Truth, Understanding, Insight


6th December 2008, hej


1) About the Gospel


In English the word 'Gospel' is from Middle English go(d)spell, which was from Old English gōdspell god='good' + spell='to announce', or good news. In Icelandic it is guðspjall, however most other languages have imported untranslated the Greek word euaggelion. For example in German it is, das Evangelium and it is evangelium in Czech, Danish, Hungarian, Norwegian and Swedish.

In English we have also inherited this word as 'Evangelical' or 'evangelise'.

Euaggelion is a compound Greek word from eu =good and aggelos = 'to bring tidings/news', which is translated as 'angel' or 'messenger'.

What is the origin of the idea of good news?

The idea of good news is not a New Testament or Christian doctrine, the idea comes from the Old Testament

As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. (Proverbs 25:25)

A word for word translation of this Hebrew proverb is,

Water - cold upon thirsty/weary - soul is as

news - good out of land (eretz) - far off

The gospel is the good news of a distant land, in Hebrew eretz (as in Eretz Yisrael), and it is to the thirsty soul like cold water. This means the subject of the news refreshes us.

The prophet Isaiah speaks quite a lot about this good news,

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it... All flesh is grass,.. surely the people is grass. The grass withers ..but the word of our God shall stand for ever. O Zion, that brings good tidings, get you up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that brings good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! (Isaiah 40:4-9)

The good news it to come from Zion and Jerusalem when the glory of the LORD shall be revealed on earth. All people die, but the good news is to be brought that all flesh shall see the glory of the LORD together. Isaiah also speaks of one who comes revealing the future and they will bring good news to Jerusalem,

The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them: and I will give to Jerusalem one that brings good tidings. (Isaiah 41:26-27)

But what is the good news about?

The best information about what the good news is comes from Isaiah. He writes that the LORD said,

Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that does speak: behold, it is I.
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, Thy God reigns!
Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD has made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:6-10)

We are told the good news is about peace, good, salvation and that this is equalled to saying “thy God reigns”. This good salvation will come at a specific time in the future when the LORD will redeem his people and when all the earth will see the salvation. This has not happened yet. Compare Nahum 1:5 where this is repeated,

Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off. (Nahum 1:15)

There will be salvation and peace and the wicked will be cut off from going to Jerusalem.

But according to Paul not many would believe the good news,

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! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias says, Lord, who has believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:15-17)

First people must hear of the good news, and then they can believe it and then they may have faith in it.

2) The good news and salvation

Isaiah prophesied of one who would be anointed by God- in Hebrew Messiah

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek;
he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3)

This Messiah would proclaim liberty from death so the meek people might be righteous before God, and in this way glorify God.

This Messiah spoken of by Isaiah is Jesus, who when he came to begin his ministry read this passage from Isaiah and said,

This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. (Luke 4:21)

Jesus proclaimed liberty and salvation from sin in his ministry. Joseph a son of David, the husband of Mary was told

And she (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matt. 1:21)

Jesus confirmed this. He healed people and said,

But that ye may know that the Son of man has power upon earth to forgive sins (Luke 5:24)

Jesus pointed out believing in his role as Messiah, messenger and forgiver of sins was a choice of life or death,

I said therefore unto you, that you shall die in your sins: for if ypu believe not that I am he (Messiah), ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24)

He said that there will be a time when those that had believed him would be resurrected to life

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself; And has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:25-29)

This resurrection of life achived by those who have believed, or in other words “done good” is life is eternal

He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:36)

But the hope of everlasting life is found in the Old Testament

Search the scriptures (Old Testament); for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39)

The apostles went about preaching this salvation,

And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the (fathers of Israel, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), God has fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he has raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he says also in another psalm, Thou shall not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Acts 13:32-35)

3) In the name of Jesus

Jesus name means Yah shall save (For more detail see Name of Jesus). The good news is related to this name of Yah shall save and the actions of Jesus which fulfilled the meaning of the name,

But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name. (John 20:31)
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. (Acts 2:38)
And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. (1John 3:23)

The name is important as salvation is given to those who understand what the name means, that God shall save, and how it gives them salvation in Jesus' resurrection.

The resurrection of Jesus

The Apostle Peter testified regarding Jesus,

He seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he says himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (Hebrew=Messiah). (Acts 2:31-36)

Peter is saying that Jesus was made Messiah, as 'Christ' means in Hebrew, and that he was raised from the dead. The Apostle Paul wrote that if people have faith in this evidence, then they can be sure that they also will be resurrected,

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (1Corinthians 15:20-26)

At the coming of Jesus those who have believed he was the Messiah, Christ, or the Anointed king promised to David and have believed that God has raised him will also be resurrected. They would be saved from death, and given eternal life just as Jesus was.

The good news is the sum of the kingdom of God, first, and the name of Jesus,

But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning
the kingdom of God, and
the name of Jesus Christ,
they were baptized, both men and women. (Acts 8:12)

4) The good news is of the kingdom

The good news is described as 'of the kingdom'

And it came to pass afterward, that he (Jesus) went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, (Luke 8:1)
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matt 24:14)

This is not any kingdom, but the kingdom of God which is the revived kingdom of David. For the shepherds were told,

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)

And Mary was told,

And, behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:31-33).

The people of Jesus' day hearing the good news understood what Jesus told them and when Jesus came to Jerusalem they cried

Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. (Mark 11:10)

Jesus announced this kingdom when he began preaching,

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:3-5)

Jesus was saying nothing new. The good news of the distant land (Proverbs25:25) was that the meek shall inherit the land, in Hebrew (eretz).

But the meek shall inherit the earth (eretz); and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Psalm 37:11)

For more go to Kingdom