The central theme of the Old Testament was the coming Kingdom of God. This Kingdom was to be established by the Messiah who was the hope of all Israel. The law and the prophets pointed to this. John the Baptizer became the first to declare the gospel of the Kingdom of God that was being manifested in Jesus.
“The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the Kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” (Luke 16:16).
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1-2).
If we carefully study the scriptures, the Kingdom of God was also the central theme of Jesus’ mission. His teachings clearly show men how they may enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-8). His mighty works were intended to prove that the Kingdom of God has come upon them (Matthew 12:28). His parables illustrated to His disciples the truth about the mystery of the Kingdom of God. When He taught His followers to pray, at the heart of their prayers were the words: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
It is important to note that the gospel that Jesus preached was nothing, but the Kingdom of God. The message of Jesus was the beginning of the new era and Kingdom Age which was at hand (Matthew 4:17). The true purpose and ministry of Jesus has always been to minister the Kingdom of God and to establish God’s Kingdom in the earth.
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” (Matthew 4:23).
“And Jesus went about 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).
“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15).
“…. and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.” (Luke 4:42-43).
“And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,” (Luke 8:1).
Likewise, it is important to note the instruction given to the disciples by the Lord Jesus Christ was the great commission of the Church to preach nothing, but the gospel of the Kingdom of God which was fulfilled. The message of the Kingdom is the only theology. This must become our only message. A whole new generation of apostolic leaders is rising up in this new season and day in God and their message will be the Kingdom of God. I am speaking not only about the rising of apostles, but the rising of the complete five-fold ministry that will operate in an apostolic pattern and dimension of ministry to see the Kingdom of God established in the earth. The primary message of Jesus was the gospel of the Kingdom and His specific assignment to His messengers was to declare that same message of the Kingdom. The message of the apostles is the message of the Kingdom.
“Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:1-2).
“And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.” (Luke 9:10-11).
“Jesus said unto him…. go thou and preach the kingdom of God .” (Luke 9:60).
“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come….. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” (Luke 10:1, 8-9).
“But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12).
“And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.” (Acts 20:25).
“And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.” (Acts 28:30-31).
“For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:” (2 Corinthians 10:14).
The central theme of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His disciples was the gospel of the Kingdom, so that same commission and mandate is upon the Church today to declare the gospel for a witness to all nations, before the end shall come.
“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 24:14).
What then is “the gospel of the Kingdom”? In order to fulfil this commission, understanding is needed.
The Greek word for gospel is “euaggelion”, which means a good message or good news. From this understanding, the gospel of the Kingdom is the good message, the good news of the Kingdom. What is the good news about the Kingdom of God that is to be declared for a witness? We need to go back to the beginning so we can clearly understand the mind and purposes of God. The gospel that we preach is about the restoration of a Kingdom that was ours by right and privilege, but was relinquished due to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Genesis is a prototype of what God is doing in the earth now. We are being restored back to God’s original purpose. The Kingdom of God has always been the purpose of God for earth, from the beginning of creation until now.
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28).
The goal of God was to make man in His image and after His likeness, so man can have dominion and rule over the earth and represent God in the earthly realm. Man was made in God’s likeness. As a matter of fact; man was created to be a god over the earth.
“I have said, Ye are gods (“elohiym” gods in the ordinary sense) and all of you are children of the most High.” (Psalm 82:6 emphasis added).
Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? (John 10:34).
Man has been given every ability to function in the capacity of His creator in the earth. Man’s disobedience brought a loss of his Kingdom rights and privileges. Before man fell, he was living in the fullness of God’s Kingdom on earth and the eternal glory of God’s splendour was seen in every sphere. Man had a continual flow of God’s “zoe” (life of God) in him.
The joy of this gospel is that God, who is eternal and sees the end from the beginning, knew that man would fall even before he fell, and had already made provision for man’s restoration in the person of Jesus (the Lamb of God) to take away the sins of man. Nothing takes God unawares because He has chosen and predestined us in Himself before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5).
