The Kingdom of Heaven

Introduction

In my last blog (See: Is the Law Dead for Christians) I wrote about how the old testament law has not been done away with by Jesus or the Apostle Paul. Moreover I showed how Jesus even expected his followers to practice the law at a higher level than the Pharisees. To practice the law at a higher level than the Pharisees one must spiritualize the law of Moses and fulfill it within their very being. For example instead of sacrificing an animal in a temple what we’re really suppose to do is sacrifice our inner animal in the temple which are our bodies. This is why the Apostle Paul continually said things like,

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. – Colossians 3:5

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. -Galatians 5:24

“…I beat my body and make it my slave…” – 1st Cor 9:27

This leads us to the topic of the kingdom of heaven. On this issue Christians are no different than the Pharisees because they fail to heed the very words of Jesus on the nature of the kingdom.

The Nature of the Kingdom

The kingdom is inside you

If you ask modern Christians when the kingdom of heaven is going to come they will tell you that first the anti-Christ needs appear on the world scene to deceive the whole world create a one world government and lead the armies of the world to attack Jerusalem. When Jerusalem is surrounded by all the armies of the world then Jesus is going to appear with his angels, destroy the anti-Christ and set up the kingdom in Jerusalem which will last for a thousand years. This is the view most Christians will spew when asked when the kingdom of heaven will come, now contrast this with what Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke when he was asked when the kingdom of heaven would appear.

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” – Luke 17:20-21

Christians believe Jesus is going to set up a physical kingdom in Jerusalem, Jesus in his own words basically said, the coming of the kingdom isn’t going to be a physical here or there that can be seen with the naked eye because the kingdom of heaven is within you.

Thus the modern Christian and the Pharisees of Jesus’ time are similar, the Pharisees looked to practiced the law of Moses physically instead of spiritually while Christians look for a physical manifestation of the kingdom when the coming of the kingdom is a spiritual event which happens within the physical body of the follower of Christ. Luke 11:52 makes a lot more sense when you realize the kingdom is inside of you. Jesus said,

Woe to you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye have not entered in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. – Luke 11:52

Therefore we can rightly conclude that once the disciple of Christ has sacrificed their inner animal, hormones, and lust within the altar of their body-temple then and only then can the believer enter the kingdom within.

‘Within’ or ‘Among?’

The favorite rendering of Luke 17:21 by Christian translators is “the kingdom of heaven is among you.’ They reason that Jesus could not have possibly been saying that the kingdom of heaven was in the hearts of the Pharisees, but is this true? The word translated as ‘within’ in Luke 17:21 is the Greek word Entos. This word is only used twice in the New Testament, the only other time it was used was in the Gospel of Matthew chapter twenty-three. Jesus says,

“You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. – Matthew 23:27

Here we see entos again being translated as inside. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for not focusing on first cleansing themselves on the inside instead of the outside. Furthermore on the issue on whether the correct translation is within or among the Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament says,

 This ‘within you’ is the obvious, and, as I think, the necessary meaning of |entos|. The examples cited of the use of |entos| in Xenophon and Plato where |entos| means “among” do not bear that out when investigated. Field (_Ot. Norv_.) “contends that there is no clear instance of |entos| in the sense of among” (Bruce), and rightly so. What Jesus says to the Pharisees is that they, as others, are to look for the kingdom of God within themselves, not in outward displays and supernatural manifestations. It is not a localized display “Here” or “There.” (Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament on Luke 17:21)

Since there are no Greek writers who used entos to mean among we can rightly conclude that within is the correct translation.

Lost saying of Jesus on the Kingdom of Heaven

In the Gospel of Thomas saying 22 a rather strange concept is put forth by Jesus, it says,

Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to his disciples, ‘These infants being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom.’ They said to him, ‘Shall we then, as children, enter the kingdom?’ Jesus said to them, ‘When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter the kingdom.’” – Gospel of Thomas, saying 22

This same saying is found in the writings of the disciple of the Apostle Peter, St. Clement, in his 2nd Epistle of Clement. Also this saying is found in the recently discovered Oxyrhynchus papyri.

While this saying no doubt has many correct interpretations one interpretation is that both men and women are made up of male and female polarities and it is these polarities that must be transcended so that, “the male not be male nor the female female.” The fulfillment of such a merging of our positive polarity with our negative one is seen in the symbol of the ying and yang. Therefore when the opposite polarities within us are brought into unity then we can enter the kingdom of heaven.

Summary

We have seen that the nature of the kingdom is a spiritual one not a physical one. The kingdom will not be a localized here or there where it can be seen with the human eye because as Jesus said, “the kingdom is within you.”

I have also demonstrated that the correct translation of Luke 17:21 is within not among. Entos is never used to mean among in any Greek writing and in the new Testament it is only used twice and in both occasions it clearly means inside. Christians arbitrarily choose to translate entos as among because the kingdom being inside the Pharisees goes against Christian dogma.

In the Gospel of Thomas and other biblical documents and artifacts it was shown that a lost saying of Jesus clearly shows that to enter the kingdom you must overcome duality within yourself. The fact that the kingdom of heaven is spiritual in nature and not a physical kingdom which will be set up in Jerusalem goes against Christian doctrines but it was Jesus himself who said the kingdom is inside us and not in a specific location. Therefore Christians who continue to cling to the left behind theology call Jesus Christ a liar, not with their mouths but with their beliefs.

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