Was The Gospel Preached In All The World? Yes!

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” – Jesus [Mathew 24:14]

For many, this entire chapter in Matthew is about the End of the World. But, is it?

Actually, no, it’s not. It’s about the destruction of Jerusalem which Jesus predicted would happen in that same generation:

“This generation shall not pass, until all these things are fulfilled.” [v.34]

If we start at the beginning of Chapter 24, we notice that the entire conversation starts as Jesus and his disciples exit the Temple. As the disciples marvel at how amazing the Temple is, Jesus warns them that “a time is coming when not one stone will be left upon another.” [v. 2] Upon hearing this, they ask Jesus “When shall these things be?” [v. 3]

Unfortunately, the King James Version, and a few other Dispensational translations of the Bible, have the disciples ask about “the end of the world” [v.3], but the actual phrase they used was:

“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” [v.3]

Note, please, that they are still asking, in context, about when and how the Temple is going to be destroyed and thrown down to the ground. This question about “the sign of your coming” is still related to that act of judgment upon the city of Jerusalem which Jesus is about to elaborate upon. This is the same sort of “coming” that John alludes to in Revelation when he reports that Jesus threatens to “come to” one of the churches that are disobedient in order to “take away your lampstand, unless you repent.” [Rev. 2:5]

So, the disciples understood all of this as fitting in perfectly with Apocalyptic language which is used all throughout the Hebrew scriptures to signify God’s judgment against those who disobey His commands. This is why, when Jesus mentions the destruction of the Temple, they ask, “what is the sign of your coming [to administer this judgment]?”

The “end of the age” they ask about, [not the “end of the world” as the KJV tries hard to misdirect us], was the end of the Jewish age; something predicted by the prophet Daniel in Chapter 9:24-27.

So, what we’re mainly concerned about here is when Jesus says that “this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world…and then the end will come.” [Mt. 24:14]

What trips many people up is that they assume that this hasn’t happened yet.

But, what if the New Testament tells us that it has happened?

Paul seems to believe that the Gospel of the Kingdom was preached in all the world. He says as much in 4 different places:

“…the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing…” [Col. 1:5-6]

“…not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven…” [Col. 1:23]

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for ‘Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. [Romans 10:16-18]

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith…” [Romans 16:25-26]

So, according to Paul, the Gospel WAS preached “in the whole world”, “in all creation”, “to all the earth”, “to the ends of the world” and was “made known to all nations.”

Therefore, according to the prophecy given by Jesus, the “end of the age” can now come – and in AD 70 it most certainly did come.

When Jerusalem was destroyed, those who rejected Christ and His message of enemy love reaped the fruits of living by the sword – they died by the sword. This destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple meant the end of the Jewish Age. To this very day – nearly 2,000 years later – the age remains at an end. There is no Temple to offer sacrifices, because Christ was the true Temple, and we are now the living Temple where God lives by His Spirit. There is no longer any daily sacrifice, because Jesus was the true Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world, and we are now the daily, living sacrifice to God. There is no longer any Jewish priesthood, because Jesus is our true High Priest, and we are now priests of God who function as representatives [ambassadors] of Christ and His Kingdom.

The Gospel of the Kingdom was preached “in all the world” prior to AD 70, and then the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed within that generation [just 40 years later], exactly as Jesus predicted.

We are now citizens of a new Kingdom. We are children of the New Jerusalem which is from above, not made with human hands. Christ reigns in us and through us.

The Temple of God is now made of living stones which is being built up to cover the entire earth.

What Jesus prophesied has come to pass. We are now the living testimonies of His resurrection in the world today.

**

Keith Giles is the author of several books, including “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”. He is also the co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.

Unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more on my Patreon page.