God’s purpose is eternal and it has been the same from the beginning, and if we are to find the goal of God for the gospel of the Kingdom for now, then we must return back to the beginning to help us determine the future. God had a plan of restoration for our defection and fall. Before the fall of man, God had already made provision for us. His desire is to restore us to our full state.
“……the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8c).
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,” (1 Peter 1:18-20).
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” (Ephesians 1:4-5).
“And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)
…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel:” (Mark 1:15).
Both John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed the nearness of God’s kingdom. A literal translation is “has come now”. The long-awaited rule of God is here now. This message was called the gospel, the good news. The gospel is the good news that the Kingdom of God has come now! The good news is that there has come a restoration for humanity and for the earth, for the Kingdom of God is come. Our position, our rights, our privileges and our authority are being restored.
The coming of Jesus to earth brought the restoration of God’s Kingdom and rule back to man, including the rights and privileges that were taken away after the fall. The gospel of the Kingdom is the revelation of Christ and His Kingdom. It is an absolute truth of God’s rule that is being restored to man. This is the good news to be declared upon the earth, the restoration and establishment of the Kingdom of God. It is not a gospel of a Kingdom to come, but it is the gospel of the Kingdom of God that is here, even now. When we understand this gospel of the Kingdom, principalities and powers become subject to us, because we now access the authority and rights that belong to us.
The Kingdom of God is here now and the rule of God triumphs, because the power of the age to come has been poured out upon us. This world has been held under a death thrall, under bondage, and has been brought under a curse by demonic powers of darkness and their earthly minion. These powers of darkness dread the gospel of the Kingdom of God, for it brings to an end their operations.
The “gospel of the Kingdom” that shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations is not simply “salvation”, though this is part of the gospel. There is a difference between the “gospel of the Kingdom” and the “gospel of salvation” or “Born Again”.
There has been much preaching of the gospel of salvation and grace around the nations in the last one hundred and fifty years or more. We are coming into the era when the gospel of the Kingdom of God will be preached to usher in King Jesus, and bring an end to this age.
The gospel of salvation is the first step of our advancement into the Kingdom of God. People need the gospel of salvation to become born again. In other words, a person must believe the gospel of salvation, which is Jesus Christ who has come to bring salvation to all men. There is a need for the gospel of salvation to allow entry into the Kingdom of God. Receiving the gospel of salvation and becoming born again is a spiritual act that re-establishes our broken relationship with God. Our relationship is one that must grow in the Lord, lest we lose the benefits of our salvation.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3).
The Hebrew word for salvation is “yeshuw’ah”, and the Greek word is “soteria”, which means to rescue or safety, deliver or deliverance, victory, prosperity, health, help, saving and welfare. It also relates to the name Joshua, which is “Yehowshuwa”, in the Hebrew and has the same translation as save “sozo”. The benefit of “sozo” is described as the complete deliverance and salvation of the spirit, soul and body of man.
Salvation is the process of God’s restoration for man back to His original purpose for us, as it was in the beginning. This is what the gospel of the Kingdom is about. To simply restore creation to God’s order.
The gospel of salvation is an important step towards the Kingdom of God, but there is a dimension of seeing, entering, receiving and taking the Kingdom. All these are different aspect and stages of development in the Kingdom of God.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:5-8).
Understand the command of Jesus to His disciples and to whom they should go and what they should preach: “Go not off into the way of the nations and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Much of what is preached today has become what I term the popular gospel of legalism. The message is characterized by an alternative religious focus in providing a false hope of an insurance policy against hell, and has lost focus regarding the message of the Kingdom. This popular gospel of legalism is a gospel that suggests, we give our life to Jesus now, so that God will write our name in the book of life and we can go to heaven when we die.
The present response of the gentiles to the gospel of salvation is not what writes their names in the book of life and brings them into eternal life. They are brought into eternal life because they have already been pre-ordained to this and their names have already been written before the foundation of the world. Their response to believe is a result of the Lord ordaining them to eternal life. Those whom the Lord has not ordained to this cannot receive and believe the gospel.
