The Gospel of the Kingdom and the Gospel of Grace

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Understanding the Gospel of the Kingdom

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In order to gain a correct understanding of what the bible calls “The gospel of the kingdom” it is important to understand some fundamental concepts.  First, it is useful to know that only in the gospel of Matthew is the term “The gospel of the kingdom” used.  No other part of the New Testament ever refers to the gospel as “The gospel of the kingdom“.  Mark refers to it one time as “the gospel of the kingdom of God.”  However, everywhere else the gospel writers used other names, the gospel of grace, the gospel of God, etc.  It is also useful to recognize that the Gospel according to Matthew portrays Christ as king.  It is a kingdom Gospel.  The Gospel according to Mark portrays Christ as a servant, in Luke’s account, as a true man, and in the Gospel of John, as God.

It is also significant that only in the gospel according to Matthew do we hear of the Kingdom of Heaven and the term gospel of the kingdom.  Matthew used the term thirty-two times in his Gospel and the other New Testament writers zero times in the remaining books of the bible.  What then does the Kingdom of Heaven mean?  Can we say that the Kingdom of Heaven is the same as heaven?  Can we say that the Kingdom of Heaven is the same as the Kingdom of God?  For now, let me offer the following explanation and then in future posts I will gather scripture to explain what I believe the Holy Spirit has always intended that we understand by this distinction.

The gospel of grace deals with heaven, the gospel of the kingdom with the millennium.

We can say that the difference between the Kingdom of Heaven and heaven is the difference between the rule of Christ on the earth during His millennial reign and the eternal state we call heaven. We can also affirm that the difference between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God is that the Kingdom of God extends all throughout eternity past present and future and the Kingdom of Heaven is that part of the Kingdom of God that will occur on the earth during Christ’s millennial reign.  In other words, the Kingdom of Heaven is to the Kingdom of God just as New York City is to the United States.  Conversely, the Kingdom of God is not the Kingdom of Heaven just as the United States is not New York City.  One is part of and contained in the other.  This may sound trivial, but unless we understand this distinction, needless confusion will isolate us from the truth and weaken our conviction and effectiveness as Christians.

The reason I make a point of this is that if every time Christ speaks of the His millennial reign we understand that He is speaking of heaven we will understandably become confused.  The two are part of completely different dispensations.

We can confidently conclude therefore that the gospel of the kingdom deals with what will happen during the millennial rule of Christ. It is not a gospel of grace because the reign of Christ during the millennium will not be based on grace but rather the law of Christ as outlined in the Sermon on the Mount.




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