24 March 2007

Matthew 24, Part 5

Concluding the first part of this study, we find Christ saying the gospel would be preached to all the world and then the "end" will come. Dispensationalists believe these events must be future because the Gospel has yet to be preached to the whole world. Ken Gentry explains, "The word 'world' here is the Greek word oikumene. It very often means the Roman empire as it does in Luke 2:1 and Acts 11:28." (Ken Gentry, Dispensationalism in Transition, ICE, September 1991.) J. Marcellus Kik wrote, "That all nations of that day heard the Gospel is definitely told in the book of Acts and the Epistles. Emphasis is given in the second chapter of Acts to the Jews from all the nations being present on Pentecost when the Gospel was proclaimed. 'And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven' (Acts 2:5). The eighth chapter of Acts records how the Gospel went to Ethiopia, and we can well believe that there were similar incidents not recorded." (J. Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of Victory, p. 99). The phrase, "A witness to all the nations', follows the same premise; that is, all the nations in the Roman Empire.

Finally, let us not forget the context. Jesus is answering a question concerning the destruction of the temple. Christ gives warning with signs that must happen first. As such, "these things" happened before the destruction of Jerusalem. They were the birth pangs to the new covenant. History reveals that these situations had their fulfillment in the years previous to A.D. 70.
more to come...

No comments: