Gospel

Is the New Testament hope consistent with what was promised in the Old Testament? Did Jesus and his disciples refer to the Kingdom? Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Promises? A Paradise Earth? Resurrection? An Inheritance? Or did they preach something new and different?

What did Jesus preach?

The Kingdom

Beginning in the Gospel of Matthew, we find that Jesus preaches extensively about “the kingdom of heaven”. In Mark, Luke and John, Jesus and his disciples likewise preach “the gospel of the kingdom of God.” In their preaching campaigns they encourage people to repent and prepare, for the kingdom is near, and they discuss who will enter the kingdom. (Matthew 4:17, 18:3; Mark 1:14-15; 16:15-16; Luke 4:43; 16:16)

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

Jesus speaks about many coming to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 8:11)

Promises

The Angel Gabriel reminded Mary of the promises made to David, saying, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33 ESV)

Paradise

On the cross, Jesus promised the thief beside him, “you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) The Greek word for ‘paradise’ means ‘a park, an Eden’. Jesus spoke of the ‘regeneration’ when his disciples would judge the 12 tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28) He also cautions against swearing by the city Jerusalem, “for it is the city of the great King.” (Matthew 5:35) In John 14:2-3, Jesus promises his disciples that, “in my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” Some take this as a promise that paradise will be in actual heaven, but notice Jesus says, “I will come again and will take you to myself.”  Does this refer to coming to earth to reign forever? or coming to earth and returning to heaven with the faithful? This is a topic for another blog.

Parables about the Kingdom

Jesus also tells parables beginning with the words “the kingdom of heaven is like…” involving good seed, leaven, treasure, fish, talents, a wedding feast, foolish and wise virgins, and an absent bridegroom and master who will return. (Matthew 13:24, 31, 33, 44, 45; 18:23; 22:2; 25:1, 14)

His Death and Resurrection

An explanation of Jesus’ death, resurrection and glorification was given but not fully understood until after Jesus is risen. (Luke 18:33; John 12:31-35) Then Jesus tells two of his followers, “…These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”… he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:25-26 and 44-48)

Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel?

It is also interesting to note that during the 40 days before Jesus ascended to heaven, he spoke to his disciples about “the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3) The disciples became so excited that they asked Jesus, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) Jesus didn’t rebuke them for thinking the kingdom would be restored to Israel, but only cautioned that the timing of this event was known only to his Father. Just as we have seen from many Old Testament prophecies, the Kingdom of God is linked in a special way to the land of Israel, even though the kingdom will eventually include the whole earth. (Dan.2:44)

What did the Apostles Preach in Acts?

After Jesus ascended to heaven in the record of Acts, the angels promised the disciples, “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”(Acts 1:11) Jesus’ disciples went forward with the full Gospel message, and Holy Spirit gifts, preaching, “the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 8:12).  For a summary list of the Gospel message as taught in Acts, click here – The Gospel in Acts

The message preached in Acts includes a coming Kingdom, the Name of Jesus, repentance, belief, baptism, and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 2:37-41; 8:37; 16:30-33) It was what the Apostle Paul taught, “from morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.” (Acts 28:23)

Forgiveness of Sins and The Name of Jesus

Repentance was commanded in the Gospel accounts, but forgiveness of sins is a new emphasis in Acts, now that Jesus has given his life for all of mankind. (Acts 2:23,37; 3:13-19; 5:30-31; 7:52-53; 13:38-39; 17:30-32; 26:18-20)

The Name of Jesus Christ is also a new emphasis, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Coming Kingdom

Just like in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the need to prepare for a coming kingdom is stressed, including the resurrection and judgement, and the elevation of Jesus to be the Prince and Saviour. (Acts 2:16-20; 3:20-21;  Acts 1:11; 3:20-21; 10: 42; Acts 17:30-31; 24:24-25; Acts 3:13; 4:11, 5:30-21)

Old Testament Hope

Tying in with the Old Testament hope of the promises, reference is made to the “Hope of Israel”, the promises to Abraham and an ‘inheritance’.  (Acts 2:39; 3:25-26; 7:1-5; 13:22-23; 26:6-8; 28:20; Acts 20:32; 26:18) Paul says, “it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.” (Acts 28:20)

Old Testament Proof

Many times in Acts, the Old Testament is referred to as proof that Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecies of a suffering Messiah, who had to die and be raised to life. (Acts 2:24-33; 32-37; 8:26-35; 13:27-30, 32-37; 17:2-3; 31-32; 26:22-23; 18:28) The essence of the Gospel message is not new – it is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies!

Emphasis on Resurrection

Throughout Acts, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a crucial aspect of the Gospel message. The Jews and Gentiles could easily believe Jesus had been crucified… but what good was a dead Messiah? Was he really alive again? By demonstrating the healing power of the Name of Jesus, and referring to relevant Old Testament prophecy, the disciples endeavoured to prove that the Messiah was indeed alive again, actively involved on earth, and seated in heaven on the right hand of God.

Consistent Message

As you can see from this consideration, the message of both Testaments are perfectly consistent. The New Testament adds details and emphasis but doesn’t change the essential hope held by those in the Old. Paul says, “I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22-23)

The First to Rise From the Dead?

It’s intriguing to consider that Jesus was the ‘FIRST to rise from the dead’. Other human beings were miraculously resurrected in the Old and New Testaments – what was special about Jesus’ resurrection? In what way is he considered the ‘first’? Will others follow? In our next few blogs we will delve into the subject of resurrection, looking first – at THE FIRST to rise from the dead!

Of all the nations that God has prophesied about in the Bible, Israel is mentioned the most often with a vast amount of detail. It’s very exciting to consider the prophecies and the way in which God has brought all of this to pass. This is a modern-day miracle which we are privileged to witness!

