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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One Comment

  1. I would suggest that one might consider the Bible eschatology as ethnographic and very much a tapestry of history. I have found a strong understanding of Christian history has lead to such understanding as, for example, Matthew 24:15.

    Consider the verse as an instruction from God (as Jesus) “Let the reader understand”. Why would that be an instruction for the last days? Also, the abomination of desolation is an event that should be considered within historical representation. Many great men of the Christian faith have not understood but grossly misunderstood the actuality of this passage regarding the A of D.

    When reading Matthew 24, verses 1 & 2, note: it should have been the last 2 verses of Chapter 23. So as not to confuse the readers (which is still done today).

    Approximately some 4-6 hours would have passed between verses 2 and 3. The topic of the temple had ended hours before ‘at the temple’ and by the time they had reached were they settled in on the Mount of Olives, much more had been discussed, how do I know this?

    Common sense, that’s what people do. Luke 21:37 “And in the day he was teaching in the temple: and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.”

    Back to Matthew, Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” That’s it, the end!

    Jesus has just taken this tapestry to the very end. But as we know, there’s more!

    Now, Jesus goes back to a certain time, to best answer “when”, a time the author, GOD, wants us all to understand about the A of D.

    The rest of this ‘understanding’ can be requested as I have taken up a lot of space already.

    (This is all being presented as food for thought from a very old man who has learned that the older he has gotten the less he knows about all that’s out there – if nothing else remember this, not everything you learn in church or seminary is accurate. As I learn from you, I hope to add challenging thoughts not learned in Sunday School that might open an eye or two.)

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