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Which Is the Real Gospel? – Part 2

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Which Is the Real Gospel? – Part 2

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The Apostle Paul wrote that Jesus, after His Resurrection, became “the firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:18), and “that He might be the FIRSTBORN AMONG MANY BRETHREN” (Rom. 8:29). When connected, these two verses show that Christ is the firstborn from the dead, and that many others will follow. But when—and into what—will these—others—be born?

In John 3:3, Christ said to Nicodemus, “Verily, verily [this means truly, truly], I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” In verse 6, He continues, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Believe this plain verse. One must become spirit to see the kingdom of God.

Paul also wrote, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 15:50). The following two verses explain that the resurrection will occur at the Seventh (last) Trumpet, when “the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

The resurrection of the dead will occur at the Seventh Trumpet, when Christ returns. There is no misunderstanding this great event. People who were once fleshly human beings will be changed into spirit—will be BORN AGAIN—and enter into the kingdom of God.

John 4:24 states that “God is a Spirit.” Under the Father, Christ leads His kingdom, which is composed of resurrected spirit beings. At His Return, Christ, as a member of the Family of God, will have many younger “brothers and sisters,” who will have qualified to rule with Him in His kingdom.

There is a plant kingdom, an animal kingdom, human kingdoms and an angelic kingdom. There is also the kingdom of God.

Notice Genesis 1:26: “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” Referring to Themselves, the One speaking says, “Us,” “Our,” “Our.” This verse reveals that there is more than one Being in the Godhead. In fact, there are two! In this scripture, the Hebrew word for God is Elohim. It is a uniplural term like group, team, committee or family. All of these terms represent one entity, comprised of several persons.

Thus, the Bible teaches that there is one God, composed of two Persons—the Father and Christ—with many more to be added later. The first great time when God will add more sons to His Family is when Christ's kingdom is established.

At that time, “many sons shall be brought unto glory” through the work of the “Captain of our salvation” (Heb. 2:10). Verse 11 says that Christ “is not ashamed to call them brethren”—those of whom Christ is called the “first born.”

Do you see what is described here? A true Christian's goal is to be BORN into the coming kingdom (government) of God as a spirit being ruling under Christ. What could be more wonderful—more glorious—for a Christian to look forward to?

There Are Conditions to Entering the Kingdom

Christ said to a young rich man who inquired about eternal life, “…if you will enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS” (Matt. 19:17). Christ explained that one must keep the Ten Commandments, and specifically cited five of them.

In Romans 6:23, Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” You receive wages from your job. These wages constitute payment for work you have done. Wages are something that you earn. Death is what all have earned—through sin! If Christ had not paid this penalty, the final “paycheck” that all people would receive is death—the ultimate “pink slip.” On the other hand, salvation is a gift. You cannot earn it.

But what is sin? Since committing it results in death, should you not know what it is? I John 3:4 records, “sin is the transgression of the law.” This is the same law that the young rich man was told he must obey to inherit eternal life.

Recall Christ's words in Mark 1:15: “Repent you, and believe the gospel.” Repentance is from sin (Acts 3:19). A Christian is one who has repented of sin, and been baptized (Acts 2:38) and converted (3:19). Through a lifetime of overcoming sin, the Christian qualifies for (though he cannot “earn”) salvation and spiritual birth into the kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God Must Still Be Preached Today

In His Matthew 24 prophecy, Christ was asked about the signs of His Second Coming and “the end of the world [age].” He said that a number of different trends and events would occur first. In verse 14, He stated, “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.” The true gospel was prophesied to be preached until “the end come.” This plainly means that someone will be preaching it now, in our present age—because the end has not yet come. The Restored Church of God is doing this!

Preaching the truth of the gospel to the world was restored by Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986). He was used by God to reach hundreds of millions of people with this message throughout a 52-year ministry, which ended with his death in 1986. It was this man who taught me the true gospel and who trained me to be able to take this same message to the world.

Some believe that Paul preached a “different” gospel, unaware that it was Paul who pronounced a curse on anyone who did this (Gal. 1:8-9). But we have seen that Paul preached the kingdom of God. However, notice two verses in Acts showing that he did not neglect the subject of Christ's role in the salvation process.

