The Kingdom Good News—What Is It?
Last year in 235 lands around the world, 6,035,564 people, young and old, spent 1,171,270,425 hours talking to others about it. In addition to conveying it by word of mouth, they placed in the hands of the public more than 700 million pieces of printed material to advertise and explain it. They also distributed thousands of audiocassettes and videocassettes to propagate it. What is “it”?
“IT” IS the good news of God’s Kingdom. Truly, never before in human history has “this good news of the kingdom” been preached on the scale that we see today.—Matthew 24:14.
Those doing this worldwide preaching and teaching work are all volunteers. From a secular point of view, they may appear to be ill-qualified for the task. What, then, accounts for their courage and their success? The power of the Kingdom good news is a major factor, for it is news about blessings that will come to mankind. These are blessings that all people yearn for—happiness, freedom from economic hardship, good government, peace and security, and something else that most dare not even consider—everlasting life! This is indeed good news to people who are searching for the meaning and purpose of life. Yes, all these blessings and more can be yours if you respond and react favorably to the proclamation of the Kingdom good news.
What Is the Kingdom?
What, though, is the Kingdom being declared as good news? It is the Kingdom that millions have been taught to pray for in these familiar words: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matthew 6:9, 10.
It is the Kingdom spoken of by the Hebrew prophet Daniel over 25 centuries ago when he wrote: “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”—Daniel 2:44.
Thus, the good news is about the Kingdom, or government, by God that will eliminate all wickedness and then rule over all the earth in peace. It will bring to reality the Creator’s original purpose for mankind and for the earth.—Genesis 1:28.
“The Kingdom of the Heavens Has Drawn Near”
Nearly 2,000 years ago, the Kingdom good news was first declared publicly by a dedicated man whose appearance and manner commanded much attention. That man was John the Baptizer, son of Jewish priest Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth. John wore a garment of camel hair, with a leather girdle around his loins, in the manner of the prophet Elijah, who foreshadowed him. But it was his message that attracted the attention of many. “Repent,” he proclaimed, “for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.”—Matthew 3:1-6.
John’s listeners were Jews, who professed to be worshipers of the true God, Jehovah. As a nation, they had received the Law covenant through Moses about 1,500 years earlier. Still standing in Jerusalem was the magnificent temple, where sacrifices were offered in accord with the Law. The Jews felt sure that their worship was right in God’s eyes.
Listening to John, however, some people began to realize that their religion was not what they had thought it was. Greek culture and philosophy had infiltrated Jewish religious teachings. The law received from God through Moses was now adulterated, even invalidated, by man-made beliefs and traditions. (Matthew 15:6) Misguided by their hardhearted and merciless religious leaders, most no longer worshiped God acceptably. (James 1:27) They needed to repent of their sins against God and against the Law covenant.
At that time, many Jews were expecting the appearance of the promised Messiah, or Christ, and some were wondering about John: “May he perhaps be the Christ?” John, however, denied that he was and instead directed them to someone else, of whom he said: “The lace of [his] sandals I am not fit to untie.” (Luke 3:15, 16) Introducing Jesus to his disciples, John declared: “See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!”—John 1:29.
That was indeed good news, for John was, in effect, pointing out to all people the way to life and happiness—Jesus, the one who “takes away the sin of the world.” As descendants of Adam and Eve, all humans are born under the tyranny of sin and death. Romans 5:19 explains: “Just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] many were constituted sinners, likewise also through the obedience of the one person [Jesus] many will be constituted righteous.” Jesus, like a sacrificial lamb, was to ‘take sin away’ and bring about a reversal of the sad state of human affairs. “The wages sin pays is death,” the Bible explains, “but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Romans 6:23.
As a perfect man—in fact, the greatest man who ever lived—Jesus took up preaching the good news. The Bible account at Mark 1:14, 15 tells us: “Now after John was put under arrest Jesus went into Galilee, preaching the good news of God and saying: ‘The appointed time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has drawn near. Be repentant, you people, and have faith in the good news.’”
Those who responded to Jesus’ message and exercised faith in the good news were highly blessed. John 1:12 says: “As many as did receive [Jesus], to them he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.” Being children, or sons, of God, they were in line to receive the reward of everlasting life.—1 John 2:25.
But the privilege of receiving Kingdom blessings was not limited to people in the first century. As mentioned earlier, the good news of God’s Kingdom is being proclaimed and taught in all the inhabited earth today. So Kingdom blessings are still available. What must you do to receive such blessings? The following article will explain.