“While the “Word of Truth” is written FOR all classes of people, and FOR our learning, it is not addressed to all peoples in general, but part of it is addressed to the JEWS, part to the GENTILES, and part to the CHURCH. These three constitute the THREE CLASSES into which humanity is divided” – Clarence Larkin.
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The Gospel is “good news” as revealed from God for specific ages. The word “gospel” is mentioned 104 times in the bible. The number 4 is interesting as it refers to that which God has made complete or “message”. There are a total of 4 Gospels; one is offered twice. It is essential to understand the gospels to correctly interpret the order of end time events. We will look at the one most are familiar with first; the Gospel of the Grace of God Acts 20:24. This Gospel is defined in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2, By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3, For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;4, And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Acts 20:24, But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
It is imperative to know whom this Gospel was given to in order to have a better understanding of the New Testament. The Gospel of Grace unto the gentiles was given and committed unto the Apostle Paul while Peter was committed to the Jews and given the keys to the dispensation of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mat 16:19).
Galatians 2:7-87 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
Ephesians 3:1-3 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery;
Paul was not taught by the other Apostles. After his encounter with Jesus on his way to Damascus, Paul was taught personally by Christ in the desert for 3 years. He was taken in the spirit and given divine revelation the other Apostles did not know or understand including most of the 12 Mysteries of the Kingdom.
11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ…………….
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.
2 Corinthians 12:1-7
1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
The Church was hidden from view in Old Testament Prophecy and it was Paul’s job to teach the Gospel of Grace in a way the other Apostles didn’t understand it.
Ephesians 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
Colossians 1:25-27, Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26, Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27, To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
The 12 apostles did not know Jesus was to die and rise from the dead.
Matthew 16:21-22, From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must 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. 22, Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee
Luke 18:33-34 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
John 20:7-9 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8, Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9, For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
Before His resurrection, Jesus and the 12 Apostles preached only to the Jews with few exceptions.
Matthew 10:5-6 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:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Acts 3:12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?
Acts 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
Before we look at the 2nd gospel, it is imperative to understand that each of the four written gospels describes a certain characteristic of Jesus; about the person of Jesus Christ. There are four statements in the Old Testament that set the stage for each gospel. Each starts with an attentive “Behold” and then mentions a specific character of Jesus. The four are King, servant, man, and God. Matthew describes Christ as a King for His Kingdom, Mark a servant, Luke as the Son of man, and John as the Son of God. Each of the Old Testament verses follow:
Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Isaiah 52:13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
Zechariah 6:12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord:
Isaiah 40:9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
Now let’s turn to the second Gospel, the Gospel of the Kingdom preached only to the Jews and mentioned only in Matthew. The Old Testament prophesied of Christ’s literal, physical rule as King on earth many times.
Isaiah 9:6-7 6 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.
7 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 for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Psa 22:28, For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.
The Kingdom was first preached by John the Baptist and later by Jesus Himself.
Matthew 3:1-3 3 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Notice the predicate “at hand” in the above verse is describing something literal that can be seen. It is used again in:
Matthew 26:17-18:17, Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? 18, And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
Jesus is saying His time has come in a literal reference for the final Passover dinner, His betrayal by Judas, His beating by the Romans, and His sacrifice at the cross. It is also used twice in Revelation 1:3, 22:10, as a reference to the time is close for the literal fulfilling of the prophecy mentioned in Revelation.
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17
Mat 4:23, 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.
A commentary for the above verse: “When Christ appeared to the Jewish people, the next thing in the order of revelation as it then stood, should have been the setting up of the Davidic kingdom. In the knowledge of God, not yet disclosed, lay the rejection of the kingdom (and King), the long period of the mystery-form of the kingdom, the world-wide preaching of the cross, and the out-calling of the Church” – C.I. Scofield.
