Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand

Matthew 3:1-2 (NKJV):

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:17 (NKJV):

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

What does it mean to repent? If you look in a dictionary, the definition of the word probably entails feeling sorry and (hopefully) taking action to correct a mistake. But in the Bible, the word “repent” is derived from the Greek word metanoeo, which actually means to change one’s mind (or thinking).

Many verses in the Bible are concerned with the mind, and rightly so. It is the strategic center for spiritual warfare, and it is the place where the devil will most often try to attack you. Fear, depression, doubt, unbelief, and anger (to name a few) can all begin in the mind. If we know the truth – which Yeshua said would set us free – then we can also receive the peace of YHWH which surpasses all understanding. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV):

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

YHWH often works in trinities (Himself being triune), and one such trinity defines the way we live our lives. That trinity is the trinity of our thoughts, the condition of our heart, and the words that utter forth out of our mouths. Some great scripture to help in these areas are Romans 12 for the mind, Romans 8 for the heart and Romans 10 for the mouth.

The second part I want to highlight from the verses I quoted at the beginning is the phrase “at hand.” The Kingdom of Heaven was available 2000 years ago when Yeshua ushered it in, and it’s available now. This is because the Kingdom of Heaven is not temporal, but it is rather eternal. In the Gospel of Luke, the Pharisees ask Yeshua where the Kingdom could be found, and he answers that it does not come with observation, but rather is inside you.

Yeshua instructs his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount to seek first the kingdom (eternal), and all the other things necessary for existence in the temporal will fall into place. Our eternal fates are of far greater importance than our temporal fates, and it takes repentance (changing our thinking) to switch from a temporal view to an eternal view.

It is my prayer and aspiration to use the scripture to “re-script” my life, divest myself of sin, and be a vessel for the Spirit to help bring people out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of Heaven. I am looking ahead to being part of the greater miracles Yeshua promised his disciples!

Temporal Reality vs Eternal Reality

Ephesians 2:4-6 (all scripture references NKJV) –

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…

As some of you may know, I had a life altering experience in February 2010 that dramatically and publicly reintroduced me to El Shaddai. Now, I didn’t quite get a visitation from a blinding light, knocking me off a horse and requiring me to be laid up (blind!) for three days. Nonetheless, my pride was broken and my life path altered, and an intense spiritual competition ensued in a psychiatric hospital on Okinawa as well as at the Naval Medical Center San Diego.

I received what I believe to be a kind of revelation during this time, which was subsequently repeated a few more times. I’ve tried to articulate it to others before, and got confusing looks or worse, but I’ll try to articulate it here.

The initial thought I had was “time is an illusion.” Try to, if you can, think from a heavenly (eternal) perspective. From an eternal perspective, the victory has already been won, the devil is already in the lake of fire, the Great White Throne Judgement is already passed, the third heaven and third earth are already here. According to the verse quoted above, we’re already sitting in the heavenly places with Yeshua.

Time, I observed, has a way of enacting a toll on us. We’re constantly worrying about running out of time, not having enough time, making the best use of our time. “Where will I be one year from now, five years, ten years?” Yet Yeshua’s instruction in Matthew 6:25-31 on this point was in stark contrast to worldly wisdom or practice – to paraphrase, he teaches that each day has enough worry of its own, and that worrying can’t add anything to your life and shows a lack of trust in Jehovah Jireh to provide for you.

Then a key scripture in Matthew 6:33 –

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

The Kingdom of God is eternal. His righteousness is eternal. Our spirits are eternal.

Too many Christians I’ve encountered have fallen into the same misunderstanding Yeshua’s disciples fell into when he was walking the Earth. Being Jews, they were expecting a conquering Messiah to sweep in and oust the physical Roman Empire and usher in a new physical Kingdom of Israel. (Jews today don’t recognize Yeshua as the Messiah for this reason – they await the third temple, the physical kingdom, the physical manifestation.) So many modern Christians seem to be waiting for the sweet by and by when the good Lord Jesus will come to rapture them up to heaven and judge all the sinners and establish his perfect Kingdom on the Earth. Yet we forget the cry of John the Baptist, some 2000 years ago – “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” echoed by Yeshua himself. We forget Yeshua’s answer to the Pharisees in Luke 17:20-21 when asked when the kingdom would come:

…”The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Moreover, there are numerous references to stay vigilant and keep watch strewn about the gospels, for Yeshua’s return will be sudden and unexpected. Consider this interpretation: Yeshua does not need to come back in the flesh, on the Earth, to come back for you. If you died tomorrow, would you not be with the Lord? If you are already living in the Kingdom of Heaven – a spiritual Kingdom inside you – each day, you won’t be swept up into the mania surrounding the second coming; you’ll simply be ready at the gates as instructed.

I’ll leave you with a final verse to ponder the difference between the nature of temporal reality versus eternal reality. 2 Peter 3:8 reads:

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.