By Bro. Isaac Ezeh
This is how the Bible introduces the ministry of Christ after his baptism by John the Baptist:
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God,” Mark 1:14.
The Gospel of the Kingdom expands in scope beyond an individual appeal to include people groups and nations. Through the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, God sends a notice to the inhabitants of the earth that He has a dominion that extends to the earth. In Gen.14:18-20 for example, the name of God revealed, ‘El Elyon’ means possessor of heaven and the earth.
Jesus, in teaching his disciples to pray, gave a commandment for them to pray for the coming of God’s kingdom on earth: “After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallow be thy name, Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt.6:9-10)
The major promise of God to King David, which is the basis of the Davidic Covenant, is that God will eventually set up His kingdom on earth and rule on earth. Part of the reasons for Christ’s return in glory is to set up the headquarters of this kingdom in Jerusalem.
“And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee a house. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever.” 2 Sam. 7:11-14, 16.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Dan.2:44
The issue of the kingdom and nation-states is a major theme in the Bible. See the following scriptures: Dt. 32:8-9; Acts 17:23-27; Lk.1:31-33; Ps.122:5; Rv.21:1-7.
The gospel we are commanded to preach to usher in the return of Christ in glory (What we often describe as the second coming of Christ) is the Gospel of the Kingdom. Mathew 24:14 states: “And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world (inhabited earth) for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
This means that the end shall not come until the Gospel of the Kingdom has been proclaimed in all the inhabited earth. The reason for this is simple; the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross is meant to bring liberty not only to individuals but to nations, people, groups, and other creatures including animals and non-living things.
“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:19-23
IMPORTANCE OF THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM
“The preaching of it shall usher in the return of Christ in glory or the second coming of Christ. (See Mathew 24:14)
The eternal destiny of nation-states will be determined by their account. The scripture shows that hell is not meant for individuals alone. Nation-states that fail to reform on the basis of the gospel and embrace godliness and righteousness will all be cast into hell. There are a lot of scriptures on this but let us cite two.
“The wicked shall be cast into hell and all the nations that forget God.” Psalm 9:17
One of the things that will happen upon Christ’s return is that the map of the world will be re-drawn. All nations that fail to embrace righteousness and godliness established by it will be removed from the face of the earth. This is the major reason the Lord will judge the nations.
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” Matthew 25:31-34, 41
God will separate the nation-states on the basis of how each nation responds to His eternal plan for Israel.
“For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.” Joel 3:1-3
It is not surprising to discerning hearts that Israel is at the centre stage today. The nation-states are conspiring against her. International organizations like the United Nations, European Union, Arab League, and other people groups are enraged at Israel and the media is embarking on a hate campaign against her.
Just know that God is bringing the nation-states to the valley of Jehoshaphat so that they can make a choice that will affect their eternal destiny. We must pray seriously for our leaders not to side against Israel because siding against Israel will be tantamount to siding against God. (See Dt. 32:8-9; Matt.25:34-46).
In summary, let us emphasize the following:
Christ is returning to earth to set up God’s kingdom with headquarters in Jerusalem according to the Covenant He made with David. (See 2 Samuel 7:11-16, Luke 1:32-33.
The Gospel of the Kingdom opens the way for nations to be invited to be part of that Kingdom. See Joel 3:1-3; Matthew .25:31-46.
The scope of the Gospel of the Kingdom goes beyond individuals to people groups like lawyers, doctors, etc, to institutions and nation-states.
The territory envisaged to be covered by the Gospel of the Kingdom is the whole earth.
THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL: Revelation 14:6-7.
The proper place to start in presenting the Everlasting Gospel is the 14th chapter of the Book of revelation.
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:6-7
At the foundation of preaching the everlasting gospel is having a proper revelation of who Christ is. One of the distortions that came with Catholicism is the obscuring of the true revelation of Christ and His cross. This necessity becomes obvious when we consider Paul’s letter to the Ephesians which is a foundation scripture for the Everlasting Gospel. In describing his commission and mandate from God he said:
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Ephesians 3:8-11
If we put this scripture together with Revelation 14:6-7 that we cited above, we will see all the major sides of the Everlasting Gospel.
