|Colossians 1:23 |
23 If you continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached in every creature under heaven;4 of which I, Paul, was made a minister.
4 the gospel, which you have heard, and which was (past tense) preached in every creature under heaven; Peter tells us the word of God, which endures and lasts forever, is the word by which the gospel is preached, 1 Pet 1:23; which word Paul tells us in our hearts, Rom 10:8. Now clearly scripture does not last forever, and scripture is not the source of the gospel being preached to you. But the Spirit of Christ does last forever, and Christ is the Word of God; so Christ does the preaching in every creature under heaven.
We are told that the grace of God has appeared to all men, Tit 2:11. And in Romans, the good tidings were described as: But I say, Have they not heard? Yes truly, their sound went into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world, Rom 10:18, Psa 19:4. George Fox expands on this gospel being universally preached, in refuting the false doctrine of predestination:
he who enlightens every man that comes into the world, enlightens these [the nations of Esau, and of Ishmael, and of the Egyptians, and Babylon] as well as others; and his grace which has appeared unto all men, has appeared unto all these as well as others; and if they did not believe in it and receive it, it was to be a witness against them, and they were worthy of the judgment and condemnation; else how will God judge the world in righteousness, according to the gospel, the power of God, if that the gospel is not preached to, or in every creature under heaven; and that Christ has not tasted death for every man, which were dead in old Adam, that they might believe and be turned unto God? But [by] the light of the gospel, which enlightens every man that comes into the world, and the grace of God in the gospel, which brings salvation, has appeared unto all; and God has poured out of his spirit upon all flesh in his new covenant, so that all flesh might see the salvation of God.
................. (and further down in the same writing)
For Ishmael and Esau had the covenant of circumcision, in the flesh, as is said before, a type of the new covenant and circumcision in the spirit. And the gospel was preached to them, being preached to every creature under heaven.
And Cain had his day of visitation; for the Lord told him, ‘if he did well, he should be accepted; and if not, sin lay at his door:’ so there was a promise of God to Cain, if he had believed it and received it; so his destruction was of himself. And so was the old world's, for grieving God's good spirit, and not receiving righteous Noah's preaching, who was a preacher of righteousness; and therefore, their destruction and condemnation came upon themselves, for going from the spirit of God in themselves, and not regarding this righteous preacher Noah.
........................................ and in his writing: The Great Mystery of the Great Whore Unfolded and Antichrist's Kingdom Revealed Unto Destruction:
The gospel, which is the power of God, which is the glad tidings to sinners, was preached to Abraham, before ever it was heard at Jerusalem, and the shepherds in the field received the message of the good tidings of the glorious gospel from the angel, which was sent to them of the Lord; who said, ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,’ and this was before the gospel was heard at Jerusalem. And all the fathers and prophets, that heard the power of God, heard the gospel; for the gospel is the power of God, glad tidings to the seed, and great joy to the poor captives. And this gospel was preached to Adam; the seed of the woman was promised to bruise the serpent's head, and that was, and is, the power of God, the glorious gospel; but as for such as know no gospel in manifestation nor operation, but only the scriptures which do but declare of the gospel, show that they are without, in the world, and have no other knowledge of the gospel, but natural knowledge, which is not unto eternal life, nor can edify the body of Christ, which is immortal.
....................................... and in his writing: To All Who Claim to Be Christians:
For ‘Christ has enlightened all,’ that they might see, and poured out his spirit upon all, that they might understand and obey. The apostle says, ‘he has tasted death for all, and is a propitiation for the sins of the whole world; and the gospel, which is the power of God, is preached in every creature under heaven;’ so that all are left without excuse, and God is just and righteous in his judging of the world, for all have had a visitation by God's light, grace, spirit, and gospel.
And so, the gospel is also preached in a man, when the Spirit of God visits a man, in the day of his visitation, which all men have. Paul proves that the gospel was preached during the time of Isaiah in Rom 10:16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah said, "Lord, who has believed our report?" Rom 10:16. Paul also proves the gospel was preached to Abraham: saying, And [know] the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, [the Lord] preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand , saying, "In you will all nations be blessed."
Now, if the gospel, (which is a mystery), has been preached in all men, as this verses plainly states: the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached in every creature under heaven, the preaching has to be done by the Spirit of Christ himself. Only the Spirit could reach the far corners of the globe. In the days of the Apostles, the Americas had not even been discovered; and prior to Christ, there were no Apostles to send out to the world to preach the gospel.
The Lord preaching the gospel is easily accepted because we know that the Lord teaches us:
Paul clearly states that we must be taught by hearing Jesus speak to us:
you must not walk as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.
Who being past feeling [pangs of conscience], have given themselves over to fleshly indulgences, to work all impurities with greediness.
But you have learned differently from Christ;
Assuming you have actually heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus. Eph 4:17-21 .
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he will instruct sinners in the way.
