The Kingdom of God is Within You
In Luke 17:21, the writer quotes Jesus as saying:
“Neither will they say, Lo here! or lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
This is a really interesting passage, because Jesus was saying this as an answer to a question proposed by a detractor (a pharisee.) In this case, Jesus is telling this man that the Kingdom of God is not “over there,” but “within you.”
Simply put, God is within each of us… the Pharisee and Christian devotee alike. This would be contradictory to the fundamentalist/evangelical that have a vested interest in not “looking inside” for God – and that certainly have aversion to the idea that a non Christian already has God within…
It Is Within
While most of us don’t act like we have “God within,” it certainly is our inheritance. What Jesus and other masters have alluded to is that we don’t need something external to give us our purity and true essence.
Instead, we simply must center on what is within us… at our very core, the source of Creation… God, Divinity, or Source.
Of course, this teaching took away from the religious leadership at the time of Jesus – it also takes away from the religious leadership today. For that reason we have seen newer translations that seek to pervert and change the inherent message.
Many Christians have approached me with ego and arrogance, telling me how they know all too well what that verse really means… that it is a “mistranslation on my part” – reading an antiquated translation which is missing “the real meaning.”
What none of those Christians offers however, is any real evidence. They simply parrot what they are told by their superiors (pastors, priests, evangelical leaders.)
Time and time again I have provided the evidence that they seek. What their belief hinges on is an accepted theology. It is far too much for the some to believe that no one needs their church – instead, we simply need to quiet to the moment of now and find the stillness and therein is God. This would crumble their entire culture of belief.
Often the detractors refer me to Strong’s Concordance which translates key word “Entos” from Greek to English – changing the intent to what they believe in. Strongs Concordance, however, is a Christian theological lexicon. As I will prove in this paper, it is incorrect and faulty – giving a definition of the word, to suit their religion, but not reality.
I will use the Greek Manuscripts (which were used to construct the New Testament), Aramaic translations of Luke 17:21, as well as other scriptures not included (but dated to the first few hundred years of the early Christian church) to show what Jesus actually said.
The ancient Greek used to create the New Testament, reads:
οὐδὲ ἐροῦσιν ἰδοὺ ὧδε ἤ ἐκεῖ, ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἡ βασιλ είατοῦ θεοῦ ἐντὸς ὑμῶν ἐστιν.
The word here in question is the Greek word: εντος (Entos.)
Entos has one specific meaning: “within.”
The verse above translates to english as, “Neither will they say, Lo here! or lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
However, you’ll notice that the NIV, as well as other modern translations have a different sentiment: “nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
Yet linguistically the Greek word Entos is never used to mean “amongst” or “in the midst.” While Christian theological sources cite this as the primary translation – it is not correct Greek.
Looking outside theological sources though, it’s very clear that this word Entos translates to “within” or “inside.”
The ancient greek definition can be found here:
The word exists within modern Greek as well. If you reference a variety of Greek dictionaries you’ll get the same definition – “within.” Even Google Translate defines it as such: http://translate.google.com/#el/en/%CE%B5%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%82
Google responds with the output below:
σε, εν, εντός, εις, μέσα
σε, μέσα, εντός, εις
μέσα, εντός, απομέσα
Since we take this as a preposition in this sentence it would be “within.” In some cases (as an adverb) it could mean “inside.” What we won’t see is a meaning of “amongst” or “in the midst.”
Greek English Lexicons
The Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon defines ἐντὸς as only having the meaning “within” or “inside.” The word as a preposition or as an adverb still retains this specific meaning of something inside something. It reads as follows:
ἐντός , (ἐν)
A.within, inside, opp. ἐκτός:
I. Prep. c. gen., which mostly follows, but may precede, “τείχεοςἐ.” Il.12.380, al., cf. “Ἀρχ. Ἐφ.” 1920.33 (Boeot., V B.C.); “ἐ. Ὀλύμπου” Hes.Th.37; “στέρνωνἐ.” A.Ag. 77 (anap.); “σ᾽ἔθρεψενἐ. . . ζώνης” Id.Eu.607; ἐ. ἐμεωυτοῦin my senses, under my own control,Hdt.7.47; “ἐ. ἑωυτοῦγίνεσθαι” Id.1.119, cf.Hp. Epid.7.1; “ἐ. ὢνεἰπεῖναὑτοῦ” D.34.20; “ἐ. τῶνλογισμῶν” Plu.Alex.32; ἐ. ὑμῶνin your hearts,Ev.Luc.17.21; “τῶνμαθημάτωνἐ.” Dicaearch.1.30; “γραμμάτωνἐ.” Sor.1.3; “ἐ. εἶναιτῶνσυμβαινόντωνπαθῶν” acquainted with,Chrysipp.Stoic.3.120; ἐ. τοξεύματοςwithin shot, E.HF991, X. Cyr.1.4.23; οὐδ᾽ἐντὸςπολλοῦπλησιάζειν not within a great distance, Pl.Smp.195b, cf. Th.2.77; ἐ. ποιεῖν put within, “τῶντειχῶν” Id.7.5; “ἐ. ποιεῖσθαιτῶνἐπιτάκτων” Id.6.67; “ἐ. πλαισίουποιησάμενοι” X.An.7.8.16; of troops, ἐ. αὐτῶνwithin their own lines, ib.1.10.3: also with Verbs of motion, “τείχεοςἐ. ἰόντες” Il.12.374; “πύργωνἔπεμψενἐντός” E.Tr.12.
