BibleAsk Team

What did Jesus mean by the phrase, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand”?

Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). These words refer to a prophetic time where the Messiah would come and establish His kingdom (Matthew 13:30; 16:3; 21:34; 26:18; Luke 19:44; John 7:6; Romans 5:6; Ephesians 1:10). Jesus’ declaration, the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand” was the same as John’s message (Matthew 3:2). This phrase is also used in relation to the end of time (Mark 13:33; Luke 21:8; Ephesians 1:10; Revelation 1:3).

The Jews understood this announcement as a declaration that the Messianic kingdom was about to be set up. In their minds, as in John’s, this involved the setting up of an earthly kingdom and triumph over all their enemies (the Romans at that time).

Throughout Jesus’ ministry this misapplication of the truth continued and was not fully understood by His disciples until after the resurrection (Luke 24:13–32; Acts 1:6, 7) although Jesus taught that His kingdom was not of this world but rather in the heart and that it was spiritual (Matthew 4:17, 5:3; Mark 13:1–52).

In a more direct sense, Jesus’ announcement, “The time is fulfilled,” referred to the 70 weeks in Daniel 9:24–27. Near the end of this period “Messiah the Prince” was to “confirm the covenant with many” and “be cut off.” In the days of Christ, some knew that this time period of Daniel was nearly at an end. “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son” into the world (Galatians 4:4). When Jesus began His ministry, the time was ripe for the establishment of His kingdom.

For more on the seventy weeks, check the following link Can you explain the 70 weeks in Daniel?.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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