“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]
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.
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