Yeshua said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”(Matthew 24:14) Also, He gave His followers the great commission, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)
This has inspired much evangelism and missionary efforts. We know there are some people groups that do not have the Bible in their language and Wycliffe Bible translators have take up this challenge and trained and sent translators to these people groups to produce a Bible in their native language. This is generally a lifetime effort. A friend of ours joined Wycliffe and went to Papua New Guinea to reach the Minivega tribe. He is just now after 40 years or so finalizing the Old and New Testaments in their language. Efforts like this clearly are great strides in fulfilling the Great Commission to go into all the earth and preach the Good News. However, is fulfillment of the Great Commission equivalent to the prophecy that the end will follow?
Paul said, “All Israel will be saved”. (Rom. 11:26) However, not all Israelis have accepted her Messiah, Yeshua, leading some to think this scripture will not be literally fulfilled regarding Israel. They suggests it is symbolic and the Church has replaced Israel as God’s Chosen People, thus all believers including believing Israelis will be saved. It has been said many times in scripture that all who believe will be saved. In the previous chapter Paul acknowledges not all Israelites accepted the Good News. (Rom. 10:26) So, this is a clear reference to the Nation of Israel. Is it right to interject symbolism into scripture, rather than simply believe it’s plain meaning? Is our preaching the Good News to the whole world what triggers the end times? Is this prophecy connected to the return of Yeshua and His preaching the Good News to the whole world? Prophecy is clear that Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew name) will return to save Israel. (Isa. 59:20-21,27:9; Jer. 31:33-34; Ezk. 38:23, 39:7,22,28-29) This will be the answer to Yeshua’s prayers when He was on earth and the purpose of His return. In this way the Good News will spread not incrementally, but explosively from Israel to the nations. Israel will accept her Messiah, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”(Zechariah 12:10) The Messiah will save Israel from total annihilation at Armageddon and all Israel will be saved. (Ezekiel 36:26-27; 37:27-29) Many believe there will be a great worldwide revival near the end times. It is described, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Joel 2:28-31) Paul said this was fulfilled at Pentecost (see Acts 2:16-21) and it was in part, but fully when blood and fire and billows of smoke exists in a dreadful day. Just as the Messiah came once and will again, prophecy can have duel presence. An end time revival is also mentioned in Revelations 7:9,14, 14:6. God is using people, the written word, electronic and digital communications to deliver the Good News, but there is nothing as effective has first hand testimony from Yeshua himself and He is coming.