In Luke 17:20-21 Jesus says the kingdom can't be observed but it's within you. And in Luke 9:27 He says some standing here shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.

What does Luke mean by the Kingdom of God?

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    – Nigel J
    Dec 17, 2020 at 9:34
  • Which part of the Kingdom of God?? - internal (stop sinful thoughts & try to understand YHWH) | external (praising YHWH, charitable works & life-saving actions) Dec 17, 2020 at 13:07

7 Answers 7


The phrase "kingdom of God" occurs about 68 times in the GNT. It is a synonym of "the kingdom of heaven" which occurs about 32 times. Compare Matt 3:2, 4:17, 5:3, 10, 19, etc, with, Matt 6:33, 12:28, 21:31, etc. Here is a summary of what the NT says about the kingdom of God/heaven:

  • Jesus is the king of the eternal kingdom of God, Luke 1:33-35. This was prophesied in places like Ps 2 and fulfilled as confirmed in Matt 28:19, Rev 11:15-18.
  • No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit, John 3:3, 5

Almost all the NT statements about the kingdom of God/heaven discuss how one becomes a citizen of that kingdom.

Historically, there have been several views about what the kingdom of God is, including:

  • Jesus is the kingdom of God
  • The kingdom of God is the faithful saints/Christians who serve God/Jesus with Jesus as king
  • The kingdom of God is the established church.

Of these the first two are almost equivalent and the last (suggest by Origen) I find difficult to accept because the visible established church is so so patently problematic in many quarters and contains clearly unfaithful people. Thus, the kingdom of God is composed of the "church invisible" those who are truly saved, whose names are written the Lamb's book of life; such may or may not be church memebers.

Let us examine the significant passage in Luke 17:20, 21 which says (BSB is accurate here):

When asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God will not come with observable signs. Nor will people say, ‘Look, here it is,’ or ‘There it is.’ For you see, the kingdom of God is in your midst.

The operative phrase here is the last, "in your midst"; that is, Jesus and His followers were already among those to whom Jesus was talking and thus, His statement was entirely accurate.

The other passage in Luke 9:27, "But I tell you truthfully, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” was fulfilled beginning in the next verse (v28ff):

About eight days after Jesus had said these things, He took with Him Peter, John, and James, and went up on a mountain to pray. And as He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became radiantly white. Suddenly two men, Moses and Elijah, began talking with Jesus. They appeared in glory and spoke about His departure, which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

Thus, Peter James and John did see the kingdom of God as the the glorified Christ was shown them.

  • You might want to deal with different translations of ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ ἐντὸς ὑμῶν ἐστιν. (in Luke 17:21, NA27)
    – Perry Webb
    Dec 17, 2020 at 13:42
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    Within you (ἐντος ὑμων [entos humōn]). This is the obvious, and, as I think, the necessary meaning of ἐντος [entos]. The examples cited of the use of ἐντος [entos] in Xenophon and Plato where ἐντος [entos] means “among” do not bear that out when investigated. Field (Ot. Norv.) “contends that there is no clear instance of ἐντος [entos] in the sense of among” (Bruce), and rightly so. ... Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Lk 17:21). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
    – Perry Webb
    Dec 17, 2020 at 13:49
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    The term, "kingdom of heaven" is only used by Matthew, whose primary function was to show Jesus in the light of His being the King of kings on David's throne: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." (Mat 1:1:) This is the ordinances of heaven by Jesus who sets those ordinances in the earth. (Job 38:33) The Kingdom of God is spiritual and is over all things--including being over the kingdom of heaven on earth. Dec 17, 2020 at 18:48

In the letter to the Romans, Paul gives the definition of the kingdom of God:

for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17) [NKJV]

While righteousness and peace and joy are essentially inward conditions, one who has these in the Holy Spirit, will live in a way in which these inward qualities have outward expression. Or put in different terms, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit by those who are in the kingdom of God, will be the visible signs of that kingdom. One could say that those who believe in His name and have experienced rebirth will live such that righteousness, peace, and joy are seen by others.

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
(Luke 17:20-21)

But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:27)

One statement was addressed to the Pharisees, another to His followers. To the Pharisees Jesus explained the kingdom of God must be within a person: they must be born again. To His followers He explained some of them would see that kingdom. The visible manifestation of the kingdom (righteousness, peace, and joy) was seen by those who saw the resurrected Christ.


The Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of Heaven are not synonyms - although there are numerous aspects which are fully applicable to both. Jesus tells Nicodemus that to enter the Kingdom of God, you must be born again.

JOHN 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

And, it’s ‘believers that are ‘born again’. The apostle Paul talks about this in Romans and Corinthians -

2 COR 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Where as, in Matthew 13, the parable of the wheat and the tares, describing the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus says that it contains both believers and unbelievers - so the two can not be synonyms, unbelievers are not born again, but nevertheless are members of, or ‘in’ the kingdom of heaven, which Jesus in his interpretation of that parable says is the world! (Not Heaven, that is, the Kingdom of Heaven will be on earth!)

