“Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.” Galatians 3:5-9
As we saw in the last part of our study in Romans, God “preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand.” Abraham knew the “gospel of God” and preached it himself. Did any other Hebrew prophet preach the Gospel before Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:2 that God promised the Gospel of Jesus Christ beforehand through His “prophets” (plural). That should mean we can look through the Old Testament and find other prophets preaching the “gospel” centuries before Jesus Christ began His preaching ministry on earth. So, can we? Can we find other Hebrew prophets preaching the “gospel?”
Jesus gave us some insight about Old Testament prophets who spoke of Him – “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.” (Luke 13:28) Jesus spoke those words in the context of teachings about the Kingdom of God. As Jesus made clear from the beginning of His earthly ministry, He was “preaching the gospel of the kingdom.” (Matthew 4:23) Remember, every kingdom has a king. Who is the King of the Kingdom of God? King Jesus!
The Lord identified Abraham, Isaac and Jacob among the prophets. Go back to Genesis and read the words of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob again and see how they preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. What did Abraham say when God provided a sacrifice to take Isaac’s place? “And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” (Genesis 22:14) What did God say to Abraham? “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:16-18) The Gospel of the Kingdom – God would provide the Sacrifice and bless all the nations of the earth through Abraham’s Seed.
We learn in the Book of Hebrews that Isaac and Jacob were heirs of the same promise that God had made to Abraham. “By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:9-10) That promise was the future Kingdom of Christ. Here’s how the Lord revealed it to Jacob as he was traveling to Padan Aram to take a wife.
“I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” Genesis 28:13-15
Jacob was the father of 12 sons who became the 12 Tribes of Israel. One of his sons was named Judah. Jesus was born into the Tribe of Judah and is called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” in Revelation 5:5. Here’s how Jacob preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of Christ to his sons just before he died.
“Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk.” Genesis 49:8-12
One of the greatest Hebrew prophets was Moses. He preached volumes about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The Apostle included Moses in one of his sermons about Christ.
“But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” Acts 3:18-26
Notice that Peter said the same thing as Paul about the prophets preaching the Gospel. “… that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Peter bore hard into the hearts and minds of the Israelites in Jerusalem on that day long ago when he told them, “Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”
In the next part of our study we’ll look at the prophets from Samuel forward and see how they foretold the days of Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”