We have seen that in the Law, the toRah and the Prophets, the Gospel is the message that the righteousness of God has been revealed from heaven through the revelation of the instructions given at Sinai. Paul quotes Deuteronomy 30 to show that the righteousness of God is found in the commandments, which “if a man does, he shall live by them”
For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.
The gospel is offered to all Israel conditionally. If they accept the Word of God as truth and thus consequently obeys them, they will receive all the blessings of God. But if they refuse to obey, which is the same as rejecting the Word of God, and thus the same as rejecting Yeshua, they will be cursed and eventually exiled among the nations to serve all the false gods of the heathen.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul refers to the gospel as a mystery.
When reading this, you will be able to understand my insight into this mystery of Christ.
Now this secret was not disclosed to people in former generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit…A mystery is a truth of Scripture which was not understood in the past, but with Christ’s work of redemption (part 1) completed, and with its subsequent understanding by the followers of Christ, this “secret” truth of Scripture is becoming understood.
A mystery, then, is NOT something which was never revealed before. Rather, it is something that was not UNDERSTOOD in its fullness before.
What is this mystery Paul is speaking of? Let’s begin in Ephesians chapter 1:1-17:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Here is Paul’s summary statement of what this “mystery” is. He calls it “the mystery of his will.” The mystery which was discussed by the Torah (Law) and the Prophets, was not understood until after Christ came is that God was going to “head up all things in Christ.” This mystery was, indeed, talked about in the Torah and the Prophets. The Torah describes “the Prophet” who was to be like Moses, who was to be obeyed like Moses.
The Prophets described Christ’s reign in so many ways and in so many places that we don’t have space here to contain it all. But if you are interested in knowing how the Law and Prophets detail our Messiah, we would recommend our two part teaching “The 4th and 7th Day.”
The mystery Paul is referring to is that “the Prophet” would arise and that God’s people need to obey him in every detail of his teaching (by the way – the Messiah upheld the Torah of Moses – just like Moses) And the Prophets detail the Christ and the messianic age as a time of righteousness on the earth.
Paul calls this “the mystery of his will” “the word of truth – the gospel of your salvation”! Thus, the mystery is the gospel. In formulaic form, that could be displayed as follows:
Mystery = word of truth = gospel = Christ heading up all things.
The Christ, who was to “head up all things,” would be the One who would fulfill the prophetic utterances. Thus, it was to be “in Christ” that even the prophecy of the two branches becoming one in Ezekiel 37 would be fulfilled. The secret which is “now being revealed” is that Christ would bring together the two houses of Israel and make them “one nation.”
So, Paul goes on to discuss this fulfillment of the two branch (stick) prophecy of Ezekiel 37.
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh–who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” — that is performed on the body by human hands — that you were at that time (1) without the Christ, (2) alienated from the citizenship of Israel and (3) strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in (Messiah) Christ Yeshua you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
And further, in chapter 3:
When reading this, you will be able to understand my insight into this secret (mystery) of Christ. Now this secret was not disclosed to people in former generations as it has now been revealed to his set-apart apostles and prophets by the Spirit, namely, that through the gospel the Gentiles are:
(1) fellow heirs,
(2) fellow members of the body, and
(3) fellow partakers of the promise in (Messiah) Christ Yeshua
We will return to Ephesians 2 and 3 and his revelation of the gospel as “mystery” a bit later. But we must first discover who these “Gentiles” are that Paul is addressing.
Who Are the Gentiles?
To understand who these “Gentiles” are that Paul (the apostle Paul) is constantly referring to in his letters, we must pay a visit to the writings of the prophet Hosea. Here is chapter 1 in full with commentary. Please read this prophecy carefully, noting who is being addressed here:
This is the word of (YHWH)The Lord which was revealed to Hosea son of Beeri during the time when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah ruled Judah, and during the time when Jeroboam son of Jehoash ruled Israel.
This revelation was given during the days when both houses of Israel were still standing. The Northern kingdom, known as “Israel” (Israel), and the Southern kingdom, known as “Judah,” were standing side by side.
When (YHWH) The Lord first spoke through Hosea, he said to him, “Go marry a prostitute who will bear illegitimate children conceived through prostitution, because the nation continually commits spiritual prostitution by turning away from (YHWH) The Lord.”
So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim.
