What Is the Gospel? It’s Probably Not What You Think


The Gospel

The word “gospel” is mentioned many times before Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus Himself preached the gospel before His crucifixion (Matthew 4:23, 9:35, 11:5, 24:14, 26:13 and in other New Testament books).

Gospel is the good news of the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14). And that good news is that the kingdom of God is near. This is the actual gospel – that the kingdom of God is near. The gospel is not that Jesus died for our sins and rose again, but that soon God will come down from heaven to rule the earth.

If you haven’t looked into what the kingdom of God is, read this article first.

For people to enter into this coming kingdom, they have to repent so that their sins are forgiven. But they would not really repent until they believe that it’s true – that God indeed is coming soon to rule this earth. Therefore disciples and Jesus urged people to believe this “good news”. In fact, Jesus Himself said that He was sent by the Father for the purpose of spreading the good news of the coming kingdom (Luke 4:43).

But what we see in Christianity today is that people equate gospel with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, when this isn’t the main part of the gospel.

So before the death of Jesus the main gospel was preached, but the gospel wasn’t complete yet. The revelation of the complete gospel came only after the death of Jesus. Some aspects of that missing part were disclosed by Jesus when His death was approaching (John 12:32), when He told that when He would be lifted up He would draw all men to Himself. He also said that those who would believe in the Son of man when He is lifted up, should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:15).

Disciples did not understand how this could be, because they read the prophesies with fleshly eyes and not with spiritual understanding. And the resurrection of Jesus was something that nobody have expected to happen, and it’s understandable because there are only a few mystical verses about this event, such as in Isaiah 53 or a more direct one in Psalm 16:10 which says that God will not abandon His soul in Sheol because He will not allow His Holy One to see corruption.

Afikoman

Afikomen – the broken bread of the Passover as a symbol of Jesus’ broken body

Also, the middle broken Passover bread called “afikomen” which is hidden and then revealed was a shadow of Christ’s resurrection.

The name “afikomen” actually means “the coming one”.

Jesus broke this bread before His crucifixion and told that it was His body that would be broken for us (1 Corinthians 11:24).

So He Himself explained the meaning of that Passover ritual because it’s unlikely that without His help the disciples would figure it out.

If you’re interested to read more about the meaning of this and other feasts, check out my article on the true meaning of Biblical Feast days.

Though Jesus told about His resurrection, it would just fly over the heads of His disciples because it was something completely foreign to their understanding of the Messiah. They did not even believe the women, the first witnesses of resurrection, who reported that Jesus rose from the dead, and they were only convinced when they saw the resurrected Jesus with their own eyes.

The misunderstood first coming of the Messiah

Jews rejected Jesus because He did not come to them as a glorious King promising to establish the kingdom of Israel. Instead, He came as a servant, and was meek and lowly. They did not understand that the first lowly coming paved the way to the second glorious one, as, according to the spiritual law of God, he who exalts himself will be abased and the one who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 14:11). Therefore they rejected their own king they’ve been waiting for since the prophesies.

Disciples did not understand the plan of salvation because of their strong belief in the way that the salvation was supposed to take place. They believed that Jesus would become an actual king of the Jews and would save them from their Roman oppressors and bring peace and plenty at His first coming, and that He would be a strong and glorious earthly king who would establish a strong Jewish kingdom.

They held this belief all the time that Jesus was with them, and what’s even more surprising, they held the same view even after His resurrection (Acts 1:6).

The reason they did not understand the purpose of His first coming was because they focused on the Old Testament prophesies of the glorious second coming of the Anointed One, and they did not pay attention to the prophesies of the Anointed One coming as a servant, and being hated, and people not believing in what He has accomplished (Isaiah 53). So they saw in Scripture what they wanted to see, and ignored the passages which pointed to the lowly coming of the Messiah.

They focused on the prophesies of His second coming, and therefore did not understand the purpose of His first coming. His first coming was about preparing the people to enter into the kingdom of God. His second coming would be about establishing the kingdom of God.

This kingdom was misunderstood by Jews because they thought it to be an earthly kingdom that had nothing to do with heaven. But Jesus came to prepare us for the heavenly rule of this earth and for the city that will descend from heavens at the end of the world. That’s why we pray that God’s will be done in earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

What’s more, during His first coming Jesus made it possible for us not only to be cleansed from our past sins, but also to remain righteous by believing in His Resurrection. This would assure our entry into the kingdom of God.

Jesus Himself said that He is the only way to His Father (John 14:6) and that it’s Him who gives us the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:19); it is the obedience to His words found in Matthew chapter seven that is the strong foundation (Matthew 7:24) which will protect us from the coming destruction.

Why the complete gospel was hidden before Jesus’ crucifixion

I believe that the reason the full gospel was not explained by Jesus was because if Satan knew about it, he would not have influenced people to crucify Him.

Satan, like Israelites, thought that Jesus would come to establish the earthly kingdom. And therefore he made sure that Jesus died. What he did not understand was that through that very death humanity would be saved. That’s why now Satan has great wrath and tries to deceive all, because he has already lost the battle, and he lost it with the action of killing Jesus by which he thought to have secured victory for himself.

There is another similar opinion that the reason why Jesus did not openly declare himself to be the Messiah and revealed the plan of saving mankind was because Jews misunderstood the purpose of His first coming.

