By Ryan Shaw
“And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14
This Scripture provides understanding of the scope of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and the timing of its fulfillment. It can only be correctly understood in the context of the broader concept of the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God can best be described as God’s reign over His enemies while bringing humanity into the joy and blessings of the divine rule. It impacts every element of life, behavior, motives, relationships & society according to God’s highest intention and purpose.
It can be said God’s Kingdom comes in three phases. First, through Jesus’ ministry on earth the Kingdom of God has been manifest among us. It is presently hidden to the physical senses yet known and experienced through the life of faith.
The second phase happens at the beginning of the Millennium (Jesus’ 1,000 year physical reign on earth) when Jesus returns in power and glory and Satan is chained. All will see and experience His perfect justice and absolute ruling authority displayed on earth.
The third and final manifestation of the Kingdom happens at the end of the Millennium when death, sin and Satan are destroyed and these enemies of Jesus are put under His feet. It is then the Kingdom is known in its full manifestation on earth and Jesus gives the gift of a completely restored earth to His Father.
In the present evil age, the Kingdom of God has been inaugurated yet not actualized. Every human being can enjoy its power and participate with its blessings.
The Kingdom of God, its ultimate realization manifested in the age to come, has been brought into the present age through Jesus and His work (Hebrews 6:5). Life in the Kingdom brings ultimate satisfaction and fulfillment as this is how we are intended to live in the heart of God.
A common question surrounds when the second phase of the Kingdom will come. A related question is how are we to live now in cooperation with this Kingdom?
Matthew 24:14 gives us the answer. This verse is the clearest we have in Scripture about when Jesus will return, ushering in the second phase of the Kingdom’s realization. It simultaneously reveals the primary task of His body in order to see this phase actualized.
The Bible teaches ongoing growth of evil as we near the end of this present age. Yet it also teaches God has not forsaken this age to Satan.
The Kingdom of God has invaded this present age, bringing the power and authority of the age to come into it. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection human beings can be set free from Satan and sin’s rule over them, living under the authority and enabling of the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God works in and through the body of Christ, the church, to extend its available experience of the divine rule of God throughout the world. God’s Kingdom is experienced in the world through the gospel of the Kingdom.
Understanding Matthew 24:14 means answering the question, what is the gospel of the Kingdom? The call of the body of Christ is living and declaring to the world the authority of the King who achieved universal right and rule through His resurrection from the dead.
The global church goes forth into every ethnic group declaring the place of authority God has given to Jesus, the supreme King. The gospel of the Kingdom influences every ethnic group toward the King’s standards and ideals.
How is this accomplished? Through disciples living, teaching and providing examples of the Kingdom of God in their midst. We influence the ungodly elements of culture through exposing ethnic groups to a thoroughly different, counter-cultural way of living – the Kingdom of God (Jesus’ teaching in the gospels).
Jesus’ message bearers (alternative term for missionary) declare the fact of His Lordship, announcing within that people group, that He is King, calling for a supreme standard of life according to created order, who will return in splendor once more.
Disciples declare the King’s moral standards and ideals, revealing the greatest intellectual height as growing in the knowledge of God, and our emotional capacities being realized in loving God and others.