The Most Misunderstood Message
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Psst! Did you know that Jesus Christ came to the earth with a message that could transform the world? Somehow, though, in the course of the last couple thousand years it has been lost, overlooked or taken as a metaphor.
No, it's not in one of those "lost" Gospels that seem to keep turning up. This message is hidden in plain sight.
Strangely enough, the people who wanted Jesus dead actually understood a part of His message that most people who claim to love Him today do not.
What do you mean, King?
Evil King Herod believed the wise men who said they were coming to worship the infant King of the Jews. His solution? Kill all the babies to make sure there would be no rival for his throne.
Later, the religious leaders who called for Jesus' crucifixion accused Him of plotting a revolution to take over as king. When the Roman governor Pontius Pilate asked Jesus about this, He answered: "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born" (John 18:37).
He even told His disciples that when He came back to the earth they would be ruling under Him, each over a tribe of Israel (Luke 22:30). How much more literal can you get?
What do you mean, Kingdom?
What did Jesus say His message was?
"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 in the gospel'" (Mark 1:14-15).
Gospel is just an old English word that means "good news." The gospel of the Kingdom of God is good news because it describes the time of Jesus Christ's return, when it will be announced that "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, New International Version).
Jesus knows the way of peace. Look around—people today do not. Jesus knows how to heal people, give them enough to eat and help them learn how to be truly happy. People today do not.
Jesus Christ's gospel of the Kingdom of God truly was revolutionary. He is going to turn this crazy, mixed-up world right-side up. He's going to fire the evil, corrupt leaders and replace them with leaders who care and actually put others above themselves.
The effects will be stunning. Utopia will break out!
Here are just a few of the headlines we can look forward to:
War Colleges Close
Stripped-Down Tanks Turned Into Tractors
Pet Lion—Lovable King of Preschool Playground
Formerly Disabled People Thank Jesus Christ for Healing
AIDS Wiped Out
How the gospel got lost
So how did the gospel of the Kingdom of God get lost, with the term "Kingdom" treated like nothing but a figure of speech?
Time was one culprit. Many in the Church believed Christ would be back to set up His Kingdom right away. As the years and decades ticked away, people began looking for other explanations for this "Kingdom" thing. Patience is not our strong suit.
Maybe the Kingdom is just in our hearts, or maybe the Church is the Kingdom, some thought. (Scriptures used to support these ideas are explained in our free booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom.) The idea of a real Kingdom became less and less popular until it almost disappeared.
This process was accelerated by the infiltration of false teachers preaching a different gospel (2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Galatians 1:6-7). The Bible warns that Satan the devil is out to snatch away the hope from our hearts and that he blinds and deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9).
The Bible also warns that not all "Christian" teachers are really of Christ. (For a historical overview of the rise of a counterfeit Christianity, see our free booklet The Church Jesus Built.)
Too often in this world things can look hopeless. So finding and believing this good news about the Kingdom of God can change our whole approach. Instead of being beaten down and discouraged, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We can know that our loving Savior and King will rescue us.
When you see the reality of this hope, you can start to get inspired to pray eagerly, "Your kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10). Read more about how you can be involved in preparing for the Kingdom of God in the accompanying article, "Your Invitation to Believe the Gospel," and in the inspiring booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom.