Shalom! My name is Adam Pastor

Welcome to ADONI MESSIAH which means
"My Lord Messiah" -
a fitting epithet to who Jesus (or Yeshua) is!

Here, I attempt to present the Apostolic Truths according to the Scriptures, that there is
One GOD, the Father, namely, YAHWEH,
and One Lord, GOD's only begotten Son,
Yeshua the Messiah.

And that one day YAHWEH will send His Son back to Earth to inaugurate the Everlasting Kingdom of GOD



Enjoy!


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Why the Lord Jesus the Christ is not God Almighty!


Why the Lord Jesus the Christ is not God Almighty!


Why the Lord Jesus the Christ is not God Almighty?
Because there is only one true God, the Father, and the Lord Jesus the Christ is not the Father but the Son of the One True God.

Jesus Christ himself clearly tells us that 

THE FATHER ALONE IS THE TRUE GOD


John 17:1,3 NKJV
“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,
3 And this is eternal life, 
that they may know You, the only true God...”

The Apostle Paul said that the Father alone is the true God:

1 Corinthians 8:6 NKJV
yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for him; 
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

Thus, the apostles explicitly wrote that the true God is the God and Father of
the Lord Jesus Christ:


2 Corinthians 1:3 NKJV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

Ephesians 1:1-3 NKJV
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

Colossians 1:1-3 NKJV
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

1 Peter 1:3 NKJV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

This is what the apostles taught and wrote because this is what they heard from the Lord Jesus Christ himself:

John 20:17 NKJV
Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, 
and to My God and your God.'"

Conclusion: the Lord Jesus the Christ is not Almighty God because His Father is the only true God. Rather the Lord Jesus the Christ is not the Father, but the Son of the Father.

2 John 3
Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.


THE MAN CHRIST JESUS


So if the Lord Jesus the Christ is not God Almighty, who is he?

Well, to begin with he is a man!
Jesus informs us that he is a man (John 8:40) and God Almighty said He is not man
(Hosea 11:9, Numbers 23:19, Job 9:32, 33:12)

John 8:40 NKJV
“But now you seek to kill me, a MAN who has told you the truth which I heard from God....”

Hosea 11:9 NKJV
“I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God, and not man, The Holy One in your midst; And I will not come with terror.”

Numbers 23:19 NKJV
“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

Scripture clearly states that God is not man — In contrast, the Lord Jesus Christ explicitly said that “he is a man,” thus, he is not God!

However Jesus is not simply a “mere” man as opponents to this simple biblical truth, like to say.
Rather he is the supernaturally conceived, virgin born, sinless, human Son of God, whom the one God made both Lord and Christ and set him at His own right hand to be Head of the Church as well as King in God's Kingdom. This glorified, now immortal human being is the mediator between the one God: the Father and humanity.

So what did the Apostles testify concerning the man Christ Jesus?
  
Acts 2:22 NKJV
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves also know”

Acts 2:36 NKJV
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Acts 5:30-31, Holman Christian Standard Bible
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had murdered by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted this man to his right hand as ruler and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”

1 Timothy 2:5, NKJV
“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus”

Jesus is that man seated on the right hand of God prophesied of in the Hebrew Bible (OT) 
e.g. Psalm 110:1 and

Psalm 80:17 NKJV
“Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You have made strong for yourself.”

So in light of the fulfillment of these verses from psalms, Peter testifies:


Acts 2:32-36 NKJV

32 “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:

‘The LORD said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Therefore the rest of the NT reiterates this fact regarding the resurrected Lord Jesus:

Act 7:55-56
55 But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and
the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!

Rom 8:34
Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Eph 1:17,20
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory ...
20 which He worked in Christ when He raised him from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

Col 3:1
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

Heb 1:3
... sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Heb 8:1
Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,

Heb 10:12
But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,

Heb 12:2
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

1 Peter 3:21-22
... 21 Jesus Christ 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.


Conclusion: 
There are Two in Heaven: 
The Father and Jesus the Christ our Lord.

One is GOD — the other is NOT!

DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN JESUS THE CHRIST AND THE ONE GOD, THE FATHER


Numerous verses of the Bible clearly state that the Father alone is the true God and that
Jesus is the Son of the one God, the Father (2 John 3) and is therefore distinct from God:


John 14:28 NKJV
“You have heard me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father,' for my Father is greater than I.”

Matthew 16:16-17 NKJV
“Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”

1 Thess. 1:9-10 NKJV
“For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

The Bible clearly teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of the living and true God.

GOD IS IMMORTAL WHILE JESUS DIED ON  THE CROSS

The Bible explicitly states that God Almighty is immortal:

1 Timothy 1:17 NKJV
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

1 Timothy 6:16 NKJV
who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.”

In contrast, the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross:

John 19:30,33 NIV
“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.
33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.”

Rev 1:18
“I am he who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen...”


GOD KNOWS EVERYTHING WHILE THERE IS SOMETHING JESUS DOESN'T KNOW!

God knows everything:

1 John 3:20 NKJV
“For if our hearts condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.”

Yet the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) doesn’t know the day or hour of his second coming:

Mark 13:32 NKJV
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

SO JESUS IS NOT ALMIGHTY GOD BUT RATHER HE IS THE SERVANT OF GOD!

Acts 3:13 NKJV
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathersglorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.”

Acts 3:26 NKJV
“To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

Acts 4:24-31 NKJV
24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: 
Lord (YAHWEH), You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,
25 “who by the mouth of Your servant (same Greek word used in 3:13,26; 4:27,30) David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?

26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the LORD 
(YAHWEH) and against His Christ.’ (Psalm 2:1-2)

27 For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
31 And when they had prayed...

Surely these verses which depict prayer to God speak for themselves. The Apostles are clearly praying to God and in this prayer they regarded the resurrected, glorified Jesus as:the One God, YAHWEH's servant!
The one God, YAHWEH, is clearly the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; it is then just as equally clear that Jesus is the Servant of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

SO JESUS IS NOT ALMIGHTY GOD BUT RATHER HE IS THE CHRIST OF GOD

Luke 9:20 NKJV
“He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and said, ‘The Christ of God.’

Christ is God? No! Clearly here is yet another distinction between God and Christ.

SO JESUS IS NOT ALMIGHTY GOD BUT RATHER HE IS BOTH GOD’S APOSTLE AND GOD'S HIGH PRIEST

Hebrews 3:1 NKJV
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,”

Hebrews 5:1,4-6,10 NKJV
For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
4 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.
5 So also Christ did not glorify himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him:
“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.”
 (Psalm 2:7)
6 As He also says in another place:
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek”; (Psalm 110:4)
10 called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,”


Thus, claiming Jesus is God is like claiming that God’s Apostle (an apostle is one sent by God) is also God; and God’s High Priest is also God. Such propropositions are of course, absurd! 

Conclusion: Jesus was called by the one God from among the human race (i.e. Jesus is just as human as the first man Adam was!) to be both an Apostle and High Priest to God! 


BELIEVING THAT JESUS IS GOD RESULTS IN ABSURDITIES


God cannot be the author of confusion and absurdities. The Bible explicitly said that “God is not the author of confusion” (cf. 1 Cor. 14:33 KJV). What God wants is all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth:

I Timothy 2:3-5 NKJV
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”

Here is a list of apparent absurdities if one continues to maintain that Jesus is God :-

  • A “SERVANT GOD”?

Believing Jesus is God will result in accepting that the Almighty God is a “servant” of another God! Absurd! Rather the Bible explicitly states that Jesus is the servant of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: Acts 3:13 NKJV (also 3:26, 4:27,30)

  • A “SUBJECTED GOD”?

Believing Jesus is Godwill result in accepting that the Almighty God “is subject to another God!!” Because the Bible declares that after all things are put under Jesus, he himself “will also be subject to Him who put all things under him”:

1 Corinthians 15:27-28 NKJV
“For ‘He has put all things under his feet.’ But when He says ‘all things are put under him," it is evident that He who put all things under him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to him, then the Son himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”

A God subject to another God? A God under another God? This is absurd and unacceptable to true Christians! Rather the one God of the Scriptures is above all and has no equals.