Then she conceived and gave birth to a son for him. Then (YHWH)The Lord said to him, “Name him ‘Jezreel,’ because in a little while I will punish the dynasty of Yehu on account of the bloodshed in the valley of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. At that time, I will destroy the military power of Israel in the valley of Jezreel”
The first son of Hosea was to be a remembrance of the fact that God was going to put an end to the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
According to other related prophecies, Israel was to be taken into captivity by Assyria and scattered among the nations of the earth.
She conceived again and gave birth to a daughter.
Then (YHWH) the Lord said to him, “Name her ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah) because I will no longer have pity on the nation of Israel. For I will certainly not forgive their guilt. But I will have pity on the nation of Judah. I will deliver them by (YHWH) the Lord their God; I will not deliver them by the warrior’s bow, by sword, by military victory, by chariot horses, or by chariots”
Hosea’s daughter, Lo-Ruhamah, was so-named to be a reminder that Israel, the Northern Kingdom, was not to be showed pity or compassion by the Almighty, anymore.
When she had weaned ‘No Pity’ (Lo-Ruhamah) she conceived again and gave birth to another son. Then (YHWH) The Lord said: “Name him ‘Not My People’ (Lo-Ammi), because you are not my people and I am not your God”
Hosea’s next son, named Lo-Ammi, was a statement of the Lord’s divorce and separation from the northern kingdom of Israel. No longer were they to be considered to be his people. They had been disobedient and had chosen to worship the other gods of the pagans. They were scattered and dispersed among the nations. Now, here is where the prophetic picture becomes fascinating. This is where Paul connects to it in his writings:
However, in the future the number of the people of Israel will be like the sand of the sea which can be neither measured nor numbered.
Although it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it will be said to them, “You are children of the living God!”
Then the people of Judah and the people of Israel will be gathered together. They will appoint for themselves one leader, and will flourish in the land. Certainly, the day of Jezreel will be great!
The northern kingdom, which was no longer to be called “my people” were to become a huge crowd of people, innumerable. These Israelites, the descendants of the scattered house of Israel, are to be called the “children of the living God.” At that time, the nations of Judah and Israel are to become one nation in the Land of promise.
Watch carefully how Paul quotes and applies this prophesy of Hosea to the New Testament writings:
And what if he is willing to make known the wealth of his splendor on the objects of mercy that he has prepared beforehand for splendor — even us, whom he has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
As he also says in Hosea: “I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’ and I will call her who was unloved, ‘My beloved.'”
And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’
In Paul’s explanation of the gospel, he notes that God is calling the Jews and the Gentiles. And he cites Hosea as evidence that we should have expected God to call the Gentiles! But he is quoting that passage which we have looked at above, where the prophet Hosea is clearly speaking of the northern House of Israel, the scattered descendants of the northern kingdom! It is these that he is referring to as “Gentiles.”
And that does make sense. The northern kingdom of Israel was scattered among the nations (“Gentiles”) and intermingled and intermarried with the nations. So it is accurate to refer to the descendants of the House of Israel as Gentiles!
Thus, the Gospel, as it is explained in Ephesians, is that God is calling Jews (the Jews of the Southern Kingdom) and Gentiles (the scattered Northern Kingdom of Israel) to become one people in and through the work of Christ. This is the work of fulfilling the prophesy of the two branches in Ezekiel 37.
And all the other prophets agree. The two kingdoms will be brought back together as one, in the last days, by the work of Christ.
Who are the Gentiles?
By Paul’s usage of the term in quoting from the prophets, the term Gentile refers to the descendants of the scattered house of Israel, and all of the other peoples of the nations, who, through the work of the Christ and the testimony of the Scriptures, and the followers of Christ, are coming into covenant relationship with God through Christ.
So Paul’s constant reference to “Jews and Gentiles” in his letters refers to the prophetic utterances about the northern and southern kingdoms – the two houses of Israel – coming together. But, there is a greater mystery here than just the two kingdoms, or two sticks becoming one. There is still the mystery of how that was even possible.
The reality is that there is a major problem Yahweh had to overcome just to be able to restore the House of Israel. This is where the gospel becomes very interesting.
The Mystery of Christ
Paul is speaking to the “Gentiles”:
Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh–who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” — that is performed on the body by human hands — that you were at that time (1)without the Christ, (2)alienated from the citizenship of Israel and (3)strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in (Messiah) Christ Yeshua you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Why are these Gentiles called “uncircumcision” by the Jews, who call themselves “the Circumcision”?
Let’s see what the Scriptures say … First Paul says elsewhere,
For circumcision has its value if you practice the Law, but if you break the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
Here he is saying that just being circumcised is nothing if you are not also obeying all of the Instructions of Scripture. Your being “cut in the flesh” becomes “uncircumcision” if you don’t obey the rest of the Torah.
