I always found Jesus’ and John the Baptist’s statement about the Kingdom of Heaven being at hand to be rather elusive and ethereal. I love when two Scriptures come together and weave themselves into a beautiful strand of truth.
When Jesus first created our world, He walked among mankind and spoke to us personally, as with a friend. Back in Genesis, we read that Adam and Eve “heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day… [and] the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8, 9). Face time with our Creator was a regular thing.
God always wanted to live among us. Even after the fall, God continued to find ways to communicate with us, and through the moveable tabernacle, He demonstrated His desire to dwell with the people He created to love.
Then, of course, came the Incarnation. The Word became flesh, and dwelt (literally “tabernacled“) among us. Again, for a little while, man could behold Him face to face, and speak to Him as with a friend. We could receive words of life directly from His mouth. We could look into the eyes that saw into our souls, the eyes to which every secret is open and laid bare. It was a taste of the time of restoration that will come later.
That’s how the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand – during those precious years on Earth, Jesus would live among the people just as He did in Eden, just as He will do in the New Earth. Said He, “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” He echoes almost exactly the words which would later be spoken through John the Revelator: