Proposition No. 2:
In what manner may the doctrine of the gospel be understood in order to embrace its various shades of meaning? Investigation: The word “evaggelion” which is translated into English by our word “gospel” means good news. It is found in both the Greek translation of the Old Testament as well as in the original of the New Testament. A few examples from both sections of the Bible will illustrate its general meaning, in 1 Sam. 31:9, we read of king Saul, “They cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about to publish (to announce the good news) it in the house of their idols.” It is also used in the Greek translation of Psa. 40:10, in regard to the declaring of God’s kindness. In a similar sense it is used in Gal. 3:8, “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham.” The good news given to Abraham was, “In thee shall all nations be blessed.”
The English word “gospel” is of Anglo Saxon derivation, and may have been compounded by the one or the other of the following methods: First, by using the word “god” with the probable meaning of good; and “spell” meaning narration or history. If such be the case then actually the word gospel would mean a good story. Second, by using the word “God” meaning God, and “spell” meaning a word. Such a combination would literally result in God’s Word. The Greek and its English equivalent together suggest that in reality, the gospel is God’s Word narrating the good story, and of course, the good story is the story of Christ.
A close scrutiny of the usage of this precious word throughout the New Testament reveals that it is accompanied by several modifiers which apparently manifest distinct aspects of God’s good news. For example: we read of the “Gospel of The Kingdom” in Matt. 4:23; 9:35; “the Gospel of God” in Rom. 1:1, and of “The Everlasting Gospel” in Rev. 14:6. In fact there are very many references to this subject, some apparently embracing a divine announcement in the past, some an announcement in the present, and some suggesting the possibility of a further announcement in the future. Let us change this order and consider in first place the Gospel as preached in this present time.
“The Gospel Of The Grace Of God” (Acts 20:24):
A careful reading of the references given will make clear the features of this message:
· Its uniqueness: There is no other in this dispensation (Gal. 1:6-7).
· Its Source: “The gospel of God,” (Rom. 1:1; 15:16; 1Thes. 2:8).
· Its Theme: “The gospel of Christ,” (Rom. 15:19; 1 Cor. 9:12).
· Its Principle: “The gospel of the grace of God,” (Acts 20:24).
· Its Purpose: “The gospel of your salvation,” (Eph. 1:13).
· Its Objective: Through it we are called into His kingdom and glory (1Thes. 2:12).
· Its Climax: “Called you by our gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (2 Thess 2:14).
“The Gospel Of The Kingdom”:
It is God’s purpose that there be here on earth a kingdom, political, spiritual, and universal. This kingdom is called at times the Kingdom of Heaven, and at other times the Kingdom of God. This kingdom has been predicted in prophecy (2 Sam. 7:16), announced by John the Baptist (Matt. 3:1-3), offered by Christ (Matt. 4:17), rejected by Israel (Matt. 21:42-46), During the present period it appears in the form of mystery, (Matt. 13), and is now therefore, principally spiritual in its characteristics. Eventually it will be manifested (1 Cor. 6:9-10; 2 Thess. 1:5; Rev. 20:4). It will reach full consumation in the universal and eternal reign of Christ (Heb. 1:7-12). The gospel of the grace of God might be called, in a general sense, the gospel of the kingdom, for by it we are called unto His kingdom and glory; in a more definite and specific sense “The Gospel of The Kingdom” is that good news from God revealing His purpose to set up a visible kingdom of righteousness.
“The Everlasting Gospel” (Rev. 14:6):
In this passage, we read of an angel with an everlasting gospel to preach to them on the earth. From the immediate context it appears not as good news, but rather as a message of judgment. Although its burden is one of reprobation to the earth, indirectly it is good news for poor afflicted Israel. Isaiah states clearly that God’s judgement of the, nations ushers in His deliverance for His ancient people, “For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of My redeemed is come,” Isa. 63:4).
The gospel is ever good news, this is true in all its aspects, and this also may be obvious, the gospel is always a revelation to the mind and heart of Christ. In the Gospel of The Kingdom, Christ is announced as the Son of David, to sit on the throne of His father David; in the Gospel of The Grace of God, Christ is preached as the Son of God, the Saviour of sinners; in the Everlasting Gospel, Christ is intimated the Son of Man judging and ruling the entire earth in absolute righteousness.