Welcome to A Journey through the New Testament! In this series, we will systematically journey through every chapter in the New Testament, unveiling the marvelous insights that can be found in the scriptures.
Many may not grasp the controversy surrounding Jesus' proclamation, "The kingdom of heaven is nigh," during His time. The Jews were well-versed in Old Testament prophecy, particularly Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's vision (refer to yesterday's Sunrise), which foretold the arrival of a heavenly Kingdom to conquer the world's kingdoms. Understanding the controversy requires a glimpse into the Jewish context of that era.
During this period, the Jews lived under the oppression of the Roman Empire, the ruling power represented by the iron in Nebuchadnezzar's vision (Daniel 2). Consequently, their anticipation of the Kingdom's arrival differed significantly from our modern understanding. They expected this "coming Kingdom" to promptly overthrow their oppressors.
14 When the people saw the sign that Jesus had performed, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Then they gathered around him and asked, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
Israel eagerly awaited their King to ascend the throne, conquer all nations, and declare dominion over all. This was their interpretation of the scriptures. However, although this was destined to occur eventually, it was not the appointed time. The immediate mission was to rescue the people from a more formidable enemy than Rome—the devil.
Thus, Jesus came to liberate the captives enslaved in the Kingdom of Darkness, ushering them into the Kingdom of Heaven through the coming Holy Ghost. He declared, "The Kingdom of Heaven is nigh," demonstrating the kingdom's power by dismantling the devil's influence in people's lives. Yet, many were blinded to the true purpose of the Messiah— which was to establish a heavenly Kingdom with heavenly citizens right here on earth. When the time is ripe, those who believe will reign alongside the promised Messiah—Jesus Christ—over the entire earth, but, for now, let us prove to be conquerors over our present enemy - sin.
What a blessing it is to comprehend and receive these mysteries of God's will.
Written by Kareem Flowers, Sunrise with Jesus
Take a moment to reflect on a specific area in your life where you've witnessed the power of God's Kingdom breaking through. It could be a personal victory over a challenge, a moment of spiritual growth, or an experience where you felt God's presence. Share your reflections in the comments below and encourage others by letting them know how the Kingdom of Heaven has touched your life. Let's inspire and uplift one another with our testimonies!