The Gospel of the Kingom of God
We are not mentioned in the parables as they were spoken to the Jews. Does that mean that this gospel was only for the Jews? Jesus told the disciples the gospel of the kingdom will be preached till Jesus comes back.
"14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."
It is a testimony to all nations. Acts tells us the apostles were preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God too.
We will read a few verses:
"12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."
"22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said."
"8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God."
"24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
25 "Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again."
"23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets."
Acts 28: 30-31
"30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.
31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ."
When we read the first and last verses we see that Philip and Paul preached the good news of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.
When we read these verses thoroughly we will see they are preaching two gospels.
One is the good news of the Kingdom of God and
the other is the good news of the name of Jesus Christ.
Is there a difference?
I'll try to explain this through an example.
We all live at the moment at a certain place on the earth. Suppose we read something very special about a city in another part of the country. (the Kingdom of God).
It is amazing what we read. We want to be there, we want to share all those wonderful things we heard about. But unfortunately there is no possibility to go there because an enemy did something terribly wrong. Suddenly someone comes with the good news, a gospel, so we can go to that other place. It appears that someone constructed a road to that city. So it is now possible to go to that other place and share all those nice and wonderful things. The only problem is that this road is not visible, yet really there. When we believe this road exists we can go to that other place. That is, of course, a wonderful message, it's really good news.
It's the good news, or the gospel, of 'the way'.
It will be clear that the gospel of the Kingdom of God is another gospel than the gospel of the Name of Jesus, who is The Way. And it will also be clear that just listening to the gospel of the Kingdom of God isn't enough. We can't do a thing with that gospel when there is no way to enter that Kingdom.
God had, and still has a plan for this world and for the people on this world. That plan has everything to do with the Kingdom He wants to establish. God gives people the opportunity to become sons of Him. He will also give them the opportunity to become heirs, Heirs of the Kingdom. But people sinned and their punishment is death. God is a righteous God, and He loves us. That's why He gave Himself on the cross. He died instead of us. He reopened the way to the Kingdom. He Himself became The Way.
The whole story in short
Thinking about God, we have to ask our self, " Why was it necessary for the great King of the universe to become a human being?"
Before man was created something happened with far-reaching consequences. God created angels. One was called Lucifer. Sons of God they were called. (Job 2:1 and 38:7).
This Lucifer (Light barrier) was very highly placed. He was the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. He was on the holy mount of God. God appointed him to be the ruler over this earth. He was blameless in his ways till.... Till wickedness was found in him. He said: I will make myself like the Most High.
(Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Isaiah 14:12-15).
This Lucifer became God's adversary, diabolos, the devil. His kingship was taken away from him. The earth became formless and empty. (Genesis 1:2).
God made a new beginning. The Word recreated the earth. Adam and Eve were created. The great King appointed Adam as ruler over this earth. (Genesis 1:28).
Adam was the king over the earth, but he had to obey God. God wanted Adam to rule, but also to obey. That is why He commanded Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. God gave Adam the opportunity to disobey. By making the right choices Adam's character would have been formed, a king who can make the right decisions.
Then God's adversary came. Not with honest arguments, but with sly lies. Adam did not have enough character. At that point it seemed God's plan was blocked, for the penalty of sin was death. Eternal death, separated from God for ever. No sonship, no heritage.
Adam was appointed by God to be the ruler over this earth. However he obeyed Gods adversary and disobeyed God.
That's how he became a slave of satan. (2 Peter 2:19 ). And satan became in this sly way again the ruler of the earth. Adam gave it to him by obeying satan.
God didn't think it a pity and think that now he had to start all over again. He had already another plan. We can read in the bible He had this plan already before men were created. God told the snake (Satan) he will be cursed:Genesis 3:15
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
God couldn't cope what Adam and Eva did nor his former angel. Both must be convicted and the power over the earth must return to God. God is a God of justice. But above that he loves men, So He had to come as King and Judge of the universe with a Royal and righteous solution to solve this problem. The death penalty for men was fulfilled at the cross where He died for us. At the same time Jesus, Who is the offspring of Eve, dethroned the devil. And when Jesus comes back He will crush the offspring of Satan, the son of perdition (see KJ and Greek).
