say, ok, Now, in the name of Jesus, lets all say a silent prayer. I would always come back to this church and so would a lot of other's. Why? Because that preacher just changed the way I was for a couple of minutes. All that cluttered thought I had in my brain was put to the side for a couple of minutes. I admire that Preacher, and I'll be back to this Church for sure. That's what we need today in this 2011 world. I would know and other's would know that it took a lot of courage for that preacher to do the breathing thing. For that one little thing really made a difference to me. That is an example of being in the present moment. You can't argue egos'. Ego's have started wars , were the deciding factor in many terrible situations, Ego's are why many people do terrible things, are in the hospital for not only mental things but also physical things because of the stress the ego puts on people. Not only stress but many many things can be much better if we can only be conscious. Right NOW, in this present moment.
TO Be Continued, in the Present Moment




Conscious

Conscious's picture

Hello Skip:
I don't see what you are seeing in Matthew 5: 17 -20
Or the other verses you quoted -verse 22:verse 28: verse34 to 37" do not enlighten me on the rules of baptism, I don't see baptism mentioned . In Matthew 28:19 Jesus does mention baptism, but is he talking about water baptism? They are not crystal clear like you wrote. I'm not seeing crystal clear. It's just how you are interrupting the verse to yourself, or the way someone you know interrupted the verses. I just have questions about it.
Y O U S A I D !
" Q U O T E "
"But oh yes!
You were talking about rules for Baptism, not just rules in general. I find it very interesting that we humans are pretty good about taking others to task for the small mistakes and excuse ourselves from some pretty significant shortcomings.
I am not saying that you have shortcomings!! But I know that I, personally, will focus on small points of an argument that I want to win and avoid big consequential points.
I would think that some of the different concepts about Baptism fit into this category. We have great New Testament examples of how it was done and why & where. These serve as examples to follow. We do not have a "Thus sayeth the Lord." " E N D Q U O T E "

I SAY<< " Believe me when I say, I'm not trying to win an argument", I just want the truth about how things are interrupted from the Bible, any Bible, New Testament, Old Testament, Any Testament. Small things do mean a lot when doing anything as all things are small and they all add up. I just don't see how you are coming up with what Baptism really means from those verses. Of course I have shortcomings, so you wouldn't be wrong if you said that directly. I am a just a person who is in the present moment and awakened to the now. All those " Words" can be interpreted a bit different, and of course your words or my words can be interpreted differently by different people.
You said " Q U O T E
"I have lived in that "present moment."
It can be very,very persuasive, but it is a lie.
Whether it is Eastern Philosophy/Religion or
Oprah Winfrey Self Fulfillment or
the "darker" side promises of certain drugs ---
none of these really work in the long term. E N D Q U O T E
I S A Y "This whole paragraph lets me know that there's nothing I can say to change your mind. Or probably nothing anyone can do to change your mind. Your ego wins this one,and every one, period. I would be very foolish to think i could argue with you to try to convince you of the present moment. The biggest enemy of the present moment is the EGO. I can see you are not in the present moment by your last statement of, " in the long run" and I also know this by your telling me" I have lived the present moment", The present moment is all you had when you were in it and all you have now. You are in the present moment now, why deny it?
Yes, I would also write in God where you did, with that we agree !
Hi Milan
You are right and I stand corrected sort of, Matthew 28:19 Jesus does say that, thanks for that insight, He says Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. My question is, Did Jesus mean water baptism or was he talking about another form of Baptism? Like identifying with. It's just not that clear to me., But I'll say water baptism is ok to assume. I wish that was more clearly stated, but nonetheless it is a direct order from Jesus and I do believe that.

Hello Steven Britt:

My comment,"Could it be that faith is the key to having a relationship with God and not baptism?" was a question, not a straw, since I don't think it is clearly stated in the Bible. For me, anyway. I think it's possible to ask questions without stones being thrown. Since Jesus only stated the Baptism phrase one time and how he meant it was interpreted different ways by different people.
You said " Q U O T E"
"Faith is not merely some touchy-feely internal feeling that requires no action." E N D Q U O T E
I SAY: Faith IS a TOUCHY_ FEELY internal feeling. But OF COURSE it does require action. You are mistaken about the internal feeling, it is not a mental construct like you have determined.

You say, I Q U O T E
"Furthermore, I know of not one single scripture that advocates these concepts of "living in the moment" and "looking within yourself to become awakened." While it's true that Christ instructs us not to worry about the needs that we will have tomorrow, He does not tell us to altogether forego thinking about the future. If God didn't want us to think about the future, then He did us a disservice by giving prophecy! On the contrary, God has planned wonderful things for the future of mankind, and dwelling on these things is both appropriate and inspiring (see Hebrews 11:13 to see that the Heroes of faith did exactly this in their lives). Additionally, we are commanded over and over again to watch for the coming Kingdom and to conduct ourselves properly BECAUSE that time is coming (2 Peter 3:10-12)." " E N D Q U O T E
I SAY: If you're not living in the moment, how could you even read a scripture right now? Does Christ have to tell you every single thing in order for you to do it? If it's not in the bible then should we all give up on anything else? Can we not learn on our own? Can we not have presence if Christ didn't instruct us?
I didn't say anything about foregoing the future. You are mistaken. With this moment we create the future.
If you want to keep your mind in the future, that's your choice. When the coming Kingdom has come will you have forgone all of your past moments and really not have lived to the fullest because your mind was in the future already? I say, stay in the present moment so you can have higher intelligence NOW and when the coming kingdom comes. Live life to it's fullest! Does it have to say that in the Bible for you to not do it, or do you just not live life to it's fullest because it doesn't say that in the scripture's? When you put your mind in the future stress is created and you don't have the awareness you should have.
It is when we are trapped in incessant streams of compulsive thinking that the universe really disintegrates for us, and we lose the ability to sense the interconnectedness of all that exists. Thinking cuts reality up into lifeless fragments.
There is in our civilization a great deal of ignorance about the human condition, and the more spiritually ignorant you are the more you suffer. This intelligent stupidity, for which one could find countless obvious examples, is threatening our survival as a species.
The primary factor in creation is consciousness. No matter how active we are, how much effort we make, our state of consciousness creates our world, and if there is no change on that INNER LEVEL, no amount of action, no words I write, nothing at all will make any difference.We would only re-create modified versions of the same world again and again, a world that is an external reflection of the ego.
You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.
I am enthusiastic about the coming of the Lord. I am enthusiastic in this moment because I am in this moment. When the Lord comes I will still be in this moment. This moment is all I have. No one can take this moment away from me except me. All the power in life is in this moment.




Skip

Skip's picture

Hello Conscious,

I appreciate your careful attention to detail, especially as you quoted what I said & answered my questions. And I agree that I probably will not change my perspective anytime soon, at least not in any radically different way.

Once upon a time I had questions that I thought had never been adequately answered by my upbringing or early teachers. But because I had been taught to read, incisively, I searched widely for better understanding. I sense that you too have looked around.

One book I read that strongly influenced me was "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein.

It encouraged me to live entirely "in the moment." I tried it.
But that "science" fiction book, compelling as it was, did not
tell the whole story. It obscured the very most important truth:

We humans are not yet God!!!!
No matter how you choose to say it, only God can live ENTIRELY in the moment. Until we are changed (& I mean thoroughly and completely changed) the residue of Ego (as you call it) will keep popping up, shining through, hanging around.

And, as I found out, that is okay because: I am mostly human!

5, 6, or 7 years after reading "Stranger" I had another epiphany.
Humans, with their Egos (which they cannot lose without help) have an incredibly bright potential!

And it is not "pie in the sky when you die, bye & bye."
But it is still future.
Now we are given a down payment. And it works! (2 Cor 1: 22)
This "inoculation" with God's Holy Spirit keeps us "in the moment" as much as possible to help us realize our tremendous need to be completely changed to a full on Spirit creature at the proper time.

When that change comes we will live as God "in the moment."




Conscious

Conscious's picture

Hello Skip:

Thank you for agreeing that you probably won't be changed any time soon. You have undoubtedly looked around.
I have heard of that book Stranger in a Strange land but have never read it. I looked on Amazon.com and a lot of people have rated that book a five star book but some have rated it a one or two star book. I'll have to read it because it looks interesting.
I have to say that I probably won't be changed with my belief about staying in the present moment.
I find that staying in the present moment is where I am the happiest and where I am aware with a higher intelligence then the mind can even imagine. I do agree however that we humans are not yet God. I do think that God is in us and he gave his only son for our sins. Who ever believes in Jesus and accepts him as their savior will have everlasting life. Jesus said, "I am the one who brings people back to life, and I am life itself. Those who believe in me will live even if they die."
I do think that we can live now in the moment.
I feel I have been awakened and I'm in the awareness of my conscious which is my essence. There is still an ego in me but I recognize it as my thoughts. Thoughts that can get out of control and think to much unless I stop thinking and have some "thought gaps". I feel many other's have a problem with the " thinking" and need to learn how to be aware and create some thought gaps.
A lot of people wind up in the mental hospital because of out of control thoughts.
On the other hand there are plenty of people who are in the present moment. Creativity comes from being in the present moment. Many artists, musicians, poets, and others have created amazing things by being in the present moment. Some didn't even notice that they were in the present moment when they created.
Jesus said : " Deny thyself" What he meant was: Negate Time ( and thus undo), the illusion of self. If the self -ego- were truly who I am, it would be absurd to " deny" it.
Recognize the ego for what it is" a collective dysfunction, the insanity of the human mind. Once you see the ego for what it is, it becomes easier to remain nonreactive toward it. Nobody is wrong, it's the ego in someone, that's all. Compassion arises when you recognize that all are suffering from the same sickness of the mind, some more acutely than other's.




Conscious

Conscious's picture

Thanks.




Skip

Skip's picture

You are welcome!

Hello Conscious,

In Matthew 16: 24 -- 27 Jesus told His disciples that if they wanted “to come after (Him)” they had to deny (something to themselves.) This sounds to me like not living entirely in the moment. At least not all the time.
I remember a beer commercial. It said, “Grab all the gusto you can get!”
That is what I call “living in the moment.” Not denying yourself any thing.
It was just an ad but it portrayed, I believe, what we are discussing.
But it also seems to me to be the exact opposite of what Jesus says in Matt 16: 24 -- 27.

Then Christ says (Matt 16: 25 specifically) -- please allow me to write a paraphrase:
“If you live entirely ‘in the moment’ NOW as a mostly human being, you will miss out on the potential to live like God -- outside of time constraints -- forever. But! If you give up some of those admittedly precious moments NOW, I will give you true Eternal moments.”

Yes, I understand that this is just the way I see it. But to be completely honest, what I have just written was taught to me by others, who were in turn taught by others this WAY of life. That string of teachings extends back a very long way.

And this way Works!

Living entirely “in the moment” as a mostly human being doesn’t.