The prophet Jeremiah says the same.
If people want to boast, they should boast about this: They should boast that they understand and know me.
They should boast that they know and understand that I, (YHWH) The Lord, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth and that I desire people to do these things,” says (YHWH) The Lord.
(YHWH) The Lord says, “Watch out! The time is soon coming when I will punish all those who are circumcised only in the flesh.
That is, I will punish the Egyptians, the Judeans, the Edomi, the Ammoni, the Moabi, and all the desert people who cut their hair short at the temples. I will do so because none of the people of those nations are really circumcised in the Lord’s sight.
Moreover, none of the people of Israel are circumcised when it comes to their hearts, either.” Those who circumcise their flesh but do not obey the rest of the commandments of YHWH are regarded in YHWH’s sight as though they were NOT circumcised! People who do not obey the Torah (Law) are not circumcised in their hearts, either.
So Paul speaks of the “Gentiles” and notes that the Jews call them “the uncircumcision.”
Why? Because, though they are the scattered remnant of the northern House of Israel, they are circumcised in the flesh (possibly), but continue in rebellion against the rest of the commandments of Scriptures! The Gentiles are rightly called the “uncircumcision” because, though they might have a physical circumcision, they are still in rebellion against the Almighty. Paul furthermore describes them as “alienated from the citizenship of Israel.”
The term is defined by the Freiberg Lexicon as “to alienate, estrange; only passive in the NT be a stranger to, be separated from.”
What were these Gentiles once separated from?
Citizenship in Israel, of course. And how can one be estranged or separated from something which they were never connected to?
Paul’s use of language is implying, again, that he is speaking to a people (the Gentiles – scattered Northern Kingdom) who were once connected to citizenship in Israel, and circumcised, according to the Covenant, but now in their state of estrangement, they are separated from the promises.
Paul uses a third allusion to identify these Gentiles.
He says that “you who used to be far away have been brought near.” Again, this calls to mind the prophetic utterance with regard to the scattered Northern Kingdom of Israel.
“Son of man, your brothers, your relatives, your fellow exiles, and the whole house of Israel are those to whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘They have gone far away from the Lord; to us this land has been given as a possession.’
“Therefore say: ‘This is what (YHWH) the Lord says: Although I have removed them far away among the nations and have scattered them through foreign lands, I have been a sanctuary for them for a short while among the lands where they have gone.’
“Therefore say: ‘This is what (YHWH) the Lord says: I will regather you from the peoples and will assemble you from the lands where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel.’
Thus, those of the whole House of Israel who were removed far away will be brought near when they are re-gathered back to the land of Israel. If we understood Scripture, the Old Testament, as well as Paul we would also know what he was teaching just as well as he understood it.
Paul details yet further the content of this mystery, which is his gospel. He writes in chapter 3:
When reading this, you will be able to understand my insight into this secret (mystery) of Christ. Now this secret was not disclosed to people in former generations as it has now been revealed to his set-apart apostles and prophets by the Spirit, namely, that through the gospel the Gentiles are:
(1) fellow heirs,
(2) fellow members of the body, and
(3) fellow partakers of the promise in (Messiah) Christ Yeshua
The “mystery of Christ” that Paul preaches is that the gospel provides the way for the Gentiles to become heirs of the land which God deeded to Abraham, members of the body – which is the nation of Israel, and partakers of the promise God made with Abraham. Thus, the Gentiles become full citizens with all the same rights as those already citizens of the commonwealth of Israel.
Now what is so mysterious about the House of Israel (Gentiles) being grafted back into Israel with the House of Judah?
This is where we reach the climax of the mystery of the gospel…When God’s law is transgressed it is considered adultery to God. We are to obey Him and Him alone. Serving other commandments and teachings that are contrary to His Word is the same as serving other god’s in God’s eyes. The House of Israel committed such adultery and did not come back to God, her husband:
Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, So have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel,” says (YHWH) the Lord.
They perverted their way by going their own way and thus not obeying God’s Way:
A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten (YHWH) the LORD their God.
We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covers us: for we have sinned against (YHWH) the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of (YHWH) the LORD our God.
Even though the House of Judah and the House of Israel both committed adultery, the House of Israel dealt treacherously with God and did not return when they departed. God had no choice but to issue the House of Israel a certificate of divorce and they were consequently scattered into the nations of the world as Gentiles.
