Answer: Many people think the Kingdom of God is just some nice-sounding abstract idea, a feeling that exists in the hearts and minds of believers. But this is not what your Bible says!
People get this mistaken idea when they misunderstand Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees, recorded in Luke 17, “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’” (vv. 20-21).
Well, there it is! Right?
Actually, let’s look at the word “within”—it’s a translation of the Greek word entos. It turns out that entos is much better translated as “in the midst of.” The point Jesus was making was that the Pharisees didn’t need to look here and there to “find” the Kingdom of God when the very Personification of that Kingdom—its King, Jesus Christ—was right there in their midst!
Jesus had many harsh words to say about the Pharisees’ approach, beliefs and attitudes. These Pharisees wanted to kill Christ and squelch His message. It doesn’t make sense to think He would have said they, of all people, had the Kingdom of God within them. If they did, Jesus’ ministry was unnecessary and even missed the whole point!
This passage is not the only place where Jesus equated His presence with the Kingdom of God. Notice: “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28).
All human beings have within them an element that makes them different from the animals. That element is called the “spirit in man” (Job 32:8). But that is a human spirit, not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is received voluntarily by those who repent and are baptized and receive the laying on of hands. Yet even this indwelling of God’s very Spirit is not the same as the coming Kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit within Christians helps them yield to their Savior and become more and more like Him as they prepare to become part of the Kingdom of God upon Christ’s return.