Ancient text: The Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of biblical manuscripts, were discovered in the caves at the Qumran archaeological site in Israel.Source: Stacey L. Palm/The Real Truth
Part 1 of this series covered vital foundation regarding the relevance of the Old Testament for true Christians. We saw that instead of Jesus casting aside the Old Testament, He constantly quoted from it. We saw concrete proof in the New Testament that Christ hardly preached about anything else! In addition, the apostle Paul and other disciples used the Old Testament as the basis for their preaching.
Jesus said He came to fulfill the Law and the prophets (Matt. 5:17), not to do away with the Old Testament. He set an example for all true Christians—then and now—to take every element of God’s Word seriously. Honest Bible students, including religious scholars educated in this world’s seminaries and theology schools, have no excuse for misunderstanding or rejecting the Old Testament. Far from an antiquated historical document irrelevant to modern Christians, the Old Testament should be read and studied by all Christians striving to live God’s way of life.
All of what was covered in Part 1 introduced two huge questions: If Christ and His disciples constantly quoted the Old Testament, is there an overarching theme discussed throughout the Old Testament? Why did they reference it so often?
Part 2 reveals how the central message of the Old Testament—hidden from the masses for thousands of years—is connected to Jesus Christ’s true gospel.
We first ask: what is Christ’s gospel? Everywhere Jesus traveled, He preached it. Notice these New Testament passages:
Matthew 9:35: “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom…”
Mark 1:14: “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.”
Luke 8:1: “…He went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with Him.”
This subject has caused unnecessary confusion for millions of people for over 2,000 years.
Gospel is an Old English word that means “glad tidings” and “good news.” It involves the best news ever for mankind: Jesus Christ returning at His Second Coming to establish God’s world-ruling supergovernment, which will bring peace, abundance and prosperity to all nations. When He comes, mankind’s ineffective, corrupt governments—dictatorships, theocracies, democracies and all others—will be discarded forever.
How can we know? The preaching of this message was one of the main purposes of Christ’s First Coming. The Bible teaches that Jesus’ gospel was not about His sacrifice or the forgiveness of sins, but was the message of God’s coming kingdom. Contrary to popular belief, it was not a gospel of healings, grace, salvation or anything else.
Read Mark 1 again about the beginning of Christ’s ministry on Earth: “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 you, and believe the gospel” (vs. 14-15).
Keep this simple. “Kingdom” simply means government. Your Bible plainly reveals that Christ’s gospel was about one thing—the kingdom of God!
Nearly all Jesus’ parables explained elements of God’s kingdom. Mark 4 reveals, “And when He was alone, they that were about Him with the twelve asked of Him the parable. And He said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables” (vs. 10-11).
Jesus continued preaching the gospel of the kingdom until the end of His ministry. On trial for His life, Jesus explained the purpose of His coming to Pontius Pilate: “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight…but now is My kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto Him, Are You a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth…” (John 18:36-37).
What truth did Christ “bear witness” to while on Earth? The truth of the gospel!
After Jesus’ Resurrection, He continued to explain the kingdom of God to His disciples. Luke recorded in Acts 1: “To whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion [crucifixion] by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (vs. 3).
We next look at a statement from Christ in Luke 16:16: “The law and the prophets [Old Testament] were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached…” Jesus was stating that the kingdom of God—the gospel—had been preached through the Law and prophets prior to His First Coming.
Further proof of this is found in the apostle Peter’s first sermon, recorded in Acts 3: “Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing [the establishing of God’s kingdom at Christ’s Second Coming] shall come from the presence of the Lord. And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you [in the Old Testament]: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things [the arrival of God’s kingdom], which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (vs. 19-21).
When describing how Samuel preached the kingdom of God, Acts 3:24 states: “Yes, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.”
The New Testament reveals that all God’s servants through the ages—even those in the Old Testament—preached the gospel of God’s coming kingdom!
But are these New Testament claims supported by the Old Testament?
Jesus’ central message was carefully woven throughout the tapestry of the Old Testament by those who recorded it. The following are just a few of the many examples that could be cited.
Isaiah 2:2-4: “And it shall come to pass in the last days [our time now], that the mountain [a biblical symbol for government] of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains [governments of men], and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He [Christ] shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people…”
Isaiah 9:6-7: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
Isaiah 11:2-4: “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth: with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.”
Micah 4:2-4: “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. And He [Christ] shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: 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…”
Zechariah 8:3-5: “Thus says the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain. Thus says the Lord of hosts; there shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.”
Zechariah 14 also describes the setting up of God’s kingdom at Christ’s Second Coming: “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south…And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one” (vs. 3-4, 9).
In addition, the apostle Jude recorded that Enoch, Noah’s great-grandfather, preached about God’s kingdom before the Flood! Notice: “And Enoch also…prophesied…saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all…” (vs. 14-15).
These passages can only be taken one way: God is going to establish a supernatural, divine kingdom at Christ’s Second Coming. It will usher in a time of peace and prosperity for all nations! Can you now better understand why Christ’s gospel is good news?
Daniel was another Old Testament figure who preached about the coming kingdom of God. Notice the following passages from the book he recorded, which describe the interpretation of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. His dream involved an image made of different types of metal: “You, O king, saw, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. You saw till that a stone was cut out without hands [meaning divine intervention], which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Dan. 2:31-35).
As has been seen, this is obviously a prophecy of the setting up of God’s kingdom—foretold to fill the whole Earth.
Before looking at other verses in Daniel that describe God’s soon-coming kingdom, notice two related parables from Christ: “Then said He, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? And whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed [became] a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
“And again He said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened” (Luke 13:18-21).
Through Daniel’s explanation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Christ’s parable about the kingdom of God filling the whole Earth is made even clearer: “This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king…And in the days of these kings [the last days] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people [mankind], but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms [of men], and it shall stand forever. Forasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands [meaning supernaturally], and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure” (vs. 36, 44-45).
Daniel 7 records: “But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever…Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom” (vs. 18, 22).
After seeing these Old Testament accounts, is it any wonder that Jesus Christ preached the kingdom of God while on Earth?
Recognize that many more verses and passages could be cited showing that the Old Testament is filled with the good news of the coming kingdom of God. Clearly, God’s Word reveals that this—and this alone—was the gospel Christ preached.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus instructed His disciples to “go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature [human being]” (Mark 16:15). The apostle Paul obeyed this command as can be seen in two passages of Acts.
“And he [Paul] went into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8).
“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” (28:30-31).
Along with preaching the coming kingdom of God, Paul also taught about Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, which makes it possible for Christians to enter God’s kingdom. Notice that the second passage shows that these two subjects are clearly different—and that he distinguishes them as two separate concepts.
A prophecy in Matthew 24:14 reveals that Christ’s gospel of the kingdom would continue to be preached until shortly before He returned, known as the time of the end: “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.”
This gospel—now seen to have originated in the Old Testament—is still being preached today. Only one Church on Earth is doing this with Christ’s power and authority—The Restored Church of God, the publisher of this magazine. This is done through a vast library of literature as well as through The Real Truth magazine and Pastor General David C. Pack’s video program The World to Come™, which is broadcast online and through television.
Not many years remain to announce the arrival of God’s kingdom before the end of this age. Although most will not believe and act on this precious knowledge until it is too late, you have the opportunity to take to heart what you have learned from God’s Word.
What will you do?
The place to start is by going online and requesting our free booklets Which Is the True Gospel? and What Is the Kingdom of God? They contain much more about the subject covered in this series as well as many other Old Testament verses that foretell God’s kingdom.