This is our third study in Matthew 24. We have introduced the chapter in its context and we have evaluated the disciples’ questions. Our study of Yeshua's answer will take us several messages. This morning we want to look at verses 4-14.
In considering Yeshua's answer, let us review the disciples’ questions.
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3 ESV
They are asking, “When will the temple be destroyed? When will one stone not be left upon another? And “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Last time, we looked at the fact that the disciples didn't understand that Yeshua was leaving. They, therefore, were not asking, "When will you return?" The word "coming" is the Greek word, "parousia," which means “presence.” It signified the full manifestation of His Messiahship—His glorious appearing in power. And the "end of the age" refers to the end of the Jewish age, (the Old Covenant age) and not the end of the world.
We could put the disciples' question this way, "When will the temple be destroyed and what will be the sign of your presence in power and glory as Messiah and of the end of the Jewish age?" Amazingly, there is almost unanimity among commentators that the disciples associated the fall of Jerusalem with the Lord's parousia and the end of the age. Most of them falsely contend that the disciples were mistaken about the timing of these events, while at the same time, correctly viewing them as contemporaneous. With the disciples’ questions in mind, let’s move on to Yeshua's answer.
And Yeshua answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. Matthew 24:4-5 ESV
Who are the "them" and “you” here? It is the disciples. Please keep this in mind as we move through this chapter. Yeshua is speaking to his disciples. Whatever Yeshua's answer conveys, it must have meant something to them personally. Any application that we make to ourselves from Scripture can only be made after we understand what it meant to the original audience. Keep in mind the principle of original relevance. Why do I belabor this point? Because most folks today miss it.
According to Dr. John F. Walvoord (1910 – 2002), a former president of Dallas Theological Seminary and a recognized dispensational expert on biblical eschatology, the events of Matthew 24:4-14 are those pertaining to the Church age, and they lead up to a yet future Tribulation. He taught that these signs indicate that the end of the age is approaching in our time.
James Stuart Russell in his book, The Parousia (p. 69), wrote this concerning Matthew 24:4-14:
It is impossible to read this section and fail to perceive its distinct reference to the period between our Lord's crucifixion and the destruction of Jerusalem. Every word is spoken to the disciples, and to them alone. To imagine that the "ye" and "you" in this address apply, not to the disciples to whom Christ was speaking, but to some unknown and yet non-existent persons in a far distant age, is so preposterous a supposition as not to deserve serious notice.
The Lord begins with a warning to his disciples against any expectation of His immediate parousia. He didn't want them to be deceived by false Christs that would soon be appearing. He wanted them to understand that he would be gone for what might seem to them like a long time (forty years actually).
He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ Luke 19:12-13 ESV
Yeshua was going to leave them to receive His kingdom, and in between His departure at the Ascension and His Second coming, the following things would happen to them.
And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. Luke 21:8 ESV
Luke adds the phrase "the time is at hand." Yeshua was not talking about something that would take place hundreds or thousands of years later! Yeshua was warning his disciples about something that was drawing very near in their time!
Did such false Messiahs arise and deceive many in those years before the destruction of Jerusalem? Yes! We have both biblical and historical records of many such false Messiahs.
For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. Acts 5:36 ESV
According to Josephus, the Jewish historian, twelve years after our Lord's death, Theudas persuaded a great multitude to follow him to the river Jordan. He claimed he would divide the waters for their passage. He was just one of many. Josephus said,
"The land was overrun with magicians, seducers, and impostors, who drew the people after them in multitudes into solitudes and deserts, to see the signs and miracles which they promised to show by the power of God" (The Jewish War, b. ii. c. 13).
So great was the number of these imposters that Felix, (governor of Judea mentioned in Acts 23-25), put some of them to death daily. Another example (Acts 21:38) is an Egyptian who "pretended to be a prophet." He gathered 30,000 men and boasted that he would show "how, at his command, the walls of Jerusalem would fall down."
