Today, the "gospel" largely being preached by mainstream Christianity is not the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the following text, I will build the argument that the Salvation being spoken of by the prophets was specific to a certain people – not all human beings. I will establish that the Gospel mandate was specific to them, and briefly examine how some popular translations of related Greek has caused confusion in the Body of Christ.
From Genesis to Revelation, few would argue that the focus of the inspired writers was on a chosen people and their relationship with their God. The other races of human beings are generally referenced only in the context of their interaction with the chosen people. All peoples cannot be "peculiar." Here is the definition of "peculiar" from dictionary.com:
The meanings of words often change, and we sometimes have to be careful referencing a dictionary. But, unless the meaning of "peculiar" has changed through the years, it is clear that the use of the word in 2nd Peter 2:9 cannot be applicable to all races of peoples:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light... (1st Peter 2:9)
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)
King David made is clear the exclusiveness of the Covenant people:
For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure. (Psalms 135:4)
Looking at Deuteronomy 26:18:
And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments; And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken. (Deuteronomy 26:18,19)
Nowhere in the inspired word do we find that all races of human beings were also the "chosen", "a royal priesthood" or "a holy nation". Nor do we find that all races of human beings were to be "purified" and given the Commandments, Statutes and Judgments. It was a specific people to whom would be known by their God.
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. (Hosea 1:10)
The apostle Paul certainly was not confused about this, for he quoted this passage from Hosea – who was a prophet to the House of Israel – and applied it to his Israelite brethren in the first century in Romans 9:25-26! Neither was he confused regarding the uniqueness of the people to who he – an Apostle to the "Gentiles" – preached:
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. (Romans 9:3-5)
Jesus Himself affirmed to whom the targeted people were as He sent out His disciples:
...But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 10:6)
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 15:24)
Of course, Jesus could not have been clearer – and as any reference Bible will show that in these statements, He was fulfilling prophecies specific to Israel (see Isa 53:6 Jer 50:6, 17 Matt 10:6 1st Peter 2:25, Matt 10:6, Acts 3:26, 13:46 Rom 11:1)
Conclusion: the promises were specific to one people
The focus, then, of the Salvation message and the whole redemptive process was not for all peoples of planet earth, but to a specific people who had a special relationship with their God. Let's prove this!
The Gospel of the Kingdom
The Good News about Yeshua – our Jesus – is that he came for His People and that their Kingdom would be on His shoulders, in fulfillment of prophecy. In the case of Matthew Chapter one, in which the Inspired writer laboriously begins by proving our Savior's descendancy to Abraham, why would it matter if the Promise were to be extended to all peoples?
Zacharias, the father of the soon-to-be-born John the Baptist (the context of John 1:29) was told by an angel:
And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:16-17)
What people, then, were targeted by the John the Baptist? Was it all peoples, or A PEOPLE – the children of Israel? See also Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. Both prophets make it clear that this great man was to be a "light in the wilderness". The "wilderness" had special significance for Israel – who wandered in it for forty years – not for all the peoples of spherical planet earth.
Paul, with the other disciples, preached the Gospel successfully and entirely 2000 years ago!
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister... (Colossians 1:23)
Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth... (Colossians 1:3)
But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (Romans 10:18)
It should be noted that Paul, in Romans Chapter 10, was quoting the prophet Isaiah:
But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. (Romans 10:21, ref: Isaiah 65:2)
What people were "disobedient" and "gainsaying"? Were they different peoples than what the prophets of Israel specified? No! Paul certainly knew who these people were. Paul, an Apostle to the gentiles, regarded the Corinthians as "Gentiles":
Ye know that ye were Gentiles [ ethne ], carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. (1 Corinthians 12:2)
Yet, he referred to them as Israelites :
Moreover, brethren , I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud , and all passed through the sea ; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea ; and did all eat the same spiritual meat ; and did all drink the same spiritual drink : for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:1-5)
This is far from being an isolated example! Numerous references to the literal, genetic ties to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are made to the gentiles:
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. (James 1:1)
It was this remnant, the Diaspora, which was cast among the nations ("Gentiles") that was the context.
