The Good News
We want to take a closer look into the good news and we want to start with the announcement of Yeshua's (Jesus') birth. And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger. And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased'" (Luke 2:10-14).
The birth announcement of Yeshua (Jesus) was quite the fanfare with angels filling the sky singing praises to God. What these lowly shepherds experienced was a little glimpse of the heavenly temple. So what was this good news that was to bring joy to these shepherds? It was the long awaited Savior, the Messiah, whom Israel had been waiting for; this surely was good news for all of Israel. Luke tells us what the angel told Mary when he reveals God's plan to her in verses 32-33 of chapter 1: "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end." Let's continue to read about this new King to be.
Isaiah prophesied about this child in chapter 9:1-7: "But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. Thou shall multiply the nation. Thou shalt increase their gladness; they will be glad in Thy presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For Thou shalt break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor as at the battle of Midian. For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire. For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest upon His shoulders,and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of host will accomplish this."
What we have seen from Isaiah and the angel is that this child that was to come will be a mighty warrior and He will defeat His enemies and He will rule and reign on the throne of David, which is in the city of David, which is Jerusalem. When we read this we do not see anything about Messiah dying for our sins and rising again on the third day.
So can this be the good news? When we see the words "good news," we must understand where we get that translation from. It comes from the old English word "godspell" which we interpret today as "gospel." The gospel message is the good news, and it was this good news or gospel message that the people of Israel were waiting for. You must realize that only the Jewish people were waiting for the Messiah because the Gentiles, other than a few God fearers, were pagans who worshiped other gods. We all know this scripture of Isaiah 52:7 because we always quote it from Romans 10 when we are talking about the gospel: "How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'"
And of course we all know this Scripture from Isaiah 61:1-4 because Yeshua quotes it in Luke 4:18-19,21 and tells His listeners that today this Scripture has been fulfilled by Him: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent Me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable Year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord. Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations, and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations."
When John the Baptist sent his disciples to Yeshua to ask Him if He was the expected one to come, Yeshua replies in Matthew 11:5-6: "Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news (gospel) preached to them, And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me." Again we see that the good news has to do with the restoration and healing of Israel but we also see that it was Yeshua the Messiah who would bring this all about. So as we celebrate the birth of this "Child" let us remember that we are celebrating the future restoration of Israel and the future King who will sit on the throne of David, or should I just say we are celebrating the coming of the Messianic Age.
The angel tells Mary at the Annunciation of the birth of Messiah, "And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall call Him Yeshua (Jesus)" (Luke 1:31). Yeshua is the Messiah's given name. Jesus is a translation from the Greek. "Yeshua" means "Salvation." The angel goes on to say that He will bring salvation to the people and save them from their sins. So we see that the Messiah's name comes directly from God the Father and the meaning of His name is His calling in life. Let's take a closer look at Yeshua's name and its meaning that was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures.
In Genesis 49:18, Jacob blesses his sons before he dies. When he is done blessing his son Dan, he ends by saying, "For Thy salvation (Yeshua) I wait, O Lord." The Psalmist writes in Psalm 14:7, "Oh that the salvation (Yeshua) of Israel would come out of Zion!" Isaiah writes in chapter 49:6, "He says, 'It is too small a thing that You should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation (Yeshua) may reach to the end of the earth.'" Again in 52:7 and 52:10 it is said, "How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news (gospel), who announces peace and brings good news (gospel) of happiness, who announces salvation (Yeshua), and says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'"
We see that Yeshua is the salvation that was to come. In Luke 1:68-71 we read, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation (Yeshua) for us in the house of David His servant, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old, salvation (Yeshua) from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us." In more proper English, Yeshua saved us from our enemies and from all who hated us. This is surely good news (gospel).
Zechariah writes in chapter 9:9, "Rejoice, greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you: He is just and endowed with salvation (Yeshua), Humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey." This was fulfilled when Yeshua rode into Jerusalem on a donkey right before Passover and His crucifixion. The people knowing this verse began to cut palm branches and waving them as He rode by. We have seen that Yeshua is the agent of Salvation to Israel, which is the good news or gospel message. Let's now see how Yeshua went about bringing this good news (gospel) to the people.
Let's start by looking at John the Baptist. Isaiah tells us, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." John was the forerunner of Messiah. He was to bear witness of His coming and he was to prepare the way of the Lord. We see in Luke 1:76-77 that Zechariah, speaking about his son John, says, "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give to His people the knowledge of salvation (Yeshua) by the forgiveness of their sins." Remember, Yeshua called John the greatest prophet of His day.
