Greatest Sign of Messiah’s Coming.
Completing God’s Plan -to bless as many people as possible!
We need to understanding the link between God’s Plan of Salvation and the
‘Second Coming’ of Yeshua/ Jesus/ Isa to Earth & our part in it!
[We mainly use the N.I.V version of the Bible & use Italics for the quotes.]
WHAT ARE GOD’S PRIORITIES? THEY ARE TO COMPLETE HIS PLAN.
God’s priority to complete His Plan, often are not ours…
If there is one over-riding theme in the Bible -God’s Word, it is about how sinful people can be reconciled, (brought back to being close) to a Holy, loving God. This has always been His eternal, costly Plan. It shows amazing Love! [It is almost impossible to choose one verse that says this because the Scriptures are full of this theme! You can read the careful explanation in Romans chapters 1 –8, for yourself.] The ‘Living Bible’ gives 1 Timothy 2:5 this way, “God is on one side and all the people on the other side, and Messiah Jesus, Himself Man, is between them to bring them together.” God reaches out to us drowning sinners through Jesus/ Yeshua. We note He is the ONLY One who can mediate– no priest or saint can do it at all.
God’s perfect Plan, is so precious because this theme of being reconciled to God can ONLY be through one true way. This Plan is to find ‘oneness’ with God by accepting God’s way, which is the absolute Truth – there is no other way. God’s way is only through one Man – Who is The Way! That is why Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No ones comes to the Father [God] except through Me.”
As we have repeated often, God made mankind for Friendship with Himself, to enjoy the love He wanted to pour out on us in every way. Yet He had to be true to Himself.
He wanted our love to be freely given back to Him by intelligent human people who would choose His way to return His love, in joyful obedience. Therefore God took the enormous risk of giving us the very precious gift of freewill. Sadly man chose his own way of fulfillment and happiness, and so rebellion, called sin, has separated the whole human race from God ever since. But God wasn’t prepared to leave it there!
He immediately put into effect a Plan that would cost Him dearly, to bring individual people back into Friendship with Himself. It was to allow His Son to make the ultimate payment for our sin, by dying a cruel death. Yeshua/ Jesus accepted this Plan by His words, “not My will (or way), but Yours be done.”
After we have accepted His way, our part in the Plan is to share it with everyone we can, and help other people to share it, perhaps in a culture with a different language by prayer and giving resources, such as money. Paul uses his 2nd letter to the Corinthians to spell it out. “All this is from God, Who reconciled us to Himself in Messiah, not counting men’s sins against them! And [then] He has committed to us the message of reconciliation… Be reconciled to God.” Unfortunately, many Christians do not realise what a privilege we have!
The Plan will be completed when Yeshua/ Jesus/ Isa returns to Earth to be with us forever, as He said, “I am going [to death] to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14: 3.) He died to make it possible to be with Him here in this life (by faith) and forever when He returns at His ‘wedding day’ and ours. Until then He said in John 12: 26, “Whoever serves Me must follow Me, and where I am, My servant also will be.”
A PICTURE STORY FOR US.
The best story to explain this to us is the one Yeshua told about the ‘Runaway Son’.
It is in Luke 15: 11 –31. Can you imagine a son who was virtually saying to his father, “I wish you would drop dead so I can get my share of the inheritance and live my life –my way”? But the Father (Who was really a king), actually allowed his son to have his own way, even though it would only lead him into trouble, sorrow and a disgusting lowering of himself almost to the level of the pigs he was feeding. Often that is how it is with us. But like the one in the story, (by God’s Holy Spirit), He helps us to come back to our Father God and say, “I have sinned”.
The amazing thing is that like the Father in the story, He doesn’t just say, “I forgive you” –He takes us back into His royal Family, so that we are part of His Kingdom. He gives us the gold ring of faith so we can ask anything in our talking (praying) to Him, and He hears us. He also takes our dirty rags of our way of ‘doing good’ –our ‘righteousness’ – and gives us the beautiful robe of His righteousness. Slaves do not have shoes, but God gives us the shoes of the Gospel of peace – so that we can go and share about this Kingdom of Love with others. There are just so many ‘pictures’ of God’s loving goodness to us, -it is amazing how people often don’t even want to know about this Good News of the Kingdom!
