Preaching the gospel before the cross?

Discussion in 'The Gospels & Acts' started by Puritan Sailor, Jun 26, 2005.

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  1. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Luke 9
    I was reading through this passage today and this kinda struck me. In verse 6, Jesus sent out the 12 to preach the gospel. Yet, in verse 21, Jesus forbids the disciples to tell everyone who Jesus really is. When I hear "preach the gospel" I immediately think of Paul preaching "Christ and Him crucified." But the disciples didn't know Jesus in that way yet. And Jesus even forbid them to reveal His identity.

    So what did it mean to "preach the gospel" before the crucifixion and resurrection had taken place? How do you preach the gospel without telling people who Jesus is?

    [Edited on 6-26-2005 by puritansailor]
  2. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    I have brought this up on a number of occasions. The gospel the apostles spoke of is the similar message that was preached to Abraham. Good news! Whatever that may be, dependant upon the occasion.
  3. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    In the Septuagint the word "euaggelidzomenou (os)" is used in Isaiah 52:7-8 to mean that "Your God Reigns!"
    Perhaps it means announcing to Israel that God was becoming King over the whole world.

    In Romans 1 we see the gospel as Christ being the Davidic King who was now being proclaimed as Lord and Messiah over the whole earth.

    Perhaps that is one facet of Kingdom-Evangelism.

    [Edited on 6--26-05 by Draught Horse]
  4. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    This is possible because the gospel has been preached since the earliest times in human history. Salvation has not changed. The New Covenant received its fulfilment and glory in Christ Jesus' appearing, but it existed in lesser forms many, many centuries before that.

    Job was a Christian:
    Abraham was a Christian:
    Moses was a Christian:
    How did Philip evangelize the Ethiopian eunuch? How did he share the gospel? The Old Testament. What was the basis of everything Jesus taught? The Old Testament. What did Paul say was written for Christians' instruction and hope (Rom 15:4; 2 Tim 3:14-17)? The Old Testament.

    Of course, in Christ and His resurrection, the promise was glorified and brought to consummation and fulfilment, but it did NOT change in its spiritual and most basic substance. The New Testament was NOT written to contradict the Old and make the Holy Spirit at enmity with itself. Praise God for His revelation and grace to ALL His people, from Noah to those being saved by the same power today.
  5. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Ok. I agree so far with what everyone has said. Sure the gospel was good news. Sure the OT believers were Christians. I'm more curious as to the content of what they preached. How do you preach the gospel without revealing the identity of Christ?

    [Edited on 6-27-2005 by puritansailor]
  6. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    How do you witness to someone just using the OT? :D
  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    The identity of Christ or the work of Christ? I think I know what you are getting at, but I want to make sure. I think we have sufficiet evidence before the crucifixiion of Christ's identity. Granted, we have foreshadowings of his work before the Cross (assuming against all liberal theology that Christ was aware of Isaiah 53 and applied it, in a sense, to himself), the fuller picture becomes more obvious after the resurrection.

    But so, I think I see where you're going and am coming up with something of my own.
  8. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    There's a lot to this...but for starters...this is what was probably explained by the 12 to those Jews in the surrounding areas before Christ's passion:

    Genesis 15:1-6 (read the entire chapter...)
    God's Covenant with Abram
    After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great." But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir." And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: "This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir." And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

    The Promise - The Covenant with Abraham is what Abraham believed - which counted him as righteous.


  9. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    We have evidence of His identity now, because it has all been explained to us. We know teh ending and all teh connections. But the disciples were forbidden to make it known that Jesus was the Christ. In other places, Jesus rebukes demons for revealing it too. So, I'm just curious what the disciples were preaching as the "gospel" if they couldn't say, "Here's Jesus the Messiah."
  10. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Hmmm....You got a point. Still thinking....I have bits and pieces that need to be unified to make a cogent statement.

    [Edited on 6--27-05 by Draught Horse]
  11. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    The entire OT is about Christ (Luke 24:25-27) --- Paul, being a scholar of it, expounded Christ from the Prophets, Psalms and Law while in the synagogue. He had a slightly different approach with the Gentiles, since they knew nothing of the OT writings.

