top of page

What does it mean that the Lord is at hand?

As his epistle to the Philippians draws to a close, the apostle Paul delivers these last directives and encouragements: "Rejoice in the Lord constantly; again I say, rejoice. Let everyone know that you are reasonable. The Lord is close by (Philippians 4:4–5, ESV).

Paul's plan for standing steady and remaining true to the Lord included continuing to be joyful by consistently rejoicing in the Lord. One of the major themes in his writing to the Philippians was joy (Philippians 1:4–6, 23-26; 2:1–2, 17–18). Paul believed that the best way to keep the church joyful was to treat one another with peace and reason. The Greek term epieiks, which is interpreted as "gentleness, kindness, an attitude of leniency, yielding," is the root of the English word "reasonableness." Jesus demonstrated kindness and meekness in His interactions with everyone (Matthew 11:29; 21:5; Luke 23:34; 2 Corinthians 10:1; 1 Peter 2:23).

Paul mentions a dispute between Euodia and Syntyche, two ladies who had assisted him in his work of spreading the gospel, in Philippians 4:2–3. The church's joy was being stolen by this division. By gently and thoughtfully ceding rights to one another, the relationship could be repaired. Paul had exhorted the Philippians earlier in the letter, "Then make me truly pleased by agreeing completely with each other, loving each other, and cooperating with one another for the common good. Avoid being selfish. Be modest and consider others to be superior to yourself. Take an interest in others as well as your own interests rather than just your own (Philippians 2:2–4, NLT).

What justification does Paul provide the Philippians for wanting everyone to see and know how rational and compassionate they are? He explains that "the Lord is at hand" to them. This statement alludes to the day of Jesus Christ's second coming. Paul has often emphasised the approaching nature of Christ's return in this message (Philippians 1:6, 10; 2:16). Some commentators refer to the original Greek phrase "the Lord is at hand" (ho kurios eggus), sometimes known as "the Apostle's watchword." The Aramaic word maranatha, which means "our Lord comes," is equivalent. Philippians 4:5 is translated as "Let everyone know that you are considerate in all you do" in the New Living Translation. Keep in mind that the Lord is coming shortly.

The phrase "the Lord is at hand" denotes a close proximity. In terms of both space and time, he is constantly near by. "Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is at hand," the Lord stated as John the Baptist began to preach, preparing the way for His arrival (Matthew 3:2, ESV). Jesus reiterated these ideas (Matthew 4:17; 10:7; Mark 1:13).

God is neither distant or unconnected from the world we live in. God questioned, "Am I a God at hand and not a God far away?" Is it possible for a man to conceal himself such that I cannot see him? the LORD declares. Do I not fill all of creation? says the LORD" (Jeremiah 23:23–24, ESV). God is available to us at all times and is always close by (Deuteronomy 4:7; Psalm 34:18; 119:151). The LORD is near to everyone who calls on him, to everyone who calls on him in sincerity, David sung (Psalm 145:18). Through challenging times, it is incredibly empowering to know that Jesus, our Lord, is nearby and always present. In view of His impending return, it is also a strong motivation to live a godly life. Maranatha!


Spread God's Words

bottom of page