Conscious

Conscious's picture

Hello Skip

Yes I see. Funny how two people can read the same verse in the bible and come up with two different meanings. No wonder that so many people have came up with so many meanings.
Matthew 16: 24 "Let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me." To me "denying yourself", is denying the ego which would put you right in the present moment and into the spirit
Matthew: 16:25 "whoever will save his life will lose it and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." To me save his life means, saving things that the ego has made your life into, and losing your life for my sake is getting rid of your ego for Jesus sake in order to find your life. Which is the conscious spirit. ,
Matthew 16: 26 "For what is a man profited , if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul" To me this says exactly what I've been saying, Gaining the whole world is all the things that the ego wants, and if you do that you will lose what really matters, your soul, spirit, and the present moment.
Matthew 16: 27 " For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his father with his angels, and then he shall reward every man according to his works" He said all of that to say that your "works" should be your conscious and your spirit and soul, So, in order to be rewarded you should get in the present moment, which is the opposite of the ego and do your "works" which is opening consciousness to the rest of mankind and what ever else your consciousness leads you to do. If you are aware you rise above thought in to something the mind knows nothing about.

If you take away one kind of identification, the ego will quickly find another, It ultimately doesn't mind what it identifies with as long as it has an identity, Making your self right and others wrong is one of the principal egoic mind patterns, one of the main forms of unconsciousness. In other words, the content of the ego may change, the mind structure that keeps it alive does not.
How could humanity have been taken in by this for so long? The ego isn't personal. It isn't who you are. If you consider the ego to be your personal problem, that's just more ego.
The ego isn't wrong, it's just unconscious. When you observe the ego in yourself, you are beginning to go beyond it. When you detect ego in yourself, smile, or laugh. Don't take the ego to seriously.
Again how could humanity have been taken in by this for so long? The madness of this world never ceases to amaze me.
You say this way works ! Yes, it works for you and other's but is the real you? Is your consciousness aware that it's working for you or is that just your ego trying anything to keep it's identity? Your unconsciousness. Living entirely, in the moment is the egos worst enemy. You would never admit it because you are not aware of what I am saying. When I say stay in the present I mean as a conscious being. Not as some thoughts that you have learned or other's have learned and have taught you. The thoughts in you are just thoughts that you think you are. Or thoughts that you think are the truth. The real truth is all truth is relative. You can find untruth in every word, sentence, paragraph, book, ever written or said. Sure there is some truths that are close to the truth but we as humans have to accept the fact that all truths are relative. When some one tells you that the sun rises and sets do you take this as the absolute truth? While the sun sets and rises if you are here on earth,,, the real truth is the sun is shining at all times.
I'm saying all if this to remind you that staying in the present moment should be your goal . You don't have to wait to do your "works", you can get in the present moment and do it now. This moment is all we have.
Your paraphrase has meaning for the ego mind. I'm not going to miss out because I'm in the present moment, To me save his life shall lose it means: saving things that the ego has made your life into and you'll lose who you really are, and losing your life for my sake shall find it,is getting rid of your ego for Jesus sake in order to find your life. All in this present moment.Why wait? I do give up my egoic precious moments now and I have awareness now. I noticed you said SOME of those precious moments, which can only mean you do want to get in the present , 'Some".
Thanks for your reply




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

If you want to read the scriptures in the mindset of identifying elements of this philosophy, such as "consciousness," "egos," and "the present moment," then that's fine and after reading your explanations I don't see any problems with it. I don't think that it is necessary for a Christian to hold this view - otherwise, God would have taught us about it in His Word - but there is some truth to living by these principles. Unfortunately, some of the conclusions that you have reached as a result are unbiblical. If you correct these false conclusions in your thinking, I think it will help you obtain a richer understanding of our dependence on God rather than ourselves.

The primary error that I see is the idea that the Holy Spirit is already within us and that it's just a matter of "awakening" it. Aside from the scriptures that I already presented arguing this to be a false view (in the sense that the Spirit is only given to us AFTER we enter the New Covenant), I think the following prophecy about the New Covenant makes this point quite clearly:

Ezekiel 36:26-27
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them"

There is no way to interpret this as awakening the Spirit of God that is already within you - it clearly says that we must receive a NEW heart and a NEW spirit that is not our own. To say that God is already within you devalues the sacrifice of Christ. Why did we need Him to suffer if we already had everything that we needed within us? In fact, Christ died precisely so that we could receive the Spirit, as He said in John 16:7 - "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you."

Consider this carefully with prayer and meditation, and you will find truth in it: we need God's active intervention in our lives by the Spirit because we are imperfect and not capable of perfection on our own. Romans 8:1-11 also speaks to this - our flesh-and-blood minds are God's enemy, and we CANNOT be in touch with God unless He gives us His Spirit. After He does so, we must live by the Spirit, which is what I think you mean by living in the present moment, and that entails denying our natural impulses (the ego).




Norbert Z

Norbert Z's picture

Here's the thing about Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words explanation about the word entos. They say it is better translated as "in the midst of".

The same word is used in Matt 23:26 "You blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also."

In my view it becomes an interpretative thing and until I understand it fully I wouldn't want to be dogmatic about it. At the moment I cannot agree with both interpretations. I do suspect the worldview of the Pharisees in Matt 23:26 is of a similiar approach they were having when asking the question in Luke 17.




joecane

joecane's picture

I'm sorry but this translation by the poster is EXACTLY what is wrong with the Church today. Your translation is nothing more than your own translation that you are comfortable with. Nothing more. What really gets under my skin is that Jesus even tried to make it clear that it is not a place or something that is coming. Read it again. Because Jesus told the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God is within them, that makes it clear to me that the Kingdom of God is within ALL of us.




Conscious

Conscious's picture

I agree with joecane.

But I don't think the "poster" will change his opinion as it is the opinion of this particular religion with years and years of their interpretation. It takes years to change a church belief.
I've posted several more non violent replies to this post but now they aren't letting my posts in. Unless by chance this post gets in I am now silenced.
Isn't that what happens with religions? If someone doesn't believe exactly what the majority believes he/she is silenced.
In the past people were killed for not believing exactly what they were told to believe by their church. Wars have been fought over this exact issue. Sad but very true.




ucgadmin

ucgadmin's picture

Hi Conscious

You state that, "I've posted several more non violent replies to this post but now they aren't letting my posts in."

Unfortunately, that is not true. I did have to deny one post where you were speaking of "Karmic" things - a term from a pagan religion.

That being said, the comments on this page are for discussion and even debate, but not for a never-ending back and forth.

It is clear that nobody will change your mind and you will not change anybody else's mind.

Your last statements, "Isn't that what happens with religions? If someone doesn't believe exactly what the majority believes he/she is silenced." are quite harsh.

Please review our comment policy before posting again.

Tom Disher
Senior Web Developer




Larry Walker

Larry Walker's picture

UCG's explanation of Luke 17:20 has engendered many comments. This important passage is critical for proper understanding of the kingdom of God.

The true meaning of the kingdom of God has been lost over time. For a good historical account of how this happened, check out the article "millennium" in the scholarly classic, Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition--available online at this address: www.1911encyclopedia.org/Millennium.

The kingdom of God in its fullness will not be on earth until Jesus Christ returns to establish it. However, in the meantime, access to the kingdom of God is available, which is the main message of the gospel that Jesus preached (Mark 1:14-15). For those who respond and God chooses, Colossians 1:13 (New Revised Standard Version) tells us that, "He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son." So we are able to be citizens of the kingdom of God in this life while we await the coming of Jesus Christ to establish the kingdom of God in its fullness (Philippians 3:20). That means that we are able to be transferred into and thus are "in" the kingdom of God in this life.

I suppose that one could thus conclude that the kingdom of God is in our hearts in the sense that seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness first (Matthew 6:33) is the foremost motivation and desire of our heart.

However, Luke 17:20 simply cannot be used to prove this point without being guilty of prooftexting, because the context simply won't allow it. Jesus addressed this comment to the Pharisees, and mut be understood in this context. As The Expositor's Bible Commentary correctly concludes, "The NIV "within you" (for entos hymon, v. 21) is a questionable translation. Jesus would hardly tell Pharisees, most of whom (especially those who interrogated him) were unbelievers, that the kingdom was within them.... The NIV margin ("among you") is surely right."

Rather, He was saying that they don't have to "carefully search for" (meaning of the Greek word paratereo) the kingdom of God because He as the King of the coming kingdom of God and therefore the foremost representative of that kingdom was in their midst or among them.

One of the fundamental rules of interpreting scripture is to compare how words or phrases that the same author uses elsewhere. Luke makes a similar statement in Luke 11:20 (NKJV) in reference to casting out demons, "But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you." Or as the New Living Translation renders the passage, "But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you."

I encourage you and all who read this to sign up now for the UCG Kingdom of God seminars coming soon to a city near you.




Joao316

Joao316's picture

Is the kingdom of God a present or future reality? Yes. The original article makes no reference to Jesus' telling words that it does not come in such a way as men say "here it is" or "there it is". Jesus never gave a straight-forward answer to this question. In Acts 1:6ff he's equally ....nuanced. But the affirmation that the kingdom is within/among (I take as an intentional and enriching ambiguity) stands. It's consistent with Paul's references to the existing Kingdom in Colossians 1 and Romans 14. In the latter the Kingdom of God is parallel to the "work of God" in the fellowship of believers and that they risk opposing by division, i.e. by condemning and judging each other over matters of opinion. Finally, I'd appreciate a reference for this line in the original article (above) - "Many people believe Jesus Christ taught that the Kingdom of God is something that exists only in the hearts and minds of believers". I'm not aware of anyone who teaches this is the "only" manifestation of the kingdom. Can anyone give a reference. And I'm sure this reflects my ignorance re: the plethora of opinions out there....But thanks if anyone can help.




Larry Walker

Larry Walker's picture

This is a response to poster joao316.

You make some very good points about the nuanced references to the kingdom of God in scripture. However, the fundamental meaning of the term is still the future world ruling government to be established on earth at the coming of Jesus Christ--a doctrine which has largely been rejected by much of mainstream Christianity. A quote from the classic theological work by Berkhof makes this very clear:

"According to Pre-millennialism Christ at His return will re-establish the kingdom of David on earth, and will reign at Jerusalem for a thousand years. This theory is based on a literalistic interpretation of the prophets and of Rev. 20:1-6. It makes the kingdom of God an earthly and national kingdom, while the New Testament represents it as spiritual and universal, a kingdom that is even now in existence, Matt. 11:12; 12:28; Luke 17:21: John 18:36-37; Col. 1:13. The New Testament knows nothing of such an earthly and temporal kingdom of Christ, but does speak of His heavenly (2Tim. 4:18) and eternal (2Pet. 1:11) kingdom" (Berkhof, Louis (2011-02-07). Summary Of Christian Doctrine (Kindle Locations 2009-2013). Kindle Edition).

In Berkhof's book The History of Christian Doctrines, he concludes the chapter titled "The second advent and the millennial hope" with this summary statement regarding the status of this doctrine, "Up to the present time, ... the doctrine of the millennium has never yet been embodied in a single Confession, and therefore cannot be regarded as a dogma of the Church."

You asked for a comment about Jesus' statement recorded in Luke 17:20 that the kingdom of God does not come "in such a way as men say 'here it is' or 'there it is'."

The KJV and NKJV translation, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation" is awkward and misleading. The meaning of the Greek word parateresis translated "with observation" is derived from the verb paratereo, which includes the meaning "to watch closely or diligently" (Louw Nida lexicon). Paratereo is used in reference to the Pharisees in Mark 3:2, "So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him."

