Here we take a look at the idea the Gospel is the “good news” which is a phrase used several times in the “Old Testament” and examine this use to determine if “good news” is an indicator as to just what the Gospel IS.
All “Old Testament” occurrences are listed at the bottom of the article.
In the occurrences of “good news” we see the Hebrew word for “good news” is:
A primitive root; properly to be fresh, that is, full (rosy, figuratively cheerful); to announce (glad news): – messenger, preach, publish, shew forth, (bear, bring, carry, preach, good, tell good) tidings.
Bible translators chose to use “good news” in certain instances, all listed below this article, and not for every occurrence of the Hebrew word “basar”.
Here is where the same word is translated “publish”:
1Sa_31:9 And they cut offH3772 (H853) his head,H7218 and stripped offH6584 (H853) his armour,H3627 and sentH7971 into the landH776 of the PhilistinesH6430 round about,H5439 to publishH1319 it in the houseH1004 of their idols,H6091 and amongH854 the people.H5971
So, the “good news” is published like news makes the headlines in USA Today!
Here is “basar” translated to “they shall show forth”:
Isa_60:6 The multitudeH8229 of camelsH1581 shall coverH3680 thee, the dromedariesH1070 of MidianH4080 and Ephah;H5891 allH3605 they from ShebaH4480 H7614 shall come:H935 they shall bringH5375 goldH2091 and incense;H3828 and they shall shew forthH1319 the praisesH8416 of the LORD.H3068
If we read 2 Samuel 4, we see David has a man arrested. This man thought he was bringing “good news” of Saul’s death. YHVH God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked:
Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says YHVH God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
In 2 Samuel 18 a young man comes running to David and David knows him and thinks he must have “good news”. It turns out this young man does not know the full story of what happened and the second man, a Cushite comes running and informs David his son is dead. David goes into mourning and that is not the news he wanted to hear. Notice YHVH is called the avenger. This cannot be the good news of the “New Testament”. In verse 27 a feminine derivative of “basar” is used and other translations use “good tidings” instead of “glad tidings”. Either way, David is hoping no harm has come to his son but that is not the case.
In 1 Kings 1 Adonijah thinks Jonathan is a prominent man with good news. Turns out Jonathan tells Adonijah that Solomon has been anointed King and this causes Adonijah great fear. Not the basis for the “gospel” in the “New Testament”.
In 2 Kings 7 some lepers discover the Syrian army absent due to YHVH running them off from Israel. These lepers plunder the Syrian camp then realize they are doing wrong by not telling the King this “good news” and they correct the wrong and get word to the King. This is good news for Israel but hardly anything you would base your salvation upon.
In 1 Chronicles 16 we get something with meat on the bones and “good news” is associated with salvation! It is telling people every day the fact that YHVH provides salvation and that is very good news! While that is very good news it does not tell us what the Gospel IS in terms of the many ways the Gospel is described in the “New Testament”.
Psalms 96:2 says essentially the same thing but remember we are looking for something that explains the Gospel is terms of something that has to be obeyed so we are not merely obeying news of something. Rom 10:16, 2 Thess 1:8, 1 Peter 4:17 all say the Gospel must be obeyed.
Proverbs 25:25 is a different word “shmuah” which refers to a rumor or announcement and the Gospel is certainly no rumor!
Isaiah 52:7 is marvelous in that it associates the one bringing “good news” with proclaiming peace, bringing glad tidings of good things, proclaims salvation, and says God reigns! Those are very good things but do not explain what about the Gospel is to be obeyed.
Finally, Psalm 40:9 gives us a concrete definition to something we can trace through the scriptures and know what is meant by “good news”. It says the GOOD NEWS of righteousness. The definition of righteousness in the “Old Testament” of the Bible is keeping YHVH God’s commandments.
Many theologians these last days say in the “New Testament” righteousness means only the imputed righteousness of Messiah. But many theologians disagree with them and have their own multitude of explanations ranging from one only has to obey the “New Testament” commandments to one really does not have to obey them at all, just have faith.
Here in Deuteronomy the phrase “it shall be righteousness to you” is used in the discussion of keeping God’s commandments:
Deuteronomy 24:10-15 10 “When you lend your brother anything, you shall not go into his house to get his pledge. 11 You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you lend shall bring the pledge out to you. 12 And if the man is poor, you shall not keep his pledge overnight. 13 You shall in any case return the pledge to him again when the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his own garment and bless you; and it shall be righteousness to you before the Lord your God.
14 “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether one of your brethren or one of the aliens who is in your land within your gates. 15 Each day you shall give him his wages, and not let the sun go down on it, for he is poor and has set his heart on it; lest he cry out against you to the Lord, and it be sin to you.
Here, in verse 13, we see clearly that keeping YHVH God’s commandments creates righteousness for the individual.
And, in verse 15, we see violating YHVH God’s commandments is called SIN.
The GOOD NEWS of righteousness!
Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ) said this about keeping God’s commandments:
Revelation 22:14 14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
Therefore, the “Old Testament” says there is good news of righteousness in keeping YHVH God’s commandments and “Jesus Christ” aka Yeshua Messiah declares in the book of Revelation that only those who keep YHVH God’s commandments have right to the tree of life!
That is certainly “good news”!
The very first time the “good news”, if it means the Gospel, is heard in the “New Testament”is in Mark 1:14-15 when Yeshua, after John is put into prison says:
Mark 1:14-15 14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
There is no record of anybody asking Yeshua what the Gospel IS…!
There is only one thing their lifetime of attendance in the synagogues and Temple taught the Gospel had to be and that is righteousness as defined in the “Old Testament”.
List of “good news” verses in the “Old Testament”:
2 Samuel 4:10 when someone told me, saying, ‘Look, Saul is dead,’ thinking to have brought good news, I arrested him and had him executed in Ziklag—the one who thought I would give him a reward for his news.
2 Samuel 18:27 So the watchman said, “I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “He is a good man, and comes with good news.”
2 Samuel 18:31 Just then the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “There is good news, my lord the king! For YHVH has avenged you this day of all those who rose against you.”
1 Kings 1:42 While he was still speaking, there came Jonathan, the son of Abiathar the priest. And Adonijah said to him, “Come in, for you are a prominent man, and bring good news.”
2 Kings 7:9 Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household.”
1 Chronicles 16:23 Sing to YHVH, all the earth; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Psalm 40:9 I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness In the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O YHVH, You Yourself know.
Psalm 96:2 Sing to YHVH, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Proverbs 25:25 As cold water to a weary soul, So is good news from a far country.
Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”