Matthew 3:2
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New International Version
and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

New Living Translation
"Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."

English Standard Version
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Berean Study Bible
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Berean Literal Bible
and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near."

New American Standard Bible
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

King James Bible
And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Christian Standard Bible
and saying, "Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!"

Contemporary English Version
He said, "Turn back to God! The kingdom of heaven will soon be here."

Good News Translation
"Turn away from your sins," he said, "because the Kingdom of heaven is near!"

Holman Christian Standard Bible
and saying, "Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!"

International Standard Version
"Repent, because the kingdom from heaven is near!"

NET Bible
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

New Heart English Bible
"Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And he said, “Return to God, the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"Turn to God and change the way you think and act, because the kingdom of heaven is near."

New American Standard 1977
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
and saying, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

King James 2000 Bible
And saying, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

American King James Version
And saying, Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

American Standard Version
Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And saying: Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Darby Bible Translation
and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn nigh.

English Revised Version
saying, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Webster's Bible Translation
And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Weymouth New Testament
"Repent," he said, "for the Kingdom of the Heavens is now close at hand."

World English Bible
"Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"

Young's Literal Translation
and saying, 'Reform, for come nigh hath the reign of the heavens,'
Study Bible
The Mission of John the Baptist
1In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 3This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.’”…
Cross References
Daniel 2:44
In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will shatter all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself stand forever.

Matthew 4:17
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

Matthew 4:23
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

Matthew 6:10
Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 10:7
As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.'

Mark 1:15
"The time is fulfilled," He said, "and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe in the gospel!"

Luke 1:16
Many of the sons of Israel he will turn back to the Lord their God.

Luke 10:9
Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.'

Luke 10:11
Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off as a testimony against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.'

Luke 11:20
But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Luke 21:31
So also, when you see these things taking place, you will know that the kingdom of God is near.

Treasury of Scripture

And saying, Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.


Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the …

Matthew 11:20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works …

Matthew 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and …

Matthew 21:29-32 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went…

1 Kings 8:47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land where they were …

Job 42:6 Why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Ezekiel 18:30-32 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according …

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in …

Mark 1:4,15 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance …

Mark 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

Luke 13:3,5 I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish…

Luke 15:7,10 I say to you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner …

Luke 16:30 And he said, No, father Abraham: but if one went to them from the …

Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his …

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you …

Acts 3:19 Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…

Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified …

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all …

Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward …

Acts 26:20 But showed first to them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout …

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented …

2 Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure …

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us …

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; …

Revelation 2:5,21 Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent, and do …


Matthew 5:3,10,19,20 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…

Matthew 6:10,33 Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven…

Matthew 10:7 And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 11:11,12 Truly I say to you, Among them that are born of women there has not …

Matthew 13:11,24,31,33,44,45,47 He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know …

Matthew 13:52 Then said he to them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed …

Matthew 18:1-4,23 At the same time came the disciples to Jesus, saying, Who is the …

Matthew 20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like to a man that is an householder…

Matthew 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like to a certain king, which made a marriage …

Matthew 23:13 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up …

Matthew 25:1,14 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to ten virgins, which …

Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, …

Luke 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be …

Luke 9:2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

Luke 10:9-11 And heal the sick that are therein, and say to them, The kingdom …

John 3:3-5 Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except …

Colossians 1:13 Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated …

(2) Repent.--Etymologically, the word "repent," which has as its root-meaning the sense of pain, is hardly adequate as a rendering for the Greek word, which implies change of mind and purpose. In the Greek version of the Old Testament, the word is used of divine rather than human repentance, i.e., of a change of purpose implying pity and regret (1Samuel 15:29; Jeremiah 4:28; Jeremiah 18:8). In Wisdom Of Solomon 5:3; Ecclesiasticus 17:24; Ecclesiasticus 48:15, it includes the sorrow out of which the change comes.

The kingdom of heaven.--The phrase is used by St. Matthew about thirty times, and by him only among the New Testament writers. In the Greek the form is plural, "the kingdom of the heavens," probably as an equivalent for the Hebrew word, which was dual in its form. The name, as descriptive of the kingdom of the Messiah, had its origin in the vision of Daniel 7:13, where the kingdom of "one like the Son of Man" is contrasted with those of earthly rulers. To Gentile readers--to whom the term would convey the thought of the visible firmament, not of the invisible dwelling-place of God--the term might have been misleading, and therefore in the Gospels intended for them "the kingdom of God" (which occurs sometimes in St. Matthew also, 6:13; 12:28) is used instead of it. It is probable that both terms were used interchangeably by the Baptist and our Lord, and the systematic change is suggestive as showing that the writers of the Gospels did not feel themselves bound to a purely literal report or rendering of their words.

