Fishers of Men (Zielenvisserij), 1614, a satir...

End of the World

During the seventies, I heard a televangelist
speak on end time prophecy. He spoke about
how the Lord could not return until the gospel
had been preached to all the world.

At that time he believed it was impossible to
do, because as far as communication was
concerned, the world was yet an unchartered
territory.

During the 80’s and 90’s we started to hear

for the first time about the global community. People were talking
about how job competition was no longer an American issue.

Now, employers began recruiting globally and potential employees
began applying from all around the world to work in America to get
their piece of the American dream.

That resulted in a more highly skilled labor and professional’s, while
at the same time, potentially displacing some lesser skilled American
citizens whose birthright no longer guarantees that they have a right
to eat from their own tables.

This phenomenon incited fuel into the end time prophecy evangelists
because they saw that with increased communication, the gospel would
in their opinion “finally” be taken to all the world.

The particular televangelist, I watched that Sunday afternoon, a
dispensationalist, said God could now accomplish his purpose
and fulfill prophecy to evangelize the world through satellite TV!

Sometimes it’s almost hard not to laugh at some of this stuff, but
you just can’t help it. My friends and I, who were all young ministers
in our twenties back then rolled in the floor with laughter. We joked
about that for a long time.

Is Worldwide Evangelism End Time Prophecy?

Let’s take a look at some facts in the New Testament.

  1. The promise that before the end would come the gospel had to be
    preached in all the world.
  2. Christ equipped 13 men to accomplish this task.
  3. Christ promised to work with them until they completed their task.
  4. They got the job accomplished in about 27 years without modern
    travel or communications technology.
  5. To show how poor our communications are today, most of the world
    still doesn’t know or believe it.

Preaching to All The World To Fulfill End Time Prophecy

“And 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. 24:21)

Two words are important in understanding how and when this prophecy
was fulfilled.  They are “world” (oikoumene) and ethne (nations).
Unfortunately, the King James Version translates four different Greek words
by the word.

It uses “world” to translate, the following words. The average English reader
has no clue of the distinction as a result.

  • (oikoumene = inhabited earth)
  • (gen) land = often used exclusively of Palestine
  • (aeon) = age or period
  • (kosmos) = orderly system or arrangement, or world

Now each of these terms are used to speak of the “end of the world.”
Some times they are used interchangeably, (age/kosmos, 1 Cor. 1:20;
3:18, 19, Eph. 2:2) and sometimes they are not. The context must
determine when and  how.

In the text before use, the Lord said that the gospel had to be published
in all the “inhabited earth,” (oikoumene), then the end would come.
At the time those words were spoken, in the days of the Roman empire,
the landscape of the world was not the same as it is today.

Nor is this the only time, this type language is used in scripture. Just before
Chirst’s birth, Augustus Caesar decreed that all the world (oikoumene)
should be registered, i.e. a census should be taken, (Lk. 2:2).

They completed the census in the first century during the time
Quirinius governed Syria.
Mary was pregnant with Christ, who was born
in Jerusalem during this time. They had gone to Bethlehem for this purpose,
(Lk. 2:4, 5)

Seems the Romans excelled at “worldwide” logistics in managing the empire.
They got the job done without satellite TV and the internet. American’s
can’t even count ballots in Palm Beach County Florida!

Now the Apostles, operating under the command of their King, Jesus Christ,
likewise carried out the gospel mission to all the world, i.e. inhabited earth
(oikoumene).

“But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all
the earth (gen)
and their words to the ends of the world,” (oikoumene).
(Romans 10:18).

Romans was written approximately 58–60 AD. Thus, within 27 years or less,
the apostles had the job done. Thus, the stage was set for end time prophecy to
be fulfilled in the first century.

Jesus emphatically stated that generation would by no means  pass
away until all things were fulfilled, (Matt. 24:34)
Other texts showing
the apostles fulfilled these words in the first century are:

  1. To all the nations: Matt. 24:14; fulfilled per Rom. 1:5; 16:26 (AD 58-60)
  2. To all the world, Mark 16:15, fulfilled per Col. 1:5 (AD 60–62)
  3. To all the creation: Mark 16:15, Col. 1:23, fulfilled per (AD 60–62)
  4. To all the land: Mark 13:10; fulfilled per Rom. 10:18, (AD 58–60)

As each text shows, the apostles were every bit as effective and efficient as
was Caesar’s govenment. The Lord worked with them throughout that time
until their great commission was completed at the end of the age,
(Mark. 16:19, 20; Matt. 28:20)

They were given miraculous gifts to equip them to speak in all the languages
of their world, as demonstrated on Pentecost, Acts 2:1–11).

Worldwide evangelism is not required today to bring about end time prophecy.
That end happened over 1900 years ago. Worldwide evangelism is required to
bring men into that everlasting kingdom established by Christ, (Rev. 21:26),
to receive the healing of the nations, (22:2), via invitation of the church, 22:17).

You can read more about the fulfillment of worldwide evangelism and end time
prophecy in the book, Into All the World,” by Don K. Preston.

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