Jesus was answering a question by the disciples. — “Tell us … what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt 24:3)
In between this question and Jesus’ statement “and then the end shall come” was His listing of birth pangs. “Then” He begins telling us how the age will end. 1. Tribulation and hatred of “you” on account of “My name”. Deaths on account of “My name”. 2. False prophets will mislead many. Endurance is called for, because lawlessness will cause a coldness to overcome love leading to a falling away. 3. The gospel of the kingdom will be preached to all nations of the earth.
So Jesus makes clear that in the midst of persecution some will grow cold in their love and fall away, but some will fulfill the great commission. “And then the end shall come.”
But wait a minute dispensational prophecy scholars tell us that the great commission won’t be fulfilled by the Church, but instead by Tribulation saints led by 144,000 Jews (is there a difference?). Those teaching the gospel of Grace, won’t be here. But what does Jesus say?
Matthew 28:19-20. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
But this is not all that Jesus says, listen:
Matthew 24:14 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. So kingdom gospel is it different?In order to conclude that we are or are not involved in both of these prophecies by our Lord, we must “understand them”? What are we to understand? So the end that is coming and the end of the age are they different? They are according to those who tell us that we (believers) won’t be here — ? Well it’s either confusing or it’s not. Which is it?
The confusion actually starts with this passage of scripture. Jesus was answering a question by the disciples. — “Tell us … what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Are their two questions here or one? If there are two questions, why was the end of the age question asked after the coming of Jesus question? And why was it never answered by Jesus?, or was it answered as just being one question, because the two events — the coming and the end of the age — are they exactly connected in time making this one question?
Dispensationalists apply the age portion of this question as a question concerning what they deem to be an unidentified (here or elsewhere in scripture) Church age. There was no question by the disciples concerning the timing of the resurrection and Rapture (why), nor was there any statement by the Lord that He was answering anything other than this question as a unit.
Yet, we are also told that the secret Rapture of the church was implied in the age question. It was a church age question? — but not answered because Jesus’ intended answer was only to the Jews. So, we are to understand a Jewish question with no relation to the Church, but related only to a Jewish age.
Or else, other Dispensationalists say: it was referring to an age that had yet to be defined. That age (the church age) then should be readily defined in scripture, yet it is not, but it is stated to be implied without reference. In fact, we are told that Jesus only preached a gospel of the kingdom specifically to and for the Jews or Israel, and that it was this gospel that was rejected causing them to be cut off as a nation, and that this kingdom gospel will be reinstated again before He returns in this end to this (different than ours) Jewish age. Listen to how one dispensational theologian portrays or thinks on the gospel message:
“Another issue concerns the gospel itself. Under the “Great Commission” the apostles were commanded to preach the gospel. But what gospel? The Scriptures teach more than one gospel–the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4.23), the “gospel of the circumcision” (Galatians 2.7), the “gospel of the uncircumcision” (Galatians 2.7), and the “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20.24). What gospel did John the Baptizer, Jesus, and the apostles preach? Did they preach that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4)? Hardly. “
I want to interrupt him here, and look at an excerpt from this 1 Cor. passage. 1 Corinthians 15:3b–4 (NAS): Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
Paul makes clear here that his referenced gospel was according to the scriptures. The very things that this Dispensationalist teacher is trying to tell us is refuted by Paul in this passage. Now we will let him continue with what I believe is his deception:
“That gospel remained undisclosed until God revealed it to Paul (Romans 16.25). The “good news” preached prior to Paul was the gospel of the coming kingdom. (Quoted from doctrine.org)
But what does Paul say of the gospel and the Jew? “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
He also said: Galatians 2:7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter [had been] to the circumcised (NASB2020)
Is he talking 2 gospels? Is this next verse then the fatal blow to this deception?
Galatians 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! (NASB2020)
And if this is the fatal blow then we must confirm it to be:
Galatians 1:23 but they only kept hearing, “The man who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” (NASB2020)
Now, consider if a separate kingdom gospel was implied in scripture; one that Jesus preached to only the Jews, and that this was all that was passed on to Peter?: then ask yourself “Was it a message to establish an earthly kingdom? “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand'” Matthew 10.5-7
Other gospels written by others state kingdom of God. This must be construed or misconstrued as the messianic kingdom, but are they different? Jesus in fact to my knowledge never stated that He was here to set up His millennial kingdom. He instead made clear that He was here for a purpose and that to fulfill what was prophesied concerning Him, and in fact His rejection and death were part of that prophesied fulfillment. He actually implemented a spiritual kingdom. He told the Samaritan woman that worship would no longer take place on this mountain or that one but we would worship in spirit and truth.
Much is made of the fact that Paul supposedly was much later preaching a gospel primarily for the Gentiles and that it was not the kingdom gospel. Yet, he preached the kingdom to the Ephesians and Romans as part of the gospel. See Acts 20:25, and 28:21.
He said to the Ephesian elders: Acts 20:25-27 “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
This he said near the end of his ministry.
My friends: there is only one plan from God for the salvation of man. To the Jew first and also to the Gentile.
There is only one age that mankind will see brought to an end with the coming of Jesus to establish His millennial kingdom, (God’s kingdom on earth) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. What does Jesus say of this age?
Luke 20:34 Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and [the women] are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 for they cannot even die anymore, for they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (NASB2020)
We hear a lot about a church age, but with no scriptural reference to it, because there is no church age mentioned in scripture, and no church dispensation. Is this why Jesus made no mention of a Rapture before His actual coming in Matthew 24 in answer to the disciples question?
But a passage that makes clear that this gospel of Christ’s suffering and grace was always implied in scripture comes from Peter:
1 Peter 1:10 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that [would come] to you made careful searches and inquiries 11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things into which angels long to look. (NASB2020)
Jesus sufferings were well recorded in the Old Testament. He revealed them to be His purpose for coming when He said: “no man takes my life, but I lay it down for my sheep”.