The Everlasting Gospel

What is "the Good News" of the Scriptures?

By David M Rogers

www.BibleTruth.cc

Published: March 2007

Table of Contents

Gospel Defined

Death, Burial and Resurrection of Messiah?

The Gospel According to Paul

The Gospel is a Message of Obedience

The Gospel in the Blessings and Curses

The Regathering of the House of Israel

The Gospel as "Mystery"

Who Are the Gentiles?

The Mystery of Messiah

The Gospel of the Kingdom

The Great Commission

The Eternal Gospel

Conclusion

 


What is the Gospel?  There are many responses you will get if you randomly ask this question.  The popular Christian definition of the gospel is "the death, burial and resurrection of Christ."  Then, there is the "gospel of the kingdom" which John the Baptist and Messiah himself preached.  Also the book of Revelation refers to the end-time preaching of "the eternal gospel."  What are these gospels, and what are the similarities and differences between them?  These and other questions will be answered in this study.

Gospel Defined

The word "gospel" is usually a translation of the word euvagge,lion (pronounced "eu-angelion") in the Greek New Testament manuscripts.  Eu-angelion, according to BDAG Lexicon is 1. Godís good news to humans, good news as proclamation.  2. details relating to the life and ministry of Jesus, good news of Jesus.  3. a book dealing with the life and teaching of Jesus, a gospel account.  Thayer's Greek Lexicon more precisely renders this word as, 1. a reward for good tidings, 2. good tidings.  Thus, it is usually translated as good news.

If we break down the word eu-angelion even further, it is a compound word combining the Greek words, eu, which means "good" and angelion which means "message."  Similarly, an angel is a "messenger."  An eu-angelion is a message of good news which is delivered by a herald (messenger).  The gospel, then, is the proclamation of good news.

Thayer's Greek Lexicon notes that the Greek eu-angelion corresponds to the Hebrew hr'AfB. and hr'foB., which also means tidings, messenger's reward and refers to the message that a runner brings to a king.

The "good news" about Messiah as announced in the New Testament writings is clearly the message proclaimed by the disciples of the work of atonement accomplished by Messiah on the tree and the subsequent validation of his work by his resurrection from the dead and his ministry accomplished in the heavenlies on the day of Shavuot (Pentecost) when he was proclaimed to be a priest forever in the order of Melkitsedek.

But this "proclamation" of good news was not first announced by his resurrection from the dead, or at any time during Messiah's ministry on earth.  This "good news" was first announced in the Torah of Scripture.  Elohim gave his people a set of instructions regarding the set-apart times which they were to "proclaim":

Yahuwah spoke to Mosheh:  "Speak to the sons of Yisrael and tell them, 'These are Yahuwah's appointed times which you must proclaim as set-apart assemblies--my appointed times:  Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, a set-apart assembly. You must not do any work; it is a Sabbath to Yahuwah in all the places where you live. These are Yahuwah's appointed times, set-apart assemblies, which you must proclaim at their appointed time.' " (Vayiqra [Leviticus] 23:1-4).

Each one of these days is to be a "proclamation" of Elohim's good news for his people.  Each one of these set-apart days was to be a remembrance of something that Yahuwah had done to provide redemption for his ancient people Israel, and each one of those set-apart days was to be a foreshadowing of Messiah's work of redemption which he was to accomplish at his first coming and will yet complete at his second coming.  The gospel is initially proclaimed in the set-apart days and is developed in their proclamation by the fulfillment of those days in the work of Messiah.  The appointed times proclaim the gospel!

Death, Burial and Resurrection of Messiah?

Dispensationalists like to define the gospel by quoting 1 Corinthians 15:1-8:

Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you--unless you believed in vain.  For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received--that Messiah died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Kepha, then to the twelve.  Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to Ya'acov, then to all the apostles.  Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also.

Is the gospel correctly understood as the "death, burial and resurrection of Messiah"?  Yes.  But only in part.  The "death, burial and resurrection of Messiah" summarizes the proclamation that Messiah accomplished the permanent sacrifice for sin on behalf of me and you.  It signals the beginning of redemption.  And his resurrection is indeed "good news" because it validates that the sin sacrifice is accepted and sufficient to provide atonement.  But there is much more that Messiah must do to complete the work in me and you.

The appointed time of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is also "good news" in that it is a proclamation that sacrifice for sin is followed by an ongoing separation from sin for every follower of Messiah.  Yahusha repeatedly instructed those whom he forgave sin and those whom he healed to "go and sin no more."  The message in those instructions of Messiah and in the Feast of Unleavened Bread is to "go and sin no more," or to put it another way, "live in obedience to the commandments."  The instruction of  the Feast to rid your houses of leaven and to eat no leavened thing during the seven days of the Feast is symbolic of the ridding of sinful habits from our lives, now that Messiah has accomplished a work of sacrifice to atone for our sins.  We are called as sons and daughters of Elohim to walk in his ways, to do his Word and to live in obedience to his commandments.

But there is more "good news."  Messiah also furthered the work of redemption at the appointed time of Shavu-ot (also called "Pentecost") when he was installed as King and High Priest (in the order of Melchitsedek) in heaven.  At this time, he began the work of intercession for us.  This work is described in the books of Romans, Hebrews and 1 John (and in other places).

But there is more "good news."  The appointed time of the Day of the Awakening Blast (sometimes called the "Feast of Trumpets") is to be proclaimed because it foreshadows the very day when Messiah will come down on the clouds of heaven and with a loud trumpet blast, and with a shout, he will resurrect all those who belong to him and gather them with those living disciples unto Himself.

But there is more "good news."   The appointed time of the Day of Atonement foreshadows the day when Messiah will capture our arch-enemy, the devil, and imprison him.  With the Deceiver locked up, the kingdom of righteousness of Messiah can move forward.  It will indeed be "good news" for us when we see that day arrive when the Devil will get what's coming to him!

But there is more "good news."  The appointed times of the Feast of Tabernacles was a celebration of the time when Elohim "lived among men" while he tabernacled with Israel in a tent while they wandered through the wilderness.  It also was fulfilled when Elohim in human flesh, in the person of Messiah Yahusha, "lived among men" because he was born on the appointed day, the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.  And this day is "good news" for us because it pictures and is fulfilled by the reign of Messiah on earth, as Elohim once again will be "living among men."

So Paul's declaration that the gospel is the "death, burial and resurrection of Messiah" is just a summary in capsule form of the gospel of the Scriptures.  In fact, elsewhere, Paul describes and defines the "gospel" in different terms.

The Gospel According to Paul

Paul's gospel is more than just the "death, burial and resurrection of Messiah."  It also includes the message of obtaining "righteousness by faith."  In Romans 1, Paul describes the Gospel:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is Elohim's power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Yehudi first and also to the Greek.  For the righteousness of Elohim is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, "The righteous will live by faithfulness" (vs. 16-17).

So, the gospel that Paul preached was the one that reveals and explains the principle of "righteousness by faith."

How does the Gospel reveal the righteousness of Elohim?  The popular Christian teaching about "righteousness by faith" is that Elohim's righteousness is "imputed" to those who "believe" in "Jesus."  In other words, in their view the righteousness which the believer has is a "theoretical" righteousness - you don't actually have to be living in a righteous way to be seen by Elohim as "righteous"!!  They say, "When God looks at you, he looks through the blood and he sees the righteousness of Christ, because you are in Christ" - to which I respond, "Balderdash!"

Yochanan (John) makes it very clear about who is considered righteous in the Almighty's sight, by making this simple to understand statement:

Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Yahusha is righteous (1 John 3:7).

It doesn't get any easier to understand than that.  There is no "imputing" of righteousness on those who do not practice walking in obedience to the commandments.  The declaration of truth is simple and clear: the righteous one is the one who is practicing righteousness, that is, by walking in obedience to the instructions of Scripture.

In Paul's statement above, he explains how the Gospel reveals the righteousness of Elohim.  He quoted Habakkuk 2:4, "the righteous will live by faithfulness."  The righteousness of Elohim is obtained by "living by faithfulness."  This principle of "living by faithfulness" is a reference to remaining loyal to Elohim.  Using the analogy of marriage, we remain faithful through fidelity, which means "not fooling around with someone else."  Faithfulness to Elohim means walking in obedience to the commandments.  So if the Gospel reveals the righteousness of Elohim, then the Gospel must be the message of Scripture which tells us to obey the commandments!

