Luke 17:21
Neither shall they say, See here! or, see there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) The kingdom of God is within you.—The marginal reading, “among you.” has been adopted, somewhat hastily, by most commentators. So taken. the words emphatically assert the actual presence of the Kingdom. It was already in the midst of them at the very time when they were asking when it would appear. The use of the Greek preposition is, however, all but decisive against this interpretation. It is employed for that which is “within,” as contrasted with that which is “without,” as in Matthew 23:26, and in the LXX. version for the “inward parts,” or spiritual nature of man, as contrasted with the outward, as in Psalm 103:1; Psalm 109:22; Isaiah 16:11. It was in that region, in the life which must be born again (John 3:3), that men were to look for the kingdom; and there, whether they accepted it or rejected it, they would find sufficient tokens of its power.

17:20-37 The kingdom of God was among the Jews, or rather within some of them. It was a spiritual kingdom, set up in the heart by the power of Divine grace. Observe how it had been with sinners formerly, and in what state the judgments of God, which they had been warned of, found them. Here is shown what a dreadful surprise this destruction will be to the secure and sensual. Thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. When Christ came to destroy the Jewish nation by the Roman armies, that nation was found in such a state of false security as is here spoken of. In like manner, when Jesus Christ shall come to judge the world, sinners will be found altogether regardless; for in like manner the sinners of every age go on securely in their evil ways, and remember not their latter end. But wherever the wicked are, who are marked for eternal ruin, they shall be found by the judgments of God."Lo here! or, Lo there!" When an earthly prince visits different parts of his territories, he does it with pomp. His movements attract observation, and become the common topic of conversation. The inquiry is, Where is he? which way will he go? and it is a matter of important "news" to be able to say where he is. Jesus says that the Messiah would not come in that manner. It would not be with such pomp and public attention. It would be silent, obscure, and attracting comparatively little notice. Or the passage may have reference to the custom of the "pretended" Messiahs, who appeared in this manner. They said that in this place or in that, in this mountain or that desert, they would show signs that would convince the people that they were the Messiah. Compare the notes at Acts 5:36-37.

Is within you - This is capable of two interpretations.

1. The reign of God is "in the heart." It does not come with pomp and splendor, like the reign of temporal kings, merely to control the external "actions" and strike the senses of people with awe, but it reigns in the heart by the law of God; it sets up its dominion over the passions, and brings every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

2. It may mean the new dispensation is "even now among you." The Messiah has come. John has ushered in the kingdom of God, and you are not to expect the appearance of the Messiah with great pomp and splendor, for he is now among you. Most critics at present incline to this latter interpretation. The ancient versions chiefly follow the former.

21. Lo here! … lo there!—shut up within this or that sharply defined and visible geographical or ecclesiastical limit.

within you—is of an internal and spiritual character (as contrasted with their outside views of it). But it has its external side too.

The latter words of this verse seem fairly to admit of a double interpretation, as you here may signify the disciples of Christ, who had received Christ as their Lord, over whom he exercised a spiritual dominion and jurisdiction, or as it may respect the whole Jewish nation, amongst whom the kingdom of God was now exercised, by the preaching of the gospel, and the power of Christ put forth in the casting out devils, and other miraculous operations. I incline to the latter, as differing from those that think these words were spoken with a peculiar respect to the disciples; I rather think them a reply to the Pharisees, as corrective of their false notion and apprehension of the Messiah, as if he were yet to come, and to set up a temporal principality; for it is said, Luke 17:22, And he said unto the disciples, as if he did but then specially apply his discourse to them; en hmin thus signifieth, Luke 7:16 John 1:14. You (saith our Saviour) are much mistaken as to the nature of my kingdom, and indeed of the kingdom of the Messiah, in the expectation of which you live. It is not a kingdom of the same nature with the kingdoms of the world, it cometh not with pomp: and splendour, for men and women to observe; they shall not say, Lo here he cometh! Or, Lo there he goeth! The kingdom of God is now in the midst among you, though you observe it not. Neither shall they say,.... Or shall it be said by any, making their observations, and pointing to this, or that place:

