What is the Gospel?

what-is-gospelIt might seem obvious, but this is not an easy question to answer!  The first thing we need to do is define what gospel means.  Merriam-Webster defines gospel as, “the teachings of the Christian religion, any one of the first four books of the Christian Bible that tell of the life of Jesus Christ, the message concerning Christ, the kingdom of God, and salvation.”  Is there more to it than thought?

Yes, there is!

The word gospel is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Godspell denoting “glad tidings” or “good news.”  Glad tidings may concern the birth of a son (Jer 20:15); deliverance from personal affliction (Ps 40:9); the choice of a king (1 Kgs 1:42); victory in battle (1 Sm 31:9; 2 Sm 1:20; 4:10; 18:19–31; 2 Kgs 7:9; 1 Chr 10:9; Ps 68:11); or Israel’s salvation from foreign powers (1 Chr 16:23; Ps 96:2), particularly Assyria (Na 1:15) and Babylon (Is 40:9; 41:27; 52:7; 61:1)—a theme eventually taken up by the Gentiles themselves (Is 60:6). Naturally such news is proclaimed widely (e.g., 1 Sm 31:9; Pss 40:9; 96:2, 3; Is 40:9; 52:7), spread rapidly (2 Sm 18:19–31; 2 Kgs 7:9; note also the “great host” of evangelists in Ps 68:11), and declared and received joyfully (2 Sm 1:20; Ps 96:2, 11, 12; Is 52:7–9; 61:1–3; Jer 20:15). 1Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (p. 892). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Many people believe that the gospel started with Y’shua.  While his life, message, and resurrection certainly were good news, we can clearly see from above that there are many different gospels.

Hebrews 4:2 for indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

What the writer of Hebrews is saying in this verse is that the Israelites didn’t obey the gospel they were given at Mt. Sinai.  What Moses received at Mt. Sinai was the Gospel, it didn’t start with Y’shua. The Israelites rebelled in the wilderness because they did not believe the word Moses gave them (the good news in the form of Torah); those who rebelled against the word of Christ were acting like Moses’ generation had. 2Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Heb 4:1–2). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. (Emphasis Mine)

Galatians 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”

Here we see Paul stating that the gospel was preached to Abraham long before Y’shua was ever born.

The Gospel is to be “Proclaimed.”

We all know that we are supposed to proclaim the gospel (good news), but as we have seen the good news is much more than most of us have ever been taught or can imagine.  Let’s look at a gospel that is to be proclaimed.

Leviticus 23: 1-4 And YHWH spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of YHWH, which you shall “PROCLAIM” to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. 3 ‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of YHWH in all your dwellings.  4 ‘These are the feasts of YHWH, holy convocations which you shall “PROCLAIM” at their appointed times. (Emphasis Mine)

Each one of the Feast days is a proclamation of YHWH’s good news (Gospel) and a day of remembrance for something YHWH did to provide redemption for his people.  They are also a foreshadowing of Y’shua’s work of redemption that would be accomplished at his first (Spring Feast) and second (Fall Feast) comings.  The Gospel is initially proclaimed in the Feast days and are developed in the proclamation of the fulfillment of the Feast Days by the work of Y’shua.

Our keeping of the Feast Days is one of the ways that we PROCLAIM the Gospel.

Spring Feast

  • Y’shua is the Passover Lamb, “Behold, the Lamb of YHWH who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
  • Y’shua is the Unleavened Bread of Life.  “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.” John 6:51
  • Y’shua is the First Fruits.  “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep” 1 Corinthians 15:20
  • Y’shua sent YHWH’s Spirit on the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost).  “And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place… And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” Acts 2:1-4

Fall Feast

  • Feast of Trumpets – Y’shua’s Return?  “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” Matthew 24:31
  • Day of Atonement – Judgment Day? 
  • Feast of Tabernacles – Millennial Reign, Marriage Super of the Lamb?

The Feast are part of the Gospel!

Another Part of the Gospel…

“Divorce”

You may be thinking, “What does divorce have to do with the Gospel?”  Well, allow me to explain using scripture!

