Saturday, January 3, 2004

Good Ol' Fashioned Gospel

First off, a translation... many bibles use the term "gospel," but more recent translations reject that archaic usage in favor of the term, "good news." My two personal favorites, "God's Word" and (actually, a fairly old translation,) "Young's Literal" both use the term, "good news" when referring to what Jesus and His followers spoke so often about.

Jesus (or "Yeshua," as His own mother would have called Him) said, "This Good News (gospel) about the kingdom will be spread throughout the world as a testimony to all nations. Then the end will come." (Matthew 24:14)

What was the good news?

Matthew also presents it well - "Jesus went all over Galilee. He taught in the synagogues and spread the Good News of the kingdom. He also cured every disease and sickness among the people. (24) The news about Jesus spread throughout Syria. People brought Him everyone who was sick, those who suffered from any kind of disease or pain. They also brought epileptics, those who were paralyzed, and people possessed by demons, and He cured them all."

So, it looks like, wherever Jesus went teaching about the "Good News of the kingdom..." people became whole and well!

You realize, the Hebrew-speaking people of Jesus' time were quite ready for His coming... at least by what was being taught in the synagogues and what was happening to Israel at the hand of the Romans. The scriptures and the teachers of the scripture at that time pointed to a coming "Messiah Prince" who would be of the royal lineage of King David and who would possess godly qualities and lead Israel into an eternity on earth of peace, joy and creative expression.

See?

Isaiah said, in 9:14, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel." and, in 7:6 -

"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (vs. 7) Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."

And in Chapter 61 of Isaiah's astonishing book, a mere chapter in the world's all-time, best-seller (4 billion in print!), he pens details of the reign of this Messiah, the Prince -

(1) "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, (3) To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

(4) And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. (5) Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the foreigner shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. (6) But you shall be named the priests of the LORD, they shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory you shall boast. (7) Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double. Everlasting joy shall be theirs.

(8) "For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, and will make with them an everlasting covenant. (9) Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the posterity whom the LORD has blessed."

(10) I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (11) For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

In fact Yeshua read a portion of that chapter back in the day and it caused quite the stir! (see Luke 4:16-30)

So the "Good News of the Kingdom" is all about ZION! (Man! How come that place just keeps on showin up?!)

And that's the good ol' fashioned Gospel... Yeshua will plant His feet (physically, geographically and really) on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel ...

Zechariah 14:4 - "And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south."

... and we will all go to see Him there ...

Zechariah 14:16 - "And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."

And if you still have some weird, prejudiced sour taste in your mouth about Zion and it's mention? Part of me thinks,

"Patience... keep seeking, you'll find Him there... in Zion."

Another part of me just wants to say,

"It's a Zion thang... you wouldn't understand."