Ephesians 4:6 NKJV
“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

Other absurdities appear if one teaches that Jesus is God, such as :-
  • JESUS HEARD THE TRUTH FROM HIMSELF?
Rather Jesus clearly said that he heard the truth from God:
John 8:40 NKJV
“But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God...”
  • JESUS PRAYED TO HIMSELF?
There are numerous verses of the Bible that show Jesus praying and calling out to his God. This is one of those verses:

Mark 15:34 NKJV
“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, ‘my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?’”

If Jesus is God, then is he praying to himself? When he called “my God, my God” is Jesus referring to himself? Absurd!

Now, if one says that Jesus is God and yet he is not praying to himself but to another; then you have God praying to another God? Yet another absurdity.

Rather, the Lord Jesus Christ prayed to the One True God, the Father. Which is the way, all followers of Christ ought to pray!
  • GOD WAS CRUCIFIED AND DIED ON THE CROSS?
 Jesus died on the cross. This is a fact accepted by all who profess they are Christians.

Thus, insisting that Jesus is God is insisting that God was crucified and died on the cross!! So, then we have a three-day period in the history of the universe when God was dead? Absurd indeed.

What is the truth? The truth is the man Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and died on the cross; and the one God, the Father, resurrected him and raised him from the dead
(Acts 2.22-24,32; 1 Cor 15:15; Gal 1:1).
  • GOD IS SITTING AT HIS OWN RIGHT HAND?
The Bible clearly said that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God, for example:

Colossians 3:1 NKJV
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.”

If Christ is God, then God is sitting at his own right hand! Absurd, isn’t?

CONCLUSION: WHAT IS THE TRUTH THEN?


What is the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ, clearly written in the Bible, that must be accepted by those who want to attain salvation?

1 Timothy 2:3-5 NKJV
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

The truth is that there is solely One God; and Jesus the Christ is the 'man' who mediates between us and the One God.

John 17:1,3 NKJV
“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,
3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

This is eternal life that we accept the truth written in the Bible as taught by Christ himself that: the Father is the only true God; and Jesus is the Christ that God sent.





The above post is based on various articles taken from the Net.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Recovering the Gospel as Jesus Preached It

Recovering the Gospel as Jesus Preached It


“The Kingdom of God is in fact, as John Bright has shown in his book by that title, the great unifying theme that binds the whole Bible into a connected story, with a beginning, middle and end: a drama of ‘salvation’ that leads from creation through sin and grace to the glory of ‘everlasting life’ [life in the coming age of the Kingdom].” [1]

Since this is so, the Kingdom of God provides the “glue” which holds the entire Bible story together as a unified account of God’s purpose for us and for the world. That “glue” is more precisely the Abrahamic, Davidic and Jesuanic Kingdom covenants (see Luke 22:20, 28-31). God promised the Land to the faithful forever (Gen. 12; 13; 15; 17). He then provided a royal dynasty for that Land (II Sam. 7; I Chron. 17), and these grand promises converge on Jesus who is the heir of the oath-bound covenant made with the patriarchs. Jesus therefore promised the land to the meek (Matt. 5:5) and that he and his followers would rule as kings in that land forever (Rev. 5:9, 10).

These passages of Scripture provide the key to grasping the overall Plan of God for the destiny of mankind. II Samuel 7:19b states in reference to God’s Kingdom promise to David: “This is the charter for the direction of the destiny of man.” David is overwhelmed, as we should be, by the amazing, unfolding Design of God for our earth and our immortality.

The promise to David of a royal throne in perpetuity appears also in 2 Chronicles 7:18: “Then I will establish the throne of your Kingdom, according as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel’” (cp. Luke 22:28-30 and promise to Jesus in Luke 1:32).

The Loss of the Gospel of the Kingdom 


When Christianity Today invited a number of evangelicals to define the Gospel, there was a striking absence of any reference to the Gospel as “the Gospel of the Kingdom.” This means that Christians have lost track of the royal Plan of God. Matthew, when reporting the mission of Jesus, qualified the word “Gospel” with the phrase “of the Kingdom,” providing the essential label for the Gospel, a label which is so conspicuously missing from contemporary preaching (see Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:14). To verify this fact, simply examine offers of “gospel” and “salvation” by way of radio, television, tracts and internet. Is the “Gospel of the Kingdom” the habitual title of the Gospel for churchgoers today?

