Introduction to The Gospel Story
Author: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD
Publish date:
Summary: Since the beginning of time, God has communicated timely messages to the inhabitants of planet Earth. It all started in Eden, with the first Gospel announcement.
 
 

We were no accident. God created humanity out of love, but when Adam and Eve sinned, they broke communication with God, giving Satan power over this earth. God's beautiful world and His relationship with His newly created friends was broken.

Source: Steven Depolo on Flickr.

After Adam and Eve sinned, God proclaimed that He would take their punishment because God couldn't bear the thought of losing the human race through death. He had told them that if they ate of the tree of life they would surely die. And eventually they did die.

All of nature began to die the day Adam and Eve sinned. The first leaf fell that day, and all of nature has had to cope with death ever since. But there was another death that Adam and Eve were to experience—the second death. This death was the death God was really talking about when he said, "You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die." The second death is complete annihilation—eternal separation from God's loving and living presence. It is non-existence. This was and is the terrible and ultimate consequence of sin.

Death to Bring Life

So why didn't Adam and Eve die that very day? It was because God wanted to save Adam and Eve. And so, even though they experienced death eventually (in Adam's case 930 years later), it was only a sleep. They died in the hope of eternal life because when Adam and Eve sinned, God stepped in to take the consequence of second death upon Himself.

It was in Eden that Adam and Eve were promised a Saviour:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel (Genesis 3:15).

The Seed in this verse is God Himself—Jesus. God's own Son, on the day Adam and Eve sinned, stepped in to take their place. Later in verse 21, Adam and Eve are given tunics of skin to cover their nakedness. This skin is from the first lamb that had to die. This lamb was a symbol of God's own Son that would come one day and die in the place of humanity.

Creative Commons Tim Pokorn on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/soppyfrog/3931666786

The lamb was also the first announcement that a Saviour—the Seed—would come, born a part of the human race to redeem humanity from Satan's dominion. The lamb signified that God would buy back with blood what was His in the first place.

The word Gospel means "good news." God's atoning sacrifice of the lamb in the garden truly was good news for Adam and Eve. It was the Gospel preached to them from God Himself. Despite what they had done, Adam and Eve would not be annihilated as they should have been, but were to be saved because God loved them more than they could imagine.

Satan had accused God of being an unloving tyrant, a control freak that made angels and people serve Him only out of fear. Yet here was God doing the unthinkable. Adam and Eve must have argued and said "No, God, you are everything, we are nothing. Why should you die and let us live? We have sold your beautiful earth to Satan for a little apple. We deserve to die. Kill us and start over."

Instead, God gave them a symbol of what He was going to do—He showed them how to kill a little lamb. How He must have abhorred the act. How Adam and Eve must have recoiled in horror as they received their first glimpse of death. How they must have hated those skins they then covered themselves with. It was so against everything they had known. But God explained to them that they needed to be covered by God because otherwise they would be Satan's to be destroyed at His whim. The skins were a reminder that God was stepping in to halt Satan's death plans.

The Gospel is the ultimate hero story.

History Tells the Good News

Since that beginning, the good news story has grown and gathered further details. As time passed, new happenings added additional pieces to the story. It was not long before another announcement needed to be made. The words to Noah were that humanity had reached such heights of evil and despotism that God had no choice but to send a worldwide flood to limit the population. The good news was that anyone who wanted to be saved only had to come into the ark, which would carry all inside to safety. We all the know the story. No one listened, and so only eight people were saved.

Throughout the history of Earth, Gospel messages have been proclaimed. Jonah brought the warning message that unless the inhabitants of Nineveh changed their ways, God would have to destroy their city. The inhabitants of Nineveh heeded the warning, and were saved.

Adad Gate, Nineveh. CC BY-SA 3.0 Fredarch https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nineveh_Adad_gate_exterior_entrance_far2.JPG...

Ironically, Jonah was displeased with God's grace:

Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country. Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm (Jonah 3:2).

Jonah knew that God was good, and that He would relent and give Nineveh an opportunity to repent, even though they deserved death.

Of course, the greatest Gospel message came 2000 years ago, when the long-awaited Seed, the Messiah, the Saviour that had stepped in between Adam and Eve and Satan finally arrived. The ultimate good news was that finally He had come!

But that was not the end of the Gospel story. The next chapter was that He died, and rose again after having lived a victorious life without sin. He won the victory for us and we now could receive His spotless history instead of our filthy one.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

From that point on, the Gospel story took on new developments. Soon it was that God had included everyone in His salvation—not only the Jews—and the Gospel went to all the corners of the world.

Darkness and Truth

John Huss.

Public Domain. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jan_Hus.jpg...

Then, the Christian Church reached a new milestone. Instead of being persecuted, they became the national religion. A period of darkness ensued in which the beauty of the Gospel was covered up with lies and human tradition.

The next good news announcement started with the reformers. John Huss began to uncover the beauty of the Gospel, and then soon after came the powerhouse Martin Luther and his 95 theses. These men and others rediscovered the good news that salvation is a free gift that comes through faith alone. This Gospel was great news to darkened minds who had become entrenched in useless ceremonies and superstitious traditions that had nothing to do with the beautiful Gospel started in Eden—the Gospel that had gained so many more beautiful facets throughout history.

The Final Chapter

Through blood and tears, the Protestant Church was formed. But the Gospel story isn't over because we haven't returned to Eden. God's ultimate plan was to restore us into what humanity had been before the fall. Yet for 6000 years we have lived in Satan's domains, even though purchased by the sacrifice of God. The world has not yet been returned back to its original Owner. The promise isn't over. Rather, the next chapter in the story is that Christ is coming to make a new earth and a new heaven where there will be no tears, no curse, no sorrow, and no fear.

It was this part of the good news Gospel story that really started to take shape in the mid 1800s. Throughout the Bible, we read about the "time of the end." Daniel was shown visions of many things to take place at the time of the end. John also saw great revelations while on the island of Patmos. These visions revealed what the final culmination of this earth's history would be like.

The good news of our day is that almost all of the Bible's prophecies have been fulfilled, and we are living in the final days of Earth's history. It is time for God to come and redeem His people and put an end to the sin and sorrow and pain that has plagued this planet since that fateful day in the garden of Eden. The great and wonderful news is that every single human being on Earth has the opportunity to be a part of the future eternal glorious heaven and Earth that God is going to set up after sin and its originator, Satan, are destroyed.

This article is adapted from Truth Matters by Professor Walter J. Veith, an international speaker who has studied Biblical issues in-depth in his quest for truth. His popular series Genesis Conflict brings the debate between Creation and evolution to a new climax as he dissects the arguments with a scientific eye. His highly-acclaimed series Total Onslaught sheds light on the state of the world today as we move to a one-world government and an anticipated apocalypse.
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