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What is the True Gospel?

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What was Jesus Christ’s message? He preached “the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Matthew 4:23 Matthew 4:23And 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.
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; Matthew 9:35 Matthew 9:35And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
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; Mark 1:14-15 Mark 1:14-15 14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
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).

The Old English word gospel, or”good spell,” means “good news.” The good news was the centerpiece of His message. He de-fined His mission with these words: “I must preach the kingdom of God… because for this purpose I have been sent” (Luke 4:43 Luke 4:43And he said to them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.
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What did He command His disciples to teach? “He sent them to preach the kingdom of God…” (Luke 9:2-6 Luke 9:2-6 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 3 And he said to them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor money, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. 4 And whatever house you enter into, there abide, and there depart. 5 And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. 6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
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).

What is that message about, and why is it such good news?

When Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God (Luke 8:1 Luke 8:1And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
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; Luke 9:11 Luke 9:11And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.
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; Luke 12:31 Luke 12:31But rather seek you the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added to you.
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; Luke 13:18 Luke 13:18Then said he, To what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
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), He was simply continuing the messages of the Hebrew prophets whose words are recorded in the Old Testament. Centuries earlier God had inspired such faithful men as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah to look beyond the difficulties and destruction of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah to a magnificent future when God would establish His world-ruling kingdom on earth under the reign of the Messiah.

Notice some of their prophecies describing this wonderful age to come:

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6 Isaiah 11:6The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatted calf together; and a little child shall lead them.
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).

“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse [the phrase referring to the promised Messiah, Jesus], who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious” (Isaiah 11:9-10 Isaiah 11:9-10 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. 10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
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“I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14 Daniel 7:13-14 13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
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“Then the Lord will go forth…And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley…Thus the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with You…And the Lord shall be King over all the earth” (Zechariah 14:3-9 Zechariah 14:3-9 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in the middle thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 And you shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal: yes, you shall flee, like as you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with you. 6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: 7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. 8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. 9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
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Jesus Christ and His apostles spoke of this same world-ruling government, which He called “the Kingdom of God.” In Luke 21, after describing a series of trends and events unparalleled in history, He concluded: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near…When you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:28-31 Luke 21:28-31 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near. 29 And he spoke to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 When they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that summer is now near at hand. 31 So likewise you, when you see these things come to pass, know you that the kingdom of God is near at hand.
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The ancient prophets, Jesus and His apostles all spoke of a literal kingdom that will replace the world’s governments. When these prophecies become a reality, a triumphant cry will ring out: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
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, NIV).

Sadly, this message is seldom understood and rarely taught in churches. Many have accepted “a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6 Galatians 1:6I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel:
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) that distorts and obscures this vital biblical truth. You will read in the next chapter how this “other gospel” (Galatians 1:8-9 Galatians 1:8-9 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel to you than that you have received, let him be accursed.
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), as Paul labels it, evolved and spread throughout the world.

However, you can discover for yourself the full meaning of the gospel—the incredible good news—that Jesus Christ and the apostles preached. This same gospel is faithfully preached by the United Church of God (Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
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). For a full explanation of the true gospel, be sure to request or download your free copy of The Gospel of the Kingdom .

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