The Fifth Gospel of YHVH
Which is the fifth Gospel, or the fifth Good News, because we know only four in the Scripture: the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? The fifth Gospel subject of this teaching is not the so-called Q Gospel (also Q source and Q document). According to the Christian eschatology, Q Gospel is believed to be a part of the common source found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke but not in the Gospel of Mark.
But the fifth Gospel that we will study is a part of the Canon but much misunderstood and even neglected by some, which is the reason it is not even considered to be a gospel.
Etymology and theology of “gospel”
Gospel is the Old English translation of Greek evangelion, meaning “good news”. In Old English, it was translated as gōdspel (gōd “good” and spel “news”), thence the Old English term was retained in the modern English as “gospel” or Good News.
In the Christian theology, the Gospel of Mark is generally agreed, without any true foundation though, to be the first gospel, while Matthew and Luke used Mark for their narratives.
Also, in the Christian theology, Mark, Matthew, and Luke are called the “synoptic gospels” because of the close similarities between them in terms of content, arrangement, and language, while John is considered independently written.
That these are baseless claims it is seen from the simple fact that Mark and Luke were not contemporaries of the events described in the four gospels: Mark was a disciple of Shimon Kepha (Peter), while Luke was a disciple of Shaul (Paul). From the four disciples only Matityahu (Matthew) and Yochanan (John) were the disciples of Yeshua.
Therefore, why would Matthew, who was a direct witness, borrow the writings of Mark and Luke to write his account of Yeshua’s life and ministry, since he was with Yeshua throughout the duration of His ministry?
Matthew and Yochanan were of the twelve and direct witnesses of the life and teachings of Yeshua the Messiah, and we have the reason to believe that the four authors used elements of a common source to write their accounts of the life and ministry of Yeshua the Messiah to four different groups of people. And Mark was not the primary source of information, because that would make little sense, but Mark the disciple of Peter used the fifth Gospel to compile a shortened simplified account, not the other way around.
But this fifth Gospel, or as it is known as Q Gospel or Q source and is the primary source for the other four Gospels, is not the fifth Gospel we will talk about in our study.
The original order of the Apostolic Writings
The original order of the Apostolic Writings was:
- the four Gospels of Matityahu, Mark, Luke, and Yochanan
- The letters of Ya’akov; 1 and 2 Kepha; 1, 2 and 3 Yochanan; and Yehudah
- The letters of Shaul
- The Revelation
This is how they appear in the Eastern Orthodox Bible, the official Bible of the Byzantine Empire, and in the bibles of the other eastern churches. The reason why the epistle were placed in this particular order was that in order to understand the writings of Shaul (Paul), one must first understand the writings of the other apostles, and particularly Ya’akov’s.
In the Catholic Bible, the Bible of the Western Roman Empire, and later in the Protestant translations, the order is reversed and the letters of Shaul are placed before the letters of Ya’akov, Kepha, Yochanan, and Yehudah.
The Western Church of Rome and later the daughter-churches of the Protestantism gave priority to Paul’s letters, as it was the tendency of the Catholic Church to recognize Rome, not Constantinople, as the center of religious authority.
The other reason for putting more importance on Shaul’s letters was that they were seen more anti-Law, particularly Galatians, which fitted into the Catholic theology of replacing Israel with the Church, while Ya’akov’s letter was seen as very “pro-Law”.
It may be a surprise for many to learn that the letters of Ya’akov and Yehudah were considered for removal from the Canon.
Thus, the Church gave precedence to the “Catholic Epistles” of Paul over the letters of the other disciples, thus changing the original intent.
The English Protestant translations follow the order of the “New Testament” in the Latin Vulgate, which order, without any true foundation, followed the arbitrary judgment of its translator, the protégé of Pope Damasus I. That man was Jerome (347-420).
The Hebrew names were replaced by foreign ones: Jesus, John, James, Peter, Jude; the theology was changed too, and … faith did not change Rome, but Rome changed the faith.
The Five Gospels
There are the four gospels recognized by the Church as canonical in order they appear in the Christian bibles: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
But, if we are speaking of five Gospels in the Apostolic Writings known by the misnomer “The New Testament”, which is the fifth Gospel?
In order to answer this question, we need first to understand what the four Good News speak of in the first place.
The first Gospel is the Gospel according to Matityahu, with which the Apostolic Writings begin.
Gospel of Matthew: Messiah The King
Matthew presents Yeshua as the King Messiah, the Branch of David.
He gives his account of the genealogy of Yeshua with opening statement that Yeshua is the son of King David, son of Avraham.
Then, the apostle starting with the fathers Avraham, Yitschak, and Ya’akov, reckons the ancestors of the Messiah until his birth (in a separate article we will scrutinize Matthew’s account of Yeshua’s genealogy).
