IHA wrote:But at a future time during the Tribulation the Gospel of the Kingdom will be presented to the whole world, since the Kingdom comes at last when our Lord Jesus Christ comes in power and great glory at the end of it. Matt 24:14 ...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.
If this gospel is preached to the whole world during the tribulation period, what is in store for those who respond? Are these the ones who will inhabit the new earth? How is their future different from the redeemed?
The central feature of the preaching and teaching of Jesus was his belief that, in and through him, God's kingly reign had begun to break into human history. For Him, the kingly reign of God was no longer a vague vision of the future. The royal reign of grace, the time of joy for the down-trodden, the sinners and the outcasts, the era of good news for the poor, the moment of table-fellowship with the little people of society had begun to dawn in his life and teaching, his death and resurrection.
Jesus was so convinced that God's absolute future was breaking into human history through his life and work that he healed the sick and cast out the demons. He ignored the sabbath regulations and proclaimed the end of the temple. He abolished the rigid food regulations and associated with the outcasts of society. He pronounced God's blessing on the poor and demonstrated His presence with the persecuted. He declared the forgiveness of sins and invited outcasts and notorious sinners to share with him the messianic banquet of the kingdom. All, without exception, were invited and all, without distinction, were welcome for this was to be a festival of grace and joy, a festival celebrating God's kingly reign.
In light of this inbreaking of the kingdom, Jesus taught with authority, preached the good news, invited sinners to repentance and faith and, in an action without parallel in the ancient world, took the initiative and called disciples to follow him. He invited them to leave the security of families and jobs to be with him as he travelled the length and breadth of Palestine, preaching the good news and teaching the ways of the kingdom, healing the sick and casting out demons. In an intimate way they were his people, for he was calling them to share his mission in the world.
The radical nature of the life of discipleship is seen already in the well-known story of 'The call of the fishermen':Now after John was handed over to the authorities, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the good news of God and saying, The time is fulfilled, the kingly reign of God has drawn near. Repent and believe the good news!'
Jesus was walking along the shore of lake Galilee when he saw Simon and his brother Andrew on the lake working with a casting net, for they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, `Come with me and I will make you fishers of people.' Straight away, they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone along a little further he saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, and they were in the boat overhauling their nets. Straight away he called them and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired workers, they went off after him (Mark 1:14-20).
After the first Easter, Christians, living in settled communities scattered throughout the ancient world, continued to remember and retell the stories of how Jesus called the disciples and how they followed him throughout Palestine. Even those who had never seen the sea of Galilee and knew nothing about fishing found definitive examples of God's action with his people in the world in these simple stories.
In the retelling of these narratives about Jesus, the Lord of the church continued to call his people to faith and service in the world. Hence they never became mere reminiscences of the heroes of the faith, simply tales about the good old days; rather, they continued to embody the proclamation of the good news. They continued to call women and men to faith―whoever they were and wherever they lived. They retained their essential character of contemporary preaching in story form.
The Fringes of Freedom, pp19-20 Athol Gill, 1990. From an address to Servants in a Strange Land Radical Discipleship Conference, Melbourne, June 1982
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure, hidden in a field, that a person found and hid. Then because of joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he found a pearl of great value, he went out and sold everything he had and bought it.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea that caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, they pulled it ashore, sat down, and put the good fish into containers and threw the bad away. It will be this way at the end of the age. Angels will come and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace,where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all these things?” They replied, “Yes.” Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.”
The kingdom of God in the preaching Jesus
`Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the good news of God and saying, "The time is fulfilled, the kingly reign of God has drawn near; repent and believe the good news" (Mark 1:14-15). `From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingly reign of heaven has drawn near"' (Matthew 4:17). `The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim release for the captives and recovery of sight for the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord' (Luke 4:18-19; see also v43: `I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose'). With these words the three Evangelists present what they believe to have been the essence of the preaching of Jesus. Though they express it in words appropriate to their differing situations and theologies, they are united in their testimony that in the parables and miracles of Jesus, in his life and ministry, in his death and resurrection, God's reign of grace had begun to break into human history.
The idea of the kingdom of God did not begin with Jesus. It had a long history behind it. From early days the people of
Israel had celebrated God's kingly reign in their temple liturgies, particularly in the Psalms and enthronement festivals (Psalms 49; 93; 96-99). However, as time went by they came to the increasing realisation that all was not well within Israel and that the present occupants of the throne of David fell far short of divine and human expectations. They began to dream of a day when God's kingly rule would be revealed in all its glory (Isaiah 24:23; 33:22; Zephaniah 3:15; Zechariah 14:16-17). This hope for a new future flowered during the Exilic and post-Exilic periods when Israel was under the domination of the Gentiles. Labouring under the oppression of foreign rule the people looked forward in eager anticipation to the day when God's rule would break into their world, when Israel would be free and all the nations would acknowledge that Yahweh was king (Isaiah 24:3; Zechariah 14:9,16). At present his royal rule might be hidden and unrecognised by the majority of people, but they believed that one day God would fulfill their hopes and dreams, vindicating his word and liberating his people (Zephaniah 3:15; Malachi 1:14).
