What is the TRUE GOSPEL?
by Herbert W. Armstrong
1955, 1970, 1972 edition


What is the true Gospel that Jesus preached? Did Paul preach
a different Gospel to the Gentiles? Here, at last, is made plain
the truth about the Kingdom of God.
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Why should there be such perplexity -- such confusion -- in every
phase of life today? It should be the function of religion to
point the way. Yet here, too, we find only confusion of tongues --
hundreds of religious denominations and sects, in a Babylon of
disagreement.
Even in the professing Christian religion of the Western
world, we find different sects and denominations preaching a
variety of different Gospels! Some designate their gospel as "The
Gospel of Jesus Christ." Others call their gospel "The Gospel of
Salvation." Still others profess "The Gospel of Grace," some "The
Gospel of the Kingdom." And many now blossom out with a modern
"Social Gospel," while others call their gospel "The ISRAEL
Message."
WHY HAVE THEY LOST THE ONLY TRUE GOSPEL WHICH GOD SENT BY
JESUS CHRIST? WHY?

How Many Gospels Are There?

Does it make any difference which Gospel we believe? Listen
to the answer of the Eternal God as inspired in Paul's letter to
the Galatians, the first chapter, the 8th and 9th verses:
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other
gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let
him be accursed." And it is made a double curse! For the next
verse says: "... So say I now again, if any man preach any other
gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed"!
WHY, then, has the world lost sight of that Gospel? WHY do
people believe different gospels today?
This is an astounding, incredible situation! It ought to
shake you out of passive indifference. YOUR eternity is at stake!
This is not a nonconsequential, unimportant matter!
Jesus Christ said it is necessary to BELIEVE THE GOSPEL to
be saved! Yet the many -- the hundreds of millions -- today, do not
know what that Gospel is! Again, His parting commission to His
apostles, being sent out as His ministers to build His Church,
was this: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel." They
were to preach THE GOSPEL.
Jesus then said: He that BELIEVETH and is baptized shall be
saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16).
Notice! Jesus said, He that BELIEVETH. Believeth what? Why,
BELIEVETH that which they PREACHED, of course -- THE GOSPEL! Not a
gospel. Not any gospel. THE Gospel! On the authority of Jesus
Christ, it is necessary to believe THAT PRECISE IDENTICAL GOSPEL
in order to be saved! And to BELIEVE the true Gospel, we must
first come to KNOW what it is!
Now with whom, and from where, and to whom, did the true
Gospel originate? With Christ? No, not with Christ!

The Message Sent From Heaven

God the Father had promised to send a messenger into this
world from heaven, bearing a message from HIM -- God the FATHER!
God had promised that in Malachi 3:1, "Behold, I will send my
messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me [and that
messenger, as explained in Mark 1:2, was John the Baptist,
preparing the way before Jesus Christ]: and the LORD, whom ye
seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, EVEN THE MESSENGER OF
THE COVENANT, whom ye delight in.
The very first sermon by which God had the Gospel preached
to Gentiles, when Peter was sent to the house of the Gentile
Cornelius, recorded in the 10th chapter of the book of Acts,
gives us very explicit directions for locating the one and only
TRUE GOSPEL. Open your own Bible! I want you to read this with
your own eyes! This is what the inspired Peter said, as recorded
in Acts 10:36-37: "The word which GOD sent unto the children of
Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all
Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John
preached."

Which Gospel Did Jesus Preach?

