What is the True Gospel?
Jesus Christ came to earth almost 2000 years ago to announce a message from God. What was that message? "Just believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved?” This is the message of most professing Christian ministers today. But is that what the true gospel really is? Almost nobody seems to know!
What the Gospel Is Not
Tune in any Sunday morning in the United States to so-called “gospel programs” and you will hear and see preachers telling you about Christ-urging you to believe on Chris to accept Christ-telling you what a wonderful person He was. They will talk about “getting out the gospel,” meaning the message about Christ. Every Sunday morning, millions of viewers assume they are hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Believe it or not, preaching Christ and belief on Him is not preaching Christ’s gospel! Christ was a messenger. He brought the message God the Father sent by Him, for all mankind. That message is good news. The very word “gospel” means Good News.
True, Jesus Christ, the person, is the most important individual ever
to walk this earth. True, He is ‘the Savior’ of all mankind. But Christ,
the person, is not the gospel! The miracles He performed are not the gospel.
The things Jesus did are not the gospel. The true
gospel Jesus brought proclaims the solution to the world’s troubles. But
men rejected that solution and Jesus was put to death for preaching it!
“Believers” Wanted to Kill Christ!
There were those in Christ’s day who “believed on Him,” just as millions do today. These same people were influenced on occasion to want to kill Him! Notice the truth in your Bible. It’s an eye-opener, for the Bible does not say what most people have been taught.
Jesus was speaking in the Temple at Jerusalem: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). But they refused to believe what He taught and to do what He taught. They believed on Him. They liked Him. They believed in His identity. They believed He was the Messiah, but they did not believe HIM—or what He said!
Continuing, Jesus said, “…but you seek to kill me, because my word has no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father…” (verses 37-38). These very people who “believed on him” sought to kill Him because they hated what He said, the very solution to mankind’s troubles that will bring peace, prosperity and happiness on earth.
These who believed on Him continued to argue. Then Christ said: “But
now you seek to kill me, a man that has told you the truth which I have
heard of God…, And because I tell you the truth, you do not believe
me “verses 40, 42, 45.
Millions Deceived Today
Millions today also believe on Christ, but do not believe His gospel because most have never heard it! They have heard of Christ—of what He did—but not His message of the solution to all man’s troubles and how to live forever in the Family Of God! So millions today have been deceived into believing a false gospel! Strong words, but backed up by the Word of God, as we shall see.
False Gospels Preached Today
In today’s professing Christian Western world, we find a variety of “gospels” being preached. Some designate their gospel as “The Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Others call their gospel “The Gospel of Salvation.” Still others profess “The Gospel of Grace.” There is also a modern “Social Gospel.” None of these are the gospel Jesus proclaimed! Why does not professing Christianity preach the only true gospel that God sent by Jesus Christ?
1. Did Jesus tell His disciples that prior to His return, many would be deceived by the false teachings of ministers claiming to represent Him and professing that He is the Christ? Matt. 24:4-5.
COMMENT: Untold thousands of professing Christian ministers have, over the centuries, “preached Christ.” They have professed to be His ministers— to represent Him. They have said Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. But they have withheld Christ’s gospel. The vast majority have been deceived by false gospels!
Remember, a deceived person does not know he is deceived. Otherwise he would not be deceived. Millions have been deceived into accepting a false gospel—a false salvation, believe it or not!
2. Were there already many antichrists in the days of the apostle John (about A.D. 90)? I John 2:18.
3. Did the Apostle Paul lament the fact that there were already many false apostles, teaching a counterfeit gospel in his day? Gal. 1:6-8.
COMMENT: About 20 years after Christ’s death, Paul pronounced a curse upon anyone who would dare to preach any other gospel than the one true gospel which Jesus preached, and which the apostle Paul continued to preach to the Galatians. Yet, another “gospel” had been preached to the Galatians by false ministers claiming to represent Christ.
The true gospel was suppressed not long after Christ completed His ministry. After about A.D. 70 it was no longer proclaimed publicly to the world. The true Church of God was forced by persecution to meet secretly, communicating the truth of God privately.
4. Did Paul repeat the curse that would fall upon anyone who would pervert the truth, preach a false gospel? Verse 9.
COMMENT: A false gospel continues to be preached and today different, gospels are being taught as if they were the one true gospel. The vast majority therefore reject the truth when they do hear it from God’s true Church!
5. What did Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian Church (written before A.D. 60), warn about those who preached “another Jesus,” received “another spirit” and accepted “another gospel”? II Cor. 11:3-4.