lo here, or lo there; in this, or that place, country or city, the kingdom of God is set up; the throne of the Messiah is there; and there are the "regalia", or ensigns of his regal power; no such thing will fall under the observations of man, not but that this would be said, and was said by some persons, as it is suggested it should, Luke 17:23 and it appears from Matthew 24:26 that some would say he was in such a wilderness, and others, that he was in some private retirement in a house, or that he was in such a town or city; as particularly it was said in Adrian's time, that he was in a place called Bither, where Bar Cochab set up himself for the Messiah: but the sense of the words is, that no such thing ought to be said; and if it was said, it would not be true; nor should it be credited: and the Cambridge copy of Beza's adds, "believe not"; as in Matthew 24:26

for behold the kingdom of God is within you: in the elect of God among the Jews, in their hearts; it being of a spiritual nature, and lying in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; in the dispossession of Satan, the strong man armed; in the putting down of the old man, sin, with its deceitful lusts, from the throne; and in setting up a principle of grace, as a governing one; and so escapes the observation of natural men, and cannot be pointed at as here, or there: hence it appears, that the work of grace is an internal thing; it is wrought in the hearts of men; it has its seat in the inward parts, and is therefore called the inner, and the hidden man: it does not lie in words, in an outward profession of religion: it is oil in the vessel of the heart, and is distinct from the lamp of a visible profession; it does not lie in external works and duties, but it is an inward principle of holiness in the soul, or spirit of man, produced there by the Spirit of God, and is therefore called by his name, John 3:6 and it also appears to be a very glorious thing, since it is signified by a kingdom: it is a rich treasure; it is gold tried in the fire, which makes rich; it is an estate, that good part, and portion, which can never be taken away; it is preferable to the greatest portion on earth men can enjoy; even the largest and richest kingdom in the world is not to be compared with it; it is a kingdom which cannot be moved; and as it is glorious in itself, it makes such glorious who are partakers of it: "the king's daughter is all glorious within", Psalm 45:13 and it is high in the esteem of God; it is the hidden man of the heart, but it is in his sight; it is in his view, and is in his sight of great price: it is likewise evident from hence, that it has great power and authority in the soul; it has the government in it; it reigns, through righteousness, unto eternal life; and by it, Christ, as king of saints, dwells and reigns in his people. Now this is not to be understood of the Scribes and Pharisees, as if they had any such internal principle in them, who were as painted sepulchres, and had nothing but rottenness and corruption in them: but the sense is, that there were some of the people of the Jews, of whom the Pharisees were a part, who had been powerfully wrought upon under the ministry of John, Christ, and his apostles; and were so many instances of efficacious grace, and of the kingdom of God, and of his Gospel coming with power to them. Though the words may be rendered,

the kingdom of God is among you; and the meaning be, that the king Messiah was already come, and was among them, and his kingdom was already set up, of which the miracles of Christ were a full proof; and if they could not discern these signs of the times, and evident appearances of the kingdom of God among them, they would never be able to make any observation of it, hereafter, or elsewhere.

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is {c} within you.

(c) You look around for the Messiah as though he were absent, but he is amongst you in the midst of you.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 17:21. οὐδὲ ἐροῦσι, nor will they say; there will be nothing to give occasion for saying: non erit quod dicatur, Grotius.—ὧδε, ἐκεῖ, here, there, implying a visible object that can be located.—ἐντὸς ὑμῶν, within you, in your spirit. This rendering best corresponds with the non-visibility of the kingdom. The thought would be a very appropriate one in discourse to disciples. Not so in discourse to Pharisees. To them it would be most natural to say “among you” = look around and see my works: devils cast out (Luke 11:20), and learn that the kingdom is already here (ἔφθασεν ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς). Kindred to this rendering is that of Tertullian (c. Marcionem, L. iv., 35): in your power, accessible to you: in manu, in potestate vestra. The idea “among you” would be more clearly expressed by ἤδη ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν. Cf. John 1:6. μέσος ὑ. στήκει, etc., one stands among you whom ye know not—cited by Euthy. to illustrate the meaning of our passage. Field (Ot. Nor.) contends that there is no clear instance of ἐντὸς in the sense of “among,” and cites as an example of its use in the sense of “within” Psalm 103:1, πάντα τὰ ἐντός μου.21. for behold, the kingdom of God is within you] intra vos est, Vulg. As far as the Greek is concerned, this rendering of entos is defensible (comp. Matthew 23:26), and the spiritual truth expressed by such a rendering— which implies that “the Kingdom of God is...righteousness and peace,

