1. WHAT gospel did Jesus preach?
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom.” Matt. 4:23.
2. How extensively did He say this should be preached?
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matt. 24:14.
3. What shows that it has always been God’s purpose that all the world should hear the gospel?
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Gen. 12:1-3.
“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” Gal. 3:8.
4. How did God warn Israel against formalism?
“Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people: . . . for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” Isa. 29:13,14.
5. What shows that they had substituted the ritual service of the temple for heart service?
“Thus saith the Lord, . . . Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, Baying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these.” Jer. 7:3,4
6. What national disaster did they bring upon themselves by their apostasy from God?
“So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies; and, behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, who were carried away to Babylon for their transgression.” 1 Chron. 9:1.
NOTE.-From the earliest times it has been God’s purpose that those who receive the gospel should make it known to others. For this purpose He chose a special people and established them in Palestine, in the highway of the nations; but they shut up the revelation of the truth to themselves, and so lost it. A few, like Daniel and his companions, maintained a personal connection with God, although surrounded by spiritual declension and dry formalism, and so were chosen by God to carry out His plan that the gospel of the kingdom should be preached in Babylon. They were tested and trained m Babylon, as shown m the first chapter of Darnel, and then, being ready to make known the gospel, the way providentially opened for them by the dream of Nebuchadnezzar.
7. In interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, what kingdom did Daniel say would follow the four world empires?
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed.” Dan. 2:44.
8. What was this kingdom to do to the other kingdoms?
“The kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms.” Same verse.
9. How long is this kingdom to continue?
“And it shall stand forever.” Same verse, last clause.
10. What words of Christ imply the gospel’s final triumph?
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18.
NOTE.-Anciently the gates to cities were places for holding courts, transacting business, and deliberating on public matters. The word gates, therefore, is used for counsels, designs, machinations, and evil purposes. The gates of hell mean the plottings, stratagems, and designs of Satan to overthrow the church. But none of these are to prevail.
11. What promises to David will thus be fulfilled?
“Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever: . . . thy throne shall be established forever.” 2 Sam. 7:16.
NOTE.-By uniting His divinity with humanity in becoming the Son of David, Christ laid the foundation upon which He built His church, and thus established the house of David forever. The kingdom of God, the house of David, and the church of Christ are so inseparably connected in this prophecy that the establishment of either involves the establishment of the other two.
12. Through whom are these promises to be fulfilled?
“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:32,33.
13. In order to fulfil these promises, whose son did the Son of God become?
“The son of David.” Matt. 22:42.
14. What is this union of divinity and humanity called?
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1 Tim. 3:16.
15. What did Jesus call this same mystery?
“And He said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables.” Mark 4:11.
16. In what confession did the wise men of Babylon deny any knowledge of this essential doctrine of Christianity?
“And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Dan. 2:11.
NOTE.-The union of the divine and human in the person of Christ is “the mystery of godliness,” or “the mystery of the kingdom of God.” In the case of the seed which is sown in the field, this same principle is illustrated by the union of the reproducing power with the material form. As the seed is thus capable of multiplying itself, so Christ reproduces His own character in believers, by making them partakers of the divine nature. At His coming He bestows upon the subjects of the kingdom the gift of immortality (1 Cor. 15:51-53), and so the kingdom will stand forever. It is quite likely that the wise men of Babylon did not understand about the incarnation of God in the flesh in the coming Messiah, but in their statement that the dwelling of the gods was not with flesh they announced the fundamental error of Babylon, both ancient and modern, and really denied the vital principle of Christianity. This was the essential secret, or mystery, of the kingdom of God, which needed to be known in Babylon, and which is still to be proclaimed throughout the world.
17. Concerning what did Daniel and his companions pray?
“Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret.” Verses 17,18.
18. What would have been the result of failure on their part to obtain a knowledge of this mystery?
“That Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” Verse 18, last part.
19. How was the secret concerning the king’s dream revealed, and thus the mystery of the kingdom of God made known in Babylon?
“Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” Verse 19.
NOTE.-The most vital truth of the gospel of the kingdom of God was denied in the religion of Babylon. This made it necessary that this very truth should be preached in Babylon. This mystery of the kingdom of God was the real and essential secret which the wise men of Babylon could not make known to the king, and which could be learned only by revelation. This is the mystery which “from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God” (Eph. 3:9); and the “riches of the glory of this mystery” is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27), or “the mystery of the gospel ” (Eph. 6:19).
20. How did Nebuchadnezzar acknowledge God as the revealer, and thus Daniel’s intimate fellowship with Him?
“The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.” Verse 47.
21. When the gospel of the kingdom has been fully preached, and Christ appears as King, what invitation will be extended to those who have learned “the mystery of the kingdom”?
“When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations. . . . Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you .from the foundation of the world.” Matt. 25:31-34.
Thy kingdom come. Thus day by day
We lift our hands to God, and pray;
But who has ever duly weighed
The meaning of the words He said?