It is so sad, but we must keep living as royal members of the Kingdom, and sharing when we can. Of course the story also includes another son, who thought that by working hard and outwardly doing his duty, (keeping rules he didn’t have in his heart), trying to do it his way was also missing out on the special relationship he could have had. The good news is that the Father reminded this son of the good Friendship that was his if he too would acknowledge that His Father’s way was the right way –of trust and forgiveness. God had to remind the prophet Samuel, (1 Sam. 16: 7.)“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outside, but the LORD looks at the heart’.” God is more interested in our hearts attitude that what we do outwardly. So God’s priority – His most important Plan is people, in a relationship with Himself!
THE REASON WHY THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE ‘SECOND COMING’.
Looking for THE ‘KEY SIGN’ of Second Coming of Yeshua/ Jesus/ Isa!
Jesus Himself gave the signs very clearly, so it is good for us to look for them.
They are listed in the chapters of Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 and give specific teaching on the most important signs and aspects of the time leading up to the special events of the Future, and finally the Return of the King.
Some immediate events which would happen within the next 40 years.
We believe some of the signs had a partial fulfillment within 40 years of our Lord’s prophecy, regarding the destruction of the Temple and the immediate persecution of His Followers. These are historically verifiable facts from AD 66 –132. His words were: “Do you see these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.’ [This is an example of trying to ‘rightly divide/ understand the Word of God’, but we respect other teachings, that say this is all future. We believe there was one fulfillment one time and not likely to happen again.] So this actually answered one of the questions the Disciples asked, “when will this happen” -referring to the shocking comment Yeshua made about the destruction of the beautiful, Jewish Temple in Jerusalem which King Herod had almost finished redecorating after 45 years.
However there is another future, serious ‘sign’ in connection with the Temple.
In verse 15, the Lord also speaks about the Temple, by referring to another future re-enactment of the blasphemy and desecration, (but not destruction) that would happen. The listeners would clearly associate this with both Antiochus Epiphanies, and the prophecy of Daniel (9:27, and 11: 31). This also had a partial fulfillment at the time of the Roman Emperor’s son, Titus. However, like others we also see a future desecration –‘the abomination of desolation,” of a third rebuilt Temple in the future. It will be a very important sign, especially for Israel, but a climax to many other events. [This is a subject of another article, ‘The False-messiah.’] Many people believe this is the ‘key’ sign, but we believe – based on the above notes about God’s priorities it is important, but not the most important.
True, the persecution of Messiah’s Followers was and is a real part of that sign.
The Messianic (mainly Jewish) Believers suffered horrific persecution for some 300 years after the time of Messiah on Earth. It was then against all Christians, (note the words, “because of Me”) and has continued reaching very high numbers of martyrs from the 20th century to today. During the reign of the False-messiah it will reach a peak of unbelievable horror for many Gentile Christians as Jesus said, as Matthew records it in 24: 9 –13. [We believe it will not be for those in Israel. See Isaiah 60: 1 –3 and our articles on ‘Israel’s Future’.] But to return to this prophesy,
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. At that time many will turn away from the Faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. This is certainly happening now, even though some ‘prophets’ are called ‘Christians.’ Yeshua /Jesus continued, “Because of the [unstoppable] increase of wickedness the love of most will grow cold. But he who stands true to the End will be saved.” Later He added, “Then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again.” So this is an ongoing sign over many years.Yet it seems possible Yeshua /Jesus had another even more important ‘Key’ sign of His Coming back. See what you think about this.
WE BASE OUR CONCLUSIONS ON UNDERSTANDING GOD’S PLAN.
One clear sign for ‘End Time’ Believers.
Yeshua/ Jesus also answered the other two clear questions as reported in Matthew 24: 2, “what will be the sign of Your Coming and of the end of the Age?”
Note He did not separate these.
The Lord gave them the main sign after a number of other more ‘general signs’.
He said; “And this Good News of the Kingdom, (the Gospel)
Will be preached (made known) throughout the whole world,
As a testimony to all nations
AND THEN THE END WILL COME.”