“For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.” (Acts 13:47-49).
The whole concept and focus of the gospel of legalism is to rapture the people of God to heaven, rather than preparing them for the establishment of God’s Kingdom here on earth. Heaven is a benefit of our salvation, but it is not the ultimate purpose for which God saved us. Our focus and ultimate goal is not to go to heaven; but it is to rule with the King in His Kingdom. The reason we were saved is not for heaven. If this was the purpose of our salvation, then God would have taken us right away when we first gave our life to the Lord. There is something more in God for our salvation that we must discover. We must begin to realize that the Kingdom is the priority of God, and it should become the priority and focus of our gospel.
“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:12).
We are called into His Kingdom and Glory. Nowhere in the scriptures will we find Jesus Christ or His disciples offering heaven as the ultimate goal for our salvation. One of the scriptures from which most preachers derive this concept is also the most well known:
“….whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For 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 3:15-16).
If we believe and confess Jesus Christ, we have eternal life or everlasting life as noted by another translation. Eternal life is not about heaven itself, neither does eternal life means to have life without end in heaven. These popular mindsets and opinions are wrong in their definition of eternal life.
“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:1-3).
“This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.” (John 17:3 GOD’S WORD Translation)
The meaning of eternal life is the quality of relationship that we have with the Father through Jesus Christ. Eternal life is about a new level of unique relationship with God that the unsaved doesn’t have. It is the knowledge of the only true God, and Jesus Christ, who was sent to earth.
Eternal life is about a person and not about a place. The Church has gone too far from biblical truth and revelation and needs to return. Christianity is not an insurance policy against hell, it is a living and vital relationship with our creator, God.
To accomplish God’s will is to establish His Kingdom on earth. In the heart of Jesus prayers was this request, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10). We need to realize that God is more interested in establishing His Kingdom, His rule and His authority on earth, than taking earth to heaven.
The mystery of the gospel is the Kingdom of God that is being unveiled. It is the rule of God here on earth that is to come; God’s rule is already established in heaven. To say, ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, is to declare precisely that God’s rule and righteousness triumphs. The gospel of the Kingdom of God is not about heaven, but about bringing what is established in heaven to the earth.
The fulfillment of Matthew 6:10 is not going to be done by angels or dead men returning back to life, but it is the assignment of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Popular mindsets and the gospel of legalism are primarily to prepare a people for heaven, which has created a dependency on the escape of the saints from the earth. With this mindset, there will not be a fulfillment of the establishment of the order of God’s will on earth, as it is in the heaven. We must divest ourselves of an escapism mentality and dualistic theology and become established in present truth revelation of the Kingdom.
The preaching of “the gospel of the Kingdom” has everything to do with the government of God being made manifest in the earth by the activity of a Spirit-filled Church. There is only one message that will bring society from its length and breadth to become obedient and submissive to the will of God, and it is the gospel of the Kingdom. The gospel of the Kingdom is the goal of the Church and the only hope of man’s redemption. The popular eschatological message of a sudden disappearance of the Church from the earth before the tribulation is inaccurate. This has substituted the Kingdom message and has not produced the purpose of God in the earth in bringing the nations and the kingdoms of the earth under the domain of God’s rule. The present Church and our message has fallen short and displayed weakness, because we have neither power nor authority to redeem society and to make it the habitation of God (Kingdom of God).
The message must change if we are to see a change in the influence of the Church in the nations. The apostolic message of the Kingdom must be restored and proclaimed. The declaration of the Kingdom of God is the only hope for change, and our task is and has always been this gospel of the Kingdom. We are to use the power of the gospel of the Kingdom of God to impact the lives of men and women and to transform the world’s social, political and economic realities.
The mandate of the message of the Kingdom of God is to change the nations of this world into people willing to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The gospel that we declare must carry and institute a concrete mechanism that stimulates change and brings community enhancement and perfection.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations….” (Matthew 28:19).