But before this is going to happen, many other things must happen
God called Abram to go from Haran to another land: Canaan.
Genesis 12:1-3, 7
1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
2 "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
...7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
God promised Abram to make him into a great nation. In Genesis 22:18 God promised Abram again that all nations will be blessed through him. But this time God adds, "Through your offspring."
The New Testament explains in Galatians 3:16 this offspring is Jesus.
So, Abram became Abraham and the father of Isaac. Isaac became the father of Jacob. Jacob became the father of twelve sons and one daughter. On a certain night Jacob wrestled with God.
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.
23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.
24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.
25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.
26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
27 The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered.
28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."
29 Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."
There he was given his new name, Israel. The twelve sons of Jacob became the twelve tribes of Israel. Later they moved to Egypt. First everything was fine, but then they became oppressed. Moses took them out of Egypt through the desert. This really happened and has a spiritual meaning to us.
1 Corinthians 10:1-11
1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.
2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.
7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry."
8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did-- and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.
9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did and were killed by snakes.
10 And do not grumble, as some of them did and were killed by the destroying angel.
11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
These things occurred as examples to us. The Old Testament isn't just history. We can learn a lot from it. Above that there are so many prophesies, short term and long term. And many of them are not yet fulfilled. Because they are not yet fulfilled they become very interesting to those of us who are interested in God's plan for this world and for men.
Joshua was Moses' aide. Joshua is a Hebrew name. It means 'Jahweh is salvation.' In Greek it is Jesus. Joshua was the one who brought the Israelites into the promised land. Joshua is a type of Jesus.
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' assistant:
2 "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them to the Israelites.
3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates --all the Hittite country-- to the Great Sea on the west.
5 No-one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.
After some time the people of Israel demanded a king so they could be like the other nations. Samuel wasn't very pleased and he prayed to God.
1 Samuel 8:6-8
6 But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD.
7 And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.
8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.
1 Samuel 12:17-23
17 Is it not wheat harvest now? I will call upon the LORD to send thunder and rain. And you will realize what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the LORD when you asked for a king."
18 Then Samuel called upon the LORD, and that same day the LORD sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the LORD and of Samuel.
19 The people all said to Samuel, "Pray to the LORD your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king."
20 "Do not be afraid," Samuel replied. "You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart.
21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.
22 For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own.
23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.
....22 For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject His people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.
The Lord was king over Israel. They were his people. They rejected Him and wanted a king like all the other nations.
So Israel's first king was Saul. David was the second king and a man loved by God. David's son Solomon was the third king. God spoke to him:
1 Kings 9:4-5
4 "As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws,
5 I will establish your royal throne over Israel for ever, as I promised David your father when I said, `You shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.'
We just read God promised David: You shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel. How tragic it was. King Solomon, to whom God appeared twice, sinned in such a way that God had to tear apart his kingdom. We studied this subject briefly.
From that time on there were two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. Later Israel went into captivity and never returned to the land God had given them. We did see how God will bring them together again when Jesus returns. They are not lost and they will repent and will be forgiven. The Jews, during Jesus' days on earth, were the first group in the parable of the wedding banquet. They rejected His call. They even killed Him. The Kingdom of God is taken away from them. Not from all of them for at the present time a remnant remains which has been chosen by grace.
After Jesus died and was resurrected God almost stopped all of his acting with Israel. This is a time of approximately 2000 years. This is the time we are living in now. This is the time all people, also called Gentiles, can become believers. When that number of gentiles who become believers and will be going into the Kingdom of God is fulfilled, God will fulfill his prophesies about Israel and Judah. After the holy city Jerusalem has been attacked all the Israelites will be coming to the land of Israel.
