"Not By Observation"; Luke 17:20
July 1, 2004

C. R. Oliver

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January 1, 2012

"Not By Observation"
Luke 17:20

Anatheoreo : Gr. NT (Strong) 333. "…to observe carefully, consider well." Akin to tereo (NT5083) "Keep" and paratereo (NT3906)"to watch closely, observe narrowly." View Gal. 4:10, Heb. 13:7. Acknowledge the "middle voice" usage, suggesting religious observance of days, etc., not from disinterested motives, but with a view to one's advantage. Theoreo(NT 2300), "to be a spectator of."

EXEGETICAL REVIEW Luke 17:20 ff Jesus was answering the Pharisees' inquiry. He answered in another way, the probing of the Disciples. Keeping in mind the Pharisees were the "church-folks" of Jesus' Day, they were not to be ignored. The answer Jesus gave them was in marked contrast to the inquiry of Acts 1:7-8, where just before His ascension, Jesus told His followers, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority (sealed only to Him), BUT you shall receive power…and you shall be witnesses." All the Disciples would need for their journey in the kingdom was supplied in this answer.

Pharisees needed a different word, but one which was like so many others, with more than surface meaning. They would hear one thing, when in reality it alluded to another. Their craving for a physical kingdom which could overthrow Roman occupation would not have accepted the spiritual answer given to Jesus' band of believers.

To these worldly followers of traditional formulas, Jesus gave a principle so deep it required several applications to drive home its profundity. He mingled details of the fall of their kingdom with His second coming (in other words many of the things that were present in their lives would also be in the lives of those present at the end time). Jesus also gave meat for Simon Peter to write about in the second epistle, by referring to Noah and Lot in tandem. He then issued a parable about a troubling, persistant widow and an unjust judge. He concluded His discussion in two ways: first with a statement about the Father, "I tell you that He will avenge them speedily (take care of all the religious and political injustices);" and second, He asked a question, "Nevertheless (aside from all that), when the Son of Man comes will He REALLY find faith on the earth?"

Scripture then puts all these words in perspective in Luke 18:9,
"Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that THEY were righteous and despised others (Herein lies, the sub-surface issue behind so much of the questioning.)."

Pharisees were anxious to know what part they would play in any coming kingdom, what their role would be in such a move and whether they could participate without compromising their legalistic formulae. They wanted "first rights" on whatever Jesus was up to because if a Jew was establishing anything "Jewish," they wanted to be "in" on it. Little could they fathom that His kingdom had already come and that it was an inward kingdom and needed no visible or tangible evidences to determine its participants or their roles.

Jesus dramatically re-enforced this truth: "The kingdom is not a spectator sport." The custom of the Pharisees allowed them to enter the temple and observe what was going on. They then had the choice of entering in or not. An example of such behavior might have been a particular monitory need within the range of one's financial ability, one would then say, "Folks, don't worry past this point, I will take care of it." Any glory from that commitment would have naturally flowed to the benefactor.

Jesus' kingdom is different, His kingdom is within. His kingdom does not yield to "observation." Choice to enter in or not is not a factor; those kinds of choices are determined by the Spirit.

Every word spoken to the Pharisees agreed with the answer given to the Disciples in Acts 1:7-8. First, it would not be a kingdom determined by the unredeemed eye. It would not be based on location.

Modern churches come very close to determining the kingdom by location (it is in Canada; no, it is in Missouri; no, it is in Florida; no, it is at one of the "wells of revival---Los Angeles or Spokane or Chicago.")