So how did John do this? We see in Matthew 3:2 that he cries out, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" He tells the people to repent of their sins. To repent means to turn oneself around and go in the opposite direction, simply to stop sinning and follow the Word of God. We see that Yeshua (Jesus), when He began to preach in Matthew 4:17, cried out, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." When Yeshua sent out His disciples, He told them in Matthew 10:7, "As you go, preach, saying, ‘Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.'" All throughout the book of Acts we see the disciples telling the people to repent (Acts 2:38, 3:19, 8:22, 17:30, 26:20).
Now if John the Baptist was going to teach the people the way of salvation, we see that the message of salvation, which is the gospel message (or the good news), starts with repentance. Yeshua's name means Salvation, so we know that He was going to teach the people the way of salvation, and He preached the same message. Yeshua even tells the churches in Revelation to "repent." So this is not just a Jewish matter, but a Gentile or Christian issue and that issue is that the way of salvation comes through repentance, a coming back to the Word of God as a way of living. We see today that even the Ten Commandments are a thing of the past, let alone the whole counsel of God's Word.
We must remember that Yeshua is the Word made flesh, and if we do not follow God's Word, how then can we follow Yeshua, the Messiah? But repentance is only the first part of the message. The second half is "for the Kingdom of God is at hand." So what did John and Yeshua and the Apostles all mean by this phrase, "the Kingdom of God (or sometimes of heaven) is at hand"?
The people of Yeshua's day knew exactly what this phrase meant. You see, the people had been waiting for their Messiah to come and deliver them. They had been waiting for their King. All of this was promised through the prophets. So now they hear the words, "It is here, the kingdom is here, it is at hand!" As we saw last month, the good news was all about this. So now they realized that Yeshua was the fulfillment of all of this.
. . . Or did they? We see the Apostles ask Yeshua, "When will you set up Your kingdom?" John sends his disciples to ask Yeshua, "Are you the One we have been expecting?" Yeshua asks His disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" Yeshua tells the people to believe in Him or at least believe in the works that He did. You see, if we do not truly believe in Yeshua as the Messiah and as the coming King who will sit one day on the throne of David in Jerusalem, we will not believe that His Kingdom is here, right here, next to us. We will not take hold of it and become part of it, right now, today. We will not operate in Kingdom principles, nor will we live in the victory of our King and the work He did on the cross for us.
The Mysteries of the Kingdom
Yeshua tells the people several parables regarding the kingdom. He begins in Matthew 13, telling the story of the sower who sowed his seed and how some fell beside the road and the birds ate up the seed; and other seed fell upon the rocky places and the seed sprang up immediately but because of lack of soil the sun scorched it away; yet other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns choked out what grew; but other seed fell on good soil and it yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, others only sixty or thirty. He who has ears let them hear. How important it is for the seed to fall on good soil: one who is ready to listen to the truth, one who is ready to take on the yoke of the kingdom.
Then He tells another parable about how a man sowed seeds in his field, but when he was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat. So when the wheat grew and bore fruit the tares also grew. The man could only leave them both to grow till harvest when he would then gather the wheat and burn the tares. How important it is to realize that the enemy of the kingdom has planted his lies among the truth, and both have grown to bear fruit. But one day, God will come and separate those that are truly His from those who are not.
Next, Yeshua tells the people that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed, and how this, the littlest of all seeds, grew larger than all the other plants in the garden: so large that it became a tree and the birds made their nests in its branches. Yeshua compared the kingdom to the growing agent of leaven, and the hidden treasure that one finds in a field and he sells all that he has to buy the field, or the merchant seeking fine pearls, and finds one of great value so he sells everything to buy it. How important it is for us to have faith like a mustard seed and for us to search for that hidden treasure of God's Word, that pearl of wisdom and cherish it above all, even our own lives. For one day, God will separate the wheat from the tares, the good from the bad, the truth from the lies.
So then, why did Yeshua say that the kingdom was now when He also says that it is still coming? It's all in the meaning of the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Kingdom of God, which are both the same thing. For the kingdom is not just a place, but also a time: the Messianic Age. We think of the Kingdom of Heaven to be in heaven, but the Jewish people would use the word "heaven" as a reference to God instead of invoking His name. So the Kingdom of God is the coming kingdom that the Jews were waiting for, which is the Kingdom of Messiah. We must understand that the Bible was written by Jewish people to Jewish people, and Yeshua was Jewish along with His disciples, including Paul, who said that he was a Jew, and a Pharisee at that!