2.within, i.e. on this side, “ἐ. Ἅλυοςποταμοῦ” Hdt.1.6, cf. 8.47, Th.1.16; ἡἐ. Ἱσπανία, = Lat. Hispania Citerior,Plu.Cat.Ma.10; “ἐ. τοῦΠόντου” Hdt.4.46; “ἐ. ὅρωνἩρακλείων” Pl.Ti.25c; ἐ. τῶνμέτρωντετμημένονμέταλλονwithin the bounds of the adjacent property, an encroachment, Hyp.Eux.35; “τῶνμέτρωνἐ.” D.37.36; also ἐ. τῶνπρῳρέων . . καὶτοῦαἰγιαλοῦbetween . ., Hdt.7.100.
3. of Time, within, “ἐ. οὐπολλοῦχρόνου” Antipho 5.69; “ἐ. εἴκοσινἡμερῶν” Th.4.39, cf. IG12.114.40, etc.; “ἐ. ἑξήκοντ᾽ἐτῶν” Amphis 20.2; ἐ. ἑσπέραςshort of, i.e. before, evening, X.Cyn.4.11; ἐ. ἑβδόμηςbefore the seventh of the month, Hsch.; οἱτῆςἡλικίαςἐ. γεγονότεςshort of manhood, Lys.2.50; τῆςπρεπούσηςἐ. ἡλικίαςwithin the fitting limits of age, Pl.Ti.18d.
4. with Numbers, ἐ. εἴκοσιν[ἐτῶν] under twenty, Ar.Ec.984; ἐ. δραχμῶνπε<*>ντήκονταwithin, i.e. under . ., Pl.Lg. 953b.
5. of Degrees of relationship, ἐ. ἀνεψιότητοςwithin the relationship of cousins, nearer than cousins, ib.871b, Lexap.D.43.57.
II. Adv. within, “ἐ. ἐέργειν” Il.2.845, Od.7.88; “χώρηνἐ. ἀπέργειν” Hdt.3.116; “ἐ. ἔχειντινάς” Th.7.78; ἐ. ποιῆσαι or ποιήσασθαι,Id.5.2, 6.75: freq. with the Art., ἐκτοῦἐ., = ἔντοσθε, Id.2.76; τὰἐ. the inner parts of the body (of ἥτεφάρυγξκαὶἡγλῶσσα), ib.49, cf. Pl. Prt.334c, etc.; τοὐντός, opp. τοὔξω,S.Ichn.302; “ἐ.” in the Mediterranean,Arist.Mu.393a12.
Henry George Liddell. Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon. revised and augmented throughout by. Sir Henry Stuart Jones. with the assistance of. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1940.
Ancient Greek Dictionary
The George Autenrieth, A Homeric Dictionary defines ἐντὸς as meaning “within,” as well:
Elsewhere Entos is used and Translated as “within”
It’s interesting that the same modern translations (NAS, INT, NIV) translate Matthew 23:26 (which also uses the word ἐντὸς), “Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
These very same translators recognize that ἐντὸς does in fact mean “inside.” These translators chose an alternate meaning as it suited their theology.
In both Luke 17:21 and Matthew 23:26 ἐντὸς is being used as a preposition. The phrase structure is the same. Yet in one verse the modern translations have used “among” and in the other they have used the translation of “within.”
Entos and Plural Nouns
The most common response from people translating Entos as meaning “among,” state their decision is based the greek word Entos having a different meaning when paired with a plural noun.
They claim that when a plural noun is used with entos, entos no longer means “within” but it becomes “among.” However, the linguistic source material for this proposition is never stated. Their source, is their own word!