And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. Because the house of Israel was divorced, Yahweh had to make a promise to renew the covenant with the House of Israel.
“Behold, the days are coming, says (YHWH) the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says (YHWH) the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says (YHWH) 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.
At Mount Sinai, Israel entered into a marriage contract with God himself. God was a husband to Israel. Israel divided itself into two Kingdoms, northern, and southern, House of Israel, and the House of Judah.The House of Israel was divorced and were scattered into the world as Gentiles.
. . . not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says (YHWH) the Lord.
But God said that later He would bring them near to Him after they went far off (Ephesians 2:11-13).
The centric nature of the solution of the New Covenant is founded on the writing of God’s law that they broke in their hearts and mind. By the way, the whole reason we refer to the covenant as “renewed” instead of new, is because the House of Israel was once in covenant, but they are promised to be renewed back into covenant…and Yahweh is clearly saying that the House of Israel, verse 33, would be renewed back to the covenant. This would be the same understanding as a new moon…the moon is renewed each month.
Yet, the new covenant is also new in the sense of how there will be something different, which we covered in part 1 of this teaching. Unlike before, when their father’s rejected it, …this time the covenant will last with the House of Israel as they are brought back into it. Thus the whole point of obedience to God’s law is that now we will want to be obedient out of our love of God (i.e. 1 John 5:2-3).
New covenant, but same law. The House of Israel will again be His people and love God with all of their heart, soul, and mind by keeping all of God’s commandments, and this is the love of God
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, says (YHWH) the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
But we have a problem.
Paul clearly states that the mystery of the gospel is that the House of Israel (Ephesians 3:4-6) once again are citizens of Israel. Paul clearly states that the Gentiles, which includes the House of Israel, are grafted back into the cultivated olive tree (Romans 11).
The House of Israel married itself to the ways of false gods…following the instructions of false gods, and coming into covenant with the false gods through cultic pagan temple worship.
That is a problem.
The Torah states that once a woman is divorced, and marries another man, you cannot remarry her:
If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, (just like YHWH did in Jeremiah 3:8) gives it to her and sends her from his house (just like YHWH did in Jeremiah 3), and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man (like Israel did in getting together with other gods), and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of (YHWH) the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land (YHWH) the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.
Remember, the House of Israel was divorced:
And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
But YHWH said in the prophets that the House of Israel would be restored as one, and brought back into covenant with Yahweh, renewing them into covenant, and writing the law of God on their heart and mind. Earlier in Jeremiah 3, YHWH iterated the legal problem at hand:
If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her?
But this is exactly what is happening with the House of Israel. She was divorced and became the wife of false gods, under every green tree and high hill.
The question rabbi’s wrestled with for hundreds of years was ” how can God remarry the divorced House of Israel without violating HIS OWN LAW! ”
If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of (YHWH) the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land (YHWH) the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.
YHWH’s own holiness and righteousness is defined by His own law of God.
YHWH cannot define His righteousness by His own law, and then break His own law…
THIS IS THE WHOLE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL!
How can God remarry what He divorced without breaking His own law?
If He breaks His own law by again marrying the House of Israel then He is no longer righteous and perfect by His own established standard. And now if He does not remarry the House of Israel then He is not keeping His Word and thus giving false testimony.
It is a paradox of sorts that no one understood, not because it was never revealed, but because no one was able to understand it.
But Paul figured it out:
In the letter to the Romans, Paul details out the fact that the Gentiles (House of Israel) are being grafted back into the cultivated olive tree in their faith granting them salvation by God’s grace through Christ’s finished work on the cross. This can be read in Romans 11. No one ever asks why Christ had to be resurrected. It is always stressed to us the importance of His death as the covering for all of our sins, but why was it so important that prophecy stated that Christ would be resurrected from the dead?
Why is it so important that He lives?
We could have been saved from our sins without Him being resurrected, so what purpose did it serve?
Paul saw the answer to these profound questions and taught that the solution to this mystery to those who knew the law in the letter to the Romans. Paul understood from his reading of Scripture that God’s law only is binding to us as long as we are alive.
Do you not know, brothers, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?
Paul understood from his reading of Scripture that God’s law only is binding to us as long as we are alive. Once we die, the consequences of the law are released. This also applies to legal contracts or covenants. Before we come into the faith, we are in covenant with the adversary, the ways of the world. This leads to death.
