The Gospel of the Kingdom
Who will enter into the Kingdom?
Question: There will be many who will enter into blessing under the reign of the Lord in the Millennium: if the judgment is to be world-wide, who will these be?
They will be a remnant of Israel, and a great company of Gentiles, and as God's dealings with these two will be different, it will be well to consider them separately.
For this the Lord's words in Matthew 24 will help us. Under the godless, devil-inspired domination of the Beast and Antichrist there "shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (v.21). These words are from the Lord's own lips, which fact gives them a special force. But in the midst of that tribulation which will beat more fiercely on the Jews than upon any other people, the Lord will have His elect, and for their sake the days will be shortened (v.22). The elect of this verse will be found among the Jews, and in verse 31 there are others who are to be gathered together from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other; these are probably not only Jews, that is, men of the tribe of Judah, but also of the whole of Israel. They are elect, which means the sovereign mercy of God has chosen them. But how will they be distinguished from the rest of the rebellious people? God's way has always been to bring such to light by a testimony from Himself, and the testimony then will be the Gospel of the Kingdom. "This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (v.14).
This Gospel will not be the Gospel of the grace of God, which tells of full redemption in Christ, and the sealing of the Holy Spirit and of heavenly hopes, which we have heard and believed; though it will be a Gospel of grace surely, and Christ will be the theme of it, or it would be no Gospel at all, but it will tell of the coming of the Lord as King, of His kingdom to be established on the earth as John the Baptist and the Lord Himself and His disciples proclaimed when He was here. It will be the proclamation of His supremacy over all, and the test will be whether this Word of God and testimony of Jesus is received or rejected.
Those who receive the mark of the Beast in their foreheads and hands and worship his image, will not receive it, but those who refuse that delusion of the devil will; and by this testimony, not only the nation of the Jews, but all nations will be sharply divided. And as those who will be for the Beast and Antichrist will at that time be in the ascendancy, those who are for Christ will suffer great persecution. Many will be martyred, and have a heavenly reward, for they will have part in "the first resurrection and shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years" (Revelation 20:4). Others will be preserved and sustained by the Lord through the tribulation and will endure to the end, and they shall be saved for the Millennial Kingdom (Matthew 24:13). We must bear in mind that Matthew 24 has this time of tribulation in view and does not apply to the present time.
Will there be another chance for those who reject the Gospel?
Question: Two questions arise in the mind from what you have said. 1st, Does it mean that there will be a second chance for those who reject the Gospel now and may be alive then? 2nd, Who will preach this Gospel of the Kingdom?
There will certainly be no second opportunity for those who have refused God's salvation as it is now preached; "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" The Gospel of the grace of God is God's best; if the best does not appeal to the heart of a man, nothing else will. But there are hundreds of millions in the world who have never heard the Gospel, and who know nothing of the Christian faith, except as some of them have seen it, so horribly corrupted as in Roman Catholic and Greek church lands. Pernicious books have been published in which it has been taught, that some who do not receive Christ as Saviour now, will refuse to yield to Antichrist and suffer martyrdom, but the Word says, "Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). That surely is conclusive, as are many other Scriptures.
As to who will proclaim this gospel, we learn from Revelation 11 that a new testimony to God will be given in Jerusalem by two witnesses, raised up and empowered by God, and though the majority will rejoice when they are slain, we may be sure that their witness will not be in vain. The Spirit of God will use it and the remnant will be born again. They will be "an afflicted and poor people and they shall trust in the Name of the Lord" (Zephaniah 3:12 ). The Lord's words to His apostles in Matthew 10 and Luke 21 will have a special reference to them, and they will go forth to speak with "a mouth of wisdom" that He will give them. In Matthew 25:40 the Lord speaks of them as "these My brethren." "The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it."
The Elect Remnant
Question: How will the Lord appear to this elect remnant?
He will appear when the tribulation-persecution of the Jewish nation under the Antichrist will have reached its height, and His coming will bring it to an end. All nations will be gathered against Jerusalem and the city shall be taken, "then the Lord shall go forth and fight against those nations" (Zechariah 14). His appearing will be the destruction of those foes, but it will be the deliverance of the Godly Jews who are looking for Him. "To them that look for Him shall He appear . unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28 ). "His feet shall stand in that day on the Mount of Olives . . and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley . and ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains ... and the Lord my God shall come and all the saints with Thee" (Zechariah 14:4-6). This passage throws light on the Lord's words in Matthew 24:15,16. "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand). Then let them which be in Judæa flee into the mountains." And it will be the fulfilment of Acts 1:11. "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven." He will return to the very spot from which He went up, His feet will stand again upon the mount of Olives.
As Joseph revealed himself to his guilty brethren of old (Genesis 45) and they confessed their sin of selling and persecuting him, so will the Lord reveal Himself to Israel who betrayed and sold Him into the hands of the Gentiles, and they will repent and mourn and confess. "The spirit of grace and supplications" shall be poured out upon them, and they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced, "and they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son, and is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zechariah 12:10 ). "And they shall ask what are these wounds in Thine hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends" (Zechariah 13:6). It is thus that they will be brought to own the once crucified Jesus as their great Messiah. And it shall be said in that day of Him, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us; this is the Lord: we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation" (Isaiah 25:9).
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