What Is the True Gospel?
From the Bible Correspondence Course Staff

“Just believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you’ll be saved.” That’s what most Christian ministers are working very hard to try to get across to you. Turn on your television on Sunday and see Gospel Video tv, the Gospel Entertainment Network, the Gospel Music Channel and so on. You’ll see preachers telling you all about who Jesus was. Believe on Him! Accept Christ! Let Him into your heart!

The gospel is everywhere on Sunday! Or is it?

Believe it or not, preaching about Jesus Christ and imploring the unconverted to believe on Him is not the same as preaching Christ’s gospel!

Jesus was the Son of God and our Savior. But He was also a messenger. His purpose was to communicate something from God to mankind. The miracles of Jesus Christ are not the gospel. His personal attributes are not the gospel. The existence of Jesus Christ is not the gospel.

What Jesus Christ preached is the gospel!

So, if Jesus’s message wasn’t just about Himself, then what was it about? What is the gospel?

False Gospels Preached Today

In today’s professing Christian Western world, we hear a variety of “gospels”: the “gospel of grace,” the “gospel of salvation,” the “social gospel.” Most of these are messages about Christ. Others include the “science of mind” or “religious science.”

None of these are the gospel Jesus proclaimed!

The true gospel Jesus brought proclaims the solution to the world’s sufferings, frustrations and indescribable evils. It goes so far beyond proclaiming that Jesus was real. But men rejected that gospel and crucified Jesus for preaching it! Billions today believe on Christ, but do not believe His gospel—because most have never heard it! They have heard of Christ and what He did. But no one has relayed His actual message. And that true gospel is the solution to your problems, national problems and world problems! It explains how to receive happiness, abundance, fulfillment and eternal life! Yet the vast majority of Christians have never heard the true gospel.

1. What did Jesus tell His disciples would happen prior to His return? Matthew 24:4-5.

This is shocking when you really think about it. Jesus Christ prophesied that many people would be deceived about Him. He said that “many” ministers would teach that He was the Christ, yet He called them “deceivers.” Thousands of “Christian” ministers have “preached Christ” for centuries. They have said Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. But they have withheld Christ’s gospel—the rest of what He taught. And billions have been deceived by these false gospels, just as Christ predicted!

A deceived person does not know he is deceived—otherwise he would not be deceived. Millions have been deceived into accepting a false gospel—a false salvation!

2. Did the Apostle Paul lament the fact that there were already many false apostles, teaching a counterfeit gospel in his day? Galatians 1:6-9.

About 20 years after Christ’s death, Paul pronounced a curse on anyone who would dare preach any gospel besides the one true gospel Jesus preached. That is the message Paul continued to preach to the Galatians, yet the Galatians had also heard another “gospel” preached by false ministers who claimed to represent Christ. Today we have even more perverted gospels being taught. The vast majority of believers know a gospel, but they don’t know Christ’s gospel!

3. What did Paul say is in store for those who through their wickedness suppress the truth of God? Romans 1:18. (The Revised Standard Version plainly translates “hold the truth” as “suppress the truth.”)

Before the end of the first century a.d., the message of the true gospel taught by Christ and His apostles was suppressed, and false “gospels” had been substituted. Christ’s message would not be proclaimed worldwide again until the latter half of the 20th century!

4. Did Jesus Christ say it is necessary to believe the gospel to be saved? Mark 16:15-16.

Notice Jesus said, “He that believeth.” Believes what? The message He preached—the gospel! Not a gospel. Not any gospel. THE gospel! Jesus Christ told His apostles—and you—that you must believe His precise, identical gospel in order to be saved!

In order to believe that gospel, however, you must first come to know what gospel Jesus preached.

The ‘Gospel of the Kingdom of God’

1. Where did Jesus first preach the gospel? Mark 1:14; Acts 10:36-37. When did Jesus begin preaching the gospel? Same verses.

Galilee is the place where Jesus first preached the gospel, not Jerusalem. And He began preaching “after the baptism which John preached.”

2. What was the “gospel” Jesus preached? Mark 1:14.

The message God sent by Jesus Christ was the “gospel of the Kingdom of God.” Jesus was sent to announce that message. He did not force men to accept it, believe it or act upon it. He never pleaded with a single person to become converted. He proclaimed the good news of the Kingdom of God, and then left it to God the Father to call, through that announcement and His Spirit, those whom He would select (John 6:44). Christ did not come at that time to convert the world! He did not launch a “soul saving” crusade. He came to announce the gospel—the good news—of the coming Kingdom of God!

