What is the Gospel?
It’s defined in different ways, but it is generally agreed to be the Good News of personal salvation offered to us by Jesus’ atoning sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection.
But why did Jesus have to die for us? For that you need some background.
1. In the beginning, God created the world and proclaimed it to be “very good.” (Genesis 1:31)
2. Then, the world was corrupted by sin and death caused by man’s disobedience of God by yielding to temptation by the serpent or Satan. (Genesis 3)
3. When mankind’s relationship with God was broken, the Earth’s corruption grew, causing God to destroy all human life save for the seed of one righteous man, Noah, and his family. (Genesis 6)
4. God called another man, Abraham, to righteousness through faith, to be the progenitor of what would become a “peculiar people unto Himself, above all nations on Earth,” from whom the Holy One, the Redeemer-Savior-King would be born. (Genesis 18, Exodus 19:5, Deuteronomy 14:2, Isaiah 54)
5. From the foundation of the world, God has had a perfect plan of self-sacrificing atonement for those who would call on the name of the Lord and repent – leading to everlasting life. That’s what Jesus offered in His death on the cross and resurrection. (Revelation 18:1, Romans 10:13)
Those five points represent a very quick summary of the history of the world and the Good News message as it is most frequently presented today – though, of course, there are many variations. Others explain it even more briefly – some more eloquently.
But is it complete?
Is it possible there is a missing component in the way most of us think about the Gospel today?
Is there something more we as believers, disciples, teachers, authors and preachers are ignoring or forgetting – something essential about our future, our eternal destiny?
Is there an element of the Gospel too often overlooked – a component that ties the beginning and the end together in glorious, miraculous and broadly appealing fashion?
Is there something more to the Gospel than even the amazing message of personal salvation?
I believe there is – without question. It’s what inspired me to research and write my upcoming title, “The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament.” It’s the message Jesus preached, the one He called “The Gospel of the Kingdom.”
What is this often forgotten sixth component of the complete Gospel?
6. Jesus the Messiah, the Creator of all things, will return to judge the living and the dead and restore the world, as King of kings and Lord of lords, to its intended state of perfection before the fall. (John 1, Acts 3:21, Revelation 19:16)
Of course, most believers understand Jesus is coming back. But the details of His return are, from my experience, a little fuzzy in their minds. That’s because most of the information we have about is found in the 39 books of the Hebrew Scriptures and the final book of the Greek Scriptures, Revelation. There are precious few sermons given on the topic, no movies of which I’m aware, not many books, few Bible studies.
When we’re evangelizing, carrying out Jesus’ Great Commission, this denouement is often left out of the message.
Ultimately, when Jesus spoke in Matthew 24:14, He was talking about this closing act: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” The question is: Are we still preaching and teaching the Gospel of the Kingdom?
Do even most believers understand that God’s Son, the Creator of all things on Earth, is the rightful King of the Earth who will ultimately judge mankind and Satan while restoring paradise on Earth?
Before His crucifixion, when the Roman soldiers put a crown of thorns upon Jesus’ head, they were mocking His role as the future prophesied “King of Israel” who would come to restore perfection and paradise on Earth. Though there are dozens of hymns and songs we sometimes sing in worship about this future role of the Messiah, we don’t ordinarily associate it with the Gospel. But Jesus and the Gospel writers clearly did – as did all the prophets, Peter reminds us so clearly in Act 3:21-24.
In other words, the Gospel could well be summarized thusly: It’s the story of our Creator-King who died for our sins so that those who know and love Him will inherit the very Kingdom He purchased for them with His suffering and death on the cross and His resurrection and return.
With the world rapidly decaying in corruption like it did in the times of Noah, should we not be rediscovering the message of hope and promise that the Gospel of the Kingdom embodies – especially since Jesus commands us to do so before He returns?
Wouldn’t you agree that the Bible’s promise of a restored paradise on Earth, marked by peace, truth, prosperity, justice and health, is a compelling but overlooked Gospel message that the world is waiting to hear?
And what did Jesus tell us must happen before His return? That this Gospel of the Kingdom must be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations.
Joseph Farah is the author of “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age,” and the upcoming “The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament,” set for hardcover release in September and available now as a special e-book preview at Amazon.com and the WND Superstore.