Y“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, 2 and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, 4 then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before YHWH, and you shall not bring sin on the land which YHWH your God gives you as an inheritance. Deuteronomy 24:1-4

 

“Have you seen the things that backsliding Israel has been doing? She goes up on every bare hill and under every green tree and prostitutes herself there. 7 I said that after she had done all these things, she would return to me; but she hasn’t returned. Meanwhile, her unfaithful sister Judah has been watching. 8 I saw that even though backsliding Israel had committed adultery, so that I had sent her away and given her a divorce document, unfaithful Judah her sister was not moved to fear — instead she too went and prostituted herself. 9 The ease with which Israel prostituted herself defiled the land, as she committed adultery with stones and with logs. 10 Yet in spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah has not returned to me wholeheartedly; she only makes a pretense of it,” said YHWH.  Jerimiah 3:6-10

Prophecy of Israel wanting to return to YHWH

 

If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again?  Would not the land be completely defiled?  But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers—would you now return to me?” declares YHWH.  Jerimiah 3:1

According to scripture, this is not possible.  How will the divorced Northern Kingdom come back into covenant with YHWH?

  • Israel’s First Husband = YHWH/Y’shua who divorced the Northern Kingdom of Israel, but not the Southern Kingdom of Judah
  • Northern Kingdom’s Second Husband = False God’s/Paganism
  • But according to Torah, they can’t remarry the first husband, YHWH/Y’shua.
  • YHWH/Y’shua divorcing the Northern Kingdom = Dispersion/Exile among the nations

“But if you will not listen to me and obey all these mitzvot, 15 if you loathe my regulations and reject my rulings, in order not to obey all my mitzvot but cancel my covenant; 16 then I, for my part, will do this to you:…”  Leviticus 26:14-16

You I will disperse among the nations…  Leviticus 26:33

So, how is the Northern Kingdom able to remarry YHWH/Y’shua without violating Torah?

YHWH came as a man in the form of Y’shua and had to die and be resurrected as a new man to legally remarry the Northern Kingdom, also known as the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel.

Romans 7:1, 2 Surely you know, brothers — for I am speaking to those who understand Torah — that the Torah has authority over a person only so long as he lives? 2 For example, a married woman is bound by Torah to her husband while he is alive; but if the husband dies, she is released from the part of the Torah that deals with husbands. (Emphsis Mine)

  • Death of Spouse (Y’shua in this case) = Northern Kingdome is free to remarry without violation of Torah.
  • Resurrection of Y’shua as a new man = YHWY/Y’shua is free to remarry/redeem his bride without violation of Torah.

The Northern Kingdom was divorced (broken off from the natural olive tree, which is Israel) and had to be GRAFTED back into Israel.  As an interesting side study read Romans 11 in relation to Jerimiah 11:16-17

Earlier I made the connection between the lost sheep of the House of Israel and the Northern Kingdom.  Y’shua makes the statement in Matthew 15:24 that he was sent ONLY for the lost sheep of the House of Israel (the Northern Kingdom).  This is because he had to get his own house in order and make a way for the adulterous Northern Kingdom to come back into covenant after they were divorced.  The only way to do this was for Y’shua to die and be resurrected as a new man.  With all of this in mind, we have to realize that a significant part of Y’shua’s gospel is that the Northern Kingdom can now be in covenant with YHWH once again.  They can once again be married to YHWH.  Other parts of the gospel of Y’shua include a proper interpretation of the Torah and the establishment of the renewed covenant, although it has not been fully ratified.  For more on this, please see Y’shua and the Renewed Covenant.

Many of us were taught that the gospel is that Y’shua died for our sins and was the final sacrifice.  Is this really part of the gospel message of Y’shua?  In a future teaching titled “Y’shua, Our Final Sacrifice?” I’ll be taking a look at Y’shua in relation to sacrifices, specifically sin sacrifices.

Hopefully, this teaching has shown you that there are many different gospels throughout scripture, and there are even several aspects of the gospel (good news) of Y’shua, possibly one that you may have never thought of before.

I pray that this teaching has been a blessing to you!

Shalom

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References   [ + ]

1. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (p. 892). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
2. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Heb 4:1–2). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Posted on September 29, 2016 in Answering Tough Questions, Confronting Mainstream Christians, Foundational Teachings

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About the Author

Chris lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with his wife and daughter. He has a heart for reaching people with the truth about Torah and is dedicated to seeking, teaching and living out the truth of the Word, from Genisis to Revelation. Chris grew up in Church and ran the gambit from Baptist to Non-denominational, but he admittedly was just a "pew warmer." His walk didn't truly start until a close friend asked him a simple, yet profound question. "What is Gods name?"

Response (1)

  1. Dave Thompson
    March 24, 2017 at 11:36 am · Reply

    So, this is the “other gospel” that the New Testament warned us about!

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