This loss of the vital definition of the Gospel provoked dismay and amazement from a professor of world mission. [2]  He rightly complained about the no-Kingdom Gospel of evangelicalism:
“I read with the greatest interest the nine statements attempting to answer the question, ‘What is the Good News?’ I am amazed and dismayed to find not even a passing mention of the theme which was the core of Jesus’ Gospel in three of the four accounts: The Kingdom of God. Every one of these statements reflects the individualistic reduction of the gospel that plagues American evangelicalism. In addition to being biblical, founding one’s understanding of the gospel on the Kingdom of God bypasses two false dilemmas that have needlessly troubled theologians for several centuries: the either-or between individual and systematic salvation, and the either-or between grace and works. On the one hand God intends to rescue the entire cosmos from the bondage to decay; on the other hand how can one claim to be saved who does not make every effort to do God’s will?”

It makes no sense that Christians should speak of the Gospel in language other than that of Jesus, who is the master evangelist (Luke 4:43; Heb. 2:3, etc.). What has caused this uncertainty and vagueness about what the Gospel is? The answer is clear. A disastrous systematic error of definition has been provided by so-called “dispensationalism.” According to the theology of that school (widely promoted by the Scofield Bible) the Christian Gospel is not the Gospel which Jesus preached!

A Disastrous Misunderstanding of the Gospel 

We received this letter from one correspondent promoting the extraordinary idea of more than one Gospel:
“We and all evangelicals should not speak of the Gospel of the Kingdom because that is not our message today. That was the message that John, the Lord and the 12 preached until the time Israel was set aside at the stoning of Stephen. Then the risen Lord from glory revealed a new message, the gospel of the grace of God, from heaven to his chiefest enemy, Saul of Tarsus, whom he saved by matchless grace and sent forth to preach the message to the nations. Even Paul’s commission was the opposite of that given the 12. They were to go to Jerusalem (the guilty city), then to Judea (wherein were the 2 tribes) and then to Samaria (representing the 10 tribes) and lastly, after all these were won to Christ, they were to go to the Gentiles. 
“But since neither Jerusalem was won to Christ, nor Judea, nor Samaria, Israel’s Messiah was still rejected, and that commission never got to first base. But it was replaced by the commission given to Paul from glory, which addresses the Gentiles first, then kings, and lastly the children of Israel. Failure to see the changes God made in His program causes much of the confusion in the church today. We do not, because we should not, refer to the gospel today as the ‘gospel of the Kingdom.’” 

This theory is destructive of the integrity of the New Testament which says nothing at all about two Gospels and repeatedly urges us to follow Jesus, obey his Gospel of the Kingdom (Mark 1:14, 15; Luke 4:43; Acts 1:3; 1:6; 19:8; 20:24, 25; 28:23, 31), and relay that same Gospel worldwide until the end of the age, the second coming (Matt. 28:19, 20).

John’s Summary of the Preaching/Teaching of Jesus (John 12:37-50) 


Jesus could not have made himself clearer. He declared at the conclusion of his public ministry that we are to be judged by our obedient reception of his words. The words of Jesus are the criterion by which our service of him is to be assessed. Rejection of the words/Gospel of Jesus puts us in the category of unbelievers.

Leon Morris comments on John 12:39, 40 as follows: “But when John quotes ‘He has blinded their eyes’ he does not mean that the blinding takes place without the will or against the will of these people. So with the hardening of their hearts. These men chose evil. It was their own deliberate choice, their own fault. Make no mistake about this. Throughout his gospel John has insisted on the seriousness of the decision forced on the Jews by the presence of Jesus, on their responsibility and guilt” (Commentary on John, p. 604).

The words/Gospel preaching of Jesus are presented throughout the New Testament as the gold standard against which we are to be measured. Would not then a decision to speak of the Gospel as the Gospel of the Kingdom be a wise response to the Messiah’s claim on our lives?

