OTHER HALF OF THE GOSPEL
begins with the fall of man. Revelation concludes with the restoration
of man. In Genesis the curse falls on man. In Revelation the
curse is "no more." In Genesis are the promises that
the "seed of the woman" and the seed of Abraham will
destroy the enemy and bless all of the families of the earth.
In Revelation, that seed (the Lamb and 144,000), destroys the
enemy and blesses all of the families of the earth. This is
the kernel of the Gospel.
another sense Jesus (the "Lamb" of Revelation) is
also the kernel of the Gospel. Many fail to see or to acknowledge
the SUBSTITUTIONARY sacrifice He made. The Scriptures abound
with information which demonstrates that "the man Christ
Jesus ... gave himself a ransom (a corresponding price) for
all, to be testified in due time. (I Timothy 2:5, 6) It was
Adam who sinned, and in him died the entire race. It was Jesus,
the "lamb of God" which took away that one original
sin (singular -- John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:19).
This fulfilled the standard stated in God's law: A LIFE FOR
A LIFE. The death of "the man Christ Jesus" guaranteed
the release of Adam (and all in him) from death so that they
will be granted a new trial. Some obtain that release early
-- now in the Christian Age. (Romans 8:1) Most of mankind will
obtain that release when the KINGDOM COMES (Matthew 6: 1 0)
when they will be judged as their work "shall be"
Why did God create the earth and mankind? (2) What is God doing
in the earth today? (3) What is the Gospel? (4) What is the
Church? (5) What is the ultimate purpose of the Church? (6)
Are all outside the Church forever lost? (7) What about the
to these questions lay the necessary groundwork for an examination
of Revelation. Without comprehending God's overall plan for
mankind, the study of a subject like Revelation certainly will
bear little fruit. Because of this we devote this chapter to
a consideration of the Gospel -- the "good news" of
the Bible. Please understand that we do not want to delay the
examination of Revelation for you; but Jesus cannot be revealed
to the mind which does not fully comprehend His purposes. This
chapter is designed to review truths long lost sight of - truths
which help Revelation make sense.
title of this article, "The Other Half of the Gospel,"
suggests that what we regularly hear preached as the Gospel
is incomplete -- and this is, indeed, the case. An examination
of the Scriptural definition of the Gospel will prove that the
Gospel is actually "good news" in a fuller sense than
most Christians have ever dreamed.
Galatians 3:8 the Apostle Paul makes an interesting statement.
He claims that the Gospel was preached to Abraham. This is a
concept not generally appreciated -- that the Gospel is also
in the Old Testament. Abraham and his descendants believed God
and His promises, and their belief, the core of traditional
Judaism, is based upon the Gospel which God preached to Abraham.
What is this belief? It is basically this: Messiah will come
and bless everyone on earth through the agency of Abraham's
children (or seed). This blessing will include resurrecting
those who died. (It was because of Abraham's faith in the resurrection
that he was willing to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice
to God. Hebrews 11:17-19)
summed up all of this belief in the words spoken to Abraham,
"In thee shall all nations be blessed. "Remember,
Paul called this very promise "the Gospel." It is
a beautiful Gospel, too. It promises that all mankind will be
blessed. (See the original promise in Genesis 22:15-18.)
generally does not define the Gospel in quite the same manner.
The teaching of Christendom about the Gospel has been basically
this: Faithful believers in Christ will go to heaven when they
chart to compare these two versions of the Gospel might be helpful:
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO:
will bless all on earth through Abraham's seed and will
even raise those who have died to enjoy the blessings.
Christians go to heaven after death.
the surface Judaism seems better, doesn't it? After all, it
includes all men in the blessing, whereas Christendom excludes
all except Christians. But our examination of the matter is
not complete. As we look into it more, remember that we cannot
immediately judge either of these definitions of the Gospel
as being wrong. Judaism got its belief from God's own prophets;
we would, indeed, be presumptuous to ignore that testimony.
And Jesus, who was a Jew, never disputed the Gospel as preached
to Abraham. But we must acknowledge that the Bible also teaches
that faithful Christians will go to heaven. These two versions
of the Gospel are not inharmonious. By accepting them both,
we learn the full Gospel.
Gospel is summarized in God's promise to Abraham, "In thy
seed shall all nations be blessed." What does this mean?
Notice that it involves two distinct and separate parts:
. Abraham's seed
2. All nations (or families) of earth.
seed is not totally as Abraham might have expected, for the
Apostle informs us in Galatians 3:29 that "If ye be Christ's,
then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise."