Listen to what Paul says about righteousness.  Paul compares the righteousness of Elohim as taught in the Torah (books of Moses) with the righteousness of Elohim as he (Paul) is teaching it:

For Mosheh writes about the righteousness that is by the Torah (law): "The one who does these things will live by them."  So the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Messiah down)  or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Messiah up from the dead).  But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we preach)- (Romans 10:5-8, quoting Devarim 30:11-13).

The righteousness of Elohim as taught by Torah is one and the same as the righteousness which Paul preached!

Let's take a look at what Mosheh teaches about righteousness.  First, he talks about the commandments of the Covenant.  He does not describe them as "difficult or impossible to keep" as some Christian denominations teach today.  On the contrary,

this commandment (Covenant) I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it too remote.  It is not in heaven, as though one must say, "Who will go up to heaven to get it for us and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"  And it is not across the sea, as though one must say, "Who will cross over to the other side of the sea and get it for us and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"  For the thing is very near you--it is in your mouth and mind so that you can do it.  Look! I have set before you today life and prosperity on the one hand, and death and disaster on the other.  What I am commanding you today is to love Yahuwah your Elohim, to walk in his ways, and to obey his commandments, his rules, and his right-rulings. Then you will live and become numerous and Yahuwah your Elohim will bless you in the land which you are about to possess (Devarim 30:11-16).

The commandments under the "Old Covenant" (as it is often called) are NOT too difficult to keep.  In fact, it is described as "very near you - in your mouth and in your mind - so that you CAN do it."

This should ring a bell for anyone who has read and studied the apostle Paul's letter to the Romans (you know, the book that is so often quoted as being the case for "righteousness by faith alone").  Paul (Paul) writes about righteousness by faith(fulness),

But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Messiah down) or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Messiah up from the dead).  But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we preach) - (Romans 10:6-8).

Keep in mind that Paul is here describing "righteousness by faith."  Paul is describing the righteousness by faith as "near you" and "in your heart" by quoting that portion of Scripture that is describing the righteousness of Elohim as revealed through the Law!  This righteousness that was revealed through the Law is that one and the same righteousness by faith(fulness/fidelity).  Paul then asks concerning "righteousness by faith":

But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we preach), because if you confess with your mouth that Yahuwah is Yahusha and believe in your heart that Elohim raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation (Romans 10:8-10).

Listen and pay attention!  Paul's message of "righteousness by faith" is one and the same as the message given by Moses to the children of Israel!  He quotes Devarim 30:14 where he notes that "it is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart"  He is talking about the righteousness that was revealed at Sinai!  That righteousness that was revealed through the Law at Sinai is the righteousness by faith that Paul is speaking of!  It is near you and in your mouth and in your heart.  Righteousness is attained by faithful obedience to the Creator.  Faith, by its very definition, means "fidelity/faithfulness" to the Elohim we serve.  This is the message that brings us life!

Going back to the Torah - the Law teaches that life and righteousness are attained through fidelity to the Covenant:

"Look! I have set before you today life and prosperity on the one hand, and death and disaster on the other.  What I am commanding you today is to love Yahuwah your Elohim, to walk in his ways, and to obey his commandments, his rules, and his right-rulings. Then you will live and become numerous and Yahuwah your Elohim will bless you in the land which you are about to possess (Devarim 30:15, 16).

The message of the covenant given at Sinai, and the message given by Paul in the book of Romans are one and the same.  Salvation is by faithfulness (obedience to the commandments) and life is obtained by obedient fidelity to Yahuwah.

But the converse is also true.  Life is forfeited through disobedience to the commandments which is "unfaithfulness" to Yahuwah.  Death is the result of disobedience.

However, if you turn aside and do not obey, but are lured away to worship and serve other elohim,  I declare to you this very day that you will certainly perish! You will not extend your time in the land you are crossing the Yardan to possess.  Today I invoke heaven and earth as a witness against you that I have set life and death, blessing and curse, before you. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live!  I also call on you to love Yahuwah your Elohim, to obey him and be loyal to him, for he gives you life and enables you to live continually in the land Yahuwah promised to give to your ancestors Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya'acov" (Devarim 30:17-20).

The call to all who will hear his voice is to "choose life" by "obeying him and being loyal to him" because "he gives you life and enables you to live...." 

Thus, Paul's gospel of "righteousness by faith" is the eternal, unchanging message that "the revealed righteousness of Elohim" is attained by "faithfulness" to his Covenant and expresses itself through obedience to his commandments.

The Gospel is a Message of Obedience

This gospel message which calls all people to obedience to the commandments of the Covenant is alluded to in Paul's writings in other places.  For example Paul opens his letter to the Romans by connecting his gospel to the message calling Gentiles to obedience:

From Paul, a slave of Messiah Yahusha, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of Elohim.  This gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the set-apart scriptures, concerning his Son Ö.  Through him we have received favor and our apostleship to bring about the obedience of faithfulness among all the Gentiles on behalf of his name (Romans 1:1-3, 5).

Again, Paul points out that his gospel is the same gospel that is proclaimed by the prophets in the set-apart Scriptures.  We saw (above) that Moses taught the gospel of the righteousness of Elohim in Devarim 30.

The goal of the gospel is to bring about "the obedience of faithfulness among all the Gentiles."  This is in agreement with Paul's description of the gospel in Romans 10 where he ties the gospel as preached in Torah with the message of righteousness through faithfulness as defined in Devarim 30.  In Devarim 30, the goal of the gospel is to bring about the obedience of all who join Elohim in covenant relationship:

Today I invoke heaven and earth as a witness against you that I have set life and death, blessing and curse, before you. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live!  I also call on you to love Yahuwah your Elohim, to obey him and be loyal to him, for he gives you life and enables you to live continually in the land Yahuwah promised to give to your ancestors Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya'acov" (Devarim 30:18-20).

In the gospel, "righteousness of Elohim" is obtained through faithfulness (i.e., obedience to the commandments).

Going back to Romans 10, we see Paul describing the source of "faith" (faithfulness):

But not all have obeyed the good news, for Yesha'yahu says, "Who has believed our report?"  Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Messiah (vss. 16,17).

Here, Paul notes, the "good news" is not always obeyed.  The relationship between "obeying" and "believing" is here established.  One who truly "believes" the good news is the one who "obeys" it.

Paul later closes his letter to the Romans with a similar declaration:

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Yahusha Messiah, according to the revelation of the mystery that had been kept secret for long ages, but now is disclosed, and through the prophetic scriptures has been made known to all the nations, according to the command of the eternal Elohim, to bring about the obedience of faith-- to the only wise Elohim, through Yahusha Messiah, be splendor forever! Amen. (Romans 16:25-27).

Paul's gospel is a proclamation about Messiah which was disclosed through the Scriptures (the Law and the Prophets) and results in the Gentiles coming to the obedience of faithfulness.

What is this obedience?  And what is to be obeyed?  Clearly, "faith" (faithfulness) comes from what is heard; that is, the commandments which proceed from the mouth of Elohim.  Therefore, the commandments are the part of the gospel that is to be obeyed, and faithfulness in obeying the commands is the prerequisite to righteousness.  This is the natural progression:  One who comes to Elohim to join him in covenant hears the stipulations of the covenant (the commandments), practices them, and thereby is participating in righteousness, because the commandments are what sets us apart unto Elohim in righteousness.  The one who is doing the commandments is righteous because he is obeying the commands.  Just as Yochanan (John) says,

Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Yahusha is righteous (1 John 3:7).

Note that he doesn't say that we are righteous because we are in Messiah.  Instead, he says, the one who practices righteousness (i.e. does the commandments) is righteous as Yahusha is righteous.  Those who are in Messiah are righteous, not because Messiah is righteous, but because those who are "in Messiah" are following Messiah by obeying the commandments.  Therefore, "righteousness by faith(fulness)" is fulfilled when we practice doing the commandments as the proper faith walk.