Please, join me at one of these upcoming events:

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*The Nonviolent Love of Christ: How Loving Our Enemies Saves The World, with Joshua Lawson and Keith Giles on Saturday, June 16 in Portsmouth Ohio. Register here>

*Crucifying Our Politics with Keith Giles on June 24 in Cleveland, OH. Register here>

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TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Many prophecies have both short-term and long-term fulfilments. And they did ask about the sign of Jesus’ coming – presumably his return since he was already with them.

  • Matthew

    How are we to understand what you have written in the context of mission?

  • Chad Hoelzel

    The judgement on Jerusalem (70AD) was considered his return. All the signs mentioned historically came true. I do agree that events do cycle…. we have seen some of these signs since then as well. Could it be a reminder that when we live in an empire that dominates through the sword… it to will fall.

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    What is the gospel Keith?

  • Our mission is to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom [the Gospel] that Jesus proclaimed: “Repent! [Change the way you think!] The Kingdom of God is wide open to everyone!”

    This means that everyone can know God intimately and personally – today – and we don’t have to wait until we’re dead to experience the life that God intends for us to live in harmony and collaboration with Christ.

    The truth is that “God was in Christ reconciling the World to Himself; not counting men’s sins against them.” [2 Cor. 5]

    The message of reconciliation is freedom and new life in Christ as God makes all things new – especially us!

  • Matthew

    So we are to do this even though the message was only to be preached until 70AD?

  • Yes, the Gospel has no expiration date. The end came to the Jewish Age in AD 70 once the Gospel was preached “in all the [known] world”, but the Gospel has not come to an end.

  • Matthew

    Thanks so much.

  • Paul

    Keith quotes Colossians 1:5-6 and claims that Paul authored it
    “Paul seems to believe that the Gospel of the Kingdom was preached in all the world. He says as much in 4 different places:

    “…the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing…” [Col. 1:5-6]” but Keith openly entertains the idea that Paul did not write the epistle – he writes “For the record, many New Testament scholars today readily admit that Paul most certainly did not write the “Pastoral Epistles” attributed to him, [perhaps not even Ephesians or Colossians], nor did Peter write either 1 Peter or 2 Peter. This means that the Holy Scriptures we hold today contain pseudepigrapha, whether we like it or not.” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/keithgiles/2018/05/debunking-the-canonization-preservation-myth/

    So Keith believes the “scholars” that 2 Peter , in which the author claims to have been with Christ and to have seen His glory upon the mount (of transfiguration) was not in fact written by Peter nor anyone else who was on the holy mount when Christ’s glory was manifested and thus that the author of 2 Peter is deliberately deceiver. Even Keith entertains the doctrine that the author of Colossians is a deceiver for the author of Colossians writes “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,

    To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    But Keith respects the “scholars” and believes its completely plausible that not Paul but a deceiver wrote those opening verses of Colossians and yet Keith is comfortable to quote them with authority anyway , because Keith believes he has seen Jesus apart from any man made “Canon” , and that his personal sight of Jesus is the canon/yardstick he uses to “filter” out what is not the Word of G-d from the 66 Books of the Bible even though Keith does not believe that 66 Books constitute the Word of G-d , for he writes of the authors of the 66 Books of the Bible

    “Some of these men were divinely inspired by God. Others may not have been.”

    in fact he believes that he can decide for himself what constitutes the “Word of G-d” apparently with help from a vision and those authoritative “scholars”.BTW Keith erroneously writes:

    “later Church Councils [like the Councils of Nicea and Trent in the 4th Century….” Trent was in the 16th century but if Keith does not believe all who wrote the books of the Bible were not necessarily inspired by G-d , what business does Keith have in quoting any of them until he can prove to us who precisely were inspired and thus all of Keith’s doctrine is built upon sand for he knows not if all those ideas about Christianity he has actually come from G-d or just the heart of a deceptive man ?

  • Cleanslate

    Was the gospel preached in the western hemisphere to the millions of native Americans living there? To the millions living in eastern Asia and into sub Saharan Africa down to the Cape of Good Hope? The population of the Roman Empire in the 1st century was only about 70 million, only a fraction of the world population at the time.