So to read and interpret the Bible, we must understand that things we consider to be Christian sayings are actually Jewish sayings. That is why we are considered Judeo-Christians. The kingdom which Yeshua did not establish in His first coming but will in His second is the Messianic Kingdom where He will gather the exiles of Israel and defeat their enemies and He will sit on the throne of King David in the city of David, which is Jerusalem. The Hebrew Scriptures are full of Messianic imagery: Leviticus 26:5, Jeremiah 31:34, 33:8, Ezekiel 34:29, Joel 2:24-26, and Isaiah 11:6-10, to mention a few. We even see Yeshua teaching His disciples to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." We are to be praying for this coming kingdom, and not only praying, but waiting with a readiness and an alertness to its coming.
Okay, so if the kingdom is the Messianic Age, then why does He say one time "it's here" and then the next time "it's coming"? Luke 17:20-21 says, "Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the Kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, ‘The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, "Look, here it is!" or, "There it is!" For behold the Kingdom of God is in your midst.'" In Yeshua's first coming, He gave us a down payment, a pledge, so that if we take hold of this kingdom and live by its principles, we can operate now in the kingdom.
As we have read, we must first repent and return to the Word of God, the whole counsel of God. We can not have two foundations. God's Word, like God, is one. So we must ask ourselves, if all of this is the gospel message, the good news, then where do we fit in and what was the crucifixion all about? We want to take a closer look, but first, let's lay some groundwork.
To get a complete understanding, we must go back to the beginning with a brief history lesson. We see in Genesis 22 that God tests Abraham and asks him to offer up his only son, Isaac, on Mt. Moriah. So Abraham and Isaac go on a 3 day journey. As they go, Isaac asks his father, "Where is the offering?" Abraham says to his son in verse 8, "God will provide for Himself the burnt offering." When Abraham binds Isaac and puts the knife to him, God calls to him and tells him not to harm the boy, for He now knows that Abraham was truly faithful to Him. God did provide a ram for the offering, and Abraham called the place "The Lord will provide," or "In the mount of the Lord it will be provided." Yeshua tells the people, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." God opened Abraham's eyes and allowed him to see that this mount, Mount Moriah, would one day become the temple mount, and God would provide the burnt offering, which was His only Son, who died on the cross to redeem us. But for now, that's all I'll say.
God tells Abraham that He was going to give him the land and bless him, and that their covenant would be an everlasting covenant. But He also tells Abraham that his people would be in exile for 430 years, but after that time, He would bring them back to the land. Joseph, one of Jacob's 12 sons, was sold into slavery by his brothers. Through the course of time, Joseph becomes second in command of Egypt when a severe famine comes on the land. Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to get food, and there they discover their brother Joseph, who has his family move to Egypt. Through the course of time, the Egyptians make slaves of the Jewish people, and so God has to send a deliverer. He raises up Moses, who had been brought up as an Egyptian. God reveals Himself to Moses in a burning bush that was not consumed, and spoke to Moses, telling him that He would be the deliverer of His people, which he was. The plagues come upon Egypt, and finally, Pharaoh lets the people go. They cross the Red Sea, and all of Pharaoh's army was drowned in the sea. Exactly 430 years later, Israel is redeemed from their enemies.
I know that this was a very brief history lesson, and a lot of history is missing in between, but I want to jump ahead and take a closer look at how Christians became part of this Jewish message.
The Mystery of the Gospel
Christians believe that the gospel message is only about Yeshua's death and resurrection. It is, but only in part. We typically only see through the lenses of Christian theologians, but we must understand that Yeshua was Jewish, and the message is a Jewish message. He was the Jewish Messiah, and He came to His people, the Jewish people. Us Gentiles were afar off; in other words, we were pagans. Yes, today we may be believers, but back 2000 years ago, the Jewish people along with a few God-fearers were the only people to believe in the one true living God. He is the covenant-keeping God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and because of Yeshua's sacrifice, we who once were far off can now draw near. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:19, "Pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel."
What is the mystery of the gospel, or more correctly, "good news," and why is it a mystery? In Ephesians 3:3-6, Paul writes, "That by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Messiah, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, the gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Messiah Yeshua through the gospel."
Romans 11:16-18 tells us, "If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you being a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and became partakers with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who support the root, but the root supports you." The Jewish message is now our message, and later we will see how the exodus from Egypt became our exodus, and the redemption of Israel became our redemption.