However, when we read the law of God, and realize that we are dead, we need to be reborn into the Word of God. (1 Peter 1:23) We are then dead to the law of sin and death, and we then are in covenant with God, and follow the Law of God (Romans 7:25-8:1-3). This also applies to our Earthly covenants. An important example of this is the laws of marriage.
For the woman which has a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives; but if the husband dies, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
Remember, God was a husband to the House of Israel. The House of Israel was in covenant, or married to the Word of God. The Word of God appeared in the flesh in the form of Yeshua. Yeshua then died on the cross.
Now apply what Paul just taught in Romans 7:22. The House of Israel was thus freed from the status of an adulteress! She is now free to remarry!
So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
Now the House of Israel can remarry back to God! The House of Israel can come back into covenant with the Word! The paradox is solved! The house of Israel dies in the flesh, and Yeshua as the Word of God in the flesh died on the cross. Yeshua is resurrected and we are reborn in Him. Then marriage back together is permitted, without forcing Yahweh to violate His own law.
Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
This is a profound reason why Yeshua had to be resurrected…so the Word of God, through Yeshua, can be remarried back to the House of Israel, bring her back into covenant with the Word of God.
That is the mystery of the gospel…it was a mystery for generations…no one understood how Yahweh was going to remarry the House of Israel without breaking His own Torah, His own law. Paul uses this as a foundation to continue teaching on the restoration of Israel in Romans 11. We are to not be ignorant of this mystery regarding the House of Israel/Gentiles being grafted in:
For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
For I would not, brothers, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
Now you understand the mystery of the Gospel, how the adulterous divorced wife of God, the House of Israel, can remarry God without God violating His own Law (Torah) and His Word. Now all Israel can be saved:
And so all Israel shall be saved:
And Paul states that this solution was already written in the Law and Prophets. It was just that no one put it all together before. Paul appeals to Scripture so those reading him know that he is not just making things up.
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”
Christian theologians and thinkers have made the mistake, for many centuries now, of thinking that in Christ, the “church” has different promises than those made to national Israel. Watch our teaching “The Error of Dispensationalism” for more information.
They have missed the whole point…which is saddening, because the mystery of the gospel is perhaps the greatest untold story in all of the Bible. The whole mystery of the gospel is still a mystery to them, and they do not understand. They do not understand that it is all about the divorced House of Israel coming back into covenant with the House of Judah (Jeremiah 31)
But by re-evaluating the statements of Paul and seeing the roots of these statements in the Torah and the Prophets, we have been able to discern that the promises in Christ are being fulfilled in conjunction with the fulfillment of the prophecies, which map out the re-gathering of the lost sheep and the scattered house of Israel back into the fold and returning to the Land.
As Yeshua commanded His disciples:
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
And because Yeshua was the Deliverer He said:
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
That is the mystery of Christ’s gospel, solving the “how” He was going to accomplish this. We are Israel. We have been grafted in to Israel, whether alien or natural born, Jew or Greek, there is no difference in His eyes. (See the teaching “A Mixed Multitude?” for more). We are all to be obedient to His ways just the same.
And that, is all good news. That is the gospel of Christ, it is the gospel of the Kingdom, it is the mystery of the gospel, and includes the gospel, the Word of God, that he wants us to obey…the law of God that is to be written on our heart and mind, so that we may do it. That is what the Spirit of God is to do in the New Covenant, to give us the desire to want to obey His Torah, His law.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
The Gospel of the Kingdom
The gospel as preached by John (“John the Baptist”) is stated in Matthew:
Matthew 3:2, 7-12
In those days John the Baptist came into the wilderness of Judea proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You offspring of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance, and don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’
For I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones!
Even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I baptize you with water, for repentance, but the one coming after me is more powerful than I am–I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clean out his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the storehouse, but the chaff he will burn up with inextinguishable fire.”
The main thrust of John’s message is a call to repentance.
What does repentance have to do with the gospel?
Recalling the gospel message as preached in Deuteronomy 30 gives us the connection. The gospel as proclaimed by Moses is to forsake all false worship, including idolatry and wrong living, and to obey the commandments of the Lord. This is a very good definition of “repentance.” Thus, repentance is changing one’s mind and doing an “about face” in your living experience. Repentance means to “stop doing wrong and start doing right.” Repentance has always been an integral part of the gospel message whenever and wherever it is preached.
Christ’s gospel message features repentance:
From that time Yeshua began to preach this message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”
Yeshua went throughout all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of disease and sickness among the people.
Mark records it this way:
Now after John was imprisoned, Yeshua went into Galilee and proclaimed the gospel of God. He said, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the gospel!”