Paul claims as "my gospel" the message which calls all Gentiles to obedience to the commandments:

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Yahusha Messiah, according to the revelation of the mystery that had been kept secret for long ages, but now is disclosed, and through the prophetic scriptures has been made known to all the nations, according to the command of the eternal Elohim, to bring about the obedience of faithfulness-- (Romans 16:25,26).

Paul's gospel is the one that is revealed "through the prophetic scriptures," which is to say, the Law and the Prophets present this righteousness.  This is the gospel message given through Moses that we are to "love Yahuwah your Elohim, to obey him and be loyal to him, for he gives you life and enables you to live continually" (Devarim 30:20).

The Gospel in the Blessings and Curses

We have already seen above that Paul's gospel message of righteousness by faith is revealed and explained in Devarim 30, where the righteousness of Elohim consists in the commandments of the Covenant which are regarded by Mosheh as "not too difficult" nor it is "too remote."  Rather, the call to obedience to the commandments of the Covenant are described as "near you, in your mouth and in your heart."

But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Messiah down) or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Messiah up from the dead).  But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we preach) - (Romans 10:6-8, citing Devarim 30:11-14).

Let's take a closer look at the gospel as revealed in Devarim 28-30 so that we may more fully understand what previous generations of popular Christian theologians and teachers have not grasped.

As the second generation from the exodus from Egypt of the sons of Israel were preparing to enter into the promised land, Mosheh was reiterating the Covenant given to all Israel at Sinai.  He was reviewing the Covenant which Elohim has offered their fathers, who subsequently forfeited the promises through unbelief (their disobedience).  The offering of covenant relationship could be a blessing or a curse to Israel, depending upon their response to it.  If they were to choose to obey the covenant and walk in Yahuwah's ways, all manner of blessing was promised them.  But if they choose to disobey Him and go their own way, the offering of Covenant was to become a curse to them, because Yahuwah promised them all manner of curses if they were to disobey.

The blessing of obedience is stated as follows:

If you indeed obey Yahuwah your Elohim and are careful to observe all his commandments I am giving you today, Yahuwah your Elohim will elevate you above all the nations of the earth.  All these blessings will come to you in abundance if you obey Yahuwah your Elohim: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the field.  Your children will be blessed, as well as the produce of your soil, the offspring of your livestock, the calves of your herds, and the lambs of your flocks.  Your basket and your mixing bowl will be blessed.  You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.  Yahuwah will cause your enemies who attack you to be struck down before you; they will attack you from one direction but flee from you in seven different directions.  Yahuwah will decree blessing for you with respect to your barns and in everything you do; yes, he will bless you in the land he is giving you.  Yahuwah will designate you as his set-apart people just as he promised you, if you keep his commandments and obey him.  Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you belong to Yahuwah, and they will respect you.  Yahuwah will greatly multiply your children, the offspring of your livestock, and the produce of your soil in the land which he promised your ancestors he would give you.  Yahuwah will open for you his good treasure house, the heavens, to give you rain for the land in its season and to bless all you do; you will lend to many nations but you will not borrow from any.  Yahuwah will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always end up at the top and not at the bottom, if you obey his commandments which I am urging you today to be careful to do (Devarim 28:1-13).

These blessings with which the Almighty promised to bless all Israel were conditional.  Only those who continue in obedience to his commandments were to receive these blessings.

But Yahuwah also promised curses to those who would choose to disobey the commandments and go their own way:

But if you ignore Yahuwah your Elohim and are not careful to keep all his commandments and rules I am giving you today, then all these curses will come upon you in full force: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the field.  Your basket and your mixing bowl will be cursed.  Your children will be cursed, as well as the produce of your soil, the calves of your herds, and the lambs of your flocks.  You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.  Yahuwah will send on you a curse, confusing you and opposing you in everything you undertake until you are destroyed and quickly perish because of the evil of your deeds, in that you have forsaken me.  Yahuwah will plague you with deadly diseases until he has completely removed you from the land you are about to possess.  He will afflict you with weakness, fever, inflammation, infection, sword, blight, and mildew; these will attack you until you perish.  The sky above your heads will be bronze and the earth beneath you iron.  Yahuwah will make the rain of your land powder and dust; it will come down on you from the sky until you are destroyed.  Yahuwah will allow you to be struck down before your enemies; you will attack them from one direction but flee from them in seven directions and will become an object of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.  Your carcasses will be food for every bird of the sky and wild animal of the earth, and there will be no one to chase them off.  Yahuwah will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, eczema, and scabies, all of which cannot be healed.  Yahuwah will also subject you to madness, blindness, and confusion of mind.  You will feel your way along at noon like the blind person does in darkness and you will not succeed in anything you do; you will be constantly oppressed and continually robbed, with no one to save you.  You will be engaged to a woman and another man will rape her. You will build a house but not live in it. You will plant a vineyard but not even begin to use it.  Your ox will be slaughtered before your very eyes but you will not eat of it. Your donkey will be stolen from you as you watch and will not return to you. Your flock of sheep will be given to your enemies and there will be no one to save you.  Your sons and daughters will be given to another people while you look on in vain all day, and you will be powerless to do anything about it.  As for the produce of your land and all your labor, a people you do not know will consume it, and you will be only oppressed and crushed for the rest of your lives.  You will go insane from seeing all this. (Devarim 28:16-34).

Note that it is Yahuwah who is causing all these curses to come upon all those who reject his ways and refuse to walk in his commandments.

To drive home the point and to be very clear about the consequences of disobedience, the list of curses continues:

Yahuwah will afflict you in your knees and on your legs with painful boils that you will be unable to heal--from the sole of your feet to your head.  Yahuwah will force you and your king whom you will appoint over you to go to a people whom you and your ancestors have not known and you will serve other elohim of wood and stone there.  You will become an occasion of horror, a proverb, and an object of ridicule to all the peoples to whom Yahuwah will drive you.  You will take much seed to the field but gather little harvest, because the locust will consume it.  You will plant vineyards and cultivate them, but you will not drink wine or gather in grapes, because the worm will eat them.  You will have olive trees throughout your territory but you will not anoint yourself with olive oil, because the olives will drop off the trees while still unripe.  You will bear sons and daughters but not keep them because they will be taken into captivity.  Whirring locusts will take over every tree and all the produce of your soil.  The foreigner who resides among you will become higher and higher over you and you will become lower and lower.  He will lend to you but you will not lend to him; he will become the head and you will become the tail!  All these curses will fall on you, pursuing and overtaking you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey Yahuwah your Elohim by keeping his commandments and rules that he has given you.  These curses will be a perpetual sign and wonder with reference to you and your descendants.  Because you have not served Yahuwah your Elohim joyfully and wholeheartedly with the abundance of everything you have, instead in hunger, thirst, nakedness, and poverty you will serve your enemies whom Yahuwah will send against you. They will place an iron yoke on your neck until they have destroyed you (Devarim 28:35-48).

The Almighty promises to cause all these horrible things to come upon those who claim to be his, but who refuse to serve him by obeying his commandments.  The end result of these curses is exile, a scattering of Israel among the nations of the world:

This is what will happen: Just as Yahuwah delighted to do good for you and make you numerous, he will take delight in destroying and decimating you. You will be uprooted from the land that you are about to possess.  Yahuwah will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other elohim that neither you nor your ancestors have known, elohim of wood and stone.  Among those nations you will have no rest nor will there be a place of peaceful rest for the soles of your feet, for there Yahuwah will give you an anxious heart, failing eyesight, and a spirit of despair.  Your life will hang in doubt before you; you will be terrified by night and day and will have no certainty of surviving from one day to the next (Devarim 28:63-66).

We have seen in history how that this is exactly what happened to Israel.  The northern kingdom of Israel, which was always following an idolatrous path, was taken into exile by the Assyrians around 740BC.  These nine and one half tribes of Israel were scattered over all the nations of the world, and to this very day, they have not yet returned as an identifiable people to the Promised Land.  The nation of Yehudah experienced a different history.  Though exiled to Babylon around 586BC, they, in part, returned to the Land and have maintained to this day their unique identity as "Jews."  Though they still are not living in obedience to the written Scriptures (they obey their own Oral Torah made up of Rabbinic law and tradition, not Scriptural Law), they have laid claim to the land if Israel.  We see in the Jewish history that they, as a people, have experienced all the curses which Yahuwah has promised his disobedient people.

