Church of God, New World Ministries

The Gospel Of The Kingdom Of God

What is the true "gospel" that Jesus Christ preached? Did Paul preach a different gospel to the Gentiles? Here, is made plain the truth about the Kingdom of God.

Why should there be such perplexity--.such confusion--.in every phase of life today? It should be the function of religion to point the way. Yet, here too, we find only confusion of tongues, hundreds of religious denominations and sects, in a Babylon of disagreements. Even in the professing Christian world, we find different sects and denominations preaching a variety of dif- ferent GOSPELS! Some designate their Gospel as "The Gospel of Jesus Christ." Others call their gospel "The Gospel of Sal- vation." Still others profess "The Gospel of Grace," some "The Gospel of the Kingdom.

Does it make any difference which Gospel we believe? Listen to the answer of the Eternal God as inspired in Paul's letter to the Galatians Gal. 1:8-9 “ But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you received, let him be accursed”.

Why then has the world lost sight of that GOSPEL? Why do people believe different gospels today? Jesus Christ said it was necessary to BELIEVE THE GOSPEL to be saved!

You've always heard that you'll go to heaven if you're "saved." And most have assumed that their loved ones have already "gone to heaven" when they died. But what does the Bible say? Is heaven really the "reward of the saved?"

Why, if the righteous go to heaven, did the Apostle John write: "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven”-- referring to Jesus Christ Himself (John 3:13)?

If the "saved" go to heaven when they die, why did Peter say that King David, a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22), "is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day… For David is NOT ascended into the heavens" (Acts 2: 29, 34)?

Yes, why? What a paradox! Millions today believe the "saved" go to heaven, yet David didn't! And if the saved go to heaven when they die, what need is there for a resurrection from the dead? Why a resurrection if they have already "gone to their reward"?

Don't you think it is about time these puzzling yet vitally Important questions are answered?

Believe it or not, a belief in a heaven beyond the grave is not limited to professing Christians. People from around the world have always believed in some kind of afterlife--. some type of "reward" after death.

The eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica declares there is "a bewildering variety in the views of the future life and the the world held by different peoples. The scene of the future life may be thought of on earth, in some distant part of it, or above the earth-- in the sky, sun. moon or stars, or beneath the earth. The abodes of bliss and the places for torment may be distinguished, or one last dwelling-place may be affirmed for all the dead. Sometimes the good find their abiding home with the gods; sometimes a number of heavens of varying degrees of bles- sedness is recognized" (vol. 9, p. 760).

Mohammedans believe in a heaven prepared for the blessed, the professors of the” true religion," followers of Mohammed. In paradise, they believe they shall enjoy perpetual light and all heavenly pleasures. Their belief includes eight heavens or dif- ferent degrees of happiness.

Some people in Australian tribes have had a belief in a happy other-world. In particular, those scattered over the south- eastern region believed in a future happy life "beyond the great water" or in the sky. This "paradise" was often called "gumtree country." The path to sky-land was believed to be by the rays of the setting sun or by the Milky Way.

So clearly, the idea of going to heaven when one dies is not the sole property of professing Christians. Pagans since time immemorial have had the same type of notions.

Where did this idea of going to heaven when you die come from? History tells us that many of the ideas of professing Christianity concerning heaven came directly from the ancient Egyptians.

The Egyptians believed that before the souls of the dead could reach the Egyptian "heaven”-- the Fields of Iaru-- and appear in the presence of Osiris, they must traverse a vast under world region called the Tuat which was inhabited by gods, devils, fiends, demons, good and bad spirits and the souls of the wicked, besides snakes, monsters and serpents. The Egyptian sacred book, The Book of the Dead, prescribed spells, incantations, prayers, charms and amulets to help the dead man overcome the dangers of the Tuat and to reach Sekhet Aaru and Sekhet Hetep, (E. A. Wallis Budge, The Literature of the Ancient Egyptians, pp. 40-42).

But astounding as it may seen, neither Jesus nor His apostles taught that the righteous go to heaven! Notice the admission of a secular encyclopedia: "The dominant view in the early church seems to have been that until the return of the Lord upon the clouds of heaven to raise the dead, those who had died were as- leep, and that they would be suddenly awakened to be given their new bodies, after which they would reign with Him on earth for a thousands years ......" (The New International Encyclopedia, art. "Heaven," vol. 9, pp. 700-701).