COMMENT: The Jesus these false ministers preached about, the “gospel” which they taught, were all false —totally foreign to the apostle Paul and the other true apostles of Christ!
Paul, therefore, gave this solemn warning to the Corinthian brethren and to us today: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (II Cor. 11:13-15).
6. What did Paul say is in store for those who through their wickedness suppress the truth of God? Rom. 1:18. (The Revised Standard Version plainly translates “hold the truth” as “suppress the truth.”)
COMMENT: Before the end of the first century A.D. the message of the true gospel taught by Christ and His apostles was suppressed and false “gospels” substituted. Christ’s message would not be proclaimed worldwide again until the latter half of the twentieth century!
7. Did Jesus Christ say it is necessary to believe the gospel? Mark 16:15-16.
COMMENT: Notice Jesus said, “He that believeth.” But believe what? That
which He preached! Not ANY gospel. Before Jesus Christ began preaching the one and only true gospel nineteen
and one-half centuries ago, God first sent a special messenger to prepare
the way before Him.
God’s Messengers and Their Messages
The prophet Malachi lived among the Jewish colony that had been sent to Jerusalem, out of captivity in the ancient lands of Babylon and Medo-Persia, to build the second temple. Malachi wrote approximately one generation after Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah.
This is important to know because his writings reached only a small portion of Judah and none of the House of Israel the “lost” ten tribes. Yet Malachi’s prophecy is addressed to Israel (Mal.1:1), not just the minimal Jewish colony in Jerusalem among whom he lived. But His message never reached the House of Israel which long since had been taken into Assyrian captivity and scattered. That’s because Malachi’s prophecy is for all of Israel today!
1. Did Malachi prophesy that God would send His messenger to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus Christ? Mal. 3:1; Mark 1:3.
COMMENT: This prophecy in Malachi applies to preparing the way for both Jesus’ first coming nearly 2,000 years ago and to preparing the way before His second coming in power as World Ruler. Verses 2-6 of Malachi 3 definitely refer to His yet future second coming.
In verse 1 of chapter 3, Malachi clearly referred also to Christ’s first coming, because this prophecy is referred to in Mark 1:1-2: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ… I will send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
2. Who was the messenger sent by God to prepare the way for Christ’s first coming? Luke 1:13-17; Mark 1:4, 7-8.
COMMENT: It was prophesied that John would 1) come in the spirit and power of Elijah; 2) turn the hearts of the fathers to the children; and 3) “…make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). John preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins to prepare to accept Christ when He began His ministry.
3. After John prepared the way for Christ’s first coming, did Jesus then fulfill His prophesied mission as the Messenger of the New Covenant? Mal. 3:1; Mark 1:14-15.
COMMENT: God had promised to send a Messenger into this world from heaven, bearing the message of the New Covenant from Him. Jesus Christ was the Messenger of that New Covenant. The New Covenant message is the ‘Good News’ Jesus brought!
4. Where did Jesus first preach? Mark 1:14; Acts 10:36-37. When did Jesus begin preaching the gospel? Same verses.
COMMENT: He began preaching “after the baptism which John preached.” The true gospel of the New Covenant, did not begin with John the Baptist. It began after John had completed his baptismal ministry and was put in prison.
5. To whom did God send Jesus to preach ? Matt. 15:24.
COMMENT: Jesus Christ was the Messenger sent by God to preach to the descendants of ancient Israel. Since Malachi called Him the Messenger of the Covenant (Mal. 3:1), His message is the proclamation of the New Covenant. This message is the New Testament gospel!
6. Did God later send the apostle Peter to preach the same gospel to Gentiles? Acts 10:34-48 (especially notice verses 36-37); 11:18.
COMMENT: The same gospel Christ preached to Israel now
began to go to all nations. But the gospel did not originate with Jesus
Christ, with Peter, or Paul. It was sent from GOD THE
FATHER by Jesus Christ!
The “Gospel of the Kingdom of God”
1. What was the “gospel” Jesus preached? Mark 1:14.
COMMENT: The message God sent by Jesus Christ was the “Gospel of the Kingdom of God.” The Kingdom of God is the government of God which shall rule all nations. But also it is the family of God into which we may be born—the family which will rule all nations on earth as a world-ruling government!
Jesus was sent to announce that message—not force men to accept it. Never did Jesus plead with a single one to be converted. He just announced the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, and then left it to God the Father to call, through that announcement and His Spirit, those who He would (John 6:44). Christ did not come to convert the world! He did not start a crusade. He came to announce the ‘good news’ of the coming Kingdom of God on earth!