The New Schaff Herzog Religious Encyclopedia (“Soteriology”) has some interesting reflections on the tendency of evangelicalism to ignore the Gospel as Jesus preached it:
In [Jesus] himself, as well as in his message [Gospel] was light. It may be queried whether in consequence of the strong inclination of Evangelical Protestantism to exalt the priestly work of our Lord as central, that this prophetic mission has not been relatively too much ignored, and more specifically, whether the Biblical view of him as the true norm and example of our humanity has not been surrendered to the uses of those who altogether reject his priestly character and mission…Unquestionably vital are the facts that the Lord both suffered as well as taught…He is King because he has been prophet and priest.” 
The biblical facts demanding our attention are these:

  1. Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and is thus the model of Gospel preaching (Luke 4:43). As he was sent, Christians are sent (John 20:21). 
  2. When he preached the Gospel he said nothing initially about his death and resurrection. There are some 28 chapters in Matthew, Mark and Luke in which Jesus is seen preaching the Gospel and yet saying nothing about his death and resurrection. Only later he “began to speak of his death and resurrection” (see Matt. 16:21). 
No one has any difficulty with this proposition: “If people believed that Jesus died for them and rose, they could repent and be forgiven.” But this is not all that the Bible defines as Gospel. Jesus said: “If people understood and accepted my Gospel of the Kingdom, they could repent and be forgiven” (see Mark 4:11, 12 and parallels). This is exactly what Jesus had said in Mark 1:14, 15: Repent, believe the Gospel of the Kingdom.

There are thus two fundamental contingencies on which repentance and forgiveness hinge: Belief in the Gospel of the Kingdom and secondly, belief in the death and resurrection of the Messiah. It appears that the first of these conditions has been bypassed in traditional orthodox evangelicalism.

Edwin Lutzer wrote to us on Oct. 30th, 1996: “I believe that the gospel of the Kingdom is different from the gospel of the grace of God. The gospel of the Kingdom has to do with the preparation of the people of Israel for the coming millennial Kingdom…The gospel of the grace of God has nothing to do with the Kingdom per se but is a message of repentance which makes us members of God’s family. I hope this helps.”

With respect, it does not help at all, but throws the New Testament into confusion. Thankfully there are clear witnesses to the point we are attempting to make in this magazine:

F.F. Bruce states correctly: “It is evident from a comparison of Acts 20:24 with the next verse that the preaching of the Gospel of grace is identical with the proclamation of the Kingdom” (Commentary on Acts, Tyndale, 1952). On that simple truth about the saving Gospel may Christians everywhere unite.

Some have tried to advance I Corinthians 15:1-3 against the obvious fact that both Jesus and Paul were career preachers of the Gospel of the Kingdom (Luke 4:43; 9:11; cp. Acts 28:23, 30, 31). But what do those verses in I Corinthians 15:1-3 really say?

