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Friday, September 28 2012
Repent, For The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand
"Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"
"Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." It was that proclamation that made John the Baptist the prophesied "Elijah" to come (Matthew 11:12-14 and see The Ministries Of The Two Greatest Prophets).
"3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight [see The Strait Gate].
As we will read, the Messiah also thereafter made the "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" proclamation, but before He did, before His Ministry began, He overcame an all-out attack by Satan. Overcoming the Devil was the first step of qualifying the Lamb of God to be the Lamb of God (see Day of Atonement: The Messiah's Deliverance). That victory (without overcoming the Devil, the Crucifixion would itself not have been valid - the Messiah had to be sinless) would then authorize the Sacrificed Messiah to replace Satan's "Babylon" world with God's Kingdom (see Sending Away The Escapades Goat), in due time (see the Fact Finder question below).
"4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil [see Satan's Fall: From Conservative To Liberal and The First Rock Star; also Who's Hiding On Your Wall?]. 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread [see also Standing Fast].
The Messiah then Himself began to preach "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" - even though He knew that it was yet far into the future.
"4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee [see also The Cities Of Lake Galilee]; 4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
The healings, physical and spiritual, were object lessons of how all of humanity will be made clean in the future Kingdom of God (see The Church In The Kingdom Of God).
"4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter [see also What Did Peter and John See That Others Didn't?], and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
"Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words ... It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city"
The twelve apostles were instructed to do and preach the same as the Messiah did - with the same miraculous power to heal, as the Messiah did, for the same object lesson purpose as the Messiah did - but always with futuristic statements of fulfillment included.
"10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease [see The Healing Spirit].
The basis of the instruction to them was "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand" - even though the Kingdom of God was many centuries yet in the future.
"10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah].
Notice carefully how the Messiah's instructions to the twelve apostles also described the time of Christ's return. The same instructions, and the same persecution, was experienced by other servants of the Messiah through the centuries. The Gospel did not fall silent when the twelve apostles died.
"10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 10:18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles [see What And Where Is Babylon Today?]. 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
The instructions to the apostles continued - instructions and prophecy that applied to all of the servants of the LORD, through the centuries, who preached that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
"10:26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 10:27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?]: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
"So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand"
The Olivet prophecy gave even more detail, about the actual time of Christ's return, that the Messiah's servants have been preaching was "at hand" for centuries (we will explain why in moment).
"21:5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, 21:6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down [see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?].
Then the conclusion to the prophecy of Christ's return, when "So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand."
"21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies [see A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace], then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21:21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 21:22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled [see A History Of Jerusalem: Abomination Of Desolation]. 21:23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
The apostles then understood that the Kingdom of God would be established in the future. They were to preach that it was "at hand" for the simple reason that the dead don't sense the passage of time. For all who have died, on the day of their death the Kingdom of God was at hand because from their conscious perspective, the dead go instantly from being dead to being alive, even though they may have been dead for hundreds, or thousands, of years. The apostle Paul stated it plainly: "4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:7-8 KJV). It's the same reason that Christians are to live their lives as though Christ's return was "now" because, for everyone, it will seem that way (see Could Christ Return Tonight?).
"1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Fact Finder: There is a vital difference between preaching "the Kingdom of God is at hand" (as we've explained) and the presumptuousness of "setting dates." What are the only two specific end-time signs that the Messiah's return is imminent?
This Day In History, September 28
48 BC: Roman General Pompey (Cneius Pompeius Magnus) was assassinated in Egypt by a soldier under orders from King Ptolomy (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and The Cleopatra Connection).
351: The Battle of Mursa Major. Roman Emperor Constantius II defeated the usurper Magnentius.
365: Roman usurper Procopius gained the loyalty of two legions (by bribery) at Constantinople and proclaimed himself Roman emperor (see also Legions Of Men And Angels). Constantinople was named after Constantine (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad)
1066: William the Conqueror invaded England. He was later was crowned king after defeating and killing Harold at the Battle of Hastings.
1106: The Battle of Tinchebrai. Henry I of England defeated his brother, Robert Curthose.
1238: Muslim Valencia surrendered to the besieging King James I of Aragon.
1542: Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo "discovered" California (it wasn't a discovery to the native-born people who were already there).
1791: France became the first European country to emancipate its Jewish population.
1793: The Upper Canada legislators decreed that all slave children born in Canada after that date would become free at age 25. "Upper" and "Lower" Canada were terms of that time based on the flow of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. "Upper" Canada (i.e. upriver Canada) was the general area of Ontario today, while "Lower" Canada (i.e. downriver Canada) was the general area of Quebec today.
1867: Toronto became the capital of the Canadian Province of Ontario.
1871: The Parliament of Brazil passed the Law of the Free Womb, thereby granting freedom to all children born thereafter to slave mothers.
1895: Louis Pasteur died at age 73. The French chemist made many important discoveries involving bacterial diseases and vaccination against them.
1922: Amidst strikes and general political turmoil, Benito Mussolini and his Fascists marched on Rome. King Victor Emmanuel III had him form a government.
1928: The Parliament of the United Kingdom outlawed cannabis with the passing the Dangerous Drugs Act.
1928 Scottish biologist Sir Alexander Fleming discovered a bacteria-killing mold growing in his laboratory. It was later named penicillin.
1939: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agreed on a division of Poland after their invasion of the country at the beginning of the Second World War (1939-1945).
1953: Astronomer Edwin Hubble died at age 63. The Hubble Space Telescope is named after him.
1956: William Boeing died at age 75. His U.S. aircraft manufacturing company produced many military aircraft ("B" as in Boeing) B-17 Flying Fortress, B-52 (i.e. from the year 1952) Stratofortress and civilian airliners such as the Boeing 747.
1961: A military coup in Damascus, Syria ended the United Arab Republic, a union between Egypt and Syria.
1978: The Israeli Knesset ratified the Camp David Peace Accord that had been signed between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (see A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).
1987: Palestinians ("Palestine" is an English word that originated from "Philistine") began their "Intifada" against Israel.
1994: About 900 people were killed when the ferry Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea southwest of Finland after the locking mechanism on a bow door failed.
1995: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat signed an accord to transfer much of the "West Bank" to the control of its Arab residents (see also Why East And West Manasseh?).
1999: Nigel Broakes died at age 65. The British financier's holdings included London's Ritz Hotel and the Cunard shipping line.
2000: Pierre Trudeau, the 15th Prime Minister of Canada (1968-1979 and 1980-1984), died at age 80.