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The Kingdom Awaits

Updated: Feb 3

May 8, 2022- In Galilee at the approximate age of thirty, a man began his ministry. When he arrived at a sea-side city known as Capernaum within the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, a prophecy was fulfilled:

The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.

This man travelled throughout all of Galilee to teach in their synagogues about the gospel, and he healed various sicknesses and diseases among the people he encountered. From the beginning of His ministry, He would say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Yet, this message may have sounded familiar to some of the people that he taught. This message had been taught by John the Baptist who had been arrested earlier. So, if John the Baptist was arrested, who was this man and why was his message the same, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”?

The people of Galilee would soon find out: this man was Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Son of God. John the Baptist and Jesus Christ had the same message because God was fulfilling prophecy of Jesus’s birth, crucifixion, resurrection, and His ascension.

What Are We Repenting From?

Jesus’s first message was to repent from sins, which John the Baptist also preached. However, what are sins? Sins are unrighteousness (1 John 5:17) executed by fleshly desires. According to the Old Testament, there are ten commandments to comply for God’s Law and to go against these is sin. Here are the ten commandments:

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Exodus 20:2-17

These commandments are also repeated in Deuteronomy 5:7-21. In both books, they start off the same, “‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” God introduces Himself by who He is and what He has done.

Of these commandments in the Old Testament, the New Testament speaks to sin in the book of Revelation 9:20-21. These verses list worshipping demons and idols, and committing murder, sorcery, sexual immorality, and thefts. Worshipping anything or anyone other than God breaks the first and second commandment as listed above. Murder, theft, and sexual immorality breaks some of the last commandments in Exodus and Deuteronomy. But where does sorcery come from?

Deuteronomy speaks to it in chapter 18:9-12:

When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.

In 1 Samuel 15:33, Samuel the prophet warned Saul the king of Israel that, “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry".

The Old Testament brings to light what we need to be aware of in the New Testament. In fact, Jesus Himself said that He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17) under the old covenant. Jesus fulfilled all the law in the Old Testament so that we may not be cursed in presence of God. For the Holy Bible says "cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law [the Holy Bible] by observing them." (Deuteronomy 27:26). Jesus became sin for the law requires sacrifice for the cleanliness of the soul. His death fulfilled the law that required a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin.

As Christians, we do not go by this old covenant, but some of the commandments found within Deuteronomy and Exodus carry over into the new covenant as a basic moral code.

The sins Jesus spoke of the most were blasphemy, pride, selfishness, lust, greed, unforgiveness, hatred, disobedience, impurity, and judging others. He discussed many others, but the ones that I listed were discussed more fervently. As Christians, we go by the teachings of Jesus Christ. In addition to explaining sin, Jesus said that sin comes from within, “those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (Matthew 15:18-21).

In addition, Paul’s letter to the Galatians talks about desires of the flesh versus the fruit of the Holy Spirit which are in conflict of one another. He specifically explains that desires of the flesh are, “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like” (Galatians 5:19-21). Many of these topics Jesus had discussed with His disciples.

Why Repent?

In Paul’s letter those who follow the desires of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (Galatians 5:21). Paul also explains that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus Christ died on the cross due to our sins. Therefore, I ask you this, “Which one are you following? Flesh desires, or the fruit of the Spirit?”

Revelation 21:8 says, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” The lake of fire and brimstone was initially reserved for Satan and those that followed him to rebel against God. This verse implies that those that commit sin (and do not believe in Jesus Christ as their savior) will not inherit the kingdom of heaven and will go to hell.

In addition to not inheriting the kingdom, we see that sin destroys lives: “Repent, and turn form your transgressions, so that your iniquity will not be your ruin” (Ezekiel 18:30). Sin destroys life even to the point of death, “For why should you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 18:31). God tells us that He does not want to see us die, but live, “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies...Therefore turn and live.” (Ezekiel 18:32). What are we turning from? Our unrighteous ways (sin), and our desires of the flesh.

While anything is possible with God, and He remains the same through time, He does turn from us when we sin:

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity.

Isaiah 59:1-3

Finally, did you know that when you do repent, heaven rejoices, “I say to you likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7). Later, when Jesus was with His disciples at the resurrection, he told them that “it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47).

Not only does heaven rejoice when you repent, you also receive the Holy Spirit, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Peter preached this message to a crowd the day of the Pentecost. Paul tells us to “live in the Spirit" and to "let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).

To keep the Holy Spirit, you must avoid sin. When you do sin, you will need to repent.

Trumpet with black background
Heaven rejoices when a sinner repents, and when someone accepts Jesus. The trumpet is an instrument that we see a refeence to within the Holy Bible. Photo Credit: Wix Media

How to Repent?

The book of Joel says, “ ‘Now therefore’, says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning’.” (Joel 2:12). Turning with all your heart is essential, as this renews you, “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 18:31).

In the book of Esther, we see the Israelites fasting, weeping and mourning, when a decree went out to pursue and kill them (Esther 3). We see Mordecai mourning, who was Queen Esther’s uncle. When the decree went out to the provinces where the Israelites were residing, the Holy Bible tells us that, “there was a great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing” (Esther 4:3). They were delivered from the decree through a conversation between Mordecai and Queen Esther which started the fasting, weeping and mourning.

Fasting, weeping and morning moves the heart of God, and it is a time for you to renew your soul. There are many approaches to fasting in the Holy Bible. If you are unsure of where to begin, start by praying to God, and reading the Holy Bible. You can also check our fasting article.

Accepting Jesus Christ

The purpose of this article is to have you consider these things. Have you repented? If you haven't accepted Jesus, then say this prayer:

God, I confess that Jesus came in the flesh and blood, paid the price for my sins, died on the cross, rose on the third day, ascended to the heavens, and sent the Holy Spirit to help me understand Your ways. For that, I accept Jesus Christ as my savior and Lord, and I welcome the Holy Spirit in my life. In Jesus’s name I pray, amen!

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