For the

Kingdom of God
Is at

By: Paul O. Johnson

The massage of John the Baptist and of whom he prepared the way for
Jesus the Christ is: Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. This is clearly
revealed in these three passages:

1. Matthew 3:1-3
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying,
Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3 For this is he that was spoken of by the
prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of
the Lord, make his paths straight.

2. Matthew 4:17
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at

3. Acts 1:1-3
1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and
teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had
given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed
himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and
speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

God desire for His people (Israel, Church) is that none should perish, but
that all should come to repentance.

In the prophecy concerning the great day of the Lord, the children of Israel
were instructed to turn even with all their heart, and with fasting and with
weeping and with mourning. The Word of the Lord continue to instruct His
people saying, “rend not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God
for He is gracious and merciful slow to anger, and of great kindness, and
repenteth of the evil.” Joel 2:12, 13
The people were instructed to fast with weeping and mourning, but it did
not stop there, the Scripture went on to give intricate details as to how it
needs to be carried out. Instead of simply carrying out God’s instruction to
fast much more was required: they were to rend their hearts and not just
their garments and turn to the Lord.
It is clear that this detail that is given due to the lack of
sincerity/genuineness in the execution of their fast.
The execution of a fast is done by the Jews in sackcloth and ashes in times
of great affliction or of pending affliction.

Esther 4:1-3
4:1 When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on
sackcloth with ashes , and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a
bitter cry; 2 And came even before the king's gate: for none might enter into the king's gate
clothed with sackcloth. 3 And in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment
and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping,
and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

A rough, coarse cloth, or a bag like garment made of this cloth and worn as a symbol of
mourning or repentance. In the Bible, sackcloth was often used to symbolize certain
actions. In the case of mourning, either over a death (Genesis 37:34; Joel 1:8) or another
calamity (Esther 4:1-4; Job 16:15), the Israelites showed their grief by wearing sackcloth
and ashes. This was done also in instances of confession and grief over sin (1 Kings 21:27).
(From Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson
Sackcloth- cloth made of black goats' hair, coarse, rough, and thick, used for sacks, and
also worn by mourners (Genesis 37:34; 42:25; 2 Samuel 3:31; Esther 4:1,2; Psalms 30:11,
etc.), and as a sign of repentance (Matthew 11:21). The people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:8) put
it upon animals. (From Easton's Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic
database Copyright © 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

To cover the head with ashes was a token of self-abhorrence and humiliation (2 Samuel
13:19; Esther 4:3; Jeremiah 6:26, etc.). (From Easton's Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible
formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
The word ashes is also used figuratively in the Bible. Ashes were a sign of mourning, as
when Mordecai tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and cried out with a loud and
bitter cry (Esther 4:1). In the Book of Job, ashes are symbolic of dejection (2:8) as well as
repentance (42:6). (From Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986,
Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Isaiah 58:1-8
58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their
transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to
know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their
God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. 3
Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our
soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and
exact all your labours. 4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of
wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. 5
Is it such a fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down
his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a
fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? 6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose
the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and
that ye break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring
the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him;
and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 8 Then shall thy light break forth as
the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go
before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rearward.

Rearward – 'acaph: OT: 622 'acaph (aw-saf'); a primitive root; to gather for any purpose;
hence, to receive, take away, i.e. remove (destroy, leave behind, put up, restore, etc.).
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-
Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible
Translators, Inc.)

Clearly, God desires not just a symbolic execution of a fast or any other area
of service, but one that is from the heart. God desires repentance from the
heart from His people whom have fallen short of the glory of God. It is quite
evident in Christendom as it was and is with Israel. Israel continued
rebellion led to them rejecting Christ as king; Israel still continues their
rejection and will only repent when come face to face with their worst
destruction which will be revealed in the tribulation period. Christendom’s
rejection is right before our eyes: the broken homes, broken families,
increasing union with things of the devil, the gathering of believers being a
substitute for the things of the world, the way we dress, etc.
Man who desires to be clean must first be convicted of sin, acknowledge his
sin and then repent.

Repent – NT: 3340 metanoeo (met-an-o-eh'-o); from NT: 3326 and NT: 3539; to think
differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction).
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-
Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible
Translators, Inc.)

A turning away from sin, disobedience, or rebellion and a turning back to God (Matthew
9:13; Luke 5:32). In a more general sense, repentance means a change of mind (Genesis
6:6-7) or a feeling of remorse or regret for past conduct (Matthew 27:3). True repentance
is a "godly sorrow" for sin, an act of turning around and going in the opposite direction.
This type of repentance leads to a fundamental change in a person's relationship to God.
In the Old Testament, the classic case of repentance is that of King David, after Nathan
the prophet accused him of killing Uriah the Hittite and committing adultery with Uriah's
wife, Bathsheba. David's prayer of repentance for this sin is found in Psalms 51. (From
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Isaiah 1:12-15
When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my
courts? 13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new
moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the
solemn meeting. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a
trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will
hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are
full of blood.

As it is in the case of Israelites, so it is with us today. Many of our calling of
assemblies for fasting and others God did not require it at the hands of those
partaking in it as their actions are vain and He is full of it. My friends, his
requirement has not changed. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and
to hearken than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22;

Psalms 66:18 – If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.

John 9:31 – Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper
of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

Therefore, God is calling us to be convicted of our sinful ways, acknowledge
such sins, confess these sins and repent – change our minds back to
following God; having therefore a feeling of remorse, regret for our past
Convicted of sin is simply to be found guilty of sin. When convicted we often
times shrug it off: this is not too bad; I will soon address this; everyone is
doing this – even my leaders; and God understands. Conviction needs to be
followed by acknowledgement then confession.

Psalms 51:1-4
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the
multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine
iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin
is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight:
that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Confession of one’s sin is to profess one’s wrong doing to God. These links
to his acknowledging the wrong, but now bravely communicate this wrong
to God.
Many times this is where it stops and the most important act of reformation
is not yet complete. In this journey, we have often times become so
intertwined with the deeds of the flesh and the things of this world that we
refuse to let go. Having confessed our sins and reflecting on the path which
is to follow – the turning away, from sin we froze because the act of sin has
become too satisfying - being blatantly rebellious despite the punishment
that awaits such believer.
My Christian friends we need to repent of our sinful ways, for the kingdom
of God – the time of restitution is at hand. What awaits us is the reward for
our works in Christ.
We need to with a feeling of remorse or regret for past conduct having being
cleanse by the blood of Jesus (1John 1:9), take on the Word of God that He
might sanctify and cleanse us with the washing of water by the word, that
He might present us to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or
wrinkle, or any such thing; but that we should be holy and without blemish
(Ephesians 5:26-27). This will see us turning around and going in the right
direction. Thus, repentance leads to a fundamental change in a person's
relationship to God.

Romans 12:1-2
12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies
a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be
not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye
may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Christians, “wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let
us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and
godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29

Christian friends come hither!
It’s time to look to yonder,
God’s command still linger,
Repent for the kingdom is at hand!

This kingdom is for those
Who chose to wash their clothe
With the blood of Christ which flows,
From His spear, pierce side on the cross.

It is not good enough
To asked, forgive me Lord?
We must with afflicted heart
Be sorrowful, mourn of sinful past.

It is then we fill with God’s Word
The emptiness of guilt and shame,
With Scriptures of hope and faith
For our inheritance that awaits.

We must with bated breath
Live in newness of Spirit from the heart
Which can be achieved within His Word
Repentantly, for the kingdom is at hand.

By: Paul Osey Johnson

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