“Repent, The Kingdom of God is at hand.”
This was printed on the front and back of the sandwich board the doomsday fanatic was wearing. Few paid him much mind. Fewer still understood the message.
When most people hear the word repent they think it means to be sorry for one’s wrongs.
Kingdom usually implies a geographical location like the United Kingdom or King Author’s lands, or it means a political way of rule, as in a monarchy. A Christian usually sees "Kingdom of God" as being synonymous with heaven.
“Be sorry for what you have done wrong because heaven is almost here.” That is the general translation from what is written on the sandwich board.
This passage is taken straight out of Holy Scripture – Matthew 3, 2. John the Baptist was preaching about the coming of the messiah. Being part of the New Testament it was written in Greek and the Greek words used have much different meanings from what we understand today.
The Greek word used in scripture for repent is “metanoia” – μετάνοια. It is one of the worst translations in the bible. Metanoia does not mean to be sorry for one’s wrongs. Metanoia is the turning of the will and mind to that of God’s. Metanoia is what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night he was betrayed.
“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
Luke 22, 41-42
In Greek a verb can take two forms. The first denotes a onetime action. The second form means to do the verb and to continue doing the verb unceasingly. In almost every instance in Holy Scripture where metanoia is used as a verb it is in the later form. Change your mind and your will to that of God’s unceasingly.
The Greek word used in Holy Scripture for kingdom is “basileia” – βασιλεία. It is from this word we get words like basil and basilica. As with metanoia, basileia is also incorrectly translated as heaven. Basileia correctly translated means kingship, sovereignty, or rule. It is the royal nature of God.
“The Kingdom of God is at hand” does not refer to Jesus’ second coming or the institution of heaven on earth as many believe it to mean. It meant that God’s royal nature was now among us in the person of Jesus. Anyone who follows Jesus inherits this royal nature when they are adopted as brothers and sisters of our Lord and become children of God.
I have inherited God’s royal nature when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and became his adopted brother. I am called to live a life worthy of that royal nature by conforming my mind and my will to that of the Father’s unceasingly.
λέγων , Μετανοεῖτε : ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν .
Conform yourself to God for his royal nature is among us.