2. Nevertheless, did Jesus say it was necessary to repent and believe the gospel He preached? Mark 1:14-15.
COMMENT: Notice Jesus said, “Believe the gospel.”—the ‘good news’ of the coming Kingdom of God.
But, one may ask, don’t we need to believe on Jesus? Of course. Other scriptures teach that. But at this particular time Jesus said we must believe the gospel of the Kingdom of God which He proclaimed!
3. Whom did Jesus plainly say sent Him and told Him what to say? John 12:49-50.
4. Did Jesus restate for emphasis that the word which He spoke was NOT His, but the Father’s? John 14:24.
5. What did Jesus say is the gospel of the New Testament? Luke 16:16.
COMMENT: “The law and the prophets”—referring to Old Testament Scriptures—were preached until John began his special ministry. After John’s work was over, Jesus began proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Christ’s gospel is the prophetic proclamation of the coming world government to rule all nations and bring today’s confused, chaotic, war-weary earth peace. It is the dynamic, powerful, living message of God’s government over all nations in the world tomorrow!
But there can be no government without laws, and so the true gospel also must proclaim the law of God, which will bring peace and everything good to those living in the world tomorrow, and success and happiness to the individual who keeps God’s law now.
The true gospel has to do with the nations of today’s world and Christ’s reign over all nations. It is
a “full,” complete, dynamic and powerful gospel which has been kept from
the world for nineteen centuries by the God of this world—Satan who is still ruling today. (Rev.12:9). Let’s be sure we understand the full meaning
of the Kingdom of God.
What the Kingdom of God Really IS
The Bible speaks of successive world-ruling kingdoms. The first was the Chaldean Empire (often called “Babylon”). God inspired the prophet Daniel to say to its king, “…the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory” (Dan. 2:37).
There also were other kingdoms in the course of history occupying lesser territories. One was the Kingdom of Israel—the family of the patriarch Israel grown into a nation later ruled by kings. The Kingdom of Israel was actually a type or forerunner of the coming Kingdom of God, the family of God organized into a governing kingdom. The Kingdom of God will be dual:
1) A KINGDOM. As a kingdom it will be composed of four things: a) a king ruling over. b) subjects within. c) a definite territory with, d) laws and an organized system of administering them.
2) A FAMILY. The family of God into which humans may be born is a governing or ruling family. It will have jurisdiction over all nations of the earth! The prophet Daniel, who lived nearly 600 years before Christ, knew that the Kingdom of God was to be an actual government ruling over literal people on the earth because God revealed this knowledge to him.
Daniel was one of four young Jewish men. These were stationed in the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldean Empire, and were in training for special responsibilities in the Babylonian government.
1. Did God give Daniel special understanding in visions and dreams? Dan. 1:17.
COMMENT: King Nebuchadnezzar was the first world ruler. He had conquered much of the known world, including the kingdom of Judah. This king had a dream so impressive it troubled him, moving him to have tremendous concern (Dan. 2:1). He demanded that his magicians, astrologers and sorcerers tell him both what he had dreamed and what it meant. Of course they could not. Then Daniel was brought before the king.
2. Even though Daniel disclaimed any more human ability to interpret dreams than the Chaldean magicians, who did he tell Nebuchadnezzar reveals secrets and would make known to the king what would come to pass in the latter days? Dan. 2:28-30.
COMMENT: Through this dream God was revealing to this world-ruling human king that there is a God in heaven—that God is Supreme Ruler over all nations, governments and kings—that God rules the universe! Although during the past 6,000 years God has left the nations generally to their own devices, God was giving the king a special opportunity to accept His rule.
The main purpose of this dream, as we shall see, was to reveal God’s government—the fact that God rules and the truth of the coming Kingdom of God—the one and only true gospel of Jesus Christ. And, secondly, to preserved in writing for us today—what is to happen “in the latter days”.
This is no dry, dull, dead writing for a people of 2,500 years ago. This is living, tremendous, big news for OUR DAY! It is advance news for us NOW. News, before it happens, of the most colossal event of all earth’s history certain to occur in our lifetimes! And it all has to do with the very gospel Christ preached. It is vital that we understand!
3. What did the King see in his dream? Verses 31-33.
COMMENT: Nebuchadnezzar saw a statue larger than any ever built by man. Its appearance was terrifying! Its head was of fine gold, its breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, legs of solid iron, feet and toes a mixture of iron and clay.
4. As the King viewed this statue in his dream, what smashed the statue on its feet? Verse 34. What happened to the image? Verse 35.