"A greater blow than this was inflicted on the Jews by the Egyptian false prophet. Arriving in the country this man, a fraud who posed as a seer, collected about 30,000 dupes, led them round by the wild country to the Mount of Olives, and from there was ready to force an entry into Jerusalem, overwhelm the Roman garrison, and seize supreme power, with his fellow-raiders as bodyguards. But Felix anticipated his attempt by meeting him with the Roman heavy infantry, the whole population rallying to the defense, so that when the clash occurred the Egyptian fled with a handful of men and most of his followers were killed or captured."(Eusebius, pp. 96-97)
Origen mentions a certain wonder-worker, Dositheus, who claimed he was the Christ foretold by Moses. We see another of these false Christs in Acts:
But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” Acts 8:9-10 ESV
According to Irenaeus, Simon claimed to be the Son of God and creator of angels. Jerome says that he claimed to be the Word of God, the Almighty. Justin relates that he went to Rome and was acclaimed as a god by his magical powers.
These are but a few of the many historical examples of false Messiahs of that day. John recognized the growing number as an indication that it was the “last hour.”
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 1 John 2:18 ESV
Notice how John, writing somewhere around AD 65, doesn't state that it is the "last
days" but rather the "last hour." The disciples had heard from their Lord that many antichrists would come before his return.
Greswell, in his work, "On the Parables," calls attention to the remarkable fact that, while many of these false Messiahs appeared in the interval between our Lord's Ascension and the Jewish war, there is no evidence that any such impostors arose before the beginning of Yeshua’s ministry.
WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. Matthew 24:6 ESV
According to Yeshua’s words at the end of verse 6, wars are NOT a sign of the end. He told them later in this chapter that they would see a war and not just hear of one. They were then to flee.
Did the disciples hear of wars and rumors of wars? Yes, they did! Preceding the destruction of Jerusalem, there were wars in the tributaries of Rome and all over Palestine, Galilee, and Samaria in AD 66.
In the Annals of Tacitus, a Roman who wrote a history which covers the period prior to AD 70, we find such expressions as these: "disturbances in Germany," "commotions in Africa," "commotions in Thrace," "insurrections in Gaul," "intrigues among the Parthians," "the war in Britain," "war in Armenia."
Among the Jews, the times became turbulent. In Seleucia, 50,000 Jews were killed. There was an uprising against them in Alexandria. In a battle between the Jews and , Syrians in Caesarea, 20,000 were killed. During these times, Caligula ordered his statue placed in the temple at Jerusalem. The Jews refused to do this and, as a result, they lived in constant fear that the Emperor's armies would be sent into Palestine. This fear became so real that some of them did not even bother to till their fields.
But though there would be wars and rumors of wars, Yeshua told his disciples: "See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet." What end is he talking about? Let's keep in mind their question. They wanted to know when the end of the Jewish age would come. Barnes states that the end referred to here is "the end of the Jewish economy; the destruction of Jerusalem" (Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible, Matthew 24).
Wars and rumors of wars were NOT signs of the end. The Lord wanted his disciples to know that none of these things would be the sign which would cause them to flee into the mountains.
NATION FIGHTING NATION
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. Matthew 24:7 ESV
The word "nation" here is the Greek word ethnos, which means “a race.” I talked to a man who used this verse in an attempt to prove that we are in the end times and that the Second coming will be soon. He said, "The word 'nations' is 'ethnos' and just look at all the fighting between ethnic groups today, the end is near."
There are several problems with his view, one of which is these things are not signs of the end. Also, Yeshua was speaking directly to the disciples, so this had to have relevance to them! Did they see nation rising against nation? Yes! Josephus wrote that "At Caesarea in AD 59 the Jews and Syrians contended about the right to the city, and twenty thousand Jews were slain. At Scythopolis, over 13,000 Jews were killed. Thousands were killed in other places, and at Alexandria 50,000 were killed. At Damascus, 10,000 were killed in an hour's time.”
Yeshua was speaking about the conflicts between Gentiles and Jews which began to take place shortly after this time and continued up until the beginning of the great Jewish war. For some time previously, Gentiles and Jews had been living in relative peace together. But this period was distinguished by wars.
There was a famine foretold by Agabus in:
And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). Acts 11:28 ESV
This famine is mentioned by Tacitus, Suetonius, and Eusebius, and is said to have been severe in Jerusalem. Josephus wrote that many people perished for want of food. Judea was especially hard hit by famine and the disciples sent aid to them.
