The Lord said the end of this age will be “the harvest.” As we see in the book of Revelation, the whole earth, including every nation and tongue, will be a part of this. It will be the biggest ingathering ever. One reason for this will be another event the Lord said would come at the end of this age—the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom throughout the world.
The gospel of the kingdom is different from what is considered “the gospel” today, which is about our redemption through the cross. The good news of redemption is no doubt one of the most important and wonderful messages ever but is only one part of the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel of the kingdom is what the angel told the apostles to preach when he instructed them to go to the temple and preach “the whole message of this life” (see Acts 5:20). The gospel of salvation is mostly about us; the gospel of the kingdom is about the King and His domain that He is bringing to the earth.
The gospel of the kingdom is the most powerful message the world has ever heard. It will result in redemption and salvation far more than the gospel of salvation alone can because it is a far more profound revelation which requires a much deeper repentance and commitment. It is not just a fire insurance policy for eternity; it is acknowledgement that we have been bought with a price by the Lord Himself, that we no longer belong to ourselves but to Him, and that we are here to do His will, not to get Him to do our will.
Of course, there are great benefits to following the King. However, if we only come to Him for what we can get and not to serve, take up our crosses, or live sacrificial lives—all of which He declared as our calling—we will be weak and immature Christians at best. When we come to Him because we realize who He is—the King and Lord of all—and that it is about Him and not us, we will be on the right path to a victorious Christian life.
Throughout this age, many have watered down the gospel to make it easier for people to make a choice. It was never meant to be an easy choice but a profound challenge which requires profound repentance. Extending such human sympathy is contrary to the gospel and only results in a weakened, immature, selfish body of Christ like the one we have today. This is not true for all, but for most. What is often preached as “the gospel” today is barely recognizable when compared to what the Lord and His apostles preached in the first century. He did not come with cap in hand, begging us to return to Him. He came declaring who He is and seeking those who would love Him and His truth more than they loved their own lives.
Jesus came the first time as the Lamb, but He is coming back as the Lion. Again, the gospel of the kingdom is about the King. It will be the best news the world has ever heard, because He is the greatest King ever known. He is coming to restore all things that were lost in the fall, but it will not be so much an entreaty as it will be a command to bow our knees. He is the King!
In the final move of God, we will see the gospel of the kingdom presented, which is verified in Revelation 11:15, where we see the seventh trumpet. The trumpets in Revelation represent messages, and the last message will be, “Our God Reigns!” This will be quite different from what is preached currently. We will see an increased level of power and demonstration of His authority, since it will focus our faith on the King and not on us. It will change from being mostly about what we get if we turn to Him to a clear warning about the consequences of not following Him.
The Lord has always warned His people before judgment came, and He will now warn the whole world, as this judgment will come on the whole world. We will also see the consequences of sin coming much faster as His witness becomes clearer and more powerful. If the clarity of the message was as great now as it was in the first century, we would have many more suffering the fate of Ananias and Sapphira for “holding back part of the price.”
The call to follow the Lord was far more powerful in the first century than what is often preached today, so the commitment and the results were greater. The gospel of the kingdom is a call to follow the King into the greatest adventure we can have in this life, but also the most difficult. This calling is not for the faint of heart, and the gospel that calls us makes this clear. We will soon dig a little deeper into this.