    It is hard to reconcile the idea that we are living in the Kingdom of God considering the past two thousand years of human history. The extent of the gross injustice, suffering and oppression that has inflicted the world does not in the least resemble the New Creation of God. The exploitation and destruction of the Earth’s biosphere resulting in the present sixth great extinction event indicates that death still is the dominate power and the New Creation of God is not yet fully realized.

    If the Kingdom consist primarily of a personal relationship with God for those who believe, then it falls far short of what the the world needs.

    We can’t experience much of anything if we are dead. The hope of the gospel is not for an escape from the physical creation into an afterlife. Rather, it is the infilling of the Life of God into the cosmos. The God who becomes all in all through the universal resurrection of all created reality. That is Good News not just for some enlightened humans, who have a personal relationship with God, but for all created reality.

    It is not about the end of the world, it is about the beginning of a radically transformed reality where death has no place in the creation and life will be universally present in the cosmos and truly free: free from fear; from despair; from want and free for all to live for each other in an empathically connected universe.

  • RebelRose

    You mentioned that Jesus’ second coming was foretold to happen at the end of the age (Jewish Age). I found this thought to resonate with me and just wanted to share a thoughts Ive been pondering for sometime now.

    What if the second coming of Christ happens every time a new believer comes to faith? How’s that for a progressive thought?✌

  • Richard Aahs

    Rose. In a sense this is what Emerson was talking about in his first speech to the Harvard Divinity School.
    This quote from an article about that speech.

    Emerson: “It is the office of a true teacher to show us that God is, not was; that God speaks, not spoke . . . the true Christianity is a faith like Christ’s in the infinitude of man.”

    Several years ago, my long dormant and atrophying faith awakened when I embraced the Incarnation story in a new way. God not only became human, but we human beings remain the only way in which God gets into the world. Jesus told his critics that “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” Emerson’s radical but empowering insight is that each of us, once we embrace who we truly are, can say the same thing.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/freelancechristianity/christians-get-wrong-jesus/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Progressive+Christian&utm_content=43

  • RebelRose

    Wow! What an impowering, awesome post! I dont quite feel like much of a God at the moment, but the jist of what Emerson said was mindblowing! Let me see if Ive got this right… did Emerson believe that all mankind had the spark of the Almighty God within them? Isnt that thought problematic when you think of all the evil that is in the world? Or did he say that the spark of the essence of the Almighy God lives within the heart of every believer?

  • Richard Aahs

    The writers words are “the shockingly democratic idea that all human beings share the spark and the mark of the divine.”.
    And: “Without fail, organized religions teach their adherents that the divine nature that is in all of us actually is only to be found in a limited number of human beings; the natural divinity in all human beings accordingly is “denied to all the rest, and denied with fury”.”

    Per your question about the evil that we see.
    Quote: “He saw that God incarnates himself in man, and evermore goes forth anew to take possession of his World. ”
    Jesus recognized and taught that we, all humans, have these two natures, the human and the divine. Our purpose through life is to choose which nature will we nurture.

    God is limited by perfection, but is able to set aside that knowledge, and be born a helpless, innocent, and ignorant, personality. That is the law. This is the origin of our feeling of separation, of individualism. Yet always are we under the nurturing, guiding spark of our God nature with which we are imprinted. We humans then create new reality, new experience, as we grow and learn that we were never separated from that eternal force , that which IS God. We are on the eternal journey back to the perfection of our source. ” Be You perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect.”
    This is what Jesus was referring to when he said, know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

  • Brianna LaPoint

    People dont practice what they preach. That is the biggest hang up i have about christians in general. When people quip with the not all christians, i turn around and say actions speak louder than words. let your actions speak for you, because for me, Christians will be Christians and i will be convinced that its a path full of people that havent learn to question what they have been taught.

  • Brianna LaPoint

    thats a cringeworthy thought. Perhaps another reason why i will stay Pagan.