(November 26, 2017) Missionary statesman George Forbes shares some challenging thoughts…
Missions and eschatology! This is possibly the most complicated subject in missions due to the strongly divergent views and outcomes of each eschatologically position taken.
In my experience I have found that many do not realise they have taken a position that affects how they understand the missionary task and its outcomes. They simply believe that the gospel is the power of God to salvation and the gospel is for all nations and are unaware of the problem that begins with the position taken by many – that the church and Israel have different destinies.
Consequently many do not fully consider their obligations to completing the global task of missions.
I refer to believers who hold that the covenants of God with Israel, precede, as well as, hold power ahead of the New Testament gospel for all nations.
Israel to finish the global task of missions?
I know that this is a simplification of the difference between historical belief of the missionary task and the relatively new idea that God intends that Israel will finish the global task after the rapture of the church.
However, I am compelled to proceed as I raise this subject. I simply ask that you consider what the Bible actually says.
It is vital we first establish that in Christ, there is no distinction between Jews and other nationalities. The apostle Paul says in Colossians 3:11(ISV), ‘In him there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free person. Instead, the Messiah is all and in all.’
This greatest commission of all was given to the apostles and thus to all believers.
- We are all co-workers.
- We are all redeemed by the atoning blood of the Lamb of God.
- We are all commissioned to the same great task of global missions.
This includes every born again Israeli, irrespective of their natural heritage or tribe. But there is no biblical support for the idea that after the church is raptured Israel will complete the task of mission during the tribulation!
The ramifications of this idea are significant
The questions that arise are serious. Here are just a few of the many questions one must ask…
- What form of salvation will the tribulation saints experience?
- Will the Holy Spirit work in them so that they become born again believers?
- Will they come to Christ, believing in him as their Saviour?
- Will they be disciples of Jesus Christ?
- Will they then become members of the body of Christ?
- What will their future be as to where they will be for eternity?
- How does this whole idea fit in the context of the Great Commission?
The unfinished task
I submit that it calls for a closer study of the word of God and a personal response from every reader, to the unfinished task, to the commission that Jesus gave his followers that must be obeyed – ie, Jesus said, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28:19).
I remind everyone who reads these words that Jesus also said, ‘If you love me, obey my commandments’ (John 14:15). The Message says, ‘If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you.’
The church has been given a big assignment; let us not be guilty of neglecting what we are commanded to do.
The church – every born again believer – must do all in our power by the help of the Holy Spirit to ensure that every Jew and every Gentile hears the good news of Jesus Christ’s redemptive offering at Calvary, before it is too late.
This is the church’s big unfinished global task today!
Dr George Forbes is internationally recognised as a missionary statesman with a heart for the lost of the nations. With a wealth of missionary knowledge and a unique ability to communicate the global picture, he is widely known as the ‘story-teller.’ Link: firstname.lastname@example.org