From Plainer Words

The Gospel Of The Kingdom Of God

Posted in: 2007
By Tom L. Ballinger
Mar 13, 2008 - 4:32:03 AM

August 31, 2007


We firmly believe that the central theme of the Bible is the “Kingdom of God.” Likewise, it is firmly believed that the central personality of the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, is the Lord Jesus Christ. The name by which the Hebrews knew Him in the Old Testament was Yahweh (translated “LORD” in the KJV) spelled with all capital letters, even though the “O-R-D” are in smaller caps than that of the “L.”

It is only appropriate that the theme of the New Testament message, proclaimed by Jesus Christ, was “the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.” We are painfully aware that modern-day preachers, teachers, and evangelists virtually ignore the Gospel which carries the name of the theme of the Word of God—the Kingdom of God. Not only do the modern-day teachers and preachers pay no attention to the Kingdom of God Gospel, far too many “Grace” believers do the same. The deficiency is so great, we would expect they would be hard-pressed even to define “the Gospel of the Kingdom of God” (Matt. 4:23; Mark 1:14).

The Basis for Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom—the Old Testament

When John the Baptist burst upon the Biblical scene, preaching, “Repent for the Kingdom of God (or Heaven) is at hand” (Matt. 3:2), his hearers understood he was referring to an eschatological aion foretold by “all of God’s holy prophets” (Acts 3:21). It would be an aion (age) when God would anoint a king to establish a Kingdom “which shall never be destroyed, and …it shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44). This will usher in a new aion, to wit, “the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

After the arrest of John the Baptist, “Jesus came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand’” (Mark 1:14-15). Luke told us that when Christ stood up in the synagogue and read from Isaiah 61:1-2, He concluded by saying, “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). Later, when asked if He was “the Christ,” that is, God’s Anointed (Mark 14:61), He replied, “I am” (Mark 14:62). The time had arrived. The Kingdom’s “Anointed” was present in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, the Kingdom had a Name and a Face.

Shortly after Jesus spoke in the synagogue, He told the crowds, “I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent”(Luke 4:43). Everywhere the Lord Jesus went, He heralded the “glad tidings of the Kingdom of God” (Luke 8:1). The twelve Apostles journeyed with Him.

Therefore, it is clear why, when He sent the Twelve, He commissioned them “to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick” (Luke 9:2).

The Second Coming [the Parousia] was not part of their commission to preach.

“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come” (Luke 10:1).

The Seventy went forth, as He had commissioned them to do:

“And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, ‘The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you’” (Luke 10:8-9).

Neither, were the Seventy commissioned to proclaim the Parousia of Christ.

The Kingdom of God Was the Hope During the Book of Acts

After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus devoted forty days with the apostles instructing them in “things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).

The Lord Jesus instructed His apostles to wait in Jerusalem for “the promise of the Father,” to wit, being endued with power from on high (Acts 1:4). The apostles, understanding the Acts Period hope, asked Jesus, “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel?” He answered their question by saying, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His Own power” (Acts 1:7).

Thus, He ended His ministry “to the circumcision” the way He began it—declaring the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Just before His Ascension, He told them that before the Kingdom would come, they were to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and even, unto the “uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

They were faithful to His commission as evidenced by their preaching “the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus” (Acts 8:12).

When Paul and Barnabas left Derbe on their way to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, we read of their mission in Acts 14:22, “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God.” (This “tribulation” is not a reference to the “great tribulation” mentioned in Matthew 24:21. The “tribulation” mentioned in Matthew 24, according to the context, will be during the concluding days of the pre-millennial Kingdom of God, or the 70th Week of Daniel).

During Acts, the Apostle Paul taught “concerning the things of the Kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). Then, in Acts 20: 25, 31, he reminded the elders of Ephesus that he had spent three years “preaching the Kingdom of God.”

After arriving in Rome as a prisoner, Paul called the Jewish leaders together, and he explained and testified to the “Kingdom of God” to them, both out of the Law and the Prophets “from morning to evening” (Acts 28:23).

Even though overlooked by many Bible students and teachers, it is of paramount importance to recognize how the Book of Acts closes. Notice the closing words:

“And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him” (Acts 28:30-31).

For two full years after Acts 28:28, the Apostle Paul continued to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The Acts Period ended the way it began, with the Kingdom of God being in the forefront.

Those who consider themselves as serious students of God’s Word should have their attention called to the fact that nowhere in the heralding of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God was any provision made for the doctrinal teaching of the Parousia of Christ [the Second Coming]. The coming and establishment of the Kingdom does not require the Parousia of Christ. That is why, when our Lord Jesus had the opportunity to preach the Kingdom message on two different occasions, He made no mention, whatsoever, that His Parousia was a prerequisite for its establishment.

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the Kingdom of
Heaven is at hand’” (Matt. 4:17).

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, And saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel’” (Mark 1:14-15).

If His Parousia was to have been the central theme of the coming Kingdom, then, we should expect it to be part of His “at hand” message of the Kingdom, but it wasn’t. If the Lord Jesus Christ didn’t associate His Parousia with the hope of the Coming Kingdom, neither should we, as students of the Word. Those who insist that the Second Coming [the Parousia] ushers in the Kingdom, have the Kingdom and the Millennium confused, thinking the two terms are synonymous. They are not synonymous!

Let’s re-consider the Apostle Paul’s address to the Jewish leaders in Rome in a new light. That being, this would have been a very opportune time to explain the importance of the Parousia of Jesus Christ, had it been an integral part of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God:

“And when they [Jewish leaders] had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the Kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening” (Acts 28:23).

Of course, no mention of the Parousia was made. Why? It was not part of the Gospel message of the Kingdom. The Parousia of Jesus Christ was not part of the Good News of the “at-hand” Kingdom of God message.

New Testament Writings

Part of the action of the Apostles, during The Acts of the Apostles, was that of writing Scripture. All books of the Bible, written during the Acts Period, must be read and interpreted in light of the time of the writing. It should be kept in mind that the “hope of Israel” was in view from Acts 1 through Acts 28. All events which came between must, of necessity, relate to the “hope of Israel.” Remember, Paul told the Jewish leaders in Rome, “because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain” (Acts 28:20). When Paul said this, he had already written His Acts Epistles.

“The hope of Israel” was hope expressed in the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The Second Coming of Christ (His Parousia) played no part in the realization of the Kingdom of God. It is to be hundreds of years before the 1000 year Parousia of Christ on earth.

Tom L. Ballinger

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