The kingship is predominant theme in the Gospel of Matthew. The terms “the kingdom of heaven” and “the kingdom of Elohim” are used more often in Matthew than in the other gospels.
The Messiah the King is prophesied in the Tanak, as well. In Chapter 2, Matthew narrates the story with the Magis from the east who called the child “the King of the Yehudim” thus alluding to the Ruler in Israel in the Prophecy.
But you, Beth Lechem Ephrathah, you who are little among the clans of Yehudah, out of you shall come forth to Me the One to become Ruler in Israel. (Mic 5:2)
It will be interesting to note that “One” in Mic 5:2 Targum Jonathan paraphrases none other than “the Messiah”.
But, Micah is not the only prophet who prophesied the coming forth of the King of Israel. We read further in Jeremiah,
See, the days are coming, declares Yehovah, when I shall raise for David a Branch of righteousness, and a King shall reign and act wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the earth. In his days Yehudah shall be saved, and Israel dwell safely. And this is His Name whereby He shall be called: “Yehovah Tsidkenu” (our Righteousness). (Jer 23:5-6) See also Jer 33:15.
Daniel the Prophet saw someone like a son of man and was exceedingly alarmed at the vision in heaven,
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the Ancient of days, and he was brought near before Him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Dan 7:13-14 JPS) See also Psa 18:10, Psa 97:2-4, Psa 104:3.
In Daniel’s words, what is implied is not “a man”, but only that he was like a man, and not like other creature, so that the one who appeared in the form of a man may signify someone more than just a human being.
This Son of man came near to “the Ancient of days”, as YHVH the Creator appears in the vision (Dan 7:9), and was placed before Him to receive the dominion and everlasting kingdom.
The descriptions above—”dominion, and glory, and a kingdom”—refer to Messiah the King, whom “all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him”, so that the son of man, who by the merits of becoming King, now has become one who is being served in the Messianic Kingdom.
Yeshua speaks of Himself as the son of man, not merely to say that He was the Messiah, but to designate Himself as the son of man[kind] in Daniel’s prophecy, i.e., as the son of mankind in Daniel coming to the earth in the clouds of heaven.
By this analogy, Yeshua lays claim to a heavenly origin of pre-existence, but also to affirm the human nature of His appearance on the earth, according to the expression, “the Word became flesh” (Joh 1:14).
And since Matthew portrays Yeshua as a king, he includes the Sermon on the Mount, His first address to the nation, in which the Messiah set the rules for entering His Kingdom (Mat 5-7).
Likewise, at the end of His ministry, the apostle records the last address to the nation, in which the King Messiah gave the signs of His return (Mat 24), when He will come with all heavenly hosts and sit on the throne of glory as the King (Mat 25:31).
Gospel of Mark: Messiah the Servant
Apostle Mark presents the Messiah as the Servant in Isa 52:13-15 who will startle many nations when they will see him.
Behold, My Servant shall work wisely, he shall be exalted and lifted up and very high. As many were astonished at you – so the disfigurement beyond any man’s and his form beyond the sons of men – he shall likewise startle many nations. Kings shut their mouths at him, for what had not been recounted to them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall understand. (Isa 52:13-15)
Portraying the Messiah as a servant, Mark does not begin with the genealogy of Yeshua, as do Matthew and Luke, because unlike the birth of a king, the birth of a servant is insignificant and because all that the servant does is his work to serve.
Thus Mark’s account omits any account of Yeshua’s birth or pre-existence and centers on his work as a servant who heals the sick.
Since Mark portrays Yeshua as a servant, he does not include the Sermon on the Mount, either, nor the signs of His return and makes fewer quotations from the Hebrew Tanak.
Besides Isaiah, Zechariah is the other prophet who foresaw Messiah the Servant. We read,
Now listen, Yehoshua the high priest, you and your companions who sit before you, for they are men of symbol. For look, I am bringing forth My Servant – the Branch. … (Zec 3:8-9)
Gospel of Luke: Messiah the man
The Gospel of Luke was written as a letter to the Sadducee Theophilus. Theophilus was the High Priest to whom Luke addressed not only the Gospel but also the Acts of the Apostles (see Luk 1:3, Act 1:1).
Through the Gospel Luke presents Yeshua as the “Son of man”. The term “Son of man”, Hebrew “ben Adam”, literally means “son of mankind”. The name “Adam” was given to the first man who at that time was the only representative of mankind, hence “son of mankind”. “Adam” can also be translated as “human” and “man”.
With that being said, “Son of mankind” would be a better expression for the first man Adam and the Messiah Yeshua, who both were born without an earthly father, hence “son of mankind” rather than “son of man”.