In Luke 17:20, Jesus was telling the Pharisees that they don't have to carefully watch for the kingdom of God because He as the King of the coming kingdom of God and therefore the foremost representative of that kingdom was in their midst or among them.

It certainly does not mean that the coming of Jesus Christ to establish the kingdom of God will not be accompanied by observable conditions.

Matthew 24:24-27 "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. "See, I have told you beforehand. "Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. "For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.




joecane

joecane's picture

To the poster.

I wanted to let you know that I apologize if I came off as a "jerk" in my post. I'm a Christian on a quest for truth due to certain circumstances that contradict some of the things I've been taught. In this quest for truth, I have found some disturbing things that have made me angry because I feel like I've been lied to my whole life. I did not mean to take that anger out on you.

You seem open minded enough so I wanted to comment on how the word Karma is a "Pagan" term. Most people do not realize how many Pagan symbols, holidays and methods we as Christians have adapted. This was done hundreds of years ago to make the transition from pagan to Christianity easier for non-believers.

Here are some examples:

Fish symbol

Sometimes called the 'Jesus Fish' because of its link to the ancient Greek Ichthys. Currently vogue, the curious fish symbol is not as widely recognised as the cross. It means nothing to most non-Christians and so is largely known only 'in-house'.

The fish is an ancient symbol used by other religions, such as Buddhism and Paganism.

The word "Amen"

From old Egyptian texts we can see that people regarded the sun as the emblem of the Creator. They called the sun Ra, and all other gods and goddesses were forms of the Creator. One of these gods was Amen; a secret, hidden and mysterious god named variously Amen, Amon, Amun, Ammon and Amounra. For the first eleven dynasties (c. 3000-1987 B.C.) Amen was just a minor god, but by the 17th dynasty (c. 1500 B.C.) he had been elevated to be the national god of southern Egypt. This position gave Amen the attributes and characteristics of the most ancient gods, and his name became Amen-Ra, that is, a supreme form of God the Creator. By the 18th Dynasty (1539-1295 B.C.) a college had been established to study Amen-Ra and as a focal point for worship.

Jews settled in Egypt for around 400 years4 from 1847 B.C. and during this sojourn they would certainly have been fully exposed to the worship of Amen-Ra. By the time of their exodus from Egypt in 1447 B.C., the term 'Amen' would be in their language even if it was not their god. It would be a word that had associations with reverence and majesty. This is not difficult to understand. People still talk about Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha, and often use those names completely out of context as expletives. Amen was seen as a powerful god and the name continued, out of context, as an exclamation or salutation; a classic example of language evolution. From the Jews, the word was adopted by Christians, Muslims and others.

So Amen was originally the name of a Pagan god, who was considered a form of God the Creator. But he was certainly not considered God, or Christ. Interestingly, most Pagans today tend not to use the word, preferring instead to say "So mote it be", an old Anglo-Saxon term. Perhaps they see the word Amen in the Bible and the Tanakh and don't want to be associated with Christianity or the like. Indeed, in the Bible3 we see Jesus Christ referred to as "The Amen". Christ is God's Amen to all that he has spoken. Thereby the name used for an old Egyptian god is replaced by the same name used for Christ.

Christmas

Saturnalia was a festival held between 17th and 24th December, which began in the days of the Roman Empire. This was a week of feasting, gift-giving and an excuse for an orgy during the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice. The objective of the debauchery and dancing around (carol1) was to give the sun a nudge and send a message to Mother Earth to begin reproducing for the spring. This seemed to work quite well because sure enough, in spring things started growing again.

Which burns longer; a green candle or a red candle?

Neither. They both burn shorter!
The traditional Christmas colours of red and green, being complementary colours2, represent the fertility of the male and incubation by the female. Pagan decorations still seen around Christmas include the red berries and green leaves of holly, mistletoe and wreaths. Yule festivities are a mixture of customs and beliefs going back thousands of years.

Celebrating the winter solstice was forbidden by the early church, but customs survived anyway and it didn't take much to tempt Christians to join in the solstice feast in honour of the Pagan god Mithra. So the church provided an alternative with a festival in honour of the birth of Christ and celebrations were definitely in order.

In the 2nd century, the winter solstice was 6th January and Christians celebrated both the birth and the appearance of God's Son on that day, Epiphany Day.

By the 4th century, the date for the winter solstice was moved to 25th December and Pope Julius I declared that Jesus' birthday celebrations would also be on that day. (The appearance of Jesus to the Magi continued to be celebrated on 6th January.) This effectively transformed the Pagan occasion into a Christian holy day (holiday).

This was not, however, merely a convenient way to 'Christianize' a Pagan celebration. There is no historical evidence to prove what date Jesus was born on, or the season3, or even the year. The important thing for Christians is to celebrate the birth of Jesus because that showed God's love for us. It doesn't really matter a hoot when the birth is celebrated; the important thing is to celebrate it. So since the 'why' is much more important than the 'when', 25th December has been good enough for Christians ever since. (See Meaning of the Cross.)

Nine months before the birth of Jesus, Christians acknowledge the Feast of the Annunciation (the conception of Jesus) and this is set as March 25th. Consequently, this day is known as Lady Day (after the Blessed Virgin Mary) and until 1752 in England, this day was the first day of the calendar year. (When the Julian Calendar changed to the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, January 1st was recognised as New Year's Day.) Lady Day, or the date adjusted for lost days of the calendar change, April 6th, was the traditional day for starting new work contracts or tenancies. For this reason, the fiscal year began on April 6th and is still the start of the tax year in the UK.

The work schedule of today's UK accountants was largely determined in the 4th century by Pope Julius.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

This is just a few. This may come as quite a shock to some of you but it is very true. My own pastor confirmed it.

The reason I'm posting this is because I don't believe that any Christian would not want to know these things. However, it is important to remember that none of these things have anything to do with salvation. These issues are the result of mistakes made by our ancestors and not by Jesus or his teachings. Finding out these things really made me angry at first but then I realized that it's made me read my Bible more and has drawn me closer to God.

Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth and the life" so do not deny or be afraid of the truth. It can only bring you closer to Christ.




Brian Reed

Brian Reed's picture

"The Kingdom of God does not come with observation." Jesus said several times to "watch" for the Kingdom, so the explanation Larry Walker gave about "watching closely" seems very apt. The Kingdom isn't something that's going to scurry on behind you snickering when you're facing the other way. Jesus is saying, in part, that you're going to be well aware of His return, so even when you're tempted by longing hearts and disappointment, don't be led out of your way by promises of secret comings or Jesuses behind the bushes.

Also, the Kingdom is described literally by almost every book of the Bible as far as I'm aware, so even if this verse were referring to, as Larry put it, the Kingdom being the desire of our hearts, it doesn't negate all the other verses about rods of iron and falling Babylons.




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Hi joecane,

You're absolutely right to say that modern Christianity has adopted many pagan symbols, rituals, and practices; however, I strongly disagree with your conclusion that none of these issues affect one's salvation. One of the express goals of our church as an organization is to eliminate such non-biblical elements from our worship of Almighty God. The reason why is simple: Deuteronomy 12:29-32 expressly prohibits God's people from worshiping Him according to the abominations with which other people serve their false gods.

If you look through some of our literature, we do a great deal to try to inform people of the true origins of pagan practices such as Christmas so that they can turn away from them. For example, while it may seem like a good thing to celebrate the birth of Christ, God did not think that it was important enough to command us to do so! On the other hand, He did command us to keep the Passover, which proclaims the death of Christ until He returns (1 Corinthians 11:23), along with several other Holy Days (see Leviticus 23) which have been forgotten by modern Christianity. Christians only began celebrating Christ's birth because the pagans around them were celebrating the birth of their gods, and they have simultaneously abandoned God's commanded Passover and other Holy Days - so not only have they "added to" God's word, they have also "taken from" it. This is sin that needs to be repented of and corrected. (check out our booklet "Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?")

Also, there is some indication of the season during which Christ was born. We are told in Luke 2:7-8 that the shepherds were still keeping watch over their sheep in the fields at night, so it could not have been during the winter. There are other bits and pieces of information that allow us to form a pretty solid argument that Jesus was born during the fall, but I find it ironic that the only season that is 100% ruled out for His birth is the one during which Christians celebrate it. (see http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/when-was-jesus-christ-born-was-jesus-born-december-25-christmas-day or do a search for "when was Christ born?").

Both the fish symbol and the crosses that hang in most churches were originally pagan symbols - actually, they STILL ARE pagan symbols because God never sanctioned their use in worship. The 2nd commandment prohibits using images to represent our God. This is examined in detail in our booklet "The Ten Commandments," and you can find the specific origins of the cross at http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/why-shouldnt-we-wear-cross-sign-being-christian

You are right on the money when you say "These issues are the result of mistakes made by our ancestors and not by Jesus or his teachings," but you should also realize that we should make every effort not to repeat those mistakes. God doesn't have a classification system of "mistakes" versus "sin" - rather, a sin is a sin, and we must make our best to avoid it.




Skip

Skip's picture

Excellent post Steven Britt!




joecane

joecane's picture

Steven Britt,

Thanks for the great reply to my post. I have some questions for you.

1. Creation vs Evolution:

I used to be a young Earth creationist until I was 11 and starting asking questions about things that did not make sense to me. I was taught that the Earth is 6k to 10k years old. We (meaning humans), through Science, has discovered that the Earth is closer to 4.6 billion years old. We also know that the Great Pyramid was built about 100 years after the "great flood". How could this be? 8 people turned into enough people to migrate to Egypt and build one of the greatest wonders of the world with mathematical precision? Sorry but it's not true. There may have been a flood but it wasn't a world flood unless it happened much MUCH longer ago. It would also be during a time when there was a minimal amount of species of animals for them to fit on the ark.

There is 1 verse that makes people take the Bible so literally and it's 2 Timothy 3:16..

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"

It says NOTHING about taking every verse literally. Besides, it was written by a man.

That would be the same as me saying that the book I wrote was inspired by God and telling you that it's true because I wrote down that God inspired me. See what I mean?

Then there is Numbers 31 where God supposedly commanded Moses to attack the Midianites and to kill all of the males )this included the little boys and infants). The Army then captured all of the women. Then Moses Tells them to kill all of the women except the virgins (which included little girls( and keep them for themselves. There is only 1 reason they kept the virgins.

Numbers:
"31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
31:18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."

My God would have NEVER ordered someone to commit genocide.

It's these sort of things that need to be addressed.

Thanks!




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Rayian,

In Luke 19:11-12, the disciples started to think that the Kingdom was about to appear, and so Christ told them the parable of the minas, which begins by saying, "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return." The nobleman returns after a while to see what his servants had done with the minas that he had given them and bestows rulership positions over the kingdom on those who fulfilled his expectations. It's quite obvious from the context that this is a parable about Christ, who is currently in heaven, having received that Kingdom which He will also bring with Him at His return. If the Kingdom is within us, wouldn't it have been even more so within Jesus? Why, then, did He need to go to receive something that was already within Himself? Additionally, if the Kingdom were within us, why on earth would He make such an utterly confusing and abstract connection with this parable? The disciples were waiting for a literal kingdom with a literal king and he told them a story about a literal kingdom with a literal king, except that the king had to go away for a while to receive the kingdom, and He told them this to help them understand that He would die and go to the Father until the time came to bring the kingdom.

