“Go…”. The Great Commission. - A radical call - Always opposition - ‘Go-to-them ’ rather than ‘come-to-us ’.
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The Great Commission
There’s a growing idea in many churches that you can only preach if you are ‘authorized’ to do so by some committee or group of elders. The personal relevance and reference of the great commission means we can rightly ignore this. In fact, such an attitude is really a preservation of Roman Catholicism. In 1184 at the Council of Verona, Pope Lucius III declared that the list of heretics should be extended to include those who “preach without permission”.
Jesus sent out the 70 preachers to every place where He Himself was to come; they went showing His "face" to the people, and showing them that the Kingdom of God had come near to them (Lk. 10:1,9). Perhaps this principle is to be seen in the great commission; Luke's version of which builds on the more limited commission to the 70.
Dan. 12:4 speaks of a time in the very last days when “many shall run to and fro (an idiom often used concerning response to God's word: Ps. 119:32,60; 147:15; Amos 8:11,12; Hab. 2:2; Jn. 8:37 RV; 2 Thess. 3:1 Gk.), and knowledge shall be increased...many shall be purified, and made white (in baptism), and tried (in the tribulation)”.
Dan. 11:32,33 speaks of how in the time of the end " The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits...instruct many" .
The parable of the marriage feast - an ever-increasingly vigorous preaching campaign by the " servants" , seeing that " they which were bidden were not worthy" (Matt. 22:8) - the Greek implying not enough numerically. As a result of this preaching, " the wedding was furnished ('filled' - numerically) with guests" (Matt. 22:10).
The parable of the great supper- the servants go forth " at supper time" (Luke 14:17) . This fits more naturally into the context of a preaching appeal just prior to the second coming than to the first century. The " supper" , i.e. the Kingdom (Luke 14:15; Matt. 22:2), is prepared, and at " supper time" - 'Kingdom time' - the appeal is made. " All things are now ready" (Luke 14:17) explains the unmistakeable sense of urgency in the commissions given to the servants to preach. The 'decorum of the symbol' suggests that the animals being killed for the meal would necessitate a brief period of invitation immediately prior to the feast, rather than them being on the table for 2,000 years.
Before every 'coming' of the Lord there has been a period of persecution and zealous preaching: Noah preached righteousness before the flood, as Lot probably tried to before the Lord's coming down in judgment on Sodom (would God have wrought such wholesale destruction without giving the people a chance to repent? Cp. Nineveh and Jonah). The schools of the prophets preached from the street corners and temple steps to warn of the coming of the day of the Lord at the hand of the Babylonians and Assyrians. And of course the dramatic coming of the Lord in judgment upon Israel in AD70, was heralded by Paul and his committed band of zealots staging the greatest preaching campaigns this world has seen.
The dragon/ beast made war with the seed of the woman " which keep the commandments (word) of God, and have the testimony (i.e. preaching) of Jesus" (Rev. 12:17); it was because of " the word of their testimony (i.e. preaching) (that) they loved not their lives unto the death" (12:11), and then Rev. 12 goes on to describe how this final witness amidst tribulation is resolved by the coming of Jesus and the establishment of the Kingdom.
Joel 2:32 seems to prophesy of multitudes calling upon the name of the Lord in the ‘last days’. The preliminary fulfillment of this in Acts 2:21 must surely be repeated in the ultimate ‘last days’. And it may be that it is multitudes of Diaspora Jews who respond, as it was in Acts 2…
70 bullocks had to be sacrificed at the feast of ingathering (Num. 29), prophetic as it was of the final ingathering of the redeemed. But 70 is the number of all Gentile nations found in Gen. 10. And it is written: “When he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel” (Dt. 32:8). A total of 70 went down with Jacob into Egypt; and thus 70 seems an appropriate number to connect with the entire Gentile world. My point is, representatives of all of them will be finally ingathered. It could be that this conversion of all men occurs during the final tribulation (Rev. 14:6)
1 Inability to maintain a satisfactory devotional life when separated from other sympathetic believers. 8.0%
“Go ye into all the world” evidently connects with the Lord’s command in the parable: “Go ye” into the highways and “gather together all”, as many as were found. And this in turn is an extension of an earlier parable, where the net of the Gospel is presented as gathering “every kind”- every genos, every “kindred / nation / stock / generation”, as the word is elsewhere translated (Mt. 28:19; 22:9,10; 13:47).
The command to ‘make disciples’ of all men in Matthew is framed in such a way as to make ‘...baptising them...’ a subordinate clause. Baptism is only part of the work of making disciples. In Mt. 28:19-20 mathateusate("make disciples") is the main verb, while poreuthentes("while going" or "when [you] go"), baptizontes("baptizing"), and didaskontes("teaching") are subsidiary participles. The focus clearly is upon making disciples- all the other things, the teaching, baptizing, our effort in travelling and preaching, are incidental to this main aim.
Is. 58:6 AV: “To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free (cp. Dt. 15:12 re freedom of slaves, s.w.), and that ye break every yoke?” is in the context of an insincerely kept year of Jubilee in Hezekiah’s time, after the Sennacherib invasion. Is. 58 has many Day of Atonement allusions- the year of Jubilee began on this feast. We are as the High Priest declaring the reality of forgiveness to the crowd.
To preach [proclaim] the acceptable year of the Lord (Lk. 4:19) is thus parallel with “You shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants” (Lev. 25:10)