Why we believe this is the ‘key’ sign.
There is no doubt that to a degree all the signs are important. For instance, it is clear the Lord was very concerned for the sorrow and suffering coming from wars, plagues, famines, earthquakes and other disasters. These are matched by the record of the ‘breaking of the seals’ in Revelation 6. The thought of false prophets and pseudo ‘messiahs’ coming in His Name was also a great concern to the One Who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
One would imagine each sign was expressed with a sob in the Master’s voice. But the whole reason for God’s Plan of Salvation (even from before the beginning of time), meant that it first had to be completed by making it available to everyone. The conclusion of the Plan could not happen until everyone had been given an opportunity to respond to it. The Apostle Peter grasped this and shared it in 2 Peter 3: 9 when he wrote, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise,” [of Coming back], “as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
>This is why the most special sign must be the spread of the knowledge of the true God and His Son to the whole world before “the End can come”.
Problems people have raised with this verse.
1. They say that ”the Gospel of the Kingdom,” is not the same as the Good News of Salvation. The ‘Salvation’ which includes the payment by the death of the Son of God, Yeshua/ Jesus/ Isa. That is the only payment God will accept for saving us from paying our own debt of sin. It is just called: ‘Salvation.’ We gain it by our acknowledgement that we are sinners, and our acceptance in humble repentance and simple trust in God’s Word that because of Jesus’ special payment we are accepted into God’s royal Family -the Kingdom of God! We like to call it ‘God’s royal Family’, which is “the Kingdom of God” or “the Kingdom of Heaven”. These are all the same. The Bible uses many different names for this special experience and status that we are given when we are adopted by God, the King! Theologians have written volumes on this subject of the Kingdom.
[See ‘Symbols & Words in Scripture’.]
> There is only one ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’!
2. Some people say an Angel will finish spreading the news of the Gospel.
This is because of a verse in Revelation 14: 6, “Then I saw another angel flying in mid-air and he had the Eternal Gospel to proclaim to those who live on the Earth - to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgement has come’.”
First, we note that this is a good example of when we must keep the rules of Scripture: that every part must agree with every other part. Also some parts explain other parts. We know one thing. Angels do not do human work, nor can humans do truly angelic work. (Even though for love we might tell someone they are ‘an angel’ – we mean they are caring like a Heavenly angel who serves God.)
Here are some reasons it is not the work of an angel to give out or spread the Good News, of how to be in God’s Kingdom. ‘Evangelism’ we call it.
a) The honour of sharing the Gospel has been given specifically to Followers of Jesus/ Yeshua/ Isa! He told His disciples clearly before He returned to Heaven, “All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Me. Therefore [you] go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you [spiritually] always, to the very End of the Age.” It is our responsibility to let everyone we can about the True God and His gift of life. Paul explains it well in chapters 4 –6, of 2 Corinthians, especially verses 5: 18 –20. “All this is from God, Who reconciled us to Himself in Messiah and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Messiah, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation. WE are therefore ambassadors, as though God was making His appeal through us. We implore you on Messiah’s behalf; ‘Be reconciled to God’! ” All Believers have this privilege of telling other people about the Good news of the Kingdom!
b) We believe this angel is not ‘preaching’ the Gospel. We know this by considering the work of other angels in Revelation & other places; we believe the verse in 14: 6, is an announcement that the work of spreading the Good News has finally been completed! This fits with our key verse that when “the Gospel has been made known (by His Disciples)– then the End will come.” Here is the verse which John wrote: “Then I saw another angel flying in mid-air, and he had the eternal Gospel to proclaim to those who live on Earth –to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgement has come. Worship Him Who made the heavens, the Earth, the sea and the springs of water’.” Immediately the next two angels make specific loud announcements.
This chapter announces the climactic, cataclysmic events that then follow and are described as awful judgements involving the heavens, Earth, seas and rivers affecting all mankind who are still alive. (There is an interesting link here, because after the ‘trumpet judgements of chapter 8, there surely would be no doubt about Who created the heavens, Earth, seas and rivers –but notice the angelic announcement of chapter 14:6 does not mention the Gospel message.) We have tried to emphasise God’s priority is to bring many to be reconciled to Himself. Since this is true and even the final Event of Messiah Jesus’ return depends on the spread of the Gospel being completed, it would be just like a King to make a royal proclamation about it, surely?
