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Matthew 24:14 states, 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.”

Regarding this passage there are those who are saying that Jesus cannot come in the rapture yet because the gospel of the kingdom has not yet been preached to all nations. They even add padding to this argument by quoting Revelation 7:9 which says, After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands…” Those with this belief then state that not all people groups of the world have been reached, and therefore, Jesus cannot come yet. Maybe in ten years, but not yet.

On that note, there are two things that must be pointed out. Number one, the gospel will continue to be preached throughout the Great Tribulation period, and people will come to Christ. Many of those Tribulation believers will be beheaded for Christ during that time as well. As it says in Revelation 20:4, “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands.”

Furthermore, angels in the heavens will declare the everlasting gospel as Revelation 14 clearly states, “6Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— 7saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”

Secondly, when Jesus in Matthew 24 says “and then the end will come” He is not referring to the rapture of the Church, but rather, the end of the age which happens at His second coming. There is a difference. The rapture is when Jesus takes His Bride UP. The Second Coming is when Jesus and all His saints come DOWN. It is at His Second Coming that He sets His feet down on the Mount of Olives, wipes out those gathered for Armageddon, and sets up the Millennial kingdom (Revelation 19-22; Zechariah 14).

If we want to get a bit more detailed, let’s breakdown what nations, tribes, peoples and tongues actually mean. “Nation” is the word ethnos (1484) meaning a race practicing a common culture, and is used of the Gentile world. “Tribe” is the Greek work phule (5443) meaning a lineage of a common ancestor. It is used thirty-one times in the New Testament, and fifteen of thirty one occurrences are in Revelation. Each one of those fifteen times it is used in Revelation it is referring to the tribes of Israel. “Peoples” is the word laos (2992) meaning people, specifically, God’s chosen people, believers, whether the believing Jews of the Septuagint (the Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Old Testament), the first Jewish Christian converts, or Christians in general. The word laos forms the root of the English word for laity. “Tongues” is the word glossa (1100) meaning languages that set apart each nation as separate and distinct. Thus, those before the throne in the scene of Revelation 7 are races sharing a common culture, the tribes of Israel, Jewish and Gentile Christian believers, and the languages of the races.

Interestingly enough, all nations and languages and dialects were represented on the day of Pentecost as seen in Acts 2. “5And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” Additionally, Colossians 1:5-6a, 23b says, “because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, 6which has come to you, as it has also in all the world…the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven…”

When we look back to Matthew 24:14, Jesus clearly stated that the gospel will be preached in all the world. The Greek word for “world” is oikoumene (3625) which means, “the inhabited earth.” HELPS Word-studies reveals that this word is very specific when it says, “3625 (oikouménē) literally means “the inhabited (land).” It was “originally used by the Greeks to denote the land inhabited by themselves, in contrast with barbarian countries; afterward, when the Greeks became subject to the Romans, ‘the entire Roman world;’ still later, for ‘the whole inhabited world‘”.” For the sake of context, in the days of the writing of Matthew 24, the word for world was taken to mean the civilized Roman empire.

Thus, God fulfilled His word on the Day of Pentecost, has been fulfilling it throughout Church history, is fulfilling it right now, and will continue to fulfill it during the Great Tribulation – His promise of spreading the gospel to every nation, tribe, people, and tongue. And then the end of the age – the second coming of Christ – will come. And this in no way conflicts with Christ coming for His Bride in what is referred to as the rapture/harpazo/the snatching away/catching away. It does not conflict because they are two entirely different things.

Thus, in response to those who use Matthew 24 and Revelation 7 to support their belief that Christ cannot come yet, have misunderstood what Jesus means by “the end” and have forgotten that the gospel will continue to be preached throughout the Tribulation period. Not only this, but even in the time of Peter and Paul, the gospel had already been preached to all nations and languages and creatures, even the whole world. This therefore, is not a valid argument.

Jesus’ rapture of His Bride is immanent. Nothing has to happen before He comes for His Church. When one looks at Matthew 24, Luke 17 and 21, and Mark 13 and sees in the news the very things that are written therein exploding on the world stage and before our very eyes, things that are heralds of the second coming, then one can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the rapture could happen at any second. We are that close. We are breathlessly close. He is near, even at the door. Let’s be ready!

Looking up,

Holy Light Ministries

References:

The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, by Spiros Zodhiates

Bible Hub Interlinear Online

HELPS Word-study from Bible Hub Online

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