and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17)—is most important. See Deuteronomy 30:14. So that Meyer is hardly justified in saying that the conception of the Kingdom of God as an ethical condition of the soul is modem not historico-biblical. But entos humon may also undoubtedly mean among you (marg.), ‘in the midst of your ranks,’ as in Xen. Anab. i. 10, §3; and this rendering is more in accordance (i) with the context—as to the sudden coming of the Son of Man; and (ii) with the fact,—for it certainly could not be said that the Kingdom of God was in the hearts of the Pharisees. The meaning then is the same as in John 1:26; Matthew 12:28. But in either case our Lord implied that His Kingdom had already come while they were straining their eyes forward in curious observation, Luke 7:16, Luke 11:20.Luke 17:21. Οὐδὲ ἐροῦσιν, neither shall they say) viz. they who point out the kingdom. The verb put without the noun is consonant with this view. For the world does not recognise the messengers of the kingdom.—[ὧδεἐκεῖ, here—there) Here includes under it the notion of the present time; there, that of the future.—V. g.[187]]—ἰδοὺ γὰρ, for behold) Ye ought to turn your earnest attention to the fact: Then you will see that the kingdom of God is already within your reach. This true (well-grounded) Behold, is put in antithesis to the Behold [“Lo, here or there”] which is looked for without good ground.[188] For behold (ἰδοὺ γὰρ) does not belong to (stand under) ἘΡΟῦΣΙΝ, they shall say.—ἐντὸς, within) Ye ought not to look to times that are future, or places that are remote: for the kingdom of God is within you; even as the King Messiah is in the midst of you: John 1:26 [“There standeth one among you (μέσος ὑμῶν) whom ye know not”], Luke 12:35. Within is here used, not in respect of the heart of individual Pharisees (although in very deed Christ dwells in the heart of His people: Ephesians 3:17), but in respect to the whole Jewish people. The King, Messiah, and therefore the kingdom, is present: ye see and ye hear [Him]. The LXX. use ἐντὸς answering to קרב of those things which are in a man; but in this passage He is speaking of more than one. So the LXX. ed Hervag.,[189] Deuteronomy 5:14, ὁ ἐντὸς τῶν πυλῶν σου. Raphelius compares the words found in Xenophon, ὅσα ἐντὸς αὐτῶν καὶ χρήματα καὶ ἄνθρωποι ἐγένοντο, “whatever both property and men were inside (within), with them, in the camp.”—ἔστιν, is) The Present, appositely, and with emphasis. It cannot be said, the kingdom cometh, but it is now present: see John 3:8.

[187] The note of the Gnomon on Luke 17:20, and the reference to Luke 17:37, implies that place, not time, is the leading idea of the answer as to the here and the there. Time is only a subordinate notion in it.—E. and T.

[188] ADabc Orig. 1,238c, 4,294c, Hil. Vulg. have ἢ ἰδοὺ ἐκεῖ, as Rec. Text and Lachm. read. But BL omit ἰδοὺ; and so Tisch.—E. and T.

[189] This edition was brought out at Basle, Τῆς Θείας γραφῆς, παλαίας δηλάδη καὶ νέας ἅπαντα, by John Hervagius, 1545. The preface was by Melancthon. The text of Lonicerus is chiefly followed: there are in it some valuable various readings.—E. and T.Verse 21. - Neither shall they say, Lo here: or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. That kingdom will be marked out on no map, for, lo, it is even now in your midst. It may be asked - How "in your midst"? Scarcely not as Godet and Olshausen, following Chrysostom, think, in your hearts. The kingdom of God could not be said to be in the hearts of those Pharisees to whom the Master was especially directing his words of reply here. It should be rather understood in the midst of your ranks; so Meyer and Farrar and others interpret it, Within

Better, in the midst of. Meyer acutely remarks that "you refers to the Pharisees, in whose hearts nothing certainly found a place less than did the ethical kingdom of God." Moreover, Jesus is not speaking of the inwardness of the kingdom, but of its presence. "The whole language of the kingdom of heaven being within men, rather than men being within the kingdom, is modern" (Trench, after Meyer).

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