Food for Friday

And saying, Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:2

If we are still waiting for the Kingdom of Heaven, why did John the Baptist preach that it was at hand? Was he simply using a ploy to convince people to repent and be baptized? Did John not understand that the Kingdom of Heaven refers to Heaven’s reign on the earth? This reign was promised to David and to his seed, was described by Daniel in his prophecy, and was to be fulfilled in the thousand year’s reign of the Messiah. We know the schedule, how that our current age of grace will terminate with the Rapture, followed by the rise of the man of sin, the great tribulation, and then the return of Christ to set up His kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven. Was John not aware of that schedule? We are not sure. But John did know one thing, and that was the One Who would be the King during the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand in Israel as John was preaching. And in a slightly different way, He is at hand today.

John’s preaching was effective. His faithfulness to the message that God gave him to preach resulted in large numbers of listeners, and large numbers of responses. Many, if not most, of his responders were sincere. And many of them were prepared to receive the Lord Jesus when He arrived. And those people discovered that the Kingdom of Heaven was indeed at hand. John is gone, but his message remains as the preparation of souls for receiving the Gospel. Since his day, those who repent and turn to Christ have discovered the Kingdom of Heaven. That is because the Kingdom is not limited to the Thousand-year’s Reign, but is available to all who will believe and enter in.

We know who is ruling the world’s systems these days. The devil is the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). And his power seems to be growing these days as he appears to win the battles to destroy the family structure, to promote gross immorality as acceptable and praiseworthy, to corrupt education and religion with his lies and deceptions. But the devil does not own all the territory. There are some who reject his lies and who embrace the truth of the Word of God. There are some who have yielded their lives and members to the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. There are some who believe and promote the glorious Gospel of Christ. There are some who are already in the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. That’s why we need to preach the Gospel, so sinners will recognize and receive the King. -Jim MacIntosh

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