Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel." Mark 1:14-15 RSV
ma-basar-et is the ancient Hebrew word for the message that we translate "gospel."
Good Tidings The root word basar speaks of a fresh and full revelation. It is to make glad with good news. (bet-shin-resh) A prefix and a suffix have been added to this root word. The prefix is the letter mem; it indicates something revealed. The suffix is a tav; this letter is a sign, the original cross. Here, the tav suffix indicates truth of YHVH.
Long before the "New Testament" YHVH spoke of a message that we refer to as, "the gospel." What is that message? Mark gives it to us in one verse. "....the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel." To the best of my knowledge, this is the only time Mark will specifically tell his readers what the message of Y'shua / Jesus is. The rest of his Gospel will spell out what our commitment to the gospel is. Therefore it is of highest importance that we do not miss the message given here.
The kingdom of God is at hand... Would you be shocked to learn that the simple phrase "at hand" causes more argument than agreement? My attempt to keep this phrase as simple as possible will be a frustration to many. I apologize in advance. There is nothing automatic about the privilege of entering the kingdom of YHVH. It does come near, so close to our souls that we can nearly swim in the joy of it. The kingdom, really the realm, of YHVH is not a definable plot of real-estate (not yet) but a spirit place. Mark 1:10 told us, "the heavens opened and the spirit came down." I understand this to be a hint, a revelation of the type of "kingdom" that is heaven.
Y'shua has told us what is required of us. "Repent, and believe." The price he must pay will be much higher, but for this moment we are only asked to observe our part.
Repent In the simplest terms, repent is to turn around. If you are heading north and you repent then you will turn and head or face south. We are speaking of an invisible kingdom or realm so our repentance is not facing any physical direction. We will not be looking east toward Jerusalem. Instead, we stop pursuing our own goals, our desire for revenge or entertainment, or even our ideals of piety and righteousness and begin the journey to follow Y'shua.
Believe Both believe and faith (in their Greek transliteration) are words that attempt to translate the idea of the Hebrew word a'men (stand firm). Faith is a noun that communicates the idea of trust (in the foundation) but believe is from a verb, an action. Believe is to make a commitment and take a stand. We are to "believe in the gospel." Stand firm, commit yourself to the message, the gospel.
I wish I had a great photo of a sunrise with beams of light streaming through the storm clouds of night. That is the mental picture I have of the presentation of the gospel. The light is shinning through darkness that cannot overcome it. The glory of the light is "at hand" and beautiful in its brilliant contrast to the dark night. How do we enter it (because this light does not simply over take us as the morning light does)? Repent, give up everything for the glory of the kingdom. Believe, commit to following Y'shua / Jesus.
The rest is learning how we should live.
Mrs Hagerty October 21, 2012
Updated Dec. 31, 2015 MsH
Updated Dec. 31, 2015 MsH