This Gospel to all nations...then the end?

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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
This Gospel will be preached to all nations and then the End......



What is a "nation"

Does the Gospel need to reach every nation before Christ returns?

If the word "nation" means an unreached tribe (a distinct ethno-linguistic grouping of people), then must every tribe be evangelized before Christ returns?

There are 274 languages just in the area where I am at! And several thousand languages in the world.

Did this happen in Acts 2?


Is a nation a People-group as missiologists define it? What is the theological basis of the people group concept?

Missiologists use categories such a "reached" or "unreached" - are there any Bibical bases for these terms? When is a people group "reached"?
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
I take the preterist stance on this. The 'world' spoken of is the known Roman 'world' of New Testament times. So if you look at the following verses one may conclude that the gospel was in fact preached to the entire world before the end (of the Temple and sacrificial worship) and the coming of Christ in judgment against Jerusalem in 70 AD.


Col. 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant.

23 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.

Rom 16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 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— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I think it is simpler to just say that God will wait until all his elect are brought in, and completes any other purpose of his for the world (which is subordinate in any case, and surely tied in both time and effect closely to the main). And then everything shudders to a halt for Judgment Day.

Rev 5:9 And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation."

Some languages have come and gone. Perhaps without a single convert. But the passage is teaching a fullness of the redemption. Everyone on this earth, whatever their language pattern, is ultimately related, so back up far enough and they are "one" with somebody else in identity and language.

Bottom line: I don't think God is waiting for us to "close the 10-40 window," as much as he is expecting us to simply preach the gospel as wide and far as humanly posible.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
I think it is simpler to just say that God will wait until all his elect are brought in, and completes any other purpose of his for the world (which is subordinate in any case, and surely tied in both time and effect closely to the main). And then everything shudders to a halt for Judgment Day.

Rev 5:9 And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation."

Some languages have come and gone. Perhaps without a single convert. But the passage is teaching a fullness of the redemption. Everyone on this earth, whatever their language pattern, is ultimately related, so back up far enough and they are "one" with somebody else in identity and language.

Bottom line: I don't think God is waiting for us to "close the 10-40 window," as much as he is expecting us to simply preach the gospel as wide and far as humanly posible.

While I agree with Bob on the interpretation of this verse, it seems clear that Bruce has made an important point here. Our job is to preach the Gospel until Christ comes, period. We ought not to be concerned about "hastening the end" or whatever... just go out and preach to all, period. It's pretty simple - to delve into the mechanisms of prophetic fulfillment is a grand waste of time, In my humble opinion.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
We delve into the mechanics of EVERYTHING here on the PB, to include the decrees of God. Why not the mechanics of missions?


It appears as if SOME deductions CAN be reached.



For instance, if you had 10 elders from your home church and they felt as if they were called to either Atlanta, GA or Saudi Arabia and had the means to go either place and left it up to your church to decide, it seems logical that the priority would be one place over the other.

This issue is important as far as prioritizing where to go next or sink limited resources into. If only 50 workers are available and there are means to send them anywhere in the world, where do they go to best serve world evangelism? One method for prioritization is by filling the "most needy" people groups and different formulas of need have been attempted.


Also,
If Rev 5 does say thou was slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation."


Then it is not a very full salvation it seems if some from every tongue, tribe and nation are not included under that throne. Christ, then, did not, in fact, purchase some from every tongue, tribe and nation but only merely purchased some from some tribes and some tingues and some nations.


What is a tongue, tribe and nation? Do we draw it from the Genesis Table of Nations? If so, Acts 2 seems to be a fulfillment, because all nations were included in Acts 2.


But Paul, who speaks of the whole world knowing of the Gospel, still tried to go to Spain and name Christ where He was not yet named....what's with that?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I agree that we need not be uninterested in the mechanics of mission. However, I think we could end up trying to reduce the mind of Christ to a formula. What happens to the sense of mission once the Bible is translated into every known tongue? After a generation, will the sense of urgency fall off, because of a sense of "disappointment" that Jesus hasn't returned yet? While it might not be the dominant attitude (I hope it wouldn't be!), I can see a sense of futility hitting many people, when there isn't a rapid "end-time" revival, and a rapture. Why? Because they were so program-driven instead of sovereign-grace motivated.