Therefore if He would openly declare Himself to be the Messiah, the people and authorities would falsely assume Him to be the awaited earthly king of Israel. He would have been put to death earlier than required, since Romans would perceive Him to be a threat to their rule of Israel.

His early death would result in not fulfilling all the required prophesies of the Messiah’s first coming, so Jesus made sure that His true identity was hidden until the prophesies were fulfilled.

The full plan of His first coming, therefore, was only revealed after His crucifixion, especially through the aid of the Holy Spirit.

So Jesus came to the earth to make known to the people the good news, which is that God will soon come to rule the earth. He came to prepare people to enter into that kingdom. During His time on earth He healed the sick and raised the dead, and cast out demons. He cleansed the people to prepare them to enter into the kingdom of God whole.

Those who repented and believed, were ready for the next stage of their sanctification, which was to receive the Holy Spirit. This became only possible after Jesus’ ascension, because then He prayed to the Father to send the Holy Spirit to the believers (John 14:16).

The Holy Spirit that believers received (and are receiving to this very day) gives strength to believers to continue in holiness, and enables them to persevere and produce good fruit for the coming kingdom. All those who are led by the Holy Spirit are being sanctified all the time if they choose to listen to it, so that they become pleasing living sacrifices to God, and are representatives of Christ on this earth.

Since Jesus became the perfect sacrifice for our sins and rose from the dead and is currently in heaven, we have a merciful High Priest who intercedes for us to the Father all the time, so that Satan’s plans to accuse us, believers, don’t produce any fruit, unless we fail to repent of our sins, thus giving him the right to accuse and afflict us.

Therefore not only did Jesus prepare us to enter into the Kingdom of God through repentance and water baptism, but we also received the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a result of His ascension. So not only our sins are forgiven, but we also received the Spirit of God which continues to strengthen us so that we persevere in faith and good works till the last.

Without this Spirit I do not believe that any human being would be able to continue in faith and good works until their deaths, because Satan works hard to make believers fall, especially if they are in the positions of influence, so it’s only the Spirit of God that upholds us.

For example, I know that I only feel inspired to continue this work and greatly rejoice in it despite of the heavy opposition of unbelievers, Satan, and even some of those who call themselves Christians, is because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which keeps me at peace and in joy, and gives me high perseverance that I never had before. It gives me strength and joy to continue going forward in difficult times when I know that I myself would have never been able to continue on such a difficult road.

Finally…

Jesus’ resurrection is not the gospel, but the coming kingdom of God is. However, without the resurrection of Jesus this good news would be incomplete because nobody could enter as none are righteous except for Jesus. Therefore Jesus is the way to that kingdom, and so without mentioning His victory over death and Satan the gospel would be incomplete.

The good news, therefore, is the coming kingdom of God, and the way to that kingdom is only through Jesus.

What’s happening in Christianity today is that the gospel for which Jesus Christ was sent and which He ordered to those who believed in Him to preach to others has been replaced with another gospel, which is that of Jesus resurrection only. Paul the apostle warned not to be turned away to another gospel (Galatians 1:8) and that’s exactly what has happened in the mainstream Christianity today.

Satan craftily made it look like preaching the right gospel somehow diminishes the importance of Jesus, but what Jesus Himself would think? Would talking about Him only and ignoring the laws of His Father as well as ignoring His Father’s coming rule be accepted by Jesus as a good thing? I don’t think so.

So the main message is lost, and the focus is on the way that is Jesus, but the way to where? Now Christians either focus on Jesus only or on the end of the world, but I haven’t heard anyone preaching that God is coming to rule this earth so we must prepare. And this is the gospel because of which Jesus was sent to this earth.

Now Christians try to convert unbelievers to Jesus but they miss the entire point of why they’re converting them. And this makes it hard to convert them also, because they do not see any urgency to get converted. Or Christians warn others to repent because we live in the last days, but that also misses the point if the coming rule of God is not preached.

So if we would go back to the Biblical definition of the gospel and would inform people about the coming rule of God, and that in order to qualify as its immortal citizens firstly the belief in God is essential, then in His coming rule, which leads to repentance, which should be followed by water baptism; and then receiving the Messiah as a personal Saviour so that one receives the Holy Spirit which would enable him to continue in holiness and good works, and therefore become a pleasing fruit-producing branch to the Father which would be kept, instead of being burnt.

Therefore I encourage everyone to primarily focus on this true gospel, because Jesus Himself told that first we should seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). This should be the primary focus for Christians, to understand the Kingdom, and to preach the coming rule of God.

I don’t think Jesus appreciates Christians throwing away the main gospel for which He was sent. Let’s be His good servants by making understanding, preparing for, and preaching the coming rule of God our priority.

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Comments

  1. Dear Simona,

    I would like to know what you think about Judaism in comparison with Christianity. Thank you so much.

    • Judaism is the Old Testament religion mixed with traditions of men (Talmud). Christianity is the Old Testament religion + its development (the Messiah).

      • Ok. It seems like there are good things about Judaism. But they don’t want to accept the New Testament. And it makes sense that Jesus didn’t mean for the focus to be on him but on the kingdom of heaven.

  2. I found you about 3 or 4 yrs ago by accident. Since then, I check on you every 6 months or so. I say to myself, let me check to see what she is up to now and come to your site. You don’t disappoint 🙂

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