Raiders of the Messianic Kingdom
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The Gospel of the Kingdom
This dichotomy in Christendom, Christians conforming to the image of Christ through the power of grace, and Christ Followers imitating Jesus in the flesh through to power of works, could not be made if sermons from the word of God garnered more respect with pastors like Rick Warren. The gospel would be preached, doctrine would be taught, and the congregation would be edified and grow spiritually (contrary to what Warren believes).
This is not to say that Warren does not preach a gospel, but he preaches, as all the Raiders of the Messianic Kingdom do, the wrong one; and it is from it that he deduces that Christians should have the same ministry that Jesus had. To make the point with clarity, it will be easier to take the two false assumptions in the order of, first, the ministry of Jesus, and then the message of Jesus in the days of His flesh.
With a few exceptions, notably the centurion with the sick servant who loved the Jews, and built them a synagogue (Luk 7:2-9), the Samaritan women at the well (Joh 4:5-42), and the Greek woman who besought Him for such crumbs that would fall to the dogs, of which Jesus likened her and the Gentiles (Mk 7:25-30); Christ’s ministry as recorded in scripture was exclusively to the Jews. He himself told his disciples: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mat 15:24). It naturally follows that there was a purpose to it. The reason for this selectivity can be found in Christ’s message of good news, or gospel.
Jesus the King of the Jews came to Israel to offer the Jews the Messianic Kingdom, but they rejected Messiah the King, and so the kingdom could not follow (Mat 21:33-43). The gospel message He brought, and the one he sent his disciples out to declare to the Jews, was the Gospel of The Kingdom, and like His ministry, it was a Jewish gospel directed and delivered only to the Jews.
When Warren cites the example of Jesus sending out the disciples in Matthew chapter ten as justification for sending out his own army of humanitarian workers, for his kingdom-building program the P.E.A.C.E. plan,1 he displays either a monumental ignorance for one called a pastor, or something much worse.
For in his selected proof text, the gospel is both identified as the gospel of the Messianic Kingdom, and instructed to be preached only to the Jews:
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. (Mat 10:5-7)
We know it was the Messianic Kingdom because it was “at hand,” it was as close to them as their King, and we also know that they did not accept the offer.
The acceptance demanded by God of Israel would have been evidenced by a nation repentance which did not take place (Mk 1:15). That God’s foreknowledge suffers Him with no surprises, He provided, by Christ’s rejection by His own people, the means for the Gentiles to be saved.
The message of that comprises the details of a new opportunity we refer to as The Gospel of Grace (Acts 20:24), and it comprises the gospel of salvation which is now preached to the whole world; or should be preached. The subject of the gospel is Christ, the purpose for preaching it is salvation, and the message is Christ the rejected king died on the cross for our salvation.
With only one other exception, the Gospel of the Kingdom, announcing the time has come to set up the Kingdom, is never again preached after the death and resurrection of Christ by any of the apostles. That last offer of the kingdom was remarkably made by the apostle Peter in its, then, prophetically fulfilled entirety (being able to encompass the foretelling of Christ’s sufferings) as credential to his fellow Jews from Solomon’s porch (Acts 3:12-21). They again failed a national repentance; and so the offer of ushering in the “times of refreshing,” where their “sins may be blotted out,” and God sending Jesus back to Israel with the Messianic Kingdom to accomplish all this was withdrawn (Acts 3:18-20).
So, after a process wherein God had to rebuke Peter to get him preach the gospel of salvation to the Gentiles, the first century church began to be populated with Gentiles (Acts 10), to whom we know that the Apostle Paul was inevitably sent.
Still, honest men of good intention mistakenly identify the gospel message for our present time and confuse others by doing so. The error occurs when people turn to the book of Mathew, and look to a private briefing Jesus gave the apostles on eschatology.
There, they mistakenly call the Gospel of the Kingdom from the end of an abstract which precedes detailed descriptions of end time events through the tribulation period, and culminating in Christ’s return to earth. Specifically, the disciples asked Jesus when the temple, of which splendor they had just boasted, would be destroyed as He had just told them it would, and what would be the signs of His returning to earth, and the end of the world (age).
The passage reads: “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”(Mat 24:14). It will be preached largely by saved Jews, and a special selection from amongst the twelve tribes of Israel, to the other nations of the world. We know this because the Jews have never been numbered among the nations (Num 23:9).
Thus we see that the Gospel of the Kingdom is preached twice; the first time by Jews exclusively to Jews, and during and up to the close of the tribulation period it will be preached largely by Jews to all the nations. It will be a particularly unsavory message to Antichrist, and kings under him, as it announces the doom of Antichrist’s kingdom along with all of the little federated kingdoms.
It is the announcement that the Son David is coming to earth to set on the thrown of David as King (2Sam 7:10-16). His Kingdom is the Millennial Kingdom, and it is the stone kingdom cut without hands which demolishes Antichrist’s kingdom, and which fills the whole earth for a thousand years (Dan 2:34-35; Rev 20:4).
In between preaching the Gospel of The Kingdom, the Lord instructed the Jews to preach to the nations the Gospel of Grace, and as people would be saved from out of those nations they were to begin preaching the same gospel:
And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luk 24:46-47)
This the Lord instructed the Apostles after first opening their eyes to the scriptures, to Moses and the prophets and the psalms, where it was originally written that Christ was to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day to make salvation possible to the Gentiles (Luk 24:44-46). Later, Peter had to be sent to the house of Cornelius to give a sermon and witness the Holy Spirit fall on those present to fully grasp the revelation, and the Apostle Paul, writer of most to the New Testament, was made also an apostle to the Gentiles to establish churches.
1. Russ Jones, “Rick Warren and 1,700 leaders launch Peace Coalition,” Chonicle, May 25, 2008.