Is at hand.--Better, has come nigh.

Verse 2. - And (omitted by the Revised Version) saying. The parallel passages give the substance of John's preaching - the baptism of repentance. St. Matthew takes, as it seems, a sentence that actually fell from his lips, and presents it as the kernel of his message ("preaching... saying"). This is the more interesting as nowhere else are we told any words uttered by him in this the first stage of his ministry before crowds flocked to hear him. Repent ye... at hand; said word for word by our Lord (Matthew 4:17, note). Repent ye (μετανοεῖτε) . The word expresses the central thought of true repentance, in speaking, as it does, of a change of mind. Contrast μεταμέλεσθαι (Matthew 27:3; 2 Corinthians 7:8-10). As such it goes deeper than the Old Testament summons "Turn ye" (שובו), or the rabbinic תשובה, for it points out in what part of man the alteration must be. (On your meaning more than the mere thinking power, and including also the willing faculty, cf. especially Delitzsch, 'Psych.,' p. 211, etc., Eng. trans., 1875.) It is noticeable that the LXX. never, as it seems, translate שוב by μετανοῖν, but often נחם (of man only in Jeremiah 8:6; Jeremiah 31:19; and possibly Joel 2:14; cf. 1 Samuel 15:29), which refers to repentance as a matter of feeling. As Messiah was coming, it was only natural that John should urge repentance. Similarly, we find late Jewish writers expounding Genesis 1:2, "'And the Spirit of God was moving [on the face of the waters].' This is the Spirit of King Messiah, like that which is said in Isaiah 11:2, 'And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.' By what kind of merit does it draw near and come? It says, 'upon the face of the waters.' By the merit of repentance, which is compared to water, as it is written (Lain. 2:19), 'Pour out thy heart like water'" ('Bresh. R.,' § 2). But, unfortunately, they assign far too legal a meaning to the word, and their phrase, "do repentance" (עשה תשובה), becomes almost identical with the "do penance" (poeni-tentiam agite, Vulgate) of the Roman Catholics (cf. Talm. Dab., 'Sanh.,' 97 b). For the kingdom of heaven (see Introduction, p. 22.). And saying, repent ye,.... The doctrine which John preached was the doctrine of repentance; which may be understood either of amendment of life and manners; for the state of the Jews was then very corrupt, all sorts of men were grown very wicked; and though there was a generation among them, who were righteous in their own eyes, and needed no repentance; yet John calls upon them all, without any distinction, to repent; and hereby tacitly strikes at the doctrine of justification by works, which they had embraced, to which the doctrine of repentance is directly opposite: or rather, this is meant, as the word here used signifies, of a change of mind, and principles. The Jews had imbibed many bad notions. The Pharisees held the traditions of the elders, and the doctrine of justification by the works of the law; and the Sadducees denied the resurrection of the dead; and it was a prevailing opinion among them all, and seems to be what is particularly struck at by John, that the Messiah would be a temporal king, and set up an earthly kingdom in this world. Wherefore he exhorts them to change their minds, to relinquish this notion; assuring them, that though he would be a king, and would have a kingdom, which was near at hand, yet it would be a heavenly, and not an earthly one. Hence the manner in which John enforces his doctrine, or the reason and argument he uses to prevail upon them to regard it, is by saying,

for the kingdom of heaven is at hand: by which is meant not the kingdom of glory to be expected in another world; or the kingdom of grace, that is internal grace, which only believers are partakers of in this; but the kingdom of the Messiah, which was "at hand", just ready to appear, when he would be made manifest in Israel and enter upon his work and office: it is the Gospel dispensation which was about to take place, and is so called; because of the wise and orderly management of it under Christ, the king and head of his church by the ministration of the word, and administration of ordinances; whereby, as means, spiritual and internal grace would be communicated to many, in whose hearts it would reign and make them meet for the kingdom of glory; and because the whole economy of the Gospel, the doctrines and ordinances of it are from heaven. This phrase, "the kingdom of heaven" is often to be met with in Jewish writings; and sometimes it stands opposed to the "kingdom of the earth" (r); by it is often meant the worship, service, fear, and love of God, and faith in him: thus in one of their books (s) having mentioned those words, "serve the Lord with fear": it is asked, what means this phrase, "with fear?" It is answered, the same as it is written, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"; and this is "the kingdom of heaven". And elsewhere they (t) ask, "what is the kingdom of heaven?" To which is answered, "the Lord our God is one Lord". Yea, the Lord God himself is so called (u), and sometimes the sanctuary; and sometimes they intend by it the times of the Messiah, as the Baptist here does; for so they paraphrase (w) those words,

"the time of the singing of birds, or of pruning, is come; the time for Israel to be redeemed is come; the time for the uncircumcision to be cut off is come; the time that the kingdom of the Cuthites (Samaritans or Heathens) shall be consumed is come; and the time that "the kingdom of heaven shall be revealed" is come, as it is written, "and the Lord shall be king over all, the earth."''

