One of the many signs which Christ Himself gave as being indicative of the approaching end of the age was:
“ 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 24:14)
This is truly an captivating statement and it is most extraordinary that it should have been so greatly misunderstood and its meaning misapplies. That this misunderstanding and confusion are widespread is evident by the fact of the apparent inability of so many people to realize the difference between the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Gospel of salvation.
What is this Gospel of the Kingdom, which must be preached as a witness? What is the significance of the phrase “ then shall the end come? ” Let us look at the latter phrase first, for in expressed conceptions there is a great deal of distortion of its true meaning. THE “ END ” DOES NOT MEAN THE END OF THE WORLD. IT HAS NO CONNECTION WHATEVER WITH THE PASSING AND DESTRUCTION OF THIS PHYSICAL EARTH of ours, but it does have to do with the ending of the current world order or system. It primarily refers to the end of the age in which we are now living.
There have been many ages, or dispensations, in the history of man and of the world. Going back to ancient times, we have what is known as the antediluvian age. That was the historical period before the Deluge. Then came the age of the patriarchs, beginning with the call of Abraham, encompassing his life and the lives of Isaac and Jacob/Israel, continuing to the time of the Exodus of Israel from Egypt. Following that, we have what may be called the Mosaic Age, during which we have the story of the development of the Kingdom of God established here no earth at Mount Sinai, the progressive organization of that Kingdom, the formulation of its Divine constitution and economic system.
Thereafter we come to the period of the judges and kings of Israel and to what might be called the age of the prophets, the last of whom was Malachi. Then there intervened a period of some three or four centuries, when there was what the Bible calls “ no open vision. ” The voice of the prophets was stilled.
We read in the New Testament that the people were in an attitude of expectation. Then came the preaching of John the Baptist with his sectarian cry:
“ Repent ye, for the Kingdom of God is at hand! ” (Or, if you prefer, “ the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. ” ; both terms are synonymous) This was followed by the great event of the appearance of Christ Himself at the commencement of His mission with, may we call it, the slogan:
“ The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. ” (Mark 1:15)
The Gospel here referred to was the Gospel of the Kingdom, and a little later we read:
“ And Jesus went abut all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. ” (Matthew 9:35)
Note carefully that it was the Gospel of the Kingdom, not the Gospel of Salvation that Jesus preached. If one will read carefully, in Matthew ’ s Gospel for example, they will find there is no mention of the Gospel of the salvation wrought through the atonement made on Calvary until we reach the 16th chapter, where we have the following statement:
“ From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he mus go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. ” (Matthew 16:21)
The beginning of the ministry 9f Christ marked the beginning of the age of grace, which has continued for the past 1900 years and more. This age of grace is to be followed by the Kingdom Age and it is the ending of the age of grace and the beginning of the age of the kingdom that is meant by the use of the praise, “ then shall the end come. ”
That the age of grace, during which the offer of salvation for all mankind is open, must end is clearly indicated in the Scriptures. For example, Paul, when preaching to the people of Athens, said:
“ Because he (God) hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. ” (Acts 17:31)
Let us deviate here for a little bit and show you that the Judeo-Christian clergy does not tell you that there will be people who will be outside the Kingdom of Christ when it is finally set up on this earth. They teach the false doctrine that “ ALL ” who do not believe will be thrown into the lake of fire, in an effort to get people to run down to the altar and cast their money into the offering plate, and beg for forgiveness.
“ And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. ” (Mark 13:20)
There will be people outside of the Kingdom of God which do not worship Almighty God or the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 60:1-2; Micah 4:5; Revelation 21:27; 22:15) Scriptures relating to these are (Matthew 5:20; Mark 10:15; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 15:15; also see Matthew 18:3; 25:10; Luke 13:28; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5)
Of course people must do that if they are to be saved and go to live in the Kingdom of Christ; but they must first be called by Christ; as is demonstrated by His calling each of His Apostles. Of course He called Judas the Jewish traitor, but that was to show that even though many are called that some will not really believe and will turn away from the truth for worldly pleasures.
“ Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? ” (John 6:70)
As a second witness:
“ Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. ” (John 15:16)
Christ has called many but there are few that will listen and obey Him:
“ So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. ” (Matthew 20:16; Matthew 22:14; John 6:70; 13:18; 15:19; Acts 1:20; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:4; James 2:5; 1 Peter 2:4; 2:9; Revelation 17:14)
The realization that the end of this age of grace must come should give reason for thought and reflection among all of us. The day of grace, when the free offer of full salvation is open, will not continue indefinitely. As the apostle says:
“ Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. ” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
This should make us determined to follow the exhortation of the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews:
“ Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. ” (Hebrews 4:16)
The day of opportunity is getting shorter; the time is more limited now than ever before. Remember, God hath appointed a day.
“ Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. ” (Acts 17:31)
The statement of our Lord quoted at the beginning means exactly what it says; namely, that when the Gospel of the kingdom has been preached AS A WITNESS to all nations (the Israel people in the nations; and of course the other races and peoples of those nations will hear it also, but it is meant only to the House of Israel), the end of the dispensation of grace will come, unbelieving nations will be smitten and the returning Christ, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, shall rule them with a rod of iron. Ferrar Fenton provides a very clear and exact translation of our Lord ’ s words:
“ The good news of the Kingdom, however, shall be proclaimed throughout the whole empire, as a witness to all nations; and then the end will come. ”
Let us differentiate between the Gospel of the Kingdom and Gospel of Salvation. The Gospel of salvation has been preached for over 2000 years in obedience to the commission our Lord gave to His followers:
“ Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the consummation of the age. ” (Matthew 28:19-20, Marginal Rendering)
It can surely b said that the Gospel of salvation has been preached to “ all nations. ” this does not mean, of course, that every individual in the world has heard it, and it does not mean that there will not remain many millions who never will hear it before the end comes.