By all means, let the call go out from the church: "We want to send someone to Xxxxxx. We think there is a crying need for someone there (as opposed to over here.)" And then find the man who is willing to go. But I think the answer ends up being different for those of different visions, and different churches. I don't think there is a single answer. Because Jesus is sitting higher, and looking farther than any of us can attain to his scope.

As for Rev. 5, I believe in a literal fulfillment of it. But how do we define (as you said) what is every one of those things. Well, in the last analysis, we don't have to worry about Jesus' definition. We simply work hard at the ministry we've been given. And look forward to that huge throng at the end, harmonizing the heavenly chorus in ways we cannot comprehend.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
John Piper answers this question in Ch 5 of Let the Nations be Glad. He say it refers to people groups, and narrows it down to basically clans on pg 205ff. :2cents:
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
What Patrick said: how do we define nations? Or, more importantly ask yourself: how did the people of Jesus day define nations?

In the NT, one of the most common uses of 'ethnos' (nation) is Gentiles (vs. Jews). This does not refer to countries (as in our day) but people groups (see Bruce's argument from Revelation 5:9) Additionally, in Matthew's 'Jewish' gospel, this word is most often used to dichotomize the faithful Jew and the godless Gentile. I would understand Jesus use of 'ethnos' (nation) in Matthew 24:9 to be consistent with this understanding since the context brings up the 'abomination of desolation'.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
We delve into the mechanics of EVERYTHING here on the PB, to include the decrees of God. Why not the mechanics of missions?

I would assume much prayer would be part of the mechanics as well as waiting for the guidance of the Spirit. I am not being glib. Acts seems to show there is a lot of both involved with missions work.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
My point was only that one should not be concerned about the question of what "nation" means... especially if that question leads you to be worried about reaching all of the "nations" so that Christ can finally come.

My point was to say, just go and do it.
 

k.seymore

Puritan Board Freshman
Although we are definitely meant to spread the gospel to all people, I'm not sure that is what is meant by "the gospel to all nations... and then the end." It appears that this is referring to the witness that Paul and others bore to the heads of nations when they were brought on trial before various rulers before the temple’s destruction. Notice in the following how that statement is sandwiched in between two statements about going on trial before rulers:

“you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say”

Sounds similar to what Paul said about how the he was thankful when brought on trial because through it the gospel was being preached to rulers (And he was thankful that even those accusing him had to preach the gospel themselves in order to explain the charges against him to the heads of regions and nations). It seems to me like this witness before the representatives of nations and peoples is in fulfillment of what is meant by “the gospel being preached to all nations” in Jesus’ apocalypse.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Thanks,

Still if Christ will redeem some from every tongue, tribe and nation, and whole tribes have gone out of existence without a believer, how is Scripture still true?

Again: Christ did not say that He woul redeem some from some tribes, but some from every tribe, tongue, nations...


Also;
In Genesis, right before Babel, the table of nations is listed. Are these prototypical nations? THis would mean that the Gospel was preached to all nations at Acts 2 possibly if the term "nations" is defined by this table of nations in Genesis.




What about the whole "People group Focus" of modern missions. Is it an improvement? A bad thing? And can it be used to prioritize the sending of missionaries?



Also, if we send evangelists to Group X and try to saturate Group X with the Gospel and create an indigenous church in Group X, rather than merely a geographical area how is this related to the Homogenous Unit Principle? We are targetting specific peoples after all and trying to create to communicate the Gospel to those target peoples in particular.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Last thing: If Paul believed that the Gospel had already been proclaimed to the whole world (as he seems to say so in Romans) why was he trying so hard to get to Spain and preach Christ where He was not named?
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Are we to assume that only those mentioned by name in the book of Acts did any proclaiming? Is it not possible that others were proclaiming who never get mentioned by name?
 

k.seymore

Puritan Board Freshman
Perhaps we're not meant to read "every tongue and tribe and nation" in such a strict literal way any more than were are to read Paul's statement about every creature under heaven has heard the gospel as being strictly literal. It would sure sound strange to say, "Jesus has redeemed people from many, but not all, nations; including many, but not all, creatures." Just doesn't have the same poetic force.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Last thing: If Paul believed that the Gospel had already been proclaimed to the whole world (as he seems to say so in Romans) why was he trying so hard to get to Spain and preach Christ where He was not named?

Because he was still on Earth and Christ hadn't come yet - perhaps he felt a particular call to go to Spain, I dont' know...

