I believe that when Yeshua said “the Kingdom is at hand,” He meant at least two things.
- It is coming quickly. This refers to the coming Kingdom which will not be established until Messiah’s return to rule and reign over the Earth. Of course, “quickly” is a relative term since quickly to Yeshua hasn’t happened in over 2000 years. But I suppose if one has eternally existed (or at least since before the creation of the world) that 2000 years can accurately be considered “quickly.”
- It is here now. By the Yeshua meant the first fruits realization of the future kingdom that would be evidenced in the lives of those here and now (and then) who acknowledged Yeshua as Lord and King.
This has been sort of a recurring theme for me because I view understanding this reality as being so important for impacting the way we live out what we supposedly believe. Also because I believe this concept of a first fruits of eternity in the lives of believers here and now is an integral part of the concept of tikkun olam.
In their book, The Insider, Jim Peterson and Mike Shamy expand on what I’m trying to describe:
“But we know the kingdom is among us whenever we see people, motivated by Christ’s rule in their hearts, showing mercy instead of judgment, speaking the truth instead of spinning it, giving grace instead of seeking revenge, serving people instead of using them.”
“When we see things such as these happening, we know that God’s rule is established. For now, it is in people’s hearts and we see only its signs. These “sightings” are previews of the day when “every knee should bow…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Many will bow in defeat, others in celebration!”