This is a key to our understanding. It says that faithful Christians
are counted by God as being Abraham's seed or children. It also
says that because of this they become "heirs" according
to the "promise." What promise? The promise was that
the seed would bless everyone else. Now we are at the crux of
the matter. If true Christians are the seed, we see God's eventual
purpose for them: the blessing of all the nations of the earth,
and the resurrecting of all those who have died Oust as Abraham
expected) so that they too could be blessed. Now our chart is
harmonious. Those who go to heaven will be part of the great
Messiah which will bless those hereon earth. (Obadiah 2 1)
THE CORRECTED GOSPEL ACCORDING
will bless all on earth through Abraham's seed and will
even raise those who have died to enjoy the blessings.
Christians go to heaven after death AND will be part of
the promised Messiah, which will raise and bless all families
of the earth. Galatians 4:28
Christians go to heaven after death AND will be part of the
promised Messiah, which will raise and bless all families of
the earth. Galatians 4:28
the chart is harmonious only if we retain the "other half
of the Gospel" -- the part Judaism believes. And that part
is, not only will the "seed" be saved, but so will
the rest of mankind! It is actually saying that there are two
salvations. First, the seed (true Christians) are saved; and
secondly, they (the seed) save and bless everyone else. Yes,
the complete Gospel really is GOOD NEWS! (Romans 11:28-32; 1Timothy
New Testament informs us that there will be two kinds of resurrection,
one in heaven for the true seed (the 'first resurrection"),
and one on earth for all the rest of mankind. This is the whole
Gospel Christendom and Judaism both have been incomplete in
themselves. Each had one half of the Gospel. But now we see
that those who will go to heaven in the first resurrection will
not go to float on clouds and play harps, but rather to participate
with Christ in the rulership of his kingdom which will bless
all the families here on earth. Christ's kingdom will have two
parts: heavenly and earthly. If this were not so, how could
the Lord have taught the disciples to pray, "Thy Kingdom
come, thy will be done in earth"? (Matthew 6:10) Or how
could the angels have predicted "Peace on earth, good will
toward men"? (Luke 2:12-14) Or how would it be a blessing
for the meek to "inherit the earth"? (Matthew 5:5)
also mentions these two salvations in I Timothy 4:10 where he
says, "we trust in the living God who is the Savior of
all men, specially of those that believe." It is clear
that Paul still had in mind the seed and all men as being the
two parts of the Gospel because he says that salvation is:
for all men
2. specially for those that believe.
"special" salvation is, of course, the salvation of
the "first resurrection" (the heavenly resurrection
-- Revelation 20:6). It is the salvation of true Christians,
those whom God recognizes as His own true Church -- "the
seed of Abraham."
the two salvations, the earthly and the heavenly (or the two
parts of the Gospel), answers many questions about certain scriptures.
For instance, consider Matthew 11:11: "Verily I say unto
you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen
a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is
least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he." This
tells us what a great man John the Baptist was. Yet in the same
verse we have our Lord's own words that John will not be a part
of the heavenly resurrection! John instead will be a part of
all the nations of the earth who will be raised and blessed
right here on the earth by "the seed" -- the Church
raised to heavenly glory. (Hebrews 11:39, 40)
then, in short, the Gospel is the beautiful promise that all
men will be raised and be given an opportunity to have a perfect,
everlasting life on the earth. The exception to this is those
who faithfully serve the Lord during this present life since
Jesus' first advent. They will live in heaven as spirit beings,
and their job will be to bless the race of man on earth. The
true Gospel is a combination of the best basic traditional
expectations of both Jews and Christians.
began this chapter with a list of seven questions that are basic
to an understanding of God's plan (and hence are basic to an
understanding of the details of prophecy that are found in Revelation).
To close this chapter we will ask the same seven questions and
this time give concise answers to cement our understanding and
memory before we proceed to the principal topic.
Why did God create the earth and mankind?
He created because love is one of His primary attributes, and
true love must give. Therefore, he formed the earth "to
be inhabited" (Isaiah 45:18) by a perfect race of people
who will love and serve Him freely and to whom He will freely
give blessings and life. This creation is "not in vain."
(Isaiah 45:17, 18; Psalm 104:5)
What is God doing in the earth today?
He is doing several things so that His purpose as stated above
is being accomplished -- so that His word will "not return
unto Him void but it shall accomplish that which He pleases,
and it shall prosper in the thing whereunto He sent it."
