Which Gospel?

Gospel simply means “good news.  It is used 104 times and only in the New Testament, predominantly in Paul’s epistles (75 times) KJV.  Most of us were taught that there is only one gospel. Albeit true that the “Gospel” in all its context is the “good news” of Jesus Christ…Lord, Messiah, King, Savior, head of His Body – the Church…nevertheless it is presented to us in two very distinct forms.  The first is the “Kingdom gospel” promised to Israel as explained in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and the early parts of the book of Acts.  It is the gospel taught by the twelve apostles per their commission in Mat 28:16-20; Mk 16:15-18; Luk 24:26-48; Jn 17: 18; 20:21; Ac 1:8.  The second is the “mystery” hidden in God since before the beginning of the world, the “dispensation of grace,” which Jesus Christ revealed to the Apostle Paul and concerns the Church – the Body of Christ.” Paul confirms in 1 Tim 1:11 that what he taught was, “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

            Of course, hindsight is always 20/20.  As we look back through time we can clearly see that it is only through the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ that all men of faith are justified and come to salvation regardless of when they lived.  The grace of God expressed through Jesus is the explanation as to how Abel could be declared righteous by God for the sacrifice he brought before Him (Heb 11:4), and Noah could become “an heir of righteousness” by building an ark (Heb 11:7).  God’s grace, administered through Jesus Christ, is how anyone could be saved under the dispensation of the Law, and how we, in this “dispensation of grace,” can also come to salvation.  In Joh 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  This truth is emphasized in Ac 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

               Today, most of Christendom teach that the twelve Apostles…which include Peter…taught the same “good news” as did Paul.  They teach that the so-called “New Testament church” was established at Pentecost (Acts 2) and that because of Israel’s sins, God abandoned His covenant people in favor of the church.  Some churches even use the term “covenant” in their title. However, there are several flaws in that thinking.  One is that God never goes back on His word.  He made specific promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and confirms them in Jesus.  Another is misunderstanding of the “mystery” Paul taught, which God had kept to Himself from the beginning. 

Ro 16:25-27  “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: 27 To God only wise, [be] glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.”
1Co 2:6-8 “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known [it], they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

Eph 3:3 “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words.”

Col 1:26-27 “[Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

               The Nations have NO covenant relationship with God.  Today, what the churches claim to be the “New Covenant” is between God and Israel.  It is not a covenant with the Church – Jer 31:31; Heb 8:8 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.”  Obviously, contextually, the “new covenant” is NOT with any church!

               Failure to understand this distinction is why Christendom around the world rejects Israel and believes God has abandoned His “covenant” people.  It is wrongly assumed that the New Testament Church is the inheritor of the promises God made to His covenant people, Israel.  Contrary to what most churches teach, Peter was preaching the “Gospel of the Kingdom,” not the “Gospel of grace.”  Paul was preaching the “Gospel of Grace” as revealed to Him directly by Jesus Christ—which is completely outside of the covenants. 

Gospel of the Kingdom—Israel
               The Gospel of the Kingdom was and is Israel’s “good news.”  It was predicated on the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David.  As promised by God, Israel’s kingdom had finally come.   The Messiah was walking among them, just as proclaimed in the Law and the prophets, and just as taught by John (the Baptist) and by Jesus Himself (Mt 3:2; 4:17).  Even after our Lord’s crucifixion, the message was preached.  In Acts 8:35 Philip taught the Ethiopian eunuch from the prophets same as Jesus taught the disciples on the road to Emmaus from Moses and the prophets (Lk 24:27).  The nation of Israel was, and still is, under unbreakable covenant promises initiated by God between Himself and Abraham (Gen 15:4-18; 17:2) and passed down by God through Isaac (Gen 17:19; 26:3), Jacob (Gen 28:13-15), David (2Sam 7:12,13,16), and confirmed in Jesus Christ (Ps 132:11; Acts 2:30; Luke 1:31-33).   This Covenant is entirely and exclusively with Israel.  The “good news” for Israel was that the promise of their “Kingdom” had finally arrived — Messiah their King was walking among them.  This “Gospel of the Kingdom” is what was taught by John, Jesus, and the twelve Apostles.  Jesus states clearly in Mt 15:24, “. . . I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  In Luke Jesus sent out 70 disciples to preach the good news of the Kingdom.  In Mt 10:5-6 Jesus sends forth the 12 Apostles and“. . . commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

