Bible prophecies reveal the gospel of Jesus would be corrupted, the world would be deceived into believing a false gospel, but the true gospel would be restored and proclaimed just before the return of Jesus Christ. Those prophecies are coming alive today!
Most professing Christian churches today believe they are following the instructions of Jesus to "go into all the world and preach the gospel" (Mark 16:15). Many sincere efforts have been made to preach a gospel of grace—God loves everyone, Jesus died to save sinners and by accepting Jesus as your savior you go to heaven. However, what most professing Christians do not realize is that they have accepted and are promoting a different gospel than Jesus and the Apostles proclaimed! Bible prophecies reveal the gospel of Jesus would be corrupted, the world would be deceived into believing a false gospel, but the true gospel would be restored and proclaimed just before the return of Jesus Christ. Those prophecies are coming alive today!
It is eye-opening to compare the gospel Jesus proclaimed with the gospel preached in churches today. Jesus did not go around asking people to "give their hearts to the Lord" and say a short prayer so they could be saved. Numerous scriptures clearly record the same message—that "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying… the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:14–15; Matthew 4:17, 23). In the book of Matthew Jesus refers to His coming death and resurrection only three times, yet He refers to the coming kingdom of God more than 30 times! Mark and Luke record a similar emphasis. When Jesus commissioned His disciples, "He sent them to preach the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:2). Jesus taught, those who are converted, who become humble and teachable, will be "the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:1–5). Jesus promised the Apostles they would "sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" in the coming kingdom (Matthew 19:23–30). When Christ appeared to His disciples after the resurrection, the kingdom of God was the main topic of discussion (Acts 1:1–7).
The Apostles proclaimed the same message. When Philip went to Samaria, "he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12). At the end of his ministry Paul was still "preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 28:23, 31). The Apostle John explains that believers will be "kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth" with Christ during the millennium (Revelation 1:4–8; 5:10; 20:4–6). The Bible states that, apart from Jesus, "no one has ascended to heaven" (John 3:13), not even King David (Acts 2:29–34; 13:36). We need to ask, why is this gospel not being preached today? What happened to the message that Jesus and His Apostles proclaimed?
Jesus warned, "beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing"—appearing as Christian teachers yet spreading erroneous ideas (Matthew 7:15–19). He also predicted at the end of the age "many will come in my name… and will deceive many" (Matthew 24:3–5, 11). The Apostle Paul admonished elders in Ephesus, "after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock… from among your own selves men will rise up, speaking perverse [misleading] things, to draw away the disciples after them" (Acts 20:28–31). Paul warned the Corinthians not to be deceived by people preaching "another Jesus… a different spirit… [and] a different gospel" (2 Corinthians 11:1–4). Yet the corruption of the true gospel began during the days of the Apostles!
In a letter to the Church in Galatia, written circa 52ad, Paul states, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon… to a different gospel… there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ" (Galatians 1:6–7). In this instance, false teachers were insisting that a man had to be circumcised to become a Christian—which was not true (Galatians 2:3–5; 5:1–15). In these chapters Paul also states no one is justified by following "the works of the law" (ritualistic washings, etc., see Biblical Archeological Review, November-December 1994). However, false teachers later twisted these verses teaching it was not necessary for Christians to obey the Ten Commandments or keep the biblical Sabbath or Holy Days because these laws were a curse! Yet Jesus kept the commandments, the Sabbath and Holy Days and taught that we should, too (Matthew 19:16–22; John 14:15; Luke 2:41–42; 4:16; John 7:8–10). His disciples followed and taught the same things (see Acts 13:42–44; 17:2; 18:21; Romans 2:13; 1 Corinthians 5:8).
Contrary to what many believe and teach today, the true gospel proclaimed by Jesus and His Apostles was corrupted in the early centuries of the Church, and a false gospel about Jesus was palmed off on an unsuspecting world. What passes for mainstream Christianity today is a twisted version of the gospel that absorbed many pagan ideas. This is not a groundless or irresponsible claim. The Encyclopedia Britannica makes this revealing statement, "transplanted into the Greek world-view, inevitably the Christian teaching was modified—indeed transformed… Messianic hopes were forgotten… the notion of the kingdom of Christ on earth… all but disappeared, remaining only as the faith of obscure groups… the way of salvation was modified, so too was the idea of salvation… especially after the Roman Empire adopted salvation Christianity… salvation henceforth is not the descent of the New Jerusalem out of heaven, but the ascent of the saints to heaven, for the individual it is not the resurrection of the physical body, but the immortality of the soul" ("Christianity," 11th ed.).
Historian Edward Gibbon makes a similar observation. He writes that the doctrine of the millennium—the earthly reign of Christ and the saints in the kingdom of God—was carefully taught by early Church theologians and "appears to have been the reigning sentiment of the orthodox believers"—yet this fundamental teaching was discarded (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chapter 15). He states, "The doctrine of Christ's reign upon earth was first treated as a profound allegory, was considered by degrees as a doubtful and useless opinion, and was at length rejected as the absurd invention of heresy and fanaticism" (ibid.). That is what happened to the true gospel! Gibbon also records that the early Church "united the law of Moses with the doctrine of Christ… rejected the immortality of the soul as an opinion that received no countenance from the divine book" and abhorred pagan customs like the Saturnalia—now kept as Christmas (ibid.)—yet these are now viewed as basic tenets of mainstream Christianity!
The Bible reveals that several key events will occur just before the end of this age. Significantly, Jesus stated that the proclaiming of the true gospel would prepare the way for His second coming. He prophesied that "this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14). The magazine you are holding in your hands is a part of that continuing witness—a witness that for more than half a century has proclaimed the true gospel in print to millions around the world. The Tomorrow's World telecast and the www.tomorrowsworld.org Web site are also key aspects of that prophesied witness. To discover more about this vital subject, request our free booklet Do You Believe the True Gospel? These important prophecies are coming alive today!
—Douglas S. Winnail