SOME BACKGROUND FACTS REGARDING THE SPREAD OF THE GOOD NEWS.
The History of ‘Missions’.
The word ‘mission’ has been used for a long time to describe the work of fulfilling God’s Plan of Salvation through His Son. It is just like a government that gives their ambassador a ‘mission’ or specific directive as representatives of their government. Ever since our Lord Jesus returned to Heaven and then filled His Followers with His own Holy Spirit at ‘Pentecost’/ Shavuot, 50 days later, the Good News through His mission has been spread throughout the world. It is the most exciting and absorbing story of the last 2000 years.
There are many books that try to outline it, covering a specific area, or the whole range of God’s worldwide mission. One of the best books is by Ruth A Tucker and is called, “From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya,” [a Zondervan publication.] As the name indicates, it emphasises the amazing, costly efforts of Godly people to take the message of Messiah to every country. In the first few decades, Paul was the first to encourage the concept of taking the ‘Good News’ to the Gentiles. So the Salvation Yeshua had given to the Jewish nation and His own Followers, was made so available to Paul’s world, that he was able to write to the Roman Christians saying, “your faith is being reported all over the world.” Even the enemies of that Life changing Faith accused them saying, “These man who have caused trouble all over the world, have now come here…”
Of course, much of the world as we know it now, was not even ‘discovered’ by the Europeans until some 200 –300 years ago. From that time, Godly people, often at enormous cost –especially of their very lives, travelled to many nations, or newly found groups of people among them to share the life-giving news of the Gospel. If all these stories are going to be told –or ‘shown in real colour and detail’ as in a video -in the Millennium -we will have no trouble praising our loving ‘LORD of the Harvest’! See Ephesians 2:6! Then we will understand the whole range of effort and sacrifice that has taken place to fulfill Jesus’ commission! There is no greater or more important story than this.
UNDERSTANDING THE LINK BETWEEN GOD’S PLAN FOR ‘WORLD MISSION’ & THE SECOND COMING.
Looking at the result of God’s Plan being fulfilled.
This is just like a loving LORD for us to know without a doubt that as we work with Him, as ‘the Lord of the harvest’ the Plan will have total success. This could be why He gave John the writer of Revelation an opportunity to look at a scene from somewhere near God’s throne which he described in chapter 7. “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the Throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God Who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” There are several interesting aspects of this.
a) The False-messiah will have tried to have control on the same representation of people, and in fact in chapter 13; 7 it says “he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation, all the inhabitants of the Earth will worship the Beast…” However we know he will not be successful, because of these very saints in the white robes who refused to worship him, even at great cost.
b) There will be a need for the Believers in ‘the Slain Lamb’ to cling to the assurance of victory to the very end, inspite of increasing torture and death. “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” Rev’n. 14:12. Yeshua/ Jesus did not call His Father “the LORD of the harvest” casually –He really is! (See Luke 10:2.)
Looking at the time factor that the Lord gave.
The specific words of both Matthew and Mark about the Gospel is clearly given.
“This Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world… and then the End will come.” Matt. 24: 14. Mark indicates it will be throughout the centuries of the persecution of Messiah’s Followers, as he writes, “On account of Me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the Gospel must first be preached to all nations.” Mark 13:10.
Looking at the scope or extent of the Message being given.
Again it is simply stated in these two verses. Matthew quoted Yeshua, “This Gospel… will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations…” Mark repeats the words, “preached to all nations.” The extent has also been referred to in the view John was given in Revelation chapter 7: 9-10. It is worth noting that there the song the great multitude sang was about the “Salvation that belongs to our God, Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.” All who sing that song are surely in the Kingdom of God! There is only one song of Salvation and One Saviour!
WILL ISRAEL AND ESPECIALLY THE 144,000 BE INCLUDED?
Yes! They certainly will be included! This web-site is especially dedicated to the concept that “all Israel will be saved.” In fact, we have tried hard to point out that surely Israel, like everyone in God’s great Plan of Salvation must come first, (before the ‘Second Coming’), by trust and repentance (not by seeing), but by faith. This is the only way to be a true child of God, Jew or Gentile. Romans 10: 9 –12! [JNT] “If you acknowledge publicly with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be delivered,” - [saved from separation from God.] “ For with the heart one goes on trusting and this continues toward righteousness, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement, and so continues toward deliverance” It is good if you read it for yourself to verse 16.
But for Israel God had an extra privilege and responsibility.
Chosen as God’s covenant Nation –their destiny was above all others, to make God’s Plan and message known to the whole world. “I will bless you and make you a blessing” God had promised Abraham, in Genesis 12. He wanted them to be a light to the world.
a) Sadly, while this has come true through the writing and preservation of the Word of God –by Jewish men -and Jewish Yeshua was the means of our Salvation, yet the proclaiming of that Word has often not happened. In fact it seems there will come a time when they will confess the words in Isaiah 26:18, “We have not brought salvation to the Earth; we have not given birth to people of the world.” That is, as a nation they have not made God’s blessings known as He intended.
[Just here I would like to say that one of the most precious books I own, is by Jacob Gartenhause, ‘Famous Hebrew Christians’. Stories of wonderful, educated Jewish men who not only became Believers but were active in reaching out to their Gentile world, from about 1822 – 1927. Yes! They were ‘missionaries’ and started ‘missions!]
b) However it seems clear from many Scriptures, that God will yet use His own Jewish Nation to make His Good News known to the entire world. God has not been sleeping, (He has used His people), but will do more in the future through 1000s of Jewish Believers, before the Return of Yeshua. Take Paul’s words in Romans 11: 11b –15. “Because of [Israel’s) transgression, Salvation has come to the Gentiles… But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!” Verse 15, “If their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be, but life from the dead?” The way this is worded indicates these riches being made available, will be in this world –this age -while there is still opportunity to accept God’s Salvation. It will not be as a separate part of God’s Family, after another ‘part’ has been raptured -taken out of the world (as some people teach.) We suggest how and when this will happen in other articles.
c) This must be what Isaiah meant when he buried this prophecy for Israel, among others in Isaiah 66: 18 & 19. “And I… am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see My glory, [which is His people.] I will set a sign among them”, [Perhaps God’s amazing deliverance of Israel from disaster,] “and I will send some of those who survive to the nations… to the distant islands that have not heard of My fame or seen My glory. They will proclaim My glory among the nations.” Again, the indications are that this will be before the “full number of the Gentiles has come in,” as given in Romans 11: 25, and is linked with Israel also, all “being saved.” We are looking forward to the time when God will, in a new way, show His Glory and holiness through the Jewish nation as a whole!
d) So who are the 144,000 in Revelation chapter 7?
It is important to note:
They are in God’s Plans, and are being specially marked or ‘sealed’ (on Earth), by God’s angelic messengers, “four angels standing at the 4 corners of the Earth.”
The numbers are a way of indicating God’s order, (Judah is first) and that some can be ‘left out’ because of persistent sin, (Dan) but Joseph’s faithfulness is honoured by the inclusion of both his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.
This also emphasises that there is no such thing as ‘ten lost tribes’.
It also shows that it is most important to remember that the whole Word of God must explain and confirm every other part. Other Scriptures tell of the spiritual restoration of the whole of God’s people as a holy nation, Ezekiel 36:23. Therefore we believe God has far more that 144,000 Jewish Believers in His kingdom! [Elsewhere we have pointed out that the term ‘a remnant’ -referring to Israel in the End Times- could well be counted into the millions, comparing them to the numbers of Ishmael’s 350 million descendants in the Arab nations. Therefore 20 million or so Jews in this century, could be called ‘a remnant’!]
It is possible these 144,000 are also a selected group among the ‘remnant.’ Often in Israel’s history, groups of singers, or an army were selected to serve God out of the whole nation. We do not believe that these will necessarily be ‘evangelists’ during the Tribulation. (Maybe the second group in Rev. 14, is a purified choir?)
IMPORTANT ROLE OF ‘END TIME’ JEWS.
