By David Prairie
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” –Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 24:14)
It is appropriate to look at the depravity and injustice in the world today and wonder how soon our God will bring it all to an end. Asaph himself asked (in Psalm 74:10), “How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever?” Another Psalmist (94:3) wondered to the Lord, “How long shall the wicked exult?” John’s apocalyptic vision included a chorus of martyred saints crying (in Rev 6:10), “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Interestingly, part of the answer they received was that more had to join them. That is, more saints will be martyred before the final judgment will come (see Rev 6:11).
According to Jesus, the end of the world will not come about until the gospel has been proclaimed among all nations (Matt 24:14). As many have accurately emphasized, the term here for “nations” likely refers to what we know as “people groups.” In other words, the gospel will be known not simply in all the geo-political countries but also in every ethno-linguistic culture. The good news for disciples of Jesus is that as we carry this news to every nation, Christ himself promises to be with us (see Matt 28:18-20).
He will be with us as we proclaim his message to those who have not heard it. He will be with us even as we are led to our death by those who oppose our message.
It’s easy to think, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus” when tragedy surrounds us. It’s much more difficult to do what the Bible says will bring about the end. Peter (2 Pet 3:11-12) writes that since the return of Christ is immanent, “What sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming day of God?” Do you want to hurry the coming of Jesus? Then live holy and godly lives that proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to peoples who have not heard it. It may lead to your death, but it will lead to life for many who would not otherwise have it.
Pray for our family as we present our ministry to our home church (Grace Baptist) this Sunday to kick off a week-long missions conference. Pray that God will use this event to establish many prayer and financial partnerships for us as we seek to move to Eastern Europe. Pray also for our upcoming survey trip to Chisinau and Vienna (November 9-18).