More than one gospel

By Nancy Paulson

Too often we do not have an understanding of God’s purpose and plan because we are unaware of the different messages that God has given to man. It is a surprise to many when they learn that Paul actually preached a different message than Jesus during His earthly ministry. This is because of a faulty thinking that there is only ONE Gospel that is proclaimed in the Bible. The word Gospel simply means “good news”. To say that there is only one Gospel is to say that the “good news” spoken of is always the same.

The Bible contains many passages that tell of “good news”, but is the “good news” always the same message? There are distinctive terms that describe the various “good news”:

* The Gospel of the Kingdom
* The Gospel of the Grace of God
* The Gospel of the Circumcision
* The Gospel of the Uncircumcision

If each of these gospels are called something different, then would that not indicate that they have different meanings and are not the same?

The “good news” has not been revealed all at once. Different aspects of the “good news” have been revealed at different intervals of time throughout the ages.

* To Adam – Genesis 3:15 – the “good news” was that there was to be a Redeemer.

* To Abraham (Abram) – Galatians 3:8 – the “good news” was in him all nations shall be blessed.

* To David – 2Samuel 7:16 – the “good news” was that his throne shall be established forever.

* To that Twelve Apostles – Luke 9:1-6 – the “good news” was that of the Kingdom of God.

* To the Apostle Paul – Romans 4:16, Ephesians 3:8-9 – the “good news” that we are saved by grace through faith.

There are many Gospels (good news) in the Bible. In this study we will consider five aspects of the “good news” (five Gospels); note the different characteristics of each one.

Five Different Gospels – (Five Different Kinds of “Good News”)

1. Gospel of the Kingdom- This Gospel begins with David, with whom the covenant of the kingdom was made. (See 2Samuel 2:17)

2. Gospel of the Circumcision- This Gospel begins with Abraham, with whom the covenant of circumcision was made (See Genesis 17:10-14)

3. Gospel of the Uncircumcision- This Gospel begins with Abram, who, as an uncircumcised heathen was justified by faith. (See Romans 4:9-11)

4. Message of Reconciliation- This “good news” begins with Adam, through whom the world was alienated from God. (See Genesis 3:8)

5. Mystery- This “good news” begins with God Himself and the good pleasure of His will.(See Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:9)

The Gospel of the Kingdom

(2 Samuel 7:16 KJV) And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

The covenant God made to David is the covenant in which the Kingdom of Christ is to be established.

(Daniel 2:44 KJV) And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

This Kingdom is to be established forever because Christ is to occupy the throne.This kingdom is to be established in the earth. The final outcome of the whole entire prophetic program is to have a kingdom on the earth.

(Jeremiah 23:5-6 KJV) Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. {6} In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Even though the prophets prophesied about the Kingdom they did not tell the “good news” of the kingdom. John the Baptist began to preach the Gospel (“good news”) of the Kingdom of God in that it was “at hand” (soon to be established).

(Matthew 3:1-2 KJV) In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, {2} And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

When Jesus began to preach, he preached the same thing, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

(Matthew 4:17 KJV) From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

It is important to realize that when the twelve Disciples were commanded to go forth and preach they were commanded to limit their preaching to the ” lost sheep of the house of Israel” and to tell them, and only them, the “good news” about the kingdom.

(Matthew 10:5-7 KJV) These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: {6} But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. {7} And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The main theme of their preaching was that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. At no time in Jesus’ earthly ministry did they preach that Christ was to die for their sins. The Disciples did not even comprehend that Jesus was to die. (See Luke 18:31-34) Their message was that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.

It is imperative to understand that although the kingdom of heaven was at hand it was not actually offered to Israel at this time. In other words, the kingdom of heaven is soon to be established, but it was not available at that time. The prophets spoke of the sufferings of Christ and the glory to follow. (See 1Peter 1:11) Christ had to die first before the kingdom could be established.