COMMENT: There is a time element involved in this dream. He viewed the statue until a STONE shot from heaven like a meteor, smashing the statue on its feet! Then the whole of the statue broke into small fragments and was blown away by the wind—it completely disappeared. Then this “stone” expanded miraculously and quickly became a “mountain” so great it filled the whole earth.
Unlike ordinary dreams, this one was caused by God to convey the message of God’s ruler ship. This message is part of the written Word of God and it reveals to us today important facts about the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s notice the interpretation of the dream as revealed to Daniel by God.
5. Was Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom the first world-ruling empire? Verses 37-38.Who gave him his kingdom? V 37.
COMMENT: God revealed Himself to this world dictator as the Most High Ruler over all—the Head of the universe—ruling government. God was revealing Himself through Daniel, and through the Bible to us today, as the all-powerful Supreme Ruler who is to be obeyed.
6. Was Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom represented by the golden head of the great image? Verse 38.
7. Was a kingdom (pictured by the chest and arms of silver) to be inferior to his kingdom? Verse 39.
8. Was a third kingdom (pictured by the belly and thighs of brass) to gain rule over all the earth? Same verse.
COMMENT: Notice that these passages are speaking of kingdoms that would bear rule over people on earth. The prophecy is speaking of Governments! It is not speaking of sentiments “set up in the hearts of men.” It is not speaking of churches. It is speaking of governments that bear rule and authority over nations of people here on earth. It is literal. It is specific. There is no misunderstanding here as to what is meant by the word “kingdom.”
God revealed through Daniel that the great metallic image represented a succession of world-ruling governments.
9. What do the legs of iron represent? Verse 40.
COMMENT: The legs of iron represent a fourth world empire. It was to be strong, even as iron is very strong, signifying that it was to be stronger militarily than its predecessors. Yet, silver is less valuable than gold, brass less than silver, and iron less than brass. Though each succeeding metal was harder and stronger, the decreasing value of the metals shows the deterioration morally and spiritually. And the two legs meant the fourth empire would be divided.
After the Chaldean Empire came the still larger Persian Empire, then the Greco-Macedonian Empire and fourth, the Roman Empire. The final empire was divided, with capitals at Rome and Constantinople (now called Istanbul).
10. Will ten kings or kingdoms, represented by the ten toes, be in existence just before the Kingdom of God (the great “stone”) is set up? Verses 41-44. What will God’s Kingdom do to these ten kingdoms? Verse 44.
COMMENT: By connecting this prophecy with Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17, we can know it is referring to part of the UNITED EUROP, which has NOW FORMED before our very eyes. Revelation 17:12 makes plain that it will be a union of TEN NATIONS or groups of nations. This will be the FINAL, SHORT LIVED resurrection of the medieval “Holy Roman Empire.”
After the fall of the ancient Roman Empire in A.D. 476, there were to be seven revivals that would be ruled over by a Gentile Church called the “daughter” of ancient Babylon (Isa. 47:1). It is a church CLAIMING TO BE CHRISTIAN, but actually named by God “Mystery Babylon The Great”(Rev. 17:1-5)which ruled the Roman Empire.
Six of those revivals have come and gone. The seventh is NOW EMERGING. The Final Brief resurrection of The Roman Empire, this time composed of ten European nations or groups of nations. These are the ten toes comprising a mixture of iron and clay (Dan. 2:41-43).
At the end of their days, which will last no more than THREE AND ONE HALF YEARS, Christ will return to rule the earth, to set up the Kingdom of God with Headquarters in Jerusalem. He is going to set up a permanent Kingdom which shall break in pieces and utterly consume these end-time kingdoms!
11. When Christ comes, will He come as Supreme King to rule the whole earth? Rev. 19:11-16. Whose possession will the nations of this world become? Rev. 11:15.
COMMENT: The plain truth of the Bible reveals that the “Kingdom of God”
is to be a literal government which shall rule
over all nations on earth. It is to take over the Governments of the nations
at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Christ will rule by the law of God. This is the good news or “Gospel
of The Kingdom of God” which Jesus preached!
To Be “Born” Into God’s Kingdom!
One of the Pharisees occupying an office of authority over the Jews during Jesus’ day, came to see Jesus. He admitted that he and the other religious leaders knew Jesus was a teacher sent from God (John 3:1-2). Jesus proceeded to reveal to him a vital truth we need to understand about the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
1. What did Jesus say must happen to an individual before he can “see” the Kingdom of God? John 3:3.
COMMENT: Therefore a church on earth could not be the Kingdom of God as some have erroneously assumed, because you can see a church!
