The Four Faces of Jesus: The Cosmic Scribes (Part 2) (3-19-17)

And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’” (Mark 16:15)

I recall a time when I was an adolescent sitting on the front pew of the congregation where we attended, listening intently to the guest orator behind the podium. His introduction to his central passage is still fresh in my memory bank due to the valuable lesson I learned, from his common mistake. A mistake that undoubtedly I have been guilty of as well, but one that still lingers to several preachers, since it is so subtle, until this day. As he began to present his passage, our brother prompted his audience to turn to “the gospel of John” and this sparked a curious thought: Is it John’s gospel? Although this error is quickly cataloged as a minute detail that one should not fixate upon, Holy Writ immediately disagrees with this conclusion. Accepting this small change is ignoring that “every word of God is pure...do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar (Proverbs 30:5-6). Allowing the gospel to belong to John deviates from the original Divine purpose established by Him. If this bold statement is ignored or allowed to stand, then by consequence we are approving that Matthew, Mark, and Luke have their personal gospels as well. It is from this allowance that many have tragically become comfortable in accepting the false label of the “Four Gospels of the Bible.” Beyond question, this label dangerously implies that there is more than one gospel, a concept thoroughly removed by the apostle Paul. He teaches, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-7). His clarity concerning the quantity of gospels that exist also manifests the validity and wisdom of the proverb. There is no mistake that there is only one gospel since there is only one Jesus who could be “the gift of God.” This means that the gospel does not personally belong to Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John; they are solely heralds of the good news. Here, in this revelation, the original purpose of having four versions of the same gospel begins to unravel. It is also the reason why this “harmless mistake” is actually more harmful than it appears to be. Let us begin exploring this fabulous lesson by returning to an old friend of ours; Hebrew Numerology. As a brief reminder, numerology is the study of the occult significance of numbers (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). Once more, this literary tool is no stranger to the pages of God’s inspired Word. Therefore, observe that four accounts of Jesus’ Gospel were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Indisputably, this was not accidental nor was it by chance; especially when we inspect this lesson with the symbolism of the number four in Hebrew Numerology. It has been identified as the cosmic number when used symbolically. In Greek Koine, kosmos is the word used when speaking about the world (Strong, G2889). Notice that there are four cardinal points by which the world directs itself: north, south, east and west. There are four seasons that regulate the time upon the earth: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Four is also the number of great elements on this globe: earth, air, fire, and water. Before it was discovered that this earth is a sphere and not flat, sailors were said to travel “the four corners” of this world. Therefore, it becomes easy to see why the number four would be applied as an emblem representing this world. This also illuminates the Holy Spirit’s motive in inspiring four accounts of the same Gospel. The passage at the beginning highlights this numerological application in Christ’s Great Commission. As He spoke His instructions to His disciples, the Master emphasized that news of His victory over death and sin was to be spread “into all the world” (Mark 16:15). This expression was a new concept for the Jews because they were under the impression that salvation was exclusively for them; excluding the gentiles. Yet, amazingly, all four gospel accounts include that Jesus had been crucified, buried, and resurrected (the gospel unfolded, 1st Corinthians 15:1-4) for all of humanity to have access to God’s grace (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:36-49, and John 3:16-21). Therefore, the purpose of the Holy Spirit coincides with the mission assigned by the Master to His disciples. Four versions of the Gospel of Salvation were penned so that this task would be flawlessly accomplished! The obedience of this commandment is fully displayed in each audience addressed directly by each Gospel writer. It is important to remember that the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are not biographies. The focal point of each one of these four books is not the life of Jesus, but rather His accomplishment of His Father’s will. This is evident by the exclusion from all four scribes of Jesus’ complete childhood during His tenure amongst us. Also observe that none of the Gospel writers hint or mention the reason for Joseph’s (the man supposed to be His father, Luke 3:23) sudden disappearance during the Lord’s ministry. Instead, it is one of the inspired authors who explains to us that this was “written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). We were able to learn in our previous treatise that this was exactly what the Jewish nation had anxiously waited several centuries for. The good news of His arrival was to be cold water for those yearning souls. Yet, the Jews were unwilling to embrace Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. A tragic consequence of their literal interpretation of the Messianic Prophecies, but with this newly acquired knowledge a second reason for their rejection is made manifest; their selfishness and cruel discrimination toward the gentiles. Hence the insistence of our Savior that His gospel was to be announced to all of the world. Not only was it a commandment, but it was also a warning against denying those who were not Jewish participation of this salvation. It is unwise to ignore that each of these books were scribed to a set of different cultures that roamed this land at a different time. To fully comprehend this lesson, it is important to identify each group addressed directly by each of the amanuensis. To be continued…

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