INTRODUCTION: CONTINUITY OF THE “GOSPEL” AND THE “KINGDOM OF GOD”
A. Continuity of the “Gospel”
1. One of the reasons there is such confusion concerning the true nature of the “gospel” is because very few times in the New Testament does anyone actually detail what the gospel is. Many times New Testament writers talk about the gospel, but very rarely does anyone actually detail the gospel itself. Why? Because the whole New Testament assumes the gospel of the Old Testament.
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel (Gk. euaggelion) of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. (ESV Matthew 4:23)
Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee… 15 And he taught in their synagogues… 17 He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah… 18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel (Gk. euaggelizo) to the poor… (cf. Is. 61:1-3)” (NKJV Luke 4:14-18)
- The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news (Gk. euaggelizo, LXX) to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion (i.e. Jerusalem)… (NIV Isaiah 61:1-3)
2. The New Testament assumes the same “gospel” of the Old Testament because it assumes the same cosmogenical framework, the same eschatological conclusion, and the same messianic hope of the Old Testament.
When the governor (Felix) motioned for him to speak, Paul replied… 14 “I admit that I worship the God of our fathers (assuming OT messianic expectations) as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees (in messianic thought) with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God (concerning messianic restoration) as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked (cf. Dan. 12:1-3). 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” (NIV Acts 24:10-16)
3. The gospel of the Bible is thus an “eternal gospel” that will never change or be altered by the opinions of man.
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth– to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (NIV Revelation 14:6-7)
And he (“mighty angel”) swore by him who lives for ever and ever… “There will be no more delay! 7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God (i.e. redemptive plan) will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets (in the Old Testament).” (NIV Revelation 10:6-7)
B. Continuity of the “Kingdom of God”
1. God’s “kingdom” is referenced throughout the Old and New Testaments, and it is clearly a kingdom that presently rules over all creation (cf. 1 Chron. 29:11; Ps. 103:19; 145:11ff; Jer. 10:7ff; Dan. 4:3, 34; Jn. 19:11; Acts 17:24; Rev. 4:2ff).
2. However, there are also many messianic references to a kingdom on the earth that is given dominion by God, receiving his favor and blessings, and is established eschatologically (cf. Ps. 2:6ff; Is. 9:7; Dan. 2:44; 7:14; Mt. 8:11; 20:21; Lk. 22:30; 2 Pe. 1:11; Rev. 11:15).
3. This distinction has been the source of much controversy, which is simply solved by distinguishing between the two primary thrones of creation: one in the height of the heavens (cf. Ps. 2:4; 113:5; Is. 40:22; 66:1) and one delegated to man on the earth (cf. Gen. 1:26ff; Ps. 8:4ff; 115:16).
Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” 3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases… 15 May you be blessed by the LORD, who made heaven and earth! 16 The heavens are the LORD’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man (Hb. adam). (ESV Psalm 115:2-16)
4. Thus, the “kingdom of God” needs to be delineated between the “universal kingdom”, ruling over all creation from everlasting to everlasting, and the “messianic kingdom”, to be established upon the earth at the end of the age, restoring the original Adamic order.
In a preliminary survey of the very extensive array of Biblical references to the Kingdom of God, especially in the Old Testament, the investigator will be impressed by a series of differences which at first sight may seem to be almost contradictory. Some of the more important of these differences may be stated as follows: First, certain passages present the Kingdom as something which has always existed; yet other places it seems to have a definite historical beginning among men. (Compare Ps. 10:16 with Dan. 2:44.) Second, the Kingdom is set forth in Scripture as universal in its scope, outside of which there is no created thing; yet again the Kingdom is revealed as a local rule established on earth. (Compare Ps. 103:19 with Is. 24:23.) Third, the Kingdom sometimes appears as the rule of God directly, with no intermediary standing between God and man; yet it is also pictured as the rule of God through a mediator who serves as channel between God and man. (Compare Ps. 59:13 with 2:4-6.) … Some of the above distinctions, if not all, have been noticed by Biblical scholars and attempts have been made to explain them; sometimes by asserting the existence of one kingdom with two aspects or phases; or by the assumption of two kingdoms. For example… These citations, deliberately selected from authors of widely different viewpoints, will be sufficient to show that the distinctions mentioned above are not imaginary. The question is how to explain them… In one sense it would not be wholly wrong to speak of two kingdoms revealed in the Bible. But we must at the same time guard carefully against the notion that these two kingdoms are absolutely distinct, one from the other. There is value and instruction in thinking of them as two aspects or phases of the one rule of our sovereign God. In seeking for terms which might best designate these two things, I can find nothing better than the adjectives “universal” and “mediatorial.” These are not exactly commensurate terms, of course, but describe different qualities; the first referring to the extent of rule, the latter to the method of rule. Nevertheless, in each case the designated quality seems to be the most important for purposes of identification.
