Are mainstream Christian Bible teachers and pastors really teaching what Yeshua and his apostles preached?
Recently, I received a letter where the writer asked the following question: Is the gospel of the kingdom is different than that of the death, burial and resurrection or are the two connected?
Here is my answer to this excellent question:
The phrase, “gospel of the kingdom” is found in Matt 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mark 1:14, 15. We also find that the Gospels record that John the Baptist preached the message of repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt 3:2). The same words were used to describe the message that Yeshua preached (Matt 4:17). At the same time, both Yeshua and John preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven as well (Mark 1:14, 14 and Matt 4:23; 9:35). Yeshua’s disciples were to preach the same message to the world (Matt 24:14). Therefore, it is logical to conclude that the message the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection as the apostles taught and the gospel of the kingdom are one in the same. Succinctly, they taught that one cannot enter the the kingdom of Elohim without placing one’s faith in Messiah. Therefore, these two messages are linked, indivisible and two sides of the same coin.
The problem is that the message of the kingdom is foreign to many Christians. They know about Yeshua, but little is taught or known about the kingdom of Elohim, even though this was a core component of the gospel message. This is because, in the minds of most Christians, when you die, your immortal soul “goes back to heaven” period. So what is the relevance of talking about the kingdom of Elohim in this paradigm? Little if any. Yet the kingdom of heaven/Elohim was one of the subjects that Yeshua talked about the most—certainly more than heaven or hell!
Let’s let the data speak for itself. Years ago I cataloged by topic the subjects Yeshua talked about the most in the synoptic Gospels (Matt, Mark and Luke). This is what I discovered:
1 Yeshua Speaking About Himself (316 references)
2 Yeshua Speaking About His Father (184 references)
3 Yeshua Interacting With the Disobedient/Hypocritical Religionists (177 references)
4 Yeshua Speaking About the Kingdom of Elohim (144 references)
5 Yeshua Talking About the Torah (96 references)
So where does the gospel message that the mainstream church preaches fit into this paradigmatic scenario? Is it really preaching what Yeshua himself preached? Well, from the data above, it seems that that they’ve got the first subject covered quite well, thank you very much. But anyone with any church experience will see that that they’ve missed it big time on subjects two through five! This, in my opinion, is why the gospel of the kingdom, not to mention the subject Torah are such foreign concepts to the average Christian.
After that, Yeshua talked most about these topics:
6 Yeshua Speaking About the Path of Righteousness (71 references)
7 Yeshua Teaching on Judgment (58 references)
8 Yeshua Speaking About His Death, Burial and Resurrection (54 references)
9 Yeshua Teaching About Obedience/Faithfulness (45 references)
10 Yeshua Speaking About Spiritual Rewards (43 references)
Sadly, the church doesn’t have much to say about most of these subjects as well.
By comparison, some of the things about which many churches teach the most frequently are are near the bottom of the list of what Yeshua preached about if even on the list at all. These include:
- Money: 3 references (although “the perils of materialism” had 19 references)
- Blessings: 4 references
- Miracles and signs: 25 references
- Physical needs: 2 references
- Love (brotherly): 10 references
- Love (of Elohim for man and vice versa): 19 references
The following subjects are not on the list of topics Yeshua discussed despite the fact that they are popular subjects within Christian circles (go to any Christian book store and see what the subjects of the best selling Christian books are!).
- Financial security
- Pleasure and entertainment
- Sexual pleasure and fulfillment
- Self esteem
So when John and Yeshua preached the gospel of the kingdom, and when Yeshua commanded his disciples to do the same (Matt 10:7), while at the same time preaching the basic message of the good news of Yeshua the Messiah (Matt 28:18–20; Mark 16:16; etc.), this is what they did, even though the church, by in large, doesn’t preach half of the gospel message, that is, the kingdom of Elohim and repentance.
Suffice it to say, briefly, the Scriptures teach us that the kingdom of heaven/Elohim was brought to this earth by Yeshua, is currently in force among his people, and will be made universal when Yeshua returns to this earth as King of kings and establishes his millennial kingdom here. Belief and faith in Yeshua along with repentance of sin (violation of the Torah) and obedience to his Torah commands will be requisite to being a part of that kingdom.