Did Jesus teaching in the gospels focus on “His Kingdom”? Was He preaching a Kingdom Gospel?Dispensational Teachers tell us that His earthly kingdom was His primary gospel message spoken to the Jews .
In Matthew, John the Baptist introduces the kingdom message:
Matthew 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (KJV)
Jesus continues the kingdom message:
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (KJV)
According to Matthew Jesus emphasis — when preaching on the kingdom, was on the kingdom of Heaven. It’s not that He did not teach concerning His millennial kingdom. But this was not the kingdom that He emphasized in His preaching. Jesus is recorded by Matthew to have mentioned or taught on the Kingdom of heaven approximately 30 times. He mentions kingdom of God about 5 times in Matthew’s rendering, and gospel of the kingdom about 5 times. When the gospel of the kingdom is mentioned it is not identified with His millennial kingdom even once. So one would conclude that He is speaking of that which He is normally emphasizing, which is the kingdom of heaven or of God according to other gospel writers.
Here is an example of His use of Gospel of the kingdom:
Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (KJV)
Following are examples of His emphasized teaching:
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (KJV)
Matthew 8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (KJV)
Also notice where it is that we will sit with the patriarchs, according to this it will be in heaven’s kingdom.
Matthew 24:14 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. (KJV)
The fact that all nations are to receive this gospel hardly makes it a gospel of a kingdom just for the Jews or Israel.
When we go into the gospel of Mark we hear:
Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, (KJV)
Throughout the gospel of Mark, Mark records Jesus speaking of the kingdom of God, whereas Matthew had Jesus speaking mainly of the Kingdom of heaven. And Luke begins his gospel speaking of Jesus kingdom:
Luke 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (KJV)
Obviously Jesus kingdom is more than an earthly 1000 year kingdom.
But Jesus then makes His focus on the kingdom of God according to Luke:
Luke 4:43 And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. (KJV)
But in Luke even though Luke records that the kingdom of God is Jesus focus; still he records the Lord’s Prayer calling for God’s kingdom on earth. This prayer is obviously to be fulfilled during the millennium.
But Jesus teaching on this earthly kingdom was contained in a parable:
Luke 19:12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. (KJV)
This parable proves that Jesus never had intended to offer the Jews the kingdom before He went to the Father to receive it from Him (yet many teach that it was His purpose to offer this kingdom to Israel when He first came). But In fact, had He intended this; then one could hardly argue that coming to earth to die for the sins of all mankind was His purpose for coming.
Truly, it was not until the very end of His ministry to His disciples that He brings up His kingdom and their future governing on Twelve thrones over the twelve tribes of Israel.
Yet, there is a conundrum introduced in John’s gospel , where Jesus is told to make a statement to Pilot, which, as it is translated from the Greek, would refute any teachings concerning a future earthly kingdom. Listen:
John 18:36 Jesus answered, 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 hence. (KJV)
How could Jesus tell His disciples that they would sit on twelve thrones in His kingdom ruling over Twelve tribes; yet answer this way to Pilot?
Here I must get technical. Ek Tov, is the Greek which is here translated “of”, as in “not of this world” in the above verse. Its normal usage would be “out of or from”. So what is the difference? If Jesus kingdom is not “of” this world, then one can argue that there is no earthly kingdom taught here, but if it is really stated to be, “not out of this world or “not from this world”; then it can more easily be seen what Jesus meant. The power for His kingdom will not come from or be out of this earth or from man, but it will be from heaven and from Him when He returns. The millennium will not be from this age of mankind and it will not come before the Tribulation, as is believed by reformed Theology. His Kingdom will follow a time of Great Tribulation.
Jesus had told His disciples before His death that when He would eat with them again, that it would be in the kingdom. This took place on the beach on the Sea of Galilee after His resurrection. This means that Jesus introduced by His death and resurrection the kingdom of heaven to those of us who are believers. Think on these things. They will help you understand prophecy and avoid false prophets.
Matthew 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: (KJV)
Matthew 13:31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: (KJV)
Matthew 13:35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. (KJV)
Matthew 13:38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; (KJV)
Jesus preaching was about salvation for this coming eternity. He has only one world from which to save one people unto Himself for an eternity and they are the people of the kingdom of which He preached.