1. We note they are simply described as ‘servants’ who may serve -perhaps during a time of Tribulation for all the Gentile world? [This is our belief.] Therefore the most important word to notice in Revelation 7: 9, is the word ‘servants’; “…Until we put a seal on the on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” It is precious to note that there was a previous time of selected judgement for God’s people described;“ put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in [Jerusalem]”. This is recorded in Ezekiel 9:4 where the NIV tells us “the mark was the Hebrew letter taw, at that time made like a x or a +.”
We have linked this also with Yeshua’s meaningful parable in Matthew 25: 31 –46, regarding “all the nations,” [rather than individuals], that “were gathered before the King.” There is no doubt God has used this story to challenge God’s people of all time to care for those who were badly treated. Yet we offer this suggestion, that perhaps in a different and special End Time persecution of Christians, “the least of these brothers of Mine,” it will be God’s ‘sheep nation’ of Israel that will send out ‘servants’ to feed, clothe and visit Gentile Christians in prison. Israel is often called God’s ‘Sheep Nation’. Compare Ezekiel 34. [Already, Israel is almost the first to make teams of medical or rescue personnel available for any world disaster.]
2. Having explained this we do believe that before people take the Beast’s ‘mark’ of Satan worship, new Jewish & M.E. Believers will quickly share their new Faith with everyone they know. This means the God will use the tragedy of the Diaspora of the Jews throughout the world to spread the Gospel! There will be a short window of opportunity between Israel’s deliverance from annihilation by the ‘Magog Army’ of Ezekiel 38, resulting in their recognition of Yeshua and the beginning of the strong rule of the False-messiah, [See ‘Israel’s Glorious Future’ for more detail.]
3. This will fulfill Joel’s prophecy in 2: 27 –especially for Israel. “Then you will know that I AM in Israel, that I AM the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will My People be ashamed. And afterward I will pour out My Spirit on all [My] people,” [without discrimination.] I will pour out My Spirit… And everyone who calls on the Name of the LORD will be saved…“ God will use Gentile Christians also, and there will be a new harmony between Jewish and Gentile Believers.
DO WE KNOW HOW MUCH OF THE WORLD HAS HEARD THE GOSPEL?
This is a good question already assessed by experts.
In the 1970’s men of God like Dr Billy Graham and Dr John Stott and others were asking this question. They reasoned, truthfully, that the Gospel had been in the world for almost 2000 years, that there had been millions of Bibles, churches, literature, and of course missionaries and many martyrs among them that had reached very continent and seemingly every nation. So could we expect the Coming of the Saviour soon? Perhaps it was wise to do some careful research and make assessments, and based on the findings encourage mission agencies to target the expected few ‘unreached’ people?
The assessments were done scientifically and with help even from the U.N.O.
It would take too long to explain the whole procedure, but questionnaires were carefully distributed, so that every part of a country, province and area could be adequately covered. Although computers were very expensive and rare in those days, World Vision created a specific ministry to handle the information called ‘MARC’. (Missions Advanced Research Commission.) When all the findings were tabulated, the researches were very disappointed at the results. So much so that two qualified researchers decided to re-assess, using different methods. One used ‘marketing methods’ as used by companies selling new products in a previously untouched area. The other simply added the figures provided. Their results were identical, 42% of the world could be described as ‘unreached with the Gospel’!
It was a very sobering conclusion in the light of Matthew 24:14!
ACTIONS TO MAKE USE OF THE RESULT OF THE ASSESSMENT.
This required that definitions be standardised, explained and understood.
Unreached’ could be measured by the ‘Engel scale’ developed by a Mr Engel.
It graded people’s various levels of understanding; from no knowledge to some knowledge and finally commitment to the Gospel message, to the point of being able to share it with another person. Those with little or no knowledge were ‘unreached.’
> It was clear that vast areas were, sadly, quite ‘unreached’.
Defining the people to be reached.
It was found best to describe groups of people even within a nation, more carefully, according to a wider scale; of shared language, tribal or other affiliation, work, living area, present religions or cultural affinity, -those who saw themselves as ‘a group’.
> These are known as ‘PEOPLE GROUPS’.