But, even in spite of all these curses which do fall upon the disobedient, there is good news!  The gospel is proclaimed, even to the disobedient:

When you have experienced all these things, both the blessings and the curses I have set before you, you will reflect upon them in all the nations where Yahuwah your Elohim has banished you.  Then if you and your descendants turn to Yahuwah your Elohim and obey him with your whole mind and being just as I am commanding you today, Yahuwah your Elohim will reverse your captivity and have pity on you. He will turn and gather you from all the peoples among whom he has scattered you.  Even if your exiles are in the most distant land, from there Yahuwah your Elohim will gather you and bring you back.  Then he will bring you to the land your ancestors possessed and you also will possess it; he will do better for you and multiply you more than he did your ancestors.  Yahuwah your Elohim will also cleanse your heart and the hearts of your descendants so that you may love him with all your heart and soul and so that you may live.  Then Yahuwah your Elohim will put all these curses on your enemies, on those who hate you and persecute you.  You will return and obey Yahuwah, keeping all his commandments I am giving you today.  Yahuwah your Elohim will make the labor of your hands abundantly successful and multiply your children, the offspring of your cattle, and the produce of your soil. For Yahuwah your Elohim will once more rejoice over you just as he rejoiced over your ancestors, if you obey Yahuwah your Elohim and keep his commandments and rules that are written in this scroll of the instruction. But you must turn to him with your whole mind and being (Devarim 30:1-10).

There is a very clear declaration of the gospel.  Here, then, is the Gospel as it is delivered in the Torah:  If you repent and return to Yahuwah with your whole being and keep his commandments, all the blessings of Elohim will come your way as he cleanses your heart and forgives all your sins.

It is at this point in the narrative where Mosheh describes this offer as "not too difficult to do" and "near you."

This commandment I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it too remote.  It is not in heaven, as though one must say, "Who will go up to heaven to get it for us and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"  And it is not across the sea, as though one must say, "Who will cross over to the other side of the sea and get it for us and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"  For the thing is very near you--it is in your mouth and mind so that you can do it.  Look! I have set before you today life and prosperity on the one hand, and death and disaster on the other.  What I am commanding you today is to love Yahuwah your Elohim, to walk in his ways, and to obey his commandments, his rules, and his right-rulings. Then you will live and become numerous and Yahuwah your Elohim will bless you in the land which you are about to possess (Devarim 30:11-16).

And this is the Gospel as Paul describes it in Romans 10!  Life, blessing and peace (forgiveness of sins) is obtained when we repent and begin living in obedience to the commandments of Scripture.

The Regathering of the House of Israel

The Prophets have much to say about the end time regathering of the lost tribes of the house of Israel.  The prophesy of Devarim 28-30 plainly delineates the exiling of Israel due to their disobedience to Covenant.  And this is where we find them, literally on earth, today.

Yahuwah explains through Yechezqel (Ezekiel) why he scattered the House of Israel:

I am Yahuwah your Elohim; follow my rules, observe my laws, and obey them.  Treat my Sabbaths as set-apart and they will be a reminder of our relationship, and then you will know that I am Yahuwah your Elohim."

But the children rebelled against me, did not follow my rules, did not observe my laws by obeying them (the one who obeys them will live by them), and desecrated my Sabbaths. I announced that I would pour out my rage on them and fully vent my anger against them in the wilderness.  But I refrained from doing so, and acted instead for the sake of my reputation, so that I would not be profaned before the nations in whose sight I had brought them out.  I also solemnly vowed to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them throughout the lands.  I did this because they disobeyed my laws, rejected my rules, desecrated my Sabbaths, and looked longingly at their fathers' idols.  I also gave them decrees which were not good and laws by which they could not live. (Yechezqel 20:19-25).

In verse 20, Yahuwah restates his requirements as stipulated in the Covenant: "follow my rules, observe my laws, and obey them."  He then brings his case against Israel: they "rebelled against me, did not follow my rules, did not observe my laws by obeying them."  For this reason, he vowed to "scatter them among the nations and disperse them throughout the lands."  And the rest is history.

The two-stick prophesy of Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 37 tells of the time in our near future when Yahuwah will bring back the exiled but now repenting sons of Israel back to the Land to unite them with a repenting house of Yehudah.:

The word of Yahuwah came to me: "As for you, son of man, take one branch, and write on it, 'For Yehudah, and for the sons of Yisrael associated with him.' Then take another branch and write on it, 'For Yoseph, the branch of Ephraim and all the house of Yisrael associated with him.'  Join them as one stick; they will be as one in your hand.  When your people say to you,, 'Will you not tell us what these things mean?' tell them, 'This is what Adonai Yahuwah says: Look, I am taking the branch of Yoseph which is in the hand of Ephraim and the tribes of Yisrael and his associates, and I will place the stick of Yehudah on it and make them into one stick, they will be one in my hand.'  The sticks you write on will be in your hand in front of them.  Then tell them, 'This is what Adonai Yahuwah says: Look, I am taking the sons of Yisrael from among the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from round about and bring them to their land.  I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Yisrael, and one king will rule over them all. They will never again be two nations and never again be divided into two kingdoms.  They will not defile themselves with their idols, their detestable things, and all their rebellious deeds. I will save them from all their unfaithfulness by which they sinned. I will purify them; they will become my people and I will become their Elohim.  'My servant David will be king over them; there will be one shepherd for all of them. In my right-rulings (mishpatim) they will walk and and my rules (chukot) they will keep and they will do them.  They will live in the land I gave to my servant Ya'acov, in which your fathers lived; they will live in it, they and their sons and their grandsons forever. David my servant will be prince over them forever.  I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be a perpetual covenant with them. I will establish them, increase their numbers, and place my sanctuary among them forever.  My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their Elohim, and they will be my people.  Then, when my sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, Yahuwah, set-apart Yisrael.'" (Yechezqel 37:15-28).

To this day, the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Yehudah have never been united since the days of King Shlomo (Solomon).  Yahuwah sent the Northern Kingdom into exile by the Assyrians and scattered them among the nations of the world.

But this prophesy states that Yahuwah will bring back the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone and gather them back to their land. At that time, those repented and re-gathered sons of Israel will obey the commandments of Yahuwah by walking in the right-rulings (mishpatim) and keeping the rules (chukot).  These people will then be obeying the Covenant which Yahuwah offered people of all generations, just as the prophesy of Devarim 30 tells us.

In another word of Yahuwah to the prophet Yirmyahu (Jeremiah), Yahuwah explains the conditions by which he will forgive his rebellious people and re-gather them from all around the world where he has scattered them:

For I know what I have planned for you,' says Yahuwah. 'I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.  When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers.  When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you,' says Yahuwah. 'Then I will reverse your fortunes and will regather you from all the nations and all the places where I have exiled you,' says Yahuwah. 'I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.' (Yirmyahu 29:11-14).

When his rebellious people repent of their wayward ways and agree to obey the commandments of the Covenant, Yahuwah will forgive them and re-gather them back to their homeland:

Mosheh instructed that second generation of Israel to come out of Egypt that one day the nation would go astray from Yahuwah.  But the Good News is that in the distant future, when they repent and turn back again to Yahuwah, then he would be faithful to keep his promise to them:

After you have produced children and grandchildren and have been in the land a long time, if you become corrupt and make an image of any kind and do other evil things before Yahuwah your Elohim that enrage him, I invoke heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that you will surely and swiftly be removed from the very land you are about to cross the Yardan to possess. You will not last long there because you will surely be annihilated. Then Yahuwah will scatter you among the peoples and there will be very few of you among the nations where Yahuwah will drive you.  There you will worship elohim made by human hands--wood and stone that can neither see, hear, eat, nor smell.  But if you seek Yahuwah your Elohim from there, you will find him, if, indeed, you seek him with all your heart and soul.  In your distress when all these things happen to you in the latter days, if you return to Yahuwah your Elohim and obey him (for he is a merciful Elohim), he will not let you down or destroy you, for he cannot forget the covenant with your ancestors that he confirmed by oath to them (Devarim 4:25-31).

