The Gospel of Hope
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Most people know that Jesus Christ brought a message called the "gospel," meaning "good news." But what is this message, and why is it good news?
Most people assume the gospel is the story of Jesus Christ's life, ministry, death and resurrection, and that His sacrifice makes it possible for us to be saved. But while all these are certainly important, is there more to the story that many people don't understand?
Mark 1:14-15 tells us that "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 in the gospel'" (emphasis added throughout).
We see here that the gospel is a message about the Kingdom of God, and that we are commanded to believe in it. So what is this "Kingdom of God"? Some think it's something that exists in the hearts of believers. Some think it's the sum total of all Christians everywhere working to advance God's purpose on earth. Others hold different variations of these ideas. But what does the Bible say?
Surprising to some, Jesus Christ's message about the Kingdom of God was not new. He was continuing the message of many biblical prophets before Him. Their message was of a literal, world-ruling kingdom to be established over the entire earth by the coming Messiah.
Notice, for example, the vision revealed in Daniel 2:44 about what happens when a final end-time global superpower, comprising an alliance of rulers, is brought to its end at the return of Jesus Christ: "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed;...it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever."
Here we see plainly that a literal kingdom will be established on earth, replacing all human kingdoms, and it will "stand forever"!
This is made even more obvious in Daniel's vision recorded in Daniel 7:13-14: "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."
This startling vision describes Jesus Christ being brought before God the Father, who gives Him "dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him" in a kingdom that is everlasting!
This is why we read in Revelation 11:15 (in a prophecy that inspired the immortal lines of the "Hallelujah Chorus" in Handel's Messiah): "The seventh angel sounded his trumpet: and there were loud voices in heaven, which said, 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever'" (New International Version).
This awesome truth lies at the heart of Jesus Christ's gospel—good news—of the Kingdom of God. It's at the heart of "the Lord's prayer," in which Jesus instructs His followers to pray, "Your kingdom come"! It's a message of great hope in which we are commanded to believe. You'll learn much more about that message of hope in this issue! GN