All parables that speak about the kingdom of God are speaking about that time. That time, which is also called the millennium, will be a time of 1000 years of peace. Jesus Christ will reign from the throne of his father David. And all of those who are resurrected in the first resurrection and all believers who are changed at that same time will be kings in that Kingdom.
But before this happens we will see Jesus return to this earth. Before He was born, the angel Gabriel told Mary:
He will be great and called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; his kingdom will never end. (Luke 1:32-33).
Jesus went out and told everyone the gospel of the Kingdom of God. He used parables to explain the things of the Kingdom.
At that time it was theoretically possible for the Jews to accept Jesus as their Messiah.
But they didn't and because of their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. (Romans 11:11) Salvation from eternal death.
14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
This gospel of the name of Jesus must be preached all over the world, but if we want to show the whole picture of God's wonderful plan we have to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God as well. Then people will understand why Jesus had to come to the earth and die. He did this to make it possible for God's plan to be fulfilled. God wants sons to be heirs in his Kingdom. The only way to become an heir is through Jesus.
So salvation came to us who are the Gentiles We're grafted into the cultivated olive tree, which is Israel.
(Romans 11:17-20). God knew it beforehand and that is why Paul wrote to the Ephesians:
5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will...
That was a mystery till Jesus died and rose from the grave. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
We, who became believers, are sons of God. God gave us His Spirit,
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession to the praise of his glory.
14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs --heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
This Kingdom of God will be established on earth. To make it possible to establish this Kingdom the ruler of this earth, Satan, had to be conquered. Satan tried to seduce Jesus to get the power the easy way.
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.
6 And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendour, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.
7 So if you worship me, it will all be yours."
Remember Adam gave his authority to the devil. Now the devil tried to get what he always wanted, to be more than God. Jesus only answered:Luke 4:8
8 ... "It is written: `Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'"
God had a better plan, but...1 Corinthians 2:8
8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
When Jesus died it was D-day (decision day), but the enemy was still there. Jesus dethroned the devil, but he is not yet captured.
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death --that is, the devil-- 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
The devil is dethroned, but still prowls around like a roaring lion. In the Old Testament and in the New Testament it is clear the powers of darkness and the heavenly armies are making war. If you want to know more about it read Daniel 10.
We Christians are also involved. We are sons of God and have his Spirit, so the devil and his demons are against us as well. That's why we have the full armor of God.
Paul says:Ephesians 6:10-12
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
We can take our stand against the devil through the power of the Holy Spirit and the sword Jesus used against the devil, the Word of God, the bible. We believe Jesus will be coming back soon. And ...2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.
3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
Before the day Jesus comes back the son of the devil, the man of lawlessness, will reveal himself. He will set himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Like father, like son. Jesus will overthrow him with the breath of his mouth and he will be destroyed by the splendor of Jesus' coming.
All believers who died in Christ will be resurrected and the believers who are still alive at that time will be changed and we will all meet our Lord in the air. What a wonderful time that will be. Then Jesus will sit on his throne and will reign together with all the saints over this earth for a thousand years. The devil will be bound for this thousand years. After the thousand years he will be released from his prison and he will go out to deceive the nations. Again the nations will come to the city of Jerusalem to fight. They will surround the camp of God's people, the city He loves. They will not succeed. The devil will be thrown into the lake of burning sulphur.
After that the great white throne will be seen. Books are opened and everyone who was not resurrected 1000 years earlier will be resurrected at that time. They will be judged by what is written in the books, by their deeds. The ones who lived according Gods will to enter eternal life.
To understand what deeds, see Matthew 25:31-46
1 Corinthians 15:24-28
Finally Jesus will hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he "has put everything under his feet". Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
(1 Corinthians 15:24-28, NIV).
A new heaven and a new earth will be created. The Holy City, the New Jerusalem, will come down from heaven and God will live with his people for ever.
This is the end of the bible study about the Kingdom of God.
Job 2:1 and 38:7
1 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. (Job 2:1, NIV). 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:7, NIV).
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
2 Peter 2:19
19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds", meaning many people, but "and to your seed", meaning one person, who is Christ.
11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.