And the Prophets confirm this scattering of Israel and their eventual re-gathering back to the Land.

Therefore say: 'This is what Adonai Yahuwah says: Although I have removed them far away among the nations and have scattered them through foreign lands, I have been a sanctuary for them for a short while among the lands where they have gone.'  Therefore say: 'This is what Adonai Yahuwah says: I will regather you from the peoples and will assemble you from the lands where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Yisrael.'  When they return to it, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations.  I will give them one heart and I will put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their bodies and I will give them a heart of flesh, so that they may obey my rules and keep my right-rulings and observe them. Then they will be my people, and I will be their Elohim (Yechezqel 11:16-20).

In another proclamation of the Good News, the re-gathering of the scattered House of Israel is announced:

Hear what Yahuwah has to say, nations. And proclaim it in the faraway lands along the sea. Say, "The one who scattered Yisrael will regather them. He will watch over his people like a shepherd watches over his flock."  For Yahuwah will set the descendants of Ya'acov free. He will secure their release from those who had overpowered them.  They will come and shout for joy on Mount Zion. They will be radiant with joy over the good things Yahuwah provides, the grain, the fresh wine, the olive oil, the young sheep and calves he has given to them. They will be like a well-watered garden and will not grow faint and weary any more (Yirmyahu 31:10-12).

And again,

I will certainly regather my people from all the countries where I have exiled them in my anger, fury, and great wrath. I will bring them back to this place and let them live here in safety.  They will be my people, and I will be their Elohim.  I will give them a single-minded purpose to live in a way that always shows respect for me. They will want to do that for their own good and the good of the children who descend from them (Yirmyahu 32:37-39).

And yet again,

Then I myself will regather those of my people who are still left alive from all the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their homeland. They will greatly increase in number (Yirmyahu 23:3).

The Good News of the New Testament is that Messiah has accomplished the work of redemption such that those who repent and obey the law of Mosheh will be brought back to the Promised Land which is the inheritance of the people of Elohim.

The Gospel as "Mystery"

We have seen that in the Law and the Prophets, the Gospel is the message that the righteousness of Elohim has been revealed from heaven through the revelation of the Instructions given at Sinai.  Paul quotes Devarim 30 in Romans 9 to show that the righteousness of Elohim is found in the commandments, which "if a man does, he shall live by them" (Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 20:13).  The gospel is offered to all Israel conditionally.  If they accept and obey them, they will receive all the blessings of Elohim.  But if they refuse to obey, they will be cursed and eventually exiled among the nations to serve all the false gods of the heathen.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul refers to the gospel as a mystery.  Paul himself defines a mystery:

When reading this, you will be able to understand my insight into this secret (mystery) of Messiah.  Now this secret was not disclosed to people in former generations as it has now been revealed to his set-apart apostles and prophets by the Spirit... (Ephesians 3:4,5).

A mystery is a truth of Scripture which was not understood in the past, but with Messiah's work of redemption (part 1) completed, and with its subsequent understanding by the followers of Messiah, this "secret" truth of Scripture is becoming understood.  A mystery, then, is NOT something which was never revealed before.  Rather, it is something that was not UNDERSTOOD in its fullness before.

What is this mystery Paul is speaking of?  Let's begin in Ephesians chapter 1:

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us in all wisdom and insight.  He did this when he revealed to us the secret (mystery) of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Messiah, toward the administration of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Messiah--the things in heaven and the things on earth.  In Messiah we too have been claimed as Elohim's own possession, since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Messiah, would be to the praise of his splendor.  And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)--when you believed in Messiah--you were marked with the seal of the promised Set-apart Spirit, who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of Elohim's own possession (1:7-14).

Here is Paul's summary statement of what this "secret" is.  He calls it "the secret of his will."  The mystery which was discussed by the Torah and the Prophets but was not understood until after Messiah came is that Elohim was going to "head up all things in Messiah."

This mystery was, indeed, talked about in the Torah and the Prophets.  The Torah describes "the Prophet" who was to be like Mosheh, who was to be obeyed like Mosheh.  The Prophets describe the Messiah's reign in so many ways and in so many places that we don't have space here to contain it all.  The secret (mystery) Paul is referring to is that "the Prophet" would arise and that Elohim's people need to obey him in every detail of his teaching (by the way - Messiah upheld the Torah of Mosheh - interesting, isn't it!).  And the Prophets detail the Messiah and the messianic age as a time of righteousness on the earth.

Paul calls this "mystery of his will" "the word of truth - the gospel of your salvation"!  Thus, the mystery is the gospel.  In formulaic form, that could be displayed as follows:

Mystery = word of truth = gospel = Messiah heading up all things.

The Messiah, who was to "head up all things," would be the One who would fulfill the prophetic utterances.  Thus, it was to be "in Messiah" that even the prophecy of the two branches becoming one in Yechezqel 37 would be fulfilled.  The secret which is "now being revealed" is that Messiah would bring together the two houses of Israel and make them "one nation."

So, Paul goes on to discuss this fulfillment of the two branch (stick) prophesy of Ezekiel 37.

Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh--who are called "uncircumcision" by the so-called "circumcision" -- that is performed on the body by human hands -- that you were at that time (1)without the Messiah, (2)alienated from the citizenship of Yisrael and (3)strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without Elohim in the world.  But now in Messiah Yahusha you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Messiah (Ephesians 2:11-13).

And further, in chapter 3:

When reading this, you will be able to understand my insight into this secret (mystery) of Messiah.  Now this secret was not disclosed to people in former generations as it has now been revealed to his set-apart apostles and prophets by the Spirit, namely, that through the gospel the Gentiles are (1)fellow heirs, (2)fellow members of the body, and (3)fellow partakers of the promise in Messiah Yahusha (Ephesians 3:4-6).

We will return to Ephesians 2 and 3 and his revelation of the gospel as "mystery" a bit later.  But we must first discover who these "Gentiles" are that Paul is addressing.

Who Are the Gentiles?

To understand who these "Gentiles" are that Paul (the apostle Paul) is constantly referring to in his letters, we must pay a visit to the writings of the prophet Hoshea.  Here is chapter 1 in full with commentary.  Please read this prophesy carefully, noting who is being addressed here:

This is the word of Yahuwah which was revealed to Hoshea son of Beeri during the time when Uzziah, Yotham, Ahaz, and Yechezqiyahu ruled Yehudah, and during the time when Yaravam son of Joash ruled Yisrael (verse 1).

This revelation was given during the days when both houses of Israel were still standing.  The northern kingdom, known as "Yisrael" (Israel), and the southern kingdom, known as "Yehuda" (Judah), were standing side by side.

When Yahuwah first spoke through Hoshea, he said to him, "Go marry a prostitute who will bear illegitimate children conceived through prostitution, because the nation continually commits spiritual prostitution by turning away from Yahuwah."  So Hoshea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim. Then she conceived and gave birth to a son for him.  Then Yahuwah said to him, "Name him 'Yezreel,' because in a little while I will punish the dynasty of Yehu on account of the bloodshed in the valley of Yezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Yisrael.  At that time, I will destroy the military power of Yisrael in the valley of Yezreel" (verses 2-5).

The first son of Hoshea was to be a remembrance of the fact that Elohim was going to put an end to the northern kingdom of Yisrael.  According to other related prophesies, Israel was to be taken into captivity by Assyria and scattered among the nations of the earth.

She conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then Yahuwah said to him, "Name her 'No Pity' (Lo-Ruhamah) because I will no longer have pity on the nation of Yisrael. For I will certainly not forgive their guilt.  But I will have pity on the nation of Yehudah. I will deliver them by Yahuwah their Elohim; I will not deliver them by the warrior's bow, by sword, by military victory, by chariot horses, or by chariots" (verses 6-7).

