Spiritual Reality

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 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

Mark 9:1

As we study the sayings attributed to Jesus, we quickly see that one of his key themes involved the kingdom of God. What did he mean by this term? We know Jesus did not usher in the classically understood kingdom of God. Those who embrace this model still believe he will return and do it then. So, when he said there were some standing before him that would see the kingdom come in their lifetime, did he get it wrong?

Judging by this and other similar passages, we surmise that he was not talking about an era ushered in with trumpets and clouds full of angels. He was referring to an inner experience, one’s awakening to a spiritual reality. He was saying that some of his audience, not all, would experience a genuine spiritual awakening in their lifetime.

The more I study Jesus’ use of the kingdom of God, the more certain I am that he was referring to omnipresent, spiritual reality, the creative life force that underlies and animates all living forms. This creative process is already in place, fully functioning, and known to those who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear. As the Gospel of Thomas says, “The kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth and men do not see it.”

The term, kingdom of God, can trigger misleading preconceptions, stirring images of the old man in the sky finally coming down to take control of a dysfunctional earth. As a teacher, Jesus saw his primary mission as one of bearing witness to the true nature of the omnipresent, spiritual reality. An awareness of this spiritual dimension can heal, can bring order where there is chaos, can manifest as plenty where there is lack. In other words, understanding the true nature of God can establish conditions in one’s earthly experience as they are in this spiritual reality. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).   

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