The early Church clearly did not teach the concept of "going to heaven." Such teaching did not become popular until long after the death of the apostles!

Notice, how this belief of "going to heaven" gradually hap- pened: "But, largely under the influence of Greek thought, other conceptions {gradually} prevailed. The fate of the pat- riarchs, prophets, and pious men of the old dispensation nat- urally occupied much attention and led to the idea that they {their "immortal souls"} were detained in a preparatory abode which the fathers called limbus patrum, awaiting the advent of the Redeemer.

The general belief of Christians has been that since the resur- rection of Christ the just who are free from sin are admitted im mediately after death into heaven, where their chief joy consists in the unclouded vision of God" (ibid.).

Today, the idea of heaven being the "reward of the saved" is nearly universal among Protestant churches. The vast majority of professing Christians look forward to going to a "heaven"" where the righteous sit on clouds, pluck harps, shuffle through harp music, and look up into the face of the Master for all eternity!

Just what is the plain truth about heaven? What does your Bible teach about the "reward of the saved"?

The Book of Galatians actually summarizes the very purpose and plan of God for all of mankind. While addressing the Gentile-born converts in Galatia, the Apostle Paul was inspired to write, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the Promises made, And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs ac- cording to the Promise" (Gal. 3: 16, 29).

The true Christians of God are not yet a possessor of his Reward-- he or she is now only an "heir." What Christians shall inherit, if "saved"-- whatever shall be the "reward of the saved"-- wherever they shall spend eternity, is a definite, specific promise of God. And that promise was made to Abraham, called, in this same book of Galatians written for Genitle converts, the "father" of the faithful (Gal. 3:7).

If one is converted, regardless of race or color or sex; if one is "Christ's”, a Christian, then he becomes of Abra- ham's children, and an "heir" of the promise made to Abraham. What he is to inherit, then, is whatever was promised to Abraham

Now just what did God promise to give Abraham? (Gen. 12:2-3. 6-7) In this case the word "seed" means offspring. So the promise to Abraham and his offspring, his descendants, was the land of Canaan!

How long did God promise Abraham that he and his seed would possess the land? (Gen. 13:15) God told Abraham that it would be forever. Now since the inheritance is to be an eternal inheritance, it only stands to reason this involves and includes everlasting LIFE!

Notice how God expanded this promise to include the whole earth. (Romans 4:13) Also notice that not one word about heaven! Through Abraham, all true Christians are promised this earth!

Now when God made these promises to Abraham, God conditioned it on obedience. What did God tell Abraham to do? (Gen. 12:1) Did Abraham resist, quibble and argue with God about leaving his homeland, his friends and relatives, his old way of life. Abraham forsook all and followed where God led.

All people who have not descended from Abraham through Isaac and Jacob (Israel) are called "Gentiles” in the Bible. And so Paul went to show these Gentile-born Galatians that the only way they could become heirs to the promise made to Abraham was by becoming children ( "seed") of Abraham by spiritual adoption through Christ!

Now read what Paul told the Ephesian Gentile Christians be- fore their conversion. "Therefore remember that you, once Gentile in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands, that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world" (Eph. 2: 11-12).

As Gentiles, they had been "strangers" from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But through Christ and His sacrifice, they were brought near to the promise. (Eph. 2:13). Now because of the Christ's sacrifice they were no more strangers and foreigners (Eph. 2:19).

So today whosoever will from every nation may become an "heir" of the promises God made to Abraham by becoming his "seed" through Christ!

All true Christians are heirs with Abraham to inherit (1) Eternal Life and (2) Eternal inheritance of the entire earth. "Heaven" was not included in the promises God made to Abra- ham. Just when will Abraham and his seed receive their in- heritance? When will they receive the promises? Has Abraham already "gone to his reward?” Has he already inherited the promises?

Has Abraham yet, even today, received the inheritance God promised to him? (Acts 7:2-5) Stephens plainly states that Abraham never received the promised inheritance, even though God's promise was made unconditional because of his obed- ience.

Now read this from the pages of your own Bible. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were merely sojourners, that is, temporary inhabiters, visitors in the land God had promised to them. Hebrews 11:8-10. Had they, at the time of the book Hebrews was written, received these promises? Verse 13, 39-40. Abraham was still dead during the time of Christ and the Apostles. "Then the Jews said to Him, "Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets: and You say, 'If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death." "Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the pro- phets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be"? (John 8 52-53).