Notice carefully these points: 1) With whom did this
Message -- this Gospel -- originate? Peter said: "The word which GOD
sent." 2) To WHOM did God send it? Peter said: "unto the children
of Israel." Although now, ten years later, this same Gospel was
being opened up to Gentiles of ALL nations, originally it was
sent to the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, and it was sent by GOD THE
FATHER. It did not originate with Jesus Christ, nor with Peter,
nor with the Apostle Paul. It was sent by GOD the Father of Jesus
Christ! 3) BY WHOM was it sent? Who was the divine Messenger who
brought and preached the message? Peter said: "by Jesus Christ."
Jesus Christ was the divine MESSENGER. Malachi called Him the
Messenger of the COVENANT. That message, then, is the NEW
Covenant Message; for Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant,
and Jesus Christ of the NEW, as affirmed by many scriptures. This
message, then, is the NEW TESTAMENT Gospel. Now, 4) WHERE was it
first preached? To what geographical location shall we look for
its beginning? Peter said: It "began from Galilee." Yes, GALILEE,
then, is the place where it was first preached. Not Jerusalem!
Galilee!
When did Jesus begin to preach this particular Gospel in
Galilee? Peter said: "after the baptism which John preached." The
true GOSPEL of the NEW Covenant, then, did not begin with John
the Baptist. It began after John had completed his baptismal
ministry.
Now these very definite directions lead us directly to the
first chapter of Mark. The first verse tells us this is the
record of the BEGINNING of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then it
relates the baptizing ministry of John, preaching, NOT the
Gospel, but "the baptism of repentance," which prepares the way
for the GOSPEL which the living God sent by Jesus Christ.
And then we come to verses 14 and 15: "Now after that John
was put in prison" -- there is the exact TIME for the beginning of
the preaching of the TRUE GOSPEL -- "JESUS" -- there is the divine
Messenger BY whom God sent it -- "came into GALILEE" -- the precise
geographical location. So we now have the TIME, the Israelites
residing there TO WHOM God sent the Message, the PLACE, and the
MESSENGER -- so whatever we find Jesus preaching here IS THE ONE
AND ONLY TRUE GOSPEL.
And what do we read? "Jesus came into Galilee, PREACHING THE
GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and saying, The time is fulfilled,
and the KINGDOM OF GOD is at hand: REPENT YE, and BELIEVE THE
GOSPEL.
Notice, Jesus said, "Believe THE GOSPEL!"
WHAT Gospel? The one He was proclaiming -- "the Gospel of the
Kingdom of God."
But, one may ask, don't we need to believe on Jesus? Of
course. Other scriptures teach that. But at this particular time
Jesus said we must believe Him -- believe what He said -- believe the
Gospel of the Kingdom of God!
Some believed on Jesus, but did not believe Jesus -- did not
believe what He SAID (John 7:31; 8:30, 31, 46).

What About the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

But if the one and only TRUE Gospel is the Gospel of the
Kingdom of God, what about the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Is that a
false gospel?
Not at all. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel He
brought as God's Messenger -- the Gospel He proclaimed is the
Gospel of the Kingdom of GOD.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT man's gospel ABOUT THE
PERSON of Christ. It is CHRIST'S Gospel -- the Gospel Jesus
PREACHED -- the Gospel God SENT by Him, and therefore it is also
called, in Scripture, the Gospel of God. The Gospel of God is
God's GOSPEL -- His Message -- His Good News which He sent by Jesus.
Also the Gospel of Jesus Christ is Christ's Gospel -- the
Gospel Christ brought from God -- the Gospel He proclaimed.
We hear a great deal today of the gospel of MEN about the
PERSON of Jesus Christ -- confining the message solely to the
things ABOUT Jesus. As a result, millions believe on Christ, who
do not BELIEVE CHRIST! But Jesus' Gospel IS HIS MESSAGE!
And yet it was not only His, but His FATHER'S who sent Him,
as He Himself said. In John 12:49-50, Jesus said: "I have not
spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, HE gave me a
commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I
know that HIS commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak
therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak."
Yes, the Father SENT Jesus bearing a Message, which is the
Good News of THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Jesus is God's Spokesman -- the
WORD that was made flesh and lived, and taught, on this earth! In
John 14:24 Jesus said, "The word which ye hear is NOT MINE, but
the Father's which sent me."
And descriptive of the religion of the Old Testament, and
the GOSPEL of the NEW, it is written in Luke 16:16: "The law and
the prophets were UNTIL JOHN: since that time the KINGDOM OF GOD
is preached."

What Is the Kingdom of God?

And yet there are some in this modern day of religious
confusion who believe the Gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD is not for
this age -- this NEW Testament time of grace. They reject and
therefore do not BELIEVE the true Gospel as Jesus commanded and
thereby reject the very conditions to SALVATION, saying the
Gospel of the KINGDOM is a gospel for some future age yet to
come. But as the Apostle Paul said to the Thessalonians, I would
not have you to be IGNORANT of the very Gospel which alone can
bring us eternal life!
There was a definite TIME for the beginning of the Gospel --
since John. The law and the prophets were UNTIL John. Since
John's special preparatory ministry, THE KINGDOM OF GOD is
preached. There was a definite TIME for this true New Testament
Gospel to begin. And after John was put in prison, Jesus came
into Galilee, saying, "The TIME is fulfilled," and preaching the
Gospel.
And so now, WHAT IS that Gospel?
The English word Gospel comes from the word "God-spell," and
means GOOD NEWS. Daily, we read the NEWS of world happenings --
mostly BAD news! We live in a troubled, chaotic world. And the
very BEST news you can hear in this day, or any other, is the
GOOD NEWS of the KINGDOM OF GOD.
But what is a KINGDOM? Primarily, it is a GOVERNMENT -- a
NATION and the GOVERNMENT which rules it. And especially in this
Biblical sense, there is the DUAL sense of the NATION, including
all its subjects or citizens, and the GOVERNMENT by which it is
ruled. Again -- in BIBLE usage, a Kingdom is often a family from a
single parent grown into a NATION.
Four things are necessary to constitute a KINGDOM: 1) The
TERRITORY, with its specific location and definite boundary
lines, with 2) a KING or Supreme Ruler or governing agent, ruling
over 3) SUBJECTS or citizens within that territorial
jurisdiction, with 4) LAWS and form of GOVERNMENT. If we leave
out any one of these vital requisites, we do not have, and cannot
BELIEVE, the true GOSPEL for this time. We must know whether the
Kingdom of God is here NOW, or coming later; whether its
territory is THE EARTH, or up in heaven; whether it is a literal
kingdom of human mortals, or a kingdom of immortals; whether it
is literal or figurative, real or unreal. And on many of these
things, a great many people are ALL MIXED UP!
But now what about the Gospel of GRACE -- the Gospel of
SALVATION?

