"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:14(NASB)
Days before His crucifixion Christ was asked what would be the sign of the end of the age. Both John the Baptizer and Jesus Himself had been teaching the “Gospel Of The Kingdom' to none but the house of Israel, for Christ had come to set up His kingdom as Israel's Messiah-King. But He came to His own Jewish people who did not receive Him and they cried out together; we will not have this man to rule over us. Jesus had just wept over Jerusalem's continued unbelief. His spirit was grieved and His heart was in pain as He prophesised that He would not return to earth until Israel as a nation cried out: blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.
This was referring to His second coming to earth as the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah, which will not happen until the end of the great tribulation - the time of Jacob's trouble. And so with this amazing prophecy ringing in their ears, His disciples asked Jesus: when will this be. When would He return. When would He come to fulfil this promise to set up His kingdom and: what would be the sign of His return. And Jesus started to describe all the things that would take place in those seven years about which Daniel prophesised.. the time which would lead up to His glorious kingdom rule. In His reply Jesus simply laid out all that would take place during that prophesised time of Jacob's trouble - just prior to His return.
The detailed answer that Christ gave to His disciples was a direct response to their direct question. It passed right over all that would happen in this Church age of grace and focused on that time when Christ would come to earth as Israel's returning King. The majority of Church age doctrine would have to wait until it was given to His New testament apostles and prophets after His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and glorification.. with Paul playing a major role in sharing the mystery.. hidden from earlier ages and generations. Church age doctrine would have to wait until the Holy Spirit was sent to indwell post-cross believers - who were the yet-to-be-formed Body-of-Christ.
In answer to their question Jesus told them the temple would be destroyed.. nations and kingdoms would rise up against each other. He warned that there would be wars and rumours of wars ..together with famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places. There would also be an explosion of false prophets and increasing martyrdom of those who believed in Jesus Christ - the Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the world.
Just as Christ's earthly ministry was predominantly to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, so His response to the disciples' question was predominantly referring to the time of Jacob's trouble.. the 70th week of Daniel - just prior to His return in the clouds when Israel will cry out: blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.
One of the things that Christ explained would happen would be that the Gospel of the Kingdom, which both John the Baptist and Christ Himself had been preaching for 3 years.. would once again be the message that Israel would preach throughout the whole world.. as a testimony to all the nations - and then the end would come, when Jesus would return in power and great glory to set up His earthly kingdom in Jerusalem.
For thousands of years Israel had neglected their call to be a light to lighten the gentiles, which culminated in the rejection and crucifixion of their Messiah. But the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. And during the coming 70th week of Daniel - that future time of Jacob's trouble, Israel as a nation will finally and fully complete their God-given responsibility, as His chosen people - to tell the nations of the world about Jesus Christ - the Son of God and Son of Man - the Messiah of Israel; man's Kinsman-Redeemer and the Saviour of the World.
Israel as a nation will one day finally fulfil their mission to evangelise the world when they will once again proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom throughout the world - the same gospel, which started to be taught at Christ's first coming, but which had to be postponed when Israel rejected their King. This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached by Jewish evangelists throughout all the world as a witness and testimony to all the nations that Jesus Christ, Whom they crucified is both LORD and CHRIST - and then the end will come.
Today it is the gospel of the grace of God that the Church has been called to preach - a message that has been faithfully proclaimed for 2000 years. A message that will continue to be taught to a lost and dying world until Jesus comes in the clouds to take us to be with Himself - the gospel that proclaims that Christ died for the sin of the whole world ..that He rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father, so that whosever believes on HIM will not perish but have everlasting life.
The gospel of grace will continue to be taught until the end of this Church age.. until the time of Jacob's trouble, when the Gospel of the Kingdom will once again be proclaimed throughout the world.. The gospel of the grace of God will continue to be proclaimed until the time of the end about which the Lord Jesus told His disciples on that day when He departed from the Temple and started to tell them what would be the sign of His coming at the end of the age.
Heavenly Father, thank You that the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. Thank You that I have been saved by grace through faith in Christ and that the day is coming when Israel as a nation will once again proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom to a lost and dying world. We pray that a multitude without number will be saved during that time of terrible tribulation - and we will give You all the glory and praise for Your goodness and grace to the children of men, in Jesus name we pray, AMEN