  • “Paul declared that he received (en protois), as one of the fundamental tenets of the Apostolic faith, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures”
    (Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, Vol. I, p. 377, “Covenant”). 
  • “For I delivered to you among the most important things (en protois) that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins…” (Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, Vol. I, p. 472, “Gospel”). 
  • David Wenham (Paul: Follower of Jesus or Founder of Christianity?): “It seems sometimes to be assumed that the Gospel that Paul preached was something like I Cor. 15:3, 4, that is, a brief declaration of the fact that Jesus died and rose for our salvation. But it is certain that I Cor. 15 is only an extremely compressed summary of some of the main points that Paul preached, quite probably also a selective summary focusing on the point at issue in I Cor. 15, namely Jesus’ resurrection” (p. 403). 
  • Henry Alford comments: “‘I declare to you…’ The whole Gospel, not merely the death and resurrection of Christ which were en protois parts of it.” 
Forgiveness of sin is offered in the New Testament on the basis of more than the blood of Jesus shed on the cross, vitally important though that is. Jesus said very little about being forgiven by his death. That aspect of the Gospel was developed after Jesus had died:
“The doctrine of the forgiveness of sins on the basis of the atonement through the death of Christ is not properly speaking revealed by Christ himself… The nearest approach to such teaching is found in the institution of the Lord’s supper and the reference to his blood shed for the remission of sins in Matt. 26:28, also perhaps in the directions given to the Apostles in Luke 24:47…the Apostles could not in Christ’s lifetime understand at all the need for his death and the full meaning of the shedding of his blood on the cross” (Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, Vol. I, p. 618, “Forgiveness”). 
But Jesus did speak of forgiveness as dependent on an intelligent response to his Kingdom Gospel: Mark 4:11, 12, New Century Version:
“Jesus said, You can know the secret about the Kingdom of God. But to other people I tell everything by telling stories. So that: they will look and look, but they will not learn. They will listen and listen, but they will not understand. If they did learn and understand, they would come back to me [repent] and be forgiven.” 
Mark 4:13: “Don’t you understand this story [of the sower]? If you don’t, how will you understand any story?” 
Mark 4:24, 25: “Think carefully about what you hear [the parable of the sower, Jesus’ theology of salvation]. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you, but God will give you even more. Those who have understanding will be given more. But those who do not have understanding, even what they have will be taken away from them” (so they end up with nothing!). 
Matt. 13:15: “For the minds of this people have become stubborn. They do not hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might really understand what they see with their eyes and hear with their ears. They might really understand in their minds and come back to me [be converted] and be healed [forgiven].” 
The Bible in Basic English (based on a vocabulary of 850 words, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1956):
“To you is given the secret of the Kingdom of God, but to those who are outside all things are given in the form of stories. So that seeing they will see and it will not be clear to them, and hearing it they will not get the sense; for fear that they may be turned again to me and have forgiveness. And he said to them: If you are not clear about this story, how will you be clear about the others? The seed is the word. And these are they by the wayside, where the word is planted; and when they have given ear the evil one comes straight away and takes away the word which has been planted in them” (thus spoiling their opportunity to gain immortality)
Matt. 13:13: “For this reason I put these things in the form of stories; because they see without seeing and give ear without hearing and the sense is not clear to them. And for them the words of Isaiah have come true: Though you give ear you will not get knowledge; and seeing you will see, but the sense will not be clear to you. For the heart of this people has become fat and their ears are slow in hearing, and their eyes are shut; for fear that they might see with their eyes and give hearing with their ears and become wise in their hearts and be turned again to me, so that I might make them well.” 
The reception of the Gospel teaching of Jesus is the first step in Christian discipleship. What then did he mean by the Kingdom?

Ridderbos on the Kingdom of God (Commentary on Matthew): Matt. 3:2: “The content of John’s preaching is summed up in the words ‘Repent because the Kingdom of Heaven is near.’ This announcement of the coming of the Kingdom implied nothing less than that the complete fulfillment of prophecy was at hand. This coming was the essence of the great future that Israel’s prophets had foretold. God would once again reveal Himself as Israel’s King and His kingship would extend throughout the whole world (see Mic. 4:7; Zech. 14:9). [This has obviously not yet happened]…The thought of an effective kingship (basilea) is naturally accompanied by the notion of a territory or realm where that kingship is manifested. The dynamic (kingship) and the spatial (kingdom) alternately stand in the foreground…Kingdom of Heaven does not mean that it is manifested only in heaven. On the contrary one of the glorious privileges of this kingdom is that, in Jesus’ own words, ‘the meek will inherit the earth’ (Matt. 5:5). [This has also not happened.]

“The qualification ‘of heaven’ denotes in the first place the origin of the Kingdom. It does not arise from earth but descends from heaven. Nor is it a product of earthly evolution or of human striving; on the contrary it is entirely dependent on divine intervention. In the second place, ‘of heaven’ qualifies the Kingdom as to its nature; it is a Kingdom that is divine, glorious, and invincible…We must remember that in OT prophecy the coming of the Kingdom has two contrasting sides: it brings both salvation and judgment…The Greek verb ‘repent’ literally denotes a change of mind.

