What is the gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus preached?
Let’s first start by suggesting you read my article “WHAT IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST?” Otherwise, this article will immediately be controversial for many of you. The gospel of the kingdom has a specific focus on the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven refers to the physical earthly kingdom on earth. The gospel of the kingdom that Jesus preached refers specifically to certain good news relevant to the physical earthly kingdom. Let me be clear, this gospel is very different from the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are not discussing how to have your sins forgiven in this article, that is a different gospel. Let’s see if we can make some sense of these facts together.
Did God only have one gospel for all ages?
We describe the word gospel by calling it “the good news.” Of course, this is correct but consider for a moment that God had good news for man throughout the ages. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ could not be good news for a man before there was a death, burial, and resurrection. Salvation through the cross of Jesus is the means of salvation for us today, but without the shedding of blood, there is no remission. Our sins can be forgiven because the blood of Christ is the sufficient payment for sin. Before Christ died on the cross, sin had not been paid for, therefore this good news was not available for people that lived before the cross of Calvary. As Christians, we are responsible to set our assumptions aside and rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15),
What is the gospel of the kingdom of heaven?
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14). “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33).
Matthew speaks often of the gospel of the kingdom, Luke tells us that Mary would have a Son named Jesus and that he would sit on David’s throne. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever. There are some key terms in the Luke passage and key context in Matthew 24, the gospel of the kingdom and the kingdom of heaven directly refer to the Nation of Israel and a physical earthly kingdom. The gospel of the kingdom of heaven is the good news that Jesus will return to establish his reign over the physical earthly kingdom of heaven.
When was this gospel proclaimed?
There are at least three distinct moments in biblical history when the gospel of the kingdom was preached. The focus is almost exclusive to the book of Matthew. The focal point of Matthew is presenting Jesus as the King of the Jews. Understanding this will certainly help the book of Matthew become more clear to the genuine reader. King Jesus intends to set up his throne and to reign over the house of Jacob. This King had some dealings with his chosen people, the nation of Israel, while he was physically present on earth.
John the Baptist
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Matthew 3:1-3).
John the Baptist was not called Baptist because he started the New Testament church, but rather because he was BAPTIZING. I understand that may not be deep theological teaching, but it is certainly practical and true. The reason I point this out is to note the fact that John was preaching to the Jews. His message was the kingdom of heaven, not the death burial and resurrection. Their King would be on the scene at any moment, John was sent to prepare the way. This gospel, much like the gospel we preach, centered around Jesus Christ, but rather than looking for a suffering Savior they were seeking a living King. John would make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17).
Jesus Christ the Lord
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17). Still, in the book of Matthew, the Lord Jesus Christ has thrice thwarted Satan’s temptations and John the Baptist is in prison. From that time forward Jesus began to preach the gospel of the kingdom. The King has arrived before his people, and he now offers them the kingdom they so desire. Yet the nation soon comes to the conclusion that they will not have this man to reign over them.
It is essential to note that while Jesus offers the kingdom of heaven to the Jews, his entire purpose for coming was to die on the cross. He would fulfill every jot and every tittle of prophecy concerning himself, he would go to the cross with or without the Jews repentance.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 10:5-7).
TThis message is intended for the Jews, consider the instructions given the apostles. Go to the lost sheep of Israel and tell them to repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. This was an exclusive gospel, from a King to his chosen subjects, repent and believe the gospel. While Christ is on earth, there is no death burial and resurrection for men to place their trust in. There is the King, present and offering the kingdom to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but they refused their King. The gospel of the kingdom always refers to the establishment of God’s reign over the physical earthly kingdom. Christ will reign from David’s throne, and Israel will be head of the nations.
A brief history of the kingdom of heaven.
John the Baptist came to prepare the way for the King, he was beheaded for his role as forerunner and preacher. Then the Bible says, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12). Matthew 14, John has been beheaded, now the King will willingly go to the cross. By Matthew 26:56, the apostles have forsaken the King and fled. The nation and its leaders apprehended the King and took him before Rome. Standing before Pilate they cried aloud we have no king but Caesar, and that they will not have this man rule over them. Crucify him! The Roman government that occupied their land crucified their King on their behalf at their forceful request.
Once the King was crucified, he was buried and on the third day he rose from the dead; just as he said he would. The kingdom of heaven is mentioned one last time. Acts 1:6-8 “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The apostles ask one last time for the kingdom that was rejected, the Lord answers by telling them the kingdom is not for them to be concerned with. Now the disciples of Jesus Christ are to go into all the world and preach the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls and forgiveness of sins. Now the kingdom of God is in view.
My friend, repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ!
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