(Isaiah 55:1 1) The Lord is permitting evil to have full sway
in the earth so that man will be able fully to see its results.
(Ecclesiastes 1:13; 3:10) Therefore, in the Kingdom reign of
righteousness, mankind will be able to make a free and intelligent
choice between good and evil after having experienced both.
But God is doing more. He is choosing "a people for His
name" (Acts 15:14), which we will discuss in a coming question.
What is the Gospel?
As we have just seen, the Gospel is God's good news to man that
His original plan has not failed -- that man will be made alive
and receive God's blessings eternally on a perfected earth.
This is all to be done by a promised "seed."
What is the Church? and What is the ultimate purpose for the
The true Church of the Bible is that promised seed just mentioned,
and its ultimate purpose is, by God's grace, to participate
in God's own work of accomplishing His original design for the
earth and its inhabitants. One of the main things that God is
doing in the earth today is choosing that Church - one member
here, one there. As Acts 15:14 declares, God, having found too
few Jews faithful at the first advent to constitute this Church,
is also "visiting the Gentiles" -- not to bless or
save them now, but to take out from their midst "a people
for His name." This "people for His name" are
those who are being called of God and who are faithfully suffering
with Christ. The Greek word for "Church" (ekklesia)
literally means "a calling out." These called-out
ones are the true Church. They will receive the first or heavenly
resurrection. Then they will be "priests of God and of
Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years." (Revelation
20:6) They will reign to bless all the nations of the earth.
What a prospect! This is the very reason that James says God
is taking a people for His name: that "after this ... the
residue of men might seek after the Lord." (Acts 15:13-18)
Are all outside the Church forever lost?
Of course not! The absurdity of this position should now be
clear to us all. The whole purpose of the Church is to bless
all those who are outside of the Church. God is not dealing
with the world in general now. He is merely choosing out from
among them those who will become members of the Church. After
the Church is completely chosen and she becomes the bride of
Christ at his second advent, then "the Spirit (of Christ)
and the bride (the Church) say, Come; and whosoever will, let
him take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:17)
What about the Jew?
Although Israel (as a nation) has lost the exclusive opportunity
of becoming the Church (Romans 11:25), Israel, too, shall be
saved (Romans 11:26). It is through the natural seed of Abraham,
the Jew, that God promises to give His New Covenant to all mankind
(Jeremiah 31:31-34; Isaiah 60:5). Israel is now reestablished
as a nation. God put her there. She will be the nation from
whom the blessings will flow to all the world, for it is written,
"Many nations shall come and say, Come, and let us go up
to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob,
and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths,
for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord
from Jerusalem." (Micah 4:2-4) Likewise it is said, "Yea,
many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of
hosts in Jerusalem and to pray before the Lord. Thus saith the
Lord of hosts- In those days it shall come to pass that ten
men shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying,
We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."
(Zechariah 8:22, 23)
reading this might consider themselves "New Testament Christians,"
and it might be noticed that we are using Old Testament texts
as liberally as New Testament texts. It is, therefore, timely
to point out from the New Testament that the Old Testament is
as valid to us as the New, and that anyone rejecting its testimony
cannot hope to understand what the Lord is doing. The Old Testament
is not yet ftdfilled entirely, and many of its prophecies arc
finding their fulfillment before our eyes today.
note the following New Testament texts which commend the study
of the "Scriptures" and remember that the only Scriptures
then in existence to study were the books of the Old Testament
prophets: Acts 17:2, 3; Acts 17:10-13; Acts 18:24-28; Romans
1:1, 2; Romans 16:25-27; 11 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Peter 3:15-18;
Matthew 22:28-30; Galatians 3:8; Galatians 4:28-3 1; 1 Timothy
5:18; James 2:8; James 4:5; 1 Peter 2:5, 6.
we have the strong testimony of Paul (Romans 15:4) that the
Old Testament is for "our learning." And Peter twice
supports this view. In 1Peter 1:10-12 he explains that the prophets
did not minister to themselves, but to us, Christians. In 1Peter
1:16-21 he points out that the Old Testament prophecies are
a "more sure" authority to us than was Peter's own
experience on the mount of transfiguration. And he says we should
listen to these prophecies "until the day dawn" --
that is, they are valuable to us even up into the time of the
Lord's second coming. If, therefore, we accept the authority
of the Apostles (the New Testament), we cannot reject the Old
Testament's testimony and authority.