So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. Acts 11:29 ESV
Tacitus speaks of a "failure in the crops, and a famine consequent thereupon." Eusebius also mentions famines during this time in Rome, Judea, and Greece. Yes, there were famines in those years before the fall of Jerusalem.
Although the word is not in the ESV, some translations add “PESTILENCES.”
'For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places; Matthew 24:7 YLT
A pestilence is the rapid spread of disease in epidemics. Famine and pestilence go hand in hand. Pestilence is often caused by famine. Suetonius wrote of a "pestilence" at Rome in the days of Nero which was so severe that "within the space of one autumn there died no less than 30,000 persons." Josephus records that pestilences raged in Babylonia in AD 40. Tacitus tells of pestilences in Italy in AD 65.
Yes, there were pestilences in the lifetime of the disciples in those years leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem.
Did the disciples experience earthquakes in their life time? Yes, they did. Tacitus mentions earthquakes at Rome. He wrote, "Frequent earthquakes occurred, by which many houses were thrown down," and "twelve populous cities of Asia fell in ruins from an earthquake."
Seneca, a Roman philosopher and historian (c. 4 BC – AD 65), wrote the following in the year AD 58:
How often have cities of Asia and Achaea fallen with one fatal shock! How many cities have been swallowed up in Syria! How many in Macedonia! How often has Cyprus been wasted by this calamity! How often has Paphos become a ruin! News has often been brought us of the demolition of whole cities at once.
In AD 60, Hierapolis, Colosse, and Laodicea were overthrown from earthquakes. There were earthquakes in Crete, Apamea, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, and Judea. Earthquakes in diverse places!
In spite of the fact that Yeshua said, "The end is not yet," many today take this passage out of context and speak ignorantly about "The signs of the times." They claim that modern-day battles, disastrous earthquakes, or devastating famines are signs of Christ's imminent return. But ALL these things happened in the time prior to AD 70 and the fall of Jerusalem. They are not signs! As we look back over history, when has there been a time when there were not wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes? These things are not signs. Yeshua said to his disciples that these things are the "beginning of sorrows."
All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Matthew 24:8 ESV
While the phrase "beginning of birth pains" is an image that is sometimes used in the Old Covenant simply to express great pain, it is often used of a woman in pain during childbirth. In Isaiah 13:8; 26:17; Jeremiah 4:31; 6:24; Micah 4:9-10, it is used almost as a special term for "the birth pains of Messiah." In our passage, it speaks of the period of distress preceding the return of Christ in AD 70. Its use here seems to be expressly chosen to denote the birth pains of a new world. Let's look at how Yeshua used this phrase.
“A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” John 16:16 ESV
Understandably, the disciples questioned Yeshua about his statement:
So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Yeshua knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? John 16:17-19 ESV
Yeshua explained himself in verses 20-23.
Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. John 16:20-23 ESV
The disciples would be sorrowful during the Lord's absence, but their sorrow would turn to joy at his return.
“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow.” Let’s consider how the symbolic imagery of a woman suffering in childbirth has been used in the Tanakh? The travail of a woman in childbirth is the traditional biblical metaphor for the sufferings of the Covenant people. These sufferings were to precede the new, Messianic Age. The Jews believed that just before the manifestation of the Messianic Kingdom, Israel would go through a period of intense suffering.
William Barclay wrote:
"Time was divided by the Jews into two great periods—this present age, and the age to come. The present age is wholly bad and beyond all hope of human reformation. It can be mended only by the direct intervention of God. When God does intervene the golden age, the age to come, will arrive. But in between the two ages there will come the Day of the Lord, which will be a time of terrible and fearful upheaval, like the birth-pangs of a new age" (The Gospel of John, Vol. 2, Chapters 8 to 21, The Daily Bible Study Series).
In Micah 4 we are told that
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, Micah 4:1 ESV
Micah prophesied that God's kingdom would be established in the last days. Now drop down to verse 9.
Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished, that pain seized you like a woman in labor? Writhe and groan, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in labor, for now you shall go out from the city and dwell in the open country; you shall go to Babylon. There you shall be rescued; there the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies. Micah 4:9-10 ESV
The idea of a woman in labor is used for the suffering that precedes the re-gathering of the scattered remnant and of the coming of the Lord in His kingdom. This is the imagery that Yeshua uses in our text.