Hoshea's daughter, Lo-Ruhamah, was so-named to be a reminder that Yisrael, the northern kingdom, was not to be showed pity or compassion by the Almighty, anymore.

When she had weaned 'No Pity' (Lo-Ruhamah) she conceived again and gave birth to another son.  Then Yahuwah said: "Name him 'Not My People' (Lo-Ammi), because you are not my people and I am not your Elohim" (verses 8-9).

Hoshea's next son, named Lo-Ammi, was a statement of Yahuwah's divorce and separation from the northern kingdom of Israel.  No longer were they to be considered to be his people.  They had been disobedient and had chosen to worship the other gods of the pagans.  They were scattered and dispersed among the nations.

Now, here is where the prophetic picture becomes fascinating.  This is where Paul connects to it in his writings:

However, in the future the number of the people of Yisrael will be like the sand of the sea which can be neither measured nor numbered. Although it was said to them, "You are not my people," it will be said to them, "You are children of the living Elohim!"  Then the people of Yehudah and the people of Yisrael will be gathered together. They will appoint for themselves one leader, and will flourish in the land. Certainly, the day of Yezreel will be great! (verses 10-11).

The northern kingdom, which was no longer to be called "my people" were to become a huge crowd of people, innumerable.  These Israelites, the descendants of the scattered house of Israel, are to be called the "children of the living Elohim."  At that time, the nations of Yehudah and Yisrael are to become one nation in the Land of promise.

Watch carefully how Paul quotes and applies this prophesy of Hoshea to the New Testament congregation:

And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his splendor on the objects of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for splendor-- even us, whom he has called, not only from the Yehudim but also from the Gentiles?  As he also says in Hoshea: "I will call those who were not my people, 'My people,' and I will call her who was unloved, 'My beloved.'"  And in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' there they will be called 'sons of the living Elohim.' (Romans 9:23-26).

In Paul's explanation of the gospel, he notes that Elohim is calling the Yehudim ("Jews") and the Gentiles.  And he cites Hoshea as evidence that we should have expected Elohim to call the Gentiles!  But he is quoting that passage which we have looked at above, where the prophet Hoshea is clearly speaking of the northern House of Israel, the scattered descendants of the northern kingdom!  It is these that he is referring to as "Gentiles."  And that does make sense.  The northern kingdom of Israel was scattered among the nations ("Gentiles") and intermingled and intermarried with the nations.  So it is accurate to refer to the descendants of the house of Israel as Gentiles!

Thus, the Gospel, as it is explained in Ephesians, is that Elohim is calling Jews (the Yahudim of the southern kingdom) and Gentiles (the scattered northern kingdom of Israel) to become one people in and through the work of Messiah.  This is the work of fulfilling the prophesy of the two branches in Yechezqel 37.  And all the other prophets agree.  The two kingdoms will be brought back together as one, in the last days, by the work of Messiah.

Who are the Gentiles?  By Paul's usage of the term in quoting from the prophets, the term Gentile refers to the descendants of the scattered house of Israel, and all of the other peoples of the nations, who, through the work of the Messiah and the testimony of the Scriptures and the followers of Messiah, are coming into Covenant relationship with Elohim through Messiah.  So Paul's constant reference to "Jews and Gentiles" in his letters refers to the prophetic utterances about the northern and southern kingdoms - the two houses of Israel - coming together.

The Mystery of Messiah

Paul is speaking to the "Gentiles":

Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh--who are called "uncircumcision" by the so-called "circumcision" -- that is performed on the body by human hands -- that you were at that time (1)without the Messiah, (2)alienated from the citizenship of Yisrael and (3)strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without Elohim in the world.  But now in Messiah Yahusha you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Messiah (Ephesians 2:11-13).

Why are these Gentiles called "uncircumcision" by the Yahudim, who call themselves "the Circumcision"?  Let's see what the Scriptures say (a novel concept, wouldn't you say?).  First Paul says elsewhere,

For circumcision has its value if you practice the Law, but if you break the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision (Romans 2:25).

Here he is saying that just being circumcised is nothing if you are not also obeying all of the Instructions of Scripture.  Your being "cut in the flesh" becomes "uncircumcision" if you don't obey the rest of the Torah.

The prophet Yirmyahu (Jeremiah) says the same. 

If people want to boast, they should boast about this: They should boast that they understand and know me. They should boast that they know and understand that I, Yahuwah, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth and that I desire people to do these things," says Yahuwah.  Yahuwah says, "Watch out! The time is soon coming when I will punish all those who are circumcised only in the flesh.  That is, I will punish the Egyptians, the Judeans, the Edomi, the Ammoni, the Moabi, and all the desert people who cut their hair short at the temples. I will do so because none of the people of those nations are really circumcised in Yahuwah's sight. Moreover, none of the people of Yisrael are circumcised when it comes to their hearts, either." (Yirmyahu 9:24-26).

Those who circumcise their flesh but do not obey the rest of the commandments of Yahuwah are regarded in Yahuwah's sight as though they were NOT circumcised!  People who do not obey the Torah are not circumcised in their hearts, either.

So Paul speaks of the "Gentiles" and notes that the Jews call them "the uncircumcision."  Why?  Because, though they are the scattered remnant of the northern house of Israel, they are circumcised in the flesh, but continue in rebellion against the rest of the commandments of Scriptures!  The Gentiles are rightly called the "uncircumcision" because, though they have a physical circumcision, they are still in rebellion against the Almighty.

Paul furthermore describes them as "alienated from the citizenship of Yisrael."  The term is defined by the Freiberg Lexicon as "to alienate, estrange; only passive in the NT be a stranger to, be separated from." What were these Gentiles once separated from?  Citizenship in Israel, of course.  And how can one be estranged or separated from something which they were never connected to?  Paul's use of language is implying, again, that he is speaking to a people (the Gentiles - scattered northern Kingdom) who were once connected to citizenship in Israel, and circumcised, according to the Covenant, but now in their state of estrangement, they are separated from the promises.

Paul uses a third allusion to identify these Gentiles.  He says that "you who used to be far away have been brought near."  Again, this calls to mind the prophetic utterance with regard to the scattered northern kingdom of Israel. 

"Son of man, your brothers, your relatives, your fellow exiles, and the whole house of Yisrael are those to whom the inhabitants of Yerushalayim have said, 'They have gone far away from Yahuwah; to us this land has been given as a possession.'  "Therefore say: 'This is what Adonai Yahuwah says: Although I have removed them far away among the nations and have scattered them through foreign lands, I have been a sanctuary for them for a short while among the lands where they have gone.'  "Therefore say: 'This is what Adonai Yahuwah says: I will regather you from the peoples and will assemble you from the lands where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Yisrael.' (Yechezqel 11:15-17).

Thus, those of the whole house of Yisrael who were removed far away will be brought near when they are re-gathered back to the land of Yisrael.

Paul details yet further the content of this mystery, which is his gospel.  He writes in chapter 3:

When reading this, you will be able to understand my insight into this secret (mystery) of Messiah.  Now this secret was not disclosed to people in former generations as it has now been revealed to his set-apart apostles and prophets by the Spirit, namely, that through the gospel the Gentiles are (1)fellow heirs, (2)fellow members of the body, and (3)fellow partakers of the promise in Messiah Yahusha (Ephesians 3:4-6).

The "mystery of Messiah" that Paul preaches is that the gospel provides the way for the Gentiles to become heirs of the land which Elohim deeded to Avraham, members of the body - which is the nation of Israel, and partakers of the promise Elohim made with Avraham.  Thus, the Gentiles become full citizens with all the same rights as those already citizens of the commonwealth of Israel.

Christian theologians and thinkers have made the mistake for many centuries now of thinking that in Messiah, the "church" has different promises than those made to national Israel.  But by re-evaluating the statements of Paul and seeing the roots of these statements in the Torah and the Prophets, we have been able to discern that the promises in Messiah are being fulfilled in conjunction with the fulfillment of the prophesies which map out the re-gathering of the lost sheep and the scattered house of Israel back into the fold and returning to the Land.

