The Kingdom of God Is at Hand
Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ and Satan the devil fought the fiercest battle ever. After Christ won, He declared, “The Kingdom of God is at hand.”
This is one of the most profound and inspiring statements ever made on Earth, yet almost no one knows what it means. It is a mystery.
By prevailing in the titanic battle of the ages, Christ qualified to unseat the devil on Earth’s throne. Satan is still the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and he has deceived all but a select few (Revelation 12:9), meaning that Christ hasn’t seized control of the throne yet. But He has qualified to do so very soon.
When Christ said, “The Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15), He meant at the very time He was here on Earth. During His first coming, Christ built His Church and promised that it would endure—no matter what it faced (Matthew 16:18)—through seven Church eras from the first century all the way to His Second Coming in the near future. What is the connection between the Church and the Kingdom?
If Christ hadn’t qualified to replace Satan, we would have no hope. The true gospel message is the good news of the coming Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14). What could be more exciting than that?
Satan has deceived the whole world about Christ’s universe-shaking statement. What does “the Kingdom of God is at hand” mean to you personally?
“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (verses 14-15). Christ said this two millennia ago, but we must understand it now. This is the only true gospel message. It lasts forever. Grasp it, or you won’t comprehend God’s incredible truth.
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (verse 1). Why is the Son of God mentioned here? How does this tie in to the gospel?
Remember: The gospel is the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is God’s Family, which will administer His government. Those called out by God before the Second Coming will rule with Christ as His Bride over the rest of humanity, which will become part of the God Family at a later time—without the same leadership responsibility.
“And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (verse 11). The one speaking here is the Father. He is pleased with His Son. The gospel is all about the God Family.
Today, seemingly everyone is confused by what it means to be “born again.” God’s plan includes every person who has ever lived. All will be given a chance to understand the true gospel. God wants you, individually, to be born into His Family! You just have to obey Him.
“And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him” (verses 12-13). Before His epic confrontation with Satan, Christ fasted 40 days (Matthew 4). He had to be extremely close to God so He could take on the devil.
After Christ won this epic battle, then He announced the coming Kingdom of God, saying it’s at hand right now—right when He spoke those words. How is that possible?
The Kingdom was at hand back then, it’s at hand today, and it will continue to be at hand until the Second Coming. It is at hand in God’s Church, through all seven Church eras (Revelation 2-3).
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:21). To qualify to share Christ’s throne, we must overcome Satan as Christ did. Satan now rules the Earth from that throne, but his time is running out. Christ and His Bride will replace the devil.
Mankind has been cut off from God for 6,000 years because of the sins of the first man and woman (Genesis 3). Adam and Eve chose to lead the human family away from the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. They rebelled against their Creator, so God sentenced them to 6,000 years of punishment in which they and their descendants would struggle to live apart from God’s revealed truth. Separated from this life-saving understanding, humans have failed repeatedly! Our leaders have stockpiled nuclear weapons and are poised to annihilate all life on the planet! Everywhere you look, curses abound. Are humans really qualified to rule alongside Jesus Christ?
Christ will soon return to restore peace and prosperity to Earth for 1,000 years, creating a paradise like none of us could even dream of! Had Adam and Eve simply obeyed God, they would have received God’s Holy Spirit and avoided so much pain.
God’s 7,000-year plan revolves around His Family. Six thousand years of misery have proved our utter inability to govern ourselves. That’s why Christ had to qualify to depose Satan—and why the tiny loyal remnant of saints in God’s one true Church today must also qualify to become Christ’s Bride, the highest rank of spirit-born sons of God under Christ.
Notice Mark 1:14-15 again: “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” God commands us to repent and believe. That’s how to become part of Christ’s Bride! All other humans must fulfill these requirements at some point after the Second Coming to become sons of God on a lower level.
In Just What Do You Mean … Born Again?, late theologian and educator Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:
Why was the Kingdom of God then at hand—and not before?
Simply because the wonderful news of the coming Kingdom of God could not be announced until a successor had qualified to replace Satan as Earth’s ruler!
At last the Kingdom of God—God’s government over the Earth—was at hand! At last, it was assured, and the time was fulfilled! The one who had qualified to rule the Earth was now free to announce His coming government!
God’s Church is the Kingdom of God in embryo. Members of the Church are begotten by the Holy Spirit but not yet born spiritually as Christ’s Bride, part of the Family of God. True Christians today live the way the entire world will live under God’s government in the World Tomorrow! “The Kingdom of God is at hand”—so few people understand the real meaning of Christ’s mind-shattering statement!
The human family is a type of the God Family. It’s a God-plane relationship! You personally have the opportunity to live like God and be blessed by God in ways beyond belief! This is spectacular news. Christ was thrilled to make this announcement and to commission His disciples to preach it around the world in the first century.
After the first century, the gospel wasn’t preached around the world again until God did just that through Mr. Armstrong (Matthew 24:14). You can prove this by studying our books and booklets. You need to establish this foundational revelation firmly in your mind.
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Christ promised to build and preserve His Church. Where is the one true Church today? Where is the Kingdom of God in embryo? God answers the prayers of true Christians in His Church, and He would do the same for the whole world if they would just listen to Him. God’s people help deliver the true gospel of Christ—not about Christ the man.
Sadly, 95 percent of God’s own people have rebelled. Why? Because they rejected the Father, the Head of the God Family. In a sermon on June 5, 1982, Mr. Armstrong said to members of the Worldwide Church of God:
Why was it at hand? Brethren, I don’t think you ever realized that, and I know the world doesn’t realize why the Kingdom of God was then “at hand.” You are going to have to come to see that the Church—that means all of you, and all of the rest of the Church all over this world—the Church is the Kingdom of God in embryo. Not yet born, not yet developed very far. Only an embryo or a fetus, so to speak. Unborn, but begotten. We are the Kingdom of God in embryo. I don’t think we’ve ever really come to realize that at all.
Mr. Armstrong confronted God’s own people for not understanding this vital truth! Is it any wonder they turned away?
Jesus Christ came to Earth to declare His Father! (John 1:18). He was born of a human woman, begotten by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is all about family. Two God Beings—not three—have opened up their Family to all mankind. We can become born sons of God! That’s the best news we could ever hear!