Q. All churches claim to preach the gospel, but the meaning of the gospel is vague. What is the gospel?
A. About two thousand years ago, Jesus came to the earth and preached the good news of the kingdom of heaven to save us. Since it was Jesus who preached the gospel of the kingdom, the gospel means all the teachings that Jesus gave us to lead us to the kingdom of heaven.
Mt 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Mt 28:18–20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “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 of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you . . .”
The gospel is what Jesus taught and showed as examples for three years. Therefore, in order to find which church is preaching the true gospel, we need to see whether the church is following the teachings of Jesus as they are recorded in the Bible.
When we look at the message which numerous churches in the world preach, it is very different from the gospel which Jesus preached. It is because they omit the core of the gospel of the kingdom, that is, the truth that sets us free from sin and death.
The gospel that saves sinners
The gospel is called “good news.” What is the best news to us? The most joyful news to a death row inmate is that he is forgiven and set free. Spiritually, we are death-row inmates.
We were cast down to the earth after having committed sins deserving the death penalty in heaven. So, the most joyful and blessed news to us, sinners, is that we can go back to the kingdom of heaven, the country of eternal freedom, by being forgiven of the sins that we committed in heaven.
The purpose of Jesus coming to this earth and preaching the gospel was to save mankind who fell into sin and death. That’s why Jesus asked us to “repent,” preaching the good news of the kingdom to us who are “sinners.”
Mt 9:13 “. . . For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Mt 4:17–23 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” . . . Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom . . .
Thus, the gospel of the kingdom, which Jesus preached, is related to the forgiveness of our sins. This is why the name “Jesus” contains the meaning, “He will save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21). The prophets in the Old Testament times prophesied that Christ would come to the earth to free mankind from the slavery to sin and death, and Jesus said that the prophecies were fulfilled by Him.
Lk 4:16–21 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Mt 4:14–16 . . . to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
The core of the forgiveness of sins is the Passover
Even though some people claim to be free men, not slaves, all mankind living on the earth is enslaved by sin and death without exception. They have no choice but to enter the lake of fire in hell unless they are forgiven of their sins.
Jn 8:32–34 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”
Ro 6:23 . . . the wages of sin is death . . .
Rev 20:12–15 . . . The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books . . . The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Through the history which works as a shadow, God showed us the way to be freed from sin and death to which we are slaves. That is shown in the history of the Israelites who were freed from Egypt, the land of slavery.
In the time of Moses, God released the Israelites from Egypt on the day of the Passover. God commanded the Israelites to keep the Passover, and at that night, God struck down all the firstborn in Egypt. The Israelites who kept the Passover could avoid the disaster and be freed from Egypt. The Passover was the day of freedom and emancipation.
Ex 12:11–42 “. . . it is the LORD’s Passover. . . . At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well . . .” . . . At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions left Egypt. Because the LORD kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the LORD for the generations to come.
The Bible testifies that Jesus is a prophet like Moses (Dt 18:18–19; Ac 3:20–23). The work that God accomplished through Moses was a shadow of what Jesus would fulfill: Jesus came as the prophet like Moses in the age of the New Testament and set free mankind from the slavery to sin and death through the Passover of the new covenant (Heb 3:5; 10:1).
Jesus promised us the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, keeping the Passover together with His disciples.
Mt 26:17–28 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread . . . the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover . . . Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Jn 6:54 “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Therefore, the greatest news to mankind who was destined to die forever because of sins is the Passover that promises the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The truth of the Passover is the core of the gospel of the kingdom.
The gospel and the new covenant
Jesus eagerly desired to keep the Passover with His disciples, and called the Passover the new covenant.
Lk 22:14–20 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer . . .” . . . And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
Apostle Paul, who realized the core of the gospel of the kingdom which Jesus preached, called himself a servant of the gospel or the minister of a new covenant. By doing that, he testified that the gospel is the new covenant.
Col 1:23 . . . This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
2 Co 3:6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant . . .
Apostle Paul, who wanted to follow the gospel of Christ and preached it until his death, emphasized that he received the teachings about the Passover of the new covenant from Jesus the Savior.
1 Co 11:23–25 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
The end of those who preach a different gospel
As we have studied so far, the gospel of the kingdom, which Jesus preached to set us free from sins, is the Passover of the new covenant. So, the church that preaches the gospel must have the truth of the Passover. Unfortunately, however, numerous churches today cry for the gospel, without knowing the new covenant and the Passover.
It is testified in many parts of the New Testament that the core of the gospel of Christ lies on the Passover of the new covenant, but the gospel began to change since the mid-second century and totally changed in the mid-fourth century. These days, the gospel that Jesus taught us two thousand years ago has been completely lost, that people do not even know what has changed. For example, most churches do not keep the Passover which Jesus Himself kept and commanded us to do as He did; rather they grandly celebrate December 25, the birthday of sun-god.
The Bible warns that people will be destroyed unless they keep the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus preached, even though they confess with their lips that Jesus is the Savior. Therefore, if people pervert the gospel of Christ, preach a different one, and disobey the Passover of the new covenant which is the gospel of Christ, they will surely be punished.
Gal 1:6–8 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!
2 Th 1:7–9 . . . This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power . . .
Despite these warnings, people look forward to entering the kingdom of heaven without keeping the Passover and knowing the danger of a different gospel. In order to save mankind who was following a different gospel and running away from heaven without knowing the truth of life that Jesus preached 2,000 years ago, God Himself came (Eze 34:5–23).
The gospel of the new covenant, which disappeared from history, has been restored and the light of the Passover shines again thanks to the sacrifice of God who came to this earth a second time, forsaking all His glory in heaven. Let us give eternal thanks and glory to Heavenly Father and Mother who have sacrificed Themselves for a long time, leaving the glory of heaven behind, and shine the light of the true gospel more quickly all over the world.