In Luke 16:16 we read,
The Law and the Prophets [what we call the Old Testament] were preached until John; from his time on, God’s kingdom has been preached, and everybody has been pressing into it.
From those words of the Lord Jesus, we understand that there came a time when preaching changed. Before John appeared in fulfillment of prophecies in Isaiah and Malachi true preaching had focused upon the coming of the Messiah and His kingdom (see Daniel 2:44,45; 7:13,14 for predictions of the Messianic kingdom). But when the kingdom came (as, indeed, it did at the first coming of Christ), the issue was not whether it would come, but now that it’s here, what will be your response to that fact? What does that mean to you?
Upon the preaching of Jesus and John many repented, and a great many “pressed” into it. This seeming “revival” (or as the Septuagint in Malachi 4:6 calls it, “restoration”), however, like the revival under John’s predecessor, Elijah, though causing temporary excitement (as on Mt. Carmel), didn’t last. Zechariah foretold that at Messiah’s coming mourning of sins would be private (12:12-14). That is to say, there would be no national repentance (as there was under the preaching of Jonah by Nineveh). Individuals and families participated, but early on the rulers rejected the Lord (Matthew 23:13) and, ultimately, the people followed their lead (Matthew 11:11-19). Neither John’s nor Jesus’ preaching saw lasting, national fruit.
That is why, when the kingdom fully came in 70 AD, the church that was founded to replace the Old Testament order did not do so smoothly when the transition took place, but there had to be, instead, a violent overthrow of the former (Matthew 22:41-44).
Preaching since John came calling people to “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2), and urged them to believe the Gospel, has focused upon the good news of Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension to reign. And it now looks forward to the second coming when things will finally be “restored” (Acts 3:19-21).
What is the focus of your preaching, minister of the Gospel? Have you been enticed by those who spend the majority of their time preaching upon Old Testament passages seeking to discover previously uncovered instances of redemptive historical matters? Or do you focus on the One Who came and has founded a church that has been instructed by Him and His disciples to proclaim the final restoration of all things?