The Gospel accounts record the arrival of the Fourth Installment in the Fifth Course of Punishment. With John the Baptist God broke the silence of the Third Installment, and the climactic final stages in the Fifth Course began. The “gospel of the kingdom” began to be preached to Israel by John and he began to administer the prescription for Israel’s cleansing to those who responded. He also manifested Christ to Israel and prepared them for His ministry. Those that believed the “gospel of the kingdom” became part of the Lord’s generation and were no longer identified with apostate Israel.
The time schedule for the Fifth Course was nearing its end with the ominous Fifth Installment fast approaching. Therefore, Israel was warned to “flee from the wrath to come,” while the Lord prepared and equipped the believing remnant to make it through the tribulation of those days. He taught them much corrective doctrine by which they could be set apart from Israel’s apostate system.
To confirm the reality of the kingdom of heaven being “at hand,” the Lord manifested the signs of the kingdom spoken about in the prophets. The power to do so was also given to the 12 apostles, whom the Lord had chosen and commissioned to function with him at this time. The 12 apostles were also prepared by the Lord to function in His absence following His rejection. They would also form the government of Israel once the kingdom was established and would be “sitting on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
When Israel rejected Christ, the Fourth Installment to the Fifth Course was scheduled to conclude. However, God graciously provided an extension of mercy and forbearance to Israel in accordance with Christ’s prayer for them on the cross. Following His resurrection from the dead, and after preparing His disciples for the Fifth Installment that was soon to begin, Christ returned to the Father and sat down at His right hand “until his enemies be made his footstool.”