Considering what the barriers were to reaching these unreached people groups.
Other factors, such as geographical, political or religious barriers to reaching People Groups with the Gospel in such a way as they could respond, were considered. 15 nations at that time were difficult to reach because of Communism, and another 15 because of Religious barriers such as Islam. With over 6000 languages in the world, the task was magnified. War in many places was another factor, as was ‘under-development’ as in -very poor financially and sometimes illiterate.
(Remember computers were expensive and the Internet unknown then.)
> The barriers were seen to be impossible to scale -without God.
Taken together, all these factors presented huge challenges of time, money, resources, expertise and sheer willingness to tackle the task that had to be considered. It was even recognised that another enormous barrier was the apathy of professing Christians.
CHALLENGE WAS PRESENTED & ACCEPTED
BY THE MISSIONS & CHURCHES.
missions congresses, for leaders from every nation, which had not
been held for many years, were re-introduced and the minimal number
of structures were put in place to facilitate the steps required to
address the issues. Steps were taken to encourage every facet of
support and resources needed and these were given the name from the
first meeting place, “The Lausanne Conference of World
This has developed into another of those magnificent stories we will hear about in detail when we gather before God’s throne in Glory. One especially significant venture was to focus on the most populated and least reached areas of the world with the Gospel. This was defined as the “10/40 Window ”, being the swathe of nations between the 10th degree north from the Equator to the 40th and so including most of the Arabian and Asian nations, and some billions of people. In the 30 years since the assessment, great efforts have been and are being made.
OUR OWN AWARENESS AND RESPONSES TO THIS WORD OF OUR LORD.
This article cannot be too much longer, as we appreciate your time in reading this far. Yet each of us must examine our part in fulfilling the ‘Great Commission’, especially our responsibility as we look forward to the Return of our Lord Yeshua/ Jesus Messiah to Earth. In fact a careful reading of 2 Peter 3 about the Lord’s Coming even says we can, “look forward to the Day of God and speed its coming” by our holy lives.
We can be encouraged!
Some 30 years of increased effort has been rewarded. Many missions were willing to change their areas of ministry, or even their methods of operation, so that while new figures are changing all the time, there has been much progress. Modern technology has played a big part in this, even assisting with Scripture translation as well as more visual approaches like films, videos/CDs, television, radio and the Internet. But the personal preaching and visiting and ministries of relief agencies, medical and teaching centres, and very many other efforts by God’s dedicated people -only God knows about. Many other people have given money and prayed faithfully, and their prayers are being answered! See web-sites like: www.brigada.org
Projections for the future.
We have been discussing this subject as a main, important sign of the End of this age and the Coming back of our Lord Yeshua Ha Meshiach/ Jesus Messiah/Isa Maseeh. It should be a big part of our lives, prayers, resources and concern! No investment plan can match this for not 100% -but 100 times the deposit! Other sources can give details of the projection for the entire world to hear the Good News in such a way as it could be responded to. We have also indicated in our articles in the section ‘Middle East Focus’, of other parts of the strategy we believe God will use. A famous man who gave up a huge fortune and fame to be a missionary said it so well.
Jesus Christ is God and died for me
–then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him!”
WE AGAIN EMPHASISE THAT THIS SIGN OF THE SECOND COMING,
IS BASED ON A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF GOD’S PRIORITIES.
Just imagine God’s patience! How much does the ‘Second Coming’ depend on us? One of the first ambassadors we call ‘apostles’ -Peter explained the apparent delay in the Lord’s return in his letter, “The LORD is not slow in keeping His promise… He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” In Yeshua/ Jesus’ last recorded prayer in John 17 we hear Him say, “And eternal Life is this: to know You, the one true God, and Him Whom You sent, Yeshua the Messiah.” And in verse 20, “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will trust in Me because of their word that they may all be one.” All Believers must share that word!
GOD’S PLAN WILL BE FINISHED!
We can be sure God will not rest till His Plan is completed!
Our prayer is that you will not only know God through Jesus for yourself,
but that you are doing all you can to live a holy life and share the
Good News with others,
ensuring that this sign will be fulfilled, soon!
May God bless and inspire us all as we join in this great work for God!