First, Acts 20:25, 21: “I have gone preaching the kingdom of God… repentance toward God, AND faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul preached the same gospel to both Jew and Gentile. Now notice Acts 28:30-31: “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.”

Luke, the writer of Acts, differentiates between preaching about the kingdom of God and preaching about Jesus Christ! While both are vitally important, they are clearly two separate subjects!

Recall Acts 8:12, where Philip also preached both of these same teachings: “But when they believed Philip…concerning the kingdom of God, AND the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” We see that Philip not only preached the gospel of the kingdom of God, but he also differentiated it from the teaching about Christ. Remember, the messenger is not the message.

Jesus is not the gospel. However, He does stand directly alongside the true gospel and will rule the entire earth when He returns and establishes His kingdom. We must not forget this!

Finally, consider another verse in which Paul made a distinction between the gospel and the person of Christ. II Corinthians 11:4 contains a powerful warning: “For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached…or another gospel which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him” (the margin more correctly renders this last phrase “with me”). Paul wanted the Corinthians to reject false teachers and hold to what he had taught them. The point is that Paul distinguishes between the teaching of a false Jesus and a false gospel. These were—and are—two separate things.

Ask yourself: If Christ IS the gospel, then why did Paul (twice) and Philip speak of them as two separate matters?

The Kingdom of God Is Coming

Make no mistake! Christ will soon return to earth and establish His kingdom. No human being could set up a single, world-ruling government that could work. In late 1966, wondering about the possibilities, I asked my United States Congressman if he thought that this could ever happen. He had been in Congress for over thirty years, to that point. He loudly asserted that it was not possible. Interestingly, he did say that if he thought it could work, he would “shout it from the housetops.” I shall never forget his words. He was absolutely right—it certainly would never work, if left in the hands of men! But this is not what Christ will do.

Recall Daniel wrote, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44). The kingdom of God will reign over the entire earth—all nations—and the resurrected saints shall share this reign with Christ.

Christ stated in the “Sermon on the Mount” that “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). Now you know why! Actually, Christ was quoting Psalm 37:11, where David said precisely the same thing. Other passages show that David knew he would one day rule (over all the tribes of Israel) within the kingdom of God.

Now turn to Daniel 7 and examine three separate verses. Notice verse 18: “But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.” Verse 22 states, “Until the Ancient of Days [Christ here, and the Father in verse 13] came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” Then notice verse 27: “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions [rulers] shall serve and obey Him.”

Daniel understood that the saints will reign on the earth!

Now notice three separate verses in Revelation. Through John, Christ states, “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne” (3:21). Also notice 2:26-27: “And he that overcomes…to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron.” And, finally, “and [God] has made us…kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (5:10).

Has anyone ever told you about any of these basic verses? Almost certainly not. Yet, they have been in the Bible for thousands of years!

No wonder that when Christ was on trial for His life, He said, “My KINGDOM is not of this world: if My KINGDOM were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom not from here” (John 18:36). Pilate had asked Him, “Are you a king then?” Christ answered, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world…” (vs. 37). Jesus fully understood that He was born to be a KING (Luke 1:31-33)!

The prophet Isaiah also recorded, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, 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 shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (2:2-4).

The exact same prophecy is repeated in Micah 4:1-3! In front of the United Nations Building is the sculptured image of a large man forging a plow from a sword. I have seen it hundreds of times because I conducted Sabbath services across the street from that spot for over four years. But no one seems to any longer take notice of, or even believe, the great prophecy this famous sculpture depicts.

Christ came to be a KING. When His reign begins, world peace will “break out”—along with worldwide happiness, prosperity, abundance and supreme joy! No human government has ever been able to bring these things to even one country on earth. This soon-coming kingdom is the core of the very gospel that Christ brought.

Do you believe it? Will you believe it?

The Restored Church of God is boldly preaching this greatest of prophetic truths. This prophecy is sure—it is certain! When it is fulfilled, you too can be a part of God's great GOVERNMENT!

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