Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.John 18:36 (KJV)
Not of this world – When we think of the kingdom of God or the kingdom of Heaven (I’d argue they are the same) we often turn our thoughts to something heavenly. We imagine a spiritual place with gold streets, mansions, and beauty beyond compare. Some of us might even envision the host of God; His angels, His Son, and God Himself – and we look forward to being a part of it… some day.
But the kingdom of God is at hand. It’s not some far away goal or a distant resting place. It was preached by Yeshua and the Apostles as manifesting during their time. So let’s take a look at the words used in the gospel of John.
… basileia h emh ouk estin ek tou kosmou … which is translated to “kingdom the my not is out of-the cosmos.” It’s interesting to note that the last word there is “cosmos” and not necessarily “world.” But I wanted to surface the Greek so that we might align these words with another verse.
Did you know that Yeshua had defined what His kingdom was prior to John chapter 18? We can find out where by simply asking ourselves, where have we heard these word before? Where else have we seen the words “not of this world”? In this particular case, the other instance of this phrase can be found in the previous chapter of John.
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.John 17:14
… ouk eisin ek tou kosmou … which look like the same words from John 18:36 above. But in this case, Yeshua is not talking about a final spiritual resting place. He’s speaking about His people. Yes, the kingdom of God/Heaven is His people. The reason the kingdom of God was at hand was because God was working through the process of reuniting the 12 tribes – His original kingdom established in the cosmos.
It’s quite amazing when we connect the dots. Astronomical revelations manifest in the unfolding of God’s mysteries. Next time we hear these words, “kingdom of God,” let us envision ourselves as part of Israel. Peter writes, we are the royal priesthood among a group of people that have their King and High Priest residing over them as the one true Messiah. We are that kingdom.