Very pertinently does John make use of this argument to engage to repentance; since there cannot be a greater motive to it, whether it regard sorrow for sin, and confession of it, or a change of principles and practice, than the grace of God through Christ, which is exhibited in the Gospel dispensation: and very appropriately does he urge repentance previous to the kingdom of heaven; because without that there can be no true and cordial embracing or entering into the Gospel dispensation, or kingdom of heaven; that is, no real and hearty receiving the doctrines, and submitting to the ordinances of it. Nor ought the Jews above all people to object to John's method of preaching; since they make repentance absolutely necessary to the revelation of the Messiah and his kingdom, and redemption by him; for they say (x) in so many words, that

"if Israel do not repent, they will never be redeemed; but as soon as they repent, they will be redeemed; yea, if they repent but one day, immediately the son of David will come.''

(r) Bereshit Rabba, fol. 7. 4. (s) Zohar in Exod. fol 39. 2.((t) Debarim Rabba, fol. 237. 2.((u) Zohar in Gen. fol. 112. 3.((w) Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 11. 4. (x) T. Hieros. Taanith, fol. 63. 4. & 64. 1. & Bab. Sanhed. fol. 97. 2.2. And saying, Repent ye—Though the word strictly denotes a change of mind, it has respect here (and wherever it is used in connection with salvation) primarily to that sense of sin which leads the sinner to flee from the wrath to come, to look for relief only from above, and eagerly to fall in with the provided remedy.

for the kingdom of heaven is at hand—This sublime phrase, used in none of the other Gospels, occurs in this peculiarly Jewish Gospel nearly thirty times; and being suggested by Daniel's grand vision of the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven to the Ancient of days, to receive His investiture in a world-wide kingdom (Da 7:13, 14), it was fitted at once both to meet the national expectations and to turn them into the right channel. A kingdom for which repentance was the proper preparation behooved to be essentially spiritual. Deliverance from sin, the great blessing of Christ's kingdom (Mt 1:21), can be valued by those only to whom sin is a burden (Mt 9:12). John's great work, accordingly, was to awaken this feeling and hold out the hope of a speedy and precious remedy.3:1-6 After Malachi there was no prophet until John the Baptist came. He appeared first in the wilderness of Judea. This was not an uninhabited desert, but a part of the country not thickly peopled, nor much enclosed. No place is so remote as to shut us out from the visits of Divine grace. The doctrine he preached was repentance; Repent ye. The word here used, implies a total alteration in the mind, a change in the judgment, disposition, and affections, another and a better bias of the soul. Consider your ways, change your minds: you have thought amiss; think again, and think aright. True penitents have other thoughts of God and Christ, sin and holiness, of this world and the other, than they had. The change of the mind produces a change of the way. That is gospel repentance, which flows from a sight of Christ, from a sense of his love, and from hopes of pardon and forgiveness through him. It is a great encouragement to us to repent; repent, for your sins shall be pardoned upon your repentance. Return to God in a way of duty, and he will, through Christ, return unto you in the way of mercy. It is still as necessary to repent and humble ourselves, to prepare the way of the Lord, as it then was. There is a great deal to be done, to make way for Christ into a soul, and nothing is more needful than the discovery of sin, and a conviction that we cannot be saved by our own righteousness. The way of sin and Satan is a crooked way; but to prepare a way for Christ, the paths must be made straight, Heb 12:13. Those whose business it is to call others to mourn for sin, and to mortify it, ought themselves to live a serious life, a life of self-denial, and contempt of the world. By giving others this example, John made way for Christ. Many came to John's baptism, but few kept to the profession they made. There may be many forward hearers, where there are few true believers. Curiosity, and love for novelty and variety, may bring many to attend on good preaching, and to be affected for a while, who never are subject to the power of it. Those who received John's doctrine, testified their repentance by confessing their sins. Those only are ready to receive Jesus Christ as their righteousness, who are brought with sorrow and shame to own their guilt. The benefits of the kingdom of heaven, now at hand, were thereupon sealed to them by baptism. John washed them with water, in token that God would cleanse them from all their iniquities, thereby intimating, that by nature and practice all were polluted, and could not be admitted among the people of God, unless washed from their sins in the fountain Christ was to open, Zec 13:1.
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