Do you believe what you have just read, or will you try and just spiritualize it away? The Scriptures say in plain language that all these men died, in faith, NOT having received the promises! The very fathers to whom the promises were made did not "go to their reward" years after the resurrection and ascension of Christ to heaven!

In confirming the promises of eternal inheritance God made to the "fathers" (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) Christ always preached the Gospel-- the good news-- of the Kingdom ofGod. This Kingdom is to occupy and govern the earth .The same earth thathas been promised to Abraham and his heirs for an eternal inheritance. Notice what Christ said of the men of the promises inLuke 13:28 and Matt. 8:11

To enter into, or "inherit" the divine Kingdom of God is a destiny of such marvelous glory that the human mind cannot fully grasp it! Men and women today have no conception of what is in store for the obedient. The inheritance that awaits every true Christian surpasses anything you have ever conceived in your mind! "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (I Corth. 2:9).

One day the disciples asked Christ to teach them how to pray. Notice what Christ said: "In this manner, therefore pray: Our Father in heaven Hallowed be Your name, Your Kingdom come Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:9-10).

If, we Christians are to pray for God's Kingdom to come to this earth, then it is quite obvious the Kingdom is not here on the earth yet. Notice where the inheritance is kept, (I Peter 1:3-4:Luke 6:23 and Matt. 5:12)

Notice that these words do not say, "Great is your reward when you get to heaven." These verses do not tell us when or where Christians will receive their inheritance and rewards, only that they are being "reserved" for them in heaven!

When will the "saved," or "righteous" inherit the Kingdom of God-- receive their inheritance and rewards? (Matt. 25:31-34). Clearly it is when Christ returns that Abraham and hischildren will become inheritors of the promises.

Now notice that something must happen when Christ returns to this earth. ( I Corth. 15:50). No human can inherit the King dom of God. The Kingdom of God is not a human kingdom, thereare no humans in it. It is a divine Kingdom, the God Kingdom.

At the second coming of Jesus Christ all the dead in Christ will be raised with new spirit BODIES; and those mortal Christians still alive at His return will be instantly changed into the same kind of spirit bodies, bodies which can inherit the Kingdom of God. Our present flesh is corruptible, subject to death and decay. But spirit beings are eternally new, immortal, incorrupt- ible, never subject to death and decay!

Notice what Jesus Christ said about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: (Matt. 22:31-32) These verses are often twisted aroundand perverted in an attempt to prove that Abraham is not dead,that he has already gone to his reward, without having to beresurrected, just the diametric opposite of what Jesus used thisillustration to point out.

God is the God of the living, not the dead. Jesus was speaking of their future resurrection to immortal life! For He plainly said, "As touching the resurrection of the dead."

Without a resurrection the dead would never live again! ( I Corth. 15: 16, 18) Therefore, the resurrection of the dead is central to God's plan. And unless Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all deceased Christians are resurrected from the grave at Christ's coming, they cannot inherit the promises!

The resurrrectin of the dead will occur at the second coming of Christ, when He comes as the King of kings and the Lord of lords to reign over and to rule all nations of the earth. When He comes to set up His Kingdom, then Abraham and his spiritual children in Christ shall be given immortality and will inherit the Kingdom of God-- a world ruling government headed and ruled by Christ-- occupying the very land promised to Abraham-- the land streching from the Nile to the Euphrates River. And this King- dom or government composed of immortals shall rule over all the nations of earth composed of flesh and blood mortals

When Jesus Christ returns, He will say, "Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you" (Matt. 25: 34). Will you be among those who will inherit the Kingdom of God, along with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

May God help you to understand, and qualify to have a part in that glorious kingdom!

Yet the many-- the hundreds of millions toda-- do not know what the Gospel is! Again, Christ’s parting commission to His Apostles, being sent out as His minintry to build His church, was this: "Go ye unto all the world, and preach the "Gospel." They were to preach THE GOSPEL.

Jesus then said: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be dammed." (Mark 16:15).

Notice! Jesus said "He that believeth." Believeth what? Why, believeth that which they PREACHED, of course, THE GOSPEL! Not a gospel. Not any gospel. THE GOSPEL. On the authority of Jesus Christ, it was necessary to believe THAT PRECISE IDENTICAL GOSPEL in order to be saved! And in order to believe the true Gospel, we must first come to know what it is.

