Someone emailed me the two unrelated passages below (in Luke and Micah) and asked for a brief explanation. My explanation of the two passages follows.
1. Luke 17: 20-21:
“20And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the Kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, ‘The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you’.”
First of all, Christ did not perform to anyone’s demands. When asked a question to entrap Him, He often sidestepped the question and answered something different than the question asked, or even “answered” the question with a question of His own.
Here the Pharisees made a demand of Him. It seems most probable to me, that Christ’s answer was not to those demanding, evil Pharisees, but to the crowd itself; and thus He spake in parables, for the truth was intended only for His sheep, only for those whose ears the Spirit of God had opened to truly hear, understand, believe, repent, and obey. The “you” to whom Christ speaks, therefore, is not the Pharisees, but to the elect of His people in the crowd whom the Holy Spirit quickened unto life to be able to hear and receive.
The Kingdom of God (for true believers) will not be something that is forced upon God’s people from without, but they shall desire it from within and only when we truly long for it—as a people—will God deliver it to us. As I have written innumerably, “Why should God deliver us from what we are willing to tolerate?” God commanded us to HATE EVIL. For those who do not, God is showering down upon them a deluge of evil to the point that it either destroys them or they FINALLY begin to hate it as He commanded. So God is using evil to destroy those who don’t want Him to rule over them, and causing others to learn to hate the world (system and all the corruption / perversion in it) realizing how evil it is.
The Kingdom of God in relation to God’s people proceeds forth out of their hearts: hearts of obedience—new hearts of flesh given to them by God, replacing their dead hearts of stone; circumcised hearts; hearts filled with faith deposited in them by the Holy Spirit. Those who are truly of God, those who are TRULY regenerated, those who are TRULY converted will stop walking after their former lusts, or after the traditions of men, and start walk as God commanded us to walk, in newness of life.
The Kingdom of God will not be forced on those who are not God’s people, for they want nothing of it—and it was not prepared for them, nor they for it. While they may like the idea of a wonderful Kingdom, they despise the notion of being subject to, in submission to, in obedience to the Law of God, especially in subservience to God’s children.
[Like someone I once knew who liked the idea of a “side job” for extra cash, but did not like the idea of actually working to earn that cash. He had to stop to take a smoke break every 15 minutes, and the pace at which he pushed the wheelbarrow, well, due to the earth’s rotation I think he lost ground.]
Those who are not God’s people, and those of God’s people who were not ordained unto life will not be part of God’s Kingdom, but be banished from it. Truly “heaven on earth” (God’s Kingdom, here on earth, where He said that His Kingdom would be—a colony of Heaven here on earth) would be “Hell” to those who hate God; so God has a place more suited for their nature which He has prepared for them and likewise prepared them for it.
Those who do not keep God’s Commandments, who walk even as they did in their former life (before they claimed “conversion”), with little difference after their “conversion”, God does not hear their prayers. God commanded us to meditate upon His Word—His Law—day and night, and to talk about it from sunup to sundown, teach it to our children, post it on our walls and gates. Yet something so important “Christians” think God scrapped as a bad idea. Thus, “Christians” rarely meditate upon God’s Word to daily learn exactly what God commands because they think that He commands very little to nothing and that they can do whatever they want. With such attitudes, it is clear that their hearts are dead and their minds closed to the things of the Spirit. The Law does not save. It never did. It cannot. It is the Moral Code by which He commands us to live. If “Christians” truly studied the Word of God they would realize this—they would realize that they have been lied to about Christ abolishing God’s Law. Christ Himself said that He did not! Therefore, if they think that He did, they follow a false christ. But the issue as pertains to our survival in this life is if we are in sin (violating what God commanded, wilfuly or ignorantly) God will not hear our prayers until we repent (which entails turning from what God forbade and turning to and doing what God commanded). If Christians think they have nothing of which they need to repent, then they are truly in a hopeless situation—and their prospects in the life to come are not too hopeful either. Scripture says that if a person says that he knows God but does not keep God’s Commandments that he does not even know God and the Truth is not in him (I John 2:4). If a person knows God He will fear and obey Him.
Until they are humbled to the point of death or chastised to the point of TRUE repentance, submission, and obedience (realizing that it is the only way to true life and that it is life itself, rather than some “oppressive yoke forced upon them”), their hearts will not desire His Kingdom. They desire only selfishness: what they think is good for them according to their own corrupt ego-centric minds and avaricious hearts. God will either change the heart to desire His Kingdom or discard body, mind, and soul altogether unto Judgment.