The Gospel of the Kingdom

The gospel as preached by Yochanan ("John the Baptist") is stated in Matthew:

In those days Yochanan the Immerser came into the wilderness of Judea proclaiming, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "You offspring of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance, and don't think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Avraham as our father.' For I tell you that Elohim can raise up children for Avraham from these stones!  Even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.  I baptize you with water, for repentance, but the one coming after me is more powerful than I am--I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Set-apart Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clean out his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the storehouse, but the chaff he will burn up with inextinguishable fire." (Mattityahu 3:2, 7-12).

The main thrust of the Baptizer's message is a call to repentance.  Why?  What does repentance have to do with the gospel?  Recalling the gospel message as preached in Devarim 30 gives us the connection.

The gospel as proclaimed by Mosheh is to forsake all false worship, including idolatry and wrong living, and to obey the commandments of Yahuwah.  This is a very good definition of "repentance."  In the Greek mind, repentance means to "change one's mind" about a thing.  Thus, repentance is changing one's mind and doing an "about face" in your living experience.  Repentance means to "stop doing wrong and start doing right." 

Repentance has always been an integral part of the gospel message whenever and wherever it is preached.  The Messiah's gospel message features repentance:

From that time Yahusha began to preach this message: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" (Mattityahu 4:17).

Yahusha went throughout all of Galil, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of disease and sickness among the people (Mattityahu 4:23).

Mark records it this way:

Now after Yochanan was imprisoned, Yahusha went into Galil and proclaimed the gospel of Elohim.  He said, "The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of Elohim is near. Repent and believe the gospel!" (Mark 1:14,15).

Mark calls this message of repentance "the gospel of Elohim."  But Matthew calls this same message, "the gospel of the kingdom."  These are the same gospel.  The gospel of Elohim is the gospel of the kingdom and it consists of a message to repent of sin.

What did Messiah mean when he said, "the time is fulfilled."  This, too, is part of the gospel of the kingdom.  Bear in mind that the appointed times of Vayiqra 23 tell the story of the gospel in picture or "shadow" form.  The appointed times tell the whole story of the death, burial and resurrection of Messiah, his anointing as High Priest, and his return in the clouds to gather his own, judge the world and establish his reign on earth.  This is the aspect of the "gospel" that Messiah is referring to when he says that "the time is fulfilled."  He had come to accomplish those things that the appointed times foreshadowed.

Repentance is also an integral part of Peter's gospel proclamation.  When preaching on the day of Shavuot (Pentecost), he instructs the crowd gathered there.

Peter said to them, "Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Yahusha Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Set-apart Spirit.  For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as Yahuwah our Elohim will call to himself." (Acts 2:38,39).

And in his exhortation from Solomon's Porch following the healing, Peter says,

But the things Elohim foretold long ago through all the prophets--that his Messiah would suffer--he has fulfilled in this way.  Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out (Acts 3:18, 19).

Repentance has to be the first step in one's walk with Elohim. Contrary to popular opinion and the teaching of most Christian ministers, Elohim does not "accept us just as we are"!  He cannot.  He is holy, set-apart in all his ways.  He cannot allow unholy sinful flesh to stand in his presence.

Therefore, whoever comes to Elohim to be cleansed from his sin must first repent of his sin.  He must change his mind and abandon sinfulness.  Repentance means turning away from sin and turning to right living.  Baptism follows repentance because it is symbolic of one's cleansing from sin.  This is why baptism always immediately follows repentance.  So, Peter's gospel call is to "repent and be baptized."

Paul's gospel also always includes repentance as its first and necessary component.  While preaching in Athens, Paul concludes,

therefore, although Elohim has overlooked such times of ignorance, he now commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:30, 31).

This is Paul's gospel: Repent because Messiah has authenticated his work by rising from the dead.

Before King Agrippa, Paul again explains his gospel.  His message to Jews and Gentiles alike is to, first of all, repent.  This involves turning away from sin and turning to righteous living, by the keeping of the commandments:

"Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but I declared to those in Damascus first, and then to those in Yerushalayim and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to Elohim, performing deeds consistent with repentance (Acts 26:19, 20).

The deeds consistent with repentance is, no doubt, a reference to obedience to the commandments of the Covenant.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul includes, as he always does, the initial act of repentance, which is the first step in fellowship with Elohim:

Or do you have contempt for the wealth of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, and yet do not know that Elohim's kindness leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4).

The kindness of Elohim draws us to himself and convinces us of the need to repent - turn from sin and to good works of the commandments.

The Great Commission

The "Great Commission," as Messiah's final instructions to his talmidim (disciples) are often called, contains the same gospel message which we have been seeing from each of the genres of Scripture.  Matthew records the more popular and familiar version of these final instructions:

Then Yahusha came up and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Set-apart Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Mattityahu 28:18-20).

The primary commandment here, as anyone who knows a little Greek grammar can tell you, is to make disciples.  Unfortunately, this little point (I say facetiously) of "making disciples" seems to get lost in all the (so-called) "evangelism" that goes on in Christian circles.  My experience among Christians has shown me over and over again that Christianity places a great deal of emphasis on "getting people saved" - that is, the "numbers game" - but spend little time actually making disciples.  Seems to me that the commandment of the Master is to "make disciples" not to "get people saved"!

What does it take to make disciples?  This is answered in the rest of the "commission" given to Messiah's disciples.  You make a disciple by first "baptizing" him and then by "teaching" him. Still not clear?  Let's break it down to its fundamentals.  Baptizing is what is done to people who have repented of their sins and have chosen to walk in the footsteps of Messiah.  John says, "but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of Elohim has been perfected. By this we know that we are in him.  The one who says he resides in Elohim ought himself to walk just as Yahusha walked" (1 John 2:5,6).  Baptism, remember, is the symbolic act which expresses ones change of mind - that one has forsaken his lifestyle of transgressing Elohim's ways, and has chosen to walk in obedience to the commandments.  John also says that "by this we know that we have come to know Elohim: if we keep his commandments. The one who says 'I have come to know Elohim' and yet does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in such a person" (1 John 2:3,4).

When the one becoming a disciple makes this choice, the next step is to find out all about the commandments which he is instructed to obey.  Messiah Yahusha commissioned his followers to make disciples by "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19).  It is amazing how many Christians overlook this "minor" point in the commission (there I go again, being facetious).  Messiah has commanded us to "(1) teach them, (2) to obey, (3) everything, (4) I have commanded you."  Let's go over these four things in detail so that we actually are doing what was commanded in the Messiah's "Great Commission."

First, a disciple must be taught.  The substance, I think everyone would agree, is the Scriptures.  We must teach or else the follower won't know what exactly he is supposed to follow.  Second, we must teach people "to obey."  This is at the very core of "faith" (read "faithfulness").  Fidelity to Messiah is obedience to him.  John puts it this way: "If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth" (1 John 1:6).  Righteousness by faith (read "faithfulness") is "imputed" to those who are faithful in their walk of obedience to his commandments.

Third, we are told to obey "everything."  He does not give us the option of picking and choosing which ones we want to obey.  We are told to obey "everything."  And fourth, "his commandments" are what we are taught to obey.  So, then, what are his commandments?  Just the "New Testament" stuff? or does this include "Old Testament" commandments?  Let's answer this by finding out which commandments Messiah Yahusha has commanded.  Fair enough?

Who gave the commandments on Mt. Sinai?  Elohim.  Right?  Yes, right.  But was it "the Father" or "the Son" who gave the commandments on Sinai.  Because, if the "Son" gave those commandments, then when he instructed his followers to "make disciples" by "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you," then he must have been talking about the commandments of the "Old Covenant," too.  Right?

When Elohim appeared to Mosheh, who was that?  The Father or the Son?  Yochanan tells us that

No one has ever seen Elohim. The only one, himself Elohim, who is in bosom of the Father, has made Elohim known (John 1:18).

What John is telling us, if we will have "ears to hear," is that Elohim the Father, who is spirit, has never been seen.  He cannot be seen because he is not of this creation.  He is spirit.  It is the Son's "job" to reveal him, that is, to appear and show Elohim.  Whenever Elohim is seen, it is the "Son" who is appearing.

