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Daily Reading: 31st May 2016

Matthew 3.2 cont.

2 saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven has come near.” 

The reason that John preaches repentance is because the Kingdom of Heaven has come near. John does not say that the Kingdom is coming near, as though it were a future event. He states that the Kingdom has come near. In other words he was telling the people that the nearness of the Kingdom has become a reality.

Later Jesus began His ministry with the same declaration about the nearness of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The term ‘The Kingdom of Heaven’ is only used in Matthews’ gospel (over thirty times). The other gospel writers use the term: ‘The Kingdom of God’.

Therefore, there is a lot of information in Matthews’ gospel to enlighten us about the Kingdom of Heaven.

We will study these as we come to them.

The root of the Kingdom of Heaven comes from Daniel 2.44:

“During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed; no one will ever conquer it. It will shatter all these kingdoms into nothingness, but it will stand forever” – (NLT).

This verse is usually connected with the end times, but we can also see that it refers to the Kingdom of God (Heaven), which both John and Jesus proclaimed had already drawn close to the people of Israel.

It is true that there are aspects of the Kingdom of Heaven that are still to take place, in particular the destruction of all other kingdoms.

Paul prophesied:

[10] …..at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

[11] and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father – Philippians 2.10-11 (NLT).

The Kingdom of Heaven is an everlasting Kingdom. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we are born again into God’s everlasting Kingdom; we become citizens of Heaven for all eternity.

We know that whilst we remain on earth we are in the world, but we do not belong to this world.

God’s word tells us:

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Saviour – Philippians 3.20 (NLT).

 

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