Written by 6:43 pm General Discussion • One Comment

All The Nations and the Whole Earth

It’s clear that Futurists’ presuppositions are in play with eschatology. One such issue that we see this in is the idea of the scope of fulfillment of certain prophecies. 

A constant argument that I hear to refute Partial Preterism is the scope of fulfillment of certain prophecies. 

If we take Zechariah 14:2 as an example we can see what I’m talking about. It states, 

“For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”

(Zechariah 14:2 ESV)

As evidence that this passage has not been fulfilled, some Futurists have asserted that the term “all nations” cannot refer to the first century. 

I won’t lie, this is just silly. A similar passage is found in the Olivet Discourse, 

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

(Matthew 24:14 ESV)

The argument is widened with the use of the term “whole world”. This, according to the futurist, couldn’t possibly have happened because the whole world couldn’t have experienced the events of the 1st century. 

The idea of “all nations” requiring a future fulfillment is self-evidently wrong. “All nations” can easily come up against Jerusalem. 

As evidence of this fact, the phrase doesn’t exclude the interpretation of “all known nations”. Which is also the understanding of “whole world”. In other words, it’s the known world. 

The idea of the Gospel being preached to the whole world is understood as fulfilled in Paul’s lifetime, 

“Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.”

(Colossians 1:5–6 ESV)

Paul goes further, 

“if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

(Colossians 1:23 ESV)

What are the chances that if Jesus mentioned that the Gospel needs to be proclaimed in the whole world and Paul says that the Gospel was proclaimed in the whole world, that the Gospel was proclaimed in the whole world?

Those chances are pretty high. And it indicates that Paul believed that what Jesus said was fulfilled even in his lifetime. 

Furthermore, we recognize that the phrases, “whole world” or “all nations” don’t refer to the future. These don’t prove when these things will be fulfilled, they merely prove the scope of their fulfillment.

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Last modified: January 1, 2021