(Lk. 17:20-21) Doesn’t Jesus teach that the kingdom was “spiritually” fulfilled in our hearts?

CLAIM: The OT predicted a literal kingdom of the Messiah, but Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” Amillennial interpreters hold that this passage states that Jesus was abrogating the OT teaching on the kingdom of God being literal and political. Instead, it is spiritual and invisible. Is this the case?

RESPONSE: A couple of observations can be made:

First, when Jesus says “kingdom of God” in this passage, he was describing the Church Age. In Luke 17, Jesus is saying that there will not be signs for the Church Age. But, in Luke 21, he says that there will be signs of the future kingdom (through Israel). The Church Age (the kingdom of God) would not be accompanied by signs and wonders (as the five parables of Matthew 13 show us). However, when he refers to his second coming, Jesus said, “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves” (Lk. 21:25). However, at the end of history, Jesus said that there would be signs, which would accompany his second coming and kingdom on Earth.

Second, Jesus wanted his hearers to get on board with God’s plan in the Church Age. When Jesus interacted with the Pharisees, he didn’t want them to be content with the future portions of the covenant (at the end of history), he wanted them to seek the current portions (in the Church Age). Why would Jesus teach about the future of Israel (at the end of time) to these men? Instead, he reserved that teaching for his disciples (who were already on board with the Church Age).