3. Nevertheless, did Jesus say it was necessary to repent and believe the gospel He preached? Mark 1:14-15.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is not that familiar gospel about the life and times of Christ. It is Christ’s gospel—the gospel He preached. Scripture calls it not “the gospel about God” but “the gospel of God.”

4. Whom did Jesus plainly say sent Him and told Him what to say? John 12:49-50.

The Father sent Jesus bearing a special message: 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!

5. When Christ comes, what will His mission be this time? Revelation 19:11-16. See also Revelation 11:15.

When Christ returns, He will not be simply preaching about the Kingdom of God—He will be establishing and ruling the Kingdom of God! If you believe your Bible, you’ll see the “Kingdom of God” is a literal government ruling over every nation on Earth. At Christ’s Second Coming, He will literally take over every national government. He will become the “King of kings,” ruling and enforcing the law of God. The gospel of the Kingdom of God is the good news that the government of God is coming to rule the world! The Kingdom of God is also the Family of God into which human beings will be born—the divine royal Family! This is what Jesus preached at His first coming, and it is what He will establish at His Second!

Christ’s Gospel Has Been Proclaimed to the World!

John the Baptist was the “messenger” that Malachi prophesied would prepare the way before Jesus Christ’s ministry 2,000 years ago (Malachi 3:1; Mark 1:4, 7-8; Luke 1:13-17). An angel prophesied that John would go ahead of Christ “in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah], to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and … to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).

1. After John was put in prison and Christ had begun His ministry, what did Jesus prophesy about Elijah? Matthew 17:10-13. Did Malachi also prophesy of another Elijah? Malachi 4:5. What would this “Elijah” do? Verse 6; Matthew 17:11.

The apostles were expecting an Elijah to come in the future. Jesus Christ said that he would indeed come in the future, and he would restore “all things.” Jesus also revealed to them something else that they didn’t know. Another type of the original Elijah—John the Baptist—had already come (verses 12-13). Jesus Christ said that John was a type, not only of the original Elijah, but also of the future “Elijah.” This man would also be sent by God in the spirit and power of Elijah the prophet. When Christ spoke these words, that hadn’t happened yet! This Elijah was to come prior to His Second Coming (Malachi 3:1-6).

Christ will restore God’s government over the entire Earth. Before that, He sent someone in the spirit and power of Elijah to restore His rule inside His Church first. Believe it or not, that event has happened already!

God used this modern Elijah to restore the truth Christ taught, including Christ’s gospel of the Kingdom of God! That gospel was restored at the beginning of 1934 when Herbert W. Armstrong went on air with the World Tomorrow radio program. By 1953, the same gospel Christ preached was being broadcast around the world, and by 1972, Mr. Armstrong was meeting presidents and heads of state worldwide—proclaiming that same gospel.

Mr. Armstrong produced the World Tomorrow television program, which by the mid-1980s was the most widely viewed religious program in the U.S., and was watched by multiple millions worldwide. His flagship magazine, the Plain Truth, reached a monthly circulation of 8.4 million, and an estimated readership of 25 million in six languages across 200 countries.

2. Where did Jesus say the gospel of the Kingdom of God would be preached? Mark 13:10. When did He say that the gospel would be preached in all the world as a witness? Matthew 24:14.

The fruits of Herbert W. Armstrong’s life prove that God used him to fulfill Matthew 24:14. That gospel has been preached to all the world as a witness! To prove for yourself whether or not he was the modern-day Elijah, read our reprint article “Elijah Has Come Already.”

3. How did Christ compare the works that His servants would do to the mighty miracles He performed while on Earth? John 14:12.

Christ’s Work today is reaching far more people than He reached while on Earth! With modern technology, His gospel message can now reach millions of people via print, television, radio and the Internet.

The Philadelphia Trumpet magazine is proclaiming Christ’s gospel and His warning as a powerful witness to a readership of over 1 million. It is translated into Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The Key of David with Gerald Flurry airs on over 200 television stations around the world.

This is a globe-girdling work! The sun never sets on the offices of the Philadelphia Church of God. The Church is prophesying again as Christ commanded, delivering His gospel! (Revelation 10:11).

The gospel has been preached to all the world as a witness. Now, in this time of no more delay, the message must be delivered once more just before Christ returns. This is now being fulfilled before your very eyes and ears!