Friday, May 4, 2018
In God’s sovereign foreknowledge He has identified numerous events that must first take place before Christ gathers the saints at “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6), “at the last day” (John 6:40), not meaning, however, that we can know “that day and hour” (Matt. 24:36). One of those events is Jesus’ teaching that “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” (Matt. 24:14).
In view of Matt. 24:14, some, even pastors, believe there is really no need to teach the end-times because the Church is nowhere near completing the task of preaching the gospel “in all the world as a witness to all the nations”. But that shortsightedness misses the truth wherein the Holy Spirit said that “the gospel which you heard…was preached [note the past tense] to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister” (Col. 1:23).
The widespread preaching of the gospel began immediately after Pentecost when “about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41). It was then much later when Paul said by the Spirit that the gospel “was preached…to every creature under heaven”. So, just because man is historically unfaithful in the generational continuance of the gospel, does not mean the gospel was not at one time already preached “to every creature under heaven”, because it was.
Consider ancient Israel’s neglect of God’s Word, a people “who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it” (Acts 7:53), a people who, generation after generation forsook the continuance of God’s Word. Likewise, the same generational neglect accompanies Christianity wherein many have carelessly failed to generationally pass down God’s Word.
And believers comprising the true Church of this late hour which numbers “few” (Matt. 7:14) as compared to the global population, will never accomplish preaching the gospel to every nation, tribe and tongue. As God promised, that task will only be accomplished by God’s angelic host.
Here’s how. At some point during the great tribulation, during the last 3 1/2 years of this age, the Holy Spirit said by the apostle, “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth – to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people – saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come’” (Rev. 14: 6–7). Where the Church is unable, God is limitlessly able.
Jesus said “with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). But the preaching of the gospel “to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” will not be accomplished by Christians, we are too few. But with God, however, all things are possible, and in that context He will send forth His angel at the appointed time to preach the gospel “to those who dwell on the earth – to every nation, tribe, tongue and people”. God will get this done, not the Church, and then the end will come.
The world needs the undiluted preaching of the whole gospel, not just select portions that sound good to man. The Spirit reminds us, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord God, that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it” (Amos 8:11–12).
That famine arrived by evidence of 400 years of silence from God in the intertestamental period. In secondary fulfillment of Amos 8:11–12, the world is now experiencing yet another famine “of hearing the words of the Lord”, in that, much preaching and teaching today glorifies man and not Christ. God’s Word has largely been diluted by false teachers and culture-accommodating men and women who need to have their own hearts pierced by the “two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit” (Heb. 4:12) rather than seeking the praise of man.
Consequently, many people in the corporate-styled institutional church are spiritually starved, and they “run to and fro”, going from book to book, conference to conference, and program to program, looking for something, anything to satisfy the hunger in the depths of their soul…and they’re not finding it, for much of what they hear is disingenuous fluff, without repentance and without self-denial to take up one’s own cross, the very hallmark of being a follower of Christ.
The gospel has suffered loss due to generational neglect and a diminishing love for God. But if we love God and fellowman, we must each use the talents God has given us, and minister those truths to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), and teach the coming judgment and redemption of God – judgment for the unbeliever and redemption for the believer who actually believes Christ and prepares to endure to the end as Jesus taught.
The preaching of the gospel of the kingdom “to every nation, tribe, tongue and people”, will not be accomplished by the Church, but will be accomplished by God. Consider, there are peoples, tribes and tongues right here in America, the nation from which the gospel has gone forth more than any other, who have never heard the gospel. If it is so here in America, and it is, then on what basis shall the Christian expect to fulfill Matthew 24:14? Only God can fulfill it.
While we are commanded to fulfill the great commission of Matt. 28:19–20 to the best of our ability, we should not think we can accomplish that which is God’s sovereign work to perform. But what is imminently before us is the time of the end, and Antichrist’s seven-year tribulation. And a vital part of the gospel includes those end-time truths, especially for this final generation, because Jesus said “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13).
Now this highly relevant 4/25/2018 end-time headline from Charisma News: “Pope Invites Leaders of All Christian Denominations in the Mideast to Peace Summit”. I have taught for years that the Vatican is the final beast-kingdom of Dan. 2, and that Pope Francis, its current head, will draft the peace “covenant with many” (Dan. 9:27) which begins the seven-year tribulation. I’ll share more on this subject next Friday.
Marlin J. Yoder