Born Into the Kingdom

Notice, when Nicodemus came to Jesus secretly, as recorded
in John the 3rd chapter, Jesus said to him: "Verily, verily, I
say unto thee, Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the
KINGDOM OF GOD. Jesus was proclaiming the KINGDOM OF GOD --
explaining a most important phase of it. As Paul wrote to the
Church at Corinth in I Corinthians 15, flesh and blood -- that is,
a mortal human -- cannot enter IN to the Kingdom of God. The
Church, then, cannot be the Kingdom of God, for it is composed of
flesh-and-blood mortals. The Kingdom is not, either, an ethereal
something "set up in the hearts of men."
Jesus went on to show Nicodemus that we who are born of
flesh ARE flesh -- just mortal flesh and blood. We were BORN that
way -- HUMAN -- MORTAL. But it is possible for us to be BORN AGAIN --
next time, not as a mortal flesh-and-blood baby, but born of the
SPIRIT. Then we shall be spirit -- composed of spirit!
Now in the 4th chapter of John we read that GOD is a SPIRIT.
The Kingdom of GOD is composed of those BORN of GOD. And as I
have explained previously, GOD is not a single person, but the
Hebrew word for God, Elohim, portrays God as a FAMILY of persons-
-a single family, or kingdom, but composed of MORE than one
person.
We have the mineral kingdom -- the plant kingdom -- the animal
kingdom. The Bible reveals an angel kingdom, created by God and
composed of spirit, not matter. And then, high above all, is the
very CREATING Kingdom -- the GOD Kingdom, or, in other words, THE
KINGDOM OF GOD! God is REPRODUCING HIMSELF! God created man in
GOD'S IMAGE, so that man may become impregnated, BEGOTTEN, and,
by a resurrection, be BORN as an immortal, SPIRIT-COMPOSED person
in the KINGDOM OF GOD.
The Apostle Paul made very plain to the Corinthians that
while mortal flesh and blood cannot inherit, or enter into, the
Kingdom of God, that through the resurrection of those BEGOTTEN
BY THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD during this mortal life, this MORTAL
then puts on IMMORTALITY, and we, like the very God Himself,
become IMMORTAL, INCORRUPTIBLE, actually, literally, BORN of
God's Spirit INTO the very GOD FAMILY. (Write for our free
booklets "Why Were You Born?" and "Just What Do You Mean -- Born
Again?")

Conditions of Entering

Now, HOW do we enter into that glorious KINGDOM? Jesus came
preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, REPENT,
and BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.
Just TWO things we do -- REPENT, and BELIEVE. We must BELIEVE
the Gospel, and that means also believing on JESUS CHRIST, the
KING of the Kingdom of God, and coming KING of kings over all the
families of the earth. It means believing in Him as personal
SAVIOUR, as High Priest now, and as coming KING.
But to repent is to completely CHANGE THE MIND in respect to
SIN, and "sin is the transgression of the LAW" (I John 3:4) -- the
Law of GOD by which God RULES the Kingdom.
It means a total, complete CHANGE OF MIND AND OF LIFE. It
means we REPENT of transgressing the rule, the will, the laws, of
GOD. What did Jesus say to the young man who asked Him HOW to
inherit eternal life? He said, "IF thou wilt enter into life,
KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS" (Mat. 19:17).
He went on to show that He referred to the TEN COMMANDMENTS,
God's great SPIRITUAL LAW, summing up, in principle, the WHOLE
duty of righteous living. It is a WAY OF LIFE, and a way contrary
to human nature, and to the ways and customs of this world! It is
the basic spiritual Law, and way of life, of the KINGDOM OF GOD --
the WAY to peace of mind, to world peace, to happiness,
prosperity and JOY -- the WAY to eternal life.