[Though sometimes we cannot appreciate the good things that our Heavenly Father (or our earthly father) gives us, looking back, once we have matured and our minds are ripened, we can see the purpose and actually be thankful for it—like later in life looking back and thanking God for a godly father who was a stern disciplinarian, who, as Scripture says, “chastised us”... though it was not pleasant, even seemingly unbearable at times; a wise man looking back will be thankful, when he sees all around him in the modern world the vast majority of “wandering, mindless flesh” without any conscience or discipline, respect or self-possession merely rudely, even violently forcing their way through other people’s lives like a bull in a china shop; without even an after thought or tinge of conscience.]
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.” How and when will they be added...? —in the Kingdom, as well as in this life.
“And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My Name’s Sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit Everlasting Life.” (Matthew 19:29)
The Kingdom of God being in us is not merely some way of “spiritualizing away” God’s Truth and claiming that there will be no literal Kingdom. Christ taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven”. God said, “As I have thought is, so shall it come to pass, as I have purposed, so shall it stand”. God desires for us to “get with” His Program (rather than resist it), so that we can share a part in the blessing of having by His Grace, been quickened to true life and played some minor role of ushering in His Kingdom—by resisting evil and by preaching, “Repent: the Kingdom of Heaven is soon to come”. The Kingdom of God is within us because repentance is within us and repentance is the key that will unlock the door to usher in Christ’s Return to deliver us.
The Kingdom of God is not within us by our own ability or of our own nature—it is in us because God gives to the elect a new heart: a heart tender toward Him; a heart desiring to repent and obey; a heart full of the Kingdom of God. We will help to usher in God’s Kingdom by helping to seek out the Lost Sheep—which is our Father’s Business about which we should busy ourselves. Those of us who are not doing so do not have God’s Spirit within them and they do not work with Christ, but either do the opposite of what He commanded or they do nothing; either of which shows that He is not in them and they shall have no part in Him.
When one part of your body is in terrible pain, the whole body hurts. Thus, when one “Christian” is insensate concerning the pain of the Body of Christ, that is a good indicator that he is not part of that body. Thus, by daily seeking out the Lost Sheep as Christ commanded, as He Himself sought them out and by daily praying to God that He would make the ushering in of that Kingdom a reality we demonstrate the qualities that are needed to enter the Kingdom.
Guess what...? there will be no Superbowl with filthy, obscene savages who are destroying Christendom and no Satanic, perverse half-time shows, no perverted music, no perverted t.v., no Country Music Awards, Emmy Awards, etc. in Heaven. Most “Christians” would be utterly unsuited for life in Heaven. So either God is purging the dross from them (and it is extremely resistant to being purged) or they are not of His sheep and they are not being purged, but they are merely filling up the Measure of God’s Wrath for the Day of Judgment. Again, why should God deliver us from (evil) what we are willing to tolerate, that which we goggle at, that which insults Him daily and in which most “Christians” casually participate on a regular basis. How can they be so cavalier and participate in that which insults their Father, violates His Commands, and which pollutes them, breaking off fellowship with their Father because He is Holy...? If His children participate (even merely as spectators) in that which is an abominable affront to Him, what does that make His children...? If we don’t hate what He hates, we are not His honorable children in whom He has placed His Spirit (we are merely eyes that see not and ears that hear not). If we don’t hate and take offense at what insults and affronts our Father—how dispicable then we are! King David, the only man whom God said was a man after the Lord’s Own Heart, declared,
“21Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate Thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against Thee? 22I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. 23Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the Way Everlasting.” (Psalm 139)
If we would be men and women after the Lord’s Own Heart, then likewise, we should have the same sentiments as David, and experience them as continually and naturally as breathing.
The Kingdom of God—that Kingdom that God Determined in His Mind before the foundation of the world in Eternity Past, shall be let down from Heaven and superimposed over this world (once the earth has been purged of evil and then cleansed with fire) after God’s people truly repent (no divided loyalties—for you cannot serve two masters), seek Him and His Ways, and “pray it down”. This, it seems is part of the “Keys of the Kingdom”. Whatever we loose / bind in Heaven shall be loosed / bound on earth. And instead, Christians run around polluting themselves with the filth of the world thinking that they are teflon and it does not touch them.
2. Micah 3:8-9:
“8But truly I am full of Power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of Judgment, and of Might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin. 9Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the House of Jacob, and Princes of the House of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.”
This passage, like most of prophecy, can only be understood in context with the whole chapter or prophecy or declaration, otherwise, it is like looking through a telephoto lens at something rather close... you have no idea what you are seeing... you may be able to make out certain colors and shapes, but you really don’t understand it in context and “can’t see the forest for the trees”.