On a more pragmatic note, please explain how Zechariah 14:16-21 fits into your narrative about the kingdom being within us since it very clearly indicates a literal kingdom on earth. For example, it says that people will either choose to go to Jerusalem to worship the King there, with the punishment being a withholding of rain for those who will not go. Or do we also have horses within us, to inscribe "holiness to the Lord" on their bells as verse 20 says?

Also, though I've implied it in the above reasoning, let me make this point explicit in response to your claim that we believe that the kingdom doesn't exist now: Christ has gone to heaven to receive the kingdom. That means that we believe the kingdom indeed exists in heaven. Can you seek Christ and the Father, who are in heaven? Absolutely! Can you then seek a kingdom which is in heaven - "out there somewhere," as you put it? Absolutely.




rayian

rayian's picture

Matthew 6-33
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" KJV

How can you possibly search for something that doesn't exist now.
Where does it exist now. Not out there somewhere. Only one place to look.
Within. Prayer and meditation.




KARS

KARS's picture

Wow! This sure has been a busy forum. Gentlemen it is alot easier to understand than all these words. Ahhhh... Love! God's love grows within our hearts and minds by His Holy Spirit. Now, if you fight His Holy Spirit you will quench it and not grow.

As for the Kingdom of God; that's His rules (Ten Commandments), food laws, cleansing laws, Sabbath and Holy Day observances, practising pure religion and following our Savior Jesus Christ examples of service to others. Of course over our lifetimes we will continue to learn many, many, more things about Our Father and His Only Begotten Son. So don't quench His Holy Spirit and we will be able to lay up many treasures in heaven by studying His Word; the Holy Bible.




joecane

joecane's picture

Ok then why does the Bible say this?

Luke 17:20-21
King James Version (KJV)
20And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Translation...

Pharasies: "Hey Jesus. When will the Kingdom of God arrive?"

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is not something you can see with your eyes. You're not going to be able to point somewhere and say "There it is" because the Kingdom of God is within you."

How much clearer can that be?

There is no debate. Just because you were taught one way or believed a certain way for a long time does not make what you believe the truth.

The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of consciousness...

1 Corinthians 1:10
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 2:16
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.

Philippians 1:27
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.




joecane

joecane's picture

I also wanted to point out that the New Living Translation Bible is translated as follows...

"You won't be able to say, 'Here it is!' or 'It's over there!' For the Kingdom of God is already among you."

This translation backs up the original answer to the post however it is a VERY bad and VERY deliberate mis-translation. It is translated this way for one reason only and that is to support the popular belief. Is popular belief the truth? Sometimes it can be but it's not an automatic. In this case, it's nothing more than a great big lie..

The Greek word ἐντὸς means "within" or "inside". It does not mean "among" or "in the midst". Now you will find websites that show the translation to be "in the midst" but you will also notice that these websites have a religious agenda and are not interested in the truth. Only their version of the truth that they want you to believe.

The New Living Translation takes the betrayal even further by adding in a word that is not even in the original Greek scripture which is "already among."

Do some unbiased research and you will see that this is true. Dig a little deeper and you'll find out why they did this.

Don't be afraid of the truth because there is nothing to be afraid of. The pursuit of truth is the pursuit of Christ.

God Bless!




rayian

rayian's picture

Seems rather argumentative Steven.
Using a word that was used earlier in this thread, all things exist in "consciousness". When I perceive or imagine or read about a horse the horse exists in consciousness and as much as that consciousness is within that horse is within. The whole of creation exists within consciousness. There is nowhere else.




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Rayian and joecane,

Neither of you have answered my arguments from Luke 19 and Zechariah 14, but have merely restated and elaborated on your original points. As I see it, your interpretation is at odds with these (and many other) scriptures, and the only way that you can gain any ground towards convincing me otherwise is to present an explanation of at least some of these other verses to show that they are consistent with your view (since I don't believe that they are). You're not even limited to the two I picked out - for instance, there's Revelation 20-21, Ezekiel 37, Isaiah 2, Isaiah 65, and Isaiah 35 - the list could go on. Just take any verse that seems to show a literal Kingdom on earth and explain to me how you understand it.

I agree that no one should be afraid of the truth, but you're assuming that your view of this particular scripture is correct without judging your interpretation against the remaining body of scripture. I will not be persuaded that this one verse summarily brushes all other verses on the subject aside, because that would be placing one scripture above another; instead, what must be done is to reconcile all scriptures on the matter.




KARS

KARS's picture

Alright guys! Let's get back to this LOVE thing. First of all; how can we possibly be like Christ our Savior; who is like His Father (God our Father) if we do not practise their love. How? Service. Sacrifice. Growing in their character traits of compassion, patience, longsuffering, so on and so forth. It takes daily Bible research with a prayer for guidance. Now it obvious I can not think like a man and being human I never will.
So. With all this debate going back in forth I know that Mr. Britt is right about one thing. You have to take a Strongs Concordance look up the word you are searching and find ALL the scriptures in that word category (that are in common) and find it's true meaning. Why? I went yesterday to find us a new meeting hall and had my own debate with a denomination that denied Jesus's own saying:John 3:13. Now, what does that tell you? That not even they believe what our Savior said. Pretty sad; hah? These were men that have studied the Bible for years. I told them it wasn't my place to teach which I should have said preach. God our Father has a hierarchy. Him first, then His Son, then the men (whom Christ chose for His ministry) then women, then children. So led on gentlemen of the Church of God. God Bless. KARS




joecane

joecane's picture

Steve,
I didn't comment on those verses because they are irrelevant.

Luke 19 is a parable about how you reap what you sow and though it refers to the Kingdom of God, it is not saying that it will be a physical place. If anything, it is saying the opposite.

Zechariah 14 does not even mention the phrase "Kingdom of God". It reminds me of Isaiah 14 when they were talking about how great it will be when the King of Babylon is dead. Zechariah 14 is the same in that they are talking about how great it will be when God defeats the enemies of Jerusalem.

Luke 17:20-21 is not a parable, is VERY clear and comes directly from the mouth of Jesus.

How can you dismiss it based on those other 2 verses? Especially when I've proven that the other translations of Luke 17:20-21 were deliberate mistranslations. In fact the New Living Translation didn't just mistranslate it but they added to it.

Forget what you have learned and read it with an open mind.




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

joecane,

Going back to your comment about what elements of the bible are true, we have a lot of articles on creation which explain our view of an “old earth” but “young humanity,” so I’ll refer you to the following rather than taking up that entire discussion here:

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/creation-or-evolution-does-it-really-matter-what-you-believe/world-man-biblical-explanation-1/

As for Moses and the Midianites, you say that God would never order such genocide, but you’re overlooking the fact that the God of the bible has effectively ordered the genocide of all mankind. Is there a man that lives and does not die? And is death not determined by the express will of God? In one frame of reference, it could be said that God Himself is killing us since He has “appointed for men to die once” (Hebrews 9:27). But 1 Corinthians 15:22 gives us hope, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Notice that it says ALL shall be made alive – in particular, that includes the Midianites. There are also instances in which God killed an individual for becoming so wicked, such as in the flood (a much greater genocide than the destruction of Midian, I might add) and the death of Judah’s oldest son, Er, in Genesis 38:7. Sometimes God deems that it is better that the death penalty for sin be enacted sooner rather than later, but it’s all ultimately the same regardless of what form it comes in.

On a final note, it makes no sense that an Almighty God would not allow His grand revelation of Himself to mankind to be so utterly perverted that we would have to decipher for ourselves which passages are true. In addition to 2 Timothy 3:16, John 17:17 and Psalm 119:160 also affirm the truth of God's Word. I think that you really need to consider the ramifications of your assumption here, since it also invalidates any benefit that you might derive from the bible - for example, if we can suppose that any narrative in the bible is a "just a story" made up by men to suit their own purposes, then why should we not suppose that the promises of eternal life are merely wishful thinking on the part of the same men? Additionally, would not Jesus have corrected mistakes made by men in writing the Old Testament?




rayian

rayian's picture

Well said joecane.
The Bible is the story of the fall of consciousness into the state of sin and then the redemption. The language used is a language that people of earthly kingdoms will understand. Kings and Kingdoms. Rulers and the ruled. This is allegorical out of necessity. None the less I see no reason to think that an literal earthly kingdom of God could not be established once the inner Kingdom has been established.
Now more on the within concept,
John17:20-26
20 "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me. 26 I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."




joecane

joecane's picture

Thanks for the info. I'll read up on it.

No for the issue with the Midianites...

You wrote:

"you say that God would never order such genocide, but you’re overlooking the fact that the God of the bible has effectively ordered the genocide of all mankind. Is there a man that lives and does not die? And is death not determined by the express will of God?"

My Response:

That's the same as saying "We all die anyway so why does it matter how it's done or who does it?" This is not even close to being the same and nowhere near justifies the genocide in Numbers 31.

You said:

"There are also instances in which God killed an individual for becoming so wicked, such as in the flood (a much greater genocide than the destruction of Midian, I might add) and the death of Judah’s oldest son, Er, in Genesis 38:7. Sometimes God deems that it is better that the death penalty for sin be enacted sooner rather than later, but it’s all ultimately the same regardless of what form it comes in."

My Response:

Again you are comparing Apples to Oranges. God killing is one thing but commanding Moses to slaughter babies is another. Didn't God just hand down the 10 commandments to Moses? I know what you're going to say which that Moses was justified because God told him to do it.

What would happen today if someone killed a bunch of men women and children but then kidnapped all of the virgin girls for themselves but then said. "It's ok. God told me to do it?" We would call him a maniac and sentence him to death. How do we really know that God commanded Moses to do these awful things? Who wrote the book of Numbers?

You wrote:

"On a final note, it makes no sense that an Almighty God would not allow His grand revelation of Himself to mankind to be so utterly perverted that we would have to decipher for ourselves which passages are true."

My response: You're right. God would not make it hard to decipher but man sure would and did.

This is a response to the last paragraph...

If God revealed certain things to me and I told you about them, you probably would not believe me. But then I could say, "No it is true because I wrote down that whatever I write is inspired by God."

It is no different except one was written thousands of years ago.

Continued in next post...




joecane

joecane's picture

You asked...

"if we can suppose that any narrative in the bible is a "just a story" made up by men to suit their own purposes, then why should we not suppose that the promises of eternal life are merely wishful thinking on the part of the same men? Additionally, would not Jesus have corrected mistakes made by men in writing the Old Testament?"

If we were created in the image and likeness of God, then God is responsible for giving us rationality.

The Bible is filled with contradictions and inconsistencies. I can provide you with plenty of them. Instead of ignoring them and saying that they mean something else or are a "mystery", we should see it for what it really is which is the message of God that has been corrupted by man for the the purpose of power. The main person being Constantine and overall being the Roman Catholic Church. How do we know what's true and not true? I can only tell you what I did. I prayed over and over for God to reveal the truth to me no matter how much it hurts or contradicts with my beliefs.

I know you're not going to like what I'm saying. Especially the part about there being contradictions. Most Christians believe that if you don't believe 1 part of the Bible is true you have to disbelieve the rest. This is simply not true and until the Christian religions come to terms with this, you're going to see a steady decline in followers.

