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Is God’s kingdom in church? (2)

Being asked by the Pharisees when the God’s kingdom would come, he answered them, “(A) God’s kingdom is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look and see, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ because, look and see, God’s kingdom is among you.” And he said to the disciples, “(B) The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look and see, there!’ or ‘Look and see, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. (C) Because as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. And, most importantly, he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. (D) Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (E) On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. (F) I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” Luke 17: 20-37
 
Last week, we looked at (A) to (D) above. Back in AD 30 Jesus made it clear to the Pharisees – in (A) above - that God’s kingdom (the Son of Man himself) was, at that time, among them. Then, in (B) above, Jesus gave to his disciples additional information about God’s kingdom in future years. He used the phrase “the days of the Son of Man” to identify that kingdom as it would exist on earth when he was no longer here physically. 

Jesus confirmed, in (C) above, that, most important of all, he must suffer many things and be rejected – before the days of the Son of Man (God’s kingdom) could come in a new way on earth.

However, still in (C) above, when God’s kingdom would then arrive, the Son of Man would be like lightning – seen everywhere – lightning that would be so visible that it would illuminate completely the darkest place on earth.  
 
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‘God’s kingdom has come into the world and the powers of the age to come are operative even in the age that now is.’ (Peter Lewis)
Then Jesus gave, in (D) above, a description of what the world would be like when God’s kingdom is on earth and the Son of Man is here, not physically but like lightning. It will be the same as in the days of Noah (circa BC 2400) - and as in the days of Lot (circa BC 2000) – and as in Jersey this very year. Folk are eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 

For some, that will continue until Jesus comes again. For others – for others who wish to look and see – they will see in their day, before it is too late, the like-lightning Son of Man in the dark place that is this world. See (E) above.

In his 2012 Preface to the re-issue of his 1988 biography of Leo Tolstoy (Russian writer 1828-1910), historian A N Wilson writes: 
He [Tolstoy] showed the human race what we have still not learned: that disparities between the hungry and the over-bloated are not accidental. They come about as a result of our rotten value-systems. 
Tolstoy would not be surprised that, a hundred years after his death, we find ourselves living on a planet in which the majority remain on the breadline and the rest suffer from obesity.
Nor would it surprise this hater of cities that our pursuit of economic growth and industrial progress is literally destroying the planet on which we live, its trees, its birds, its wild animals.

 
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‘The throne of God outlives the dissolution of this world.’ (Stephen Charnock, chaplain, 1628-1680)
One who has seen the like-lightning Son of Man is no longer keen at all costs to preserve his life – but is prepared, like Jesus, to lose it in blessing others with the good news of the Son of Man. Unlike Lot’s wife, there’s a full heart change which doesn’t look back.

Jesus then “got very personal”. See (F) above. He said that two destinies only open up for all human beings. "One will be taken and the other left. "

Left where? Good question. Jesus answered: “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” Are the “others” left in the place which Tolstoy saw? The place where we’re all dead to the harm we do to others. The place where the dead-to-others are really vultures, feeding on carrion.

 
Richard Syvret

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