One point that needs to be made is that even though Jesus had to die the message is NOT that He was to die for our sins, but that He had to die before the kingdom could be established. The kingdom could only be offered on the basis of the New Covenant, which was not made until the death of Christ. (See Matthew 26:28)

(Joel 2:28-32 KJV) And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: {29} And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. {30} And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. {31} The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. {32} And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

These verses in Joel make it clear that the kingdom could not be offered until after Pentecost. The Spirit needed to come first.

God foreknew that Israel would reject Christ.

(Matthew 21:33-41 KJV) Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: {34} And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. {35} And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. {36} Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. {37} But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. {38} But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. {39} And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. {40} When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? {41} They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

(Matthew 21:43 KJV) Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

During the earthly ministry of Jesus it was evident that the leaders of Israel would not accept Christ as their king. The parable in Matthew 21 makes it clear that they would not inherit the kingdom, but it would be given to another nation. Who is this other nation?

(Matthew 19:28 KJV) And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

(Luke 12:32 KJV) Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

The ones who are to receive this kingdom are the twelve Disciples and the “Little Flock”, those who follow Christ in the prophetic program, are to be the ones who would inherit this kingdom. It is not to be given to the ones who just follow a religious system of beliefs.

The Gospel of the Circumcision

The “good news” or Gospel of the Circumcision was to show a separation of Abraham and his seed from the ungodly Gentiles.

What exactly is circumcision?

(Romans 4:11 KJV) And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

Circumcision is the seal of the righteousness of faith that Abraham had while he was uncircumcised.

(Genesis 17:9-11 KJV) And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. {10}This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. {11} And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

Circumcision is a token of God’s covenant with Abraham. It is because of this covenant that Abraham and his seed, those of the circumcision, were to be a blessing to all nations.

(Genesis 22:17-18 KJV) That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; {18} And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

The Gospel of the Circumcision is the “good news” based on the covenant that God made with Abraham. This Gospel was committed to Peter and it is what he preached. (See Galatians 2:7)

(Acts 3:25-26 KJV) Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. {26} Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

It was “good news” to those of the circumcision to know that they were to be a blessing to all nations and that was going to happen through the establishment of the kingdom.

The “Gospel of the Kingdom” and the “Gospel of the Circumcision” are very closely related. The covenant God made with Abraham concerned a nation and the covenant God made with David concerned a government and a throne. In order for there to be a government and a place to rule there would have to be a people to govern.

From the Scriptures we can plainly see that the Gospel of the Kingdom was proclaimed before Pentecost and the Gospel of the Circumcision was proclaimed after Pentecost. Both Gospels promise that God would bless the nations through Israel with Christ as King.

The Gospel of the Uncircumcision

(Galatians 2:7 KJV) But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

This verse shows that Peter’s message was different than Paul’s message. Paul went to Peter and the other eleven and explained to him the gospel that he was preaching among the Gentiles. Peter and John recognized that Paul’s message was different from what they were preaching because in the Gospel of the Uncircumcision one no longer needed to be circumcised based upon the covenant God made with Abraham.

In the Gospel of the Uncircumcision the “good news” is not based on any covenant. The blessing of Abraham is now come upon the Gentiles through Christ.

(Galatians 3:14-16 KJV) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. {15} Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. {16} Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

The Gospel of the Uncircumcision goes back to Abram, before he was circumcised, when he was justified by faith; years before he was circumcised.

(Romans 4:9-11 KJV) Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. {10} How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. {11} And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

The Gospel of the Circumcision was limited to the seed of Abraham and it was through them that the nations would be blessed, but the Gospel of the Uncircumcision includes all who believe, both Jew and Gentile alike.

Romans 4:11 stresses that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness before he was circumcised in order that he might be the father of all who believe even though they are not circumcised.

Paul has been sent forth to tell of salvation by faith to both the Jews and the Gentiles alike because Israel had rejected Christ and God in His longsuffering offered His mercy to all. (See Romans 11:32).

