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Posts Tagged ‘John the Baptist’


Christ, the light of all lights, follows John, the lamp that goes before him. The Word of God follows the voice in the wilderness; the bridegroom follows the bridegroom’s friend, who prepares a worthy people for the Lord by cleansing them by water in preparation for the Spirit.

Saint Gregory Nazianzen, bishop.

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Matthew 3.1-2

Ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις παραγίνεται Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστὴς κηρύσσων ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τῆς Ἰουδαίας [καὶ] λέγων, Μετανοεῖτε, ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

1) παραγίνεται : dep. pres. 3rd sg., παραγίνομαι, to be at hand; arrive, come
2) κηρύσσων : pres. act. part., nom. sg., κηρύσσω, to cry, proclaim, herald; see κήρυγμα, preaching
3) Μετανοεῖτε : pl. impv., μετανοέω, to change one’s mind, repent
4) ἤγγικεν : 3rd sg., 1 aor./pft, ἐγγίζω, to draw nigh, be at hand

In those days came John the baptist proclaiming in the desert of Judea, [and] saying, “Repent! for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”


Notes

κηρύσσων
There seems, in the Gospel of Matthew, a certain connection between the action of κηρύσσω, preaching/proclaiming, and the at-hand-ness, ἤγγικεν, of theἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, the Kingdom of Heaven

Mt 4.17
ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς κηρύσσειν καὶ λέγειν Μετανοεῖτε, ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
Jesus began to proclaim and say, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Mt 10.7
πορευόμενοι δὲ κηρύσσετε λέγοντες ὅτι Ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
And as you go forth, proclaiming saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

βασιλεία
βασιλεία, kingdom, dominion is a term used throughout the breadth of the New Testament. Here specifically we have ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, the Kingdom of Heaven, a term Matthew uses eighteen times in his composition. This count excludes kingdom of God in 19.24 and 21.31, kingdom of my father in 26.29, Your kingdom in 6.10, or just the kingdom; all of these could be understood to be equivalents theologically speaking.

In Matthew, the Kingdom of Heaven is a thesis statement, a message of proclamation, κήρυγμα, against all the kingdoms of the world(4.8). ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν is never mentioned in Mark or Luke, both using ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ instead. John, too, opts for the the Kingdom of God, or my kingdom, (Jn 18.36Ἡ βασιλεία ἡ ἐμὴ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, my kingdom is not of this world)


Postscript: Consider the Book of Daniel:
και εν τοις χρονοις των βασιλεων τουτων στησει ο θεος του ουρανου βασιλειαν αλλην ητις εσται εις τους αιωνας και ου φθαρησεται και αυτη η βασιλεια αλλο εθνος ου μη εαση παταξει δε και αφανισει τας βασιλειας ταυτας και αυτη στησεται εις τον αιωνα (LXX)

In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (NIV)

 

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