Yeshua said, "All these are but the beginning of the birth pains" They were not signs to the disciples and they are not signs today. They did not signal the end but rather stretched throughout the entire period between the Lord's Ascension and his Second coming.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. Matthew 24:9 ESV
Who was to be delivered up and killed? THE DISCIPLES! Although it is certainly true that all Christians who live a godly life will suffer persecution, Jesus is speaking directly to those disciples right there with him. Did the disciples experience tribulation and death? Yes! All we need to do is read the book of Acts.
Dr. Louis A. Barbieri (Th.D. Dallas Theological Seminary) wrote this about verse 9. "Jesus began His words with a time word, 'Then'. At the middle point of the seven year period preceding Christ's second coming, great distress will begin to be experienced by Israel” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, “Matthew”). He suggests that Yeshua is talking about a time yet future to us! But what would that mean to the disciples? Nothing! Not only does Barbieri fail to take into account audience relevance, he also fails to compare the other gospel accounts.
But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. Luke 21:12 ESV
Notice that Luke adds the phrase, "before all this," showing that the persecutions are to start at the beginning of this period. The persecution of the disciples began immediately after the day of Pentecost.
“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. Mark 13:9 ESV
Mark adds that they would be beaten in the synagogues and be brought before rulers and kings for a testimony. All this was remarkably fulfilled in the lives of the disciples. Peter and John were imprisoned.
And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. Acts 4:3 ESV
Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned.
And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. Acts 16:23-24 ESV
Paul was brought before Gallio (Acts 28:12), Felix (Acts 24:24), and Agrippa (Acts 25:23). Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 7:59) and James was killed by Herod (Acts 12:2). As soon as Paul started preaching, he began to experience persecution.
When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him. Acts 9:23-24 ESV
And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him. Acts 9:29 ESV
Paul was beaten five times by the Jews:
Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 2 Corinthians 11:24-25 ESV
Yeshua said the disciples would be afflicted, beaten, and imprisoned. They would be hated for his name's sake and some of them would be killed. They would be brought before councils, rulers, and kings, for a testimony, and they would be given a mouth of wisdom which their adversaries would not be able to dispute. The disciples experienced all of this before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, just as the Lord had told them they would. It was unmistakably fulfilled in every detail!
And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. Matthew 24:10 ESV
Because of the great persecution of those days, many apostatized from the faith. Yeshua spoke of this in Matthew 13.
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. Matthew 13:20-21 ESV
In those days, many Christians were executed because others, in order to spare themselves, betrayed them and turned them in.
And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. Matthew 24:11 ESV
These are not the same as the “false Messiahs” of verse 5. They are "false teachers" among the believers. Most likely they were the Judaizing opponents of Paul. Paul spoke of them.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:13 ESV
John also spoke of false prophets.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1 ESV
Let’s return to Matthew 24.
And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. Matthew 24:12 ESV
Yeshua told the church at Ephesus that they had lost their first love:
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Revelation 2:4 ESV
The testimony of Josephus shows the utter lawlessness of the Jewish society in the disciples' lifetime.
But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:13 ESV
There is much debate about what this verse means. Some take it to mean that those who did not remain faithful to Christ to the point of death would not be redeemed. I can't buy that. It makes our salvation a work. It is saying that if we don't endure, we will be lost. I believe that the Bible very clearly teaches that salvation is a gift and that it cannot be lost.
And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, Romans 4:5 ESV
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6 ESV
None of the elect of God will ever be lost:
And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:30 ESV
What, then, is Yeshua saying in 24:13? I think he is telling the believers that if they remain faithful right up to the end, they will be saved from physical death in Jerusalem's fall. The Greek word "saved" is sozo. It means to save, i.e. deliver or protect (lit. or fig.):—heal, preserve, be (make) whole. The Christians who did not endure, but turned back to Judaism, died when Jerusalem fell.
Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it. Luke 21:21 ESV
Those believers who remained faithful fled to the mountains as the Lord told them to, thus saving their lives.
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 ESV
Remember the disciples' question? “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age.” What end is he talking about here? When taken in its context, we can see that "the end" in view here is the end or destruction which was to come upon Jerusalem and the temple, thus ending the Jewish age. Jerusalem would be destroyed, but "first" the gospel would be preached unto all nations.
