2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
3 For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?
This is important to you because you must be ready for His Return. Most protestant denominations have been taught that the tribulation period will begin at some future date and that all Christians, without exception, will be Raptured off the earth and into heaven. They teach that if you have prayed ‘a sinner’s prayer’, nothing more is needed for you to avoid the coming tribulation and to go to heaven. This is a false and dangerous message.
The Bible teaches, and we see this teaching here, that the “Days of Distress” also known as “The Birth Pangs” of the tribulation began in the early 1st century. Earth and all its inhabitants will experience – and, already have experienced – the opening / breaking of the first 5 Tribulation Seals.
The 6th Tribulation Seal will signal the beginning of the Great and Terrible day of the Lord, the Rapture, followed by a half hour of silence in the heavens while the saints are sealed and found to be before the Throne of God, and the 144,000 of faithful Jews will be sealed.
However, if you are not found doing or to have been doing what Christ has commanded of all Christians, before His Return, you are is grave danger of being left behind and cast into the outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth!
The day of His return is very near. There is likely little time left. If you should die before that day, you are still accountable.
The Great Apostasy found in the 5th Seal, has begun. The revealing of the anti-Christ is all that is left to happen before Jesus Returns.
1 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,
The spirit of Elijah, (John the Baptist), has come as prophesied. (For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’”)
John’s preaching (kerusso, greek) is one of authority to be a herald, to officiate as a herald to proclaim after the manner of a herald, always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed.
His message is “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This message is the “golden key” for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.
His method is “I baptize you with water for repentance”. This is the preparation for your salvation.
His missive is “He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. This is your salvation and your calling.
John is announcing to you the Day of the Lord is now at hand. John conducted his ministry with an eschatological authority that demanded immediate action. He taught that judgment is at hand.
Interestingly and importantly, Jesus is telling you that whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. And, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.
John is still speaking and he is pointing you to Jesus. He is telling you that you must be baptized with water for repentance which requires that you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, so you will be saved and you will escape the coming Day of God’s Wrath; for it is with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
Baptism is a form of binding. Once you have believed, called on the name of the Lord, repented of your past life, the covenant of baptism is next. Once that is completed, thankfully, God’s promises and covenants are permanent. Make your decision and agree with another believer and make it permanent. (Remember, that breaking this vow can be catastrophic. Make your decision wisely.)
You can remain safe in the shelter of God. Your present life made new and clean; your past forgotten and your future secure. Do so, and you will be on the greatest adventure of your life.
Embrace it. Do it. Finish strong!
Your Brother and Friend,
PS: Many think that ‘repentance’ is a one-time act. It is a daily act. Everyday is made new in God. Stay up-to-date with God and let’s get this done, together!
The Next Teaching from Matthew 3:4