Like Matthew, Luke gives the genealogy of the Messiah, but unlike Matthew who lists the ancestry in descending order from Avraham to Yeshua (appropriate for a king to show his royal lineage), Luke lists it in ascending one suitable for a man: from the man Yeshua son Yoseph (by law) to Adam the son of Elohim.
The prophet who prophesied Messiah “the man” was Zechariah,
Look, the man whose name is the Branch! And from his place he shall branch out, and he shall build the Temple of Yehovah. It is He who is going to build the Temple of Yehovah. It is He who is going to bear the splendor. And he shall sit and rule on his throne, and shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between Them both, (Zec 6:12-13)
The prophecy pointed to a man who would sit upon his throne as both ruler and priest combining both royalty and priesthood in his own person and rank. That man is designated as the Messiah, by the name Tsemach “Branch” (see Zec 3:8).
In addition to this, in Jer 33:15, the Messiah is called Tsemach, because YHVH causes him to branch from King David and become his son by blood.
This Branch, who is universally recognized in Jewish and Christian sources as the Messiah, will build the Third Temple of YHVH, as prophesied in Zechariah.
Therefore, Luke intentionally presents Yeshua as the “Son of man” who is also the High Priest, as Theophilus was, alluding in his letter to him to the prophecy in Zechariah to make his point.
Gospel of John: Messiah the Branch of YHVH
Apostle Yochanan begins his account of the life and ministry of Yeshua the Messiah with the most notable description on a very mystical level, saying,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim. He was in the beginning with Elohim. All came to be through Him, and without Him not even one came to be that came to be. (Joh 1:1-3)
No one has ever seen Elohim. The only brought-forth Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He did declare. (Joh 1:18)
The prophet who spoke of the glory of YHVH which the mankind would see twice was Isaiah. Let us read Isaiah along with Yochanan, and note the main idea the apostle leads to,
And the glory of YHVH was revealed, and the mankind saw it and will see it again, because the mouth of YHVH has spoken it (Isa 40:5). … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (Joh 1:14)
And this is just the first chapter of the Gospel, a chapter full of mystery. That John 1:1 is a mystical level of interpretation of the creation story in Gen 1:1 is unquestionable (see also Joh 3:14, Joh 8:28, and Joh 12:32 compared to Num 21:9 for another deep interpretation of the Torah). But he also states that in the beginning of the creation was the Word YHVH spoke, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim.
Furthermore, Yochanan continues his mysticism concerning the nature of the Messiah to affirm that Yeshua was sent by the Father.
He stated that no one has ever heard YHVH’s voice at any time, nor seen Him or His form except he who is from Elohim; only he has ever seen the Father, as we read Joh 5:37 and Joh 6:46. See also 1Jn 4:12. And indeed, YHVH Himself has stated that no human has seen Him and lives.
How could we comprehend what is incomprehensible?
Was not all Israel who heard the voice at Sinai and was frightened to death? Was not Mosheh the only human being who spoke with the Creator face to face and mouth to mouth? Yet, no one has ever heard Him, nor seen Him!
Why was it necessary to say that no one had ever heard His voice at any time, nor seen Him or His form? And if the apostle says “except he who is from Elohim”, who is the one who has ever seen the Father? Not Mosheh!
Yeshua says that the one who is from the Father is the only one who has ever seen Him, speaking of no one but of himself, because it is Yeshua the Branch of YHVH, the pre-existing one, who was brought forth from Him and who had ever seen Him.
The prophet who spoke of the Messiah the Branch of YHVH was Isaiah,
In that day the Branch of Yehovah shall be splendid and esteemed … (Isa 4:2)
Furthermore, the prophet in his desire to depict the Messiah’s double-sided origin: the Branch of YHVH and the Rod from the human lineage of David on whom the seven spirits of YHVH would rest, said,
And a Rod shall come forth from the stump of Yishai, and a Sprout from his roots shall be fruitful. The Spirit of Yehovah shall rest upon Him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yehovah, and shall make Him breathe in the fear of Yehovah. (Isa 11:1-3)
Therefore, we see that the mystical level of the Gospel of Yochanan bridges the dual nature of the Messiah: the Rod that shall come forth from the stump of Yishai (the son of man in Isa 11:1) with the Branch of YHVH (the Son of Elohim in Isa 11:2-3), because otherwise it will be impossible to reconcile as to how the seven spirits of the Creator would rest on a human being, unless the One sent by Him as the Branch would come in a human form.
With all that being said, we understand that the Messiah is (1) the Branch as King (Matthew), (2) the Branch as Servant (Mark), (3) the Branch as Man (Luke), and (4) the Branch of YHVH as His Son (Yochanan).
But, when Yochanan says that the Word (that became flesh) was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim, does it not sound like a contradiction? Because, if someone is with Elohim, are they not two? And if he is Elohim, are they not one and the same?
