Matthew Chapter 24
VERSE 14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
“Here again our Lord clearly showed the disciples that the end of the age was much farther off than they had supposed; that the message of his Kingdom was to be good tidings, not to Israel only, but to all nations. But this did not imply that other nations would receive the gospel which Israel had rejected.
Rather, we should expect just what we find, that as the god of this world blinded Israel, so he would blind the vast majorities of other nations, and hinder them from seeing in Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God--and he has. (1 Cor. 1:24) If only a remnant of Israel (specially instructed for centuries under the Law) was found worthy to be of the "royal priesthood," what more could reasonably be expected of the heathen nations, long "without God and having no hope"?
It is well that we carefully note our Lord's words—that the gospel was NOT to be preached to the nations to convert the nations, but as a witness to the nations, and to call, and perfect, and gather out of all nations "the elect." Later on "the elect," as the Kingdom, will bless the nations, opening their deaf ears to the gospel, and their blinded eyes to the True Light.
This witness has already been given: the word of the Lord, the gospel of the Kingdom, has been published to every nation of earth. Each individual has not heard it; but that is NOT the statement of the prophecy. It was to be, and has been, a national proclamation. And the end has come! "The harvest is the end of the age," our Lord explained. (Matt. 13:39)
Some have been disposed to query whether or not this prediction has yet been fulfilled due to the fact that the great majority of the missionaries who have been sent into heathen lands have had very little understanding of the true gospel “the good tidings of the kingdom”, themselves. But we answer, the printed gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have gone to them brimming full of the Kingdom tidings, just as we have them.
Thus our Lord briefly summed up the eighteen centuries of trials and persecutions upon his Church, and the fruit of their labor in successfully witnessing to all nations, and hastened on to answer the important query respecting how the living would know of the time and the fact of his SECOND PRESENCE. He ignored the question respecting when the stones of the temple would all be overthrown, lest they should associate that event with his second coming, and because he wished to so associate the trouble upon fleshly Israel in the overthrow of its polity with the trouble upon nominal spiritual Israel in the end of this age, as TYPE and ANTITYPE.
It was with evident intention on God's part, though unknown to the Evangelists, that the record of our Lord's prophecy at this point is given piecemeal--here a part and there another; here a reference to the typical trouble on typical Israel in the close of the typical harvest, there a reference to the similar though more general and greater trouble in the end of this age upon antitypical Israel-- Christendom.
Truly the prophets declared of our Lord that he opened his mouth in parables and dark sayings, and "without a parable spoke he not unto them." Yet in harmony with the divine intention, the dark sayings and parables are now becoming luminous to all whose eyes are anointed with the true eye-salve.” (D 567-569)
“Verse 14 gives us a TIME perspective.
“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall the end come.” Verses 9–13 describe a period of time until the gospel would be a witness in all nations.
When the disciples asked in Verse 3, “What shall be the sign of your presence and of the end of the age?” Jesus did not just strictly answer their question but told them about the whole age. He used that occasion to give them an outline of the history of the entire Gospel Age. Thus he went far beyond their question by also telling them what would happen in the interim before the end of the age. This information was needed, for they themselves were soon to be hailed before synagogues, etc. In fact, all of the apostles had abrupt deaths except John. Many disciples also died through persecution. Jesus died in A.D. 33, and 33 years later Nero was on the scene persecuting Christians. Therefore, Jesus’ words here (and in Luke 21) were especially helpful to the early Church, as well as down through the age.
Verse 14 alerted the early Church not to expect the Kingdom very soon. (Although the import of Jesus’ words did not sink in at the time, the Holy Spirit later called them to remembrance.) Before the end of the age could come, the gospel had to be preached in all the world for a witness. Certainly the disciples in the first century knew that that had not happened yet. They realized the experiences described in Verses 9–13 would take place up to the time the gospel would be preached in all nations for a witness.” (The Gospel of Matthew)
Continued with next post.
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