The Kingdom Of God

Luke 17:20-37

The Kingdom of God is a major subject in the book of Luke. In the latter part of chapter 17, the Pharisees as well as His disciples asked Jesus some questions about it.

Luke 17:20-21. “And 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: 21: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

The Kingdom of God includes the Trinity, God’s angels, and the believers from all dispensations for all eternity.

In the Old Testament, God has promised the Children of Israel a kingdom on this earth for a thousand years. The Pharisees asked Jesus when this kingdom would come. The King was here but they wouldn’t recognize Him. John the Baptist, the disciples, and Christ Himself, announced that the kingdom was "at hand."

The Pharisees had some serious misunderstanding of the Kingdom. They expected Roman rule to be overthrown and that they would be put in a position of political power. In verse 21 Jesus told where the Kingdom of God was. It was in those who believed in Him.

The gospel, or good news, of the kingdom is that the righteous rule of God on earth was “at hand.” Entering this kingdom calls for repentance of your sins and accepting Christ as your Messiah, (In John 3, Jesus described it as being “born again”). Folks, It’s still the same today. Jesus was rejected and we’ll see later in this chapter that His earthly reign wouldn’t come immediately.

Matthew 4:23 tells us “Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” This gospel of the kingdom will still be preached during the Tribulation and until Christ returns to establish His kingdom on earth.

Matthew 24:14. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Jesus is going to overthrow Satan along with the people who oppose God's authority at that time.

The believers of Jesus’ day knew that the Kingdom of God hadn’t yet come. If it had come, there would be no more sin, suffering, or Satan because these things will be done away with at that time. That’s also proof that it’s not fully present on earth today.

The apostles asked Jesus about this just before He went back to heaven. Acts 1:6. “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” While there were many individual believers at that time, the nation as a whole had rejected God’s offer and as a result the kingdom in its earthly form was postponed until Christ’s second coming.

In Matthew 13 the present church age is described as the kingdom in it’s "mystery form." Paul wrote, in Colossians 1:25-27. “I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; 2. 26: Even the mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”

Paul also wrote that when we becomes believers we’re taken out of the kingdom of darkness and placed in the Kingdom of God. Colossians 1:12-13 “Giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13: Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son:”

When we get saved we enter that Kingdom, we’re under a new authority, able to serve God and no longer under Satan’s control.

Turn to Revelation 11. I want you to take a good look at this. It tells of a time when God's Kingdom will be established over every individual’s life as well as over the whole earth.

Revelation 11:15. “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”

Revelation 12:10. “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”

This earth will be destroyed at the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ, but the Kingdom of God will continue forever. Revelation 21:1. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Revelation 21:5. “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”

Old Testament prophets wrote about a time when God's enemies would be destroyed and His purposes fully manifest. Daniel mentions this in Daniel 2:44. “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”

Luke 17:21 would indicate that the Kingdom of God is present today because the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God is within you." The power, authority, and purposes of God are still being carried out on earth through the Holy Spirit.

Luke 16:16. “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presses to enter it."

Jesus demonstrated the power and authority of the Kingdom of God by healing the sick and casting out demons and saving souls, but the Kingdom of God requires the total acceptance of the King by His people for it’s full manifestation.

The salvation of lost souls is evidence that the kingdom is present now through the Holy Spirit. Obviously, sin, Satan, and suffering all still exist, so the believer experiences only part of God's power to overcome these things.

We read in Revelation that the fullness of the Kingdom of God is still in the future and that it will take place when Jesus comes again to rule the world, so the form of the Kingdom of God we experience today is only a foretaste of what is to come.

Luke 17:22-25. “And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. 23: And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24: For as the lightning, that lights out of the one part under heaven, shines unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. 25: But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.”

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were totally unaware of the presence of the Kingdom of God because it wasn’t physically visible, but the future coming of the Kingdom will be as visible as lightning in the sky.

In verses 22-23, Jesus told His disciples the time will come when they would "long to see one of the days of the Son of Man." They would look forward to the return of Jesus to set up His Kingdom just as the believer today looks forward to the Rapture.

Titus 2:13 tells us that believers of the church age are eagerly "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;"

The disciples hoped that Jesus would return and set up His Kingdom in their lifetime but He told them, "You will not see it" (verse 22). He didn’t mean they would never see it. Verses 24-25 indicate that He must first suffer crucifixion and die for our sins and then come back at a later time.

That time, I’m sorry to report, will be when Jesus comes to fight the battle of Armageddon near the end of the Great Tribulation.

In verse 23, He warns them not to believe the false reports of His return by false prophets who will say things like, "There He is" or "Here He is" because everybody will know it when He returns. Verse 24, “For as the lightning, that lights out of the one part under heaven, shines unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.” No one living will miss it when Jesus returns to the earth!