The ‘key’ focus needs to be on the term ‘Kingdom’. Both are kingdoms, and the one reigning is Jesus. Both kingdoms have the the same ‘king’. Both kingdoms are ruled righteously, and the expectation is that those in those kingdoms live righteously.

So your question as to what is the Kingdom of God - it is the kingdom in which believers ‘operate’, and ‘live’. Jesus is ‘in’ believers, he ‘rules’, and the believer seeks to live righteously. Where as the Kingdom of Heaven is when Jesus will sit on David’s throne, in Jerusalem, and reign ‘on earth’. (Millennium.)

One ‘kingdom’ is ‘in’ believers, one is an ‘external’ rulership.

And, it was certainly true that some who walked with Jesus would ‘taste’ the Kingdom of God, as after his death and resurrection, people could be ‘reborn’.

  • This question is focused on Luke, are you able to refer to it more than the other books?
    – curiousdannii
    Dec 18, 2020 at 4:20
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    @Curiousdannii my last paragraph refers to Luke 9:27. And, I address the ‘within you’ elsewhere. As for the the tangent that some take with ‘within you = among you’, that’s reading something into the text - that isn’t there, it’s only needed to support some interpretations. Instead, just take it literally.
    – Dave
    Dec 18, 2020 at 17:18
  • @Curiousdannii But, to be fair, I was primarily addressing the question ‘what is the kingdom of God’ instead of the specific passage used to support that question.
    – Dave
    Dec 18, 2020 at 17:21

What is the “Kingdom of God?”

In short, the Kingdom of God is the government that Jehovah God has established in heaven. Most Christians are familiar with the Lord's Prayer, or Our Father, in which Jesus taught his disciples how to pray:

"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."–Matt. 6:9, 10 (KJV) [italics theirs]

Here Jesus invites his disciples to ask for this Kingdom to be established here on the earth. How does this correspond to Jesus' words at Luke 17:21?

"Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (KJV)

Let us look at the context. Verse 20 shows us that Jesus was talking with the Pharisees. These had been opposing Jesus and took part in having Jesus killed. So, would Jesus have said that the Kingdom was a condition of in their hearts? In Matthew 23:27, 28, Jesus states, "within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." (KJV) Other translations will translate the last part of Jesus' statement as "the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” or similarly. (NIV, ESV, NASB, CSB, NET, NWT) Jesus was referring to himself as being part of that kingdom. How? I will address this shortly.

What did Jesus mean at Luke 9:27?

"But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God." (KJV)

Verse 18 lets us know that Jesus was speaking to his disciples. Here Jesus was speaking of the transfiguration that occurs in verses 28-36. How did some of the disciples see the Kingdom of God? During the transfiguration, Jesus began to shine or glow brilliantly in a preview of Christ's Kingdom glory. This is attested by Jesus' words at Matt. 16:28:

"Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (KJV)

Who is the King of God's Kingdom?

The angel that spoke to Mary tells us:

"And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."–Luke 1:31-33 (KJV)

Here we see that God has chosen Jesus to be the ruler of the kingdom that God established in the heavens (see also Ps. 2:6, 8).

What will God's Kingdom do for mankind?

  • Eliminate sickness and death. “No resident will say: ‘I am sick,’” and “death will be no more.”​—Isaiah 33:24; Revelation 21:4 (NWT)
  • Ensure true peace and security. “The peace of your sons will be abundant,” and “they will sit, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one will make them afraid.”​—Isaiah 54:13; Micah 4:4 (NWT)
  • Provide meaningful work. “The work of their hands my chosen ones will enjoy to the full. They will not toil for nothing.”​—Isaiah 65:22, 23 (NWT)
  • Solve environmental problems. “The wilderness and the parched land will exult, and the desert plain will be joyful and blossom as the saffron.”​—Isaiah 35:1 (NWT)
  • Teach people what they need to do in order to live forever. “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”​—John 17:3 (NWT)

[For more information, please see the Watchtower No. 2 2020 issue entitled "What is God's Kingdom?", the web articles under Bible Questions Answered: "What Is the Kingdom of God?", "What Will God's Kingdom Accomplish?", "Is the Kingdom of God in Your Heart?", and the 3-minute video "What is God's Kingdom?"]


What is the “kingdom of God? ”

The vast majority of Christians are aware of the model prayer that Jesus instructed his followers to pray, called the"Lord's prayer" or "Sunday prayer"

⦁ Matthew 6:9-13 NASB The Lord’s Prayer

9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day [d]our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from [e]evil.[f]’

The main theme of Jesus' teachings was the good news of the Kingdom of God.

Luke 4:43NASB

43 But He said to them, “I must also preach the kingdom of God to the other cities, because I was sent for this purpose.”

What is the kingdom of God?

We will look at two expressions in the prophecies of the book of Daniel.

Firstly at Daniel 2:44 NASB

44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed and that kingdom will not be [a]left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

⦁ Secondly: A similar expression is also found in Daniel 7:13-14, Daniel writes:

Daniel 7:13-14 NASB

The Son of Man Presented 13 “I kept looking in the night visions And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a son of man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 14 And to Him was given dominion, Honor, and [a]a kingdom, So that all the peoples, nations, and populations of all [b]languages Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away, And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

The three expressions "The Lord's prayer" and the other two in Daniel, make reference to the establishment of a Kingdom government that will crash and destroy all other kingdoms and that this kingdom will last forever.