Mark calls this message of repentance “the gospel of God.” But Matthew calls this same message, “the gospel of the kingdom.” These are the same gospel. The gospel of God is the gospel of the kingdom and it consists of a message to repent of sin. What did Christ mean when he said, “the time is fulfilled.”
This, too, is part of the gospel of the kingdom. Bear in mind that the appointed times of Leviticus 23 tell the story of the gospel in picture or “shadow” form. The appointed times tell the whole story of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, his anointing as High Priest, and his return in the clouds to gather his own, judge the world and establish his reign on earth. This is the aspect of the “gospel” that Christ is referring to when he says that “the time is fulfilled.” He had come to accomplish those things that the appointed times foreshadowed.
Repentance is also an integral part of Peter’s gospel proclamation. When preaching on the day of Shavuot (Pentecost), he instructs the crowd gathered there.
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Yeshua Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Set-apart Spirit.
For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”
And in his discourse from Solomon’s Porch following the healing, Peter says,
But the things God foretold long ago through all the prophets–that his Christ would suffer–he has fulfilled in this way.
Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out.
Repentance has to be the first step in one’s walk with God. Contrary to popular opinion and the teaching of most Christian ministers, God does not “accept us just as we are”!
He cannot. He is holy, He is set-apart in all His ways. He cannot and does not like sin. He will never like it. Therefore, whoever comes to God to be cleansed from his sin must first repent of his sin. He must change his mind and abandon sinfulness. When we make that choice to desire, trust, and have faith in the Word of God, then we enter into His eternal plan that includes resurrection, making us eternally incorruptible forever…removing us from sin forever.
One must believe the Word of God to be truth, and want to practice the Word of God…meaning having a desire to practice truth. Repentance means turning away from sin and turning to right living. Baptism follows repentance because it is symbolic of one’s cleansing from sin. This is why baptism always immediately follows repentance.
So, Peter’s gospel call is to “repent and be baptized.” Paul’s gospel also always includes repentance as its first and necessary component. While preaching in Athens, Paul concludes,
Therefore, although God has overlooked such times of ignorance, he now commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
This is Paul’s gospel: Repent because Christ has authenticated his work by rising from the dead. Before King Agrippa, Paul again explains his gospel. His message to Jews and Gentiles alike is to, first of all, repent. This involves turning away from sin and turning to righteous living, by the keeping of the commandments:
“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but I declared to those in Damascus first, and then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds consistent with repentance.
The deeds consistent with repentance is, no doubt, a reference to obedience to the commandments as part of the covenant. In his letter to the Romans, Paul includes, as he always does, the initial act of repentance, which is the first step in fellowship with God:
Or do you have contempt for the wealth of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, and yet do not know that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?
The kindness of God draws us to himself and convinces us of the need to repent – turn from sin and to good works of the commandments.
The Great Commission
The “Great Commission,” as Christ’s final instructions to his disciples are often called the primary mission of the church. It contains the same gospel message which we have been seeing from the full spectrum of Scripture. Matthew records the more popular and familiar version of these final instructions:
Then (Yeshua) Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age”.
The primary commandment here, as anyone who knows a little Greek grammar can tell you, is to make disciples.
Unfortunately, this little point of “making disciples” seems to get lost in all the so called “evangelism” that goes on in Christian circles.
The common experience among Christians has shown over and over again that Christianity places a great deal of emphasis on “getting people saved” – that is, the “numbers game” – but spends little time actually making disciples. It certainly seems that the commandment of our Messiah is to “make disciples” not “get people saved”!
What does it take to make disciples?
This is answered in the rest of the “commission” given to Christ’s disciples. A disciple is made by first “baptizing” him and then by “teaching” him to obey God’s law.
Still not clear?
Let’s break it down to its fundamentals. Baptizing is what is done to people who have repented of their sins and have chosen to walk in the footsteps of Christ.
1 John 2:5-6
John says, “but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in him. The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Yeshua (Jesus) walked”
Baptism, remember, is the symbolic act which expresses one’s change of mind – that one has forsaken his lifestyle of transgressing God’s ways, and has chosen to walk in obedience to the commandments.
John also says that:
1 John 2:3-4
by this we know that we have come to know God: if we keep his commandments. The one who says ‘I have come to know God’ and yet does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in such a person”.
When the one becoming a disciple makes this choice, the next step is to find out all about the commandments which he is instructed to obey. In Matthew 28:19 we see Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) commissioned his followers to make disciples by “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”
It is amazing how many Christians overlook this “minor” point in the commission.
