Will the Jews Reach the Unreached with the Gospel during the Great Tribulation?
Dr Oswald Smith
By Dr Oswald Smith
The Gospel of the grace of God is the good news that Jesus died for sinners. The Gospel of the Kingdom is the good news that Jesus is coming back to reign. Both messages must be proclaimed; and whether it is the Gospel of the grace of God or the Gospel of the Kingdom, it makes no difference. In both cases, it is the Gospel, the good news. And it must be published before the end comes.
A Dangerous Heresy
But I know what some are saying. I hear it everywhere. They are saying: "This is not the task of the Church at all, the Jews are to do it; we should leave it for them after we have been raptured away."
I know of no heresy that can do more to cut the nerve of missionary endeavour. Moreover, I know of no definite statement in the entire Bible that would lead me to believe, for one single moment, that the Jews are to evangelize the world during the days of the great tribulation, as some people seem to think. Were I to believe that I would fold my arms and do nothing
Do you mean to say that after the Holy Spirit has gone, and we are told that He is to go when the Church goes, do you mean to say that the Jews can accomplish more in some seven years or less, without the help of the Holy Spirit, in the midst of persecution and martyrdom, than we have been able to accomplish in nearly two thousand years, with the Holy Spirit's aid, when it has been easy to be a Christian? Preposterous! Impossible!
Furthermore, if nothing is to be done until the Church has been raptured, then only that one generation, the generation that will be living during the tribulation, will ever be evangelized. Are you willing then that every other generation should perish? Have you no concern for your own generation? Are we going to allow this generation to be lost and be satisfied if the last generation only, is evangelized? Paul's burden was for the first generation of the Christian era.
Even if you are right, still I am going to do all I can, because the job has to be done sometime. Everyone agrees on that. Well then, the more I can do now the less the Jews will have to do then. But if you are wrong, what a tragedy! You will have failed to do your part to evangelize the world and God will hold you responsible. I believe it must be done now.
One Thing Only
When Jesus left His disciples, nearly two thousand years ago now, He gave them but one task; namely, world evangelization. I can imagine Him talking to them something like this: "I am going to leave you and I will be gone for a long time. While I am absent, I want you to do just one thing. Give this Gospel of Mine to the entire world. See that every nation, tongue, and tribe hears it, at least once." Those were His instructions. That was the one thing He told them to do, and they understood Him perfectly.
But what has the Church done during the years He has been absent? Have we carried out His orders? Have we obeyed Him? As a matter of fact, we have done everything else except the one and only thing He told us to do. Jesus never told us to build colleges, universities, and seminaries, but we have done it. He never told us to erect hospitals and asylums and homes for the aged. He never told us to build churches or to organize Sunday Schools and Youth for Christ Rallies, but we have done it. And we ought to have done it, for it is all important and worthwhile. But the one and only thing that He did tell us to do, is the one and only thing that we have left undone. We have not given His Gospel to the entire world. We have not carried out His orders.
What would a man say who had called a plumber to fix his water taps, if he should come home and find him painting the side of his house ? What could he say? Would he not expect him to do what he had told him to do? Could the man satisfy him by stating that he thought the house needed painting? Of course not. Orders must be obeyed.
More than nineteen hundred years ago the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to His Father's throne and sat down on His right hand. But he has a throne of His own, the throne of His father David, and He is the legal successor. Whoever heard of a king, who had a throne of his own, who would be satisfied to occupy another king's throne? Christ wants to return. He longs to reign. It is His right. Then why does He wait? He is waiting for you and me to complete the task. He is waiting for us to do what He has told us to do. Many a time He must say to Himself as He sits there, "How long, I wonder, are they going to keep Me waiting? When will they let Me come back? How soon can I return to earth to sit on My throne and reign?"
The Whole Estate
Here is an estate. The master tells his servants that he is leaving, but that he will be returning. And while he is gone, they are to bring the entire estate under cultivation. They begin working around the house. They beautify the gardens and flower-beds. Next year the weeds grow and again they go to work, keeping the lawns in perfect condition. Presently one of them remembers his master's orders. "I must go," he exclaims. "Our master told us to bring the entire estate under cultivation." And he prepares to leave. "But," they cry, "we cannot spare you. See how fast the weeds grow. We need you here." In spite of their protests, however, he leaves and begins working in a far corner of the estate. Later on, two others remember their lord's orders and in spite of objections they, too, go and cultivate another part of the estate.
At last their master returns. He is pleased as he looks at the flower-beds and gardens and the lawns around his house. But before rewarding his servants, he decides to explore the rest of the estate and, as he does so, his heart sinks for he sees nothing but wilderness and marsh, and he realizes that there has not even been an attempt made to cultivate it. Finally he comes to the one man working all by himself in a distant part of the estate and he rewards him richly. He discovers the two in still another part and likewise rewards them. Then he returns to headquarters where his servants are waiting and expecting a reward; but his face indicates displeasure. "Have we not been faithful?" they exclaim. "Look at these flower-beds and gardens. Look at these lawns. Are they not beautiful? And have we not worked hard?"
"Yes," he replies, "you have done your best. You have been faithful. You have laboured diligently." "Well then," they cry, "why are you disappointed? Are we not entitled to a reward?" "There is one thing you have forgotten," he replies; "you have forgotten my orders. I did not tell you to work the same gardens and lawns again and again, year after year. I told you to bring the entire estate under cultivation, to cultivate it at least once. That you did not do; in fact, you did not even attempt to cultivate it, and when your companions insisted upon going and doing their part, you objected. No, there is no reward."
Many will be Disappointed
Many a one, I am afraid, is going to be disappointed. You may be that one. You may have won many souls in your town. You may have been most faithful to your church; but what have you done for those in heathen darkness? Did you ever think of going yourself? Have you ever given your money that someone else might go? Have you prayed? What part have you had in the evangelization of the world? Have you obeyed orders ? Have you done what you could to bring the entire estate under cultivation? Or have you been satisfied to work in your own community and let the rest of the world perish? If you want to hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord," and if you want to receive the promised reward, the diadem or the crown, you had better get busy and do what you can to publish His Gospel among all nations, or you will be a missing Christian in the day of rewards.
Go then and do your part. Either go yourself or send some-one else. There is something that you can do, and the time is short. It was the whole estate that had to be cultivated, and it is the whole world that must be evangelized. "Go ye therefore into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." For remember, "The Gospel must first be published among all nations, and then shall the end come." This then is His answer to their question. "What shall be THE sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?" That was what they wanted to know —THE sign preceding and indicating the end. His answer to their question in verse 3 of Matthew xxiv is found in verse 14. Here it is : "This gospel shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall the end come."
All His other predictions indicate the approaching end ; this one, THE end. Hence also the word "first" in Mark xiii. These, then, are the two reasons for the use of the word "first." It is urgent. There is no time to lose : It must be given primary consideration. It is God's programme: first world evangelization; then, the reign of Christ. He will return to establish His Kingdom when all nations have heard the Gospel. Let us, then, to our task; and may we never rest until our work is done.
This is an abridged excerpt from Dr Oswald Smith’s book, The Passion For Souls.