In looking at this, I researched etymology of this word – through a variety of words related to the Greek Entos (when referring to a plural noun) we never see the definition of “among.” Never.
It always reflects the meaning “within.”
Here are some examples from “A Dictionary of Entomology” (study of insects) which use the greek word entos as the source of the scientific words:
ENTOSTERNUM Noun. (Greek, entos = within + sternon = chest. PL, Entosterna.) Internal processes from Sternum. Sync Furca. See Sternum.
ENTOTERGUM Noun. (Greek, entos = within + tergum = back. PL, Entoterga.) A large, V-shaped ridge on undersrface of Notum with its apex directed forward (Snodgrass). See Tergum.
ENTOTHORAX Noun. (Greek, entos = within + thorax = breastplate. PL Ehthothoraces;) Apodemes or precess extending inward from sternal Sclerites. See Apophysis; Furca.
Proper Translation of “among”
Further, I had the phrase “the kingdom of God is among [in your midst] you,” translated to Greek via an online translation service, and it given to me as:
το βασίλειο του Θεού είναι ανάμεσά σας
The word entos (εντος) is not in the translation. Instead the words ανάμεσά σας are used to mean “in your midst”/”among.” This indicates that if the intent was to say “the Kingdom of God is among you,” they wouldn’t have used the word Entos at all!
The Greek/English translation site Sensagent has translated the phrase “the kingdom of god is among you” without the use of Entos:
Βασίλειο του Θεού είναι ανάμεσά σας
I looked into the supplied alternate translations and again – the word Entos is never used to convey an idea of “among” or “in the midst.”
The resources at wordreference.com were very useful for this research. The word “among” (as well as midst) translates into Greek in a variety of ways, such as:
στην παρέα μας
None of the translations offers εντός (Entos) as an appropriate choice for conveying the idea of being “among” or “in the midst.”
Conclusion on the Greek Translation of Entos
Wordreference.com has a very useful page for the word within: http://www.wordreference.com/engr/within
It gives examples of it’s use in Greek. One such example they offer (that is similar in structure to the Biblical passage Luke 17:21) is the phrase:
“The project is due within three days” which is comparable to “The kingdom of God is within you.”
Two potential translations came up… One uses the word entos, the other the word: μέσα (which also means within):
|Η εργασία πρέπει να παραδοθεί μέσα σε τρεις μέρες.|
|Η εργασία πρέπει να παραδοθεί εντός τριών ημερών.|
Another example is provided on that site for the phrase, “You will find lots of interesting things within the box.” Again, the Greek word εντός (entos) is used as it is specifying something “on the inside.”
I don’t see the evidence for Entos to reflect the word “amongst” nor “in the midst” – but rather it has only one meaning: “within.”
Yet if you were to Google this very phrase “the kingdom of God/heaven is within you,” you would find thousands of websites touting this notion of the Greek word entos taking on a different meaning of “among” or “in the midst” – a meaning that isn’t based on any Greek/English dictionary or language scheme.
To Sum It Up
- The word entos used in this passage, in original Greek, translates on it’s own as “within”
- The word entos is used to build English words, and is always used to describe something “within” or “inside” – even when constructing words that are plural nouns
- The word entos when paired with a plural noun DOES NOT change the meaning of the phrase – it still retains the meaning “within”
- The words “among,” “amongst,” “in the midst,” never translate to Greek as “entos.” Instead they use the words ανάμεσά σας
If you prefer the Aramaic we still get to the same concept of “inside.”
According to this document :
the Aramaic for Luke 17:21 would refer to the Kingdom of God being “inside” as well.
Harmony of Experience
In my own personal experience, I have felt the presence of God throughout the different religions I was part of. When I was a Christian, I felt God in the church. I felt the same presence of God when I was a Buddhist, Hindu, student of Sufism and participating in the variety of spiritual groups and organizations.
In looking at the teachings of the East, we see that the search for God is inward. The gnostic Christians also sought God inwardly (the search for gnosis.) Mystics and spiritualists of many paths have all come to the same inward search as their conclusion to the source and presence of God.
This harmony of the world proves to me that what Jesus was meaning was that “God is within us.”
While I don’t care for language debates, this is important to understand. Eastern spiritualists like Yogananda and others were right on point when they said that the Kingdom of God is within each of us – the saint and sinner alike.
That doesn’t mean the “evil doer” is godly, but it means that the evil doer can repent not to a priest or some variation of Christianity, but surrendering to God by going inward. No outer rituals required.
Some might prefer the outer ritual experience, but it is unnecessary for the individual. God is here, now, within.
Why the Deception?
Jesus is attributed to saying this response to someone who asked a question – and that person who asked the question was a Pharisee. A detractor. A non believer.