5. The harmony between these two kingdoms are forever restored in the age to come when the throne of the Messiah comes together with the throne of the Father in the complete renewal of the heavens and earth (cf. Rev. 22:1ff; Eph. 1:9ff; 1 Cor. 15:24-28).
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city… 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (NIV Revelation 22:1-3)
Then comes the end, when he (Messiah) delivers the kingdom (i.e. Messianic) to God the Father (i.e. Universal) after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he (Messiah) must reign until he (Father) has put all his (Father’s/Messiah’s) enemies under his (Messiah’s) feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God (Father) has put all things in subjection under his (Messiah’s) feet.” (cf. Ps. 8:6) But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he (Father) is excepted who put all things in subjection under him (Messiah). 28 When all things are subjected (by the Father) to him (Messiah), then the Son himself (Messiah) will also be subjected to him (Father) who put all things in subjection under him (Messiah), that God may be all in all (governmentally). (ESV 1 Corinthians 15:24-28)
6. The New Testament phrase “kingdom of God”, however, needs to be understood as a Jewish phrase used during the time of the Roman Empire to refer specifically to the Messianic Kingdom. Though a few instances of its use may initially seem confusing (cf. Mt. 3:1; 11:11f; 12:28; 16:28; Lk. 17:21; 23:42f; Jn. 3:3ff; 18:36; Rom. 14:17; 1 Cor. 4:20), further investigation and larger context reveal a seamless understanding: the Messianic Kingdom is a future reality to be initiated upon the earth at the Day of the Lord (i.e. Second Coming).
I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. (ESV Matthew 8:11-12)
For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (ESV 2 Peter 1:11)
7. Though the Universal Kingdom, which Jesus is presently ruling over amnestically (cf. Mt. 28:18; Acts 2:33; Eph. 1:21; 1 Pe. 3:22; etc.), retains absolute sovereignty over all the nations (cf. Rom. 13:1; Col. 1:17; Acts 17:24ff; etc.), it will execute judgment upon the nations at the hand of the Messiah at the end of the age. The only confusion in the New Testament concerning this simple understanding of the Kingdom is the suffering of the Messiah before the establishing of the glory of the Messiah (cf. Lk. 24:26; Acts 3:18; 17:3; 1 Pe. 1:11; Heb. 2:10ff).
How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? (NIV Luke 24:25-26)
Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. (NIV 1 Peter 1:10-11)
 The term “gospel” comes from one of two sources: 1) the noun euvagge,lion (euaggelion), used 6 times in the LXX and 77 times in the NT, meaning “good tidings, good news” (USB); or 2) the verb euvaggeli,zw (euaggelizo), used 19 times in the LXX and 55 times in the NT, meaning “to bring the good news, preach the good news” (USB). Depending on the translation, these two words are generally rendered “gospel” or “good news” and “preach the gospel” or “preach the good news.” Formal equivalence translations favor “gospel,” while dynamic equivalence translations often use “good news.”
 For example, the KJV/NKJV uses the word “gospel” more than any other translation (103 times) in the New Testament: Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 11:5; 24:14; 26:13; Mk. 1:1, 14f; 8:35; 10:29; 13:10; 14:9; 16:15; Lk. 4:18; 7:22; 9:6; 20:1; Acts 8:25; 14:7, 21; 15:7; 16:10; 20:24; Rom. 1:1, 9, 15f; 2:16; 10:15f; 11:28; 15:16, 19f, 29; 16:25; 1 Co. 1:17; 4:15; 9:12, 14, 16, 18, 23; 15:1; 2 Co. 2:12; 4:3f; 8:18; 9:13; 10:14, 16; 11:4, 7; Gal. 1:6ff, 11; 2:2, 5, 7, 14; 3:8; 4:13; Eph. 1:13; 3:6; 6:15, 19; Phil. 1:5, 7, 12, 17, 27; 2:22; 4:3, 15; Col. 1:5, 23; 1 Thess. 1:5; 2:2, 4, 8f; 3:2; 2 Thess. 1:8; 2:14; 1 Tim. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:8, 10; 2:8; Phlm. 1:13; Heb. 4:2; 1 Pet. 1:12, 25; 4:6, 17; Rev. 14:6. Of these instances, only a handful give any commentary on the nature of the gospel itself beyond the genitives “of God,” “of the kingdom,” “of Christ,” etc.: Rom. 1:1fff; 2:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-57; Gal. 3:8; 2 Thess. 1:5-10; 2 Tim. 1:8fff; 2:8ff; 1 Pet. 1:23ff; Rev. 14:6f. Only 1 Corinthians 15 directly addresses the gospel and attempts to explain its content beyond one or two sentences.
 Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom: An Inductive Study of the Kingdom of God (BMH Books, 1959), 19-21.