Verse 24 doesn’t refer to the Rapture when Jesus takes His people to be with Him before the judgment comes. The Rapture won’t be visible to the unsaved but when He comes for the battle of Armageddon it will be seen by everybody on earth.

The Jehovah's Witnesses cult has a false teaching that Jesus returned and set up His Kingdom in 1914, and only a small number of faithful believers saw it.

That contradicts what Jesus said here. He said, "Don't go running to those who teach that I returned but most of the people missed it.”

Revelation 1:7. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him."

Connect this with Luke 17:25. "But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation." Jesus came the first time to be crucified and die in our place. He didn’t come to wear a crown. The second time He’ll come as King of kings and Lord of lords!

We live between His first and second coming and we still have the opportunity to enter His Kingdom by receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior. If you haven't done that, I hope you will do so today. Just acknowledge that you are a sinner and place your faith in Jesus Christ and ask God for forgiveness and you’ll be accepted into the Kingdom of God.

Verses 26-37 deal with how the end times will come and what the second coming will be like.
Luke 17:26-30. “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27: They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28: Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29: But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30: Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”

The Kingdom itself will be wonderful but it’s going to be preceded by this terrible judgment. You can read all the details in the Book of Revelation. There'll be death, war, disease, and "natural disasters" on a scale that this world has never known.

This isn’t just fate, it isn’t just the earth wearing out or spinning off it’s axis, it’s the judgment of God on a world that is disobedient to Him.

He judged the whole world in Noah's day and Sodom and Gomorrah in Lot's day, and is going to judge the whole world again.

Jesus emphasized how sudden and unexpected this judgment will be. It will be just like Noah’s and Lot’s days when people were living just as they always had when their judgment came.

People tend to expect some prior warning or gradual change that indicates the end is near, but life will be going on as usual and suddenly, bang, the whole world will be under judgment.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-2. “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2: For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”

The Day of the Lord spoken of here is the time when Jesus returns to judge the earth's non-believes. Jesus won’t return for seven years or more after the Rapture. The last three and one half of those years will be ones of terrible judgment on the earth and then Jesus will come again.

Since life will have gone on so long in the usual way, people will mistake that as an indication that no judgment will come and some will even laugh at the idea of a judgment from God.

They will probably have forgotten, or have tried to forget, the unexplained disappearance of so many people in the Rapture a few years before.

2 Peter 3:3-9. “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4: And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5: For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8: But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

This judgment is coming and the only escape is by being right with God through Jesus Christ. If you have already accepted Jesus as your Savior, you don’t have to worry about judgment.

God's people will be taken to heaven in the Rapture before the terrible judgment of God is manifest.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Verses 27 & 29 state that God’s judgment didn’t start until His people were out of danger. No rain fell on the earth until God shut Noah inside the ark’s door. The judging angels told Lot they couldn’t judge Sodom until he was safely out of the city.

Verses 31-36 describe how God’s next judgment will come. “In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32: Remember Lot's wife. 33: Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34: I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35: Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36: Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”

This describes the scene during the Tribulation. Jesus warns them not to focus on the things of the world. Be prepared for His return. Lot was taken out of Sodom and from God's wrath but Lot's wife focused on the things of her world and wasn’t willing to give them up. She turned back and faced God’s judgment, and it was pretty salty!

In verses 34-36, two people may be sleeping in the same bed, one spared from judgment and one left to face judgment. Two working together like the women grinding grain or men working in the field, and only the believer will be taken and escape judgment.

This is similar to what will occur at the Rapture. Husbands and wives separated, brothers and sisters, parents and children separated. The believers will be taken to glory with Jesus Christ, all others will be left behind to face a terrible judgment.

God doesn’t promise a second chance so the non-believers left behind during the Rapture will undoubtedly be left behind again for judgment during the Tribulation period.

Jesus warns that "Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it."

During the tribulation, the person who would save his life by renouncing the gospel to avoid the risk of martyrdom for Christ will lose his life eternally because he hasn’t believed the gospel. The person who is distracted by the things of this world will find it hard to accept Christ as their Savior.

The person who is willing to lose their life as a martyr for Christ at that time will save his life eternally because of his faith in Christ. Jesus said the one who "loses his life," who seeks the Lord for salvation and turn his life over to Christ, will be safe forever from the judgment to come.

Verse 37. “And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.” The disciples were asking Jesus where this judgment would take place. Jesus likened it to scavengers eating a dead body. His answer was that wherever there are spiritually dead, this judgment will come.There is only one way to escape the judgement of God, and God has stated how you can take part in that in John 3:36 "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."