The word gospel means “good news.” As we shall see, there are two different forms, but the gospel is always focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. We see this in Romans 1:1 & 3, “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ…separated to the GOSPEL of God…CONCERNING HIS SON JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.” With that in mind, we will now look at the “gospel of the kingdom” and then we will compare that to “the gospel of the grace of God” (see Acts 20:24). The former was preached by Jesus and His disciples; the latter by the Apostle Paul and others after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.

In Mark 1:14-15 we read, “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND. Repent, and believe the gospel.” Throughout the Old Testament the prophets had foretold that Israel’s Messiah, the Son of David, would come to establish His kingdom here on earth. That, in a nutshell, is “the gospel of the kingdom.”  Jesus was their Messiah and by telling them “the kingdom of God is at hand,” He was presenting Himself to the nation of Israel as their long-awaited Messiah. He states dogmatically, “the time is fulfilled,” meaning that all the prophecies related to His appearing as the Son of David to set up His kingdom were now being fulfilled. Yet there was a condition before He would do this, they must “repent, and believe the gospel.” This means they needed, as a nation, to “repent of their sins” and “believe that He was their Messiah.” Earlier in this chapter we see John the Baptist “preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (verse 4). He was trying to prepare their hearts for receiving Jesus Christ. Did they, as a nation, “repent, and believe the gospel?” No, they did not! Instead of receiving Him, they rejected Him and His offer of the kingdom and in time they delivered Him over to Pontius Pilate to be crucified. And thus, we read in John 1:11, “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” When Israel’s rejection of Christ became obvious, Jesus began to speak of His impending death and resurrection. “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and BE KILLED, and BE RAISED the third day.” This brings us to “the gospel of the grace of God.”

In 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 we read, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you THE GOSPEL WHICH I PREACHED TO YOU, by which also you received…by which also you are saved…that CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the scriptures, and HE WAS BURIED, and that HE ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY according to the scriptures.” This was the gospel that Paul preached; it was the “good news of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection,” which the saints at Corinth HAD BELIEVED and by which they WERE SAVED. This was not the same gospel that Jesus and His disciples preached, yet the gospel in both cases was all about Jesus Christ. One had to do with Christ coming to earth to set up His kingdom; the other had to do with His death on the cross, followed by His burial and resurrection, so sinners could be saved from the penalty of their sins.

This does not mean that Jesus never spoke of what His death would accomplish, for He did (see John 3:14-16), but His main message was “the gospel of the kingdom” that He faithfully proclaimed until the nation rejected Him. Nor does this mean that Paul never spoke of Christ’s coming kingdom. But his main message was the good news that Christ took the sinner’s place on the cross and died for our sins, was buried, and rose victorious over sin, death and the grave three days later.

In closing, some believe the “gospel of the kingdom” has been replaced by the “gospel of the grace of God.” This is not true! After this present “church age” (where God is saving souls and adding them to the church…see Acts 2:47) is completed, the church will be raptured to heaven (John 14:2-3 and 1st Thessalonians 4:15-17) and the “gospel of the kingdom” will once again be preached. You can read about this in Matthew 24:1-14 where Jesus was asked when He would come again to set up His kingdom. In verse 14 He said, “And this GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” When Jesus and His disciples preached the gospel of the kingdom, it was only to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (see Matthew 10:5-7), but in a coming day the whole world will hear the good news that Jesus Christ is coming to sit on His throne and to establish His kingdom on the earth for 1,000 years (see Matthew 24:29-31; 25:31-34 and Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-6).  (DO)  (511.5)