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Luke 10:9-11 reads:

9 καὶ θεραπεύετε τοὺς ἐν αὐτῇ ἀσθενεῖς, καὶ λέγετε αὐτοῖς· Ἤγγικεν ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ. 10 εἰς ἣν δʼ ἂν πόλιν εἰσέλθητε καὶ μὴ δέχωνται ὑμᾶς, ἐξελθόντες εἰς τὰς πλατείας αὐτῆς εἴπατε· 11 Καὶ τὸν κονιορτὸν τὸν κολληθέντα ἡμῖν ἐκ τῆς πόλεως ὑμῶν εἰς τοὺς πόδας ἀπομασσόμεθα ὑμῖν· πλὴν τοῦτο γινώσκετε ὅτι ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ. (SBL)

In the above verses, The verb εγγιζω is used twice in reference to the kingdom of God, the first time with the addition of ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς (to/on/upon you).

As Ἤγγικεν ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ is spoken to those who receive the disciples and ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ is spoken to those who do not, should we read a distinction in meaning between Ἤγγικεν ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς and Ἤγγικεν, or is ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς to be inferred the second time as well?

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The same phrase, "Kingdom of God/heaven is near", or similar, occurs in a number of places:

  • Matt 3:2 - "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."
  • Matt 4:17 - From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."
  • Matt 10:7 - As you go, proclaim this message: 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.'
  • Mark 1:15 - "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!"
  • Luke 10:9 - Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'
  • Luke 10:11 - Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.'
  • Luke 21:31 - Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

Some of these were spoken to the disciples alone but only for the purpose of them preaching the same message to everyone they met. John the Baptist also preached the same message to the crowds.

Interestingly, Luke 21:31 has the same message set in eschatological terms. This, and the other messages suggests that:

  1. The same message is relevant throughout the Christian era, ie, the last 2000 years
  2. The message always means the same - "Repent, for the kingdom of God is near"!

A similar message appears in Rev 1:3, 22:10.

Thus, the meaning of the central proclamation of the Gospel, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is near" is, paradoxically, a timeless message appropriate at all times.

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