One of the traps we can fall into as Christians when we are reading our bibles, is getting caught up in the detail while missing the ‘big picture’. The big picture could be God’s message, His plan or even His specific work in that portion of scripture. Sometimes it’s great to just step back and approach the bible from a different perspective looking at specific themes, topics or people.
That leads me to the question, have you ever considered if the Gospel you and I believe in today, is the same throughout Scripture? Did Adam and Eve share the same Gospel that we believe in? Did Moses and Israel in the Old Testament?
Now before we go further to explore those questions lets lay down a foundation by defining what the Gospel is. Firstly the Gospel means ‘good news’ and there are various forms of it. In our day, the good news or the gospel is summarised in Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”. And in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast”. So it’s believing on Jesus Christ for salvation and not trusting anything you do to help merit eternal life. He paid for it, so you don’t have too.
On that basis, do you believe that’s the same message Adam and Eve had in the garden? I don’t believe so as they were the first created and their instructions were nowhere near the same as ours. Don’t take my word on it, let’s review scripture. God’s instructions and message to Adam and Eve was, Genesis 3:2-3 “And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” How could our gospel even apply, there was no sin in the world as yet? God was clear in what He desired of Adam and Eve and He gave them one command or “DO NOT” which they failed to uphold.
Let’s look at Israel and their redemption from the land of Egypt. How were the Jewish people of that time saved? Salvation came firstly in more than one form. They needed to be rescued from Egypt itself (physical bondage), but there was also spiritual salvation which came in their obedience to God’s instructions (around the law and the sacrifices) Exodus 21:1, “Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them”. For further reference you can review Exodus 20-23. To say they needed to believe and trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ would be a bit of a stretch, as Jesus was not made manifest to them, in thought, in word or even by sight. So while they may have had many indirect types of Christ in the Old Testament – the promise of His coming (Psalm 24) and even His victory over the devil (Genesis 3:15); none of these are literal presentations of the Gospel of Faith as we experience and are afforded today. They are merely pictures and symbols of Jesus Christ that was too come.
Has God’s Gospel changed through the ages? I don’t believe so, rather the Gospel of grace through faith only applies to our church age. Through different ages to different groups of people God gave distinct messages, distinct instructions, distinct gospels (ways of salvation).
As always I leave this sprout of thought with you. May you continue to move forward to gain a deeper insight and understanding into the beautiful and masterful weaving of our Great and Glorious Lord!