For example...

People once believed that a rainbow was supernatural because the Bible said God made rainbows as a promise that he would never flood the Earth again.
Geologists know for a fact the Earth is much more than 6,000 years old. Biologists know for a fact humans and apes descended from a common ancestor.

It is time to reevaluate our understanding of the scriptures because the evidence shows that we have made some serious errors.

Do I believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Yes I do. If there is one thing that I don't think was an accident its that there are 4 different gospels that depict the life and message of Jesus. I believe God knew this day would come so he ensured that the message of salvation survived by making sure it was told from 4 different gospels. To me this is simply amazing!

You may not realize this but these revelations have made my faith stronger.




KARS

KARS's picture

oooo don't forget the article about "F-A-L-S-E" in the Vertical Thought. F for fossil. A for assumption. L for life. S for oh this is a new and big word for me. Symbionce. E for engineering.
All proved without the Bible.
I liked this article.




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Joecane,

I knew that you thought they were irrelevant for some reason or another, I just wanted you to explain why you thought so in order that the discussion could progress, or else it’s a “Duck season! Rabbit season!” argument :)

I can understand viewing Luke 19 as not necessarily being a literal parallel of Christ going to receive a kingdom and bring it back, but I simply don’t see any justification of how it could in fact say the opposite. Also, the explicit details of the master leaving to receive a kingdom and bring it back would then be superfluous and confusing, unless you present some other interpretation of these details (after all, we do think quite differently on this issue). In a similar parable, the master simply left for a long time with no explanation of where he had gone, so why complicate it in this particular telling?

On Zechariah 14, you’re glossing over the part in verses 16 and 17 where it specifies that the “King” that they are going there to worship is actually “the Lord of hosts.” It’s not just picturing a time when Jerusalem’s enemies are defeated – it’s picturing a time when God takes His place as King in Jerusalem with people coming up to worship Him directly. No matter how you read it, this has not been fulfilled yet – the nation of Egypt has never gone to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

Luke 17:20-21 is as true as every other scripture, but they all have to be true at the same time, and it may appear to be clear, as you see it, if taken out of the context of the entire bible. Let’s break down your view of this scripture to make sure that I am not putting words in your mouth. You think that the scripture is saying (1) the Kingdom of God exists in the hearts (or consciousness, if you like) of all people and (2) that the Kingdom of God exists only in this form, specifically not as a literal kingdom. I can almost accept (1) as a matter of semantics – in a sense believers are representatives of the Kingdom with the laws written on our hearts and minds; however, to say that even unbelievers are currently part of that Kingdom is contrary to scripture. It’s point (2) that I’ve mostly focused on, since I think that there are a whole host of scriptures that prove a literal kingdom on the earth (in addition to whatever sense we understand the Kingdom to reside within believers.)




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Also, I think that the following scriptures speak for themselves on the matter that the Kingdom must, at some point, become a tangible thing made up of real people interacting with God and each other in time and space:

1 Corinthians 15:22-26, “in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterwards those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when he puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.”

Ezekiel 37:12-14 “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel... I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land.”

Revelation 20:12-14 “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God... The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead ... And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”

Revelation 21:2-3 “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God... Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”

I can add much more – the literal coming of God’s Kingdom to earth is one of the central themes of the entire bible.




KARS

KARS's picture

Hey guys, what is the name of the oldest tree that has survived from the flood?




joecane

joecane's picture

Hi Steve,

Thanks for being polite. I was not sure what to expect. I know some of the things I wrote are very controversial. I just want the truth. there are so many versions and/or interpretations out there that as a believer, it is important that we discover the true message of God.

As far as the Kingdom of God, according to how I understand it, is all of us together here on Earth. We (believers) are all part of the Kingdom of God which is why Jesus said it is in us.

This seems like a logical explanation because it makes sense when including all references to the Kingdom of God. That's why we're here discussing these things. We want the same thing and it's nice to be able to talk about these things openly and peacefully.

The Kingdom of Heaven is mentioned often in the Bible as well. Do you think it is the same as the Kingdom of God?

Have you ever read the Gospel of Thomas? It was left out of the Bible because Jesus basically said that we do not need the church to reach God. The Catholic Church wasn't going to have this so it was removed. The excuse they give is that it was written too late to be considered accurate which is not true.

Here are the dates of the Gospels according to Biblical Scholars...

Mark: 68–73 AD or 65–70 AD
Matthew: 70–100 AD or 80–85 AD
Luke: 80–100 AD or 80–85 AD
John: 90–100 AD c. 90–110 AD The majority view is that it was written in stages, so there was no one date of composition.

Gospel Of Thomas: 100–110 AD, with some of the material certainly coming from the first stratum which is dated to 30–60 AD

Do you realize there are further teachings of Jesus that we have all been denied? If we are to believe that the Gospel of Thomas is not accurate because of the date it was put together, then none of the Gospels should be considered valid. See my point?

Please read it. It is wonderful and should have never been removed.

"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness..." 2 Timothy 3:16

Remember that the above verse was written before our modern day Bible was put together.

One last thing. What do you make of all of the similarities between Jesus, Osiris, Horus, Dionysus, etc...?




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

joecane,

If someone today with zero reputation having done zero signs from God committed genocide and claimed that God told him too, then of course no one would believe him. But if a person had already displayed obvious, grand, and inexplicable power from God resulting in the promised-by-God deliverance of some 2 million people, would that not make you re-evaluate your initial human reaction to that genocide?

I just don’t see how can you believe that Jesus is the Son of God when you don’t believe the integrity of the men who prophesied His coming, which was Christ’s own proof that He was who He said He was. Furthermore, isn’t the rainbow in fact supernatural? Our very existence is “supernatural” if you think about it. I’m not saying that every rainbow is a miracle that defies the laws of our universe, simply that the Creator is perfectly capable of changing those laws at will, and it very well may be that He did so at the time of the flood – I simply say that I don’t know, but you authoritatively say that He did not because you assume above all else that the workings of the universe have not changed since God instituted them.

We’re both bringing up a lot of off-topic points, so rather than continue to argue these sub-issues (which we can certainly do on relevant articles or via another medium, if you want), I’m just going to conclude my part of these particular arguments with the acknowledgment that we have a fundamentally different view of what the bible is. You take a skeptical approach while I take an apologetic approach (i.e. I believe that any perceived contradiction is actually a misunderstanding on our part and logic should be employed to understand why it is not a contradiction, while you believe that logic should be valued above the scripture and used to determine which parts of it are actually scripture). In my opinion, there is no rationality to maintaining any belief in a word that the bible says if you take the skeptical approach – if I were in your position on that issue, I would become an atheist out of logical necessity.

In any case, that will be my last post on the topic of the veracity of the bible in this thread – we still yet have much to discuss on the topic of the nature of God’s Kingdom :)




rayian

rayian's picture

void




KARS

KARS's picture

Jesus model prayer.
"...Our Father which art in heaven, Hollowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 5:9-10 KJV Thus, Christ said what happens in heaven we ask it to be done here.




joecane

joecane's picture

KARS...

Good observation!

It says "thy kingdom come" meaning " God's Kingdom" aka " The Kingdom of God."

The prayer specifically asks for the Kingdom of God to be on Earth as it is in heaven. Since 2 physical places cant occupy the same place, it can only be referring to God's people being the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is the living representation of Christ through God's people.

The Kingdom of God is within you.

"Steven Britt"

You said:
"if I were in your position on that issue, I would become an atheist out of logical necessity."

That would be true if I did not believe in God. My skepticism is not about God. I am skeptical about the representation of God through the many imperfections of man.

Yes I do think logic should be considered over scripture if that logic is backed up by evidence. Modern science has disproved some of the claims in the Bible and the reason people won't admit it is because they have been taught that the Bible is 100% accurate and if any scripture could be proven false then none of it can be trusted as being accurate.

This defies all logic. The very logic God has given to all of us. Instead of embracing it, they stick their fingers in their ears and say "LA LA LA LA".

Denial of truth is the rejection of Christ in favor of religious dogma.




rayian

rayian's picture

Here and now we live in the uncreated, unmanifest living one.
Nothing is as it seems. There are no words capable of expressing the truth without resorting to allegory and metaphor.




KARS

KARS's picture

Ah Joe, "I would hate to burst your bubble here." But God the Father cannot be seen by the human eyes. Therefore His realm is not physical; only ours. Thus we believe in things not seen. Having faith to know that God does truly exist by the things He has made through His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ the Word of God.




joecane

joecane's picture

No worries KARS, bubble is not burst,
I do believe in God but I will go ahead and burst yours...

Genesis 32:30 – So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”




KARS

KARS's picture

Greetings Joe! :o)
Thanks for the reminder of His physical appearences on earth. I was talking about His Dad; God our Father. No one has seen Him yet. For God our Father is spirit and so is His realm.




joecane

joecane's picture

His Dad? Are you saying that Jacob saw Jesus back in Genesis?




rayian

rayian's picture

The Bible is the story of the inner man. It is literature to document the states of being that one goes through. It is not history. It is allegory.




joecane

joecane's picture

Makes sense to me Rayian




KARS

KARS's picture

@ Joe The answer is YES! Chirst was the one making the visits in the Old Testament. There are booklets on this UCG site to prove it.
Have a good week.




rayian

rayian's picture

Example of allegory

Galations 4 22-24 read 21-31
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise. These things are being taken figuratively:(the KJV and others say allegorically)

It doesn't matter if Abraham actually existed or if he had 2 sons or not. The point is as Yeshua said:“Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." (John 3 5-6)

In this inner spiritual realm is where it is said "I and the father are one"

The Kingdom of God is within you




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

"My skepticism is not about God. I am skeptical about the representation of God through the many imperfections of man."

I would be skeptical of any supposed "god" who didn't have both the ability and the will to overcome the imperfections of man in his effort to communicate with us. We've chosen different axioms, and there is little use in arguing over how to interpret the words of the bible if you hold a completely different view of the nature and validity of the book.

In conclusion, I'll state that a literal interpretation of the bible under the assumption that it is in fact the infallible word of God leads to an absolutely clear understanding that the Kingdom of God is a literal government that will take over the current nations on earth under the rulership of Jesus Christ at His second coming, and that was the point of the original article. Upon examination, I don't think that you take issue with that statement, but rather with the assumptions about the bible on which the conclusions are founded, and that is a discussion unto itself.




joecane

joecane's picture

"I'll state that a literal interpretation of the bible under the assumption that it is in fact the infallible word of God leads to an absolutely clear understanding that the Kingdom of God"

How do you explain all of the contradictions in the Bible then? Help me understand.




rayian

rayian's picture

This is from the original article above

Jesus, who will be the King of Kings in that Kingdom, was referring to Himself when He said "the kingdom of God is among you" or "in your midst."

Even using these faulty translations if we refer to Galatians 4:19 we see that if as stated above Christ is the Kingdom of God that he-it must be within you.

"My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you"

I see no reason why the infallible word of God has to be assumed to be literal. The use of allegory, metaphor, and other symbolic methods of communication seems perfectly valid to my mind.




dziwczyna

dziwczyna's picture

I would be wary of believing in God, if He were a liar, and all the Bible was just an allegory. How could you trust Him, and commit your life into His hands, if the Bible were one big lie?

