As one involved in missions I have often heard and quoted Matthew 24:14 as a challenge that we must get the mission of world evangelization done so the Lord can return.
“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.”
In my heart it seemed strange the Lord would leave the date of His return dependent upon our actions but that sure seemed to be what this passage was saying. This “truth” was rather discouraging when you think that we have been at this task for 2000+ years and, while some folks think we are close to the goal, in reality it seems the goal post keeps moving. Will we ever get this job done? Will Jesus ever be able to return?
But it is a task that has to be done by men. I have been told that angels cannot share the gospel because they have never experienced it. So, this most important of all tasks ever assigned to anyone in all eternity (perhaps next only to Jesus’ assignment to make the message possible) was up to fickle, frail, unfaithful human beings. Wow! Didn’t sound like a good plan to me but it seemed to be what Scripture was saying.
Then, while teaching a series on Revelation, I found a startling passage in chapter 14:6. What?! It is not all on my shoulders! Fantastic! God is not waiting on me or you and there will be angelic involvement in this great task. He is going to get this thing done in His time and His way. I love that!
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.
So does that mean I just sit back and do nothing? Of course not! I want to be part of it. Who wouldn’t want to play on a team if you knew with certainty that your team was going to win the Super Bowl? Knowing God is going to get actively involved in getting this message to the nations does not discourage me, rather, it is an encouragement. This is not an unattainable goal! It is a goal that will be accomplished! God will see to it.
And though the end of time is not dependent upon us, this does not negate the importance of us taking the gospel “to every nation, tribe, language and people” because there are those who will not live long enough to receive the message from this angel. They are still dependent upon human instruments, obeying God by sending and going, to bring them this vital message.
But I am overjoyed to know that “the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” (Acts 1:7) remain in His power and are not dependent upon me.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”