Had the Jews accepted the King and His Kingdom, Christ still would have gone to the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for sin, but after His resurrection, He would have quickly brought in His Kingdom. The kingdom was to be put on hold until the end of the tribulation when the Kingdom of Heaven will then be brought in by force and Christ will rule with men on Earth for 1000 years. After Christ’s resurrection He spent 40 days instructing the disciples of that concerning the Kingdom of God but since the Kingdom of Heaven (His literal reign, the millennium) was left unanswered, immediately before His ascension, the apostles asked Him when the Kingdom would be restored:
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel (King David will reign with Christ Isaiah 9:6-7)? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Without getting into to much detail, the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are different. Matthew is the only book that mentions the “Kingdom of Heaven” and is mentioned 32 times (32 = fellowship, as we will have in the kingdom) while its’ character is described in the 12 “Kingdom of Heaven Parables”. The Old Testament clearly taught the Messiah would rule on David’s throne and that promise was confirmed to Mary before the virgin birth in Luke 1:32. In Matthew 4:8-10 Satan offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would fall down and worship him. Jesus has yet to claim the Kingdom and Satan is still prince of this world (John 14:30) but He will take it by force with His Glorious second coming. We see reference to His Kingdom in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. In Matthew 11:12-14, Jesus is speaking of the Kingdom and says John the Baptist was Elijah if men would receive “it”. The “it” is referring to the Kingdom. In other words,
“if they had received “The Kingdom” that John announced was at hand, then John, instead of being John, would have been Elijah come back, but because God foresaw that the Jews would not receive the Kingdom, He could not send Elijah at the time, so He had to send a substitute with the “spirit” and “power” of Elijah in his place…” Clarence Larkin
John 19:20-21, And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20, And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21, And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. The Jews wanted to know who John the Baptist was and thought he was Elijah.
Matthew 11:12-14, And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13, For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14, And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
We know from Revelation, Elijah will be one of the 2 witnesses for the Lord and Malachi predicts his return. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: Mal 4:5, Christians will be gone by this time as Elijah marks the end of the dispensation of grace.
Jesus says in Matthew 24:14 “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”. It has specific reference to the proclamation of the good news that the kingdom is again “at hand” for the Jewish remnant. It is the literal, physical Kingdom once again “at hand” first preached by John the Baptist and then Jesus but ended when Jesus was rejected as King. The Gospel of the Kingdom is not “salvation” as in the Gospel of Grace, but a “witness” as an announcement the time has come to set up the Kingdom by force and will be preached by the 144,000 and possibly Moses and Elijah.
To understand the end times, the following passage is crucial to understanding the gospel of the kingdom.
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: Matthew 25:31-34…….
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: Mat 25:41
It is the end of the fight for the kingdom that began ages ago with the fall of Satan.
In Matthew, the 12 Kingdom of Heaven parables are describing the character and story of the Kingdom chronologically. There are 12 Apostles, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 gates to the New City of Jerusalem, the city is 12,000 furlongs cubed, there are 12 precious stones in the cities foundation, and the tree of life will bear 12 types of fruit. In contrast, the Kingdom of God has 7 parables in the bible, the number for perfection and “the end”. The Kingdom of Heaven sits within the Kingdom of God.
The last (4th) Gospel is the “Everlasting Gospel”. Revelation 14:6-7 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
This is the only time an Angel is sent to preach the “Good News”. In our current dispensation, only redeemed men can preach the Gospel. The Everlasting Gospel is the good news that Judgment is about to come and the troubles of the Tribulation are about to end with the destruction and judgment of the Antichrist. It calls on men to worship God as creator, not savior.
Perhaps the 3 Gospels make reference to the Trinity. The Gospel of the Kingdom for Jesus (King of Kings and Lord of Lords) was offered once as a choice and the 2nd time will be brought in by force at the end of the Tribulation. The Gospel of Grace for the Holy Spirit as He lives in you, and the Everlasting Gospel for God the Father…..
There is one last gospel, one of which Paul repeatedly repudiated; a perversion of the Gospel of Grace that has many forms while mainly teaching that “faith” is not sufficient for Salvation nor is it eternally attainable or perfected but must rather include “good works” as a helper.
Concerning another perverted gospel:
Galatians 1:6-12 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Concerning good works:
Hebrews 6:1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Man has continued to reject or pervert the human messenger’s message since Jesus’ ascension. If they will not believe the Words of a Resurrected Savior, they will not believe the words of an Angel crying “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come”.
The Time Is At Hand. Do you believe?
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. Jhn 3:16