We have additional "New Testament" proof that this is so.  When we turn to Paul's writing to the Corinthians, we have him explaining that Messiah accompanied our forefathers as they journeyed through the wilderness following the exodus from Mitzrayim (Egypt):

For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Mosheh in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they were all drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Messiah (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

The nation of Israel was accompanied by the Presence of Yahuwah as they exited Mitzrayim and wandered around the desert.  Paul is informing us that the Presence was "the Son."  The Messiah was the rock that gave them drink.  And it was the Messiah that they were testing when they rebelled against the Presence of Yahuwah:

But Elohim was not pleased with most of them, for they were cut down in the wilderness. These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did. So do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." And let us not be immoral, as some of them were, and twenty-three thousand died in a single day.  And let us not put Messiah to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes (1 Corinthians 10:5-9).

Elohim came to them and spoke to them and appeared to them.  But that was Elohim "the Son" that appeared to them, because Elohim the Father is spirit and is never seen.

That being evident from Scripture, its not difficult to now understand that it was Messiah, Elohim "the Son" who also appeared to them at Mt. Sinai and gave them His commandments - the Ten Commandments - the commandments of the Covenant.  So when Messiah Yahusha says, "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19), he is speaking of all the commandments of Scripture.  We have not properly "made disciples" of anyone until we have taught them to observe and keep all the commandments that Messiah has commanded, which are the commandments of the Sinai Covenant.

Yahusha himself had taught his disciples,

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Torah (Law of Sinai) or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place.  So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Mattityahu 5:17-19).

Messiah clearly explained to his disciples that he was not doing away with the commandments of Sinai, which he calls "the Torah."  In fact, he emphasizes the need to teaching these very same commandments down to the last detail and including the "very least" of the commandments given at Sinai.  Those who teach otherwise will be called "Least" in his kingdom.

The Great Commission, then, is Messiah Yahusha's charge to his followers to "make disciples" for him by baptizing the repentant ones and teaching them to obey all the commandments of Yahuwah.  The true disciple will always forsake transgressing the Law of Elohim and walk in full obedience to all the Law and commandments Elohim gave at Sinai.

The Eternal Gospel

The designation "eternal gospel" or "everlasting gospel" is found in the book of Revelation:

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, and he had an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth--to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He declared in a loud voice: "Fear Elohim and give him splendor, because the hour of his judgment has arrived, and worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water!" (14:6,7).

The eternal gospel is here detailed as consisting of two components: fearing Elohim and worshipping the Creator.  Given that this gospel proclamation is "eternal" then this message is one which has always and will always be proclaimed - including during the present age.  This message of fearing Elohim and worshipping the Creator must be for Messiah's disciples also, because it is "eternal."

This everlasting gospel, as described in Revelation, brings to mind the last two verses of the Book of Ecclesiastes, in which the writer is summarizing the purpose for which this wise man wrote down his musings:

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear Elohim and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man.  For Elohim will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

It's interesting to note that just as Ecclesiastes summarizes man's response to the living Elohim in light of his inevitable judgment of all to be one of fearing Elohim and keeping his commands, the Revelation also exhorts us to fear Elohim and worship him in view of his soon coming judgment.  Both passages suggest that we owe our Creator the respect and awe which results in our worship of him and our obedience to him.  This is the whole of what matters in our life.

What does the teaching about "fearing Elohim" consist of?  We find the command to fear Elohim scattered throughout the Torah.  To fear Elohim means to respect his ability to do the good things he promises and to do the bad things he has promised toward the disobedient.  Fear of Yahuwah springs from the knowledge of his will and the understanding that he will do what he says.  A human father is feared by his children if he sets the rules and boundaries, establishes punishment for breaking the boundaries and then carries out the punishment.  Same with our heavenly Father.  Fear of Elohim means adjusting our behavior in light of the real sense of consequences for our lifestyle choices.

So when we read of "fearing Elohim" in the Law, it is accompanied with instruction about obedience to the rules:

You must not curse a deaf person or put a stumbling block in front of a blind person. You must fear your Elohim; I am Yahuwah (Vayiqra 19:14).

You must rise in the presence of the aged, honor the presence of an elder, and fear your Elohim. I am Yahuwah (Vayiqra 19:32).

No one is to oppress his fellow citizen, but you must fear your Elohim, because I am Yahuwah your Elohim. You must obey my rules and my regulations; you must be sure to keep them so that you may live securely in the land (Vayiqra 25:17,18).

Fear of Elohim means to obey his instructions in light of the fact that there is blessing in it for you when you do obey but punishment if you don't.

This point is brought home in the section of teachings about the promised blessings toward those who obey the commandments of the Covenant, and the curses towards those who disobey the commandments:

If you refuse to obey all the words of this instruction, the things written in this scroll, and refuse to fear this glorious and awesome name, Yahuwah your Elohim, then Yahuwah will increase your punishments and those of your descendants--great and long-lasting afflictions and severe, enduring illnesses (Devarim 28:58,59).

Here, refusing to fear Yahuwah is cleared equated with refusing to obey all the words of this instruction.  To fear is to obey.

What, then, does it mean to "worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water"?  Again, "worship" is defined by the instructions of the first four of the ten commandments.  We are commanded not to have other gods, not to carve or form and image or idol so that we may use it in our worship of him.  We are commanded not to minimize or trifle his name.  And we are commanded to set-apart the seventh day unto Him.  In performing these four commandments, we are worshipping Elohim in truth.

But the expression, "worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water" has a special connection to the commandment about the Sabbath.  The fourth commandment says to set apart the seventh day because

in six days Yahuwah made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh day; therefore Yahuwah blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it (Shemot 20:11).

Worshipping the One who made heaven and earth and the sea can only properly be done by setting apart the seventh day as a Sabbath unto Him, because the very act of doing this calls to mind the fact that He is the One who "made heaven and earth and the sea" in six days.

The "Eternal Gospel" is evidently a call to obey the eternal commandments of Elohim.  On the day after man was created, Elohim gave him the seventh day to be set apart as a day of rest and communion with Elohim.  This convention is proclaimed eternally.  The seventh day will always be the day Elohim calls his people to stop working and to fellowship with Him.  Messiah will do so during his reign on earth.  And believers today NEED to be compliant with this commandment, as well.

Conclusion

The gospel includes the "death, burial and resurrection of Messiah."  But it is much more than that.  The Scriptures have always been proclaiming the gospel.  The gospel is the good news that Elohim is doing a work of redemption, to buy back sinners and draw them to Himself.

Abraham proclaimed the gospel by showing that "the righteous one will live by faithfulness."  Abraham obeyed the instructions of Yahuwah and was the example of faithfulness to all who will follow in his footsteps.  And even the Gentiles will be brought into Covenant relationship with Messiah by walking as Abraham did.

The Law of Mosheh proclaimed the gospel by explaining that the Word of the commandments is near you, in your heart and in your mouth.  It is not difficult to reach or attain.  If one will obey all the commandments Yahuwah has instructed, there will be life and peace and blessing.  But even those who refuse to obey and who will be subsequently scattered throughout the earth will have descendants who will repent and return to Yahuwah in obedience to the Instructions of Scripture.

Mosheh also proclaimed the gospel in shadow form by giving the appointed times of worship, which depict the work of redemption which Messiah is performing.  His death and resurrection, enthronement as High Priest, and his return on the clouds to fulfill the promises, bring judgment on all, and establish his reign of righteousness on earth.

John the Immerser and Messiah proclaimed a message of repentance from sinful habits and subsequent obedience to the written commandments of Scripture as the way of attaining Life.  Messiah emphasized that he had come to explain and carry out the commandments of the Law.

The apostle Paul proclaimed the gospel, emphasizing the need to bring about the obedience of faithfulness among all the Gentiles."  Peter and John, likewise, emphasize that a proper relationship with Elohim is evidenced  by compliance with the commandments.

This is the eternal gospel - the gospel that Mosheh and all the Prophets, the gospel that Messiah preached, and the very same gospel that Paul and the rest of the followers of Messiah taught - that the Messiah work of redemption has provided everlasting forgiveness and pardon for sin for all who will turn from that sin (repent) and walk in the righteous commandments of Yahuwah.

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