2. Must a person be made Spirit before he can enter into the Kingdom of God? Verse 5. What will he be composed of when born Spirit? Verse 6. Is God a spirit? John 4:24.
COMMENT: The Kingdom of God is something that can be entered into. We were born human. But it is possible for us to be born again—this time not as flesh and blood, but born of spirit. Then we shall be composed of spirit as God is!God is not a single Personage. The Hebrew word for God, Elohim, means more than one person. It shows God is a single family, or “kingdom,” but composed of more than one person. We have the mineral kingdom, the plant kingdom, and the animal kingdom.
The Bible reveals an angel kingdom, created by God and composed of spirit. And then, high above all is the creating kingdom—the God kingdom. In other words, the “Kingdom of God”! God the Father and Christ the Son presently compose the Kingdom or family of God. The truth of the Bible is that God is reproducing Himself! God created man in God’s own image so that we may be born into God’s Family as spirit-composed persons in the Kingdom or family of God! Notice how the apostle Paul explains it.
3. Can a flesh-and-blood person inherit the Kingdom of God? I Cor. 15:50. How, then, can one enter God’s Kingdom, or family? Verses 51-53.
All who have qualified through the centuries, will be organized into the government of God to rule this earth under Jesus Christ! (Dan. 7:27; Rev. 2:26-27; 5:10.)
Christ’s Gospel Being Proclaimed Worldwide Today
Recall that John the Baptist was the “messenger” whom Malachi prophesied would come to prepare the way before Christ’s ministry during His first coming to earth (Mal. 3:1; Mark 1:4, 7-8; Luke 1:13-17). An angel prophesied that John would go ahead of Christ “in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah], to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and… to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).
1. After John was put in prison and Christ had begun His ministry, did Jesus prophesy that another “Elijah” was yet to come? Matt. 17:10-11. Is it clear that John the Baptist was a type of yet another Elijah? Verses 12-13. Did Malachi also prophesy of another Elijah’s coming? Mal. 4:5. What would this “Elijah” do? Mal. 4:6; Matt. 17:11.
COMMENT: These verses show that John was a type of the future “Elijah”- one who would also be sent by God to the world in the spirit and power of Elijah the prophet, this time prior to Christ’s coming as World Ruler (Mal. 3:1-6). Jesus also said the Elijah to come would “restore all things” (Matt. 17:11). Restitution is restoring to a former state or condition—restoring something that had been taken away. What former state or condition needs restoring? What was taken away and when?
God’s government was taken away from the earth at Lucifer’s rebellion. But it was not restored at Jesus’ first coming. Christ will restore it when He returns (Acts 3:19-21). And so the heavens have received Jesus until He comes as “King of kings ” to restore the government of God (Rev.19:16). At that time He shall set up the Kingdom of God—the family of God which shall rule the earth.
Of primary importance was the restoration of Christ’s true gospel of the Kingdom of God! That Good News was restored with ‘The World Tomorrow’ radio program, first week in January, 1934, and then to the world on Radio Luxembourg and Radio Ceylon in 1953–one century of 19-year time cycles after the gospel of the Kingdom had been suppressed! In August 1933, Jesus Christ raised up the parent congregation of this present era of the Church of God in Eugene, Oregon, United States of America. From this very humble, small beginning, God began adding to the Church those He was calling to help in this Great Commission.
2. Did Jesus foretell that the gospel of the Kingdom of God would be preached in all the world as a witness in the end time? Matt. 24:14. Would the gospel also be published among all nations? Mark 13:10. Would this then be the “sign” of the end of this age, and Jesus’ imminent return? Matt. 24:1-3.
3. By what power was the Work of God done during the days of God’s servant Zerubabbel, who built the physical Temple to which Jesus came? Zech. 4:6.
COMMENT: In our modern age, as in Zerubabbel’s day, the work of God’s Church is ultimately done not by human power. The Kingdom of God is being preached and published in all the world today by the inspiration of God’s Spirit. Many lives are being changed, God is preparing a “first-fruits” harvest for His Kingdom. And this precious harvest is the spiritual “Temple” which is presently being built by God (Eph. 2:19-22), and to which Christ will return (Mal. 3:1).
4. Did Christ say that His servants would do even greater works than He had done while on earth? John 14:12. Even though Christ’s end time Church would have little strength of its own, what would He open for it in order to carry out His Great Commission? Rev. 3:8.
The sign by which we might know the end of this age of human misrule and Jesus’ Second Coming is near, as is the fulfilling of this prophecy.
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