The gospel of the kingdom taught in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and by Jesus Himself prepares believers alive in the Kingdom Age for an Earthly Kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital city, and with a flesh and bones Jesus as its King on the Throne of David.
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:13,14 (KJV)
Last week we told you how the gospel of the grace of God given exclusively to Paul in Damascus by Jesus for the Church Age was markedly different from the gospel preached by Peter in Acts 2. Today I want to show you yet another gospel that will be preached in the end times, and it’s called the gospel of the kingdom. This gospel, much like Peter’s, is a combination of faith plus works, and Jesus warns that failure to abide by it will result in the loss of your salvation.
Before we go any further, Preterists, Post Toasties, Pre-Wrath Rapturites and others who vainly attempt to make the entire New Testament preach a single gospel will be highly triggered by this article. Because today I show you that this ‘gospel of the kingdom’, that they will instantly reject as “heresy”, comes from the mouth of Jesus Himself. So if this is heresy, then that makes Jesus a heretic, because He says it’s a different gospel. Now that you’ve been warned, let’s continue.
To get the proper context of Matthew 24, something very few people actually do, we have to read the last few verses of Matthew 23. In those verses, Jesus has already pronounced the coming fall and desolation of the dispersion of Israel.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matthew 23: 37-39 (KJV)
Those 3 little verses cover a period of time from 29 AD, then to 70 AD, and all the way up to the Second Coming of Jesus at the Battle of Armageddon which, obviously, is yet future. When you turn the page to Matthew 24, Jesus is asked to “put a little meat” on the bones of Matthew 23, and so He does with a Master Class on end times Bible prophecy. But one thing that Matthew 24 does not address and does not discuss is any reference to Christians or to the Church Age that we currently find ourselves in. Why not? Because the focus is squarely on Israel and the trials and tribulations of the Jewish people in the time of Jacob’s trouble.
The disciples of Jesus knew nothing about being in the “body of Christ” because Jesus did not teach them that doctrine that Paul so clearly defines in places like Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 2 and 4, and Colossians 3. Instead, they were eagerly looking to the day where Jesus would be crowned King, and deliver them the Kingdom spoken of by nearly all the Old Testament prophets.
Even as late as Acts 1, we see the disciples still asking when Jesus is planning on restoring the kingdom.
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6 (KJV)
Conspicuously absent is any talk about Heaven, going “home to glory”, or any of the other things Paul instructs Christians to look up in the sky for, as he does in 1 Thessalonians 4. Why? Because the ‘gospel of the kingdom’ which Jesus preached is all about a literal, physical, visible kingdom on the Earth with Jesus ruling as an Earthly King for a thousand years. And here we come to one of the hallmark differences between the Kingdom Age and the Church Age.
The focus of the preaching and teaching of the Apostle Paul is on the Christian getting ready to leave this body, get a glorified body, and go UP to Heaven to be with Jesus. Please note the following verses that address this doctrine:
- “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 (KJV)
- “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17,18 (KJV)
- “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 (KJV)
See what I mean? Everything Paul teaches us about “what comes next” is always in reference to Christians going UP to be with Jesus, going UP to the Judgment Seat of Christ, going UP to be around the Throne of God in Heaven. It’s all up, up and away! But not so for the Kingdom Age believer, not by a long shot. They were never promised Heaven, they were promised an earthly kingdom.
That’s why in Acts they ask not to go to be with Jesus in Heaven, but instead, when is Jesus going to come back and give them the kingdom. Think about it. Let’s say you, as a born again Christian, could go back in time and stand with the disciples on that day in Acts 1. Would you be asking for Jesus to “restore the kingdom” on Earth – OR – would you throw your arms around his waist and cry out “take me with you!!”? You would, obviously, want to go with Jesus because that’s what Paul teaches in nearly every thing he writes.
“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:” Philippians 1:23 (KJV)
Paul wanted to “depart” but Peter wanted an Earthly kingdom. Things that are different are NOT the same! Paul wanted to “depart” because his gospel of the grace of God for the Church Age teaches that. Peter wanted to stay and wait for a kingdom on Earth because that’s what the gospel of the kingdom teaches.
Paul’s gospel of the grace of God prepares you to leave this life with your sins paid for, so you can be with Jesus in Heaven. The gospel of the kingdom taught in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and by Jesus Himself prepares believers alive in the Kingdom Age for an Earthly Kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital city, and with a flesh and bones Jesus as its King on the Throne of David.
When Jesus knocked Paul off his horse in Acts 9, He then taught him for a 3.5 year period in the desert what Paul would then refer to as “my gospel”, and the “gospel of the grace of God”. He did this so you would know it was not the same as the “gospel of the kingdom” the apostles had been waiting for.
Jesus in Matthew 24 calls it ‘this gospel of the kingdom’ to let you know that it is different from what He would have Paul teach in the Church Age. They cannot be reconciled to each other because they are not the same. Dogs and cats share a lot of commonalities to the casual observer, but they can never mate and have babies because they are fundamentally different at their core.
So it is with the gospel of the grace of God and the gospel of the kingdom. Fundamentally different at their core.