Ministry under the Gospel of the Kingdom was limited to the nation of Israel, the twelve were commanded not to go to the Gentiles. When they were commissioned with the Gospel of Circumcision they were instructed to go to the Jew first. Through both these Gospels God promised to bless the nations through Israel. But now, Israel refused to be that channel of blessings to the nations so God suspended the fulfillment of the covenants for a time and He raised up a new Apostle, Paul, and commissioned him to go forth with the Gospel of Uncircumcision, in which:

(Romans 10:12-13 KJV) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. {13} For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Ministry of Reconciliation

The message of reconciliation was first committed to Paul to tell, but it actually goes all the way back to Adam, the father of the human race, the “one man” by whom sin entered the world and the whole human race became alienated to God. At this time both Jew and Gentile are alienated to God and need to be reconciled.

When Jesus Christ was on the earth He did not preach reconciliation, neither did the twelve at Pentecost. During their teaching they referred back to David and Abraham, with whom the covenants were made, not to Adam in whom the world was alienated from God.

The message of reconciliation could not be preached to all until Israel was cast aside for a time. The reason for this is before Israel was set aside they were considered to be “friends of God”. Friends do not need to be reconciled. In the early Acts period Israel is still in her exalted position.

(Romans 11:15 KJV) For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

Reconciliation comes after alienation; hence, it was not until after Israel was set aside, lost the friendship status, did God offer reconciliation through the Apostle Paul. It is with the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7) that Israel joined the Gentiles in rebellion toward God and Christ. This is why Paul refers back to Adam, the man by whom all mankind had been alienated from God.

(Romans 5:12 KJV) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

It was natural that Israel should fall, because they, even though they had enjoyed a privileged status, are also children of Adam. So even though they had a exalted position among the nations God is showing us that they had fallen and have become alienated from God. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, all have sinned. All are in Adam.

The message of reconciliation is not offered based on covenants that God had made with man, but on the fact of man’s alienation from God.

The message of reconciliation tells us about another man, Jesus Christ who is the “second man”, the “last Adam”, the “one mediator between God and Man”. (See 1Corinthians 15:45, 47; 1Timothy 2:5)

It is by Jesus Christ and His death on the cross that sinners, Jew and Gentile alike, may be reconciled to God. Christ died for us while we were enemies of God, so that we can be reconciled to God. (See Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:11-18)

(Romans 5:18-19 KJV) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. {19} For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

(Colossians 1:21-22 KJV) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled {22} In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

The message of reconciliation is our “great commission”:

(2 Corinthians 5:18-21 KJV) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; {19} To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. {20} Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. {21} For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

God is offering everyone reconciliation today, but we have to accept what He is offering to us. It is our responsibility to proclaim God’s offer of reconciliation.

(2 Corinthians 6:2 KJV) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

The Mystery

As the Kingdom of Christ is the subject of the prophetic program, so the Body of Christ is the subject of the Mystery which was revealed to and through the Apostle Paul.

The Mystery” was made known to Paul by revelation.

The risen Lord Jesus Christ revealed it to Paul.

The “Mystery” is that there is to be one body, Body Of Christ, which is to be made up of both Jew and Gentile alike.

This one body is made possible because of the reconciliation of both the Jews and Gentiles to God.

(Ephesians 3:3-6 KJV) How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, {4} Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) {5} Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; {6} That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

In times past there was a middle wall of partition, the law, which keep the Jew and Gentiles apart. But now, that wall is torn down. It is no longer there.

(Ephesians 2:14-18 KJV) For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; {15} Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; {16}And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: {17} And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. {18} For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Although this great mystery cannot be found in any other writings in the Bible except for Paul’s Epistles, we ought not to assume God decided to do it as an afterthought. For it was in the mind of God from before the beginning. It was always a part of God’s purpose and plan, He just chose to keep it a secret until He revealed it to and through the Apostle Paul. It is through the Gospel of the Uncircumcision- (justification by faith through grace), that we are given the Ministry of Reconciliation, in which both Jew and Gentile become one body in Christ.

(Romans 16:25 KJV) Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

(Ephesians 3:5 KJV) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

(Ephesians 3:9 KJV) And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

(Colossians 1:26 KJV) Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

(Ephesians 3:11 KJV) According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

Nothing has taken God by surprise. Everything is in accordance to God’s plan and purpose which God will fulfill in heaven and in earth.

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