               Remember, it was the responsibility of Israel to bring God’s truth to all the nations of the earth, being the “light on the hill” for all peoples to flock to.  It was their responsibility throughout the Old Testament, and it is the commission Jesus gave to the Apostles.  To the twelve, He said:

Mt 28:18-19 “. . . All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”
Mr 16:15-16 “. . . Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
Ac 1:8
 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

               What they were preaching was the “Kingdom.”  Beginning in Acts and continuing throughout Peter’s ministry, he taught that God had foretold through the prophets that Messiah would suffer (Isaiah 53) and pleaded with the people of Israel to repent so that their sins would be blotted out “when the times of refreshing” should come.  That is, when they would be resurrected, and Christ would establish His Kingdom (Ac 3:18-21).

               That, in essence, is the Gospel of the Kingdom.  Because of their hard hearts, Israel failed to receive Christ and fulfill their commission as “light to the world.”  Instead of embracing Jesus, they rejected Him and the message that the kingdom had come.  Stephen witnessed to the Sanhedrin.  For doing so, he was dragged out of the city and stoned to death (Ac 7).  That marked the turning point.  God had had enough and raised up Paul to go to the Gentiles.  As Paul’s ministry prospered and Israel continued to reject Christ, God placed the nation into abeyance.  Jesus warned in Lu 13:35,“Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until [the time] come when ye shall say, Blessed [is] he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”   Peter preaches to the people of Israel in Ac 3:19,“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”  They listened neither to Jesus nor to Peter.  God brought in the Romans to administer His wrath upon a stubborn and hardhearted people.  As prophesied in Amos 9:9,“For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as [corn] is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.”  God scattered them throughout the earth and did not allow them to be assimilated.  The Jews were to always be a separate and distinct people, God’s people.  They will remain in abeyance and their Kingdom postponed until the “times of the Gentiles” be fulfilled, Lk 21:29.  But before that, their hearts must soften and their eyes open.  After the “rapture” of the Church, the Body of Christ, Israel will once again assume her proper place in the purpose of God Almighty.  Paul teaches in Ro 11:25, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”  The covenant promises will be fulfilled.

Distinguish between the Gospel of Grace and the Dispensation of Grace
The Gospel of Grace – the Dispensation of Grace – the Body of Christ

Eph 3:1-6 “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.”

Clarification:  v6, “the same body.” That is, with Christ, each other, and all the Jews who joined the Church (Not with Israel) Eph1:22-23, Eph 2:15-16, 1 Cor 12:27.
: These apostles and prophets, v5, are not those of the Old Testament including Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  They are apostles and prophets of the dispensation of Grace – such as Paul & Barnabas (Ac 14:4); Apollos (1Cor4:6,9); Silvanus & Timothy (1Th 1:1, 6; 2:4) and others; some prophets were: Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen (Ac 13:1) and others.

