The Kingdom of God is Near

by Scarlett Stough

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: Thy Kingdom Come.

Jesus began his ministry preaching about the Kingdom of God, also called the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the Good News. But what did he mean when he said it was "near?"

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Mark 1:14-15

Most commentators agree Jesus meant since he was in their midst, the kingdom was also near and present in himself. The Scriptures tell us "The Lord is near" (Philippians 4:5). He is near because the Holy Spirit is with and in us (John 14:16-18). In this sense the kingdom of God (or of Heaven) is near to those who believe and are Christ's own disciples today (Colossians 1:9-14).

Some people look around today and don't see Jesus or his kingdom is near. Where in our world today is the kingdom he proclaimed? I think that is a fair question. What did he say about it? "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority" (Acts 1:7).

The disciples were told he would return, but not when he would return; they were told to pass on to others all that they had seen and were taught by Jesus (Acts 1:1-11).

Yet all those who have returned to God (repented) and believe the good news of the kingdom are still waiting. Generations have waited. Some have forgotten we are waiting for all of the prophecies yet to be fulfilled by Jesus after his return which is yet future. Every generation has had at least one false prophet who "knew" Jesus was coming in their lifetime and disappointed many who did not heed Jesus' warning (Matthew 24:4-35).

Some try to usher in God's kingdom through a political process or by force, such as the Crusades, forgetting that Jesus said his kingdom was not "of this world" (John 18:33-38). His disciples are to be "in this world", but are not to be "of this world" (John 17:15-21). We as Jesus' disciples are not to use the tools that seem right to men, but are not in agreement with God's way of doing things (Romans 12:2).

Although we can participate as citizens of our nation in voting and public service, our job description is that of "priest."

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

Our job is not to "declare the praises" of some politician or party or platform of this world. Our job is to "offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5).

Another question: What makes it "good news?" The short answer is Jesus is himself the "Good News" he proclaimed. He is our Redeemer; our Lord; our Savior; our God, the Son of God.

Those who are alive at his coming will be drawn to him; they won't have to look for him, he'll find them. Those who have died can die in peace knowing the Resurrection of Jesus is proof of God’s power and willingness to bring them to life to meet Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11).

Though God's kingdom will come when it is time, we are now receiving his kingdom by receiving his rule in our lives. "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 'for our God is a consuming fire' " (Hebrews 12:28-29).

Peter reminds us all that even though scoffers deny the existence of God and of his Christ and of his Spirit and his coming kingdom, "the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise" (2 Peter 3:9).

He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come….
2 Peter 3:9-19

He also answers the question: "what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming" (2 Peter 3:11-12).

Volume 17 Issue 09 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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