Bible Society of South Africa

The kingdom of God is here – 1 September 2022

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

2“Turn away from your sins,” he said, “because the Kingdom of heaven is near!”

Matthew 3:2GNBOpen in Bible reader

In the time of Jesus, the very idea of the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven, as meant by this verse, was an alien concept to the Jews. Their view of a kingdom centred on a political kingdom of Israel and they strived to bring such a kingdom into being again. Kings like David, Solomon, Hezekiah and many others were so part of their history, that they were not able to separate politics from religion. Jesus’ idea of a kingdom, which had nothing to do with politics, was strange and totally unacceptable to them. Even the disciples of Jesus did not understand it, as we will see later this month.

The church year starts with Advent, which is four Sundays before Christmas. Then, we celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas, followed by Epiphany, meaning how God reveals himself to us. That usually starts on the first Sunday in January. After that, it is the time of Lent, with Good Friday and Easter Sunday as high points. Thereafter, follows Ascension Day and finally, Pentecost. The season between Pentecost and the start of the next church year is called kingdom time, as we concentrate on the establishment of the kingdom of God in the world. In this, the church and her members are fully involved. We are now right in the middle of kingdom time.

What do we mean by the kingdom of God? Many bulky books have been written about this subject, so I am not going to try to give you a definition in a few words. We are rather going to look at different ways that the Bible talks about the kingdom, to try to build up a full picture of what is meant by it.

In today’s verse, we already have two very important pointers to where we are going. The first is that the kingdom of heaven is not something that lies somewhere in the future. In fact, it is here already. Secondly, we learn that to be a part of the kingdom needs a very firm decision from our side. “Repent”, the Bible tells us.

Prayer: We thank you Lord that you are the most worthy King and that we do not have to depend on earthly rulers. Amen

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