In the series of articles The Oneness of YHVH (see also the series The Messiah), we studied that the Branch of YHVH has been in existence even before the creation, because the Scripture testifies that everything came through Him and for Him, and all prophets spoke of no one but Him. See also Rev 3:14.
But the apostle was not the only one who has stated the pre-existence of the Messiah. In Bereishit Rabbah 2:4: Rabbi Shim’on ben Yaqish explains,
“And the spirit of Elohim hovered over the face of the water” (Gen 1:2)—this is the spirit of King Messiah, as it is written, “And the spirit of the YHVH will rest upon him” (Isa 11:2).
So, how can we reconcile Yochanan?
The Creator YHVH created the universe and everything visible and invisible in it through the words He spoke. We are also told that through the mysterious and heavenly being, of whom the four Gospels testify, everything was created.
This powerful heavenly being, of whom the Scripture says is the Messenger of His Face, is indeed “Elohim” given what this term means in Hebrew: One of power and authority. And was it not Yeshua the sent One by YHVH of power and authority?
On the other hand, when one speaks, his words are not separate from him but they are his expression of who he is, his character, and reputation.
Therefore, when the Creator YHVH spoke His words of creation, had He not spoken them through that heavenly being of whom the Scripture testifies as being the Branch of YHVH, that is to say, His Son?
Perhaps, this is what YHVH meant when He declared,
The voice of Yehovah cries to the city – and let sound wisdom see Your Name! Hear the Rod and Him who appointed it! (Mic 6:9)
It was Apostle Stephanos who declared that it was that Messenger of YHVH who spoke to the fathers at Sinai and through whom the Torah was given? We should note here that we studied this subject in the articles “The transcendent son hidden in Elohim” and Is it lawful to call Yeshua “Elohim”?
Therefore, we may state that the four Gospels and Good News reveal the four attributes to the Messiah: the King, the Servant, the Man, and the Son of YHVH, which all four attributes are focused in the fourth Gospel: the Gospel of Yochanan.
But, when we speak of the five Gospels, which is the fifth Gospel, because the Christian Canon knows nothing but four Gospels?
Gospel of Elohim: Messiah the Great Judge
The Creator YHVH spoke His words to His prophets in visions and dreams. But, there are five books of the Scripture that are a direct revelation of YHVH.
Which is the fifth book, because we know only four of them: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy—the Torah of YHVH.
The fifth book is also the fifth Gospel in our study that reveals the fifth attribute of the Messiah, as we will see next.
The Book of Revelation begins thus,
Revelation of Yeshua Messiah that Elohim gave Him to show His servants what has to take place with speed*. And He signified it by sending His messenger to His servant Yochanan, (Rev 1:1) *Hebrew text of Revelation has it “with wrath”
This message Yeshua revealed to Yochanan through a messenger concerning what was about to take place with wrath.
From that moment on it will be all about judgment upon the fourth beast, which Daniel saw in the night visions and the One who would execute it when He would come to claim his dominion and kingdom that had been given to Him (Dan 7:13-14).
This One the apostle saw as,
One like the Son of mankind, …and His feet like burnished brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters. And in His right hand He held seven stars and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, … (Rev 1:12-16)
This is the Messiah the Great Judge.
The prophet who foresaw the Messiah as the Judge is Isaiah. We read again from Chapter 11,
And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears. But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and shall decide with straightness for the meek ones of the earth, and shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and slay the wrong with the breath of His lips. (Isa 11:3-4)
Upon His arrival King Messiah will do justice to the weak and helpless with the very word that will come out of His mouth like a rod shattering in pieces the wrong (Psa 2:9) and with the breath of His lips to destroy the wickedness.
Consequently with Him commences a new era, in which the Son of David acquires the Kingdom of His Father.
But the final judgment does not come to an end with the destruction of the world, unless it is immediately followed by the erection of the Third Temple and the establishment of the Kingdom of Elohim by the Son of mankind.
In conclusion, we may state that there are five Gospels: the Gospels according to Matityahu, Mark, Luke, and Yochanan, and the fifth Gospel is the message of the Good News from YHVH Elohim: The Book of Revelation.
But, why do we call the Book of Revelation the Fifth Gospel or Good News, because what Good News is the destruction and judgment of the world that has never been seen before?
Indeed, Revelation is the Good News for the return of the Messiah the Branch of YHVH as the King.
For many in this world it will be bad news and they have much to fear. But those who are anticipating His coming and who will be found worthy of the Kingdom of Elohim they have nothing to fear; for them, the fifth Gospel is indeed the Good News from YHVH.
This was the description the apostles gave in the five Gospels—the Son of mankind, the Servant, the King, and in the fifth Gospel the Judge—the Branch of YHVH.
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.