This Week's Focus Passage

Romans 1:2 ‘The Gospel of God which he promised afore through his prophets.’

This Week’s Focus Passage: Romans 1:2

‘The Gospel of God which he promised afore through his prophets.’

    It seems that the apostle Paul is almost echoing the words of our Lord Jesus Christ of which we read in Luke’s relating of the encounter on the road to Emmaus between ‘the two of them that were going that very day to a village named Emmaus,’ and our risen Savior. Recall the response of Jesus to the very sad disciples, as they had expressed their extreme disappointment in the recent events that had transpired in Jerusalem. Their depression is subsumed in the complaint which they uttered to Him, about ‘the things concerning Jesus the Nazarene…and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we hoped that it was he that should redeem Israel.’ We can almost hear our Savior  sighing, as He responded to the two, with, ‘O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken. Behooved it not the Christ to suffer these things, and to enter into his glory?’ Upon which admonition from the risen Savior, our Gentile evangelist, Luke, reports to us, ‘And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.’ When Paul has referred, in our focus passage, to the Gospel as being that which was the promise of God, ‘promised afore through his prophets,’ is that not as much as to say, with Luke, that the things concerning Himself are, indeed, all the scriptures beginning from Moses and the prophets? 

    The Promise of God is the Gospel of God. The Gospel of God is those things spoken of by Moses and all the prophets in the Holy Scriptures. Paul continues to speak of this Promise of God, when he says that it is, ‘concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh.’ Where do we find Moses and the prophets preaching this ‘Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh’? Moses is the human author of the Pentateuch. The Pentateuch is often referred to as ‘the five books of Moses.’ Yes, Moses, servant of Jehovah, who went to Egypt to bring God’s people out of bondage to Pharaoh. We are told that ‘Moses was very meek, above all the men that were upon the face of the earth.’ Yet, this very meek man was definitely bold enough to speak, and to write, in Gospel language, as it were, when he wrote the Pentateuch.  But still, we never find the name of David in the Pentateuch. We don’t see the name, David, until we come to the book of Ruth; Ruth was, in fact, the great-grandmother of David. 

    It is understood by, virtually all students of the Word, that when Moses wrote of the Seed of the woman crushing the head of the serpent, that while this typical reference has its antitype in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul has made that point in his epistle to the Galatians when he spoke in 3:19, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made. That blessed promised seed had its coming through many seeds, as it were, many types of the One Seed; the One who actually crushed the head of the serpent. And Moses referred to many of these types in his five books. Even when Moses, the servant of Jehovah, related the account of Balaam, who received from Balak, the rewards of his divination, or soothsaying, he never calls him a prophet; perhaps he was ‘among the prophets,’ as Saul, the son of Kish, was said, in 1 Samuel 19:24, by an interrogative, Is Saul also among the prophets? Yet, we may understand that Jehovah did, in fact, ‘put a word in Balaam’s mouth,’ [Numbers 23:5, 16], and, ‘the Spirit of God came upon him.’ [Numbers 24:2]. This may we also read of King Saul, in 1 Samuel 19:23]. The ‘prophecy’ of Balaam is the point of interest, however. And Moses has recorded, for us, his ‘prophecy;’ in the book of Numbers, vss. 24:15-17, which read as follows:

And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor saith, and the man whose eye was closed saith; He saith, who heareth the words of God, and knoweth the knowledge of the Most High, Who seeth the vision of the Almighty, falling down and having his eyes open: I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh; There shall come forth a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel.

This is understood to be a prophecy, not necessarily of Balaam, but of Jehovah, about His Son, and we may say that this was Jehovah confirming those blessings which Jacob pronounced upon his sons, when speaking of Judah, he said, The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet until Shiloh come—Gen. 49:10. Moses is proclaiming, typically, the Gospel, years before Shiloh came.

    Now when Paul makes references to the Gospel here in his epistle to the church which was at Rome, he offers definitive statements regarding what he had called, in two different places of this epistle, ‘my gospel, namely, in 2:16, where he wrote in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according the my gospel, and, at the close of the letter, in 16:25, he has employed the phrase once again, Now to him that is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal. And Paul goes in that closing passage to refer to more pointed statements about what he has called, my gospel. He follows immediately, speaking of that ‘revelation of the mystery,’ as that which ‘had been kept in silence through times eternal;’ ‘my gospel,’ he now says is manifested. And how is it now manifested? He answers that it is manifested ‘by the scriptures of the prophets.’ And ‘through Jesus Christ.’ Paul has spoken of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the Gospel of God; that which is a ‘revelation of the mystery;’ ‘which had been kept in silence through times eternal.’ This Gospel was that which was spoken of from the very beginning of time; yea, from before the foundation of the world. This spoke of that of which Peter preached at Pentecost, when he told his auditory, that the crucifixion was determined by the Father; it was His ‘determinate counsel and foreknowledge’ that had pronounced that His Son would be slain by those wicked hands on that hill of Golgotha. This Son was the same of which we read in Proverbs, chapter eight, of him who was with the Father at, and before, creation; yea, Him whose delight, we are informed, was with the sons of men. This Gospel was determined upon from before the foundation of the world. This marvelous Promised One, the Seed of the woman; the Son of David, the Christ; the Lamb of God; was given for us before all time. This blessed Promise, spoken of by Paul, in his gospel, was planned by our loving God, from eternity. This was spoken of centuries after Paul wrote this letter to the people of God at Rome, by Martin Luther, when he said, adoringly, of Christ,

“From the very moment when Christ was conceived, it was correct to say, because of the communion of the two natures (in His person): “This God is the son of David;” and: “This man is the Son of God.” How incredibly interesting to, basically, see Paul with this Gospel chain from Moses and David and to the Son of God.


David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church      


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