Kingdom of God to Be Preached TODAY

Yes, JESUS proclaimed and taught the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM
OF GOD. But did He command His ministers, in BUILDING HIS CHURCH,
to preach this same Gospel? Quickly let us notice the Scriptures.
Luke 9: 1-2: "Then he called his twelve disciples
together ... and he sent them to PREACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD."
Luke 10:1, 2, 9: "After these things the Lord appointed
other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face
into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
Therefore said he unto them ... heal the sick that are therein, and
say unto them, The KINGDOM OF GOD is come nigh unto you."
In Jesus' prayer, so commonly called "The Lord's Prayer, He
prayed, THY KINGDOM COME -- then it wasn't here yet, and it isn't
here yet, today -- but He taught us to pray for it to COME, for His
KINGDOM and that ALONE shall bring PEACE and HAPPINESS to this
sin-sick, war-weary earth! "Thy Kingdom COME -- THY WILL, BE DONE
on earth, as it is in heaven. The FATHER'S WILL.
What Gospel did the early evangelists preach, in first
sending out the FAITH ONCE DELIVERED? How did the early Church
carry out the commission?
Notice PHILIP preaching at Samaria! Acts 8:12: "But when
they BELIEVED Philip preaching the things concerning THE KINGDOM
OF GOD, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both
men and women." Philip preached the things concerning THE KINGDOM
OF GOD.
Paul? Acts 20:25, 21: "I have gone preaching THE KINGDOM OF
GOD ... testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks,
repentance toward God, and FAITH toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
And notice the Gospel Paul preached to GENTILES, after he had
turned completely away from the Jews.
Acts 28:30-31: "And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own
hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching
THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and teaching those things which concern the
Lord Jesus Christ."
And, WHAT GOSPEL did Jesus say should be preached TODAY?
Matthew 24:14, speaking of the PRESENT: "And this GOSPEL OF
THE KINGDOM shall be preached in ALL THE WORLD for a witness -- for
a WITNESS -- unto ALL NATIONS; and then shall the END come"! -- the
end of this AGE.

Gospel Only Solution to World Problems

A single, all-powerful, WORLD-RULING GOVERNMENT is coming
that will equalize all world problems fairly and righteously for
ALL PEOPLES. Of course scientists say such a world-ruling
government is impossible. Yet the Biblical revelation says it is
NOT impossible -- and that it is actually coming -- and IN OUR TIME.
It's about time that SOMEONE speaks out, in this world, and
tells the world that the very GOSPEL of Jesus Christ was the
advance ANNOUNCEMENT of this very world GOVERNMENT -- a government,
NOT by selfishly motivated man but by the living all-powerful
God.
Jesus Christ's message -- His Gospel -- was the Kingdom of God --
the GOVERNMENT of the living God!
Jesus Christ was BORN to be a KING (Luke 1:31-33). When
Jesus was on trial for His life, Pilate said to Him: "Art thou a
king then?" Jesus answered, "Thou sayest that I am a king. To
this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world ..."
(John 18:37). Jesus had just told Pilate: "My kingdom is not of
this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my
servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but
now is my kingdom not from hence [that is, not of this age, but
of the world tomorrow]" (John 18:36).
Jesus is coming in supreme POWER and GLORY. Notice this
description of the event: "Then shall appear the sign of the Son
of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth
mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of
heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30).
He is coming to set up the GOVERNMENT OF GOD and to rule all
nations with the help of those who have qualified in this life.
In Revelation 3:21 Christ is quoted as saying: "To him that
overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I
also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." And
again: "He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to
him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them
with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be
broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father" (Revelation
2:26-27).
Jesus is the Messiah. Notice Isaiah's prophecy about the
Messiah's coming government. "For a child is born unto us, a son
is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder ... that
the government may be increased and of peace there be no end,
upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it,
and to uphold it through justice and through righteousness from
henceforth even for ever" (Isaiah 9:5-6, Jewish Publication
Society).
Micah predicted this time when he wrote: "In the last days
it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be
exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many
nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the
mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and
he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for
the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from
Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke
strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into
plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not
lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any
more" (Micah 4:1-3).
When the Messiah returns with all the power of God, we shall
have WORLD PEACE, with happiness, joy, prosperity -- and a CHANGED
WORLD inheriting ETERNAL LIFE.
That is the true Gospel proclaimed over The WORLD TOMORROW
on the air worldwide -- "IN ALL THE WORLD."

ADDITIONAL READING

Further information about the Kingdom of God is available in our
free booklets: "Just What Do You Mean -- Kingdom of God?" and "What
Do You Mean ... Salvation?"