The Gospel Message Is More Than You Have Heard in the Church—Much More!
The word gospel is one of the most common words in all of Christendom. But what does it mean, and where does the concept originate? If you believe that the idea of the gospel originated in the New Testament, you would be mistaken. As we shall discover and learn about below, the idea of the gospel (an Old English word for “good news”) came straight out of the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament hundreds of years earlier. But there is more. What follows will be the backstory behind the biblical concept of the gospel message—something you never learned in Sunday school!
The word gospel itself is easily enough defined, but what about the concept behind the word? The answer will take us into a whole other dimension and level of biblical understanding. The apostolic writers use the word gospel or its synonyms 132 times in the Testimony of Yeshua (NT).The word gospel literally means “good news or glad tidings.” There are two Greek words fors gospel: (euaggellion and euaggelizo). They are translated into English in the Authorized Version (KJV) via the following words: as a noun, gospel and as a verb, preach, bring good tidings, show glad tidings, declare, and declare glad tidings. The word itself is quickly defined, but what really is the good news? Let us begin to answer this by first seeing how the apostolic writers used this term. The vast majority of times the term gospel is used in the Testimony of Yeshua, the word stands alone in its noun form as simply the gospel without any adjective modifiers. However, on several occasions, the word gospel is used in a modifying phrase. This gives us a clue as to the meaning and scope of the word in the minds of the biblical authors.
- Gospel of the kingdom or of Elohim (used five times, see Matt 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mark 1:14)
- Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah or Yeshua (used 15 times, see Mark 1:1; Rom 1:16; 15:19; 1 Cor 9:12; Gal 1:7; Phil 1:27; 1 Thess 3:2)
- Gospel of the grace of Elohim (Acts 20:24)
- Gospel of Elohim (used five times, see Rom 1:1; 15:16; 2 Cor 11:7; 1 Thess 2:2, 8, 9)
- Gospel of peace (Rom 10:15; Eph 6:15)
But again, what is the good news? One cannot read the Testimony of Yeshua without seeing that Yeshua the Messiah is at the center of this good news message. Thankfully, this same good news (or gospel) of “Jesus” has been at the center of the Christian message for two thousand years. This will hardly come as a new revelation to the reader. The well known passage from John 3:16 sums up this blessed message perhaps better than any other:
For Elohim so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The good news of the Messiah (Acts 5:42; 1 Cor 1:23; 2:2; 2 Cor 2:12) involves understanding the spiritual significance of his death, burial and resurrection and how that relates to the redemption, reconciliation and salvation of sinful man through Yeshua’s shed blood at the cross of Calvary (Heb. Golgatha). But is there more to the basic message of the good news that most Christian have missed? Yes. A whole lot more that adds richness and depth to this message, and help bring the whole Bible to life in a new and profound way. Let us now venture down this road of revelation and discovery.
Let us on this path of discovery by reading a passage from the writings of the Paul, a Jewish Torah scholar without peer in the first century, who discusses the deeper implications of the meaning of the term gospel in Romans 10:14–15,
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (emphasis added)
This is a quote from Isaiah 52:7. As we learn here, Isaiah who lived some five hundred years before the New Testament was written, coined the phrase “the good news” from which the word gospel originates. But what is this good news or gospel to which Paul is referring? Let us now gain a quick contextual overview of the passage from Isaiah which Paul is quoting by starting in Isaiah 52:2.
Isaiah 52:2, “O captive daughter of Zion.” This verse identifies the subject of the prophecy as the people of Israel.
Isaiah 52:3, “You have sold yourselves [to your harlot lovers] for nothing; and you shall be redeemed without money.” The people of Israel had turned away from Elohim and become apostate spiritually. This history has repeated itself many times in Israel’s long and sad history.
Isaiah 52:5, “…my people is taken away for nought?” Israel went into captivity because of her spiritual apostasy.
Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that says unto Zion, Your Elohim reigns!” Isaiah prophesies that the time of Israel’s spiritual restoration, redemption and deliverance is coming.
Isaiah 52:8, “…when YHVH shall bring again Zion.” YHVH promises to redeem Israel from the physical and spiritual captivity where they were taken because they left the Torah ways of YHVH and sold themselves into adulterous relationships with their foreign, pagan lovers. He promised to bring them back into a righteous relationship with him
Isaiah 52:9, “…he has redeemed Jerusalem.” How will YHVH redeem Israel out of sinfulness and bring them back to himself spiritually? He has a plan to do this, which he has revealed to Isaiah, which the prophet will now share with his readers.
Isaiah 52:13ff, Enter Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), the Suffering Servant, who will redeem his sinful and apostate people and bring them back to Elohim.Continue reading