It is the gospel that was proclaimed to Israel at the coming of Christ. It was the announcement that the Messianic kingdom was at hand, as preached by Jesus and John the Baptist (Mat. 3:2; 4:17).
The gospel of the kingdom was proclaimed throughout Israel by the apostles (Mat. 10:5-8). This command began to be fulfilled in Christ’s earthly ministry and will continue to be fulfilled in the Tribulation. In Mat. 10:23 we see that the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom will last until Christ comes.
The gospel of the kingdom includes the announcement of Jesus as the Saviour Messiah (John 1:29). He is the fulfillment of all of the prophecies about the suffering Messiah (e.g., Psalm 22; Isaiah 53). There were two major types of Messianic prophecy: the suffering Messiah, and the ruling Messiah (Isa. 9:6-7). The Jews of Jesus’ day did not understand the prophecies of the suffering Messiah. Even Peter rebuked Jesus for saying He was going to die (Mat. 16:21-23).
The gospel of the kingdom was rejected by Israel (John 1:11). As a consequence Christ turned away from Israel temporarily to build the Church (Rom. 11:25-27).
When the Church is complete, it will be raptured to heaven and God’s program with Israel will start again. This is the last week of Daniel’s 70 Week prophecy (Dan. 9:24-27). At that time the gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in Israel and throughout the world (Mat. 24:14-15). God will call 144,000 Jewish evangelists to proclaim this message (Rev. 7). The Two Witnesses in Jerusalem will also proclaim this message during the building of the Third Temple (Rev. 11:1-12).
There is no mention of the gospel of the kingdom in Acts or the New Testament Epistles because it is not the gospel for the church age. We are not proclaiming “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” because that is Israel’s program. We are proclaiming Jesus as Saviour, which is part of the gospel of the kingdom, but we are not proclaiming the kingdom itself. We are proclaiming the suffering Messiah, but not the ruling Messiah. The church-age gospel is the “gospel of His son” (Rom. 1:9), “gospel of Christ” (Rom. 1:16), “gospel of peace” (Rom. 10:15), “gospel of God” (Rom. 15:16), the “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). It is the proclamation of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for the forgiveness of sins (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Note that there is no mention of the kingdom in Paul’s gospel.
Most commentaries don’t recognize the difference between the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of Christ preached in the church age because of the prominence of Replacement Theology, which fails to make a clear distinction between Israel and the Church.
“The message preached today in the Church Age and the message proclaimed in the Tribulation period calls for turning to the Savior for salvation. However, in the Tribulation the message will stress the coming kingdom, and those who then turn to the Savior for salvation will be allowed entrance into the kingdom” (Bible Knowledge Commentary).
“The ‘gospel of the kingdom’ to be preached in the tribulation age is the special postrapture, end-time message of the imminence of Christ’s coming kingdom” (John Phillips).
“The gospel of the kingdom is the good news that Christ is coming to set up His kingdom on earth, and that those who receive Him by faith during the Tribulation will enjoy the blessings of His Millennial Reign” (Believer’s Bible Commentary).
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