Christians ask, "Are you saved?" An unbeliever must think, "Saved from what?" This is a good question, even for us Christians. We speak of redemption, but redemption from what? There is no better place to answer those questions than to look at the Passover Seder. We ask, "Isn't the Passover just for the Jews?" No! It is for each one of us. We know that God delivered the Jewish people from Egypt with great signs and wonders. God told them to put the blood of an unblemished lamb on the doorpost of their homes and to eat the lamb with their loins girded and their staff in their hand, for it was the Lord's Passover; and that night, the death angel struck down the firstborn of man and animal, but He passed over the homes where the blood appeared. That night, Pharaoh told the people to leave his land; and with that, they gathered their belongings in the morning and fled the land. They did not even wait for their dough to rise in their kneading bowls. So let's take a closer look as to why this has to do with each one of us; and at the same time, we will see the gospel message begin to develop.
The Jewish people were in exile in the land of Egypt for 430 years. They had been under the yoke of bondage, slaves, and had no way to escape from their plight until God sent Moses to deliver them. We too, were in bondage, slaves in Egypt, per se, until Yeshua came and delivered us. Egypt is symbolic of the kingdom of darkness, the world and all that the world stands for, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. The Seder Meal, or the Passover meal, has come to represent the story of the exodus. The Seder plate is full of symbolism of this redemption; and what is redemption but the purchasing or redeeming of one who is in slavery.
Yeshua begins the Passover knowing that He would be the Passover Lamb bringing redemption: "And when the hour had come, He reclined, and the twelve apostles with Him. He said to them, ‘I have greatly longed to eat this Passover offering with you before My suffering. For I say to you that I will not eat it any more until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God'" (Luke 22:14-16).
The plate starts with the bitter herbs (maror, usually horseradish), which reminds us of the bondage, the slavery in Egypt. Paul tells us in Romans 6:16, "Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?"
Parsley (karpas) alludes to the crushing labor, and it is dipped in salt water to remind us of the tears of the Israelites as they cried out to God. In Matthew 26:20, Yeshua says, "I say to you, one of you will betray me." The disciples begin to question, "Is it I?" Yeshua answers them, "The man that dipped his hand in the bowl (salt water) with me is the one who will betray Me."
Unleavened bread (matzah) is the bread of affliction. Leaven or yeast represents sin, so unleavened means free from sin. Paul says, "Don't you know that a little leaven works through the whole dough? Get rid of the old leaven that you may be a new batch without leaven as you really are." The matzah is a flat, unleavened piece of bread. In the matzah, we see a picture of Messiah, for the matzah is striped and pierced: "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we are healed." Paul, in Romans 6:6-7, tells us, "Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin." The matzah piece that is called the Afikomen is broken in half, and one of the halves is placed in a white napkin and hidden until it is revealed again later in the meal. This represents the death and burial of the Messiah and His later resurrection. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:24, "And when He had given thanks, He broke it (the Afikomen) and said, "This is My body which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
The Apple mixture (charoset) represents the mortar used between the bricks. Lettuce (chazeret) reminds us of life and how we can go from joy to sadness when sin enters our lives and enslaves us. James writes, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you."
Roasted egg (beitzah) is a symbol of mourning that the temple does not stand any longer; but we know that one day, Yeshua will rule and reign in Jerusalem. The shankbone (zeroah) represents the Passover Lamb. Since the destruction of the temple in 70 CE, no lamb is eaten on Passover because there is no temple to slaughter them. We know that Yeshua was the Lamb, for Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, "Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Messiah our Passover lamb also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
Four cups of wine are also drunk at the Seder Meal; each cup represents the four promises of God regarding redemption and salvation. The first cup is called the Cup of Sanctification: "I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians." The second cup is called the Cup of Deliverance: "I will free you from being slaves." The third cup is called the Cup of Redemption or the Cup of Blessing: "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm." It was here that Paul tells us, "In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it in remembrance of Me,' for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes." Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, "Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Messiah? Is not the bread which we break, a sharing in the body of Messiah? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread." The fourth cup is called the Cup of Praise: "I will take you as My own people and I will be your God."
We have seen in the story of the Exodus that:
Egypt = the kingdom of darkness (this world), Pharaoh = Satan, leaven = sin, Yeshua = Passover Lamb.