             Most “Christians,” believing the church began at Pentecost, do not realize that the church at Jerusalem was still “Tempe observant,” walking in the ways of Moses and the Law.  The Jerusalem council (Ac 15) recognized that the message Peter and the other eleven taught clearly was not the same message Paul was teaching.  That is why Paul traveled to Jerusalem and met with the Church council.  Jews coming from Jerusalem were interfering with Paul’s ministry of “God’s grace through Christ” and confusing the Gentiles.  They were telling the Gentiles that in addition to what Paul taught, it was still necessary for them to be circumcised, baptized, and to follow Moses and the Law in order to be saved (Gal 2:2; Ac 15:5)

Clarification:  Another point of confusion – the word church is simply a calling out, a meeting, a religious congregation – Jewish synagogue, a Christian community of believers on earth, or saints in, or both.  Scripture refers to several churches.  The church in the wilderness, the church at Jerusalem, the church at Antioch, the seven churches in Revelation, and others.  While reading Scripture, it would be incorrect to understand the term “church” as a cohesive, singular body any more than it is now.  Today there are many denominations each spouting diverse teaching.  But then as now there is only one “Body of Christ” as proclaimed by God and taught by Paul.  The Pentecostal church of Acts 2 and the Pauline church of Acts 9 are different entities entirely – teaching different doctrines, with different Apostles and different prophets for their times – the Kingdom Gospel and the Grace Gospel.

             The Jerusalem council (Ac 15) concurred that God had sent Paul to the Gentiles and Peter, along with the other eleven Apostles, to the Jews, (Gal 2:7-8).  One preached the “Gospel of Grace” (the Body of Christ) and the other preached the “Gospel of the Kingdom” (Israel).  The Grace Gospel is outside the covenants God made with Israel, of which Jesus was the fulfillment—Israel’s covenants include earthly blessings of land, a nation, a king, and a kingdom.  On the other hand, Gentiles were not under any covenant relationship with the LORD.  Paul was chosen by Jesus Christ to be an Apostle to the Gentiles who would inherit spiritual blessings (1Co 1:1; Eph 1:3).

               What Jesus revealed to Paul had been hidden in a “. . . mystery, which was kept secret since the world began”  Rom 16:25, the “Gospel of the grace of God, Jesus Christ.”  Understand — This wasn’t anything preached hitherto.  This wasn’t anything revealed to Moses or the prophets, or even to the twelve Apostles.  This wasn’t mentioned by Jesus himself when He was ministering on the earth.  This was a mysteryGod held to Himself until the time was right!

               The Apostles were faithfully preaching the Kingdom.  They taught – turn to Jesus, your Messiah and King and, Ac 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”  That is, their resurrection at the beginning of Christ’s Millennial reign.  This is to and about Israel.

               The mystery Paul preached to the Church, the Body of Christ, was completely foreign to Israel.  It was independent of Moses, the Law.  Anyone who will believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, Jew or Gentile, is welcome in.  For, truly “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” Ga 3:28.  The message was this:

 1Co 12:27 “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”  1Co 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Eph 3:8-9 “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ”  1Co 15:1-6: 1) Christ died for our sins as foretold in the Scriptures; 2) He was buried; 3) He was raised as the prophets foretold, and He appeared in resurrection to many.”
Ro 8:1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit … Ro 8:9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his … Ro 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you … Ro 8:16-17 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.”

Exploring Scripture~because it mattere – it really does!

Ga 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.  

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

Heb 11:6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Grace is a kindness, a favor, an act of generosity.   Salvation has always been through faith and by the grace of God.  God bestows “salvation grace” upon those who believe.  But grace isn’t always salvation.  Sometimes grace is simply a blessing, a graciousness or mercy extended by God to someone He favors for His own reason.  One such instance is Lot being rescued from Sodom (Gen 19:19).   Another time is in Zec 12:10 where God shows kindness to Israel, opening their eyes to understand who their Messiah is.  Heb 4:16 and 1Pe 3:7 are a couple of examples in the New Testament of God bestowing His grace.

Although all men in all ages who find salvation, find it by the kindness and graciousness of God, under the Law works were required.  It wasn’t through the works that any man found salvation but through the faith, the individual exercised in doing the works.  Faithfully, Noah built the Ark.  Likewise, Abraham offered Isaac, his son, as a sacrifice to God out of his faithfulness and obedience.  It is always faith that brings saving grace to us.  Ro 3:24 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Exploring Scripture~because it matters – it really does!

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