    In a nutshell....preaching Christ from the OT is not only possible - but essential. (See Edmond Clowney's wonderful book: "Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures")


  12. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Robin, perhaps you are not getting the question. It's not about preaching Christ from the OT. Paul did that sure. But he did that under different conditions than the disciples did in Luke 9. The 12 were forbidden to reveal Christ's identity. By preaching Christ from the OT, you are revealing Christ's identity, that He is the Christ, the Messiah. The disciples were forbid to preach this fact before the crucifixion. So the question I am asking is, in light of these limitations imposed by Jesus, what was the content of the disciple's "gospel" preaching?
  13. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    I have some ideas too, but I thought I would throw this out there for some communal brainstorming and reflection, before I begin throwing out some of my thoughts.
  14. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    A few prefatory remarks
    In one sense, saying that he was Israel's messiah would have been tantamount to saying he was their king or their chosen leader (I can't go into the exposition right now for time reasons). His audience would have misconstrued his kingship for earthly reasons. Christ was king and he did come to deal with Israel's sin and that of the whole world. In short, he came as Great David's Greater Son to fight Israel's battle. Israel's enemy was not merely Rome but Satan. To be sure, taking care of Satan would solve the Roman problem (see part two).

    I find it interesting that Jesus saw Satan fall like lightning before the cross/resurrection. Even more interesting is the language of "binding the strongman and plundering his house." In one sense, Satan has recieved the death-blow to his head (Genesis 3:15) and is dying (think of killing a snake--it doesn't die immediately).

    Part 2.
    Jesus came as the embodiment of Israel and to correct Israel's failure to be a light to the world. Israel had taken God's electing favor and twisted it into vain ethnicity saying, "We are Abraham's children" while neglecting God's promise to Abraham to bless the whole world (to be sure, there are proseltyizing among the pharisees).

    I will have to simplify much for the moment: The disciples came preaching something similar to what Paul said "when the fullness of time had come." Israel's narrative was reaching a climax. The turning point in the history of the universe was soon approaching. God was going to deal with sin and put the world to right in a definitive way.

    I see the cosmic implications of the message the disciples preached in that it warranted Christ to see Satan fall like lightning.

    There are other verses that I can't get into that have a different twist on the same story: The one in John where Christ declares the ruler of the world is about to be cast out.

    EDIT: Ignore me saying that I am going to answer something in part two. I didn't get around to it directly.

    [Edited on 6--27-05 by Draught Horse]
  15. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior


    I do get the question's point....again, I say they proclaimed The Promise (as in Gen. 15) for it IS veiled in type and shadow (in all the OT) yet reveals that the Gospel IS The Promise - The Covenant of Grace as proclaimed to Abraham. Another connected point is they "preached the Kingdom" (Luke 9:2)

    "and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal."

    Genesis 12:1-2
    The Call of Abram
    Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

    This is consistent with what Jesus preached, of course.


  16. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    So far so good. Still musing, though. Here is an interesting side-note by CS Lewis. I do not share much of his theology but he does make helpful points. This is from his book Miracles: (rough paraphrase)--"When Christ came healing and raising the dead, he did not merely come as some odd super-human who had magick powers. In his miracles he was showing us a glimpse of what God's perfected kingdom will look like.
  17. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, you got it, Jacob....

    Christ was inaugurating The Kingdom - the Age to Come -- where the curse is reversed! What Tolkien called the "eucatastrophe." Christ was already reversing the curse (in his miracles.) (The "already and not yet." The Amillennial view.) Christ was "creating the New Creation" in his works - the Ultimate Counter-culture....

    Here's more about the Kingdom being the theme throughout all of Scripture:

  18. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I just got Ridderbos in the mail the other day. If it makes you feel anybetter, I actually accept a good deal of foundational, Amillennial exegesis but come to definite postmillennial conclusions (world domination, etc.).:lol::p
  19. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Good discussion, folks.

