Food for Friday

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

There are some people who teach that this verse applies to the nation of Israel as it existed at the time of the Lord Jesus. Somehow, they come up with a theory that the Gospel was preached to the whole world before the year 70 AD, and that the end that came was the Roman armies of Titus that destroyed Jerusalem at that time. Only by twisting and misapplying Scripture can these people come up with such a silly theory. A reading of the context makes it plain that the Lord Jesus was speaking of the end of the age during which the Gospel would be preached. You and I are still living in that age; it has not ended yet. And that is why the Gospel is still being preached today, and why we have the responsibility to support the spread of the Gospel.

We know that missionaries have reached almost every part of our world with the Gospel. Perhaps the largest numbers of people unreached with the glorious glad tidings are not in foreign and remote corners of the globe, but in our own country. Despite the freedom to preach the Gospel, the witnessing of faithful believers, and the universal availability of the Bible, most of the people we see around us really don’t have half a clue as to what the Gospel is. They think it is just another religion, and they aren’t interested, thank you. They don’t know and they don’t want to know. So, with the Gospel being sounded throughout the world, there may well be much work to do before everyone has heard it. Perhaps the end is far off, and perhaps it is near, we don’t know. But we do know that only by the spread of the Gospel can people be saved. And only by the spread of the Gospel will we see the end of our age and the beginning of God’s end-times program that begins with the Rapture of the saints.

The two great longings of the Lord’s people are that our families and others close to us will be saved, and that our Lord will come. We sometimes feel like the apostle Paul when he could wish that he were accursed if it would serve to bring Israel to salvation (Romans 9:3). We don’t always put the effort we should into seeing our loved ones reached and saved, but that is surely our desire. Our hearts are thrilled when our children trust Christ, with a sense of relief that makes us realize that they will be ready if the Rapture occurs tomorrow. As for the Rapture, we hear about this great event (not nearly as much as we used to a few decades ago) and pray with John, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus!’ (Revelation 22:20) The hope of being called to Glory without dying is the comfort of us all.

How much longer will the Gospel be sounded forth? We cannot know. But we can sound it forth in hopes that sinners will be saved and that our Lord will come soon. -Jim MacIntosh

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