Let me emphasize here that, it is very important to note that the gospel that Jesus preached was nothing but the gospel of the Kingdom of God. The sole emphasis of His ministry and message was not primarily about healing, deliverance, faith, prosperity or miracles, but the Kingdom of God. I am not saying that the healing, deliverance, faith, prosperity or miracle gospel that is preached today is wrong, but the Church has gone to the extreme and created these manifestations, and have it the focus. As a matter of fact, the Church has come to idolize these manifestations as ministries given to them by God. Leaders are limiting themselves in their ministry and focus. Many are proclaiming that they are deliverance ministers, or they have a deliverance ministry, others say they are healing ministers. Deliverance is not a ministry calling from God; neither is healing a ministry calling from God to us. Nowhere will you find deliverance or healing as a ministry gift given to anyone in scripture. This does not discount the fact of healing or deliverance, but when we bind ourselves to this we limit our scope of operation in the Kingdom and thereby reduce the full manifestation of the grace and power of God in seeing His Kingdom manifested in the earth. The principal ministry is the Kingdom of God. Healing, deliverance, faith, revival, reformation, prosperity and miracles are a result of the Kingdom message. These are produced and made manifest when the Kingdom of God is preached, declared and revealed.
There will be churches and ministers that will have the manifestation of the gifts of God spontaneously. There will be healing, deliverance and more, but the focus does not change to make this a type of ministry where we specialize or become a superstar.
“And as ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8).
When we preach the Kingdom, the result is that the power and glory of God is manifested. This brings healing to the sick, cleansing to the lepers, demons are cast out and much more. The Kingdom of God is the primary mission and ministry of the Church.
The whole purpose of God is missed because of an inaccurate gospel and lack of understanding of the Kingdom. As we move out of the dualistic gospel of blessing and escape, we can begin to comprehend the purposes of God for the earth.
The coming of the Jesus Christ as the Messiah from heaven to earth was never to take us away from earth to heaven, but to redeem and restore the earth to what He intended as the Kingdom of God, so He can live with us forever.
As we declare the Kingdom of God over the earth, we are creating an atmosphere to govern. The Greek word for “Govern” is “kubernao”, which means to rule with authority or to conduct the policy and affairs of the government. The Church is to rule with authority and to conduct the policy and affairs of God’s Kingdom in the earth. Our mandate is to infiltrate the earth with the knowledge of God. By our act of governance in the earth, we are to raise a standard and principle that reflects the manner of the Kingdom of God.
We represent the colony of the Kingdom of God in the earth, and therefore we do not operate by our own authority. Our authority to govern proceeds from the highest realm of authority. Like the early colonial masters, we are on earth for a specific mission, to colonize the earth to become the Kingdom of God. When we speak of colonization, it brings to mind the concept of slavery, exploitation, apartheid, racism, oppression and the violation of human rights and order. The colonization of the earth by the Church is not an issue of slavery, exploitation, apartheid, racism, oppression and the violation of human rights and order, neither is it diplomacy or democracy. It is an order from the highest realm of authority in heaven, that all the kingdoms of the earth must become the kingdoms of God and of His Christ.
“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15).
This order of earth’s colonization by the Church is the institution of God’s policy of righteousness, peace and joy and for the supreme rule and reign of God in the New Earth.
“And this gospel of the kingdom [God’s Kingdom] shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14).
The word for nation used here is the Greek word “ethnos” originally “a multitude” and denotes “a race” or “people” and “tribe”. It is the will of God to penetrate and invade every “ethnos” with the gospel of the Kingdom. There is a window of opportunity that is opened to us in the nations. For example, the Arab nations are open at the moment and we must penetrate and invade them now. We must begin to sow the seeds of the Kingdom of God in those nations. What an exciting time of opportunity that we are living in today. It is a season of great harvest and we must rise up and seize this great opportunity for Kingdom advancement.
Copyright © 2017 by Israel Onoriobe
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