Because of the blood of the Passover Lamb, the death angel passed over those homes that had the blood on the doorpost. Why blood on the doorpost? Hebrews 9:22 tells us, "According to the Torah, all things are cleansed with blood; and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Paul tells the Colossians, "Because of what He has done; He has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of His Son that He loves, and in Him we gain freedom (redemption), the forgiveness of our sins," (JB). The redemption from Egypt was our redemption also. This is the Salvation message, which is part of the gospel message. Paul tells the Romans, "I am not ashamed of the gospel (good news) of Messiah, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also the Gentile."
We have been looking at the Biblical gospel message, also known as the "Good News." We have seen that this message was a Jewish message before it became a Christian message. Christians believe that the gospel message is that you can be saved by the blood of Jesus, and this is true. But we don't realize the meaning behind all of this. Saved from what? Words like salvation and redemption are Jewish terms which then became Christian terms. We have learned that Yeshua (Jesus) was Jewish and that He is the Jewish Messiah who was prophesied of by the prophets of old and spoken of by the angel to the shepherds; He was the promised Child, the good news of the one who would come. The angel revealed to Mary that He would sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem and there would be no end to His kingdom. He will be a mighty warrior and defeat His enemies, and He will gather the exiles of Israel and they shall live in peace from all their enemies in the promised land of Israel.
None of this sounds like the Christian message as we know it. Yeshua, John the Baptist, and the disciples all preached the good news: "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The first step of the gospel message is just this: Repent for the kingdom is at hand. We learned that the kingdom is the kingdom that the angel spoke of to Mary that would never come to an end, for Yeshua would sit on the throne of King David forever. This Kingdom is the Messianic age, which most Christians have heard about.
So, what about the Christians? Do they have their own message? Well, yes and no. Yes, because for now, many Jewish people have not come to the knowledge of Yeshua as Messiah. No, because their message is still our message. You see, the Scriptures tell us that we were alienated, hopelessly lost without the One true God (Ephesians 2:12). But God, in His great mercy, made the way for us. You see, Yeshua came as the Jewish Messiah. He is the King of the Jews; but because of God's great mercy, we who were afar off have been brought near by the blood of Yeshua (Ephesians 2:13). Now, you must understand that Yeshua never stopped being the Jewish Messiah, nor did the message that was prophesied of Him ever change. The message is still a Jewish message, and Yeshua is still Jewish, and He is still going to rule and reign forever in Jerusalem. But God made the way for the nations who believe in Yeshua and accept His sacrifice of redemption to now become part of Israel.
No, we do not become Jewish, but now we have been grafted into Israel (Romans 11:16-18) and we now can become part of the covenants and draw near to God by the blood of Yeshua. Their message now becomes our message, their Messiah becomes our Messiah, their worship becomes our worship, and their Scriptures become our Scriptures. That is why we are called Judeo-Christians, a term that has been done away with over the last several decades. We must not get the Salvation message mixed up with the Gospel message, because the salvation message is only a part of the whole message.
We have seen that the first step of this message is to repent. Next, we must accept Yeshua's work of redemption which He accomplished for us on the cross, which took us from being slaves in the kingdom of darkness to now being children serving God our King in His Kingdom of Light. So let's now look at the second step of the gospel message.
The second step of the gospel message is found in Matthew 6:31-33: "Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?' or ‘What shall we drink?' or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?' For all these things the Pagans eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you." We see here that the kingdom must become our priority. We are to seek the kingdom first before any other thing. Remember, Yeshua tells the people to repent, for the kingdom was at hand. It was right there for them to grab hold of, if they would just begin to seek it out and live by it's righteousness.
Now, we must understand that the kingdom that is referenced here is the Messianic Age, when Yeshua will set up His kingdom right here on earth in Jerusalem and rule and reign forever. We do not need to go to Jerusalem to seek the kingdom, but we need to begin to live out kingdom principles right here, right now in our own lives. He tells us how to do this in Matthew 6:19-21. He tells us, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasure upon earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven (the Messianic Age) where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is there will your heart be also."
We are the Bride anxiously awaiting the return of our Bridegroom. We are to prepare ourselves for His coming, longing for the day when He will deliver His people from their enemies and bring us all home to the land of promise, Israel, so we may be where He is forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Let us repent; let us accept Yeshua's sacrifice on our behalf and let us draw near to God our Father with the blood of the Lamb sprinkled on our hearts (Hebrews 10:22). Let us grab hold of the kingdom as we serve our King (John 12:26), longing and waiting for His return (Hebrews 9:25-28) as we live out our deeds of righteousness (Ephesians 2:10).
Now, this is the Biblical Gospel Message, and it is truly the Good News!