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Bridging Heaven and Earth: Unveiling the Kingdom Within

By Steve McVey

What does it mean to pray for God's Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven?  Does the prayer suggest that the Kingdom of God needs to relocate from the celestial realm to an earthly one? Not at all. The prayer isn't about presence but perception. 

One time, when the Pharisees asked Jesus when His Kingdom would come, He gave an answer no one expected. He said, "You won't be able to say, 'Here it is!' or 'It's over there!' because the Kingdom of God is already among you" (Luke 17:21). Their question was rooted in an underlying sense of nationalism that only understood physical kingdoms built around political parties and powerful people who rule over others who submit. They wanted a map of things to come, but Jesus told them that what they were looking for was already here.  They just couldn't see it.  The Kingdom of God isn't out there but is already among us. 

Many in the Evangelical world today have the same problem as those did two millennia ago. They want to know a timeline for when Jesus Christ plans to set up His Kingdom, and, like the Pharisees, they can only anticipate a future time. They imagine Him coming back, taking over, and setting up a kingdom on the earth that is absent at this point in time. In their minds, we have little chance for things to get any better until Christ returns and takes over by force. Remember the earlier example about the greyhounds who chase the mechanical rabbit around the racetrack but can never catch it? That's the kind of approach many take to the Kingdom of God. They're chasing after something they think is out there, ahead of us, but in reality, it is already here among us and, in fact, within us. 

While Christ is indeed coming again, in their obsession with future things, many people miss the point that He is here right now.

Whatever your views may be about end-times prophecies, it's important to acknowledge that Christ is here, and, according to Him, the Kingdom of God is already here, too.  We will not be able to see the Kingdom of God manifesting among us as long as we believe it's only a future event. 

This Kingdom Jesus described isn't one like anything we've known so far.  The kind of Kingdom He described is characterized by compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. It is a Kingdom open to anyone and everyone willing to enter by faith. It is a life of service toward others and one of humility and selflessness. 

The Kingdom of God coming on earth is nothing less than our eyes being opened to the reality that already exists among us. God's Kingdom won't be manufactured in this world but will be manifested. Remember that faith doesn't create but facilitates what is already present.  Faith simply brings outcomes from the invisible to the visible.  The Kingdom of God will become visible to us all, but not because the King and His Kingdom aren't already here. "Thy kingdom come" isn't to be tied to our calendar but to our consciousness. While His Kingdom is already among us, most aren't conscious of it because it isn't the kind of kingdom we've been taught to recognize. Many are waiting for something to happen when, in reality, "it is finished." 

In C.S. Lewis's last work of fiction, Till We Have Faces, he tells the story of two sisters, Orual and Psyche, princesses in the Kingdom of Glome. Everything is going well until the Priest of the goddess Ungit comes to the King to tell him that Psyche must be sacrificed to the goddess. Psyche is drugged and chained to the sacred tree, where she is left to be eaten by the shadow brute. 

A few days later, Orual returns to the tree to give her sister's bones a proper burial. When she arrives, Psyche's bones are nowhere to be found. She wanders to the river, crying when she sees Psyche standing on the other side. Orual is shocked. She doesn't know what to think. How is it possible? She knows that Psyche is dead. How can this be true? Orual crosses the river, and she and Psyche embrace. Psyche then tells her sister the story of how the God of the West Wind saved her from the shadow brute and brought her to his palace to be his bride. Orual thinks Psyche has lost her mind. But, to humor her, she listens to her sister's story as if she believes it. 

Psyche leads Orual a short distance away to sit in the heather. There, she serves Orual a glass of wine, the choicest wine, in an exquisite goblet. She asks her if she likes the goblet and the wine.  Orual goes along with her and nods, but what she actually sees is her sister cupping her hands in a pool of water.  She becomes increasingly convinced Psyche has lost her mind. Psyche goes on to tell Orual stories of gods and palaces and how she wears the most beautiful gowns. Orual sees no palace, only woods; no gowns, only Psyche dressed in rags. After a while, she can bear it no longer and demands that her sister show her the palace. 

Orual is dumbfounded when her sister nods with a smile and says, "Of course, I will. Let us go in." 

Orual asks, "Is it far?" 

"Far to where?" Psyche responds. 

"To the palace," Orual shouts, "to your god's house!" 

Psyche starts to tremble. "Orual, what do you mean, is it far?" 

"Mean?" Orual asks. 

"Where is the palace? How far have we to go to reach it?" 

Psyche starts to cry. Through her tears and cries, she stares into Orual's eyes and answers, "But this is it, Orual! Can't you see it? You are standing on the stairs to the great gate!" 

This kingdom required clear perception for there to be conscious participation. So it is with the Kingdom of God. The King we await is already here, and His Kingdom exists among us as surely as it exists beyond us. "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." The Kingdom simultaneously exists on earth and in heaven. Jesus told His disciples that they weren't able to recognize the Kingdom of God among them because they were looking for it in the wrong places. 

People today are trying to establish the Kingdom of God by having the right religious programs, practices, politicians, and other misguided approaches that fail to recognize that we don't need to create God's Kingdom but only need to connect to it by faith. 

In Mark 1:15, Jesus told His disciples, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand." When He said the Kingdom is at hand, did Jesus mean the time was close or that the Kingdom of God was nearby? Was He speaking of a date or distance? 

In the original language of the New Testament, the phrase "at hand" is ēngiken. Another time the word was used was at the last supper Jesus had with His disciples. Speaking of Judas, the one who would betray Him, Jesus said, "the one who betrays me is at hand" (Matthew 26:46). Was that a reference to time or location? Obviously, He meant that the one standing right there, nearby, was the one who would betray Him. So, when the Bible says that the Kingdom of God is at hand, it refers to its proximity to us. 

Another time, in Matthew 4:17, the Bible says, "From that time on Jesus began to preach, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.'" We need to stop thinking that the Kingdom of God isn't here or even that it isn't already fully here. 

Some people speak of "extending the Kingdom of God," but that terminology can be misleading. While it recognizes the presence of God's Kingdom among us, it fails to acknowledge its omnipresence. The manifestation of the Kingdom of God will come through a spiritual awakening to its pervasive presence. As that happens in our lives, we will find ourselves proclaiming the same message Jesus did: "Change your mind about what you've expected! The Kingdom of God is right here!" 

Over a hundred and fifty years ago, H. Ernest Nichol grasped this truth and wrote a hymn that celebrated it: 

"We have a story to tell to the nations That shall turn their hearts to the right. A story of truth and mercy, A story of peace and light. 

For the darkness shall turn to dawning, And the dawning to noonday bright, And Christ's great come Kingdom shall come on earth, The Kingdom of love and light." 

When it comes to empowering your faith, nothing is better than realizing that all you desire is already here with you and that it's only a matter of seeing it so you can seize it.


Dr. Steve McVey is the author of twenty-three books, including the best-seller Grace Walk. Steve writes to address specific needs in the reader's life. His books are filled with biblical truth, practical application, humor, and affirmation that will encourage you and strengthen you in your own journey of faith.

Steve and his wife, Melanie, live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. They have four adult children and five grandchildren.

1 Comment

May 31

This wonderful Steve, thank you for sharing ❤️

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