Jesus states His truth in simplicity, "The kingdom of God is within you." This is a spiritual kingdom and those who seek to make it "manipulatable" by man, find defeat. Power and witness are its only two resources. The moment one steps aside from this truth, the pitfalls multiply! The Holy Spirit rules in this sovereign domain. He leads into all truth, guides the participant's feet, teaches them all things, reveals the inner being of the Father, calls for commitment to His way, perfects the saints and intercedes with groaning. It is the Spirit that leads the kingdom-person to garner information that many times is met with: "Why do I know this? What caused me to be here and observe this or that? How did I obtain this understanding?" The Spirit's objective is for the "kingdomite" to be full of power. Power, so defined, is the ability to carry out any task, to overcome any obstacle, understand any issue and exercise dominion in every case. Thereby a witness upon the earth becomes more than a tract shuffler. A Witness stands before the world and demands to be heard, stands undeterred from his/her testimony, and walks in the authority of truth—He establishes it!

Jesus gave the Pharisees the variant between HIS day and their day. Scriptures such as "mine hour has not come" are linked to Luke 17:24 "…so also the Son of Man will be in His day." With this verse He excluded in finality those he addressed in verse 22. The line between His kingdom and THEIR kingdom was clearly drawn.

(Here is why the Lord would not allow the author to participate in any form or fashion in the Mel Gibson display of The Passion. The Spirit revealed Luke 22:53, "But this is YOUR hour and the power of darkness." Those who viewed, participated or defended this movie must repent for entering into the "your hour" and the power of darkness shown in Luke 22:53. Do so immediately!* (Look at end of document for expose of The Passion.)

Next, Jesus gave a hint of last days conditions by declaring them to be days of Noah and Lot. Noah was a witness in the former last days, prior to the deluge. Lot was a witness to Sodom, before the flames. Noah, stood as the pillar of a world destroyed by water. Lot signaled the judgment on the new world after the flood, judgment with flame. What are kingdom people to be---a Witness? Noah was a witness against a society gone mad, even down to the last hour. Lot's righteousness stood as a witness against the excesses of sexual defilement—the gay and lesbian community at full bloom and in power.

Jesus was cautioning the listening ears of His Disciples that in the last days both Noah and Lot elements would be operating simultaneously. The last days would see "society gone mad" and the rise to power and forefront of the gay community.

Simon was duly impressed to write, "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Messiah, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty (II Peter 1:16)."

No wonder later, he described the false teachers by exposing their venom among the churches (He did not describe those "outside" the body, but those inside the "fellowship"). Like snakes, they kill by poison, ingest their dead and are unphased by their venom laden victims. Simon then stirs the pot with Noah and Lot! Then he recaps in vivid terms, ALL the words spoken by Jesus in a capsule rendition of Luke 17.

The Twenty-first Century is rife with churches and churchmen asking the question of the Pharisees, "About this kingdom, we want to have a part of it---if it brings wealth, glorifies our kind, strengthens our position, aggrandizes our formulas and promises religious authority and power." To these, Jesus' words are the same, "The kingdom is not by observation." To those who are true "kingdomites:" Luke 18:1 says to pray and not lose heart! Later, Luke recalls Jesus', "Receive the kingdom like a little child!"

Jesus did not say the kingdom could not be spiritually observed. He separated earthly, man controlled observation from Spirit observation. Since this is an inward kingdom, the Spirit of God manifests many things about society, religion and government to the saints. The true kingdom must walk in power and witness before all these sociological entities. "Kingdomites" will not walk in ignorance; this is why they will "know," "be led," "perceive," "understand" and "observe." "Kingdomites" are not caught up in theory (the English derivative of the Greek word "Observe") but are grounded in fact (witnesses).

"The kingdom is within you" …bears a look at the word, "within." It is the Greek word "entos." Wycliffe Bible Commentary states, "A kingdom is not just a territory, nor a system of governmental machinery. Its basic existence is in the unity and loyalty of a people." While the earthly religious kingdom strives for "unity" of the faith and has its "interfaith" allegiances along with its "peace at all costs within the ranks," the real kingdom has "Unity in the Holy Ghost." Is it any wonder that true saints, "Don't fit anymore"? Does it seem unrealistic to declare the kingdom is smaller than anyone previously thought, richer than thought, more powerful than imagined and totally opposite of anything, "we've gotten used to"?

The kingdom is without observation and is within YOU!

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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