The Kingdom at Hand
© January 2003 by Asher Intrater
Dan Juster recently taught at our Bible school course on Mark 1:15 "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." As I was translating him from English to Hebrew and I came to the words that the kingdom is "at hand," I stumbled for a moment searching for the right expression.
One of our students called out, suggesting "b'heseg yad" meaning within hand's reach or within hand's grasp. That is somewhat of a radical translation, but it actually turned out to be quite appropriate to Dan's message. In fact, I later checked the Greek, which is the word eggus, which is taken from a root verb agcho, meaning to "squeeze" or "throttle" with the hand.
The point here is that when Yeshua said that the kingdom of God is "at hand," He meant two different things. In the first sense He meant that the day of judgment and the world to come is quickly approaching. Therefore it is urgent for people to repent of their sin before the time of punishment comes. That's why we need to repent when hearing of the kingdom judgment.
But Yeshua said not only to repent, but also to believe in the "good news." In other words there is also a positive side to the fact that the kingdom of God is "at hand." This is the second part of the message: Not of the punishment, but of the power. While the day of punishment may be coming soon, the hour of power is already here with us. If we believe in Yeshua, the power of the kingdom of God is available to us right now.
So the kingdom of God is both a future period of time with a perfect world, and a spiritual presence available to us now. Actually, both aspects have punishment and blessing. When we declare the kingdom now, punishment for sins can be intensified. See the story of Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5, who dropped dead after having lied about their offering during a worship meeting.
When we believe the gospel we can enter into the kingdom of God. We cannot enter the kingdom of God in the sense of entering into the world to come, but we can enter the kingdom of God in the sense that we can use now the powers that will be readily available to us in the world to come.
While the world to come is not available to us now, its spiritual power is. The kingdom of God is at hand. It is within reach. The power of God is available to you. It is within the grasp of your hand. All you have to do is believe it and take hold of it by your faith. It is no farther away from you than the length of your hand, that is, the length of your faith.
The spiritual presence and power of the kingdom of God is achievable, obtainable, and available to you now by faith. That's good news.
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