Articles addressing Scriptural concepts that are misunderstood by many Believers today.
When someone says “Gospel,” most of us already know what they’re talking about. Indeed, many of us have had an evangelist come to our front door and say something to the effect of, “Did you know that Jesus Christ died for you? Did you know that if you believe in Him, and say this prayer with me, that you can live forever with Him in Heaven?” As for most of us, that’s about as good an explanation of “The Gospel” as we ever get. Yet there is a lot more to it than simply that. Truly, the Gospel was preached LONG BEFORE Yeshua ever came and died on the stake.
How do we know the Gospel was preached before then? Well, the Apostolic writers have told us so.
Hebrews 4:1-2, “1Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2For indeed we have had the Gospel preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.”
Who is the “they” that the author is speaking of? Go back a section to the end of chapter 3.
Hebrews 3:12-19: “12Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living Elohim. 13But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we have become partakers of Messiah, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, 15while it is said, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.” 16For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.”
The author informs us in chapter three that he is speaking of “those who sinned…in the wilderness” who are also “those who came out of Egypt led by Moses.” The Israelites that left Egypt in the Exodus are the ones being spoken of here. So the Gospel was preached to the Israelites that came out of Egypt. But where? Before we answer that, we first need to define “Gospel.”
The Greek word in question is ευανγελιον (euangelion), meaning “gospel” or more accurately, “good news.” But there is more behind the word than that. The etymology of the word comes from two Greek words, ευ (eu), meaning “good” or “gladness,” and αγγελος (aggelos), meaning “messenger.” Aggelos is part of where we get the word “Angel” from, which simply means messenger. Gospel is the message of good news. But we already knew that, right? Well the missing part here, is WHAT good news? Good news about the death and resurrection of Messiah? Good news about the gift of eternal life He offers to those that obey Him? The answer is yes, but there is even more. What was preached from Sinai was the Good News just as much as what Paul preached was. There is nothing new in the “New Testament.”
Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 1“Now it shall be, if you diligently obey Yahweh your Elohim, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, Yahweh your Elohim will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2“All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey Yahweh your Elohim.”
The chapter continues on explaining all the blessings for obedience, as well as the curses for disobedience. The key here, though, is that YHWH promised to set the Israelites “high above all the nations of the earth.” This is going to be accomplished in the Millennium, when Yeshua our Messiah reigns for 1,000 years. In His Kingdom, we will be Kings and Priests (Revelation 1:6).
The Gospel is not JUST about the death and resurrection of Yeshua, it is about the entire plan of the Kingdom of Elohim. Yeshua’s death was only part of that plan. Yeshua Himself declared that the Gospel was about the Kingdom.
Matthew 4:23, “23Yeshua was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.”
Luke 16:16, “16The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of Elohim has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”
“The gospel of the Kingdom of Elohim” is just that: the good news about the coming Kingdom of everlasting righteousness. Though there is a little more to the word, euangelion than simply “a good message.” The word’s very definition also includes the sense of reward. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states that in classical Greek texts (think Homer, Herodotus and other Greek scholars) the word euangelion denoted not only a message of good news, but also the REWARD for that good news. In ancient times, when a messenger brought good news, he was often rewarded for it. However, if he brought bad news, he was punished or sometimes killed for it. A perfect example of this is 2 Samuel 4.
2 Samuel 4:9-10, “9David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, “As YHWH lives, who has redeemed my life from all distress, 10when one told me, saying, ‘Behold, Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him in Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news.”
The story David is referencing is 2 Samuel 1, when David first learns of Saul and Jonathan’s death. Notice what he says, though, that he “rewarded” the messenger for his “news.”
The Whole Gospel is all about the coming reward for the righteous. The Kingdom of Elohim IS that reward, and the Gospel is the news ABOUT the Kingdom. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
So, to sum it all up, we have established that the Gospel is more than just the message of “Jesus died for your sins.” It is more than just “repent and believe and have everlasting life.” To be sure, it DOES include those two statements, but the Gospel is about the entire coming Kingdom. The Death and Resurrection of Yeshua was part of that plan, as is the repentance and obedience of the Saints. But the Whole Gospel is all about the coming Kingdom of Elohim, and the reward of being able to rule and reign with Him. I pray this study has blessed you.
Be Berean. Shalom.