There is this interesting passage in the gospel of Luke that talks about the kingdom of God. Here is the passage:
“Once, on being asked by the Religious Leaders when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
[Read the whole passage for context: Luke 17:20-37]
In other words, it will not come with parade and pomp. Men look at events in a localized manner. Jesus was telling these leaders God’s kingdom would come in the “manner” in which they not expecting. To the religious leaders 2000 some years ago, as it is today, Jesus was telling them that the Kingdom of God is not the kind of kingdom to be confined to one place. They were looking for the liberation of Israel, and in particular Jerusalem. With that mind set, when indications of the appearance of God’s Kingdom showed signs of appearing, people will say “Look! It is appearing here!” or “Look over there. That is the real deal!”
Jesus words and his actions reflected ideas that were radically different form the views of the population in general. To them, and to most of us in the 21st century, this world is everything. Success is measured in material wealth and power. It is a culturally mandated quantity to aspire after; this supreme ambition of power. To Jesus, earth was but a fragment or shadow of a far greater realm. Some people advocate that when one dies they enter voids of silence, without life or thought. Others will say that you become something higher or lower in form depending on earthly performance. Still others will advocate it matters not what your life is like. All you need to do is just say one simple prayer and that is enough for the rest of your life to escape judgment. Yet if you take the time to examine the Scriptures you will discover that there is a realm of existence whose movements, unlimited by our physical bodies of flesh, have capabilities appearing subtle and swift as thought itself. This realm exhibits a life much different from the ‘grab all you can’ mentality of this realm.
Jesus taught about three realms; one physical and two spiritual. The first was the realm from where he came from originally. This was a spiritually realm [heaven] quite different from our current second realm called earth. In the mind of Jesus heaven was a realm of happiness and light. However, the spiritual realm outside of earth that Jesus taught about had two regions that are diametrically opposites both in condition and location. One was a place of woe and darkness, a punishing realm of fearful shadow. Borrowing the language of the day it was called the “place of burning.” There are two invisible realms, lying apart from earth, yet closely relating it from opposite directions. Jesus clearly taught that to one or other all the paths of human life are aimed. They select their eternal goal; their self-chosen destiny.
The kingdom of God is not discerned by many because it is looked for in all the wrong places. Jesus show us that although it is discernible now, but because individuals persuade themselves that it will appear with outward revolution and ceremony, it is yet to come. Most people due to ignorance look for God’s promised kingdom marked with a show of majestic events. Today there are many plain evidences demonstrating that Christ was the Messiah. His kingdom is here now and operational. The religious leaders were looking for signs with intense observation for an earthly Messianic kingdom with all of the trappings of earthly kingdoms.
Medical personnel use of the word “observation” indicates they are watching the symptoms of disease progression. It is used also of close astronomical observations. And that is a good plan for watching external phenomena. It will not reveal the signs of the kingdom of God. It is not a realm that can be observed by the eye as in an experiment. However, it can be distinguished when compared to the kingdoms of this world. Kingdoms and realms of rule of this world are places of outward pomp and splendor, a showing of ruling power, parading of the latest weapons, by greed and riches and by the bestowal of external honor and grandeur.
While the kingdom of God is not observable as with an experiment, people seeking Jesus will find that they will begin to see differently. Instead of looking for something physical to observe, they will begin to see what Jesus has done in individual hearts, radically changing their manner of life from self absorption to one of serving others. Men who are engaged solely in the pursuits of gaining possessions will never see the kingdom of God. They have in the past and will continue to confuse the importance of events, by the mere standard of nearness or remoteness. As the saying goes: “It is only at a distance that one can take in the outlines and features of a whole country.”
Jesus summarized his teaching on the kingdom: “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.” In other words, if you are looking for the Kingdom of God here on earth as a physical realm, then you will only find dead things.