About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

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The Last Great Gospel Witness


Some might find the following debatable, so consider what I say and the Lord give you the understanding. 


A "witness" is one who has personal knowledge of something.  His "testimony" concerning his knowledge is meant to authenticate certain facts.  The Greek noun "martyrion" is translated as "witness" and "testimony" in our English Bibles, and pretty much means the same as our English words "witness" and "testimony". 


In Acts 1:8, Jesus told His disciples that after the Holy Spirit came into their lives, they would be His "witnesses". (martyrion)  Their preaching and the way they lived would give a clear "testimony", would authenticate, who Jesus is and what He stands for.  Acts 4:33 states that "with great power the apostles continued to 'testify' (martyrion) to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus".  Even though the cost is becoming progressively more expensive for us these days, we should follow the apostles' example in what we preach and how we live.   


In New Testament terms, the testimony we preach and live is called "the gospel".  As in the early days of the church, the gospel is meant to lead people to Jesus.  It has become my thinking, that at the end of this age, there will be one last proclamation of the gospel that isn't necessarily meant to lead people to Jesus, although many may find Jesus in the process.  I'll explain.         


In Matthew 24 Jesus warns us of troublesome times at the end of this age.  Christians will be persecuted.  False prophets will distort the gospel testimony.  Believers will turn away from the faith and betray one another.  Wickedness will increase, and on it goes.    


In the midst of all these terrible events Jesus says that "this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, then the end will come". (Matthew 24:14)  


From a prophetic futurist standpoint, the term "this gospel of the kingdom" in this end times context refers to "the Kingdom of God" that Jesus will establish at His return.  It will be a literal physical kingdom, headquartered in Jerusalem, with Jesus on the throne.  Prior to Jesus' return, all nations will be forewarned, given a clear testimony, of their guilt that leads to God's judgment and their collapse.  All nations will be given notice that they will be replaced by the Kingdom of God.  This forewarning, this proclamation, this "testimony", in my opinion, is the "gospel of the kingdom" that Jesus refers to in Matthew 24:14.  


This last great gospel proclamation doesn't necessarily extend salvation to lost individuals, even though many may find salvation in the process.  The last great gospel message declares God's judgment to guilty nations and to their guilty leaders.  I say this because Matthew 24:14 states that this gospel of the kingdom is directed specifically to "nations as a testimony", and I would add, "as a testimony against these nations".  This gospel declares God's verdict; the nations are guilty and judgment is near.  It's a declaration of what nations should be but aren't.  It's all about the nations and their leaders collapsing under God's judgment and being replaced by the Kingdom of God.  You might say it's Jesus' foreign policy.  It's an unequivocal announcement by the prophets of the soon coming Kingdom of God.  It's the true meaning to Replacement Theology.  The Kingdom of God replaces the kingdoms of men. 


A time will come when Revelation 22:11 is proclaimed to the nations as part of the gospel of the kingdom.  "Let him who does wrong, continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile "  The Almighty will no longer concern Himself with evil nations.  They can be as evil as they want to be.  God will wash His hands clean of them, and then bring them down in one moment of time. (Zechariah 14:2)  His prophets will declare this in advance through the preaching of "this gospel of the kingdom".  It's just a matter of restating that which is prophesied throughout the Bible.


If you understand Biblical prophecy, you will know that God gives ample warning of judgment to a nation.  If the nation rejects the warning, at some point God declares judgment on that nation through His prophets.  Once judgment is declared, that's it.  It's irrevocable.  In defiance to God, the evil nation will continue to be evil. (Revelation 22:11)  Then, at God's appointed time, the evil nation falls.  This is the end time scenario which is predicted throughout Scripture and will be proclaimed one last time in the gospel of the kingdom at the end of this age.      


Daniel 4:17 sums it all up.  " the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men "  In one statement, Daniel defines the gospel of the kingdom.  The holy ones declares the verdict that the Most High is sovereign over all nations.  The nations are guilty, and they will fall in judgment.  Once the last prophet stands as God's "witness" and "testifies" to "this gospel of the kingdom" for the last time, the end will come.    


After a thousand years of Jesus' rule, and after satan is thrown into the Lake of Fire, the eternal New Jerusalem will descend from heaven onto the newly created earth.  At this time, "the nations will walk by its (New Jerusalem's) light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. (Revelation 21:24 -26)  Note, there will be nations and kings on the new earth.  Finally, "the kingdom of the world will become the Kingdom of the Lord and of His Christ ..." (Revelation 11:15)  



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