If Abraham did NOT exist there would be NO promise of Christ, and Him dying for our sins, nor Him returning to this earth!

All too often we limit God, as we, as physical beings, are limited. For God nothing is impossible!




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

I assume a priori that any perceived contradiction in the bible is in fact a lack in my own understanding. In the best cases, you can find an interpretation that fits every scripture. At worst, you can at least rule out wrong interpretations, but the correct interpretation remains unknown. I have yet to come across any foundational doctrine for which a correct interpretation cannot be found among the various scriptures on each topic. Since I believe that every word in the bible is the Word of God, this is the only reasonable way for me to proceed.




joecane

joecane's picture

Rayian,

I agree with you. I just believe that when Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within you, he meant it as in our minds. So many like to say "Jesus is in our hearts" but the heart in this case is actually the mind or consciousness.

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:16

dziwczyna,

I don't see God as a liar but I do see man as imperfect. If God had literally wrote the Bible then I would question the validity of God. The fact of the matter is, it was man who wrote the Bible. I know that the scriptures are supposed to be inspired by God or "God-Breathed" according to 2nd Timothy 3:16. If God had penned this himself I would say it was correct but the fact of the matter is that it was written by a man. When you take into the account the nature of mankind, this could have been the writing of a man seeking delusions of grandeur.

If someone tells you that God has spoken to them and commanded you to do something and you question it's validity by asking...

"How do you know it was God speaking to you",

this person would come back and say "I wrote down what God told me".

You could then ask, "how does writing it down make it the truth"

and his final answer, which is no different from 2nd Timothy 3:16 would be, "Because I also wrote down that whatever I wrote down is God-Breathed."

Do you see what I mean?

I know that you are wondering that if this is true, how do we know what in the Bible is real or not? The answer is the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Plus have you ever thought about why there are 4 Gospels in the Bible that they all tell practically the same story? Because it adds validity. I believe God knew that this day would come so God wanted to ensure that the message of Christ was still heard. This to me is amazing and it strengthens my faith.




joecane

joecane's picture

Hi Steven,
Here are a few. Maybe you could shed some light on these? I've read all of them in their context and can not see where they might be talking about different things...

--------

Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven …”

Acts 2:21 – And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

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Ecclesiastes 1:4 – Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.

Mark 13:31 – Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

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2 Kings 2:11 – As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.

John 3:13 – No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven – the Son of Man.

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Are sons punished for their father's sins?

Exodus 20:5 – … I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me …

Ezekiel 18:20 – … The son will not share the guilt of the father

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Genesis 17:10 - This is my covenant which ye shall keep between me and you and thy seed after thee: Every man and child among you shall be circumcised.

Galatians 5:2 - Behold, I Paul, say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

That's just a few. Though some may not be a big deal in terms of salvation but it does show why we must be careful what we take literally.

Thanks!




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Joecane, happy to oblige!

Matthew 7:21 and Acts 2:21 – the difference between saying “Lord, Lord” as opposed to “calling on the name of the Lord” is obedience to His commandments. Someone may devoutly and sincerely worship God, but if they do it contrary to God's command, then it is useless. For example, consider Micah in Judges when he “made an idol to the LORD” (Hebrew “YHWH” for LORD there to remove any ambiguity), hired a non-Levite priest, and made offerings. If someone persists in ANY sin, saying that it is good even though it is evil, it is no different than what Micah did – they are paying lip service to God rather than humbly seeking Him out.

Ecclesiastes 1:4 and Mark 13:31 – the key is in what it means for the earth to “pass away.” It means that the earth as we know it will be destroyed. 2 Peter 3:10 states that “both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up,” and this doesn’t exactly imply that the earth will be altogether obliterated – but, rather, that the “new earth” spoken of in Revelation 21 will be a make-over of the old earth, which has been purified by fire.

2 Kings 2:11 and John 3:13 – The word for heaven in 2 Kings 2:11 means sky. This happened in front of Elisha, who sent his men out to find Elijah, understanding that God had simply transported him to a different place. This view is corroborated by the fact that Elijah wrote a letter to Jehoram in 2 Chronicles 21:12, whereas he was taken into “heaven” during the reign of Jehoshaphat, the previous king – if he were in the heaven where God is, then he couldn’t have written the letter.

Exodus 20:5 and Ezekiel 18:20 – just because you share in the punishment of someone else doesn’t mean that you bear their guilt. Consider the destruction of Sodom – Abraham asked God to save the city for the sake of 10 righteous men. If God had found only 5 and therefore destroyed the city, then they would have shared in the punishment of those around them by circumstance, though they were not guilty. In many cases, the children may simply share in the father’s punishment by circumstance, though they are not guilty themselves.

Genesis 17:10 and Galatians 5:2 – the context of Paul’s reference to circumcision here needs to be considered. Paul is referring to the heresy of trying to earn salvation – not the act of circumcision itself. I would elaborate, but it is a very large topic :)




KARS

KARS's picture

Ok enough, is enough!
"No man has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him." John 1:18 NKJV

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, throughly equipped for every good work." 1 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV

The Kingdom of God is both spritual and physcial.

The laws are written upon our hearts and minds.

We practise what we read, study in the Word of God, or are preached to; through our physical actions to others around us. In our actions of thoughts, deeds, and words of mouth.

Thus the Kingdom of God is both; coexisting together in the called out ones of the world. The ones that God the Father called out of spiritual & physical Babylon.




joecane

joecane's picture

Some of your explanations I agree with but others I don't. Below is the one that you really should look at again.

Exodus 20:5 and Ezekiel 18:20

This one is a CLEAR contradiction and here is why...

This is a PERFECT example of newer translations trying to rewrite the Bible in order to make it cohere with their beliefs.

The NIV translated the word בַּעֲוֹ֥ן as guilt. The problem is the actual translation for the word בַּעֲוֹ֥ן is punishment or iniquity. NOWHERE in the Bible does the word בַּעֲוֹ֥ן mean guilt nor does it mean guilt at all.

Whether it means punishment or iniquity is based on the context of the sentence.

Iniquity means wickedness or gross injustice...

The word for wickedness is וְרִשְׁעַ֥ת
The word for injustice is עָ֥וֶל

So now we know that the word בַּעֲוֹ֥ן means punishment...

The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the punishment of the father, neither shall the father bear the punishment of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

** Link removed to comply with comment policy **

Not only does this show a direct contradiction with Exodus 20:5 but it also shows how the NIV changed the meaning of the words around in an effort to make the Bible fit with their beliefs. I also showed an example of this in Luke 17:21.

Please share this with your peers. I really believe that the NIV is deceptive.

Thanks!




KARS

KARS's picture

Good Morning Gentlemen!
@Mr. Britt: Totally understand you, thanks for bringing all you posted above back to my memory.

@ Mr. Crane: Why do you continully keep arguing? If one does not take a subject into context and look up all cross references (there are many), define a word in it's own language provided in the references books sold at the bookstore, after a heartfelt prayer to God our Father for understanding and discernment;then expected to keep going around, and around, and around, in circular reasoning.

Don't you think that gets old after awhile? What are you actually trying to prove?

For alot of us we know that each Bible translation as it's own personel agenda. Since the KJV came first that is the one that should be one's main Bible reference book.

I personally stick with the KJV, NKJV, & CJB as a reference Bible.

In the end we will all answer for our own personel sins and conduct.




GSpirit

GSpirit's picture

After reading many of the early post, and mainly focusing on the conversation between Conscious, Skip and Steven, I had no choice but to pipe in…

Let me first say that, IMO Jesus did not come to this world to teach a Religion, He came to teach a way of life. Jesus spoke in parables and took great pains to suggest his meanings rather than to commit himself to precise definitions. His goal was to stimulate thought and not limit the believer's spiritual imagination. My goal is the same, to not take anything away from anyone, but to expand on that which they already have, to stimulate thought and allowing one to go deeper. One of the greatest gifts we could give to another is to not only share our riches with them, but to help reveal to them their own.

The God experience is the most important experience in life… to find our way home.

If we focus on the message of Jesus, and Love the Lord our God with all our heart, and if we Love our neighbors as ourselves, if we walk in a manner that is worthy of our calling - with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love and are diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, isn’t that what is really important? Or is it more important that we feed the egoic machine and argue over disputable matters?

Christianity, (which is the foundation of my life) includes hundreds of different denominations, Catholics, Protestantism, Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptists, etc. and they all disagree with one another in name, organization, doctrine, worship, and plan of salvation. Most denominations believe that there are faithful children of God in other denominations, and they believe that we're all going to heaven - just by different routes. They believe that one church is as good as another and that it's just a matter of personal preference, like different kinds of cars, colors of clothes, etc.

But when someone’s preference is outside the confines of Christianity or what one believes Christianity to be, we tend to turn against them and some go as far as condemning them to Hell. How could any peace loving Christian who honors God and loves thy neighbor as thy self, honestly associate anything that points to God as being evil or sacrilegious when we can’t even agree amongst ourselves?




GSpirit

GSpirit's picture

This my God is the only true God and your God is wrong mentality has to end. It is the cause of many of the worlds’ problems today. It creates division and separateness, us and them, and has been the cause of many wars. How are we to every achieve world peace if we treat those with whom we disagree as inferior to us.

Romans 14 tells us to accept others without quarreling over disputable matters. It tells us that one person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, eats only vegetables and that the one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted both of them.
It goes on to say that one person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced (and I quote) “IN THEIR OWN MIND”. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

If you missed any of that in Romans 14, PLEASE read it again and rest on every word...

“Be still and know that I AM God”…

God is not found in the noise and confusion, in confrontation, fear, or war… God is a friend of silence… Be still and know that I am God… God is Love and Love is God. If we are to see God in the world about us, we must first see him and recognize him at the very center of our being, the heart. If we do not see Him there, we will not see him anywhere else. If God is in the heart He opens our eyes to His presence everywhere in the universe. If He is not in the heart, our eyes remain blind to His presence.

Show tolerance for one another in love and preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Share your similarities and celebrate your differences.

Peace




KARS

KARS's picture

"And the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body;and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in ou rihly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns snf spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts of the Lord." Colossians 3:15-16 NKJV

Yes GSpirit, it reads 'heart"

Have a good Sabbath everyone.




Yura

Yura's picture

Although I don't agree with your statement "The assumption that the Kingdom exists only in the hearts of believers is incorrect", I wish to thank you for bringing up an interesting subject and I will offer another viewpoint on that subject.

The idea that Kingdom of Heaven is within us is not only a beautiful idea but it is an idea powerful enough to change the world for the better if it would be correctly understood and applied in our daily lives. People today, especially in the Western world are trying to find happiness in acquiring material object. They spend all their life in pursuit of happiness and often they die unhappy. If they would only know that the only happiness they will ever find lies within them, or as Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is within them.

Material object is not what makes us happy. It is how we relate to that object. Some people love smoking, some people can not stand the idea of smelling cigarette smoke. They are disgusted by that. In both cases the cigarette, the same object, is pleasure for one and pain for another.

Man worked hard to buy 40 feet yacht. Did it make him happy? Yes, temporarily, because now he wants 60 feet yacht. If person is not satisfied and able to enjoy in what he has right now, will never be able to be happy regardless of the amount of material possession he amasses during his life.