I do think the "people group focus" can be wrongheaded in that somehow it seems to have an underlying perspective that says that once we get the gospel to every single "people group" (whatever that is - my family is a people group!) then Christ will come. Rather, Christ will come when he comes... the Gospel should be spread far and wide, and let Christ come when he is ready to - let's just be about the business of spreading the Gospel to all nations (including those at home). This means we actually spread it to people.. not just make sure one person in every "people group" has heard. Pergie, I'm not saying that you're saying this - just interacting with the general theme...
 

Iconoclast

Puritan Board Junior
just a thought on this

Pergamum said;
Still if Christ will redeem some from every tongue, tribe and nation, and whole tribes have gone out of existence without a believer, how is Scripture still true?

Again: Christ did not say that He woul redeem some from some tribes, but some from every tribe, tongue, nations...
I have heard it said many times and seen it in print several other times that perhaps in the confessions of faith when it speaks of elect infants dying in infancy this might be the design of God to fulfill what is revealed in scripture as His Eternal purpose. They could be the every ,tongue ,tribe , and nation.:candle:
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
KMK: Yes, many unnamed folks were evangelizing. Third John is about offering hospitality to these. And Paul went to a group of believers in Rome (i.e. there were believers there before Pual arrived).
 

Amazing Grace

Puritan Board Junior
Many 'missionary' minded people have perverted this thought and has led them to believe that mans goal is to do this before Christ returns. They will tramp all over God's creation, every nook and cranny and check off people groups or tongues and say, there is one more down. They believe they are called but are not called at all. Christ never knew them. They hawk Christ as a vendor hawks peanuts at a ballgame. We must never forget that some die without ever hearing of Christ. That is His electing love alone. Some are left in darkness others are not. So it is every tribe, tongu, and nation that God has so desired to bring His elect out of paganism and the rest are left. This design is not to be taken as one is more important that the other. That something lies within the group to hear the good news. It must humble us in front of the Lord and praise Him all the more.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
KMK: Yes, many unnamed folks were evangelizing. Third John is about offering hospitality to these. And Paul went to a group of believers in Rome (i.e. there were believers there before Pual arrived).

Is it possible that he wanted to go to Spain in order to visit churches that were already there?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Amazing Grace:

sorry, brother, your post lost me a bit.

Is there anything wrong with searching out which groups are most "needy" - as we define spiritual need - and happily checking them off our list as we allocate workers to live among these unreached peoples?

The motivation is love of Christ, right?


Is tramping all over God's creation a bad thing?
Some folks could use a little more trampin' in my opinion.


Why did you put "missionary-minded" in quotes, as if this were a bad thing?

Also, why bring up God's secret election when it comesto evangelism efforts..this is certainly not a reason to stay home and not try to reach every tribe, right?

What exactly are you getting at?
 
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toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Amazing Grace:

sorry, brother, your post lost me a bit.

Is there anything wrong with searching out which groups are most "needy" - as we define spiritual need - and happily checking them off our list as we allocate workers to live among these unreached peoples? THe motivation is love of Christ, right?

Well, is it? Is the motivation spreading the gospel, or is it "checking them off our list"? Got to be
VERY careful there not to fall into the mindset of checking off all unreached people groups as though that
would hasten Christ's return.

Furthermore, I'm not sure that there is a "right way" to allocate workers to fields of mission work - why would one choose to
start a new work in a previously unreached area rather than use the missionary resources to strengthen
one that was just begun? There's more to missions than just "checking [unreached people groups] off" as
though that were the virtuous end we should be seeking. The Gospel is to be spread to all people - and
sometimes I suspect the right answer in utilizing new mission resources is decidedly NOT to start an umpteenth new
mission in an umpteenth new people group, but to strengthen those mission works already in progress.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Everyone knows the best way to hasten the Lord's return is to build a Temple in Jerusalem! :lol:
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Todd Peddler:

So, by your logic, if you were a pastor and had 20 families called into missions, you would be just as happy if they all wanted to go to Atlanta Georgia as you would be if they all wanted to go to Saudi Arabia?

It seems that some places do not have as much access to the Gospel. It appears that one can prioritize these places.

What do you see as priorities for new church plants? I am sure that you are not denying priorities altogether are you?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Ha, new missions strategy, stop supporting missionaries and send money to build the temple mount! HA
 
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