“For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you!” (Luke 17:21) Where is the kingdom of God? Different translations handle the Greek preposition εντος (entos) differently for this verse. Some render it “within”, presumably meaning “inside each person”, while others render it “among”, meaning that Jesus as the minister of God’s kingdom exercises the Father’s authority among the people with whom He is speaking.
In current English the word “kingdom” tends to conjur up spatial connotations in the mind of the hearer. We think of lands or people inhabiting those lands. Kingdom is an abstract noun. It means the authority and power of the king. The kingdom (βασιλεια) of God is His kingly authority exercised. The kingdom of God is present wherever true goodness is found. When we obey the will of God, His kingship is seen; when God uses His power to heal someone, His kingship is experienced. The king is the shepherd of his people (Ps. 23); he cares for them, and he apportions his authority to ministers so that his will may be done throughout his realm.
“The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15) This triumphal cry in the book of Revelation is a declaration about the reclamation of the earth at Christ’s parousia. The rebellion of mankind at Babel led to the disinheritance of the nations. The nations were apportioned to spiritual beings (St. Paul’s “thrones” and “principalities”). Yahweh created Israel to be His nation, His inheritance, through whom in Christ He would regain the nations. Christ has indeed regained the nations, but He will not formally take possession of them until His parousia, at which time the spiritual forces will be dethroned and the nations judged (Matt. 24-25).
The good news of the kingdom is that Christ has asserted His rule over the cosmos. Anyone who is willing can join this kingdom if they will acknowledge Christ as Lord and enter into covenant with Him. This covenant is entered into by faith, and demands faithfulness from us: we are to have no god but Yahweh. In this kingdom, according to the glorious grace of God in Christ Jesus, we have been seated in the heavenly places in Christ, set above the powers that once held us in bondage.
But we do not see this now in the flesh. We know it by faith, through revelation in God’s Word and in our hearts. Living in the knowledge that we already have this victory is impossible without faith. By faith the martyrs exchanged their earthly lives for a more glorious life to come. By faith and by their testimony they overcame the Devil and his forces.
But in all things, it is well to remember that we have a good, kind, loving, and just King. He knows our weaknesses and temptations; He knows our emotions and the confusion that comes from living in the world. But He promises to give us whatever we ask in His name, and He reminds us that our heavenly Father loves to give good gifts to His children. Truly, we live in a kingdom of generosity, and we are called to share that generosity with the world.