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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).

The Jordan River

"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].

3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey [see What Was Strange About John The Baptist?; also The Way To The Land Of Milk And Honey]. 3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers [see How Did The Messiah's Levite Priesthood Change?], who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham [see A Biography Of Abraham: Abrahamic Religions]. 3:10 And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire [see The Manner Of Fruit].

3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire [see Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff]." (Matthew 3:1-12 KJV)

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].

4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God [see What Does Word of God Mean To You?].

4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple [see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Temple], 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God [see Who Is The LORD?].

4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them [see What And Where Is Babylon Today?]; 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him [again, see Sending Away The Escapades Goat], and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." (Matthew 4:1-11 KJV)

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.

Fishermen On The Sea Of Galilee

"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,

4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles [see also What Did The Messiah Say About Gentiles?]; 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:12-17 KJV)

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.

4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother [see also The Kinsfolk Of Jesus Of Nazareth], in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom [see The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God], and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people [see also Sabbath Teachings And Healings]. 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. 4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan [see Beyond Jordan]." (Matthew 4:12-25 KJV)

"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.

Waiting To Be Healed

"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].

10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 10:3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 10:4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot [see also The Long Shadow Of Judas], who also betrayed him." (Matthew 10:1-4 KJV)

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].

10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 10:9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10:10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

10:11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 10:12 And when ye come into an house, salute it.

10:13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city [see Bind and Loose]. 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:5-16 KJV)

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.

The Church of Rome In Jerusalem

"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.

10:21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake [see Antichristians]: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

10:24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub [see Baal-zebub and Beelzebub], how much more shall they call them of his household?" (Matthew 10:17-25 KJV)

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.

10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven [see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners].

10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword [see The Coming World Dictator]. 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 10:36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household [see The Eighth Day: What Does It Mean?].

10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me [see The Cross Of Christ, Or The Cross Of Men?]. 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

10:40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me [see Can You See The Church?]. 10:41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." (Matthew 10:26-42 KJV)

"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).

Fallen Stones

"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?].

21:7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?

21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them [see The Messiah's Warning About Christian Charlatans].

21:9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.

21:10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:

21:11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.

21:13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony. 21:14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 21:15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

21:16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 21:17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. 21:18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish. 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls." (Luke 21:5-19 KJV)

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."

Clouds

"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.

21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 21:26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth [see What Is The Day Of The LORD?]: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 21:27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

21:29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 21:30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 21:31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." (Luke 21:20-31 KJV)

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?

1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight [see What Happened When The Messiah Arrived In Heaven?].

1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven [see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin]." (Acts 1:6-11 KJV)

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?
See The Two Signs Of Christ's Return


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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.

2000: Riots by Palestinians began when Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (see also David's Altar and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Temple).




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Copyright © Wayne Blank