THE PREACHING OF THE DISCIPLES
The Lord Jesus called some disciples, not only twelve, but also at least seventy. He sent them out and charged them to preach the kingdom saying, "The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near" (Matt. 10:7; Luke 10:1, 9). Not only did the Lord Himself repeat and continue the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom, but He also charged His disciples to repeat it.
According to Luke, a man came saying, "Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father." The Lord responded, "Let the dead bury their dead" (Luke 9:59-60). The Lord seemed to be saying, "Let the dead ones do the dead things. If you want to be living, you must follow Me and preach the kingdom of God. Let the dead ones bury the dead, but the living ones must preach the gospel of the kingdom." John the Baptist preached the kingdom, the Lord Jesus preached the kingdom, and all His disciples were charged to preach the kingdom. Even such a little disciple as was mentioned in Luke was told to preach the kingdom. This is wonderful!
THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM
When the Lord Jesus was preparing to leave His disciples, He prophesied that the gospel of the kingdom would be preached to the whole inhabited earth and to all nations (Matt. 24:14). Some Bible teachers have taught that the kingdom is a dispensational matter. They have taught that the Lord came with the kingdom and presented it to the Jewish people. When they rejected Him, He took back the kingdom and suspended it until another age. According to their teaching, this is the age of the church and not the age of the kingdom. The kingdom has been suspended and will come again one day. When the Lord comes back, He will bring with Him the suspended kingdom. This kind of teaching is not according to the pure Word of God. According to the Bible, the kingdom of God has never been suspended. In Matthew 21:43 the Lord Jesus said that the kingdom of God would be taken from the Jewish people and be given to another people, that is, to the church. This indicates that the kingdom has never been suspended. If the kingdom has been suspended, there was no need for the Lord, after His resurrection, to speak to His disciples concerning the kingdom for forty days (Acts 1:3). When I was young, I took in this teaching, thinking that it was wonderful because I had learned something about the Bible. However, eventually I realized that I was taught incorrectly.
Matthew 24:14 says the "gospel of the kingdom," not the gospel of grace or the gospel of salvation. Although many of you have read the book of Matthew several times, you may have never noticed the term the "gospel of the kingdom." Yet the Lord Jesus said that this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to the inhabited earth (Gk.). The inhabited earth means every place inhabited by man. The gospel of the kingdom must be preached to the inhabited earth, to all nations, as a witness. It will not only be preached to the Jews, but to all the nations. In Greek, the word translated "nations" is the same word that is elsewhere translated "Gentiles." The gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to all the Gentiles. Hallelujah! Most of us are Gentiles. We are all privileged to hear the gospel of the kingdom. This gospel must be preached to every corner of the inhabited earth. The Lord has opened up this matter to us so that wherever we go with the recovery of the church, the gospel of the kingdom will be preached.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)