The Gospel of the Kingdom: Interpreting the Times – Part 2

Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”(Mark 1:15)

We are living in an epoch or period of time in human history in which I believe the preaching of the gospel must be ramped up and continued to be preached to every nation before the end comes. Nations are first mentioned in Genesis 10:5: “From these the people of the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations. “

epoch: a period of time in history or a person’s life, typically one marked by notable events or particular characteristics1

Acts 17:26-28 reveals God’s heart for nations: “and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might feel around for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His descendants.’ Other translations state that “He made also of one blood every nation of men, to dwell upon all the face of the earth — having ordained times before appointed, and the bounds of their dwellings.

Revelation 5:8-9 says, When He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation.

Throughout the Scriptures we can see God’s heart for every tribe, language, people and nation. That is why it is so important for the Church to fulfill the Great Commission to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). As the body of Christ we are to “‘Go out into the roads and the hedges and press upon them to come in” so that Christ’s house may be filled (Luke 14:23). Christ Himself instructed the disciples to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you;” (Matt. 28:19-20). To do this we must become doers of the word and not just hearers only (James 1:22).

Understanding these present times

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains” (Matt. 24:7-8). The word translated “nation” in this text is the Greek word ethnos (people, caste, tribe) from which we derive our English word “ethnic. In this passage the Lord declared that a prominent sign at the end of this age and His return would be ethnic conflict. One of the greatest issues now facing America, the world, and the church is ethnic conflict. Author and public speaker Rick Joyner shared in Overcoming Racism (1996): “If the church does not face this problem of overcoming racism within our own ranks and take spiritual authority over it, the world will soon fall into an abyss of chaos, destruction, and suffering of unprecedented proportions—all from racial conflict.”2

Where are we today? 2 Timothy 3:1 provides the answer: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, slanderers,  disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power; avoid such people as these” (2 Tim. 3:1-5). We ate not to fear these times. Instead, we are to live by faith in the Son of God!

This time has been marked by a worldwide pandemic. In America, there have been 32 millions cases and over 500 thousand of deaths, economic crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, a resurgence of racism and police brutality against African-Americans, a rise in racism and hate crimes against Asian-Americans, and continual political upheaval and church divisions.

I believe this is not only a significant time for many nations, but also for the church. The truth is, we are living in such critical times that it is imperative for believers to learn to know the voice of God and His dealings with His people and nations. Our mission is to push back the gates of hell and advance the Kingdom of God on earth. Discernment, when coupled with wisdom, enables us to perceive the move of the Holy Spirit and align ourselves with God’s Kingdom purposes. Enabling the us to recognize and resist evil and be empowered to triumph in every spiritual battle. Some of you may need to redeem the time as it states in Ephesians 5:16 because the days are evil. Throughout this journey I have had to learn to make it through the narrow transitions of life trusting the Lord to guide me along the way by making every day count. Some days I miss the mark, but I keep pressing towards the it. I encourage you to choose each day to follow and serve God!

It’s important that we understand the present times we are living in light of the gospel message of Christ. The truth is, we are living in such critical times today that it is imperative for believers to learn to hear the voice of God from the counterfeit. Sadly, there has been a decline in religion and church attendance within the US in the past several years. Pew Research Center noted in a 2019 article, “The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip”3 from conducting telephone surveys in 2018 and 2019, when asked about their religion, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. They also noted that the religiously unaffiliated consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009. 4 This should be a concern for the body of Christ as we are commissioned to preach the gospel and teach others how to obey the Word of God (Matt. 24:24).

Prayer

Father, give me discernment so I can ask You what I really need to know and see. Open my spiritual eyes to see You and Your heavenly hosts. I don’t want to miss a moment of what You have preordained for me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Notes: All Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard unless otherwise noted.

  1. Google Dictionary
  2. Joyner, R. (1996). Overcoming Racism. MorningStar Publications
  3. Pew Research, (2019 October 17) In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace, Pew Research Center, 
  4. ibid

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