CONTENTS OF THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL
It reveals the eternal purposes of God in Christ and unveils the mystery of Christ. The Bible mentions about 15 mysteries, the most important of which are:
The mystery of Christ – Colossians 1:26-27
The mystery of godliness -1 Timothy 3:16
The mystery of iniquity -2 Thessalonians 2:7
A mystery is something concealed by God that takes a revelation from Him to understand. The Bible says, “The secrets of the Lord are with them that fear him and he will show them His covenant.” Psalm 25:14
Proverbs 25:2 puts it in another way: “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”
We cannot go far in our walk with God without having a proper understanding and revelation of who Christ is. Jesus confronted His disciples with this question in the sixteenth chapter of the book of Mathew:
“Who do men say that I the Son of man am (Matthew 16:13b). He did not leave this matter at the level of speculation but applied it to His disciples personally and individually: “But who say ye that I am.” Matthew 16:15
How can we follow God without knowing the God we are following? The doctrine of the trinity that has found a central place in Christian theology has no basis in the Bible. You will never see the trinity mentioned in the Bible as it gives the impression that God is three. The Catholic catechism indeed describes Him as ‘God in three persons’ which is a fallacy.
The God of Israel in the Old Testament who is ONE God did not suddenly multiply in the New Testament to become three Gods. The most important lesson thought in the Torah is Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is ONE Lord.” When the young lawyer asked the Lord the most important commandment in the Torah, Jesus emphasized this truth. “Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thine heart and with all thine soul and with all thine mind.” Matthew 22:37
How can we love God with all our faculties if we don’t know who He is? We are likely to confuse him with other religious creations and give our affection to an idol created by man.
To show the extent of our misunderstanding of this foundational truth, some religious drawings often depict God as having three Thrones in heaven; one for God the Father, another for God the Son, and the third one for God the Holy Spirit.
According to this myth, The Father will sit on the centre Throne which is a bit bigger, with Jesus sitting on the smaller throne by the right hand of God and the Holy Spirit by the left.
The reality is in fact totally different. There is only one God who manifested Himself in the Old Testament as the Father. He took the human body and came down to earth as Yeshua the Messiah to pay the penalty for man’s sin and reconcile us back to Himself. (See Isaiah 53:1-11; Isaiah 9:6-7).
In the Church age, He manifests Himself to us as the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:11 talks of ‘This same Jesus’ not a different person returning as the Holy Spirit. Because we misunderstand the nature of the Godhead, we also baptize in the name of three gods ignoring the fact that all baptisms recorded in the Bible were done in the name of Jesus alone. (See Acts 10:48; Acts 19:5).The scope of the Everlasting Gospel goes beyond individuals and nation-states and covers the entire universe including the heavens, the earth, and under the earth. We see for example that the proclamation of it is committed to an angel.
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred and tongue and people.” Revelation 14:6
We see also that it is proclaimed from the middle of heaven, that is the second heaven which is a place of conflict between God’s angels and Satan’s angels (See Daniel 10:13-21).
The conflict provoked in the heavenlies as a result of the proclamation of the everlasting gospel is going to result in conflicts on earth and wars and disagreement among nations. Are we not in the thick of such wars now?
It is proclaimed to all creation including angelic beings, principalities, and powers.
‘To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known the manifold wisdom of God.” Eph 3:10.
For me, this is a heavy responsibility because it raises the question of the kind of priesthood we need to have to be able to preach and enforce God’s will even upon disobedient angels, especially in their schemes against nation-states.
The Everlasting Gospel is not an appeal for repentance as the Gospel of Grace but a warning to nations, languages, and peoples of the imminence of God’s judgment.
It is more or less a warning and a command: ‘Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of His judgment is come…” Rev.14:7. Many of the disturbances going on in the nations today from natural disasters to wars to famine are judgmental in nature. The earlier we realize this and begin to respond to God in repentance, the better.
It is the Gospel that will bring down Babylon and every place where it has been foisted:
“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” Revelation 18:1-4
The word Babylon, the way it is used in scripture talks about disorder and confusion. Babylon is what results when one distorts the pattern or order of God. (See Genesis 11:4-9) There are various dimensions of Babylon.
Babylon is primarily a historical place, the first of the successive world kingdoms that had dominion on earth according to the vision of Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel. (See Gen.10:10; Dan.4:30, 5:7)
Secondarily, Babylon became a spirit described in Rev.18:2-3 as a ‘habitation of devils’.
Thirdly, Babylon became a nature in people and then a system by which Satan tries to manipulate and retain control of the world.
As a system, Babylon has different fronts and operations. It has a political system based on wickedness and pride by which it controls governance and politics in nations. The objective is to ensure that men who have allegiance to Satan maintain control of government and governance. It has an economic system based on Mammon that puts men with allegiance to Mammon on top of the mountain of the economy.
It also has a religious system that promotes a multitude of gods while obscuring the knowledge of the ONE true God. In this way, it ensures that worship is diverted to Satan.
Finally, it has a spiritual system through which it powers and sustains the entire system of Babylon. By virtue of being a spiritual system, it has a priesthood loyal to it, altars, and counter covenants to keep entrapped men firmly in its grip.