Being able to be happy right now with what we right now have, and being able to sincerely be grateful for it and thank God for it, we will never be happy. Happiness is within us.

I also wouldn't agree with the statement "Jesus Christ could not have been telling the Pharisees that God's Kingdom was something that existed within their hearts or minds—after all, these were people who wanted to destroy Him". Well, didn't Jesus tell us in Matthew 5:44 "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you"? Jesus was able to feel love even for his enemies and was teaching us the same thing. Why would it be so hard to imagine that he felt love even for those Pharisees and that he really meant that Kingdom of Heaven is within them too?

Love,

Your brother in Christ




GSpirit

GSpirit's picture

@Yura... Well said my friend. I completely agree that most people seek happiness through possessions. There is a dimension within us; within every human being that one could say... is completely overlooked. We become so fascinated with the content of our lives, with our external situation, the physical realm, things around us, things that happen, and our material possessions, that we lose sight of this dimension, we lose sight of God. We are blinded by the world and become not unlike the man who has eyes but cannot see. Jesus said, "I have overcome the world", and so must we.

This was the challenge of the Pharisees. Like so many today, the Kingdom of Heaven was within them, was within their grasp, but they were so blinded by the world that they could not understand, nor see it. And even when they did catch glimpses of truth in what Jesus told them, as an institution, the organizational structures desire and need for control, was an overriding factor, and they simply disregarded it.

The veil that separates our two worlds is thin. Heaven is both here and there. It is everywhere, but we must choose to see it, to BE it. We are the hands and feet of God... and He has given us the tools and resources to fill everyman’s needs. It is up to us to use them.

Therefore, we must Love God with all our heart. We must Love our neighbors as ourselves. We must walk in a manner worthy of our calling and treat others with humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in Love, while preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. So with-in, with-out.

Let no one who loves be unhappy, even love unreturned has its rainbow…




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

@GSpirit, Re: "This...your God is wrong mentality has to end...accept others without quarreling over disputable matters...Show tolerance."

"God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24, ESV 2011).




ilya

ilya's picture

The abover answer to Luke:17:20-21 is scripturally incorrect and here is why.

There seems to be two coaching variations of this verse but only one will prove its potential and optimum fruition.

Christ is pointing out Pharisees' poverty of spiritual discernment, not their belief which they would need if the second variation was to prove its point. In fact, Pharisees were failing to recognize that the message of God and His Kingdom was being offered to them (Matthew:23:15-17) despite their weak perception and animosity towards Him, thus fulfilling Jesus' commandment to "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."–Matthew:5:44 and Jesus' latter plea for them and others like-minded in Luke:23:34–"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

To emphasize this point further, The spiritually blind Pharisees did not recognize and accept the invitation of Jesus Christ as the divine representative or the very personification of that Kingdom in Him. That invitation was their chance, calling, potential and optimum fruition of God's desire to live within them if they had submitted themselves to Christ and accepted His eternal offering.

We know that the Kingdom of God does not come with a visible display by any one's plainest observation. But there is most definitely a basis in this passage for believing the Kingdom of God begins in one's heart upon their faithful response, embrace and will to follow God's Word (John:10:27) as well as the literal, world-ruling government that is soon coming to earth under Jesus Christ.

Jesus' intent of Luke:17:21 is for us to notice the proximity of God's eternal domain. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me."–Revelation:3:20.

Not only does God reveal His perpetual love and desire to grow a huge spiritual family, sharing our temporary, physical bodies as His tabernacle–His Holy Home, but by His spiritual and physical laws He reveals His marvelous craftsmanship through wisdom of His Spirit within us. We are a constituent part of creation, an incredible potential if we yield to the supreme mind, will, and instruction of Our God! God wants us to see the mimicry between physical and spiritual realm–His vast domain!




Manifestation

Manifestation's picture

This particular topic has been an on-going topic of discussion for a long time. Does this mean, if everyone has the Kingdom of God within that the psychopath who just killed a bunch of school kids has the Kingdom of God within him?

6 He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written:

18 The Spirit of the Lord is on Me,
because He has anointed Me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent Me[l]
to proclaim freedom[m] to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.[n][o]
20 He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”

The Kingdom of God is everywhere but does not dwell in anyone. All things..you, me..including the heavens and the earth are OF God, but not God Himself. All is a manifestation of His Existence and because of them, 'no one is without excuse', including the Pharisees. Jesus was the Kingdom of God standing there, as well as the Truth, but they all including the Disciples were failing to grasp the enormity of the situation, doubting Thomas prime example; for indeed, the capacity to See the Kingdom with eyes that See and ears that Hear is within everyone, but our sinful nature prevents us from Seeing Him until one has submitted self-will for his will. The word EGO did not exist then, so it be best to refrain from that usage. Ego does not exist, except in psychology although Jesus was Truly the Greatest Psychologist that ever lived. If the kingdom of God is within us, then how does one differentiate the indwelling of the Holy Spirit from the Kingdom of God?

“But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the Kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matt:12:28) . UPON, it is not within. Does Satan cast out Satan?..Evil generation. If all have the kingjdom within how can this generation be evil (and that one)? Luke:18:25-26 “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God ." And those who heard it said, "Who then can be saved?"




United Church of God

United Church of God's picture

Dear Manifestation,

Thank you for taking the time to comment. You demonstrate an interest in the subject matter of the Kingdom of God. I know you have already seen these two paragraphs, since they are written above, but I would like to repeat them here. Christ knew the Kingdom of God was not “within” any of the Pharisees. He was referring to Himself, as this article shows.

“Actually, Christ was pointing out the paradox that the Pharisees did not have the spiritual discernment to recognize that the message of the Kingdom of God was at hand or being offered to them. To punctuate this point, Jesus, who will be the King of Kings in that Kingdom, was referring to Himself when He said "the kingdom of God is among you" or "in your midst." The spiritually blind Pharisees did not recognize Jesus as the divine Representative of that Kingdom.

“Rather than telling the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God was something in their hearts, Jesus Christ warned them that they were so spiritually blind they couldn't recognize the very personification of that Kingdom in Him. There is no basis in this passage for believing the Kingdom of God resides in one's heart instead of being a literal world-ruling government.”

We are happy that you are interested in the subject of the Kingdom of God. United Church of God has a booklet entitled “The Gospel of the Kingdom” (http://www.ucg.org/booklet/gospel-kingdom/ ) that can be read or downloaded from our website.

Here are some of the chapter headings of this booklet:

Is the Kingdom Here Now? - http://www.ucg.org/booklet/gospel-kingdom/promise-coming-kingdom/kingdom...

Is the Kingdom Within You? - http://www.ucg.org/booklet/gospel-kingdom/promise-coming-kingdom/kingdom...

Is the Church the Kingdom? - http://www.ucg.org/booklet/gospel-kingdom/promise-coming-kingdom/church-...

How Are We ‘Translated Into the Kingdom?’ - http://www.ucg.org/booklet/gospel-kingdom/promise-coming-kingdom/how-are...

How is the Kingdom At Hand? - http://www.ucg.org/booklet/gospel-kingdom/promise-coming-kingdom/how-kin...

How You Can Enter the Kingdom - http://www.ucg.org/booklet/gospel-kingdom/how-you-can-enter-kingdom/

I believe that you would enjoy reading this booklet given your interest in the subject matter that you have shown. If we can be of service to you in the future please let us know.




apostlemark

apostlemark's picture

I couldn't help but to comment on this forum. The first thing that must be examined in the discussion is what the word kingdom means. The greek word for kingdom is basi-lia, which is both literally and figuratively speaking of a realm(kingdom). When Yeshua told the Pharisees that the kingdom of God is within them, He was clearly stating that the Kingdom of which God rules is inside of man. This can clearly be seen by His previous statement that the kingdom CANNOT be observed with physical things. He says this because the Kingdom of God is spiritual. Again we read in Matt:6:33 that we are to seek the kingdom of God, and its righteousness. If Yeshua(Jesus) tells us that the kingdom CANNOT be observed physically, how is it to be sought? Its clear that to Yeshua the kingdom of God(meaning the throne on which the eternal God sits, as the perfect image)is inside of the soul of man. See the reason people don't understand this is because they don't understand the garden of eden. The story of the garden of eden is NOT literal; it is a parable of the mind(soul)of man. The garden of paradise(eden) is a mind frame which man has wondered away from by believing things that are not of Gods truth. Eve is the soul, and adam is the manifestation of whats is the soul. The serpent(carnal nature) come to eve(soul), the soul takes in the KNOWLEDGE of good&evil(untruths)and presents it to the man. The man who is suppose to guard his soul(prov. 4:23) failed to watch His soul and came into agreement(believed to be true)with the lies given to the soul, and there you have it. Man in a sinful state. It must be understood that the story of eden is not one that about the sin of one man that now affects all people, but rather a story of how EVERY person wanders away from the image of God. Once a person understands this, then they can understand the message of the kingdom that Yeshua taught. His message was a message of understanding that the Kingdom is within man, and man has to seek to find God who is at the center of His being. Sin is a manifestation of the error of believing in the reality of things not of Gods truth. People don't understand that the physical kingdom of God is built when people began to discover and come back to the image of God thats engraved inside of them, and they began to manifest this into reality meaning that he kingdom is BEING established.




Robin J

Robin J's picture

Hi,
I understand exactly what CONSCIOUS was saying because I experienced this same enlightened state several years ago for several weeks. I can only describe it in words but it would be meaningless because it cannot be understood by words.

At the mere word ENLIGHTENMENT it perhaps conjours up Eastern religions but my experience wasn't under any label, it was brought on by practising relaxation techniques. My body became so heavy and relaxed like I've never known. (Usually, and even today, I cannot achieve this degree of relaxation and I either fall asleep or become irritable and have to get up.) Not this time. My mind was wide awake, totally alert and clear with a feeling of joy. Thinking had stopped and I listened to music that I'd played so many times and heard it like never before.

In everything I did I was totally CONSCIOUS and felt joy in everything and felt love for everything and everyone.
I may add that I have never taken drugs and was not under the influence of anything other than having practised relaxation excercises twice daily for about a month.

This is what CONSCIOUS meant by counsciousness.

My ego usually assesing what I do all the time and having a self identity, was completely absent and everything felt totally PERFECT - NOW - completely in the split second present moment. I just felt a part of everything and had a feeling that I always was and always will be, which I have later learned is very Buddhist but I never thought about religion, I never thought about anything. There was nothing to work out, there was nothing to prove or disprove. Everything is as it is and it's totally perfect.

After stopping the Relaxation practise I quickly lost what I had and 20 years later still cannot regain it. Understanding it mentally does not help.

A few years later I read a book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and it described everything I had experienced.

DID JESUS MEAN THAT THE KINGDOM of GOD IS WITHIN?

The only thing I KNOW is what I experienced.

I sincerely hope that my comments may be constructive and positive.

With very best wishes,

RobinJ




Sabrina Peabody

Sabrina Peabody's picture

ROBIN J,

Meditation is good and the Bible says to do it--but typically it is to think on and focus on a particular idea or topic and mull it over in your mind. Being able to have that focus, such as just focusing on how your body is feeling or the moment can also provide a sense of peace. I would search "meditation" on the UCG site and you'll get some good resources. One is the following Bible FAQ: http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/what-does-bible-teach-about-meditation

When it comes to your question, (Did Jesus mean that the Kingdom of God is within?), I would review the article and above comments.