God, through the bold Prophet Micah, is lambasting God’s people, and accusing the “upper crust” (the princes, prophets, priests, teachers) of CANNIBALISM!
In today’s degenerate society, all forms of perversity have lost their edge of disgust on the general polluted, brainwashed, desensitized public who has been marinating in evil for so long, they vomit with offense when they see something pure and good.
Those who think that God abolished the dietary laws don’t have a clue about what Peter’s Vision was about (see my booklet, So, You Call Yourself a Christian...) and don’t have a clue about the feelings of disgust that God purposely solicited from Peter when He let down a sheet full of UNCLEAN ABOMINATIONS and told Peter to kill and eat (it was not a command, and Peter did not kill and eat, the declaration was given to solicit disgust, not desensitize Peter’s conscience to learning to sin and defile himself and enjoy it).
[What a change from Christ’s thrice-repeated command, “Feed my sheep”. To understand the depth of that command, given using several different Greek words, see my S.T.E. Commentary on John 18-21 that covers the betrayal to the post-ascension. To understand why God was so confronting Peter, again, see, So, You Call....]
If the reader still has a gag reflex and can comprehend holiness and can understand the utter reprehension and holy hatred that is raised when holiness is offended by the most vile, revolting abominations, then he should be able to comprehend this concept of disgust as being a method employed to get the attention of sinful people who think of themselves as “good”. God employed a similar method with the Seer Nathan, in a sneaky way, to rebuke King David. After telling David the story of a poor man with one beloved sheep, who was like his child to him, and a rich neighbor with flocks of sheep, who stole that neighbor’s one little lamb and killed it to serve at a feast for his friends, King David was incensed and his royal ire raised to avenge the man; David demanded to know who it was, and Nathan pointed his finger at David and said, “You art that man!” David had several wives, and yet took the wife of another and committed adultery with her. David’s heart was broken once he realized that his sin was known, and all the emotions and guilt that he had locked tightly in the dark closets of his mind burst forth and he repented in true remorse. However, sadly, the rest of Israel was not as pure hearted, and when they heard such rebukes from the prophets, often attacked and even killed the prophets.
Thus, the Prophet Micah, by God’s Holy Spirit, in boldness, leveled an abhorrant accusation against God’s people, in the Lord’s “Power... and Judgment... and Might”. He accused the self-righteous upper crust, his kinsmen in positions of RESPONSIBILITY as being guilty of CANNIBALISM...! Now, remember, Christ in figurative language declared,
“53 ...Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of man, and drink His Blood, ye have no life in you. 54Whoso eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, hath Eternal Life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For My Flesh is meat [food] indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. 56He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. 57As the Living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me. 58This is that Bread which came down from Heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this Bread shall live for ever.” (John 6)
Now, Christ spoke this purposely to offend those who were not His sheep, not ordained unto life—and they were offended by this “hard saying” and declaring, “who can hear it?” and they left and stopped following Him. Now, Christ meant it figuratively as an exortation and it offended many. Just imagine how this vivid rebuke was received by Micah’s hearers. Micah was accusing them of tearing the flesh off their brethren, chopping them and their bones up into pieces and tossing them in a pot of boiling water and making “Kinsmen Soup!”
“1And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye Princes of the House of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment? 2Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; 3Who also eat the flesh of My people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.”
Since God’s people had degenerated to such an immoral level (as we have again today), there really are not too many sins that are considered abominations any more, and cannibalism is one of them (though it may eventually be legalized as more and more perverse aliens and antichrists are allowed to enter our society and pollute it turning our “holy city on a hill” into “the law of the jungle”.
Jeremiah made a similar accusation; but the disgust of it is blunted, by the use of the analogy of a shepherd feeding off his flock, devouring them. It is natural for a shepherd to eat mutton; that is why sheep are raised. However, cannibalism can be partially realized when one realizes the parallel between pastors and their congregation. The very Hebrew word for pastor (compare to pasture) #7462 raw-aw means, “to tend a flock” (see Jeremiah 17:16). Likewise, the Greek word translated as pastors (Ephesians 4:11) #4166 poimeyn means, “shepherd”. The Greek word for angel, from which we get our word angel, #32 anggelos which can also mean pastor (see Revelation 2:1), is from #71 ah-go, means “to lead or drive”.
[Those without understanding try to use this as evidence (or in their minds “proof”) of there not being literal angels; and likewise they claim there is no Hell since the Hebrew and Greek words can mean “grave” and there is no Satan because Satan means, “adversary”. All words mean something, but just because the word has a meaning does not negate the one who bears the name. By their illogic there is no Heaven, since the Hebrew and Greek words can also mean “sky” and there is no God either, since Elohiym can also mean “gods or judges”. Context determines which is being discussed. See my exhaustive, What the Devil? — What the Hell?, 798pp., pb., 40.00 + P&H.]