Warnings to Israel
As far back as the time of Moses, the nation was warned that if they failed to keep God’s commands, they would receive many curses and be scattered to all ends of the earth (Deuteronomy 28:15, 63-68). Dismayed at the lack of faith he found in Israel, Jesus pronounced, “Behold, your house is forsaken.” (Luke 13:35) After Israel crucified their Messiah, the Gospel began to be preached to the Gentiles and by 70 AD the nation of Israel ceased to exist; they were scattered to the ends of the earth just as Jesus and the prophecies foretold. Jerusalem was taken by the Romans and given the name Aelia Capitolina. Thus began the ‘times of the Gentiles”, as it says in Luke 21:24, “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Bible Students were convinced of the Restoration Centuries Ago
However, in the last century, we have witnessed the prophecies of restoration taking place! The prophecies are so clear and detailed that hundreds of years before Israel became a nation, Bible students were able to ascertain the Jews would be restored. I have attached a few examples from the writings of various Bible students in the 1700 and 1800’s who fervently believed that this restoration of the Jews had to occur before Jesus Christ returned to earth! One such Bible student was the famous scientist Isaac Newton, whose religious writings have only been recently released to the public (note that ‘ye’ is ‘the’):

“For they understand not that ye final return of ye Jews captivity & their conquering the nations & setting up a peaceable righteous & flourishing Kingdom at ye day of judgment is this mystery. Did they understand this they would find it in all ye old Prophets who write of ye last times as in ye last chapters of Isaiah where the Prophet conjoyns the new heaven & new earth wth ye ruin of ye wicked nations, the end of weeping & of all troubles, the return of ye Jews captivity & their setting up a flourishing & everlasting Kingdom.”
ISAAC NEWTON on The Mystery of this Restitution of all Things, by Stephen Snobelen.

Another Bible student, John Thomas, wrote in the 1800’s:

“There is, then, a partial and primary restoration of Jews before the manifestation, which is to serve as the…basis, of future operations in the restoration of the rest of the tribes after he has appeared in the kingdom. The pre-adventual colonization of Palestine will be on purely political principles; and the Jewish colonists will return in unbelief of the Messiahship of Jesus, and of the truth as it is in him. They will emigrate thither as agriculturists and traders, in the hope of ultimately establishing their commonwealth, but more immediately of getting rich in silver and gold by commerce with India, and in cattle and goods by their industry at home under the efficient protection of the British power. And this their expectation will not be deceived; for, before Gog invades their country, it is described by the prophet, as “a land of unwalled villages, whose inhabitants are at rest, and dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars not gates: and possessed of silver and gold, cattle and goods, dwelling in the midst of the land.” (Ezek. 38:11,12,13). Now any person acquainted with the present insecure condition of Palestine under the Ottoman dominion must be satisfied from the testimony, that some other power friendly to Israel must then have become paramount over the land, which is able to guarantee protection to the, and to put the surrounding tribes in fear. This is all that is needed, namely, security for life and property, and Palestine would be as eligible for Jewish emigration as the United States have proved for the Gentiles.”
John Thomas in Elpis Israel, page 395.

Where Are These Bible Prophecies?
So where are these amazing Bible prophecies found that led Bible students to fervently believe the Jews would return? Most are scattered throughout the Old Testament books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. Ezekiel 36 to 39 are the most detailed. For example, this is what God says in Ezekiel 36:

“I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries. In accordance with their ways and their deeds I judged them. But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of his land.’ But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came. Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came… I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land...You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God… On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’”

Not everything in these prophecies has yet been fulfilled. God also speaks of how He will change the Jewish people to believe in Him, trust Him and obey Him. He speaks in Ezekiel 37 of setting a king over them. We are in the middle of the fulfillment of these prophecies and there are lots of exciting things still to happen!

If you want to consider more of the restoration prophecies, have a look at Isaiah 60; Jeremiah 3:17-18; 23:5; 31:8-10; Ezekiel chapters 35-39; Daniel 8:9-15; 12:3,11; Joel 3; Zechariah 12-14.

If you are at all in doubt that God still has a purpose with the Jewish people, then read through Romans 11, especially verses 25 to 28:

“Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins. As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.

What we have seen happen with the nation of Israel in 1948 and 1967, and even the pending battle for Jerusalem today (Zechariah 14) is all a modern-day miracle God has given to demonstrate His Word is living and powerful, even in 2018!

Also check out THOMAS NEWTON in 1754 in Dissertations on the Prophecies Which Have Remarkably Been Fulfillled, Volume 2, page 77. Google Books.

For more on this topic, see these excellent You Tube videos:

The MOST important video about Israel you’ll ever see.
By thelandofisrael.

Six Days of Miracles by World Mizrachi

If we claim to be Christians – does it matter what we believe? Is Truth important to God? Do Christians today uphold God’s Truth? Do we preach what Jesus and the Apostles preached?

Paul warned believers in his day, that:

“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 3:6-9)

The inspired Apostle Paul predicted that there would be a departure from the original Gospel message to follow lies that were more appealing. As we read from the above passages, the consequences of believing or preaching a false gospel are severe.

The Original Gospel aims to investigate the many departures from sound doctrine, using the whole Bible as our only authority, as this is the only place where the original Gospel message will be found. After all, it is God who gave the Gospel message, so best for Him to define the terms.

“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

Occasionally we may refer to historians for factual information on the development of many modern accepted “Christian” beliefs. We will also add good articles, interesting You Tube presentations and any other links that may be helpful

Please feel free to ask any Bible questions, at any time, and we will do our best to determine the answer using Bible passages.