What is the gospel message that Jesus Christ and the New Testament Church preached? What does the Bible say about this good news of the Kingdom of God?
When Jesus began His earthly ministry, He preached “the gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23; Mark 1:14). The word “gospel” is derived from the Greek word euangelion, which means “good news.” So Jesus was preaching “good news” about the coming Kingdom of God.
Many names, one gospel
Jesus’ message is also called “the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Mark 1:1), “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), “the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1), “the glorious gospel” (2 Corinthians 4:4, King James Version), “the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:13) and “the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). While there is only one true gospel, each of these descriptions focuses on a different aspect of the same message.
The good news of the Kingdom of God in the Old Testament
Old Testament prophets had spoken of the Kingdom of God while under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). Many of them had described the universal peace and abundant prosperity that would accompany this Kingdom that would rule over the earth.
For example, Daniel wrote about the time of Christ’s return to replace the kingdoms of this world. God had revealed this through a dream He gave King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
Speaking of the end of this age, Daniel wrote: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).
Isaiah was also given prophecies of God’s wonderful, world-ruling Kingdom: “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
“Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
“He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:2-4).
The gospel of the Kingdom of God in the New Testament
When Jesus came to earth, He gave this teaching even greater prominence. Indeed, it was the central core of His instruction.
Jesus Himself will be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 11:15; 19:16). He told Pilate, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37).
Jesus told His apostles about the part they would play in that coming Kingdom, “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:28-30).
And His disciples continued to preach this good news after Jesus’ death and resurrection. After He was raised from the dead, He taught them for 40 days “things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3), and when He ascended to heaven in the clouds, two angels reminded them He would return in like manner (Acts 1:9-11; see also Matthew 24:30 and Zechariah 14:4).
Throughout the New Testament history given in the book of Acts, the Church taught the gospel of the Kingdom of God. The book concludes: “Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him” (Acts 28:30-31).
Command to believe the gospel of the Kingdom
The gospel, or good news, of the Kingdom is the message that Jesus urges us to believe today. Since He is the only Being through whom we may receive salvation (Acts 4:12), we must heed His instruction to “repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
The gospel of the Kingdom is indeed glorious news that can give us peace of mind and salvation. Yet these wonderful gifts do not come if we do not repent of our sins. For more information about this Kingdom and what you need to do to be in it, be sure to read the articles in this section “Kingdom of God.”