But, insofar as the general statement is concerned, it is true to assert that there is not a single nation wherein the Gospel of salvation has not been preached. (We once again say that the Gospel was NOT for all the different races but only to the “ chosen generation ” the Israelites, the sheep of Christ; Matthew 15:24: “ But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. ” )
“ But YE (Israelites) ARE A CHOSEN GENERATION, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you (Israelites) out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. ” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
That certainly does not mean that all the nations of the world have become converted. It does not mean that millions in Christendom have not neglected to listen to the Gospel of salvation. But that neglect and indifference do not minimize the reality of the fact that the Gospel of salvation has been proclaimed throughout the world, for that is where the Children of Israel have wondered.
The Gospel of salvation is, of course, identified with the age of grace and concerned with the demonstration of the love of God for His Israel people so that He sent His only begotten Son to take upon Himself our flesh, to suffer death upon the cross and to raise again for our justification. And so that He might marry Israel again, for He could not do so as long as He lived, and had to die to make it legal for Him to marry Israel, His beloved once again.
It is the story of the great atonement wrought on Calvary; it is the glad tidings that
“ God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ” (John 3:16)
This verse appears to be a mistranslation because the devils or evil spirits believe on Christ and know Him, but they are certainly not saved, nor can they be, it does not appear. For there is no record of one of them being called of God and repenting of their evil, being baptized for the remission of their sins, and accepting Christ.
“ And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? ” (Acts 19:15)
“ And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? ” (Matthew 8:28-29)
Therefore, it is the Gospel that proclaims that God gave His Son to suffer in our stead so that the sins of Israel might be canceled.
“ For I am jealous over you (House of Israel) with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you (House of Israel, to Christ, who is the one husband) to one husband, that I (God) may present you (House of Israel) as a chaste virgin to Christ. ” (2 Corinthians 11:2)
This Son of God came and fulfilled Isaiah ’ s tremendous prophecy concerning the suffering Messiah:
“ But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. ” (Isaiah 53:5-6)
The Gospel of the Kingdom necessarily includes the Gospel of Salvation. The one is an integral part of the other. The acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior provides the Christian with citizenship in the Kingdom of God so that he/she may live under its coming perfection and partake of its benefits and blessings.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is the good news that God founded a kingdom on earth, which shall, in the final issue, become predominant in the world. It was established at Mount Sinai, with perfect laws forming its constitution, to be enforced by the people selected by God to act as His administrators. The Prophet Daniel comprehended the whole scope of the Divine purpose, envisioning the Kingdom from its inception at Sinai to its glorious universal consummation:
“ 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 for ever. ” (Daniel 2:44)
Interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar ’ s dream, Daniel said of the Kingdom that it
“ became a great mountain (government), and filled the whole earth (The kingdom or nation of Babylon, not the entire earth). ” (Daniel 2:35)
This was a prophetic proclamation of great significance concerning the future that now lies so close at hand. Let us quote from another prophet:
“ But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. ” (Micah 4:1-2)
The good news of the results of the restoration of the Kingdom on earth will have spread to all peoples, and nations will be induced to make inquiry as to the source of the Kingdom ’ s prosperity. They will behold the blessings of the Kingdom Age; note well that it will be an age of peace. The reigning monarch will be He of whom it has been said:
“ A King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. ” (Jeremiah 23:5)
“ He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. ” (Micah 4:3-4)
The Gospel of the Kingdom is concerned with the rule of Christ here on earth. As a matter of fact, the preaching of the Gospel of salvation for the individual should emphasize the absolute necessity for the preparation of the individual for the return of
Christ to reign. It has already been said that the Gospel of the Kingdom must first be preached as a witness, to proclaim the purpose of god and substantiate His absolute fidelity to His promises.
It must be preached in order to let the world know that His people Israel of old are still His people today, although known by another name; that the true people of Israel; The Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Scandinavian, Celtic, Nordic, Slavic peoples, have constituted and do constitute the nucleus of the Kingdom of God functioning here upon earth; that the throne of the Lord is over Israel, to be occupied by Him whose right it is.
The Gospel of the kingdom must be based upon the clear and definite understanding that the covenant God made with Abraham still stands, and the time has now been reached when the children of Abraham shall indeed become a blessing to all the nations of the earth. (Genesis 12:1-3)
The reality of the Kingdom of God cannot be apprehended without realizing that it was founded upon the Abrahamic stock; that, therefore, the children of Abraham must have developed down through the ages into a nation (England) and a company of nations (The United States), and a great people as God promised. ” (Genesis 48:19-20)
Ephraim United States Asher Sweden
Manasseh Great Britain Gad Italy
Judah Germany Reuben Holland
Simeon Spain Issachar Finland
Naphtali Norway Dan Denmark
Zebulun France Benjamin Iceland
But the nations of modern Israel; the British Commonwealth, the United States and kindred nations, are by no means able and ready to fulfill their Divinely-ordained destiny. A great spiritual awakening must come first. But at the present time another of the prophets words are coming true more every day.
“ The sun (Jacob; Genesis 37)and the moon (Rachael; Genesis 37) shall be darkened, and the stars (Israelites, Genesis 37) shall withdraw their shining. ” (Joel 3:15)
However, a great spiritual awakening must come first. They must recognize their identity as God ’ s Kingdom people and the fact that their Redeemer has made possible their national restoration of their God. They must acknowledge their transgressions and confess their sins, especially their failure to administer the Law of the Lord in righteousness. In repentance and in returning they will find blessedness for themselves and, when the Holy One of Israel is again in their midst, they will arise to be a blessing to all the world, as they have been for the last 2000 years.