Thus, Jeremiah’s use of the analogy could infer that the pastors were eating the congregants. It, likewise, was not literal. Wealthy men do not shepherd their own sheep. They hire shepherds. Thus, the intention of shepherds eating the sheep is unfaithfulness, irresponsibility, betrayal, and theft: a shepherd has had the care of the flock put in his trust and charge.
[We remember that when Jacob cared for Laban’s flock, if anything happened to any sheep under Jacob’s care, Jacob had to make good out of his own flock. This is presumably because immoral shepherds could tell their master, “O a wolf ate one of the sheep last night”—when in fact they killed and ate it themselves. Similarly, princes and rulers and priests have had a sacred responsibility given to them, to care for the people—not consider the people to be their personal flock to fleece and feast off and sell for their own profit whenever it suits them!]
For a shepherd to then devour the sheep and feed himself off them (instead of guarding, feeding, and even giving his life to protect them) is the highest outrage and abomination committable one in such a position. Christ, the Good Shepherd, gave His Life for His sheep.
But Micah takes it a step further than Jeremiah; with a heaping helping of revoltion on top of betrayal.
Similarly, God told Ezekiel to make bread with HUMAN DUNG (presumably his own) in it, in the sight of the people (though he did not eat that exact bread, they thought that he did, and it got their attention).
[God mercifully allowed Ezekiel to substitute a small bit of cow’s dung in the bread that Ezekiel would actually eat. Being a prophet often had little profit, and was costly. There is a brand of organic, whole-grain health-food bread that is in the frozen department even of regular groceries stores, and the brand name of it is “Ezekiel Bread”; but they leave out one main ingredient.]
So Micah did not use the refined analogy of shepherd and sheep, but that of bloodthirsty human cannibals feeding off their own brethren!
As people degenerate into sin, sin becomes “normal” to them (even as does slavery—and fools confuse it with freedom!). They turn a blind eye to immorality and evil in society and even in their own family... erasing the boundaries of evil that GOD established, and “penciling” the boundaries back in to include their abominable relatives (“penciling” them in, so that they are more easily erased with less trace of the original boundaries, time and time again, as their family tree continues to rot down to the very roots). God said that he that spareth the rod HATETH his son. Christ, the Personification of Wisdom declared, “he that sinneth against Me wrongeth his own soul, all they who hate Me love death!” Those who coddle their sinful, immoral family members love evil more than they love God and they love their evil family members more than they love righteousness, and therefore they hate God. God said to love the Lord is to hate evil; ergo, those who love evil hate God. Christ said whosoever loves family more than Him cannot be His disciples, cannot be His followers, are not His sheep! HIS sheep hear His Voice and follow [obey] Him.
The preachers, the teachers, the politicians, the lawyers are all MOST RESPONSIBLE for the degeneracy of society... they have betrayed their own people—and traitors that they are, God says in Micah 3 that He WILL NOT hear their prayers and that He will hide Himself from them (v.4) when the beginning of His Judgment falls on them, when calamity, chaos—“payback”—and their “reaping what they have sown” overtakes them like a flood. God says that He will remove His Spirit from them and they shall flounder in darkness and depravity and ignorance and they shall eventually be exposed as being morally and spiritually bankrupt—FRAUDS—and they shall be ashamed (vv.6,7)—though in the face of merciless Judgment, shame is actually such a trifling matter.
After all of this indictment, Micah tells us (vv.8,9) that these are not his own words, but those of God, and he speaks them boldly before those in such lofty and noble positions of trust who have betrayed that trust—and he speaks it as God’s JUDGMENT upon them. After Judgment (those who pass through it alive), the last shall be first and the first shall be last.
[History is again repeating itself, and all those in positions of power in Christendom share the same indictment, and they shall share the same shame and Judgment; though for now, they think themselves untouchable; and like the pharisees, think that they have everyone fooled.]
Those in positions of honor and power and trust (kings, princes, priests, teachers, lawyers, politicians) do not hold those positions for their own gain or because of any goodness or inherent value of their own—but because they have been placed in those positions by God to do His Will and CARE for and LEAD in godliness those committed to their charge... not to use them as their own disposable, impersonal “items”, pawns, bargaining chips, chickens that lay their eggs, sheep they can sheer or butcher, their chattel, their miscellaneous dispensable “things” in their “junk drawer”...!
THEY WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE AND THEY SHALL NOT ESCAPE JUDGMENT!
Romans 11:26 is one of my daily continual prayers to God: “...turn away ungodliness from Jacob”.