“Matt. 4:17: The evangelist now discloses the content of Jesus’ preaching. ‘From that time on,’ i.e. from the time of his arrival in Galilee, Jesus preached repentance and the nearness of the Kingdom of Heaven. That Jesus began this way does not mean that his preaching later took another turn, but that from then on he announced the coming of the Kingdom. The Greek literally says ‘began to preach and say.’ The first verb refers to a solemn announcement, the second to further instruction about it. The content of Jesus’ preaching is reported in exactly the same words as were used in connection with John the Baptist (3:2). Jesus thus aligned himself completely with John. Like him he proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom, the imminence of the great Day of the Lord [this, again, has not yet happened] which meant judgment for the wicked and salvation for those who served God.

“The coming of the Kingdom is nothing less than God’s final, decisive intervention into world history. Jesus therefore only said that the Kingdom was near, but it had not yet arrived. The nearness of the Kingdom was thus not merely Jesus’ distinctive message at the beginning of his ministry. It remained the content of his preaching [Gospel] to the very end (see 10:7; Luke 22:18 [and Matt. 24:14]). Just like John, he always pointed to the future…His teaching revealed that this Kingdom would fall into two dispensations and that there would still be a delay in the judgment. Because of the unbreakable connection between the provisional and final comings of the Kingdom, however, he, like John, placed all the emphasis on the kingdom’s imminence and on the urgent need to repent, before the final judgment arrived. The word ‘near’ here should be understood in the intensifying or condensing sense in which the prophets often use it.”

Ridderbos has this to say on Matthew 24:14: “Jesus here revealed that the church’s missionary mandate is one of the factors that determines when the world [age] will end. ‘This Gospel of the Kingdom’ is the Gospel that Jesus had preached repeatedly in connection with John the Baptist’s message (4:17, 23) and that he had committed to his apostles (10:7). Now it had to be preached in the whole world everywhere that people live and ‘as a testimony to all nations’ — to deprive them of all excuse if they fail to repent (see 8:4; 10:18; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5). Only then will the end come. Jesus’ words here reveal one reason why the end must be delayed. Just as on the one hand, wickedness must reach its peak and become ripe for final judgment, so, on the other, the gospel must complete its course through the whole world. Before that time God’s work on earth is unfinished and the Christ cannot yet return.”


  • Confirmation of Jesus’ Jewish view of the Kingdom is provided by the Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels’ article on eschatology by Anderson Scott: “In the Synoptic Gospels it may be generally postulated that the fundamental conceptions are those of the OT…we may assume that the language of Jesus and the synoptics, which are the most accurate accounts of this teaching, in its natural implications represents current Jewish belief.” 
  • The Coming Kingdom: “It is clear that Jesus addressed people who had a perfectly distinct, though not accurately defined, idea of an age or kingdom to come, which would follow on the consummation (Matt. 13:29ff) of the present age. Jesus speaks of reward to the faithful ‘in this time’ (kairos) and of eternal life in the age to come (Mark 10:30); and the phrase Kingdom of God which was constantly on his lips, while doubtless subjected to expositions which charged it with new meanings for His followers, yet rested on a view of things common to him and to even irresponsive hearers. It means the perfect form of the Theocracy of which all the prophets had spoken.” 
  • The Jewish supremacy: “It was generally believed that the Kingdom would come through an act of power in which God would visit His people, the Jews, delivering them from all their enemies, so that they might serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness for ever (Luke 1:74). Men of the type of Simeon, Zechariah, and Joseph of Arimathea waited for the consolation of Israel. Such persons doubtless believed with the prophets (e.g. Isa. 11:1ff; 9:4ff; Zech. 9:9) that the supremacy of God’s people would be maintained if not actually accomplished, by methods of peace, and even in the spirit of brotherly alliance among the nations (Isa. 19:24ff) who would receive the Law from mount Zion (Isa. 2:1-4). Yet obviously both they and the general populace and even the disciples after the resurrection (Acts 1:6) thought of a state of things in which the position of God’s people would be central and supreme.” 
Biblical Christianity fully supports these “concrete” conceptions of the Kingdom as a real empire to be established on this planet by the returning Messiah.

[1] W.M. Horton, Christian Theology, 1955, p. 252.
[2] Charles Taber, Professor Emeritus of World Mission, Emmanuel School of Evangelism, Johnson City, Tenn.


The above extracts were taken from Focus on the Kingdom, February, 2003.