Robin J

Robin J's picture

Hi Sabrina,

Thanks for your reply to my comments. I have now read about meditation on the UGC site and have advocated these principles to my life for many years.

I think that the common denominator here is Peace, deep peace. With that comes a deep sense of love. I'm sure this is what Jesus meant.

I also believe in Jesus and that he was the son of God, as he claimed to be. This is what sets him apart from other great spiritual teachers, and that the true core of Christianity is that the kingdom of God is literally in the future when Jesus returns and mankind will be resurrected.

This is where I differ from what Consciousness stated.

But to agree with Consciousness, these beliefs and thoughts are from my mind. Having experienced what Consciousness talks about, what I believe in and what I think has little to do with my spirituality in a state of pure consciousness when one is free from all thought and has pure awareness where everything is perfect NOW.

And so, for the time being I remain a paradox.

With very best wishes,

Rob




Emmanuel Atadora

Emmanuel Atadora's picture

The Kingdom of God is a community of people where Loves ruled. Like what the early Christian Live in Acts 2: 43-47.




Lena VanAusdle

Lena VanAusdle's picture

apostlemark,
The Bible is literal, as is the story of the Garden of Eden. The Kingdom of God is something that we seek through our obedience to God, and in overcoming sin. Jesus did mean that the Kingdom of God was IN the Pharisees, it is better translated that the Kingdom of God was among them (Luke:17:20-21) as the article above mentions. He meant Himself, the Messiah. It is only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we have access to forgiveness, salvation and ultimately the Kingdom of God [The physical Kingdom that will be set up on earth upon the return of Jesus Christ].




KARS

KARS's picture

Jesus came preaching about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Here is a bible study if you are interested in learning more:

http://www.ucg.org/bible-study-lesson/bible-study-course-lesson-6-what-g...




Robin J

Robin J's picture

I would love regain my Christian faith that I once had from many different bible studies over 20 years.

It is wonderful to know that after all the pain and suffering in this world there is hope in Jesus that we will be resurrected with a spiritual body and live like God intended for us before Adam sinned.

In reality in very difficult times, again and again there was no help, no comfort praying over and over. I was on my own.
Yes I've read Footprints and nice stuff like that. I still like stuff like that.

I was also told that when one believes in Jesus, one wants others to believe and gain this faith and that this is the holy spirit working in us. I too was like this for many years, almost like a salesman selling Jesus.

I now know that it was all mind made and egoic. CONSCIOUSNESS was the only one who could see beyond this.

I can really see both sides of this and as I said earlier, would love to regain my Christian faith and hope in a literal heaven in the future place in time but physicists such as Stephen Hawkins are proving this very unlikely

To save my breath have another look at what Consciousness says, for example back in July 29th 2011. I cannot improve on that.

I do not wish to offend anyone. The only reason I am on this Forum is in the hope that I can regain my faith if I really have got it all wrong but I just think now that we are just an animal as Darwin said but one that has evolved so that we have a self awareness.

But Jesus did say he was the son of God. To my knowledge this is where he differs from other spiritual teachers!




Skip

Skip's picture

Hello Robin J,
Are you sure you ever really had THE faith?
I am in no sense demeaning whatever it was that you had but,
"He who endures to the end, the same shall be saved."

Do you want that salvation? that saving grace?
If you do, you need to know & accept Jesus Christ's definition.

I like your 2nd para but not your 5th.

Consciousness (I guess you mean the commentator) is not the final word! The wisdom of this world is based on what WE think is good.
But if you choose to accept that perspective, that is your choice.

Perhaps if you sat down with a friend... you might trust them.




Malachi 3_16-18

Malachi 3_16-18's picture

Hi RobinJ,

Those who seek God must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb:11:6). I commend your search for truth and meaning in life.

Regarding creation vs. evolution, please check out ucg.org's booklet, "Creation or Evolution: Does It Really Matter What You Believe?" Since you already believe in the Father and Son, would you give more weight to what fallible humans teach, or to what is said by the God who created those humans? We must beware of "science" that is opposed to God, and scientists who don't realize or who ignore the incredible potential with which God created us (Rom:1:17-23; 1 Tim:6:20-21): to become members of His Family for ever, and possessing His very nature (Heb:2:6-8; 2 Pet:1:4; 1 John:3:1-3)! Man was created higher than the animals, and our self awareness comes from the spirit in man which our Maker gave us, but didn't give to the animals (Job:32:8; I Cor. 2:11).

I encourage you to study the Bible, God's instruction manual for mankind, prayerfully and with an open mind, for the answers to life's big questions (2 Tim:3:16-17; Acts:17:11). It's OK to be aware of other teachings out there, but remember that God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor:14:33).

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes from the Word of God (Rom:10:17). Feel free to also check out UCG's booklet "You Can Have Living Faith."




dziwczyna

dziwczyna's picture

Hi Robin J,

I'm sorry to hear that you are conflicted in your faith. That must be a very difficult thing to be going through especially since you hear so many conflicting messages with science.

I'm also sorry that you believe we are just animals. If that is true, what a pitiful existence we are in and what hopelessness for the future. I believe what the Bible teaches is true--that humans were created in Gods' image and likeness and that the purpose of our creation is to become future sons and daughters in Gods' family. http://www.ucg.org/booklet/what-your-destiny/

Believing in Stephen Hawking is a choice. Was Stephen Hawking there when the universe was created? He may be a successful and smart man, but not all smart men are wise!

UCG has some excellent free booklets available on subjects that can help you to understand God's word. http://www.ucg.org/booklets/




Robin J

Robin J's picture

Thanks for your comments Malachi and dziwczyna, and recommended reading which has really hit the mark.

Since my last comments I feel I have somehow come full circle and can now see much more clearly and no more in conflict.

The spiritually enlightened state that I experienced for several weeks must have been God given to begin with because the only foundation of truth I believe is the bible, and I believe in everything Jesus stood for and every word he said.

The conflict began when I started thinking abut it all later. My error was to believe in what contradicts the bible and this is where I do not agree with Conscious /Eckhart Tolle. I understand totally what he talks about and how we are all driven by ego and the mind, and that there underneath in us all is pure consciousness and joy and peace. I cannot deny that for I have been there so to speak BUT to believe that the source of this is anything other than the God of the bible, is treading on thin ice.

I'm not very good on quoting chapter and verse but "Many people will be deceived in the last days by what looks whiter than white" (?).

And St. Paul in Romans?Corinthians? "The troubles in this world are nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us through Christ." I read this to mean that our future must be absolutely mind blowing, to such a degree that its totally beyond our comprehension.

I would just like to say a big thanks to the positive, caring and encouraging input from you on this site. Although I am happily married and love my wife very much, you have also made me feel very much part of you all. It's a wonderful feeling.

My energies will now be focused on bible study, not on conflict.




Malachi 3_16-18

Malachi 3_16-18's picture

Hi again RobinJ,

I'm thankful that my comments were helpful to you. And I'm glad that you are becoming less confused. Our natural ways and thinking are indeed in conflict with God's (Isa:55:8-9; Jer:17:9; Jer:10:23; Rom:8:6-7). There is nothing inherently good in humans at all - any LASTING and fulfilling joy and peace can only come from God via His Holy Spirit . Glad you are finding the booklets from our website helpful; I would definitely recommend that you read these two, prayerfully, if you haven't already come across them: "The Road to Eternal Life" and "Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion."

Happy studying!




dziwczyna

dziwczyna's picture

Hey Robin J,

Glad to hear that you were uplifted and feel encouraged by the members of this site.

I just wanted to point out something from the Bible about our human nature.

The Bible says "the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be." (Rom:8:7)

Paul also states, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." (Rom:7:18-19)

So, Eckhart Tolle has it wrong--underneath us all is not pure joy and peace. Joy and peace is only a fruit that we can bear through the Holy Spirit of God (Gal:5:22).

The remedy for carnal human nature, is receiving the Holy Spirit. The process of receiving the Holy Spirit is being called by God the Father (John:6:65), repentance and baptism (Acts:2:28), and then receiving the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands (Acts:8:18). The Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God (Acts:5:32).

It is still a constant war with our carnal human nature after receiving the Holy Spirit, as through the process of conversion we have to allow God to mold and shape us into His image (character). We have to fight the old man, and be constantly renewed inwardly, which is the struggle that Paul mentioned in Romans 7.




harryh

harryh's picture

Here's what it really means! the king james says "the kingdom of God is within you" (translation, smanslation :) ) it is true it is.. if you are saved and walking in the spirit!

God is Love and God's Kingdom is a place of Love which is the image of God, the fruits of Love are joy,beauty, peace,sharing,caring,giving, wisdom, understanding, compassion, truth, honesty, meekness, innocence,purity,selflessness etc all good great things!

so it is love and it's Fruits which live inside us, of course when jesus was speaking to the pharisees it was in a figurative sense because obviously they didn't have Love or it's fruits within them because they were far from God, who is Love and gives Love. they were full of hatred and their fruits were rotten as they were living and walking in the flesh adorned with false riches and the illusion of power.

nothing has changed today, satans kingdom has just grown bigger with more false teachers and leaders.

id, super ego and consciousness,living for the moment etc, is worldly pagan nonsense straight out of satans bottom.

The plain ego however is a defence mechanism of the mind but in this evil world it has been cultivated as a weapon by inflating it and promoting those who are ego driven as role models, it causes conflict on a large and small scale, before the media it was just lies,selfishness and ignorance that kept people from truth and reality, now it is their own ego on top of promoting sin as virtue.

Thus the truth and God are hated more than ever before, true spirit filled believers are odd alien people in this world now as sin has grown so vastly enveloping the whole world that people see it as normal and call it life! sheesh...

peace be with you brothers and sisters




findingunity

findingunity's picture

Having spent much time researching this, I find that this passage does in fact mean "within," and sadly the "in the midst" is a product of theologians pushing an agenda.

1. Point to the source material that in Greek the word Entos ever becomes "in the midst." The only reference for it is Strongs or other Theological work. There is no Greek linguistic evidence for this (either in ancient or modern Greek.) The most common response from people translating this as “among,” state their decision is based the greek word Entos having a different meaning when paired with a plural noun. However, they never point to a valid non theological source of this decision.
2. The word Entos is used only once more in the Bible, in Mathew 23:26 - which all Theologians translate as "within." Yet we have the same case of a plural noun, just like in Luke:17:21. If you translate one (Mat:23:26 as within, you must translate Luke:17:21 as 'within' as well.)
3. If the author wished to convey the idea of "in your midst" they would have used this greek: ανάμεσά σας and not Entos.
4. The Aramaic translations also quote this as "within." For reference, see Dr. George Lamsa Aramaic translation and the John Etheridge Peshitta Aramaic New Testament Aramaic.

Outside of Strongs Concordance and Theological analysis, the Greek word Entos always means within. It is used as a root word quite often, and always meaning within (such as Entothorax - within the thorax.) It is never used as a root word for the concept of "amongst," and is always used as the root meaning of "within."



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