Q&A: Israel's Commissions
I have a question regarding Israel's commission. The "great commission" of Matt. 28 seems to me to be a continuation of the commission of Matt. 10. According to Matt. 10:23, Christ would return before the apostles finish their ministry to Israel, and then after the establishment of the kingdom would continue to minister to the nations at large according to Matt. 28:19. This view has left the commission intact for the twelve to yet fulfil in the future in spite of the current dispensational interruption. However, I am unable to reconcile this with Matt. 24:14, which indicates the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world BEFORE the end comes. Jesus does not say who will be preaching this gospel. If it happens before Christ's return, then I assume it will be preached by someone other than the twelve apostles. If this is in some fulfillment of the Matt. 28:19, Mark 16:15, or Luke 24:47, then why were those commissions directed specifically at the twelve only to be fulfilled by others? Why does Jesus say that He will return before the twelve finish their ministry in Israel according to Matt. 10:23, yet He says in Matt. 24:14 the gospel will be preached in all the world before the end comes? Any help with this would be much appreciated.
I break down the components of Israel's great commission(s) as found in the 4 Gospel accounts in Behold: A Brief Introduction to the Gospels, particularly the chapter "Here Comes the Son". I deal with the edificational context of Matthew 10 in the Matthew audio series I did at Columbia River Bible Fellowship.
The short answer is that there is a difference between the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom (which takes place before the arrival of the kingdom), versus the kingdom itself, and the "rule" of the kings and priests that will be overseen by the twelve in the kingdom.
The commissioning, and its "witness", involves more than just the twelve (Lk. 10:1-24; Mk 16:17-18) and anticipates the events and curses of the Lord's Day with its bitter water, biting serpents, famine, etc. In Matthew 10 Christ is beginning to introduce them to the doctrine for the day of vengeance, the further details of which will be given in the Olivet Discourse. The context is the persecution of the great tribulation, and preparing the remnant for it. He begins to make reference to those who will be "fleeing" in connection with the "hatred" of that time (Mt. 10:16-42; 24:9-16; 25:31-46). This "testimony" will also therefore be in the context of being "against" many who do not aid the remnant. They are assured of when the arrival of the Son of Man will take place in connection with these events as they wait for him in the mountains (Mt. 24:16, 29-30).
With regard to the gospel "preaching" in Israel's program which is "for a witness" (both for and against), there is a development to its progression in connection with Israel's rejection of Christ and the ramifications this has for "the world". The kingdom itself does not go out to the world until "all Israel is saved" and Jerusalem begins to "shine". The gospel of the kingdom is naturally therefore first preached to Israel, with further components added in Acts 1-7. In light of their rejection in Acts 1-7, further components are then added to it whereby the world is confronted with the arrival of the day of vengeance, its indictment of apostate Israel and the world, and the events that will lead to its ultimate "end". There are numerous means by which this preaching will take place, as The Revelation details, but it centers on what is taking place in connection with the remnant in the land. All the world will be well aware of the two witnesses and the judgments they are bringing to the earth. They, and the remnant, will be "hated" all the more for it (Rev. 6:15-17; 11:10; 14:6-8).
The gospel of the kingdom prepares people for the kingdom of heaven. There is no gospel to be preached in the kingdom of heaven, for that gospel testifies of its coming arrival and the program developments until that time. There will, however, be "teaching" in the kingdom in connection with its establishment on earth, and the law going forth out of converted and glorified Zion (Isa. 2:2-4; Zech. 8:22-23; 14:9,16). Hope this helps.
Seated in heavenly places with Him,