Now with whom, and from where, and to whom did the true Gospel originate? With Christ? NO, not with Christ!

God the Father had promised to send a Messenger into this world from heaven, bearing a Message from Him-- God the Father! God had promised that in Malachi 3:1 "Behold I will send My Messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me," and that Messenger, as explained in Mark 1:2, was John the baptist, preparing the way before Jesus Chris. "And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, Even, the Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in."

The very first sermon by which God had the Gospel preached to the Gentiles, when Peter was sent to the house of the Gentile Cornelius, recorded in the 10th chapter of the Book of Acts, gives us very explicit directions for locating the one and only TRUE GOSPEL. Open your own Bible. We want you to read this with your own eyes! This is what the inspired Peter said as recorded in Acts. 10: 36-37. "The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ -- He is Lord of all that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached.

Which Gospel did Jesus Christ Preach?

Notice carefully these points. 1( With whom did this message originate? Peter said: "The word which God sent." 2( To whom did God send it? Peter said: "Unto the children of Israel." Although now, ten years later, this same Gospel is being opened up to Gentiles of all nations, originally it was sent to the Children of Israel, and it was sent by God, The Father. It did not originate with Jesus Christ, nor with Peter, nor with the Apostle Paul. It was sent by God, the Father of Jesus Christ. 3(By whom was it sent? Peter said: "By Jesus Christ." 4( Where was it preached? To what geographical location shall we look for its beginning? Peter said: "Began from Galilee."

When did Jesus begin to preached this particular Gospel in Galilee? Peter said: "After the baptism which John preached." The TRUE GOSPEL of the New covenant then did not begin with John the Baptist. It was after John had completed his baptismal ministry.

Now these very definite directions lead us directly to the first chapter of Mark. The first verse tells us the record of the be- ginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then it relates to the baptizing ministry of John, preaching not the Gospel, but "The baptism of repentance," which prepares the way for salvation through Jesus Christ. Now we come to verses 14-15. "Now after that John was put in prison." There is the exact time for the beginning of preaching the TRUE GOSPEL. "Jesus," the divine Messenger by whom God sent it, “came into Galilee"-- the precise geographical location. So we now know the time, to whom God sent the Mes- sage, the place, and the Messenger. So whatever we find Jesus preaching here IS THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE GOSPEL.

Now what do we read? " Jesus came into Galilee preaching the Kingdom of God, and saying the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent ye and believe the Gospel."

But if the one and only True Gospel is the gospel of the Kingdom of God, what about the gospel of Jesus Christ? It that a false gospel?

Not at all. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not man's gospel about the person of Christ. It is Christ's Gospel, the gospel Jesus preached, the Gospel God sent by Him, and there- fore it is also called, in scripture, the Gospel of God. We hear a great deal, today, of the gospel of men about the person of Jesus Christ, confirming the message, solely to the things about Jesus,about what He did. As a result, millions believe on Christ, but do not believe Christ! But Jesus' Gospel is His message.

In just twenty short years, the message of the gospel had become perverted by those who would " make merchandise" of the people of God. Christ's message - Christ's own gospel - was being lost in a torrent of word pollution. False apostles and ministers arose everywhere, each trying to capture a following for themselves. Paul warned the Corinthians: "Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants {ministers} also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds" ( II Cor. 11: 14-15).

In the twilight years of the first-century Church - near the end of the century - the aged apostle John also warned of what was taking place: "Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us" ( I John 2: 18-19).

To be "antichrist" is to be against or opposed to Christ. Those who presumptuously preach a gospel other than which Christ preached are opposed to Christ. They are in the spirit of anti- christ! Those who deny Christ's message deny the Messiah Himself. True Christians must preach the TRUE GOSPEL! The central theme of Christ's gospel was the Kingdom of God! The Kingdom of God is a world ruling government that is coming to this earth. Daniel 2: 44 "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be de- stroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever." Daniel 7:14 "Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an ever- lasting dominion. Which shall not pass away. and His Kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed."

he capital of the entire earth in that day will be Jerusalem, and the law shall go forth from Zion. Micah 4: 1-3.

The "Lord," of course is Christ. Jesus was born to preside over a world government emanating from Jerusalem, Palestine! He is destined to sit upon the throne of David from whom He was descended (Luke 1: 32-33).

