The Gospel of the Old Testament

{This article is in association with a sermon series on the Gospel of Luke}

We usually think of the gospel as the first four books of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Actually, the gospel throughout the Bible, including the Old Testament. Remember, “gospel,” simply means good news. The good news of a coming Savior was promised from the very beginning of time. Within moments of man’s first sin, God promised a Redeemer. That was surely good news.

Consider these gospel verses from the Old Testament:

Genesis 3:15 – it may have been a very cloudy prophecy, but God promised to send one who would destroy the evil one. The offspring of woman, that is, Christ, would inflict a deadly wound upon Satan. That wound, thousands of years in the future, would destroy Satan’s power over mankind.

Genesis 12:1-7 – here, the Lord makes his promise even more specific. He tells Abram that in him “all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” From our perspective, many centuries later, we know that this was a promise of the coming Messiah. The promise also specifies that the Messiah would come through the offspring of Abraham.

Exodus 3:8 – in this passage, God is promising to deliver the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery. Specifically, he will take them to a “land flowing with milk and honey.” Moses, the deliverer and the immediate recipient of this promise, will be like Jesus. He will bring the people out with God’s divine power. Moses, delivering them from physical oppression while Jesus delivers from the oppression of sin.

Psalm 16:8-11 – the psalmist speaks of the coming Christ. While the Christ is not named we know he speaks of him because Peter, at Pentecost, tells us so (Acts 2:25-28). The eternal God will not be buried but will live forever. We serve a risen King who has overcome death!

Isaiah 53 – this is the great gospel chapter of the prophet Isaiah. It was the chapter the Ethiopian was reading as he traveled from Jerusalem. This chapter was the starting place for Philip’s teaching that led to the man’s conversion. In it, Jesus is described as the suffering savior. It was good news that one would bear our sorrows and that healing would come from his wounds.

Joel 2 – is another prophecy used by Peter at Pentecost. Here, Joel declares that the Lord would reclaim his people and would pour out his own spirit upon them. This is exactly what happened at Pentecost! Even today, far removed from the days of miraculous gifts, we enjoy the many benefits of the Spirit of God. This promise was one of many that sustained the Israelites during dark times.

These are only a very brief sampling of the gospel in the Old Testament. The Law of Moses was filled with expectation of ultimate deliverance in the future. God’s plan from the beginning was to bring Jesus, in the form of man, to deliver men from sins (Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 4:3; 1 Peter 1:20).

Is it not a wonderful thought that our God has been planning for us from all antiquity! Our salvation was not a hurried response to man’s sin but a carefully crafted plan to bring us to glory. Praise God for his love!

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