Jesus came preaching and teaching that the time of fulfilment had drawn near. It was knocking at the door! With an authority that was recognised even by his opponents, he affirmed that, contrary to all appearances, God's kingdom was a present reality. When asked for a word of assurance he pointed to the fact that his reign was already breaking into human history as, in his words and works,. Satan was being defeated (Luke 11:10,20), the blind were receiving their sight, the lame were walking, the lepers were being cleansed, the deaf were hearing, the dead were being raised and the good news was being preached to the poor (Matthew 11:15).
The words and actions of Jesus were controversial and ran counter to the religious and political ambitions of the authorities (Mark 2:1-3:6;11:27-33). Convinced that, through him, God's absolute future was breaking into the present age, he healed the sick (Mark 129-34,40-45) and cast out demons (1:23-28; 5:1-20), ignored the sabbath regulations (2:23-28; 3:1-6) and proclaimed the end of the temple (13:2;14:58). He abolished the rigid food regulations (7:14) and associated with the nobodies of society (2:13-17; Luke 7:36-50). He pronounced God's blessing on the poor and demonstrated his presence with the persecuted (Matthew 5:1-11; 25:31-46). He declared the forgiveness of sins (Mark 2:1-12) and invited the outcasts and infidels to the messianic banquet (w15-17; Luke 14:1524). All, without exception, were invited and all, without distinction were welcome, for this was to be a festival of grace and joy; a carnival celebrating the coming of God's kingly reign.
Though the kingdom had begun to break into the world it was in many ways still veiled and hidden. It could only be described in parables and metaphors (Mark 4:1-34) and could only be understood by faith. In these stories which Jesus related from everyday life, those who were listening were gripped in their hearts and minds and they responded either in faith or in unbelief. Drawn irresistibly into the drama of the story they either affirmed `Yes, that is how it is with God!' or denied that God could ever act in such a way.
Many of the religious and political leaders were unable to understand the truth of Jesus' teaching and they were indignant at the way he behaved. Spending so much time in bad company! Surely God approved only of the upright, the moral, the religious (Mark 2:15-17,18-20), the sort of people with whom they associated. After all, a person may always be judged by the company he keeps and for a wandering charismatic preacher from Galilee to associate with the riff-raff of society was to invite both the wrath of God and the ready condemnation of the authorities.
The little people of society, however, instinctively recognised in the stranger from Nazareth the fulfilment of their desires and ambitions. Wherever he went in Galilee the poor and the outcasts, the women and the children, the sick and the demon-possessed flocked to greet him. When they arrived, they found that they were not only welcome, but especially invited! The messianic banquet had been prepared for them (Luke 14:16-21). The kingdom was theirs (Matthew 5:3,10; Mark 10:14). What a celebration! But what a reversal of values: the first were finding out that they had now become last, whereas those who were considered to be last were now being invited to take their places in the kingdom of God (v31).
The Fringes of Freedom, pp36-37 Athol Gill, 1990.
Stephen Rodgers wrote:It would be appreciated if IHA could explain how he came to this conclusion;The last offering of the Kingdom to Israel is found in Acts 3:19 where the formula is clearly implied.
Rob, some further information. "Kingdom of Heaven" is the term used in Matthew in all but three instances. This is because The Gospel of Matthew was written to the Jews or for Jewish Christians whose scruples did not allow them to pronounce the name of God and substituted metaphors for the divine name. Mark, Luke, John and the Letters always use "Kingdom of God", though the term is only used twice in John.Rob wrote:The term ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is just a Jewish way of speaking of the Kingdom of God. The gospels use these terms interchangeably, compare text of Jesus statements in various gospels.
Stephen Rodgers wrote:No doubt because of the incredible lack of understanding of the Gospel, even a conceited arrogance, having really a Gospel what Paul calls an admixture, a compound of Gospels or Commissions that have not been as Paul said "rightly dividing the Truth." Paul calls this Gospel in the strongest terms an abomination.
Let one mention the 5 different Gospels in the New Testament:
1.The Gospel of the Circumcision/Jews [where Christ told them not to go to the gentiles/samaritans Math.10:5-7]
2.The Gospel to the Gentiles/Uncircumcised Galatians 2:7
3.The Mystery of the Gospel Eph.6:19
4.Gospel of admixture "A different Gospel, which is not another" Gal.1:7-8
5.The Everlasting Gospel Rev.14:6
It seems to me that something vital has been left our of this Gospel, that popular Theology unfortunately focuses on sin and forgiveness of sin but gives nothing of the true nature of the Gospel of the Kingdom which is about Dominion. Why has man lost Dominion and become a slave to sin, constantly needing forgiveness? Where is the power of this gospel?
This Gospel of the Kingdom [or as Strong's Concordance puts it Dominion], is about man again exercising his dominion.
I am curious about "Gospel of the Kingdom is about man again exercising his dominion." I do not see this in the Gospels. How do you come to this view?
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