It is the preaching of the Everlasting Gospel with the revelation of God’s true covenants that is able to demystify Babylon and bring men out of its’ different layers of deception.
The preaching of the Everlasting Gospel will provoke the administration of the Wrath of God and bring judgment on rebellion. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worships the beast and his image and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink the wine of the wrath of God. (Revelation 14:9-10a) It is given to sons raised through the preaching of the everlasting gospel to execute the written judgments of God.
“Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD” (Ps. 149:6-9).
This is necessary because nations cannot enter into their eternal destiny unless the written judgments of God are executed. (See Isaiah 4:4-6). God places His government on the shoulders of sons and not babes or children. (See Isaiah 9:6-7).
It is the preaching of the Everlasting Gospel that provokes a separation between the righteous and unrighteous including nations, peoples, and institutions.
“And another angel came out of the temple crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle and reap for the time is come for thee to reap for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” (Rev.14:15).
Sickle in scripture is always associated with judgment and separation between the righteous and the wicked. (See also Joel 13:12-14; Rev.14:18-20).
The preaching of the everlasting Gospel will produce everlasting righteousness which is the garment that qualifies a believer to become part of the bride of Christ.
“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Rev.19:6-8
This message must be preached to today’s Christians that being born again is only the first step in our journey with God. To be part of the bride of Christ, we must overcome our soulish nature and also have our soul saved. Man is a tripartite being made of spirit, soul, and body.
Our spirit is saved upon being born again. We must walk with God, give up our own will and have our minds renewed by His word for our souls to be saved. If we don’t journey with God and have salvation also in our soul, we will be like the man described in Mathew 22, who even though he found his way into the wedding party of the king’s son, was thrown into outer darkness because he did not have the proper wedding garment. What it means is that the man only had salvation in his spirit but did not pay the price for the salvation of his soul. How many Christians today are wearing the same shoe?
The message of the Everlasting Gospel brings us into the millennial reign of Christ and ushers us into eternity. The cosmic signs, economic signs, and geographical signs we are seeing in the world are indications that God is winding up the present age. If we are not hearing the trumpets of heaven indicating this change in season, we will still be stuck in the preliminary, preaching the gospel of grace while heaven has moved on to the second and third stage of the Gospel. We will still be talking about bread and butter while heaven has moved on to the more serious issues of righteousness, justice, and bringing the kingdom of God on earth.
JOINING THE ISSUES:
In a way, the level of righteousness we walk in depends on the gospel we are hearing and are exposed to. If we remain at the level of the Gospel of Grace our spiritual growth will be limited to talking about the cross of Jesus, the fact that He died for us, and all the benefits His sacrificial death provided for us.
But this is only the elementary aspect. God’s requirement is that we move on by taking our cross and following Him (Matthew 16:24). When we take our cross and start following the Lord, the righteousness imputed to us begins to produce eternal results that are credited into our account. The righteousness imparted and converted into our eternal accounts as everlasting righteousness that qualifies us to have the wedding garment to be part of the bride of Christ.
Gospel of Grace Righteousness Imputed
Gospel of the Kingdom Righteousness Imparted
Everlasting Gospel Everlasting Righteousness
The will of God in this matter is that we are not stuck in the elementary principles but that we move on to perfection. To have this issue in proper alignment, we must move on to consider the implications of the entire spectrum of the Gospel for both the individual and the environment. We have shown from scriptures that the gospel message will impact the individual, the environment, the heavens, and all creatures.
The message of the gospel is spiritual. We see this just by reading the opening verses of the Gospel of John.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John 1:1-5. In John 6:63b Jesus proclaimed, “The words that I speak to you they are spirit and life.”
A spiritual message requires a spiritual messenger. If you look at the Apostles, for example, see what is written concerning them and the method they used in preaching the gospel
This is what Peter wrote:
“Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” 1 Peter 1:12.
Note that the Apostles did not preach the gospel of their own selves but with (under the influence) of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Acts 18:5 says that Paul was pressed in the spirit and testified to the Jews. He did not just testify of his own power.
The Bible makes a distinction between three different types of men:
The natural man – 1 Corinthians 2:14
The carnal man – 1 Corinthians 3:3
The spiritual man – 1 Corinthians 2:15
Since the message of the gospel is spiritual, only a spiritual man can be a vehicle for conveying a spiritual message. All who handle the gospel must cross this hurdle otherwise they can never have eternal results. The ministers of the gospel must now pay the price for walking in the spirit otherwise they are laboring in vain.
To be continued
Culled from the book: The gospel of the kingdom. find the online link to buy a copy: https://okadabooks.com/book/about/the_gospel_of_the_kingdom/16720