Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Gospel of the King

Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:1-4)
The apostle Paul was all about the gospel — God’s good news for the whole world. He understood himself to be a servant of Yeshua the Messiah, sent forth on His behalf and set apart for the express purpose of proclaiming this unique message.

This gospel comes from God. It was not Paul’s idea, but God’s. Paul was taken quite by surprise by it, blinded by the brightness of its glory — literally knocked to the ground by it (he gives testimony of this dramatic encounter in Acts 22 and 26).

God promised this good news through His prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures. Not just in a passage here or there, but all throughout. The whole movement of the Old Testament finds its fulfillment in this joyful announcement from God that Paul now delivered. We see this, for example:
  • In Genesis 3:15. Immediately after Adam and Eve rebelled, God promised that the seed of the woman would prevail over the seed of the serpent. This is known as the proto-evangelion, the first mention of the gospel.
  • In Genesis 12:1-3. God revealed His plan to make of Abraham (then called Abram) a great nation and promised him, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” He confirmed this promise by cutting covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15 and again with the sign of the covenant in Genesis 17.
  • In Genesis 26:2-4, 24. God confirmed this promise to Abraham’s son, Isaac: “In your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
  • In Genesis 28:14. God confirmed the promise to Isaac’s son, Jacob: “In your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
  • In Genesis 49:10. Jacob prophesied over his son, Judah, that from his tribe a king would come who would rule over all.
  • In 2 Samuel 7:12-16. God made covenant with King David, of the tribe of Judah: “I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
  • In Jeremiah 31:33-34. God promised to make a new covenant with Israel which would be for everyone: “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
  • In Ezekiel 40-47. God gave Ezekiel a message for Israel, the vision of a new temple the Lord would make in His kingdom, to be His dwelling place on earth. From it would flow healing rivers in every direction.
  • In Daniel 7:13-14. God gave Daniel this vision: “One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”
These and many other Scriptures converge on God’s plan of redemption and restoration, and they are all fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah. After His resurrection, Jesus spoke with the Emmaus disciples about all the prophets had spoken. “Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Him” (Luke 24:27).

God has good news for the world — the gospel of the King — and it is fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah, in whom all the families of the earth shall be blessed.