And when he was demanded of the Pharisees
Or "asked" by them; who expected the Messiah, and that when he was come he would set up a temporal kingdom, and deliver them from the Roman yoke; when they should enjoy great liberty, peace, and prosperity; so that they might put the following question to Christ in a serious manner, agreeably to these expectations: or it may be occasioned by the frequent mention that had been made of the kingdom of God by John, and Christ, and his disciples in their ministry, and so be put in a way of derision; or, as most of their questions were, with a view to ensnare or puzzle:
when the kingdom of God should come;
either the kingdom that God had promised, or the kingdom of the Messiah, who is truly God, that had been so often spoken of by John the Baptist, Christ, and his apostles. The Ethiopic version reads, "the kingdom of heaven", which is the same with the kingdom of God; for these phrases are promiscuously used. This question they need not have asked, had they carefully attended to the writings of the Old Testament they had in their hands; and had they diligently observed the signs of the times, in which they lived; and had they seriously regarded the ministry and miracles of Christ among them; from these things, they might have concluded, not only that the time was at hand, when the kingdom of God should be set up, but that it was already come: they might have observed, that not only the harbinger of the Messiah was come, who was John the Baptist; but that the Messiah himself was among them, by the many wonderful things which he wrought among them, and by the many Scripture prophecies which were fulfilled in him; they might have seen that the sceptre was manifestly departing from Judah; that all power and authority were falling into the hands of the Romans; and that only a mere shadow and appearance of it were among them; they might have known, by calculation, that the time fixed in Daniel's prophecy, for the coming of the Messiah, was now up, and therefore he must be come; and they had very good reason to believe that Jesus was he.
He answered them and said, the kingdom of God cometh not
or so as to be observed by the eye, or to be distinguished when it comes as the kingdoms of this world, by outward pomp and splendour, by temporal riches, external honours, and worldly power and grandeur; though it so far came with observation, that had they had eyes to see, they might have observed that it was come, by what they saw done by Christ, particularly the power that he showed in the dispossessing devils out of the bodies of men; see ( Matthew 12:28 ) . The Syriac version reads, "with observations"; and some understand the words of the observances of the ceremonies of the law, of days, months, and years, and the difference of meats, and the like, which the kingdom of God is not in, and which were to cease upon its coming; but the former sense is best.