...the ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers. (Josephus )
The fact that the Gospel had already been preached stands alone as proof that the Gospel was not targeted to all the known races of human beings across spherical planet earth, because it simply would not have been possible in 70 years for that to have happened. Have all the races of humans everywhere compositely adopted Christianity AND are known today as His people? Why, then, are we "preaching the Gospel to them?" They are not the Covenant people, Yahweh is not their natural God, they were not given the Law, and they are not – even today – known by our God!
For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.... (Romans 5:13)
Were any other people under the law than the line of people to whom the Covenant promises were given? In Paul's time, was the law in darkest Africa, or among the island peoples in the Pacific? All the other races can't be held responsible for something they never had. You can't redeem something you never purchased. You can't claim a reward that was never issued to you. The prophet Micah clearly saw the separation in the peoples, and his world would be considered improper today:
But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it... But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever. (Micah 4:1-5 pertinent portions)
Here we see that, in the end, not all peoples will worship the One True God. They will continue to have their gods, but the covenant people will walk in the name of Yahweh forever. Isn't that what characterizes the Covenant people? Indeed, Micah is clear concerning the targeted people – and their circumstances - in his prophecies:
And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep (Micah 5:7,8)
Why, then, do we today send our young men and women to dangerous, heathen, backwards peoples? Their natural god is not OUR God. The prophet Micah and Isaiah describe an opposite scenario: that they are to come to us. They see that we are blessed, and they, in turn, are blessed when we teach them to obey the Commandments, Statutes and Judgments.
Conclusion: the Gospel was specific to the Covenant People
When we consider the scope of the Gospel of Christ, the Greek word cosmos (often translated as "world") causes much confusion. Mainstream Christianity doggedly proclaims that passages such as John 1:29 and John 3:16 infer a geographically global mandate that has not yet been accomplished. The biblically-supportable Gospel mandate is, however, cannot be geographically global in scope.
Strongs Concordance (G2889) translates ethnos much as we would today: "world".
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
Not being a sports fan, in my "world" there is no football or hockey. Is my world the entire planet earth? Of course not! The word is used much the same way in the Bible. Most of today's Greek scholars maintain that the Greek word cosmos is best translated as "Order." How it is used determines its context. To be consistent with the context in John Chapter 1 – and with the prophets – "world" is not the best translation. "Order" or "Creation" would have been better.
Another Greek word often translated as "world" is oikoumene. Here is an example of its use in the New Testament:
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1)
Strongs defines this as "inhabited earth, soil, occupied land" (Strongs 3625). Obviously, the area of taxation was limited, and did not include the entire planet earth.
Our mistranslations of Greek and Hebrew words in our Bibles have caused much confusion and error. For example, the Hebrew ha eretz has no global connotation, but was translated in the Creation and Flood accounts as "world" or "earth".
In the case of the use of the Greek word cosmos in the New Testament accounts of the work of our Savior, the Gospel, the Kingdom and the Covenant people, we must honor context – or erase everything the prophets prophesied. The entire soteriology of the people – whoever they are – depends on it!
Building on what we have established, let's ensure we are correctly defining cosmos:
· The promises were specific to one people · The Gospel was specific to the Covenant People
Therefore, the "world" – in the gospel context – cannot be the entire planet earth, because the Covenant People were not to be found everywhere on the entire planet earth. It will alarm most "Judeo-Christians" today that Genesis accounts of Creation and the Flood are also affected by this context and translation problem.
Conclusion: the "world" the Gospel was preached to was not – and is not – the entire spherical planet earth.
Today, mainstream Judeo-Christianity is teaching a different gospel than the biblical Gospel that was taught by our Savior. The biblical Gospel involved a specific people, where they dwelt, and was the same gospel that had been preached prior to the first century by Jesus and His Disciples.
The Gospel of Christ is no more meant for the island Polynesians or savage African than it was centuries ago, when it was first given. The Body of Christ errors in attempting to apply the Gospel of Salvation to all races of human beings on planet Earth.
1. Demonstrate, using the Inspired Word, that the promises (including the Covenants, the adoption, the marriage, the giving of the Law) were given to any other people than the "peculiar people" identified in the Word.
2. Keeping context, build a coherent typological scenario, or provide scripture in the Word which serves to extend the promises to any other peoples than the Covenant people.