The King of the kingdom is Jesus

Who is the King of God's kingdom? Jesus is greater than all other kings and is called: "the King of kings and Lord of lords,"

1 Timothy 6:15 NASB (Emphasies **[Jesus]**mine )

15 Which He [Jesus] will bring about at the proper time—He [Jesus] who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

** The Heavenly Kingdom**

When Jesus was resurrected he ascended to heaven and will rule from there,hence it is called a "heavenly kingdom" 2 Tim. 4:18, Rev. 11:15

2 Timothy 4:18 NASB

18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will [a]bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to [b]Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 11:15 NASB

The Seventh Trumpet: Christ’s Reign Foreseen 15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

Co-rulers-others to rule with him.

Others to rule with Jesus, the apostle Paul told Timothy (2Tim. 2:12) that if they endure He and others are chosen by God, will rule with Jesus in his heavenly kingdom. How many will be chosen by God to rule with Jesus? Rev. 14: 1,4 and Rev. 5:9-10

2 Timothy 2:12 NASB

12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we [a]deny Him, He will also deny us;

Revelation 14:1,5 NASB

The Lamb and the 144,000 on Mount Zion

14 Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him 144,000 who had His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.

Revelation 5: 9-10

9 And they *sang a new song, saying,“Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation. 10 You have made them into a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.”


"Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." - Luke 17:21

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" Corinthians 13:5

"...for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." 2Cor6:16

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." Matthew 6:6

“And he was clothed with a robe dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” Revelation 19:14

"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." John 14:17

"At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." John 14:20

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him” Genesis 1:27.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” Philippians 2:5,6.

Most will find this blasphemy, but it is provable in practice -- you have God within you as your imagination. That is why when it says, "believe you have already received it, and you shall" -- is talking about, imagine as if you already had it and you will have it.

You are the Son of God -- that is who you are. You have the same power as God. You were created in God's image. That means you can invoke miracles by... "Imagining you have already received it."

"Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

Exodus 3:13 - 15 — And Moses said unto God [הָֽאֱלֹהִ֗ים | haw-eh-loh-HEEM], Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God [אֱלֹהֵ֥י | eh-loh-HAY] of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God [אֱלֹהִים֙ | eh-loh-HEEM] said unto Moses, I AM [אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה | eh-heh-YEH] That [אֲשֶׁ֣ר] I AM [אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה | eh-heh-YEH]: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM [אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה | eh-heh-YEH] hath sent me unto you. And God [אֱלֹהִ֜ים | eh-loh-HEEM] said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord [יְהוָ֞ה | yeh-WAW] God [אֱלֹהֵ֣י | eh-loh-HAY] of your fathers, the God [אֱלֹהֵ֣י | eh-loh-HAY ] of Abraham, the God [אֱלֹהֵ֥י | eh-loh-HAY ] of Isaac, and the God [וֵֽאלֹהֵ֥י | way-loh-HAY ] of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

This is saying, "God's name is I AM." So whenever you say "I AM", you are calling upon God. "That is my name throughout all generations". Meaning, everyone is God.

  • Hi luminol, welcome. If everyone was God, then God wouldn't be upset if one loved a father or mother more than Him - Matthew 10:37-38 - and the New Testament wouldn't have the following two greatest commandments, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [u]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’" - Matthew 22:37-39. Dec 18, 2020 at 8:04
  • Thanks for responding! The verses you noted are not mutually exclusive with the premise above. It's not the human self, that's God -- because no one has seen God at any time. However, its' moreover talking about "Awareness", or "I AM". It's not the ego mind that is God, it's Awareness. So the "spirit which dwells within us" is God, and God is closer than our very breath. The SELF of man is God, not the ego. Whenever one says "I AM", that's God. If we take away the human characteristics, and imagine God is all, and everything -- which would equate to Awareness itself, is the distinction.
    – luminol
    Dec 18, 2020 at 23:43
  • «because no one has seen God at any time»... is that so? Dec 19, 2020 at 0:29
  • John 1:18 -- No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
    – luminol
    Dec 21, 2020 at 0:25
  • you're welcome to answer that question if you have that much certainty. Dec 21, 2020 at 7:28

Luke 13:18 - "What is the Kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it?"

To enter the Kingdom (βασιλεία) of God (Θεοῦ) 🚪🔑 you must 1st evaluate yourself : measuring your current state of mind in accordance to the Commandments ( Mark 10:19, Exodus 20:2-17, Deuteronomy 5:6-21 ) 🙏📜 + you must perform a charitable work as a life-saving action: giving all the materials you possess to support the poor & wounded ( Mark 10:21, Luke 10:25-37, Luke 16:19-31) 🍞👷 , adopting / financially supporting an unwanted orphan | distressed widow ( James 1:27 ) 👪👵💰, merciful forgiveness of a convicted criminal who repents of their sins ( Mark 12:31, Matthew 22:39, Leviticus 19:18) 😩📜😒 - turning away from death to reveal life 💛.

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