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Gospel to Be Preached in All the World

24 Jul

Jesus said in Matthew 24:14 that the Gospel of the Kingdom of God would be preached in all the world and then the end would come. What does this mean? Did Jesus mean it must be preached to every remote tribe or village on every continent and island on the planet? Did he mean it had to be preached to every people-group, as is assumed by many today, before the end could come? If Jesus cannot come until the Gospel is preached according to his command, then it should be obvious in the text what Jesus meant. What does the text actually say?

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14 KJV)

The Greek word that is translated into our English word ‘world’ is oikoumene (G3625) and means according to Strongs Concordance “earth, world – specifically the Roman Empire.” Many people today believe Christ intended the Gospel to be preached all over the globe, and ultimately this would be so, but not specifically before the end would come. All Jesus meant was that the Gospel had to be preached to every nation in the Roman Empire. Is this too difficult to believe? Let’s look at how this word is used elsewhere in the New Testament.

In Paul’s epistle to the Romans he begins by telling them in Romans 1:8 that their faith is spoken about throughout the whole world (kosmos G2889), a different word that that used by Jesus, but a synonym! Later in his letter, however, in Romans 10:18 Paul, speaking of the ministry of the word of God he says:

But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (Romans 10:18 KJV)

Here the word is oikoumene (G3625), the same word Jesus used. In Colossians 1:5-6 Paul says the Gospel was preached to the Colossians as it was in all the world (kosmos – G2889), and in verse-23 of the same chapter Paul says the same Gospel that the Colossians heard was preached to every creature under heaven. In Romans 16:25-27 Paul ends his letter to the Romans by saying that the Gospel had already been “made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.”

According to these few Scriptures, the Gospel was preached to the entire world in fulfillment of Jesus words in Matthew 24:14 before he came to judge his people, the Jews, during the Jewish war with Rome. These things were fulfilled in the 1st century, according to the Scriptures. There is absolutely no reason to presume they must be fulfilled a second time. In fact, Matthew 24:21 would belie dual fulfillment of the Olivet Prophecy. Jesus spoke of his day using idioms understood very clearly by folks during that time, but misunderstood today by Christians unaware of the idiomatic meaning and trying to make Jesus’ words into something they are not by placing them into a literal context of their own making.

When Augustus Caesar took as census of all the world in Luke 2:1, it would be ridiculous to assume that he also took a census of the American Continents and all the islands of the Pacific. Yet, the Greek word for world, which Luke used in this verse (oikoumene – G3625), is the very same that Jesus used in Matthew 24:14. Why would we presume Jesus meant something different in Matthew than what is claimed in Luke when both accounts used the same Greek word?

One final Scripture should lay this idea to rest that Jesus meant that the whole earth, meaning planet, must hear the Gospel before he comes. In Acts 11:28 a Messianic prophet came to Antioch while Paul was there and predicted there would be a famine throughout the whole world (oikoumene – G3625), same word Jesus used. The predicted famine came in the days of Claudius Caesar. It affected the whole Roman Empire in varying degrees, but the prophecy did not mean the entire globe would be affected. These things are idioms which were clearly understood by the folks in the 1st century CE to mean their generation and the world as encapsulated in the Roman Empire. Jesus’ words must be taken in this context. Otherwise, we must conclude that the very people who preached the Gospel and wrote it down to preserve it for us didn’t understand the words of Jesus as much as we do! That is to say, they who were commissioned by Jesus, walked and talked with him, filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost—these people could be taught by us! How arrogant could we be?

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4 Comments

Posted by on July 24, 2011 in Last Days

 

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4 responses to “Gospel to Be Preached in All the World

  1. art

    August 20, 2012 at 23:46

    And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14 KJV)

    You are incorrect about this verse being an “idiom” of things which have happened and there being no need for them to take place in this day and time. Matthew 24:14 is perpetual. Most of the world, nations, and peoples did not exist at that time. Therefore, this verse must be perpetual on into this day and time we are living in. The only way to get the gospel out into all the world as massive as it is today is by way of satellite dishes, TV, internet, etc…

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      August 21, 2012 at 09:11

      Hello Art, and thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I always enjoy reading the take others have both on what I say and what is believed concerning the Scriptures. Your argument is not really with me but with Paul. Have you forgotten that he tells us in Romans 10:18 and in 16:25-27 that the Gospel had been preached to all nations even to the ends of the earth? Again in Colossians 1:23 Paul tells his readers that the Gospel was preached to every creature. If Paul’s letters are Scripture (the word of God) then what he says is to be believed by those who have received Christ as their Savior; otherwise wouldn’t we be merely believing hearsay or trusting in our own reasoning?

      I have placed myself in the hands of our Lord and believe what he tells me. Therefore, I am bound to believe only what the Scriptures say in the context in which they were written. We must not place the meaning of our own age upon the words Jesus and Paul spoke. No doubt you would be upset if someone made your words mean something you had no intention of saying. God is no different. He doesn’t like it when men and women go about speaking in his name saying things he has never said. I hope you can see this is true and fix your eyes upon Jesus and not other men.

      Lord bless you.

       
  2. James

    September 29, 2011 at 21:40

    studing the prophesies of Jesus is new to me, I dont know if i stumbled on to your web pages by accident or if our savior sent me to it.. the introduction was intresting to me and i persued it. your introduction said that you were a sunday school teacher. what is a sunday school theacher? i can not find sunday school teacher in the scripture… what are you doing ? something unscriptual? Please help me with what Jesus’ prophesies about the distruction of the roman inpire and his second cumming,
    grace / James

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      September 30, 2011 at 00:06

      Hi James, and thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment.

      Concerning what a Sunday school teacher is, all this means is that I moderate a Biblical discussion of about 16 – 20 adults (average) on Sunday after worship service. At this point we are going through the Gospel of John. I make up the lessons for each chapter, and we will be beginning chapter four of John’s Gospel on this Sunday morning. The word “teacher” is mentioned in the Bible, but today we further categorize the ministry as a Sunday school “teacher” — sometimes a Wednesday evening Bible teacher — pastor teachers — and if you teach in a religious college or university one might be referred to as a Biblical professor. Some teachers have college degrees, but I do not. I simply love God’s word and am willing to share what I have come to know with others who want to take the time to discuss the Bible with me.

      Concerning prophecy and Jesus’ second coming, my point of view on this subject is that most prophecies pointed to the 1st century AD when Jesus ministered to his apostles in Judea. Many other people believe these prophecies point to our time. I don’t believe they do. They pointed to Jesus’ coming the first time. Concerning his Second coming to this earth and the end of the age of man’s rule, we aren’t given any information in the Bible that would point to a time period when this would occur. We can guess that it will be soon, but the Scriptures don’t seem to point to our day. Everything seems to point to the times of Jesus and the Apostles. This is what my blog posts will tell you. Just click on a study and read if you see something of interest. If you have any questions, simply leave a comment and I’ll respond as quickly as I am able.

      Lord bless you,

      Eddie

       

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