The Reign of God / The Kingdom of God (1)

When a nation invades another nation, the people being invaded have 3 basic options. They can either

1) Flee,
2) Fight back or
3) Surrender.

In Matthew 4:17, we are told,  “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

A better way to understand the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” is to understand it as “Reign of God”.  That is how they understood it back then and that is what Jesus meant.  Jesus was not speaking of a militaristic, political earthly kingdom which would be fought out in wars akin to the painting above. No Jesus’ reign began with His own physical presence back when He walked the planet. It then moved to a conquering of the sinful human heart and then further moved outward into righteous actions and on to the sanctification of some institutions and the eradication of others.

To get this point think of some worldly conqueror from past history, like Napoleon or Alexander the Great.

~ Lets suppose that you lived in some village and that these guys were out on their rampage and some guy runs into your village screaming, “Alexander the Great is coming. Alexander is coming. The Reign of Alexander is near!” What would you do? You basically have the 3 options mentioned up above.

So in Matthew 4:17 verse, Jesus in effect was saying “Repent, for the Reign of God is near.” Basically the King has come back to reconquer His territory. The King had landed on our territory and was in effect an invading force. The people being invaded had 3 options:

1) Flee – I.e. run from God. Many today spend their entire lives doing just this.
2) Fight back – Some do this today. Consider the New Atheists.
3) Surrender – I.e. repent.