Christ has commanded us to “(1) teach them, (2) to obey, (3) everything, (4) I have commanded you.”
So let’s go over these four things in detail so that we actually are doing what was commanded in Christ’s “Great Commission.”
First, a disciple must be taught.
The substance, we think everyone would agree to, is the Scriptures.
We must teach or else the follower won’t know what exactly he is supposed to follow.
Second, we must teach people “to obey.”
This is at the very core of “faith” (“faithfulness”).
Faithfulness to Christ is obedience to him.
John puts it this way:
1 John 1:6
“If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth”
Righteousness by faith (“faithfulness”) is “imputed” to those who are faithful in their walk of obedience to his commandments.
Third, we are told to obey “everything.”
He does not give us the option of picking and choosing which ones we want to obey. We are told to obey “everything.” This includes everything taught out of Moses Seat (Matthew 23:1-3).
That would include the whole Torah, everything Moses wrote, and consequently, everything Yeshua practiced. Obeying everything Yeshua taught would be everything that Yeshua taught and practiced.
What did Yeshua teach and practice?
He taught and practiced what Moses wrote as the Law of God. “his commandments” are what we are taught to obey.
Just what are His commandments?
Let’s answer this by finding out which commandments Christ Yeshua has commanded.
God is One, and Yeshua stated that He only commanded and taught what the Father taught.
1 John 14:10-11
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
For I have not spoken of my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.
We cannot pick and choose what the Father taught, it is all written down. Yeshua himself had taught his disciples,
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place. So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Christ clearly explained to his disciples that he was not doing away with the commandments written at Sinai… In fact, he emphasizes the need to teaching these very same commandments down to the last detail and including the “very least” of the commandments given at Sinai.
Those who unknowingly teach otherwise will be called ‘least” in his kingdom (Request teaching “The Least, Greatest, and Defiant”).
The Great Commission, then, is Messiah Yeshua’s charge to his followers to “make disciples” for him by baptizing the repentant ones and teaching them to obey all the commandments of the Lord. The true disciple will always desire to forsake transgressing the Law of God and desire to walk in full obedience to all the Law and commandments God gave at Sinai.
The Eternal Gospel
The designation “eternal gospel” is found in the book of Revelation:
Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, and he had an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth–to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He declared in a loud voice: “Fear God and give him splendor, because the hour of his judgment has arrived, and worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water!”
The eternal gospel is here detailed as consisting of two components: fearing God and worshipping the Creator. Given that this gospel proclamation is “eternal” then this message is one which has always and will always be proclaimed – including during the present age.
The message of fearing God and worshipping the Creator must be for Christ’s disciples also, because it is “eternal.” What does the teaching about “fearing God” consist of?
We find the command to fear God scattered throughout the Torah. To fear God means to respect his ability to do the good things he promises and to do the bad things he has promised toward the disobedient. Fear of the Lord springs from the knowledge of his will and the understanding that he will do what he says. A human father is feared by his children if he sets the rules and boundaries, establishes punishment for breaking the boundaries and then carries out the punishment when they are broken. The same goes with our heavenly Father.
Fear of God means adjusting our behavior in light of the real sense of consequences for our lifestyle choices. So when we read of “fearing God” in the Law, it is accompanied with instruction about obedience to the rules:
You must not curse a deaf person or put a stumbling block in front of a blind person. You must fear your God; I am the Lord.
You must rise in the presence of the aged, honor the presence of an elder, and fear your God. I am the Lord.
No one is to oppress his fellow citizen, but you must fear your God, because I am (YHWH) the Lord your God. You must obey my rules and my regulations; you must be sure to keep them so that you may live securely in the land.
Fear of God means to obey his instructions in light of the fact that there is blessing in it for you when you do obey but punishment if you don’t. This point is brought home in the section we covered about the promised blessings toward those who obey the commandments of the Covenant, and the curses towards those who disobey the commandments:
If you refuse to obey all the words of this instruction, the things written in this scroll, and refuse to fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord your God, then the Lord will increase your punishments and those of your descendants – great and long-lasting afflictions and severe, enduring illnesses.
Here, refusing to fear the Lord is clearly equated with refusing to obey all the words of this instruction. To fear is to obey. What, then, does it mean to “worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water”? Again, “worship” is defined by the instructions of the first four of the Ten Commandments.
We are commanded not to have other gods, not to carve or form an image or idol so that we may use it in our worship of him. We are commanded not to minimize or trifle his name, meaning His authority. And we are commanded to set-apart the seventh day unto Him.