Jesus was born to be a monarch, a King over Israel and all of the world! But that Kingdom is yet to be established. It is not the Church. The Church is the spiritual body of Christ ( I Cor. 12:13), which exists for the purpose of carrying out Christ's own Work upon this earth. The people of the Church are called "saints" in the Bible. We are the children of God and co-heirs. Paul explained this to the Romans: "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry 'Abba! Father!' it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirits that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:15-17).

But what will the saints co-inherit with Christ? Jesus, in His gospel, explains: "Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world' " (Matt. 25:34

Now is it plain what Jesus meant when He taught "the meek shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5). He meant that literally! All of the kingdoms of this world are destined to become the king- doms of God and Christ. The saints of God will co-rule with Jesus Christ over those kingdoms. There will be one world government originating in Jerusalem. It will not be administered by mortal men. (Daniel 2:44 and 7:18).

It will be governed directly by Christ and the co-heirs of the Kingdom - the saints of God! Zechariah prophesied of that future Kingdom: "And the Lord will become king over all the earth" (Zech. 14:9). Jesus Christ will not rule unassisted. His triumphant return will not be a "solo flight"! "Then the Lord will come, and all the holy ones with him" (Zech 14:5).

Daniel spoke of a time when "the saints received the kingdom" )Daniel 7:22). In verse 27 of the same chapter, he made it even clearer: "And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them."

This is the very heart and core of the” GOSPEL OF CHRIST"! Jesus' gospel message, His teaching and preaching, concerned that Kingdom. The Kingdom will eventually fill the entire earth! Once that Kingdom is established, "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears let him hear." (Matt. 13:43).

That is the ultimate destiny of the Church of God - to shine like the very sun in the fullness of its strength in the Kingdom of God! As the apostle John explained: "When he appears we shall be like him." ( I John 3:2). And what is Christ like in His present, glorified state? Rev. 1: 12-16. Those who are privileged to join Christ in the Kingdom will be just like that! Incredible? An apocalyptic fantasy? Not at all. What you have just read is a part of the Word of God. It is a component of the Gospel of Christ! It is part of His message to this suffering world.

There is hope in the gospel. A better world is coming. A world of justice, peace and mercy for all. Jesus Christ and the saints with Him, will usher in a millennium of healing and universal blessings. The church will be "A kingdom and priests to our God and they shall reign on earth" (Rev. 5:10). Those who have died in Christ throughout the centuries since His ascension to the Father will one day have come "to life, and reign with Christ a thousands years (Rev. 20:4).

And that rule will be a rule of law and justice. The social injustices and oppression of this present evil world will become a thing of the past. Racial prejudice will be banished. Sickness and disease will be phased out (Isa. 35:5-6). Wars will give way to farming, and swords (symbolic of all weaponry) will be "beaten into plowshares" (Micah 4:3). Jesus Christ will institute vast ecological reforms and the world will again become an Eden of lush and beauty. (Isa. 35:1-2).

Justice will prevail in the courts of the land. There will be no bribery or favoritism. God is not a respecter of persons (Romans 2:11). He will judge with fairness, mercy and justice in every case (Isa. 11:3-5).

Isn't that what this world needs? Isn't that good news?! It is indeed. And it is the very essence of the gospel of Christ! It is a gospel of salvation for the whole world. It is a message about the "restitution of all things" (Acts. 3:21). It is the only \ true gospel.

Jesus is even now preparing positions of rulership in His eternal Kingdom for those who are willing to accept the call (John 14:1-3). Some of those positions have already been spoken for. Jesus said to them. 'Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me ( the twelve apostles) will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" ( Matt. 19:28)

David will be king over all Israel (Ezk. 37:24) under Christ. But there are many other positions available, Crowns of ruler ship are awaiting those who are faithful to the end. Jesus Christ is merely the "firstborn of many brethren" (Romans 8:29). God has a position waiting for you if you really want it. Are you willing to give up everything and turn your life over to Jesus Christ in order to obtain the "pearl of great price?" (Matt. 13:45). Will you give your life to God as a living sacrifice? Or will you forfeit your position in the Kingdom by accepting another gospel - or no gospel at all? Jesus gave a stern warning to the congregation of Christians in the ancient town of Philadelphia: "I am coming soon; hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown" (Rev. 3:11).

Will you heed that warning or will you give up your birth- right for a bowl of this world's "lentil soup"? Will you truly "repent and believe the gospel" of the Kingdom of God? For that alone is "Christ's Gospel"!

 
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