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. Matthew 24:14
When Jesus spoke this prophecy, the Gospel had not yet been completed (that happened with the cross and the resurrection). The “whole world” had not yet been settled or even discovered! The technology to take the Gospel to all nations and languages had not yet been invented, and wouldn’t be for centuries.
For the first time in human history, in the last century we have had the means to reach the world with the gospel. Global air travel, audio and visual media, the internet, breakdown of language barriers through translation software – all has been developed within the last few decades! It’s hard to remember a life without technology, but it is such a recent human advancement. For good and for bad, we are truly global.
In thinking about a global civilization, I am reminded of God’s command to Adam and Eve and then again to Noah to “Be fruitful and increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it”. The population of the entire world was about 150-300 million in Jesus’ day (wikipedia). The jump to today’s world population of over 7.5 billion people is staggering! I marvel at the population explosion in the last hundred or so years, and how that has finally fulfilled the command given in Genesis.
We have certainly filled the earth and subdued it. Unfortunately, we haven’t been very good caretakers of the planet that has been entrusted to us. We’ve been more selfish than anything else. But, back to the gospel…
The Joshua Project tracks the spread of the gospel to the nations of the world. We have already successfully reached all the countries in the world with the gospel. The Joshua Project is quick to point out that there are still many unreached people groups within those countries: “While the Gospel has gone to every political country in the world, when Jesus commanded His followers to “make disciples of all the nations” in Matthew 28:18-20, He was not referring to political nations such as Canada, Kenya, Russia, etc. Many of these, such as the United States, did not exist as entities when Jesus gave the command. The word Jesus used for nations in Greek is “ethne” from which we get the English word “ethnic”. “Ethne” can simply mean any non-Jew i.e. Gentile or it can mean a collection of individuals with a common identity.” (article HERE) You can view the progress in the people groups on their website HERE.
It is the church’s great commission to make disciples of all nations and spread the good news of Jesus Christ around the globe. It’s a job the true church takes very seriously, as it should. But can the end really not come until we have accomplished it?
The book of Revelation tells us that this preaching of the gospel continues in our absence through the 2 witnesses (Revelation 11), the sealed 144,000 Jews (Revelation 7), and an angel – “Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6-7)
Everyone will hear the gospel before the final wrath of God is poured out. The job does not rest solely on the shoulders of the Church. God, even in His wrath, will faithfully call people to repentance.
A Disclaimer: The Bible is infallible. I am not. Be a Berean – examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!