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John the Baptist, a man dedicated to preparing the way for the Messiah promised in the Old Testament, taught that any person who wanted to experience Real Life should, “Repent, repent.” This was followed by his admonition that “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
In the ancient Aramaic, the original language used in that region of the world during Christ’s time, the word “repent” did not have the negative connotation it carries today. It never meant that you were necessarily an “evil” person. Nowadays the idea of repenting is usually filled with a painful subtext of self-incrimination, isn’t it? But back then, the word “repent” did not suggest that you should suffer over your past. The actual translation of “repent,” or as close as we can come using modern English, was a very present oriented word meaning: to turn around. To “repent” was a spiritual instruction urging the individual to turn in another direction. So, in essence what John was really saying was, “Turn yourself around. The Kingdom is here . . . now!”