It would therefore mean that the Kingdom of Heaven is within everyone – detractor and believer a like… and said kingdom existed before the sacrifice upon the cross… so therefore, it is an inward search to find God, not a external devotion to Jesus that brings one to the Kingdom of God.
It would completely change the modern doctrinal concepts.
If you created a theology that is vested in control of belief and opinion, you would certainly not like to see others use this translation to suggest that the Hindu can find God via Hinduism.
This was the case though. Eastern religious leaders were coming to America and preaching this very idea (as it is part of their religions.) They heard the words of Jesus and felt Jesus reflected their own truths.
About this time, came new translations of the Bible. These new translations were right on queue to head this off. The NIV came out in the early 1970’s, a time when America was starting to part ways with the old, formal ideas of the Christian faith.
I believe this is not a coincidence, but a determined act to hold people steady to the church leadership. If you disagree, that’s fine, pull up a real greek lexicon and apply the same detail of analysis that I’ve provided here.
What I find incredibly annoying is when people quote the NIV, or Strong’s Concordance, without any real research. They lack the insight to really see what’s going on… and this isn’t the first time.
Christians have been manipulated by church leadership going back to inception of the church of Rome. Martin Luther broke off in defiance and after that, more and more splinters of Christian surfaced as each church leadership fell into control and demands of belief.
Gnosticism was made illegal and punished almost into extinction.
Early Christianity didn’t have a Bible. Most of the pre-Constantine churches had their own collection of ideas and faith. Under Constantine however, the church was unified.
The Councils of Nicaea were established to vote in what Gospels should be adhered to and what articles of faith would be accepted (and what would be rejected.)
What Christianity believes in today, was a product of a voting process. People argued that Jesus wasn’t the “Son of God,” and others argued He was. Some believed that communion was really the flesh and blood of Jesus and others believed it was symbolic. All of these various ideas were debated, until a majority vote created and established the religion.
Spiritual books that were counter to the teachings of the council and Roman church, where persecuted into oblivion! The Gnostics, for example, were rounded up and killed and their books burned. Only two factions of Gnostics were able to survive to this day.
Even in our modern age, we can see church leadership lying and manipulating congregations.
We all know about the Salem (and other) witch trials, where women were unjustly murdered as “witches,” because of the evil passions of deluded men.
Religious leaders led panic and fear to drive others to commit horrible crimes in the name of God.
I was a teenager in the 1980’s and some of my family fell under the spell of absurdity, thinking Satanists were everywhere. They saw satan in paintings, books, music and games. Driven by fear mongering Christians were out and about holding public burnings of material.
I had relatives sneak into my house, round up my books and force me to burn them, lest I be given an exorcism. It’s so unreal today. We’ve come so far, but it was only 30 years or so that people fell under this spell of lunacy.
Perhaps today there are still evangelicals running around burning books and music. Consider how they mislead so many people into thinking Satan was talking backwards on a Beatles song.
Pastor Scott Lively was accused of inciting Ugandans into ethnic cleansing – encouraging them to rid themselves of “homosexuality.” Rather than taking the message of Jesus as one of love and compassion – they became killers, killing people they thought “gay,” in the streets.
How did good “Christians,” go on rampages to round up and kill those they thought were “gay?” Because Christians (and many religions) are easily manipulated by fear. Fear of a cruel God.
The 2016 Election
Even more recently, the evangelical tyrants created a new theology – misleading so many of my own family. They expressed a new theory that Isaiah 45 was a “prophecy” about Donald Trump becoming the next president. No longer did the Christian live in the world, BUT for God, instead the Christian Lived FOR the world.… seeking to enrich themselves by casting out undesirables.
Without getting into the details, they basically were driven by fear, anger and greed, to elect a man who was the antithesis of their faith – all the while chanting, “Jesus wants Trump.”
How is that even possible? It’s possible because Christianity (and religion in general) suffers the taint of controlling powers. Had such Christians looked inward, they would know that their faith isn’t compatible with hate, anger, bigotry, and love of country and land rights.
Look how easy it is for Christians to become blinded and controlled. As easy as it is to make a new translation and say, “Jesus never meant that, you’re wrong,” and back it up with their own sourced “truth.”
Do We Know?
Do we really know what Jesus taught? Or are we simply being fed what the theologians agreed upon?
I believe that one can not understand God by word and teaching – instead I seek direct experience. This is the only way to really get to the heart of the matter… and yes there are roadblocks in doing so, but it is far better to walk a path, than to blindly walk a path another man tells you is “God’s will.”