In performing these four commandments, we are worshipping God in truth. To worship simply means to bring ourselves low. This is because we cannot raise up the Most High, He is already the Most High. All we can do is make ourselves lower, in humble obedience to His authority.
The expression, “worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water” (Revelation 14:6-7) has a special connection to the commandment about the Sabbath.
In Exodus 20:11 we see that The fourth commandment says to set apart the seventh day because in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh day; therefore The Lord blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.
Worshipping the One who made the heaven and earth and the sea can only properly be done by setting apart the seventh day as a Sabbath unto Him, because the very act of doing this calls to mind that He is the One who “made heaven and earth and the sea” in six days. The “Eternal Gospel” is evidently a call to obey the eternal commandments of God. On the day after man was created, God gave him the seventh day to be set apart as a day of rest and communion with God. This convention is proclaimed eternally. The seventh day will always be the day God calls his people to stop working and to fellowship with Him.
Christ will do so during his reign on earth. And believers today SHOULD to be compliant with this commandment, as well.
For more on that, see request our teaching “Hebrews 4: In His Rest Now or Later”
The gospel includes the “death, burial and resurrection of Christ.” But it is much more than that. The Scriptures have always been proclaiming the gospel. The gospel is the good news that God is doing a work of redemption, to buy back sinners and draw them to Himself.
Abraham proclaimed the gospel by showing that “the righteous one will live by faithfulness.” Abraham obeyed the instructions of the Lord and was the example of faithfulness to all who will follow in his footsteps.
And even the Gentiles will be brought into Covenant relationship with Christ by walking as Abraham did. The Law of Moses proclaimed the gospel by explaining that the Word of the commandments is near you, in your heart and in your mouth. It is not difficult to reach or attain. If one will obey all the commandments that YHWH has instructed, there will be life and peace and blessing.
But even those who refuse to obey and who will be subsequently scattered throughout the earth will have descendants who will repent and return to the Lord in obedience to the Instructions of Scripture.
Moses also proclaimed the gospel in shadow form by giving the appointed times of worship, which depict the work of redemption which Christ is performing.
His death and resurrection, enthronement as High Priest, and his return on the clouds to fulfill the promises, bring judgment on all, and establish his reign of righteousness on earth.
John the Baptist and Christ proclaimed a message of repentance from sinful habits and subsequent obedience to the written commandments of Scripture as the way of attaining Life.
Christ emphasized that he had come to explain and carry out the commandments of the Law.
Christ also said He came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel, revealing the solution for the mystery of the gospel through His death and resurrection, as taught by Paul.
The apostle Paul proclaimed the gospel, emphasizing the need to bring about the obedience of faithfulness among all the Gentiles.”
Peter and John, likewise, emphasize that a proper relationship with God is evidenced by compliance with the commandments.
This is the eternal gospel – the gospel that Moses and all the Prophets, the gospel that Christ preached, and the very same gospel that Paul and the rest of the followers of Christ taught – that the Christ work of redemption has provided everlasting forgiveness and pardon for sin for all who will turn from that sin (repent) and have a desire to walk in the righteous commandments of the Lord.
As fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we urge you to take all this seriously, since these things are relating to our awesome God YHWH, who deserves every bit of our attention and our sincere desire to understand His Word and His ways.
Test everything we have said to Scripture. Never take a man’s word for Truth, but test it to the only established Truth we have, God’s Word. This is what we are accountable to at the end of the race. Show yourself approved, and study the Scriptures. Have an answer for every question asked of you.
Be a witness.
Contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Seek out His ways and His path. Test your heart and ensure that it desires God’s ways and not the ways of the world, doctrines of men, or traditions of our fathers. As Yeshua stated, we can do many things in God’s name, but if we were not doing it out of pure love and obedience to Him, then it matters not.
In fact, our heart can still be so far from Him, that He could state, “Depart from me. I never knew you, you who works lawlessness”. (Matthew 7:23)
It is our faith in Yeshua that matters, but if there is no evidence of faith in your life that is demonstrated by a sincere interest in the keeping of God’s commandments, then begin asking yourself why you do not trust God’s ways, but instead rely on man’s ways and your ways.
We need to humble ourselves and see Truth in the place where Truth is written. We cannot pretend to invent Truth, but only have it delivered to us through His Word.
You have now studied the whole gospel as presented by the whole Bible. We hope that this teaching has blessed you.