Where is the first place the gospel appears in the Bible? The answer may surprise you!
The Bible is not simply 66 books penned by 40 authors over thousands of years, the Bible is an cohesive whole which bears evidence of supernatural crafting in every detail.
The Jewish rabbis have a quaint way of expressing that they will not understand the Scriptures until the Messiah comes. When He comes, He will not only interpret each of the passages for us, He will interpret the very words; He will even interpret the very letters themselves; in fact, He will even interpret the spaces between the letters!
It is simple to dismiss this as a colorful exaggeration until you read this:
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” ~Matthew 5:17-18
(A jot and tittle are the Hebrew equivalent of our dotting an i and the crossing of a t.)
One remarkable example of this can cohesiveness can be glimpsed in Genesis Chapter 5, where we have the genealogy of Adam through Noah. As we read, we see the Hebrew names, but what do these names mean in English?
The meaning of proper names can be a difficult pursuit. Even a conventional Hebrew lexicon can prove disappointing. A study of the original roots, however, can yield some fascinating insights.
Digging for meaning:
Adam’s name means man. As the first man, that seems straight forward enough.
Adam’s son was named Seth, which means appointed. Eve said, “For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.”
Seth’s son was called Enosh, which means mortal, frail, or miserable. It is from the root anash, to be incurable, used of a wound, grief, woe, sickness, or wickedness.
It was in the days of Enosh that men began to defile the name of the Living God.
Enosh’s son was named Kenan, which can mean sorrow, dirge, or elegy. (The precise denotation is somewhat elusive; some study aids unfortunately presume that Kenan is synonymous with Cainan.)
Balaam, looking down from the heights of Moab, uses a pun upon the name of the Kenites when he prophesies their destruction.
We have no real idea as to why these names were chosen for their children. Often they may have referred to circumstances at birth, and so on.
Kenan’s son was Mahalalel, from Mahalal which means blessed or praise; and El, the name for God. Thus, Mahalalel means the Blessed God. Often Hebrew names include El, the name of God, as Dan-i-el, “God is my Judge”, etc.
Find the rest here, but if we continue and pull all these meanings together we have the Gospel message.
Adam - Man
Seth - appointed
Mahalalel- The blessed God
Jared- Shall descend
Methuselah- His death shall bring
Lamech- the desparing
Noah- rest, or comfort.
Put together (with some added conjunctions) it says: Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow, (but) the blessed God shall come down teaching. His death shall bring (the) despairing comfort and rest.
This was written more than 3,4000 years ago or about 1400 years before Christ.
This is just one example of many of how God proves to us the validity of the Bible. Who else could orchestrate a collection of 66 separate books written by approx 40 different authors from various geographical locations, over a period of about 1,500 to 2,000 years into one cohesive, interwoven story from beginning to end?
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time..” ~2 Timothy 1:9 (italics mine)
God always rewards the diligent student!
Many wonder how Jesus Christ is present in the Old Testament or how even one can preach the gospel of Jesus Christ from the Old Testament. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a minister of Westminster Chapel in London for thirty years, (1899-1981), with exegetical acuteness shows how.
In this series of never-before-published sermons, this beloved teacher walks readers through the early chapters of Genesis. The Gospel in Genesis starts with the fall of man and ends with the call of Abram as it examines portions of chapters 3-12.
Thus Lloyd-Jones preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ from the pages of Genesis.