Did this happen? We have seen that everything else so far took place in the life time of the disciples, but did this? Was the gospel preached in all the world before AD 70?
Probably one of the most common beliefs among Christians is that once the gospel is preached throughout the whole world, Christ will return and the world will end. This is a theme verse of the Christian Broadcasting Network. They are trying to fulfill this verse. Most believers would say that this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled because the gospel has not yet been preached to all the world. How do we know if it has?
Well, Yeshua said the end would come once the gospel was preached to all the world. But the end that is in view in this context is the end of Jerusalem and the end of the Old Covenant age. Since Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70, we must contend that the gospel was preached to all the world by then or we have to believe that Yeshua was mistaken. Which one can you live with? How can we find out if the gospel was preached in all the world before AD 70? We can go to the Scriptures to see if they give us any insight into this matter. Remember what we saw in Matthew 24:9.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. Matthew 24:9 ESV
Why would the apostles be hated in all nations if they had not preached the gospel in all the nations? They were hated by all nations because they had preached in all the nations. Paul declared that the gospel was preached to every creature under heaven.
… because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, Colossians 1:5-6 ESV
The gospel could not have been bearing fruit and increasing in the whole world if it had not been preached in the whole world.
if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. Colossians 1:23 ESV
In Matthew 24:14, the Greek word for preached is kerusso, and it is in the future tense. But in Colossians 1:23 the same word, kerusso, is in the aorist tense (past). Yeshua said that it was to be preached, and Paul wrote in AD 62 that it had been preached to every creature. Paul also said that the faith of the Romans was spoken of throughout the whole world.
First, I thank my God through Yeshua the Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. Romans 1:8 ESV
Paul said that the gospel was made known to all nations.
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Yeshua the Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— Romans 16:25-26 ESV
We know that Paul traveled throughout Asia Minor, Greece, and Crete and that he was in Italy and probably in Spain and Gaul as well (Romans 15:24-28). During this time, the other apostles weren't just sitting around idle. There is much proof that within thirty years after this prophecy was given, churches were established in all these regions.
Crysostom (375) wrote,
Therefore He added moreover, “And this gospel shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come,”(7) of the downfall of Jerusalem. For in proof that He meant this, and that before the taking of Jerusalem the gospel was preached, hear what Paul saith, “Their sound went into all the earth;”(8) and again, “The gospel which was preached to every creature which is under Heaven.” (9) Which also is a very great sign of Christ's power, that in twenty or at most thirty years the word had reached the ends of the world. “After this therefore,” saith He, “shall come the end of Jerusalem.” For that He intimates this was manifested by what follows.
Eusebius (325) wrote,
Thus, under the influence of heavenly power, and with the divine co-operation, the doctrine of the Saviour, like the rays of the sun, quickly illumined the whole world; and straightway, in accordance with the divine Scriptures, the voice of the inspired evangelists and apostles went forth through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Book II, Ch.III.)
Many today say that the gospel has not been preached to all the world and that Matthew 24:14 has not yet been fulfilled. But the Bible reveals that all the nations of the world heard the gospel preached before AD 70. Who are you going to believe? To deny that Matthew 24:14 has been fulfilled is to deny the clear statements of God's Holy Word; it is to call God a liar.
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 ESV
“Then the end will come”—the end of what? What were they asking about? The end of the temple and the Jewish age! Yeshua was not saying that the world would end when every single person had heard the gospel or that the Christian age would end. He very clearly told those disciples that before the temple was destroyed, before his Parousia arrived, and before the end of the age occurred, the gospel would be preached in all the world. And it was! The temple was destroyed! He arrived in full glory! The Old Covenant age ended!
This does not mean that the gospel was not to be preached after the end had come. It was to be preached forever and always. Notice the parable of the wedding feast:
And again Yeshua spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Matthew 22:1-7 ESV
Notice what he says to his servants AFTER the city is destroyed.
Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. Matthew 22:8-10 ESV
We dwell in the New Jerusalem in the very presence of God and the invitation is still going out today. Notice the invitation that goes forth from the New Heaven and Earth:
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17 ESV
I hope that you are faithfully proclaiming this message to everyone who is thirsty— come!