The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.
Matthew 24:14 says that the Gospel shall be preached “in the whole world, for a testimony unto all the nations”. This literally took place, as far as the inhabited world was concerned at that time, before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Paul reminds us (in Romans 10:18) that “their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world;” and he tells the Colossians that the gospel was come unto them, and was bearing fruit and increasing in all the world (Colossians 1:6).
But even if we regard these expressions as somewhat hyperbolic, it is unquestionable that before the armies of Titus entered Jerusalem, the gospel had been published through the principal parts and provinces of the then inhabited world (οἰκουμένῃ).
And it is certainly a wonderful fact that within fifty years after the death of Christ, Christian Churches had been planted in almost every district of the earth as then known to the Romans.
But if we extend these prophetical sayings so as to reach onwards to the end of all things, we must then understand the expression, “all the nations,” in its most unrestricted sense; so that the prophecy announces the universal proclamation of the gospel over the whole inhabited earth as an event which is to precede the time of the end.
It is interesting to observe the difference in the amount of knowledge possessed by us of this earth and its population at the present time, as compared with the knowledge which men had of it at the time when our Lord delivered this prediction.
It was not until the beginning of the sixteenth century, nearly fifteen hundred years after Christ, that Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci laid open that other hemisphere which takes its name from Amerigo; and there are few facts more interesting to a philosophic mind than the discovery of this new continent, now so important to us in England as the chief receptacle, together with Australia, of our redundant population.
But this new world, as we call it, although there are material evidences that portions of it at least were occupied in very remote times by men of high civilization, was present to the mind of our Lord when he said that “the gospel must first be preached unto all the nations.”
So that the prophecy expands, as the ages roll onwards and the population of this earth increases; and it still demands its fulfillment, embracing the vast multitudes now dwelling on the face of the earth.
Such a consideration may well lead us to the inference that we are now approaching sensibly nearer to the end of the world.
There are no other new worlds like America or Australia now to be discovered. The whole face of the earth is now laid open to us; and there is now hardly any part of the world which has not at some time or other received the message of salvation.
Website 1: https://devotionals.harryschoemaker.nl
Website 2: http://bijbelplaatjes.nl