    I would agree that the good news - the gospel - that they were proclaiming was that the kingdom of God was at hand, and the promise was nearing its consummation. :candle:
  20. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Luke 10

    Perhaps this helps a little. Here Jesus tells the 70 what they are to preach and do. Perhaps they also repeated the sermon on the mount as part of their message? How did the average Jew understand this message, or how should they have understood this message? It would seems that disciples were continuing the more anticipatory message of John the Baptist. Just some thoughts...
  21. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Israel had been promised deliverance from exile. In a physical sense, they were delivered. But the promises found in Isaiah that were tied in with such deliverance had not yet been realized. The disciples proclaimed that the exile was ending and the New Exodus was about to begin.

    Several verses indicate something like this:

    Lamentations 4:22
    The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion, is accomplished; he will keep you in exile no longer

    Jeremiah 33:8-9
    I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. 9 And this city [3] shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.

    Guilt/sins being forgiven = return from exile and the restoration of Zion. However, the return from exile was temporally realized, but few would seriously argue that the Davidic promises were in affect. The disciples preached (according to the hypothesis I am working with) tha the Davidic Messiah is here and Israel's sins will be forgiven and the Exodus will be accomplished.
  22. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Some more food for thought:

    Matthew 18:21
    21 Then Peter came up and said to him, "œLord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" 22 Jesus said to him, "œI do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven

    (I understand the textual variant but I am not concerned with it at the moment).

    70 x 7 = 490

    Leviticus 25
    Jesus' message was a Cosmic Jubilee.
  23. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Good thoughts so far. I'm enjoying this meditation. Here's what I was thinking. Often we see Jesus speaking about Himself in third person when preaching. He references "the Son" rather than saying "Me." Notice in John 3. The Messiah is preaching to Nicodemus. "For God so loved teh world that He gave his only Son." Why didn't Jesus just say, "... that He gave Me."? He simply speaks about what the Messiah does. It would seem that a great part of Jesus' preaching before the Cross served more of an instructional purpose in correcting the Jews understanding of the God of Israel and His Messiah to enable them to understand the great deliverance from sin and death that took place in the death and resurrection of Christ. So rather than saying "I'm the Messiah" he was saying "here's what you should be looking for in the Messiah and His kingdom" all while He was actually doing it. Just some thoughts...

    [Edited on 6-27-2005 by puritansailor]
  24. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    :ditto: Whoa, Jacob!!! Preach it, brother!

    R. ;)
  25. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    You guys are onto something...

    You ARE taking into account that Jesus' speech was loaded with eschatalogical weight? (I think you might be....)

    Remember? The Story (plot line) of Scripture is about the Kingdom. (Indulge me for a moment.) The Kindgom is lost in Genesis; is typological in national Israel and has moments of "in-breaking" in the OT (and NT). Then the Reality appears: Christ - the Vassal-Regent of the Great Creator-King --- Who finally keeps the Covenant formerly made with the first Adam. He ushers in the Kingdom because He is the King of Kings. His Kingdom exceeds the earthly one sought by the Jews. In the New Exodus -- we are fed with "manna" and "water from the Rock" (the bread and wine of the Supper) as we sojourn in the desert of the world; the flesh and the devil -- enroute to the Promised Land: Heaven, the home of righteousness. Meanwhile, we are a "colony of Heaven" in an age that is passing away.

    I think part of the reason that Jesus cloaked His identity has to do with the accomplishment of a much bigger Story than Israel expected. (This can apply today also.) We tend to think too small: about our lives; country or earthly concerns. All the while, God is doing something bigger. EX: Abraham was conerned about an heir --- but God not only provided that heir but far more -- a "great nation"....but not just national Israel, much more than that: "a number so vast that it cannot be counted" like "the sands of the sea" and "dust of the ground" -- a people from "all the nations of the earth."

    Not to get off-track, but Theonomy and Postmill stances focus upon "present age" matters more and fall short of what Scripture is getting at -- which is the conclusion to The Story in Revelation 21 -- the "New Creation" - the Kingdom of Heaven; the place where God will finally dwell among His people, permanently.


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