He will guide the humble in what is right and teach them his way. Psalm 25:8-9
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you shall go; I will guide you with my eye. Psalm 32:8
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word or God. Rom 10:17. This is a critical scripture for understanding what is faith. Remember, Paul tells us in Rom 10:8 that he preached the word of faith that is in your heart. So faith is hearing the word of Christ from within your heart, and recognizing it as the Spirit of God speaking to you, or Christ speaking to you; and believing it enough to obey. Thus to believe is: to believe, [trust, depend on, obey] on the word, Christ, heard in your heart. Blessed are those who hear the word of God [from within their hearts] and keep [practice, obey] it.
And so are they blessed who hear the gospel preached by the Lord and believe it. This is more evidence that faith comes from hearing Christ, the word of God, speak to you from within your heart. As Jesus said: Behold, I stand at the door, and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Rev 3:20. God is fair. God is just. God is righteous. He would knock equally at every man's heart. He visits every man. He reasons with every man. Every man has his chance. The day of visitation can come from a true preacher, with written or spoken words supplied by the Spirit of God, or directly in a man's heart from the Spirit of Christ. At judgment, every man will remember his day of visitation.
From the Word of the Lord within: "The gospel is not a book to be read; it is to be revealed in your heart."
The everlasting gospel, the mystery, is explained by the great early Quaker, Isaac Penington:
"'Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him that made heaven, and earth,'
- If you know the Preacher that preached this,
- if you have heard this preached in your own heart,
- if you have met with that fear there, which God's Spirit teaches and gives,
- if you have known the hour of God's judgment, and had the axe laid to the root of the tree; and
- if you have been taught by the Son to worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
you have, without doubt, met with the gospel, the everlasting gospel."
Scripture tells us that the gospel is a mystery: "The mystery, which has been hidden from ages and generations, but now is made revealed to his saints." Col 1:26. And for certain Christendom, (without a saint to its name), has no idea what the gospel is. They are not even aware that the gospel is a mystery. They think the gospel is:
From the Word of the Lord within: "The gospel is a mystery to the natural man; he cannot conceive it. The gospel is not a book to be read; it is to be revealed in your heart. The gospel is pretty radical; it is mind boggling — unity with Christ; this I offered free of charge to anyone. Unless I purify you, you can have no part of me."
George Fox explains the gospel being revealed in a man's heart in his writing Concerning the Light:
The apostle was sent to turn people from the darkness to the light, from the power of Satan to God. Now this was the state of preaching to them while they were in darkness, whom the God of the world had blinded their eyes. They preached so that the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine in them. Mark, shine in them. Therefore the god of the world has blinded the eye of the mind, and to such the Gospel is hidden. For darkness cannot comprehend the light, while the god of the world has blinded your minds. Therefore the Apostle was sent to turn them from darkness to the light, light shines in darkness. So the god of the world has blinded them, lest the light of the glorious Gospel should shine in them. Now where it shines in the heart, it gives the knowledge of the glory of God, where it comes forth. And where it shines in darkness, and darkness comprehends it not, there is the god of the world that has blinded the mind, and to such the Gospel is hidden, which is the power of God; and the light of the glorious Gospel is not comprehended, which is the image of God; and it does not shine in them, to give them the light of the knowledge of God. Now as such are turned to the light, the eye comes to be opened, and from the darkness these come; and these come from the power of Satan, the god of the world, that has blinded their eye, that the light of the glorious Gospel shines in them, to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. To such the Gospel is not hidden, by the manifestation of the Truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. Now here is the state not turned from the darkness to the light, and their eye is not opened; then the god of the world has blinded them. Such are in the unconverted state. To the unconverted, the Gospel is hidden, though light shines in darkness, and the god of the world blinds their minds. So this is the time those, who are darkness, are not yet turned from the darkness, and the darkness does not comprehend the light. Now where God has commanded the light to shine out of darkness; (mark, out of darkness), such come to be turned from the darkness to the light, such witness conversion, and the image of God shines in them.
Considering two scripture statements:
it appears the gospel has multiple layers because it being preached in every man is obviously not even close to the light of the glorious gospel shining to reveal the glory of God in the saints, (those purified and sanctified). Take heart: Nothing is hidden, except what is meant to be revealed. Mat 10:26, Luke 12:2. Seek, and keep on seeking with your whole heart and soul, and you will find.
Paul was sent by Jesus to preach the gospel (good news) as follows: "I [Jesus] now send you to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins, release from sin's slavery, and an inheritance among those who are purified by faith in Me." Acts 26:17-18.
In addition, Jesus is also recorded as promising that you can become one with him and God and that you can enter the kingdom of heaven while you are still on the earth; see John 14 with footnoted commentary (click) and then John 17 with footnoted commentary (click). Have you ever been told that you can and must enter the kingdom while you are still on the earth? Have you ever been told you can become one with God and Jesus, which is necessary for salvation to be achieved? Yet both events are part of the good news Jesus came to preach; and then he died on the cross to show us the extent of our obedience required to attain: 1) freedom from the slavery of sin, 2) purity, 3) the kingdom of heaven, and 4) to become one with him and God.
So, the gospel is the ministry of the Spirit to totally free you from sin, as you repent from your old ways of selfishness on the inward cross of self-denial; to be washed, cleansed, and purified; to then be translated into the kingdom of Christ; and then to live in union with Christ and God, on earth and forever.