Summary: Taking a 360 degree view on the word "Basileia" which in original Greek means "Kingdom".
Basics of Basileia
“This is one small step for a man, one giant step for mankind.” These epochal words spoken by Neil Armstrong immediately after planting his foot on the crusty moon surface still echo in our minds, for they represent a special moment not only in space history but also in the history of mankind itself. Honestly some centuries ago, who would have imagined a finite man taking off from earth surface and setting his foot on a celestial object, which was revered to the point of even worship (sic), by some folks? While, it is in order to attach so much of importance to the first words spoken on the lunar surface by the commander of Apollo 11 mission, for they truly represent “making of a history”, have we ever seriously pondered over with similar awe over the first words of a Visitor from “outer space” (read third heaven) to our planet, even as He was “launching” a far more significant mission “restore man’s ruptured relationship with his Creator”?
The words with which the Redeemer launched His ministry ought to be of great import to us…. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”. (Matt 4:17/ Mark 1:15), for they represent beginning of a journey in His ministry, which would lead to the “orbit” of the Calvary cross, culminating in a glorious resurrection, in effect paving the way for man to lay his foot not on any object of ordinary “second heaven” (space) but on that of extra-ordinary “third heaven itself” (II Cor 12:2). Incidentally, “first heaven” in Biblical parlance means blue overhead sky, which we daily behold.
One needn’t be a Rocket Scientist to decode the fact that the subject-the Kingdom of God- Jesus spoke about as He launched His Ministry was closest to His heart. Thus from the “abundance” of importance the theme “occupied” in His heart (Luke 6:45), He spoke thus. What is this Kingdom of God (Greek word used for Kingdom in the original Greek Scriptures is Baseleia) Jesus spoke about? While some may mistake this phrase ‘Kingdom of God’ to be ‘Heaven’ in the afterlife of Christians, some others’ may misunderstand the same to be ‘the Millennial Rule’ Christ shall establish in future (Rev 20:4). In fact contextually the word ‘near’ is a clincher in properly grasping the meaning of the phrase ‘Kingdom of God’) for neither Heaven nor the Millennial Rule were anything but near in terms of time & space to His audience when the Saviour spoke these words 2000 years ago. While dispelling all doubt that Kingdom of God is a distant phenomenon, it underscores the fact that ‘It’ is as close as man’s own spirit (Luke17:21-TLB). For taking a 360 degree view of the subject –Baseleia- let’s explore the Scriptures. Nothing quite like interpreting the Scriptures by using the Scriptures!
Kingdom of God…is righteousness, peace and joy of the Holy Spirit declares the Bible in Romans 14:17, the three elements’ together comprise a blessed communion with the Creator akin to Living Waters flowing deep inside one’s spirit (needs to be personally experienced to know what I am speaking about-John 7:37-38), which the First Adam lost on behalf of entire mankind by the first act of disobedience (Gen 3:1-7) but which the Final Adam (another name for Jesus-I Cor 15:45) came to restore for the human race by virtue of His obedience. This obedience of Christ would mean He dying a most excruciating, insulting death on the cross as an atonement for all the sins of mankind.
Look at the sequencing of the words in the captioned Scripture portion. In the Bible, it is said a “B” would never come before an “A” for the order therein is brought forth by its perfect Divine Author. Righteousness another word for right standing with the Almighty precede the words the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit. First and foremost, only the right relationship with the Almighty would result in peace and joy of the Holy Spirit entering one’s heart.
Once the right standing with their Creator collapsed, as it were, on sinning our First parents quite naturally hid from their Life –giving Father, when He came visiting (Gen 3:8) like we do even now in avoiding our generous Creditors’ with whom our relationship is ruptured courtesy our own insincerity in not maintaining the terms’ of agreement on repayment. All the “First ever” Creditor wanted was obedience and they had fallen short on that score!!!
The Saviour came proclaiming that the key to the restoration of ruptured relationship lay not in man running away from His Maker but by repenting of his sins’. No patient ever got cured by running away from a doctor but by going to the physician in full acknowledgment of his sickness. The first step towards regaining the Kingdom lies in having a contrite heart.